open thread – December 25-26, 2020

It’s the Christmas open thread!

The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything that you want to talk about — work-related, not work-related, doesn’t matter.

It’s not my tree, but it lives in my house.

{ 388 comments… read them below }

    1. anonymous 5*

      Came to the comments to say exactly this! Alison, you’re an awesome tree-host to grace it with such a perfect topper! :)

    2. tangerineRose*

      Have the kitties left the tree alone? Wallace looks like he might be thinking about what to do with it.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        They’ve mostly left it alone. We’ve found that they’re not nearly as interested in a pencil tree as they are in the wider ones, and we don’t put ornaments on the bottom or they will remove them.

        1. Bob*

          I think Wallace is scheming behind your back, i suspect he will try to scale the tree when he is sure no human is nearby and is just trying to lull you into a complacency until then :D

    3. Vermont Green*

      This reminds me of the statue in Plaza San Martin of Lima Peru. One of the figures on it is a woman representing Liberty, wearing a small llama figure on top of her head. The original sculpting instructions were to give her a crown of flames. However, the instructions used the Spanish word for flame, which is “llama.” Wish I could post a photo.

  1. Coenobita*

    Hello everyone! What are the other non-Christmas-celebrators doing this weekend? I am off work for a few days and somehow both deeply bored and too lazy to do anything useful or interesting. Yesterday I read three trashy romance novels and now my wrist hurts from holding my kindle.

    1. OperaArt*

      Although I am a Christmas celebrator, I’m on my own this year. So I’ve been doing a lot of Airbnb Online Excursions as I did at Thanksgiving. A flamenco lesson, a shark tour, a tour of Australia’s Great Ocean Road, a lesson on creative smartphone photography.

        1. OperaArt*

          Oh, that’s hard to decide. I was smiling by the end of each one. The two that I will probably look back on the most are the flamenco lesson and the smart phone photography.

          The most memorable ones from my Thanksgiving break were singing with s Broadway star (Stephen Carlile from The Lion King), and a tour of Pompeii.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I got my husband a couple of those for Christmas – a leopard safari talk, and a sandwich-making master class :)

    2. nep*

      Doing a lot of cleaning out. VVA pickup in a couple weeks so I’m filling up bags. Feels so good to make space.
      Organising Poshmark inventory and packing supplies.
      And the job search continues.

      1. Coenobita*

        haha, we did too! (actually we switched internet providers, and our new account comes with a free trial) – I think I will watch Hamilton, and maybe Muppet Treasure Island.

        1. CAA*

          Same here. I’m enjoying having it, but not sure there’s enough to keep it around all year. We’ll probably just subscribe for a couple of months during Mandalorian seasons. Although I am going to watch the new movie “Soul” before our trial expires. The voice cast and the premise are both interesting to me.

          1. Black Horse Dancing*

            If you like superheroes and/or Star Wars, Disney has a boatload of good looking series coming out.

      2. DarthVelma*

        My brother and I binge watched most of season 1 last christmas. I binge watched season 2 last weekend and then he and I had a long debrief after. It was awesome and I hope you enjoy the show as much as we did.

      3. Might be Spam*

        My son and binged the Mandalorian last year. This year it’ll just be me because he already watched it.

        1. allathian*

          We got Disney+ in September when it launched in my country, and we’ve watched The Mandalorian as the episodes were released here. We’re SW and Marvel fans, though, so there’ll be plenty of other stuff for us to watch, as well as some old childhood favorites to revisit and introduce our son to. I’m really looking forward to seeing the original Mary Poppins movie again, although it was already old by the time I saw it in the mid-80s.

    3. Silly Goose*

      Same old same old… Just without logging in to work.

      One kid has school. Played video games with the other.

    4. MinotJ*

      Working in a lab, running covid tests and making bank. I’ll be working six days this week and two of them are considered holidays.

      Also scheduled: existential crisis about how this pandemic has been beneficial to my mental health (I’m an introvert who loves her job and I work best when there’s too much to do) and wallet, while the rest of the world is suffering.

    5. OyHiOh*

      Non-Christmas person

      I am working on an art piece. I’ve got three big ones in progress so I’ll probably work a little on each of them. Most likely, will sing a bit (I want to audition for a choral next summer). Planning to take a walk. I think that’s it!

    6. Tabby*

      Not a Christmas celebrator, either. Ive committed to watching silly movies for today. I’ve given myself enough SVU/The Mayans mashup nightmares for the week… although it certainly has given my best friend a huge amount of amusement to hear the funny details.

      We can’t look at expensive men’s dress shirts without muttering “Bespoke Murderer (yes, our senses of humor are very, very off-color, how’d you guess)” and cackling.

    7. Nacho*

      I normally celebrate Christmas, but my entire family caught COVID, so I’ve got nothing to do now either. I’m thinking of binging a show on Netflix, but cand decide which one. Maybe Blood of Zeus.

      1. Figgie*

        We are celebrating our very first Christmas with no family other than each other. Since I am 65 and my spouse will be 68 in a few weeks, it is a very different Christmas for us. :-)

        We are also currently residing in a small apartment in Mexico. Due to all of the wonderful advice from commentators on this forum, my spouse negotiated working remotely from here for the entire winter before he retires in a year.

        The weather is glorious, with a nice breeze, blue skies and palm trees swaying outside our front door. Our two cats are ecstatic that my spouse finished enclosing the ironwork grate around our entryway, so they can sit outside safely and watch the world go by.

        I a having a margarita and we will be having lasagna, toasted olive garlic bread and lime pie for Christmas dinner. Hope everyone here has a wonderful Christmas Day!

    8. AGD*

      I have a flexible job in higher ed. Today, working. I usually take 1 day off a week, so probably tomorrow. Planning on exploring the streaming services, or curling up with a book, or some of both. Classes are not in session, but: I like my job, weather and local conditions have me staying indoors, and there are some loose ends I don’t mind working on a bit at a time before things get intense again in January. I love how much I can get done when my work inbox is quiet.

    9. WoodswomanWrites*

      My friend and I have our annual Christmastime bird outing to see the many migratory geese, ducks, hawks, cranes, etc. that winter in California. It’s usually an overnight trip together (I have a comparable tradition at Thanksgiving that I do solo that I’ve mentioned here before). This year because of the pandemic, instead we’re taking a local day trip to a few spots where we can do a socially distanced walk. We rescheduled to tomorrow due to much-needed rain today.

      It will be fun to check out some new birding locations together and I’m enjoying my new camera for getting better photos. It will be fun to go through the images over the weekend to post on my blog, the same name as my handle.

    10. Girasol*

      We’re playing video games and planning the vegetable garden. I set my favorite seed catalog aside unopened a month ago so I could open it fresh today. Picking out vegetables is a Christmas tradition here.

    11. June First*

      Celebrated Christmas, but also love trashy romances. Whatcha reading? My pandemic guilty pleasure was Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. Guilty enough I didn’t put it up on Goodreads. Also just read Alexis Hall’s “Boyfriend Material” in roughly 24 hours.

    12. AngelicGamer, the Visually Impared Peep*

      Video games, writing, and I finished Bag Man which is the book format of the podcast of the same name. It was good and eye opening and now I’ll probably switch to fiction. :)

    13. Peanut*

      Non-celebrator here. Played a board game with the family, got the kids out for a walk even though they refused sledding, lots of hot chocolate, socially distanced/masked faraway sidewalk hello to other family members, and helped one kid make waffles and yams for Shabbat dinner (she’s too young to do hot stuff by herself). It was nice and very chill.

  2. HannahS*

    Woo-hoo, we have the day off and I spent the morning reading a cookbook (Shuk by Einat Admony) and it made me feel both inspired and sad (travel restrictions, I miss my family etc.), so I’m consoling myself by making a big Israeli-style breakfast for lunch, substituting naan for pita, because I’ve never made pita before. And whatever cheese we have, instead of the usual qvark-style cheese and labneh. Naan, eggs, cheese, hummus, salad…yum.

    What cookbooks have inspired you, lately? Have you tried a new dish that you really liked?

    1. bibliovore*

      Last year when I asked for recommendations on where to eat in London, many people recommended Dishoom. I loved it and now enjoy the cook book.

    2. Might be Spam*

      My grown-up kids play online with some guys in South America and they shared a recipe for Gallo Pinto. It’s rice and beans with minced garlic and onion and Mojo sauce. It’s a new favorite for us now.

        1. Might be Spam*

          Gallo Pinto
          (You can get the Mojo sauce by the gallon from Amazon or a much smaller bottle from the grocery store.)

          1 medium onion chopped
          1 clove garlic minced
          Saute the above until onions are translucent.
          Then add:
          1 cup rice
          1 can black beans With the liquid
          1 and 2/3 cups water
          Cook until rice is done.
          Then add:
          2-3 Tablespoons Mojo Sauce

          This tastes great the way it is.
          When I feel fancy, I add a can of diced or crushed tomatoes and/or 1 chopped green pepper and wrap it in a tortilla.

    3. SD*

      I found a vegetarian recipe last spring that I really, really like: Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta. It’s sort of a pain to make (soak and cook dried beans first, sauce that takes a while), but it is so good! It evidently comes from a cookbook published by Rancho Gordo, which sells heirloom beans, including Cranberry/Borlotti beans. I buy them at the local farmer’s market. That guy sells both Cranberry and Borlotti beans and swears they are different, but most sources say they’re the same?? Whatever, they’re good. You can google the recipe by name. It comes up on several sites.

      Quickie description: chopped fennel bulb, garlic, San Marzano tomatoes, carrot, and herbs for the sauce. This part cooks for 2-3 hours. The beans go in right before serving. Meanwhile cook the polenta. The recipe says this takes like 45 min, but my polenta never takes that long.

      Hint: put the beans to soak when you get up in the morning and they’ll be ready to cook by 2 or 3 in the afternoon. They only take an hour or so.

    4. CAA*

      I just got “The Flavor Equation” by Nik Sharma as a gift this morning. Haven’t made anything from it yet, but it looks good so far.

    5. Jules*

      I never knew how much I loved Israeli food until we snagged reservations at Shaya in NOLA. I swear I’ve never had pita and hummus like I had there. It was nearly a religious experience, and by the time I’d downed two delicious cocktails I was practically crying with joy every time the waiter brought more out.

    6. Parenthetically*

      I’m so glad you asked this!!

      Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking! It is so gorgeously laid out and so fun to read, and I cannot wait to do Russian Easter Zakuski feast this next Easter.

      Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania was also so wonderful to read, and I was fascinated by the cuisine — in some ways it’s what you’d think of as typical Eastern European, but it has a lot of other influences as well, and looks incredible.

    7. GoryDetails*

      I’m in the middle of a recipe for cinnamon rolls, courtesy of my niece’s holiday gift – she came up with several dessert recipes themed on the marvelous “Over the Garden Wall” animated series. I learned that my stock of dry yeast was pretty old, though the “youngest” batches – expiration date 2017 – turned out to work OK when I gave them a proof, so I’m going with those. [The *oldest* yeast I had was from 2010. Why didn’t I purge it years ago, or put it in the freezer way back when?]

    8. veggiewolf*

      I made a honey pudding yesterday, out of the Elder Scrolls cookbook, and it came out well (a bit too sweet for me, but my husband loved it). I’m looking forward to trying some of her other recipes – I love the idea of recreating recipes from games.

    9. Fellow Traveler*

      I checked out from the library Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Fast and dinner for the past week and a half has been primarily out of the cook book. It has re-introduced me to the wonders of broiling as a way to maximize flavor and time. It’s also written in a way that helps you be a more efficient and creative/flexible cook. I mean I love a good cooking project, but more often than not these days I need dinner to be simple, fast and nutritious. Favorites so far: Broccoli Tabbouleh with Broiled cherry tomatoes, and a Charred Brussel Sprout Sala with Blue Cheese and Walnuts.

    10. Dinky Dog the Demonmaster*

      It’s not a cookbook, but a new to me online recipe search strategy that has been inspiring me lately.
      I use the search terms of one or two ingredients I want to use and then the word recipe. I always something I find in the first three pages, and I waste less food. One of my favorite finds was the pork stuffed collard greens recipe on Food Network. Yum!

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

    Merry Christmas to Alison and all the AAM comentariat!!
    I’m watching the Japan Figure Skating Nationals, or at least the few videos available on Youtube, since there is no livestream. My favourites are killing it again, although is so sad the lack of plushie rain and to see those whose coaches couldn’t make it to Japan waiting for the scores all on their own.

    1. Wandering*

      Do you know about Jackie Wong of rockerskating dot com & on Twitter? He covers everything, & adds video on his website while it’s available. He’s a huge fan & a former judge; currently recognized as press by the ISU.
      Russian nationals are happening now as well as Japan’s.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I came back here to share something beautiful.
      Oona Brown & Gage Brown skating to Metallica “Nothing Else Matters”, at the Bryant Park rink in midtown Manhattan. It also has phenomenal Fred Astaire camera work — one take, no cuts, just the dancers and location when it doesn’t distract.

      1. I take tea*

        That is very beautiful! I love that they are really skating together, not just one supporting the other doing stunts. That’s very impressive too, but this feel more emotional. Lovely. Thank you.

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

      I know about the Russian Nationals!!! Sadly all livestreams are blocked for my location, but I’ve been following the Russian tournament throughout all 2020. But, for obvious reasons I’m more interested in the Japan Nationals right now. Also, I’ve been trying to stay clear from drama as much drama as possible… which has been so difficult it involved Youtube gymnastics this year.

    4. Emily*

      How exciting! I’m not very tuned-in or well-informed about figure skating, but I got into it a little bit during the most recent Olympics and have a few skaters who I always like to root for (like Kaori Sakamoto, whose speed and jumps make her fun for me to watch). Maybe I’ll check in on them later.

  4. Exhausted Frontline Worker*

    Commiseration thread for anyone else stuck working on Christmas!

    We don’t close ever, and I did technically volunteer to work today as the only person on my team who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, because otherwise I knew there would be ~drama~. But it’s still no fun working a holiday when everyone else is off, even if you don’t celebrate it. I was hoping for a chill day at home monitoring my phone and email for crises, as we often do for holiday coverage. But boss told me earlier this week he expects me to be onsite doing work for at least a few hours today for reasons I won’t disclose as to preserve anonymity. At least I got Thanksgiving off…?

    1. DarthVelma*

      I’m sorry you had to go into your office. Is there anything fun you could do in the office alone? Make an art installation out of office supplies? Leave happy little notes in odd places for your co-workers?

      1. Exhausted Frontline Worker*

        Fun suggestions that I hope someone else gets to use today, but sadly no. I work in social services, so I’ll be onsite seeing a handful of clients who remember we’re open today. It’s kind of a bummer because a big part of our function is getting people linked to other supportive services including government benefits–we’re one of those places that people go when they need assistance but don’t know where or how to get it. So even though we’re still open, there’s not much tangible assistance I can provide on holidays because all other services are closed. But I only have to be onsite half a day instead of a full day, so I’ll celebrate that small gift!

        1. DarthVelma*

          Thank you for what you’re doing today. Even if you can’t offer as much help today as usual, I’m sure just having you be there to offer what support you can means a lot to folks who need it on a holiday.

    2. Valancy Snaith*

      I worked Christmas Day three years running when I worked at Starbucks, and usually Boxing Day as well. You’re right, it is absolutely not fun AT ALL. Is there something fun you can do to lighten the mood a little bit, or entertain yourself?

      1. Exhausted Frontline Worker*

        Oof I’m so sorry, working retail or food service on the holidays sounds like the worst! Glad you no longer have to do that!

        1. Valancy Snaith*

          Christmas Day itself was usually not too bad–shortened hours, people were pretty grateful we were open and tipped well. Now, Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Eve were all a living hell. People are STRESSED and ANGRY. More than once I had people scream and throw things.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            I worked retail in NYC a long time ago, and on December 26th or so, when it was massively busy, a co-worker said to me, “Man, I am exhausted,” and a customer (who was just walking by, we were behind a desk clocking in or something) overheard and said, “So? You just got Christmas Day off! What else do you want?” and walked off. I heard a lot of unkind things during my retail days, but that was probably in the top five.

            1. Batgirl*

              “Let me hear another sound from you,’ said Scrooge, `and you’ll keep your Christmas by losing your situation!”

          2. Exhausted Frontline Worker*

            Wow, some people are just the worst. Not that this would ever happen, but I personally believe everyone should be required to spend at least six months working in food service, retail or customer service. I worked at a cafe for a couple years in high school (although never on Christmas). Haven’t worked in food service since, but it was a great lesson in not being an entitled jerk to service workers that I’m glad I learned as a teen and I still carry with me over a decade later.

            1. Will's Mom*

              This plus 1000! I worked a second job for 10 years at a sandwich shop and I totally learned to be kind to anyone who works in retail, food customer service, etc. Bonus is that if you are kind to these workers, they will go out of their way to help you out. That’s how I got $50 a month knocked off my satellite TV bill a few years back. I didn’t ask for it, nor did I request it. Although I try to be kind just be kind, not to get any reward.

            2. Batgirl*

              I’m always amazed when people haven’t, at least back when they were too young to have qualifications. We weren’t desperately poor, my parents could have given me some spending money if I’d needed it, but who wouldn’t rather have their own money? I met a guy in college who once who was very proud that he had never done any “menial work” and I asked him if he wasn’t rather too old for pocket money. I would never say that to someone struggling to get work, but it was such a misplaced boast that I had to.

              1. Oldbiddy*

                same. I’m early Gen X and the high school/college/early 20’s service job was practically a rite of passage. I think it’s a bit rarer now among upper middle class families due to the increased focus on only doing things that will help kids get into college. FWIW I work with grad students and the ones who did work customer service or other demanding jobs, even if it was only for a summer or two, generally do a lot better overall than the ones who only did stuff that looks good on the resume.

    3. Not trying to be rude, just good at it*

      I used to volunteer for holiday work at my fortune 500 company (many, many moons ago). I would work 18 hour days on Thanksgiving, black Friday, New Years Day and extra hours on Christmas Eve and New Years eve. Double time, free lunch and dinner, comp vacation time and much boredom. I always planned late January vacations to a “tropical” location so the extra money was great.

      My team partners were so appreciative as was management and I treated it as a money grab.

      1. Exhausted Frontline Worker*

        Ahhh I wish I got those benefits! Since we never close on holidays, people have to use PTO if they want Christmas off (we do get very generous PTO by American standards to compensate for this–about 35 days/year). So my perks for today are a shortened shift and…not being charged a day of PTO today?

        Working Christmas isn’t that big of a deal to me, especially considering all of the other bad things that have happened this year. I’m just feeling whiny after being overworked the last ten months and wanted to vent :/

      1. Exhausted Frontline Worker*

        Sadly no snacks or music will be happening, but definitely looking forward to the shortened shift :)

    4. Retail Not Retail*

      I’m working 3-4 hours today but it’s truly optional overtime during our holiday event. (Some departments have to work regular shifts today, mine doesn’t!)

      It’s in the evening, I’ll get to play pokemon go while I FREEZE (wednesday night got cut short for bad storms)

    5. WoodswomanWrites*

      That sounds tough. I’m not working today, but I want to thank you for the important work you’re doing. Thank you for your commitment and compassion during a pandemic.

  5. Puppy!*

    I am outing myself- See yesterday- Go get your dog.
    Puppy is losing baby teeth. And leaving tiny blood drops in the snow. I thought I broke her playing ball. Froze some wet wash clothes for her to chew on.
    Advice please.
    Booties pro-con and recommendations.Two previous dogs refused to wear them or lost one immediately. First dog was okay with a plain polar fleece wrap that just protected her from the salt on the sidewalk. Are there brands that you like or work or fit?
    It is 3 degrees out with about 6 inches of dry pack snow.
    She is a non-shedding breed with a thick coat. Cold doesn’t seem to bother her. She is not outside more than 10/15 minutes. She LOVES the snow.
    She has already outgrown her winter jacket.
    Need recommendations for coats- Do you have one that you love?

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        Y’all, there are photos!!
        Thats the cutest dog ever and I say that as the mom of the previously cutest dog ever!
        I have zero cold weather dog advice (I live in tropical climes) but wanted to say I’m so happy for you!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      On the booties — if she’s a service dog who will be regularly going out with you all her life, I’d train her to tolerate them now anyway so you have options. They’re not just for snow, I’ve seen a lot of service dogs in Florida wearing booties to protect their feet on the hot pavement.

      1. pancakes*

        It’s also “unnatural” for them to walk on salt, and to be electrocuted by stray voltage caused by salty meltwater seeping into the electrical system, which happens regularly in my city. Boots are preferably to injury or death.

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        FYI, laws do not protect therapy dogs the way they do service dogs. I am sure you have researched it all but wanted to make sure.

        1. Puppy*

          yes, I do know. If in the future, I am in need of a service dog, one will be trained for me. This little girl will be a companion, a good citizen etc.

    2. Tabby*

      Re: booties

      I’ve had some success in getting them used to the boots by having them wear them indoors so they get used to something touching/holding their feet. Make it pleasant by offering treats/extra kibble.

      Alternatively, you can use the wax they sell, it offers some protection from ice burn.

      Also, a lot of dogs toughen up just fine without the boots, depending on the breed — the furrier their feet are, the easier it is for them to deal. Huskies who aren’t pulling sleds, for instance, don’t actually need them, they basically walk around on snowshoes as it is.

    3. Anono-me*

      Watch for the baby teeth in the house. Stepping on those things can hurt worse than legos.

      If you have carpet, have you tried baby socks or doll socks in the house to get puppy comfortable with stuff on her feet? (Not a good idea on linoleum, hard wood, or tile.) Then you can take it up a notch to boots.

      Also what did you tell puppy when you took the first picture? ‘Time make everyone fall in love with her’

    4. AnotherLibrarian*

      Having recently sat through a passionate debate between several dog mushers on dog booties, I have learned the following- the trick to booties is to get them used to wearing them for short periods before you move onto long periods. The other trick is to be sure you need them. According to people who keep a lot of dogs in a very cold place, furry feet that collect ice and snow between the toes often need them, but dogs without furry paws may not. Also, fit is critical. Also, never accidentally start a discussion on anything relating to dog care when working with multiple people who mush dogs.

    5. Dog and cat fosterer*

      I thought it might be you! The breed and age were in the right ballpark.

      The people I know with guide dogs with booties mostly use them for the heat, although some types of salt on winter sidewalks can be a problem. These are dogs that are expected to often walk on pavement. For companions, the booties can become useful if the climate isn’t a good match, or as they age. Many dogs have issues as they become elderly, which is why some far north communities send their dogs south if their joints have trouble in winter. Some people get jackets or booties. As my older dog ages I notice that his paws become too cold (he limps) at warmer temperatures every year (used to be fine at -40 but now isn’t able to walk without booties at -20), although he was born in the north so clearly coped up there in his youth, but wouldn’t now. I got him used to booties by getting a pair (MuttLuks), getting them as tight as possible then loosening slightly (so they are hard to take off yet not too tight), and immediately going outside. He isn’t thrilled with them indoors, and does the ‘touching lava’ dance, but runs around outside with them on. We walk in fields of snow so I don’t know of other options. I have heard good things about the wax, and would suggest trying that. I admit that I haven’t tried it only because I don’t think my problem is with the bottoms of the pads.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I have never put coats on dogs unless they were very old and could not keep themselves warm anymore.

      I would not worry too much about it for 10-15 minutes in the cold. However, when it’s that cold, I go outside with my dog to keep a close eye. (I have a dog run that I can tie him to.) I think you said others walk her for you? When he comes in I towel him off immediately if there is any precipitation. I keep retired bath towels on hand for my pets. You can dry them off, or you can pile up towels for them to sleep on, etc. There’s a lot you can do with old towels for pets.

    7. Argye*

      Smart pak equine. Dog coats made like horse blankets – they’re super easy to put on and take off. I have hairless dogs in a cold climate, so I’m *very* familiar with dog coats!

    8. JobHunter*

      I have only had one non-shedding dog (a mini Schnoodle) and his coat was rather sparse. He really did need a heavy winter coat, especially since his belly was so bare and he was so close to the ground. I used Ultra Paws jackets because of their nylon outer layer and belly panel that gave good coverage.

      My two dogs are both large hounds. The older dog doesn’t like the cold and almost needs to be carried outside to make him go out. He is more willing to go out under his own power if we put a coat on him. The younger one doesn’t care one way or the other.

    9. 00ff00Claire*

      We have not actually used these, but I have come across dog leggings with four pads. They are billed as an alternative to booties and as more comfortable. They are called Walkee Paws and if you Google waterproof leggings for dogs, they will come up. We tried type of bootie but our dog is a toy breed and most booties are too big. We might give the leggings a try because, like a lot of other small dogs, she hates rain or snow. Our vet recommended sweaters and jackets to keep her warm. We bought one jacket from the pet store and it’s a bit puffy so we use it for our coldest weather (which is usually 30s, occasionally a little below). She also has an LL Bean jacket that we got used, and I really like the quality of that one. It has reflective trim and I like that. We don’t do much walking for various reasons but it’s a nice feature that is good when we do need to walk. The downside to the LL Bean jacket is it does not have a hole on the back for attaching a leash to a harness. Her other jacket does, so if your puppy will wear the jacket on walks, look for that before you decide on a jacket.

      May you and puppy keep enjoying one another! She’s very cute!

    10. Doctor is In*

      We used booties on our dogs who had hairy feet and were older. Otherwise they got nasty ice balls between their toes. They get used to them pretty quickly with indoor practice. It’s funny, they did not try to take them off but high-stepped which was laugh-out-loud to watch. We only used them when there was ice and snow, they did not seem to be bothered by cold.

    11. BellaDiva*

      During an extreme cold snap a few years ago we got our German Shepherds disposable booties (pawz). We had tried regular booties before, but they didn’t take to them. The Pawz are flexible and they can easily feel the surface beneath their feet, so they didn’t seem to mind them. While they refused to take more than two steps outside without them, they actually went out to do their business and a short play session with them on. Only drawback is that you can only get a few wears out of them, but we only use them in extreme weather.

      1. Enby*

        I also use the Pawz disposable booties! I get a week or two of twice-daily sidewalk walks out of them. They’re also the only thing that stays on my dog’s feet… and she has the most sensitive paw pads ever. If even a speck of salt gets on her back feet, the pads tear and bleed. And since I can’t find an e-collar that stays on her either, it’s a mess!

        I know mushers wax works for some people, but not for us.

        My favorite dog coat brand is Ruffwear – they are easy to put on, warm, and last for many, many years.

    1. nep*

      I hear you. I don’t really use ‘hate’ for anything…but I’m always SO glad when any holiday is over. This year is better, I have to say, because no visits, no having to decline invitations to any get-togethers.

    2. Beth Jacobs*

      I’m glad I spent time with my family but I am completely socially exhausted. I just can’t. I’m at home now and delighted to see that quite a few restaurants are doing delivery. I dislike holiday food, I just want salads and wraps and am too tired to make my own.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      SMH, sadly. In the mornings I go have coffee with an older neighbor. Today we both stared into our cups and said, “Is it over yet?”.

      At least the dog is enjoying his new ham bone someone gave him.

    4. Mademoiselle Sugar Lump*

      I hear you. So glad we don’t have to do anything in particular today, so we’re trying to get a fish tank filter to work. That’s aggravating, but not as aggravating as having to drive a long way to see his family.

  6. No Time for This Nonsense*

    I have a ridiculous situation/responsibility at work, and I’m wondering if I can just start ignoring it. 

    For some unknown reason, if Team Red, who works in a separate building from my team, don’t answer their receptionist phones, the call goes directly to the voicemail on my phone. When I first started my job, there were almost 170 voicemails waiting (my position was empty for several months). I asked my boss if there was a way to get the voicemails sent to Team Red instead, but she said there wasn’t, and to just delete all the old ones, start writing down the new ones, and give them to Team Red when they stop in to drop off paperwork. 

    The problem with this is that writing down the voicemails is time consuming (they’re usually left by people who ramble or who talk unclearly, so I do a lot of replaying), and I often end up giving the messages to Team Red at least a couple days after the messages were left, at which point I assume whoever left a message would have tried calling them again. (I’m getting crushed by work for various reasons, so I’m focused on getting my own work done…Sometimes I don’t have time to listen to the messages for a few days, or I don’t remember to hand over the messages when Team Red unceremoniously throws paperwork on my desk and leaves.)

    Would it be bad to just start…ignoring the messages? I’m fed up with having to handle messages for a separate team (my job doesn’t even include being a receptionist for my own team), and I have a feeling no one would notice if I stopped (I didn’t notice the 170 messages were there until a few weeks after I started my job since no one mentioned them and I wasn’t getting any calls at that point so I wasn’t paying attention to my phone).

    1. fhqwhgads*

      Does your phone system not have a function to fwd VMs? A lot of business phone systems do. So you could just do it manually….which is still stupid but at least more efficient than writing them down. Your boss is being lazy saying it can’t be changed. Of course it can be changed. Unless you have the world’s stupidest phone system this is a configurable item. You just need to find the person capable/in charge of doing it.

      1. No Time for This Nonsense**

        I don’t know if I can forward voicemails. I didn’t actually know that was possible for any phones. I will check when I go to work on Monday!

        1. Artemesia*

          And if you can’t do it, you need to talk to whomever is in charge of the phone system — maybe IT, maybe someone else, but don’t go with ‘can it ‘ but with ‘we need to get the calls forwarded to someone on Red Team’. Period. Stop. Don’t quit until you track down who can do it and get it done.

        2. not always right*

          You can also Google your phone system. That’s helped me figure out how to forward calls in the past. Just a suggestion. You must work for WeSaySo Corporation. lol

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I think it’s worth discussing with your boss before you start ignoring things. If this is part of your job, then you’re stuck with it but you can ask her advice on how to prioritize. But if your job doesn’t include any administrative functions, you should push back– this additional task is distracting you from your work.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Also, if you have an IT or telecom team at work, check with them to see if they have any record as to why those calls get forwarded to your voicemail and if there’s any reason they couldn’t be set up with their own voicemail, so you can hopefully present your boss with a solution instead of just ignoring them — “these messages take up 25% of my time every week, but I checked with IT and they can set up a voicemail for Team Red’s receptionist line instead of forwarding it to me and that would both save my time and get them access to their messages quicker. Can we request that?”

        1. No Time for This Nonsense*

          My boss supposedly talked to someone about it before and was told it can’t be changed.

          IT recently needed to call me about a problem with my computer and said my phone number doesn’t work (apparently they ended up calling a receptionist and had them dial my extension), which is weird since my teammates tested it and it worked and I’ve gotten calls from people outside the company. They said they were going to tell the telecom team about it. Maybe I can get them to give me the telecom team contact info. Do I need to talk my boss before contacting the telecom team, or can I just do it? (I don’t know if that’d be “going behind her back” since she supposed already talked to someone about it.)

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I mean, even if asking IT/telecom about it is “going behind her back” (which I personally don’t think it is, but your boss does seem a little dodgy, so who knows), it’s still head and shoulders more professional than just ignoring their messages would be, heh. But I think if you’re already having telephone problems, you might have room for a little “do you think this problem could somehow be related to the fact that the phone number for the receptionist for the Red Team in the Other Building Way Over There seems to roll over to my voicemail instead of theirs, and maybe while you’re fixing this problem could you take a look at that one too?”

            1. No Time for This Nonsense*

              “I’m already having this problem, maybe this other strange problem is somehow related” is a good way to frame it!

          2. Not So NewReader*

            I think I would talk to the telecom team with or without my boss knowing it.
            If you feel uncomfortable and want to loop in your boss, then you should. You can just say, “I am having this other problem that I mentioned to the telecom team and then I started wondering if somehow the two problems were connected. So I asked them (or will ask them).”

            One thing I see at work is that the tech department keeps adding to their knowledge pool. No answer seems to be the end. Sometimes it takes years to finally reach a conclusion. I ask randomly roughly once or twice a year until we get there.

      2. WellRed*

        Yes and make sure you let boss know how much time this takes up. I’d also consider whether there is an office mgr or other person who is good at all the details and ask them if it’s at possible to switch this.

    3. Observer*

      Talk to IT / whoever handles your phone system or HR. The idea that their calls have to go to your phone is pretty ridiculous and I suspect that your boss is wrong.

      If the won’t change it, find out how to forward messages. Then instead or listening to messages, just forward them to whoever on that team. If you can’t forward messages, just type them up and email. Don’t wait around for someone to show up – that creates another thing for you to track. Also, by sending it in email it makes the problem more visible.

      1. No Time for This Nonsense*

        If the voicemail is for a specific person, I e-mail them. And there’s been a few times where I told my boss I had a few days worth of messages and hadn’t remembered to hand them off to whoever was dropping off paperwork, and she said to just scan and e-mail the messages.

        I don’t know if Team Red actually does anything with the messages, because they don’t acknowledge the e-mails, and when I hand them over in person they just say, “okay, thanks” in a disinterested voice. (We get a lot of customer complaints about how Team Red isn’t responsive, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they just threw out/deleted the messages.)

        It’s frustrating.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Ooooof. Then you definitely don’t want to just stop forwarding them, because then you become their potential scapegoat. “We can’t respond to messages if Nonsense doesn’t give them to us!”

          1. No Time for This Nonsense*

            Ha! I can see them doing that! They screw up a lot and create a ton of problems, and it’s always “It’s this other uninvolved person’s fault that I made a mistake and costed the company $3,000!”

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              Yep. You’re already kind of stuck in the middle now, and they can totally throw you under the bus (or at least try to), so you definitely don’t want to give them any MORE wiggle room to blame you for their screwups.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          That may be why your company “can’t” change the forwarding — they’re using you to cover for someone who is not doing the job.

    4. RagingADHD*

      “It can’t be changed” is a cop-out. It either means:

      a) that there is a policy reason why they want your role seving as rollover, or

      b) The person they asked didn’t know how to use the system properly, and didn’t want to bother learning.

      The rollover function is *programmed* to your voicemail. It didn’t happen by act of god.

      Anything that is programmed, can be reprogrammed. If you had the time (or were fed up enough) to read the manual, you could probably reprogram it yourself.

      But in case it’s a policy situation, you should try talking to your boss before you do anything about changing it.

      1. No Time for This Nonsense**

        “The rollover function is *programmed* to your voicemail. It didn’t happen by act of god. Anything that is programmed, can be reprogrammed.”

        That made me laugh! It’s so true.

        It’s totally possible that my boss just mentioned it to someone who had no knowledge/ability to change it and didn’t pursue it further beyond that. (She may have talked to Team Red for all I know–she just said she already talked to “someone” about fixing it and it couldn’t be changed.)

        I don’t think it’s a policy thing because I can’t see any reason why someone in a non-receptionist role on a different team in a separate building should be taking all the messages that another team’s receptionist misses.

        1. tangerineRose*

          Can you get this phone/phone number moved to Team Red’s building and get a new phone/number?

    5. Thankful for AAM*

      I am pretty sure you can forward them. I had to google the system we use and find the steps bc no one at work had any info. It was indeed possible to forward them.

      At the very least, share your log in and tell them to log in amd listen themselves.

    6. Crowley*

      This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard today (although to be fair it’s not had much competition).

      Could you switch your phone’s voicemail off entirely, or would that mean you get the calls instead?

      In my last job, when I actually used the phone*, I definitely could forward voicemails I received. Most people didn’t realise it was possible but one day I got a very important one that should have gone to someone else and I figured it out. Definitely worth looking into as a stopgap. But honestly this is fixable. You just need to find the person who can do it.

  7. Smoke detectors chirping*

    spouse and I have been on a number of work calls where one of the people talking has a smoke detector chirping in the background (like the battery needs to be replaced).
    Spouse was on a weekly call where the same person had the smoke detector going off 2 weeks in a row.

    Just why?

    Does this happen on your calls? Do you say something? Just ignore?

    1. nep*

      That’s crazy. I could see on one occasion, but most people with some common sense replace the battery when the thing starts chirping, no? I would think.

      1. YouwantmetodoWHAT?! *

        My husband can’t hear the chirping, so I’m the one that replaces the batteries, or ask him to do it. So maybe that’s the problem? Its not the volume, its the pitch.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I would ask you to say something. Those of us who are hard of hearing do not necessarily hear that frequency. My mother thought the dog was having seizures, and after 3 weeks of it she had made an appointment with the vet. Happily, I visited. The dog was just reacting to the low battery chirp. Any much longer, and she would have been without a smoke detector.

      1. Coffee time!*

        I was going to say maybe a parrot ..ours would do that..tried the smoke alarm but was told no fast!

    3. Kimmybear*

      I’m sorry. One of those might have been me :). My smoke alarm battery died and started shouting at me as I was getting up one morning, while taking care of my kiddo and spouse with COVID, and trying to keep up with work so I could save my leave in case I got sick. And my coffee maker broke. So trust me, the smoke alarm was driving me nuts too but I’m too short to reach them and had to wait until spouse had enough energy to deal with it. I hate 2020!

      1. WellRed*

        I find it difficult to swap out the batteries and get it All reattached. I do it but it’s a task I dread.

    4. Flower necklace*

      I will confess to being the coworker with the beeping smoke detector. In my defense, I live in an apartment and the smoke detector was outside of my apartment, in the shared hallway. It was faint enough that I didn’t think the microphone was picking up the noise until my coworker mentioned it. At that point, I called the housing office and they took care of it.

      It only chirped for a few days and I don’t work from home every day. I assumed that one of my neighbors would call or someone from the custodial staff/maintenance would take care of it, since they are regularly around doing work. So it’s possible the person just needs a little nudge so that they know it’s distracting.

    5. Miss Dove*

      I have been hearing this sound on a Team call for months. I said something to the other person and they don’t hear it. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s something in the connection.

    6. Early anon*

      Definitely mention it! (Politely of course) Some hearing problems prevent people hearing the really high pitched noises.

      I know someone with this problem and didn’t know hers were beeping until a caller mentioned it.

    7. No Time for This Nonsense*

      I haven’t had problems with smoke detectors beeping, but I’ve been on calls where there’s other weird sounds (random banging, strong winds, etc.). I basically just say, “Hey, I keep hearing [noise] and it’s really distracting. What is that?” The caller says “oh, that’s [whatever is making the noise]” and moves to another location if possible. So I think it’s totally fine to point it out, and if you say it’s distracting they might move somewhere quieter.

    8. Maybe not*

      Are you sure that’s the cause? Some headsets make a similar noise when the battery is low. I’ve noticed that happening.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      I can be a week or so just trying to figure out which one is beeping. They beep more at night when I am trying to sleep. If I am not right in the room when it beeps, I can’t tell which room it’s in.

    10. D3*

      My daughter lives in student housing, and her fire alarm has been chirping since SEPTEMBER. Management fines people $500 if they touch the detectors, and cannot seem to get anyone there to take care of it. My daughter doesn’t even hear it any more, but it drives me INSANE when we Zoom or talk on the phone and it’s taking all my willpower to not be helicopter mom and call management myself.

      1. Dream Jobbed*

        Don’t agree with being a helicopter mom, but not sure calling and saying the smoke alarm is running out of battery and when it’s gone everyone on the floor will be endanger. It needs to be fixed today.

        Being sensible is not the same as being helicopter. I work on a campus and if I found out this was happening you’d better believe I’d be going to the department head first and the president second if not resolved. Unless your daughter is going to a Harvard, they need her tuition and they can behave as though her life matters.

        1. Clisby*

          It wasn’t clear to me that this was university-owned housing (since D3 refers to “management”.) There’s a lot of privately owned/operated student housing around the college in my city.

      2. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

        Yeah, that is serious i.m.o. I probably _would_ exert the mom power on this occasion, because it might save someone’s life.
        The point of an alarm is to alert people. If everyone who lives there becomes able to “tune out” the beep, and its alarm mode is (as they often are) just the same beep happening more frequently, I’d question whether it can be fully effective in waking people up in an emergency.
        I’d want that point put in writing to the management, followed by escalating quickly to university top bods and then (if not fixed) to social media. Doesn’t have to be you that does it, maybe some of the students would if it were suggested to them. Maybe there’s a students’ union?

      3. Batgirl*

        Dealing with safety – life-and-death issues – is not helicoptering! As someone who works in a high school, I know that “angry parent” is one of the few spells strong enough to cut through educational bureaucracy. Whenever a parent gets angry at nonsense that both I and the students have already objected to, I know it will get resolved.

    11. Doctor is In*

      I am not that old but have hearing loss in the high ranges, would likely not hear a high pitch alarm. I would want to be told.

  8. essential*

    Question: I am an essential worker and can’t stand a coworker, which makes the already negative, tense, and isolating atmosphere at work worse. The coworker who’s the worst seems to be mental, like they should be on meds. Gets angry easily and isn’t professional. I’d rather work in silence than deal with them. What should I do? I work with them only once or twice a week. I don’t want to quit just because of them. And we’ve already had conflict and it seemed to be resolved, but they don’t have self control, like they’re mentally wacked, so they randomly lose self-control again. How can I have peace of mind?

    1. RagingADHD*

      Talk to your supervisor about specific behaviors. Don’t try to diagnose anything or say your coworker “needs meds,” etc. That’s just going to sound like insults, and make your boss think you’re part of the problem, or that it’s just a personal conflict.

      Try something like, “Coworker does (specific thing) at least (frequency). It’s causing a problem because…”

      Like, is it disruptive? Is it interfering with your work? Causing delays? Is it presenting a bad impression to customers? Is it harassing or harmful? Do you feel they are trying to intimidate you or others?

      Then ask for what you would like done – maybe that you don’t get scheduled with them, or that you’d like your boss to monitor when they’re there, or a change of duties that creates a buffer, something practical.

      1. essential*

        Thanks. I would never tell anyone that someone needs meds, I was just mentioning it here because the person seems unhinged at times. I have talked to the supervisor before and wasn’t scheduled with the person for a long time. But I think I will bring it up again if the coworker yells at me again. It makes work more stressful and feels unstable.

    2. LGC*

      Just because you’re essential doesn’t mean you’re stuck. Let your boss know because this doesn’t sound like a safe situation.

      1. essential*

        Thanks. You are right, it doesn’t feel safe, or at least it feels unstable because the person randomly flies off the handle and it’s like I have to tiptoe sometimes, and other times I don’t. No set pattern. One day fine, the next day yelling about minor things. Now that I’ve shared it here, it makes me wonder why I don’t talk to the supervisor again. I told them last year about it. Life is too short to work with scary people.

        1. LGC*

          I’m a little concerned that they’re aware of this and this is still a thing a year later. It sounds like this person has been behaving in a threatening manner towards you (and maybe others) for a long time and it got brushed off.

          I’ll try to work through this the way I’d like someone to approach me about this (given that it sounds like you’re in a job where you don’t feel empowered): list the issues, presume good faith on the supervisor’s part (even if the issue isn’t fixed immediately), and be as clear about how serious this is as possible. And accept that the supervisor might not tell you about what steps they took, like formal reports. (If it’s something like scheduling changes or assignment changes, then – yeah – they’ll probably tell you.

          The way I’d like it stated to me is “(Coworker) has repeatedly lost their temper at me (frequency – like x times in the previous y time period), which includes (z behaviors. like shouting, threats, profanity, throwing or hitting things, anything that applies). This makes me feel scared to be around them, especially since it seems like it’s out of the blue.” But don’t feel bad if you can’t get it out right, or if you feel like a different wording would work better with your supervisor.

          And it might not get fixed immediately. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s harder to take action from indirect reports, and if you’re in a situation where people do report each other often it might be hard to separate the signal from the noise. (Although this is definitely a signal!) This is something urgent enough where you should probably be scheduled apart from this person entirely to start, and there should probably be additional steps you wouldn’t see.

          Weirdly enough, I think that the fact that you noticed this repeatedly and you work with this person only twice a week at most works to your favor – it means that other people have probably seen this on days you’re not there with them. I’d suggest asking your other coworkers if they’ve seen this behavior as well, especially those that work with this person on different days. (I know you feel isolated, but I think it’s worth it.)

          1. essential*

            Thanks for your long response. When I complained about the person before, the supervisor was surprised and disappointed I didn’t bring it up earlier, then my schedule was changed. I know other people have experienced it but have not said anything about it so I think I’m the only one. People talk about that coworker and the person isn’t respected but no one has said anything officially to the supervisor. I talked to one coworker I trust about it and they said they also had some issues but they’re not working with the person anymore. Other coworkers brush it off and one quit.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I had a problem once. Unexpectedly, a cohort raised a large item in the air and angled it such that it looked like their intent was to bring it down on my head. Others pulled me to one side to ask if I was alright.

      I went to the boss. Boss said, “It’s odd that you should mention this. Another person told me of a similar incident.”
      She got right on it and I never had another occurrence even though I continued to work around this person.

      Please speak up. It’s okay to use phrases such as “I am concerned”, “I feel afraid”, “I think I am not safe with this person.” You can ask to be moved away from this person.

      1. essential*

        Thanks for your reply. I did speak up a long time ago and my schedule was changed. I worked with the troubled person the other day and they were talking about hating the job, etc. That’s probably why they act so unhinged sometimes. I wish people who hated their jobs would quit! It would make the toxic atmosphere better.

  9. AtlantaTJ*

    Does anyone have the Dyson air wrap? Interested in if it is worth it and don’t really trust influencer reviews.

    1. London Student*

      Can’t speak to the Dyson air wrap specifically. I was gifted the Dyson hair dryer three years ago and really love it. I wasn’t super familiar with the brand before then.

      Major caveat — I can only compare it to the hair dryer I had before, which was moderately expensive, but not high-end like Dyson. It might be that people with more brand familiarity can give you a more critical review.

      1. DistantAudacity*

        Samw with me. I had a high-end hair dryer, and the Dyson compares very well (and has better handling and less noise).

        (I also love my Dyson vacuum and Dyson bladeless fan! These things have accumulated over time…)

    2. Grim*

      Every online review is positive. I’d give it a try, especially if you can return for full refund.
      I have a Dyson vacuum for pet hair, and having used it for eight years, I am pleased to say it still really sucks, but only in a good way!

    3. CAA*

      Wirecutter has an article where they tested the Air Wrap against the Revlon One-Step and they also have a more thorough hair dryer test that includes the Dyson Supersonic dryer. Both are worth a read.

    4. Grace*

      A coworker has the air wrap and loves it, and almost wishes she’d got the version with the extra gadgets just because she thinks it would have been worth the extra cost.

  10. Valancy Snaith*

    My husband is deployed overseas, my family is in another country, and my in-laws are in a province swarming with Covid, so I’m spending Christmas alone. So far I’ve gone for a run, cleaned up cat puke, done laundry, and done some video calling, but it’s a pretty different Christmas. I did unwrap the diamonds my husband sent, which are beautiful, but I’d rather have him than jewelry!

    Cheers to everyone spending their holidays solo. Here’s hoping 2021 will be better!

    1. Not trying to be rude, just good at it*

      You often hear people saying to soldiers, “Thank you for your service”, but it’s the wives who are the real hero’s. Merry Christmas and thank you for your service.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Or it could be husbands, too. Either way, that is a tough situation. Valancy Snaith, here’s to a better 2021 for you as well!

    2. Emily*

      Merry Christmas! I’m also spending Christmas alone this year (first time ever for me), and while it’s not terrible, it certainly is different. Hopefully 2021 will bring a COVID vaccine and safer travel for all!

  11. nep*

    Anyone else use a UV ‘cell phone sterilizer’?
    I don’t like that mine talks. Wouldn’t have gotten this model if I knew that. (Maybe I missed that in the specs.) Awful, grating computer voice: ‘Welcome to the cell phone sterilizer!’ Like…Why? I can be heard almost every time telling it to shut up.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      ohhh.. noooo… I just had this futurist flash consisting of waaay tooo much chatter coming from all the appliances all over the house as they all start talking at once. oh boy.

      1. nep*

        That would be a nightmare. If it ever comes to that, there better be a silence option (unlike on this machine).

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        Nightmare for sure. That situation goes onto my fantasy list of “reasons to leave town with no forwarding address.”

    2. PollyQ*

      It’s possible that the voice part of it can be disabled. I’d try googling for the answer or using the company’s customer support.

  12. AlexandrinaVictoria*

    Question for those of you who started exercising from being almost totally sedentary. I have started physical therapy – one on one in my PT’s home, masked, so it’s safe. (She has also already had Covid). I have RA and back pain and have not really moved for a few years, using a rollator or a cane to get around. My goal is to get rid of them. We have been meeting three times per week for almost a month, and I am so. tired. Physically exhausted. When does the burst of energy from exercise come into play? I’m already seeing some slight improvement, which is keeping me going, but boy I’m tired!

    1. nep*

      Glad you’re finding some improvement through the PT.
      How’s your sleep been? Do you drink plenty of water and get adequate vitamin D, B-complex, and other essentials?
      These are the first things that come to mind.
      What does your physical therapist say about it?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. Based on my own experience I would tell anyone to be super cautious about any exercise program that did not also have a healthy eating component.

        Think of it this way, we can’t pour Kool Aid into our cars and expect them to keep running. Likewise with our bodies. Fuel/energy comes from two places- food and sleep. Be sure to work in salads or other raw veggies, fresh fruit is also important. Hydration is super important especially this time of year as we ignore water and eat a bunch of foods that help to dehydrate us while sitting in some very warm rooms. We don’t even realize how much fluid we are losing, and then we end up with chapped lips, dry hands, I know of people who end up with bleeding hands.

        My best tidbit is to put yourself on a sleep schedule. Go to bed at x time, then get up at y time. If you can’t sleep, lay in bed and read or other quiet activity. Being still in between exercise session is just as important as the exercise.

        1. Parenthetically*

          “I know of people who end up with bleeding hands.” Yep, my knuckles and fingertips split every winter. I’m awful about staying hydrated in the winter. Just got a SodaStream for Christmas so hopefully this year will be better?

    2. Dear liza dear liza*

      How’s your eating and sleeping? For me, exercise is most helpful when it’s accompanied by eating more veggies, getting enough sleep, and hydrating. It’s like my body needs to heal, and if I try to power through exercising without those components, I feel icky.

    3. WellRed*

      Everyone is different but I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes 3 months. You’re not just going from couch potato to a 5k, you’re working with A PT. And health conditions on top of being sedentary. Stay strong!

    4. RagingADHD*

      It takes a minimum of 6 weeks for your body to build a noticeable amount of muscle or make real strength gains. Perceived gains in strength before that are learmed efficiencies in the nervous system. After 6 weeks is when there’s new muscle tissue.

      Growing muscle is tiring! It’s normal to need more sleep for your body to do that work, but once you’re acclimated you should start feeling less fatigued during the day — but those expectations are based on normal functioning.

      With the autoimmune stuff going on, everuthing could take a bit longer.

      Make sure you’re eating enough, and a good balance. As others said, sleep & hydration matter too.

      Hope you feel better soon!

    5. A slow running penguin*

      When I first started regular exercise, 20-30 minutes left me physically exhausted for about two hours post-workout, and this lasted for two months. It was another three months or so before I saw real measurable improvement in my fitness – what I could do, how long I could do it, and how often I could do it. For the first year, I ached a lot the time (mostly because I kept making my workouts “more” as I got fitter). It takes time for the body to adapt, starting two weeks after the initial change in activity. If you have ever looked at workout schedules for improving fitness, both at the beginner and advanced levels, they have timeframes of 6-12 weeks, with a recovery week between them.

      So, keep at it, you are about halfway through that initial, awful, starting period. The RA is also going to make your journey different than mine. I started with a powerlifting focus (let me tell you, learning how to deadlift properly did wonderful things for my back), eventually changing over to long distance running.

    6. Quinalla*

      Not to discourage, but I don’t feel a burst of energy from exercise – some people just don’t get that like I think most people do since so much of the exercise encouragement talks about it – but it absolutely does make me feel less stressed and gives me more staying power in my day – think it gives me endurance, not immediate energy. Maybe track and see how you are feeling later in the day vs. days when you don’t do it.

      Also, I’ve done PT after an injury (severe broken hip and I was young enough they tried putting me back together which has worked hooray!) and it generally is very tiring at first, but eventually you start getting more and more strength and it kind of snowballs, so hopefully you are getting the start of that snowball if you are seeing slight improvement. You will sometimes have stalls during PT, sometimes it means you need to step it up, sometimes it just means it will take more time for it to really show.

      1. Colette*

        Yes, I only get a burst of energy with super-intense exercise. But the strength and flexibility make up for it.

      2. RagingADHD*

        Yes, I don’t feel an enetgy burst, but eventually I do feel that my overall daily energy gradually levels up.

      3. Filosofickle*

        Me neither. Used to disappoint my Pilates instructor that a session didn’t make me feel “better”! It baffled her. Long term, I feel benefits and that’s worth it, but virtually never in the moment. (This goes for when I was an athlete, and when I was a couch potato. I just don’t get that “high” people get.) For me, exercise is a leap of faith. I just have to believe it will make a difference without expecting a payoff right now.

    7. Skeeder Jones*

      I did some pretty hardcore PT a number of years ago (about 8 hours each week) and was also surprised by how exhausted I was. But then they said it’s because our bodies are putting our energy into healing so we need more sleep to balance that. PT IS draining! The worst for me was being so tired that I would fall asleep when taking my middle of the night bathroom trip. One evening, I fell asleep and then fell off the toilet, ending up with some bruises and friction burns on my face and arms from the fall. If you feel extra tired, I recommend finding ways to get extra rest because PT is hard on us and it’s better if you choose where to have the extra rest and not let your body choose for you lol.

    8. LGC*

      I started to answer this from a general exercise perspective, but then I saw this was for PT – so this holds up even more!

      But I think that for even a general exercise program, now would be the earliest where you’d start feeling refreshed after workouts. And an ugly secret is…sometimes you might not get that feeling of energy! I don’t. Like, I’m a marathon runner, and I’ll still want to lie down on the couch after running a couple of miles. And I’ve been running for eight years now. I still run – and my 5k pace when I first started is basically my marathon pace now, and I run most days of the week – and I’m not exhausted after most runs, but it’s not like I’m perky after getting back home, either.

      But if you’re physically exhausted after every session (like you feel like you’re absolutely unable to move), that’s often a sign you need to do less. I’d talk to your PT about feeling like this – like, PT isn’t always supposed to be pleasant, but if you’re absolutely wiped out, that might be a sign you’re working too intensely for where you’re at right now. (I’m not a PT, though! And I’m not YOUR PT.)

      Also, you might want to start doing slightly different things on the days you’re not seeing your PT – like a walk around your block, if you don’t do that already. It helps improve your general fitness, which makes the PT sessions more manageable.

  13. Seeking Second Childhood*

    I had some yard work done by a contractor-neighbor a couple of days ago. How weird would it be to drop off the payment today? I’m thinking paid sooner is better especially at this time of year…

    1. Grim*

      If they are apart of your Covid-19 circle, go ahead and drop if off. Be sure to knock on their door before leaving.

      1. ThatGirl*

        I don’t see why they need to be part of SSC’s circle, just put it in an envelope, stick it on the door, ring the bell and walk away. No need for contact.

      2. RagingADHD*

        Talking to someone briefly from 6 ft away outdoors is far lower risk than most daily activities we all have to do at this point.

        Saying Hi from the porch to people outside your bubble is not a vector of concern.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Could you drop them a text and ask? “Hey, I don’t want to delay unnecessarily but I also don’t want to interfere if you have family stuff going on today, can we arrange a time in the next day or two for me to come drop off this payment?”

  14. Aphrodite*

    I love the last three months of the year, though I loathe Halloween. But around the middle or end of September I bring out my autumn decorations. Real and faux pumpkins are a favorite–I have quite a few of the latter–but I love the warm colors and exciting decor. Come November 1, I add in some Thanksgiving things. I don’t overdo decorations because I don’t care for wall-to-wall stuff but the sight of my pumpkins, gold flatware, a couple of small turkeys, and other miscellaneous items just makes me so happy.

    Then on the Friday after Thanksgiving I take them all down and lovingly put them away. Saturday out comes Christmas items, which I love putting around. I have a lipstick red tree but I think that next year I will donate that to our Assistance League Christmas Boutique and get myself a green, white or (maybe) a champagne-colored one.

    I like the idea of a “white” Christmas in southern-central coastal California. And I will especially love it in what for me will be the first home of my own! I just bought it and escrow closed on December 21 of this year. Renovations have begun and it will be the second half of February before I can move into it. It is truly frightening how much this purchase has drained my bank account but I am amazed and thrilled and looking forward to it so much.

    That is this year’s gift to myself. Next year, I will be celebrating my first holiday season in it and I can hardly wait. (It will be fun to see if I can hold myself to my “holiday calendar,” or if the lack of celebration this year will push me to an earlier deadline.)

    Right now I am listening to the London Symphony Orchestra play a selection of Christmas music. It is simply lovely. I don’t have all I would like to have around me–but will have next year–but I am at peace, content and happy. I am staying safe. And I am more than willing to stay safe in order to have future years. There is no resentment, only gratitude for this time of the year and the ability to gift myself something that makes me so happy!

    1. Grim*

      I’m happy for you!

      May the best of this year be the worst of next!

      Now, onto my bowl of cereal and milk…

    2. mreasy*

      I’m from central coastal California, on the east coast now – gotta say, I would love a sunny and 70 degree Christmas!

  15. nep*

    I’d be interested to hear about anyone’s experience with the Manta sleep mask. Ordered one and just tried it out last night. Nope. Not for me. I rarely lie on my back to fall asleep, and yet turned on my side, it doesn’t work. I’ve got to find a good sleep mask that works well for side sleepers. Any suggestions? Soft, lightweight, minimal but effective.

    1. Beth Jacobs*

      I’m a side sleeper and I adore my Manta masks. I’ve had equal success with both classic and the slim version (which is supposed to be better for side sleepers, but I can’t tell the difference). Can you specify the issue (slips, uncomfy, lets light in?).

      1. nep*

        Thanks. Too bulky at the side–moves when I turn, so becomes uncomfortable and of course lets light in. I do like how the eye piece feels on my eyes, but overall not working for me.

        1. Beth Jacobs*

          In theory, the slim version should be better for you as it has got a thinner strap. Can’t vouch for that though and they are a bit pricey to just throw money at.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I wore my SleepMaster mask for years until it shredded in the wash, and just recently replaced it with the updated version. Love it, stays in place really well whether I sleep back or side.

    3. Pharmgirl*

      I found one on amazon that is similar but doesn’t look as bulky as manta. It’s by the ZGGCD brand. I don’t use eye masks all the time but I really like it when I do.

    4. WeAreTheJunimos*

      I love mine. I’m also a side sleeper and it just took a little bit to find a good position but it works well. I’ve always taken it off in the morning and been so surprised at how much blackout I get. Maybe try the slim version?

    5. Dwight Schrute*

      I’ve got a manta sleep mask and am a stomach or side sleeper. I always get total blackout so maybe try re arranging the eye pieces?

  16. Jackalope*

    So I know this year is a difficult, sucky sort of year, and holidays tend to magnify that, but… anyone else happy or excited about how they’re spending this Christmas? Trying out a new tradition or something this year that you’re happy about, even in the midst of the pandemic?

    I was heartbroken about Thanksgiving, which is a big holiday for me, but Christmas spent with my immediate family is really stressful for me for non-family reasons. I love getting together with them under normal circumstances, but there’s a mountain pass between us and them, and while it’s almost always fine for Thanksgiving, by late December it gets really sketchy. Every year I spend a few months beforehand dreading the drive, and a lot of my time visiting them watching the forecast and road conditions for the pass, while everyone else (who all live on the other side of the pass) just enjoys the time we’re together. I got married recently and had been planning with my new spouse to have a rule that Christmas was just us (and I’d go over to see my family, say, the weekend beforehand) so I wasn’t stressing the day of. I miss seeing everyone because I really do like family get-togethers, but I’m happy to get a nice, relaxed day with just my spouse and me and the critters not worried about the weather.

    1. violet04*

      Yeah, I’m feeling good about things today. In a normal year, we would have hosted people at our house or gone to my parent’s house.

      I was a bit worried about my mom because my dad passed away a little over a month ago. When I called her this morning, she sounded in good spirits and was having a cozy day at home.

      My husband and I don’t exchange gifts, but I do a Secret Santa gift exchange online for the cats. We opened the gifts and tried to get the cats to pose for pictures. After clearing the driveway of snow, we’re having a relaxing day.

      Looking forward to watching the new Wonder Woman movie this evening. I’m glad it’s being released online.

      I actually wouldn’t mind having a lazy Christmas every year.

    2. RagingADHD*

      We are having a really nice Christmas, actually. We kept a few traditions (homemade coordinating pajamas, chocolate oranges and fancy soap in the stockings), but changed some things up – like instead of Christmas Eve church, we lit candles, read the Bible story, and sang carols at home. We got a new tree topper & skirt, so all the sentimental ornanents have a new backdrop.

      We’re also making different recipes, including a buche de noel cake (which I’ve never attempted before).

      Even the delayed packages are kind of nice – the kids are looking forward to having more to open instead of a post-Christmas letdown.

    3. Alex*

      Christmas for me means an incredibly stressful and awful time with my parents. No exceptions, no bright spots.

      So the fact that Christmas is cancelled for me is GLORIOUS. I had a morning Christmas facetime chat with a friend, I made tater tot casserole for some indulgent comfort food, and am also baking a half batch of cookies just for me.

      No one has screamed at me, told me I was doing life wrong, told me to wear something different, do my hair differently, told me I was a bad person, called me weird, commented on my weight, or told me I wasn’t performing happiness good enough to make their Christmas merry. This is the most wonderful Christmas of my entire life.

      1. Don't Put Up with BS*

        I’m so glad you’ve avoided all that this year! Maybe next year you could just email them the post you just wrote and explain that from now on you’re doing Christmas solo and these are the reasons? I’m sure it’ll make them judgmental and mad, but it sounds like they are already those things. Enjoy your fabulous day today!!

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I hope this encourages you to rethink how Christmas happens for you.

        We had to rethink also. I think the hardest part was articulating the black line boundary. “We need to leave at 3 pm.” We had to pick a boundary that we would stick to, otherwise, we would discredit our selves and end up having more problems in the future. “Oh you said that last year and you stayed….”

        I am glad you had a good Christmas.

      3. RagingADHD*

        I’m sorry that “normal” is so awful, but so happy you got a respite! I hope you’re able to make positive changes to reclaim your time and your joy going forward.

      4. allathian*


        Maybe now would be a time to set some boundaries for the future? How about not accepting any more invitations from your family, ever again? They’ll be mad and you’ll be judged whether you go or don’t go, but you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and pain by avoiding them.

        How about giving yourself a Christmas present of going completely no contact with your toxic family?

    4. allathian*

      For the last 7 Christmases, since we moved to our current house, we’ve hosted my parents, sister, and in-laws. This year it was just us three. For the first time in years I managed to avoid overeating, because we ate a warm lunch with turkey and our traditional Christmas side dishes, and saved my favorites, the cold fish and roe, our normal entree, for dinner.

    5. Queer Earthling*

      Honestly, Christmas is no different this year for my polyamorous household. My spouse and I are both estranged from our families of origin, and while my metamour gets along with his, they live across the country, so we pretty much always spend holidays with just the three of us and our cats, just as we’re doing this year. And…I’m having a good time! We had some nice food, exchanged gifts, and we’re enjoying each other’s company.

    6. Retail Not Retail*

      We did something really really small, but different than last year. Last year, we gave the dog a new toy while we opened our presents. This year, we loosely wrapped her presents (a coffee mug with donuts and a barrel with apples) that had treats inside. It was so much fun watching her!

      She also got doggy ice cream while we had morning cinnamon rolls.

    7. The Other Dawn*

      I have mixed feelings.

      We really struggled with whether to visit local family or not. If we did, we’d be going to my sister’s house or in-laws house. Ultimately we decided to stay home, mostly because my sister has four foster kids in three different schools, all in-person learning. And while I mostly trust my MIL and FIL to be safe, I don’t trust my SIL or her adult kids to be safe. We almost went for short visits, no dinner, but the decision was basically made for me: my personal trainer, who I see once a week, texted me the other day that he had to have a COVID test and the results aren’t back yet. So, we didn’t want to chance it. (Thankfully he tested negative, which I found out a little while ago.) We also were undecided because it’s the first time my husband has had the day off in maybe five years and we always have to travel for Christmas, even if it’s just 45 minutes away.

      So I’m making dinner right now for my husband and I–prime rib, which was half price last week. :) We spent the day opening gifts, having a nice breakfast, letting the cats play in the wrapping paper, watching TV/Christmas movies, and playing with the new Atari Flashback I bought for us.

      Overall, I’m OK with staying home, though it does feel strange. But it’s been a good day. Nowhere we have to go and nothing that has to get done other than make dinner. I think if my parents were still alive, I’d be having a harder time with this. My husband seems to like not having to be anywhere today, as he’s still in his PJs at 5:45 pm. LOL

    8. Jackalope*

      As a follow-up to my original post, spouse and I just checked pass conditions and the pass is closed right now. SOOO glad we aren’t dealing with that this year! Out of all the years for us not to be able to go see family, this was a good one to miss!

    9. Colette*

      This is the first Christmas in my life where I haven’t travelled. I’ve been wanting to stay home for a while, but this wasn’t how I pictured it. But it was nice – good food and online games with family. And now I get 10 days to do whatever I want.

    10. Filosofickle*

      Last night I and my partner made homemade pizza and snuggled with a movie and popcorn. I feel a little guilty saying it’s the best Christmas Eve I’ve had in years. We usually spend it with his family and they are very kind and welcoming, but also extremely chaotic and anxiety-ridden, and their food’s terrible. I loved just staying here doing our thing.

      1. allathian*

        How about making this your Christmas from now on? I assume you can visit his family at other times of the year, holidays are so fraught with stress.

        1. Filosofickle*

          My partner wouldn’t want that. He sees his parents often but only twice a year do all his siblings and niblings get together, and while his family drives him bananas he genuinely does not want to miss those those days. Those events were off this year for pandemic, thankfully, as I do NOT want to attend group things and the guilt from him mom would have been enormous. We’ll go visit them tomorrow, just the 4 of us.

  17. Llellayena*

    So in the spirit of 2020: I was scheduled to cantor the 10pm mass at my church Christmas Eve. As I drove into town, I noticed all the lights were out including the stoplight. So I figured this would be interesting. Yes the lights were out at the church, so we hung around until 10pm to see if the power would come on in time. Nope. So the pastor canceled mass. I got in the car, took the turn out of the church parking lot…and the lights came back on.

    We still didn’t have mass. Yay 2020.

    1. OyHiOh*

      I was momentarily concerned you were writing about Christmas morning and had run into the chaos in downtown Nashville.

      Your report sounds entirely par for the course 2020!

      1. Llellayena*

        We’ve been very careful for church. Max of 25% capacity and at least 6 ft apart, only the cantor is singing, everyone masked, hand sanitizer on the way up to communion (host only). For Christmas we did multiple masses to spread out the crowds and transmitted mass to the parking lot via short wave radio. We also put the mass on the internet so people could watch from home. I’ve been cantoring the whole time we’ve been allowed to have indoor mass and never seen enough people even for 25% capacity. We’ve got a careful congregation.

  18. AvonLady Barksdale*

    Wednesday was my last day at a job that made me miserable, and while I feel much lighter (and looking forward to a week off before I start my new job), things ended in a way that left me pretty frustrated and irritated, and I’m not sure if I should do anything.

    I gave notice over two weeks ago, which should have given our head of operations/de facto HR time to get paperwork sorted. Well, no. Early last week I asked for a bunch of info and she didn’t get it to me until this Monday. One of the things I asked for was COBRA information, and not only do I not have it, she tried to convince me that I don’t need it (I am fully aware that I may not need to elect COBRA but I want the information). Then she instructed someone else to get the information in an email she sent Wednesday afternoon (after I signed out and left)– and she copied my co-worker instead of me, even though I emailed her to remind her to copy my personal email. She also gave me misinformation about the date my insurance coverage is ending. In addition to all of this, she waited until the last minute to tell me where to send my equipment and ignored my boss’s suggestion that she arrange for someone to pick everything up from me.

    None of this is horribly egregious, just annoying, and it means I now don’t trust her to get me anything that I need. It’s a small company and she’s been around forever, but people leave so rarely that she either has no clue how to process things or no desire to do so.

    I will probably just let this go, but I’m wondering if I should say anything to her or to the company president. It’s part of the reason why I left– totally ineffectual management and unprofessional processes– but I doubt it will do any good. All I know is that if they screw up my last paycheck or my W2 or they fail to send me the COBRA info in time (they have 45 days from separation, I think), I will have to get pretty nasty with them. I really wanted to just leave and be done and move on, and it just sucks that I can’t.

    1. WoodswomanWrites*

      At this point, saying something about how they’ve operated will likely have zero impact for them and former co-workers, and instead will once again stir up the negative feelings you’re looking to leave behind. If you keep your communication limited to the paperwork you need from them, you’ll be better off in the long run. Congratulations on getting out of there.

    2. allathian*

      Congrats on getting out of there. I agree with WW on this, I’m not sure voicing your frustration with them will make things any easier in the long run.

      I hope you get all the info you neeed on time and that they don’t screw up your paycheck etc.

    3. Joan Rivers*

      I wouldn’t complain NOW but once it’s wrapped up, esp. w/COBRA deadline, if she’s not obeying the law or your boss’s suggestion either, then I’d make a big complaint.

      By then you may be much happier in the new job!

  19. Potatoes gonna potate*

    For some reason there’s a post I’ve seen on social media that has always bugged me but I can’t articulate exactly why…?

    Basically it’s someone saying that their janitor/cleaning person is so lonely and no one talks to them but they do and that person is ever so grateful to be seen/acknowledged by them. I think it’s an offshoot of the “be respectful and kind to everyone from CEO to janitor” but there’s something about this framing that bugs me.

    1. Beth Jacobs*

      It’s icky because the poster is presenting themselves as a saviour. They’re not doing it to make the cleaning person feel better, but to make themselves look like a good person.

      1. No Time for This Nonsense*


        And also, I wonder if the janitor/cleaning person is actually lonely and not acknowledged by anyone?

        At a previous job, I was perfectly happy chatting with people I knew from other teams when I saw them in my building, and I had friendly chats with my direct teammates everyday. I didn’t feel lonely at all. But I would sit alone in a quiet space to eat lunch and respond to personal e-mails/texts (loud music played in the cafeteria, so it was hard to concentrate there). Some guy started stopping to talk to make long-winded small talk with me everyday. I didn’t enjoy talking to him at all because he was creepy, and when I finally told him I only had a half hour lunch and needed to spend it eating and responding to messages, he was offended because he was only talking to me since I was “lonely” and “didn’t have any friends.”

        So might be the same situation, where a perfectly content person is just being polite to a harassing person.

        1. allathian*

          What? If that happened to me, I’d probably say something unprofessional… Being alone for a while is far different from being lonely. It’s possible to feel lonely in a crowd if everyone is ignoring you. And that comment about not having any friends? WTF…

    2. Kiitemso*

      I feel like I’ve seen this post as well and something about it strikes me as maybe infantilizing or patronizing toward the janitor? The post mentions the janitor saying something like “thank you for being my friend” and it just sounded like an odd thing to say to somebody who just makes some small talk. Like the poster in their office job is the superior to this lowly custodial worker, who is so overwhelmed with this simple gesture of humanity, that they interpret it as friendship. As opposed to what the situation actually is, which is two employees doing their jobs whilst sharing small talk, and it is good that the poster is not a snob like their colleagues who refuse to interact with the janitor, but that doesn’t make them a saint.

      I may be reading entirely too much into it. The whole post felt very “this never happened”, like a lot of internet stories.

      1. Mockingjay*

        As someone who has worked as a janitor, I can tell you we didn’t need an office “superior” to befriend us. We got plenty of friends already.

        Custodial work can be physically taxing and unpleasant, but it also provides plenty of quiet thinking and daydreaming time. There’s a lot of instantaneous gratification in the visible results of your labor, which is very satisfying. Even better, it’s the kind of job you don’t bring home.

        People work these jobs for myriad reasons (same as any other job), not because they’re not “bright” enough to get anything else.

    3. RagingADHD*

      It’s condescending and self-involved. The custodian is probably happy to be acknowledged & have someone pleasant to chat to at work. Of course that’s going to brighten anyone’s day.

      But the poster is inflating their own importance.

    4. Exhausted Frontline Worker*

      Agreed with Beth and Kiitemso. I think if you can’t do something nice for someone without posting it on social media, then your motivations are more self-serving than benefiting the other person. That’s not to say it’s always inappropriate to post about something nice you did for someone else, but there are some people who appear to be allergic to doing something kind without broadcasting it.

      For some reason, this type of post seems to be the most prevalent by far on LinkedIn out of all the social media networks I’m on. I feel like most of my feed is just people humble bragging. But maybe that’s just who I’m connected to, as I’m sure it happens on other social networks too.

      1. Tabby*

        Omg I HAAAATE THIS IDEA. I actually choose jobs that allow me to be by myself for a reason — I don’t want to constantly be talking to humans. I am always happiest when my supervisor tells me to go clean kennels, then leaves me alone to do just that. I don’t want random people talking to me; i am happily listening to an audiobook or some music. Or if I am walking a dog, I want to get on with it, and am generally bonding with the dog. It’s actually a talent of mine: i talk to the dog, pet them, whatever so they like me and listen to me. People are low on my list of friends to make, though i am actually a fairly outgoing introvert.

      2. Caterpie*

        I agree that it’s pretty bad on LinkedIn. I saw a hilarious fake LinkedIn post/meme that goes like this:

        Yesterday I was walking to an interview. There was a starving dog on the road. I stopped to feed him & missed the interview. The next day I got a call asking to come in to do the interview. I was surprised, but I went. Then the interviewer came in. He was the dog.

        I see so many of these (like the janitor topic from OP) types of posts there and it really gives credibility to the “LinkedIn is the new Facebook” sentiment some people have.

      3. nep*

        Humble bragging is the worst. And it’s everywhere.
        (OK–bit of exaggeration on both points, but yeah.)

    5. Potatoes gonna potate*

      You all nailed it perfectly thank you!!!!!! I knew I can count on this group to articulate something that I can’t find the words for.

    6. Generic Name*

      It’s icky because it’s performative. Like, they want a congratulations for treating all human beings like….human beings? Being kind to everyone is the minimum.

    7. Joan Rivers*

      I think the janitor might appreciate people being civil to him when they see him face to face in the hall, instead of ignoring him like he’s furniture. A “happy holidays!” is OK too.

      But forcing him to converse seems patronizing and intrusive. It’s forcing him to “perform.” And pressuring him to agree w/what you say; it could be awkward if he expressed an opposite POV, there’s an assumption the janitor is supposed to be “grateful” to you for your attention.

      If the staff know for sure that he makes a lot less than the rest of them, they could collect tips for his supervisor to give him from them, maybe.

      1. Clisby*

        Do people really devalue janitors, though? In some circumstances, maybe, but my mother was an elementary school teacher, and from things she told me, I don’t think anybody was dismissive toward the janitor. Unless, of course they wanted to take care of all their classroom maintenance by themselves.

  20. Panto on YouTube*

    FYI to anyone interested—National Theatre (England) is showing a panto on their YouTube channel for free through Dec 27! (Donations appreciated)

    I’m delighted because I’ve heard of pantos but never seen one!

    1. Grace*

      The Royal Opera House (London) is streaming operas and ballets for the twelve days of Christmas as well!

  21. Middle Aged Job Seeker*

    Longtime reader looking for salary advice. I’m an employed professional with 15+ years of experience in my field. All of this has been as an individual contributor. I have been interviewing for positions that require less experience than I have, anywhere from 3 to 10 years, because those are the jobs available. Not all of my past experience is directly relevant to the roles I’m interviewing for but a lot of it is.

    So my question is – should my salary expectations be based on the total experience I have, the total experience that is directly relevant to the role, the amount of experience the employer is requiring, or some blend of these? I’m already fighting the perception that I am overqualified and may be too expensive so I’m concerned about asking for too much, but I also don’t want to sell myself short either.

    1. PX*

      Curious what others think but my gut says expectations should be based on the experience the employer wants – at least initially. As Alison has alluded to in posts which come up on this topic – when they create a role, they will have a certain candidate profile and budget in mind. Anyone is free to apply, but if you are overqualified, unless your experience will make a *significant* difference to how the role is performed and add value to the company, it doesnt make sense to expect them to pay you more just because you have more experience. There are plenty of people with lots of experience who are still bad at jobs!

      If your experience does bring a significant amount of value to the role, then ideally thats something that gets rewarded with raises once you have been in the role for some time. But at the point of applying, its hard for a company to be sure of that.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      I would say that it would mostly be based on the role – that’s what they’re budgeting for, and that’s what the work they’ve got requires. You’d probably be at the top end of a salary range, though.

      If you’re asking for a salary based on 15 years experience for a role that requires five, you’ll likely be pricing yourself out of the job, and even if you take a lower salary, they’ll be worried that you’ll be unhappy in a lower seniority position and quick to jump ship if something better comes up.

  22. Tabby*

    Trying to update my resume, and geesh is it hard to describe what I do in terms of achievements when my strengths lie in things like walking dogs and getting same dogs to trust me, in the cases where the animal is nervous/shy. How do you explain that when most of it is being super passive and gentle and slow in order to gain their trust? I mean, one of my best stories involves taking 20 mins to get a dog’s harness on her for the first week, by doing a Hansel and Gretel with treats to get her out of her crate and then sitting very still to let her check me out, to the next week, where all I had to do was open her crate and call her, and have her happily licking me and letting me rub her belly? Oh, and getting her to the point where she started to like the neighbors? You don’t exactly have a list of “improved numbers/shorter time spent on x” stories in my line of work. You do not want to skimp on cleaning kennels, either; it takes however long it takes.

    1. nep*

      Sounds like you’ve got a lot of sought after skills, knowledge, and insight. What sort of job are you going for, and how could these apply?

      1. Tabby*

        Kennel tech all the way. I used to be a vet assistant, but I want nothing to do with the medical end of animal care anymore — which Glassdoor INSISTS on showing me. Vet tech, no less. Which I don’t even have a cert in, even if i have some of those skills, too.

    2. Bobina*

      Depending on the roles you are applying for those are definitely skills that can be described as achievements! Essentially you are good at dealing with complex /difficult clients.

      Alison has a post about writing a resume which addresses the issue of non-quantifiable skills, I’ve used some of those pointers to emphasise the soft skills of my job. It’s harder but not impossible.

      1. Tabby*

        Lol never thought about it that way! You just reminded me of a client who worked at the first vet clinic I ever worked at who complimented me on my unwaveringly gentle and easygoing front desk manner — when the vet was a nightmare to work for. I guess that IS a skill, being able to keep savage beasts calm and contained.

  23. Crowley*

    So about 20 years ago one of my uni friends changed his first name. He isn’t trans (afaik) and he kept his original names, just added one that he is now known as.

    I was apparently a very disrespectful person back then and I thought this was ridiculous. I don’t think i ever used his new name, I just stopped using his name in conversation at all and not long after that I dropped out of touch with him (not for this reason – I was bad but not *that* bad).

    I recently got back in touch with a load of old friends and this guy is one. I’m much better these days and I’m mortified at how disrespectful I was (my then boyfriend and I talked a lot amongst ourselves about how ridiculous his name change was).

    I’m going to be seeing him soon and I find myself wanting to apologise for being such an absolute idiot, but I don’t even know if he knows how much of a disrespectful idiot I was back then. I think apologising would be more about me than him. I should just make damn sure I use his correct name now and not make this into A Thing. Right?

    1. Emily*

      Hmmm…my answer would depend a lot on how disrespectful you were, but in this case, I think you can probably leave it alone and just make sure to use the right name for him now. I understand the impulse to apologize (there are some things I did years ago that I wish I could take back/apologize for), but I’m not sure that it would make him feel better in the present to remind him that you were a jerk about his name change a long time ago!

      1. Crowley*

        I think I was only actively disrespectful behind his back :( I am honestly horrified by how awful I was back then. I am trying in some small way to make up for it by ensuring that I protect other people’s names and pronouns these days :-|

        1. WellRed*

          If you don’t think he knows about the disrespect, I d definitely just leave it in the distant past. We’re all ignorant know it alls in our early 20s and you’ve presumably learned and grown as a person since then.

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      Just being respectful and using his correct name should be fine for seeing him the first time after many years. It’s not something to bring up the first time you’ve seen each other after a long time when you’re building a relationship. If you end up seeing each other as friends more often down the road, there might be a time when it seems okay to apologize for your previous behavior to get rid of that burden, and it’s likely not to land weirdly for him as it could if it’s in your initial conversation.

    3. LGC*

      Make it a thing, not a Thing.

      To be blunt about it, I’ve noticed that the urge to apologize profusely for past sins is a Thing among progressively-minded people. And you’re right that this is more about your feelings for your own poor past behavior than his feelings. But…like, also, I can see value in acknowledging the harm you did in the past, if he’s aware of that harm? You said that you don’t know if he knows how much of a “disrespectful idiot” (your words, not mine) you were back then, so I’m guessing that you did kind of challenge him on his namechange back then.

      If you do apologize, it doesn’t need to be more than a quick, “I’m sorry I was a jerk to you when you started going by Jace” at the most, it sounds like. And just be careful that you do call him Jace – although if you call him Draco by accident once, it’s not the end of the world.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. This isn’t about making ourselves feel better. It’s about actually DOING better. An apology with no change is empty. A dramatic, long-winded apology even with change is overkill and may actually embarrass the other person.

        The real issue is realizing that we behaved like jerks. That means stop the behavior in question and be aware of all the variations of the same issue that can come up. And it also means to be more willing to forgive others who have done similar things to us/those we love. Until we see ourselves forgiving others, it’s kind of hard to believe that people can actually let go of our poor choices, too.

      2. Crowley*

        I don’t honestly remember :-| I think I still used his OG name in conversation a couple of times but he might have thought that was a genuine mistake. But. Maybe not.

        I’ll see if I get an opening to say a low-key sorry to him. Probably not the first time I see him but if the opportunity arises later on.

    4. RagingADHD*

      I would hold off and see how he is with you when you meet him. If you just avoided using his new name in conversation, and your boyfriend never ratted you out for the behind-the-back stuff, he may barely have noticed and/or not remembered that from 20 freaking years ago.

      If he’s happy to see you and comfortable around you, there is nothing to be gained from retroactively informing him of something upsetting that caused him no perceptible harm.

      All that would do is harm him *now*.

      If he’s wary or awkward with you, then he probably noticed/ remembers, and a low-key apology for being an idiot is in order.

      As in law, there is a statute of limitations on social offences, and this one, being relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, may have run out already.

      1. Crowley*

        Ooooh this is really helpful. He has been really warm and friendly and helpful, in a way that he actually wasn’t the last time I bumped into him IRL. I shall watch out for these cues to know whether to say anything.

    5. allathian*

      If you consistently use his correct name when you see him again, that would be a good start. If you lost touch with him shortly afterwards and haven’t been in touch with him in the 20 years since then, he may not even remember that you didn’t address him by name for a while before disappearing from his life. I doubt you were the only one who had issues with his name change or thought it was ridiculous, and some people might have said something out loud to him about how ridiculous they thought the name change was. At least you didn’t do that. Most people do some stupid things in their 20s that they regret later, I certainly did.

      When you see him again, just see how it goes. As long as you’re respectful about his name now, it should be OK.

  24. Happy... nothing?*

    I’m not sure if I’m being ungrateful or if this is completely normal. For background, I used to work at a pretty dysfunctional workplace, but they sure know how to celebrate things. Christmas, summer, birthdays and achievements were all Big Things there.
    This year I found a new job where things seems more normal. They’ve been great at adapting for COVID and my closest manager is nice and always does his best to keep my workload at a decent level. However, nothings is ever celebrated here. Achievements are toned down, to make sure no one else feels like their work isn’t important. I had a big birthday, no one said happy birthday. And at Christmas, they cancelled Christmas gifts because of economy, even though we’re not in a business financially affected by the pandemic, and even though they also cancelled the party and a big conference (and saved money on those things). And here’s the thing: all of these things adds up to me feeling like I’m not appreciated as an employee. But maybe this is normal? Did my dysfunctional previous workplace skew my perspective, and normal workplaces prefer not to celebrate small things?

    1. No Time for This Nonsense*

      I think it just varies by company. I’ve been at places that didn’t acknowledge birthdays at all, and one that would buy a birthday cake and let everyone take a 15 minute break to eat it and chat. One place had a big White Elephant exchange and a fancy meal at a restaurant for Christmas, and at others coworkers just brought in home baked cookies to share and exchanged small gifts with friends.

      1. Happy... nothing?*

        Thanks for replying. I probably need to shift my expectations a bit. Less bottles of champagne, more decent workload :) Perhaps I should start a secret Santa or white elephant thing next year.

    2. WellRed*

      I’m not one who needs to celebrate every little thing but this sounds positively dreary. I’d be afraid they also won’t be the type of company that allows you to scoot out early before a holiday. It’s all just the same, day after day after day.

      1. Happy... nothing?*

        Thanks for replying. Luckily they’re the opposite about time off. The day before a holiday is always a half day, and no one is really keeping tabs on when you leave (or turn off your computer, since we’re all remote). Maybe the dreariness of working from home all the time is getting to me a bit. I think I just need a bit more positive reinforcement than they like to give.

      2. MissDisplaced*

        Well, I don’t know that THIS year is the year to judge anything by. It sounds they previously they had done a party & gifts but nixed it all this year. It’s not surprising. My company did have a nice party typically, but since we’re all WFH now, they didn’t do anything at all this year either.
        I’m not big on parties typically, but I did find it rather depressing.

    3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      I don’t think lack of celebration of holidays and birthdays is a red flag as such, as it’s local and specific to individual workplace culture most of the time. Some places ‘go all out’ with that kind of thing and some don’t, so as long as you’re not being singled out and treated differently (doesn’t sound like) it it probably just one of those things.

      I would be more wary though about the cultural implications of Achievements are toned down, to make sure no one else feels like their work isn’t important. While I understand the sentiment of that, it’s also something to look out for in terms of (probably financial / organisational, like promotions or bonus opportunities) recognition in the future. I may be wrong about that but be wary/aware at least.

      1. Happy... nothing?*

        Thanks, I think you’re right. Looking at it that way I think I’m mostly uncomfortable about how everything is downplayed. For instance, I made something that was a bit above-and-beyond, and all I heard in response was crickets. Later on another colleague let me know that the higher up had loved it, and she wanted me to know because she had noticed I was a bit down about not hearing anything positive about it. Maybe I got hung up about the no gifts-thing because it as more visible way of showing appreciation.

        1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

          Yes, it’s a late reply but I feel like the two things (gifts/birthdays/holidays etc, and recognition of achievements in the work space) have become conflated for you but they are two different issues, and I think I would focus on the work-recognition and let the birthdays etc go. Maybe they are ultimately symptomatic of the same type of thinking (it’s tempting to think so), or maybe not.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed. I grew up with this type of strange thinking. For example, you don’t celebrate graduating high school because why should you be rewarded for doing something you are supposed to do? My graduation came and went like any other Tuesday. I felt starved on the inside.*

        It’s normal to need some praise, some pats on the back. People need to know that they are making a contribution. And this need goes everywhere- work, home, volunteer work, friends and so on. People want to be useful and contributing. This is a need that is on the level as food and water, it’s a baseline need.

        Coming at this from the opposite direction, you are probably correct about your previous company skewing your expectations. Here, I say, “Don’t treat me like crap all year and then love bomb me over the holidays. I’d rather just be treated decently all year.” I hate roller coastering.

        *Starved on the inside. In the end, where I landed is that there are times where I appreciate a short compliment or pat on the back. At first I accused myself of being too needy. Over time it played out that just a comment here and there was enough for me. If the boss said, “Cool!” or “Thanks!”, I was good with that. But it took me time to find what I really felt about the whole question.

        I hope I can encourage you to ride it out for the moment. As others have said, Covid is making everything weird. If nothing else seems out of sorts here, then wait to see what normal looks like for this company.
        One thing you can do is carry a higher awareness of when people are saying something positive. One of my many mistakes was that I skated right by understated compliments. Pay closer attention.

    4. AcademiaNut*

      I think it’s something that varies wildly with workplace – the type of industry, the budget, the number of employees, the diversity level (particularly when celebrating religious holidays).

      I’ve never worked at a place that gave presents or acknowledged birthdays, for example (mostly government research labs and universities). No-one other than HR would even know what our birthdays are in the first place. Big achievements (like a major award or promotion), get an institute wide email announcement, smaller achievements would be addressed at an individual team level. But it’s a generally supportive and functional workplace – no expensive parties, but they’ve really got your back if you have a major life emergency.

      Personally, I’d vastly prefer a functional workplace with a supportive manager and decent workload to a dysfunctional one with big parties and shiny toys, which are often meant to distract you from the dysfunction. Or the startups that offer on-site laundry, nap rooms, and three meals a day – that’s not a perk, it’s a sign you’re expected to be at work 12 hours a day.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Would you consider trying The Hobbit birthday next year? Bring in a batch of cupcakes for your immediate team, and tell them you’re looking to celebrate a little. If nothing else, you get cake on your birthday and a few people will say happy birthday. And maybe it’ll start something new!

      1. Joan Rivers*

        Agree. Cupcakes or good cookies are a nice thing for an adult to bring in and put near the coffeepot. I don’t get doing anything more than that, we’re not children. And it takes away someone having to waste time doing it.

      2. Clisby*

        It was like that at my workplace before I retired. I never participated, because I don’t like sweet food, and let’s face it – nobody was bringing in jalapeno poppers to celebrate their birthday. But plenty of people do like cupcakes or doughnuts, great for them.

  25. KoiFeeder*

    Unconventional presents that spark joy?

    I got my CPAP today, which is not technically a present, but I’m far happier about that than I am about any of my actual presents. Breathing is a nice gift. Anyone else delighted by something outside of the holiday norms of good presents?

    1. Not Australian*

      I received a little book that was photos of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ done by guinea pigs in historical costumes – but otherwise the *best* gift was the unexpected news that my 95 year old godmother is still alive. I’m notoriously short of family except the more distant sort, and I’d begun to fear that if she died nobody would let me know. I’d more or less talked myself into the idea of not receiving a card from her this year and having to accept that she’d probably passed – but no, there it was, very shakily written, telling me her eyesight was almost gone and wishing me all the best for 2012 [sic]. Best. Gift. Ever.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Ohmigosh we need that book! My daughter who loves historical costumes & Austen just got guinea pigs.

        I guess the publishers found a convergence of tastes that really works.

      2. Notthemomma*

        A 20 gallon propane tank and heater for the garage!! I live in upper Midwest so now I can work in my shop in the cold of the winter.

        And the CPAP…. A-mazing the difference they make!

      3. Joan Rivers*

        I read P.D. James’ “Death Comes to Pemberley” and that was fun. She creates an Austen murder mystery. Well done.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My husband & I splurged… on $1000 of tree removal. Goodbye & good riddance to three 70yo dead oaks that were overhanging power lines & driveway!
      (I’m also looking for a deal on a longer chainsaw because that wood’s already aged and ready to burn.)

    3. RagingADHD*

      Oh, hooray! I know what a huge difference it makes and wish you much delicious sleep.

      My cool present is held up in slow delivery, but it’s a rack that fits across my wheelbarrow to hold garden tools and cold drinks!

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t know if this counts, but for my birthday this year, I got myself the full version of Fade In, a screenwriting software that Rian Johnson allegedly uses. I have yet to finish my first screenplay but I intend to do it soon.

    5. puffle*

      My cat had a scan on 23rd Dec that came back all clear :D so happy to be able to cuddle her and spend time with her without that fear in the back of my mind, and actually enjoy Christmas. Best Xmas present ever.

    6. 653-CXK*

      The recent rainstorm we had yesterday that eliminated all of the snow we got last week was the best Christmas present I ever received. The bonus? We never lost electricity.

    7. Mimmy*

      YAY!! I remember how long a process that was for you! When my husband got his CPAP years ago, he said it made a huge difference. Here’s to more restful sleep!

    8. Ginger Baker*

      I bought for two close friends one of my favorite things ever – after checking first because it’s a damn weird thing to gift someone – a touchless hand-wave-sensor trash can (I also got several more for our household). Both recipients are thrilled.

        1. Ginger Baker*

          It is literally my favorite thing now in the kitchen and I say that as someone who LOVES kitchen appliances.

  26. Retail Not Retail*

    Two work updates – I signed some paperwork about automobile safety that should have me this much closer to driving again. It was interesting seeing how many rules we’ve been breaking at my boss’s insistence.

    And my boss has been fired! Happened on Monday, yeesh that sucks week of Christmas etc etc, but he was bad at managing people and sexually harassing an employee. I’m sure that report was a final straw situation, but they’re not going to tell us. It happened in the middle of the day, too. He told the only employee working he was heading off site and then never came back.

    My issue is if he’s gone, will his boss and our interim boss address the other problems now? The work release guys constant sexual conversation and the one employee bullying anyone he can get away with – it’s great the top is gone, but if nothing else changes, argh!

    (Also another department head quit this year and it took over four months to replace him. The interim head – a “supervisor” – saw no pay increase during this time. Ew.)

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Big changes! I sure hope the new supervisor will use their authority to cracking down on the other behaviorside you mention.
      When they post the position would you consider applying?

  27. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    In re-reading Dickens’ “Christmas Carol”, I was reminded of a passage that struck me as especially appropriate for this column. Recalling his apprenticeship under Fezziwig, Scrooge describes what made him an employer who inspired such loyalty:

    “He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ’em up; what then? The happiness he gives is quite as great, as if it had cost a fortune.”

    Dickens wrote this in 1843; 177 years later, it still rings true. Today, especially, companies may not be able to hand out expensive presents to their employees – and NOBODY should be hosting parties of any kind! But every manager can and should recognize the wisdom of that passage – and realize that they do indeed have that power over their subordinates, who do indeed recall forever how that power was wielded.

    1. GoryDetails*

      I agree. When I was younger, I rather tended to overlook the job-related aspects of the story, but now I really appreciate that perspective!

    1. Reba*

      I just (like today) finished “The Bedlam Stacks” by Natasha Pulley. Allende’s “In the House of the Spirits” was one of the first big novels I read as a young person, and remains a favorite! And you really can’t go wrong with Louise Erdrich, beautiful and poignant. Somewhere between magical realist and absurd, I’m also enjoying the story collection “Temporary People” by Deepak Unnikrishnan.

    2. Thea*

      I remember liking “The End of Mr Y” by Scarlett Thomas a few years ago. Recently I read “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig, which was mostly okay. An old favourite is always Gabriel García Márquez, “Love in the time of the Cholera” in particular. I also read Alice Hoffman’s “The Rules of Magic” earlier this year and enjoyed it.

    3. Books!*

      Kate Milford’s “Greenglass House” series. I am reading them together with my 11 year old and we love them. While I think they are technically children books – the adults in the family are enjoying them just as much as (and possibly more than) the children.

    4. Urban Prof*

      Besides Allende and Erdrich, I’d call these classics of magical realism:
      Jeannette Winterson, The Passion, Sexing the Cherry. Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus. Toni Morrison, Beloved, Song of Solomon.

    5. SG*

      Eva Luna by Isabel Allende, also the short story A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (which is incredibly beautiful and one of my favorite things ever written).

  28. Concerned Mother*

    Thought I would give you a follow-up to my concern a few weeks ago. (For those who missed it, I was sure how my husband and mother would accept the news of my daughter seeing someone who’s transitioning to male.) My mother was shocked, (as I figured she would be) and if you’re interested, I will relay her reactions and our conversation in the Saturday thread. It was a hoot!!
    She ended up not joining us for the festivities. Not because of him, but covid is increasing in our area, and she was reluctant to be around a new person.
    My husband….really surprised me. My daughter finally texted him last week and his response was, if you are happy that’s all that matters, and he will be very welcome. They decided to stay in a hotel because one of the kids had been around someone covid positive and figured that would be less exposure. We just practiced social distancing and used precautions with serving food and such.
    They just departed, and we had a lovely day and he is a delightful person. I wasn’t really worried about that part, but when you’re meeting a stranger you never know how you will all mesh.
    My daughter told me she was proud of me and how much I had learned about all this and that I was willing to learn. No, this was not discussed while they were here, this was conversations we had between the two of us earlier in the week. I gave credit to all of you from AAM for helping me learn. As I told all of you, this was a whole new thing for me.
    I want to thank all of you for helping me learn how to be a better, more well-informed person.

    1. Dog and cat fosterer*

      ” I wasn’t really worried about that part, but when you’re meeting a stranger you never know how you will all mesh.”

      In other words, it sounds like you were worried about the person themselves, and not about labels. You didn’t care about gender, you focused on ensuring this person is supportive and cares for your child. Which is exactly the way it should be! It’s okay to worry about meeting someone new in this context, provided you are focused on the right reasons. Well done, and I look forward to more details tomorrow.

    2. allathian*

      I’m glad this went so smoothly! And kudos to your husband, looks like you underestimated him a bit… Smart of them to stay in a hotel, too.

  29. Delta Delta*

    I’m friendly with someone who favors herself a gourmand. Today she posted a photo of the elaborate Christmas dinner she made. Mr. Delta, not an AAM reader, saw it and said, “what’s with the cheap-ass rolls?”

    1. Grim*

      Hey now, I like me up some cheap ass rolls, as long as they served with some cheap ass wine and cheap ass margarine!

  30. Bob*

    I’m afraid i am not familiar with that term, you adorable little ragamuffin.

    Don’t ask why that came to me for no good reason, i have no idea.

  31. Elizabeth West*

    Anyone ever moved in the winter? Does it cost more?

    I don’t have a job yet but my CompTIA instructor helped me do a big revamp of my resume–he used to be a recruiter. If I do get one, I probably will be moving as soon as I can manage; it may or may not be a job where I can work from home, but I really need my own space. And I do not want to commute very far in ice and snow if I can avoid it.

    Mom’s not ready to be left alone yet. She came home on the 18th and is doing spectacularly well, though she’s frustrated at how slow stroke recovery is and has been trying to do all the things (grr). I was just wondering about it now, since our winter weather doesn’t usually fully arrive until January and sometimes stutters along into almost May. I’m also a little nervous about moving during COVID, especially if I end up going out of state.

    1. My Brain Is Exploding*

      Haven’t moved in winter, but glad to see your update! And I’ve been sending you good vibes for the job hunt.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Thanks! I told my family we’d have to figure something out with Mom if I got a job. They were like “Sure, sure, we’ll figure it out,” but my jerkbrain likes to take vague statements and work up terrible scenarios with them, so of course I’ve convinced myself I will never get out of here.

        Medicare is covering the nurse/OT/PT 100% but I have no idea if they would also cover someone just being around. I don’t think she’d like that, and I would be adamant they get every background check known to man. She is getting around okay, but I don’t like to leave her alone in case she tried to do something she’s not ready to do yet.

    2. Anono-me*

      The cold and snowy season is usually a slower season for movers. (Covid has made everything unpredictable, but it seems to have slowed things down even more. ) You may be able to get a deal if you go with a smaller mover and are willing to do an off peak time. (Most people want the end of the month and/or the end of the week. )

      Out of state moves, you pay for loading and unloading and then by the pound for hauling.

      Local moves, you pay by the hour. (It might be good to find out if the company starts the clock when the truck leaves the shop or if the clock starts when it arrives at your home. Same thing about when the clock stops. )

      Most movers want the client to do a quick walk thru, sign the paperwork, and then step back to let them work. (Covid safety precautions have probably made that a more abbreviated process, but you can always ask the company what they do.)

      I’m really glad to see your good news.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Oh yeah, I guess it might be cheaper! I figured more since snow and ice could make it harder. I could probably work it out with a new job to just take one weekday to move. If it’s local, I can drive stuff a little at a time to a new place and lighten the load a bit. That’s what I did when I moved into my house. There’s a local mover called Goodfellas that seems to have a lot of good reviews. Their billboard slogan is “Move with the best and Fuggeddaboudit!”

        Out of state, IDK. The bulk of my stuff is in storage right now, but it’s already packed so that would save time either way. Ugh. I don’t have any money for that. I barely have enough to get an apartment. Ideally, I’d get a job with relocation, but I doubt that will happen.

        Thanks for the tips; I’ll bookmark this. :)

    3. Argye*

      I moved during Covid, in July. I’d rather move during winter than during the summer. In the 1300 mile drive, I couldn’t leave the dogs in the car for more than a minute without worrying about them dying. Winter (usually, unless it’s brutally cold) gives you a little more leeway. Movers don’t care. They unloaded our stuff in the middle of a tropical storm (!). I tipped them extra.

      There may be fewer properties available in the winter, but prices may drop a smidge, as fewer people are moving.

      Moving is always hellish. I’m not sure time of year matters much. Admittedly, I’m an academic, so I’ve always moved during the summer/fall, thought that’s 6 long-distance moves overall.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yes, it is hellish. At least this time I won’t have to pack again, though. Most of my stuff is all ready to go when the time comes.

  32. AdAgencyChick*

    Favorite holiday music?

    I’ll start: In the classical vein, Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Ralph Vaughan Williams; for pop, “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses.

    1. Laura H.*

      Josh Groban’s holiday stuff, and a whole lotta dead folks (Bing, Frank, (at least one of ) The Carpenters). Also have a soft spot for the “Home Alone” score, and the music from “A Muppet Christmas Carol”.

    2. RagingADHD*

      There’s a version of “It came upon a Midnight Clear” by a now-defunct indie band called Stickman Jones that just hits everything right for me. One of my all-time faves.

      They even use the *good* version of the lyrics about “prophet bards foretold” and “when Peace shall over all the earth her ancient splendors fling”. A lot of hymnals have changed that these days, I have no idea why, except that church committees are by their nature the diametric opposite of artistic expression.

    3. nep*

      O Holy Night/ Zan Vevede, Angelique Kidjo.
      And while not traditionally Christmas, my dad listened to it during the season sometimes–Bach/Gounod Ave Maria. But I can listen to that only if I’m ready for a huge, heaving cry.

    4. Sea Witch*

      – “Oh Holy Night”, when sung by someone who has the range to hit the high notes.
      – A version of “Away In A Manger”, with a singer accompanying herself on guitar that was touching in it’s simplicity.
      – “Mary’s Boy Child” by Boney M. (Yes, I’m old.)
      – “Poor Be The Chamber” by Charles Gounod. A lovely lilting tune.

      1. Mimmy*

        My husband loves that song!!

        I’m with you on O Holy Night; that is a favorite for me too

        A few other favorites:

        -12 Pains of Christmas
        -Bob Seger’s version of Little Drummer Boy
        -Silent Night – depends on the artist / arrangement
        -Underneath The Tree by Kelly Clarkson

    5. Joan Rivers*

      I like James Brown and other R&B Christmas songs. Just heard one on the radio that I’d never herd before. “Santa Claus, Come Straight to the Ghetto” is really old but lively and fun.

    6. Kimmy Schmidt*

      I’m not particularly religious, but I’m a sucker for mournful hymns. O Holy Night, What Child is This, Mary Did You Know, and my favorite O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

  33. Laura H.*

    Holiday Little Joys thread

    What brought y’all joy this holiday season?

    All the gifts I gave were well- received. Apparently I’m really hard to buy for though. Oops.

    And we dropped dinner to a friend’s family and it was well-received as well.

    Please share your joys.

    1. RagingADHD*

      I got my very own copy of the tabletop game Forbidden Island, and we played it together after supper. Yay!

  34. Dwight Schrute*

    Update question: did we ever get an update from the OP with the boss who was telling weird lies about everyone? I think about it every so often and it’s just SO ODD

    1. fhqwhgads*

      I feel like we did. I don’t remember the outcome but it feels very familiar and recent…like possibly the update was one of the many last week.

  35. Alphalfa Wolf*

    Need advice. A peer from another team blew off a handover meeting. What are the best practices and my responsibilities at this point? The junior person who attended the meeting can’t brief her because he lacks some core skills needs to understand the project. Their manager shrugs this off, says they’ll just ask me for my help going forward, as each new task surfaces. But I do not want to be supporting these people for months! Am I unreasonable to think that attending a handover meeting is kind of a must?

  36. chairkun*

    Question, because now I’m anxious: I hadn’t seen the advice about following up on applications (i.e. not doing it) and this past Monday I sent a follow-up email to a business I applied to. This was a week after I had first applied. Have I already made a bad impression? It’s a small, local business if that affects anything. I really want this position and I’m making myself sick with anxiety over this and every other application I’ve sent recently.

    1. Jarissa*

      Chairkun: Two things are both true. One: If this particular business would think poorly of you because of ONE polite follow-up you made a week after your application in the year 2020, then it would not be a good place for you to work anyhow. Because they would be guaranteed to judge everyone in a negative light no matter what else is going on.

      And two: Now You Know! And knowing is half the battle! Don’t follow up on applications starting now that you know this. Do the application, make yourself a note on your log of where you applied when and of any automatic notification you got that the application was accepted, move on to the next possible future. You are not any of the things Chairkun’s Anxiety is claiming right now, you are not doomed. You did not know, but now you know, so add another skill point to your Job Applying section of your character sheet and go do the next thing.

      Chairkun’s Anxiety: You could be so much more useful if you put all that energy into practice drafts of Delightful Answers to Oddball Hypothetical Interview Questions, you know. Stop wasting Chairkun’s resources on things Chairkun does not control!

      1. chairkun*

        I needed this kind of response, thanks very much! I think job searching post moving and mid pandemic is making me a bit crazy, so this grounded me.

  37. Kali*

    Has anyone else felt that Christmas is just…unChristmassy this year?

    The pandemic hasn’t affected me much until now, just through pure luck of what I’ve been doing, but now I can’t send the gifts I made to my friends abroad, we don’t have visitors, and sitting in the living room watching movies isn’t a rare treat, it’s just a Tuesday.

    1. LogicalOne*

      Yeah I think many are in the same boat as you, as am I. I couldn’t plan anything big, I resorted to doing 90% of my holiday shopping online to avoid crowds, people have “pandemic brain” and are running low on energy and it doesn’t help that it gets darker earlier, plus not having snow on the ground makes it feel like a regular cold day. It’s not just you feeling there was less of the holiday spirit this year. Once we hit next year, I think lots of people will have post-holiday blues.

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