weekend free-for-all – May 9-10, 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: Pretty Things, by Janelle Brown. I’m now working my way through all her books. This one is about an influencer and a thief, their history together, and what happens when their paths cross again. It has revenge and dark plans and twists, and it will make you sympathize with people you don’t expect to sympathize with.

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

{ 1,433 comments… read them below }

  1. Skeeder Jones*

    About a month ago, I had posted about lingering anxiety from a car fire combined with pandemic. I’ve attacked it from multiple angles including medication, mental health apps, reaching out to friends and family and therapy. I was describing some of the anxiety and how it started after 2 good things happened and my therapist said to think about it more like a glitch in the software and that has helped too. But the best thing is that I have a new (fur) co-worker and roommate in the form of the mellowest cat alive named Zig-Zag. I appreciate the support I received when I posted and even the blog in general as a distraction sometimes.

    1. nep*

      Glad you are finding some relief. Yay for the Zig-Zags in our lives. All the best to you. Peace

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Reaching out is so hard, yet in the end it’s just what is needed. Good for you for facing this head on. And that’s very cool about your new little bud, Zig-Zag. Love the name.

    3. gsa*

      Zig-Zag is an awesome cat name.

      For those that don’t know, Zig-Zag is also a brand of “rolling papers”.

      For tobacco only, wink wink nudge nudge know I mean… :D

    4. Vic tower*

      Great news, so good to hear that things are looking up for you. Multi-faceted response needed in times of major challenge!

  2. US Healthcare*

    I’m watching New Amsterdam, which is pretty awful and a whole other post, lol, but wanted to know:

    – Are public hospitals common in the US?
    – Is it free to be treated there?
    – If so, why don’t people just use those hospitals to be treated instead of using insurance?
    – What do people do if their insurance pays for initial treatment but not expensive follow-up drugs?

    No politics please.
    Princess Deviant

    1. Turquoisecow*

      There are public hospitals which won’t refuse to treat you if you can’t pay. But they’re not free.

      As to your last question, they go into debt or they get sicker.

      1. Alice*

        They aren’t allowed to refuse to provide treatment that will be life-saving in the short term. But they don’t have to provide, say, outpatient cancer treatment if they think you can’t pay for it.

    2. HBJ*

      It may vary by area, but, I’d say they’re pretty common. No, they’re not free. However, they will not turn you away if you can’t pay. Some (particularly community clinics) offer some sort of sliding fee scale where how much you pay is reduced if you’re low income. You may be able to look these up as some places have them published on their websites.

      1. RM*

        these are usually very limited in terms of the services they offer, with long wait times. source: bff has used one of these clinics and ER as their sole health care for years

    3. Fikly*

      In the US, there is a law that essentially says that care cannot be denied to anyone in an emergency, ie, when they come into an emeregency room, they have to be treated, regardless of ability to pay. (Relatedly, there is a law that says that insurance companies have to cover care in any emergency room, regardless of whether or not that emergency room is in their network.)

      Public verus private hospitals in the US really doesn’t mean the same thing it does in most other countries, where a public hospital would be government funded and people can get health care there from whatever insurance the government provides, essentially, whereas a private hospital is paid for out of pocket or by private insurance.

      In the US, public hospitals are indeed funded by the government, to an extent, but they are really supposed to be self-sustaining in that patients who receive care are supposed to pay for it. But these hospitals aren’t looking to make a profit (unlike private hospitals).

      Outside of emergency, life-saving care, you can sometimes get care at a public hospital without an ability to pay for it. Often this is evaluated on a case by case basis, and it’s not easy to get. This is very difficult to get anywhere outside of a public hospital, which has led to the problem of people with no money or insurance going to public hospitals (and ERs in general) for non-emergency care that really isn’t something hospitals should be dealing with, due to their inability to get care elsewhere.

      For example, someone gets a laceration, goes to the ER, and gets stitches, all appropriate. However, they don’t have anywhere else to get the stitches taken out when it’s time, so they come back to the ER for that. It’s so much more expensive to have your stitches taken out at an ER, not just in the bill, but in terms of resources used, plus public hospital ERs are crowded, and that’s taking a spot and delaying care for someone else. And the person getting the stitches out is potentially spending hours at the ER waiting for this (and missing out on work, etc) rather than having a quick 15 minute appointment.

      In general, in the US, people who cannot afford medical care get sicker and die. If you have savings for retirement, and they are enough to pay for what you need, you may be “lucky” enough to go bankrupt and live. I know people who have literally begged their jobs for a pay cut so as to qualify for government funded health insurance.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        And be aware that ‘coverage’ at an out-of-network ER may be such a low percentage with such a high deductible that the remainder can still bankrupt families.
        There really is no way to have this conversation WITHOUT the spectre of politics.

      2. Rebecca*

        Here’s an example of a real life laceration and trip to the ER (mine) from 2018. I lacerated my index finger, and after I got the ring off that finger and washed away the blood, discovered it was a deep gash and it was apparent I needed stitches as it was bleeding – a lot. My first thought was, where are my insurance cards? Crap, they’re at home in my other purse (I was at Mom’s when this happened). Second thought – is the hospital 6 miles away a participating hospital, I think they are – yes, pretty sure since I had a test done there and it was covered. Was this under my current insurance plan or the old one? Ugh, don’t know, this hurts, my finger is bleeding through the towel and I have to go.

        So, I drove myself to the hospital with my hand elevated and wrapped in a towel, called a friend to fetch my cards, walked into the ER, explained yes, I have insurance, no I don’t have my cards with me but a friend is bringing them and will bring them to the desk, and they asked if I was right handed or left handed, because we needed to sign paperwork. I’m right handed, right index finger was injured, so they at least waived that until after I was done.

        So, 6 stitches later, I wrote a check for $150.00 (my ER copay through my insurance), signed all the paperwork, gave them my insurance cards, and was grateful that’s all it cost. The total bill at the ER was $1,644.00. I was supposed to go back a week later for the doctor to take the stitches out, or make an appointment with my primary care physician’s office to have it done, but I took them out myself instead so I didn’t have another copay or a half day of work waiting to have it done.

        And yes, you have to be concerned whether the hospital or doctor or whoever is “in network” or a majority of the cost can be pushed back to you, even if you have insurance. And for reference, I’m very fortunate that even as crappy as my job can be, I have “Cadillac” coverage. That’s why I put up with crap at my job. And I suspect many other people do, too. I really wish we could sever the employer-health insurance link here in the US.

        1. Misty*

          My main problem with employer health insurance is that it’s not stable at all. Like you switch jobs, you have to figure out a new insurance. Or if you get offered a better job and it has worse insurance, you have to figure out if it’s worth taking the better job (it’s likely not worth it if the insurance is worse).

          But the very very worst part of insurance being linked to employment is it always feels like to me that the people who need insurance the most are the ones who are least likely to be able to get a job that gives you really good insurance, you know? Like if you have some sort of medical issue and can only work part time, a lot of part time jobs don’t offer insurance.

          1. Nervous Nellie*

            And don’t forget, when switching jobs, you may find your dream employer offers you insurance that your doctor or medical center does not accept. Then you have to switch doctors too. This has happened to me twice.

            1. Wired Wolf*

              My work insurance is accepted by every department at my health center -except- vision…my vision and dental insurance are through the same carrier, so figure that one out.

              Right now I only need an eye exam every two years and already had one scheduled, so the cost is acceptable. My exam got pushed out to July but it was already scheduled before this and I have a good relationship with the eye doc; if I moved to a different provider I’d wait even longer for an appointment as they’re all closed now.

          2. Natalie*

            Yes, the process to add someone is so annoying, even when it should be a given. I had 30 days to add my daughter after she was born, but I needed to wait to receive her SSN, which took about 3 weeks. 2 weeks after the birth I got a letter from my insurer that they had received a claim for her and they were just reminding me I needed to add her to my policy for that claim to be covered. I’m a paperwork person and even I found it obnoxious to have to keep this bureaucracy top of mind immediately postpartum, lest we owe a bunch of money for a person the insurance company knows exists because they already paid for her damn birth.

          3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

            Also, even if you don’t change jobs your employer can change insurance carriers or plan offerings, which may cause you to have to switch doctors or suddenly have something that used to be covered not covered anymore. It can just change each year, and you have no recourse but to switch jobs (or get an individual plan through the health insurance marketplace).

        2. Line*

          This is so wild. I got a laceration on my hand at work (I accidentally broke a glass), and bled so much I definetly required stitches. I got someone to drive me, and because I called ahead I hardly had to wait when I got to the ER. They numbed my hand and put in the stitch, and then I went to my primary care physician about a week later to get the stitches taken out. I think I paid under $30 for each visit, and my country also has a law that you can only pay so much for health care in the course of one year (this includes all co-pays for doctors visits, medications, hospital visits, tests etc.). If you pay more than $240 for health care in the course of a year you don’t pay anything the rest of the year. $240 sounds like a lot of money, but with a $15/hour minimum wage it isn’t that high.

          1. Misty*

            I paid over 3000$ for my health care copays last year (so that’s not including what they took out of my paychecks just to have health insurance) as I saw my primary care doctor twice that year, a therapist once a week, and a psychiatrist once a month. I also had to go to the ER twice and one of the times involved an ambulance which was expensive. I don’t think I’ve ever paid less than a few thousand a year!

          2. ThatGirl*

            Haha $240 is nothing, lots of US insurance plans have out of pocket maximums for the year (where everything’s covered after that) but it’s generally at least $1500, often more like $3 to $5,000.

            1. LQ*

              Yeah my absurdly good plan is $1000 which people have taken very substantial paycuts to work here exclusively because they’ll be better if they have health concerns.

              1. Fikly*

                My plan is super good, has no deductible, and my out of pocket in-network max is 4k, plus out of network max of 5k.

                But I get MRIs for $50 a pop, and I’ve already had 5 this year, so…

          3. pancakes*

            I pay a little over $1,100 per month for my insurance and on the several occasions I’ve had surgery in recent years (lumpectomies for breast cancer, and a broken wrist) the copay has been $500, to be paid the morning of surgery. My insurance does not cover compression garments for the lymphedema I developed as a result of breast cancer treatment, and for me those are around $150 each time, and need to be replaced every few months. I don’t have the words to express how dispiriting it is that in the US we have to fight even to keep this wretched status quo — even now the president is trying to have the Affordable Care Act repealed, which would leave people with pre-existing conditions like mine unable to afford coverage at all. It is so dispiriting that this hasn’t radicalized more people.

        3. Max Kitty*

          One of the first things I did when COVID got serious here in the U.S. was to write down, somewhere accessible to both me and my husband, the name, address, and phone number of the six closest hospitals that are covered by our insurance. I didn’t want one of us to wake up, suddenly unable to breathe, and have the other trying to figure out where to go. (It’s a measure of our health care system that in making these plans, I’m thinking we’re not going to call for an ambulance if we can possibly avoid it.)

        4. Alexandra Lynch*

          And sometimes the hospitals only give the minimum of emergency care.

          When my ex, then my husband, stepped on a pine cone on his way out the door to work and broke his lower leg, we went to the hospital, and they put a splint on him, gave him an ice pack…and the address of the large orthopedic practice which will not treat you unless you pay them. So if we hadn’t been able to raise $500 overnight, we could not have gotten his leg properly set to heal correctly.

          When I left him, $500 was about a third of our disability benefit.

        5. Senior Montoya*

          I had a bad laceration on my hand — sliced the top of my finger off using a mandolin. Insurance to cover wherever I went, however I know that the ER is a larger copay so we went to an urgent care, where the copay about 10% of the ER, and it would be faster too because there would likely be lots more people in more serious medical trouble than I was.

          But that’s because I have insurance. If I didn’t have insurance, I would have to go to the ER if I wanted to be sure I’d get care.

          I like my job. But it doesn’t pay as well as I could make elsewhere, and having had a child with a very serious and expensive and multi year illness, I just can’t leave the insurance. I mean, our portion of the charges were thousands of dollars and we felt LUCKY. The children’s hospital had employees whose sole job was to help families figure out how to pay for their child’s care, how to get SNAP (WIC at that time), and so one.

          Number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the US is medical care.

          In a pandemic where businesses must close and the unemployed lose their health insurance just when they need it most…well, hard not to see the politics of that.

      3. KoiFeeder*

        While that law is in place, the problem with the US is that if you can’t afford to defend your rights… You functionally don’t have them. There’s always stories about hospitals throwing out people or refusing to diagnose/treat people based on the perception that those people can’t or won’t pay.

      4. Koala dreams*

        Where do charity hospitals fit in the picture? Is it a type of hospital, or is it just the name for hospitals that are owned by charities?

        1. fhwdgads*

          I apologize in advance if I’m off-base here, but I’ve gotten the impression that some other countries tend to use “charity” and “non-profit” synonymously in a way the US usually doesn’t. Do you mean non-profit hospitals? Or do you really mean charity hospitals? I’m asking because while I’m sure there are some hospitals run by charities or which themselves function as charities (St. Jude comes to mind), I don’t think the term “charity hospital” is very common here.

          1. Sc@rlettNZ*

            I’m in New Zealand and while the term non-profit is slowly creeping into our vernacular, it’s not commonly used. We refer to organisations that survive on fundraising and donations to cover their operating costs as a charity. Pretty much anyone can set themselves up as a charity but if you wish to become a registered charity (which then allows folk who donate to you to claim a percentage of that donation back from the IRD, then there are certain reporting requirements which must be fulfilled).

            I’m trying to think of organisations which would be commonplace in both countries – perhaps the Red Cross would be an example? We would refer to them as a charity whereas I suspect it would be called a non-profit in the US.

            1. fhqwhgads*

              All charities are non-profits but all non-profits are charities. For example, the American Museum of Natural History is a non-profit, but it’d be unusual for it to be referred to as a charity in the US. Whereas, Habitat for Humanity is a charity (and a non-profit and could be referred to as either but would mostly get referred to as the first).

              1. RagingADHD*

                Yes, in the US “charity” usually implies that the organization exists to provide some kind of direct assistance to people in need (homeless shelter, cancer research, food pantry, suicide-prevention hotline).

                Whereas “nonprofit” implies that the org is for general community enrichment (museum, orchestra, community garden, house of worship, university.)

                Some nonprofits can also do political advocacy. They have a different tax code than charitable/community nonprofits, which may be where the different terms originated.

                1. Koala dreams*

                  Thanks to all of you for your examples of the difference between charity and non-profit. I think maybe I read about non-profit hospitals and misunderstood.

        2. Nonprofiteer*

          It is a complex system. We have government hospitals, nonprofit, and for profit. As others said, government facilities are supposed to be a safety net for those who can’t afford insurance. They also have the trauma centers where you go for car accidents or gun injuries (we have a lot). For profits of course hew to the more profitable procedures like cancer care (capitalism!) but can be the main hospital for a lot of communities. Nonprofits do a wide range of things and are expected to do a minimum of free “charity” cases. Because it’s the U.S., all three types are very likely to need and do fundraising. But the hospitals whose patients have private insurance get to bill more than those with “government pay” coverage, and are vastly privileged. In big cities those are the ones that look like modern art museums.

          1. Upstater-ish*

            Non-profit hospitals in the US are often run by religious groups mostly Catholic. Non-profit really means they are not taxed. The problem with these hospitals are they need to abide by Catholic teachings so reproductive rights and and end of life care are often an issue.

            1. TL -*

              Not necessarily. Most of the USA hospitals that are ranked best in the nation/world are academic non-profits.

    4. MistOrMister*

      Pretty much everywhere you go you have to give your insurance info when seeking treatment. Unfortunately. So there’s no way to get treatment anywhere without using your insurance, if you have it. Not unless you have an elaborate set up with fake identities and such.

      And, yeah….if your insurance pays for part of your treatment but not the rest, people either go into crippling debt, or they don’t get treatment and they stay sick. I think there was a story in the past few years about a homeless man who won the lottery and was dead within a year b/c he could finaly afford to go to the doctor and they found cancer that had spread and which likely would have been treatable if he had had access to regular medical care.

      Also, insurance does not just automatically pay for initial issues. I had surgery and was told it would cost me something like $400 paid in advance before I went in. Then when I came out I got walloped with a bill for $1,000 from the hospital and $5,0000 from the doctor. The 1k bill was DOWN from something like 20k, part of which insurance had paid. And the 5k was b/c the insurance company completely refused the doctor’s entire bill. Usually the doctor submits their bill to the insurance company, who then negotiates with them and usually pays some of it and then the rest of the cost gets passed on to the patient. It is a very frustrating system. You never know what you might get billed and hoo boy do those bills just keep rolling in. We also can be billed by multiple doctors for the same procedure! It is not uncommon to get a bill from a surgeon, anesthesiologist and the hospital/medical facility all for a single procedure. Politics aside, it is a crappy set up. If you have money, you do what you want. But for anything other than routine preventive care, a lot of people have to ponder if they can afford to go in for medical help because one hospital visit can very easily ruin a person financially.

      1. Aza*

        Yep. I work with people from other countries, and it’s hard to understand that you don’t know how much something will cost in advance, prior to treatment. I just them that healthcare in the US always cost money. Insurance makes it cheaper, but it almost always still costs money.

        And if it’s not an emergency I recommend that they contact their insurance company to ask which doctor or hospital to go to, since different insurance companies have different doctors and hospitals in their network.

        1. KaciHall*

          Don’t forget, your insurance company doesn’t always have the most up to date information available to the people answering the phone! So you can call your insurance, get the name and address of the closest, cheapest doctor covered by your insurance, go to him the same day, and find out he’s not in network when you get the bill a month later.

      2. Turquoisecow*

        Yeah a few years ago I got sick and went to my nearest hospital. After I recovered I got a letter from my insurance saying the hospital wasn’t in network. Many of the doctors were, but not the insurance itself.

        Thankfully they covered it at the out of network rate, so I owed $2,000 instead of $20,000, but that was still a decent amount of money and did not come close to being the only medical care I received that year.

        1. MistOrMister*

          I have been fortunate in that the hospital near me and the docotors I choose to use are all in network. But I still get random, sometimes whopping big bills if I need anything other than routine treatment. It’s amazing what will and won’t be covered. A diasnostic colonoscopy was almost completely covered, even though I’m in my 30s. Surgery for multiple cyst removal that was wreaking havoc on my insides, not covered as well. It was crazy. And my flu shot was not covered through urgent care. I received a bill later saying the insurance company denied the claim as it wasn’t necessary. Said insurance company then sent me 5 letters and called me 10 times telling me to be safe and get a flu shot!!! But then when I got the flu, they covered that doctor visit. There is just no rhyme or reason to any of it!!!

      3. Emma*

        If they negotiate, doesn’t that take up a huge amount of the drs (or their employees’) time?

        GPs here are so pushed for time that you’re lucky if you can get one to run you off a letter, I can’t imagine them having to negotiate payment for every treatment or assessment!

        1. That'll happen*

          Doctors do not handle billing. Depending on the size, for any practice larger than a few doctors, there is a dedicated biller/billing department. These are the people whose job it is to get payments from insurance companies and patients. It is better for practices to get some money out of patients rather than selling the debt to a collections company for pennies on the dollar, so they will often work with patients to either give them a discount or set up a payment plan.

      4. Elizabeth West*

        But for anything other than routine preventive care, a lot of people have to ponder if they can afford to go in for medical help because one hospital visit can very easily ruin a person financially.

        This, plus everything else. When my cat bit me as she was dying, I was extremely grateful I had insurance because I ended up with a massive, fast-spreading infection and landed in the hospital on IV antibiotics for two days.

        The bills are another issue; they don’t really tell you how much things cost. You get an insurance notice for the claim, then a bill for what it doesn’t cover. And you get this for each person who saw you and each service separately. It’s very confusing. I ended up only paying $900 out of pocket, but I have no idea what it cost altogether, and I don’t want to know. If I had to guess, I’d put it somewhere in the ballpark of $15-20K for two ER visits, the two nights, and all the medication/care.

        The only thing that was free: the ambulance transport from the little hospital where I went initially to their big facility on the other side of town (they wouldn’t let me drive).

    5. Mary Connell*

      Yes, there are public hospitals in the US. As the comments here are demonstrating, not many people know what they are and tend to confuse them with other parts of the health care system in the US. The article in Wikipedia (Public Hospital > United States) isn’t great, but it does cover some of the basics. New York City, for example, has a public hospital system. Some counties have them. It’s a complicated system and many of them have closed over the last few decades.

    6. Oxford Comma*

      1. We have a couple in my area. Not sure how prevalent they are elsewhere in the country.
      2. No.
      3. There are people who go to the emergency room for treatment of complaints that are not truly emergencies, but it’s never going to be well received and it’s never going to be as effective as going to an actual doctor. Clinics with sliding scales do exist. How good the care is and how affordable the care is varies.
      4. Depends. Some people will halve medication (on their own). Seniors do that a lot. Some will not be able to afford the medication at all and they will get sicker and/or die. Some go into horrific debt. There are some programs where you can get cheaper medications, but again it varies. To put what some of this can cost into perspective, a friend of mine is diabetic and has a couple of other illnesses. Her medication copays are in the hundreds of dollars each month.

      And here’s my PSA for people in the US–when you get one of the bills from your hospital stay or your healthcare provider with big unexpected charges or charges that your insurer has denied, ALWAYS fight them. ALWAYS. Do not just suck it up and pay.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        #3: Yes. The emergency room literally will not do anything other than address your emergency. I cannot tell you how many ER charts I’ve reviewed where the person had been dealing with (let’s say wrist pain) for months and suddenly decided one night, no change in the pain, but dammit, I’m going to go to the ER for it Right Now, and then got pissed when they got the ER bill because “all they did was do an x-ray and then refer me to a regular doctor.” I don’t want to get too much into work stuff, because I do this for a living and it’s the weekend, but by virtue of the fact that the ER setting is designed to be high-needs, high-emergency, life-saving care, any care provided in the ER is going to be billed at a higher rate because the demand on the physician should be higher than a normal checkup.

        (My husband was in one of my system’s ERs a couple months back with the most expensive panic attack ever, and he was glaring at me going “Stop adding up my bill in your head.” As it turns out, I was right, within $100 (and that mostly because he didn’t ask exactly what labs they’d run on him, so I was ball parking).)

        My PSA for people in the US —
        One, I agree with the Comma, insurance companies (in my experience) will bend over backwards to find excuses not to pay. (Here’s a fun one. Anthem’s approval list of emergency care diagnoses includes the removal of a foreign body from the mouth, the stomach, the intestines, or the rectum, but NOT the esophagus. Tell your children that if they’re going to swallow pennies, they should be more efficient about it.)
        Two, most non-private hospitals have an entire department that exists to try to help people get medical care covered. At mine, it’s called Patient Financial Navigation, but that may vary. Their goal is to get people hooked up with whatever they can do to help with medical costs. Public programs, grants, they’ll help with Medicare/Medicaid applications, Marketplace plan navigation, pharmacy discount programs, sometimes even applicable research studies. And if you don’t have insurance or anything else, most non-private hospitals will offer a self-pay discount and payment plans. (My system automatically does payment plans for everybody, insured or not, and if the payment is too high for you, they’ll lower it, you just have to call in and talk to them.)

      2. Natalie*

        Re #3, availability can also be a factor. A lot of low cost clinics are overloaded, so they may not be taking new patients or you have to wait quite a while.

      3. Fikly*

        Oh, question everything!

        I got a bill for $5450 for a medication that was pre-auth’d by my insurance. After recovering from my heart attack, and fighting through my insurance lying to me multiple times, I eventually found out that when doing the claim, they did not bother to check if there was a pre-auth on file. It still took two months for them to redo the claim and finally pay the money.

        1. Kage*

          This. Since employers can negotiate their specific plans for what they do/don’t cover, sometimes the reps don’t even seem to know your specifics and just go in their generic plan options. If your employer has expanded or modified their coverage, that can be something reps miss initially.

          Case in Point: I had a miscarriage in early 2018 that required me to go to the ER. Fine because I knew my HDHP insurance covered all prenatal-related costs in-full without being linked to the deductible. Got a bill for like $3,500 (I think the full scope of my OOP max). Called up my insurance to be told by the rep that our plan only covered prenatal complications in-full; everything else was subject to the deductible being met first. I was like a) that’s not what it says anywhere in the plan booklet and is directly contradicted by text on x page; and – more importantly – b) even if that was true, what do you think a miscarriage is but the ultimate prenatal complication?At one point I literally remember asking:
          Me: “So tell me, what would be considered a successful, non-complicated outcome from a pregnancy?”
          Rep: “Delivery of a healthy child.”
          Me: “So what about an instance where you don’t have a healthy baby as the outcome?”
          Rep: “Oh that’s a complication and would be covered.”
          Me: “Like the complication of a miscarriage where you lose the baby”
          Rep: “Yes, like that.”
          Me: “….”

          Serious facepalm/head-meet-desk with the amount of times I literally went round and round with the rep about what they defined as a healthy pregnancy outcome/what was a complication. Had to file a formal claim dispute and it took 4 months, but they definitely reversed course and covered everything in-full once they actually read their contact.

          And this was a major, nationwide company…

          1. US Healthcare*

            Insurance companies are a nightmare at the best of times. I can’t even imagine how frustrating and sad it’d be to negotiate payment for large bills for a medical health emergency. I’m sorry to hear your experience.

            1. Ursula*

              I personally have the best of times right now – great insurance (like amazing, in network deductible is $400 and my employer pays the whole premium), and the insurance is self-funded by my employer and merely administered by our insurance company, which should take a lot of profit motive based denials out of things. For those who aren’t familiar with self funded insurance, it means your company is paying your medical bills directly themselves, rather than buying insurance that pays for the bill. The insurance administrator just does the paperwork.

              And yet.

              My employer literally hired a company this year whose entire job is to help employees fight the insurance company. The one that they pay to administer the insurance that the organization pays for. I’ve had to fight them multiple times to get them to cover items that are explicitly listed as covered in our policy documents. My employer even covers balance billing (where the medical center bills the rest of the amount to the patient that the insurance says is too much so they won’t pay it at all), so there’s absolutely no point in them trying to deny things illegitimately. It’s just so ingrained in the insurance company’s business model and culture to be shitty that they can’t stop themselves even when it doesn’t benefit them AT ALL.

              I assume my employer tried to convince them to behave before they took the step of hiring another company to negotiate with the insurance company on behalf of employees, as obviously that’s an additional expense. Really the only other solution is for my employer to administer the health insurance themselves, but that would require creating an entire new department to do that, and hire people with medical billing expertise to an organization that has nothing to do with medical billing, so I can see they they wouldn’t want to do that.

              Insurance companies truly deserve to be completely destroyed.

          2. Senior Montoya*

            Or when my child needed a specialized (= expensive) med for vomiting due to treatment. The insurance company would cover one prescription per month. The prescription was allowed for 28 doses.

            You see the problem…

            Solution (after many phone calls)? Write a prescription for 28 pills that were twice as large, buy a pill cutter, cut pills in half, throw away the excess. In other words, hugely more expensive to the insurance company than just giving us two or three more pills of the correct dose.

          3. RagingADHD*

            I think the phone reps are either forced to just read scripts, or have become zombies to cope with their jobs.

            When I was windjng up my aunt’s estate, I had to call about some insurance & financial records. It would always go something like,

            Me: Hi, I’m the executor for the estate of Betty Sue Customer. Her date of birth was X and date of death was Y. I need to change the address of record so that any further statements come to my address. What paperwork do you need to do that?

            Rep: Is this Ms Betty Sue Customer speaking?

            Me: No. I am her executor.

            Rep: Is there a reason she can’t speak herself?

            Me: ….She is dead.

            Rep: Because I can’t discuss the account with anyone but her.

            Me:…She is dead.

            Repeat ad nauseum.

      4. Lore*

        I am fairly certain that it is baked into the business model that most people will not have the time/energy/patience/skill in deciphering complicated and opaque bills to fight small mischarges. I have the kind of job where I can sit on golf with an insurance company during business hours, the stubbornness to read every detail of my policy and question when I don’t understand bills, access to a health advocate through my job, and pretty decent insurance, and I’ve still sometimes given up when the amount being incorrectly billed is under $30. (And spent literally months resolving it when it was a larger amount.)

        1. Emma*

          Ah, this! This is how my country’s government cuts the disability benefit bill. Anyone can claim is they’ve got a health condition that limits their day to day life or mobile. You just have to be up to the task of calling the office, filling out a 30 page questionnaire, waiting 6 months, going to an inaccessible building that’s nowhere near any public transport for an assessment, wait another 3 months, get declined, write a letter asking them to reconsider, wait 6 weeks, fill in a court form, wait 18 months, go to court.

          Then you’ll get a huge whack of backpay, if you’re not one of the majority who’s given up because of the stress.

          1. That'll happen*

            Applying for disability in the United States is a similar process. You have to apply, go to doctors to get the documentation, and if you’re denied you have to go through an appeal and then you’ll finally get your backpay. And while people are waiting for their disability determination, they can’t work (well you can, but not much and it can hurt your case) because if you can work then why do you need disability? There are also a lot of people who get lawyers to help them through the process and the lawyer will take a hefty chunk of your backpay (25%).

    7. Not So NewReader*

      For your 4th question: Medical bankruptcies are sky rocketing here. People just can’t pay. I knew of a couple who got buried in debt. Her medication alone was $176,000 per year. Then she “needed” a “helper” drug that was $30,ooo per year. That was JUST the drugs, this does not include therapies, tests and other on-going appointments. She could not work and he could not leave her alone. So neither one of them worked. Insurance did not cover the drugs or much else.

      GoFundMe is the new insurance plan here.

      At the opposite end of the story are people like my uncle. My uncle was diagnosed with brain cancer. He saw the treatments his son had and he watched his son die anyway. My uncle decided that he would not have treatment and just accept the natural course of things. I am talking to more and more people who are saying they would probably not have treatment. What they will do when the rubber meets the road remains to be seen, I think that the fact people are openly discussing this option reflects how dire things are here. People would prefer to die than deal with our medical system.

      Back in the 80s my mother was terminally ill and dying. My father was repeatedly shamed that he did not have enough money to pay her $80, ooo per year out of pocket medical expense. Not only did “friends” and family shame him, the doctors scolded him also. It was HIS fault he could not pay these bills.
      He ended up in such a pressure cooker that he, himself, got really sick and never fully recuperated from the betrayal and abandonment in our society.

      To this day, the shaming and finger wagging goes on. I took my husband to a new oncologist. We got to the office and the sign on the door said, “We do not accept credit cards.” I smirked, “Yeah, because by the time people get here, they have NO credit.” If I asked the doc how much something cost, the doc would get all pissy as if it was our fault we could not pay. My husband’s out of pocket medical for three months was right around $20,ooo. In the end, we spent tons of money at that office and the doc could not even say to me, “Sorry for your loss.” All the docs could say was “Told ya he was going to die!”
      I am beyond disgusted. I feel that I will also opt for no treatment if the time comes.

      1. Misty*

        That’s horrible about your husband. I’m so sorry.

        Sadly, I agree with all the things you posted and have heard my own stories of people not being able to afford medical care and then just opting out. Which is sad because medical care isn’t like buying a car or something. Everyone should have access to good medical care without worrying about going bankrupt!

      2. US Healthcare*

        That’s awful, I am very sorry to hear that, and your experience is by no means uncommon either.

      3. Kuododi*

        My heart aches for you and the unimaginable loss of your beautiful family members. I’m not going to pretend I “understand” what you’re currently facing. May the Grace of the Spirit be a source of strength and peace from now until the End of Days. Best wishes. Kuododi

      4. Not So NewReader*

        Thanks, all.

        I feel my people here are at rest/peace. As one person commented this stuff is not unusual and I think that is the part that bothers me the most. The story doesn’t end with my story here. It just keeps going.

    8. blackcat*

      Public hospitals used to be very common in US cities, but most have been privatized since the 1970s. New York City is basically alone among major in maintaining a robust a robust public hospital network–some cities still have one or two, but many cities (ex: Boston) have none that are truly public.

      There’s basically no medical care that’s free in the US. The only thing that I’ve experienced that was completely government provided with zero questions asked is my town does flu shots for anyone who walks in the door. I love it! They will also do other immunizations for free. There tends to be a way to get immunizations for free in most of the US, but that’s about it. Public hospitals are “public” in the sense that the government owns or controls them, and most often subsidizes them. They do tend to be “safety net” hospitals that treat lots of people who can’t pay, but they’ll still try to collect that money.

      As to your last question…. that’s how a lot of people die. They get stabilized in an ER but can’t afford follow up, so either end up back in the ER or die.

      1. Fikly*

        The ratio of public to private hospitals in the US is actually still 2:1. Public hospitals are twice as common.

        1. blackcat*

          That’s true for public to private *spending,* but the data I can find indicates the VAST majority of hospitals are privately owned. I’ll post a link in a second reply.

        2. Mary Connell*

          As I mentioned above, people don’t know what public hospitals are. Perhaps Fikly means not for profit hospitals, because there certainly aren’t twice as many public hospitals as private in the US. Not anywhere close to that.

    9. Jack Russell Terrier*

      Another aspect is that undocumented / illegal immigrants often have a problem getting medical care because they don’t have proper ID – so they don’t tend to go to the free clinics. That means they often end up going to the ER where they have to be treated. Outside of the obvious human issue with this, it’s also the most expensive way to give medical treatment.

      1. WellRed*

        Not even just immigrants. People with Medicaid often go to the ER for care, if that’s the only place that will take it. Drives up costs.

      1. Emma*

        Yeah, as someone who is currently considering a move to the US (from Canada), this freaks me out so much. And to be clear, there are so many things I am excited about for this potential move – professional opportunity, diverse and beautiful landscapes, fun cities, great people, better weather, the list just goes on and on. But the healthcare thing makes me SO nervous. I know people make it work and I would probably get some coverage through my job or my SO’s, but it all seems so confusing and scary to me.

        1. Dan*

          I don’t think you’re overreacting. I have *great* health care through my job. The irony is that job stability just isn’t what it used to be in the US. So while I have great health care through my job now, there’s no guarantee that either 1) My health plan won’t change for the worse, or 2) I’ll even stay at this employer for the long haul.

          The worst thing is that insurance companies usually pay insanely discounted rates to the provider. The “retail” rates are much higher… and considering that the people without health insurance are likely to not have a lot of disposable income, I have no idea how they’re actually expected to truly pay their bills. The system would make more sense if “the price was the price.” I’m serious, too. When I look at the negotiated rates my insurance pays, I think to myself, “I could swing that if I had to pay all of it out of pocket.” But with the inflated “retail” rates? TBH it just makes more sense to run the bill up and declare bankruptcy. Which becomes a cycle in and of itself.

          1. Natalie*

            My husband had back surgery a couple of years ago and the insurance discount was literally 50% of an ~$90K surgery. Helluva coupon.

        2. Eeeek*

          You can purchase individual plans for health insurance as well even if work does not provide and you don’t qualify for aid. You just go in and buy it yourself. It’s really expensive but salaries are typically higher here. So if I make 60k here and spend 10k on healthcare, but my job in another country would only pay 50k plus free healthcare it can come out to a wash. I’m not advocating for the medical system in the US because I agree it is very messed up and needs some serious work. But you can work within it as best you can.

          1. Amethystmoon*

            Yes, I did that back when I temped and had no benefits from work. I had the pay the most copay plan so avoided doctor whenever possible, as nearly everything would be out of pocket.

        3. Oxford Comma*

          I have insurance through my job, comparatively good insurance too and when I was healthy and had maybe one or two visits a year, the $25 copay was nothing. Then I developed issues and now all those copays add up. Plus the prescription copays. Procedures, etc. It is a real concern.

        4. Venus*

          There are Canadians who go home if they get ill. If they have been away for too long then they aren’t covered for the first few months, but it is the best option for some.

    10. CastIrony*

      I know this doesn’t answer your question, but if you live in a smaller town, you may have to drive at least an hour away to get treatment because it simply isn’t available in the small town.

      For example, my mom is getting major dental work done in the next town over. It is 70 miles away, but partially because she is getting workers’ compensation (like insurance, but for businesses to have if a worker gets hurt on their worksite), she has to go there because workers’ comp has it as the place to go; it’s much like a participating provider that is under a certain insurance.

      1. Fikly*

        There are counties (large ones geographically) in the US where there is a single OB/GYN in the entire county. It’s so messed up.

        1. Imtheone*

          There are some counties with no MDs at all. These are large rural counties where the nearest hospital can be several hours away by car.

        2. Natalie*

          The top third of my state has no OB’s, and it’s one of the mid-sized ones. Apparently right now, pregnant women are moving to Duluth a couple of weeks before their due date because that’s their best option during the pandemic.

      2. Koala dreams*

        This happens in my country with so-called universal health care, too. My country is similar to Line’s above (maybe we are compatriots?). In remote areas, you can have a long drive to the nearest doctor or the nearest hospital with a certain speciality, even though you are usually allowed to go to the nearest one. If you get sick, you better have a car and somebody who can drive you, because the ambulance might not arrive in time. Not a problem in a big enough city, but for those that live or work in remote areas it’s a problem. I read a very interesting article of two men working in a remote forest. When one of them got sick suddenly, they managed to get to the nearest hospital by hiring a small private plane from a friend to get them partway to the hospital.

        1. Line*

          We might be. I come from a country with few inhabitants that are quite spread out, so we have a very different system than in the US. For a lot of highly specialised conditions (organ transplants, severe burns, some cancers, some neonatal complications etc) there are only one or two hospitals you could go to, and they can be up to one-two days away if driving. However, because where you live shouldn’t impact your care they have dedicated offices that arrange transport and cover some/all of the costs if you need to go to the hospital for a planned procedure. In emergencies regional hospitals all have ambulance helicopters/planes in case you need to be airlifted from where you are or to another hospital (and that is obviously free). Now if only Russia would stop jamming communications so that our ambulance helicopters don’t have to fly without GPS we would be swell!

    11. Dancing Otter*

      Cook County Hospital in Chicago is absolutely the provider of last resort for anyone who can afford to go elsewhere. It is also an hour away from some parts of the county: if you’re on public aid, don’t have a heart attack in the south suburbs.
      I know someone who opted for acupuncture and a Chinese herbalist (She is not Chinese.) rather than go there to have her gallbladder removed. And a gallbladder attack is excruciating: of the two, childbirth was less painful and shorter, though my attack was considered mild.
      Illinois is supposedly one of the more generous states in terms of granting Medicaid coverage, but it pays poorly and slowly, so a lot of doctors and medical facilities don’t accept it. (I can’t blame them, honestly: the state should pay its bills.) So the county hospital is almost the only place for the poor to go. Even if you can find a doctor that accepts Medicaid, they send patients there for anything beyond an office visit.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        Yeah, mine recently got removed, and the pain was so severe that I genuinely thought I was dying. Although I didn’t have a singular clue as to what was happening, which probably didn’t help.

    12. Eeeek*

      Public hospitals are known for having doctors that may not be as skilled and for being full of people who have less money (trying to say that nicely) so often if someone has the money or insurance to cover treatment elsewhere they will go the better option. For example a friend is a delivery nurse at a public hospital and all of the inmates who give birth do so there, so some people would not want to be around that (I’m not making a judgement about the inmates just stating this is a common line of thinking). Also, healthcare in the USA is extremely politicized, so there will always be some politics in the discussion.

    13. Lora*

      – Are public hospitals common in the US?
      Yes, but…as others have mentioned, it is also possible to live in a rural area that is so bereft of any kind of social support or industry that there are no hospitals around for well over 100 miles, so “common” isn’t the same as “readily available”. There may be one volunteer ambulance that serves a 100-mile radius and if they’re on the opposite side of where you are sick/injured, you’re outta luck.

      – Is it free to be treated there?
      No. If you have insurance, they will bill your insurance and you will still have some co-pay (co-pays are usually a couple hundred bucks for hospitals) depending on arcane and bizarre insurance chicanery which will not be disclosed to you in advance, which you have no way of knowing about, and which you cannot possibly avoid except by attempting to get a job someday that offers better insurance. If you do not have insurance, you will receive a bill and it will be a LOT. Typically even if you have insurance, it will only cover a portion of this bill and you will still have to pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand.

      – If so, why don’t people just use those hospitals to be treated instead of using insurance?
      Emergency rooms are required by law to treat everyone who comes in regardless of ability to pay – but will only treat your actual emergency. If it’s not a life or death thing and you’re not in the middle of delivering a baby, they give you a referral to a regular doctor and send you on your way, and still send you a bill for quite a lot of money just for that service.

      – What do people do if their insurance pays for initial treatment but not expensive follow-up drugs?
      They often don’t take the follow up drugs at all if they are expensive, or they take half-doses to make them last, or they take them for a much shorter time than is prescribed. There is a concerted effort between doctors, pharmacists and insurance companies to ensure the very cheapest poorest quality generics are provided, which often don’t have as much active ingredient as the label indicates or have very poor formulation quality leading to side effects. (Disclaimer: while I do work for Big Pharma, I also take two generic medications because my stupid insurance requires a generic without basically an act of God, and yes I have had formulation-error side effects and I hate that without these medications I will be deathly ill and my choices are “take the crappy generic or nothing”.)

        1. TL -*

          Just to be clear, while there were some cases of bad generics in the 70s/80s (mostly thyroid meds), generics are closely monitored and must have the same active formulation as the name brand.

          Drug/med patents only last 7-14 years, so name brands tend to be really expensive because they have a relatively short window of time to recoup development costs (millions up to a billion) and make a profit. Generics just need to profit over production costs, which are minimal, so they are much cheaper, even though they’re often exactly the same.

          1. Lora*

            See: Bottle of Lies by Katherine Eban. It’s very common for generics manufacturers to falsify paperwork. The recall rates, consent decrees and shutdowns for generics manufacturers are far greater than the stuff made in the US and Europe. Enforcement is very poor to non-existent.

    14. Katniss Evergreen*

      I can appreciate that you’re interested in learning here without a political angle, but here in the U.S. it’s essentially impossible to separate how healthcare works from politics – there’s unfortunately so much of it instead of a dedication to science or public health in our hospital systems.

    15. No fan of Chaos*

      Some hospitals have closed their emergency rooms so they don’t have to treat uninsured emergencies. Many of these are in the Los Angeles area. If you are insured, you can call your doctor to meet you at these hospitals and be treated. Many rural hospitals closed if their state governments didn’t expand the medicare programs which supports poor or handicapped citizens due to lack of payments. In that case, you might have to drive hundred of miles to be treated.

    16. Kym Burley*

      Yes, America’s healthcare system is horrible. Let’s all go on about how much worse it is than places like Europe or Canada. Just like comparison of benefits or vacation policies in America vs. Other places that go on in the work threads. The faux shock is tiresome. We don’t need to repeat it constantly.

      1. US Healthcare*

        Hmm, I’m not sure to what you’re referring? I asked some questions about the American healthcare system, which people have answered, some with personal anecdotes – the horror stories aren’t mine; I’m very sorry to hear them.
        If you’re responding to my comment that New Amsterdam is horrible – I mean that the programme is very poor: completely lacking in subtlety, patronising, and preachy. I was making no comment on the system – I am not qualified to. I haven’t even been to America, let alone experienced its healthcare.

      2. Hrodvitnir*

        I can certainly understand why people get frustrated at non-Americans being shocked at your healthcare system all the time, and it can seem performative. That just doesn’t really apply here?

        Some people being patronising doesn’t mean the shock is not genuine, and it doesn’t mean people shouldn’t ask questions! In this case there was no shock, just questions. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people from outside the US are not fully clear on how the US healthcare system works (except expensive, tied to employment, and exceptionally unequal access).

  3. Vic tower*

    I hope all of you going through the dark and grim days get some light soon. I’m feeling very lucky at the moment. I’ve been quite stressed with lots of work/personal/covid issues but it feels like things are getting better now. And at the moment, with my baby kicking me lots – I love being pregnant! It was a long time coming, and I’m still worried about all the possible things that can go wrong, but I’m really happy right now.
    Good vibes to all the AAM community- I read every day, and especially love the weekend posts. Anyone else got good weekend feels or needing virtual hugs?

    1. 'Tis Me*

      Aaw, when are you due? :-)

      I always loved how the baby kicks were almost like a secret, letting you start to bond with the baby before anybody else <3

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          Hey due date twin! I”m due in August too, had a good appointment so that was nice! I’m exactly in teh same position as you are/were, constantly worried. How is your prep going?

          1. 'Tis Me*

            Best of luck to both of you for smooth and easy births, and a better situation pandemic-wise by then!

          2. Copenhagen*

            I’m also due end of August! At the moment it feels like I’ve swallowed half a night club with all the moving and flailing going on. It’s so strange knowing that there’s an actual person living inside of me, who has a sleep schedule and the ability to hear my voice and stuff…

          3. Vic tower*

            Yay, hi fellow pandemamas! Are You on baby one, two, three or other? This is my first (long awaited) baby. Prep wise, not done much. My sister has been living with us since January but just bought a house and is in the process of moving out. She is in the future nursery, so once she’s out, we’ll start stocking up.
            I’m in Australia, so been lucky from COVID perspective so far. Where are you guys?

            1. Potatoes gonna potate*

              This is #1, and same thing very long awaited and a surprise. I”m in NYC so not in a great place for COVID. I’ve bought a few onesies and created a registry and got a few free boxes, but not buying until June/July. So right now, it’s just information gathering time

        2. kz*

          Congrats! I’m due at the end of June and it is crazy how quickly the time flies by. Wishing you all the joy and peace :)

    2. PX*

      I am having the best weekend feels right now. One of the bright spots for me in this whole situation has been ordering food from local places which don’t normally deliver, and finding a few new ones along the way.

      Today my delivery from a cafe I started following a few weeks ago came and the frittata is AMAZING. I think there is some kind of curry spice in there but honestly it is so delicious and I am so happy right now.

      Bonus is the fact that I have cake and pastry for the rest of the weekend plus a chutney to spice up my life for the next few weeks.

      Food (and sunshine) is very much my happy place at the moment, plus bonus of supporting small businesses!

    3. Parenthetically*

      Good weekend feels here. We had an incredibly chill day yesterday (after a rocky start with an out-of-sorts toddler) — Mr. Parenthetically worked from home, it was raining and lovely and cool and I snuggled up on the couch with the kids and watched movies in between baking bread, and as the day progressed the rain cleared and it turned into the most sparkling crystalline almost autumnal-feeling evening. Little Brackets #2 slept pretty well last night (and is the sweetest happiest baby). Delicious breakfast this morning with freshly-baked bread. Now sitting around listening to music and folding laundry.

    4. Overeducated*

      My baby has just been beaming at me all day, I had nachos for dinner, and I’m excited about mimosas tomorrow.

  4. NeonFireworks*

    Oh my goodness, Janelle Brown! I read “Watch Me Disappear” last summer and it stunned me, in the best possible way. Holy cow.

  5. Might be Spam*

    I asked for suggestions about buying a new laptop back in early March. After a week I tried to find out the delivery date and discovered that my order was canceled (without notifying me) because they couldn’t verify my account. They still can’t tell me why. So I ordered again from a different company.
    Finally it was delivered today. After almost 2 months without a computer (thank goodness for my smartphone) I am SO HAPPY. The delivery driver probably thinks I’m insane because I was so excited. He’s probably right.

    1. Anagram*

      I had a similar situation, and when I finally ordered a new laptop, they said it’s gonna be there at the end of April. Since then, every four days I’ve been getting emails to the tune of “not ready yet”. Throughout April I was like, I know! The last one I got says we are looking more at end of May. Well, at least that’s some specifics.

      1. Might be Spam*

        According to the tracking information it took 3 days to build the laptop and 5 weeks to get through quality control. 10 days ago they sent me an email telling me it would be delivered the next day. Tracking information wasn’t available so I waited all day. It never showed up and I couldn’t get through to the delivery company. The next day the tracking information showed that it was still in China and had been sitting in the Shanghai FedEx office for a week. Once it finally got out of China, it went through Japan, Hawaii, California, Tennessee and delivered to Wisconsin in 4 days.

        1. Not a cat*

          FedEX is terrible right now (actually they are only slightly more terrible than normal). Add at least 10 days to any delivery they “promise”. Apparently because of COVID they are no longer beholden to any of their contracted delivery times.

    2. Sled dog mama*

      I’ve been struggling with similar things as a parent. I took a new job in December which led to me living in new location and kiddo and daddy living in old location for January and February. Then old state locked down the day before her birthday which meant that they hightailed it to live with me (and his parents). I’m an essential worker and was supposed to start working from home 3/25, on 3/26 the hospital system got hit with a malware attack and I’ve had two days off since then and we’re supposed to get remote access starting this week but in waves and as a contractor I’ll be in the last wave.
      So kiddo (6yo)is scared, I’m not as available as I was or want to be.
      The biggest thing that seems to calm her is two fold I’ve spent some time “holding her like a baby” which has helped her feel secure and talking. When we talk I help her articulate why she’s scared and what mommy and daddy are doing to address those fears, that has helped because she didn’t know we were already doing things to prevent her fears, yeah she should have been able to see what we were doing but at 6 she’s not that observant.
      Also I’ve shared my fears with her, it seems so counter intuitive but that’s helped her a lot to know that I’m scared to and I can still push through and keep going.

        1. 'Tis Me*

          It is genuinely a lot for anybody to process, let alone small people who haven’t really had to think of the world as a scary place full of risks before now. Thanks, and please stay safe! I hope you get time off soon.

  6. 'Tis Me*

    I wrote in a few montha ago worrying about double buggies as I was expecting my third child late March. Thanks to Corona it ended up being a bit of a moot point (baby arrived by extended emergency C section – he tried to come out sideways and elbow first – a bit early, shortly before lockdown hit, so I had my husband with me and it was only the last day he couldn’t visit us in hospital). I couldn’t pick up the toddler for about a month. But the GP was impressed with how well my stomach muscles were knitting back together when I went in for my 6 week check up (it is WEIRD having an appointment with somebody you know in PPE) and I can now – I even gave the 5 year old a (very short) piggy back the other day!

    However. The husband is an NHS keyworker and when he was talking about working 80 hour weeks – I think he was actually provisionally rostered for 90 hours/week this month – I had to face up to the fact that I wouldn’t be able to supervise the force of nature that is the two year old, help the big one with her homework, take care of the newborn, and keep on top of all of the housework single-handedly, around the clock. So the children and I went to my parents so they could help.

    And the 5 year old is struggling. She’s had a heck of a time this past 6 months – I spent close to 2 months basically ill in bed, the husband was in and out of hospital, a new baby to adjust to (both girls love the baby, but sometimes having less of my time is hard for them), a few weeks at a different school thanks to Corona, not seeing her friends thanks to Corona, not seeing her extended family, not seeing her daddy, worrying about him dying, me dying, her dying…

    When the government was trying to meet the testing target by the end of April he managed to get tested despite being asymptomatic last week for a little bit of reassurance (my mum’s high risk), and we were able to go home for a few days. As well as desperately missing each other, and the husband being a bit miserable working and being isolated otherwise, not seeing his family bar Zoom, photos and WhatsApp, we were hoping it would help alleviate her “I might never see Daddy again” anxiety. It may have done but she is still really worried about death.

    What do you say to a 5 year old telling you she has a funny feeling in her head, is the worst person in the world, she wishes she’d never been born because she doesn’t want to die, she never wants to die, she never wants me or her daddy to die, she wants to cut off her head so she dies because she can’t die twice, she wants to be dead..?

    Also how do you say it when this comes up close to 11 at night, the tiny baby is screaming for you, and you don’t want to wake up the toddler in the same room?

    We’re trying to give her lots of love and reassurance, and she is mainly happy on the surface during the day, but she is acting up a bit, and e.g. The “worst person in the world” stuff has cropped up over making a typo while doing a computer assessment and not getting full marks, despite us all assuring her that making mistakes is how you learn, she’s doing really well, etc, complete with hitting herself in the head…

    We’re a bit worried about her.

    1. Not A Manager*

      What a tremendous trauma for a young child. This might sound counter-intuitive, but I think it’s really good that she’s able to share her difficult feelings with you.

      When my husband was ill, we really leaned into the idea of all of the grownups and experts who are working so hard toward a good outcome. In your case, the idea that the government is working hard to help people not pass the virus to one another. Smart doctors and researchers are working hard to find a vaccine. Caring teachers are working hard to keep everyone learning. Brave grocery worker and pharmacists are making sure we have food and medicine. Etc.

      I would also stress that we personally social distance not so much to keep us from getting sick, as to prevent spreading illness to other people. WE are young and healthy and strong. WE could be exposed and have no symptoms. WE might get a little bit sick but not much. But there are other people who are more at risk than we are, and we much work together to keep everyone safe.

      I would also set a strict limit on activities that trigger hateful self-talk or self-harm. She’s five. If taking a test is stressing her out that much, I would forbid her to take the test. I would seriously sit down with her before the test and say, “right now, making a simple mistake is getting you really upset and angry at yourself. You know that mistakes are fine, everyone makes them, they are how we learn. Can you remember that when you take this test? If you think that making a mistake is going to freak you out, we will need to postpone this test or just not take it.”

      When things open up, I hope you can find her some good support. This has all just been a tremendous amount for a young child to process. I think she will need some help with that.

      1. 'Tis Me*


        The test was just a small end of module assessment in Carol Vorderman’s Maths Factor website – she really enjoys doing it. But while her teacher tells me that at school she’s Miss Independent, “don’t help me, I want to work it out myself” at home she wants lots of reassurance and to check every answer with somebody unless she’s 100% sure.

        She’s usually the happiest, most easy-going kiddo imaginable! But she’s also very empathetic and imaginative and right now those traits – which are usually huge strengths – are also making it harder to switch off and relax.

        1. Lizzo*

          Is she getting the opportunity to engage in some physical movement–either high intensity (running around) or calming (yoga)–on a daily basis? I was also an independent child who had a lot of feelings. All. The. Time. Physical activity has always helped get the feelings moving “through” and “out” so that they don’t fester. There’s nothing wrong with having those feelings, but now is a great time to start learning about understanding/managing/coping with those feelings. Acquiring those skills now will serve her well later in life.

          Sending your entire family positive energy during this incredibly stressful time.

          1. 'Tis Me*

            My parents have a good-sized garden and a trampoline for the girls. We also brought their scooters here. One of the many things the husband had delivered here for them is a slip ‘n’ slide and she’s enjoyed that a lot the last two days (it’s supposed to turn cold again soon though).

            That is a pretty positive thought – that through life there will be things that are challenging, scary and beyond our control, and the skills needed to cope now will help her in future :-) Thanks!

            Thank you.

      2. KoiFeeder*

        That sounds about like the thought process I had as a kid before anyone figured out my severe thanatophobia, complete with the head-hitting.

        I wish I had advice for helping her cope with it, but I don’t. I just tried to ignore it, and that didn’t work at all.

        1. 'Tis Me*

          I don’t think it helps that as a child you’re used to thinking of the world as a safe place, and that your parents have all of the answers. This is challenging those assumptions and it makes sense for that to be scary!

          I hope you’re coping OK with the pandemic!

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Talk to the school. UK schools can be quite good at this kind of thing, and may have an ELSA programme.

      I think it very likely many children will be traumatised by this experience, regardless of their individual circumstances, so schools do have this on their radar.

      As an aside, my children were all ridiculously light sleepers for any kind of adult noise (one foot on the staircase, an ill-timed cough) but all had a tremendous capacity to sleep through each other’s noise. The toddler may surprise you.

      Best of luck.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        PS was it the CVC phonics assessment? I have a mildly anxious 6yo and we are using lots of fun resources (Twinkl) to look a lot less formal than proper school, as he has developed a slight complex about “proper writing”. It may be that yours also gets on better with what she thinks are games than what looks too much like school.

      2. 'Tis Me*

        I emailed the teacher to confirm that this is definitely new behaviour (rather than something we haven’t seen at home but that she has been known to do), and my MIL is a teaching assistant and has checked with a SENCO friend and sent us a few resources too. My MIL said that she suspects there will be a fair few PSHE lessons on this when school’s back as a lot of kids will be struggling. It’s just so hard to see!

        1. 'Tis Me*

          Nope, Carol Vorderman’s Maths Factor which she’s really enjoying. It’s like a very short lesson, but some of the practices are games, and it has extra games on the site, and she enjoys it.

          I think we will rewatch some Magic Schoolbus as it has a strong emphasis on learning from mistakes (which is the first thing my engineering Dad said – that if you never make mistakes you never learn).

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            You can’t learn without mistakes.

            I’ve heard such good things about Carol’s maths, so that surprises me.

            It’s easy to forget how tiny these children really are. The world is big and scary for them at the best of times. They need love and play above all else. We are heavily emphasising positive and anti-virus news here. Pollyanna!

            It sounds like you’re doing well. My eldest was 5 when my youngest arrived (middle child 2y6m) and it’s tough to juggle at first but we love the spacing now (6,9,11). You’ve got this!

            1. 'Tis Me*

              I think it’s entirely about the head space she’s in rather than the site.

              I think that’s a good idea but e.g. On Thursday Mum turned the news on expecting it to show clapping for the NHS and keyworkers and instead it was an update on the number of deaths… Sometimes it’s hard!

              Thank you. I’m hoping the spacing should work well as they grow. The two older ones often play together (and squabble – they love each other but the 2 year old can demonstrate this by trying to do exactly what her sister’s doing, exactly where she’s doing it, with exactly what her sister is trying to use…) but the age gaps still feel pretty big.

    3. Quandong*

      I’m so sorry your 5 year old daughter is suffering this way.

      I work with children but am not a counsellor or mental health professional. I refer children to these services when I think they need assistance for unusual levels of anxiety.

      It sounds like your daughter would really benefit from counselling at this time. You and your husband would also benefit from the support of a professional while learning how to navigate this situation (including scripts for when your daughter says distressing things about herself).

      Children can absolutely suffer from acute anxiety, and what your daughter is experiencing is traumatic.

      Early intervention is best if you can possibly manage to get your daughter some help.

      I hope you have access to resources through your daughter’s school, mental health websites for children & parents, and government child health programmes. Perhaps other UK commenters might have suggestions for you.

      Best wishes, this is so difficult and traumatic for everyone.

      1. D3*

        I was going to say this. Getting my daughter professional help was the best thing for us. And for her. I wish we had done it sooner.
        Her therapist has been amazing giving her tools to cope and helping her see perspective. And on occasion, answering my questions about how to handle situations like this.

    4. Thankful for AAM*

      Counseling! We got ourselves through when our 7 year old was saying similat things 20+ years ago. We very much regret not getting counseling back then.

      I send so much virtual love and hugs.

    5. Vic tower*

      I’m so sorry to hear how your daughter is suffering. You and your husband have so much on your plates right now and it sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job in really difficult circumstances. I don’t have any good advice, but sending you and your family love and support

    6. Sarah*

      You’ve gotten some good answers above, but I’ve found that some one-on-one time with my undivided attention can also help. Is there a way your in laws can watch the other two so you can give her a couple hours with just you? She gets to set the activities (to a point obviously since we’re all still in isolation). Maybe a walk with just the two of you, or a special baking project – whatever she likes. It can help fill her cup, while you look into therapy and the other things listed above.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        Not sure if a few hours straight as the baby is a frequent feeder (but goes longer stretches at night) but have been trying to spend quality time with her. Thank you.

      2. cheeseburger*

        I know 5 y/os. I have girls and 2,4, and 6 (she’s in kindergarten). Things that really help my girls when they are having trouble:

        -1:1 time. In your situation, it could even be emotional 1:1 time. Can you read her from a chapter book while baby is feeding? Can she read to you? Can you do at home mani/pedis while naps? Teach her how to help you clean or cook and then do cleaning/cooking together? I was really surprised when I realized my kids like doing chores with me almost as much as playing.

        – outside time. Can she help plant flowers? Do nature scavenger hunts? Bike while you push baby?

        What does not work for us: screen time (school work online, zoom, shows-none of it).

    7. Misty*

      No advice from me, but I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts this upcoming week. You sound like a really good parent to be keyed into what’s going on and I’m glad your five year old has you.

      1. Imtheone*

        When I had my second, we found that even an hour just with me for my older one was a big help. A game in the garden or a private teatime or something else simple and pleasant might be possible even in these times.

        1. 'Tis Me*

          Yep, I am trying to give her one on one time (the 2 year old *adores* my mum and the baby is quite happy cuddling other people until he gets hungry). She usually does quite a lot with her daddy though…

    8. families!*

      For many years, when I was a child and into young adulthood, I said similar things, but it was ignored/dismissed so thank you for noticing. If it is possible to get a therapist, that would be great. I have a younger sister, about 1.5 years younger. Their typical response when I said I would be better dead was to tell me no I didn’t mean it, to get over myself, etc. so that was super not helpful.

      Some things that aggravated this for me (that took me years to work out) were my parents constant talk about how I was the “big sister”, “older sister”, like I could no longer be a kid, and had to be responsible/do all chores/be quiet, etc. When my younger sib screwed up, it was cute, when I did, I had failed my “older” status. A corollary of this was that I was held responsible for my young sib’s actions, she was too young to know better, but I should, and should therefore have had enough “adulthood” to prevent or talk her out of doing x. I also had to be productive, homework, chores, etc., whereas my sister was allowed to have downtime because she was a kid (of course I was too!). Basically I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and that was what I responding to when I said those things.

      I am not saying you are doing that, and on some level, I know my parents weren’t doing it on purpose, but there was a lot of unspoken and unexamined “stuff” thrust upon me by my parents when I was way too young to understand it and deal with it, and in particular had limited language to articulate. So it might be worth examining if you are unconsciously projecting things on to the older child. I also want to acknowledge this might be hard enough without COVID making everything even harder. Good luck.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        She is generally really well-behaved (she literally had maybe 3 proper meltdown tantrums in her terrible twos and threes!) whereas the toddler is a little ball of mischief and mayhem; sometimes I do need to remind myself she’s still little too (she’s only about a foot shorter than me which doesn’t help either – she takes after her very tall daddy) but it is something we keep in mind. I was “the good one” and I don’t think it made asking for help or speaking up when I’m not OK any easier so I’d rather not put that on her.

    9. Anonia*

      Let some stuff go. I am a teacher of young children, and I certainly am not expecting families to do everything (Or anything) the school asks. For us, the work is a suggestion, not a requirement. Your school may be different, but they will understand your circumstances. Your goal should be lessening your child’s stress. So let school work slide, focus on spending time together relaxing and playing, doing crafts, etc. FaceTime and zoom with her friends and extended family as well as Dad. And take care of yourself, because kids can definitely pick up on your stress.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        They have stressed that e.g. Helping to load the dishwasher or cook supper also involves learning. I’m largely letting her pick and choose what to do; the only thing I’ve been pushing her to do is read (she compares her fluency to adults’ then gets upset because it’s hard and she’s “bad” at it – she isn’t, she’s just very much still learning, and the only way her confidence will improve is with practice) but even then I’ve been doing it gently. The school’s made a lot of things available so she couldn’t do everything in the time she has.

    10. Sled dog mama*

      I’ve been struggling with similar things as a parent. I took a new job in December which led to me living in new location and kiddo and daddy living in old location for January and February. Then old state locked down the day before her birthday which meant that they hightailed it to live with me (and his parents). I’m an essential worker and was supposed to start working from home 3/25, on 3/26 the hospital system got hit with a malware attack and I’ve had two days off since then and we’re supposed to get remote access starting this week but in waves and as a contractor I’ll be in the last wave.
      So kiddo (6yo)is scared, I’m not as available as I was or want to be.
      The biggest thing that seems to calm her is two fold I’ve spent some time “holding her like a baby” which has helped her feel secure and talking. When we talk I help her articulate why she’s scared and what mommy and daddy are doing to address those fears, that has helped because she didn’t know we were already doing things to prevent her fears, yeah she should have been able to see what we were doing but at 6 she’s not that observant.
      Also I’ve shared my fears with her, it seems so counter intuitive but that’s helped her a lot to know that I’m scared to and I can still push through and keep going.

    11. It's a fish, Al*

      Different trigger, but my son experienced a lot of the same behaviors at around the same age. We waited a shockingly long time to be able to access good help – the school counselor was pretty much useless, as was the lone child psychiatrist in our region who wanted to move him straight to antidepressants and see him in a year for follow up.

      In the end (FOUR YEARS of pursuing meaningful help), a child psychologist finally had room for him in her practice. It was so immensely helpful. It actually took relatively few sessions at that point to address the issues, and I honestly think a lot of the calm it brought to my son was knowing that he had a family and medical team ready to listen.

      I’m no psychologist, but the main reference material my son’s psychologist suggested was The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel. I’m aware you may not have the mental space to read a whole book, but there are also other resources available online that follow the teachings in the book.

      I’m so very sorry to hear your family is going through such difficulties. I know how mindbendingly awful it can be to have a young child expressing suicidal ideation, and I wish you all the best in getting through this time.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        I’m sorry it took you so long to get him help but glad you found good help. Thank you for the recommendation too.

        I don’t know how serious she is or whether she understands what she’s saying but yeah, it is pretty alarming hearing it when she says it.

    12. Historic Hamlet Dweller*

      Do you have a health visitor? They, or a practice nurse at the GP, might be able to signpost and/or refer to CAMHS for your eldest. If they can’t offer assessment, they might be able to offer some helpful resources.

      Anxiety, particularly when it’s focused on failure or escalating small mistakes into huge issues, can be treated super effectively and the sooner the better

      1. 'Tis Me*

        Talking to the health visitor is a good idea – thanks!

        That’s really reassuring – thank you.

    13. The Rat-Catcher*

      My daughter used extreme language like that last year when she was five and it was scary. For her, it was a matter of clarifying what she meant when she said things. Of course I don’t know your child, but I wondered if mine understood what it meant to die, or what it meant to say that she was the worst person in the world. Upon asking her “what do you think it means to die?” “What would happen if you died?” “What does it mean that you are the worst person in the world?” For her, she was applying phrases she had heard to situations where she felt they applied, without really knowing what they meant.
      This is in no way meant to counter the suggestions above, nor to say that children that age cannot struggle invasive thoughts of death, especially now. Just a possible interpretation I hadn’t seen yet. You know your child best.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        That’s a good point – also, talking and trying on ideas can be a way to process it all in and of itself. Thank you!

    14. Pippa*

      Forgive some goodwill assumptions in my comments, please. Consider whether she has perfectionist tendencies. She’s the oldest child and has done very well until recently in a loving, routine environment. Then her world turned upside down. But not just her world – her parents’, grandparents’, teachers’… All her adults are leaking stress. Her routine is completely altered, blown away.
      Perfectionists sometimes go to the other extreme – perfect failure – if perfect success is out of reach. Or seems out of reach. The risk is too great. Help her SEE that the middle ground is safe. When you bake, spill some flour on the floor and remark upon it, “mommy make a mistake and spilled flour. It’s a mess and wasted money. Let’s clean it up together. Mistakes happen sometimes but we still love each other.” Take a risk and try a new craft, game, exercise, whatever and FAIL. Remark upon it. Show that it is ok to take a risk to try something and fail. Then try again and maybe get better, maybe not.
      You’ve gotten a lot of great comments here. And it sounds like you are doing a lot of great parenting, spousing, and daughtering under difficult circumstances. Please remember to take care of yourself too. If not just because you are truly worth it, then because a lovely, sensitive, observant little girl is watching and learning from you how to treat herself in times of crisis.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        I was very much an “if I don’t try then I can’t truly fail – I’ll have let myself down with my work ethic, not failed because everybody who’s ever called me smart is wrong” perfectionist as a child… It can be such a destructive trait in a few ways!

        Thank you.

    15. Anono-me*

      I think the big picture advice and suggestions from other posters is much better than anything I could give. I do very much support the suggestion of counseling specifically for your daughter and some for your family on how.

      But a couple of small thoughts:

      I wonder if she is watching any cartoons right now? If she is, it might be better to cut back and or change her viewing materials. So many cartoons are marketed towards children but contain very upsetting material. It seems like almost of the Disney cartoons involve orphans on their own or with evil caretakers .

      If being a orphan is one of her fears, in addition to discussing why it is highly unlikely that anything will happen to either of you; it might be helpful to list and discuss all of the loved ones who would step up to make sure that she and her sibs have a safe and loving place to grow up if she were to suddenly become orphaned. The longer the list, the better. This is not the time where you worry about the logistics of childcare. (Even if great-aunt Ethel is 97 and a chain smoking long-haul truck driver. She goes on the list.) If your family has a prayer ritual of some sort, now might be the time to add all of those people to the prayer list that your daughter says.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        She mainly watches things like Curious George, Magic Schoolbus Rides Again, Dinosaur Train, and Ben and Holly and Peppa Pig with her little sister.

        I was going to suggest we read A Little Princess before remembering the bit where the plot involves the girl’s father leaving her somewhere, getting ill, dying, and her being left destitute and mistreated though… Probably not one for this year!!

  7. Nessun*

    Getting pretty sick of covid-brand isolation, and it’s making me rather salty. Someone on a message board the other day had a great article about how they realized they were in a depressive state and got a puppy and “it’s the best thing ever and has helped enormously”. I don’t doubt it for a second. But at the risk of getting absolutely flamed…I’m getting tired of hearing about how everyone is coping thanks to their furry friends, or family ties. I guess at the end if the day, it’s bitterness and envy – allergies and my apartment situation mean no pets, and beside that I live alone, no spouse, roommate or dependents. I literally am Alone. I Skype family (who don’t live in this city or even time zone) and I chat/game/text my friends and coworkers. But it’s been a long time since I saw anyone who knew me, and even longer since I’ve had physical contact of any shape. So yeah, I’m kind of done with hearing everyone say how sad it is that the dog park isn’t open, or how sick they are of kids underfoot, or how their husband is driving them nuts. I’ve never felt so Isolated in my life, and I’m just…done. I don’t want to hear about it. There is no fix, there is nothing to be done but ride it out. Vent over.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      There is no fix, there is nothing to be done but ride it out.
      This applies not just to the pandemic but to a lot of other parts of life and for a lot of other people. Sheltering in place is not necessarily ideal for people who live in multi-person households, either. My spouse is medically fragile. This means I’m doing all shopping & almost all housework. In other locations, other family members also face medical challenges. I worry. I’m blessed to have family, employment, health, and housing … but in my spare time I battle depression and anger.

      I hear you about the envy that arises when others have pets that my own allergies prohibit–although truthfully I have neither the logistics nor the bandwidth to care for any four-legged family.

      We inhabit frightening times. Most of us are trying to manage gracefully. It’s not always easy. Or possible.

    2. Clementine*

      Same! I absolutely will not get a pet for various reasons. Where I live now, I don’t know anyone. I get messages and calls all day long from my friends and family and I am happy for that, but being this alone is just not good. I have contemplated moving somewhere that I could see my socially distancing friends and family, although now hardly seems the time. For people who do socially distanced visits, how do you find them?

      1. Sharpie*

        Mum and I went to visit my Nana the other week. She lives alone, and we took out own drinks in travel cups and sat in the garden while she stayed inside, and we talked through the open patio door to maintain the social distancing.

        It wasn’t by any means the same as being able to hug her and sit indoors with her, but it was human contact for her and she said it was good, and that it helped her not feel so disconnected. Her neighbours are really good, offering to get her things when they go to the shops, and she’s able to get her groceries delivered (she’s in her eighties, so comes under the vulnerable groups who can still get home deliveries from the supermarkets). And while we talk via Messenger, having that actual visit was really good – we’ll probably do it again next week if the weather stays nice.

    3. WS*

      I think as long as you’re not taking it out on other people (and venting here is not taking it out on others!), feeling crappy is a pretty normal part of a major global incident like this pandemic. Personally, I’m a super introvert and would love to be working at home alone…but I’m a frontline healthcare worker and am working much more than before. And my cat died.

      1. 'Tis Me*

        So sorry about your cat :(

        I hope you have adequate PPE and aren’t being crazily overworked. Please say safe!

        1. WS*

          Thanks! I’m in Australia, so I do have adequate PPE and there’s been very few cases in my area, luckily.

    4. MistOrMister*

      So sorry you’re feeling so isolated. I have been enjoying this time at home, but I realize that my cats (I’ve had them for about 7 year, so not new covid pets…) are likely making this a lot easier for me. I do feel a disconnect from people sometimes, but not that bad, thank heavens. I don’t like a lot of physical human contact anyway, but I do find myself being a little annoyed that I can’t hug my,parents should I be so inclined.

      Can you maybe go for a walk with someone to help you feel less isolated? Or meet somewhere to just sit and talk? I guess it depends on what you feel is responsible, but I am personally ok with meeting someone outside and then staying a certain distance away. And I’m at the point where I’m going to wear a mask outside if I meet anyone. I’ve gone walking with a friend a few times and it really does help a lot to see someone for even just an hour during the course of the week. At least for me it does.

    5. Vic tower*

      I’m so sorry Nessun, that sucks. I would absolutely be at my wits end without human contact and I tend to be resentful when others have things I want, even though I try very hard not to be. Sending virtual hugs

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Feel the feeling. Anger is an emotion, not an action. We have anger for a reason, just like we have tears for a reason. Whatever we feel is legit, it part of our processing. And we all process differently, even if some differences are only minor differences.
      Personally, my go-to emotion is fear. So that is what I have to process.
      Yes, we have to ride it out, but at the same time we can still follow our emotional responses and process those responses, that is to say we can feel our feelings. It’s one type of problem when people don’t understand our feelings but it is a much huger problem if we don’t understand/acknowledge our own feelings.

      So what does this look like in real life? Well, this is going to sound stupid, but you might want to try. Look at the walls and say, “I am really pissed off. I am alone. It’s NOT FAIR! And I am upset/angry about this! I HATE this isolation crap!”
      Like I said, this sounds like a really stupid exercise. The key is that we have to acknowledge what we are feeling. This is more important than having others acknowledge the suckiness of our setting. If we push the feelings to one side or discount the feelings in some manner the feelings only grow BIGGER.
      This is along the idea of mushrooms: keep the mushroom in the dark, feed them some manure and watch the ‘shrooms grow.
      Don’t keep your feelings in the dark and feed the feelings some line of manure. Pull the feelings out into the light of day and state the truth of the matter. The truth is this isolation thing sucks.

    7. Jedi Squirrel*

      I’m right with you.

      I also live alone and haven’t seen anybody other than coworkers in forever. Text, email, phone calls and Facebook just aren’t the same.

      I would love to move and get a fur-buddy. But I can barely take care of myself right now.

    8. LGC*

      Yeah, I kind of get you – and I’m not that bad off myself! (Also an Alone person, although my parents live nearby.) It’s been two months since I’ve been able to touch anyone else.

      It is pretty frustrating because…on one hand, yeah, I’ve felt miserable at times (thankfully less so now recently). But then everything I see tells me that I’m not “supposed” to feel miserable. And it’s like – at times, it feels like grieving anything is wrong because what about X. And the worst thing is, it’d be a lot easier if I knew that by – like – August we’d start to have the little comforts back. But right now, it’s like…August feels wildly optimistic. August 2021 feels wildly optimistic.

      1. Blueberry*

        You are absolutely allowed to feel whatever you feel. It’s what you *do* about the feelings that matters — punching a pillow is one thing, flaming people online is another (for examples, nto accusations). But feelings are absolutely allowed.

    9. LQ*

      I have this horrible nagging feeling that I’ll never be touched again until someone collects my dead body and it’s really aggravating to hear about like “the upside of isolation” and how you’re now spending more time on hobbies and with family and bullshit.

      Isolation is can be a torture mechanism. And people are treating it like it’s a jolly good time and you just need to happy harder if you aren’t ok.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        I consider that toxic positivity. I’ve had good days and bad days, but I choose carefully who to relate to. Sadly, the only place I can truly share my feelings is here as people IRL/social media are either engaging in the toxic positivity of “happy harder!” or the pain olympics.

    10. matcha123*

      It’s really fascinating to me the different reactions people are having.
      I am like you: single, no pets, live alone, my apartment is incredibly small (21sq meters in total)…and my family is back in the US. And yet, I am having the best time of my life. I’ve been isolated from friends throughout my life because I didn’t have a car or a license, and because I live abroad and can’t afford to travel. I haven’t seen my family in years, and it sucks. And now so many people are experiencing what I’ve been experiencing and understanding first-hand how hard it can be to deal with things alone.
      I’m not saying you should suck it up, but I am really really hoping that this experience makes people MORE empathetic to those around them.

      In my case, at least, I can finally spend time on myself. I am not depressed and beating myself up as I look at photos of friends traveling. They can’t go out, either! I can finally study the things I’ve been wanting to study without having to entertain people for the sake of work. I can exercise at my own pace and don’t have to listen to snarky comments from friends telling me that should be able to do this and that. Honestly, this time has helped my mental health immensely. Knowing that other people can’t go out, they also have to cook at home, they also have to Skype their family and friends, they also have to create their own entertainment…never in my life have I had so many commonalities with the majority of people. It’s really weird.

      I hope you can get back to your normal soon. I mean that sincerely.

      1. allathian*

        At least with the exercise, I hope you’ll be able to enforce your boundaries on that. In my book, someone who makes a snarky comment is an aquaintance at best, never a friend.

        1. matcha123*

          I agree. This is a competitive person and although I am relatively fit, I know what does and doesn’t work for me. I am not interested in hearing someone who doesn’t know my body or how I work out tell me what I am doing wrong. Exercise should be a source of enjoyment, not stress…imo.

          1. Potatoes gonna potate*

            I hate that someone feels they can be snarky about exercise. I’m of the belief that any exercise is good exercise and everyone has to find the one htat works for them. I interacted with people like that but generally they were the type that snarked on a lot of “different” things so I minimized interactions with them.

    11. J.B.*

      I’m sorry. No one gets to tell you how you feel. It’s also hard because there is so much information but no solid answers about what that means for us as individuals.

  8. Aphrodite*


    Alison, did you see the rush to Mountain View of Stella this afternoon? And the livestreaming of her C-section? I was cringing, cheering, worried and hopeful all through it. AI’m sorry Stella lost two of her kittens but the three they saved from near death are gorgeous. Watching them bring the kittens back to life was amazing.

    And Stella still seems to growl at Shelly this evening so I wonder if she somehow mistakes growling for purring. Two little families, it’s so comforting.

    1. Wandering*

      What an extraordinary group of people. Shelly said Dr F & her team came in on their day off to take care of Stella. If you go to TinyKittens Cat Pack on Facebook you can watch the csection video, but more importantly you can watch Stella with her babies, & Grace with her kittens.

    2. fposte*

      I noticed that pretty much the moment Shelly left this morning Stella’s growl turned to purring. So I think there is a difference, but I think Shelly’s assessment that the growl is about stress rather than threat seems accurate.

  9. Cute Li'l UFO*

    My wrist is doing better as I imposed a pretty serious light duty/no heavy lifting/work with it off WITH UTMOST CARE which is great because I actually had a couple busy days with my day job. I still have a couple weeks before the official “ditch it for good” and I don’t want to muck it up for myself. I even bobbed my hair. I’ve been doing my own cuts and color for 10 years now and I was just so much more comfortable with it short because it was getting tough to wash.

    My kindle is still AWOL but I hope to find it this weekend because it’s one of my strategies for getting back to sleep. I have lots to look forward to–picking up a nice dinner for Mama UFO and myself (including delicious takeout VERY STRONG cocktails) and continuing the Saul Bass centennial celebration with Casino since she’s never seen it. Trimmed her hair a couple weeks ago and now she wants some color, gave the cat a butt shave (short haired but fat and can’t reach… you see where this is going!), and I’m feeling more capable even when my wrist is in its velcro prison.

    I hate that I can’t do things like lift and move the big bucket of cat litter, move the fake boxed up Christmas tree to the garage (not just an injury thing but the suitcases we wanted to ditch are obviously not going anywhere right now,) and even putting the dishes away more than flatware/tupperware is iffy. It’s all temporary. Just like misplacing the friggin’ Kindle.

    I’m also finding fun in sharing interests and talking with someone from a dating site. Nothing is the same as meeting in person but that still brightens my day. Not sure when or how that will happen, but it will.

  10. All Hail Queen Sally*

    The Thursday (May 7) New York Times has the cutest article on how women aren’t wearing bras so much any more. “It’s Lonely, Lost in Your Bra Drawer” by Elizabeth Yuko. (Page D2) It is a letter addressed to the author from the bras in her drawer “Weeks have passed since you’ve seen one of us, and we miss you.” They complain that she chose the sports bra to wear to go downstars to check the mail, and promise to never complain again about having to hang next to the “digusting shower pouf” in the bathroom after she washes them. Do read it if you can, it is adorable. (It could have been written by my bras.)

    1. Asenath*

      I didn’t know going without a bra was a Thing! I sometimes didn’t wear one during my treatment for breast cancer, after my radiation oncologist suggested I do whatever was comfortable for me. I even went to work with no bra and loose shirts (and I am not small!) and no one blinked an eye. I now find that I’m wearing a bra less and less frequently, and no doubt my bras are also complaining about loneliness and neglect!

    2. Thankful for AAM*

      I like wearing bras, and underwire bras! Now I’m feeling like it’s Stockholm syndrome and I have identified with my captors. Since my boobs have a life of their own (DD on a 5 ft person and they move around a lot), I feel they need a home of their own.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I’m (relatively) smaller chested – C-ish here – and I still don’t understand the hatred of bras, haha. I haven’t willingly gone around without a bra on, even within my own home, since I was like … 14.

        1. HBJ*

          Same. It’s uncomfortable. Borderline painful, especially moving fast. And I’m overly large either.

      2. CastIrony*

        I love my Playtex bras. I’ve never gone without since I was a preteen!

        And I also feel you, Thankful for AAM. I am 5’1″ with DDs, and my bff is 5′ 1/4″ with DDDs.

        Now, maybe to try underwire bras in the future, though I’ve heard they hurt…

        1. SarahKay*

          I’m DD and I love my underwired bras. I don’t find they hurt at all, although they’re less comfortable if I lie down for a nap. But when I was introduced to them at a bra fitting event it was a revelation how much my shape improved in an underwire.
          Obviously not now, but when the shops are all open again, go and try on lots of different brands to see which ones are a good fit / shape for you. It’s also worth experimenting with cup & band size, again depending on brand. Some brands don’t suit my shape at all, and some are more generous in their measurements than others, but for me it’s underwired bras all the way now.

      3. AnonToday*

        Same here! I’m also really sensitive there and when something like a blanket brushes against or they touch the edge of the bar top counter in a thin shirt I want to throw up. I feel like bras prevent that, plus even a fast walk without a bra is painful for me.

      4. Traffic_Spiral*

        Like the old online joke goes:

        some tiny-titted binch: don’t wear bras let your titties live!!!!! i never wear bras!!!!!!!!!

        me, a godless titty goblin, made of 90% titty: i haven’t taken this bra off for forty years

      5. allathian*

        I’m 5’9″ and F. They do have a life of their own. My posture’s awful if I don’t wear my bra.

    3. Misty*

      I haven’t worn one in over two months. I also saw that article and it made me laugh.

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

      I’m not wearing one since week 2 of lockdown. My sports one is all worn out and the one I was using left and underboob blister. I’ll buy some when the shops reopen.

      1. The Messy Headed Momma*

        Both of my 3 YO Warner bras fell apart last week. I ordered some new ones from Amazon. I heard that lots of online retail shops are selling stuff at bargain prices because they are sitting on so much product. You might find some really good deals right now.

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

          Yeah, how do I tell you this… The only thing Amazon sells here are servers. Nobody would buy underwear online.

    5. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I’m somewhere in the middle, not big but not small, I guess proportional? but I hate wearing bras, they are so uncomfortable. Since I’ve been pregnant, my nipples are extremely sensitive. Putting on a bra HURTS. I beared through it while I was working but since being home, I’ve stopped wearing one. I do miss waering them sometimes.

      1. allathian*

        You may need bigger bras. I gained only about 10 lbs of weight during my pregnancy (most of that accounted for by my baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid. But my cup size went up by two. Normally I like underwire bras, but when I was in my second and third trimesters, I couldn’t tolerate them at all.

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          Probably. I haven’t gained much weight either, about 5-10 so far. I don’t feel like my cup size has increased though? normally I need a bigger band size and smaller cup size but it’s so hard to find the right bra during normal times that I’ve given up finding anything during quarantine.

      2. Koala dreams*

        Bodies do weird things like that. It’s a shame, I find those mommy bras (feeding bras? I forgot the name) to be most comfortable compared to many regular bras. You don’t need a small baby to wear them either, they work without baby too.

        I hope you find comfortable clothing for your body, bra or not.

    6. A Frayed Knot*

      I always wear one when I go somewhere, and while I’m working at home. Part of my transition from work to “me” time includes changing from my “work clothes” to my “comfy clothes.” Bras are definitely not “comfy clothes”!

    7. Alexandra Lynch*

      And I have a low-grade grumble about how I’m losing weight and the challenges that produces. I started this as a 40F/G some weeks. I’m now in a 38DDD, and will probably have to drop band size in a month or two, and it’s all so damn annoying…

      But my upper back and neck ache SO much if I don’t wear a bra that going without is just not an option. Half the time I sleep in a bra because of that. I’m seriously hoping that the hundred and some pounds I’m losing this year will help with that, but so far, not yet. Grr.

      1. Jules the First*

        I wish you every success with your weight loss…but don’t count on the girls getting much smaller. I lost about 15 pounds four years ago and went from a 32DD to a 30FF…

        The good news is that I have a solution to that sore back and neck when braless…the bad news is that the solution is pushups and planks. The stronger your pecs and shoulders are, the less you notice the weight of the girls, which makes more sense when you realise they’re more than a pound apiece at DD or bigger.. (Also makes them perkier, if that helps with the motivation)

        1. Alexandra Lynch*

          Nothing will fix the fall except surgery, so I’m not worried about that. (grin) I will definitely do more chest and back work when I can get back to the gym. I have a torn tendon in my ankle that does not like me doing planks.

          1. Jules the First*

            Me too on the torn tendon…they take a loooooooooong time to heal. Planks can also be done from your knees like pushups. Or, if you need more of a challenge than knees, pop your feet up flat on a wall and plank from there.

  11. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    Some more work on my fanfiction, it’s going pretty well at the moment.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I’ve been on a week’s furlough from my technical writing job. The only things I have written have been to-do lists, and relatively few social media posts. I’d had plans, but my mind wasn’t concentrating. I’m starting to really understand what Rita Mae Johnson meant when she talked about taking a construction job instead of a copywriting job, to save the mental energy for her own work and let the job pay her to get physical exercise.

      2. Laura H.*

        My plunnies are hibernating…/ nothing likes me at the moment…

        But I put out some cards to friends this past week so I did write something.

    1. Tortally HareBrained*

      It’s raining!!! Real, glorious rain complete with lightning and thunder. We haven’t had a real storm in months. Had a rough few days and am more than happy to be up in the middle of the night just listening to it. Went out on my front porch to watch for a few minutes. Much needed for the ground and my mental health.

    2. Princess Deviant*

      Arglebargle, my assignment and work writing are going so slowly, like trudging through treacle :(
      My fiction writing is at a halt right now.

    3. Jedi Squirrel*

      I am almost finished with the third issue of my zine!!!!! (The completion of which was much delayed by a long depressive episode.) I just have to write some zine reviews (trades are a big thing in the zine world) and then it’s done!!!

      This makes me so happy I feel like Kermit on the Muppets going “Yaaaaayyyyyyy!!!!”

    4. Alexandra Lynch*

      Doing background reading and character development. I’ve had a secondary character who is turning out so weird and interesting that she is probably going to wind up getting her own book in this world. The reading I’ve been doing to flesh out not just her but the reactions of those around her to her choices is really fascinating. I’ll name both “Discerning Spirits: Divine and Demonic Possession in the Middle Ages” and “Holy Anorexia” as really good books on the weird and wonderful ways female spirituality was manifesting in Catholic Europe in the Middle Ages.

    5. Laure001*

      Can we ask in which fandom or is it too personal in a public forum?
      My writing is doing well! I’m posting a chapter a week on A03 (which for me is a very fast rate).

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Story of Seasons (formerly Harvest Moon – anything named Harvest Moon after A New Beginning isn’t the original due to copyright shenanigans). I haven’t published any of it yet and don’t know if I will, but it’s fun to have something simply slice-of-life to work on.

        1. Laure001*

          Thank you! Fanfiction is a lifesaver, in my opinion. Good luck with your writing!

  12. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week?
    For the record, this is not limited to video games, any game goes.
    I still refuse to let Total War get the better of me, I think I’m starting to get a grip on it.

    1. DarthVelma*

      Well, we started the next scenario for Mansions of Madness last night, but we made a tragic error. We used a different laptop for the app and set the resolution WAY too high and it overheated and crashed just as we were really starting to get into things. Sad times. We’re going to try again today with the laptop we used last week that worked just fine. Lesson learned. Always use the good tech, even if it takes up a bit more space.

      It was too late to start over at that point, so we spent some time going through some of the new-ish Magic the Gathering cards we had opened but hadn’t organized yet. I’ve got the genesis of an idea for an Arixmethes commander deck full of Krakens and Leviathans and Octopi. :-) I’m also really excited for some of the stuff in the next expansion, Ikoria Lair of Behemoths. GODZILLA! FLYING SHARKS! NIGHTMARE PANGOLINS! (Yeah, it’s going to be weird and wacky and so much fun.)

    2. GoryDetails*

      A first for me – will be attempting a short Zoom D&D game with my niblings later today, with one of them as the DM. [I’ve played D&D before – indeed, was in several games and DMed some of my own, back in the ’80s and ’90s. Introduced the kids to it too, though they didn’t get into it that much. But they’re all grown up and living in different states (and one in a different country) so it’s nice to be able to spend a little virtual face-time.]

    3. Marion Ravenwood*

      Pretty good! I leveled up in my D&D campaign with work colleagues last week – I am now a level 9 (been playing since November but came in at a level 4) and we had a really fun game which involved us exploring an ice cave and defeating a dragon (with a few trolls along the way).

      I’ve also been working on developing my character’s backstory for my other D&D game – as well as the work group I play with my boyfriend and some of our friends in a separate campaign – and that’s been really enjoyable. The character creation side of things is something I’ve always loved, and it’s been nice to get back to that in various ways over the last year or so.

      Oh, and boyfriend and I started playing a campaign in Charterstone on Steam last night along with two other couples in our friendship group. For those who haven’t played, it’s a co-operative game where essentially you’re a group of villagers working to build your town, and you get points for buildings as well as hitting objectives and gaining reputation. It’s actually quite strategic but the sedate pace of it is something I quite like, and it looks utterly beautiful too.

    4. Nicki Name*

      FE3H – still on the church route, kind of disappointed how much it resembles the first route I played. I don’t mean so much in plotline, since it’s of course going to have to show the same general events from a different perspective, but I’m noticing this time through how much it reuses maps.

      Dominion Online – I saw the message about the online Dominion league and I’ve signed up. Now I need to play a bunch more 2P games so I can be properly rated by the start of the next season. I’ve been mostly looking for 3P games, or playing against the bots.

      1. Wireknitter*

        Dominion online-the bots are great for learning the cards, but they play soooooo differently from humans. I love the game, have all if the expansions except Menagerie, which is on order.

    5. Nynaeve*

      I replayed Gone Home last week (where you come “home” to your family’s new empty, abandoned house on a stormy midnight and have to explore and figure out what happened) and went down the internet rabbit hole of fan theories until 2:00 in the morning.

      Today, I just started playing the first episode of Life is Strange, and so far, it’s really interesting. You start outside in a weird storm and then cut to inside your high school classroom. Eventually, you realize you have the power to rewind time and have to try to figure out how to stop bad things from happening. But certain actions have irreversible consequences. Interesting premise and gameplay.

    6. RowanUK*

      Sims 4 and Skyrim.

      Simming is a great way to feel in control of something and Skyrim is such a beautiful game to explore with really relaxing music. Modded followers are great too – it makes it feel a bit more like a Dragon Age game.

  13. Alternative Person*

    I’m worried about a few of my favourite independent food places because as far as I can tell, they’ve closed down for at least the duration but their websites/twitters haven’t been updated since before the virus. I hope they can come back okay.

    1. Enough*

      I have a place like that. In fact it’s the first place two of my kids go to when they come for a visit. The last time my son came home I think he went there every day but Christmas.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Here too. “Our” Asian market is completely closed. (And it’s by far the biggest & best-stocked in the region…a co-worker who grew up in China drives ~60 miles to it.)

    3. Jedi Squirrel*

      We used to have a thriving Mexican/Latin American part of town where you could buy just about anything, and it was gutted by the Great Recession. Only a couple of stores survived.

      It was just getting back up on its feet‒great restaurants (OMG, tacos de lengua!), a new expanded Mexican grocery (bought lots of spices there!) and carniceria, a couple of Mexican bakeries‒and now the pandemic has shut them all down. I hope they all survive, but I don’t have a lot of hope. Unlike the big chains, they are especially vulnerable.

    4. Reba*

      Me too! We are frequenting 2-3 local places for take out just to try to help keep them going. But there’s another one or two spots we are dedicated to, who we would be buying from, who are simply closed and we haven’t been able to get any news by social media or phone. :( A lot of businesses are not going to come back.

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

      Yes! I miss my nearby Italian restaurant. Small, familiar, varied menu and reasonably priced. I miss their food.

    6. ReadingTheStoics*

      Our smalltown put up a FB group especially for independent restaurants to post what they are doing – I hope it keeps going, it’s a great thing to have a central place to see specials, etc.

    7. allathian*

      We order takeout once a week to try and support our local independent businesses. Usually pizza.

      1. bleh*

        We do this too, just in hopes they can scrape by until it gets better, and we’re lucky enough to be able to tip the service people, who were our favorite bartenders / servers in another life, really well. It’s small but it makes us feel like we’re helping hold our little community together.

  14. Tap tap tap*

    No advice needed really just a little story for commiseration :p

    I’ve done tap dance since I was 6, did all my uk exams (up to ‘advanced 2’ after which they turn into teaching exams). That was admittedly 10 years ago but I don’t think I’m *that* out of practice, and did tap classes/a couple of performances within the last year. A tap dancer I really admire posted that she was running classes and I was super excited cos some of them lined up with my timezone! Signed up for advanced and….

    That turned out to be a huge huge mistake… comedically so. I have danced all my life, including professional level training, and been in classes where I was far from the best or couldn’t quite do all the steps. But I’ve never been in a class where my brain just couldn’t handle the speed… This class was the fastest pace I’ve ever experienced and I could not keep up! (think the instructor did some very fast tap, broke it down once, and then did it 4 times the speed). I probably should have thought through the fact that such an advanced teacher would have really advanced students but I guess ‘advanced’ can mean a lot of different things!

    The advantage of it being virtual was that I could just quietly turn off my video and give up without making too much of a fool of myself… cue slight existential crisis. I was looking forwards to it so much and it felt pretty embarrassing to have to give up. But hey! I learnt what it feels like to have my brain fail on me during a dance class so that’s sort of a positive :p

    1. 'Tis Me*

      Can you sign up for an intermediate class with her instead and see if that’s a better fit?

      Also, seeing teeny people on a screen dance then doing what they do in a different space, needing to make assessments about how large a step you can take before X object becomes a hazard etc are challenges you don’t usually have when doing a class?

      1. Tap tap tap*

        Yep, if she does more I’ll sign up a couple of levels down :)

        Tap is fairly self contained (/most people inc me were dancing on a small tap board) so it wasn’t the space that was the problem, but you’re right that having it on a screen was harder! I still don’t think I would have had much luck in person though :p

    2. Anne Kaffeekanne*

      That’s one of my pet peeves about many dance classes (I do ballet)! Every studio/teacher has their own scale with variations of beginner/intermediate/advanced and in my experience it’s almost impossible to know beforehand if advanced means ‘basically professional’ or ‘a good decade or more of experience’.

      Just see this as a trial class, the way you would if you were trying a new dance studio. Fingers crossed she’ll offer some classes at lower levels. For what it’s worth, with your experience I definitely also would have signed up for an advanced class!

      1. Tap tap tap*

        Thanks you’re right and that’s a better way to look at it!

        (I’m currently taking some ‘advanced’ ballet classes locally/online during lockdown and my ballet is definitely weaker than my tap :p)

      2. Jackalope*

        My dance studio has a more specific breakdown with multiple levels at what most people would consider beginning, intermediate, and advanced, and it’s so helpful! You get a much better idea of what it’s going to be like in a class.

    3. Epsilon Delta*

      That is me every time I’ve tried to dance! Like from first grade gym class learning square dance and every time since then. I can do the slow-mo version, then they switch to full speed and I am lost. My brain just can’t figure it out.

      From observing my daughter doing virtual dance classes over the past few weeks it seems like this happens a lot on the virtual classes. Not sure if has something to do with the speed of the video, or if it’s the lack of feedback between the instructor and students. But you are definitely not alone! It might have been the format and not just you.

    4. Emma*

      Commiseration. I normally do intermediate ballet at my ballet studio, so I found an intermediate ballet workout on YT (with a professional ballet dancer, so maybe that should have been a warning sign) and it was SO bad. I kept tripping, couldn’t do half the steps, and almost fell while attempting a pirouette succession that was completely beyond the scope of my abilities. It made me feel like the biggest looser. I have since found some more appropriate workouts on the internet, but it shook my confidence for doing ballet alone at home a bit – I miss the instructor’s advice and looking at the other people in the class and the barre and mirror in the studio.

      1. Tap tap tap*

        Commiserations back! Hope you regain your ballet confidence (and I’m impressed you’re even attempting pirouettes at home – my classes have moved to basically 40min of barrework plus *maybe* some port de bras :p)

        1. Jules the First*

          Curious…which ballet classes are you taking? I’m in the UK as well and would love a class that was purely barre-based (the injury that ended my career as a ballerina means travelling combinations and pirouettes are out if the question, but I can still do 95% of a good barre)

          1. Tap tap tap*

            They’re an online version of an in person class and both usually fill up I think – but look up ‘Ballet Revival’. The teacher is lovely.

    5. anon for this*

      Heh, I’m in a similar situation but with piano, almost to the letter–I started when I was six and went through a conservatory program up to the teaching level when I was a teenager. Now that it’s been over a decade since I regularly practised, it’s an interesting experience to try playing again and adjust my expectations for my skill level.

    6. Roja*

      Yes! I teach dance for a living and have also danced professionally so am using this opportunity to take new styles (tap/hip-hop) but online classes are really hit or miss. I’ve given up a few times myself.

    7. Koala dreams*

      I think it’s pretty typical with physical things like dance. If you take a break, you need to go down a level for a while, so that your body can get used to the movements again. Of course, in your case it might be the online class thing.

      I struggle with getting any movement most days, so I’m impressed with people who still have energy to dance. Keep on the good work!

    8. Tris Prior*

      I took a lot of dance when I was younger, but lately have mostly been doing dance fitness classes at my gym (which are now of course all remote via Zoom). I consider myself to be pretty good at following an instructor and matching her movements – I took bellydance for years from an instructor whose teaching methods we dubbed “follow the bouncing butt” because she’d rarely break things down. And that went OK. usually.

      But there is something about online classes that I find very difficult. Part of it is the smaller screen, being unable to see how much space a movement takes up? (That’s the best way I can explain it, I follow better when the instructor’s arm is roughly the size of my arm and not tiny and on a screen). Part of it is that there’s no mirror and the instructor faces the camera instead of facing the mirror so we are all facing the same way. I find that EXTREMELY disorienting.

      I think it makes total sense that following along – especially something intricate like tap, I did tap and it is HARD – would be more difficult right now.

  15. Tortally HareBrained*

    It’s raining!!! Real, glorious rain complete with lightning and thunder. We haven’t had a real storm in months. Had a rough few days and am more than happy to be up in the middle of the night just listening to it. Went out on my front porch to watch for a few minutes. Much needed for the ground and my mental health.

    1. The Messy Headed Momma*

      We are expecting storms on Sunday & Monday and I cannot wait!!!! Every word in your post could have been written by me.

      1. Tortally HareBrained*

        I’ll keep my fingers crossed you get it. Almost every time we’ve had rain in the forecast this year we get less than a quarter inch. I’m incredibly optimistic we got at least an inch last night. It rained solidly from at least 2:30-6 am!

          1. Tortally HareBrained*

            Texas. Parts have had decent rain this year, but we keep getting missed in my corner of the state.

      1. Tortally HareBrained*

        Snow sounds crazy to me! It was close to 100 degrees yesterday ahead of this front. The cold front dropped it into the mid 70s today.

    2. Llama Face!*

      Oh I’m jealous! I am waiting eagerly for the first springtime thunderstorm here. Instead, today we got a surprise snowfall. :(

    3. Nessun*

      I miss rain! Though we’ve had some here (never much, but some), we don’t get the crazy rainstorms I saw elsewhere in my childhood. I think when all this is over and I can travel again, I will go somewhere cool and rainy for a long, slow visit.

    4. Loves Libraries*

      Lucky you. We need rain. So far we have had a mild spring with low humidity. Know it won’t last.

  16. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    Content note: The Virus.

    (second attempt, after nesting fail)

    Yesterday (Friday 8th) was a public holiday in England*. Ordinarily we have the first Monday in May, but for this year it was pushed to the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe, to permit wide commemorations and celebrations including community events and street parties.

    Then we entered lockdown. Ah.

    (* the individual nations have different public holidays and I think at least Scotland kept theirs on the usual day)

    There were still some events, mostly prerecorded or virtual, and some flypasts near big hospitals and other significant locations, and an orgy of sentimentalism on the main tv channels. Parallels were drawn between the Blitz and the current situation, along the lines of “don’t give up, we’ve come too far to come only this far”. It was sunny and unseasonably warm.

    And lots of people had street parties.

    Some people sat in their own houses and back yards with sandwiches. Some people sat literally on their own doorsteps with a cup of tea (G&T, Prosecco, beer) and waved distantly to neighbours. Some people with larger spaces in front of their houses even brought out picnics and barbecues (US: grills) and ate together-but-not.

    And of course some people ignored recommendations and restrictions altogether and had actual parties, with sitting next to each other for hours and so on.

    I am young and don’t have relevant preexisting health conditions, and the virus made me sicker than I have ever been (worse than pneumonia). It took six weeks before I had a single day when I felt even vaguely normal, and still the last symptoms were lingering.

    It is not exaggerated, it is not a hoax, and even if it doesn’t kill you it could knock you sideways for a long time.

    The messaging in the UK is problematic at the moment when you take into account vague and sometimes contradictory announcements from government and other public figures, a partisan media, social media nonsense, and a good dollop of British exceptionalism. I’m deeply frustrated.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      I got the leaflet from my government with the guidelines for phase II of lifting the quarantine. Wearing a mask is obligatory and there will be fines if people do not comply. Much more to the point.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          An important point. In the UK some hospitals /doctors’ surgeries /hospices /care homes etc are struggling to get adequate supplies.

          If a recommendation is for “face covering” then that permits cloth masks, bandanas, scarves and so on, which are more available.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I just wish that people here in the US would realize that they mean to use a bandana to make into a multi-layer mask. Not just tie it around your face like a bandit. My rainy-day backup* is an origami fold with the corners tied to a ponytail holder. The elastic keeps its layers snug around my nose and mouth. A friend who sews is mailing me a homemade one with filter pocket…might get here today if I’m lucky.
            *literally, to not risk my two real ones in heavy rain.

          2. fposte*

            The U.S. is not necessarily terminologically distinguishing between the two, FWIW. In my state “masks” are required in public places and businesses but they really mean face coverings.

        2. Chocolate Teapot*

          I’m fortunate that the government is supplying everyone with masks, but the rules state that wearing a bandana or Buff is also permitted. One of the magazines I read had instructions for sewing your own too.

        3. WellRed*

          In the US anyone with a bit of sewing skill is making masks and offering them up, often for free or cost of postage.

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            I have some sewn up by talented friends. I’ve only needed to use one once, to visit the pharmacy this week.

      1. Curly*

        What government is that? There is supposed to be an announcement from the U.K. Prime Minister later today (Sunday) about the next phases. I think it’s pretty weird to make that announcement on Sunday of a long weekend especially since media reports are saying that the the next phase announced on Sunday will start on Monday, the day after. Nothing like giving people time to plan. We’ll see.

    2. Marion Ravenwood*

      Same. Yesterday my neighbours were having a gathering with about 10 of them, all in very close proximity to each other, sitting around in our outdoor space all afternoon and well into the evening. They’re all young and healthy so probably won’t get (that) sick – and just to be clear this is not me wishing ill on anyone – but it really hacks me off that people like that, who feel this doesn’t apply to them, think they can do what they like. And here’s me, going out as little as possible but enough that my mental health doesn’t suffer, not having seen my loved ones in person for seven weeks, knowing full well I could walk 20 minutes up the road to see my boyfriend (friends and family are a bit too far away unfortunately) and break the rules in exactly the same way, but I’m not going to and feel terribly guilty even remotely considering it, because I’m trying so hard to be good and get through this faster so I can actually see people in person and hug them and all the rest of it. It’s so frustrating and I totally get where you’re coming from.

      1. Lizzo*

        Your frustration with the people who think the rules don’t apply to them is 100% appropriate. I’ve seen a lot of it in my neighborhood and around town as well. It’s straight up selfish behavior.
        While I’m not one to wish harm on others, I do believe in karma, and I hope karma has a role to play here.
        Keep doing what you’re doing and hang in there!

    3. Person from the Resume*

      It’s been nearly 2 months since my area went under a stay at home order. There were people seemingly flaunting it from the beginning, but I’ve seen signs that even more people are just over it and flaunting rules even more.

      My own mother invited me to visit her for Mother’s Day saying “we’re family”. She’s not dumb, but I guess she’s over it and hasn’t seen the impact of Covid on anyone she knows.

      It’s so frustrating.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        Over it = last Sunday saw a group of 20 women crowding together to take a photo on a small lawn. Later saw them sitting outside in chairs closer than 6 feet. They clearly do not give a fuck.

        1. Lizzo*

          Not sure of your age @Person from the Resume, but assuming you are somewhere between 30-50…? I’ve heard and experienced firsthand there are older folks who don’t give a hoot about these rules (some “the government isn’t going to tell me what to do”, some ignorance, some “it’s a hoax/not a big deal). There are lots of young folks who also don’t give a hoot (“I’m young and healthy!”). Meanwhile those of us in the middle are yelling at all of them to STAY THE F HOME, and nobody seems to be listening. It’s like we’re the only ones with any common sense left. It’s absolutely maddening.

          1. team .010*

            This is the path to 3,000 deaths per day. The comments and actions show they really do not care.

          2. SunnySideUp*

            I’m 65 and still have all of my common sense, thanks.

            People are stupid everywhere, at every age, in every country, state and village.

    4. Akcipitrokulo*

      Without getting too much into politics… I’m in Glasgow and one of things that helps me feel more secure is how our FM is dealing with it – and it is a contrast to how I feel with the confusion from Westminster. But then concern over what happens if (when) approaches diverge. From wondering if there may be border issues to worrying that we don’t control the finances to continye furlough payments if UK gov cuts/cancels them… but having Nicola is comforting.

    5. Akcipitrokulo*

      Would it be cynical to suggest that the only parallel with the blitz is the willingness to sacrifice a city the size of Coventry…?

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        Someone pointed out earlier today that although people were very happy to evacuate their children in autumn 1939, they brought them home again long before the end of the war, once they started missing them too much and it didn’t seem that dangerous in the cities.

  17. Ouazzane*

    Has anyone ever been in a relationship with someone who is dismissive avoidant? Is it worth it?

    1. Princess Deviant*

      Yes I have, and no it wasn’t worth it for me. It was hell. I have had lots of therapy to deal with it.
      How do you feel about it? You’ll never change them. Can you accept then for who they are?
      I recommend reading ‘Attached: the new science…’ This was greatly helpful for me in recognising my patterns.

      1. Ouazzane*

        Oh, damn. You needed lots of therapy, huh? Are you healed from it?

        I’m just learning about attachment theory and have armchair diagnosed the guy I’m dating as DA. He has no idea. (And apparently I should never tell him what I’ve done or send him literature about it. Lol.) His hot/cold, push/pull tendencies are very frustrating. He’s great when he’s around, but when he needs to go away and have his space, that’s when it sets off *my* anxiety. My emotional needs are not met and I’m having to self-soothe or I’d go mad. I don’t like that he can’t/won’t always be there for me or with me.

        On the other hand though, having learnt about attachment theory and seeing the connection with his childhood and what his parents were/are like with him, I have a lot of empathy for him and I’m teaching myself to accept him for who he is. I know I can’t change him per se, but I’d like to think that adapting my own attachment style to his could somehow inspire him to change? Am I just kidding myself?

        1. PX*

          I never advocate for being in a relationship where you hope to change someone. Never ever do that is my advice. Because you will spend lots of time being miserable, sad and frustrated that you are putting in effort, not getting what you want and then you start resenting them for not changing for the “better” (according to you).

          Meanwhile they are like: I didn’t sign up to be changed. Maybe I never wanted to be changed. They could be perfectly happy how they are.

          So no. Assume he is going to stay exactly the way he is. Are you willing to live with him and adapt to his style? If not, time to find someone else.

          1. Clisby*


            Years and years (and years) ago my mother and I were talking about advice parents give, and she said her mother told her, “Never marry a man thinking you’ll change him. You won’t.” (Of course this applies to marrying a woman as well, but at the time I doubt my grandmother ever considered that my mother might marry a woman.)

            I think the best piece of advice my mother passed on was : Sometimes when you’re angry you say things you can never take back.

          2. RagingADHD*

            This. If the only way the relationship will work is

            a) Stop having needs, or
            b) The other person fundamentally changing?

            It’s not going to work in any way that is happy or healthy for you.

            Doesn’t matter if your diagnosis is accurate or not. Trying to be in a relationship with him makes you miserable.

            That’s all you need to know.

        2. Lyra*

          With the caveat that I’m not a huge fan of attachment theory personally…if you don’t believe his attachment style can be changed, why do you think yours can be? Why accept him completely as he is and put all the pressure on yourself to change?

          I think you can really like or love someone and feel a lot of empathy for them and still not be compatible. You can also make an effort together to BOTH change certain behaviors, even if they go against what’s natural to you, and try to explain and understand each other’s feelings and reactions, even when they’re different from yours, and come to compromises that make you both feel good. But it only works if both people’s feelings are valued and treated as though they’re important.

          1. Princess Deviant*

            As an aside and because I am curious – why are you not a fan of attachment theory; is there something else you prefer to explain relationship bonding, or you have your own ideas about it?

          2. Reba*

            “you can really like or love someone and feel a lot of empathy for them and still not be compatible.”

            Yes x 1000

            Even if there are good reasons why he is the way he is, even if you understand why… Ouazzane you said it right there, your needs are not being met.

          3. Ouazzane*

            Lyra – from what I’ve read about attachment theory, one can change one’s attachment style based on the circumstance, and that includes who they’re in close relationships with. For example, before I met him I was secure, but his coming and going has got me leaning towards the anxious style. (Haha. Umm…) In the beginning I would let myself be and stay anxious, but I’ve learnt to self-soothe as I said, and now I catch myself before I go too far and return to secure. So no, it’s not that I believe his attachment style cannot be changed, but rather it’s hard for him because he is not self-aware, whereas I am, so I’m more ready to adapt.

            Which brings me to what you said about making an effort together to both change. This is a very important point that I need to ponder because as I said he is not self-aware, and I haven’t breathed a single word to him about any of this because apparently that would push him even further away. So I’ve been doing all this self-soothing and self-regulating work all on my own while he’s gone off into himself, blissfully unaware of my inner turbulence. It’s a lot of work to do on one’s own…

            1. Generic Name*

              So being in a relationship with him has made you go from being secure to being insecure and anxious. It sounds like you are worse off with him than you are without him. When I was married, I learned never to turn to my husband for comfort because at best he would not be able to give it. At worst he shamed me for my feelings. My sister’s baby died and I hid my grief and bore it alone because I knew I couldn’t rely on my husband. I wouldn’t wish that life on anyone.

              1. Ouazzane*

                I’m so sorry you had to go through that loss alone. The thought of having a partner I can’t go to for comfort terrifies me.

        3. AcademiaNut*

          To be bluntly honest, if you’re going into a relationship on the premise that you can change them, or inspire them to change, you’re overwhelmingly likely to be miserable, and come out the other side wiser but scarred.

          You can have empathy for someone, you can accept them for who they are, you can understand how they ended up the way they did. That doesn’t make it any less soul suckingly miserable to be in a close relationship with someone who is only able to consider what they want and need.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Adding: Let’s say they heal. Either you help that process or you bring in help but they end up healing either way. The next thing that happens is they say, “Thanks a lot! All better now! See ya! Bye!”

            Indeed, when we help people heal their lives sometimes that requires we have to let go in the end. They continue on without us. And this happens for [reasons].

        4. Resting easier now*

          My main thoughts about relationships:
          -if your needs are not being met and your partner won’t change, leave.
          – if you think you need to change yourself to appease your partner, leave.
          – if you each genuinely want what’s best for each other, you both are willing to work on things, then you might have something worth pursuing.

        5. HQB*

          Your emotional needs are not being met; that’s literally all you need to know. Everything else is a distraction from the real issue: in a relationship, your emotional needs should be met. It doesn’t matter why, or how much empathy you have for him; this relationship is not for you.

        6. Sunflower*

          Your first few sentences said it all. Your needs aren’t being met and this guy isn’t interested in changing his behavior- that’s rarely going to lead somewhere good. I definitely have some attachment and intimacy issues I’m working through and do some of the stuff your guy is doing. If he said something like ‘you’re totally right and it’s something I’m working on- I hope we can work through it together’ you’d be in a totally different situation and I’d have different advice.

      2. Grapey*

        “You’ll never change them.” That’s not true; they have to want to change.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Huh. Reading the description, a lot of it sounds really familiar about myself. So I don’t know that I have anything useful for you – though my husband seems to be doing alright, we’ve known each other for seventeen years, dated/engaged for four total and then married for two and a half – but I may read more about this concept.

    3. Jessie*

      What is your own attachment style – secure or anxious? And is this a new relationship?

      I’d second reading Attached. I did when I started seeing my ex. There is a bit where it says if you have an anxious attachment style and you’re considering a relationship with an avoidant person…basically don’t do it. I ignored that, continued the relationship for several years, it was hellish and I still feel scarred by it to be honest.

      I’d say if you’re asking the question, the answer it’s not going to work for you. I’m sorry – I didn’t want to hear that myself at the time, but in retrospect I wish I’d taken the advice.

      1. Ouazzane*

        Jessie – I’m secure, but admittedly being with him is turning me anxious. We’ve been dating since January.

        You might be right that it might not work. It’s really a lot of work to shoulder alone.

        1. allathian*

          That much work this early in the relationship? Maybe worth taking a step back from the relationship and him. I don’t mean that you have to go no contact all of a sudden, but you hadn’t been dating for very long when COVID started messing with all of our lives.

    4. allathian*

      It wasn’t worth it for me. We were basically stuck in a vicious feedback loop for ages, because I’m quite confrontational in my private life. At work, I obviously have to tone it down somewhat, but I can’t deal with people who refuse to engage (in a conflict or otherwise). One of my exes, my first serious boyfriend, was extremely conflict avoidant, to the point that I tried to provoke him into an argument and he’d just withdraw into himself. I dated him for about two years, although if I’d been even slightly more experienced at dating, I would have dumped him after three months. I was more in love with the idea of having a boyfriend than with him, and I kept trying for far too long.

      1. Ouazzane*

        Allathian – I’m the same as you. I’m confrontational as well and can’t deal with people who are conflict avoidant. I always want to hash things out, find a solution. So him being like this and me not leaving (yet) and deciding instead to modify my natural confrontational self ~ to suit him ~ is very exhausting.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I hope that this subthread is a manifestation of you typing out the obvious reasons to leave, seeing them in black and white, and following through. Nothing you have written seems to argue for staying with someone you’ve known for mere months who is making you anxious and insecure.

        2. allathian*

          It is very exhausting. I ended up having to go to therapy every two weeks for about a year, because being in that relationship was literally giving me depression. It’s been 25 years, so I was in my early twenties when it happened. I had to take a break from college for a year because I just couldn’t deal with my studies (luckily I’m in the Nordics where tuition up to a Master’s degree is free). When I felt a bit better, going back to college got me on my feet again.
          I started therapy before I dumped my ex, and it was really funny how quickly I started to feel better after that decision. For a few months, I tried to provoke him into leaving me, but now I’m glad it didn’t work, because this way, I had to own my decision to leave him and couldn’t give anyone else either the blame or the credit.

          1. Ouazzane*

            That sounds so, so rough. So glad that those days are behind you. I’m sitting with myself and working up the courage. Thanks very much for sharing your experience with me.

    5. families!*

      Honest question, does the label matter? You describe some behaviors this person has, and how they affect you negatively, they seem to be a red flag at least. I am not sure we need a label to decide whether or not to continue dating, I often find it confuses things because then I stop looking at me and my feelings/reactions etc. (even parsing out whether or not I am reacting to him or to past events, but that is *my* work to do), which I think need to be the basis on which I decide my life.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        When I met my husband, I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship. I had “life stuff” going on and it was a difficult time for me. So I felt that if I found someone they had to have Courage. Well along comes my future husband and life crap was flying all over the place. The guy did not flinch, he did not break stride. Whatever was going on today was okay, we’d just work through it, that’s all. And it went this way for years. I had to marry the guy because he had the skills it takes to get through life. When life isn’t hard that is because it’s down right impossible. I couldn’t be with a person who did not understand life is a lotta work.

      2. Washi*

        Yeah, if this is a new relationship and you’re already feeling frustrated, anxious, and debating who should change more…that’s not a great sign, regardless of what any attachment theory has to say about it.

        I think the phrase “relationships take work” often leads people astray in framing serious conflicts as things you can get over if you just work hard enough, and in reverse, that if you say “nope” and walk away, you are being lazy/selfish. My marriage is work in the way that practicing an instrument you love can be work. Consistency is hard, and it can be boring and repetitive at times, but also meaningful, satisfying, and joyful. I would never make a ruling on what changes you should/shouldn’t change for a partner (I am always working on patience and communication in particular) but ultimately, it’s something that should feel good and right to you.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          In marriage, I think there’s a concept of accumulated capital–we have been partners a long time, you have seen me through some rough challenges, I will dig deep and try hard when things look iffy. We have a shared life, that you worked with me to build, that I will work to try to preserve.

          None of that is relevant when you’ve been dating a few months. It takes a lot of history–and should!–for “this is tough, time to quit” to transform to “this is tough, time to double down.”

      3. Ouazzane*

        Families! – You’re right. Red flags are red flags no matter which lens you look at them from. I really should put myself and my needs first…

        1. Generic Name*

          Yes! It’s not selfish to have needs. It took me a long time to realize this.

    6. Parenthetically*

      I had a dismissive-avoidant roommate (she came by it honest, with an NPD/schizophrenic mother) and it was a freaking NIGHTMARE. I cannot imagine being in a romantic relationship with one, unless they had already done a TON of work on themselves.

    7. Princess Deviant*

      Heirloom counselling blog has lots of lovely articles on avoidant attachment. I find them very helpful, but with an avoidant partner they need to want to work on themselves to meet you half way.

    8. Generic Name*

      Yes. No.

      To elaborate, I was married to a man for 17 years who dismissed my feelings as “stupid” (with a giant side of “and you’re a bad person for having those feelings”) and avoided, well me. He could not express his needs directly and honestly. He avoided intimacy. He would give me the silent treatment as punishment. He grudgingly accepted my constant attempts at affection but never returned them. And when he told me he had no romantic feelings for me, I told him I would stop providing him with physical affection (hugs, kisses, pats on the leg, whatever). He seemed surprised that I didn’t want to give him a hug when I went on a work trip mere days later.

      If you decide to move forward with this person, they will never change. If it’s early in a relationship, know that this is likely this person’s best behavior and if anything, they will get more dismissive and more avoidant as time goes by. Someone who doesn’t give a shit about your feelings now will not suddenly start to care later on.

      Your intuition is telling you something isn’t right. Listen to it. You can do it.

    9. RagingADHD*

      I haven’t read the book, and I’m not a psychologist. But what if he doesn’t have any kind of disorder?

      What if he is completely self-aware and just truly doesn’t want the same kind of relationship you do? What if he values his space and independence, and is unwilling to commit to the level of emotional intimacy you want?

      In other words, would you stay with him if there was no “project” and nothing to fix?

      Because it kinda sounds like this attachment theory stuff is you looking for reasons to stay in an unhappy relationship. You don’t have to.

      1. Ouazzane*

        RagingADHD – Daaaaamn. Never thought of it that way. If he doesn’t actually have a disorder, if he is actually is self-aware and just unwilling to commit, if there was no project and nothing to fix, then this relationship sucks and I’d be dumb for trying to find any good in it.

        Oh, this is a hard one. I gotta have a talk with myself. Thank you for leading me here. xx

  18. Chocolate Teapot*

    This Week’s broken Washing Machine Update.

    The majority of shops are opening again on Monday, so I will be going to select my new washing machine. My only concern is that either there will be a delay in supplying it (have washing machine factories been in lockdown too?) or it will take a while to organise delivery and installation.

    At least I have the self-service laundrette!

    1. ReadingTheStoics*

      I also have a sub-performing washing machine…it has been running, but not agitating, and thus the clothes do not get clean (or even fully wet!). In sheer obstinacy of feeling hostage to an expensive not-that-old-and-why-needs-so-much-computerization appliance that would be difficult to get serviced in my rural area even before everything shut down, I have been washing clothes entirely by hand for a month, and it’s not that bad! Definitely the laundry is cleaner.

    2. Chaordic One*

      These newer “high-efficiency” (HE) washers that do not have agitators and that use less water don’t seem to get clothes as clean as the older machines, and the wash cycles take a lot longer than the older machines that had agitators. (I wonder if the reduced amount of water used is offset by their using more electricity since they see to take twice as long to do a load compared to an old-fashioned machine.)

      In my machine if I don’t interevene it seems like the amount of water in the cycle never rises high enough to even cover all of the clothes and some of the clothes just seem to float on top of the water and never get washed. I have to manually adjust the water level settings on my machine to “high,” because when I leave it on “automatic” it doesn’t use enough water to rinse the clothes. And then it automatically resets to “automatic” when the load is finished. Do some research and read reviews online and in consumer magazines (such as “Consumer Reports” in the U.S.) before you buy.

      It seems like many large appliances, such as washers and dryers, are now imported from China (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and I would imagine that breaks in the supply chain because have probably delayed shipments of new appliances.

  19. Fikly*

    I met with a new doctor last week. I tend to refer to this as doctor roulette – I never know if it’s someone who is game for the challenge of my medically complex self who will listen to me and treat me as an individual, or someone who will passively try to kill me.

    This guy seems delightful. I am so optimistic. I ended up having to have another appointment with him this week when something that seemed minor last week turned into a bigger issue, and the first thing he asked was “Had this been going on last week and I missed it? I’m so sorry!”

    I hadn’t even mentioned it, because if I mentioned everything that hurt, it would have been a two hour appointment. Which I explained, and we talked about what things I should tell him, but ugh, it was so nice to hear that kind of concern!

    He was also talking about what might potentially be wrong, and suggested two different things (one involving ribs, the other involving the muscle between the ribs) and I said, why can’t it be both, my body tends to go for it, and his response was that with most people, it’s just one thing, but with my body’s history, having both things wrong is plausible. I love him more than I should already.

    1. Might be Spam*

      Congratulations on finding your doctor. I’m need a new doctor because my insurance changed and I am not looking forward to it.
      Doctor Roulette is a good name for the search.

      1. Fikly*

        I moved last year – it will be a year in July – and I am almost done replacing all of my various doctors. I have 15+ specialists, so I have not enjoyed this process at all, and it will take some serious incentive to get me to move far enough that I need to change all of my doctors again.

        1. Jackalope*

          My insurance sends me to a clinic that has multiple doctors. I can specify just one but then that means frequent excessive waits, whereas if I go see whoever is available then it’s fairly quick. I have one doctor who is the only one I will see for her specific specialty but otherwise it changes almost every time. Most of them are fine but it still has that doctor roulette feeling!

        2. Jackalope*

          My insurance sends me to a clinic that has multiple doctors. I can specify just one but then that means frequent excessive waits, whereas if I go see whoever is available then it’s fairly quick. I have one doctor who is the only one I will see for her specific specialty but otherwise it changes almost every time. Most of them are fine but it still has that doctor roulette feeling! Every now and then I’ll get one that just doesn’t work.

    2. Oxford Comma*

      That’s fantastic! It makes such a difference when you get the right doctor! Glad things are looking up.

      1. Fikly*

        It’s amazing what a difference just being listened to can make in how you feel! Thanks!

    3. Resting easier now*

      I’m envious! And happy for you!
      In my area we can’t change docs because no one is accepting new patients (not enough docs to go around).
      My doc, every time I saw him for the first 4 years, asked if he’d seem me before…

      1. Fikly*

        The doctor shortage is a real problem.

        I’m very curious to see if so many doctors and practices being forced, essentially, to rapidly find a way to make telemedicine work will have the long-term effect of there being much more telemedicine available, because it can be so useful in making medical care available to people who live in areas without enough doctors.

        There was a really interesting article I read in the last year about essentially a telemedicine ER doctor service, where experienced ER doctors in urban areas are on call for rural ERs that often don’t have doctors, or have doctors who don’t see complex cases/traumas hardly at all, and when the rural ER gets a complicated case, they video call the on call ER doctor, who then can help with both their opinion, and talk them through procedures they may not have done in years, like intubation. I thought that was a brilliant idea.

        Obviously not all care can be done remotely, but an awful lot can!

    4. EDS Zebra here*

      When I moved across the country I ended up with “Dr. Roulette.” It was so disheartening. Finally the disabilities services rep at my university recommended my present physician. Good news, bad news. We shoot the shit and laugh a lot about the absurdity of my body in space. Tore my rotator cuff in PT. Dislocated my hip turning over in bed. Torn ligaments in my hand picking up a grocery bag. Super fun was my “fake heart attack” costochondritis and esophageal spasms that also mimic the exact symptoms of a heart attack. The there is the deep bone pain so bad that I can barely breathe. The bad news. He is retiring.

      1. Might be Spam*

        I’m sorry that things are so rotten for you. Maybe you can get a list of potential doctors to show your current doctor. He might be able to recommend someone with his care giving style.
        Good luck.

  20. Seeking Second Childhood*

    Wondering what other parents are thinking about summer camps and kids.

    1. Just a Guy in a Cube*

      I’m kind of expecting they’re not going to happen (NH,USA), but also wondering. I haven’t done a lot of research yet, but expect that if any of the more responsible summer camps do open up, I’ll be doing a lot of research on what the risks actually are with groups of kids running around together.

    2. Tortally HareBrained*

      I don’t want to turn this into a work thread, but can promise you many camps are still trying to figure out if they can/should have camp and what it could look like. Lots of conversations happening all over the country amongst professionals in the field.

      I know we are weighing the balance between the benefits for kids and as a childcare option- but if we can make it safe enough for kids and staff at our small site that runs day camps.

      1. Enough*

        I’m hoping that college soccer camps will be available. My daughter has coached at one for the last five years and as she has a new graduate degree with no job yet this will get her some money with minimal cost to get there as it’s only two hours from our house.

    3. MatKnifeNinja*

      My nieces three options (all over night) are canceled this year as of last week.

      Biggest problem, the camps get workers from all over the world, and out state. They said social distancing teen agers would be impossible. Running the camp at 1/2 capacity wasn’t worth it.

      Even my city summer programs (ones that could do it) are virtual for the summer.

      Even her music lessons have been virtual. We were told this will continue this way through to September.

    4. Book Lover*

      A lot of Jewish summer camps have been canceled, the overnight ones. Daycares are opening back up. I am not sure what I can do since I have to work. I don’t want any of us to get sick. This situation sucks.

    5. Epsilon Delta*

      I think it will be incredibly hard on working parents and kids if all summer camps are closed and we still aren’t allowed to see anyone who doesn’t live with us.

      I am refusing to think about that possibility until/unless it is upon us, because it’s hard enough to get through the days as they are now, with a semblance of structure.

    6. Generic Name*

      Ugh. No idea. My son is 13, so he can be on his own during the day, but I’d like for him to be able to do things with other kids outside the house at least occasionally. In the past I’ve sent him to “teen camp”, but no word if that’s even an option this summer. Ugh.

    7. Onebitcpu*

      Canoe tripping camp leader was supposed to be my child ‘s last summer job before college. So far the camp is waiting to see what the provincial goverment and national associations decide.

    8. Lindsay*

      Here in southern Maine, our town day camp is going to open (at like 25 percent capacity.) I run a before and after school program for them during the school year and I do summer camp in the summer for them. I will be expected to work at camp when it happens.

    9. Nita*

      No. No no no no no. I mean, I’d sell a kidney for someone to get the kids out of my hair on a regular basis, and I’d sell my other kidney if that would let them see their friends, but that’s beside the point now. The latest info here in NYC is that kids can develop really bad complications and even die of this stuff. And just like with adults, I bet there’s no easy way to tell who’s at risk.

    10. Luna*

      The school district where I work, as well as others in the area, are still posting open summer school positions, but in my district they are not yet moving forward with hiring for those programs (which would normally have happened already; last year I was hired in April for a summer program starting in July). Ditto for summer programs/camps that are partnerships between the school district and other organizations. However, our governor is trending towards not publicly announcing policy changes until it’s absolutely necessary/as close to the target date as possible, so I’m not looking at the lack of announcement about in-person camps/summer school/etc. as a sign that those things won’t happen.

    11. J.B.*

      My state has said that day camps will be allowed as long as there is social distancing. I have no idea if the camps I already registered for will happen but if they do my younger child will be there.

    12. BeadsNotBees*

      This is actually my industry! My state never closed childcare facilities and we were considered “essential” (our local health department actually BEGGED us to remain operating, and we are fortunate in that we are established enough in the community that we could remain open with the reduced income of only essential workers – many were not so lucky). We have been enrolling School Age children (in small class groups) in our facilities, and the school district operated camps are still going to run, just with different social distancing measures and more stringent hygiene practices.
      Granted, we are not a “hot spot” like those in NYC or other areas, but I was surprised childcare wasn’t considered an essential function/business in so many states. For many people, no childcare = no work or income. Many families and single parents simply do not have another option during this time of family members or personal nannies – they need a licensed center that accepts subsidy funds and works with their schedule. Our county actually surveyed essential workers to see how closing facilities would impact the workforce, and health officials decided they would lose too many nurses, healthcare workers, and critical infrastructure employees if they closed the licensed centers.

  21. MistOrMister*

    Has anyone discovered that an author they like is still writing and was surprised?

    I got a kindle notification that Caroline B Cooney is coming out with a book called “Before She Was Helen”. I think I will do a pre-order to be supportive. It seems like it will be interesting. I never did read her milk carton book, but I read two vampire books by her when I was a kid. Nostalgia kicked in and I’m re-reading one of them right now, called “Deadly Offer” on my kindle but I think it’s one of those books that has multiple titles. I could swear the print version i had years ago was called something like “The Cheerleader”. I’m enjoying the book, but I will say with the benefit of age there are a lot of times where I’m thinking at the protagonist, why are you doing this, why are you not asking more questions, this is not an appropriate response to your teenage angstiness!!! But it’s all in good fun.

    1. Claritza*

      I haven’t read it in ages but I recommend The Face on the Milk Carton. Looking it up to get the correct title I learned that it became a series of books, was made into a movie, and that child experts felt that faces on milk cartons scared children.

      1. Pharmgirl*

        Whoa total blast from the past! I remember reading these as a kid, even watched the movie! I didn’t know she was still writing.

      2. Lizzo*

        I remember “The Face on the Milk Carton”! I did a book report on it. Thanks for the blast from the past!

    2. NeonFireworks*

      I’ve read a couple of her recent ones and they’ve been excellent. Especially enjoyed “Three Black Swans.”

    3. fposte*

      I love Caroline Cooney. She’s never really been awards fodder but she’s extraordinarily readable, absolutely in touch with young impulses (she was the first author to catch the obsessiveness of texting), and solidly in favor of family support; often there’s a scene in a Cooney book were an adult or several adults totally Show Up for the kids, and it warms my heart.

    4. Fikly*

      Not quite the same, but I was shocked when I found out that Elizabeth Moon had, decades later, gone back to a series she wrote and started writing more. I figured she was never going to write more in that series (The Deed of Paksenarrion) and was delighted to discover otherwise.

      1. Jackalope*

        I really like the Paladin’s Legacy series, too. Paks is great, but it was fun learning about all of the other characters and how they changed and what they did. Especially Arvid – I’m always a sucker for a good redemption story.

    5. knead me seymour*

      This isn’t really the same thing, but I tend to like authors who always take a good decade or more to finish a book (no judgment–writing is hard) and so I’m always taken by surprise when a new one comes out.

      1. Claritza*

        My favorite delay – Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine (I read it around 1968, loved it and now don’t remember a thing about it) followed by Farewell Summer published in 2006, nearly 50 years later!

        1. Jackalope*

          I just read Dandelion Wine this year and really enjoyed it. Such delightful writing. It didn’t have a story so much as capturing the sense of late boyhood in the early 1900’s; it was the feel of it that I loved.

    6. Potatoes gonna potate*

      OOo I loved Caroline Cooney! Makes me want to read her books again.

      I am now nostalgic for RL Stine, Lois Duncan, Lois Lowry and Anne M Martin.

    7. Emily*

      I recently discovered that Bruce Coville, one of my childhood favorites, has a well-maintained website and seems to be an all-around good guy. I don’t think he’s quite as prolific these days, but he has published a few things in the last decade!

      Diane Duane, too – I eventually lost interest in the Young Wizards series, but I think the first few were brilliant. I also think it’s interesting that she re-released some of her books in recent years with minor updates to the writing and technology (and in one case, I believe she changed her portrayal of an autistic character to reflect a more complete and nuanced understanding of autism that she had gained since she first wrote about him).

      1. Bibliovore*

        Just needed to say, yes, Bruce Coville is not only a terrific storyteller, he IS a really nice guy. Not a close personal friend but in the course of my work took a few meals and have been to a few events with him. Kind and considerate with a great sense of humor.

  22. Seeking Second Childhood*

    How does your garden grow? I am kicking myself because I forgot to put out the frost protection last night and we got snow. Just a dusting, but many spring blooms won’t happen. The flowering cherry had just started opening its buds this week. My long-sought miniature bleeding heart had already died back to the ground once with a previous unexpected frost. But I had cleaned off some aphids from over wintered lilies & a dahlia and even up against the side of the house like they are, I think this was too cold for them. I’m distressed for my town’s orchards too.

    1. Hotdog not dog*

      I hope it’s early enough in the season for things to recover. For once my procrastination worked in my favor; I had meant to plant the vegetable garden last week but never got around to it so it was easy to toss a tarp over the flats on the back porch.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I had my husband bring my tub of baby strawberry plants into the garage overnight, and quite pleased I did so, because it was 28 when I woke up :P I still have a cherry tree and a peach tree I’m a little worried about, and two raspberry bushes.

      Most of the front garden is getting rebuilt (this weekend, actually!) so it’s not planted yet – that’s going to be mostly rhododendrons and hostas, I think. Right now, it’s two rhodies, a ton of stupid dandelions, and a couple patches of volunteer green onions. :)

    3. Parenthetically*

      EVERYTHING is in so everything got covered up — it was a sea of sheets and tarps. Got down to 29 last night, a new record for the area.

    4. Ali G*

      Luckily it stayed above freezing here, so while no one is happy, I think everyone is going to survive. We just paid a ton of money to have our front garden redone and of course I just put my peppers in the ground last weekend. It’s not supposed to get so cold again thankfully! I hope your buds survive!

    5. LQ*

      I decided that a deal on an aerogarden for my studio apartment was worth it. I also figured out a solutin for the click grow one I have. So now I have 2 options and I’ve got lettuce, some herbs and tomatoes. So far everything has at least sprouted and I’m happy about that. I need to look into why my aerogarden is turning off during the day when I’m at work, I think I didn’t set up the lights on the right schedule and need to get that worked out so I can leave it alone. (I also LOVE the light from these as a part of my wake up morning routine.)

    6. Natalie*

      It’s chilly here this weekend and I saw some speculation is might lightly snow tomorrow, which isn’t normal. I really hope it doesn’t because all the spring flowers and flowering trees are out and it’s doing wonders for my spirits. All of our perennials are coming up nicely and when it warms up again I’ll put annuals in the boxes.

    7. Anonymath*

      We’re having a cooler late spring than normal, so my kale and collards are still happy, but my hot weather peppers and melons are less than thrilled. I figured out my cucumbers weren’t sprouting because part of my passion fruit vine was blocking the sprinkler from watering the cucumber area. Passionfruit has been trimmed and cucumber seeds replanted. Hopefully they’ll sprout this time. My ginger is sending up its leaves so I can now see how far it’s spread and where I should dig next.

      1. ReadingTheStoics*

        I’m trying to start ginger for the first time! Are they very slow to get going? I think it’s been three weeks since I put the knobs in pots.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          They like it hot, so if you’re lucky they’re just waiting for warmth. But some imported for food get treated so they won’t sprout….did you buy it from a grocer?

          1. ReadingTheStoics*

            Yes – good to know it might not work at all…but we are waiting for warm temps here too. I chose a hand that seemed to have some sprouts on it, so fingers crossed.

    8. KoiFeeder*

      I have been overcome by the absurd desire for a tree. I’m in grad school, in the grad apartments, but nope. Brain wants tree and it wants tree NOW.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Brain specifically only wants weeping willow tree. Or maybe a weeping mulberry.

          Brain is irrational.

            1. KoiFeeder*

              They’re my favorite trees- although the reason may be a bit weird!

              I mean, part of it is because they’re gorgeous and nice to sit under… and part of it is because the weeping willow on my middle school campus was my favorite reading tree and the day I was supposed to have an exam that had been sprung on us the day before, it broke into the sewage line and closed the campus for a week. I still think it did that to help me, which is childish but makes me happy to believe.

              1. pancakes*

                Wow! The first weeping willow in my life was on my grade school grounds but it never did anything like that for me! There was a beautiful one in a community garden in my neighborhood that had to be cut down a couple years ago and people held a wake for it. I’ll drop a link in a separate reply.

                1. KoiFeeder*

                  That’s an excellent name for a beautiful willow. And 41 years old! That’s pretty cool.

          1. Natalie*

            Well, there’s always bonsai. Although it looks like weeping willow bonsai is a little tricky to take care of.

            1. KoiFeeder*

              Bonsai is fascinating and objectively an artform and I’m pretty sure that the people who can do it have innate qualities that I personally lack.

              1. Natalie*

                It looks like you can buy one pre-bonsaid and it’s not as much as I would have expected. But I honestly have no idea what’s required to keep it bonsai-y

              2. pancakes*

                They’re a little tricky, in my experience. I grow all sorts of plants and have for years, but the hinoki cypress bonsai I got from target didn’t last more than 6 months. I’m not sure exactly why. It’s possible that despite the soil having fertilizer mixed in, it was more slow-release than I thought, and I ought to have fed it.

                1. pancakes*

                  The more I read the more convinced I am that was partly the cause of its death, with the other part being my failure to prune it — that would’ve let the lower parts get enough light.

    9. ReadingTheStoics*

      We had a full April of glorious gardening weather – soaking rain during the week (important for messing about in heavy clay), and lovely sunny weekends, with the satisfying result of having got through a LOT of the gardening list! My favorite exercise is moving things around in the yard, and I’m nearly completely through everything I can think of…which is just in time to switch to home demolition/repair. It’s been absolutely lovely having no social pressure to go anywhere during spring garden season, and the results really show. Which unfortunately motivates me towards hermit behavior by choice.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Thanks for the reminder of how much weeding and garden spring prep I did before this on seasonal cold snap hit. I have a very long terraced area that I’m reclaiming. Six foot square stretch has both (!) layers of landscaping cloth out. Same at the other end has been weeded back to bee balm and rudbeckia. In between is getting the worst weeded so I can dig out more landscaping cloth… I need to dive into hot composting (so to speak) with all the crummy weediness. I pulled at least 20 thistles. I also have spent so many lunch breaks and warm afternoons pulling mint that I think I have beaten back the nasty tasting patch. (The peppermint is fine, this transplant from my old house we’ve dubbed the ‘disappoint-mint’ or the ‘excre-mint’.)

    10. Clisby*

      Tomatoes, basil, and cilantro doing great. Peppers were looking a little peaked, but are doing better since I applied MiracleGro.

      For my kitchen window garden, orchids, pothos, and my leftover Christmas poinsettia are flourishing.

    11. Venus*

      I am eating asparagus from the garden!! I am really pleased that it continues to come up every year. My roses, rhubarb, garlic, and raspberries survived the winter. My daffodils are blooming, and the tulips are close.

      I have maybe 100 tomato seedlings and all are doing well. Many leaves are a bit yellow, but more sunshine and plant food has helped. I had them outside in the sunshine earlier this week, but we have had snow every day for a few days so they won’t be outside until Wednesday at the earliest. Yet I feel optimistic that I will be able to keep them alive and healthy until they can be planted outdoors, and my friends and family will enjoy the extras.

      Seeking Second Childhood: Thanks for posting. I try to do it early, but I’m usually asleep when the free-for-all goes up, and when I wake up and go online there are often already a lot of posts. Yesterday I searched for ‘garden’, saw your post, and then decided to enjoy a lovely morning offline.

    12. Loves Libraries*

      I didn’t plan to have a garden this year because I was supposed to have left for 15 days in France yesterday. When the lockdown happened, I needed a garden to keep me busy. So far it’s looking great due to our mild spring. We need more rain for the garden to keep flourishing. Have tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, peppers and squash.

  23. Curious*

    This is my first time writing on a weekend open thread!

    At the end of summer, I have a milestone birthday coming up. I have had an amazing life thus far- married, kid, healthy extended family, friends, reaching professional goals, travel….. there is a lot in life I still want to do! I decided I’m going to write out all I want to do over the next few years in a journal of sorts. I think I’m 10 years it will be fun to look back upon and say I did that! Especially since I’m up to a point where my goals are becoming more and more “fun” goals.

    The thing I’m “struggling” with is I have no idea how to organize this journal. Some of my goals have sub goals to accomplish the main goal; some can be tracked in excel others are better in word; Do I do a journal by date or by each goal.

    I’m excited to start this but I’m trying to think of a way to record my adventure! Any ideas, resource or book recommendations?

    1. Misty*

      I would organize it by each goal and then you could put the sub categories under each one?

      Congrats on the birthday!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I have a lot of little books for this and that. There’s passwords, homemade cleaners, home fixes for minor health stuff, etc. The way I organize them is by thinking about how I will use the information. It’s an evolving system, sometimes I have to get a new little book and start over because my first pick for a system did not work out.

      In your example, perhaps consider doing the journal by goal and then having a section at the back that shows the date for each goal. So the dates and goals are just a chart, but the goal page itself goes into specifics. On your date and goal chart you could have a section at the end for goals that have no set dates. If you are using excel, you can add in new dates as you create them and move the goal out of the undated section. If you are using a hand-written chart you can just add a date when you need to.

      I think start the journal and just plan that you will change it later on once you see how it’s going.

      1. Fellow Traveler*

        I agree with just starting in one notebook, and as you go, it will become clear what format you need. I keep a journal to write about my day to day, and have since I was small. At some point, I added a notebook with my to do list/ wish list- so more of a planner. After I had kids, I realized that I wanted a separate notebook for writing the kids’ milestones, so I started a new one for that. Then I started a separate notebook to track my books/movie/theatre consumption.

    3. Mimosa Jones*

      Leave the first page blank and jump in with whatever you think of first. You can tie yourself into knots over the “best” way to organize and never get started. If you really wish you’d done it differently, you can cut and paste what you’ve already written into your new system.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      This makes me think of a recent Captain Awkward post, so I’ll draw on that and suggest something like:
      1) Make columns. In Column 1, things you want to do. Large, small, work, fun, dinner tonight–it all goes here.
      2) In Column 2, why this is important to you.
      3) In Column 3, time needed.
      4) In Column 4, other things needed.

      Like, to do an international trip you need a passport, which takes 2 months, and you might want to be in shape for a lot of walking, so starting an exercise program or seeing a PT about that knee before that. Column 2 might suggest some through-lines that surprise you.

      This wouldn’t be the last step, just a first outline that led to “Ah, I need to make this chronological” or “Hmm, splitting this into complex and one-step would help” or any other insight into how best to get different plans with different time scales into motion.

    5. ronda*

      take a look at “John Locke’s method for common place book” and see if you think it would work for you.

      I heard about it in a book I was reading, but have never tried it.

  24. Financial Disaster*

    I posted some time ago (August) about considering bankruptcy or a consumer proposal (as someone guessed, I’m in Canada). We probably should have filed for bankruptcy a year before that. We remained overwhelmed with debt so we should have filed for bankruptcy
    (as many people advised) after I posted that comment. Well, long story short we didn’t file (combination of dread/shame/procrastination about filling in the forms), things have gotten worse, and it’s now pretty much inevitable that we are going to end up either in bankruptcy or with a consumer proposal.

    Due to my husband just coming off a couple months of work, right now we have some cash in our company (the nature of his work means that he has to run as a subcontractor through our company). Due to the crisis in his industry plus covid, there’s virtually no chance he’ll be working again before September. We have a big company expense coming up in about a month, and about a third of this money is going to be used to cover it. The amount of money isn’t remotely close to enough to pay off our debt, but it would probably be enough to pay that expense, and then continue to pay our regular company monthly expenses and provide my husband with a low wage (as in minimum wage level low) until July or August.

    So I’m concerned that if I send the paperwork to the trustee this week, the value of the company is going to include the amount of cash sitting in the bank, even though we have expenses that have to be paid out of it. Should I hold off on the bankruptcy papers for another month so we can at least get that big expense paid, which would also decrease the value of our company? Or do I just take that into account myself when I provide the trustee with the value of our company?

    A complicating factor is that two of our credit cards have been delinquent since September. We were getting multiple calls daily from them, but last week those calls stopped. We owe a lot of money, so I know that’s not them giving up. I’m concerned that this might be a sign that they are about to sue us, which means I’d no longer have any option to wait – I’d need to get moving with the trustee to put a halt to a lawsuit.

    Anyone with experience who could tell me how the company would be treated in a bankruptcy would be appreciated. I also would be grateful for any insight about what we might expect from the creditors next if we don’t file with the trustee right away.

    I know I should have dealt with this sooner, but I’m really struggling with this (I’ve rewritten this comment four times to try to take out most of the anxiety and emotion and just ask the question).

    1. Financial Disaster*

      And it’s not lost on me that I just spent half the night writing and rewriting this comment when I could have spent that time actually working on the bankruptcy forms. Argh.

        1. Dan*

          Yes. This a great group of people who have lots of knowledge and advice on lots of topics… but first and foremost, when one needs true professional advice, one should seek it from a professional and not from random strangers on the internet.

          Nevermind that the readership here is US-centric, so the odds of getting anything useful at all from a Canadian perspective are quite low, especially given the time OP spent writing (and rewriting) the post.

    2. JC Books*

      I have no business advice but want to reach out and let you know that we filed for bankruptcy and lost our home to foreclosure in 2019. Getting thru it will be hard, scary, emotional, and overwhelming. Words can’t describe the relief I feel almost a year later. The lawyer most likely will just professionally help you. They have seen it all. I had so much shame but life happens and you will be ok on the other side of this mountain. Today we are in a better place. Huge answers to prayer. I now have a closed in porch that is sunny all day! Being cozy and safe during the Covid Crisis makes me especially grateful. You will feel so many bricks off your back. Knowledge is power. Look forward not back! surround yourself with a trusted friend that will listen and can be trusted with your most vulnerable fears. Hugs!!!! You will be okay!

    3. leukothea*

      Sounds like you need experienced professional help for this tangle. Best of luck in sorting things out.

    4. Canadian commenter*

      I’m a Canadian. Have you tried your provincial credit counseling service? To get the contact info, in most (all?) provinces, call 211 to access info on all of the non-profit/government/health care/charity services, including financial counselling. So these will be free or low-cost options. Services can include negotiating with creditors to reduce overall debt amounts, and make payment schedules more reasonable, as well as advice on steps for bankruptcy. Good luck!

    5. A Cat named Brian*

      I don’t have legal advice but I did end up filing for bankruptcy after my divorce. Worse 3 years of my life. That was almost 11 years ago. I eventually got the debts paid off, using Dave Ramsey’s program, and now my sister and I cash flow our business entirely.
      Also completely understand writing and rewriting posts. It’s overwhelming! So do little parts day by day. And be gentle with yourself and partner. Virtual hugs!

    6. SunnySideUp*

      I can’t speak to the bankruptcy issue, but my SO and I went through a negatively life-changing experience in the 1990s that brought us both to our knees.

      You will get through this. I promise you will find in yourselves what you need to propel yourselves forward.


  25. Keymaster of Gozer*

    I would like to give a big thanks to everyone online, my family, my friends and the NHS who got me through a severe mental health problem last month. Social distancing and uncertainty made it hard but I am back to being functional again.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Thank you! There was a serious chance I’d still be in a medical ward by now but we got through it.

        I’ve got the cat climbing all over me right now (I’m not a scratching post!) but it feels good.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I love seeing my husband and cat again. When isolation becomes not necessary I look forward to personally thanking the people in geographically local areas for their life saving help.

        The world tried to beat me. It didn’t win. I’m going to drink tea and cuddle the cat :)

  26. Anon for this*

    It’s mostly been a good week. No crying jags. I’m trying to get a handle on my pandemic fridge raiding. I’m still not sleeping much and have a call into the specialist that will probably not help, but hey, fingers crossed.

    We did a zoom sort of Irish wake for a friend (who died after a long bout with cancer) and that helped. It helped a lot.

    My cleaner called Monday and after much debate he came over. He wore enough protective gear that my neighbors wondered if everything was ok–not quite full on Hazmat but like a lot of stuff. I stayed in my office and wore a mask. I may regret it later, but with my situation, it’s so hard for me to clean and it was getting so bad that I think the risk was worth it. I hope.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I can understand the cleaning thing. I’m disabled and the house is starting to look…a bit like a hoarder lives here. I keep telling myself that I have to clean but I just can’t do it.

      Additionally I really love the zoom idea for a wake. I’ve lost another friend to this whole thing and if I organise something like that it will help.

      1. Blueberry*

        Have you heard of Unf*ck Your Habitat ? (without asterisk for looking up.) The methods there can help to break down Cleaning The Place into manageable bits.

    2. Blueberry*

      Hey, we all have to balance choices. Making the choice to have your place cleaned sounds like the right one for you.

  27. nep*

    I got a real lift from this yesterday: I wanted to get my mom a mug I’d seen a while back at a nearby Hallmark. That particular store was out of it I checked a couple other stores a bit farther away. I wanted two of the mugs (because I know my mom will want to give the same mug to a dear friend of hers who just recovered from COVID), and a store about 8 miles away had two left in stock. I drove out there and bought them. Had a lovely exchange with the woman in the store. I put the bag in my van and went into a grocery store that was in the same strip. After about 15-20 min in the grocery store, I got back to my van and saw that I’d left the sliding door open. All the way open. There was Hallmark bag right inside the sliding door. Not. A. Thing. Was. Touched.

    1. nep*

      P.S. Everyone was masked. Hallmark’s doing curbside pickup. In these times I limit my outings to post office, nearby grocery store, and pharmacy; but I decided to go out a bit farther for this gift.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      That’s great! We see so much bad behavior in the news, but I really think that is only a small percentage of the population. Many more people try to do the right thing. We just don’t get to hear about that.

    3. nep*

      I told a friend about it this morning and she said, “No one wanted to touch other people’s sh&*!”
      Oh. Right.
      Still, I prefer to see it as people were just good and not wanting to take advantage of my mistake to steal something.

  28. Ermintrude*

    Hello lovely people! I am seeking some new pokemon go friends! My fish now brings me gifts, and I play daily, so I am hopefully a good friend to have

    8062 2802 6464 – Erm1ntrude

          1. Ermintrude*

            I’m fond of mine too! Not entirely sure it’s not faking the flopping around

    1. Quiznakit*

      Friend request sent! 0462 3571 1865 for anyone else in need of a friend.

      I’m feeling rather pleased this morning, as I lucked into a random shiny Snubbull, and thanks to the throwback research initiative, I finally(!) have a Mewtwo and a completed Kanto pokedex. I very rarely manage to participate in five-star raids, so most of the legendary pokemon remain utterly legendary as far as I’m concerned.

      1. Book Lover*

        The snubbull research was fun too and I think increased shiny rate from it also :)

        1. Cruciatus*


          I did some of it from home, but don’t always get enough spawns here so I went to a park literally across the street that has pokestops and poke nests and despite the cold, told myself I only had to walk long enough to finish the research. An HOUR AND A HALF later I was still walking, slowly becoming despondent and yelling “F*CK!” every time the research *still* wasn’t over (no one was out today thanks to the snow)! I only had to quit because my phone died. I still have a ways to go in the research. So far I do have maybe 4 shinies, a “hundo”, and the feeling the research will go on forever and ever until the end of time.

            1. Cruciatus*

              Exact same here! I did have one shiny from apparently 2018 (didn’t realize it had been that long!) but I never evolved it because I need to have enough shinies to evolve “the whole family” so I was at least able to do that today. My sister got only 2 shinies but got 2 100%s.

    2. Quoth the Raven*

      Sent you a request =)

      My code is 4743 8754 3135 (CoyoteCosmica), if anyone else wants to add me. I play very casually, but I’m always happy to send gifts and stuff.

    3. Hrodvitnir*

      Sent a friend request. :) I am not as consistent as I used to be as I have more friends so not always enough gifts, and not needing the XP personally any more, but I try!

  29. TechWorker*

    I read a recommendation for the YouTube channel ‘Amazing Places on our Planet’ and having watched a couple thought I’d pass it on.

    It’s basically just video of beautiful landscapes with a soundtrack, like a travel documentary without the voiceover but I’ve found them really relaxing and destressing to watch, so would recommend!

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      I was watching some of those yesterday while I was at work. I loved 2.5 hours of Norway. They really are great!

    2. coffee cup*

      This sounds great! I’ll check it out. Anxiety has been high this week and that sounds ideal.

      1. 40 Years in the Hole*

        Chill out with TV Ontario’s doc “Tripping the Rideau Canal” – a 4 hr real-time journey up a portion of the Canal, filmed last Sept. Mostly just slow motoring along in a vintage boat, with only the natural sights and sounds along the way (some occasional dialogue with lock masters), and some text, for historical context. I loop through it while ironing or reading. Super chill. Link to follow.

          1. pancakes*

            Thank you for this! I’ve been enjoying English narrowboat videos that fit pretty much the same description. One of the YouTube channels I’m subscribed to is called Cruising the Cut, and from that I’ve had other videos pop up as recommended. I had one on yesterday while working and as the boat was passing some incredibly idyllic fields I heard sheep baa.

  30. Beancat*

    When I was a kid, my childhood dream was to get my manga published in Shonen Jump. Family spat all over it – “Don’t waste your time”, “Doing anything with your art is pointless”, and even worse. I stopped caring and gave up. It got in my head last week and was really bothering me again.

    Then, seventeen years later – this week – I discovered that there’s a contest that’s open to international artists. The first and second prize winners…get their manga published in Shonen Jump :)

    I have until September to create a one-shot manga that comes in under 55 pages. I’m going for it. I have zero expectations and I’m not pinning my hopes on winning. But I feel like I just went back in time, grabbed eleven-year-old Beancat’s hand, and told her that everyone who put her down can bite me.

    I’m excited to try. It’s the first thing that’s really been a spark in quite some time.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      GO FOR IT!

      I really miss Shonen Jump and was bitter when they stopped publishing the paper version in my country. I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you! And please update us!

      (Also, people really love to shit all over other people’s art dreams. I mean, it’s true, you probably won’t be able to make a decent living off it, so have a plan B (which is true of most career paths; I’m currently on plan W), but it really bugs me when people do that. Don’t listen to those people.)

      1. Beancat*

        Oh yeah, this is definitely more a “I can say I did this cool thing” even if/when I don’t place. :) there’s of course the silly part of my brain that goes “but what if you pulled it off and became a famous artist??” But I kind of gently pet that part and shush it so I don’t pressure myself.

        My family had a weird fixation with crapping all over my dreams and in the WEIRDEST ways too. I used to talk about this dream as a kid and they would rant that I was being disrespectful because my great-grandmother’s brother was killed in WWII and that my “obsession” with Japan was hurting her. If that was actually the case she never said anything to me…I don’t know; in hindsight it seems like a way to guilt me into not doing the things I wanted.

        Thank you for all the good wishes and I’ll definitely check in!! :)

        1. ReadingTheStoics*

          When I heard Elizabeth Gilbert say that she’d promised her writing that she would never ask it to pay her bills, as long as her muse would stick around, I wished mightily that 12-yr-old Reading had thought of that. Her attitude is ‘of course you will have a Plan B, so that your creativity will not be under pressure.’

          Obviously she’s found tremendous commercial success now, with Eat Pray Love, et al, but the identification of her own psychology was impressive.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This sounds pretty exciting, you will have to let us know how it’s going!

    3. NeonFireworks*

      DO IT. This is how I felt when I started sewing in my mid twenties. Something I wanted to do as a kid that fizzled out. 11 year old me is THRILLED.

      1. Beancat*

        Awww, I love this! And your use of “fizzled” works well with your username, because now after that I’m imagining beautiful fireworks blooming now that you’re doing what you want! :)

    4. nep*

      How wonderful.
      There is nothing like getting in touch with that spark again–it’s never gone, but stuff buries it.

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

      DO IT!! I’d love to say I “know” a Shonen Jump mangaka!!!

    6. Nicki Name*

      The best of luck to you! I hope I can watch the anime adaptation in 10 years or so!

    7. Anonnington*

      That’s fantastic! Jealousy is behind a lot of words of discouragement. People often don’t realize it; they’re just using their opinions of their own potential as a reference point. It sounds impossible to them, so they assume that it’s out of reach for anyone they know.

      Ignore negativity and do your best work.

      1. Beancat*

        Thank you so much! I haven’t talked to any of my family who talked like that about my art for many years now, so it’s helped me start to build up my own confidence and hope. I’ll do my best!!

      1. Beancat*

        Thank you!! I’ve been trying to work a bit on it each day, and it’s filling my furloughed days right now. I’m going to do my best !!

      1. Beancat*

        Thank you!! I’m most concerned with enjoying it and learning from the experience :)

  31. Misty*

    Yesterday my roommates and I were all sitting in the kitchen and one of them goes “Can you believe we’ve been home straight for eight weeks?” and then my other roommates says in a really jealous voice “Except for you, Misty, you got to go to the hospital for five days and see people. Lucky.”

    And then we all started laughing so hard because literally the highlight of the last eight weeks was I got to be in the hospital surrounded by other humans who weren’t my roommates. It was so funny yesterday, I can’t even explain but it was so funny. What is this life we’re living right now?

    Anyone else have any funny moments from the last week?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I brought my dog over to see my neighbor. The dog loves her. We were outside chatting as it was a really pretty day. I noticed my dog looking at her doormat. He kept looking at it. Finally, he took one of his nails and slid it under the edge of the mat. He lifted the mat up with that one nail and looked to see what was UNDER the mat. We ended up laughing and laughing. Such a cute, unique gesture and so similar to a human gesture of curiosity. It’s nice to have a shared chuckle.

      1. Misty*

        That’s so cute! Don’t leave me in suspense though, was there anything under the mat??

        1. Not So NewReader*

          There was ASPHALT under the mat! [GASP!] He sniff tested it just to be sure it was asphalt. hahah

    2. Beancat*

      Yesterday my husband was tossing a chirpy bird to our cat to play, and out of nowhere the kitten sat up on his hind legs and swatted the bird in just such a way that he caught it between both his little paws! And he did it again and again and again every time we threw the bird to him. I just couldn’t stop laughing that my kitten who already taught himself to fetch also taught himself to catch!

      1. allathian*

        My parents’ had a cat who used to fetch things. His favorite toy was a pipe cleaner that had been folded twice. You’d throw it and he’d fetch it over and over and over again… He’s been dead for four years now and I’m happy that I still have the pictures and memories.

    3. Mazzy*

      No funny stories but I’m glad you’re like me and find lots of stuff funny, I could picture other people getting offended and all “how dare you” at stuff like this. I often laugh at stuff that is ridiculous like this but not necessarily funny when I re-tell it:-)

    4. Ali G*

      I had to take the dog to the vet yesterday. He was due for his annual shots and he had a new growth on his side (he’s fine – yay! Just old man stuff). He’s a BEAST at the vet, usually. Because of social distancing, I couldn’t go in with him. The vet tech, this lovely young woman (Dog loves women), brings him back to me and was downright gushing: “he sat in my lap the whole time and we are best friends forever now! he ate treats and was so good!”
      I came home and told my husband that I want curbside vet service forever! The Dog is never like that when I am around! We had a good laugh :)
      Glad you are feeling better!!

    5. fposte*

      A bird wants to buy my house. I think.

      I have a drill when I get packages or mail–I leave the door open, grab the stuff, put it down inside, go wash my hands, come back, and close the door. There is a bird (not sure what kind, as the lighting wasn’t good–looked smaller than a robin but possibly with an orange chest) who keeps heading into the opening to look into my house. I’ve explained it’s not for sale but it doesn’t seem to convince him.

      1. Llama Face!*

        Not for sale but maybe they’re hoping you’d be interested in a renter? Though I suspect you’d be paid in earthworms.

    6. glitter crayon*

      I have to go to hospital for some tests soon and I’m so excited that I get to go anywhere.

  32. blackcat*

    Thanks to whomever recommended the A.B. Mask 2.0 pattern for mask sewing a two weeks ago! It is approximately one million times more complex than basic pleated masks but also about a million times more comfortable! My husband has a wide face and the masks provided by his workplace tug on his ears too much. This mask fits him really well, is comfortable for all day wear, and learning how to make it was a fun little project or me. I haven’t really sewed since college, and it’s weirdly nice to have a hobby again.

    1. LNLN*

      So glad that worked for you! It is not the fastest pattern to make, but I think it is a good, snug fitting mask. Wishing you and your husband well.

    2. Wishing You Well*

      Glad you found a good solution for your husband.
      Some people can wear “ear savers”: a simple band with 2 big buttons to hold the elastic off the ears. These won’t help if the elastic is already too tight on the ears, but it’s an option for some.
      A BIG THANK YOU to all the people working out there in the pandemic!

  33. Jedi Squirrel*

    If Tom Jones wanted to make the world really happy right now, he would do a cover version of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. I would pay good money for that right now.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        I mean, I can hear it in my head. I just want to hear it with my ears.

      1. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

        Pretty much any Michael Jackson song would probably be funny to hear when sung by Tom Jones, but Smooth Criminal is such a creepy song to start with. I think hearing the lyrics to it in Jones’ smarmy voice would be hilarious. Or trauma-inducing. I’m not sure which.

      2. Jedi Squirrel*

        I had a dream once that Tom Jones was singing it on the radio and it sounded really good!

        1. Lcsa99*

          Oh man, I’d love to trade dreams. I don’t remember the majority of my dreams but most of them lately have been of the stressful returning-to-normal-work variety. Anything with ridiculously wonderfully weird music would be great.

          1. Jedi Squirrel*

            I have been having really bad dreams during this time, mostly like falling off of high things.

            But this dream was that I was driving down the road, and he came on radio singing that song. And I was like “I didn’t know Tom did a cover of that!”

            FWIW, I love the Alien Ant Farm version even better than the original.

            1. allathian*

              I hear you on the Alien Ant Farm version. Great stuff.
              But now I have an earworm of Tom Jones singing it, too… Weird.

  34. MistOrMister*

    Thoughts on kindle unlimited? I didnt realize it is basically a virtual library that you pay for. Not sure how I feel about the payment part. I love the real library but find it difficult to use my library’s virtual section. Everything is always checked out. I’m just not sure it’s worth paying $10 a month for the kindle one.

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      It isn’t a contract so you can cancel if you aren’t using it. Scroll through and see how many books you want to read that are available on the plan. This can give you an idea if it’s right for you.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      It’s basically Netflix for Kindle books. *shrug* I get enough use out of it to be worthwhile, but your mileage may vary. Personally, I occasionally get annoyed at having to dig through all the trashy romance (which is a perfectly valid genre, just not my cup of tea) to find the trashy sci fi and post-apoc fiction I mostly use it for, but my actual biggest complaint is that there isn’t a way to set up a queue of books you want to come back for. Like, they can do a queue for Prime video, so I don’t know why they can’t do one for Kindle Unlimited too. :P

      I’ve also found some decent cookbooks on there – there’s a really good Indian cookbook that I keep bookmarked, and a couple of Instant Pot ones.

      1. Llama Face!*

        I just use my amazon wishlists for that. I made one list specifically for books I can read on Unlimited and save the books I want to read to that list.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Yeah, that’s what I do too, but it’d be nice if I could set up a queue and just, when I return one, the next one automatically downloads. :)

          1. Llama Face!*

            Ah, I see. I change book moods often enough that a queue like that wouldn’t work for me because the next book on the queue might not be what I’m feeling like reading. But I also read a lot and ridiculously fast.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              Me too, but I’m of the “I’ll read anything that happens to land in front of me, up to and including shampoo bottles if necessary” mindset, so as long as I put it on the list in the first place, I’m generally fine with whatever pops up next :)

    3. Uranus Wars*

      I use a combination of library and prime – not kindle unlimited. With my prime subscription I get one free book a month (which half the time are just meh and half the time pretty damn good) and once a month I can “borrow” one book from the unlimited library. If I need more than 2 books in a month then I supplement from my library.

      I couldn’t justify another subscription service so this option works for me. Do you have a Prime membership?

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        That’s another thing — if you read five books a week (*waves*), $10 a month is nothing for books. If you read 1-2 books a month, it becomes much less feasible – most of the Kindle Unlimited books are pretty inexpensive to purchase, so if you’re not doing at least 2 or 3 a month you’re definitely not getting your money’s worth. (On a straight economic scale, at least.)

    4. LQ*

      Netflix for kindle. It’s …it is what it is.

      I think part of it is what do you read and how much of it. If you read a lot of romance honestly? Get KU. It’s relentlessly good for that and the readers are voracious. If you’re on the read a couple of books a month kind of person I’d recommend spending more time figuring out your virtual library. Mine has something where it only shows me books that are currently available to check out, which makes it much easier. The other thing is once you get on a roll of doing requests you can pretty much always have 3-5 in your list waiting for you. I was sitting down once a week and adding new ones and shuffling around old ones and it was quick and enjoyable.

      KU is better if you never want to be told no (but then you have to make sure you’re ONLY looking at KU books, not all amazon books are KU books) or if you want to be able to just pick whatever you want in the moment.

      If you’re up for planning and want a broader selection, especially of best sellers, or a wider range of books and are ok planning or waiting I think the library can work for you.

      I picked up KU for a couple months right now because I want to just not have to think or plan and I want a different kind of book than the library usually has. And I never want to get 2 books into a series and not have 3-8 not available right now. So KU for now. But I’m usually far far partial to regular (free!) library.

    5. OperaArt*

      I use Kindle Unlimited extensively, so it easily pays for itself each month. Good thing I like genre fiction. :-)
      There’s a limit to the number of books you can borrow at once, perhaps 10.
      I keep track of all the ones I want to read by downloading the free samples and only borrowing the full books when I want to read them.

    6. Fikly*

      Depends if you care about authors getting paid. They basically get paid nothing.

      The selection is also, last I checked, heavily biased toward self-published works on Amazon, and not comprehesive of traditionally published works.

    7. Anonymous Educator*

      Your library may subscribe to Hoopla, which is different from its own virtual section. In a virtual section, there are actual limits on how many people can “check out” a certain eBook or audio book, and then you can get in line to check it out. With Hoopla, as far as I can tell, you can always check out whatever you want, as long as it’s in the catalog.

    8. Ali*

      Not sure where you are, but I’m in the U.S. and I use the Libby app. I can get almost any book that I’d get out of the library for free send to my Kindle app, just sometimes there is a wait.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        Yes! I mostly use my library’s electronic loans for audio books because despite all the time I read the internet on my phone (A LOT) I was never that excited about reading eBooks. Then I recently discovered the Libby eBooks could be downloaded to my kindle and I was off reading.

        My library has Libby/Overdrive (same content different app), Hoopla, and CloudLibrary. Libby/overdrive has the most content I consume but I use them all.

    9. Ellen Ripley*

      I signed up around Christmas when they had a free month special and have kept it so far since I can’t get to the library right now (the ebook selection at my local library is less than ideal). I would agree that it’s mostly for genre books like romance, thrillers, etc., and some older nonfiction. If you read a lot in those genres it will probably save you money. I have read that authors don’t get much of a percentage from it, so that doesn’t thrill me.

    10. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Our library defaults to checking books out for 3 weeks and it’s often hard to check them back in early. One app, I haven’t been able to use at all since the first month when I tried to check out three in a row. There’s a 2-per-month limit which is crazy for my reading speed.

    11. Sunflower*

      I just signed onto Scrib’d. There’s a book series I read a while ago included on there that wasn’t included on Kindle. I think the first month is free and then it’s $10 after. I also love the library and in any other time, I would never elect to read a book on a tablet or e-reader. The library is going to be backed up for quite some time I think and the $10 is worth it to me.

      1. anonymouse for this*

        I love Scrib’d – I find a lot more content on there that I want to read than I could on Kindle Unlimited. Also there are a lot of audiobooks so I can listen to a book while walking

    12. Loves Libraries*

      I haven’t considered KU. I really miss the print books from our public library which has completely ceased circulation. I’ve been checking out books through their Overdrive program. The selection is much less and the wait for new books is much longer. It doesn’t seem like the library has increased their ebook offerings despite a much increased demand. The public library is scheduled to resume circulation on the 18th. I hope Georgia’s next wave or spike doesn’t happen until I can get some books and DVDs I’ve been waiting for.

    13. Amethystmoon*

      Yes, you pay for it. I like it and would be spending way too much money on books without it. Makes it much easier for me to have a limit.

  35. Jedi Squirrel*

    Content Warning: Eating issues

    Has anyone else just lost their appetite? I’ve never been much for breakfast, but always made myself eat something because noon lunchtime is a long ways away. But since WFH, I’ve gradually dwindled down from three meals to two meals to one. And I only eat that one because I realize I have to eat something.

    I am craving spicy food, but when I cook it‒yeah, not interested.

    The irony is that I have a pantry stuffed to the gills and I don’t really need it.

    1. Misty*

      Yep. I’ve been having a hard time eating so I basically schedule it now. Like I eat when my roommates eat as much as I can and kind of just hope that’s enough. If I skipped meals, I would be in huge trouble.

      I’ve had my best luck with foods that are higher calories and don’t have a lot of taste to them.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        Yeah, I’m hypoglycemic, and the low blood sugar is what made me notice I’d missed a meal. I just don’t know. It’s weird.

        I did try macaroni and butter with seasoned salt and pepper on it. It was oddly satisfying, but for one day only.

        1. Misty*

          I feel you. The struggle in real.

          I’ve been having good luck with plain gluten free waffles that are freshly made. But other than that, it’s not really easy to find anything to eat that I actually want to eat more than a bite of. I think my stomach feels off because of anxiety too so that may not be helping.

      2. Washi*

        I agree with scheduling it! I also find that watching a cooking show helps, and eating while watching a cooking show is the best :) When I’m not hungry for dinner I’ll watch something from Bon Appetit’s channel on Youtube (love Gourmet Makes) and that usually gets me in the mood for food.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      If we move around less, then we don’t seem to require as much food. I know I eat less in warmer weather. I also eat less if I am eating alone. So there can be a lot of factors going on at once.

      We can train our brains to ignore food. BTDT. Not a good plan in the long run, although it can feel okay for the short run. When depression/inertia and other problems set it, it becomes a bad plan.

      My suggestion is to eat smaller portions at pre-determined intervals each day. When my husband passed, I did not care if I ate or not. Lunch was literally a handful of salad. Dinner was a small bowl of soup. I had set windows of time that the food had to be eaten. I picked things that are basically nutritious and make small portions. Hey, if I don’t care if I eat or what I eat, then I might as well eat something that is going to help my body. I also chose to read while eating. This helps me to stay on track as I enjoy reading something and I will sit there to finish the newspaper or magazine.

      You might make out better with a protein drink or veggie drinks. For a while there, I had some drinkable soups in single serving containers. I liked how the food settled in my system, it felt like it was helping my body.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        I do have some slim fast shakes, so at least I have nutrition. I do like the idea of drinkable soups, though. I’m making a Costco run today, so I’ll see what I can figure out from whatever they have available.

    3. Buni*

      Likewise, but I figured it was just a calorie-usage thang – in my usual work I would walk *bare minimum* 2 miles a day, and now I’m just sat at home all day unless I make an effort. My body doesn’t need / isn’t using the fuel so it’s not demanding it.

    4. lazy intellectual*

      I am. I think because I’m not as physically active as usual, so I’m burning less calories.

    5. KoiFeeder*

      Yeah. I’ve been eating very small portions and even then I feel bloated and nauseated, or sometimes even start getting acid reflux. It’s like my stomach walked out and left.

    6. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Sadly the more stocked my pantry/fridge/freezer is, the less of an appetite i have. My appetite has gone down the further I am in pregnancy. I can’t complain, I prefer that to being a bottomless pit. Easier to control my sugar levels as well.

    7. Sunset Maple*

      I don’t think this is odd at all. Quarantine has made it really, really difficult to be physically active, and sedentary bodies don’t need as many calories.

      (I’ve been trying my best to keep exercising, but dog owners around here utterly refuse to be responsible adults and control their animals to adhere to social distancing, so I’ve had to give up walking the nature trails and sidewalks.)

      I’m concentrating on nutrient-dense foods and avoiding junk and volume eating, which seems to help.

    8. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I’m struggling to keep up any sort of mealtime system. I’m particularly not getting things that involve complicated meal prep done (I have been meaning to make pizza for a month, and never get the dough started), but also want to “save” my convenience foods in case I get too sick to cook, and anyway a lot of days I end of realizing it’s well past dinner time and I should really eat something and getting into a spiral about what. This usually ends in nachos, which I make sure to stockpile the ingredients for each time I go to Costco so that they will remain an escape hatch.

      When my job involved leaving the house, I had to eat breakfast by x time before I left for work, and I had a specific time y that was when I could eat lunch during my workday and that wasn’t easily shifted, so I had my first two meals of the day on a timed system and I ate both breakfast and lunch regularly. I planned out what they’d be in advance, and then I had to get them done within those time constraints, so they happened reliably. Dinner was always a little iffy, but I’d already had two good meals, I’d go get a pizza if I really couldn’t figure out dinner, and it was easy to buy my preferred pasta noodles so I could also give up and eat pasta for dinner several times a week if was just not able to figure anything else out.

      Now there’s no structure to anything and I always could eat a little later, since I’m working from my dining room and don’t “have to” take my breaks at specific times. Whatever I got at Costco has to last 3 weeks and if they don’t have it, I pretty much won’t get any more of it once I eat my existing stocks since I don’t want to go multiple places. (My favorite pasta was a bulk bin item from Winco. I have no idea where to go to get something similar now, but the answer is not Costco since they don’t even seem to sell whole wheat pasta. I have about 5 servings of pasta left until I’m making my own from scratch.) Food has just gotten hard and unpatterned, and I’m so tired of it.

    9. allathian*

      I have the opposite problem. I’m eating too much, especially carbs. I’m also not eating enough veggies.
      I’m making a point of taking at least one 20-minute brisk walk in our neighborhood every day, but I don’t get as much walking done as I do when I commute to the office on public transit.

  36. MissGirl*

    I’ve been wanting to get a dog for a while now but I’m having trouble deciding on a breed. The only breeds I have a lot of experience with are border collies, but that is way too much energy for my situation and they’d be miserable.

    I live in a townhouse with tiny yard so I need something that is calm and not huge. I also want to be able take it hiking and running so it can’t be tiny either. I don’t want something that sheds a lot as I’m a neat freak. I work from home a lot to take care of it but I still have the occasional day at work (once or twice a week when all is normal).

    I’m not opposed to a rescue but that still requires understanding the breed. My old roommate rescued a dog without any regard for if that kind of dog would fit her life. It was miserable because it was a huge and more aggressive but lived in a tiny place (it once bit me).

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      I have short hair dogs and they shed but my roomba (daily) picks up most of it. You could consider a low shed breed but then you have added maintenance of hair cuts/ brushing. Mixed breeds/muts seem to have fewer congenital issues than breeder dogs. You could foster to see how you function with an animal in your space.

    2. Jedi Squirrel*

      Have you considered rescuing an older dog. They are generally calmer and grateful to have a place to live. They are also notoriously hard to place, because just like with regular kids, everybody wants babies.

      They won’t be with you as long, but they have a lot of love still to give. And they love cuddling and naps!

      1. MissGirl*

        Thanks, but I do want a younger dog as I don’t want to be dealing with health issues after only a few years, especially where I want a dog to take on long hikes. I don’t necessarily need a puppy. I am in this for the long haul.

        1. Jedi Squirrel*

          In that case, I would recommend against anything terrier. They are very high energy and can be aggressive.

          Have you ever thought of a standard poodle? They are smart like miniature poodles, but very calm and friendly and not at all aggressive. They are bigger, and they don’t shed, but grooming is an issue. And they do love running and the water.

          1. MuttIsMyCopilot*

            Seconding the standard poodle suggestion! They’re great dogs that are just as happy to hike with you for a few hours as they are to hang out on the couch. They’re also not very badly and would be quite suitable for a townhouse as long as you’re up for regular brushing and trims.

            I would also recommend looking into a rescued racing greyhound. They’re usually only a couple of years old when they’re retired, (perfect for being ready to take long hikes right away!) and they’re famously low maintenance. They’re mostly couch potatoes, but up for spurts of exercise any time. They do shed some but have very short, clean coats. The main downside is that they have a very strong drive to chase and can never be trusted off-leash in unfenced places.

            Another option might be some kind of retriever. Goldens have a ridiculously long list of genetic problems, but the less overbred breeds are still a good mix of mellow plus stamina. Maybe check it flat coated or curly coated retrievers.

            1. MuttIsMyCopilot*

              That should say that poodles aren’t very *barky*. All these breeds are fairly quiet.

            2. Stephanie*

              I’m seconding the rescued greyhound suggestion. They are super chill, but love walks, too. But, yes, they can not ever be allowed off leash, because they will take off. We’ve had six rescued greyhounds over the span of 12 years or so, and they really are great dogs. We currently have two 85 pound greyhounds and a 45 pound whippet-greyhound mix. (We have two or three at a time, because they’re just so good.) They don’t really have a lot of genetic problems, but they do tend to have very bad teeth, for some reason. The rescue groups that we’ve worked with do a really good job of matching adoptees up with the right dog, too.

              1. Ali G*

                Are greyhounds really not great about stairs? Also they can be off leash with a six-foot fence, right? I would love to get one, and we have a great local GH rescue, but I worry about the stairs. We have 4-story home (including basement), so lots of stairs. We sleep on the third floor and hang in the basement so doing stairs is a requirement.

                1. Stephanie*

                  We only had one greyhound that was fine on the stairs, and our whippet mix will go up and down the stairs. All of the others just don’t do stairs (a short flight–like 4-5 is fine). They can be trained to do stairs, we just never felt like it was necessary. We live in a two story house, and have a finished basement, too, but it’s kind of a plus that the dogs don’t go up on the second floor where the bedrooms are. (That staircase is not carpeted, so even the whippet mix avoids it.) It would require a lot of patience on your part, and a willingness to take it slowly. Greyhounds are really sensitive, and don’t enjoy long training sessions, but they are smart dogs and do pick things up fairly quickly. Carpeted stairs (or those with a runner) would definitely be much easier.
                  You can definitely let them off leash in a yard with a six foot fence, I should have been more specific. We only have a four foot fence, and it’s fine, six is even better.
                  They’re also generally really, really good with being crated, which makes things easier.
                  If you’re interested in a greyhound, the rescue group would very likely have some tips for training to use stairs. Our group does a fantastic job of making sure things are going well and welcome any questions after adoptions–even for months and months after. They also have a Facebook group where folks can reach out.

                2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

                  Pretty much any dog that hasn’t experienced stairs will have to learn them – my bloodhound-lab mix had never done stairs when I adopted her at age 4, and had to get the hang of it. Especially going downstairs is probably kinda scary, when your head has to go down before the rest of you does :) Both my dogs learned going up way easier than they learned going down.

                3. Seeking Second Childhood*

                  A friend who has had a series of greyhounds says that most important about the fence is that it is solid. They will run right into a chain link fence if they’re focused on a squirrel on the other side.

                4. Four-legged Fosterer*

                  I think the underlying problem is that racing greyhounds aren’t raised in a home, so they aren’t used to stairs. I don’t foster the breed at all, so I can’t say anything from experience, but I have fostered a lot of strays that lived outdoors and didn’t understand stairs at first. It takes a bit to teach them, but it is often quite quick if they have the right motivation. They would have had to learn as puppies if they had different circumstances, same as kittens having to learn too. The easiest way with puppies is to put them a step or two up and then have food at the bottom, so they get used to a step, and then increase to put them up higher. With large adult dogs you can’t easily put them on the middle of the stairs, but you can apply gentle leash pressure and coax them with treats. I start with my front steps because they are sturdy and only a few, and because I need the dog to go outside to the washroom.

                  I wouldn’t worry about stairs, as that can be trained, although if you are adopting a dog from a rescue then you could mention it as some fosters are likely to have stairs and the dog wouldn’t need any training.

              2. Zooey*

                I adore greyhounds but I am not sure they are the right choice if you want to hike with your dog. They are built for speed rather than endurance and tend not to be that excited about long walks. My grandmother has always had greyhound rescues an we’ve definitely found they are sick of walking before we are! (They are .lovely dogs though with great characters! And they love to snuggle.)

            3. Smol Book Wizard*

              I love my miniature poodle! I am sure standards are awesome too, although I haven’t met as many.

              If you settle on a breed you like, try calling around to local breeders and seeing if they have young adult dogs available – “failed” show prospects, females who’ve had a couple litters and prefer individual attention, etc. It’s surprisingly common, and you can get a clearer picture of the personality of the dog than with a puppy – also get to skip the puppy phase, which personally didn’t mesh well with me.

            4. KoiFeeder*

              My brother got his golden retriever from a breeder that tested for several genetic issues to try and circumvent this.

              Then she ended up with Literal ADHD and had to go on Ritalin. You just can’t win with goldens (but she’s very loved regardless)!

    3. ThatGirl*

      Most rescues are good about vetting personalities and matching people, especially if you ask for help. We adopted a roughly 2 year old Maltese poodle mix who is low shedding and chill and he’s been the best dog for us. Not too big, likes walks but is content to snooze, loves to cuddle.

      I will say, it might be hard to find a dog that is both calm and has tons of energy for long hikes, but I’m sure you can find one that fits your life.

      1. MissGirl*

        Yes, I’m sure something on my wish list will fall off. My neighbor has a Bernese Mountain dog and they’re really calm and can go forever hiking but they also shed a lot and are huge and want a lot of socialization, which I can’t provide. I just don’t want to get something that’s miserable in my life.

    4. Teapot Translator*

      When I was researching breeds, I used dogtime.com a lot. They have a handy notation system for different things. I’d also like a dog that can go hiking with me, so whenever I was interested in a breed, I would google “dog breed” and “hiking”. I don’t know about running (because I don’t run), but according to the Internet, small doesn’t mean the dog can’t go hiking. But small does mean that it’s more likely to adapt to a small living space.
      Some shelters do assess their dogs (so it’s based on the actual dog and not the breed) and you can talk about what you’re looking for and they can figure out if it’s a good match.

    5. My Brain Is Exploding*

      After you figure out in general what breeds would be the right size for you, I’d recommend an older dog (maybe age 4-6). You aren’t supposed to take young dogs running; you will likely have an idea of temperament plus an older dog will (probably) be a bit mellower.

    6. Elf*

      Daschunds (and especially mixes) are the best; big dog personalities and habits but they are actually quite small. If you get a mix (with slightly longer legs) they can definitely keep up for whatever, but they don’t need tons of room or overwhelming amounts of exercise.

    7. fposte*

      Another possibility is greyhound rescue. I know apartment dwellers with greyhounds; they’re basically couch potatoes when they’re not running. Greyhound rescues also seem very thoughtful about matching adopter to dog.

    8. Natalie*

      Not sure if you use reddit at all, but if so the r/dogs community has a super helpful breed questionnaire that you post and then people will give you suggestions. The regulars really know their breeds IMO.

    9. Dan*

      Overall advice:

      No matter what breed you get or where you get it, you have to be prepared for a dog that isn’t what you expected/planned for/hoped for. Case in point, I’ve got a Yorkie. People ask me, “Oh, is that a yorkie? What’s it like to have a yorkie?” And I tell them, “I’m not the one to ask about that.” Why? Because from what I read about the breed’s general characteristics… the big things don’t apply to my dog. This one is super quiet, and a little couch potato. Mine’s potty trained to boot. (My understanding is that this breed is notoriously hard to potty train, and I can’t dispute that.)

      The downside of getting a young pup is you have no idea about its temperament or health history. My brother and his wife got a purebred from a reputable breeder, and the dog has serious (and expensive) health problems. If you go the rescue route, you at least have the possibility of getting a “known” quantity temperament and health history wise. My parents have always gotten dogs from the shelter, and they’ve always worked out fine.

      1. Lora*

        They can’t read the dog books, Dan! How are they supposed to know what to do?? :P

        Agree 100% about getting a dog you didn’t expect. I have a couple of LGDs, which are supposed to be calm, relaxed, independent, not needing a ton of interaction. Yeah, mine didn’t read the dog book and their breed characteristics consist entirely of “big white fluffy things,” “shed a LOT I mean A LOT” and “eat surprisingly little really”. They are also total velcro dogs that demand attention constantly when indoors, go OFF at the slightest squirrel fart and have broken multiple, multiple windows trying to murder a fox in the yard. You get what you get sometimes.

        1. Dan*

          Since we’re on the subject of generalized breed behaviors… last week I was sitting out on the patio of my apartment with a friend of mine, and a drunk/high guy walked straight in through the main door. I got in the guy’s face and he left, but my Yorkie, the notorious breed who can’t shut up? He didn’t make a peep. I’m like dude… I appreciate the fact that you don’t bark very often, but it’s ok to go nuts over people who don’t belong in the apartment. My Yorkie can go a a week without barking, which by and large is a good thing in an apartment.

    10. Eeeek*

      For me a shih tzu is the best dog ever. Mine is 18 pounds which is pretty much the max for a shih tzu so they are pretty small but not minuscule. They love cuddling and are super snuggly and they don’t shed! But that means you have to pay for haircuts every couple months but personally not shedding is worth it. They have really cute personalities too and are just little fluffs. They are stubborn though mine is a little manipulator but in a cute way also he basically potty trained himself so that was a plus. And they aren’t energetic after the puppy phase. Playing in the yard for a bit and a walk is plenty for them.

    11. Smol Book Wizard*

      I can quite second the standard or miniature poodle recommendations – I have a dear little miniature poodle, about 20 pounds, who is just right for snuggling and also loves walks and hikes! She is 6 years old and still going strong, aside from some dental issues that her previous owner didn’t really do well on controlling and we’re doing catch-up on.

      The grooming for poodles is a bit more of a trouble than I expected, although I think I still prefer it to having dog hair around. I would say either be willing to pay for a groomer regularly (every couple months) or be ready to do a lot on your own, and especially for an active dog you’ll still need to comb or brush them to prevent matting. Not that it’s a dealbreaker, but it’s something I tell people to be aware of – once things slide with a poodle’s grooming they can get messy fast.

      What I did to get mine, and what I recommend if you find a breed you are interested in – look for local breeders and ask if they have “teen” or adult dogs available. In my experience, it’s actually really common that there be some 1 year old dogs who didn’t make it in the show ring, or 3 year old females that have had a couple litters and would do better with individual attention than the pack life, etc. This way you can make your choice based on a personality that’s already established, and you might find it’s easier than dealing with a baby puppy anyway. (I had a puppy briefly and it was not compatible with my mental health at that time, but my current dog is one of the best things that ever happened to me.)

      In terms of breeds, have you thought about greyhounds? I don’t have a lot of personal experience, but from all I’ve heard, they’re remarkably laid-back and do well with moderate exercise. Also, they’re smooth-coated, so not as much shedding and a lot less grooming needs.
      Best wishes on your doggie search! :)

      1. hermit crab*

        My parents’ current dog, a small labradoodle, is a “failed” breeder – poor thing got doggy eclampsia so she was spayed after her first litter, around age two I think. My parents were thinking about a puppy but got her instead and it was a great decision. They have had a few poodle mixes over the years and they’ve all been fantastic in their own way.

    12. ronda*

      I really liked my dobermans. short coarse hair that falls to the floor. very attached to their humans. territorial so great guard dogs. (mine were territorial at the house, but not out on walk — I figured that was not their territory)

      very agile, 1st doberman always went walking in the woods with me. A gimpy neighbor dog often tagged along. A different neighbor told me she always thought of my dog as the gazelle and the other one as the wildebeast cause of the way they moved.

      They are fine in an apartment. Lost of large dogs do a lot of resting when home.

      A friend recently told me she choose a doberman for her 5 year old son, because she fondly remembered our 1st doberman.

    13. Seeking Second Childhood*

      There are many breed-specific rescue groups, some of which can be found through the website Petfinder. From poodle to schipperke, they are also a good source of information about how breeds behave. (I adore schipperkes, but the poodle coat is easier on my allergies.) If you’re worried about grooming, remember that poodles don’t HAVE to have a full show coat. A ‘puppy cut’ can be used on adult dogs, and it can be done at home fairly easily.

  37. Jay*

    So, a wonderful new Pandemic side effect in my life.
    My upstairs neighbor has serious mental problems. Like, horror movie serious.
    She goes on berserk rages, lasting anywhere from 15 min to 45 min at a stretch,on and off, usually over a several hour period. Smashing on my ceiling hard enough to dislodge tiles, screaming threats to beings visible only to herself at the top of her lungs.
    She has now taken to doing this at night and the early mornings, so nobody gets any sleep for a radius of several apartments around her.
    The cops have been called multiple times, but the rages are so intense that she screams herself out before they get here, and they hear nothing. She locks her door and won’t acknowledge the police knocking. They say there is nothing they can do at that point.
    The Pandemic has brought out the worst in her.
    She knows that no one can get her evicted during the Pandemic, so any restraint that she might have had is gone.
    She has called me “The Fat Pig” for years now (I’m a solid 4 on the Iglesias Scale).
    As of about a week ago she has started screaming that she is “Going To Cut The Fat Pigs Head Off”, sometimes several times a day. I assume in retaliation for calling the police on her for her rages and rampages waking me up between midnight and 4 am.
    She never does this while the police are around, so they do nothing. She cannot be evicted, so the buildings management does nothing. The trustee who is “in charge” of her care is as deluded as she is and is convinced that she is just “a little bi-polar” and is fine, so they do nothing. She will not even allow her other family in her apartment, so they never see how bad she is, so they do nothing.
    I’m beyond frustrated at this point.
    She is a rather small woman, not physically intimidating at all. If it was just a fist fight (she wanted to “punch the fat pig in the nose”) I would not be concerned. I could gently hold her in place with one hand without anyone getting hurt (it’s why I only called in with noise complaints or welfare checks before now, as I considered myself in no danger at all and was mostly worried she would hurt herself, or annoyed if a tile came loose from my ceiling). But the threats to cut my head off are a whole different matter, one I take very seriously indeed.
    I do not have the option of moving at this point (both because of the virus and several other reasons) and she obviously isn’t going anywhere until at least several months after the moratorium on evictions in our state is rescinded.
    Other than making ineffectual complaints just so there is a paper trail and keeping my butchers knife or brush axe within reach at all times, does anyone have any advice? Because all I get from anyone else is that I just have to put up with it until they can have her kicked out of the building.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Rebecca*

      Can you record the rampages with your phone? Hold the phone up to the ceiling so the 911 operator can hear, and it will be recorded there as well? If she is making terroristic threats, and that’s what this is, she needs to be arrested and charged. It might just be a misdemeanor charge, but at least there would be the start of a paper trail, plus the logs of your calls to 911. At this point, I’d call every time she’s on a rampage and dropping ceiling tiles on your head. And be aware – just because she’s a small woman doesn’t mean she couldn’t somehow sneak up on you and hurt you. Good luck. And maybe try to find some good earplugs.

      1. Jay*

        I’ve asked about recording the rampages. The police say it is fine, even suggested it themselves. But the building manager said no, on privacy grounds. I guess recording other tenants in their apartments is against building policy and an evictable offence. So, unless they do it outside their apartment, I’m s.o.l.

          1. Jay*

            Right now they can’t. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t a month from now.

            1. tiasp*

              Just in case you didn’t clarify this with your building management – I would make sure they understood that you weren’t going to record her in her apartment, you were going to record her in YOUR apartment. To me there’s a difference between trying to get a recording device into her apartment or standing outside her door recording and recording the sounds in your own apartment. It would be bizarre for the rule to be that you were prevented from making recordings in your own apartment because another resident was being too noisy in her apartment. If you were at work on a recorded zoom meeting, would you have to hang up if she started a rampage? If you are calling 911 and she’s being so loud it can be heard in the background, do you have to hang up? It’s ridiculous.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Can you work with the police on that? “I would be happy to follow your suggestion of recording the THREATS AGAINST MY LIFE so that you can follow up on them, but the building manager has threatened me with eviction if I do so. Is there anything you can do to help me out here? Can I call you while it’s going on and have YOU record it?” (Also, check your lease – does it actually say anything about recording other tenants being an evict-able offense, or is the manager just kinda coming up with that off the top of their head?)

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            Also, if you know there are other tenants affected, can you maybe contact them and see if they’re willing to band together as far as registering complaints?

            1. Jay*

              I get it worse than anyone else, so they only really have reason to complain once a week or so, and most do not want to do so, for their own reasons (some good, some “I just don’t want to get involved”). I’ve tried, over and over, to get people to do so. They just won’t. They will commiserate, spend a solid hour talking when we run into each other in the hallways, complaining that “no one will do anything” about her. Then refuse to do anything themselves. It’s infuriating.

          2. Jay*

            Thanks, I will try that.
            Right now, because she is so relatively harmless looking (and she has enough self control not to act out when anyone who can do anything about it is around) no one takes it seriously. Everyone seems to want to blame me for overreacting. Guess it’s just easier for everyone else that way.

          3. Jdc*

            Ya I don’t think your building management can just put illegal things in the lease. You are allowed to record your life being threatened.

        2. Wired Wolf*

          Even though the neighbor is in her apartment, the noise is “in” yours. We had a herd of anger-challenged elephants living above us for a while and I was able to record them without leaving our living room; my state is two-party consent, but I was able to use a loophole as I wasn’t using the recording for legal purposes, simply to prove to management what was happening (they did get evicted; apparently we weren’t the only tenants to complain, just the only ones to get proof).

          1. ToS*

            ^This. You can use video recording to demonstrate that it’s loud enough to be recorded in your living space. You do not need your landlord’s permission. The landlord has a problematic tenant that is not improving.

            She has been notified several times, in strong terms, to manage the volume.

            It may mean that, with the recordings, your neighbor gets a brief involuntary psychiatric hold if the police have enough to work with. If it doesn’t land at that level, it might mean that she gets access to Actual Health Professionals who might help her to help herself.

          2. Amethystmoon*

            Not to mention, the damage to your ceiling is visible and you didn’t do it. Could you take pictures of the damage? Get a good camera, and use a ladder or a long lens if you can get one.

        3. Fikly*

          Check your lease. I doubt it’s on their. Building managers tend to make this up.

        4. Eeeek*

          But you’re not recording them in their apartment, you’re just recording that status of your apartment from inside of it. That is not recording someone in their apartment. My only other advice would be to call 911 immediately every single time and attempt to make a police report for the threats to get a paper trail going.

          1. tangerineRose*

            You don’t even have to record it; just call the police while it’s happening and they can hear it over the phone. They’ll probably record it automatically.

          2. Grapey*

            Right? Start a video saying “Recording a video inside my apartment!” and then stay quiet while you randomly pan around the room and capture the “ambient” noise.

        5. Observer*

          Next time you call hold your phone to the ceiling and let the operator hear it. That will be recorded, but YOU didn’t record it. And, I agree with the others – check the lease.

        6. RM*

          if it’s not explicitly mentioned in your lease (and not against the law of course) it’s not an evictable offense

      2. Red Sky*

        All of this. If you can provide proof she’s a danger to herself or others (you!) she may be but on a 72 hour psych hold for evaluation and treatment, not sure how covid-19 is affecting this tho.

      3. KR*

        Well, gentle note, if the noise is that loud in your apartment you aren’t recording other tenants in *their* apartment, you’re recording other tenants in *your* apartment, the tenants are just being so loud the noise is carrying over. I’d say screw it and record the noise every time she wakes you up, especially threats. Call building maintenance every time she makes a ceiling tile fall down. Maybe if you and your neighbors submitted a complaint together your building maintenance might be willing to do something? Even if they had a free apartment on a ground floor where her stomping won’t bug someone if they aren’t willing to evict this tenant.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I’d keep calling around until you found someone who can help- social services, adult protective, somebody.

      The police may need to come in an unmarked car and it may need to be non-uniformed people. I think rather than waiting for the next episode, I’d consider going to the police station and talking with someone now. They may need to bring a social service person with them or loop in someone in social services. Carefully select which agency you will go to. Here we have local, county and state police. It’s good to take a minute to find out who might be the most responsive.

      Is her caregiver a family member or is her care giver part of a not-for-profit and she is their employee? If she works for a company (NPO) then you could call that company.
      If you can’t think of any other ideas, perhaps you can call the district attorney’s office for your area and ask them for help/ideas.

    3. Bagpuss*

      Is there a non-emergency number for the police that you can call to ask if there is anything that you can do- for instance whether they could act if you have recordings, or whether they can do anything about the threats (even if you don’t think they are anything she would act on)?

      It’s also worth making formal complaints to your landlord each time it happens and encouraging any neighbours to do the same; and if you can afford it, maybe speak to a lawyer to see if there’s anything you can do (restraining order) or whether there are any exceptions to the rules stopping her being evicted.

      Good earplugs and a white noise generator might help you in the short term.

      Finally- is there any chance your landlord might be able to move you to a different apartment if they own other properties, given that you are stuck in this position?

      1. Jay*

        I used to only call the non emergency number. I’ve only use 911 twice, once when I thought she had managed to hurt herself badly and the second on the first night she started to scream about cutting my head off. Unfortunately, she is so loud that a white noise generator would be of no use. I often keep a fan on in my bedroom, and it makes no dent in her noise. My job requires me to be able to answer the phone 24/7 (this only very rarely occurs, and only then under specific circumstances, but, none the less, the need is there). Any headphones/earplugs that would block here out would make it impossible for me to hear the phone, fire alarm, or indeed, anything else.

        1. Eeeek*

          Oh I would call 911 every single time and say you think someone is being injured or harmed. Non emergency number doesn’t do anything

          1. Resource stewardship*

            Don’t do this unless you actually think someone, including yourself, is in imminent danger. It’s awful to live under someone experiencing a psychotic break, but if no one is in danger, don’t call 911, especially now.

    4. Might be Spam*

      If the sound is traveling to your apartment you are not recording her apartment. You have the right to record sound in your own apartment. Good luck with this.

      1. WellRed*

        Came here to say this. You are allowed to record yourself in your own space. If you happen to pick up the sounds of lunacy coming into your apartment, so be it.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        If you place a video call you at least have a second witness, and there’s no building policy can stop you from calling a friend to help you through a stressful event.
        I’m sorry you’re going through this.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Also you say you are on-call for work… are you customers or co-workers hearing this? Are they getting “this call may be recorded for quality improvement” messages? Because that is NOT recording her, it’s recording YOU in your space and she’s loud enough to interfere.

    5. What the What*

      Your building manager isn’t going to be aware of your recordings unless you record something serious enough that the police need to take action. In which case, your building manager would be hard pressed to go to court and tell a judge they need to evict you because you recorded a crime taking place, while sitting in your own apartment.

      I understand that they’ve told you it’s a violation of building policies, but you have to consider how it’s going to look if they actually try to evict you for that. The chances that they do that are very low, and the chances that they’d be successful are equally low.

    6. Wishing You Well*

      Record her tantrums. Play your recordings to police dispatch. FILE police complaints (don’t just call). She can be evicted for her behavior since she poses a threat to herself and others. Start calling helplines for advice: your local housing department, mental health lines, senior services, ANY helpline that might apply.
      You could also use some legal advice on your rights. Your landlord is allowing an untenable living situation to continue.
      Best of Luck and I’m SORRY you’re doing through this.

    7. HBJ*

      Are you sure she can’t be evicted? Double-check the laws in your state. In mine, you only can’t evict someone for non-payment of rent. You can still evict them for bad behavior or breaking the lease in non-financial ways. Depending on your laws, you can bring it up to management.

    8. Observer*

      As you build your paper trail, find out who oversees / employs her trustee and report what is going on, to them. It doesn’t matter what Neighbor’s diagnosis is, it matters that her behavior is wildly out of bounds and now she is making credible threats. That NEEDS to be dealt with and if the trustee is not doing that, she’s not doing her job.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        ^^ ^ Absolutely this. The trustee has a legal obligation, and if they aren’t following through, their are legal teeth to address their failure. I’m so sorry you’re in this awful situation. Please keep us posted.

    9. Agnodike*

      Does your municipality have a mobile mental health crisis unit? You could try calling them instead of police, since they may be more successful. If I were in the middle of a psychotic episode, I would probably not open the door to police, but I might to a mental health professional trained in crisis intervention. And if they succeed in reaching her, they may be able to connect her with follow-up services that will help her feel better and help you regain some peace and safety in your living space.

    10. RC Rascal*

      Do you have any idea what the condition is of the unit? She won’t let anyone in; there could be a reason for that. It she hoarding? I have a hoarder relative and she won’t let anyone in the house. Also, has she broken anything important? People who rage tend to break things. Building managers who don’t care two figs how tenants behave towards others start to care very much when the building is damaged.

      My source of information is an experience from many years ago when dealing with a problem neighbor (noise, unsavory guests, etc). Management wouldn’t do anything about it. I was across the hall neighbor; their upstairs neighbor and I started comparing notes. Despite a large number of people living in the apartment, I never saw them bring in paper products like toilet paper. Upstairs neighbor never heard the bathroom plumbing or toilets flush. We hypothesized they might have broken the plumbing. Neighbor complained to management that the plumbing “might” be broken. Management cared very much about this and checked the unit.

      Turned out the nasties had ripped off the toilet and were peeing in the bathtub. They were pooping behind the dumpster. (We kept seeing empty handed trash runs). They had also torn all the doors off the kitchen cabinets and there were trash piles in the kitchen. (Explains why were suddenly developed an insect problem).
      Management threw them out immediately.

      1. Jay*

        She is CONSTANTLY smashing things.
        Nearly every day I hear furniture or something breaking.
        I’ve made them well aware of the situation. So has maintenance.
        They do plan to evict her, eventually, but the pandemic has the courts around here either closed down or backed up. Short of her getting arrested there is little they can do.
        So I document, call the cops when she get dangerous to herself or others, and try to get by day by day.

  38. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

    Random low-stakes question: Right after shelter-in-place orders started, the battery in a watch I love (gift from my spouse) went dead. I haven’t had it changed for obvious reasons; getting a watch battery replaced is not essential.

    How long can I safely keep the dead battery in the watch before it leaks, corrodes everything, and destroys the watch?

    I know that changing it myself is theoretically an option, but I’m not good with my hands and once destroyed a watch trying. Oops!

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      It’s hard to tell. It depends on a couple of things: the quality of the original battery and how old it is.

      The thing is, the batteries inside watches are button batteries, and are designed to stay where they are for a long time. I have never seen one leak. There’s always the possibility, but I have just never seen it happen.

      Maybe do your best to keep it cool and dry? Try sticking it in a bowl of rice, perhaps? I think you’ll be pretty safe for at least two or three months.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, it should be okay for a little bit. When you do finally get it open, I clean mine with hydrogen peroxide and dry it, carefully, or let the cleaner evaporate. After changing quite a few watch batteries and door bell batteries (all button cells) I don’t see the corrosion build up that I get with other batteries. I am optimistic for your watch.

    2. Llellayena*

      This happened to me to. Fortunately since I’m not going out much, not having a working watch isn’t an issue. But I am looking forward to whenever the mall opens so I can start wearing the watch again!

    3. Lcsa99*

      Maybe you can look into seeing if a local watch repair will let you send them the watch and just send them back? It might be more expensive that way but it might be worth it to you.

    4. Jdc*

      I’ve read it’s a bad idea to change it yourself. You’ll need to buy all the tools and from what i hear most people ended up scratching or further damaging the back cover.

      1. Reba*

        Enh, I’m slightly handy and I’ve changed watch batteries several times, using a very small screwdriver. (I’m not talking about super high-end watches, though.)

        1. Jdc*

          Oh then go for it. I do my own links but am afraid to do the battery, although also need one right now.

      2. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

        I actually learned that for this particular watch, I couldn’t remove the back cover even if I wanted to — has to be done by a professional, or at least someone with a tool we don’t own.

        But this is definitely a watch I don’t want to risk damaging. Thanks, everyone for the comments!

    5. ToS*

      Some companies have mail-in options, and local jewelers likely do this as well. It’s worth looking into on the manufacturer’s site and calling around. I have an inexpensive Bulova, and they have great customer service if you can send the receipt.

    6. ValaMalDoran*

      You’ll probably be fine for a few months. I have a watch of my grandmother’s that had a dead battery in it, probably for 20 years or more (yes, really). My jeweler had to clean up the inside and give it a little tlc, but it still runs just fine.

      Do not try to change the battery youself, especially on a watch you love.

      1. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

        20 years! That’s definitely reassuring.

        I think I’ve had at least one watch that I’ve let sit with a dead battery for a year or more that have been able to be repaired, now that I think of it. If stay at home orders last *that* long, I’ll have much bigger problems than a busted watch.

  39. Jedi Squirrel*

    As somebody mentioned yesterday (was it Weez?), May is National Mental Health Month, which is a good thing. Thank you so much for that reminder.

    I highly recommend the website of NAMI ‒ The National Alliance on Mental Illness. (Just Google “NAMI”.) They have lots of good things there if you need help. (I first learned about them from my good pal, Wil Wheaton.)

    I was especially grateful for this reminder, because I’m working on a podcast, and the first half is about aliens and cryptozoology, and the last half is about mental health. Such are the times we live in.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      Also, Wil has a great episode of his podcast where he talks about mental illness and getting better, and I’ve been listening to it a lot on my walks lately. It’s really provided some glimmer of hope, even though it was recorded pre-pandemic.

      Just google “radio free burrito super happy brain club” to find all the goodness.

    2. Jay*

      Is the podcast Weird Darkness?
      They use that format a lot, along with Creepypastas and old stories.
      Listening to that has gone a long way towards keeping me sane during lockdown.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        Nope, that’s not me. I basically have zero listeners.

        But now I have a new podcast to listen to! I’m almost at the end of the Cryptonaut podcast. Thank you!

        1. Jay*

          The guy who does it is a professional narrator and voice actor. He is literally the best I have ever heard on a podcast, period. There are literally hundreds of shows free on Apple Podcast.

          1. Jay*

            By the way, what Podcast do you do, if you don’t mind me asking? I’m a big fan of the format you described. I have an odd job that includes a LOT of travel and downtime (I basically work the equivalent of four forty hour work weeks in twelve days of straight working at a time, then have one to two weeks off). Podcasts keep me going in the odd hours when my friends and family with normal lives are all busy and the weather isn’t good enough to go out and do anything interesting.

            1. Jedi Squirrel*

              Hi Jay,

              Just google “in some weird postmodern way”. It’s episode #10 of the Silent Noise Project. (Also, it’s NSFW/NSFS.)

              If you find, leave me a comment so I know you saw this response. (I can delete it if you want.)


              1. Jay*

                Found it, thank you!
                It looks really interesting, just skimming it so far, but I’ve bookmarked it and will give it a listen tomorrow.

  40. PhyllisB*

    A know a lot of you have been following the saga of my grandson. Well, they went to court this week (I didn’t go because they only allowed his parents in the court room because of Rules right now.) He got four years’ house arrest. If he does not comply it will be prison for 27 years. And according to my daughter, when house arrest is done, if he breaks the law in any fashion in the next 27 years he can still be sent to prison.
    I know house arrest is going to be hard for a young person, but it’s a lot better than prison. I feel very thankful. And for those of you who wonder (I did) he will be allowed to go to school, work, and church. I guess when it’s safe to travel this is where we will be going for most of our leisure travel.
    Thank you to all who expressed concern and kind wishes. It really meant a lot to me.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      Thank you for the update. I’m glad he avoided prison and got house arrest instead. Perhaps he can do some sort of online training or education?

      I’m curious, though. I’ve heard the term “house arrest” a lot but have no idea what it entails. If you don’t mind, could you explain it? And if you don’t feel up to it, I completely understand.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Just in general terms they have to stay in their home unless they are going out for specific reasons such as work or a doctor appointment. They may have to wear a GPS if there are any units available. And they probably have to get clearance (get an okay) in advance of leaving the house. They may have to check in on return to the house also.

      2. PhyllisB*

        Not so New Reader just explained it very well. He is allowed to go to work, school when it reconvenes, and church. He is not allowed out of his yard after I think 9 pm. He wears an ankle bracelet to keep track of his whereabouts. He was already doing that; he volunteered to wear one when he was bonded out of jail in November so that part’s not different, he will just be more restricted now. I’m sorry it all came to this, he had some worthy goals that he will never be able to fulfill now. Of course, I know it’s his own fault, but all of these things happened between the ages of 13-15 (he’s 17 now) which is not the age of best judgement. If he had complied and stayed in the juvenile system he could have come out and had it expunged at 21, but since he was charged as an adult, that option is not longer there. He had plenty of chances to turn this around and rejected all of them, so here we are.

        1. PhyllisB*

          By the way, I realize he can go on and have a good life, it’s just that he wanted to go in the military, eventually become a lawyer, and other things. Of course all this is a no go now. And if I understand correctly, he won’t even be allowed to vote.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Keep an eye on things:
            I think they are looking at changing the voting laws regarding people with convictions.
            Also keep an eye on what is happening with cases involving those under the age of 18, that is evolving also. There may be huge steps in a new direction.

            I don’t know your state’s laws. But here in NY this case might end up sealed anyway. It sounds like his charges were reduced? Ugh. This gets really technical but there is a long shot that this could end up sealed even if he is charged as an adult. This is because there is more than one reason to seal a case- the age factor is only one of the many reasons.
            HOWEVER, if the case is sealed there are still folks who can see the case – government or military. Now this is a hugely complex subject so the overall take away I’d say is wait and see. In terms of a background check by the military or government, more than anything they just want you to tell the truth. Many times they are not concerned about what you did, they just don’t want you to lie about it. This is tricky because people think their case is sealed and then find out that it’s not sealed for certain situations. Then they get caught lying, but are they really? If they think the case is sealed then they probably believe they don’t have to disclose.

            After that his next hurdle might be his age at the time he is released from home monitoring. There are age limits in the military, I believe. I could be wrong….

            One step at a time is a good idea here. I am very sorry about his lost dreams, I am very sorry about anyone’s lost dreams as it really hurts to lose a dream. Perhaps he can be encouraged to build a new dream. People without hopes and without dreams are the people who are the most worrisome. They see no future and they do not see anything to work toward.
            All I can say is that he seems to be able to draw people to advocate for him- so he has something likable about him that causes people to want to give him a chance. Sometimes people only see a sense of self-worth when they are looking in the eyes of another person. Perhaps your role now is you provide those eyes for him to look into.


            1. PhyllisB*

              Thank you, Not So New Reader. Yes, I know there’s a chance they will change voting laws; he didn’t commit violent crimes, it was car theft and he was charged with felonies. The reason he was charged as an adult is because he master-minded an escape which resulted in physical violence against the guards and he was charged with assaulting an officer. He did not participate in the violence, they have video proving that. However, he did plan the escape and escaped in the melee stayed on the run for several weeks before he was turned in by someone he knew. I don’t know if this was one of his listed charges when he went to court because I wasn’t there to hear.
              You are right that he will have to find new dreams and you are also right that he has a lot of people trying to help him, and he is definitely likable. If you met him without knowing anything about him you would be impressed about what a fine young man he is. I mean he IS a fine young man, but you get my point.
              He will be 21 when he comes off house arrest.
              Since these are felony charges and he was charged as an adult I don’t know if his record will be sealed or not. Like you say, we will just have to wait and see.
              I appreciate your kind and encouraging words.

              1. Traffic_Spiral*

                Oddly enough the violent crimes would have impeded his legal career less (although any felony can hurt your chances of federal aid). Basically the legal world figures that if you were violent in your past but chose to become a lawyer, there’s a good chance you’ve left your Solve Conflict Through Face-Punching stage behind and are willing to embrace the way of Solve Conflict Through Argument and Sternly Worded Paperwork.

                Clever criminals, on the other hand, are considered a far greater risk. So masterminding an escape plan is the sort of thing that will definitely put the kibosh on any chance of a law license. Basically they figure that’s the sort of person that can do the most damage as a lawyer.

              2. Clisby*

                Whether this will affect his ability to vote probably depends on the state he’s in. For example, in SC, a felon can regain voting rights once he/she has completed the entire sentence (this includes any probation/parole.) They have to re-apply for voter registration – it isn’t just automatically restored to them – but they definitely aren’t barred from voting forever. I think most states have a system like this.

          2. Emma*

            I am a relatively new reader, so did not see your initial posts. I don’t know about the military, but there are examples of people with criminal convictions who have gone on to qualify as lawyers in the US. I remembered a story I had read and have now found it – Reginald Dwayne Betts wrote an excellent piece in the NY Times a few years ago about his life after a felony conviction when he was 16, including his post-conviction experience with law school. Betts, from the article, is clearly both exceptionally gifted and exceptionally driven. What Betts has done is hugely impressive, and I thought you might find some hope in his story (I haven’t linked, but you should be able to find the article by searching his name if you are interested in reading it).

    2. Not So NewReader*

      This is what I have seen with many court cases. The courts want the person to succeed. They give the person many opportunities. And it’s how I read this one, the judge, the prosecutor, everyone sees something in your grandson that they hope will turn around. People argue that our courts are too lenient. That may/may not be true. I do think that courts overall tend to realize that first and foremost this defendant is a Fellow Human Being. I think he has been given one last shot at picking a different road. I deeply and sincerely hope he succeeds in turning his life path around. I know it can be done.

    3. NoLongerYoung*

      Have been looking for an update. I have been hoping for the best for all of you…

    4. Sam I Am*

      Thanks for the update and best of luck to you and your family.

      If he has fees- for the monitor, for probation, for anything at all he needs to keep the records of when he paid, most likely for the rest of his life. The amount of times the state comes waltzing back in saying “Looks like you owe us for x,y,z from abc years ago plus penalties/ interest” is RIDICULOUS. He needs to keep documentation that he paid them or I swear he’ll end up on the hook for paying at least some of it it again. The programs that administer these things are high in turnover and stretched thin, and lots of documentation falls through the tracks. The system is broken and he needs to protect his future.

  41. blackcat*

    On a completely different note, we had a hilariously adorable social distancing violation yesterday:
    My neighbor’s dog got out, rushed in through our open front door, ran straight up to my toddler, flopped on her back and demanded belly rubs. Before I could get there, toddler flopped on dog and gave a giant hug. Cue tail wagging and giggles.
    This dog is the most people-loving dog, and my kid loves this dog. Keeping them separate when we all happen to be out walking can be a challenge, and it’s been one of the small but very sad parts of this pandemic.
    It was nice, for a minute, to have the two of them together again.
    (my cat was thoroughly displeased by this entire series of events, though)

    1. Asenath*

      My sister’s dog was dismayed when they met one of her dog friends while walking and both humans kept themselves and their dogs well away from each other while saying hello. The other dog was baffled too – she was making all the dog moves that signal a willingness to play, she clearly recognized her canine friend…and they couldn’t get close to each other?? What’s going on???

    2. ThatGirl*

      There is a large retriever or Irish setter in our neighborhood who aggressively loves everyone and flops down on her back for belly rubs at the drop of a hat. It was definitely a bummer yesterday to see her wiggling across the street and not be able to say hi.

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

      My cat protested when I told her the neighbour can’t pet her. She loves him to pieces.

  42. Llellayena*

    What’s everyone planning to do for Mother’s Day, since not everyone can visit and there are no restaurants open?

    I can visit my mom (she had and fully recovered from covid), but my usual options are limited. I can’t really get anywhere to buy things, we can’t do our usual weekend trip, and no restaurants. I need some inspiration.

    1. WellRed*

      Where I live, lots of restaurants are offering special mother’s day meals for pickup. Is something like that an option?

    2. Jdc*

      We are just hanging out at home and ordering food. My only Mother’s Day wish ever is to not cook or clean. Since we are outside working on a project today I’m thinking maybe some couch time with a movie.

    3. Lcsa99*

      Its also my Mother-in-law’s bday so we usually have them come over and cook them a special meal. So this time I am jut making foods that reheat well and we’ll bring over a care package to leave on their doorstep, including the purple cake I mentioned last weekend that’s been in the freezer.

    4. Natalie*

      This is my first Mother’s Day as a mom. I’m not a big Mother’s Day person in general but I’ve been missing out on so many normal new parent things that I asked my husband to actually do something. So we’ll see what he cooks up (possibly literally).

      My dad is coming this afternoon for a gift handoff between me and my stepmom and tomorrow we are all going to a drive in music thing (in separate cars). We sent my MIL a desk plaque with photos of our daughter. Apparently it won’t arrive until next week but she’ll love it.

    5. Might be Spam*

      My mother only wants phone calls on Mother’s Day and wait for warm weather. She wants us to come separately and sit outside without masks. So when the temperature hits 70 she will have 5 more Mother’s Days.

      She likes practical gifts like the new cleaning kit for her new hearing aids. One year I gave her fertilizer for her garden. My mom never swears, but she told her friends that she got sh*t for Mother’s Day and couldn’t keep a straight face. (That was her favorite part of the gift.)

    6. Overeducated*

      Drink. Yeah, that sounds bad, but I thought mimosas sounded really nice so i asked my husband to pick up ingredients on our biweekly shop yesterday. He got a small growler of a nice stout as well. We’ve been enjoying more hot breakfasts/brunches since we are home weekends lately so will enjoy it then. My kids are too little to do much to mark mother’s and father’s day.

      We will Skype my mom and call my MIL too. I got my mom a Washington Post subscription because she’s mentioned wanting one but not wanting to buy it, and we rotate buying flowers for MIL between siblings.

    7. Sunset Maple*

      I ordered my mom a necklace two weeks ago and it came on Wednesday. I will be dropping it off tomorrow morning on her porch, then calling her at lunch to let her know its there. (They have several acres, so I’m not worried about porch pirates. You can’t see their house from the road.)

      Aside, the Mejuri horoscope necklaces are gorgeous, and if you check the “it’s a gift” box, they send it in a beautiful drawstring bag with a custom gift card. I want one for myself after seeing hers in person.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I got my mum some flowers and a tiny chocolate cake at the grocery. We ate the cake already, lol.

    9. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      My mom’s local bookstore does delivery now, so I had some new books delivered for her present. They’ve already arrived, and she’s going to open them tomorrow. I’m going to send her a picture of me and the dog holding a “Happy Mother’s Day” sign tomorrow because I can’t think of anything else. I haven’t been able to fully isolate (there aren’t enough grocery delivery slots to go around, so as a younger person at lower risk I’ve been going to the store every 3 weeks in person instead, plus my dog has needed to go to the vet four times this month), so it wouldn’t be safe for me to go visit her.

      Usually, I come over the night before and we go out for breakfast together early in the morning. (She is a morning person and I am not. About 5 years ago, we figured out that the local “nice” breakfast/brunch place is actually not that hard to get into on Mother’s Day if there are only two of you and you show up early rather than with a large group at 10am, so that became our tradition.)

      This stinks.

    10. allathian*

      We just had coffee and a store-bought cake.
      I called my mom and my husband called his mom.
      My son had made a cute pen topper (a paper flower) for me and now he’s sending texts to his grandmoms (after I prompted him).

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I nixed my daughter’s perennial request fir pancakes in favor of MY favorite cinnamon French toast. And my husband is turning some of the current round of bread dough into gooey buttery cinnamon rolls for me.
      His mother is just out of the hospital (non-covid) and too far away for a quick drop-and run so I don’t know what he’ll do there.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        The cinnamon rolls sound AMAZING right now. I had French toast this morning as well (it’s my birthday today) – it turned out pretty good. I don’t make it much – too much effort required.

    12. Loves Libraries*

      My mother is no longer living but I’m wearing a T-shirt from her alma mater to honor her. All 3 of our children are home. The youngest was sent home in March from a semester abroad in France. The middle came home after WFH for 3 weeks in his apartment by himself. The oldest has been in an out of his office, essential due to security reasons. My husband cooked breakfast and lunch. All 3 children gave me chocolates but too much to eat by myself so I have to share. I want to get a picture with our covid hair.

  43. coffee cup*

    I’ve not told anyone in my real life this but over the last month I’ve been chatting to an awesome guy. Catch? Of course! He lives in a whole other country. Setting aside the pandemic, it’s already a big issue and, I realise, possibly slightly absurd. However, I really like talking to him and I can *tell* he’s into me in the same way, which never happens (it’s always one or the other!). I’ve online dated for a loooong time and I’m in my 30s so I’m not foolish enough to meet someone online and think it’s a Real Thing without meeting, but honestly for the first time in ages I feel totally relaxed with someone, even from a distance. I’m not anxious if he’ll reply, I don’t worry about what I talk to him about… I honestly think, why not? Times are hard and if this situation has reminded me of anything it’s to just go with things if it’s possible and not self-doubt myself into oblivion.

    I wondered, therefore, if anyone had any positive long-distance online dating stories? I am well aware of the bad ones and don’t wish to have any more of those for now! Not naive, just fancy hearing good news and optimism if at all possible. This might come to nothing at all, but I’d like to hear it nevertheless :)

    1. Schmitt*

      Met online at 17, moved to Germany at 20, married at 21, it’s been 17 years of marriage now so… :)

    2. Not A Manager*

      I met my husband online. We were long-distance friends with a bit of a frisson for a few months before we met in person. Then we had a long-distance relationship for several years before we were able to move in together. We did see each other in person, though.

      My advice is, enjoy this for what it is right now. Feeling safe and relaxed with someone is a wonderful gift, no matter how long it lasts or what the relationship ultimately becomes.

      1. coffee cup*

        Aw, glad it worked out for you! Yes, I’m enjoying it a lot. I think it helps that I’m not going out and I know I can’t even try to date anyone so I wasn’t looking to, we just fell into messaging and it’s so easy to talk to him. We talked on the phone last night for 4 hours!

    3. Impska*

      I met my husband online and have been married almost 20 years. I lived in Canada and he lived in the USA. We got married pretty quickly and I moved to the States.

      My husband had more experience than me with online dating. He pushed to talk in the phone and then meet in person very soon after we connected. He wanted to make sure I was who I said I was.

    4. Kiitemso*

      A friend of mine married her wife after dating long distance for 3 years, they had 10 000 km (over 6000 miles) in distance and met online talking about music. After doing the long haul flights back and forth for 2.5 years they started working on the immigration process to bridge the gap and got a lawyer specialized in UK LGBTQ immigration to help them out.

      Another couple I know were online buddies for 10+ years, finally met up irl in 2016, started dating, married in 2018 and now live in his home country.

    5. TechWorker*

      I have a friend who met his girlfriend of ~4 years online gaming. She is American and he is British. They would be getting married this summer if it weren’t for Coronavirus :) they’re great together.

    6. JanetM*

      Met at a science fiction convention in fall 1988 (we had mutual friends), dated long-distance until spring 1990 with three visits totaling about 12 days, I moved cross-country, we lived together until winter 1991, we got married, and we’re still happy and content together.

    7. SunnySideUp*

      I have no experience to share, but it sounds absolutely lovely and I hope you just enjoy it for the warm human connection it is! Those can be rare even in normal circumstances.

  44. Marguerite*

    This is a health-related question, so apologies in advance for any TMI. My allergies tend to worsen and flare up when I get my period- is this normal? Is there any connection between the two? Does it have to do with hormones?

    1. MMB*

      It’s not unusual and yes it’s related to the fluctuation in estrogen and the effect on histamines.

      1. Nose Drip*

        Woah, so interesting. I should start tracking my allergies to see if they correlate. Any tips? I’m drowning in my allergies (cat + pollen + old house). I already take an antihistamine pill, antihistamine spray, and steroid spray.

    2. Erin*

      I don’t know the answer to this but I did recently learn that it’s not uncommon for women to develop new seasonal allergies during/after pregnancy, thought to be due to hormonal shifts. So I would guess that there could be a related phenomenon connected to the hormonal shifts of your menstrual cycle.

      1. allathian*

        This happened to me. When I gave birth to my son in late May, that year there was a lot of birch pollen. I became allergic to birch pollen. Luckily my symptoms are fairly mild, but I do notice that they’re more severe when my period’s about to start or has just started.
        My problem is that I can’t take antihistamines, because they make me unbearably drowsy the next day. Last week I had as severe symptoms as I get, kept sneezing all the time and had a runny nose and runny eyes. I took an antihistamine pill before bed that day. The next day I was drowsy and couldn’t get anything done (luckily it was a Saturday), and I fell asleep on the couch and just slept from 2 pm to 4.30 pm…

    3. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      In my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, anything related to inflammation flares up during menstruation. My allergies and asthma always get a little worse then. Taking an NSAID around the clock, even if you don’t need it for pain, seems to help.

    4. Salymander*

      Yes, worse allergies during menstruation is a thing, or at least it was for me. Such a nuisance! And my allergies were even worse than that when I was pregnant. Then I went through menopause, and suddenly now I am not sick for 6+ months of the year. Fewer migraines, less severe allergies, less acne. Hurrah for menopause!

  45. Foreign Octopus*

    Has anyone had or has Invisalign treatment?

    I’m thinking about going to my dentist and asking for a consult to see if I’m eligible for it. The reviews I’ve seen are mostly positive and the before and after photos away from the website (i.e. posted by normal people on their own blogs and what not) seem to be really good, but I’m hoping someone here has personal experience they wouldn’t mind sharing. I want to correct a posterior open bite that’s a result of years of adult thumb sucking due to childhood trauma and this seems like a really good treatment option – invisible, relatively painless, if a little expensive – but I’m naturally suspicious of things that seem too good to be true, and this is one of those things.

    1. Bluebell*

      My sister did Invisalign but a year later ended up needing to do regular braces because her dental issues were too serious.

    2. Jdc*

      My mom did it and had great success. It’ll of course depend on how much things need to move. They are usually for smaller issues that require less movement. She raves about it.

    3. lazy intellectual*

      I did it and it worked perfectly fine. I’m glad I did it. My teeth was my biggest insecurity, and straightening them significantly improved my comfort with my appearance. If you have more detailed questions about the experience, I would be happy to answer them.

      Some details about my treatment: Mine lasted a year, but I had to wear a retainer around the clock for 3 more months to “set” my teeth. After that, I just started wearing my retainer at night. The treatment was most uncomfortable in the beginning, but you get used to the feeling of having something in your mouth all the time, and the routine of taking it out to eat, etc. I did have to forego eating very chewy foods (like bagels) during my treatment.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Thanks for your insight.

        A couple of other commenters are mentioning that they have to wear the retainers every night after. Does that depend on the type of changes that need to be done, or is it a general thing that everyone needs to do? And how would you recommend I go about finding someone to do this? What sort of qualifications should I look for i.e. orthodontist over dentist?

        I appreciate you taking the time to tell me about this as my teeth aren’t bad, but I do just want to close the open bite for vanity’s sake.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I had old-fashioned braces and yes the retainer is necessary. I didn’t report when I’d lost mine (the classic cafeteria tray return error) and yes my teeth shifted. Never as bad as before, though.

        2. lazy intellectual*

          Retainers are something everyone needs to do. People with traditional braces get them, too. It’s very important you wear them, because your teeth will shift back without them and you will have to do another treatment to fix your teeth again.

          I did consultations with 3 dentists before I settled on one. (This also happened to coincide with me needing to find a dentist anyway since I had moved and was off of my parent’s health insurance.) I compared prices to make sure no one was ripping me off, the timelines the dentists recommended (they all recommended the same timelines), and looked at reviews online through my insurance website. My current dentist had consistently good reviews. I still see him for regular cleanings. I didn’t consider an orthodondist, so I’m not sure how you would go about comparing them.

    4. Lulubell*

      I did it about 10 years ago and it was super easy. I had them for just over a year, went to the ortho every few weeks to get the new trays, and while there was always mild aching while adjusting to the new trays, it was MUCH better than braces which I had as a teen. When the series was done, the ortho put wires in the back of my teeth to keep them straight, as well as gave me retainers to wear at night. 10 years later and my teeth and bite are still perfect. I would do it again if I ever needed to.

    5. Just Another Manic Millie*

      I wore Invisaligns when I was 67. I had worn metal braces from the age of 13 to 16 and was never given a retainer afterwards. But when I was 67, my dentist told me that my teeth had finally shifted a more than acceptable amount, and he recommended Invisaligns. I needed only one box of ten. A lot of people need two or three boxes, maybe more.

      Wearing them was no problem, as long as you’re prepared to let them take over your life. Ideally, you should wear them 22 hours each day, but since that’s practically impossible, you should wear them a minimum of 20 hours a day. You have to take them out when you eat or drink something (except for water), and you have to brush your teeth and clean the Invisaligns before you put them back in your mouth. It took me approx 15 minutes to brush my teeth (I use 3 toothbrushes) and clean the Invisaligns, so if I had three meals a day, that would be 45 minutes out of the 2 hours, leaving me with 1 hour and 15 minutes of eating time for the three meals. Most of the time, I ate two meals a day. Luckily, I didn’t drink coffee throughout the day, or else I would have had to brush my teeth and Invisaligns after every cup. If you like to go to the movies (I don’t), you’ll have to think twice if you like to eat and drink anything during the movie, because the chances are you won’t want to walk out of the movie to brush your teeth, and you’ll have to keep track of the time the Invisaligns are out of your mouth before you can get home and brush your teeth. The same applies if you go to bars to have a drink with friends. You have to worry about the amount of time the Invisaligns are out of your mouth.

      After I was finished with them, I was given retainers to wear every night. Even though I wore them every single night, my dentist told me eight months later that my teeth had shifted (I hadn’t noticed), and I should wear my final Invisalign (which he had told me to hold onto) for three weeks all the time (except when eating). I did so, and he was pleased with the results.

      It’s worth asking your dentist about it. It’s cheaper than metal braces. And they’re invisible, which might appeal to you. (It didn’t matter to me, because at the age of 67, I just didn’t care.)

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        67!?? OMG my dentist told me in my 30s I was too old to correct the odd bite I ended up with after teenager braces. (Outdated practices, they made for fast work, pretty exterior, and a bite weird enough that a dentist in my 20s suggested orthodonture.)

        1. Just Another Manic Millie*

          I figure that as long as you still have your teeth, you’re not too old to get them corrected if necessary. I have no idea why my orthodontist didn’t have me start wearing retainers at night when I was 16. At first, I thought that they didn’t know about retainers back then. In some TV show, a woman said to her former stepdaughter, “I haven’t seen you since you had braces on your teeth!” The actress who played the former stepdaughter had a huge gap between her top front teeth. And there was a former co-worker who was a few years older than me who would have been really pretty if her top front teeth weren’t so crooked. I was so surprised (but I didn’t show it) when she said that she wore braces when she was a teenager. After I started wearing Invisaligns, I figured out that the actress and co-worker were never given retainers.

          But some orthodontists did believe in retainers back then. My cousin, who is a few years younger than me, told me that after her braces came off, she was given the choice of having a wire put in behind her teeth or having to wear retainers every night. She chose the wire, which eventually broke, and since she never did anything about it, her teeth have shifted.

          I know someone else now in her thirties who was told to wear retainers every night after her braces came off but decided not to do it. Now, in her thirties, she is wearing Invisaligns. I guess I’m lucky that it took my teeth more than 50 years to get out of line.

    6. Sparkly Librarian*

      I had braces as a teen, and then Invisalign-like retainers for a year after (was supposed to be longer). I wasn’t able to keep up with the regimen, and par of that was that I was a young person starting college and didn’t have my life together, and part of it was what I wanted/needed to do with my daily activities. I was a theatre major with a vocal performance minor — every day I took class where I needed to speak or sing clearly. The retainers made me a mushmouth (worse than braces or even my full-mouth retainer from middle school) and changed the shape of my vocal instrument. I had to take them out for class, rehearsal, and performances, as well as for meals. Keeping track of them, remembering to put them back in, and keeping them clean was a larger commitment than I was ready for. Consider whether you’ll be able to keep a good routine for the months or years you’ll be wearing them.

      And they’re not invisible. They changed my mouth/lip shape as much as braces, and they’re noticeable in person.

    7. MinotJ*

      I finished a year of Invisalign in January. I’m in my early 40’s. I’m not sure I’d recommend it over regular braces.

      I had problems with jaw pain and jaw popping throughout the process. I found it distressing, but maybe it would have been okay if I’d known it was going to happen and then stop.

      Are you okay with the concept of wearing the last Invisalign tray or a retainer every day 24/7 after your treatment ends, and then every night after that, forever? I’m resigned to it because I spent a crap-ton of money and these teeth are not going back to their crookedness.

      I’ve developed an open bite because of Invisalign. I was very good about keeping it in for over 22 hours/day, but my jaw stretched to hold this new position. I can chew just fine, but my jaw just hangs open a bit all day. I’m not fond of this change. My teeth used to fit together neatly and my jaw was closed. I miss that a lot. I’ve considered going back for wire braces for a few months so my jaw can learn to be all the way closed again without my teeth shifting.

    8. ronda*

      I didn’t love it. and the main tooth that was rotated ended up with bad gum issues…. I think were caused by the invisalign.

      I found the trays painful and they did not close my bite like promised. The dentist and Invisalign were no help with resolving this.

      One thing my sister said after this that I do believe …. The dentist is not qualified to move your teeth… that is what the orthodontist is for.

    9. Foreign Octopus*

      Thank you, everyone, for telling me your experiences. It’s helped to make things clearer in my mind. I’m still not decided on whether I’ll go down the Invisalign route but it’s been really useful to hear about other people’s experiences with it, so thank you.

    10. TechWorker*

      My best friend has them and is getting good results. The main annoyance seems to be having to be super careful with food/drink – she takes it out before eating/drinking anything other than water & brushes her teeth before putting it back in. Which is fine for sit down meals but means snacking or eating takeaway food when you’re out and about is a bit harder.

    11. Cambridge Comma*

      When you go to get quotes make sure the places you go offer conventional braces too. Otherwise they won’t tell you if your problem is too severe for Invisalign to fix as they’ll want to make the sale.
      Everyone I know in Spain who has had orthodontics gets a permanent retainer, which is a wire glued behind your teeth. I’d never heard of that before moving here.

    12. MKM*

      I would also suggest you push them on “worst case scenario, time-wise”. I got them with the expectation that I’d have them for 9 months, and ended up going for over 2 years. Plus the lifetime of night guards that other people have mentioned. Although, to be fair, I think the night trays are serving multiple purposes – keeping teeth in place and preventing a lot of grinding. And also to be fair, there was no additional cost going from 9 to 27 months.

    13. Katniss Evergreen*

      I’m in the midst of a 7-month Invisalign treatment. I have 14 trays, and am on the 2nd week of tray 11. I am pleased with the results so far because the largest issue I wanted to fix was a big gap that’s stood out to me in every picture taken of me from the right side of my face for the last 12 years. I had braces as a very young child (first orthodontist scammed my parents into putting braces on a 6 y.o. that my next orthodontist said was completely unnecessary, but took 2 years to get to that guys) then again as a young teen 12-15. I messed up with my retainers about a year after that because I was tired off all of the sh*t with it, so I chose to fix it myself now that I have the $.

      Things I’d prepared myself for but still found annoying – cost ($3500, since no insurance coverage), brushing my teeth after eating anything at work or while out (highly annoying, thankfully so much better with WFH), and committing to wearing the thing as many hours as I should (recommended 22-ish, I’m probably between 18-20). Since my problems aren’t major, and the largest one is responding, I don’t feel a huge push to change my habit with that, and I’m almost done. I’m satisfied enough with how this is going that if they *think* I need more I’m not going to get more trays once I’m done with the 14.

      Seeing the comments from others about bite issues – I think I would have a new overbite problem if I needed trays for both my upper and lower jaws, with how my mouth is set and how the one tray for my upper teeth sits. Another thing that has been frustrating here and there is cleaning the trays through the 2-week wear period. I got 2 packets of those special cleaning crystals with my set of aligners, but honestly found it’s way more convenient to just scrub a little with my toothbrush and doesn’t seem to have an effect on the integrity of the aligners, as long as the toothbrush is rinsed first. Food tends to get stuck in the divets in the aligners for the small “brackets” built up on your teeth.

  46. Daphne (UK)*

    Currently furloughed (UK) so have embarked on Operation Deep Clean All The Things in my room. I’m an art school grad with a lot of stuff, and hoarding tendencies, so it’s taking a while!

    I’m finally onto organising my portfolios that have a combination of old artwork and scrap card/paper.

    I’m struggling to find a good system to sort scraps – any suggestions? By colour/texture/in boxes or folders?

    My boyfriend (who doesn’t live with me) suggests to bin it all…don’t want to resort to that just yet!

    1. Lcsa99*

      I would personally sort them by size, because that dictates what types of projects they can be used for – just simple patches vs larger things. And then maybe a subcategory for colors.

    2. glitter crayon*

      How would you look for them? It needs to be a system that reflects how you think!

    3. LizB*

      +1000 to glitter crayon’s point, you need to organize them in a way that fits your brain or you’ll never use them. As to the practical side, can you get a big accordion file? (I’ll post a link in a reply, but you can google and find what I’m talking about.) Easy to flip through, room for lots of different categories/divisions, you can label the tabs if that’s helpful.

        1. Daphne (UK)*

          Thanks Liz! The accordion file is a great idea – I’ve not got any at home right now so resorted to sorting by colour (i usually struggle to put my hand on a certain colour when I’m looking for it) in separate polly pockets (not sure what the American equivalent is) in a box file.

    4. Piano Girl*

      My husband is an artist/fine arts teacher with hoarder tendencies (his sister and mom were both hoarders). I am not. We recently moved and things had to get organized. To be honest, I did the bulk of the work. His important art pieces are in a couple of large vinyl portfolios you carry around with a strap. Card stock is organized by color in a file box in his office. Used art pads are in a box. Markers are in another. We have racks in our garage with a map of what is in each box. I tossed a lot of stuff (scraps, etc) and continue to toss. The nice thing is we are finding things that have been missing for awhile! We may have to repurchase some things, but that is much better than having All The Things everywhere.

      1. Daphne (UK)*

        Commiserations for doing most of the work! Thankfully I did a big purge a few years ago of large pieces that I had already digitised/was sick of carting from place to place (living at home with parents just now). The artwork I have kept are in a large portfolio with straps like you describe…the most recent life drawing will need condensing but that’s for another weekend! Great suggestions for everything else!

  47. Lost in the Woods*

    Yarn crafts! How’s your knitting/crocheting going?
    After several weeks of low motivation, I had an insanely productive week. I finished a hat which is winging its way to my mom for mother’s day, embarked on a beaded lace shawl I’ve had plans for for over a year, and yesterday I swatched for a sweater (again for my mom, the most knitworthy non-craftsperson I know) and cast on a colorful pair of socks. It feels great to be back in the swing of things!

    1. Grace*

      Not knitting/crochet, but I’ve started cross stitch this weekend after years of saying I was going to learn. I bought a kit off Etsy that comes with everything you need, although I will need to buy more floss because I’m running out of a few colours – but it really is addictive, and it’s something to do at the end of a long day that doesn’t involve even more screen time. I think I’ll be keeping it up post-pandemic.

      1. Book Lover*

        Make sure you check out flosstube – it is maynia and people are starting lots of projects. Good time to see what is out there. While you’re at it, check out pin stitch and loop start if not already familiar with them :)

        I am in that middle phase with all three of my projects – I guess I don’t believe in small projects so I have months to go on all of them. But they are looking fantastic so that is something. Fabric and floss ready for my next three projects.

    2. Dancing Otter*

      I am ahead of deadline on a mystery shawl knit-along, so I have gone back to my “Traveling Scarf” of many colors. The unplied cotton of the shawl is behaving better – couldn’t possibly be me, could it? – and the scarf is almost half done.
      Craft, but not yarn: I have been procrastinating since the first of the year on preparing the backing and then basting a flannel quilt top I pieced. Yesterday, I called and made an appointment to take it to a long arm quilter on Monday. We call it “quilting by checkbook“, and it will cost more than just buying a flannel quilt, but it will be DONE. So, now I really have to get the backing prepared, and iron the top that has sat for several months gathering creases (and cat fur).

    3. Fikly*

      After not cross stitching for a month due to concussion screen restrictions, I have happily dived back in, and have knocked out about 2 pages in less than 2 weeks. Oh how I missed you!

        1. Fikly*

          I do not, sorry!

          And I post pictures of my stitching on accounts with my actual name, and it’s fairly distinctive, so I try to keep it separate from here.

    4. LizB*

      My past couple weeks:
      1. Decided to use a bunch of yarn I had hanging around to make a sampler afghan pattern I’ve been eyeing for a while.
      2. Whoops, I actually don’t have nearly enough yarn for that pattern… I guess I’ll make a mini version to be a baby blanket for a friend who’s expecting in July?
      3. Crocheted the first three squares without too much problem, really enjoyed it!
      4. Attempted the fourth square, had an awful time trying to scale the pattern down to my mini square size, gave up.
      5. Attempted the fifth square, kept doing it wrong, realized it wasn’t scaling down well either, gave up.
      5. Decided to just make the afghan out of the first three square patterns so I don’t discourage myself all to hell, my friend and her baby won’t know the difference.

      So, a bit of a roller coaster, but I think I’ll have the blanket done in another couple weeks!

    5. Pharmgirl*

      I’m staying caught up on my temperature blanket, catching up on weekends. I finally got to add a new color (we hit 80s last Sunday), and I’m looking forward to more warmer weather so I can crochet more of those colors. A third of the way through the year, I have a distinct cooler section for Jan/Feb and another cool/warm section for April/May. I’m still really excited for this project which gives me hope that I’ll finish it!

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I am waiting for mail order to bring me a few more skeins so I can knit a sweater for ME.
      I desperately need a break from failing to understand short rows for a project that has been on the needle for years.

    7. urban teacher*

      Working on a baby blanket I started years ago. Now the baby is in his first year of college. Finally decided to finish it since I’m home.

  48. Looking for clothes that wasn't made in a factory...*

    I’m in search for a lovely sleeveless jumpsuit (overall style but not denim) that is made with love rather than a fast fashion brand. Anyone have recommendations for Etsy stores or small clothes businesses? I’ve already tried looking for things in my city/state but nothing is coming up. Thanks!!

    1. Grace*

      I have a lovely formal jumpsuit (wore it for my graduation) from Yumi, and they have casual ones as well – I bought it in-store but they do sell online. They’re not an incredibly small business, and their clothes are made overseas (my few items all say China), but I wouldn’t call them fast fashion. It’s up to you whether you’d count that or not.

      (And in checking their website for this answer, I saw they currently have a 50% off sale. Do I need more dresses with prints of hedgehogs wearing top hats? No. Do I want more dresses with prints of hedgehogs wearing top hats? Yes.)

    2. Effie, who gets to be herself*

      Twisted Movement has a really soft halter onesie (what they call jumpsuits) in three different colors with pockets! It’s great for casual/weekend wear (I have it in black). She also has very sexy cutout bodysuits.

    3. pancakes*

      Garmentory might be a good place to look. It’s a site / platform for independent boutiques.

    4. Ellen Ripley*

      Tradlands? I know they’ve got ones with sleeves, not sure about sleeveless.

  49. What I’m mad about this week*

    Individuals selling items that ask you to pm them for the price. Why? Why not put the $$$ in post? Why make the customer do the work?

      1. CoffeeforLife*

        Because it weeds out window shoppers? Allows the seller to view your profile before responding? Keeps competition from easily copying prices? Allows them to alter the price between buyers? Prevents you from comparing prices historically? These are my guesses only.

        I buy raw materials/gemstones from Instagram and I’ve noticed that foreign sellers do this (India, Afghanistan, Indonesia). My social anxiety is strong enough to prevent me from asking.

        1. What I'm mad about this week*

          Isn’t altering prices between buyers unethical?

          I used to moderate a message board where buying international items was common. We made a blanket rule that any ads have to have prices in them or they would be taken down and the person would get banned.

          The reason we did that was because it was very common for sellers to look at the person asking, think “possible customer is from the USA/UK so they can afford to pay more” and increase the price exponentially. Think..something that is sold locally for $100 in that country being sold for $600 to an overseas customer, not including shipping.

          Recently there was a post in a local community group and everyone was asking for the price and the person kept responding “please DM me.” Its a group rule to include prices. People got frustrated at the secrecy and the person eventually posted the price.

          The reason I ask is because my first assumption is that they’re doing something shady. I wanted to ask here and see if there’s a more charitable reasoning for doing so.

          1. CoffeeforLife*

            I don’t have a more charitable thought unless it’s to prevent price copying. Pretty sure it’s shady. And frustrating.

          2. Bex*

            I’m genuinely curious… why do you think it’s unethical to charge different prices to local vs US/UK buyers? If there is a tremendous discrepancy in the local currencies/earning power, then I’m comfortable with them offering it to local buyers for a much, much lower rate than what I would pay.

            “Fairness” is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. It’s so messy and complex, and it’s almost impossible to try to impose at any level without addressing underlying issues.

          3. RagingADHD*

            There are a lot of reasons to alter prices – such as finding out that nobody buys at your original price. Or a sudden increase in demand. Or discovering that a competitor has been successfully charging more. Or because you need to move inventory.

            Retail stores change prices all the time, but they can just alter the tag. They don’t have a social post out there that someone screenshotted.

            1. Fikly*

              Actually, retail stores are obligated to honor prices if they’ve advertised them.

              1. glitter crayon*

                Not in the UK! That’s a myth, they’re not obliged to sell at any price.

    1. Texan In Exile*

      Because it forces you into a relationship with them and possibly commits you to buying. :(

      It’s the same reason they don’t post prices at the farmers market. If you have to ask for the price, then you engage with the seller. Which creates a feeling – maybe not conscious – of obligation in you because now you have a relationship. So then you feel obligated to buy.

      I have to steel myself to keep walking if I ask the price and find it too high. I feel as if I am violating a social contract when I do it.

      1. pancakes*

        Our farmers’ markets here in NYC have prices on everything. I strongly suspect I wouldn’t like shopping in them nearly as much if they didn’t.

        1. TechWorker*

          Yeah I think it’s different everywhere.. I’d also say most markets where I live price everything but remember going to a market abroad where *nothing* had a price and basically buying nothing out of frustration because my Spanish wasn’t good enough to understand the answers anyway :p

    2. Wishing You Well*

      It’s not just the little sellers.
      Many large online sellers adjust their prices depending on the buyer’s profile, time of day and other factors. They know what you’ve bought in the past, etc. and can estimate how ‘rich’ you are. It’s perfectly legal in the U.S: “free market system”.
      If someone wants to buy a candy bar for $100, there’s no law stopping them. It’s “Buyer beware” here. So please shop around and know your prices. Also, if you’re willing to bargain, you could save some significant $.

    3. Dancing Otter*

      If it’s something that comes in sizes, such as clothing, the seller may charge more for larger sizes that take more material. Rather than post multiple prices by size, and potentially anger larger customers, they quote price for specific size upon inquiry.
      I’ve seen tirades about how unfair it is to charge more for plus sizes, and they’re not fun to view, let alone be on the receiving end.

    4. Reba*

      The price is negotiable ;)

      Although in a lot of cases, it makes me think, “if you have to ask, it’s out of your [my] range.”

  50. Ali G*

    What’s cooking y’all?!

    This weekend I am grinding my own beef!! I am so excited. I have a 3 lb chuck roast that I am going to combine with 1.5 lbs of tenderloin trimmings. It feels good to use my freezer instead of buying it.

    Tomorrow will be burgers from fresh ground beef. I am going to make 2 lbs of meatballs, roast them up, and freeze them. Then I am going to freeze 2 1 lb portions.

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      Oh! I did this with pork and chicken! Works beautifully especially if you have a vacuum sealer. I don’t have a grinder so I used my food processor and slightly froze chunks before putting them in. Feels nice to have all those portions ready to go <3

      1. Ali G*

        I do have a vacuum sealer! It’s the best. I want to do chicken and turkey soon. What parts of the chicken did you use? Did you buy it whole or just the parts you wanted?

        1. CoffeeforLife*

          The first time I used thighs because it was the cheapest cut. Afte trimming, the cost went up from .99c to $1.39/lb and I figured for that price I’d use breast, 1.79/lb, that was already boneless and save a bunch of time and hassle (I generally cook with both but they are recipe specific). They both cook up really well and I use them as beef replacements.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            We buy bone-in because we prefer making our own stock. At least as long as you’re able to take meat off the bones after cooking & before it goes to table, it makes better than boxed.

    2. Overeducated*

      Sounds awesome! Meatballs are the best.

      I’m cooking with an eye toward leftovers since cooking was too much on top of work, childcare, and exercise last week. Tonight i made a pot of pinto beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo for nachos that we’ll remix for burritos and quesadillas. Tomorrow I’m planning on rye bread and street cart chicken from Smitten Kitchen Every Day.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      We made sushi on Wednesday. (All cooked or smoked ingredients.) Coincidentally I had stocked up on sushi rice and wrappers (nori) in late February. We’ve discovered we can mix sushi rice with almost half brown rice (cooked separately) to reduce the carb load a bit. Yes it’s a little more likely to fall apart, but this is an eat as you go family activity. Favorite fillings discovered over the years — carrot slivers boiled in rice wine vinegar & sake, smoked fish (including lox and home-smoked trout), broiled fish (cod with unagi sauce yum!), pickled turnip (middle-eastern luft), cream cheese, cucumber, avocado, and even chicken fingers & ham.

  51. Pregnancy talk*

    Flagging the topic in the title

    Is it realistic to try to head off any post-baby stress/PPD? Also, did anyone just go it alone?

    Reading some tips and articles on how to cope after birth, it seems like the common assumption is that majority of mothers will have someone around to help, a support network.

    In my case — it will be just me and my husband. My mom lives with us and I have friends but not the kind of friends who would drop by or anything physical.

    Right now my two things I’ve focused on are the delivery and breastfeeding. I began to research formula; Id like to breastfeed but if for any reason it doesn’t happen, we’re open to formula. Biggest takeaway I got is that I just won’t know what formula the baby will tolerate til they’re here. I just want to avoid feeling guilty or stressed out because I can’t breastfeed. Same thing for C-section and vaginal birth. My MFM has said there’s no reason I can’t do a vaginal birth but of course anything can happen and I want to be mentally prepared for a C–being diabetic, wounds take longer to heal so that’s something I want to be ready for. I don’t have a “birth plan” except that we both come out of this alive and healthy.

    I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this. I haven’t announced it on social media and don’t plan to I think, and I don’t want to overload my friends with this, so I enjoy writing my thoughts out here anonymously.

    1. Ranon*

      I’m not going to lie, it will be tough! But you’re not the only one going through this and other people have done it before.

      On the formula front, while it’s true that some babies don’t tolerate some formulas, rather a lot of babies tolerate most of them just fine. You have some risk factors for a delayed start to your milk coming in so having some formula on hand can be really handy as a supplement, the pre made bottles are the easiest in the early days because they’re small and you don’t have to think to use them. If you want to sell your info you can get samples from the big manufactures and the hospital and your pediatrician should have samples available as well (some hospitals are more restrictive than others about handing it over but they all have it).

      If you or your partner have any current mental health challenges it can be good to make a plan for how you’ll access mental health care postpartum, sleep deprivation does a number on mental and physical wellness.

      You’re not going to be able to head off all the stress- it’s very hard to add a new person to your household, particularly one that doesn’t even know how to be a person yet! But setting expectations that it will be hard and you’ll do it anyways can help.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Heh, funny story I was asking my friends about formula the other day. Literally the next day I got a package in the mail of pre-made bottles of Similac formula. Even though I never signed up for them. spooky lol.

        1. RagingADHD*

          If you’ve purchased anything baby related at a big retailer or online, even prenatal vitamins, you’re on the list.

            1. Potatoes gonna potate*

              Makes perfect sense. PPD came up here and I’m seeing ads/discussions on my FB feed now. -_-

    2. Parenthetically*

      I had/have postpartum anxiety with both kids. It went undiagnosed the first time around (after a traumatic birth) and cleared up after a few weeks. This time I’m on a low dose of Zoloft. The best thing for me this time was to flag my tendency for anxiety/depression and my previous experiences in advance with my providers — midwife, counselor, GP — and be ready with a plan. Stepping up counseling, taking medication, exercising, massage, etc. have all been helpful.

      I also think that learning to notice physical symptoms AS SYMPTOMS and just generally learning to be aware of and accepting of all emotions is a crucial element of being as emotionally healthy as possible. “Support systems” for me haven’t meant people stopping by, per se, but listening ears.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        I haven’t done hard research on it but just based on friends’ anecdotes alone, seems like there’s a connection with PPD and traumatic birth.

        Thank you for sharing your experience, hope you’re doing well now!

    3. MissGirl*

      I’m not a parent but a close friend didn’t have a lot of help, her mom was out of state, his had passed. She’s not a super advanced preparer so when she went into labor in her seventh month, they had almost nothing. Luckily, their baby only required a few weeks in the NICU.

      With the early arrival and spending all their time in the hospital, they had the bare minimum. She wrote a blog post on how surprised she was that none of that really mattered. She needed, diapers, bottles, onesies, and blankets. Taking care of the baby came naturally. She let a lot of stuff go because of the surprise. For instance breast versus bottle was decided for her.

      1. MissGirl*

        Not to imply it was easy. Obviously they had a tough time but just that all the things they were worried about weren’t the things that ended being a problem.

    4. cat ears*

      sounds like you have a birth plan: healthy mum& baby!
      I didn’t have family support either – closest family was about a 10 hour plane ride away. And, neither my mother nor my husband’s would have been able to help, physically. So, no support network at all. You have your mother? As for other things: just do your best, and let everything else go. It’s good to be aware of PPD, so maybe talk to a doc/midwife now about signs and what to do, whom to talk to. But, just take it easy, lower expectations, and it’ll be fine.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Yeah, that’s the approach I’m trying to take, just go with the flow as much as possible and keep expectations low. My mom lives with us but she’s elderly and has issues so I don’t expect her to do anything beyond maybe play with the baby a bit, or wash the bottles when necessary; babysitting or any substantial chores I won’t have her do.

    5. Natalie*

      Yes, you can definitely work on heading off postpartum mental health concerns, by attending to your mental health and coping skills *now*. It’s not any sort of guarantee of no difficulties, of course, but getting yourself in better mental shape now will benefit your postpartum mental health, and you’ll have an existing mental health support system in place if and when you need it.

      I think you have the right idea wrt staying flexible, but IME that doesn’t mean winging it with no plan at all. I’m not sure if you’ve taken any classes or done any reading about the first few weeks specifically, but if not I’d do that with your husband and talk about how you want to divide the load, with the understanding that you’re not going to predict everything perfectly and things can and will change on the fly. And talk about outside supports that are available to you – just because you won’t have someone come and stay doesn’t mean friends and relatives can’t help. Think about what you can hire out – lawn/snow, laundry, pet care, delivery. And people still want to help, we’ve had food dropped off or delivered, hand me downs, errands run, etc.

      1. Natalie*

        On birth plans – you absolutely can’t script a birth out, but you can still think ahead a bit. Our doula talked about birth goals. I thought of it like a choose your own adventure – X might happen, and if it does I would like Y and Z if medically possible. This is another place where I found a class helpful, just to be familiar with what’s typical, some common atypical things, common interventions, and some strategies for decision making.

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          Thanks this is helpful, choose your own adventure is the best way to describe it!

          So far, my only “plan” is that I want to do vaginal birth but if its necessary it’ll be a C-section. (I am just so scared of the C-section recovery). I’ll look into classes. I’ve read about people having exact birth plans, e it at home or in the hospital….this is my first but from reading of so many experiences, I know this can be very unpredictable.

          If anything positive coming from being on lockdown it’s that I’ve gotten used to being at home. Pre-covid I never had a day where I didn’t go out alone to the gym or running errands. At that time, I was worried how I would adjust as I don’t think I’d be able to go outside as easily with a baby or have a quick trip to the store. My mom friends tell me how much they enjoyed being able to go outside with a small purse or wallet and not a giant diaper bag lol

          1. Natalie*

            C section is a great example, actually, because there are things you can do that reduce the likelihood that you’ll need a surgical birth – avoid being induced, labor at home as long as possible, resting as much in early labor. These strategies can really benefit from some research and practice beforehand. Like, it’s not obvious how to rest during labor, and it’s probably not something you’ll figure out in the moment either.

            Not sure if you’ve considered hiring a doula but they can be a great resource. Ours wasn’t able to be in labor & delivery with us because of the pandemic but she was still absolutely worth the money. Most of them include some postpartum sessions which might be extra helpful for you.

            1. Cat*

              The newer evidence actually shows that inductions don’t increase the risk of c sections.

              1. blackcat*

                I think the evidence is that they do for first time mothers, but they *reduce* the risk for subsequent deliveries.

                Also, FWIW, a vaginal delivery is not necessarily easier recovery. I had a third degree tear from a precipitous delivery, and my recovery was worse than some friends who had c-sections (though better than many!). There’s a wide range of recovery for both c-sections and vaginal births.

                1. Potatoes gonna potate*

                  Oh yikes. I’ll admit I made that judgment from all the women I know who gave birth vaginally and were up and feeling fine within days, but yes there is a wide range of recovery.

                2. blackcat*

                  I mean, *walking* was fine. I was up and moving around just fine immediately (like <30 minutes after they finished stitching me up).

                  But my tear hurt A LOT for 8 weeks as it healed (there was a secondary infection and some complications). Sitting was really painful–though a donut pillow helped tremendously–and you do a lot of sitting breastfeeding a newborn. It was ~1 year before the scar tissue softened enough to not occasionally cause pain.

                3. blackcat*

                  I wanted to add, just so my comment doesn’t scare you, *on average* vaginal deliveries have easier recoveries. There are outliers in both directions, and the truly terrible c-section recoveries I know of were much worse than my recovery (c-sections are objectively harder on the body).

                  3rd and 4th degree tears are what can cause really rough recoveries, and they’re pretty rare even for first time moms. Generally only happens with precipitous labor, poor fetal presentation, or assisted delivery (vacuum for forceps generally require an incision).

                4. Potatoes gonna potate*

                  @blackcat I’ve heard of the same, difficult and easy deliveries for both. I don’t have hard data but just from talking to friends, the hardest recoveries were the ones that ended in emergency C-section after hours/days in labor.

                  On another note, I see new moms on social media, days after their C-section they had a totally flat stomach and full makeup. so jealous lol. (then again they are fitness models so healing was probably easier since they were in presumably good health)

                5. Cat*

                  I had a planned c section due to a breech baby. I’m not an Instagram fitness model. I’m in good health but plus size and just a normal person. Recovery was honestly a breeze. I think there’s a lot of luck and chance involved. But I also think a planned c section is probably very different from an emergency one most of the time.

                6. Cat*

                  Is that reversed? The ARRIVE study which showed no increase in c sections with inductions was all first-time mothers.

                7. blackcat*

                  Yeah, definitely the worst is folks who got the full, terrible, long labor then a c-section anyways.
                  My experience was extremely a-typical, but I felt 100% fine for the first two or three days after birth, then the pain set in/endorphins wore off/etc. What was tough for me was I was in pain for so long, long after I was told I should be fine.
                  My labor was extremely short, which meant that I was not at all physically exhausted by the process. I delivered a bit before midnight after arriving at the hospital around 11:15pm. By around 1am, baby had breastfed, I was up and moving, and frankly felt like I could run a marathon (endorphins!). I had spent most of the day alternating walking and napping (I was 41 weeks and had stopped working already). My husband had worked a full day was SO TIRED.

                  In contrast, I had friends who had just really long–like 48 hour–labors and they had a much worse first week or two than I did, but were generally pain free within two weeks. However, they also generally had really negative experiences, and my experience of actual labor was wild but not at all traumatic. So different deliveries have different near or far term problems.
                  I will also really echo what someone else said about really trusting your medical team. Shit went totally sideways for my 45 minutes of active labor. There were apparently lots of alarms beeping for both me and baby, and I remember being flipped onto my side, an oxygen mask being shoved on my face, and a number of other things that happened completely out of my control (and without explanation I could follow, but I couldn’t really follow anything). While it hurt like hell, I was never scared–I had complete trust that both I and the baby would be totally fine and that the medical team was going to do what they needed to do. That enabled me to just sort of ride the rollercoaster, and I think it’s that lack of fear that prevented any psychological trauma from it. My husband, on the other hand, was scared shitless and suffered a lot of anxiety in the following weeks that I think was related to that fear. (His summary of my labor to others: “It was so intense and terrifying and I thought they might die.” My summary of my labor to others: “It was so intense and primal and I totally get how wild animals can give birth then immediately kill a predator coming for their newborn.”)

                  So…. anything could happen! But having good trust in your medical team makes a big difference. Sometimes things will go sideways either in labor or recovery, but the vast majority of times things will still be okay.

                  As for the flat belly soon after baby… it’s like 85% genetic and then 10% luck, and *maybe* 5% within your control. For me it just… happened. It was actually really remarkable to see. I birthed a human 1/3rd my height (I am small, baby was big), and within 6 weeks the only signs visible to other people were my extra big boobs. I was back in my pre-pregnancy pants. No stretch marks. Skin retracted back (HOW?!?!). I still had an open wound in my perineum and was therefore not doing anything other than walking in my neighborhood for exercise. It was all genetic.

                8. Potatoes gonna potate*

                  @ Cat – I had a planned c section due to a breech baby. I’m not an Instagram fitness model. I’m in good health but plus size and just a normal person. Recovery was honestly a breeze. I think there’s a lot of luck and chance involved. But I also think a planned c section is probably very different from an emergency one most of the time.

                  Definitely, everyone is different. One of my friends had a difficult labor, emergency C section and PPD with her first, the second was a planned C and she says it was way easier the second time around. At my most recent appointment the ultrasound tech said the baby was in a breech position but when I met with the doctor he said it really doesn’t matter at this point because there’s still time for baby potato to flip around (I’m 27 weeks now). I want to keep myself open to either possibility.

              2. Natalie*

                You’re right that I oversimplified but I think you are oversimplifying as well. ARRIVE is one study and there’s a reason the researchers didn’t conclude that everyone should get induced at 39 weeks, and indeed no one I know of has updated their recommendations to blanketly favor 39 week induction. I hope the picture will become clearer as more research is done.

                (And just for the record, I’m not anti-induction or cesarean. I had a successful induction, and multiple friends of mine have had life saving sections. But when one is talking about an upcoming birth one is naturally talking about broad statistical trends, and given those it’s not odd to want to try and avoid major abdominal surgery.)