weekend open thread – April 17-18, 2021

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand.

Here are the rules for the weekend posts.

Book recommendation of the week: Good Company, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. The discovery of a wedding ring that was long believed lost reveals secrets that unsettle a marriage and a friendship.

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

{ 1,344 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Hi all! A reminder that comments on the weekend threads should ask questions and/or seek to discuss ideas. Recommendations or an update or two on things you received advice about in the past are also fine. Comments on the cat photo are also welcome :) But no venting without a desire for advice and no “here’s an update on my life” personal-blog-style posts. (The full rules are here.) Thank you!

  2. Pamela Adams*

    The kitty crew! Last weekend’s book recommendation was great! I’ve now downloaded a whole collection from Project Gutenberg.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Yes the cats pic is great — I have to wonder if Alison is waving Kitty treats or catnip, they’re all that attentive.

      1. GoryDetails*

        To me the cats have that “well, it’s time for BREAKFAST, aren’t you going to FEED US???” look!

          1. Not a cat*

            Mine have been plotting a coup for years now. My (black) most ninja-ish one is working her assassination skills (tripping me at night when I try to go to the bathroom.) Look out Allison! :)

          2. Marion Ravenwood*

            This is definitely reminiscent of the “ye-es?” look my two cats used to give me when I’d come in the bathroom to find one of them sitting in the bath and the other on the edge. It always felt like I was interrupting a really important meeting somehow.

  3. amaira*

    Are there any veterinarians here?

    Both my cats have been sick and I’ve been to the vet clinic four times in the past month with follow-up appointments. The doctors and techs have always treated them well and always assure me that my kitties are very well-behaved.

    I’d like to give the employees at the clinic something to show my appreciation. Cupcakes? Cookies? Party platter from subway? A card with kitty paw prints on it? What would be best received in your experience?

    1. Gift idea*

      Not a vet, but maybe a gift card to somewhere nearby where they can get lunch, coffee, and/or treats? Gives them flexibility to use it when they need a pick-me-up and if there’s food restrictions, gives more flexibility.

    2. Friendship*

      My best friend is a vet and food gifts for the clinic are hugely appreciated. Pizza around lunch time, donuts in the morning, cupcakes in the afternoon. Starbucks gift cards never go unused either. Vets have some of the highest suicide rates in the country. They get just as excited about puppies and kittens as you do (on the rare appointments where they get to see healthy ones). A heartfelt card is likely to be CHERISHED and especially prized on the days when clients accuse you of not actually caring about animals/only being it for the money when they refuse to pay more than a couple hundred bucks to treat their (often very treatable!) pet. Putting largely healthy animals to sleep due to lack of money is devastating.

      1. Quiet Liberal*

        I wondered how vets take putting even sick and old pets down. Our now retired vet has helped us “say goodbye” to four pets over the last 20 years or so. He was always so kind, but stoic when administering the shot. I feel bad that we were so wrapped up in our sorrow that we didn’t consider what he and his tech were going through. What a sad part of their job. :(

        1. Sleepless*

          At the risk of sounding like a psychopath, it’s not incredibly hard. It’s peaceful, they can pass with dignity and not feel pain any more, and at least what I’m doing is straightforward and I’m not racking my brains trying to figure out what to do. The worst part of my job is definitely not the euthanasias. Sudden complications you weren’t expecting and awkward conversations about money are much worse.

          1. Sleepless*

            However, certain ones can get you right in the feels. Old men who are struggling not to cry get me every time. Or a pet that reminds me of my own pet. Or people who had a lot of trouble coming to the decision to euthanize.

          2. MissCoco*

            I still feel it was the kindest thing I did for my beautiful and best boy when I had to make the call last summer. I sent our vet a card, with a special thanks to the wonderful vet tech who worked with us that day.

        2. the cat's ass*

          I hear that. I’ve almost always adopted older rescue kitties with unknown health histories and a few with diabetes, PKD, etc, and it’s heart-breaking when all the love and care isn’t enough and it’s time to say goodbye. My Vet has some younger vets and one of them actually cried with me after helping my last little guy. I hope she felt better. I know i did. Thank you for some great ideas about treating the stellar people who keep my kitties healthy!

    3. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      I know lots of people who work at clinics and giftcards or credit for nearby food/coffee spots tend to be big winners.

      A heartfelt card will always be well-received.

    4. Not Australian*

      I’d vote for cupcakes and/or fruit, depending on how many staff there are. You can send cupcakes through a number of online sites including Interflora.

    5. Chilipepper*

      I just asked the support staff at my vet what to give, they wanted fruit or healthy snacks so I sent an edible bouquet, but I sent a platter. They told me they loved it.

    6. Crazy cat lady*

      Animal professional here, albeit not an actual vet. Food will always go down well, especially sweet treats. I recommend a personalised card with a picture of your cats on it, they will be pleased to see them looking happy and healthy again. Obviously you must sign it from the cats, not yourself!

    7. AvonLady Barksdale*

      You can send a gift card from a pizza place. That’s what I did for our dog’s daycare when we moved. He “wrote” the card. That way they can order what they want and when they want to.

    8. Sleepless*

      We love sincere thank you notes too! I have notes that are over 25 years old that I still cherish.

      Also, I hate to say it, but good online reviews. I’m still smarting from a one-star review some yahoo left me a couple of weeks ago because he was mad that he had to wait, while I was stabilizing two extremely critical pets at the exact same time. Good reviews help push that junk further down the list.

      1. Wombats and Tequila*

        It’s hard because that one star has a disproportionate effect on your number. However, there are always haters, and people going over the reviews know that. In fact, if someone’s reviews are all “THIS PERSON IS LITERALLY AN INCORRUPTIBLE SAINT OF THE AGES” I assume they gamed the reviews somehow.

        Everyone with any damn sense knows how vet life is. Everybody ever has sat around a doctor’s office. If most of the reviews talk about how much you care, the one person who writes “Boo hoo, I had to wait,” that just reinforces what the others said and makes the reviewer look like a Karen or Kevin.

      2. Yellow Warbler*

        I put a generic good review for my vet. He went far out of his way for me, and I was afraid that explaining the details would make other people expect the same treatment as a matter of course. (He lives on the same property as the clinic. I knocked on his kitchen door, holding my seizing/dying cat in my arms, long after the office was closed for the night.)

        TL;DR: praise, but don’t throw them under the bus while doing so.

        1. Joan Rivers*

          THIS is when a great receptionist can make a difference. All s/he has to say is sorry for the wait, there’s an emergency, and they would do the same for you if it were your pet.

  4. Derivative Poster*

    Any resources for thinking/talking about socioeconomic class? Some people in my life (one relative in particular) say things about less affluent people that seem bigoted to me. I would know where to look for ideas about combating racial prejudice. I’m not sure what to do about addressing class prejudice. Does anyone know about organizations, books, etc. that might be helpful?

    1. Oui oui*

      Barbara Ehrenreich has written a number of books about socioeconomic class. From her Wikipedia page: “Ehrenreich is perhaps best known for her 2001 book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. A memoir of Ehrenreich’s three-month experiment surviving on minimum wage as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart clerk, it was described by Newsweek magazine as “jarring” and “full of riveting grit,” and by The New Yorker as an “exposé” putting “human flesh on the bones of such abstractions as ‘living wage’ and ‘affordable housing’.”

      1. matcha123*

        I’m…not a fan of Nickled and Dimed. I read it soon after it came out. My family is low-income and I had high expectations, but she chose to follow a very specific group of low income people which weren’t at all representative of my family or other low income families I knew.

        More specific themes I took issue with:
        I think she changed her speaking style to “fit in.” I have a standard Upper Midwest accent, and I’ve never had other low income people distrust me because of my accent (dialect). Low income people were introduced as uneducated and child-like in many ways. Being low income doesn’t mean that you don’t care about education. It contributes to upper class/well-educated people thinking they can swoop in and “save” us. If you are low-income and educated then you are deemed as unworthy of assistance of any form.
        She didn’t even try to touch anything about race. I think she acknowledged that in the first chapter, and it’s probably best she didn’t, but as a woc, it was a frustrating read.

        Unfortunately I don’t have any other books to recommend instead of it. I was living the low income life and reading about how statistically I should have dropped out of school at 14 to have multiple babies wasn’t my cup of tea.

        1. llamaswithouthats*

          Thanks for this insight. I’m not sure if living as a poor person as a 3-month “experiment” would be representative of the actual experience of growing up poor.

          1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

            I think the part the most affluent people DON’T get is the mindset and habits that are set in childhood…even if a person manages to climb out of poverty, they still think the same way…one example is food is “supposed” to taste overly salty or fatty or have a certain texture.

          2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

            I agree. The psychological effects of poverty have an incredible impact on health, well-being, and choices that a 3-month experiment, with a guaranteed “opt-out” or expiration date aren’t going to be able to replicate.

          3. Finland*

            I’d much rather read books written by people who had to live through poverty than books written by people who like to try on other peoples lives as an experiment. It’s no different than someone being able to work an unpaid internship because they have lots of savings (or parental assistance or another job) that they can draw from. I have a little bit of understanding about why someone would want to write this book, but it’s just one in a long line of books that talk about people and for people (and sometimes talk over people), instead of talking to and with people. It’s another form of tokenization.

            1. Anna*

              I think the advantage of books like that is not in teaching people about what it’s like to live in poverty – it’s to deconstruct a specific myth about poverty, which is that “deserving” people aren’t poor. She came in with a PhD and was no better at “rising above the circumstances” than anyone else – she didn’t have a better work ethic or anything else.

              1. llamaswithouthats*

                This is a good point. Sometimes privileged people don’t believe something unless it’s explained by someone they relate to.

                1. Observer*

                  This is a fairly universal trait – people have a hard time accepting things that contradict the things they think they know unless it’s brought to them by people they trust and / or can relate to.

        2. ThatGirl*

          I think it’s a useful starting point, but it’s definitely limited in scope and somewhat dated by now.

      2. Observer*

        Ehrenreich’s book is limited. But it’s extremely useful as a starting point for discussion. Especially when talking to people who don’t understand things like the “poverty tax” (ie the fact that poor people often wind up paying more for things because of their poverty.)

        1. Old and Don’t Care*

          I agree. And I don’t think her book was intended to replicate the experience of growing up poor as to highlight some of the macro level issues that affect the lives of low income people.

        2. Jean (just Jean)*

          It was James Baldwin who wrote ““Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.”

          Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/25/opinion/25blow.html
          Alison, this was the best source I could find (I have not read James Baldwin, so I don’t have any of his books at home) but feel free to delete my remark. I’m not posting to be political, but Charles Blow is a New York Times editorial writer whose viewpoint is definitely not that of an American conservative.

    2. Texan In Exile*

      Not so much about advice but interesting background in these two books:

      Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams, by Alfred Lubrano
      A Framework for Understanding Poverty, by Ruby K. Payne

      PS If you figure it out, let me know, please, because I have not affluent but definitely racist relatives and I have not yet been able to convince them of anything.

      1. Derivative Poster*

        Thanks for the recommendations! I agree convincing relatives is a high bar. I’d settle for them making fewer comments that leave me stewing for days. And if I can change what they say around me, maybe that will have some small impact on their thinking.

        1. Texan In Exile*

          This might not be applicable to or possible for you, but I have an abundance of relatives and long ago reached, “Whatever I don’t care if I see you again” status.

          Over 20 years ago, in two separate instances, my dad’s two brothers each used the N word in front of me.

          These are men who live in a one-stoplight town in northern Wisconsin, where almost every single person is white.

          Both times, I said, “Uncle X, I don’t like that word. Please don’t use it around me.”

          They protested and I repeated: “Please don’t use that word around me.”

          (My two aunts jumped in on my side: “X, things have changed since we were young – we don’t say things like that anymore, etc.”)

          I don’t know what they say when I can’t hear them, but never once since then have I heard them say it.

          PS And to another commenter’s point – my dad left that town when he was 18 and never looked back. He joined the Coast Guard, then went to college on the GI Bill, then joined the air force. I never once in my life heard him say anything even vaguely racist. Leaving those monocultures does help.

      1. TiffIf*

        Oh Wow. I had not seen that one before–thank you for the link.

        Reading through it is interesting in a way because I recognize many (though not all) of the behaviors/situations described as my experiences growing up, but growing up I never thought of my family as poor–I knew we were definitely not rich but we had shelter and food (though sometimes it was Tuna Mac–tuna and macaroni and cheese are some of the cheapest things in most stores and to this day I HATE Tuna Mac). Reading this makes me wonder how close to the edge we were at times and my parents never let on to us kids.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I feel you. My dad felt it was important to get fresh fruit into his kids. What’s the cheapest fruit option? Bananas. Actually, you know what’s even cheaper than bananas? OVERRIPE bananas, the ones that are only being sold with the intention that someone might want them for banana bread.

          I haven’t eaten a banana in twenty-eight years, and even just the smell of them still makes me gag. But the notion that the few cents a pound were that important at the time didn’t click until I was older.

      2. Derivative Poster*

        Thank you, this is so well-written. It reminds me of the research on the relationship between decision fatigue and poverty: how people with limited means have to weigh trade-offs constantly.

      3. Not playing your game anymore*

        So much truth here. When my folks got married they didn’t have furniture. They got lucky and their landlord gave them an old mattress that one of his other tenants left behind. By the time I came along they had a dresser with a spare drawer for me to sleep in. So yeah. In my memory we always had food, unlike when my folks were growing up and they regularly stole apples, potatoes etc., from the neighbors. Dad fished and hunted because we needed the meat. We always had a garden and grew more veggies than we could eat, one of the neighbors had chickens. Traded veggies for eggs. We bought the biggest box of cheap elbow macaroni there was in the store, so we always had something to eat. Neither of the ‘rents even made it to 8th grade, still yet to a diploma or degree. Helping feed the younger siblings (7 for each of them) was more urgent than “book learning” but amazingly enough it was crucial to them that I stay in school.

    3. matcha123*

      Socioeconomic class and race overlap in many ways, but it would be problematic to assume that someone is poor because they are black.
      My personal experience tells me that if someone thinks poor people need to work harder, they aren’t going to change their minds. I grew up very low income and I have been open about that with many of my friends. I’ve calmly explained the barriers to a higher income that my family faced, and the responses have been, “Well, you should have done this,” or, “But your parent is educated,” or “You could have just moved.” And these are responses from well-educated people who would call themselves liberal.

      We really believe that a person can pull themselves out of poverty with hard work. I have explained the many ways my family sacrificed and worked hard and people will still find ways to blame us. The wealthier only want to help one type of poor person: an extremely low-income woman who is uneducated and can be saved by getting a clothing donation from an upper middle class person. I have seen that same attitude amongst posters here. Most recently in a post from a month or so ago where a writer worried about her interviewee’s casual clothing. Commenters were quick to jump in and say that the person might be poor (because poor = uneducated) and when one commenter pointed out that she was poor and her family knew to dress well for interviews, others jumped on her to call her privileged and some wrote “so what.” There is no winning if you are poor and even liberal-minded people are quick to put down poor people that are trying.

      I’m sorry if that doesn’t answer your question, but I’ve found that when people think only one narrow version of poverty is deserving of help and sympathy, no amount of reading material, YouTube videos, or reasoning will change their minds.
      Poverty and race are different things, but overlap in many ways. If the person conflates the two, then…let them go. Unless they can interact with the targets of their ire in a positive way, they aren’t going to change.

        1. Derivative Poster*

          You’re right, that’s not what I intended to say; perhaps I was unclear. I’m talking about people who wouldn’t make a judgmental comment about someone else based on their race but see no problem making a similar comment based on class. As a society, we’ve had some discussion about how to call out people on racist language. I’m not as clear about effective ways to respond to classist language.

          1. matcha123*

            Okay, I see where I misread; I thought you said that the relative also said racist things. With that said, my reply still stands. I grew up low-income in a high-income city. High income and very liberal and the people around me absolutely hate the poor. They have read the books, they know the statistics, they know how hard it is and they don’t care. People won’t vote to create areas for low-income housing because their property values might fall or housing units would “ruin” the view.
            I commend your efforts to teach, but I don’t think there are any amounts of reading materials or YouTube videos that will get someone who already looks down on the poor to change their thinking. If highly-educated, liber-minded people in very liberal cities are loathe to help the poor in their own backyards, I don’t think someone who isn’t as open-minded would, either.

            1. Observer*

              If highly-educated, liber-minded people in very liberal cities are loathe to help the poor in their own backyards, I don’t think someone who isn’t as open-minded would, either.

              Well, your fundamental mistake is that you conflate these items with “open minded”. And it’s just not the case. Liberalism can be just as much of a straight-jacket and orthodoxy as conservatism.

              Also, empathy and perspective taking are not the the sole province of people like that. In fact this is the kind of environment that actually decreases that capacity. Because these are bubbles which make it easy to avoid being brought face to face with the reality of these statistics.

              1. Derivative Poster*

                Yeah, that’s the situation in a nutshell: relatives are mostly in affluent areas of a liberal coastal state, I live in what might be considered flyover country.

    4. Generic Name*

      My husband, who grew up well below poverty line, recommends the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. Honestly though, at a certain point I think classism and racism are the result of a lack of empathy more than anything else.

      1. I'm not from here*

        “Honestly though, at a certain point I think classism and racism are the result of a lack of empathy more than anything else.”
        This really resonated with me. I think that may be in large part because people have trouble being able to imagine what they haven’t experienced… I’ve found that people who are well traveled, especially to other countries than their own, tend to be much more accepting and empathetic. Perhaps due to being an outsider on a small scale? It’s an interesting thought exercise to consider possible benefits of international travel as a curriculum requirement in a senior year of school.

        1. TL -*

          I think there’s a definite irony in suggesting required international travel on a thread about classism.

          1. I'm not from here*

            I thought of that right as I posted it, and you are quite right (and thank you for being succinct in your criticism ), but I left it because the thought exercise I had going on my head was not to have a plush vacation, but to perhaps participate in a volunteer trip that offers exposure to other cultures and ways of living while helping in various ways. I can see that I obviously did not explain that well. My apologies.

            1. HannahS*

              I think it’s an interesting idea, but I wonder more about volunteering with inequity closer by–why is it that most wealthier high school students would rather volunteer in South America, South Asia, or Africa rather than, say, in an under-resourced school in their own city? (I mean I have some ideas related to colonialism, white saviour complexes, and the distinctions between “deserving” and “undeserving poor.”) There’s deep, complex, generational poverty right much closer to us.

              1. SoloKid*

                Likely views passed down from their parents. So many people move house looking “for a place with good schools”. That phrase always screams “I can’t be bothered to help make my own community better” and that’s a message that gets passed on to kids.

                I grew up in a poor city where my single mom couldn’t make that choice. I wonder if she would have if she had the means. She did spend time at the local food banks (volunteering and being a recipient) before and after I was born and I think that experience enriched both of us.

                1. Observer*

                  That phrase always screams “I can’t be bothered to help make my own community better” and that’s a message that gets passed on to kids.

                  That’s just not true. I mean, sure, there are parents like that. But if you’ve ever tried to tangle with the public schools systems in many areas, you will understand why a lot of people simply don’t believe that they CAN change their schools. And, in fact that’s very often the case.

        2. Deets*

          I’m not saying empathy isn’t a factor but personally I’ll take compassion and support (which don’t have to require empathy) over empathy any day.

          1. SoloKid*

            +1. I’m reminded of a meme going around that says “The X coast is KIND when they tell you they’re SOO sorry your tire is flat and that they understand how hard that sounds. Then they walk away. The Y coast is NICE in that they’ll call you a stupid idiot for driving over the curb, but they’ll help you change the tire.”

      2. Derivative Poster*

        Thanks! I’m inclined to agree on the empathy question. The person whose comments bother me most actually grew up in a family that probably would be considered working class. However, this person was also born in a time and place in which achieving upward mobility was easier (for white people, anyway) than it is today. So maybe they think others should be able to follow in their footsteps but, as Elizabeth Warren has pointed out, you could pay $50/semester for in-state college tuition back then.

      3. Blackcat*

        “I think classism and racism are the result of a lack of empathy more than anything else.”

        One phrase that’s stuck with me through the pandemic is “I don’t know how to teach people that they should care about other people.” Like, I just take it as a given that I should care about other people, you know? And that some people don’t is just completely baffling to me and antithetical to my world view.

    5. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I can’t reccomend a specific book, but I’ve had some limited success with class prejudices when i narrow it down to one specific topic at a time…like food insecurity and “poor” dietary choices/food deserts and economics of food — ie. less expensive food is low in nutrition but tends to be more shelf stable (preservatives) so it lasts longer, etc. A discussion about Class is overwhelming, but you could take a…bite sized…approach.

    6. Chaordic One*

      One recent book that I found very informative and interesting is, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” by Isabel Wilkerson. She does a good job of including racism as an aspect of social class in the U.S.

      I think the Barbara Eherenreich books are good and informative, but a bit limited in the scope and perspective.

      Although it is older than dirt (first published in 1983) and a bit dated, “Class: A Guide Through the America Status System,” by Paul Fussell mostly holds up, although it is more filled with witty and wry observations (which makes it a fun read) than with any meaningful prescriptions about ending inequality.

    7. lemon meringue*

      This is kind of niche one because it’s focused on my home province (British Columbia), but I thought Andrew MacLeod’s A Better Place on Earth was really effective at showing how economic inequality has its roots in public policy and the many ways in which that plays out. He does reveal some fairly universal dynamics, although the particulars are mostly focused on the province.

      1. Derivative Poster*

        Oh no, you’re ruining my vision of Canada as a more equitable sanctuary to our north! (I’m joking… mostly.) I’m intrigued by the local focus: often a very specific example is the best way to highlight a universal phenomenon. Thanks for the recommendation!

      2. Woodworker*

        This sounds very interesting and I just checked it out at the library! (I’m in Ontario and am interested in seeing if there’s overlap for what we could fix here, as well).

    8. Qwerty*

      “And Still We Rise” is a book I read in high school that really stuck with me. It’s intersectional and is about both race and socioeconomic status since the two are often intertwined. The author follows a group of smart high school students dealing with a massively underfunded inner city school. It really underscored for me how important school and good support networks are for kids and how much that determines what we have access to as adults.

      I also recommend a thought exercise where you really look around and think about what minimum requirements are for living in your area or in the nearest city. When I moved from a Big City with safe neighborhoods in most price ranges and a ton of public transit to a Medium College Town (~100k pop), I was shocked at how much the upfront cost was – rents were the same as Big City despite the apartments being much lower quality, it was impossible to get by without your own car, public transit was a joke so minimum wage workers were either losing a decent percent of wages on parking or tripling their commute by taking the bus. I’m now in a Medium City and as much as I dislike having to pay a city income tax, I love that my city is using it to build better public transit between jobs and lower income neighborhoods.

      1. Derivative Poster*

        So true on the importance of your high school environment! I’ve been struck in recent years by how the way people grow up determines what they think is possible career-wise. I know some people whose horizons were much narrower than mine. OTOH, I’ve only recently realized that I never seriously considered certain careers as a teenager because they seemed about as realistic as becoming a princess. Thanks for your recommendation!

    9. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      If i end up with double posts my apologies…i think the internet ate my first one.

      You might have more success breaking the subject of Class and stereotypes/prejudices up into smaller topics: food (insecurity, deserts, psychology…), healthcare (access and disparities), jobs, housing, etc. Using “poor” food as an example — less expensive food is low in nutrition but high in fat and calories because of fats/salt/preservatives, but it stores longer than fresh food. For food insecure people, eating food RIGHT NOW is more important than taking a smaller portion and saving it for later…because later it’ll be gone or spoiled… or food deserts where healthy options just aren’t available at all. The psychological effects of food you grow up with as a child — salty/fatty/mushy….believing that’s what food is SUPPOSED to taste like, etc.

    10. SleepyHollowGirl*

      It’s not exactly what you’re looking for, but I found _Poor Economics_ by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo really informative.

      It’s mostly not about people in the US, which is why I say it’s not what you’re looking for, but it’s about why poor people make the choices they do. It looks at a number of different things where poor people are making different decisions than non-poor people think they should, and explains why those choices are made. And it basically concludes that the choices poor people are making are reasonable.

      1. Derivative Poster*

        Interesting! I remembered reading about their work when they won the Nobel Prize. (Then I read that she was his grad student before they married and was horrified. I can imagine the letter his other students could have sent to AAM.) One of our recent arguments centered on this: people are making the best decisions they can with the information they have. If you don’t have the same information, how can you pass judgment on their decisions?

    11. PrincessB*

      Linda Tirado’s Hand to Mouth does a very good job covering this topic. And she avoids the issues with Nickled and Dimed because she is writing about her lived experience, not an experiment.

  5. Bob*

    Alison must have expertise in cat herding, having five cats look into the camera at the same time is either skill or very good luck.

      1. FlyingAce*

        LOL… A couple of coworkers and I (all at supervisor level) had a Whatsapp group that at one time was called “Cat Herders”.

    1. tangerineRose*

      The cats are so cute! I like that they hang out together even when they met as adults.

      1. Queer Earthling*

        Depends on your cat! One of my cats absolutely adores treats (which is great because he needs a pill twice a day, so we put it in a Greenie pocket) and will come running if he thinks he’s getting one. The other one doesn’t understand that treats are food. He does not come running if you shake them, and if you give him one, he sniffs it with interest, purrs at you in gratitude, and then…wanders off. The only things he thinks are food are kibble in his bowl, one (1) kind of wet food, and for some reason raw spaghetti noodles. And possibly tape.

    2. All Hail Queen Sally*

      I had four cats together for 15 years (the age of the youngest when the oldest died) and I was only ever able to get all four in the same photo twice. Once they were all sitting on furniture close to each other and when I backed up against the wall I could get them all in the same shot. The other time, three were curled up together on the couch at one end and one other sitting by herself on the other end. (Perhaps they had a falling out?)

  6. Scc@rlettNZ*

    I’m looking for podcast recommendations. I skew towards true crime but I prefer shows that do a deep dive into one particular case, as opposed to a different one each week (although I do really like Red Handed).

    Podcasts I’ve particularly enjoyed (I feel that’s not quite the right word to use given the nature of the podcasts) are:

    The Root of Evil
    Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo
    Cold
    Beenham Valley Road
    Who Killed Leanne Holland?
    Down The Hill
    The Home Babies
    And one I can’t recall the name of but it was about the rescue of the young Thai soccer team from a flooded cave.

    Hit me with your favourites :-)

    1. KR*

      Bearbrook! Also the Atlanta Child Monster. The Parcast series on Serial Killers is entertaining too.

    2. Not Australian*

      Oh, so many! Try these:

      The Orange Tree
      Culpable
      CounterClock
      Missing in Alaska
      Root of Evil
      LISK: Long Island Serial Killer
      Someone Knows Something
      In The Dark
      Hunting Warhead
      Chasing Cosby
      and seconding Bear Brook.

      Also, there are a few on BBC Sounds which should be available worldwide. There’s a great one about Isdal Woman, another called Shreds, and a small number of others.

      1. Not Australian*

        Sorry, reading comprehension fail – you already had ‘Root of Evil’ on your list!

      2. Medea*

        I found both seasons of CounterClock well-researched. It’s more investigative journalism than what’s nowadays often referred to as true crime (storytelling). The third season’s coming soon.

    3. Retail Not Retail*

      I like Small Town Murder because of the deep, deep dive they do, but it is case of the week vs season long. Each episode is over 2 hours long and at least a quarter of that is dedicated to the town itself.

      However. Huge caveat – it’s a comedy podcast and that is not everyone’s thing!

      Running from Cops was a limited run about the shows Live PD and Cops and people’s experiences with them. American Rehab is also tangentially true crime (I know some of the interviewees) about rehabs exploiting their “clients” with work treatment.

      1. ALM2019*

        +1 for Small Town Murder and that is a very important caveat. You have to be okay with their brand of humor.

      2. Sc@rlettNZ*

        I’ve listened to a couple of episodes of Small Town Murder (and I did appreciate their humour!) I must go back to it. Thanks for the other suggestion.

    4. Sunshine*

      Your own backyard.
      You’re wrong about has some interesting topics.
      Criminal.

      Also there is a fb group called the ny times podcast club. I have gotten great ideas there.

    5. CTT*

      I am a big advocate of The Breakdown, which is produced by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. I had to take a break from true crime podcasts for a while because I ran into so many that by people who really didn’t know what they were doing, but this one has (appropriately) so much journalistic rigor behind it. They sometimes cover a case while it’s in progress, so the updates aren’t consistent, but there’s a substantial archive. I especially enjoyed the Tex McIver season, and the season that involved the paper’s EIC as a juror.

      1. Pregnant during COVID*

        I’m listening to Your Own Backyard now, it’s great.
        Lost Hills – also mid way through this currently
        To Live and Die in LA – excellent excellent reporting
        Chameleon: Hollywood Con Queen – really enjoyed this one
        Morbid – I enjoy the banter of the two hosts and how they cover cases. They deep dive into a different case each episode
        Culpable
        Up & Vanished (of course!)

        1. Holly the spa pro*

          +1 to Morbid. I dont even really like podcasts that much but i love listening to those ladies gobin on a case.

    6. Wordnerd*

      Elaborating on Sunshine’s recommendation of You’re Wrong About. Largely a week-by-week on different historical events that are generally misremembered, but throughout they’re doing a VERY detailed history of the OJ Simpson trial.

      1. Velvet*

        A Twitter fan tweeted something like, “ It’s 2045, You’re Wrong About is exploring system problems from 2010 and are up to day 3 of the OJ trial?” Lol.

    7. Forensic13*

      Oh, In the Dark! That’s exactly what they do. It’s so well done I use it to teach a course.

      1. MCL*

        In the Dark is excellent, and really deep-dives into some very important cases and exploring a lot of their implications and impacts. Criminal (and its sister podcast, This is Love) is also fantastic. I tend to like the podcasts with more journalistic production qualities, than the “gossiping about crime” types (like My Favorite Murder), though everyone has their own things they like.

  7. tangerineRose*

    Today, at 2 different times (and 2 different people), I saw someone in a car, holding a lit cigarette out of the window. I know nicotine is very addictive, and smokers frequently don’t want to get smoke in their car, but neither of them actually seemed to be actually smoking, just polluting the air with that awful cigarette smell so that passersby like me had to smell it.

    What’s up with that? My best guess is that the smoker is trying smoke while sort of cutting down on smoking by doing this and hasn’t thought that others nearby don’t want to breathe this stuff.

    1. Not Australian*

      One of the reasons I love the whole mask-wearing thing at the moment is that people no longer stand around in groups outside supermarkets etc. smoking and creating a cloud that other customers have to walk through to do their shopping.

    2. ex-smoker anon*

      Why were you walking so close to their cars that you could smell the smoke? Because honestly, even with the wind blowing, you’d have to be pretty close to smell it for the amount of smoke you get from one cigarette. And if you did smell some, it wouldn’t be that much–especially outdoors and I’m assuming they were outdoors, seeing as they were in cars.

      I used to do this when I’d smoke in my car. Smokers don’t constantly pull on their cigarettes, you know. It’s not smoke/stop, smoke/stop til it’s done. If it was nice weather, they were probably relaxing whilst smoking–and the bottom of the window opening makes a nice arm rest and/or they were flicking their ash outside. Also, doing what you describe isn’t really a way to cut down on smoking. You do that by smoking fewer cigarettes (not saying no one has ever done it this way but yeah….)

      1. Ariaflame*

        Some places that’s illegal. Not so much the smoking as the ‘limbs out of car windows’ bit. Though if they flick embers out onto dry grass that’s a separate thing.

      2. Quandong*

        well I mean I can smell cigarette smoke from quite a distance, and assume I’m not alone in that. And I get headaches every time, unfortunately.

        TangerineRose would not need to be right up next to the cigarette to smell it.

      3. Lou*

        You just have to walk past the car in a carpark, that is enough to smell it. I don’t understand why you think that is too close.

        1. Enough*

          The RA one year at college was a big smoker and never opened her window. You could smell it in the hall with the door closed. It was terrible. And I had percents that smoked.

      4. WellRed*

        This is your takeaway? That Tangerine was walking too close? Tangerine, I always figure smokers don’t like the stench any better than the rest of us so hold it out the car window.

      5. Laura Petrie*

        When we had to drive to work, we hated getting stuck in traffic behind the car of a smoker. We’d smell it in our car and it was extremely unpleasant.

        I hate the smell of smoke, even outside. It really lingers in the air.

        1. fposte*

          Yeah, it’s fortunately much rarer than it used to be, but the scent is strong and it really does travel more than smokers tend to realize.

      6. JustEm*

        I think you are underestimating how far smoke travels. I can have issues being within 50 feet of someone smoking outside. If there’s a moderate amount of smoke it will severely trigger my asthma, and a smaller dose will trigger migraines.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Yeah, I’m allergic to nightshades and this is my experience too. Honestly, sometimes they don’t even need to be smoking- being too close to someone who has enough allergen built up on their clothes/skin/hair will set me off.

      7. matcha123*

        I’ve smelled people’s smoke from over 40 feet away. I don’t know why you would think that smoke stench dissipates into nothing inches from the smoker. The smoke smell travels quite far. Perhaps it doesn’t smell as strongly because you are all up in it, but it does travel.
        I honestly dgaf about smokers’ feelings or their “freedom” to smoke. I’d like to be able to live in my apartment without someone stepping out every hour for a smoke.

      8. tangerineRose*

        In one case, I was at a stoplight, and the smoker was in a car in the other lane – the passenger was smoking. So I didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter.

        In the other case, I was probably about 10 feet away. When I walked back to my car, there was a smoker in his car nearby.

        It was nice weather.

      9. RagingADHD*

        Smokers (even ex-smokers) tend to radically underestimate how strongly it smells to non-smolers.

        This is true of both tobacco and weed.

    3. Asenath*

      Usually, in my experience, such actions are carried out to cut down on the amount of smoke inhaled by others in the car – the smoke outside gets diluted much more quickly, so it’s not as much of a problem. I’ve never been a smoker, but I’ve known smokers, and watched the smoking practices of a lot more, probably precisely because the smell annoys me.

      1. The cat's pajamas*

        At least it’s not pot smoke, its legal where I live and they don’t enforce the public smoking ban… it lingers worse than cigarette smoke, and is way stronger than the kind I remember smelling occasionally at concerts growing up. There’s a skunky kind too, it’s soooo gross!

        Some cars have a button to not circulate in outside air that can help for both kinds of smoke, but you have to catch it before it gets in your car too much or you just trap it in your car more.

    4. Courageous cat*

      Well, you don’t have the cigarette to your lips the whole time you smoke – you gotta wait in between puffs a bit.

    5. ....*

      I don’t smoke but I thought this was standard practice. I would assume they don’t want to smoke right into their car interior which is why they also blow smoke out the window.

    6. Girasol*

      Around here in wildfire country people do that so that they can flick the ashes outside instead of in an ashtray that would have to be cleaned. Then when they’re done they flip the glowing butt out the car window to land where it may. I’m still wondering what’s up with that.

      1. Windchime*

        Do cars even have built-in ashtrays anymore? I know mine has a place for a lighter but I don’t think it has an ashtray. The lighter hole is where I plug in my phone adapter, so I don’t think the car even came with a proper lighter.

        1. Chaordic One*

          Many new cars don’t seem to have them anymore, and in the few that do, they are an extra-cost option. Most of the ashtrays that I see, either from the auto manufacturer or from the aftermarket, are designed to fit into the car’s cup-holder. The ones from the manufacturer seem horribly over-priced although they probably fit better.

        2. Natalie*

          Cars haven’t come with ashtrays or lighters standard for a couple of decades at this point.

  8. KR*

    In my experience it’s mostly just so the smoke doesn’t get in the car as much, and so the ash doesn’t fall in the car. Or to cut down on the odor on their clothes/passengers. I agree cigarettes are pretty yucky overall IMO.

    1. tangerineRose*

      That makes sense. Thanks. I feel irritated when this happens because they’re managing to pollute my airspace, but I don’t suppose people always think about that, and I get the impression that smokers don’t always realize how awful that stuff smells.

      1. Mourning reader*

        I’m not sure this is a universal opinion. I’m not a smoker but I enjoy an occasional whiff of tobacco outdoors. It’s old stale smoke that smells disgusting to me, for instance a car in which somebody smokes with the window closed.
        Allergies and reactions vary quite a bit too. I’m affected by cigarette smoke, back when it was allowed in bars I would always be sick for a couple of days if I’d been out somewhere smoky. But passing a bit of smoke outside has not been a problem. Same with dog allergy; I wouldn’t be able to spend much time with a dog indoors but I’ve never been affected just walking past one.
        In short, no, smokers are not thinking about how they affect you. If they are smoking outside, they think they are in the clear. And mostly, they are.

        1. BubbleTea*

          Pipe tobacco and cigarettes have very different smells, I can tolerate the former but dislike the latter. I think different brands must smell different too but haven’t ever really known what brand I was smelling.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Me too, only I’ve never heard anyone else say that. I kind of like the smell of pipe tobacco smoke. I also like the smell of unburned tobacco. But burning cigars & cigarettes turn my stomach.
            Only machine-rolled cigarettes trigger my migraines, so I suspect the wrappers & adhesive.

        2. Texan In Exile*

          I’m with you, Mourning reader. I’m not a smoker. I hate stale smoke. I don’t want to be by someone smoking indoors.

          But wow does fresh smoke outdoors smell good to me. That’s when I have a smidgen of understanding of the appeal of smoking.

        3. Queer Earthling*

          Same on many levels. Stale smoke is super gross, and I do get sneezy and miserable if I’m around fresh smoke much, but I like the smell of a fresh cigarette. My mom smoked when I was little and I used to love sitting with her on the apartment steps while she smoked, which might be why it’s a pleasant smell to me.

          (Also at least once I’ve walked by a pipe smoker and somewhat-seriously considered circling back to just sit near them for a while, because pipe tobacco smells amazing.)

          1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

            My grandfather died almost forty years ago. One of the things I grabbed when my parents and aunt were getting his things ready to sell was his pipe. I can still faintly smell it if I stick my nose right up to the bowl. It brings back lovely memories.

        4. Coenobita*

          Just adding myself to the anecdata here as another person who thinks stale smoke is super gross but that fresh cigarette smoke outdoors is actually quite pleasant. In my opinion it is way, way better than weed smoke or flavored vape smoke.

          I read something once about smell perception/scent preferences that basically ranked smells on a spectrum of “almost everyone agrees this is bad” (like sewage) to “almost everyone agrees this is good” (like vanilla). There are some smells that are smack-dab in the middle and apparently there’s some interesting genetics and nature-vs-nurture research about who likes what and how strongly. For example, I love the smell of chlorine and hate gasoline, but plenty of people are the opposite.

          1. Texan In Exile*

            Chlorine means I am by a swimming pool which stands for S which stands for Summer! I love the smell of chlorine!

        5. Courageous cat*

          Agreed. I adore the scent of tobacco. I don’t think demonizing smokers all the time is always the right move

      2. KR*

        Surprisingly, when you smoke cigarettes, it doesn’t smell as awful. It usually takes a couple weeks after you quit for the smell of cigarettes to smell bad to the ex-smoker. Then they usually realize how gross everything smelled. That’s around the time they’ll notice how everything is stained with nicotine too. I also feel irritated when cigarette smoke pollutes my airspace and I’m a social smoker at times, so I don’t blame you.

  9. Marzipan*

    Anyone else trying to move house at the moment?

    I’m trying to get somewhere bigger so my dad can continue coming to visit regularly after the Marzipan Baby moves into his own room (something I’ve been avoiding doing partly for this exact reason and partly because I also don’t have anywhere to put all the stuff in the spare room at that point).

    Where I am the market is pretty frantic. I found a buyer for my flat really quickly (sold in a week!), and managed to find somewhere to move to as well – I was expecting to have to move right out of the city I’m in to a nearby town in order to get something on my budget but I managed to find somewhere here, albeit right on the outskirts. It’s slightly odd in that it’s built into the side of a hill so you get to the garden via the top floor of the house, and then the garden has steps and steps and steps all the way up to a deck at the top where you can see for miles. The bedrooms are small but it has a couple of extra rooms downstairs (they’ve converted an integrated garage into more living space) so I’ll have room for a study and a sort of utility/store room, which I think balances it out. I just heard that my seller has also now found somewhere to move to, and their seller is apparently willing to complete the chain so it all seems to be progressing.

    Hope anyone else working on a move isn’t too stressed by it all!

    1. Still*

      I don’t have anything to share except for: that garden /deck arrangement sounds DELIGHTFUL, I hope it’s as beautiful as I imagine!

      1. Marzipan*

        You can see alllllllmost all the way to the sea from it. My family stayed in a holiday rental a mile or so away a couple of years ago and I remember thinking how amazing to would be at New Year when everyone sets fireworks off simultaneously, so if all goes well then that’s my New Year plan!

    2. A Simple Narwhal*

      I moved in September, and even though it was definitely our “easiest” move (we had to stay with my parents for two weeks in between the closings so we got a storage locker – it let us put all of our boxes away as we packed them, meaning our house slowly emptied rather than filled up with boxes, it was amazing), it was still exhausting, stressful, and a pain.

      If you can, I highly recommend taking time off around the move. We also sent our dog to stay at my parents a few days early so she wouldn’t be underfoot and we wouldn’t have to worry about her. (You mentioned a baby so I’m not sure how viable this option would be.) Taking a day or two off before let us wrap up anything we needed to without having to scramble, taking a few days off after the move let us relax a little after the initial chaos. Moving is going to be stressful no matter what, so be sure to give yourself some down time if you can.

      Congrats on the new place, I hope everything goes smoothly!

      1. Windchime*

        I second the motion to take some time off. I moved in October and only could take 3 days off work. It was so, so hard and stressfull. Not only did I have to get moved, but I had to put my other house on the market from afar and also get my home office set up in this one so I could be ready to work on Monday morning.

        I hate moving and hope I don’t have to do it again for a very, very, very long time.

      2. Marzipan*

        Thanks for the tips! Assuming it all eventually goes ahead I am planning for the cat to go to a cattery for a couple of nights, the baby to spend the day at nursery, and I’m going to splurge and pay for the movers to pack so I don’t have to.

        1. Dwight Schrute*

          Definitely splurge for the movers to pack. We moved in July and we paid for movers to do the boxes and furniture but we spent about two weeks packing everything up ourselves and it was such a pain.

    3. ecnaseener*

      Congrats on the new place, it sounds like a good find!
      I’m apartment hunting for a move in the summer. Yesterday I toured a nice big studio in the city that I’d *never* be able to afford in normal times (rents are waaay down in the city bc covid). I sort of feel like I should seize this chance to be in the thick of what will hopefully be a vibrant, energized post-covid scene. But even with the lower than usual price, I can get a nice one-bed for a little less money just across the river in the (still-urban) suburbs. So I’m a little torn. (Honestly it’s a splurge either way, but I’ll be working from home at least part of the time and I’m SO sick of not having the proper space to do that, so I’ve made peace with a splurge.)

    4. HannahS*

      We’re trying to move rental apartments and it’s so hard to find a place! The landlords keep trying to get us to sign extra provisions that contradict the law, or try to skirt around it. It’s pretty frustrating.

      1. AGD*

        As I recall, we’re in the same city – I realized a bit after-the-fact that the most recent place I moved out of probably hadn’t even been legally approved for tenancy. Just luck that nothing catastrophic happened while I was living there!

    5. fposte*

      The market is really hot here too; the signs go from “Coming soon” to “Sold” with seemingly no interval. But you’re making me nostalgic for my San Francisco apartment, which was a building like the one you describe. I had the bottom/basement flat, which was on the second floor in the front.

    6. Drtheliz*

      I’m moving TODAY! It’s theoretically very exciting, but in practice I’m emotionally exhausted, not physically tired but my back hurts, and feel very guilty because my lovely husband is doing 80% of the work. I want to help, but at 18 weeks pregnant (and well “popped”) I have *got* to be careful and stop if I start hurting.

      1. Drtheliz*

        Update: we got it all done! (Thanks, moving van guy, for getting the washing machine into the basement.) We got pizza delivered and are winding down in bed.

        I’m getting excited about unpacking… :D

      2. Drtheliz*

        (Sorry, hit post too soon!) Deck question: the back door of New House is down half a flight of stairs into the cellar. Meanwhile the garage has a little pergola with a concrete floor. Should I go for a deck right off the house (but with stairs) or at the back of the garden?

        1. Marzipan*

          I’m glad your move went well! I’d suggest you live with the space for a little while before you make a decision about where you want the deck. Pay attention to where the sun goes at different times of day and think about what would work best for you in that respect.

          Enjoy your new home :-)

    7. Coco*

      We are closing in 2 weeks. The buyers are renting back for a bit so will be a while before we move in.

      We are also in a super hot market and are overpaying – the appraisal came in less than purchase price. It’s not surprising but giving me a bit of an anxious feeling. Keep looking at other homes and thinking ‘maybe we should have gone for that one’. I do think we ultimately made the right choice in buying this home. But if anyone knows how to get rid of feelings of buyers remorse I’d welcome the suggestions.

      1. Jackalope*

        I too bought a house recently in a hot market at a price that was higher than the appraisal. A few things that have helped me: one is that due to the market, I don’t think we could have found something cheaper that was still in a condition we were okay with (we aren’t handy, so a fixer upper is not going to work for us). The cost was similar to what other houses are going for right now, and they’ve been increasing steadily in our neck of the woods for awhile so they probably aren’t going to go down too much at this point. Secondly, being underwater (which we knew could be a possible outcome) is only a big deal if one is trying to sell. We are planning to be here for awhile, if not forever, so we can outwait the market.

        Another thing that has been helpful (which might take a little while for youall if you don’t move in for a bit) is focusing on things we like about the house or are excited about. For example, I’ve wanted to have a proper garden for years; I used to live with some friends who let me play in their garden and plant a few things here and there, but it was still THEIR garden and I didn’t get to do as much as I would have liked (although being honest here, I’m sure I could have done more had I wanted to and had the desire to put in the labor). My housemate and I have spent the last month or two going to nurseries all the time and buying lots of plants to remake the garden (which has been a rental for awhile, so the yard has all sorts of random bits and pieces that other people have planted here and there). We are going to keep anything (besides grass) that is truly happy and well-established, but have added a LOT (tonight we planted 19 new plants [although 10 of those were marigolds, which are easy…. On the other hand, one was a cherry tree, which took a lot more digging!]) and are excited about how the yard is taking shape.

        Another thing I’m looking at is painting. I’m tired of white rental walls, and want to make things more colorful. That hasn’t started yet other than getting paint swatches, but I’m looking forward to how it will look once it’s done.

        Don’t know if that helps or not, but that’s what I’ve been doing to stave off buyer’s remorse.

        1. Jackalope*

          Also, exciting news that I partially alluded to is that we have planted THREE cherry trees. Either we or the birds will get to enjoy a lot of cherries!

      2. Marzipan*

        I think other property listings always look enticing because… well, they’re supposed to look enticing. While you’re busy looking they’re basically a fantasy, and you don’t have to really engage with any of the messy realities that almost certainly exist with those properties as well. If you were buying one of those houses you’d almost certainty feel the same about it, it’s really normal. Can you bring yourself to stop looking? (She says, while she still checks Rightmove every day…)

      3. Drtheliz*

        Oh, I totally get you on the buyer’s remorse – that deep fear that you’ve messed up and got a lemon. I found that I felt bad for a few weeks after “pulling the lever” but then as I made plans for the space started feeling much better. (We’re gonna redo the floor, and the garden, and we’re gonna have a separate office and living room…)

    8. KR*

      We just moved to Hawaii from the southwest so I feel the moving pains. Luckily the military moved us so that took care of a lot of the pains, but it was still an incredibly stressful experience (and very expensive). We want to buy a house eventually when we get orders out of Hawaii, but we’re hoping the market slows down because it feels like we’ll never be able to afford a house at this rate.

    9. Skeeder Jones*

      I’m working on a move to another state but I’m still waiting for full approval from my work. We operate in the new state and I’ve been a telecommuter for over 3 years. Our whole team works from home and so it shouldn’t be an issue but you never know. I’m hoping to get an answer in the next week. My current lease is up at the end of June so it’s not like I have tons of time to get this figured out.
      I do know that I don’t want to move before June 1st which means it’s not necessary for me to start house hunting (I’m a renter) until after May 1st as most of what is on the market now is for a May 1st move in. I’ve been looking at listings to validate that the area has properties that will work for me. I’m currently in a studio and with a permanent office area, craft area and a cat, I just can’t live here anymore, it’s driving me crazy. There are a whole mess of reasons why I’m moving to another state but being able to get more for my money is definitely a strong motivator. It looks like I’ll be able to rent a 2 bedroom house in the new city so I’m excited about that. But as I’m doing this validation, I’m getting “property crushes” and it’s hard to keep myself from just pulling the trigger and paying for a month I don’t need.
      Anyway, I don’t have to know exactly where or when I’m moving in order to start packing. But being in a studio, there’s not a lot of space to put the packed boxes so I’m renting a storage unit for a month or two to help out with that.
      Sounds like I’m not the only one going through a moving journey right now!

    10. Marion Ravenwood*

      Congratulations! The new place sounds lovely. And I hope your move is as stress-free as possible!

  10. Friendship*

    Friendship question.

    Has anyone here had to gently tell a friend that they’re… a bit overwhelming (think 80:20 conversation split, more when my introvert brain just shuts down)? On a recent six hour car ride, they chatted the. whole. time.

    I suspect the answer here is some combination of “use your words” and “maybe it’s you” but I can’t quite wrap my arms around it.

    I’m a recovering people pleaser who struggles with conflict. Normally I don’t mind listening for a bit but the sheer volume of information being shared in a one way format is overwhelming, especially with so many details. Picture someone telling you about the book they’re reading. But trying to give ALL the backstory and plot and character explanations instead of a typical quick summary or specific highlight. This person would be mortified to hear that they’ve caused distress and has a variety or life circumstances that make me want to be extra gentle.

    The one thing I had success with was an actual conversation list of questions that helped ensure there was interesting dialogue that I had a chance to participate in but that doesn’t address the broader pattern.

    If this was a colleague or stranger it would be simple to leave the conversation. But how do you support a friend who has really intense social needs right now (see: solo parenting and educating small children with special needs during a pandemic) while also practicing your own self care to conserve energy?

    1. Not A Manager*

      Do you want more balance and reciprocity in mutual conversations, or do you want more silence/less detail in their conversation?

      If you want to talk 50/50 (which means you’d be talking for 3 hours of that car ride), then I think you can have a brief, big-picture conversation. “Hey Friend, I know you don’t realize it, but sometime when we hang out you don’t leave a lot of room for any back-and-forth. I’d like our conversations to be more two-sided.” It might sting for a moment, but there’s a clear action item there.

      If you want more silence/less detail, I think you might be better off addressing it in the moment. Certain on a long car ride! “I can’t carry on a conversation for an entire six hour car ride. Let’s put on a podcast/some music and just chill for a an hour,” is perfectly reasonable. It’s a bit trickier to ask someone to cut to the chase when they are getting long-winded, but it’s possible. “That books sounds fascinating, but I’m having trouble following all of these details. Can you just give me the gist of it?”

      If you do this with some regularity, the person might start to self-regulate. Or they might just ask you about it. Or after a few exchanges, you could draw attention to the larger pattern. “I love to hear about your life, but sometimes I need a higher-level summary than you’re giving me.”

      The first step is to clearly identify to yourself what it is that you need.

      1. Rrrrach*

        Thank you Friendship, I struggle with this too and cannot think in the moment how to say what I need. And a grateful thank you to Not A Manager – will be using those scripts!

      2. Friendship*

        Thank you SO much for helping me think through this!

        I think the second option (more silence) is what I prefer more, though when we do talk it’d be nice to be closer to 50:50 (heck, even 60:40 would be fine!). Part of the discomfort is that she’s a clear extrovert who is desperate for adult interaction but I only have so much energy I can give before I myself need to desperately recharge.

        I love you script for interrupting the excessively long stories/tangents (and it’s true! I really can’t keep track of all the details and then start to tune out which makes me feel bad).

        1. BubbleTea*

          Remember that you are not her only possible outlet for social communication, even in a pandemic, but you are the only person who can protect your own mental space. She can also talk to other people! But no one else can get your quiet time for you.

          1. Friendship*

            Excellent reminder! Because of the work our husbands do, we’re not located near family or a major city. With the pandemic, I think I’m the only “local” person she has known for a long time and feels safe meeting with in person. Normally I think she would’ve met way more new people (see: extrovert) but with COVID it’s really hard to find friends.

        2. scaredy cat*

          Also, this might be completely irrelevant, but whenever I’ve found myself in a situation where there’s very little response to a story I’m lost in the weeds in, it’s like watching a train get derailed in slow motion.
          It would be a kindness if the other person gave me direction on what to do with the conversation.

        3. allathian*

          One thing you could work on would be to stop feeling bad when you’re tuning out. Your extrovert friend just needs an outlet to talk, whether you actually listen or not is probably not all that important to her. If she does notice you’re not listening, you could say something like “sorry, I tuned out for a while.” It’s unlikely to offend her. If she’s not only an extrovert but also egotistical to the point that she wants you to listen attentively, that’s a different problem to address.

          1. Friendship*

            At one point I brought out my adult coloring books to get a break from the need for eye contact and it did help but still felt odd being talked at. I don’t know that’s it’s ego so much as pent up extroversion but it definitely stresses me out and it’s nice to hear that it’s ok to tune out more actively.

        4. matcha123*

          A few years ago I was out with a friend who talked non-stop. It was like a steady stream of every thought in her head. I was overwhelmed and I just could not talk. I had to tell her that at that moment I was overwhelmed and I needed to be silent for a while to recharge. I didn’t ask her to stop talking, but I did tell her that I couldn’t respond.
          I don’t know if that would work for you? I think I’m like you and would also prefer 50/50 splits when talking, or at least some quiet. If your friend might be hurt, explaining your need for some mental space might help them to understand.

          1. Friendship*

            She might actually respond to a version of that! Just framing it as me needing some quiet for my brain. Thank you!

          2. Sleeping Late Every Day*

            I’ve tried that with my sister, who does not have on off switch (or, unfortunately, a volume control knob). She got very upset and went on a rant about people always interrupting her. Well, yeah, if you talk non-stop, that’s gonna happen. I hope other people have better luck.

      3. A Simple Narwhal*

        Wow this is amazing! It’s very kind but also gets your request through.

        As someone who is not always the greatest story teller (I don’t go on for hours like the person in question but I can get bogged down by unimportant details), the “that book sounds fascinating but…can you just give me the gist of it” is a great script. I want to include the caveat that I’m very aware of my less than stellar story telling skills (and am working on improving) so it wouldn’t be a huge shock to hear someone kindly ask me to summarize more succinctly, but it seems perfect to me, as was the other scripts.

    2. CTT*

      A six hour car ride is so different to most other social circumstances (as is traveling with friends in general – it involves such an intense level of compatibility) – is this friend always like this, or did you really notice after this?

      1. Friendship*

        I’ve only traveled with her before as part of a couples trip, and we didn’t share the drive. Having other people to absorb some of the conversational energy would’ve helped for sure! I think we’re not very vacation compatible (which is ok!). The scripts above are helping me think of how to elegantly deflect/wrap up future overwhelming interactions.

    3. lemon meringue*

      With this kind of dynamic, it can be helpful to frame it about you rather than them. Depending on what your goal is, you could tell your friend that you’re trying to set better boundaries around your free time for the sake of your mental health, so you can’t be available to talk as much as usual. Or you could say that you’re working on trying to take a more active role in conversations, so you’re going to be more assertive about speaking up to direct the conversation. Or whatever it is that would make this relationship feel a bit more even-keeled.

      1. Friendship*

        I see we have both read Captain Awkward! That kind of directness would probably be too harsh given how overwhelmed and anxious she is though I could see them applying in certain other relationships. It’s just been so validating to hear/be reminded that it’s ok for me to be overwhelmed too and push back when I need more space.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, I really think you need to be a bit firmer about setting your own boundaries here. Don’t set yourself on fire to keep your friend warm. You can’t be her only support system if she’s so overwhelmed and anxious.

    4. justabot*

      It always helps me to “own” being an introvert and joke about it, because it’s true, and also be unapologetic about it. It sounds like your friend was using you for her outlet, but it just becomes word vomit at a certain point.

      I think you do have to set a boundary with how much you can realistically hear while protecting your own self care and energy supply. Maybe you could try telling her, “Wow that sounds like a lot that you are going through and it sounds really hard.” Definitely validate her struggle. But then tell her honestly that it’s a bit overwhelming and you don’t feel equipped to give the level of support that she needs. And that it sounds like she may need some support from others who are going through the same thing. There are so many blogs and Facebook support groups for parents of special needs children, etc. Sometimes when people can find a supportive place among people who understand or going through the same thing or stage of life, they find themselves needing less from the other friends in their life.

      And just be upfront that you are introverted and don’t have this much conversation in a month, let alone in a few hours and that you need some quiet time and re-charge. If you are driving, you could try saying, “I appreciate that you feel so comfortable sharing with me, but I am a bit talked out! Let’s just listen to music for the next hour, that’s what I need.” Or some variation. You can be gentle and appreciative of her situation. Just keeping in mind that introverts need that quiet time to recharge and extroverts get their charge by that very conversation that is depleting you.

      I use, “I’m introverted!” a lot when I need to take a break from more talkative and go, go, go type friends. The nice part of that, even if they don’t truly relate or understand what an introvert needs, is that it’s not personal.

  11. Goose*

    Well, I’m up at 230 am because someone of my floor pulled and broke the fire alarm for no reason. But this made me realize I am woefully unprepared to get my cat out during an emergency. She immediately went under the bed where I couldn’t reach her. How do I prepare her for a real emergency?

    1. tangerineRose*

      I’ve got a cat who likes to go under the bed when it’s time to take him to the vet. I’ve started putting things under the bed. My goal is to let him get enough under the bed that he feels kinda safe but not so far that I can’t reach in and pull him out. I haven’t quite achieved the goal yet – he still manages to find ways to get out of reach. I also keep a cat carrier in my bedroom.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Yes, I have friends who’ve essentially put a bunch of boxes under the middle of the bed so that the cat can go under the bed but can’t get out of reach.

      2. Bookgarden*

        This is so brilliant. I’ve never thought to give my cat one little spot that’s easy to get to under the bed. We get a lot of tornado watches and warnings here, so this would work great as she’s never taken to the hidey-holes we’ve created for her in the closets.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I once heard someone speculate about designing a captain’s bed, where one compartment would be the exact size of a cat carrier with the door open. It wasn’t someone I kept in touch with so I don’t know if it works. But it sure sounded like a clever idea.

    2. Mourning reader*

      Omg that’s exactly what happened to a friend a couple of weeks ago. Fire alarm going off and cat hide under the bed, she couldn’t get him out and she had to go.

      We buried him in my backyard after she got his body back from the firefighters. Apartment was totaled. It is all very sad but I’m glad my friend didn’t delay leaving as it could have been her.

      I recommend training your cat to come to you in some way. Might not work with scary alarms going off but it’s useful if they get out accidentally and other situations. Mine almost always come when I shake their treat container. Eliminating hiding places is also a good idea.

      Check your smoke detectors and if you live in an apartment, is it up to code? Are there detectors or sprinklers in the hallways? Do you have a fire extinguisher?

      Cats can be trained to some extent. Give it a try! Even my stupidest one is highly food motivated.

      1. Felis alwayshungryis*

        Sadly, under beds and couches are usually where they find cats after house fires. The part that kicked me in the guts in the article I read about it is that dogs are often found at the door they typically go for a walk from. That’s stuck with me.

    3. WS*

      When I had 10 minutes to evacuate ahead of a fast-moving bushfire, I put the cats’ favourite food out and they raced over to eat it, then I grabbed the sneaky one (the other one was no trouble). They then had to spend 8 hours in a carrier in the car with us, and refused to pee that whole time, even though I had an emergency litter box right there for them! When we were safe to come back the next morning, they raced straight for their litter.

    4. No Tribble At All*

      Well this is a sad and scary question :(

      We had a false alarm fire alarm last week, and my spouse was out jogging so it was just me. After a minute of the alarm going off I decided it might be real. I easily lured one cat into her crate with treats, but our scaredy cat tore around the house. I had to throw a towel over her to get her into the crate, and she still scratched me pretty good. That’s the only time she’s drawn blood. I remember thinking “okay, at what point should I leave” because I knew if I smelled smoke it would probably be too late, but I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving one of the cats behind. We’re on the 4th floor so it’s not like she couldve escaped out the window. Eventually I got her into the crate and carried them both outside, where we sat on the sidewalk for 10 minutes until they fixed the alarm.

      Anyway this is a rambling/frightened comment to say: keep their crates easily accessible, don’t let them have hiding places you can’t reach, and yes, you can encourage them to go to their crates with food. (Said dumb scaredy-cat is sitting on my lap as I write this, and I’m like sweetie read this please, I wasn’t mean to you for no reason!!)

    5. fposte*

      A friend has a special treats call that brings her cats running, and she’s done that with the idea that that’s the emergency beacon. I wonder if it make sense to sometimes move the treats call to the bathroom so that they’d gallop in for the call and she could shut the door for crate wrangling.

    6. Girasol*

      Can you put a cat carrier with cozy blankets in it under the bed and offer treats to encourage her to make it her go-to hidey hole? I also read that when a false alarm goes off you should give your pets a treat so that they come to you whenever they hear an alarm. It sounded clever but I’m not sure if that would work on a panicked cat.

      1. Windchime*

        When I first moved to this house, my normally crate-averse cat spend the first couple of days hiding in his crate in the back of the closet. I was thrilled that maybe he was going to make that his new “safe space”. But nope, now he is back to hiding under the bed whenever something scary happens (usually as simple as a stranger in the house). I’ve often thought about this exact emergency scenario and I don’t think I could get him out in time, especially with the smoke alarms blaring. No treat in the world would get him out from under the bed in that situation. He is very, very timid.

    7. Yellow Warbler*

      We use a “come right now” call that we’ve trained the cats into, using very expensive treats they only get when we make that sound.

      We started doing it during regular house noise levels (TV on, stove fan running, etc.) then graduated to more loud/weird sounds (my husband is a musician, so this is easy for us, but you can use whistles/air horns).

      We have not yet mastered their fear of the fire alarm, but it’s going better. They used to completely disappear, and now they only run upstairs and huddle on the landing. Once they tolerate that, the next step is to trigger different ones, so they’re used to that sound coming from different places.

    8. KR*

      Another vote for keeping things under the bed that prevent her from getting out of reach. For me, I know when the fire alarms go off my cat is going to either hide under the bed or behind/under the couch so if the alarms go off my first instinct is to grab her and throw her in my car, then go back for the dogs (who can’t fit in unreachable places and have the wherewithal to listen to me when I tell them to come, no matter how scared they are). It also helps to either block off places they may go to hide or put your furniture on gliders of some sort so you or the fire department can easily move them in case of emergencies.

    9. BelleMorte*

      It’s my worst fear honestly.

      I have a service dog and what we do to prepare them for fire alarms is a bit different but it can still be used for non-service dog training. Basically, make a recording of the alarm on your phone or whatever. Figure out a high value reward for your pet. Turn on the recording in the general area of where your sound will be coming from give the pet a treat. Continue and slowly move the treat reward location to the door/carrier location. Ideally this will train them to go to the door when that noise goes off.

      Your results may vary, some cats are trainable, some are not. I also recommend keeping a cat carrier near the door and open at all times with catnip and toys in it, so they can go in and out all the time not only when they have to use it.

  12. Laura H.*

    Little Joys Thread. What brought you joy this week?

    The temperatures have been warmer so I’ve been making a little more front porch time this week.

    Please share your joys.

    1. tangerineRose*

      Cherry trees are blossoming where I live, so many beautiful pink leaves! The air outside was lovely most of the time.

    2. English, not American*

      My dog is becoming fun again!
      He’s had surgery on both his knees, so with allowing time for one leg to regain strength before operating on the other and trying to prevent him from injuring himself, I’ve had to be a helicopter-dog-owner for more than 7 months. This week I could let him off-lead for the first time since August (though only for a minute or two)! I no longer have to carry him up and down the stairs! He can actually run like a dog, not a rabbit!

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I stopped for a brief visit (all vaccinated etc) and my friend’s little boy told me he had cleaned out some of his baby books, did I want to buy any of them? I said, well, I have a six-month-old baby nephew, so how about if you pick me out a few books that you think would be good for him? So he picked out a few books from his pile that he thought would suit, and I scrounged fifty cents out of the change in my car, and that pretty much made my day. (Also his little brothers hugged me around the knees like four times and talked my ears off. I’ve missed these kids almost as much as their parents.)

    4. Laura Petrie*

      It has been lovely and sunny this week, so even though it is quite chilly outside, I’ve felt really cheerful.

      We’re planning an outside pint at one of our favourite brew taps tomorrow. It will be our first beer at a bar since September and I’m really looking forward to it.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I was delighted to have a warm day off to poke around the local nursery, pick up some seedlings and go home to plant some pansies and swiss chard.
      I am now delighted that my makeshift weather protection seems to have kept those pansies and swiss chard alive despite the snow that wasn’t forecast at the time I put them in the garden. (I gave them hot water bottles using plastic jugs out of the recycle bin.)

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Follow up: I am now delighted that I picked seedlings that are all types that can survive light frosts. It was pure luck — and I’m still glad I put protection on them to keep them from getting crushed flat by the snow.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        ***My dwarf bleeding heart survived the winter — and the daffodils I planted late last year are sending up shoots. HURRAH!***

    6. allathian*

      We cleaned our porch today and put out the sun chairs. It was warm enough to sit outside and drink a cup of coffee in sweats. Our lawn is getting green and our tulips and daffodils are growing and will start blooming within a few weeks, depending on the weather.

      Separately, my parents came for a visit to take a look at our garden. It was lovely to chat with them again, even while masked and keeping a safe distance.

    7. GoryDetails*

      Kind of a backwards one: turns out I was very glad that I hadn’t put my snow shovel away, as I had to shovel a couple of inches of heavy, wet snow off of my back porch yesterday! (The snow’s all melted today, of course, and it was very pretty when it was falling yesterday, but by mid-April we’re *usually* snow-free around here.) Anyway, I didn’t have to drag the snow shovel back up from the basement, so that was good!

    8. FisherCat*

      My dog is just wonderful. He can be challenging, too, and I’ve spent too much time focusing on that. This week I’ve paid special attention to all the quirky, fun, wonderful things he also does. Rescuing him is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself <3

    9. Llama face!*

      My friend who is in a high risk category healthwise was finally able to get her first vaccine shot yesterday! :D

      Also, my carrots that I’d winter sown in a plastic tub have started sprouting nicely. It’s my first time trying to container garden carrots and I’m excited about it!

    10. Seal*

      Got my second vaccine this week so I’ll be able to visit my mother (who’s also been fully vaccinated) for Mother’s Day. Never been so happy to have a sore arm!

    11. Windchime*

      This is my first Spring in this community and this house. The previous owners took great pride in the yard and there are all kinds of pretty things blooming. There is a weeping cherry out front and three flowering plums in the back yard. There is also a bridal wreath and some kind of a pretty little magnolia. The trees are starting to leaf out and they are FULL of birds who are very busy building nests and chattering. It’s been absolutely wonderful.

    12. twocents*

      I’ve been struggling with weight loss lately, and while I logically understand how it works, making myself do the things necessary is much harder.

      I watched a Ted Talk by Dr BJ Fogg a couple days ago and his research into doing tiny habits followed by immediate reward (eg tell yourself you’re awesome) has been really uplifting. It’s oddly fun to do something that maybe shouldn’t be hard but is for me and immediately go “I’m awesome!” Ahh it’s making my day so much more joyful too.

    13. Canuck girl*

      My cat has started gently waking me up by curling up next to me and purring every morning. He also started head butting me and licking my cheek. I’ve had him for 4 months and there is always some new cute behaviour from him that brings me oodles of joy :)

    14. StellaBella*

      Several little joys this week. But the two best were using my new apartment’s communual washer and dryer and OMG they are better than anything I have used in 5 years…and a 30 min walk to the recycling centre to drop off 3 weeks of cans, bottles, plastics. On my walk I saw a heron amd and egret and a kestral.

    15. Buni*

      Saw a couple of friends that I usually see 1-2 times a week and go on week’s holiday with every year, but hadn’t seen in 13 months. We had a bring ‘n’ share picnic on the green behind one friend’s house, about 5 hours just sat in the sun talking & laughing, was awesome.

    16. Jackalope*

      My spouse and I got our 2nd shots last week so we’re 1 week away from full vaccination. 2 of our pod people got their 2nd shots today, so we just have one more pod person with a shot in 2 weeks and then we’re all fully vaccinated.

      1. Jackalope*

        Oh, I forgot to mention that we had a picnic outdoors today and then I went and did a hard-for-me thing and then as a reward for Doing the Thing (that I had been putting off), my housemate and I went and bought a bunch of plants and then planted a bunch of plants (not the ones we just got, alas; we’re a bit behind on planting). Looking forward to watching them grow, and esp. since a lot of them are berries (we got raspberries, boysenberries, thimbleberries, and huckleberries, plus we have some blueberries and some other raspberries already planted), we will hopefully be eating well in a couple of years once everyone is well-established!

      2. Liz*

        I got #2 yesterday, so I have two weeks to go. My mom has been fully vaccinated since the end of Feb, and my BF will be in about a month; he gets #2 in a few weeks.

        Most of my friends too are either fully vaccinated, or in the process.

        i can’t wait until I am; going to go for a pedicure, and I might even venture out for some “unnecessary” shopping. And looking forward to warmer weather when we can eat outside!

    17. Marion Ravenwood*

      It was my good friend’s birthday yesterday so I got to see her and two other friends who I haven’t seen since before the last UK lockdown. Was lovely to sit out in the sun and catch up! I also made a cake for the occasion which was the first time I’ve baked in ages (since living alone it feels like a bit of a waste to bake just for me) and reminded me how much I love it.

    18. Liz*

      Here in the UK, the gyms reopened this week and I am DELIGHTED to be back. I’ve made 4 trips this week and I feel amazing.

      Furthermore, the guy at the gym who I’ve been crushing on for 2 years was back, and yesterday we chatted to each other non stop and even flirted a little, I think. I ALMOST got the guts to ask for his number (but bottled it at the last second) but next weekend if I see him, I might ask if he wants to go out for a coffee or something. I’ve been grinning from ear to ear all weekend!

    19. Elle Woods*

      Getting my second dose of the COVID vaccine. I received it Friday morning. By that afternoon, I was really tired. I was almost useless yesterday (headache, body aches, fever, chills, crushing fatigue). I’m feeling a whole lot better today, thank goodness.

    20. the cat's ass*

      I successfully groomed my prone-to-matting, incredibly floofy 1 year old easily pissed off teenage cat without either of us being traumatized/clawed.

      My totally into Japanese cooking daughter discovered Jun’s Kitchen on Youtube. Cats, cooking and very sweet.

      Hubs cleaned the downstairs bathroom (AKA the third ring of hell) and it’s so spotless none of want to shower right now but just enjoy how pristine it is!

    21. Trixie*

      Today I was able to FaceTime with my father and his wife. Covid aside, this is the closest we’ve had to a face to face visit. Walking them successfully through the instructions by phone made me feel like we nailed the landing on Mars, lol. Looking forward to more chats!

  13. Tiasp - how are you doing?*

    I’ve been thinking about you since your post regarding your family’s economic challenges and I wonder how things have been for you?

    1. tiasp*

      Things are still really tight, but my husband just got a couple of weeks of work lined up. Not his usual type of work (way lower pay rate, location means 4+ hours commuting/day, fewer hours available), but it is SUCH a relief. They said they will have more work for him once this job is done, so I’m cautiously hopeful that this is the beginning of things turning around for us.

      Thank you for asking.

  14. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    My recreational writing is on hold for a while, but the other stuff is going pretty well so I’m pretty happy about that.

    1. Teatime is Goodtime*

      I’ve got three pages left on a second round book edit. So close. SO CLOSE! One more round after this (I hope) and then it can go to beta readers. I’m wildly impatient at the moment. :)

      I seem to have trouble doing this kind of editing and writing something new at the same time, so all my other projects and ideas are stalled at the moment. Which contributes to my impatience, of course! :)

    2. SecretScribe*

      Finished writing a 62 ch book online then continuing w/my 18 ch online tale. Wrote 1st 2 pgs of a screenplay based on the 18 ch book. Progress!

    3. Yellow Warbler*

      Currently procrastinating four articles due Monday :/

      Gotta get on it, but my brain feels like a slug today.

    4. Julia*

      I was doing so well with Camp NaNoWriMo, which is a first for me, and then I got sick. It’s not covid and I’ll be fine in another day or two, but I’ll really have to catch up if I still want to “win”…

    5. CanadianCatLady*

      Just finished my weekly blog for the Cat Sanctuary – sometimes the feline subject is obvious and it flows, and sometimes it takes a little longer. http://neko-raps.blogspot.com/
      Just heading out to spend some time with them and think about next week’s cat….

    6. Elizabeth West*

      Almost done with a pass through Book 2 before I send it to betas. While they’re reading it and my voiceover guy is working on the trailer, I’m going to work on my conlang. It has to be pretty much set before my next project. I have some books to read and a whole lot of words to make up yet.

      I would really like to get back to the screenplay I was working on (just for practice; it was my first one), but I can’t do everything right now. It had to be set aside until I finish studying for this damn workplace certification.

  15. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week? As usual, this is not limited to video games, feel free to talk about any games you wish. Also feel free to ask for recommendations or help identifying a vaguely remembered game.
    Not much gaming for me due to being busy, but I’ve been playing a mobile game called Euclidea, which is sort of a geometry-based puzzle game? It’s pretty darn fun.

    1. Bookgarden*

      The Long Dark. I usually don’t like survival games as I’m just not typically a fan of hunger mechanics, but I actually like it in this title. The story is pretty fascinating so far. I also really appreciate that I have to think critically about what I carry with me, and brainstorm solutions when I run low on supplies or can’t find shelter during a snowstorm.

      Also still playing Stardew Valley with my partner. We finally got to Summer Year 2, the furthest we’ve ever gotten playing together.

    2. Lyudie*

      I’ve been in a Dragon Age obsession for a while now and that does not seem to be letting up lol. Also lots of Carcassone on mobile, mostly iPad. I need to get back into Stardew Valley too, I started a new farm recently on the new beach farm and want to check out the other new stuff in the latest update.

    3. BubbleTea*

      I am miles behind the times but I’ve been playing the Untitled Goose Game! I’ve got a lot going on in real life right now and sometimes I just want to be a horrible goose for a while. Yesterday I trapped a small child into a phone booth and broke a broom and it was excellent. Honk!

    4. Nicki Name*

      Still working my way along the Crimson Flower route. I’ve reached crunch time where I have to accept that I’m not going to get everyone to master level. I just got to do Edelgard’s and Hubert’s paralogues, which was neat (they’re not available in any other routes).

      1. Jackalope*

        I’m still working my way through the Verdant Wind route. Spent a few hours grinding this week and got all of my characters to level 20+; I recruit everyone possible, so that’s a LOT of characters to level up. It was fun, though; the only downside is that I spent awhile not playing my favorite characters (since they were all leveled up already), and then got attached to new characters, and now am going back to the first ones. It’s a good problem to have.

    5. MEH Squared (formerly MEH)*

      I finished the Dark Souls II (FromSoft) platinum and needed a chill game to relax even though it was the easiest of the three plats. It was still grindy and tedious. A friend suggested Cozy Grove by Spry Fox. I would describe it as Animal Crossing lite with a little Spiritfarer sprinkled in.

      You’re a Spirit Scout on an island by mistake, helping spirits with their unfinished business. It’s very cozy with resource gathering/management, baking, and fishing. Also, you can dress up your character and make your island more homey/productive in resources. There’s a campfire named Flamey who is your bestie and does many things for you.

      The graphics are hand-drawn and lovely. It’s just so tranquil and warm-hearted. There are hints of sad/grim backstories from the spirits, though, so I’m looking forward to learning more about that. There are about an hour’s worth of quests a day (helping various spirits) and then you can noodle around as much as you like with the resource management aspect.

      This is going to sound strange, but believe me it’s a compliment. I have difficulty sleeping so after I finish all my chores, I’ll just fish in the game and drift off. It’s a great way to catch a half-hour nap. I highly recommend this game.

      1. FlyingAce*

        My husband is currently playing the first Dark Souls, after finishing platinum in Bloodborne and Sekiro (both from the same studio). I can certainly understand why you were looking for a chill game!

        1. MEH Squared (formerly MEH)*

          Ooooh, I hope he enjoys Dark Souls! (Remastered, I assume?) I liked both Bloodborne and Sekiro, but the Dark Souls trilogy are my favorite because of dark fantasy, being able to use magicks, and being able to shield. But the other two are amazing games as well. Good luck to your husband!

    6. Job-searching*

      A lot of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon, which is my go to when I’m not feeling well, and some Sims 4. I’m building a big penthouse with a bunch of amenities that a dozen or so close friends could live in together and rarely have to go out.

      1. FlyingAce*

        I’ve recently reinstalled Sims 3 in my new computer (though I haven’t had a chance to play yet). I always found building houses to be quite relaxing.

        1. Julia*

          It totally is! I almost never play, just tinker around with my builds. Maybe I should actually move a Sim me into my favorite penthouse and let them live the dream life? :D

    7. Marion Ravenwood*

      We played some more of the Dune game I mentioned in a previous gaming thread on Friday. I seem to be doing worse rather than better though – not sure why. Maybe I need a better strategy. Going to finish that today though so will see how I get on!

    8. LimeRoos*

      I’ve just finished the last mystery in Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy and it was lovely. Holds up well in the Layton universe and the create a meal mini-game is my favorite. I’m going to go back and finish Curious Village now, since the DSLite charger came in so I can actually use it lol. (if anyone remembers my comment from last week).

      Also just got Terraria on the Switch – it’s on sale for $15 so hubby & I both got it. Played about 2 hours last night and it was delightful. Like Minecraft but prettier in the indie game sense. It was such a relief to not have all your items drop when you die. Though I did end up losing a few gold, iron, tungsten, and copper bars for some reason – they just disappeared from the chest. I’m hoping that’s just a one off and not an actual glitch.

    9. DarthVelma*

      The partner and I defeated the third boss in Valheim last night. Big stinky blob monster. It was a pretty good fight. We won without either of us dying, but the fight was still close enough to be exciting.

      The partner has been doing a ton of base building. We found this awesome little island with a pond in the middle and he’s been building around it and the trees. He’s having a surprising amount of fun with decorating the interior. (FYI, leech head trophies are kinda disturbing looking.) I have discovered that I get a sort of zen enjoyment from smelting. Load the wood. Load the charcoal. Load the ore. Carry the smelted metal to the forge. Later, rinse, repeat. :-)

      The best part of the weekend, though, was trying out my spiffy new iron hammer. Things go splat. Bits fly everywhere. The first time I hit anything with it I nearly swallowed my tongue I was laughing so hard. My partner just stared in jaw-dropped silence. It’s a fun little game.

    10. Dr.KMnO4*

      I completed the Perfection challenge in Stardew Valley for the first time. It took me 5 in-game years, which is the longest I’ve ever stuck with a farm.

      Now I’m taking a break from Stardew Valley and splitting my time between Monster Hunter World and Slime Rancher. MHW is pretty intense, and Slime Rancher is very chill (at least on Casual mode, which I prefer).

    11. Gamerchick*

      I have so many games I want to play and so little time. I was able to play Cyberpunk 2077 for a couple of hours this week – I’m really enjoying it. I figure I’ll finish it in several months. I have two toddlers, a teenager, and a husband along with full time work. I love my kids and wouldn’t give them up for anything, but I occasionally miss the days when I could game for 1-2 days straight – especially when I’m really into a game. I can’t skip nearly as much sleep as I used to. My game list that I want to play is long… Life is good though.

    12. Raida*

      been playing Satisfactory (update 4), Astroneer (missions and big power update), Don’t Starve Together (with mods), X-Morph Defense with my sister, alternating between games so we don’t get sick of any one, or play for waaaaaaaaaay too long in one game in one day.

      and solo Creeper World 4, I’ve got just four of the levels left to beat!

  16. nep*

    We got a 12-week-old kitty last weekend.
    She’s really lovely and it’s great having a cat in the house again. It had been a few years.
    I don’t recall kittenhood of our earlier cats…can’t recall where they slept first few weeks. I made the mistake of having new kitty in my room overnight the first night or two, as she didn’t have the run of the house yet. (For various reasons, another room we’d set up for a kitty didn’t work out, so I just kept her in my room.)
    Thing is I don’t like having a cat sleep in my bed. Am I doomed? Is there a way to wean her without having her terribly distressed and wailing all night? Or as she gets older and more independent, might she just start spending the night elsewhere in the house? (The longer I let her in my room at night, the worse any change would be, I reckon.)
    I guess getting her a playmate might help, but we don’t want a second cat.
    Am I the worse cat mom in the universe?
    Any thoughts, tips appreciated.

    1. Jellyfish*

      Could you add a cat tower or condo to your bedroom to give the kitty her own place to sleep that’s not your bed, but still in proximity? It seems a little harsh to me to insist she spend every night alone and away from the people if she’d prefer to be near you.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      No real tips – my rule when my husband first got his cats was NO CATS IN THE BEDROOM, so I haven’t had to train them out, just deter them – but just confirming you are not a bad kitty parent. In general it’s easier to start out as you mean to go on, so I’d turf her ASAP so she doesn’t have weeks and weeks to have gotten used to it. You may find her pawing (or clawing) at the door; I put an empty laundry hamper on its side in front of the door when that happened and it pretty much only happened the one night.

      I did have to adjust my older dog to not sleeping in my bedroom when we stopped letting her up the stairs at all (mobility and vision issues made it unsafe), but that was pretty easy – I slept on the couch in the living room with her one night, and we just gated the stairs. After that she just sleeps on her pillow in the living room or in my office (there’s a lot of puppy beds on that level of the house for her to choose from) and it’s been a non-issue.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      Aww, congrats on the new kitty.

      Your doom is determined by how much of a softie you are, I think. ;)
      Cats can be pretty nocturnal. At one point, I had two cats here and I swear they waited until we fell asleep and then they would start chasing each other through the house. It was like a raceway throughout my house, they would run this way and that way, crazy stuff. Because they were adults I did not worry about it like I did when they were “kids”.
      I had a crate that I used initially, just because she was so flippin’ tiny. Then I moved up to a baby gate and kept her in one room. The crying doesn’t last that long. Maybe some soft music? Maybe a well-chosen toy? But the crying stopped early on. In the end, I caved. They both were allowed to sleep down at the foot of the bed. They were not allowed up by our faces. I taught them to sleep there. If they came up close to my face, they got picked up and firmly placed down by my feet. They caught on. Yeah, I’m a wimp.
      They even hammered out a peace agreement with the dog for when I took naps. The (60 pound) dog was allowed (by them) to sleep on one side of me and they slept on the other side. I was sort of like a DMZ/peace keeper.

    4. Zooey*

      My cat slept with me as a kitten and for some years after. Then at a certain point he started getting disruptive at night (he likes to get our attention by tipping our water glasses over) and we started locking him in another room overnight. He hasn’t seemed distressed by this at all. I think what made it easy is that it’s the room he usually sleeps in during the day – he has a bed in there and access to food and his cat flap. So he’s accustomed to being there.

    5. Not A Manager*

      Just do it. It’s only been a week so far. As soon as she has the run of the house and doesn’t need to be supervised, shut her out of your room. I’d probably do it during the day as well as at night, at least at first. You don’t want her to decide it’s her bedroom during the day, and then be upset that it’s not her bedroom at night, too.

      Even if she fusses and pesters you, give it about a week before you decide that you need to offer her special equipment or fancy hiding places. She’ll probably adapt just fine, especially as she’s young.

    6. Qwerty*

      How cold does your house get at night? Our kitten used to sleep with us more when he was cold – even when he had the whole house, he’d show up in the bed around 2am when he was younger. I had the opposite problem as you – I wanted the cat to sleep with me but he generally would hang out on my bed while I got ready then leave shortly after I laid down.

      Cardboard boxes are your friend! Cats love them! We put a blanket or towel in our cats favorite one to keep it cozy. Maybe having one set up in your room will help redirect your cat? You could try putting the box on the bed for a night or two then move it to the floor and hope the cat follows the box. Also set up a couple around the house so your cat has options outside of your room.

      Also, at 12weeks, your cat is still pretty young, so I’d recommend discouraging but not forbidding the bed sleeping yet. Your kitten probably just went from sleeping with their mom and siblings to being alone. Keep most of the playtime to outside the bedroom, cuddle with them in the evening while you watch TV, and keep toys laying around for them wander over to at night.

    7. Jackalope*

      I was never able to train one of my cats to stop trying to get into my room at night; he would paw and scratch at the door and sing a song of feline lament for hours, even though I never let him in. I finally moved to a place with a basement, and made the basement a great kitty habitat, and now the cats get shut downstairs at bedtime. It’s worked well for all concerned; I get sleep, and when it’s the right time of night they actually will run downstairs and try to nudge me in the right direction (I make sure dinner time is at the same time so they have something to look forward to). If one of us humans goes downstairs after Kitty Bedtime, we get glares, like, “Hey, this is the No Humans Allowed hour; go away!”

    8. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Ours move around a bunch and right now its “lets sleep with mom and dad!” for Girl Kitty, but Boy Kitty has been sleeping on the day bed in the guest room (he likes to go out at night though). Over winter Girl Kitty slept in our room but on the “beach” – a folded over piece of foam with a blankie on it, by the radiator. If we leave the door open then Boy Kitty walks back and forth in the middle of the night and wakes me up.

      Last night they were both passed out on the day bed after running around in the garden all afternoon,so it was easy to shut the bedroom door, put down the motion sensor air blast can,and get some actual sleep! Even after 10 years I still feel Cat Mom Guilt over kicking them out, but damn,sometimes I just need a whole night of unbroken sleep and being able to roll over or not wake up with someone jumping on my chest at 4am.

    9. Liz*

      I’m currently having to transition my cat to sleeping apart. I’ve generally been very fond of having cats on the bed as long as they behave and settle quietly, but my oldest is getting far too fidgetty. She has a few health problems and is keeping me up at night as her kidneys have her making very frequent litter tray trips. Then she wakes me up stumping all over the bed, walking across my face and burrowing under the duvet to resume cuddles. Here’s what I’ve done to get her settled downstairs:
      – I make sure she has her food and water in the room with her.
      – I’ve got her set up with an established sleeping spot in the living room during the day before I shut her in. This meant bringing her down from my bedroom to hang out during the day.
      – I bought a SnuggleSafe for warmth. These are great as you microwave them and they retain their heat for several hours, so kitty has something to cosy up against.
      – I gave her something of mine so she had my scent nearby, in this case my dressing gown, which the cats love to sleep on anyway.
      – I give her LOTS of attention during the day, so she isn’t craving attention at night.
      – For a younger kitty, you might need to play to burn off that youthful energy as well, so be prepared to invest in a few toys to get her pooped out. I recommend a long play session right before a bedtime meal (this mimics the hunt-kill-feed pattern in the wild) and then once fed, kitty will probably be ready for a long sleep.

  17. Helvetica*

    Inspired by the speed round when the topic of wearing sheer tights came up again – why are Americans so against them and consider them old lady things?
    Sorry to generalize but whenever I see the topic of hosiery come up – talking about the see-through pantyhose kind – it is often Americans who consider it old-fashioned, granny-esque and a fashion abomination. But…I live in a cold country. A country where I would not go bare-legged unless it was over 16C/60F but I do want to wear skirts and dresses those times as well so pantyhose are what I use. Are you all just cold at those times? Do you not wear skirts? Do you always wear black tights instead (which don’t work with all kinds of skirts)? Why such hate at pantyhose?
    It just honestly baffles me because in my cultural space, pantyhose are very normal and appropriate and not just for old ladies. It’s not about business etiquette but just practicalities for me.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Speaking as an American who actually prefers pantyhose to bare-legging with skirts shorter than ankle-length :) I think it’s not so much that pantyhose are inappropriate or for the elderly, but it’s kind of a general representation of the hatred of the idea that there’s One True Way to Dress Like A Woman, and that following that One True Way means that you are always perfectly coiffed and made up, your boobs are emphasized enough (but not too much), your legs are shapely and well-defined and the right color of tan, and so on. Pantyhose get the hate because they represent all the baggage that’s rolled up in that. (And personally, my biggest annoyance with pantyhose is that they’re flimsy and I can’t get them to last more than one wearing, and dudes don’t have any items of clothing in THEIR office wardrobes that are basically designed to be one-use, but I also sucked it up and bought a two-pack of the expensive indestructible hose, one black and one in an appropriate skin tone for me, so hopefully those should cover me for a good long while. The review I read of them said “My husband tried to lift me by the hose, and we gave up on the endeavor long before the hose did,” which greatly entertained me.)

      What I’m wondering back at you though – assuming that we’re talking about the same item of clothing, do pantyhose – the functionally sheer type, NOT opaque or thicker tights – actually make a difference in terms of keeping you warm in cold weather? Because I notice them if I’m wearing them under pants or another covering layer, but if all I have on my legs is pantyhose, I notice absolutely no difference to me in terms of keeping my legs warm as opposed to being bare-legged.

      1. Girasol*

        What a great answer! In addition I wonder if tights get a bad rap because they are neither fish nor fowl: too much like clingy baggage-laden pantyhose for modern women but not enough like sheer flesh toned feminine pantyhose for traditionalists.

      2. Chaordic One*

        Well, based on the review you read, they certainly sound like a “must-buy” item. Thank you for sharing.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          They came with a sample of the material, specifically so you can test it on things without damaging your expensive hose. I pulled on it. I yanked on it. My husband and I played tug of war with it. I scraped it with my engagement ring, my dog’s paws, and the cat’s claws. IT. DID. NOT. TEAR.

          Here’s the review I read originally, in case anyone else is in the “I actually like pantyhose but damn they shred if you blink at them” camp: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/03/cnn-underscored/sheertex-tights-review — They list them as tights, but to me, at least, tights are opaque and these are available in a similar-to-hose translucence.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Whoa!
            I grew up wearing hose and although it’s annoying and I get sick of it ripping all the time, I kind of miss not having it. I only wear dresses when I can wear thick tights, in the winter, and not very often at all—I hate the bare legs trend because of thigh rub and my feet blister at the drop of a hat without some sort of barrier between me and a shoe. But these might actually get me to wear dresses again!

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              I also appreciate that their site models are a wide range of body types and sizes and skin colors *and are not all female-presenting.*

          2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

            As someone who has rope make up of a similar long chain synthetic fiber, I’ve been wondering why nobody ever made hose out of it. Turns out someone has!

            The rope is 7/64″ thick and can lift 1600 lbs. I wonder how many of the Sheertex tights it would take to lift a mini cooper or a vw bug? It would be a great advertisement.

            The price is a bit to much for me though.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              I had a hard time getting past the price, yeah, but finally I mentally moved them into the “I probably won’t wear them super often but high quality products should last for years” category, held my nose and clicked the button :)

      3. I'm the one*

        Pantyhose are definitely warmer than bare legs!
        We once wore them all the time; of course, when it was below 20 degrees F, our legs were still freezing if we had to spend time outside. On just normal cooler days, pantyhose were fine.

    2. Cruciatus*

      SNL just had a weird skit about two women pretending to be high school students but were actually selling L’eggs hosiery products (that the high school students decided was cool!). Anyway, I have always hated them. My mom always thought they were proper for events where I had to wear a dress/skirt whatever but even as a kid I just thought it was old-fashioned and they aren’t comfortable (and I don’t really understand how they keep you warmer). I think here in the US, and maybe only in my opinion, there is an historical aspect of “OMG, bare legs? Scandalous!” that people are reacting to–good old Puritanical values. So I think maybe that’s something the younger generations for decades were responding to and why mostly only older folks wear them (and they aren’t comfortable).

      1. Helvetica*

        Yeah, that skit also nudged my interest in this question and then the AAM thread which followed.
        I think they’re an extra layer in winter so they do keep my legs warmer – I wouldn’t wear them in like sub-zero temperatures but I do feel there is a range where they offer me more protection and warmth than bare legs do.
        I kinda thought the Puritanical aspect might come to play and that is somewhat that has seemed very American about the approach to them, like it’s tied to this notion of propriety, which my culture simply does not have. I do get the hang-up though.

      2. PhyllisB*

        Amen on the scandal part!! I went to a Catholic boarding school for a couple of years in the 60’s and we were required to wear hose to Mass on Sundays. After we dressed for church, we had to line up and one the sisters would go down the row checking for violations. You haven’t lived until you’ve had an 80 year old nun run her hands down your legs.

      3. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        I’m old so I can remember wearing regular hose/nylons with horrible garters that dug into our legs and HURT. We were THRILLED to switch when pantyhose came out. They weren’t too available when I was in school, so opaque tights or knee socks were popular. My generation also wore miniskirts with and without pantyhose or tights or knee socks or boots, and super short shorts, and went braless, and all sorts of rebellious things. But that was mostly on our own time. For work, we wore what convention dictated, just like most younger women now wouldn’t wear a thin, ripped tee shirt and no bra in an office with a fairly formal dress code. Although I remember going braless at work sometimes, as did some others my age.

        1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          Adding, we also wore sandals or went barefoot with those minis (and maxis) in the summer, but not for work. So homeless pretty often in warm weather.

    3. Washi*

      I wear sheer-ish tights when it’s cold! I think my general dislike of traditional pantyhose comes partly from being forced to wear it by my mom even when it’s really hot, but mainly how easily it tears: having to be super careful with how I put it on, trying to avoid snagging, noticing a tear and putting nail polish on it to stop a run, noticing a tear and not having to put anything on it and being mortified….Not worth it just so people have a filter to look at my leg skin!

      Now for cold days where leggings won’t work for my outfit, I have a more robust pair of kinda sheer tights and they don’t bother me as much because they’re not so delicate.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        I wore hose in the Before Times because I live in Wisconsin and it’s cold here. My Texas friends laughed, but it’s rarely cold enough in Houston that bare legs would be an issue so they don’t even know.

        And yeah – the runs. I used to worry about runs in my hose, but then I decided I was tired of throwing away hose every time they ran, which was almost every day because office furniture designers don’t think about the underside of tables and desks, so I just wore hose with runs anyhow.

        I decided that if anyone ever said anything about it, I would just act like the run had just happened.

        But nobody ever did.

    4. Caterpie*

      I’m a younger millennial and in winter I actually like pantyhose! I have really splotchy skin on my legs and it helps hide that, plus helps with warmth and shoe rubbing.

      I do find that it’s hard to get the top part over my waist all the way and without being twisted a bit, which can be really uncomfortable or awkward when the crotch of the pantyhose is sitting much lower than your body. I also wear my nails longer, so trying to adjust them without ripping is a hassle.

      1. Helvetica*

        Ah, the twisting is the worst! I could recommend Wolford tights – they might seem outrageously expensive compared to some others but they are very durable and the waist is really nice.

      2. Texan In Exile*

        My mom of the beautifully painted long nails used to wear gloves to put on her hose!

      3. Marion Ravenwood*

        Fellow millennial here and I wear them for similar reasons (though generally only for winter parties/weddings etc where black tights wouldn’t work with the outfit). I’m also ridiculously pale and don’t like using fake tan so they feel like the halfway point between tanning and getting my milk-bottle legs out.

    5. WS*

      I’m not American, but I also consider them old fashioned and just plain nasty to wear. It doesn’t get very cold where I live, but when it does, people tend to wear tights. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone apart from very dressy sales people or dancers wear sheer pantihose for years.

      1. Windchime*

        I think it’s been over 20 years since I’ve work panty hose. Back in the day, we had a dress code at work. You could wear a (uniform) skirt, but you had to wear hose. One day, as I was struggling into the tight, expensive, uncomfortable pantyhose a switch flipped in my head and I decided I would never wear them again. I got rid of all my work skirts and went to pants and never looked back. I may agree to wear tights again at some point, but never expensive, fragile, uncomfortable, ill-fitting pantyhose.

    6. Chilipepper*

      I don’t like them for the physical discomfort, easy tearing, and for the “cover your skin with fake skin so it looks like skin to please us but is not real skin bc that would be scandalous” reason. Maybe that last one is only a reason where I grew up (New England). Overall, cost, convenience, and the ick factor make them one of the last things on earth I would wear.

      I grew up in a relatively cold climate and wore skirts occasionally in winter. It was fine to wear warm socks with boots and a longer skirt but sometimes I wore tights. They cone in lots of colors and textures, not just black. And they are more hard wearing; they dont tear so easily, etc.

      1. Helvetica*

        The last aspect is fascinating because no one has ever told me I should wear tights so to not be scandalous and I’d never really thought of that.
        And of course, they come in other colours, I just find the aspect of colour coordination with the rest of the outfit like twice harder then; also I do feel that colourful tights or with patterns can have the effect of being somewhat…kindergarten teacher esque. Kind of too cutesy? Would work in some fields but definitely not in my job.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          I agree that the patterned tights can certainly look childish.

          I have a few crazy patters but they’re part of costumes.

        2. Filosofickle*

          Yep, skin is scandalous. That’s why pantyhose was always written into dress codes. I had to wear them at work through the 90s and never will again. Fine/thin hose were always ripping, that’s my biggest issue. I was lucky if I could get through a whole day, much less multiple, on one pair. The ones that were thick enough to resist tears looked fake and weird. At that point I’d rather just have on tights. I get the skin-smoothing / color issue and I liked them for that when I was young, but same problem — the pretty ones ripped, and the ones that didn’t rip weren’t pretty on.

          1. Girasol*

            That reminds me of school where a girl wore a knee length skirt and ankle socks in elementary no matter what weather, in junior high never ankle socks but always tights or knee highs, and pantyhose or fishnets (they were a thing) in high school. No pants unless it was below zero and then ski pants could be pulled on under a skirt just for on the bus but had to be put in a locker on arrival. No mini skirts but not midi or maxi either, only knee length. No bare midriffs, no sleeveless dresses… and all because we needed to dress with feminine propriety to appeal to boys but not distract them. Boys only had to avoid shorts and jeans, but there wasn’t a boys haircut of any length or shape that was safe from detention.

        3. KittyCardigans*

          I mean, there are both wild and demure patterns and colors. I live in a relatively mild climate but in winter I wear black, gray, and burgundy tights. Some of them are ribbed or have other textural detailing on them, which is subtle but adds enough visual detail that it’s harder to see cat hair.

          Pantyhose are so thin that I just don’t find them warm? Even the pink and tan tights I wore as a dancer were thicker than pantyhose. For me personally, tights=yes; can add warmth, modesty, and visual interest; pantyhose=no; fragile and make my legs either too matte or too shiny.

    7. No Tribble At All*

      I’ll wear cotton leggings, which are softer, thicker, come in more colors, and are overall more comfortable. Also they last for more than one day of wear! So if it’s really cold out and I want to wear a skirt or dress, I’ll wear leggings underneath.

      I remember my mom making me wear them to church on Easter, that sort of thing, and I always hated them. The waist part is soooo tight, the crotch doesn’t line up with your actual crotch so you still get thigh rub, and if you walk near any kind of rough surface they just completely rip. Plus you can’t machine wash them. The last time I wore pantyhose was for a job interview 6 years ago, and I wore the sheer black kind, not the skin-colored kind… and I definitely bought them the day before and never wore them again.

    8. A Simple Narwhal*

      I like tights, I hate panty hose. For me, the distinction is texture. Tights are soft, panty hose are scratchy and have this weird feeling that makes my skin crawl. I have tons of flesh-colored tights (ice skater) so I’ve always worn those instead when the situation called for it.

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        Oh and adding in that tights are super durable. I’ve gotten kicked by blades while wearing tights (again, ice skater ha) and they’ll maybe have a small hole. With panty hose you look at them funny and they’ll split all the way up your leg.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        I saved my skating tights that didn’t have holes in them–I still wear them under my leggings if I’m walking outside in cold weather. :)

    9. Charlotte Lucas*

      I like thicker, patterned tights when it’s cool out, & I do have some sheer black hose for when I want to be a bit dressier in the evening. Generally, in the US, beige, “nude,” tan, & brown pantyhose started to be seen as old-fashioned by the late 90s. Wearing hose with skirts stopped being seen as necessary for office wear & one more extra expense women had that men didn’t.

      When it’s really cold out, I wear sweater tights or leggings with my skirts. Or just forgo the skirts. (It gets cold enough where I live to wear leggings under dress pants or jeans just to keep warm.)

    10. ecnaseener*

      I think the distinction is pantyhose — too thin to really keep you warm, flimsy — vs real tights or even leggings. If it’s cold and I want to wear a skirt, I’m wearing woolen tights, leggings, and/or warm knee-high socks.

    11. GoryDetails*

      As someone who remembers having to wear stockings with an actual garter belt {shudder}, I really loved pantyhose when they first came out. (Even then I preferred knee socks, though they did leave my knees exposed to the icy winter winds; I recall wearing knee socks *over* pantyhose at times to deal with that.) Tights were also good for me, though they tended to get baggy pretty easily, and in summer were too hot.

      All that was when I was required to wear dresses to school, of course. Once I hit college and realized that no, I did NOT have to wear dresses, I migrated to a jeans-and-shirts style and have stayed there ever since. These days I don’t even wear dresses for “fancy” occasions, opting for a nice jacket and pants instead.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Back when I wore sheer things over my legs, I preferred a garter belt because the “panties built in” kind of pantyhose are tight and uncomfortable, and the “wear your own panties” kind of pantyhose get twisted and don’t stay in place.

    12. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I hate them because I have extremely long legs and I have NEVER found a brand that was the right proportionside to fit my legs and my hips/waist. Either they puddle at my ankles or they ride down so the crotch sesm rips or the go up to my bra strap. I did try garters but couldn’t find ones that were not itchy and did not make visible bumps in the fabric of a skirt.

    13. allathian*

      I’m not in the US, but for me they’re just too uncomfortable. I’m also fat with long legs and a short torso, so if I do wear pantyhose, the crotch will be somewhere mid-thigh, so that they don’t even help to eliminate chub rub.

      That said, because I prefer to keep my varicose-veined and cellulite-ridden legs out of the public eye, I won’t even consider wearing a skirt unless it’s about mid-calf or longer, and only when it’s so hot that jeans are intolerable. I wore an ankle-length skirt when we hit Berlin in July 2019, when it was 37 C/98 F in the shade.

    14. Katefish*

      American who moved to one of our cold climates as an adult. I prefer black tights because they’re less likely to run and stand up to weekly washings in the winter, at least for a few years until the elastic gives up. They’re also a heavier layer than pantyhose, which is nice in winter. I don’t like multiple layers on my legs so I do either pants or tights/skirt. In summer I have typical American disdain for pantyhose.

    15. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      Slightly off topic, but weird trick to make pantyhose more comfortable to wear: ALWAYS get control top. Doesn’t matter if you are supermodel thin and Olympic gymnast fit, get the control top. The extra elastic means that the waist stays at your waist and the crotch stays at your crotch and life is so much better.

      1. Windchime*

        In my experience as a chubby, tall lady, “control top” equals “You will probably not be able to breath very well and if you sit for very long, your legs will go numb.”

        1. RussianInTexas*

          This! I hate control top with a passion.
          I don’t wear pantyhose in general anymore, for about 20 years (I live in Texas), but even for the opaque tights I wear with skirts and dresses during winter, I go out of my way to find ones without control top.
          I am shirt, midsection heavy, with skinnier legs. Control tops go to my chest, and make me feel like I am being suffocated.
          Torrid has microfiber black tights without control top, I buy them on the regular basis.

          1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

            Huh, I wonder if it’s a body type thing? All my weight goes to my hips and thighs, so we’re basically opposites in that regard.

        2. Rusty Shackelford*

          In my experience as a chubby short apple-shaped lady, “control top” means “that too-tight waistband will roll down below your belly in about 5 minutes.”

      2. Ostomate*

        I can’t to control top AT ALL. I have an ostomy and control top hose are utterly terrible if you have an ostomy situated on your pelvis.

      3. Roci*

        My recommendation is to add an extra pair of underwear over the pantyhose, Superman-style. Keeps the crotch where it should be and it’s much more comfortable.

    16. Person from the Resume*

      I live in south Louisiana. 8 months out of the year it’s above 60 degrees F. It’s awful to wear panty hose in the heat and humidity. Plus the top part is usually unpleasantly tight even before somebody decided control top was a good idea.

      If I’m actually cold pants seem like a better idea but at least tights (non-sheer) have more weight and warm than sheer hose. They’re so thin I don’t think panty hose stop a cool breeze but they certainly make you hotter somehow.

      Maybe they seem old fashioned because it’s like you’re trying to both hide your legs from view while trying to make it appear that it is your actual skin. Whereas tights are obviously material so not trying to do the fake out.

      But also both uncomfortable top squeezing your belly (and seem to be accompanied by uncomfortable shoes).

    17. Workerbee*

      I grew up in an age or at least a setting where where girls had to wear tights or nylons with skirts and dresses. I don’t know if less care was given to little-girl clothing or we only were able to afford the baseline of products, but damn if those things weren’t itchy, twisty, tight, and uncomfortable. You couldn’t DO anything in that getup.

      Carrying forward into middle school, high school, even college, it was still the norm to wear nylons, especially in dress-up situations. And finding the right colors was a pain. It wasn’t always evident from the package that you were getting a much darker skin tone for your legs than the rest of you! It took me awhile to find sheer nudes, etc. And then sometimes the sheer black would look better instead, but be more obvious if there was a run.

      But despite following the guides on the package, there would still often be the issues of the crotch not quite lining up or hanging too low, or the stupid line of demarcation showing because your skirt was a little too short to accommodate the low thigh seams. And the waistband rolling. And always that fear of a snag. I kept clear nail polish around specifically to stop runs. It was impossible to forget I was wearing them. They would always be a featured show running in my head alongside the actual stuff I would be doing that day.

      So the societal/conventional impression I grew up with was definitely one that I as a female of the species must put even the flimsiest of coverings on my legs to be proper, no matter how annoying or uncomfortable. And they sure didn’t protect against the weather.

      Once I started working in earnest, I got more flexible—patterns!!—discovered brands that thoughtfully put the seams much higher up, and had a little more fun with it, both at work and out with friends…

      …but with the onset of fibroids, having to encase my abdomen/waist area like a sausage became a no-go. I’d experimented with thigh-highs, both the kind with the annoying garter belt and the kind that are supposed to stay stuck to you but don’t. Then I discovered the Kix’ies brand, which is totally awesome and solved both the sausage and the stay-up problem. (I highly recommend them.)

      However, by now, I have pretty much had it with nylons. All that legacy just makes me think they exist more for convention than a real need. And I have a whole separate shoes issue where even my most supportive, very-low-heeled dress shoes that typically go with nylons (or those invisible footies which are a whole other annoyance) are just not comfortable enough for me to bother with, especially after this year+ of not dressing up for anything.

      I do have more options with tights—the waist-free kind. And yet. I would just rather have fewer things to drag on these days, want my shoes to be truly foot-sized, want to be able not to think about what I’m wearing in relation to how I’m existing that day, if that makes sense.

      All that for a poor nylon! But perhaps it too is a microcosm for other things that exist for spurious reasons.

    18. Bucky Barnes*

      American in the south here. I rarely find a pair of sheer hose that are comfortable and don’t run. I don’t like them comfort-wise but prefer the look of them on me vs no hose. This might be why I wear pants to work 95% of the time.

    19. Dwight Schrute*

      Pantyhose seem totally pointless to me. They add zero warmth in the winter and they tear and run easily. I’d rather be bare skinned or wear leggings or a thick tight under a dress or skirt in the winter so I get actual warmth

    20. OyHiOh*

      I still wear hose when I wear skirts/dresses (early 40’s). I don’t feel dressed without and I don’t think I have particularly pretty legs for going bare – my legs don’t tan, like, ever, for one. I never, ever liked the thin nylons available in most department stores but my life changed when I discovered dance tights. Thicker, skin tone nylon that doesn’t run nearly as quickly, a little compression to smooth things out, and the waist is usually wider/more comfortable too, these are meant to be worn by dancers after all.

      1. Maxie's Mommy*

        I don’t tan, and I have scars on my legs from an accident. Dance tights are the stuff!

    21. londonedit*

      Confession time…I’m still not 100% clear what pantyhose are. Like sheer nude-coloured tights? We don’t use the word here (tights are tights, stockings are stockings) and it always confuses me. And the hatred and baggage that seems to go with pantyhose in the US also confuses me! Maybe we didn’t ever have the same rules about tights being mandatory for women in the workplace? I don’t know.

      I don’t generally tend to wear sheer nude tights unless it’s something like I’m going to a wedding and it’s not quite warm enough for bare legs but black tights would look wrong with the dress I’m wearing. But black tights in everyday life? Absolutely. I don’t have a problem with them at all! In the winter I’ll happily wear 60 or 80 denier black tights (from M&S), not an issue.

      1. KittyCardigans*

        Yes, sheer nude tights, but thinner than normal tights would be. I can see my moles and birthmarks through pantyhose (even black ones), but not through tights. They have a (generally deserved) reputation for being flimsy and running easily.

        I think in the US we might separate pantyhose vs. tights as distinct categories more than other countries do—most women I know are totally fine with tights, but I don’t think I know anybody under retirement age who still owns or wears pantyhose.

      2. Helvetica*

        On the terminology – same! I also use British English but I’ve understood that the nude sheer tights are what Americans would call pantyhose. And that’s also part of my question – why the baggage and hatred? There is a variety of hosiery, surely you can’t hate it all.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          I think, part of it, is a huge part of the US is much farther south than Europe, UK in particular.
          New York City is on about the same latitude as the south of France. We have hotter summers and warmer springs/falls ( of course there are cold area, but pantyhose wouldn’t help in the cold), and they are just too hot.
          People in Russia still wear hoisery, as far as I know.

          1. allathian*

            Yeah, I’m in Finland, and without the Gulf Stream our climate would be much colder than it actually is.

        2. allathian*

          It’s a question of terminology for sure. In my case, I hate all kinds of hosiery, no matter what the material, if it has a closed foot. I’m fat with long legs, and the closed foot makes it impossible to find anything that fits. Fat women with shorter legs or tall, slim women might feel differently. In the winter, or whenever the temperature drops below about 5 C, I wear thin leggings, I suppose about 80 denier, for warmth under my jeans, or slacks if I’m dressing up. They’re the equivalent of men’s long johns, except that I wear a pair of panties/knickers underneath so I can wear the same pair of leggings for more than one day.

      3. Buni*

        I love a pair of black 90s in the winter! The sheer / nude type I will literally only buy for weddings or black-tie events, and I buy them on the assumption that they are single-use and it’s just an added bonus if they last the night.

    22. matcha123*

      I’m American and growing up I hated wearing skirts. When I was forced into them, tights were what allowed me to do cartwheels without looking too scandalous. Now as an adult, I wear skirts more often and LOVE my tights. Thick ones in the winter, thin in the summer. I don’t like the feeling of my legs rubbing against each other. Plus they help hide spots I might have missed when shaving.

    23. Dark Macadamia*

      I just find them really uncomfortable and flimsy/cheap, but I think along with the “one way to be a woman” vibe Red Reader mentioned, they feel like a cartoon version of Business Lady (see also: shoulder pads). An 80s-90s “adult costume” rather than something actual people wear. I mentioned on that other thread that I wore them at the beginning of student teaching and my mentor teachers found it hilarious, which really solidified the sense that pantyhose = fake adulting.

    24. RagingADHD*

      It’s just a fashion trend. Anything that’s outdated becomes horrible and tacky for about 30 years, at which point it’s retro and cool.

    25. RussianInTexas*

      In the early 1990s water the fall of the Soviet Union, schools dropped the mandatory county wise uniforms, and each school “district” ( not quite the same thing as in the US) had to come up with the dress codes. Mine decided on no busy-colored clothing, no bright makeup, no large jewelry, no unnatural hair color, no lose long hair on girls, etc.
      And girls had to wear skirts with pantyhose, unless it was cold, then sweater tights were allowed. No pants. Boys were allowed to wear jeans.
      The parents (mother’s mostly) threw a collective fit – pantyhose don’t last, expensive, and cold. The district gave in and allowed pants for girls.
      Now, the funny part is, USSR had exclusively dresses for girls as uniforms (google them, they are fascinating), but we didn’t have the proper pantyhose, we had ribbed non super stretchy tights for the colder weather, and they sucked. And we had socks for the warm weather. So, barelegged, basically.

    26. KR*

      For me, tights make my feet and pelvic region sweaty. I tend to run hot so I’d much rather go bare-legged and be a little cold on my legs. When I lived in cold environments I would wear tight in the winter but now that I have lived in desert/tropical regions for a few years I would never willingly wear tights. Most of all I just hate feeling sweaty more than feeling cold.

    27. PhyllisB*

      Helvetica, I’m with you on the panty hose. Now full disclosure, I am an old lady (70) who lives in the South and when I was growing up the WELL DRESSED WOMAN did not leave the house without her stockings on, even if it was August and 100 degrees. I was a teenager before we had pantyhose.
      I’m not that rigid anymore, but I still like the looks of hose with a skirt. Besides, when you get to be A CERTAIN AGE your skin tone on your legs is not always the best. To me skin colored hose do for the legs what foundation does for the face; enhances the good, minimizes the bad. I do wear other colors that go with what I’m wearing, but skin colored is the most versatile. I have even been known to go barelegged when I wear a casual skirt and sandals, but I always feel underdressed.
      Of course my two daughters call me hopelessly old-fashioned, but whatever.

    28. Learning does not require pantyhose!*

      I went to a college (yes, college) where pantyhose (but not knee-highs/thigh-highs/tights) were required for all women during certain times of the day/days of the week, up until I was in the upper classes. It was supposed to be about “modesty” (which I never understood, really), and “professionalism”, but these rules had been determined by people who founded the school in the mid ’50s, I think. I have only worn them since for occasions where I feel I need to be super professional (job interview, if I’m wearing a skirt), or very dressed up. I’ll go bare-legged down to below 30F/0C (midwestern US) and just wear pants/leggings/anything but pantyhose below that. I’ll wear shapewear for thigh rub; I’ll wear knee-highs in place of thin socks, but I’ve gone through probably 100 pairs of pantyhose in college and don’t intend to go through more.

      Although, funny story, we once had a guest speaker come in and tell us (at a school-wide lecture, basically) how proud he was of having a rule at the high school he ran that the girls couldn’t wear pantyhose “to make their legs more shapely”. I don’t think he was expecting the dead, stony silence he got out of 2000 women students who were required to wear them largely against their will.

    29. Laura Petrie*

      Oooh from this thread I now know that ‘pantyhose’ has a specific meaning and isn’t just the US word for tights!

      I love black opaque tights. I hate my legs so prefer to keep them covered even in summer. I highly recommend Snag tights, they’re the best thing ever! I finally have tights that are long enough and I don’t have to spend my day pulling them back up or have a crotch down to my knees.

      I can’t remember the last time I wore sheer tights. My mum always grumbles at me for wearing black tights with everything but I really don’t care.

    30. Guin*

      I live in a cold area, and most women wear leggings when it’s cold, with short-ankle boots. Pantyhose are so uncomfortable and don’t keep your legs warm at all! With leggings, you can wear comfortable socks and not worry about sticking your toe through nylon and making a hole.

    31. Yes to Hose*

      I qualify as an old lady and I do not wear skirts without pantyhose because I’m getting creepy skin and hate it. However, I will not wear pantyhose with open toed shoes! Also they do provide a bit of warmth as well as shaping, depending on the type.

    32. SensitiveSkin*

      My dislike has several prongs:
      First (and the biggest): is that I cannot STAND the feeling of pantyhose. It literally makes my skin crawl. I have tried multiple different types (although none recently) including silk. Silk wasn’t bad, but the top still bothered me.
      Second: I get itchy easily, and trying to itch through pantyhose is an exercise in frustration. (Either I can’t get it to itch well or I end up getting runs)
      Third: I hate wearing tight clothes of any kind due to body image issues and pantyhose tend to exacerbate my dislike of my body and my self-consciousness. (Although, I can wear the right kind of leggings under a dress/skirt – so I realize this is weird.)
      Fourth: They make things hot.

  18. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    Observation: The comment moderator seems to be a lot more aggressive since this week’s speed round? I think every comment I’ve posted on any of the posts since that day has gone immediately to the comment catcher. And of course I don’t mind waiting, none of what I have to say is that desperately urgent, but I feel like if that’s a general development and not just me, we’re going to see a lot of “I thought I posted this but it didn’t post, guess I’ll try again” multi-posting on this weekend’s thread (which will only increase the necessary moderation to release comments) as a result.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Ah! This is because you have an IP address very close to the IP address of someone who was sock puppeting all over yesterday’s post and I have them banned at the moment (it’s not you!). Can you bear with it for a week and then I’ll relax it? (Feel free to email me directly if it’s not fixed by then.)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Hah! I wasn’t *actually* expecting it to be just me, but I suppose that is at least easier on you than it being everybody! No problem at all, you do what you gotta do and I’ll be patient :)

  19. Anon for this*

    How can you convince someone they need therapy?

    My mom grew up well below the poverty line. She was homeless from age 10 to 19, when she was finally able to rent a studio place for herself, her mom and 3 siblings. They went hungry a lot, went through people’s trash often, etc. Obviously there was never any spare cash.

    Mom went on to become fairly successful in her career, went to college, and now is solid middle class with large savings. But in many ways, her mind is still the teenager who needed to eat people’s garbage, and she’s terrified of spending any money on “frivolous things”. She’s always been a little like that, but it seems to have gotten a lot worse after I moved out, and especially after she retired.

    Her clothes are all from thrift stores and she now uses them even after they get holes. The only groceries she buys are the lowest quality cheap stuff, and she’s started hoarding food. Simple things like eating take-out or are inconceivable to her, even if I buy it. I’ve tried nudging her toward therapy multiple times, but to her that’s what rich people do (and there’s an implied “because they have nothing better to do” in that speech).

    I’m at my wit’s end. How can I help her?

    1. Princess Deviant*

      Have you talked to her about how you feel?
      Is she neglecting herself?
      I don’t think you can convince her to get therapy, but you might benefit from it yourself.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      People here will know there is a term, “impoverished mindset”? I am not sure if that is the one I am reaching for.
      But it’s pretty well recognized that kids of the depression era did much of the same thing.

      Sadly I know of a story where one such person inherited 7 digits of money. She never was able to grasp that she was wealthy. It gets so ingrained in them.

      As a kid of a depression kid, I had to stop myself from following my father’s tendencies. It was pretty normal to have 40 rolls of paper towels for a 3 person household. There was also 8 bottles of ketchup, when only one of us used ketchup. We had endless jars of relish and no one ate relish. This went on like this and when it was time to pay the bills, money was super tight. To this day it blows me away how much “money” was laying around the house in things that would take us YEARS to use up.

      It’s fear. And sometimes that fear never totally leaves them. I do suggest that you watch yourself. I could not learn budgeting, grocery shopping etc because my parents could not teach it. I forced myself to run my own household based on math. I know I need x rolls of tp per week, I need y rolls of paper towels per week. If paper goods were on sale, I set limits such as I would buy one month’s worth of tp and towels. If I did not set these limits I would not know where to stop. I did not see it growing up.

      Covid and the empty store shelves shook me up some what. I stared at the empty shelves and reminded myself this is what my parents saw growing up.
      I’d suggest that this comforts her in some small way and you may end up needing to decide if this is a giant you really want to take on. When my father passed, there were paper goods all over the basement. The bedroom was loaded with laundry baskets full of breakfast cereals. We did not buy much in groceries for months and months.

      1. Mourning reader*

        I’m trying to combat this mindset in myself. When my last family member died, he had what to me is a high sum in investments. But he was always bragging about the deal he got at Aldi’s and never spent much on anything. I had talked him into a Hawaii trip but we never made it. I don’t want to go hog wild, I want to be responsible, but it’s hard to let go of bargain shopping and checking the price of gas. I will admit some satisfaction in Covid times of having a fully stocked pantry.

        Finished my last jar of my brother’s Miracle Whip last month….

        1. Dan*

          Well, it’s also true that lots of people who come into significant sums of wealth suddenly mismanage it and blow through it quickly. See “professional athlete” and “lottery winner”. And keep in mind that people who built their own wealth *built* wealth in part by keeping their daily expenses relatively frugal such that there was wealth to actually accumulate. So there’s lots to be said for having money and not being stupid with it.

          It’s funny. If I were to inherit $1 million right now, it would be a life changing amount of money. I’d pay off my student loans and go buy a house tomorrow. But I’d still need to keep my job, because quite frankly, housing where I live would chew up most of that mil.

        2. RagingADHD*

          Bargain shopping and looking for good gas prices aren’t harmful in themselves, particularly when it’s for commodity items that you don’t experience much differently no matter how much they cost. Sensible frugality is a good thing.

          It’s when you deny yourself good experiences that you could afford, or spend more time and effort than the savings is worth – that’s when it’s undermining your enjoyment of life.

          I’d still shop at Aldi if I were a millionaire, because it’s the newest and best-organized grocery around here, and I can shop much faster because I don’t have to hunt through five dozen brands of the same thing to find what I want.

          But I’m not going to buy cheap shoes if I can afford good ones, and I would never fly coach of I could afford business class, because you feel that!

      2. Dan*

        Heh. I’m sitting on 40 rolls of toilet paper for a one-person household. (8 bottles of ketchup, not so much.) I honestly never thought about how long a 24 pack of TP lasts me, and when TP shortages became a think last year, I bought two. I did go through an entire pack, and then there were noises about another possible TP shortage, so I bought another 24 pack last week. Paper towels are a similar deal, I just buy the bulk pack and stick it in my closet.

        Sitting on a stash of TP doesn’t bother me so much, because that TP will ultimately get used, and if it’s cheaper in bulk then so be it. But hordes of ketchup and relish that won’t get used is literally wasting money. “Sales” are only a “deal” if you’ll actually use the product.

        That said, I must be the only person who hates Costco. My ex and I had a membership for a year. Every time I’d go, I’d spend like $300. I wasn’t “saving” anything, especially when it came to food that would spoil before I got through it all. And Costco is a bit out of the way for me, so going for “just one thing” is a bit of a waste of time.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I really agree about Costco and these other places. I get a free membership to BJs once a year and I go once a year. That’s enough. I go for products that I can’t find else where. I bought a really great clothes drying rack one year and an excellent snow shovel another year. I worked with someone who had a family of four. I live alone. We’d stand in the check out line together and comment on each other’s carts. Our choices were wildly different. My cohort did not have 8 bottles of ketchup, though.

          Overhead costs are definitely an at-home thing and not just a business concern.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Same for me–I’m one person, so I don’t really need that amount of anything. Grocery store-sized bulk packs are enough. As far as emergency supplies, I have a small stash that gets rotated anyway, just enough to hold me until whatever.

      3. Seal*

        That was my father, who grew up poor on a series of farms during the Depression. Despite being able to go to college and make a good living, he was a notorious cheapskate. He took over grocery shopping when I was in junior high in the 70s because he thought my mother bought too many “extras”. Well after us kids were out of the house, he kept the pantry stocked with dozens of cans of soup and at one count 30 bottles of salad dressing. He was also a fan of garage sales, because he could by lots of useless junk for next to nothing. When he died, it took my mother over a year to get rid of all of the stuff he’d accumulated. Had my mother died first, I’m sure my father would have wound up living in a trash house. In his case, it was definitely generational; at least one of his sisters had the same tendencies.

      4. PhyllisB*

        Yep, my dad was a neat, organized hoarder. He saved EVERYTHING!! His last couple of years he spent a lot of time in the hospital, and he even saved his salt, pepper, and sugar packets. I kid you not, I didn’t have to buy any of those three items for a year.

    3. WS*

      My grandparents grew up in the Depression, so that’s how they were their whole lives (and so were most of their friends). They both had good jobs and had plenty of savings and owned property, but they scrimped their whole lives. I don’t think that’s an issue in itself, but where your mother has got to – wearing clothes with holes and hoarding food – is an issue. Does she see a doctor? Could you let her doctor know about this? The doctor won’t be able to share her medical details with you without her permission, but they will be able to investigate what’s going on and why things are getting worse.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Yup, I think a call to your mom’s doctor is your first step. Therapy won’t help if your mom has a worsening medical problem. It could be anything. A thorough medical workup is in order, if she hasn’t done this recently. You’ll have a better idea on what to do after the medical exam.
        If your mom needs therapy but refuses, you can’t make her. Untreated anxiety is a big problem in the elderly. She may need to have someone check up on her at least once a week. There are resources at the county level in the U.S. under Area Agency on Aging. They can help you with an aging parent. There’s help out there.
        Best of Luck

    4. nep*

      Just my 2 cents…I would be quite put off by someone suggesting I need therapy.
      Seems to me that much like an addict has to decide it’s time, it’s only when a person decides ‘I want to seek therapy’ that that will / should happen.
      What would be gained by her getting therapy? Has she expressed a need for help?

    5. Orlanda*

      You can’t. Therapy will only help if she engages with it by choice. You can’t make her, and trying to will be counter-productive.

      You can tell her how you feel. If she expresses dissatisfaction or unhappiness with these issues herself, you can suggest that therapy could help her. If she expresses her negative views on therapy, you can gently challenge those.

      But you can’t make her go to therapy. And you can’t help her if she isn’t willing to be helped. You need to make your peace with that.

    6. Disco Janet*

      I wouldn’t start off with suggesting therapy. First I would talk to her about it. “Mom, I’m worried about you. I know growing up having to worry so much about money must have been really difficult – but it concerns me that even now, you don’t want to spend money on anything nice for yourself. You’re doing well enough financially that you don’t need to keep wearing clothes even when they’re so worn they get holes, or never eat take out or buy groceries that aren’t the cheapest kind. Is it just tough to get your brain to adjust to the fact that you can afford those things now?”

      I realize the answer there is obvious. But hopefully it could open up a conversation. If not, I don’t know there’s much you can do here. If she were starving herself, my answer would be different. But it sounds like that’s not the case.

    7. CJM*

      My mom was a Depression-era baby from a poor family who built a sizeable estate. But she didn’t enjoy her money and fretted over even small expenditures. Her fear of running out of money ran her life, and she anxiously hoarded her assets and denied herself many pleasures.

      When my mom fretted to me about money, I reassured her that she had plenty and encouraged her to enjoy some of it. That was most of my influence: coaching her to relax. I also advised her to talk with her pastor when her anxiety spiked, and sometimes she did. That was the only counseling she’d consider. Because she was religious, I wrote out for her the verse about not being anxious and reminded her about it in phone calls. None of my efforts led to big changes, but I think I helped her a little. (I know I helped myself by not expecting to change her.)

      I could have stopped her when she fretted too much at me, and maybe I should have to protect myself from spillover anxiety. It would have been okay to tell her we’d already been over that, and I wasn’t up to discussing it again then, but maybe another day.

      Reading this thread, I’m reminded that I have anxiety about spending my money. I didn’t mean to adopt my mother’s example (even in diluted form), and I’m working on it.

      1. Filosofickle*

        Whenever I said to my grandmother: You have the money for x, it’s okay to spend it. She would always respond: If I spent money like that, I wouldn’t have it. Never could win that argument!

        Happily she wasn’t super extreme, no holey clothes and she did take some trips. But when she wanted a ride to the doctor when we all had to work and she had money for a cab it was a little frustrating…

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I really did not mean to adopt my father’s example either. But lacking anything else, it became a sort of default response.
        There’s a Jackie Onassis quote something about interior decorating being a self-discipline. Well, if you can afford it why not buy it? Right? nope. On the other end of the spectrum is learning to shift thinking that the old frugal ways are no longer that necessary. That too can be a discipline to train the brain to adapt to the current setting.
        Nothing scientific, just personal observation: The younger they are when they start to try to change their mindset then the better results they get. My family member was well into her 80s when she inherited a $1M. We had NO ability to talk her in to eating the food she wanted. She got it in her head that she was going to eat less food so the home would not bill her so much. While she had a healthy financial setting, she might just as well have been dead broke. I landed on that it was probably more fair to her to let her decide how to handle her circumstances than for me to push the issue too hard with her. All that pushing stops making sense after a bit.

    8. Anonymous for this*

      The only way I got my husband to go to therapy was to ask him to go with me. He did because my depression was so bad I wasn’t able to go otherwise. All the insurance paperwork was written up for me, but the counselor involved him in the conversations too. He still doesn’t think of it as joint counseling, but I saw behavioral changes in him.

    9. Dan*

      You can’t. Therapy is only going to work if people want to change, and if they don’t want to change, then so be it. It’s not clear to me that your mother is harming herself or others, so I think you have to let it go. The young’ins are running around in clothes they bought with holes already in them, you know?

      I empathize with your mother. A lot. While my situation wasn’t as bad as what your mom grew up with, it’s hard to shake some of those feelings. Even now, there’s a nagging feeling of “what if.” What if I lose my job? What if it takes me way longer to find a job than I planned for?

      The lived experience never goes away. You can’t forget it. And in some ways, telling your mom she needs therapy is akin to telling her to forget her past, or otherwise trying to invalidate that her lived experience wasn’t real. Which is a non-starter, because it *was* real. So it comes down to you think she should be living her life in a particular way, and she doesn’t agree with you. That’s all this is, at least based on what you described.

      1. RC Rascal*

        The third paragraph hits this on the head. Once a person has faced being really, really, poor, that fear never goes away. When you tell her she needs help, she will only hear that you don’t understand her.

        I had a very long term (multi year) bout of unemployment at an earlier point in my life, that also involved having to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It was traumatizing. Today, I am laid off again and have plenty of assets, but I still get worked up by even a small unexpected bill or a grocery bill that is larger than I expected.

        For me, the only thing that calms me is having a source of income. It may help your mom psychologically to get a part time job, even if it only pays pocket/grocery money. That might make her feel like she has more control of the situation.

    10. Not A Manager*

      You say that eating take-out is inconceivable to your mother even if you buy it. I’m very curious about this. Does she literally refuse to eat if you order in? Does she refuse to go with you to a restaurant?

      I’m thinking about this because my family was immigrants on all of my grandparents’ sides. They’d been poor in the old country and they started out poor in the U.S. One grandparent grew up on a subsistence farm in the U.S. (after fleeing even worse childhood poverty in the old country), and she never got over it. The hoarding and perceived food insecurity trickled down to my parents and then to me, in less extreme forms.

      BUT… even though my family members had these insecurities, I and others in the younger generation were able to tease and bully them into spending some of their own money, and we certainly were allowed to take them out and treat them and buy them gifts. So if your mother is someone who hoards on her own behalf and won’t buy herself stuff, the first thing I’d suggest is addressing immediate issues when they arise. In my family it would have been done in a slightly teasing/bullying tone because that’s how it would be perceived as loving. “Mom! You’re wearing those clothes with holes again. You look ridiculous. Tomorrow we are going into a real store and buying you some real clothes.” In my family, I would offer to buy them for her and she would refuse but be shamed into going with me, or she would accept my buying some but not all. (It wouldn’t all be shame, by the way. She would like it that I was caring about how she looked and offering her an afternoon out.) The same for food. If she was eating low quality stuff, I would have said “Mom, you are worth more than this. Let me take you out to [decent but not expensive restaurant].”

      If your mom would respond to some variation of this, I wouldn’t try to push her into t h e r a p y. I’d use whatever counts as love language to her, call out individual things at the moment, and suggest an alternative. If she’s price-sensitive, she might respond to sales and bargains. “They’re having an early-bird special at the restaurant,” “I got these new clothes for you because they were on sale and I couldn’t pass them up,” “the grocery store was offering BOGO on this treat.”

      But if your mom won’t allow even another person to spend money on her for her own enjoyment, then I’d wonder about real anxiety. In that case, I might not suggest t h e r a p y to her as a way to “fix” things like wearing raggedy clothing, but rather in a big-picture way of “you seem to be very anxious and I think it’s affecting your overall quality of life.” She might honestly respond better to a medical visit than to c o u n s e l i n g. Let the doctor suggest what the next step should be.

    11. RagingADHD*

      There’s really no way to convince people they need therapy because their behavior is upsetting you.

      People seek therapy because they need help with their problems. She doesn’t think she has problems, she think she’s correct.

      I’m not saying she’s being reasonable or living her best life — obviously not! But you can’t make her want to change unless there’s some way this lifestyle is harming her — that she feels and believes is a problem.

      1. Dan*

        I’m going to push back on some of this. First, I’d say that there’s really no *reason* to convince people they need therapy just because their behavior upsets someone else. And you get to the heart of this in your second paragraph.

        As for whether mom is living her best life, that really comes down to value judgements and opinion, doesn’t it? If mom is satisfied with the life she has, I don’t really think it’s anybody’s place to suggest otherwise. I’d feel otherwise if mom was miserable, but until there’s any real indication of that, it’s best to just let things be. Whether or not it’s the life the rest of us wants matters not in the least.

        I come at this from the perspective of someone who has wildly different opinions about life than my mother does. She makes her choices, I make mine, and we don’t see eye to eye on much (well, pretty much nothing). And as long as mom thinks this is a “me” problem, then nothing’s going to change.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I think the OPs observation that her mom is missing out and not enjoying her retirement due to these irrational money worries is valid.

          1) She describes her mom as “terrified” of spending money on anything but bare necessities. Not content, not indifferent – terrified.

          2) Her mom is eating low-quality food because it’s the cheapest. Not because she likes it. There are high quality cheap foods – beans, rice, seasonal produce, etc. But low quality cheap food is full of salt, sugar, and additives that affect your health more and more as you age.

          3) Mom is refusing to participate in normal social activities with her family that involve restaurant food, to the point that she won’t eat it even if someone else pays for it. Not because she doesn’t like spending time with them. This is anxiety projecting outward to control others, and it’s going to have a negative impact on family relationships.

          Sadly, the LW doesn’t have much ability to address the problem. But the problem isn’t just a matter of opinion.

    12. Anonnington*

      The solution is up to her. Therapy works better for some people than others, and it’s ultimately her choice.

      Your options:

      Talk to her about your concerns.

      Distance yourself emotionally from her problems. They are not your problems, and there’s only so much you can do.

    13. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      Wanting her to get therapy kind of implies that you think she’s done her life wrong, instead of you being proud of her for overcoming the difficult start she had. My parents and in-laws all lived through the Depression and it definitely affected choices they made the rest of their lives. Look how Covid has affected everyone, and that’s been just a year! The Depression lasted much longer. My mother-in-law hardly ever bought anything new, and some of her used clothing choices were pretty strange – like cut off knit pants (unhemmed) to make shorts, and worn-out tops – but she’d wear the diamond pendant her husband bought her with that. I’d just quietly re-donate the wrong-sized used bras she’d give me from the thrift store. I wish I’d told them how proud I was of all of them, and I wonder if you’ve done that instead of thinking your Mom needs fixing? Maybe if she knew you admired her she wouldn’t be so fearful of the worst happening again?

    14. Not Australian*

      OMG, my mother was like this – grew up during WW2 and always had to economise and make things last as long as possible; even tried to persuade us to eat horsemeat because it was ‘cheap’. When she died, her apartment was stuffed with loose money – yet she thought she ‘wasn’t wealthy enough’ to take a taxi anywhere and would scrounge up and down the street looking for someone who would give her a lift.

  20. Interior design websites*

    Does anyone have any favorite interior design websites?

    We just bought a house and am looking for flooring, kitchen backsplash, etc ideas.

    Pinterest is fine but I seem to run into the same image pinned multiple times or non related pins.

    1. Dog Mom*

      I’d definitely recommend The Design Files at thedesignfiles.net

      My sister-in-law introduced me to it and I’m obsessed!

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Following this. I used to love Apartment Therapy, back when it was very much oriented to DIY on a budget. I could use a replacement…. especially if the site has articles about identifying a good contractor. (I had a very bad experience with a roofer.)

    3. Reba*

      I enjoy Remodelista and its sub-sites (note, not for the faint of budget :) )

      Design sponge is no longer active, but the archives are there and excellent!

    4. fposte*

      Houzz has a lot, though it’s so big searching can be a challenge. I’m another following this thread for additional suggestions!

      Oh, and if you’re working with mid-mod style at all I love Retro Renovation. They’ve got people who are far more purist than I am but it’s really good about including resources and pointers to stock, whether you want a pink bathtub or just more period drawer pulls.

    5. RC Rascal*

      I recommend Retro Renovation if you buy a mid century home.

      Maria Killam runs a blog called “Color Me Happy” that is all about the use of color in interior design. It is very good. I highly recommend her if you are picking flooring and tile because she has lots of good advice and talks a lot about the mistakes people make and then hire professionals to attempt to correct.

      Apartment Therapy just isn’t what it used to be.

    6. Aphrodite*

      I read Houzz, Apartment Therapy, DigsDigs, Centsational Style, Ciao! Newport Beach, but especially like (retired interior designer/decorator) Laurel Bern’s blog. She’s no-nonsense and honest. But if you are looking for serious and experienced advice in general she’s damn good.

  21. Richard Hershberger*

    Book notes: I owe a thank you to those who some weeks back recommended Robertson Davies to me. I just finished The Fifth Business. It was excellent! I have downloaded The Manticore next. I am embarrassed that I went through all those decades of my life without knowing about him. I mentioned him to my mother, who has even more decades under her belt. She hadn’t either. It says something about the relationship between US and Canadian cultures that an important Canadian writer flies under the radar here.

    1. CJM*

      Thanks for the tip! I track book recommendations and added Robertson Davies.

      I fell hard for a book recommended here in a thread about books set in the Midwest: Praise the Human Season by Don Robertson. His insight and style moved me deeply, and I wish I’d discovered him sooner. Thank you to Astoria for that one! I’ll seek out others by the author.

    2. Cruciatus*

      I’m American and I admittedly only know the name from a Canadian group from the ’90s, Moxy Früvous, who mentions him in a fun song that’s on YouTube, My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors.

      Now I’m pounding the ouzo
      with Mario Puzo
      Who’s a funny fella?
      W.P. Kinsella
      Who brought the cat?
      Would Margeret Atwood?
      Who needs a shave?
      He’s Robertson Davies!

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        D’oh! I love Moxy Früvous, and as soon as you named the song I had an “Of course!” reaction. But I hadn’t made the connection. And yes, Davies had a magnificent beard. Also, Kinsella is indeed funny.

    3. GoryDetails*

      I’ve enjoyed a lot of Canadian fiction – though I admit I never really warmed to Davies’ work for some reason. A few recommendations:

      Edward O. Phillips wrote some lovely character-driven novels, including his “Sunday” series featuring a late-middle-aged bisexual Montreal lawyer; SUNDAY’S CHILD is the first one, and the books tend to mix mystery/suspense plots with lots of delightful dialogue, daily-life scenes, and issues of aging. He’s also written standalone novels; THE MICE WILL PLAY is one of my favorites of those, about a 40-something woman with a colorful romantic history, who becomes the companion of an elderly lady in an attempt to build up her bank account. Wacky shenanigans ensue, with plenty of delightful touches about (again) aging and relationships. [This is a book that I’d dearly love to see filmed, though it might take another Preston Sturges to do it justice.]

      I’ve been dipping into books by indigenous authors, many of those Canadian, including:

      THE MARROW THIEVES by Cherie Dimaline, a dystopian SF novel for YA readers, with the surviving indigenous characters struggling to remain out of the clutches of the scientists who want to extract their DNA to restore the ability to dream that the rest of humanity has lost.

      LOVE AFTER THE END, edited by Joshua Whitehead, is subtitled “An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction”, and includes some impressive fantasy and/or SF stories.

      1. AGD*

        I just read THE MARROW THIEVES last week and it had me staring wide-eyed at the wall for a while afterward. In a good way!

        I don’t think I’d ever heard of Phillips and his work sounds up my alley! Investigating!

    4. Not A Manager*

      I love those books! It’s always fun to think of someone reading them for the first time and enjoying them. The Manticore is good but different from the other two.

    5. Marzipan*

      I love, love, love A Mixture of Frailties. I’ve read other bits of Robertson Davies but that’s the one I always come back to.

    6. Tacky B*

      If you’re looking for other good CanLit similar era to Davies, even though Davies’ Deptford Trilogy wasn’t published until the 70s: Sinclair Ross – As for Me and My House, and Hugh MacLennan – Two Solitudes.

    1. Teatime is Goodtime*

      I am not a natural with plants, so I’m always excited when I don’t kill things. I bought a tiny rose on whim last year and it not only survived but is flourishing!! I’m so excited. A couple of months ago I decided it went so well that I could pick up another one. It isn’t dead by a long shot (healthy green leaves), but all the buds withered and fell off…soooo not quite the success of the last, but I’m still excited because it seems to be otherwise fine. :)

      Next week I will hopefully be able to get some balcony-box plants to replace the ones that didn’t make it outside over winter. I’m learning!

      1. Venus*

        Did the flower buds fall off soon after you brought it home? They often sell plants in bud so that buyers are excited for the flowers, but the changes to sunlight and watering when they go to the store often mean that the buds don’t make it. It probably wasn’t anything to do with you!

        Good luck, sounds like you are doing everything right.

        1. Teatime is Goodtime*

          Oh this is good to know! Yes, it was basically immediately after I brought it home. I figure since the leaves don’t seem unhappy, it must be doing ok. :) Thank you so much for this insight!

          1. Venus*

            I often have a really good look at flower buds before buying a plant. There are no guarantees, but if the buds look dried up or can be easily knocked off the plant just by touching them then at least you won’t be disappointed when they drop off.

            I have a christmas cactus which I forgot to water for a bit, and most of the buds dried up. Thankfully more came out the next week, so hopefully you will have some success soon. Whatever happens, definitely know that it wasn’t you!

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I apparently have MUTANT GRASS – we sprayed down a couple different patches of grass and weeds with the KILLS EVERY LEAF THAT IT TOUCHES Roundup and none of it has batted an eyelash. So apparently I have to manually clear these patches. :P (On the plus side, the hosta that I spent three days trying to find, because apparently it was hidden in the middle of a patch of thistles where my husband found it with the Roundup nozzle, also survived just fine.)

      This weekend I am planting a couple of raspberry bushes and, if I manage to get these patches cleared, an assortment of bulbs that are reported to grow into orange flowers. :) Also, my gardenia has a flower, and my strawberry crowns are showing signs of new growth. I just had my front garden replanted with a bunch of things in November, so those are starting to show what they’re going to look like, and that’s exciting.

    3. Venus*

      My tomato and pepper seedlings continue to grow quickly, and I am looking at options to repot because they will soon outgrow their current trays. Although the weather is much cloudier this coming week so that should slow them down. I keep checking to see if the roots are coming out of the bottom of the trays, at which point I will be busy!

      I have a lot of seedlings and am thinking of selling them online in my local neighborhood since that’s an option. In the past I have given away to friends, family, and coworkers but I’m working from home and seeing few friends and family. Selling will help with some of the gardening costs for my two new raised beds, and they should be popular this year. Although I am putting more pressure on myself to keep them all alive!

      The narcissus are up and the tulips should be blooming soon. The asparagus is slowly growing and I look forward to a fresh veg that I don’t have to buy in stores! I need to get my raised bed up so that I can plant the sprouting potatoes given to me. It should be a busy weekend!

    4. pineapple mom*

      my pineapple has sent out a rather woody stalk (2-3 mm diameter) from the roots? I’m not sure what it is, it’s got little green things on the end, but not opened yet. It’s not a classic baby pineapple that grows from the crown. The poor thing is abused – north window, no real sunlight, and I think I forgot to water it for a month or two. And probably pot bound. If there is anyone knowledgeable in bromeliad reproduction, I’m all ears.

    5. Teapot Translator*

      There’s a Save the Bees project organized by some local beekeepers. I ordered some Lacy Phacelia seeds from them to support the cause. I’m not sure I’ll attract many bees as it’s rather windy where I live. I’m going to try and grow them in containers. Any tips?

    6. Aly_b*

      I’ve got cilantro, dill, and basil in the same container on my kitchen windowsill. It’s finally warmed up and gotten sunny, and the basil looks happy, but the cilantro and dill are looking really droopy. Did I mess up putting them all in the same container? Should I move the cilantro and dill somewhere cooler and shadier?

      1. Venus*

        It is so difficult to know without looking at them or knowing the history. And my experience is with plants in general, not with herbs specifically. My first thought is that droopy plants often aren’t getting enough water. Are you over- or under-watering? It is important to say that overwatered plants can have some of their roots killed off by drowning in water, so they appear to need more water but in fact are being killed by it (this effect is one reason why killing plants by overwatering is a thing).

        Plants use up different amounts of water based on both the temperature, sunlight, and their own metabolism. You might need to water them differently, which can be done in the same pot although be careful where you direct the water.

        Google tells me that dill and cilantro both prefer sun, same as basil, and cilantro needs deeper soil for a tap root. If they are in a window then if anything I might guess that they need more sun, although if the basil is happy then I’m guessing the others would be too. If you want to try putting them outside then look up how to harden off plants for outdoors, although my first guess with droopiness is watering.

        Good luck!

    7. HannahS*

      My tomato seedlings are about ready to be transplanted into their pots, or at least into yogurt containers until I get more pots…
      The miniature lemon is doing fine, but most of the baby lemons fell off, leaving just a few growing fruits. I think we’d better get some food for the plant, as it’s now in its growing season.

    8. Llama face!*

      My direct winter sown carrots are sprouting! We have a late spring in my province so are still intermittently having snow in between nice warm spring weather. I planted my carrots in a clear plastic tub with drainage/air holes and the carrots only took 8 days to start sprouting. They’ve weathered (pardon the pun) one snowy day just fine and I’m hoping will continue to do so.

      Also, I had a yellow onion in my pantry start sprouting so I divided it and now have 3 very happily growing baby onion plants.

    9. me*

      It will be unseasonably warm today – mid 80s, which is more like July weather.

      I’ll be planting my seed potatoes in some grow bags today. That’s about all I’m planting out for now, because we are going to be gone for a week. I’d love to get my tomato and pepper plants out of the basement, but there really is no reason to do so since we’ll be gone.

      My greens continue to grow well. DH is grabbing some various leaves each morning for his scrambled egg. I’m loving the return of the wasabi mustard because it’s such a wonderfully spicy leafy green.

      I keep looking at photos of flower containers. I have four big pots sitting on my porch, empty. I don’t dare grab any before I get back from my trip.

    10. CommunityGarden*

      Has anyone participated in a community garden?

      I’m moving to a city that has quite a few of these and am really intrigued. The waiting list is long and I don’t have a great storage option for gardening materials so it likely isn’t in the cards for me, but I’m still fascinated.

      Do they come with a lot of drama or has your experience mostly been fun?

      1. Comm garden*

        I was part of a community garden for a few years. Definitely some drama, and some people with very *definite* ideas of gardening. My particular garden had a lot of theft, so I migrated to roses after awhile. But still fun, there was a real sense of community that was fostered, it was fun for me to have my own dirt space to play in, living in a city.

      2. Venus*

        My family member loves theirs! I think it really depends on the culture of the organizers and the town or city. Have a look on the website to see if the rules are weirdly strict. And if the waiting period is several years (not unusual in a city, even pre-covid) then you have time to go over in the next couple years to see what people are growing and check references. I say that in a somewhat joking way, but honestly: find a few people and ask if they enjoy it, and if they are ok with people without experience. Even if you have experience, I think that’s a good test question as it’s a less direct way of saying “Are you jerks about new people?”

        Or even better since it matters to you, ask about tool sharing and storage options! That would hopefully give you a flavor for the culture. And maybe also ask about veggie theft based on Comm garden’s comment. If you are mostly interested in growing veggies then some big pots for tomatoes and peppers might be best.

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I am breaking a bad habit and so so good. I am buying *very* few seeds and plants at any one time…and I’m actually getting them in the ground promptly. It had the nice side effect that I was able to protect the tender new ones from unexpected snow.
      The fig that we moved up from the garage has 3″ leaves, the Christmas cactus (Easter?) is in full bloom, and the tomato & wildflower seeds are sprouting.
      Its still too cold to plant the dahlia bulbs, but the one I overwintered in the basement is still alive…and I got a new one this morning, to keep at the office until it can be planted.
      I have not planted the black walnuts yet.

      1. Jackalope*

        How can you tell if they overwintered okay? We left ours in the ground and are starting to have spring in earnest, but they haven’t started coming up yet. Not sure if it’s just too early or if they’ve died.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I’m in New England so we have to bring dahlias inside. I have one little one in a flowerpot, and it has some straggly growth. The others are in their cool dark dry place waiting for ground to get warmer.
          But I’m new to dahlias, this is the 2nd year trying. Last year I overwintered in pots in a cool dark place, and they didn’t come up until so late I had already planted something else in the same pot on top of them. Dahlias and squash are not good neighbors LOL.

    12. YouwantmetodoWHAT?! *

      All the plants are growing & growing and looking good, even the one bean that my hubs thought that he’d killed! The seeds planted in my cutting garden are bigger everyday. Today we bought two varieties of cucumbers to go with the 5 (different!) tomatoes, the 3 beans, 2 eggplants and all that corn! Whoot! We do mostly earthbox style buckets, so no weeding and a reservoir of water. Not the cutting garden or beans & corn – hubs REALLY wanted a bean teepee! Haha!

    13. TiffIf*

      I live in a colder climate (we had freezing temperatures and a light dusting of snow this past week) so I can’t plant yet. I’m tentatively planning on putting plants in the ground first week of May and hopefully we don’t have another freak June freeze like we did last year that killed some of my plants. I plant a lot of tomatoes because I just love tomatoes, but I also plant bell peppers, onions, chives, cucumbers and butternut squash. I tried cantaloupe last year but they just died. I want to try to do a few more herbs this year too.

    14. Jackalope*

      Okay, it’s been an exciting few weeks in the Jackalope garden. We did a TON of planting today, and bought a lot more. Once all of our berries have been planted, we will have: raspberries (3 varieties), blueberries, boysenberries, thimbleberries, and huckleberries. I also bought a bunch of ferns since there’s a part of the yard underneath our big cedar tree that doesn’t grow anything; I made sure to get local ferns, whose native habitat is growing under cedar trees, so I’m hopeful that they’ll be happy. I may be overwhelmed by ferns in a few years but for now it will be nice! And I planted the third (and final) cherry tree today; originally there were only going to be two, but the internet disagreed with the nursery on the variety that I bought being self-fertile, so I got a cross-pollinating tree just in case (the other one is for sour cherries and for sure is self-fertile). Finally, we’ve got a mishmash of flowers that were basically whatever looked interesting at the nursery and we felt like trying out.

    15. Bobina*

      LOL. You guys. I haved in this flat for 4.5 years, and have always assumed that the top section of the retaining wall which gets full sun was dirt and that the neighbours had probably planted in it already. So I’ve been making do with trying to grow things in the tiny, tiny corner of my patio which gets a bit of midday sun and thats it. Then a few weeks ago I was like, I dont care, they dont seem to be doing anything with it and I want to see some colour there, I’ll buy some cheap annual wildflower seeds and plant them. So this morning I finally get on my ladder and go to take a look at it – its slabs of stone! And as no one is using it, I can put my plant pots there so they can get sun! All this time I could have had a spot with full sun *facepalm*

      So today I moved the grasses and irises onto the top wall section (and maybe the Irises will finally flower). And then I planted an assortment of flower seeds into containers and once they germinate, I’ll move them onto the wall as well. Also planted a bunch of crocosmias although they were from the cheap store and didnt look particularly healthy, so we’ll see how it goes with them.

      And after complaining last week, it looks like the ranunculus that I planted in November might be flowering soon (I see something that looks like bud action!). And its going to be warm enough to put the begonias outside soon – pleasantly surprised that I didnt kill them by planting them waaaay too early and then having to bring them back inside.

      1. Venus*

        I’m sorry you didn’t notice immediately, yet so nice that you did this year. Good for you! I wish your irises and grasses and seeds the best of sunny luck this year.

        1. Bobina*

          Thank you! I am so excited and hopeful for lots of colour in a few months. Hope you have lots of success with your many seedlings :)

    16. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Here’s an oddity I just saw in smithsonianmag dot com: “How to Germinate Seeds for Your Garden Using an Instant Pot”
      This is not for me, even if they DO say it’s for hot weather crops and warn us to harden off the poor little seedlings. But someone here might get a kick out of it.

  22. Puppy!*

    We are doing fine. Eight months old, a joy to be with. (I have failed crate training but will try again after this last bad round of chronic pain, this too shall pass)
    She is well socialized, healthy, and the darling of the neighborhood. The local paper ran her picture as ‘pet of the week’ People actually stop me on the street and ask, “Is this T?”
    At last count there are 9 amazing people on the Puppy! team.
    I would like to give a thank you gift to each but having a bit of trouble thinking of what. In addition to a a note of gratitude:
    A. a reproduction of a watercolor of my pup and another playing- about the size of post card. It is by an award winning artist. unframed. (is this too much like a teacher getting a portrait of a student for a holiday gift?)
    B. Homemade granola
    C. Suggestions please.

    1. Jellyfish*

      Personally, I think it’s odd to receive a picture of another person’s pet. Someone gave me a framed photo of their dog once, and my private reaction was largely, “what am I supposed to do with this??” I love dogs, and I’m glad to help with other’s pets, but I really only want fancy pictures of my own animals. I suppose other people might feel differently.

      The granola sounds nice though! Or maybe a small gift card or plant?

      1. Dog and cat fosterer*

        I could be wrong, but this seems more like an aunt or uncle getting a photo of a nibling for the fridge. The postcard size makes me think that it isn’t meant to be framed. And these are people who are actively involved in puppy’s care. I have a photo of my family’s favorite pets on the fridge, so maybe I’m biased.

        1. Windchime*

          For my cat’s first Christmas, I had a super cute professional portrait taken of him by my cousin. I sent them as Christmas cards to family and friends, but I also sent one to my vet because she had helped me with my old cat who had just died a few months before. She kept postcard up on her corkboard for several years. So I think that people do appreciate a postcard-sized print.

    2. Donna*

      I’d be weirded out by being given a picture of someone else’s pet. I don’t know what I’d do with that. I don’t have those sort of pictures of my own pets! I think that sort of thing might be best kept for family.

      I’d steer clear of food gifts, as there are too many ways for those to be unsuitable for people (allergies, food restrictions, dietary requirements, religious restrictions, not to mention simple preferences and dislikes – personally I dislike granola and wouldn’t eat it so receiving homemade granola wouldn’t be much of a gift for me. And homemade stuff is often tricky because you don’t know if it’s been exposed to other things you might be allergic to – there may not be peanuts in it, but I can’t be sure it hasn’t come in contact with peanuts in your home).

      If possible, I’d go for personalised gifts if you know these people well enough – think about what they like and tailor the gifts accordingly. I think something simple like a gift card to a coffee shop, a mug, a notebook, a bottle of wine (only if you know they drink wine!), a plant, fresh flowers, a photo frame (no picture of your dog in it though) etc. would be good.

      But honestly I think the heartfelt note is enough and likely to be more meaningful and appreciated by itself.

    3. AspiringGardener*

      Who are the people on this “team” and what are you thanking them for?

      If they are professionals (vets, trainers, dog walkers, groomers, etc) I would show them my thanks with positive reviews and referrals. No gift is needed.

      1. Puppy!*

        in keeping with the rules of the site, I have not been updating my original post.
        Short recap-
        I am physically disabled and although I have wanted a puppy, felt I wouldn’t be capable of caring for one.
        I was inspired to start thinking that it would be possible by this Ask a Manager posting
        https://www.askamanager.org/2016/05/my-company-wants-to-sponsor-me-for-a-service-dog-but-im-not-sure-i-should-accept.html
        My letter here
        https://www.askamanager.org/2020/12/another-person-got-their-dog.html

        Team Puppy! are friends who enable me to have a puppy. They come to my house daily to do playdates, dog walks, socialization. They are the puppy’s fairy god parents.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I think you had/have dog walkers, OP? I think these are friends and others who are not paid? I think a thank you note is lovely and it’s enough. Just say something about how they made a difference in your life and the pup’s life. That would be endearing.

        1. Puppy!*

          yes, these are all friends who have been helping out with socialization, dog walking, training and sometimes just stopping by to play with her. Maybe I will make the picture into a notecard and write a note to each on how they have made a difference in my life and the puppy’s.

          1. CheeryO*

            That sounds nice! I think some of the people commenting are misunderstanding the situation. If your friends have helped a bunch, it’s nice to give them a little thank-you, and if they’ve spent a lot of time with your puppy, I’m sure they love her and would appreciate the picture. (Says the person who has a calendar featuring her SIL’s dog.)

            1. AspiringGardener*

              If these friends are close enough to Puppy! that they’re regularly giving their time to care for this dog, then surely Puppy! can figure out what they enjoy/appreciate. The way the post was worded seemed like these were professionals she was employing to provide these services for the dog.

          2. Velvet*

            That sounds lovely! Anyone who likes dogs enough to be on Team Puppy will love a pic of T.

          3. Purple Cat*

            THIS! Yes, a pic turned into a notecard with a thank-you note is absolutely the right thing.

    4. Dog and cat fosterer*

      Internet strangers know about puppies, but we don’t know your friends. I’m surprised by the negativity! I would cringe at an unplanned 36″×48″ gift of a picture of a pet, but one that can go on the fridge or desk? That sounds perfect! I have some in both places.

      I also love homemade granola. I know this thread is about gifts and puppy, but if you have a recipe that is worth sharing… ?

      Do what works for your friends. You know them so much better than we do!

      I’m wondering if there is a gift that you could give that would help their enjoyment of Puppy without being for puppy. But all I can think of are dog treats and toys.

      As a comment: I love that Team Puppy is up to 9 people. I think your first post was about how to get Puppy a long distance from the breeder, and it is a delight to see where you are now! My own pup is a similar age, and I can’t wait for them to settle a bit as my attempts to train not to jump on strangers has been difficult with covid. Things are improving and I hope in the next month or two the lesson is learned.

      For crate training, keep in mind that the problem for a lot of dogs is separation anxiety. The time your dog spends with Team Puupy, separated from you, is actually really good training for this. I started by giving mine something to chew on in another room. Or if puppy went elsewhere in my home then I would sneak to check that the room wasn’t being destroyed and otherwise leave things alone. Eventually I put pup in a crate with yummy food and built up the time in there, but it started much more simply. I also had a baby gate so pup couldn’t join me for meals, which caused a lot of complaints yet pup did eventually learn to settle. Good luck!

      1. AspiringGardener*

        Please don’t give these friends dog treats or dog toys! That is not a gift of appreciation.

      2. Puppy!*

        Oh this is a great idea. I am thinking we can crate her just before someone comes for a play date to start

  23. Sue Ellen*

    To follow up on this week’s question about going braless at work, I’d love to hear advice or experience from readers with boobs who choose to go braless in non-work situations. I’m content to follow professional norms at work, but I’m totally over changing my appearance to make other people comfortable. I’ve gone through successful braless phases in the past, but as my pandemic weight has made my boobs more noticeable, I’m anticipating a more complicated experience this time around.

    1. Asenath*

      I rarely wear a bra these days – generally only when exercising and sometimes when I’m going to some kind of appointment. I do have large breasts, but find that I am more comfortable without even my comfortable bras on. I also usually wear loose clothing, which may not disguise the non-bra fact as much as I think it does, but people don’t comment or stare, at least not that I’ve noticed. I was encouraged to leave off a bra by a radiation oncologist who warned that my skin might become sensitive – I was still working then, and never said a thing; just left off the bra and wore loose comfortable tops. And I just kept on doing it, more and more. At a recent mammogram, the tech seemed to expect that someone my size might have chafing from my bra – but there was none at all. If I needed an excuse, which I don’t, that’s it!

    2. Workerbee*

      I first read this as “readers whose boobs choose to go braless” and had quite the image of a parade of sentient boobs, all grinning, leading their owners down the street.

      Back to reality: In non-work situations, it depends on the situation. If I was with my goth friends in the going-to-the-bar days, you were fine as long as you had a layer on—be that a sheer top or electrical tape. If I’m with a different set of friends, I may default to what I do for work, which is popover tops (a floaty layer attached to a cami), structured dresses, patterns, etc.

      Sometimes it’s a little more obvious that I’m not wearing upholstery, but I haven’t encountered any adverse effects, at least not to my face, as it were.

      Bicycling, well, I may have to concede a point if I’m going for an appreciable distance.

    3. Reba*

      I go braless most of the time and here’s my 2 cents, from a small-busted person. I feel comfortable with 2 layers (or one thicker layer, depending on the garment). I just don’t usually like going out with only a thin t shirt or whatever. I have a drawerful of close-fitting camisoles and tank tops and so I just layer up. (Loft and Uniqlo are my main sources) That works for me on all but the hottest days.

    4. Queer Earthling*

      I’ve been more or less braless since about 2019, though on occasion I wear a stretchy bralette. I’m a blogger and homemaker so I never have to worry about looking professional. Also, if it’s relevant, I’m fat but not super busty, with something like a C cup (and they’re, you know, soft with age, not perky), and I live in a rural area in the south. My wardrobe is mostly tank tops and pants or skater dresses. So, here’s what I’ve noticed:

      Nobody cares if I’m wearing a bra.

      I go to stores, I go to the doctor’s office, I go for walks without a bra. (I do put something on if it’s a vigorous walk, though.) I have never once noticed anyone staring at my chest. If someone were to comment or criticize, I would seriously just ask them why they’re looking in the first place. But no one has.

    5. MEH Squared (formerly MEH)*

      Big-boob haver here (DDD/FF)! I rarely wear a bra and I would add the caveat that I WFH, even in the Before Times. I wear a sports bra when I do taiji (tai chi) and a bra for important occasions if I feel like it. Otherwise, I go braless and wear a sweatshirt in the winter and a loose t-shirt in the summer. I wear a tank top around the house and don’t care if anyone sees me when I venture outside. I haven’t worn a bra on the daily for decades and couldn’t be happier.

    6. Not A Manager*

      “I’ve gone through successful braless phases in the past, but as my pandemic weight has made my boobs more noticeable, I’m anticipating a more complicated experience this time around.”

      What are you anticipating? If you’re over changing your appearance to make other people comfortable, then what do you think will happen and why do you think that will complicate your experience?

    7. freeee*

      I think I transitioned to braless gradually. In july 2018 (winter in southern hemisphere ) , I stopped wearing a bra when I was wearing thermal inner layers. I hated having to go back to bras in the summer, but stopped wearing them at home. I’d feel incredibly conscious when we had guests or random trips to the supermarket , that people would know in one glance because my nipples were peeking out, but I gradually stopped thinking about it.
      Wore bras in summer 2018 and hated it. Such a relief to go back to no bras in winter.
      And then, summer 2019, I slowly stopped wearing a bra going to uni with certain tops that don’t make it obvious that I am not wearing a bra. Although, tbh, this set of tops grew bigger over time. And summer 2020, during the pandemic, i just choose not to wear clingy tops instead of wearing a bra underneath.

      I’m starting a job next month and I am totally afraid of dressing unprofessionally when we get back to the office (in six months is the current estimate, which will be summer here)

    8. ain't no bras on me*

      I don’t know why I have been reluctant to chime in on these threads.
      Bras.
      I hate them. I have a sensitivity disorder. I barely tolerate clothing. I hate seams. I wear seamless, tag-less tanks a few sizes too big. in the winter cuddle duds or something long underwear like. Loose soft tops or dresses. cotton. (washed many, many times) I am not small but I am also not large. If you are looking for it, you can see I am not wearing a bra. I have breasts. Just like I have a nose. Just like I have arms.
      Yes, I have been measured by Professionals including the ladies on Broadway on the west side. yes Macys. In my early professional career I have bought many, many bras. I couldn’t tolerate a full day in any of them. I would be pulling them off through the sleeves of my shirt by noon.
      It doesn’t matter how expensive etc. Just no.
      I wear a stretchy sports bra inside out when I exercise for comfort. The second I get in the house or in the locker room, off it comes.
      I buy a new bra every time I do a job interview. (so that is 3 bras in 20 years for those who are keeping score)
      At work I layer with a soft knit or felted jacket.
      That said, my not wearing a bra has never been commented on to me. If other people are chatting about my appearance it is none of my business.

  24. nep*

    Anyone read Natalia Ginzburg? I only just learned of her a couple weeks back. Picked up a book of essays at the library. I’ve read just two so far, but I really like her writing. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. sequined histories*

      I love her! I studied a Italian for a bit, so I have read some in translation and some in the original. The first book I read was her novella Family/Famiglia.

    2. Old and Don’t Care*

      She’s been having a bit of a moment over the past couple years. I picked up one of her novels after reading a New Yorker article about her. Haven’t read it yet but it’s on the list.

      1. nep*

        Right–When I got this book I looked her up and saw that New Yorker piece from a couple years ago.

    1. Teapot Translator*

      My adventures with tofu continue. I tried the peanut marinade again, but replaced some of the soy sauce with broth as someone suggested. Unfortunately, I put too much sriracha. So spicy. But I think I’m on the right track.
      Also, I tried another brand of firm tofu (my first experiment was with extra-firm tofu). It was harder to handle, but has a better texture for eating.

      1. Teatime is Goodtime*

        I am so excited that you’re finding tofu you like! I feel like it is one of those foods that can work beautifully when done right, but there are so many different kinds and it is easy to buy the wrong one for the thing you’re trying to do… so good on you for experimenting! I’ve enjoyed reading about it, thanks for sharing. :) And now I want peanut sauce.

    2. Pregnant during COVID*

      I just purchased the book Fast Burn by Dr Ian Smith after seeing it on Good Morning America this week. I’m not one for fad diets but this book’s POV seems more common sense of making sure to have fiber and protein at every meal and snack occasion. I made the breakfast smoothie and Greek energy bowl shared on the show and we really enjoyed both – even the 4 year old. I have another 15 pounds of baby weight to lose so I’m interested in trying the other recipes in the book, while loosely following its 9 week plan.

    3. Teatime is Goodtime*

      My adventures in sourdough continue! I did something right, but I’m not sure what: my last boule exploded upwards in the oven, even though I rather de-gassed it at the shaping stage. It was too soupy after the bulk ferment (probably too long?), so I added some flour and resigned myself…and then BOOM. So surprising! I hope I can replicate it with a sourer taste this weekend. Wish me luck! :)

      Other than that: it is white asparagus season where I am and I tried cooking it for the first time! It went well. I also bought some green and made some great cheesy garlicy mashed potatoes to go along with that.

    4. GoryDetails*

      I’m still dabbling with my Hello Fresh subscription, though after a few weeks I’m noticing a certain sameness in the styles of meals – which makes sense, as they have to be something that can be packaged and prepared fairly easily. But I just had one that I expect I’ll add to a regular meal rotation – a sausage-and-peppers risotto. As a one-pot meal it was easy to prepare (even allowing for the risotto process of adding small amounts of warm broth to the rice at intervals), the ingredients were things I generally have on hand, it could be varied easily by changing the seasonings or the protein or the vegetables, and it tasted really, really good!

    5. Queer Earthling*

      My spouse had (elective!) surgery on Monday, and their other partner (we’re a poly household) works 90000 hours a week, so I’ve been doing tons and tons of crock pot meals and casseroles this past week, with a goal of having as little prep work or dishes as possible, and with as much leftover yield as I can.

      So far it’s been pretty successful! I’ve made some nice stuff but my favorite was the crock pot mac & cheese I made without a recipe or even any certainty that it would work, and it’s super adaptable and I’m really excited to keep making it.
      -a box/bag of noodles in the bottom of the crock pot (i used cavatappi)
      -enough liquid to cover them (I used mostly low sodium chicken broth with a little milk)
      -1 can of broccoli cheese soup
      -a cup or so of grated cheese I think (idk I kept going in and adding more while it cooked, I really like cheese)
      -some baby spinach because I wanted to use it up before it went bad
      -1 bag of frozen prepared chicken cubes
      -a handful of bacon bits
      -basil & oregano

      It took like 3 hours on high for the noodles to cook and all the liquid to turn into a creamy, cheesy sauce, and there was some protein and vegetable involved instead of just Cheesy Carb. (As a midwesterner, I love Cheesy Carb, but you know.) Everyone in the household was obsessed, AND it’s super filling so I was left with tons of leftovers.

    6. Filosofickle*

      I decided my body hasn’t felt great for awhile now and remembered that my body did feel great when I spent time in Taiwan/Japan. What was different there was a lot less dairy, wheat, and meat. Though I really don’t think meat is the issue, I do want to eat less for environmental reasons. I suspect too much wheat is most likely the problem.

      Last week I planned 3 veg dinners along these lines: Roasted chickpea and kale salad with tahini dressing (big winner); Broccoli and mushroom with farro bowl; and a sheetpan feta with tomatoes and broccoli (that’s tonight). Damn I’m hungry.

      Anyone have any ideas for breakfast without wheat or dairy, and also without egg and banana due to my allergies? Ugh.

      1. D'Euly*

        Oatmeal with water or non-dairy milk; I like to add peanut butter and raisins but I am aware that most people think that’s terrible. Cook some fruit right in it if you like, add nuts or seeds on top.
        Savory rice porridge–a little sesame oil or soy sauce or green onions perks it right up. Add some tofu at the end or a little canned tuna or salmon if you need protein.
        If you can handle a tortilla wrap, I really like breakfast burritos with crumbled tofu replacing egg.

      2. Teatime is Goodtime*

        We’ve been eating buckwheat for breakfast a lot recently (also called kasha). This seems to have come over to the US as the “with egg” version, but we just buy the pre-roasted grain and cook it like couscous (cooking for 10 minutes in salted water, then cover and let sit for 15, then drain and eat). I eat mine with butter, herbs and cheese, my husband eats his with olive oil, flax seeds and different herbs and my two year old inhales it plain. I’ve also done a sweet version with yoghurt and jam. Leftovers get inhaled by my toddler or put over our salads.

        I have heard people say that it has a slightly bitter taste, but I do not think so. The same people find that with whole-grain noodles, so maybe that is marker? I don’t know, but I wanted to flag it just in case. :)

        1. Teatime is Goodtime*

          I just realized that although buckwheat is different, it still might be too wheat-like to be useful to you. Sorry, reading-comprehension brain-fail! I’m sure this could work with other grains, though.

          1. Filosofickle*

            Thanks! At this point in my exploration I don’t think i have a severe wheat problem, where I can’t have any and I suspect the less processed wheats (farro, buckwheat etc) will be okay. And maybe just less wheat/bread overall. I also think yogurt will end up being okay. But it’s hard to say. :(

            1. Emma2*

              Buckwheat, despite the name, is actually not related to wheat – it is technically a pseudocereal and it is gluten free. Obviously there are other reasons that someone might not be able to tolerate it, but if you have an issue specifically with wheat, buckwheat should not be a problem.

        2. RussianInTexas*

          Buckwheat is a staple side in Russia and some other Easter European countries. As a savory side, with butter and herbs, or as a breakfast, something with milk and sugar, sometimes with butter and fruit.
          It’s very nutritious and naturally gluten free, not being grain, but grass. It is strange to me it have not taken off in the US yet as a superfood.
          Also, “kasha” in Russian is any porridge. :) You can have rice kasha, cream of wheat kasha, pumpkin kasha, etc.

          1. Teatime is Goodtime*

            Yes, the pre-roasted version we buy is imported from Russia! We found other versions too, but we never could roast it as perfectly.
            And thank you for the information about the word kasha! I did not know that. :)

              1. Teatime is Goodtime*

                Oh, I’m so sorry: I saw this very late! I’m afraid I don’t have a good head for names (I could describe the packaging to you, but I can’t remember the name), and I don’t have one on hand. However, I will be going to the shop this coming week, I hope, and I already planned to pick up more. I’ll post next week for sure.

                That said, I do want to add: I’m not living in the US at the moment, so it may not be a brand that is available where you are.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Congee! Rice porridge with many variations. Leftovers from the previous night are just one option.

    7. violet04*

      I had a cooking fail this week. I bought panko bread crumbs to try a recipe for chicken parmesan. I failed to notice I had bought *coconut* flavored panko bread crumbs. I thought I smelled something while I was breading the chicken, but I didn’t realize my mistake until I cooked the food. Luckily it was still edible, but I’ll have to try the recipe again with the proper ingredients.

    8. Girasol*

      I’m working on bread with the poolish method, where you start purchased yeast working in a batter the night before and finish off the next day. I’m still trying to figure out why I can’t get yeast to rise well since we moved fifteen miles from our old place, even though I make sure not to use the tap water. Sourdough worked well but my husband didn’t favor the flavor. The poolish method is showing promise. Now if I can just get proportions where I want them we’ll be all set.

    9. Slinky*

      When I lived in Seattle, I used to get delivery from a local pizza chain called Pagliacci. Every December, they’d have a seasonal special called the Pear Primo, which included pears, gorgonzola, red onions, walnuts, and sauteed mushrooms. I haven’t tasted it since 2006. I am going to try to create a version of it tonight using sourdough focaccia as the base.

      1. Teatime is Goodtime*

        Ooooh Pagliacci… :) Thanks for stirring some great memories!
        And ooh sourdough focaccia! :D

    10. RussianInTexas*

      My partner smokes a lot of meats last Saturday for a small get together, and we only ran out of the leftovers in Thursday.
      Tonigh is shrimp boil at home, they are in season and cheap, and my grocery store tricked me by having a crawfish boil right by the front door – I cannot walk away from the smell of spices of the Cajun boil.
      Tomorrow I’ll just throw some chicken thighs and a store bought butter chicken sauce in to the slow cooker for dinner and leftovers.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          Ribs, split chicken breasts, and whole 8lb pork loin.
          Chicken when cold works great on salads and in wraps, and pork loin, if you slice it really thin ( we have an electric slicer which helps, but by hand is fine too) works great in sandwiches, cold or hot.
          Couple years back I picked up some apple habanero jelly and it goes great with the pork, loin, or roasted shoulder.
          He promised me smoked salmon next time, I can’t wait.

    11. Ali G*

      Scallops tonight (with…something).
      Tomorrow is wings. Haven’t decided if I am smoking them or doing them in the oven. Maybe sous vide and then reverse sear. That would be easiest.
      I might make stock tomorrow.

    12. I'm the one*

      Trying homemade strawberry sorbet. Husband is on a limited diet now, and is pining for flavorful things. (Low FODmap) I made the strawberry puree today, and will freeze tomorrow.
      Recently made gluten-free rhubarb crisp with an oatmeal-based topping. It was great. Unfortunately, rhubarb is expensive around here. (No detectable fodmaps in rhubarb.)

  25. Eza*

    Does anyone have any experience with the supplement ashwagandha? My physician recently recommended it for anxiety.

    1. Hi cadence*

      I’ve heard a lot about it as being helpful for perimenopause/menopause in a group I am in. I tried it but felt like I had more allergy symptoms when taking a large dose. I am trying a smaller dose in a combo that has rhodiola also. Rhodiola did work well for me in terms of combating some sluggishness that I thought came from too much cortisol.

    2. Homo neanderthalensis*

      Absolutely no credible studies that I can find support it’s efficacy for any condition whatsoever- it can interfere with prescription medications, and it can have nasty side effects like diarrhea and miscarriage’s(!) I’d skip this one and find a better physician.

        1. Homo neanderthalensis*

          64 subjects. Extremely small and statistically insignificant difference in cortisol numbers. Not repeated. Non-credible.

    3. KR*

      My husband used to put it in our smoothies in a powder supplement form and I noticed no change in my general level of anxiety. We stopped because it’s kind of expensive. I have no info on how much he used or what type – sorry! It might be the manner in which I was ingesting it – your doc may have better suggestions where it may actually be helpful to you.

  26. Alex*

    I think I might buy a car today! Any last minute car-buying tips? This will be the first time I’m going through the process by myself.

    This is for a brand new car, not used (already made that decision).

    One question I have is that I’m driving about an hour away to buy this car (due to inventory on what I want). I am not trading in my current car, and am going by myself. What are the chances the dealer will deliver it to me? I can pick it up another day with a friend but of course it would be easier if it came to me.

    1. Katefish*

      I’d certainly ask if the dealer will drive it home for you if need be! That’s a fairly common free perk. An hour might be pushing it but they’re likely to say yes.

    2. Katefish*

      Also, if you’re financing, manufacturers run special APRs on new cars often… I’d check the website and see if they have a better rate than your bank.

    3. Reba*

      If you enter the dealership you will be there for at least six hours, lol. So I’d say asking for delivery is well worth it! Lots of places have started doing this since the pandemic and I bet it will continue.

      1. Windchime*

        This might depend upon the dealership. When I bought my last car, I already pretty much knew what I want. I found a good salesperson and said, “I know what I want. I want X. I would like it for the Costco price. I’m not going to do that thing where we dicker back and forth and you “go to the manager.”

        And you know what? He listened to me. We test drove a couple of cars and then we started signing paperwork. I was trading in my car, so they had to look that over and that took a few minutes. But I was in and out of there in less than 2 hours, and I went back to pick up my new car the next day. Easy Peasy.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Here’s some trivial ones : Check that you’ll get car mats. Get a real car jack & lung wrench as soon as possible. Ask *the dealer* if the frame has a special spot to position the car jack. (VW does…when my car jack went missing after a repair at a place I’d never used before, the tire went — and the AAA service guy bent the frame by not knowing to use that specific spot. Lucky for him it was a very old car I was planning to replace so I was only very annoyed.)
      New car is exciting — congrats!

    5. MMB*

      Delivery can always be requested. Some dealerships do it regularly, others don’t. It just depends on the dealership and their staffing level. Distance can also be a factor. Being flexible about the delivery date and time can be very helpful.

    6. Chaordic One*

      If they try to spring any surprise fees or charges on you at the last-minute, be prepared to walk away. And yes, they should deliver it to you.

    1. Teapot Translator*

      I’m still taking it easy because of my knees. But I have connected with a trainer and a physical therapist specialized in hypermobility, so hopefully I might be able to exercise more in May! They’re really busy so the appointments are not soon.
      My elbows started to hurt a few weeks ago so I stopped strength training for a bit. ;_; I think they’re better so I think I’ll do one strength training exercise this week.

    2. Helvetica*

      Doing pilates every other day for 40 minutes, following a Youtube tutorial (Move with Nicole, highly recommended!) I still love it, some exercises are definitely getting easier but remaining enjoyable.

      The only thing is I sometimes think I lose the correct posture or am not sure I am holding myself right and I wish there was someone watching and correcting me in the moment. I did record myself and then compare it to the Youtube video but that’s like half a measure.

    3. Josephine Beth NotAmy*

      Started using an exercise app at my daughter’s encouragement, and it’s wonderful! Fun, energetic instructors, short sessions, and a wide variety of options. I’m quite sore, but in a “oh, there’s actually muscle in there” kind of way, which is actually a nice feeling!

        1. Josephine Beth NotAmy*

          The one I’m using is Obe. I had a 2 week free trial, and decided to sign up after taking several different kinds of classes. It has a young vibe (I am not young) which I initially thought i would find off-putting, but it somehow fits for me. I will say having my daughter’s input helped – she’s used it for about a year and could guide me towards classes she knew i would like and could get some early success.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I’m having a lot of issues with stiffness. I walk several miles every day, I try to do strength training 3x/week, I stretch. But still, I stand up and I am just stiff. I’m 42, I take my vitamins and my glucosamine. I thought working out would make me more supple, not less!

      Any suggestions or particular exercises that might help?

        1. nep*

          (Well, wait–depends whether it’s joint stiffness or tight muscles. Foam rolling great for the latter.)

          1. AvonLady Barksdale*

            It’s mostly joint stiffness. Which is so weird to me because I take supplements and I move and all that. But, then, I’ve also gained a few pounds this year, so maybe I’m just putting too much stress on my joints.

        2. Kt*

          I enjoy foam rolling, and also I’ve added dance to my workout routine. I like Kukuwa Dance — just find it really loosens up my shoulders, neck, back in particular. Of course there are many styles of dance video! For me it’s a good low-impact cardio supplement to my other workouts.

          “Motion is lotion” is a good motto.

          Some folks also find consuming bone broth and gelatin to be helpful.

          1. Kt*

            I’ll also say that when I started my new workout routine, my toe hurt because it was stiff — and after about 3 weeks it went away! Don’t know how long you’ve been at it though.

    5. RagingADHD*

      I’m in one of my pain cycles, where all the mobility work I need to do hurts like ass and will make me feel a lot worse for the rest of the day – but I’ll feel better tomorrow and the day after.

      Or I can be a weenie and skip it today, but gradually feel slightly worse every day after.

      It’s a mental game.

    6. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Unfortunately I did not make it to the gym this week. I forgot what happened on Monday but the rest of the week was emergency after another. Making a fresh start this Monday, with Couch25k again. Hopefully whatever progress I made in 2 sessions 2 weeks ago isn’t undone.

    7. TiffIf*

      I can’t stand biking in the cold but its been getting warmer and I went on a bike ride last week! It was glorious. Though I’ve lost a lot of the stamina I had built up last year from biking a lot–have to build up to some of those hills again!

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’ve started training for my next 10k this week – the race is at the start of June, and I’d like to go a little faster than I did in my first 10k back in February. I hadn’t run since then (house move took up a lot of time and then I just sort of lost the will to do it, though I have been exercising at home and going for walks) but was pleased to see that my pace is roughly similar to what it was two months ago. I’m only four runs into the training programme but so far it seems to be going OK!

    9. LNLN*

      I was thrilled when my community pool reopened a couple months ago! I swim for 40 minutes (more or less) 3 times a week. I’m not a fast swimmer, but I can usually cover about 1,200 yards. I find the water to be relaxing and there is a nice community of people there. I walk my dog for an hour every morning, too, but she is 13 (and I am 66), so we don’t walk fast; I let her sniff and choose the route.

  27. Chilipepper*

    Dog health question. My 13 year old boy seems to have “old dog vestibular syndrome” or to have had a stroke. Prognosis is very good either way, but he is making it very difficult for us to sleep.

    Does anyone else have experience with either of these? What was recovery like?

    We are just 3 days in and he has gotten a bit better each day but is worse at the end of the day. At night he is pacing, like in the bed pacing, and wants to be very close to us. He has almost paced off the bed and the ramp to the bed (we have ramps bc of some unrelated back issues). So I’m not sleeping well.

    He is crate trained but not to stay in overnight (so not really crate trained, I know) but we have never needed him in a crate more than a few hours. And not sleeping with us causes more anxiety for him.

    He has anxiety as a result of abuse as a baby and being rehomed and abandoned multiple times b4 6 months so I just want to give him his best life. He is 22 pounds, some kind of poodle and maybe terrier mix.

    We ordered a harness that will help us stabilize him when he walks. Maybe that will help us manage him in bed at night.

    1. Dog and cat fosterer*

      In an ideal world I would suggest having an enclosed area next to your bed (maybe a single bed divided from yours by a bed rail) with your bedding, with the single bed squished between yours and a wall, so that he could pace to his heart’s content without stepping on you. That would allow you to reach over and comfort him.

      I’m not sure if that would work for him in this situation, or if you could try something similar (maybe move the bed against a wall and encourage him to pace along there?) with much less effort.

      Good luck, and I hope he improves quickly!

    2. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      Would your vet be willing to prescribe a low dose of something for anxiety that you can give him at night? Maybe doxepin or valium?

      In the realm of nonprescription options, you could try a thunder shirt or CBD treats. My older pup does well with Treatibles brand CBD treats for anxiety about things like storms, fireworks, and repair people. It may also help to have a pre-bedtime snack like a stuffed kong, snuffle mat, or other chew toy. Chewing releases endorphins (basically like exercise does for people) and would possibly help just by virtue of wearing him out a little.

    3. ThatGirl*

      No experience with that exactly but our older dog was getting very anxious at night and very early in the morning. Two things that have helped, he now sleeps in a bed right next to ours, with blankets and socks around that smell like us, and my husband can pick him up for a cuddle if he fusses early. And he now gets a doggie melatonin treat before bed, which helps him settle and sleep through the night.

    4. fposte*

      Can you close him in next to your bed but with an open top so you can reach him from the bed? You can even put him up some on a platform and enclose that. Green plastic garden mesh would be easy to cut to size and fasten with twist ties or Velcro.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Have you ever tried him with a thundershirt style garment to see if it reduces anxiety? Dogs don’t all react to it the same way so it’s not a guarantee.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I was just thinking along the same lines. My pup had no where near this level of difficulty but his restlessness was keeping me awake. I put a corner of a light blanket over his butt. He settled right down and nodded off.

        I do think that verbal instruction can help. Announcing that it is bedtime, directing him, “this is where you sleep” and, “okay buddy, we are going to sleep now” can be of some help if used consistently.

    6. Chilipepper*

      I should have said that he takes gabapentin 1 daily for his back and it works for anxiety. He is generally much more sociable with strangers now.

      And I did try the thunder wrap the night before – it did not seem to make a difference.

      If this keeps up, we will have to do a side sleeping bed of some kind. Its the fear of him either falling if he is in our bed or jumping up to get to us if he is not, that has me worried.

      We have a king sized bed and plenty of room for him to roam, he just wants to do it on me and has almost fallen off.

      Thanks all.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A thought, look at co-sleeping cribs, or even a standard crib. The side rails would keep himself from going off the other side. Maybe post a ‘wanted’ on freecycle/buynothing for an outdated one– for example a “moveable side can drop” recall would be irrelevant because you’d be taking off the 4th side permanently.

  28. No Tribble At All*

    Cat meeting cat meeting cat meeting!!!

    They look like you’re presenting something during a meeting. From left to right, Hank looks like he has a question and is too shy to ask, Sophie is engaged and paying attention, Wallace looks like you’ll have to try harder to impress him, and Eve looks like she’s about to interrupt you and tell everyone her idea instead.

    I love that they all have people names. Was that on purpose? Did you start with a few and just keep the trend going? Or would it be unfair to the dignity of a cat to be named “Muffins” when the others could enroll in a prep school?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I think it happened by accident, although I’ve always liked people names for animals. We did come close to naming one Grendel once (and I pushed hard for Fig once but was overruled), but other than that our lists of possible names have always been people names. I do feel bad for Hank that he’s the only one who doesn’t sound like an English schoolchild. (He came to us as Hank from the start.)

      1. No Tribble At All*

        I feel like naming a cat Grendel is inviting bad vibes into your house. Or possibly calling yourself (Grendel’s mother) the bigger monster. Hank could be an English schoolchild too… just not from the “right kind” of people. I continue to be impressed how well all of them get along. Thanks for answering :)

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        The surname “Hanks” came out of England, implying a “Hank” somewhere. But my name history Google-full is failing me, and the closest I can find is “kin” being a diminutive that got attached to John/Johannus… so
        Johan-kin”–> Johankin–>Hankin.

    2. Yellow Warbler*

      Speaking as a childfree person (IIRC, Alison is as well) giving your pets people names makes it much easier to scapegoat them to get out of awkward social situations. “Sorry I can’t make it to your MLM party, Sophie has an appointment!”

    3. Buni*

      I love it – they look like that meme of “Keep walking, Carol, this doesn’t concern you….”.

    4. Texan In Exile*

      Hmm. And here I (who did not attend prep school but have read the fiction) am thinking, “Aren’t all prep school girls named Muffin or Bitsy or something like that?”

  29. Teapot Translator*

    People helping science!
    I was listening to Short Wave on NPR this week and there was an episode on the sea level records and how they might be useful for climate change. They mentioned the UK Tides project, where the public can help transcribe old sea level records.
    So, I was wondering if anyone knew of any other similar projects where the public helps out. I vaguely remember one about space?
    Have you helped out in such a “crowd-supported” project?

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      The Smithsonian has a program where you can transcribe all sorts of old handwritten things, field notes, diaries, etc

    2. Charlotte Lucas*

      I know a retired couple who help observe & record dragonfly population numbers. (They signed up for butterflies but found out there was more need with dragonflies.) It’s through their local park system, & they train you to recognize different types. The data from local volunteers helps researchers see patterns at local & international levels.

    3. Semi-Anon*

      Check out the Zooniverse website – there’s a ton of well organized citizen science project with a wide range of topics, and things like forums to discuss what you’re doing. I’m done some wildlife cam stuff (look at pictures from motion sensitive cameras, count/classify the animals) which I find soothing. The astronomy ones look fun, but I do that in my day job, so it’s less appealing when I get home from work – some of my colleagues have organized projects, however.

      On a less organized level, the eBird website compiles birding reports from individuals, and is used in research.

    4. Max Kitty*

      The Library of Congress “By the People” program has volunteers transcribe document collections.

    5. Nela*

      Yeah the space one was Galaxy Zoo, the public was sorting space images by galaxy type and spin direction. I did it once many years ago, but now they probably have enough data to train an AI to continue sorting them.
      A friend told me that in the Netherlands they are asked to count and report species of birds spotted in their yard during one week in April (I think?)

      1. Generic Name*

        The US does the same thing with bird counts! There are a couple. There’s the Christmas Bird Count, the breeding bird survey, and the Great Backyard Bird Count.

    6. Generic Name*

      I got my first COVID vaccine, and I signed up to report any side effect symptoms (so far I had a sore arm that was pretty painful the evening of my shot, but was 99% resolved by the next morning). I get a text once a day and I fill out a symptom questionnaire. Takes like two minutes.

    7. Girasol*

      My state’s Fish and Game Master Naturalist program directs members to all sorts of “citizen science” efforts: cataloguing insects, counting birds, gathering wild plant samples, counting bumblebees, working in the natural history museum’s back rooms identifying and cataloguing, all sorts of things. F&G has volunteers in the office analyzing the field data that others bring in. I wonder if you could ask around at a local college or museum or at your local Fish and Wildlife office for a researcher who wants an extra pair of hands with a project that interests you.

    8. Password1234*

      I just downloaded an app to help monitor the 17 year cicadas when they come out. I hope my bits of data help.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      “FoldIt” — an online puzzle game that’s geared to solving real protein questions.

    10. allathian*

      We have two “insect hotels” in our garden and planted a small meadow for pollinators last year. We also don’t bother to dig out dandelions from our lawn, they’re great for pollinators.

  30. LaminateHalp*

    Living in a starter house, wanting to change carpet to laminate in the bedrooms. But also replace hallway/stairs carpet. Is this possible or does it all have to be same laminate? Fam member says carpet hall/stairs looks weird if all bedrooms are laminate. I’m favoring carpet bc we’re very fall prone and we might try for kids very soon and I don’t want anyone seriously injuring themselves. I fell down the stairs as a kid and the only thing that prevented a hospital visit or much worse was that the stairs were carpet.

    1. Laura Petrie*

      We have laminate in the hall, carpet on the stairs, landing and one of our bedrooms, laminate in our spare room and Lino in the bathroom. We had laminate in the box room too but we’re in the middle of turning the space into an office so we’re replacing it with click vinyl tiles.

      I wouldn’t want laminate on the stairs, I much prefer carpet. It’s your home so get what you want. Our random flooring combo looks fine and I’ve never thought I needed the same type of flooring in that space.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I’ve got pergo in the entryway, kitchen, and dining room, but I kind of want to replace the carpet in the living room with something different, maybe laminate, probably something brown that won’t show dirt as well. I’m not sure if that will look weird.

      2. I'm the one*

        We have old-fashioned linoleum tile in the children’s bedrooms. They picked out the colors and pattern. Linoleum is renewable and doesn’t off-gas. We haven’t had a problem with needing to rewax (unlike in a kitchen) because it just doesn’t get that much wear in a bedroom.
        We have carpet on the stairs and hallway for noise control and safety.
        We put hardwood in the master bedroom, but that was too expensive to do in all of the rooms.
        We figure that when we sell, it would be easy for the buyer to put wall-t0-wall carpet in the children’s rooms.

    2. It happens*

      Your house, your way.
      Look up stair runners, carpeting that covers most, but not all of the stair. Super common with wood floors, for looks, warmth, and the inevitable tumble down. And if you’re looking for formal, you can get fancy and add brass holders at each step.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        The brass holders are more than formality — they provide safety to prevent slipping when you don’t want to use glue & staples.

    3. fposte*

      I have hardwood in the rooms and carpet on the stairs for noise control. I don’t think that’s much different than what you’re proposing, and I think it looks fine (and I see that in other houses around here so it can’t be that weird).

    4. Reba*

      I would do hall/rooms the same. You can carpet the stairs, or what about laminate stairs with carpet treads or a runner?

    5. Not Australian*

      You definitely need carpet on the stairs, it keeps the noise down apart from anything else. We have laminate everywhere else, and tile in bathroom and kitchen, because we’re serial cat parents and just find it so much easier to clean up clouds of loose cat hair from hard floors than from carpet. We also have underfloor heating, so no cold surfaces even if we’re barefoot. The only thing you may need to give some thought to is transitioning between carpet and laminate, say at the top of the stairs; we chose to set a piece of carpet into the laminate flooring at that point and use metal cover-strips to disguise the cut edge of the laminate, with a tidy result.

  31. Sunny Okami*

    Dermatology question ahead

    Has anyone used products for at-home removals for skin tags/warts/moles/etc? I have an appointment with my general practitioner to discuss longterm treatment but I have one in a place that keeps getting rubbed painfully from my clothes that I would like removed ASAP. I see there are so many products to chose from but does anyone have personal experience that could recommend a product?

    1. It's Quarantime!*

      The thing about skin tags is, they’re just skin. I’ve cut a few off with nail clippers before. Have a disinfectant/bandaid ready for the little wound and it’s over quick.
      Warts are a little harder, but the acid patches were my go-to for those. Same concept though, it functions mostly like a bandaid and just takes time.
      Moles are the hardest. The ones I had removed were on my face, so yeah, I didn’t play games with them. Surgeon cut/stitched them and my biggest assignment was to stay out of the sun to avoid weird scars.

      1. fposte*

        Pretty much same here on all three, though I favor Compound W liquid with a bandage over it, which is probably just the artisanal version of your acid patches. But moles are doctor stuff for sure.

    2. Texan In Exile*

      If you can wait until you see your doc, she can clip off a mole in a second. I had one on my neck that necklaces would irritate. My doc clipped it off and put a bandaid on it and done.

      The only regret I had is that my grandma and my mom have a mole in that same place. I felt a bit like I was cutting one of my connections to them. :)

    3. Lyudie*

      I had a wart years ago and had it frozen off…the doctor I talked to said that sometimes they will come back if you use the over-the-counter stuff, but freezing it would prevent that. I have also had something that looked like a mole but was not removed from my shoulder with freezing…my doctor did it and it was very easy (I’m not sure exactly what it was…I don’t remember the real name but she called it a barnacle which I am sure is not a proper medical term). I’d be inclined to wait for your appointment and see what they recommend. Can you put a band aid or something over it in the meantime to help with rubbing?

      1. Semi-Anon*

        I’ve done plantar warts with over the counter stuff, but it takes longer than having the doctor freeze it – you have to apply the stuff a couple times a day for weeks, while the freezing was a single treatment.

    4. allathian*

      I get skin tags occasionally, and those I just clip with a nail clipper or cut with sharp scissors that won’t pull on the tag and make it worse. If I start bleeding, I disinfect the wound and put a bandaid on.

      I don’t have any experience with warts, but a funny thing happened when I was pregnant, I had a mole on my waist that my pants rubbed a bit, but just as I was about to schedule a doctor’s appointment to remove it, the mole just started peeling off by itself, because it was stiffer than the skin on my expanding baby bump. When it was just stuck on one edge, I pulled it off. It bled a bit but not enough to need a bandaid.

    5. Laura Petrie*

      I had a large skin tag on my neck that I hated.

      I bought the remover that is essentially a tiny elastic band that you slide over the tag with the included accessory.

      It worked really well, took about a week but was totally painless and no blood at all.

      1. Anonodon*

        I’ve never had luck removing skin tags by myself. If you can get to a dermatologist it’s relatively easy. I prefer getting them snipped off, since they are gone right away, and you don’t have to wait for them to fall off, but my current derm freezes them. It is slightly painful but quick for both and less painful than when I tried to do it myself.

        I’ve never had a wart but recently had a pyogenic glanuloma that can be mistaken for a wart or possible skin cancer. They look scary and bleed constantly, which is also scary, but not harmful as long as you contain the bleeding. I used otc wart stuff which does not work and had to have it removed by my derm. It came back and I had to have it removed again, which is common but it’s finally gone for good.

        FYI in case this is helpful to anyone, I never heard of it before and was really freaked out until I figured out what it was. It was scary to get a weird skin lesion that wouldn’t heal, especially during a pandemic. If you’re not sure, get it checked out!

    6. Asenath*

      I went with the professionals. Skin tags are usually the easiest to nip off yourself, but the location of mine plus my poor eyesight made a trip to a doctor who had a regular “lumps and bumps” clinic a good idea – all gone very quickly. Moles and warts are also easily dealt with by the doctor – plantar warts, in particular, didn’t respond to my attempts to use over-the-counter wart remover.

    7. Skeeder Jones*

      Skin tags: I tied a piece of thread around it and it died from lack of blood and fell off. I had another one I just snipped with scissors. It bled for a while but eventually stopped and it never grew back.

      Warts: covered with a piece of duct tape for about 2 weeks and it went away as well.

    8. WoodswomanWrites*

      I have cut off skin tags myself with a fingernail scissors, using alcohol on the spot before and after. They typically don’t even hurt. For warts and moles, I don’t mess with them myself and instead have seen a dermatologist. Like you, I had a skin growth in a spot that was getting chafed. My doctor put liquid nitrogen on it. After a week or two, it fell off on its own with no scarring.

  32. Teapot Translator*

    I’ve decided to get quotes for a custom-made bookcase. One of the companies I contacted is coming to take measurements in a few weeks. I’m going to look at bookcases online to see what I like, but is there stuff that I should consider (besides where the different outlets are in the wall)?
    I would prefer real wood to the stuff Ikea uses, but it will depend on the cost difference. I have a *lot* of Ikea furniture. I try to avoid touching it because I’m afraid it will fall down. /joking, just a bit

    1. allathian*

      Most of our furniture is from Ikea and at least our shelves are pretty solid. They do have to be anchored to the wall, though.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      Think about the heights of the shelves, and your book collection. For example – do you want shelves sized for mass market paperbacks (shorter shelves but more of them), for hardbacks, for oversized books, or for CDs/DVDs. If you want a mix, consider the current mix of books you have, and what you are likely to buy in the future (and make sure you’ve got empty space for future purchases).

    3. Workerbee*

      Ooh, we’d love custom-made ourselves, and definitely real wood. Funny how things like particle board and other composites are so much heavier.

      I would think of things like–

      -Adjustable shelves
      -If you want the bookcase to go all the way up to the ceiling or not
      -If you want a “back” to the bookcase and if it’s easy to cut through it/remove part of it to accommodate those outlets
      -Standalone versus needs to be anchored

    4. A313*

      Lighting, maybe? We have rope lights that fit in a notch along the back wall on the underside of each shelf. Looks nice!

    5. Belle*

      We have custom wood bookcases. One thing I would make sure to ask is how they handle corners if you are spanning more than one wall. We had to revise our drawing multiple times to deal with corners. I wanted the space usable but also looking nice to me. What I envisioned wasn’t what they they envisioned until we tweaked it a few times. I also have a few different heights to accommodate different heights of books. Ours are floor to ceiling and span three walls, so the drawing was a MUSt.

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      When you take down your Ikea bookshelves, consider offering the metal hardware to friends who also have Ikea bookshelves. I have extra bookshelves for which I can’t find the metal and it is driving me nuts! LOL.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I don’t know if it’s the same everything or if it’s still there during the pandemic, but there used to be containers at my Ikea, where one could pick extra bits and pieces (nails, etc.). They didn’t charge for it if I recall correctly.

    7. NoLongerYoung*

      I will say, I got 15 years out of my IKEA bookcases (set of 5) because I not only assembled as directed, but wood-glued them as I did so. Super sturdy, and the best $500 I ever spent. (Still have 1).

      I do have some lovely Pottery Barn ones (used to me) I bought, and they are components – cabinets below, shelves above. Easier to move and arrange. Yes, somewhat sturdier. But actually fewer shelves than my IKEA ones, so while much more stylish, a lot fewer books fit on them.

      So hiring help / using the wood glue as an addition may move the options to “won’t fall down.” (smile). I am assuming you will not need to take them apart again, though!

      1. I'm the one*

        We have solid wood Ikea bookshelves that we stained or had stained by a woodworker. They look great and work well, after 20 years. The bookshelves are adjustable, so we have made them fit our books. Outlets are reachable because there is no back. We do have wall anchors.

    8. zaracat*

      Consider the span of the shelves relative to the weight of the books to avoid shelf sag. I have a whole wall of floor to ceiling IKEA bookshelves, but went with the 40cm wide ones rather than 80cm as I have lots of large hardcover reference books.

  33. It's Quarantime!*

    Hi everyone…
    It’s been two weeks since I said goodbye to my beloved kitty. It’s hard. Thank you all for your kind words. I have revisited them many times to remind myself of the good and caring people in the world.
    My body and grief are battling with each other as stubborn post-COVID symptoms are making it hard/impossible to grieve.
    A very kind person warned me about medications and tinnitus, and despite immediately stopping that medicine I’m in week three of my ears ringing constantly. I can barely think, it’s impacting my ability to work, and I have to cram my emotions back down as hard as I can every time they rise because crying makes it worse.
    Have you dealt with tinnitus before? How long did it continue? How do/did you even function? The idea of this being forever is so terrible! Right up until January of this year I used to be strong, confident, capable, and independent but my family (who I love and am very grateful for) have had to come take me from my home to live in my parents guest room for a while because I’m so broken.

    1. Lyudie*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. We lost both of our cats in about a year’s time…it’s been over a year and I still cry sometimes over both of them. If you have not seen it, there’s a good analogy of grief as a ball in a box (I’ll post a link in a reply).

      I am on Zoloft (generic) and get the tinnitus. I haven’t found a good way to cope with it other than masking it with music etc. It doesn’t bother me too much most of the time but sometimes gets annoying. It sounds like yours is worse…my sympathies. It certainly isn’t helping with everything else you have going on. You are dealing with A Lot and it’s okay to not be okay. Much love to you <3

    2. desdemona*

      I do not have tinnitus, but have friends who do. The thing I’ve seen most discussed/recommended is listening to other sounds. This could be music, or white noise, or whale sounds – something that provides a different background noise to listen to, separate from the ringing.
      I’m sorry you’re going through so much right now – I hope you find relief for the tinnitus soon!

    3. Bucky Barnes*

      No advice on tinnitus, but my condolences on your loss. I lost my beloved girl to cancer a few years ago. One of the worst times of my life.

    4. nep*

      Sorry for your loss, and that you’re struggling right now.
      I’ve never had to cope with tinnitus. I’m sure you’ve looked online, but just putting this out there. I often look at Bob and Brad on YouTube, and I recalled they have a video about tinnitus, naming a lot of resources. Link below, in case any of it is of interest.
      I hope you’ll find relief soon.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRdUxByHo30

    5. Grim*

      I’m so sorry you have tinnitus. It is a horrible condition that no one should live with.

      I have had tinnitus for over 20 years, with the past 7 being so debilitating that I had to quit my job and become a hermit. Like you, I can no longer concentrate or focus on my work and it’s mentally very destroying when the tinnitus sounds in your head become so all encompassing you can’t escape it, and then you don’t think about anything else.

      There is a Web forum out there called Tinnitus Talk (Google) that I think you should visit ASAP. There many people in the same boat as you that got tinnitus due to Covid or Covid vaccine medications.

      1. nep*

        It’s disturbing how for some people COVID or the vaccine seem to be causing tinnitus. Really hope that’s not a long-term effect. Makes me nervous about getting second shot. Then again, since cases have been reported of COVID itself causing the condition, well…

  34. HannahS*

    How do I learn more about identifying garden plants? I live near an absolutely lovely public garden. I wish I could walk around and better know what I’m looking at. I’m not really looking for a field-guide, per se, because many of the plants aren’t indigenous (like tulips, for example), but maybe more of a gardener’s guide to flowers, trees, groundcovers, etc.

    1. Pregnant during COVID*

      There are apps that help identify plants while you’re on your walks! There’s a new free (even ad free!) one called Lookup Life that I am planning to download for my nature walks. It uses your geo location and the appearance of the species to help identify from a database of thousands. It also gives a lot of background info and can identify animals as well as plants.

      1. OtterB*

        Picture This is another free app for identifying plants

        Does your public garden have a gift shop? They would seem likely to have useful books. Or even a front desk where you could ask for recommendations?

      2. Coenobita*

        The Seek app is also really fun for this. I like that it lets you opt in to some low-stakes challenge games like “find 10 species of flowering plants and 1 insect” – I’m super motivated by that kind of gamification so it makes my neighborhood walks more fun. And as a result I’m learning the names of lots of ornamental plants that I’ve seen probably every day of my life but never knew what they were called.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Check online to see if your state or local college/university has an agricultural extension. They are a font of knowledge!

  35. Pharmgirl*

    Does anyone know anything about / have used/hired a management company for condo buildings (i.e. to manage multiple units)? I live in a 4 unit condo building, and one of the owners has been the trustee since before I moved in 2 years ago. They are moving this summer and have notified the rest of us to figure out a plan. The trustee manages condo fees, shared utility bills, maintenance, yard work/snow removal, fire alarm testing, etc. One of the other units is an older woman and her disabled daughter, and they’re not able to take this on. The other unit moved into a single family home a few months back and are renting their unit to tenants.

    I have a feeling that I will be expected to take over, but I have neither the time nor interest. I work 45+ hours a week, as well as weekend and on-call rotations, plus I’m single and live alone and have to manage life/house stuff on my own. Right now at least I don’t think I have the energy to add on anything like this. I’d like to suggest hiring someone to contract this stuff out to, and wanted to see what other peoples experiences have been with doing that. Thanks in advance!

    1. It happens*

      I feel for you. Be prepared, it’s going to cost money, and the owners need to know/understand/agree to that before you start. The work has to be done and unless an owner steps up, the owners need to pay.
      Walk around the neighborhood and see if any buildings have plaques naming their management companies. Start asking people you know who live in multi-unit buildings who their management company is. Ask real estate agents for recommendations. Talk to the person who does everything now and have them make a full list of what they do- weekly, monthly, seasonally, annually. This list is important because it’s what you need to allocate between the manager and the owners.

      Then the search begins. Start phoning, tell them you’re only four units and see if they’re interested and get a general idea of cost based on the scope of work. Have at least three do a walk through to prepare formal bids. And then you need the building to agree to the price and contract. And then someone still needs to supervise them and sign off on expenditures. Which is a little less work than total DIY, but produces a low level of daily stress, which turns to high level of stress when big projects arise.

      Best of luck- it’s gonna be an adventure.

      1. Filosofickle*

        All this. I used to be an owner and HOA pres of of a 5-unit condo building. None of us knew what we were doing and we tried to get a management company but it was hard at our size and with our finances. In the end we didn’t find anyone and just muddled through. IMO we definitely could have used pro support though!

    2. Pharmgirl*

      Thank you both! The owners that are renting out their unit are okay with contracting out or have suggested splitting duties as to keep hoa down which I am okay with as well. I’m not in a place to take on all the duties right now, but am happy to share responsibility.

  36. Backyard dreams*

    If you were going to landscape a small to medium backyard and did NOT want a lawn to mow, a veggie garden, or a pool, what would you put there?

    1. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      I’m in the SEUS (hot summers, very humid, lots of shade from trees) ANF have had success with dense ground covers over most of yard, with moss doing best to cover the really shallow areas right under the trees. If you have any flower bed type sections that would look best with something taller, mixed wildflower seeds are great.