weekend open thread – June 12-13, 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: Last Summer at the Golden Hotel, by Elyssa Friedland. As two families who own a historic Catskills resort gather to decide whether to sell it, family drama, dysfunction, and secrets emerge. It’s funny and includes a lot of enjoyable old-timey Catskills nostalgia. (The author’s The Floating Feldmans is also good.)

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

{ 868 comments… read them below }

  1. jordan almond overload*

    I need advice. My good friend is getting married and she is understandably consumed with wedding planning. They had to put the wedding off last year because of COVID and I’m excited for her that they can move forward with it now. But it is all she will talk about and there’s only so long I can think about the latest dilemma of baby blue tablecloths versus lavender or what song they want to walk down the aisle to. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friend and I’m so happy for her. But every time we talk now this is all she wants to talk about. I can’t think of the last time she asked me about anything going on in my life. When I have tried to talk about things going on with me, somehow she ends up changing the subject back to the wedding really quickly. I actually find wedding planning interesting, I really do. But I need a break from it. I feel badly telling her that because she’s stressed by some life events right now and she doesn’t have a lot of people she’s close to (and her mom has been really difficult during the planning so she’s keeping her on an info diet and can’t lean on her for a lot of this). I am also in the wedding so I probably have some obligation to listen to more of this than others. Is there any way to ask her to cut back on how much we talk about the wedding or do I just need to accept that it’s going to be another five months of this?

    1. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      You absolutely get to set boundaries. Try saying it outright, gently: “Hey, Cynthia, I know this is the biggest thing in your life right now, and I’m genuinely thrilled for you, but the details of tablecloths aren’t so much my thing. I also really miss getting your take on what’s going on with me—you’ve always been such a sympathetic listener and you give great advice [or whatever makes you want to share your things with her]. Are you able to occasionally take a break from wedding stuff and hear about what’s up in my life?”

      If that goes badly, or she says she can listen to you but she really can’t, you always get to say “Oops, my kid is vacuuming the cat, gotta go” or “It sounds like you’ve got a ton to do, so don’t let me keep you from it” and get off the phone/step away from the chat. It’s really kind that you want to support her through a tumultuous time, but you can’t do that if you’re exhausted or irritated from her doing all the talking and no listening, so put your own oxygen mask on first.

      1. SG*

        I think this is awesome advice with one exception — I would leave out the phrase,”the details of tablecloths aren’t so much my thing,” because it’s unnecessary and adds a slight edge to the comment without any value added in my opinion. I think you can probably accomplish the same, and more gently, by just saying, “I know this is the biggest thing in your life right now, and I’m genuinely thrilled for you, but I also really miss getting your take on what’s going on with me—you’ve always been such a sympathetic listener … Are you able to occasionally take a break from wedding stuff and hear about what’s up in my life?”

        1. Venus*

          Completely agreed, especially since JAO is probably happy to hear about tablecloths for a while if their friend also spent time on other topics.

          The key here is that the wedding talk isn’t the problem, it’s the lack of other topics.

    2. zaracat*

      Don’t suffer in silence. Please say something!

      I am that friend, right now. Not wedding planning but another major life decision, whether and when to sell my current house and buy something which is a better long term choice for me. The descisions I make will have significant long term consequences financially, and I’ve become rather obsessed with the whole process. Real estate is a major topic of discussion in the city where I live, so I can get away with bringing it up every time I talk to friends, family, colleagues. But it’s easy to forget that they simply aren’t as invested in the outcome as I am, and a gentle reminder from them that there are *other* topics of conversation including *their* lives is totally justified and doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit.

    3. Asenath*

      Yes, you can kindly set boundaries, or if you think even that might be hurtful, grab the boundaries by listening for a set time and then realizing something’s on the stove, or whatever. I’ve been on both sides of this – one one occasion, my friend had to say bluntly something like “We’ve talked about X a lot, let’s talk about something else”, and we were on good enough terms that I was able to accept that. I found being on the receiving end rather harder, and finally decided to listen once a day, for a short period, and then say something like “I have to go” or “I’ll let you go now”, and my friend picked up on this and said goodbye.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’d point out that SHE may need a break from the topic, whether or not she realizes it. Sometimes time away from an issue helps me refocus when I get back to it–dithering is a sign.
      And BTW for me, the issue I’m dithering over sometimes hides something more serious.

    5. Still*

      I’d probably say “I know you’re very excited about the wedding, so lets be super excited and scream about it for the next 20 minutes, and then I need a subject change!” I might actually set a timer.

      But if you don’t have the kind of relationship where this would go over well, how about you set a rule for yourself? Try two-three subject changes, and if she still goes back to talking about the wedding, call it a day and hung up / leave and try again another day.

      And remember that at the very least you know there’s an end date to this! Hopefully she’ll be back to normal after the wedding is over and the confetti has settled.

      1. HahaLala*

        I’ve done this before! A good friend was going thru a bad break up and needed to vent, but I couldn’t take hours on hours of listening to complaining every time we hung out. I did set a timer on a few occasions, and told him “You know we care about you, but I don’t wanna spend all night talking about X. I’m setting a timer for 1 hour and then no more talking about it tonight!” And that would give him enough time to get stuff of his chest, and then he’s be good for the rest of the night talking about other things. And repeat the next time we hung out, so he could update us on anything new with the crazy ex.

    6. Jessi*

      “Hey friend, I don’t know if you realise this but the last few times we have talked all you have talked about is the wedding, and i don’t even think you asked me how I’ve been. I’m so so happy that you are finally able to get married and go ahead with the wedding but I want to hear what else is going in your life. Maybe next time we talk we could set a limit on the wedding talk and then move on to other things?” Give her 10 mintues and then say “I’m all weddinged out. Whats going on at work” if she doesn’t switch, or switches back to wedding chat make up an excuse to hang up

    7. Tuesday*

      I probably wouldn’t say anything really directly because I wouldn’t want her to take it like, “gah, shut up about your wedding already!”. But I’ve noticed when people are stuck on one topic like that, it helps if I preface things I say like, “What do you think I should do about [story…]?” “Do you mind if I vent about work for a minute?” That kind of clues them in to the fact that I want them to engage with my stuff for a while.

      1. allathian*

        One would hope so. That said, sometimes a firm “Gah, shut up about your wedding already” is what it takes to get a person to change the subject. It all depends on the type of friendships you have. With some of my friends, a firm “I’m sick of this subject, let’s talk about anything else or I’m going home/hanging up/going to have to ask you to leave” would work just fine and wouldn’t affect the friendship at all, and with others it would go down like a lead balloon.

        1. allathian*

          That said, I’ve been friends with most of my current friends since middle or high school (about 35 years), so these situations rarely come up. There’s always something to talk about, and one person rarely monopolizes the conversation for very long.

    8. allathian*

      Ugh, I’m sorry.

      I guess I’m biased because I intensely dislike big weddings and would probably never agree to be in anyone’s wedding party, because being a guest at such an event is about as much as I can take, I don’t want to be a part of organizing one. Even my best friend knew me well enough not to ask, but then I was going through some stuff in my personal life that meant that I just didn’t have the mental resources for organizing anything big like a wedding. I did participate in organizing her hen night and in making party favors and decorations for the wedding. For the record, wedding parties tend to be small here, usually just one bridesmaid and one matron of honor (or two of either, if it’s hard to find an unmarried and a married friend) and maybe some flower girls, even for 200+ guest weddings.

      Do you have any other friends you could socialize with for now and cut down on how much you talk to her?
      Even if you’re happy for her and happy to be in her wedding party, talking to other people about what’s going on in your life would perhaps make it easier for you to accept that her wedding is the only thing she can talk about at the moment, and also cut down on how much you talk to her.

    9. Lobsterp0t*

      “I have ten minutes of wedding chat in me today, and then I’d love to do X”

      Or “I am very excited for your wedding, but I don’t have logistics and decisions chat in me today.”

    10. Dust Bunny*

      I guess I would start by asking if there’s something specific with which she wants assistance because maybe she’s doing this because she’s not getting feedback from other people and is anxious, but then, yeah, I’d gently ask to move on to another topic.

      I have a friend who is on a diet and, while I’m glad for her that she’s found something that seems to be working and is feeling so much better, the constant talk about calories and carbohydrates is about to ruin our time together–every meal brings up another round of it, and then in between meals she’s considering what she’s already eaten and what she has left in her “allowance”, so it never really ends. She’s always been someone who loved numbers, math, planning, strategy, etc., so this is pretty normal for her, and her overall approach doesn’t seem unhealthy, but the fact that she’s doing all the calculating *out loud* (it’s also normal for her to process thoughts aloud all the time) is going to drive me nuts and I’m finally going to have to ask that she dial it back.

  2. Laura H.*

    Little Joys thread

    What brought you joy this week.

    Mine are getting new socks and more of my absolute favorite pens- feels nice to have a full set in the work caddy- all the lovely colors.

    Please share your joys.

    1. Pamela Adams*

      Visiting family in Idaho for the first time since November 2019. I get to play with 2 great-nephews and a great-niece!

    2. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      Thunderstorms swept through the other day, and yesterday the air was so delicious that I took an extra-long walk on sore feet just to get to breathe more of it.

    3. Kalongdia*

      We got a new dog a couple months ago, and she has had her difficulties getting our cats to trust her. One of the cats has started sharing a blanket with her and its super cute!

    4. Stitching Away*

      I listened to the audiobook of The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. I kept thinking I knew what it was, and it kept surprising me. It was an utter delight, right to the last word.

    5. Jackalope*

      I was just waiting for this thread because I have exciting news – KITTENS!!!! We just got them today and are super excited. They are TINY. I haven’t had kittens this little since I was an elementary school student; they are 10 weeks old and my youngest other cat was 4 months when I got her. We got littermates and they were having so much fun chasing each other and then flopping in exhaustion and then jumping on each other again. They haven’t officially met the older two, but the door to the room where they are staying fell open somehow (probably didn’t get pulled tightly closed) and everyone was staring at each other (older cats outside, younger cats inside) with open curiosity but not hostility. Planning to give it more time before the full intro but that makes me hopeful.

      (Also, I held the sister at the shelter for a bit, and then they gave me the brother. When I was holding him she was crying so piteously for him to come back. I was really happy to make sure they got a home together.)

      1. KuklaRed*

        Oh I love kittens! I am almost ready to get a new kitty, after losing my little Emmie to cerebellar abiotrophy at 6 months last year. Good luck with them!!

      2. Dust Bunny*

        I am hopelessly addicted to kittens. I have a bunch of friends who do kitten fostering so their FB feeds are pretty much an endless supply of kittens.

    6. Lemonwhirl*

      My work gave us a day off yesterday to use for wellness, so my husband and I went to a really nice nursery/garden centre that’s always bonkers busy on the weekends. We were able to buy a load of perennials that are now making our house so pretty and are also drawing all kinds of big, adorable bumble bees. As a bonus, this nursery now has a cafe, and we had a delightful lunch outdoors – great food, great company, amazing scenery. We kept remarking how lovely and enjoyable and relaxing the experience was. We’d not had lunch together in a restaurant since March 2020. I felt truly hopeful for the first time in a while.

    7. Laura Petrie*

      I got a beautiful tattoo of my heart rat. I already had one of her with some flowers on my arm, but now I have an angel rat holding a piece of a heart in the spot on my shoulder she loved to sit.

      I submitted my last piece of uni work for the academic year and now I am on the longest summer break I’ve ever had. Am excited to catch up with some tv and start volunteering at another organisation.

      We’re meeting friends for outdoor drinks later and we’ve not seen them for almost 2 years. I’m starting with an endo flare up but I don’t care, I’m just going to have a lovely afternoon.

    8. Bobina*

      Got my first vaccination on Tuesday, it was on the other side of town so I walked, it was super efficient, and then it was a lovely evening so on the way back I stopped in a park to lie down and enjoy the sunshine, and then again on the waterfront. I love summertime and so glad we can enjoy it again this year!

    9. StellaBella*

      I bought a carpet from a friend. I love it. My cat loves loves loves it. And it is hand woven :)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I love my coloring app. Be careful though – the first couple weekends I got it, I got sucked in and spent hours hunched over it, and had SUCH a crick in my neck the next couple days, haha.

    10. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Heat wave broke with a torrential storm that left everything feeling clean & fresh. We got to have windows OPEN and sleep without noisy AC.

    11. Hotdog not dog*

      I’m planning a trip to visit my parents at the end of the month and just found out that one of my siblings will be there the same week. Like everyone else, I haven’t seen my family for over a year, and am super excited! We’re planning a “multi holiday” dinner incorporating dishes and traditions from the holidays we missed. I’m mostly looking forward to hugging my mom!

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Please wish them a very merry thanks fourth* of Halloweenukah from me!
        (*fifth if you’re in the UK)

    12. AGD*

      A couple of twentysomethings – one man and one woman – hugging tightly, going by my house on a skateboard. They did this by keeping all four feet in a line – hers on the inside, his spread apart with one on each side facing the opposite direction.

      Not sure where propulsion was coming from (my street is pretty flat and I didn’t see a battery pack), but at any rate, it was both adorable and impressive!

    13. Ali G*

      I got to be out in nature for an entire day this past week and it was so rejuvenating. Even though I was gone for 3 days, I got more work done when I came back than I have in a week in a long time.

    14. allathian*

      Summer’s here, but it’s cool enough to keep the window open when I’m not in a meeting. There’s a lilac bush growing a few yards from my home office window, and when the wind blows from that direction, my office smells of lilac. It’s one of my favorite scents, even if it’s too strong to pick a few blooms and take indoors.

      The pandemic is easing in our area, and my friends and I are talking about going to an outdoor restaurant for dinner one evening next week. I’m looking forward to that!

      My parents and in-laws got their second doses last week.

    15. Queer Earthling*

      Went for a walk in my neighborhood along a path that doesn’t get much use, and found a whole bunch of black raspberries! (Not on any individual’s property.) So now we have a bucket of fresh berries.

    16. Dwight Schrute*

      I bought a kayak this week! I’ve always wanted one but hadn’t had the money/time/space for one and I finally did it. Looking forward to taking it out on a lake soon

    17. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I picked up a box of croissants and a tub of chicken salad from the Costco deli this week and have been mostly living on chicken salad croissant sandwiches since. It’s quite tasty, and refreshing in the heat.

    18. RagingADHD*

      My whole family is vaxxed now, so I worked out at the gym without a mask, the kids had an all-day playdate with friends, and we hosted some dear friends from out of town.

      Also, we found a stray kitten in the shrubbery and apparently have made to switch from “we’re not cat people” to “yes, we’re cat people” overnight. He’s been vetted and is healthy and adorable.

      It’s been a glorious week.

    19. Is it tea time yet?*

      My kid got his second shot this week, and somehow powered through a short day of online school the next day (the real tiredness hit him later in the day, but he was still a trouper). The county center where he got it was full of other teens getting their vaccinations too. His friends are all vaxxed, as well as his cousin on my side of the family. Yay!

      The cat taught himself a new trick, which has been very amusing.

    20. Falling Diphthong*

      For the first time since the pandemic got rolling, I:
      • Had cannoli from that spot in the North End.
      • Went into a store without a mask.
      • Will be eating in an indoor restaurant for my husband’s birthday next week.

      1. Old and Don’t Care*

        Ha, I was there this week as well. Very strange to be one of three people in the store, but things seemed to be picking up rapidly from what I could tell.

    21. INFJedi*

      Where I live (somewhere in the EU) you get an invite to go for the jabs. I’ve been shot for quite a while (2nd was a couple of weeks ago) because I work in healthcare, but all my friends (end 20s begin 30s millennials) recently got all their invites for their shots. So our hopes for maybe we can catch up in August, are no longer dreams or hopes, but are turning into real plans for catching up with a BBQ.

      So yes, I am really grateful for that.
      Next to of course, having a wonderful family, and having lovely pets. ;-)

    22. Girasol*

      The wire shelving unit from Amazon came. I took all the house plants off their mismatched mess of different stands and shelves and made a green plant wall in the dining room. And then I got caught up on all the repotting and trimming that I’d been meaning to do forever. It looks so much better. A little change in the house furnishing always brightens my whole outlook.

    23. GoryDetails*

      Had a friend drop by the other morning with a basket of fresh strawberries! She’d found them at her local market and bought several, and was taking them around to friends’ houses – such a lovely surprise!

    24. SheLooksFamiliar*

      After almost 2 years, a dear friend and I are having a very safe spa day today. Facial, mani/pedi, and hairstyling, and then a late lunch and gabfest at our favorite local restaurant. I love spa visits but I’ve missed spending time with this friend.

    25. the cat's ass*

      We’re getting a new kitten!
      Hub’s new job is working out really well!
      The rumors that my practice was going to be bought out by Awful Big Conglomerate turned out to be only that-rumors (big sigh of relief)!

    26. Can't Sit Still*

      It’s my birthday! I haven’t been excited about my birthday in decades, but this one feels different, even though it’s not a “big” one.

      1. Hotdog not dog*

        Happy birthday! Maybe it IS a big one….the first of a new cycle (I’ve had enough birthdays to know that life doesn’t usually work on even numbers!)

    27. AlexandrinaVictoria*

      First in-person Shabbat service this morning since March of 2020. Everyone there had to prove they were vaccinated, so there was music, laughter, and SO MANY HUGS!

    28. old biddy*

      My peonies are blooming and I’ve made several large bouquets already. There aren’t very many ants this year so I don’t have to flick them off before bringing the flowers in the house

    29. KuklaRed*

      Getting tickets to go see my beloved NY Mets play tomorrow at Citifield! (OK, I still call it Shea Stadium.) My husband and I are fully vaxxed, will remain masked, but we are SO excited to go to see live baseball! Heck, I’d go see live anything! And next weekend, NYC and the Immersive van Gogh exhibit and a weekend in a nice hotel and dinner plans with friends.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Shea Stadium forever. (My dad taught me to boo the Dodgers because they left Brooklyn, and I have his piece of Ebbets Field. We have long memories in my family… mom used to say it was a good thing we didn’t indulge in blood feuds.)

      2. Rara Avis*

        Wait, it’s not Shea Stadium anymore? (The last time my dad took me there would have been in the 80’s.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Nope. Last season of Shea was 2008. They built Citi Field pretty much in its parking lot though so all the transit directions & local references are the same.

    30. Kuododi*

      Our local movie theaters are reopened for business. DH and I will be seeing “In the Heights” for our first official movie date since COVID-19 shut down the world!!! (Regular movie dates was a “thing” for us as a couple. I’m doing the Happy Snoopy Dance in anticipation.)

      I’ll certainly report back with a brief review of the production.

      Best regards

      1. Kuododi*

        I’m back and I am unsure how best to summarize the movie except to say “Magnificent!!!”. It didn’t turn a blind eye to many serious issues faced by Latino immigrants and their families. It did however present the story in a beautiful, life-affirming manner, leaving me in tears and with goose bumps.

        (It was worth price of admission simply to see Jimmy Smits singing and dancing. )

    31. RosyGlasses*

      I enjoyed a week of staycation – wandered through the art museum, bought and read several books, enjoyed a facial and some solo meals at favorite spots. Currently watching part 2 of Lupin on Netflix with my favorite peonies on the shelf to enjoy!

    32. Woolly Jumper*

      It was the last week of school (yay!) and I got to have a meet-up with all the kids who were learning remotely all year (distanced, masked, all that good stuff). These 2nd graders squeezed a whole years worth of recess joy into a 2 hour playground hangout and it was so sweet to see!

    33. Cappenstance*

      I’m due to give birth in midsummer, and the country where I live just made plans to lift its quarantine for vaxxed visitors from other countries before then, which means that my parents can come and visit around that time much more easily and for a longer time!

    34. Generic Name*

      My teenage son and I had a really enjoyable trip to ikea today. We ate in the cafeteria and we looked at new bedroom furniture because he’s outgrowing his hand me down stuff and his bunk bed. After 3 years of talking about switching bedrooms, he’s finally excited about the idea (he’s on the spectrum and can be very resistant to change). Being a teenager (and on the spectrum) can be so hard, so I really cherish the good times we have together.

    35. Rebecca Stewart*

      I went out to a party with friends I haven’t seen in about five years. A lot of “So….I’m now divorced,” got said, and we all talked about how nice it was just to sit round and talk to other people. Simple pleasures.
      (They also all noticed that I’ve lost weight, which is VERY nice.)

    36. Dust Bunny*

      My brother’s previous house came with an outdoor cat. They progressively de-feralized him so that they could at least take him to the vet. He got beaten up by a raccoon so they started locking him in the garage workshop at night, where he learned to use a litterbox and cat tree and some other civilized-cat skills. Then the big freeze hit in February (southern US) and they were afraid the space heater either wouldn’t be warm enough or would cause a fire, so they sucked it up and brought him inside. They’ve been juggling space with their established cat but recently moved to a bigger house, which was great because a) more room and b) no pre-established territories. That’s been going fairly well. Ex-Feral has made zero attempts to go back outside, will soak up all the petting he can get, and has turned out to be great with their preschooler (Established Cat isn’t into kids).

      This week, at approximately ten years old, Ex-Feral learned to play with toys.

  3. Aphrodite*

    Have you ever heard of Behavioral Economics? I had but didn’t really understand it until I read this article about some unwanted urges preparing to engulf us post-pandemic in this article: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/22445613/behavioral-economics-budget-post-pandemic

    It’s scary but I found myself relating to it more than I wanted to admit. I’m not an in-person shopper–I loathe getting dressed to drive my car to a huge parking lot in order to walk aisles and look at boring stuff before getting tired and cranky–but I do like online. It’s quick and easy and I can close the tab immediately. But long ago I developed rather good habits around it; I keep a folder for those things I like and have bookmarked. Many of them, over time, get deleted and it saves me money and clutter.

    But I am finding the urge to buy is stronger and more pervasive then before–and I now attribute this urge to the peculiarity of the backside of the pandemic, that is, to behavioral economics.

    Thankfully, I guess, I am limited in how much potential damage I can do because having just bought my first house and appalled at how much money left my credit union and how much debt I now have, I don’t have a lot of “freedom” to shop willy-nilly. I still look, and I still bookmark but buying is not in the cards right now. At least not more than minimally.

    How about you? Are any of you also feeling this way? If so, how are you handling it? Do you ever feel in danger of losing control now that things are beginning to open up again?

    1. OCD Guy*

      Weirdly, no? I actually feel less of a compulsive self-soothing shopping urge than I used to. I think the brush with mortality (my own and, like, the whole world’s) left me very chill about basically everything. Today I actually tried to shop for something and ended up closing all the tabs because I just wasn’t feeling it. I never used to leave Etsy without buying something. Now I just think, eh, I’ll make do with what I’ve got.

      I did buy myself some things I wanted for a long time but felt I couldn’t or shouldn’t get because bullshit reasons, like a religious ritual object I hesitated over because I felt like I wasn’t sufficiently devoted to my religion to justify the expense. But I bought it for the same reason that I didn’t buy anything on Etsy today: Life’s too short to fill it with anything other than what you really, really want, and also too short to spend arguing with yourself about whether to get the thing you really, really want. So, total priority realignment, out with the constant stream of plastic junk I don’t even remember ordering, and in with the occasional carefully considered purchase of something beautiful and useful that’s going to brighten my life for years.

    2. English, not American*

      I definitely feel this, but I had my “buy everything now!” phase last year. The day before the UK’s first lockdown my partner started a new job after 5 months of being unemployed. We were just about scraping by with my income and his jobseeker’s, but no room for anything beyond bills and food. Everything closing probably saved me a lot of frivilous spending.
      Now I feel socially deprived rather than materially deprived, so I just want to actually hang out in the same room as someone I’m neither related to nor engaged to!

    3. Bobina*

      I love stuff like Behavioral Economics and Behavioral Science. I actually follow a bunch of marketing and advertising companies on Instagram who talk a lot about this, and seeing it from the other side (they are trying to sell more things) is really fascinating and very informative (also because then you can learn what to look for to stop yourself getting sucked into buying things you dont need).

    4. Asenath*

      Not me. Like you, I was never much of a shopper in person, and my feelings about that have not changed. I do sometimes buy myself little things I maybe don’t actually need, or could get cheaper, but the habits I drilled into myself during the time in my life when I really had to work very hard at budgeting and controlling my spending are still mostly in place. I sometimes feel a little out of step with society (not that that’s anything new) because I rather liked some aspects of the pandemic, such as not having to go out as much, especially for something like shopping which I dislike. Oh, there are things I almost never buy online because I can’t try them on without hassle, like shoes. But I am rarely tempted by shoes anyway.

    5. FD*

      Eh I wasn’t very impressed with this article over all. It seemed like a sort of alarmist way to say “People often buy stuff they don’t need when they’re sad and people are sad right now!” Which while true is–well, it’s not that different than the economy being bad or any other generally crappy condition. I mean, I do agree that the demand for vacations and other things is going crazy this summer, but even if people’s behavior didn’t change at all, you’d be dealing with both last year and this year’s demand for vacations all at once so I’m not convinced this is some disaster in the making society-wide.

      1. FD*

        I do think the book Predictably Irrational is very interesting, though, which discusses similar subjects with some more nuance.

        1. fposte*

          Yes, that and Freakonomics were really illuminating for me. Jason Zweig is also worth a read in Your Money and Your Brain.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        I agree. This article is very misleading and I would question everything in it. While behavioral economics is fairly new as a academic field it got its start in the 1960s, and it’s not just about how people spend/budget their money even with the word economics in it.

        Maybe there’s some truth about personal budgeting in there but the rest is a mishmash of dropped scientific terms badly explained IMO.

        And as for the budget-thing. Obviously I’m going to suddenly spend a bit more now that I’m able to go out to restaurants and live music but I expect it to be no more than pre-COVID spending. And my friend on FB who posted last night about the outrageous price for tickets for famous band arena show isn’t going to black did that instead of “blacking out” and buying tickets.

        Buying too expensive things is a decision (yes, influenced by many factors), but it isn’t actually out of the buyer’s control. That article was crazy.

    6. twocents*

      I haven’t read the article, but Behavioral Economics is fascinating. I got my undergrad in economics in part because I really liked this approach to having economics be significantly more understandable and more applicable to more people.

      My senior year, I took a class where we read a bunch of books and then discussed them. (Maybe it was called a seminar series or something? IDK, it’s been a decade.) Here are some books I remember from that class if you’re interested!
      — Freakonomics by Levitt & Dubner (they have a website and a podcast too)
      — Black Swan by Taleb
      — Nudge by Thaler & Sunstein
      — Predictably Irrational by Ariely
      — Outliers by Gladwell

    7. Venus*

      I will be spending more this year than pre-covid, but only to catch up on specific spending that I didn’t do in the past year. I know the ‘buy nothing!’ folks will think that I shouldn’t feed into the capitalist thinking of needing to catch up, but too much of my clothing has holes and a couple stains, and I didn’t buy new clothes in over a year. I need new shorts for the summer heat!! And I don’t buy that stuff online as I want to know that it fits.

      Yet I hate shopping for clothes, so this is a necessity shopping trip, and not something that is part of a need to spend. As I work from home I have already been wearing some items much longer than I should have, for example a hole in the knee keeps getting bigger whereas I would have never worn those trousers to work.

    8. llamaswithouthats*

      I’ve never been someone who likes to shop for things – either online or in person, but if I have to I do it online. I’m the type of person who wears the same outfits over and over again – I still wear some items from 10 years ago. If I do need something, I try to thrift it. BUT – I do spend a lot of money on services/activities – restaurants, movies, etc. I have already noticed an uptick in spending in those areas.

    9. Workerbee*

      Hmm, what I’ve been finding is that the way I look at comfort and put up with idiocies (sartorial or otherwise) seems to have evolved. For example, after being in a dilemma earlier this year about what clothes to keep, since I’d only used 1/4th of my wardrobe but felt I had to wait for the alleged back to normal shift, now that other things related to that are more secure, I can more easily put or give clothes away while doing very focused searches for clothes that fit my newer lifestyle and bring me joy as well as comfort.

      So I am spending…but I’ve got a goal and am balancing it out with clearing up space.

      At least, that’s what I tell myself!

    10. Tib*

      I’m feeling the struggle to spend. We’re on an extremely tight budget and I wasn’t tempted to spend as long as I couldn’t physically go shopping. But now my child is off to college and needs all the things and I can shop in person and I’m finding it hard to resist buying things for myself as well.

    11. RagingADHD*

      I don’t know. We were actually financially better off this year because demand for our remote work went up so much. So we already made a bunch of “sure, why not” purchases, and some lifestyle changes like regularly getting takeout (previously a very rare treat). So I’m not sure that we have pent anything up.

      The major “hot state” change recently was the surprise kitten we found. But that’s an ongoing comittment anyway. He’s just going to be a new permanent line-item in the budget.

    12. Aphrodite*

      For me, I find these sorts of articles or books fascinating. The rise of consumer culture, behavioral economics, the development and role of credit (cards and otherwise), the changing roles of women, magazines and culture, nonverbal communication in commercialism, and more are all things that attract my attention and my reading time. (Those and what I term “misery books”–adventure books that include, well, plenty of misery.)

      I was actually so taken with this topic that when an elective class on nonverbal communication I proposed to the college was offered on a trial basis I chose to look not at human interactions as everyone else did but at nonverbals in stores. I took four stores that offered clothing on different levels, from the cheapest to the most expensive and surveyed their nonverbals from parking lots to checkouts, and ended up writing a 45-page paper on them.

      Right now I am reading a book titled “Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies’ Home Journal, Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture.” Up after that is “How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class.” I guess my interest is a niche one but this article I linked has added new twist to it by throwing in post-pandemic factors. I at least will be watching and reading and enjoying the heck out of it.

    13. Filosofickle*

      I’ve never been a big shopper or an impulsive one. Through the pandemic and spring I felt like I had enough and bought / wanted very little. But. damn, during the last month it has hit me like a cannonball. I want everything. I’ve ordered dozens of bright, happy clothing items that I’ll never got my money’s worth out of because I’m a homebody at the best of times. Most of it’s going back but I can’t seem to stop ordering! For me it’s a wicked combination of emerging from pandemic restrictions + wanting bright colorful summer vibes + some of my clothes not fitting anyway + my long time partner unexpectedly moved out a couple weeks ago. So in addition to shopping for summer, I’m shopping for fresh non-him energy in home goods and outfits for future dates that I’m months away from being anywhere near considering. I’m grieving and wanting to move forward but I don’t know how, and apparently refreshing my wardrobe and interior decorating are where that energy is being channeled right now.

    14. Rebecca Stewart*

      Some of that happened for us last year in July/August because we moved, and the new house had things like a 10 x 12 room that the laundry room and garage open into that opens into the rest of the house….and I said “PANTRY!!!” so I needed shelving for that…It had a sunroom on the back so that needed furniture, as we hadn’t had a sunroom at the prior house…..mostly stuff like that.

      I was already very accustomed to doing a whole lot of looking before buying, and given that he needs a new gig before any big purchases, I’m doing that now with new couches for the living room.

    15. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I’m not an in-person shopper–I loathe getting dressed to drive my car to a huge parking lot in order to walk aisles and look at boring stuff before getting tired and cranky–but I do like online. It’s quick and easy and I can close the tab immediately. But long ago I developed rather good habits around it; I keep a folder for those things I like and have bookmarked. Many of them, over time, get deleted and it saves me money and clutter.

      You know it’s funny you mentioned this–everything you loathe, I love LOL. Getting dressed, driving my car and listening to music that I like, to walk in to stores and just see the things and shop, even if it’s a grocery store. Not sure what it is but I just truly enjoy it. So when I had to quarantine last year, it was really difficult to stay in my room all the time and did a number on my mental health. But even long before COVID, I adopted those same habits, keep a folder (or in my case, screenshots) and look through them later.

      Around that time I also joined a support group for shopping addiction; it was nice to be able to talk to other people who felt what I did without judgment. I’d always been someone who liked makeup, clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. But during quarantine, I came to a sick realization of how much I’d actually spent on those things over the past 3 years and vowed to change. I’ve always felt money and emotions were tied, and while doing a lot of introspection, I got to the root of why I binge shopped so much and was able to change my behavior.

      I will never be the austere penny pinching type, but I do feel pretty confident and in control of my finances. Any movements from my savings account have been for “necessary” things like paying my taxes or a big ticket item for the home or baby. It may sound strange, but for me, I liken it to restrictive eating — the more I restrict myself or someone restricts me on sweets, the more I crave and binge. The more relaxed I am and have “permission” the less likely I am to take much and def not binge. Same thing with spending. now that I *can* go to the mall, I’m not really going insane buying stuff.

    16. allathian*

      I really need new clothes. I haven’t bought any since September 2019. I hate shopping for clothes, but it’s an absolute necessity for me, because I’m very fussy about the sort of materials I can tolerate against my skin. I’m fat and I have long legs, short arms, a short torso and a big chest, so I always have to try things on. For nicer clothes I’ll consider tailoring, but the long or 3/4 sleeved t-shirts I usually wear in my very casual office are forgiving in that respect. I just don’t want to buy clothes online, and returning those that don’t fit feels like such a chore. So I usually shop for clothes about twice a year, and basically redo most of my wardrobe at once. I need some neat and new clothes before I can return to the office.

      I’m a very goal-oriented shopper. When I go shopping, I usually know pretty well what I’m going to buy, I make my decisions quickly and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced buyer’s remorse even when buying big-ticket items like a car, although the higher the cost, the more likely I am to look at different alternatives before buying, and because I’m married and my husband’s responsible for car maintenance (he’s a decent amateur mechanic), we’ll make those decisions together. The only shops I’ll browse for pleasure are bookstores. I’m fairly introverted and dislike crowds, and shopping is a necessary evil like going to the dentist.

      Before the pandemic I really enjoyed going to the movies and restaurants, but I’m not going to go to either until I’m fully vaxxed and the Covid situation has improved to the point that I no longer need to wear a mask indoors. This summer I’m looking forward to seeing my friends outdoors again, because there’s never been a mask mandate outdoors in my area and even the requirement for social distancing outdoors was lifted this month because our numbers have improved so much.

  4. Kalongdia*

    Does anyone have e-reader recommendations? I’m considering getting one for college since e-books are normally cheaper and would be much easier to carry around, but I have no idea where to even begin looking.

    1. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      My partner found the PC Mag “best ebook readers” page really useful when he was shopping for an e-reader. I had no idea there were so many options out there, and it does a good job of explaining how to choose one. Not linking so the comment doesn’t go to spam, but should be easy to Google up.

      1. Kalongdia*

        Thank you! That has actually been one of my issues because I Googled like ‘best e-readers’ and a billion pages with different recommendations all popped up! I though that it was like Kindles and Nooks. Boy was I wrong!

        1. Director of Alpaca Exams*

          He ended up with a Kobo because he gets all his e-books from the library. I’m a paper book person and barely even knew that was a thing, let alone a thing some e-readers do better than others.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      One major thing to consider is format. Amazon uses a different format than most other eBook sellers, so if you want to use Amazon books on dedicated e-Ink reader, you’ll want a Kindle of some sort. Other vendors and many libraries use ePub, the other major format. The different formats are technically not interchangeable, so you’re locking yourself into a system. Some independent sellers, plus free sites like Project Gutenberg, have both. If you’re using a more tablet like thing that runs apps, you have more flexibility.

      e-ink readers are not backlit (like a phone, tablet or computer screen) and read much more like a printed book, and most current models have front lights (ie, the light shines on the screen) that can be turned off. e-Ink readers are lighter, have better battery life, but only do black and white.

      Other than that, if you’re going to use it heavily, I’d highly recommend getting one of the higher end ones ones with a larger screen. Kobo/Nook/Kindle do ones that are a bit bigger than a paperback; I believe there are more speciality ones out there with more A4 sized screens, but not from the big three. Some are waterproof, which can be useful.

      1. English, not American*

        Calibre is a free, open-source ebook managing application that does a great job converting between different formats (among other things).

        1. Zooey*

          It’s getting increasingly difficult to convert Amazon books in Calibre – I haven’t done it for a while (for this very reason) but had to forcibly stop my kindle app on the computer updating to make it doable.

          Any time you are converting bought books you’re probably to have to crack the DRM, so it can be a hassle – fair enough since they’re trying to stop you pirating them but it can be frustrating not to be able to access a book you own on whatever device.

          1. English, not American*

            Fair enough, my info is out of date. Amazon are f*cking evil so I’ve been boycotting them for a couple of years now. When I last bought from them Calibre did the trick perfectly.

          2. AcademiaNut*

            Yeah, it’s doable, but I hesitate to recommend it because of the technical challenges due to the DRM. If one of the reasonable fixes to a process is “install a virtual machine running an earlier version of your operating system”, it’s going to be beyond a lot of people’s computer comfort level.

      2. Chilipepper Attitude*

        You can always put the kindle app on most tablet type devices so most of the time that gets around being locked into ePub.

        1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

          I have the Kindle app on my Samsung Galaxy tablet, and it works great for me.

          I know some people are strongly anti-Amazon, and I completely understand why. If you’re in that camp, using the Kindle app obviously won’t be an appealing choice for you. I get it, believe me. I’ve come to rely on Amazon for so many things that I just can’t bring myself to cut the cord. :-/

      3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        It’s easy to use ePub books on a kindle. It’s more difficult to use Amazon books on a different device.

      4. Pickled Limes*

        The format differences are why I eventually decided on a tablet instead of a dedicated eReader. That way, I can have apps for all the major platforms and access whatever books I want without worrying about the format. In general, I’ve been avoiding Amazon for the last several years because I don’t like the idea of one company having such a large share of the market, so while I have a Kindle app, I haven’t added anything new to it in years. I mostly use the library apps or Kobo, which allows me to buy eBooks through my local indie.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          The main reason I have to go with Amazon is access to English books. I can buy from the Amazon.com Kindle store directly from overseas (we don’t have a national Amazon store), but am directed to the local Kobo store. Kobo partners with local publishers when designing their stores, which in my case would be fantastic if I wanted Chinese books, not so much for the selection of English SF. Using the US Kobo store, I think, would involve a VPN, and sending money to a friend in the US so they could buy gift cards and mail them to me.

    3. zaracat*

      Formatting and file compatibility is very important and textbooks may well have different considerations than fiction eg standard e-readers may not display illustrations in colour or at the resolution you need.

      I went through this dilemma when our city was locked down for months last year and the local library was shut for physical borrowing, and the deciding factor came down to which option would be best for accessing the free e-book service offered by the library via BorrowBox. Due to supply chain problems and everyone buying up screen based devices for WFH and home schooling there was a very limited choice, and none of the available e-readers was compatible with BorrowBox. Instead I ended up buying the cheapest 8″ tablet I could find, a Samsung Galaxy Tab A. I’ve never owned a tablet before and I love it. The trade-off for not have e-reader specific features such as front lighting, and not really having an edge to grip that isn’t touch sensitive are more than made up for by its multifunctionality. I can sync library books between the tablet and my android phone (I use the tablet to read at home and my phone to read on the train and in breaks at work) and it’s handy being able to look things up on the internet and to write or record notes as I read. I put in a 128G sim card so I was also able to transfer my collection of PDF books including large-file art books downloaded for free from Metropolitan Museum of Art.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Similarly, rather than a dedicated e-reader I do 99% of my reading on my iPad and did all the way through grad school – I could buy or rent e-textbooks, in addition to regular books, and use my pencil to annotate PDFs for class as well. Plus without needing to muck with Calibre (which I always found inconvenient and not user friendly, personally) I can have readers for pretty much any format, including audio or specific apps for comics and graphic novels, all easily to hand.

        1. No Tribble At All*

          Another +1 for the iPad for school. With a good stylus (ok yes I got the Apple Pencil, but you don’t have to) you can make cleaner, neater notes and homework. If your profs send out PDFs of the notes you can take notes directly on those, and it’s faster because you don’t have to try to copy things down. Even for reading documents you can highlight in different colors, add your own bookmarks and tabs, and write your own questions along the side. I use the GoodNotes app. Never going back!

          1. No Tribble At All*

            Plus you can get the keyboard case. I have a 12.8” iPad with the keyboard case which works perfectly.

        2. Momentarily anonymous*

          Seconding this. I use my iPad for a lot of academic work – reading books and articles, taking notes in meetings or while doing research, marking student papers. I have an Apple pen and a cheap external keyboard that works great. There are a lot of refurbished iPads available if you want to save a bit of money. It really is a great multi-purpose device.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I don’t have a dedicated e-reader anymore–I have several apps on my phone and (inherited 2ndhand) ipad.
      I was thinking about buying a 2nd kindle for the family back when the Fire was hot & new–and then they decided my first one was obsolete so it can’t even connect to update my library. I’m phone app from here on out because of that.

    5. Richard Hershberger*

      My experience is with general reading, what with my college textbooks having been written in cuneiform. So I can’t speak to how textbooks relate. But for general reading, there are two types of display. One is pretty much like a standard tablet. The other is “e-ink.”

      E-ink is great for plain text. It is reflective, rather than projecting light at you, so there is essentially no eye strain and it can be read in bright sunlight. The reader has adjustable lights around the edge of the screen, so you can also read it it dim light. The downside is that it is black-and-white only and while you can adjust the font, you can’t adjust graphics, which tend to come out unusably tiny. If you are looking at mostly plain text, especially in the sort of book where you begin at the beginning and read straight through to the end, the e-ink is absolutely the way to go. But the more you have anything other than text, the less good it works.

      College texts? It would depend on the subject, I suppose. My guess is that most would not well with e-ink. Frankly, I suspect a lot wouldn’t work that great with a tablet. I would consider simply reading them on my laptop, which after all is essentially a large tablet with a keyboard. Speaking of which, anything other than a real keyboard sucks for note-taking: another argument for a laptop.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        I don’t think you could do a science program with e-ink, as you need a larger format and colour display. I love it for straight up reading, though – lighter, longer battery life, and much easier on the eyes, and I *can’t* multi-task on it.

      2. Momentarily anonymous*

        You can now get quite cheap battery-powered external keyboards for an iPad, which has made it gloriously possible to stop dragging my much-heavier laptop along everywhere I go.

    6. Clisby*

      My husband really likes the Kindle app on his iPad (it’s available on other platforms, but he’s used it only on iOS.) I’m almost sure it’s free – if so, no harm in checking it out.

    7. Person from the Resume*

      I like my kindle paper white. I can borrow ebooks from my library through Overdrive/Libby (app) in kindle format. I also buy a few ebooks from Amazon and download fanfic from AO3 in mobi format.

      Kindle products need mobi format. You can put a PDF on a kindle but it’s not easy to read at all.

      It only displays images in black & white. If your text books have images and especially detailed images you need to consider screen color and size.

      Overall I’m happy with kindle for my needs.

    8. Lilo*

      I have an ancient classic kindle and I love it. It had a battery life of about a week (less if you use a light powered by the device). I love the e-ink and find it reads much better than screens, even versus the paperwhite. I get ebooks from Libby/overdrive (through your library) and it’s super easy to use. It’s light and fits into my purse. I’ve had it for ten years and while ‘ve replaced the cases, thr actual Kindle is still I’m great condition. I do wish it was waterproof but not enough to switch it out for the paperwhite.

      So I’d actually recommend going as base model low tech as possible. The e ink is easier to read, the battery lasts longer, and mine still works great whereas the Kindle Fire I was given doesn’t function as well.

    9. RussianInTexas*

      I know it’s unpopular opinion, but I ADORE Kindle. I do not care that it’s Amazon, or that I buy books off Amazon. Been using one for almost 9 years.
      My current one is a Paperwhite which has a backlit screen, but it’s still e-Ink, the screen is not active like on tablets – I can’t read for long on active screens, especially outside or in the evening. Paperwhite lets you read in the dark without light and outside in the sun. The downside is it needs charging more often than a non-backlit Kindle. But a lot less often than an iPad, especially when you keep it in the airplane mode, as I always do.
      If you do get any e-reader, I personally recommend a case with a stand of some sort, especially if you read at lunch.
      Now the part I will always deny writing: if you, or someone you know, can code in Python, you can strip the licenses of Amazon ebooks, and that way to actually own the file, not the license. But you didn’t hear it from me.

    10. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I work in a library and my main job is to help people with their devices and eReading.
      My advice is to stick to the most mainstream/name brand device. Definitely look at articles for the features you want (large screen, battery life, cost, lighting options (for outside reading), and formats it uses are the key ones).

      But the company, name brand v (IDK what to call it) “off market,” matters. Here is why:
      –The non-mainstream devices can be difficult to troubleshoot, replace chargers, and even update.
      –Mainstream devices have more apps and work better with a variety of apps. If you know where you will be getting your books, read up on whether the device you are considering will work with the app you need.
      –As others pointed out, there are ePub and kindle formats and the two do not mix well. And non-mainstream devices tend to work only with their own limited format. iPads can work with everything by adding an app like kindle.

    11. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      This is probably obvious but many libraries have large selections of e-books for loan for free (often through OverDrive or other apps). For a college student, I would recommend having a library card in your hometown, a library card for your college library, and a library card for the local municipal library in your college town. With 3 choices, you are likely to be able to find almost any book without a long hold time.

    12. Girasol*

      Loved my Kindle until it got knocked off the counter and broke. I meant to get another but discovered that I like the Kindle app on the phone better. It’s a little smaller but it has lots of options for display (black on white, white on black, dim or bright, blue light blocking at night, and so on) and never got another e-reader device. The only thing I miss is that the phone is okay but not optimal in outdoor sunlight. Haven’t tried some of the other e-readers but a number of them come as phone and PC apps as well as devices.

    13. Mimmy*

      I’ve been using Kindle for years and I love it. I currently have a Paperwhite that’s now 5 years old. You can adjust the brightness but it doesn’t strain the eyes like a tablet would since it uses e-ink. I also like that I can adjust the display settings; I use larger font because of my vision impairment.

      My only quibble is that they are not great for textbooks, particularly ones that use a lot of tables and graphics. I have the Kindle app on my iPad, but because many e-textbooks look like the hard copy, it is very hard for me to read because of having to zoom in and highlight/annotate. Same issue with PDFs.

    14. Purt’s Peas*

      I’d recommend using ebook textbooks on your computer, honestly. They’re designed for a large format and don’t reflow well, so either they’ll look awkward on a smaller screen, or you’ll have to zoom & scroll on them a lot.

      Most ereader stores will have a desktop app you can use, including Amazon (which is where you’d likely be buying your books).

      That said, I really love my Kobo for all other types of reading. E-ink rules, the store is good, the device is solid, and it’s not Amazon.

      1. Observer*

        I don’t completely agree. A largish tablet is often a much better idea, from an ergonomic POV. I’ve done it both ways, and I found that the tablet really helped my back and neck because I was able to read in a lot of different positions. If you are going to take notes and / or interact directly with the material, this is especially true.

    15. Rebecca Stewart*

      I think it depends on how you read.
      I am hyperlexic, and can blow through 8-10 mystery novels in 8 hours if I do nothing else. For me, a Kindle and a subscription to Kindle Unlimited has been a distinct money-saver. I still buy books, but most of my “My foot hurts so all I can do for the next hour is sit here and read” reading is through Kindle Unlimited, and if I read one and want to keep it, I get on the website and add it to a list on my Amazon account I keep just for books I want to get. But most I don’t want to keep. I just want to read it (inhale it) and give it back.

    16. Purple Penguin*

      I went with Kobo before I started my masters because it easily allows for other file formats, like PDFs and textbooks, to be read on the reader. I know that Amazon based ereaders now allow for that too but my understanding is that it continues to be difficult to easily access other file formats.

      During my masters and then my doctorate, I loved being able to use my ereader to annotate and edit documents. It was a great help!

    17. Disco Janet*

      If you want it to feel more like reading an actual book/have eye strain be less of an issue, I love my Kindle Paperwhite!

      1. Retired(but not really)*

        For me using my IPad (hand me down from my grandson!) I can access both Nook and Kindle, plus I can save patterns from my favorite crochet website in IBooks as well as download books from one of my favorite publishers. Plus everything is saved to iCloud so I can also access any of it on my iPhone as well.

    18. Observer*

      You’ve gotten some good information. A few additional points.

      If you need color, skip the e-readers. There are a couple of color options, and frankly they are terrible. I mean, the fact that they exist is phenomenal but they are extremely limited. Which means that you’d almost certainly want another device.

      If you have textbooks that come with videos, exercises and / or links to on line content, e-ink is generally not your best bet. The technology is not designed for stuff that needs to move. While it’s true that you can just access the on-line stuff on a separate device (like your computer), it can be annoying and reduces the usefulness of device.

      If school related apps are something you think is going to be part of your usage, then find out what os your school is using and get a tablet that uses that os (iPad or Android.) There are some e-ink readers that actually run android, so theoretically you can run such apps if they are Android based, but again, you run into the issue with e-ink.

  5. Director of Alpaca Exams*

    Well, I’m officially middle-aged, because I’m super excited that my new computer glasses are here and I can look at my screen without getting a headache! I just could not deal with multifocal contacts or glasses, so now I have a pair of glasses on my face and another on a cord at all times, and I swap as needed. A clunky system but one that means that I can SEE.

    Anyone know any queer crafters/queer-owned shops where I can get some rainbow eyeglass cords? I’m feeling that June pride spirit.

    1. Dancing Otter*

      No source for cords, but I got rainbow frames for my glasses from Zenni.
      Very inexpensive source of good quality eyeglasses, by the way.

  6. WeAreTheJunimos*

    I know this has been asked many times before, but I am 90% sure I’m getting two bonded kitties in the next week! Just waiting for the shelter to confirm! This all happened very suddenly due to some reasons not related, so I’m a little unprepared. I’m very invested in this and have done tons of research, but I’ve never owned cats before (I’ve had dogs before though). Any tips for a first time cat owner? Especially from going from none to two?

    1. Kalongdia*

      We unexpectedly had 6 kittens because we adopted a pregnant mother off the streets without realizing she was pregnant! One of the biggest things that I would do differently is look through my house (especially if you have a designated area that the kittens will spend a lot of time in when you first get them) and find all of the different hiding spaces. I cannot tell you how many times my sister and I panicked because we couldn’t find a kitten! They love to crawl into little nooks and crannies, and its much easier to find them when you know about that gap behind the bookshelf then when one suddenly disappears and you have to look with no idea of where they may be hiding

      1. Julianna*

        I once spent half a day helping my neighbors look for their missing kitten that they swore must have escaped, only for it to trot out at the end of the night, completely baffled by why everyone was so upset.

        1. Tired of this*

          They’re so good at that! Years ago our scary-smart cat, who disliked the outdoors only marginally less than she disliked the new kitten, managed to open our back door. We tore the house apart looking for the kitten and put food down outside after checking all the nearby bushes. Ten minutes later the kitten came sauntering out of a room that I would have sworn had no hiding places.

          It’s gotten better as she got older but that same cat will sometimes materialize out of a spot that seems impossible to hide in.

          1. Lorine*

            The hiding thing is so real. I got my newly adopted cat home, went to petsmart for supplies (I hadn’t been expecting to take her home that day) and when I got back to my one bedroom apartment she had seemingly vanished.

            I couldn’t find her anywhere and there weren’t that many places to hide to begin with, so I was sure she had somehow followed me out the door and run away. I was starting to really panic when I decided to “just make sure” she wasn’t in the places I didn’t think she could get to. And sure enough, she had somehow gotten into the corner kitchen cabinet (floor level) and was hiding behind the Tupperware. Cats!

      2. the cat's ass*

        Awesome point! Our pandemic kitten somehow got behind the dishwasher. Be alert to partially closed drawers and doors as cats, especially kittens, are liquid and can get into spaces you wouldn’t ever expect. We’re getting a new kitten in a month and I’m already mapping out the kitten proofing.

      3. Rebecca Stewart*

        At this point if I can’t find a cat I go through the house and open all closet doors and check to see if someone got shut in the garage (again).

        My advice: Make sure that they have somewhere appropriate to scratch that is large and solid enough that it won’t give when they pull on it. It may seem silly to get a big tall cat tree for little bitty kittens, but they will love climbing up and around it, and it won’t fall over when they really put some muscle into scratching, even as big kitties. Especially if you put it in front of a window and put a bird feeder outside. Cat TV!

        1. Seawren*

          Double-sided carpet tape is great for stopping furniture damage. It won’t hurt your upholstery (except maybe leather?) and cats don’t like the way it tugs at their claws.

          And spray bottles can be your friend if you have cats who like to play rough or won’t stay off the table during meals. We have an evil cat who attacks without provocation (still love her, though) and when she’s being very bitey 9 times out of 10 we can stare her down with a spray bottle. The tenth time she goes for it anyhow and accepts a soaking, but you can’t win them all.

      4. KristinaL*

        Sometimes the kitten has managed to get outside. Once I was looking around for my kitten, couldn’t find her, and opened the front door, thinking that of course I’d have seen if she’d gotten out last time it was opened (which was only several minutes ago). She was outside, and she came bounding back in.

    2. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      Congratulations! Cats are great.

      Basic advice:

      Set up one covered litter box per cat if you can manage it. Scoop daily. Avoid perfumed litter, which will make you think you can get away with scooping less often; you can’t. Some litter is technically flushable, but it can really clog drains, so bag it up and toss it out.

      If your cats are kittens, their poop will STINK. This is normal and not a thing to call the vet about. Zero Odor has a litter box formulation that’s very useful for controlling the stench.

      Get some PX550 spray for removing cat urine odor from things you can’t launder, and OdorKlenz for removing it from things you can launder. Also get some waterproof throws for your couch and bed. Also get waterproof mattress pads, because the cat will pick the one time you forgot to pull the waterproof throw over the bed to pee on the bed, and you really do not want to have to either sleep on or replace a stinky mattress.

      Feed your cats from ceramic or metal dishes, not plastic ones, and wash the dishes daily. We use $1 rice bowls we picked up from a restaurant supply shop in Chinatown. My cat used to get acne under her chin from food traces in her plastic food dish, no matter how often we washed it, and switching to ceramic dishes fixed the problem completely.

      Make sure your cats have plenty of fresh clean water to drink, especially if you’re feeding them kibble. If you feed wet food, mix a little extra water into it. Kidney problems and UTIs are very common in house cats and this is the best way to prevent them.

      If your cats ever need medication, ask whether it can be compounded and given transdermally. Cats hate pills and liquid medication but will tolerate having a bit of goop rubbed into their inner ear (an ideal location because it has no fur, they can’t lick it, and you can alternate ears to give the spot a rest). If you have to give pills, Pill Pockets are great. Play the long game and give the cats empty Pill Pockets as treats to create positive associations.

      Ask the vet to show you how to trim the cats’ claws; you’ll need to do it every few months. Some cats tolerate this better than others. Bribe shamelessly with treats. Also get a Furminator to brush them, especially in spring and summer when they shed like mad. If a cat throws up a furball, that’s normal and not worrisome but is also a sign that you need to brush them more.

      Cats aren’t as trainable as dogs, but they’re not nearly as untrainable as they want you to think they are. Set limits consistently and they’ll understand—though they may complain about it a lot.

      Enjoy your new furry friends!

    3. mreasy*

      Seconding the hiding note! Also, do not be worried when they are shy to start. If you have an extra room where you can give them a “kitty HQ” with one of the litterboxes, hiding places, and toys, that is ideal. Then if they’re shy, you can spend some time quietly reading or otherwise not focusing on them for longer and longer periods of time. That will help them get used to you, if they’re shy. Also you may need to separate them for meals if one of them is a greedy eater. But mostly, congrats on the new additions, cats are my very favorite people!

    4. Green Mug*

      Keep them in a small space, like the bathroom, for 2 weeks. Put the litter box on one side and their food and water on the other. Put a box in there with a t-shirt or blanket that smells like you. I know it seems harsh to keep them locked up, especially because you don’t want to hang in the bathroom 24/7, but the small space makes them feel safe. It gives them time to adjust to the sounds and smells of your home. Good luck! Kittens are a joy!

      1. Clisby*

        Bonus if you have a mirror on the bathroom door. We put our 2 littermate kittens in our largest bathroom for a few weeks, and one of their favorite activities was looking at those extra kittens in the mirror.

        1. Lizzie*

          And if you can get them a piece of sheepskin they will love it like their mum, and snuggle it and suck the wool and purr like little motor boats

          1. Clisby*

            We didn’t have sheepskin, but we did have open shelving where we kept towels, sheets, and the like. Even though we gave them a soft bed, they inevitably ended up on the bottom shelf, burrowed into a stack of towels.

    5. MCL*

      We keep our litter boxes in the basement, so we set up food and water down there (not exactly in the litter box area, but nearby). That way they would find their toilets right away. One of them is a huge attention seeker and was already upstairs the next day, the other hid out for a few days before settling in. After they both were upstairs socializing, we moved food & water upstairs. For two cats, get at least 3 litter boxes, scoop regularly, like every day if possible, but ours can go up to 3 days if needed. Try different toys, and have fun!

    6. Time’s Thief*

      Do a survey of your house for kitten dangers. If you have houseplants, check to see that they’re cat-safe because they WILL chew on them. Look out for things with long strings, like blankets with fringe or ratty old towels. Each cat is different so maybe they won’t try to eat string and you can bring back the blanket or maybe they’ll be like one of mine and be obsessed with anything string-like.

      Have fun with your new ones and congratulations!

      1. Director of Alpaca Exams*

        Yes, this is one of two big places where cat stereotypes are actually dangerously wrong:

        “Cats love playing with string and yarn!” And will swallow it and get very sick if it’s loose. Get a cat “fishing” toy (mousie on string on stick) and keep your knitting well out of their way.

        “Cats love milk and cream!” But it isn’t good for them, and neither are a lot of other things people eat. This may be an adjustment if you were in the habit of giving scraps to your dogs, but it’s best not to give any to your cats.

        Also, and this is a weird one, some essential oils are dangerous for cats, so do research on that before using an essential oil burner or letting your cat lick you where you just dabbed some on.

    7. Hobbette*

      I highly recommend the WeatherTech Double Low Pet Feeding System (fyi, I have no connection to WeatherTech). We used a larger version for our late, beloved German Shepherd mix and he loved it. Made in the USA, nontoxic and very durable.

    8. Cookie D'oh*

      Make note of your veterinarian’s after hours or emergency policy and/or find an emergency vet office in your area. Keep the info in an easily accessible place. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it’s there in case.

      I always recommend Da Bird feather toy, but for supervised play only. Depending on their age they may be too young for catnip. I recommend the Yeoww catnip toys. They’re a little more expensive, but they are completely filled with catnip – no filler.

      Congrats! Take lots of pictures and videos and enjoy your time with them. It’s amazing how these furry creatures work their way into your heart.

      1. Lizzie*

        Oh and if they are in the bathroom maybe put a heavy cloth on the toilet so they can’t lift the lid and fall in, and if you have a washing machine in the room they may be able to get inside the motor from behind or underneath the washer; there’s a lot to think about, with kittens! And all of the chemicals they can get their paws on, hot drinks, etc. Also, some cats have a strong “kill the snake!” instinct and will bite your phone charger cords, so that is hazard number 5000 to think about.
        While they are babies, there is a lot to think about, but they will warm your heart and make you laugh a hundred times a day. And they do fall asleep a lot so you will get a little time to yourself!

    9. c-*

      Learn cat body language and common sickness symptons so you can know quicker if something is wrong (loss of appetite is a big one). Each cat is different, so listen closely and, with time, you’ll be able to tell apart the pain meow from the upset meow from the playful meow for each kitten. Also pay attention to ears and tail: ears back = bad emotion (anger, fear, annoyance… depends on the angle and other signs); tail waving = either good (lazy twitches of the tip, cat is content or playful) or bad (side-to-side wagging at the base, cat is seriously annoyed and might be about to bite).
      Get some iodine to clean up the inevitable scritches you’ll end up with (but don’t use it on your cats: toxic) and use a firm NO, a squirt bottle, and time outs when they misbehave.

    10. Pocket Mouse*

      Echoing what someone said above- cats have backward-facing spikes on their tongues, making it easier for something to go down the hatch than reverse course once it’s in far enough, so look out for cats playing with ‘toys’ (like string, yarn, or rubber bands) that may be hazardous if swallowed.

      Don’t give them treats or their favorite kind of food in the morning. They’ll learn patterns like what time of day they typically get the exciting stuff, and start asking/yelling for it a good hour before it’s that time.

      Cats sleep much of the time and it’s impossible to avoid some level of nocturnal activity. If the nighttime antics get to be disruptive to your own sleep, try keeping them awake more during the day.

      Pre-hairball behavior is crouching and moving their tongue/head like they’re trying to get something in the back of their throat out. If you recognize it early enough, you can move the cat off the couch/your favorite rug (where they will inevitably choose to be for this activity) onto a hard surface that’s easier to clean up.

      Cats are great. Enjoy having them!

      1. Pocket Mouse*

        Also, touch their ears, paws, and tail a lot while they’re young to get them used to it. Most notably, it’ll make vet visits and claw clipping so much easier later on!

  7. Susan Ivanova*

    Here’s a comic strip showing a favorite interview question that the interviewee probably doesn’t want to answer: https://www.gocomics.com/half-full/2021/06/11

    The comic is “Half Full”, a single panel with an interviewer at a desk looking at a resume and asking “What is your greatest weakness?”. The interviewee is Superman.

  8. Almondlatte*

    I’ve been listening to the Gates McFadden podcast and am fascinated to learn more about the lives of folks I grew up watching on tv.

    It’s made me self reflect a bit and realize (for numerous reasons too long to get into here) I don’t have role models or pop culture/sports heroes in the way that most of the guests on the podcast have!

    So! Tell me who your favourite role model is and why! I’m looking to adopt some :)

    I’d be particularly curious if they have an interesting biography I could read. Open to any genre except religious leaders. The guests talked about musicians, historical figures, sports, politics, actors, etc.

    1. Bobina*

      Role model is a bit of a strong word, but I remember reading the obituary of Rita Levi-Montalcini in the Economist when she died and just thinking: “She sounds like such a badass, I want to be more like her”.

      As a woman in STEM, 9/10 times, reading about any woman who has managed to be acknowledged as successful in their field (because I’m pretty sure there were loads who were successful but either had their work stolen or were never acknowledged as such) always gives me a little nudge of: “Yes, I want to be like that”.

      1. AGD*

        Rita Levi-Montalcini was a total badass! I am also a female scientist, and Jewish, and know full well that my route to a Ph.D. was made a heck of a lot easier by earlier resistance to antisemitism and sexist gatekeeping. So it probably makes sense that most of my own role models are scientists and mathematicians, especially minority/marginalized ones (or epic allies). We’re still in the process of building paths for everyone, and as an academic I can’t afford not to understand this thoroughly.

        On that note, I read a biography of Rosalind Franklin (the one by Brenda Maddox) that was seriously interesting and made it clear how much Watson and Crick owed to her, and yet how easily she was erased from the record (at least for a while) after she died young of cancer.

        I’ve also been learning about computer-science pioneer Margaret Hamilton. She directed the effort to create software for the Apollo missions, invented a whole bunch of foundational concepts and processes in computer science while she was at it, wrote the sort of code that no one could ever find a single bug in, and did so many notable things so young that she’s still only in her mid-eighties (and received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in 2016).

        I recently bought a copy of Hidden Figures and am planning on reading it later this summer when I have a bit more time!

        1. Jay*

          I listened to the BBC podcast 13 Minutes to the Moon on the recommendation of a thread here months ago, and the interviews with Margaret Hamilton fascinated me. I’d love to learn more about her.

          One of the books on my TBR pile is a biography of the Blackwell sisters. I graduated medical school in 1986 and am so, so grateful to the women who went before. It’s been hard enough dealing with the entrenched sexism in this era. I don’t think I could have done it back then.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Try “Q’s Legacy” by Helene Hanff. It’s her memoir of teaching herself classic literature through lectures given by Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch aka “Q”. (Who I knew & loved for “The Oxford Book Of English Verse”.) His published lectures to Cambridge University students were her college training as she worked on the post-WWII NYC theater&publishing world & early TV.
      I picked it up expecting a James Bond “Q” but instead got an inspiration for learning outside the framework of formal schools.

      1. AGD*

        I love Helene Hanff’s books!

        One of my distant friends is an educator and advocate for unconventional learning; years ago she lent me a copy of How I Became an Autodidact by Kendall Hailey. Last I checked it was (sadly) very out of print, but details a very bright teenager’s decision to leave high school early and pursue self-guided education. Her stepkid later did the same thing!

    3. Green Mug*

      I wouldn’t say I have any role model recommendations, maybe readings from the Stoics. I have read a couple good biographies. Prince Philip by Philip Eade is about his life before marrying Elizabeth. Katherine Graham, Personal History is about the woman who took charge of the Washington post.

    4. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I don’t have a role model. I do have people I think are inspiring or whom I admire.

      I heard Jimmy Carter talk about being so down after losing the presidency and thinking his life was kind of over. And how he rebuilt himself after that.

      I love a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt – “you must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

      I like the quote/concept that we “stand on the shoulders of giants.”

    5. Double A*

      This doesn’t really answer your question, but it does remind me that in 5th grade my teacher gave us a writing prompt asking if we could choose any two people to be our parents besides our actual parents, who would they be? And my answer was Gates McFadden and Patrick Stewart.

      I still think it’s a pretty solid answer.

    6. Another Proj Manager*

      Sort of a Role Model or Life Aspiration Target – Mr. Rogers (Fred Rogers)
      Did a little research on him after seeing both the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and the Tom Hanks movie. As a kid watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood I must have internalized some of his lessons without realizing it. Between Mr. Rogers and my grandfather and their focus on kindness has made me be a better father.

      Realizing some of these items has helped me to align my life with my ideals:
      1) He was the same person off the screen as on the screen
      2) He worked everyday to be that way – It was not a given and living a life you want takes work
      3) Kindness is a strength all its own

      1. AlexandrinaVictoria*

        I was coming here to say this. I love the man. We all need to be more like him.

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      More just a fascinating/admirable person, but Ida B. Wells. She was a Black journalist, activist, and suffragette in the late 1800s/early 1900s who focused on lynchings and other racial issues in the US. I first learned about her from a Hark! A Vagrant comic, but her autobiography is amazing.

  9. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How is everyone’s writing going?
    I’m making some steady progress with those old notes, reworking what I think I can re-use (even if it is on a different project) and working out some kinks in others.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I keep thinking I should get back to writing on my blog, but it just doesn’t happen. I’m seriously considering just abandoning it, but can’t bring myself to do it yet. I just started a weight loss challenge with a new meal plan, so I thought that would prompt me to start writing again, at least so I can track progress. But nope. Hasn’t happened.

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      Working on a section on Muscular Christianity and the rise of organized adult sports. I am a nerd.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I sent Book 2 off to my beta readers. It’s not quite where I want it yet, but I’m hoping they might have some insight. I think moving an info dump that was bogging down a scene and constructing a new scene around it that incorporated something else helped.

      I spent today making worldbuilding notes. It’s gotten quite elaborate, lol. But it’s my first fully-constructed world, so I’m playing. :)

    4. Maryn B.*

      (First post after years of reading:) The novella I started to amuse myself is only a few thousand words from becoming a short novel. After the second time my paying publisher folded up its tent but not before I got my rights back, I’m leery and will probably self publish at some point. Or keep them all hoarded on my hard drive forever.

  10. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week?
    I finally got Hades and…well, just. One. More. Attempt…

    1. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Also, 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 something you vaguely remember.

    2. English, not American*

      I’m more of a backseat gamer/”gal in the chair” these days, but Hades is so good! My partner’s playing Persona 5 Royal, and I’m manning the walkthrough to max out skills and confidants in a single playthrough. Such good music in both those games, but I miss the old Persona 5 opening.

    3. zaracat*

      Samorost 3. At 56 I’m a bit of latecomer to video games other than tetris and snake, and I wanted a game that wasn’t FPS but more puzzle solving. A lot of fun, with trippy graphics and music, and very cheap – there is also a demo version you can download for free and an interesting documentary on YouTube on the making of (in Czech – turns on captions to get English subtitles).

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        If you happen to like watching YouTube videos, there’s an older lady who goes by Food4Dogs whom you might like. She cannot play very twitchy games (if I remember correctly the tendons in her hands are slowly getting stiffer and stiffer) so she tends to favour JRPGs and menu-based games.

          1. A.N. O'Nyme*

            You’re welcome!
            By the way, how are you liking Samorost 3? It’s one of the games that has been on my radar for a while but somehow I never got around to it.

            1. zaracat*

              I love it. I especially like that the puzzles vary in degree of difficulty, so you don’t get too disheartened feeling like you can’t solve anything. I also quite like that there’s no real instructions in the game itself and you have to work it out as you go along, including working out how to find the clues and guides that are part of the game. The only point of comparison I have is Myst, which is the only other “big” game I’ve ever tried but which I found too a bit too hard as a starter game, and also the game world felt too cold and lonely due to deliberate sound choices by designer. Samorost is much more jokey and friendly. Huge price difference between platforms though. The Android tablet version I bought cost $7, getting the same game for my Mac desktop would be $32. Hard nope on that.

      2. Pam*

        You might enjoy Machinarium as well. It is from the same design company and it is one of my favorites ever, it’s quite lovely and with great music too.

    4. Ana*

      I started Murder in the Alps. Love that there are no adds. Do not love that energy gets spent so quickly. Sideeyeing the immortality drink. Is there going to be (a lot of) occult stuff in this game?

    5. Rulesfor*

      I’m almost done with Hades (finished the plot, just wrapping up other things), and it’s SO. GOOD. The plot, the art, the gameplay. Just so effective at pulling you in, and so freaking nice, too.

    6. twocents*

      Hades is amazing! I also like that it’s pretty easy to pick back up if you put it down for a while; the setup with Skelly reminding you how to play is excellent.

      I’m currently working on New Pokemon Snap, maybe a bit over halfway through? It’s also E3 weekend, and while Nintendo doesn’t have their Direct until Tuesday, I’m trying to keep an eye on official channels while avoiding spoilers. Idk, I just don’t enjoy “X game is going to be announced” nearly as much as actually getting to see a formal announcement.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Yeah, same here. I don’t usually mind spoilers but I find those “X game will be announced” announcements just so pointless. Also I prefer it when game companies just wedge in a “oh by the way we’re almost done with this thing we never even told you we were doing”, like when Nintendo announced that Link’s Awakening remake.

        1. twocents*

          Yes! Part of the fun of E3 for me is getting to experience things and be excited with the community as we see cool trailers or get a really good tidbit. I remember watching the Nintendo Direct a couple years ago where they were streaming it from Nintendo from New York and the chaos that erupted when BotW 2 was announced was so much fun!

          These people trying to hack these companies and dig through data just to leak potential announcements just feels a bit like trying to find where the presents are stashed. And I imagine it’d be very annoying to put in so much work on something and then have it announced for you.

    7. Holly the spa pro*

      Im currently obsessed with Cozy Grove. I love that “cozy” is now its own genre of game. I didnt love the time gating at first but now I kinda appreciate being able to easily put it down when im out of things to do for the day. The dialogue is so cute and funny. I just love it.

      Im super excited for Rune Factory 5. I really hope we get a release date soon.

      1. MEH Squared*

        I had the same evolution re: the time thing. At first, I was like, “Let me play ALL THE GAME IN AN HOUR”, but around Day 10, I realized that I enjoyed being able to do my loop of gather resources, feed my animals, help my spirit friends, and, most importantly, buy new hair/clothes, then be done for the day. It’s how I start my day and it’s one of my comfort games.

      2. twocents*

        No formal release date yet, but XSEED posted their E3 spoilers, and RF5 is targeted for “early 2022.”

    8. MEH Squared*

      Hades is sooooo good. I ‘just one more run’ned my way to 100%ing the game without realizing it. The dialogue is terrific and there are some very touching moments in it as well.

      Cozy Grove by Spry Fox is my daily comfort game (as I described in my comment to Holly the spa pro) and I’m still mainlining Binding of Isaac: Repentance by Edmund McMillen, a rogue-like-lite in its nth iteration. It’s much more difficult than Rebirth (at least on Hard) and has so much new content. I highly recommend if you like frustration, tears, and ultimate triumph.

      I just bought Mortal Shell by Cold Symmetry. It’s a soulslike that is an homage to Dark Souls with a few interesting new mechanics. I wasn’t sure I was up to learning a new soulslike system that isn’t quite Dark Souls, but it’s on sale on Epic plus I had an extra 10% coupon for it.

      Also, Elden Ring!!!! FromSoft finally pushed out a new trailer and a release date. I am so hyped.

    9. Jackalope*

      Every other week I play in an online game of Monster of the Week (through Discord). This week it was my turn to GM (we never found someone willing to be the GM so we all take turns). It was a lot of fun, although I’m not really a horror person so my mystery was more of a dark fantasy instead. But we had a good time with it. I’m also still obsessed with Fire Emblem Three Houses; I didn’t play for most of the week because we had good weather and urgent yard work (and it’s June so I’d rather be outside anyway), but the weather finally broke so I got to play for a few hours last night.

    10. Stitching Away*

      I’ve been continuing to adore Summer of Mara (on switch) which is just the most delightful, relaxing game I’ve ever played. I’m entirely charmed by it.

    11. Knaifu*

      I’m working on getting back into World of Warcraft after taking time off for mental health reasons. It’s one of those games that will always feel like home &, now that things are fairly settled, I’ve been feeling ‘homesick’. I haven’t played since before the pre-patch so there is so much to get caught up on.

      I’m catching up on lore & stuff by watching a backlog of Hazel’s videos while trying to multitask some real life stuff because, honestly, I’m probably going to be no-lifing WoW for the rest of the summer once the new patch hits.

    12. Quoth the Raven*

      I love Hades! It doesn’t feel frustrating at all when you have to go through it all one more time, and I’m in love with Zagreus.

      I’m currently playing Resident Evil Village (just made it past the first area). It has been nerve wrecking at times, but I am enjoying it greatly. It’s so insane and over the place I can’t help but want more of it.

    13. CherryScary*

      Loving all the Hades love! I do want to recommend the video series done by NoClip over on YouTube – they followed the team as they developed the game, and there’s some really cool behind the scenes stuff in there.

    14. LimeRoos*

      Late to the part as always (woo Sunday OT), but I’m playing the Minecraft update! It’s all the mobs and spawns and new material that was going to be in caves & cliffs without the depth/height of the actual caves & cliffs which will be released in the fall. So far it’s been really fun to get into caving again for new stuff – glow lichen, amethyst geode (I found one!!!), axolotl, axolotl in a bucket is infinite water, all the ores have different patterns now which is kind of fun, copper, deepslate, and I’m still waiting to find goats and the flower caves. Oh! Glow squid are super pretty too.

      Hubby is playing the Yuffie chapter on FF7 for PS5 and it is gorgeous! No load times, no lag, fantastic graphics, and well it’s such a fun story. I enjoy watching lol. Also got Ratchet & Clank A Rift Apart and it’s very promising from the first bit he’s played.

      We’re also replaying Super Mario 3D World when we want to do a co-op. It’s so much fun, one of my favorite Mario games.

      Side note – highly recommend 9 Parchments if anyone likes an easy couch co-op that’s also fun on your own. I love the different levels and music. It’s just lovely.

    15. The Dude Abides*

      Did a couple more Minish Cap rando seeds. Still fun, but having to dip a dungeon for an item is paaaaaaainful.

      On the MtG front, just tweaking a couple EDH decks and keeping an eye on bargains for old frame foils.

  11. Teatime is Goodtime*

    Hi everyone, happy weekend!

    What are your favorite hand games or songs for kids? I’m thinking along the lines of “This little piggy went to market, and this little piggy stayed home…”

    Alternatively: what changes do you like to make to traditional kids songs or rhymes to make them your own/funnier/etc.? I sometimes do “and this little piggy had roast beet” because I am vegetarian and piggies also like vegetables. :)

    1. Coenobita*

      One summer (maybe 4th or 5th grade?) I spent a week at girl scout camp and everyone was obsessed with the clapping game “concentration” – where you choose a category, then you take turns saying examples with “no repeats! (clap clap) or hesitation!” Wow, I haven’t thought about that in ages!

      1. Dwight Schrute*

        Oh that was a fun one! I also liked a beaver song? Something like beaver one beaver all let’s all do the beaver BLANK and it would change based on the number

      2. OTGW*

        Omg that game was my jam when I was younger. I made my younger brother play it a lot and he got soo tired of it real fast. But it was super fun.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I was just talking yesterday about “The Billboard Song”. I learned it from my parents who had been Camp counselors before World War II. And then I heard it again from my niece in the 1970’s, updated with new cultural references and a drifted melody. Folk process in action!
      So many versions online…here’s a few lines from each so you can find them:
      1940s: “Smoke a Coca-Cola tomato ketchup cigarettes. See Lillian Russell wrestle with a box of Castorets. Heinz Pork & Beans will meet again to fight a finished fight…”
      1970s “Smoke Coca-Cola cigarettes, chew Wrigley’s Spearmint beer. Ken-L Ration Dog Food keeps your complexion clear. ….”

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      That said, I spent a lot of school bus trips with “Miss Mary Mack” singing about elephants jumping the fence. Or about “Miss Lucy” and her steamboat with its line-ending rhymes that implied words we weren’t allowed to use.

      1. Rara Avis*

        Gosh — the steamboat song was a schoolyard favorite. I haven’t thought about it in years. I think we said Miss Susie.

    4. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Itsy bitsy spider is one. Also a girls scouts song “swimming, swimming in the swimming pool”

      1. Virginia Plain*

        Oh that’s interesting – over here the spider is incy wincey. I assume he/she still climbs up the waterspout though so it’s immaterial.
        The swimming one takes me right back to brownies! On a similar note what about the little green frog? I love the jazz hands in the last verse.

        Three little ducks went swimming one day?

        Edelweiss is a nice one but the clapping actions might be a bit difficult for tinies, it’s better for brownie/girl guide age. Or cub scouts of course.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I wonder… maybe someone here can remember the clapping song that I learned only part of in the 1970s. The first few lines were “The spades go to lips together tie them together bring back my love to me.” And there’s a tongue twister section that made us dissolve into giggles so I don’t remember the rest. “It’s the story of eenie meanie ipsa teeny oops bop bob-a-leanie.”
      Here’s hoping there’s no hidden racist verses and meanings that will tarnish a fun childhood memory.

      1. RagingADHD*

        The version I learned was

        Candy apples make me sick
        Make my heartbeat five-forty-six
        Not because they’re dirty,
        Not because they’re clean,
        Not because you kissed a boy behind a magazine.

        (And then there’s a bit I’ve lost to time, but the gibberish verse was)

        Eenie meenie jipsoreenie
        oop op opsoleenie
        hotchy kotchy Liberace
        I love you, baby
        zoom boom boom.

      2. Squeakrad*

        “The spades go two lips together, twilight forever, bring back my love to me.

        What is the me-ee-ee-Ning of all these flow-ow-Ow-ers?
        they tell the sto-or-or-y
        the story of two lips together , twilight forever bring back my love to me.”

      3. RagingADHD*

        I just remembered!

        The candy apples one was separate. The “eenie meenie” one started with the gibberish, and then went:

        Saw your boyfriend last night.
        What’s his name? John Wayne.
        How do you know?
        Looked through the keyhole
        Last night. Nosey.
        Gimme some candy, stingy.
        Wash those dishes, lazy.
        Jump out the window like crazy, ’cause…

        And then it starts eenie meenie again.

    6. OTGW*

      I remember one that started: bobo skee watan-tatan, eh eh say boys are rotten. Obviously there’s more, but it really is like made up words. But everyone sat in a circle, left hand under, right hand on top, and you’d clap to the beat, slapping the other persons hand with your right one. And at the very last beat, whoever was about to be slapped had to try not to be slapped.

      If the last person didn’t move their hand in time, they were out of the circle. If they did, the slapper was out of the circle. And then you went on and on until there were only two people left. Then it was essentially a strength contest.

      Lmao this is a strange way to describe it, but if you search up “bo bo skee watan tatan” I’m sure you’ll find something I’m youtube.

      1. Coenobita*

        Our version of that was called “slap dilly oso”! I just looked it up and apparently the sort of base game is better known as “stella ella oro” but obviously there are lots of regional variations. Ours was mostly used as a way to choose a person out of a group, sort of like rock paper scissors.

        As best I can remember the words, they were: slap dilly oso, slap slap slap, say san der eeko, eeko eeko eeko, galore, galore, galore-ore-ore-ore, one two three four! and the person who’d get slapped on “four!” had to take their hand away.

        1. AGD*

          I’m fascinated by how these evolve and change as they organically spread out.

          Stella stella olla, clap clap clap, saying ess chico chico, chico chico cha, saying ess chico chico, hello, hello, hello hello hello, saying one two three four five!

    7. Girasol*

      Reminds me of jump rope rhymes. I googled those the other day and was surprised at how many were familiar.

      1. Coenobita*

        I have a very clear memory of learning this one in kindergarten:

        Not last night / but the night before / twenty-four robbers / came knocking at my door / I got up / to let them in / and hit ’em on the head / with a rolling pin! (and then you count up to 24)

        Thinking about it now, it’s kinda violent for five-year olds…

    8. RagingADHD*

      For lap games for toddlers to preschoolers, my kids loved:

      Down by the shores of the hanky-panky
      Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky
      With a hip, a hop, a hippity-hop,
      And down in the water with a big kerplop!

      You bounce them in time, and then let them swoop down at the end. If you’re on the floor you can let them slip between your legs to sit on the floor too, or if you’re in a chair you can hold them under the arms and just let them sag. Or dip backwards.

      Another one was
      This is the way the ladies ride, trot trot trot.
      This is the way the gentlemen ride, gallop-a-trot, gallop-a-trot
      This is the way the farmer rides, hobbledy-hoy, hobbledy-hoy.

      So you have the different types of bouncing, and then the farmer swings side to side and then drops down (or dips backward). If you didn’t want to do “ladies” and “gentlemen,” you could do children trotting and grownups galloping, or some other combo.

      There’s also

      Round and round the garden goes the teddy bear.
      One step, two step, tickle him under there.

      You make circles on their tummy, then walk your fingers up to tickle under their chin.

      Or open shut them with their hands:

      Open, shut them, open shut them,
      Give a little clap, clap, clap,
      Open, shut them, open shut them,
      Put them in your lap, lap, lap.
      Creep them, crawl them, creep them crawl them,
      Right up to your chin, chin, chin.
      Open wide your little mouth, but do not put them in!

      They always think its hysterically funny to put their hands in their mouth anyway.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        My favorite as a kid was this same bullfrog song, except we sat in a circle with everyone’s left hand resting on top of the next person’s right and you’d do a chain of slapping each hand and the person on ker PLOP has to pull their hand away or they’ll be “out”

    9. Squeebird*

      For “changes to traditional kids songs”, I give you my favourite “silly” version of “Row Row Row Your Boat”

      Row row row your boat
      Gently down the stream…
      Ha ha! Fooled you!
      I’m a submarine!

        1. Retired(but not really)*

          Then there’s the “sophisticated version” from teen camp:
          Propel,propel,propel your craft, placidly down the solution. Ecstatic,ecstatic,ecstatic,
          life is but an illusion.

          Another fun one I remember is Susie went a-wading and she got her toesies (ankles, calvesies, kneesies, thighsies) wet, but she didn’t get her (clap,clap) wet. Then she finally got her bathing suit wet.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        I just laughed out loud at this! Absolutely going to use that one on the kids I know.

    10. WellRed*

      Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open it up and see all the people. You lace your fingers together except leave the pointers up for steeple then roll your hands over to see the people.

      1. Felis alwayshungryis*

        Here is the vicar, climbing the stairs (walk your thumb and forefinger up the fingers on your other hand), here is the vicar, saying his prayers (hands to prayer position).

        Hadn’t thought of that one in years!

    11. Small town*

      My sons always liked “little bunny foo foo”. Fun hand gestures and a silly punch line.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I taught my toddler daughter Itsy Bitsy Spider and Little Bunny Foo Foo at about the same time. So after a while she ended up singing Itsy Bitsy Foo Foo and it always cracked me up.

    12. Hazelthyme*

      Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb,
      Mary had a little lamb and threw it out the window,
      The window, the window, the second story window,
      Mary had a little lamb
      And threw it out the window.

      This works with almost any nursery rhyme or kids song, e.g. “he called for his pipe and he called for his bowl and threw them out the window” (Old King Cole) or “stuck a feather in his cap and threw it out the window” (Yankee Doodle).

  12. Anima*

    Does anybody else suddenly have a problem with shoes?
    I’ve been at home for most of the last nine months, and I walk barefoot or in woollen socks at home. When outside I was wearing my trusted winter boots or hiking boots and now my feet will not accept any other shoes, even shoes I’ve had for 10 years and worn every summer. I get blisters every time I go outside.
    Is there any remedy you know? Any idea what the cause is?
    (I mean, it was mostly winter in the last nine months, it’s not a surprise spring occurrence this year!)

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I have found my feet get larger as I age and I need to increase the size shoe I am wearing periodically. For me the interval of ten years sounds about right- if I manage to keep a pair of shoes for ten years, yeah, it doesn’t fit any more. In my twenties I was a size 7. Now I am up to about a 9, but sometimes 8.5 works.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, same for me. I wore a size 7 when I was in my 20s but it’s 8.5 or 9 now. That said, I haven’t worn any nice shoes since March 2020, just sneakers and snow boots…

      2. Rebecca Stewart*

        Unsurprisingly, my feet have spread owing to carrying three pregnancies (ALL the ligaments relax) and the one foot, after being surgically rebuilt (I folded it in half) is picky about what shoes it will wear. I would not mind losing a size with weight loss (my current project) as I am a 10, but I will undoubtedly stay a wide width, and right now I can buy men’s shoes and enjoy the wider last. I was an 8 in my twenties. But my entire family are tall with large feet.

    2. Buni*

      ugh, absolutely. I’ve either been barefoot in the house or in great big army boots outside since September, and having to switch into trainers or sandals now it’s (v. suddenly!) over 25C is killing me. I’m not getting blisters but defo severe calf-ache from the lower soles and lack of ankle support.

    3. Dwight Schrute*

      Yes! But I’ve continued to wear shoes all through the pandemic. I have no idea why my feet have gotten so sore lately when I’ve worn the same few shoes everyday for the last year without issue.

      1. Rebecca Stewart*

        The shoes may be worn out. I am always so slow to buy a new pair of daily-wear shoes and am always so amazed at how much less aches and pains I have from feet to knees to back.

        (I have a leg length difference which is fixed by a lift in one shoe, but it does mean that I have to wear shoes all the time.)

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Yes, feet can get larger…and smaller! Feet can grow over time or with a big weight gain. They can also shrink with a big weight loss.
        I’m impressed with 10-year-old shoes. My 2 pairs of good-quality, daily shoes have to be replaced every few years.
        Hope you find a comfortable solution!

    4. Workerbee*

      Yes! After the luxury of barefoot, socks, or slippers, my feet now don’t want all the removable arch supports I’ve stockpiled over the previous decade, and prefer shoes that keep them more naturally themselves, if that makes sense. Fortunately I’d kept the original insoles for most of them, or have replacement insoles that don’t have that arch curving up, because now that hurts.

    5. It's Quarantime!*

      When I was training for distance running I found myself earning blisters. Moleskin was useless. My local running shoe shop suggested these slippery stickers that are applied inside the show itself in the areas where the hot-spots were occurring. No more blisters. It was like magic! And the slippery stickers were very durable. I’ve asked they stayed put. I don’t recall ever having to replace them.

    6. Springtime*

      I find that every time the seasons change, I get blisters when I start wearing that season’s shoes again. I think it’s just that the callouses I had built up the previous year are gone, and they have to be built up again. I have no solution to offer again, except that I usually rotate shoes until I can wear any of my pairs reliably again.

      I also have a shoes and blisters question of my own, which has been on my mind since the pantyhose discussion earlier this week. In the winter, I wear opaque tights, but for summer, when opaque tights look out of place, I have given up sheer pantyhose because they are entirely out of fashion in my milieu (meaning, I personally have not seen anyone else wearing them in years). But to have bare legs, I also have to stop wearing the styles of leather, closed-toe dress shoes (especially mary janes and t-straps) that I prefer to wear to work. Without hose, even leather-lined shoes rub terribly, and, what’s worse, the sole of my foot adheres to the bottom of the shoe in a way that feels horrible. I’ve tried various styles of “footie” and no-show socks, and they all slip off my feet–not to mention that they can’t both protect my foot from the top edge of the shoe and be no-show. And yet, on TV and in photos, I see women wearing pumps without hose all the time! Is there something I don’t know, or is it just my feet? How does this work?

      1. allathian*

        Probably your feet. Are you wearing shoes that are a half-size too small? Most women can count on their shoe size going up about a half-size every 15 years or so, and feet can expand with pregnancies as well, although that can sometimes be prevented if you’re diligent about using support socks during your pregnancy.

        People vary a lot in how much their feet sweat. Sockless feet in sweaty shoes feel awful, which is why I never go sockless except when I’m wearing sandals.

        1. Springtime*

          Well, I don’t think that the shoes are too small because the reason I prefer shoes with a strap is that otherwise they tend to fall off (especially when I’m going down stairs). Conversely, I don’t think that they’re too big because any smaller and my toes don’t fit. It is actually helpful to hear that maybe it’s just my feet. The only other person I’ve ever had a chance to ask about this is my best friend, and she has the same problem I do. So knowing that other people are only doing it because it doesn’t bother them helps me get a handle on it.

      2. Koala dreams*

        Baby powder? There are also sheer socks that go up your leg a bit, if that would help. Some of them have quite nice patterns, I wish they worked for my feet. Personally I wear regular socks all year round.

      3. Female-type person*

        Do you know about putting Body Glide (anti-chaffing stick) on your feet, to make shoes happier? It really works nicely. I have a stick dedicated to feet only.

        1. Springtime*

          No, I did not know about Body Glide! I’m putting some on my shopping list right now.

    7. Koala dreams*

      If they are ten years old, get new shoes when you can. When changing into new (or new old) shoes, make sure you only walk a little bit every day the first days, so that your feet get used to the new shoes. I use new shoes indoors only the first days. If the hiking shoes are wider or another shape than your summer shoes, you might want to get wider/differently shaped summer shoes. My feet are getting more picky as the years go by. You might also want to check if the shoes need repairs.

    8. Anima*

      Thank you all!
      I feel like I need to give am explanation for the ten year old shoes: I’m allergic to most commercially tanned leathers and have to buy plant-based tanned leathers, especially when I don’t wear socks in shoes. If my foot touches a leather not tanned plant based for longer than a few minutes, I get a blistery rash (that is also super painful). Plant-based tan is on the expensive side and so I don’t buy shoes that often. I just can’t spend upwards of 250€ every few springs for shoes. But this also makes my shoes super high quality, and some can last me ten years!
      That said, thank you all for your tips! I feel a little dumb now, of course I gained a bit of weight during the panini, and I most likely need bigger shoes! And also new shoes. I read all your other tips, too, and thank you all (again)!

      1. AGD*

        Canada has a shop called NiceShoes.ca and they ship worldwide! The exchange rate is pretty good, too: €1 gets you $1.50 Canadian.

        I should close the tab before I buy just about everything…especially as I don’t need any extra shoes right now!

        1. Retired(but not really)*

          I’ve found that sandals with the molded cork base are much more comfortable as are the ones with actual leather over cushion foam. And these can be found rather inexpensively.

      2. Koala dreams*

        In that case I would recommend first looking if the shoes are the right size and if they need repairs. Good luck!

    9. Lobsterp0t*

      I find a shot of antiperspirant to the pain spots can help avoid blisters.

      But maybe your feet have just changed? I have gotten rid of any slightly uncomfy shoes and boots now, and I’m enjoying just having my sandals, running shoes and beat up trainers.

      I kept one pair of proper work shoes (brogues) and a pair of casual but less formal leather lace ups but I haven’t had a reason to wear them in over a year now. I’m sure when I do head back to the officer part time, I’ll end up wearing them occasionally.

      Personally, I think I’m much less likely now to wear a range of stuff and more likely to pick 1-2 things that work in most situations. Comfort first.

  13. Loopy*

    I am in the early, EARLY stages (about 2-3 years out at least) of thinking about purchasing a second property- something that would heavily depend on how my financial situation, savings, and life plan goes between now and then. That being said- what I’m dreaming about is a modest cabin/small cottage type home in the woods/mountains- not off the grid, but definitely not the typical subdivision/city living.

    I have always been an avid hiker, and I love being surrounded by nature and away from the sound of cars. I recently did an airbnb in Vermont near Mt Snow and it was just bliss. I realized it was really also very healthy for me emotionally and mentally and the experience really stuck.

    However, I haven’t thought through all the practical bits. I’m in SC, so it would likely be a decent drive away (4ish hours) to get to any mountains, and my husband really prefers to have a property within easy driving distance for repairs and checking up on. He also worries we’ll feel like we’ll always need to use it vs. going someplace else for time off. Of course I realize not only would I need to find local repair folks I trust but it would be a hassle getting them in and all that long distance jazz.

    Still, the thought of having that kind of getaway accessible at any time sounds like a dream and I can’t get it out of my head. Has anyone here had a long distance property? Was it more of a hassle than it was worth? Were the costs way beyond what you expected and did your frequency of use offset that to make it worth it? My dad doesn’t understand why I wouldn’t just airbnb to a similar place every now and then- but I like the idea of having it whenever I want with minimal planning and I’d rather own something at the end of the day.

    The financial piece I havent seriously thought about yet- I’m by no means rich but I think it could be doable with planning and very careful consideration but it wouldn’t be something I could casually do. Right now I’m just looking to hear from people who have actually done something like this and what its like in reality vs my early stage day dreams!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Negative Nancy here. My father did this. We had a house in CT and a small house in NY. To me it was a nightmare. There were constant, non-stop problems and from 4 hours away the problems were very difficult to manage.

      Break-ins. Not just humans. The bears would break in also. Not joking. Sometimes people break-in and stay for a few days…
      Nature. Flooding, trees falling, heavy damaging snows, I could go on.
      Utilities. Things we take for granted- electric, water were all long stories. Forget internet and cell service. TV reception was poor to non-existent.
      The property itself. People stole his timber to the tune of 10s of thousands of dollars. People poached animals routinely. (Upsetting for my father as he felt protective of the creatures on his property.) People stole things out of the yard.
      Exclusion. People did not like outsiders. And subtle things happened such as outsiders being taxed more than local residents.
      Law enforcement. This is area dependent, but law enforcement was actually afraid to go up to where the property was. I have seen experienced officers have the color drain right out of their faces at the prospect of investigating a problem on the property.
      Fire protection. It takes so long to get there that if there is a fire you can figure your house is gone. My father had a horrible story of putting out a chimney fire in his pjs at 2 am… BY HIMSELF.
      911 service. Ditto for an ambulance. People routinely pass away during the long ambulance ride.

      Planning is far from minimal. Even once you have the house furnished with cooking utensils and dishes etc, once you get there you have to clean everything. This is because of mice, dust, other unforeseens such as carpenter ants leaving piles of sawdust. You have to drag in all the food you need- unless you keep food there in glass or metal containers you can probably figure you need to replace it.
      Laundry is fun. NOT. If you have linens there, you will probably want to wash them because they get musty, or mousey. If you don’t have linens there then everything cloth is a carry-in and carry-out deal. This doubles your wash load at your primary house.
      The house will need maintenance, so probably there won’t be as much relaxing time as one would think.

      Depending on the location of the house getting food and gas can be epic. In my story here the house was 30-40 minutes from the nearest store or gas station. What this meant is you never went home without topping off the gas tank first. You also kept gas cans full around the property and you kept those cans locked up. Not optional, lock the cans in an outside shed. Since gas can get stale, you make sure you rotate through using up the gas on a regular basis.

      I will say, I learned a lot watching my father wrestle with all this stuff. I think it helped me to become a sharper home owner.

      The people that I have seen make a successful go of it, were living less than 2 hours away and went to the house every weekend. They invested in security for the house and they did constant repairs. One couple ended up letting their primary residence backslide so they could put more into their vacation place. I have no idea how they will manage this on a retirement income. I think they will sell the primary place. They are both very handy, creative people with a huge willingness to learn new skills such as roof repair and cutting up fallen trees. They find joy in accomplishing these tasks. (So very Not Me.)

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        The real estate version of buying a boat, the old joke being that the two happiest days of the owner’s life are the day he bought the boat and the day he sold it.

        1. London Calling*

          Best description of having a boat – like standing under a cold shower while tearing up £ 10 notes.

          Ex and I had a boat. By the time we’d cleaned and fuelled then taken two hours to go upriver to the pub, we reckoned we could just have jumped in the car and driven there in 20 minutes; which isn’t to say that we didn’t have fun taking her on the river and exploring. It’s just that it’s a very heavy commitment.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I saw a t-shirt with a similar sentiment about owning a horse. It had a horse made of dollar bills on the front and above it, the words “Equus Keepus Brokus.”

          2. Felis alwayshungryis*

            Ex-boyfriend’s dad called a boat “a hole in the water that you throw money into.”

      2. Sleepless*

        My parents had a lake cabin *half a mile* from their main house (it was one of those things that slowly evolved: let’s dam up the creek and make a lake! Let’s build a picnic shelter! Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a bathroom here? Oh, the hell with it, let’s build a cabin.) The amount of back and forth between the two houses was almost comical, and if it had been a long drive it wouldn’t have been funny at all.

      3. Chaordic One*

        You’ve really provided an honest accounting of what it’s like, Not So New. Thanks.

        The only thing I would add, is, that when I previously lived in a rural state, the medical care was, like you stated, not so hot, and it was common for people to have to be taken by air-ambulance to major medical centers several hundred miles away in neighboring states. Most insurance policies only provide comparatively minimal coverage for ambulance expenses. Typically they would cover you from the site where the medical incident occurred to the nearest (usually substandard) hospital and they might cover you for a transfer between medical facilities within the same town.

        If you needed to be taken by air ambulance to a medical center in a neighboring state, they might pay for several hundred dollars of the expense, but it was common for the cost of the ambulance to be $50,000 to $75,000 and it wasn’t covered by most insurance policies!

        It was common for people living in these communities to purchase air ambulance insurance coverage in addition to their health insurance. In some communities, the township or county would purchase policies for all of their residents, but it was considered very controversial among the residents who were very divided over this. Then there were issues with different ambulance companies not accepting all air ambulance insurance policies. It was a mess.

      4. Lobsterp0t*

        Honestly, all of this. My dad lives in one of these rural communities and the vacant holiday homes are such a nightmare for the community that lives there.

        And, honestly, the community that lives there … is something you should consider. Personally I would not feel safe or comfortable holidaying where my dad lives, as a queer person.

        I think the financial and risk burden of something like this will rarely be outweighed by the enjoyment you get from being there.

    2. Sue*

      I’m of an age where many of us have done this and it can really vary. We own a couple of condos at a vacation destination after shopping for a while. We decided on condo versus house because of the upkeep issues. They are rented out by property managers and precovid did well (it’s be a big financial drain for the last year). We can book any time we want and we have owner closets to store our stuff, making use pretty easy. We also own a partial ownership property in a place we like to visit. It’s set up so we have set times to visit and it can rent out if we aren’t using our time.
      On the other hand, family members bought a vacation cabin about 5 hours away, raised their kids driving up regularly and have now happily retired there. Good friends bought house on the water 45 minutes away and love their little place and use it often. Neither rent out but keep strictly for personal/family use.
      I think it can be good, all of these properties have greatly increased in value but it isn’t for the faint-hearted, lots of expenses-insurance, property taxes, upkeep, repairs and with the condos, hefty HOA costs.
      I wouldn’t do it unless you know you will use it regularly or have someone to look after it/ rent it. Otherwise, it could easily become a headache/money pit. My cousin had a place in the woods and no matter how secure he tried to make it, it repeatedly got broken into and everything stolen.

      1. Rebecca Stewart*

        My family of origin went together and bought a large vacation home in Tennessee just outside the Smoky Mountain National Park. My eldest aunt retired to a house right across the street from it, and her daughter (never married) moved into the vacation home. Of course, it is too big a house for her, but my other aunt, my mom, my cousins and their families, all stay at Cousin Sally’s and Cousin Sally took the house knowing that she was Designated Host and Caretaker. But she likes that sort of thing, so it has worked out fine, and our family is always very good about buying the groceries we eat and such.

    3. HannahS*

      I think in addition to considering the hassle, a really great test would be to try the alternative for a year, starting this season. Go out to the woods as often as you like, staying in motels, inns, and airbnbs. Then see! How often do you get the urge to go? How often do you actually wind up going? How much does not-having-your-own-cabin bug you when you’re there?

      You may find that the answers are ‘I want to go every weekend, we go two weekends in four in all seasons, and having our own place to stay would be even better because there’s only a seedy motel around.’ Or you might find that the real answers are ‘I love it, but it just doesn’t work for us to go more than six times a year’ or ‘we want to go to different parts of the state each time’ and it might be more practical to set a budget for a really great Airbnb six times a year.

      1. HannahS*

        Oh also, there’s a blog I like to read called Frugalwoods, which you might enjoy! It’s by a couple who loved hiking and being in the country so much that they changed their financial strategy and moved to rural Vermont to actually live in the woods–not off-grid, but just in the woods.

    4. Generic Name*

      My parents have a second property, and so far I think they love it. It’s 9 ish hours away from them, but less than 2 hours from me. It’s on the edge of small mountain town, and even then it can be expensive and difficult to get repair people to the house. There aren’t really bears in the area, and they’ve never been broken into. It helps that they are in a low-density neighborhood, so it’s not remote. They’ve made good friends with the people across the road, so they can see if unfamiliar vehicles pull into the driveway.

    5. Virginia Plain*

      My parents bought a small cottage in France a good fifteen years ago, and they have been delighted with it. Admittedly they started really getting the use out of it when they retired as it is too far to go for a weekend (driving requires 1 or 2 overnight stops) bit even before that they were teachers and could go for six weeks in summer, two or three at Easter etc. The village has no commercial premises but a nice market town is only a short drive seat, like fifteen mins. They have made dear friends in the village and get recommendations for local repairpersons and other services. They don’t rent it out but they have occasional guests and I have stayed there alone with my boyfriend.

      But there are no bears in France.

      I’d say if you are not retired yet just make sure it is close enough to drive there for the weekend, have household stuff (linens, towels, kitchen equipment, store cupboard basics) there all the time as well as things like hiking boots, fleeces and waterproof jackets if that’s your bag. And don’t be too remote from a shop/petrol station etc.

      1. Chantel*

        …”bought a small cottage in France…”


        Every single one of my dream goals begins with those words.

    6. Oy with the poodles*

      Our experience with a second home was eerily similar to Not so New Reader’s dad. Through an unplanned set of circumstances, we ended up with a rented apt near work, and a drop-dead gorgeous-view home about 45 minutes away. It was in a mountainous area, no visible neighbors. We had numerous issues with human trespassers, and we had to do battle with mice who snuck in. Houses are meant to be lived in and need constant attendance. There was a leak in the roof that caused more damage than if we’d been around to catch it earlier. Our fridge broke and we couldn’t get a repair person to come- our beautifully remote area fell in the deadzone between the two closest town’s service areas. We had to buy a new fridge (no one would send out a repair person, but we could get deliveries- usually). The house became a huge, nagging obligation; every weekend was spent going to “check on the house.” I think I’ve blocked out all the ‘lessons learned’ about living in the country, too, but I remember dealing with the well was an ongoing hassle. We had the place for 8 years and feel like we were lucky to get a buyer (maybe not such a problem in today’s market?).

      If I ever came into money and wanted a getaway, I’d either get a great property management company to keep it up or just splurge and rent something really nice as needed.

      1. Clisby*

        Me, too. I love the beach, but have no desire to live there year-round. Hence, I have no desire to buy a beach house. If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t buy a beach house. I’d just rent a nice beach house for a month 3-4 times a year. Let somebody else do the upkeep.

    7. Wondering*

      I have also started thinking of buying a second home as an escape from the city. My ideal – ~2 hours away, in an area close to a town with amenities like grocery store, restaurants, yoga studio etc. – so not crazy remote. Also want to be in an area where I could rent it out on airnb. Not to make money, but to help cover the costs. I’d also make sure to get a property manager/reliable handyman/cleaning person etc. However given that so many fled the city during the pandemic – buying houses over asking price, sight unseen – it is currently just a pipe dream :) I do have friends who have done it already (pre-pandemic) and while it was certainly work, they were able to rent it enough to cover some costs, but were still able to enjoy it plenty (and they were VERY happy to have bigger place to spend the pandemic with remote work, school etc – being in a two bedroom apartment with 2 working adults and 2 kids in school would not have been ideal)

    8. identifying remarks removed*

      Maybe buy something that you can rent out as an airbnb so it’s got some income coming in from it, and it’s hopefully not standing empty for months at a time.

      My parents had a holiday home in Spain – they used to spend their winters there to avoid the UK weather. The money they earnt from it on summer lets paid for them to stay there over the winter months. They loved it but they did say that looking back now they realize they didn’t travel as much elsewhere as they would have done if they didn’t have it. Because they had it they felt they had to get the use out of it in winter.

    9. RagingADHD*

      My inlaws had a vacation cottage about 3 hours from home for nearly 25 years and overall it was a great experience, but it got to be too much when they reached their 80s.

      The difference was that it was in a small beach town, so there were plenty of amenities and it was easy to find local folks to do maintenance or check on the property over the winter.

      They would spend most of the summer there, and had an open-door policy for family and close friends, so it was very well-used.

      They bought it cheap and fixed it up before the area got “discovered” by tourists. In later years, the property taxes and utilities radically increased because of the town’s popularity. By the time they sold, it cost much more to maintain than their primary residence did. But on the upside, they got a nice fat payout when they sold because of the increase in property values.

      There are a lot of places that give a remote feeling without actually being cut off from civilization. My best friend lives in a little cabin “in the woods” where she can’t see or hear her neighbors because of the lay of the land, but she’s a 10 minute walk or 5 minute drive from town.

    10. Momentarily anonymous*

      The warnings above about how this could go wrong are useful and should be heeded, but I just want to say this can also go well! We intended to buy a small cabin property in the state where my parents live, but ended up buying the (still small!) house we’ll probably retire in. It’s a long way from the place where we have to live for my job, but we’re very happy with the decision. You learn how to set up properties for long absences (mouse proofing, etc) and it’s nice to have a place our friends can use occasionally too. Another factor for us was that we don’t like the place we currently “have” to live, so this property has improved our lives in that way.

      Two main factors that helped this work out well for us: we have some WFH flexibility seasonally, so we can spend longer periods here than just literal vacation time. And we bought a few years ago. In the last year, some desirable places have seen a big uptick in people wanting to move there or buy second homes or cabins. Right now the market is so inflated that we wouldn’t be able to afford to buy in the same area. But it’s worth tracking the sort of property you like in your ideal areas for a year or so before buying anyway – I had a Zillow search set up to send me notifications, so by the time we bought I had a good sense of the area and available properties. Good luck to you! This might be a project you’d really enjoy.

    11. Cedrus Libani*

      My parents had a cabin in the mountains when I was growing up, and it was a positive experience. Factors that made it work:

      It was only about 45 minutes away, so it wasn’t unreasonable to drive up after dinner on a Friday night and spend two full days there on an ordinary weekend. If it’s 4 hours, you leave Saturday morning, stop en-route for lunch, get there at 2 pm, and then after lunch on Sunday you’re heading home. You’d have to take at least a day off to make the trip worthwhile. That alone takes the “spur of the moment” factor out of it.

      The cabin was part of a development. There were around a hundred cabins up there, with a live-in property manager and some shared infrastructure – a pool, a playground, a big outdoor dining area with a kitchen. Since there were people around, problems would be noticed and reported. I remember a tree falling on a neighbor’s cabin – people saw it, threw a tarp over the damaged roof, and told the owner. No problems with break-ins either, though honestly there wasn’t anything in ours worth stealing.

      My mom’s extended family all had cabins in the same development. So it wasn’t just a getaway, it was a social thing too. We’d go up for family dinners every 2-3 weeks in the summer – the adults would chat and cook and drink, the kids would run around together and play in the pool.

      Even so, it’s still a house, and it comes with all the headaches of owning a house. Imagine the assorted expenses and maintenance tasks that come with house #1 – that’s about what you can expect with house #2 as well, with a bonus of being farther away from infrastructure / repair persons / yourself.

    12. FD*

      Disclaimer: I am a property manager. A few people have suggested hiring a property manager. That *can* be a very good idea, but you do want to be REALLY careful to screen them carefully. There are great property managers and there are really, really BAD property managers. If you’re renting out your home, you also need to be aware of what rules and laws you’re subject to (regardless of whether you’re doing AirBNB or long term rentals–meaning more than 30 days at a time), and get really, really solid insurance.

    13. zaracat*

      The biggest down side I found was feeling locked in to holidaying there so as not to “waste” my investment, rather than feeling like I could choose to go somewhere different for a change.

    14. Imtheone*

      I read a book where the author talks about having a second house or cabin at the edge of his hometown. Restful to go to, but easier to care for.

    15. Rara Avis*

      My parents have owned a second house since 1988. It’s about 3 1/2 hours from where they live. Problems have been few. It helps that my aunt lives in the same town and they have neighbors who keep an eye out for trouble. No break-ins except for mice. However, when it comes to me and my brother, I don’t know how we will handle it, as we both live 3000 miles away.

  14. FD*

    Sometimes you can’t win! It’s been very hot in my area (hovering around 95F and humid), and so I was bound and determined to go swimming on Thursday afternoon. I knew the pool in our community has been at capacity, as demand has been higher than normal this year.

    So, I make a drive to a smaller town about 15 minutes away. Manage to arrive during the life guard’s break so I wait a good 20 minutes to get in the pool. Finally get to go in, swim around for a half hour…and they have to empty the pool because some kid pooped in it.

    You just have to laugh sometimes.

    1. FD*

      Argh I hit ‘post’ before the last sentence! Share your funny ‘can’t win’ stories here!

      1. Coenobita*

        Oof, so a couple weeks ago, I got up early to meet someone for coffee before work. I got there and promptly used my work card to pay for my coffee (it was NOT a work meeting). Then, I realized I had arrived a full week early for my coffee date.

        (My boss later just approved the expense – “I’m sure you thought about work while drinking the coffee, right?”)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I did this at the movies. I bought a ticket in advance and had the wrong date in my head, so I went to the theater a week before the movie I wanted to see was out. Didn’t notice until I was sitting in an empty auditorium, and the puzzled employee was like, “Are you here to see X?” Nope, right theater, wrong day. D’oh!

          1. Coenobita*

            Noooooooo how embarrassing! But it makes for a funny story, like something out of a sitcom. I hope you at least got some popcorn out of the experience :)

    2. Grim*

      Bummer. Someone should have directed it towards the pool filter inlet. That’s what pool filters are for.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        After it’s scooped the pool needs chlorine levels raised high for a set period of timr to kill things like E.Coli.

      2. FD*

        Nah, with poop you have to shock the pool, which means that you have to spoke the pH level really high–high enough to give minor skin burns. I could have come back around 6 buuuut… /shrug/

    3. StellaBella*

      Has anyone ever been to a gin tasting? Like a wine tasting but gin? Should I bring tonics? I will eat before I go. Is this a thing people do? I am also fully vaccinated and will mask and distance as appropriate.

      Any tips on things to know about gin? Or good websites to read before I go?

      I have been invited to one in a garden and in my life I have only had one gin and tonic so I do not know what to expect.

      I will take the bus there and back.

      1. Meh*

        I believe you would be trying the spirits on their own to note the different tastes: herbs, citrus, floral, etc. Gin runs the gamut of flavor profiles. There may be soda/tonic as a mixer supplied.

          1. justabot*

            Is this at a distillery? You will likely taste the gin alone. And then they may also have cocktails for purchase where you can try the gin in a mixed drink.

            Absolutely do not bring your own mixers.

            You don’t need to know anything. The person giving the tasting will tell you about the product.

      2. traffic_spiral*

        “Has anyone ever been to a gin tasting?”


        “Should I bring tonics?”

        I have never heard of a professional tasting (of anything) that wanted you to bring your own food/drink, so probably no. If this is just a friend hosting a party, ask the friend. Otherwise the venue should have some sort of information available online, if you really are wondering.

        “I will eat before I go.”

        Good idea.

        “Is this a thing people do?”

        Eating food before drinking or tasting gin? Yes to both, obviously.

        “Any tips on things to know about gin? Or good websites to read before I go?”

        Google maps to make sure you can find it? Just go to the tasting. The people there will tell you anything you need to know.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Yes to all of this. A tasting is meant to teach you something, help you try something different, and to have fun. Fun is the key. I love a good tasting, I learn some stuff and I get to sample things. No prep, no quizzes.

      3. c-*

        For wine tastings, they provide snacks, but I don’t know about gin. My advice if you’re not a big drinker is to go slow and drink standing up (or stand up carefully at regular intervals) so you can quickly feel if you are getting too dizzy for your taste. Have fun! :)

    4. The New Wanderer*

      Also water related. We got up early to go to the beach before it got too crowded, but then half an hour later the lifeguards call everyone out of the water for a shark sighting. Little shark, we saw it go by (from the shore!), but it was 20 min before we could go back in. Debated just going home since we’d only planned to stay an hour, but stayed to have one more swim and ended up getting sunburned. Oops.

  15. Eye Have A Problem*

    Feeling some guilt/uncertainty over buying contact lenses.  

    I’ve always bought my contacts online because I didn’t have vision insurance, and getting them online was significantly cheaper than getting them from my doctor. (I haven’t asked her what her prices were in years, but it was something like $25 or $30, whereas online they’re currently $18.) 

    At my most recent eye exam, I mentioned that I had just accepted a new job, and my doctor said, “Oh, good. I have a lot of patients that work there. They offer vision insurance, so you’ll finally be able to get contacts through me.” I checked, and the vision insurance has a $160 contact allowance, enough to pay for 8 boxes online, which would be awesome for me since I usually just buy six boxes and wear the contacts longer than recommended, but I feel like I’d be screwing over my doctor by not buying from her. (I read somewhere that they make most of their money from glasses and contact sales.)

    What would you guys do in this kind of situation?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I’d keep buying them online, as long as the insurance makes that an option. If the doc objects (which, frankly, would be pretty tacky, and would probably have me at least considering doc-shopping), “it’s still financially a better deal for me to keep going the way I have been.” And if they still object, especially if their grounds are “but it’d be a better deal for ME if you buy them from ME,” then I would DEFINITELY be doc shopping. :P

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Are there hidden advantages, such as a returning customer discount or other things that make it worth your while.

      Try to keep in mind that you are not the only person buying online and not from her. Many bricks and mortar places are having trouble competing with online prices. This is not your problem to fix.

      Eh, if you can’t pay her prices then you can’t pay them. I would just be matter-of-fact. “I am on a strict budget and I have to go where the prices are lowest. It’s not optional for me.” Put it in a manner that shows your hands are tied on this one.

    3. PollyQ*

      You’ve paid your doctor for her services, and that’s all you owe her. I think it was more than a little pushy for her to even bring up where you’d be buying the contacts that she prescribed. If she’s chosen to structure her business so that selling things is more profitable than selling her expertise, that’s her choice, but it doesn’t oblige you in any way to pay an extra 39-67% markup on the same product.

    4. Golden*

      Maybe she would be willing to price match the online rate (no clue if that is allowed to under her license, contracts, etc…)? I wouldn’t normally suggest that, but this seems like a “return awkward to sender” situation.

    5. Anonyanony*

      Yes, I went to a new eye doctor recently, and they have a screen in the waiting room with various videos of their services and they go so far as to post one listing all the bad things about buying glasses online (don’t remember if there was one for contacts). That really just burned me to no end because if I purchased glasses from them, the kind I like would be hundreds more than I would want to spend. I’ve never had an issue purchasing glasses online (thanks, Zenni!), and I’ve worn glasses since the sixth grade so you can imagine the cost over the years. The other odd thing is that my new doctor ordered me trial contact lenses, so he’s trying to get to me to buy them through him, but nope, I’m just going to request an updated prescription and be on my way.

      1. Hapax Legomenon*

        My understanding of American contact lens prescriptions is that in order to confirm a prescription for a specific brand, the eye doctor has to see the lenses on your eye and confirm they fit properly–they can’t confirm the prescription otherwise. I moved and the new optometry clinic was fine with writing me a new prescription for the same brand because I had lenses that were still good when I went in, and the doctor had to see me wearing the lenses before he could sign off on a new prescription. Maybe this is specific to astigmatism?

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

          With astigmatism though the contacts are weighted in a specific way to rest on the eye correctly. If that fit isn’t right the lenses won’t do the job because they aren’t correcting for the problem, they just kinda “spin” on the eye.

          I’ve always just bought my lenses online as my prescription is way out there and no optometrist has ever had them in stock. I don’t feel bad as there are plenty of other accessories they can sell to other customers!

          1. Hapax Legomenon*

            The funny thing is every pair I’ve ever had DO spin and the doctors still sign them off. My prescription is way up there though(I’ve never met anyone with worse correctable eyesight than me) so maybe there’s only so much contacts can do.

      2. Stitching Away*

        I spent a while working for an optometrist. It totaly depends on what kind of glasses you need. If you have single vision lenses, nothing complicated, online is fine. Bifocals, progressives, multi-focals, anything more complicated, online gets very risky, because you need in person measurements that are specific to the exact frames you purchase.

        And as the online shops grow in popularity, tons of people got glasses online, had problems with them, and then walked into in person shops and expected major adjustments for free, which is why a lot of the in person shops got unhappy.

        So this turned into backlash where the local shops went “online is always bad!” when really, it’s great for some people, and terrible for others.

    6. RagingADHD*

      If your doctor can’t make a living without your $160 a year, then her business isn’t viable anyway.

      It’s not your personal responsibility to keep her afloat.

      Make your financial decisions based on what is best for you. It sounds like reducing your risk of an eye infection by having enough contact supply is a better use of the money.

      1. MissCoco*

        ASK THIS QUESTION! I have actually been able get contacts for cheaper than online prices a couple of times, as there are are some rebates offices can get that aren’t available to consumers.

        But if they can’t get you as good a deal or better, don’t feel obligated to purchase from them! They should understand contacts are a big investment, and the small amount of coverage offered by most vision insurance doesn’t really make much a a dent in the total cost

    7. Abby cats*

      I have never been able to get contacts cheaper online, because the ones I get are price-controlled and cost the same everywhere. Even online coupon codes are not valid for them.

      I’m not sure if docs know this and try to force you into those styles, but I’ve worn three different kinds now and they were all like this. I just assumed that was how contacts were now, just another corrupt price-fixed product.

    8. Voluptuousfire*

      I’d just buy online if they accept your vision insurance. I buy my contacts online since my ex hasn’t changed and I buy them from a UK online store since they don’t require a prescription. I’ve been wearing the same brand/lenses for years.

    9. Dumpster Fire*

      I actually do get my lenses through my eye doc, but only because there are rebates (if I buy a full year of lenses) that bring the price down to less than the online price. You might be able to buy “in bulk” and save a bit.

      That being said, I do agree with the comments that suggest asking for a price match. If your doc wants that part of your business, he needs to meet the better price.

  16. Speaks to Dragonflies*

    Ok, I thought this might be an interesting topic for discussion….
    Cell phones.What do you like about your currant one? What do you hate? What was your favorite one that you hated to give up? I’m behind the times on cell tech(more on that in a bit) and was looking for others thoughts and opinions.
    Ok,I asked, so here’s my thoughts. My carrier is shutting down its 3G network in a few months, so I decided to beat the rush and get a new one. I don’t hate it…I kinda like it except for having to have a protective case for it. I didn’t wanna give it up. But its so old,3G was what it used, so I had to upgrade. See, I had the most awesome, bad@$$ phone ever made. A Samsung SGH-I547…Offered as a free upgrade from my carrier.This phone was a god among phones…Lemmetellya…Best as I can tell, ot was last made in 2012. I’ve never had it in a case,only a plastic stick on screen protector to prevent scratches. Things that its survived…
    …Thrown countless times, landing on grass concrete and gravel.
    …Submerged in a drainage full and flowing drainage ditch.Only way to find it was to call it with another phone to make it light up.
    …Dropped at least 5 stories to the bottom of a concrete floored vault that was flooded at the time with raw sewerage about 4inches deep. The back came off and battery came out.All the parts lay in the stew of nasty,open and exposed for a few hours. After the vault was pumped out,I gathered up the parts and shook them out and put them together again.
    …When I was dealing with a someone who would .not .leave .me .alone.,I lost my cool and because they kept calling me.I was in a work truck at the time and determined I was gonna break this phone and threw it at a steel plate in the floor. Only I don’t throw so well. Phone went high and hit the front corner of the dash ( I said I don’t throw well!) ricocheted up and hit the windshield. Put a heck of a crack in it. The windshield, not the phone. Phone was fine.
    Phone is STILL fine! Still would call and text if I hadn’t gotten a new one.It was so old that if I tried to get on the internet, I got a message saying “This device needs to be updated”. Try to update, get a message that “This device cannot be updated”. So here I am,seriously contemplating having a viking funeral for this thing.
    So what are your thoughts? What do you like and dislike about your phone? What are your most bad@$$ phone stories?

    1. Anonyanony*

      I, thankfully, have no badass phone stories and wonder why in the world you would put yours back together after being in raw sewage? Yikes. I’ve had both Samsung Galaxy and now an iPhone (both paid for by my company, so $0 cost to me for going on 17 years now), and I definitely liked the Android better. I have an iPad too, which I really like for iPad type stuff, but the iPhone is just overkill for me, and it just does not do things the way I like and so would not have been my choice if I had one.

      1. Speaks to Dragonflies*

        I have an Iphone for work with an Otterbox case and I’m on my third one in six years. Even the case couldn’t save them… About my own phone falling in the nasty…When you work in the sewers, getting nasty on things becomes not such a big deal…After getting showered in it, nothing bothers you after that. Doesn’t mean we want to wear like perfume, but as the saying goes, $hit happens.

      2. Speaks to Dragonflies*

        You get used to things when you work in the nasty. Once you’ve been showered in it, nothing tends to bother you.

    2. Meh*

      I’ve had Samsung S and Notes since their inception. I have a case because it’s a color I prefer to the phone color. My picture quality is excellent, it’s water resistant, and heat resistant (I was making a video of using my torch, which is a few thousand degrees, and it didn’t melt).

      Maybe with your history, you should consider getting insurance? No my phone isn’t as durable as my Nokia Pink Chocolate Slide circa 2004 but it does a Hella lot more.

    3. mreasy*

      iPhone SE with otter box or lifeproof case. Lasted me a zillion years, then I “upgraded” to the 11 out of despair that they would never offer another SE. of course, now they have one. The best.

      1. Coenobita*

        I like my SE a lot too. I bought it in 2017 (my first-ever smartphone!) – I have small hands and often wear clothes with small pockets, so I wanted a small phone. I did replace the battery last year, but otherwise the phone is going strong. I was glad to learn that the iphone 12 has a mini version, so there is finally something else small for me to upgrade to whenever my SE finally gives out!

        1. Bluebell*

          Another small-handed person who loves her SE. My friends keep asking when I’ll upgrade. I hope not for quite a while.

    4. Girasol*

      Moto G Power in an otter box. I bought the wrong charge cable for the new phone when we went on vacation and was amazed at how I could listen to audio books through the nights and read library books all through rainy days, and all on the last charge I’d had a week ago at home. It’s survived dropping although not such spectacular drops as OP’s.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      I have a Pixel 4a 5G and the photo quality is AMAZING. I always thought my previous smartphone photos were fine, better than my 15ish year old digital camera, but there’s a noticeable different between this phone and my last one.

    6. matcha123*

      I use the Galaxy s10. I bought it new “used” in 2019? a few months after it hit the market.
      Pros: Great battery life (my previous s6 couldn’t get through the day by the time I switched)
      Great camera (I love that it has “pro” settings where I can fiddle with the iso, etc. Pics also look great.)
      Slim (actually, a little too slim so I use a case)
      Has been dropped a few times from a low height with no problems (knocks on wood)
      Tethering option is nice
      Has an earphone jack

      No cases in my region (Japan has a metric ton of iPhone cases, and like 3 Galaxy ones)
      Hmm…I think that’s my main one.
      I guess being on Android means that some apps aren’t available and with the ones that are, some features aren’t. Like, as far as I can tell, Android users can’t add music to their Insta stories

      Fave phone? Casio EXILIM. It had 4G (I think). You could swivel the screen to turn it into a quasi full camera. Had live TV. Fast internet due to 4G.


      I can’t comment much on how well they stand up to being dropped because I’m obsessed with not dropping my phone. I baby my phones.

      1. Meh*

        The IG music availability is most likely a you thing -either regionally, or the type of account you have (business vs creator/personal). I have an S20 and can add music to my stories (it’s located in the same section to add stickers or polls) but I also have a creator account. When it was set to business I had no music access.

        1. matcha123*

          Oh, wow thank you! I just checked and I see what you’re talking about. I always start typing immediately when I open that section and my mind didn’t even process the Music box!

    7. English, not American*

      I kind of hate my phone, but it was the best of a bad lot. Currently available smartphones are all either far too big for me to comfortably use, or far too small as a gimmick. When my last phone gave up the ghost (Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, the smallest phone I could find at the time and still bigger than I’d have liked) I got one of the tiny gimmick phones (Unihertz Jelly Pro). A lot of apps I rely on didn’t work on it (local buses, banking apps, finance tracker, habit tracker) and texting was almost impossible until I installed a T9 keyboard – a painful blast from the past. After about a month I was keen for a “proper” phone again.
      I opted for a Fairphone 3, it’s a decent phone, not the best spec for the price (~£400) but “ethical” options never are. I drop it constantly because it’s so big, so it’s pretty banged up around the edges, but the screen is intact and they replaced a malfunctioning battery under the warranty despite the warranty only referring to the EU. So that’s good I guess.

    8. Lobsterp0t*

      I hate having a phone. I actually would like to have something between a dumb phone and a smart phone. I’d like to be able to navigate on a maps app but otherwise never look at a screen again!

      Is that a thing that exists?

    9. Observer*

      If you want a phone that doesn’t need a case, you are best off with a specifically “ruggedized” phone. These things are designed for rough environments. Second best tends to be in the mid-range and tend to not be the ones that people rave about their looks. Because the prettiest and most “premium” looking / feeling phones tend to have glass backs. Mid-range phones tend to use metal. Oh, and it does wireless charging, it’s probably glass too. The Pixel 5 is on of the exceptions to that – they managed to get a metal backed phone to do wireless charging.

      Another thing – screens with curved edges tend to show up on higher end phones, but if you want sturdiness, skip them. They seem to be a bit more fragile. Also, it’s MUCH harder to get a good screen protector on one of these screens. And a decent screen protector makes a HUGE difference.

      And check the IPS ratings. Also, some phone talk about their mil-spec rating. Check out how / if they’ve actually tested, because there is a lot of looseness there.

      PS I think you may have already gotten a new phone, but this is for anyone who thinks like you.

    10. BlackBelt Jones*

      Boy, what a coincidence!

      My carrier is switching from a CDMA to a GSM network, so I was forced to buy a compatible phone. I’ve had the new phone for about a month now, trying to get used to how it works. I haven’t activated it yet! I don’t want to stop using my old phone! (The old phone is a Samsung Galaxy S3, the new is a Samsung Galaxy A10e.)

      Honestly, I don’t care for the new phone, so much so that I considered rooting it, but Samsung is locking down its bootloaders these days, so even that’s out of the question. The reasons I don’t care for the A10e are too numerous to mention. Let’s just say the older phone is “way better”. (And don’t get me started on on “One UI”!)

      Lesson learned. I’ll be moving to some other manufacturer for my next phone purchase.

  17. Schools*

    Can anyone share their experience of being a high-performing student at a low-performing school?

    My husband and I are trying to figure out where to buy a house and are leaning towards staying in our current area, where the schools are majority-minority, high poverty (60% of kids on free/reduced lunch), 20% english language learners, and where the proficiency testing rates are ~20-30%. We were both very strong students and are kind of figuring our future children will probably be somewhat similar, and that we will have the resources to make sure they do well even in a struggling school system. Our state is not very diverse at all, so if we wanted them to attend a school less than 75% white, this is the only option.

    That said, what’s giving me pause is that I went to a very competetive public high school and absolutely loved it, and despised the handful of classes that were not “tracked” and were too boring/easy. It was really good for me and my ego not to be a big fish in a small pond, and I saw a lot of college classmates struggle after being used to skating along without much effort in high school. What I’m struggling with is choosing something for my kids that I would not have wanted for myself, although part of the whole reason I would choose it is that I grew up with a lot of elitist values placing academic achievement above all else, which I’ve had to unlearn as an adult.

    Of course, I realize that we may have a child who struggles in school or has significant disabilities, and I don’t know how to even begin to evaluate a school on how good they would be for that eventuality. Thoughts?

      1. LibbyG*

        Adding: If you like blogs, Nice White Parents about an NYC school is good fodder for reflection.

    1. Flower necklace*

      I can’t speak to this personally, but my coworkers and I had a conversation about this last week. We work at a high school, and my coworker said she was thinking about moving so her daughter could attend our school next year. Coworker lives in a district with better schools. I went to high school there, where I excelled academically, and we frequently lose teachers to that district because the pay is higher and conditions are better. In contrast, our school is majority-minority, 30% English learners, and high poverty. It’s a great place to work, but it surprised me that she’d want to move there.

      Coworker told me that her older daughter (now in college) had been unhappy at their high school due to the lack of diversity. She had done well, but she had never really fit in and found it difficult to make friends (for the record, neither of us are white). Coworker was afraid that the same thing would happen to her younger daughter. She also mentioned that she thought her daughter would prefer to be a big fish in a small pond, where she could recognized more easily for her academic accomplishments.

      It really made me think about the unconscious assumptions I was making about our school in comparison to other schools. My parents valued academics above everything else, but I never really fit in at my high school despite excelling academically. In hindsight, I wonder if the lack of diversity at my high school contributed to that.

    2. Mourning reader*

      I don’t have an answer, just a suggestion to focus more on availability of childcare, preschool, and the local elementary schools. You have time to influence the quality of the schools before your hypothetical children reach high school age. If it doesn’t get better, move. (That’s what parents I know have done when millages/referendums fail when their kids are younger that would have made things better.) I always rented in the best school district I could afford, that allows more flexibility in movement too. It can be your plan to stay in a house 20+ years, but plans can change as circumstances do.

      Seriously only one diverse school in your whole region? No private schools? (Lots of POC in catholic schools where I’m from, mostly Hispanic and Black, a Catholic or other religious school might work.) you might also look for more diversity in other settings, e.g. your church and social groups.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        Not where I’m from. At least when I was younger the population was basically black and white (very few Hispanic), but catholic schools especially high schools are very expensive. The population was white and upper class (children of doctors, lawyers, and local college professors). A year of HS can cost more than a year of college.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Also look for regional magnet schools. They draw from wider areas than one school. Drawbacks: Your kids &/or their friends would have more time on a bus, after-school visits can be hard, and it can be hard for a kid to have no school day time with their neighborhood kids.

        1. Meh*

          I went to a magnet HS and caught the bus at 6 am. It wasn’t horrible and it gave me plenty of time to do the homework I had procrastinated doing the night before.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            My teen was in a magnet school from kindergarten through fifth grade. Adored it. But has lost touch with her friends from there because they all ended up in different middle school.
            High school would be easier because you have more options for communication and transport than a preteen.

      3. Schools*

        No, seriously, only one school system less than 75% white! The state itself is 95% white and my city has been the site of a number of refugee resettlement programs, plus as far as I can tell, a lot of white parents don’t send their kids to public school here. Thus there is this one school system with tons of racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity, while the outlying areas are significantly less diverse.

        1. Erin*

          My best friend works for a district like this, in Portland, ME. My advice is to prioritize what you value. If you value the things you learned and the experience you had and that is what you want your kid to experience, prioritize that. If you want them to have a different experience in the ways you’ve outlined above, prioritize that. You will get many chances to course-correct over time if you see that is needed.

    3. Golden*

      The situation you describe about your college classmates struggling after being a big fish in a small pond isn’t one to ignore, in my opinion.

      I was in a very long term relationship with a person who went to high school in a disadvantaged area, and they + every single person in their high school friend group (all classified as the “gifted” kids, and made this a huge part of their identity) dropped out of college for this reason.

      But, on the other hand, my ex was great at making friends and built an incredibly diverse friend group while they were in college. I’m glad I’ve moved on from that relationship, but their ability to connect with people is a skill I wish I had, and much more difficult to teach than checking your ego.

      Maybe you and your partner can think of which situation you’re best able to mitigate (fish/pond mentality vs experiences outside your bubble), among the other pros and cons, and choose from there.

    4. newbie*

      I went to a school that was a bit like this, and received an excellent education. Where they didn’t do so well was in advising on post-high school options beyond teacher/nurse/secretary and study at the local state college, none of which had any appeal whatsoever. Because my parents weren’t interested in exploring options either, I struggled with finding my place for a long time (ended up enlisting to GTFO). Once at university, the academics weren’t a big deal, but learning to navigate the bureaucracy was a huge challenge.
      tl;dr – I got a great education, but wasn’t equipped well for what to do with it. Parental guidance was essential (but didn’t happen).

    5. Asenath*

      Not the same thing, I suppose, for various reasons, but I went to a small rural school that took every child, so we had people from a variety of backgrounds – though not as wide a variety as in a bigger centre, no doubt. And there wasn’t much for students who weren’t that great academically, once we got past the legal school leaving age. At that point, the school’s view seemed to be “you don’t want to study, you can leave” – and jobs for unskilled labourers were easy to come by. But really, I got a decent basic education, and I think that the biggest determinant in a successful outcome was the value the parents put on education. I had classmates whose parents were illiterate (something that was a few generations back in my family), but were absolutely determined their children would have the chances they didn’t get. And their kids did fine, too. I’d say if you like the location for other reasons, you can deal with a school that’s not as competitive as the one you went to. And I think you’re aware of the dangers of assuming that your child will thrive in a competitive environment because you did!

    6. 2QS*

      Yeah. What I’d say is that you never know, and kids are wildly different in terms of learning styles and whether they like school at all. My parents made a plan early on, and then realized by the time their oldest was 4 that it wasn’t going to suit this kid at all. Each sibling was quite different from the others in terms of learning styles. Everyone wound up with major strengths, but schools only reward a fraction of those. Of three kids who went through the school system, one loved school, but mostly because of the classes. One kind of liked school, but primarily for the social interaction. One disliked all of these things intensely and just wanted to move to a farm and spend their time with animals. (Adult versions: a research scientist, a business executive, and a veterinarian still daydreaming about the farm idea.)

      Seconding the need to resist the elitism. I grew up in White Privilege Land and learned essentially nothing about inequality – we were too insulated from it. Poverty was real, but it was so far removed as to be only a theoretical possibility, or something that people only occasionally caught glimpses of. Like black holes. They exist, but why worry? That’s so distant.

      Coasting through high school and then suddenly having to work in undergrad is pretty common, I think. I remember one of my math teachers warning us about that.

      1. Eden*

        I went to a “good school” and got a 4.0 and still felt like I coasted in high school and had to majorly adjust in college. And I want to share that my siblings and I are all incredibly different kinds of students despite being born to 2 overachievers so I do think you are really putting the cart before the horse planning for overachiever students when you don’t even have kids yet! Please discover what kind of students any future kids are instead of assuming.

    7. Katefish*

      I’m a reasonably bright person and hated going to a known academic superstar public high school – it was way too cookie cutter for me as an analytical person who could easily see my friend’s strengths and weaknesses, and the strict grading did me no favors when it came time to apply for scholarships in college. My friends from small towns who had to hustle in college compared to high school at least got full rides. On the other hand, I relate to what you’re saying about having academic excellence around as a check on ego and a driver – law school was enjoyable (at least in its masochistic way) because I was definitely not the smartest person in the room. One thing I haven’t experienced is a big diversity gap, since my hometown has a lot of ethnic diversity and I went to public schools until college. I think growing up in a diverse environment has helped me in all types of reflexive ways I probably take for granted. I’m also white, and that’s definitely worth something – just some puzzle pieces to consider!

      1. Katefish*

        *growing up in a diverse environment is definitely a benefit – I’m well aware of my white privilege, but am not endorsing the current system by any means!

    8. Lilo*

      My husband was the big academic star at his rural public school, and then almost failed out of our college and had to take remedial classes at the local community College to fix the deficiencies in his education. He’s pretty much the poster boy of how kids who are first in their family to go to college can end up struggling because they hadn’t been given the resources.

      So when we were buying a house he very much prioritized the quality of the schools. I personally hate how public schools are funded and will campaign for more equitable schools and vote for better schools for all, while simultaneously trying to prioritize my son’s own education. Maybe it’s a bit hypocritical? I’m happy to pay more in taxes, and I very much want the school to prison pipeline fixed (I personally worked with kids in the criminal justice system in a bad area and have seen just how bad it gets). But if I have the choice not to put my kid in that meat grinder, I’m going to avoid it.

      1. Lilo*

        I should note that my husband’s school was basically all white and the school district we live in is racially diverse. Those two don’t correlate.

        I should not that segregation can be a huge problem in schools that are statistically diverse. The nickname for one of the schools in my city is “Yale or Jail”.

    9. anonforthis*

      Not me personally but I have an recent ex friend who grew up in a similar situation. I can’t speak on her behalf, but I personally observed that it didn’t affect her well. For some context we met in college and moved to the same city after graduating. we are now in our late twenties. She grew up in a small town (white and middle class) and was top of her class without trying. In contrast, I went to a competitive high school and graduated top 5.

      What I observed: until this day, my friend is someone who can’t handle any form of competition or criticism. When she was in college, she only preferred to study easy subjects because she was afraid harder, STEM subjects would tank her GPA. Upon graduating, she couldn’t handle job hunting because she would take every single rejection personally and give up. She is now working as a waitress. To be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong with this, but she is very bitter about it and is jealous and resentful of anyone she perceives as doing well in life. There are a myriad of reasons why I stopped being her friend but you probably now have a clue as to why.

      I think going to a competitive school made me aware of the fact that there are much smarter people than me out there, and I actually like that! Also, I am aware of how privileged I am to have had access to that education in the first place.

    10. Sutemi*

      I agree with the comment to concentrate on the neighborhood elementary school, the schools can change a lot in the decade or more before your kids need to worry about middle and high schools.
      In larger schools there can be in effect a school within a school, where all the kids who take honors classes get tracked together and become their own peer group.
      I strongly believe that while there is a huge difference between bad and good schools, the differences between good and great don’t matter as much long term. You can supplement with attention at home, extracurricular activities and camps so long as the school isn’t failing.

      1. Schools*

        Yeah, I consider it a plus in this context that the high schools are all quite large (~1300) so I would imagine within a class, there would be enough academically motivated kids to cover more challenging material.

        1. Clisby*

          Do the high schools encourage dual enrollment? Of course, that would require that a college/university be close enough to make that feasible, but if it is possible it considerably expands the availability of challenging classes. My son started college in fall 2020 with 37 college credits already done.

    11. Anon today*

      I was a high performer and went to an awful Catholic elementary school. I was an outcast in many ways, in part because I was a high achiever and the teachers didn’t know what to do with me. I finally begged my parents to send me to the public school. However, now I’m looking at elementary schools in my area and the ones that best meet my kids needs aren’t the wealthy white ones but the diverse, low income ones. So much of a school’s culture is driven by the principal so meet him or her and see what you think.

    12. Dark Macadamia*

      1. I’m reading a book right now called “Despite the Best Intentions” about race in schools, and one of the big things they found in their case study is that a diverse school population doesn’t necessarily mean an integrated class experience – the school they studied had “tracks” that end up dividing strongly along racial and perceived class lines rather than actual ability, due to a variety of factors. So be aware that sending your kid to a diverse school doesn’t guarantee anything, and consider the impact you as an involved white parent can have not just for your own kid but for the school community (one of the things the book covers is that a lot of the tracking results from white parents advocating for exceptions rather than policy change).

      2. GreatSchools is commonly cited when comparing school quality but it SUCKS. I recently found Niche and it provides a much more nuanced overview with more transparency about their sources and processes. For example schools in my area with GreatSchools scores of 10, 7, 5, and 3 are listed as A+, A-, B, B- on Niche! They also break down individual areas like academics and diversity so you can get a better sense of balancing those factors.

    13. Pucci*

      Because you don’t know what the strengths and learning styles of your future kid(s) will be, make the choice of place to live based on what works best for you and your spouse right now – location, price, style of house, yard, etc. Then assume you may need to move in 10 years. You may not, but there are just too many unknowns.

    14. Jay*

      Both my husband and I were high-performing students in high-performing wealthy public school bubbles. We’re both white and so were almost all of our HS classmates. When we chose a school district for our kid, we deliberately chose the most financially challenged and racially diverse district available to us. Financially challenged = they gave all the kids free lunch because over 80% of the students qualified and it was cheaper to do that than try to track it. My husband worked in science teaching training and professional development. Our kid was 18 months old when we moved here and we knew the elementary school we were zoned into was solid – we had friends who had kids there and my husband knew the principal. We could easily afford a nice house a mile from the school, which was also less than a mile from the JCC where she was in preschool and then afterschool care, and a walkable neighborhood close to friends and the grocery store. This worked fine for elementary school – she had a great experience and made lots of friends from diverse backgrounds both racially and economically. Our lives were easier and more comfortable than if we’d moved into the white-bubble high-pressure district that is literally across the street. She got lots of supplementation – museums, books, travel, and living with parents who read a lot and talk about what we read. We used the extra money to pay for her dance classes and to take her into the nearest Big City for lots of professional ballet and modern dance performances.

      She wanted out after sixth grade for a variety of reasons, including a truly abysmal principal who was gone by the end of that year, and from then on went to charter schools where she could major in dance. Great fit for her. If your kid(s) want high-powered academics, you’ll figure that out and find a way to do it. You don’t need to know the whole plan now. Buy the house that works best for your finances and your family as it is now. You’ll manage the rest.

      By the way, “highly rated” schools according to test scores are the schools with wealthier, more educated parents. That’s all the test scores tell you. They don’t correlate with quality of education. The principal and the teacher matter more than anything else.

    15. RC Rascal*

      I went to a public school in a blue collar middle to lower middle class area. My family had a good income and we were wealthier than nearly all the other families. My parents were white collar but not flashy people.

      I was near the top of the class and had no choice but to take rigorous courses. The district was struggling financially & didn’t have fluff electives. I went to a relatively elite private liberal arts college and was able to complete with kids from fancy private prep schools.

      What I got out of it was an ability to relate and connect to people of different social classes and wealth. It’s helped me professionally. I have made a good career out of management roles in manufacturing companies that serve blue collar type industries. I can connect to the customers in a way many others can’t. I also have an MBA from a Top 20 school.

    16. matcha123*

      Okay, so my mom (black) attended public schools that were probably under-performing. She was a top student, graduated early, went to a prestigious university. She definitely got bullied in school. I can’t say how much was due to her being a bookworm and how much was just bad luck.
      I attended hyper-competitive public schools in an upper middle class city. The city and schools were and are diverse. Kids were softly divided into three groups in elementary school and the divisions solidified in middle and high school. I’d call them: Aiming to attend a prestigious university; Aiming to attend some random university; and For the love of god, just stay in school.

      You say that you enjoyed your school life and that you expect your kid to be smart like you. My mom is very competitive and I am the complete opposite. I really hated how many of my peers would blatantly lie about studying (“I forgot we had a test and I only got a 92! I am sSOooOo dumb!;” “I don’t study, this stuff is easy;” “I only flipped through the book five minutes before the test.”), they would lie about having tutors, lie about having their parents send them to Kumon or Kaplan, they’d bicker with the teachers over 0.5 points on a test (“I know you said the test was going to cover chapters 1 – 5, and this part was technically in chapter 3, but you didn’t go over it, so I didn’t study! You should give us the point!!”).

      The more vocal and aggressive kids would roll their eyes and sigh when people would ask questions they thought were “dumb.” It made it hard to ask for help when I needed it because I thought I was a complete idiot. It wasn’t until I got into the same prestigious university as the rest of them that I realized they’d been studying tons behind the scenes.

      Basically, don’t think that your potentially smart kid is going to want to sit in a classroom and one-up other pre-teens for an ego boost.

      As to diversity. It sounds like your family is loaded and the school you are thinking about sending your kid to is poor? Just do your kid a favor and send them to the rich white kid school. There were a lot of ESL kids in my schools and most of them were getting top grades. Don’t conflate being a language learner with being dumb. Many kids who are bilingual and speak another language at home in addition to English are pushed into ESL classes they actually do not need.
      Finally, don’t use your kid to ease your…interesting racial hang-ups. That stuff is taught in the home by showing kindness and empathy to people from different backgrounds.

      1. matcha123*

        Just want to add that my high school had over 2,000 students.
        And while I believe white people talking about diversity is a great thing, some of the comments here and some of the articles I’ve read leave me with a bad impression.
        It seems like by putting your white kid in a minority-majority, low-income school, you’re trying to game the system to help get them into a better college than they’d be eligible for if you’d sent the kid to a school that matched your socio-economic background.
        When people say that low-income schools are not as “high pressure” or “less challenging” that signals to me that the parent wants their kid to be able to “coast” by with excellent grades (supplemented by tutors and other materials out of reach to the general school population). And by being a “white minority” in a school with a large black population, they will stand out when it comes time for college apps.
        White parents have been moving away from schools with larger Asian American populations because they are “too competitive”. Which is another problematic topic.

        And before someone jumps in with “No, OP didn’t say that!” I’m not saying they did say that or that this was their plan. However whenever I read an article about a white parent doing something similar, I get the impression their motives are generally less than pristine.

        Teach good habits and behaviors in the home.

        1. Eden*

          That’s quite a reach, that this is a ploy to game college admissions and get high grades… First of all it sounds like the literally the opposite of OP’s concerns and second of all, there is lots of research showing that sending white kids to more diverse and integrated schools is better for them as people and parents are taking note. I am a white person who went to a school where all my peers where white and Asian and yeah, I do think it harmed me not have friends who were Black and Latinx growing up. Segregation is bad! Can’t believe I have to say that in 2021.

          1. Anonymous for this*

            Are you suggesting that a Black commenter is pro-segregation because they described something you’re not familiar with?

            While I agree that diversity is good (it should go without saying), I’ve actually seen a little of the same thing. Where I grew up, it was especially noticeable along class lines.

          2. matcha123*

            I don’t know your age group, but for reference I graduated high school in the early 2000s. In the mid-late 1990s there were rich parents sending their kids for ADHD diagnoses to allow them extra time on the SAT. More recently we had the Varsity Blues scandal. At my university, students from under-served schools/school districts were eligible for scholarships. My peers’ parents most certainly planned their children’s education out from before they were born, including where to live. So, no, I don’t think it’s a reach to assume that someone would have an eye to college apps at this early stage.

            I don’t know the research, but I’m sure that any kind of diversity is a good thing. For parents looking for diversity, though, they want racial diversity, not socioeconomic diversity. Or the diversity of language learners, that the OP alluded to as being negatives.

            Many of my peers were white or Asian. I find it interesting that you lump Asians with white people. Asian Americans come from diverse backgrounds, including diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. I’m not sure how having a white friend would have helped a black or Hispanic immigrant kid? There were no black kids in your school from elementary through high school? Or there were a few, but you just didn’t talk to them? There’s no way to ensure that white kids interact positively with other kids. Again, I attended a very diverse school. The AP classes were mostly white and Asian. Mostly, not completely.

            I’m not sure why you thought I was promoting segregation? But based on what the OP wrote, they’d be sending their kid to a low-income school. I really hope we can move away from thinking that “low income” is synonymous with “black” or “Hispanic.” There are plenty of racially diverse schools in high income areas. I do think that sending a comparatively rich kid to a poor school isn’t the answer to much of anything. The kid will most likely get tutoring to supplement what they aren’t taught in school, the parents will probably find educational extracurriculars for them to enjoy, and more.
            Will the OP be comfortable with her kid going to homes that aren’t as “nice”? Some lower income people are fine with leaving 10-year olds unsupervised. Would she be okay with that? Would she be judging parents who can’t afford organic groceries or whatever? I think these are all important things to take into consideration. Kids want to invite their friends over and they want to go to their friends’ homes. How will she navigate relationships with other parents who don’t have the means she does?

            Just based on personal experience, people love diversity when it comes in the same socioeconomic tier.

            1. Bette Davis Eyes*

              Thank you Matcha123 for pointing out that white people lump white peoples and Asian people, as if Asian people are not also people of color and have their own diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

              Quite frankly, I’m very irritated by the white commentators who talk about racial diversity as something to benefit their real/hypothetical white children. I feel like it bears repeating to say that people of color do not exist to give white people an anti-racist education.

              Frankly, Eden’s comment of “I do think it harmed me not have friends who were Black and Latinx growing up” exemplifies this.

              This statement implies that POC are props to improve the lives or educational experience dof white people. We do not exist to make your friend groups ~diverse~ so you can learn something about multiculturalism.

              If you are a white person dedicated to anti-racism and want to pass those values down to your children, it is up to YOU to begin and continuing those teachings at home. We live in an age where there has never been been so much anti-racist, diverse literature aimed at all age groups.

              Like other POC commentators here have said, white parents who want to send their children to “diverse” schools seem to only want to do so because they think POC will serve their white children in some way. I rarely see white patents discuss what they will do to serve their POC-majority school/community.

        2. Reba*

          For white, socially mobile parents (speaking as someone who is white and highly educated but not a parent) diversity and integration are understood as these abstract forces of good — but we don’t really have experience thinking and talking about how they work and what they actually accomplish or don’t.

          The portion of the “Nice White Parents” investigative podcast that sticks in my mind is when Eve Ewing, author of “Ghosts in the Schoolyard” challenges the reporter, Chana Joffe-Walt to actually question, “why is she so obsessed with integration?” There was an unexamined assumption that integration = good. But what kind of integration? Good for whom?

          White people/parents often see diversity as something good *for their child,* like just another feature the school offers that their family will consume. Good playground with a vegetable garden, electives, diversity. And we have this idea that our being there will benefit the other children, somehow… I’m not sure it’s always as linear as “my kid will look more successful compared to lower-income kids” but sure, it is definitely about getting your kid better prepared or more competitive for the world.

          Highly recommend that podcast, OP! It won’t answer your questions but it’s good food for thought.

          1. matcha123*

            Although I haven’t listened to it myself, I am familiar with the podcast. It sounds like they cover topics spoken about by white and black parents in my school system when I was growing up.

            My personal experience tells me that the parents need to make a better effort. I know my school district was and is popular for its racial diversity, advanced courses, extracurriculars, and more. These are all things I am grateful and lucky to have been exposed to. However, even as a child it was evident that most of the white parents wanted applause and pats on the back for saying diversity was important, without actually doing anything.
            They wanted school field trips that would have cost $50 and excluded low-income kids and were surprised when a can drive was suggested. They want their kids to be around teh minorities, but were offended when minority kids would talk about racism or discrimination. The PTA moms spoke openly about how they didn’t like the kids from poorer neighborhoods and wouldn’t let their kids play there…but that was okay because they were thinking of the white? kids in those areas.

            Change starts in the home. Throwing kids together and expecting them to not bring in the luggage they carried from their homes is simplistic thinking, imo.

          2. ampersand*

            It’s interesting you mention Chana Joffe-Walt because last night I came across her This American Life story “Three Miles” that discusses education inequality along racial and class lines (it follows one student in particular). It’s worth listening to.

        3. c-*

          I can’t speak for the US context, but as a HS teacher who has worked in diverse schools (i.e. majority-minority, low-income families, many kids who don’t speak the local language well or at all, 30 students per group, and abismal funding), we DO want white middle class families to send their white middle class kids here: it benefits our middle class (MC) students, sure, but it actually benefits our low income (LI) students more. This is because MC students receive support at home (so I can focus on better supporting any LI students who need it), they bring in other perspectives my LI students may not have access to (think making points about culture or art or history or what have you because their parents took them abroad on vacation), and also solid students can help raise up all their peers academically through collaborative learning approaches, and MC students are likelier to become solid students due to support at home.

          Of course, this all requires a ton of work on my part (preventing and fixing racist and classist dynamics in my class, teaching students to cooperate and learn together instead of competitively, dealing with the occasional KarenParent… [that refers to rich entitled parents, not to their kids]) and on the school’s (to make this approach work, it requires years of shaping the culture and buy-in from all staff), but at the end of the day, my MC students win 5, my LI students win 10, and it is totally worth it.

          Make no mistake, OP: in underfunded school systems, everything and everyone is a resource, including our students. If we are worth our salt, we take what *every* family offers in terms of diversity, values, privilege, wealth, and culture, and make the most of it for the benefit of *all* the students, so the whole group improves. Bring me your poor and hungry, yes, but bring me also your rich, for Pete’s sake, so we can all push together.

      2. Schools*

        Hmm, my own experience is that my parents taught me all the right things but when I truly learned those lessons for real, not just theoretically, was moving to a more diverse area and doing Americorps, where for the first time I was one of only a handful of white people in my cohort (I realize some people have the opposite experience with the program, but most of my peers were POC and from lower-income families). I don’t want to give my kids a leg up in college admissions (actually I have the opposite worry about academic preparedness), my priority is giving them a leg up on being a better person than I was as a kid.

        1. matcha123*

          I think that starts at home. And even if you want them to be aware, there’s no guarantee that they will be. My family was low income, my peers were a mix of middle and high income. But the assumptions both groups had about low income people made school life pretty crappy for me. Tons of high earning POC and immigrant families in my classes, too.
          Watching the news with your kid and discussing the kinds of topics that come out, listening to NPR with your kid and discussing the topics, teaching your kid to think from another perspective all go a long way. Along with actively being friendly with people from lower income and other backgrounds. These are all things that I grew up with. Not to say I’m perfect or anything like that! Learning how to listen to and empathize with others is something kids start learning before they set foot in a school.

      3. Sleeping Late Every Day*

        I am so glad to see your post in a sea of somewhat clueless privilege. Unfortunately, some people think diversity exposure for their child is like ordering little friends of various ethnicities from the American Girl site – all colors, but not too ethnic, please. Ugh.

          1. matcha123*

            The hearts are in the right place, but yeah…a bit hmm…tone deaf. To put it lightly.

            1. Schools*

              I can see that! (I think?) I mean, I’m basically asking how I can engineer the perfect learning experience for a future child where they experience diversity but no fallout in their friendships or academics from the systematic racism, classism, and anti-immigrant bias their peers and the school system in general will be affected by.

              Your responses and those of the other commenters have been very helpful in thinking about this issue.

              1. ThatGirl*

                So basically you want your kid to learn how hard other people have it but reap all the benefits of white privilege? I’m sorry if that sounds harsh but it’s not a great way to look at the world. I know you mean well, but you can’t engineer a perfect experience and BIPOC are people, not props.

                1. bluephone*

                  I’m white and Schools’ whole thing rubbed me the wrong way too! Also these are children that don’t even exist yet, right? Kind of seems a little “cart before the horse” there. Also just because one’s parents were “strong students” (WTF does that even mean) doesn’t automatically mean one’s kids will be the same way. Honestly, it sounds like Schools is setting themselves up to wind up with kids who hate school in all forms/won’t do well no matter where they attend school (because the universe likes being a prankster like that)

              2. matcha123*

                I would challenge you to ask yourself what “diversity” means to you. Is it racial? cultural? socioeconomic? linguistic? family-type? gender? etc.
                Being a racial minority doesn’t necessarily make someone poor or more open-minded to certain issues like gender equality.
                Amongst low income people you have the people who don’t care about anyone or anything, and you have the people who are trying their hardest to get ahead but get knocked back.
                The speech and behaviors you model at home will be passed on. If you verbalize helping others, rather than actually getting out and helping them, you’ll teach that word matter more than action. If you treat all those you come across with respect, your kid will (probably) do the same.

                As an example, if your kid is writing college apps and says something about how it’s not fair that other races get something or poor people get something, ask her about her life: Does she get to see people like herself on TV? Do people assume her family is poor or that she is dumb because of her race? Did she have to work to help support her family while in school? Should a kid who works 10+ hours a week in high school and who cooks and cleans along with helping to pay bills be held to the same standard as someone who gets to study four or five hours a day and doesn’t have to worry about whether they have enough to eat? There are many many ways to teach these lessons.

                1. Tali*

                  Agreeing with everything matcha123 said on this post.

                  Looking at “diversity/integration” as an abstract good thing for your kids, like you can line it up next to “new computer lab” and “arts enrichment program” is an oversimplified view of how systemic discrimination/anti-racist education works. You can send your white kid to a 95% Black/Hispanic school and they may hang out with the 5% white kids. Plus they spend the rest of their time watching movies with mostly white people, learning about mostly white history, hearing how you discuss their classmates as props in your own child’s enrichment, and being generally steeped in the inherent racism of our society.

                  My partner is a white ethnic minority immigrant and a high achiever who went to a diverse, low performing school. They went to an elite college and now have a fulfilling career. They also had to, and continue to, unlearn the bigotry they were taught growing up. It’s not something you can correct for by choosing the right school/neighborhood!

                  You can counter both self-esteem and white privilege issues with how you raise your kid outside of school. This is an ongoing process you will do their whole lives. And you don’t even have kids yet–things may change when you see what kind of person your kid is!

              3. tra la la*

                OMG, no. You can’t “engineer” that kind of thing. You don’t even have children yet — you have no idea at this point what their specific needs/interests/etc. are going to be. Plopping them down in a racially diverse school in no way guarantees that they will become more racially sensitive or whatever (my school district desegregated when I was a child and my sibling and I both attended deliberately racially mixed schools — I had Black friends, my sibling didn’t). And as other people have pointed out, BIPOC are absolutely NOT props and/or there to give your white children a more rounded experience. Even more importantly, BIPOC children are not, not, NOT there to have their experiences with systematic racism etc. etc. (all the things you listed) be learning experiences for your white children.

                “Engineering” experiences rarely works out. Kids aren’t going to be exactly what you want them to be. At least wait until you have actual children, who will be their own people with their own needs, academic and otherwise.

        1. Hornets*

          Yes, this. As a POC, I found most of this thread irritating and condescending. I and people who look like me do not exist to provide your hypothetical children with a learning experience that you can drop with a self-satisfied feeling at 3pm when the school day ends.

    17. Pickled Limes*

      I grew up as a gifted kid in a school like the one you describe, and I did have the experience of showing up at college with no idea how to study because I’d never needed to before. I’m not going to lie, it was rough. But I think there are things you can do while your kids are growing up that can mitigate it somewhat.

      First off, try to supplement the things your kids are learning in school with non-school activities. There are library programs, online resources, and academic style clubs your kids can sign up for that can offer them experiences that may not be available to them at their school. When they get older, think about whether you can afford to sign them up for some lower-stakes classes at community college. I took some language classes at our local community college for a language my high school didn’t teach, and it was a good step in learning how college classes are structured and how to get ready for more rigorous classes, and in retrospect, I wish I’d done more.

      Also, find out if the high schools in your area offer dual enrollment with community colleges. It’s not only the fancy schools in the rich white neighborhoods that do, my low income area high school had them and it was a helpful transition.

      Most importantly, though, make sure your kids know that academic excellence is not the only or even the most important kind of excellence. As a designated “gifted” kid, a lot of my identity was tied up in being smart, so when I started struggling in my first semester at college, it wasn’t just a school struggle, it was an identity crisis. I thought smart kids didn’t get C’s, so now that I was getting C’s I clearly wasn’t as smart as I thought I was. That loss of self image was harder to recover from than the bad grades were. So make sure your kids know that being good at school isn’t the only way to be smart, and that making mistakes doesn’t negate who they are.

      1. RagingADHD*

        My kids are in a good middle of the pack system, and have good grades overall. Whenever they get low marks on an assignment or quiz, I first ask if they prepared and did their best. If so, I tell them I’m glad they are getting challenged, because if you always get 100% then the assignments are too easy.

    18. OyHiOh*

      I made an early choice to prioritize social diversity over competitive academics, in part to counter-act some of the messaging my children received at home (their father used a lot of social dog whistles, partly lazy linguistics, partly what he truly believed). That ended up being a poor decision because two of my kids have significant dyslexia that their school and district couldn’t adequately address and I needed to change course to meet their needs.

      For you, I would say to prioritize diversity because bright children will push themselves because they want to know more and do more, and the social emotional skills they’ll gather in that environment will benefit them regardless of where they go. But also, be aware of early indications of learning disabilities so that if you need to change course, you can do so before it becomes a significant problem.

    19. Anonymous for this*

      I wasn’t an academic superstar, but I went to disadvantaged schools. My area has a poor school system. The thing is, those schools get the teachers, school administrators, and other staff that they’re able to pay for. They get the building and school supplies that they pay for.

      I frequently:

      – Was in 30+ student classes where some students were neglected
      – Saw and experienced discrimination and abuse by bad teachers I assume couldn’t get hired anywhere else
      – Saw a lot of fights, bullying, etc. because the school wasn’t staffed well enough to take care of kids
      – Was in dirty classrooms with not enough books or other school supplies

      If you can avoid sending a child to schools like that, please do. (If the schools aren’t that bad, ignore this!) If you want to support underfunded schools, donate to their fundraisers, contribute to their school supply drives, and vote for politicians who support public schools in municipal elections.

    20. RagingADHD*

      My elementary school and my brother’s middle school were not particularly diverse, but they were low-performing because the administration didn’t seem to GAF.

      I was the only kid in my first-grade class who could read, so I regularly got left in charge while the teacher took unauthorized smoke breaks, and I got in trouble for not keeping the class in line in her absence (including the 8-9 year olds who had been held back and were twice my size).

      My brother got his papers marked down for misspellings that were actually correct, because the teacher was apparently semi-literate herself.

      My brother got beat up regularly, and got death threats for being a “nerd”. Our parents had tried for years to operate inside the public school system and work for change through the PTA and local school board elections. They gave up the day my brother got a knife held to his throat by one of his bullies that the administration had refused to do anything about all year.

      So I’d say it’s worth investigating *why* the school is underperforming, and what that actually looks like on the ground. It’s not always about test scores, students’ circumstances, or economic issues like lacking the latest tech. Sometimes it’s gross incompetence and mismanagement.

    21. Stitching Away*

      I was a fairly high performing student at a high-performing school, and it almost destroyed me.

      From the day I stepped into that school, it was about nothing but what ivy were you going to attend, and it was incredibly unhealthy. I desperately wish I could have spent four years somewhere with a better mindset. Yeah, it was good to realize there were people smarter than I was, and it was incredibly helpful to leave high school knowing how to write 15 page papers in 4 hours, but there are vastly better ways to acquire those skills.

      If you want a mix, have you considered diverse school, but academic-focused summer programs? I went to summer camps that were 3 week long courses and I adored them.

    22. Calliope*

      Worrying about schools when you don’t have kids yet is borrowing trouble. Most people are only in their house for seven years. Also schools can change a lot in five years. Buy where you want and assess the situation later.

      1. Schools*

        I can see this perspective, it’s just the opposite of what our friends and family are saying – that if you are buying a house and want to have kids, to really pay attention to the schools. Seven years is way shorter than how long most people I know live in their houses, at least around here.

        1. Calliope*

          Well people do have a lot of opinions. This is just mine. My philosophy with a toddler is that I don’t know what educational environment will be best for her and nor do I know how the schools are going to change so I bought in a neighborhood that’s good for us know. There are always options with schools. If you have the resources to choose a neighborhood based on them you have the resources to reassess your school situation later and find something like a charter school if the neighborhood school doesn’t work out.

    23. SoloKid*

      I went to a public school and think I did fine. My parents were invested in being intellectually curious and they put academic achievement above most so it didn’t matter if the school did. Being well rounded (being able to interact with many segments of the public) let me fare better in life IMO.

    24. Disco Janet*

      Ugh, I typed out a long reply and then had a glitch, but I agree with the “this isn’t something to worry/decide about now” group. I was a high performer at a school that wasn’t so great, but my child is not – he’s on the autism spectrum and struggling to read despite the fact that I’m an English teacher. You don’t know whether your child will be academically inclined, have a disability, certain hobbies or subjects they love, etc. You also don’t know what the schools will be like! A lot can change in the time between when you buy the house and when you actually have a school age child.

      I’m a teacher, and the district I teach in is generally considered significantly better than the one I live in. Yet the district I live in is definitely better suited for my child! And honestly, I put much less stock in the ratings, and even have some negative feelings about highly rated schools, having experienced some of the inner workings that often result in a school performing well in state and national rankings. Some of it is shady stuff.

      Buy a house you like in a neighborhood you like. Figure out the rest once there’s an actual child in the equation.

    25. WS*

      Both of the schools I went to had a principal change partway through and the culture changed dramatically (for the better in primary school, for the worse in high school) with no particular change to the student body or classes or facilities. I think it’s so personalised that you just need to wait and see what your particular kid needs.

    26. Lobsterp0t*

      I went to a majority white, competitive high school.

      I missed out on a lot of important cultural a social learning, not only because my parents wanted me to, but because I did not know there was an environment unlike my own.

      Saying that, I think it isn’t enough to just send kids to School A. Campaigning for better levies, pay etc is really important and you can do that most impactfully as part of the affected community imho.

    27. Cambridge Comma*

      Some people I know who made decisions based on children they didn’t yet have found it very bitter to pass by the excellent schools once they realised they would never be able to have or adopt children. I would suggest making the decision on where to live for the family you have now.

    28. Dancing Otter*

      What you can do for children outside of school will never make up for the experience of being above average in a below-average school.

      I was the over-achiever in all my classes from at least second grade through high school. (From talking to other members of Mensa, I don’t think my experience was unusual.) It stunk on ice!

      My second grade teacher told my parents she never called on Dancing, because she knew I knew the answer.
      In fourth grade, we had a self-paced reading program; it was great until I ran out of lessons in January, and they didn’t have anything else for me to do. “Just be quiet and don’t make trouble, Dancing.”
      I was regularly chastised for daydreaming or looking out the window, because I had finished well before anyone else — and still set the curve on tests, which did NOT endear me to the other students. I got picked on a lot for that, though at least it was never allowed to go beyond hair pulling. It didn’t help that I was good at math and science while female.

      This was in a suburban, white-collar school district where I was part of the dominant ethnicity, in the 1960s when government emphasis on education was near its peak. So the district was good by contemporary standards. Classes were tracked, mostly, but with a high school of ~2000 students, there were only so many accelerated classes they could offer. (E.g., my honors American history class never reached the Second World War. The honors geometry teacher was originally hired to coach basketball.)

      My parents were supportive (cough…pushy…cough), and “enriched” the school teaching, but I have zero happy memories from school itself. Competitive would have been soooo much better.

  18. Venus*

    How does your garden grow? How is the mold in your coffee cup, and how are the weeds in your sidewalk cracks?

    We are desperately in need of rain here. On the positive, this means that I don’t have to mow my little patch of grass, but my poor plants need watering.

    The tomatoes are doing really well this year, so maybe I’ll have a lot to freeze in the fall!

    I planted tomatillos for the first time. Does anyone know anything about them? I usually make pasta sauces with my tomatoes so hopefully can do the same with the tomatillos.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      We have gotten all your rain. I put my Purple Heart outside last week to get some full-sun, since the poor thing was growing very lopsided because it was reaching quite dramatically for the kitchen window, and I had to bring it back in because it was just drowning and needs some time to dry out. Though we’re supposed to have all sun all the time this week, so I will probably put it back out today.

      I planted a purple Wandering Dude cutting back in January and for the first couple months I thought it was going to turn up his toes – he’s doing fantastically now, and one of my to-do’s for the weekend is to take a few cuttings into pots so I can spread him out some :) My spider plant keeps growing extra leaves on its propagation vine, but no distinct new plant babies yet. Come on, spider plant, I have a waiting list!!

      I planted my strawberries this year in a planter that actually has drainage (I forgot to take the stoppers out of the drainage holes last year :P ) and they are covered with little green berries that will hopefully ripen soon. My cherry tomato plant is covered with green tomatoes, and the other three tomato plants are covered with flowers.

      1. Ali G*

        I love that you call it wandering dude! I have been struggling with that one :)
        I propagated one not too long ago and it’s going gang busters. I also did some other cuttings that I will plant soon.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          When I first got it I wasn’t super comfortable with the common name, not knowing what the reference was, so I googled around some and was not super surprised to find that nope, it was pretty bad backstory. “Wandering dude” seems to be a fairly common alternative :)

          My mom was telling me, she had a big one way back when one of her kids was born and she basically had put it in a spare room and totally forgotten about it for six months while she dealt with an infant, and when she remembered it was there she expected it to be dead. Not only was it a thriving and healthy plant, they had to replace the carpet in that room because the dude had grown down to the carpet and put … I don’t know if they were proper roots, or climbing tendrils or what, but the plant vines had literally grown into the carpet and it was taking over.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            For a while I was calling mine just The Wanderer. Then I started thinking about the old song with that title, and realized I’d moved from anti-Semitism to glorifying a womanizer. So I am very glad to hear your new name!

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              I won’t drop a direct link to save Alison some hassle, but there’s a good article on Bloombox about the change. :)

            2. Coenobita*

              I had never heard “wandering dude” either, it’s fantastic, I love it! As a Jew who happens to be an extreme homebody, I’ve always sort of privately enjoyed the little joke of having those plants around my house (though I wouldn’t use that name in public). Apparently another common name for them is “inch plant,” which is fine but WAY less fun than wandering dude.

                1. Coenobita*

                  Haha, I know, right? Gross. I’m fine with spiders, but don’t need to think about their warts :)

          2. Hotdog not dog*

            So I’ve just officially renamed my dude! He was given to my parents as a housewarming gift in 1975, and when they moved in 2004 Mom gave him to me. He is going to outlive all of us!

      2. Girasol*

        Last year I couldn’t grow a bean for the life of me. This year the beans are doing great but the carrots just won’t take off. Everything else is doing fine: corn, tomatoes, eggplants, kholrabis, bok choy, swiss chard, snow peas, potatoes, peppers, and stray flowers to brighten the veggie garden.

      3. RagingADHD*

        You just can’t kill Wandering Dude. I once rescued one that had been dumped in a roadside ditch. The soil and root ball were dried to dust, and the leaves were all totally dead.

        A nice repotting, trim, and soak, and he was around for years until I gave him away in a move.

      4. SpellingBee*

        The green beans are bearing, so I’ve been picking them every day – last night had the first batch of the season with supper. The tomato plants are huge and one cherry tomato plant has had a few ripe ones, but most are still green. Lemon cucumbers are growing well and flowering. Basil, parsley and dill all thriving so far. A couple of weekends ago I put in a drip watering system in my raised beds, cobbled together from bits and pieces I had left over from past projects, and it’s been a huge help! I still have to pull the hose out to hook it up, but I just turn it on and leave it for half an hour or so, and I don’t have to stand there. It waters more efficiently than I can with the hose, also.

        I saw this morning that something (I’m guessing a rabbit) ate all 3 of my baby baptisia plants. I’m going to give them some fertilizer and see if they’ll come back, and put wire cages around them. And hope for the best!

    2. Hotdog not dog*

      This weekend’s plan is to finally get the rest of the vegetable garden planted (I’m late this year) and there are tons of weeds in the perennials. We’re at peak strawberry season, so I’m planning to make a batch of jam. I’m thankful that we’re expecting a cool weekend. Last weekend was so hot I wasn’t able to do as much gardening as I had hoped!

    3. Anonymath*

      Our new fruit trees seem to be settling in nicely, and the surviving avocado is still happily sprouting from its roots. Our pepper are all going strong and we’ll probably be donating a bag of them to the local food pantry that accepts garden products. I’ve gotten sick of weeding a patch of land that I wasn’t consistently growing anything on and have decided to put in lantanas for the pollinators so there is something pretty-ish, garden friendly, and low maintenance there that I don’t need to weed as often. None of my usual nursery’s will have replacement passion fruit vines until at least July, so that’s a wait and check regularly. The ginger patch has all sprouted so we can now harvest ginger again, which is good because we go through a bunch of ginger each month. I’ve got one poor little okra sprout, but I’m hoping for more soon.

    4. HannahS*

      Our plants are growing!! We’ve got cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers growing on the balcony. It was a very cold spring, so my tomatoes are TINY still, but will be replanted this weekend.

    5. StellaBella*

      My two basil and one aloe are doing well. Oh and last week I put three potato skins with roots in a pot too and we will see if ghey grow.

    6. CatCat*

      My container garden is off and running. I’ve got veggies going in self-watering containers and grow bags and herbs going in small plastic pots. A new to me herb is lemon thyme and I’m in love. I’m going to need to get a second one because it’s so good.

      I discovered I’ve been over watering the plants in smaller pots. I have a little soil probe now and that helps me better determine when to water. I now live somewhere with full sun pretty much all day, which I haven’t had before, so it’s been an adjustment.

      I started a water garden in a large planter/tub with some water hyacinths I got off the internet. They’ve got aphids! So I’ve been brushing them off and swishing under the water. Might need to take further measures if this doesn’t work. I’ve been monitoring the water to make sure I don’t get mosquito larvae. If I see any, I might a goldfish to live in the water to combat them.

    7. Tris Prior*

      Tomatillos bear like crazy, in my experience. I will never grow them again because I simply cannot eat that much salsa verde! I’m not sure about using them for pasta sauce, TBH – they might be too tart. I find they’re good in chili, though.

      We are in desperate need of rain too – I have a small backyard garden and a community garden plot and I am having a hard time keeping up with watering both.

      It’s been unusually warm here for this early – probably about 1/3 of my tomatoes are already making tomatoes, all my peppers except the jalapenos are making peppers (this is SUPER weird for our zone), and 1 tomato already has ripe ones on it (to be fair, this is a tiny determinate and I bought it with green tomatoes already on it).

      I lost most of the greens to the heat and/or pulled them before they bolted; still have arugula and some red romaine that I planted late, and 1 lone spinach sprout. The kale looks good though.

      1. Venus*

        I know our foodbank takes fresh produce, so if I end up with an unlimited supply of tomatillos (which may be possible, given the flowers on the plants) then I can share them with a lot of people!

        I also like salsa, although have never made it, but if that’s the option then I will try it at least once. My preference for tomato sauce is that I can heat it up over the winter as a way to get the taste of fresh veggies, which doesn’t seem as workable with salsa.

        I noticed a few small green tomatoes already, which seems so soon! Thankfully my peas are growing despite the heat, so there is hope yet that I will have some of those in a couple months.

        Thank you for the tomatillo advice!

        1. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

          I am also growing a tomatillo plant for the first time. I am not worried about too many because I will make all of the salsa verde (and freeze if there is too much)

    8. GoryDetails*

      Southern NH here, just ended a heat wave with lovely cool weather and rain. I have three self-watering planters doing well – sweet and hot peppers, cherry and heirloom-beefsteak tomatoes, three types of eggplant – as well as various herbs which I planted in-ground and unfenced. So far the chipmunks and other critters have left the herbs alone, though once the butterflies find the dill I expect their offspring to chow down.

      Also have a couple of fenced-in-with-chickenwire plots, one full of okra and a vining-type cucumber and the other with summer squash, Swiss chard, more cucumbers, and some beans (started from seed). That plot is the one I fenced in as a 4×4 cube of chickenwire, to keep the chipmunks from tunneling up from below and the bluejays from diving down from above (they ADORE seedlings and have already decimated the just-sprouted sunflowers I was trying to start in pots).

      The rest of the yard is overwhelmed with vines, wild roses, and (grrrr) poison ivy, long overdue for a major cleanup. Hope to get around to that soon…ish?

    9. Rebecca Stewart*

      I’d pretty much given up on it, but much to my surprise one of the canna bulbs I planted in a container this spring sprouted. I had it in the container so that if I need to when they flower I can move it. They are attractive to hummingbirds, which is why I planted them, but if I need to shift the tub so that no one is getting divebombed by three ounces of territorial fury while going in and out the back door, I will.

    10. Can't Sit Still*

      My snake plant had a baby! I’ve never had a happy houseplant before. My parlor palm looks very sad, but it least it’s no longer actively dying.

      I guess I’m going to have to repot the baby soon.

    11. Coenobita*

      Today I saw the first black swallowtail caterpillar on my parsley! Yay, butterflies!

    12. Sungold*

      I grew tomatillos for a few years. I preferred to let mine ripen to yellow at which point they became sweet and tangy. I used them that way in salads and loved them. If I remember correctly, the ones that ripened to purple weren’t as sweet. Unripe green tomatillos were pretty good oven-roasted.

      Be aware that tomatillo plants are spindlier and sparser than tomato plants, so the harvest is smaller.

      1. Venus*

        Thank you! I got the plants from a friend so this is all new to me. I will try the oven-roasting and look for salad options (although I don’t eat many salads so it won’t be my only option).

  19. Bibliovore*

    content warning: grief

    So its been three weeks. Advice please. I don’t know the next right thing.
    I alternate between uncontrollable weeping and wailing to a kind of numb getting things done- lawyer stuff, money stuff, actual work email stuff.(still WFH)
    I have tried to get a counselor and/or a grief support group- six month wait or hey there is one in October we can put you on a list.
    I cry over the most stupid things- grocery shopping for one. seeing his car in the driveway. the basement drain backing up.
    I don’t know how to answer “how are you doing” I feel like people are radiating “please say okay, please say okay”
    I don’t feel okay. I don’t feel like I will ever feel okay.
    I like saying “terrible thanks for asking” but that feels mean.
    If you have been through this- what did you do?

    1. Dwight Schrute*

      I haven’t been through this but I just want to say I’m sorry you’re going through it! I hope you can get some helpful advice from others. Sending love!

    2. Sending moral support*

      Oh, Bibliovore, I feel for you. It’s okay to say “terrible, thanks for asking.” Of course people want you to be okay, but of course it’s too soon and you don’t have to tell them you are. The worst loss in my life was my mom, so it’s different from yours, but very very hard for me as she was my best friend. At three weeks I remember going out for the first time and into a shop (because I was just randomly wandering around wondering how to pick up the shattered pieces of my life) and bursting into tears when they asked how I was. It’s just maybe gonna be that way for a while for you too. (And they were SO kind, it made me cry harder, but 10 years later I am still grateful for their kindness.) I don’t have a lot of advice, I’m sorry, but I am sending you all the love and support and hugs you are willing to accept from an internet stranger.

    3. It's Quarantime!*

      Your current state is awful, but very normal. I’m so sorry. Trust your impulses. They’ve gotten you this far. Cry when you need to, eat when you must, rest when you can.

      The things you cry over may seem small, but remember they are only what is happening in the moment. Nothing you are crying about right now is stupid. It’s big picture grief in bite sized pieces.

      Urgh, I hate that question. Either you’re deep in it and there just aren’t words, or you’re having a rare moment of stability and the question just drop kicks you right back into the swamp.
      You are 100% allowed to say “I’m not okay, and I don’t know when I will be. Please, don’t ask me that anymore. I’ll keep you posted on any changes.”

      Does your (place we don’t talk about here) have an employee assistance program? I am currently working with a counselor through mine as a temporary measure. If that’s not an option, do you think the chat/text counseling services like Talkspace might be a temporary source of support?

      A close friend of mine lost her husband quite suddenly and unexpectedly in October of 2020. She gave me a book that was very helpful to her in her early grief process: It’s OK that you’re not OK – Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine

    4. I'm A Little Teapot*

      This sounds pretty normal actually. It’s only been 3 weeks. There are people who take months to recover from a breakup, never mind a death! You can’t hurry grief, so be kind to yourself. Yes, keep trying to get into therapy or a support group, but in the meantime just do the best you can.

      As for the people asking how you’re doing, something like “it’s hard, but I’m hanging in there” might be the response that works. Because it IS hard, and you ARE hanging in there.

    5. Sparkles McFadden*

      There is no magic formula. Grief is different from person to person and, even from day to day. It takes a very long time to adjust to such a profound loss. I don’t think we actually get over losses. I think we just adapt to the change.

      Profound loss affects us in so many ways. Loss is trauma; no less a trauma than a physical injury. The brain literally has to rewrite neurological pathways in order for us to adjust to the loss. I approach things from an intellectual place. I feel better when I understand how things work. I don’t know if this will help, but I am providing a link to a book by a neurologist explaining how grief affects us and how we heal: https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/and-after-loss

    6. lemon meringue*

      Since your handle is Bibliovore, I’ll recommend a book: How to Lose Everything by Christa Couture. It’s a memoir where she discusses the losses in her life in a wise, empathetic, non-treacly, non-pat way. Reading it feels a bit like having a deep conversation with a close and wonderful friend. I hope it may help a little bit. (I should note that it includes cancer and loss of small children, just in case that would be upsetting to you.)

    7. Filosofickle*

      While my grief is a fraction of yours (sudden breakup, not death) the grocery thing makes me cry too! I just don’t know how to think about food for one right now — cooking for us was a big way I showed love so this is the symbol that clobbers me the most. I’m on the same timeline and haven’t even been to the grocery store yet. Surviving on things people buy me, a little takeout, and stuff in the freezer that doesn’t have too much baggage.

      I’m so sorry. It’s not mean to say you’re doing terrible. And I wouldn’t expect you to feel okay! Not at this point, maybe not for a long time. I was talking to a widow last night, and we talked about how most people will never understand the depth your grief. They just won’t. And that is a second layer of grief. Wishing you much love, peace, and future okay-ness.

    8. OyHiOh*

      At about the 3 week mark, when people asked how I was doing, I’d say something to the effect of “well, I’m upright, I’m here, and I haven’t cried in the last 5 minutes.” I didn’t want to barf every last emotion all over people, but I didn’t want to pretend I was okay, all the time, either.

      I decided I didn’t care if I came across as mean, to me it was direct and to the point. In the US particularly, we get really really weird around death and grief and I wanted to correct that a little bit.

    9. Valancy Snaith*

      This will sound weird, but grocery shopping is one of THE BIGGEST grief triggers out there. No one ever talks about it, but it is a huge, huge one. My mom has been gone for a year and a half now, my dad is on his own, and still finds it hard to do the groceries sometimes. He and I both on occasion have given up a cart in the middle of the store and just left because we could not handle it. Groceries tap into a lot of stuff–basic needs, deeply-rooted memories of the person, the fact that your life is changing so drastically and irreversibly–so it’s really no wonder, but it is rarely, rarely talked about. Do not feel bad for crying or feeling like anything, no matter how small, is a big deal. Right now you are running at extremely high capacity, and grief is constantly running in the background, draining your battery to the extreme. It is normal. What you are feeling is normal. Whatever gets you through every minute (forget the day–the day is a long fucking time) is the right thing to do.

    10. My Brain Is Exploding*

      You might try churches and hospitals for grief support groups as well as your local hospice. Groups at a church may or may not be “churchy.” Haven’t lost a spouse, but have lost a loved one and that random grief hit in a grocery store (it was some music that was playing) or wherever is real and lasts a while! Just breathe. I have found “as well as could be expected” to be a good reply for acquaintances and used a deeper reply for friends. So sorry for your loss.

      1. Dancing Otter*

        Yes, “as well as can be expected” is excellent! (Also works when recovering from illness, injury, or other disaster.)
        It’s much better than a how-stupid-are-you look and “How do you think I am, idiot?” which was always my instinctive reaction. (No, I don’t think I actually did, but….)

        Crying is nothing of which to be ashamed. I read somewhere that there’s actually a biochemical benefit from crying, but the details didn’t stick. Maybe someone else knows more? Anyway, if you need to cry, cry! (Maybe get in the habit of carrying a fabric handkerchief, so you aren’t stuck with a wad of soggy Kleenex.)

        I wonder whether the funeral home might be able to suggest a support group or other resource.

    11. Rainy*

      I know this thing. I’ve done it a few times now.

      It’s only been three weeks, and you have a lot more of this to get through. The first year is the hardest. Once there aren’t anymore automatic first sinces, it gets a little easier. For the whole time but especially for the first year, be so kind to yourself. Be gentle with your feelings. Lean on your friends. They want to be there for you, but you have to tell them what you need, because most of them aren’t going to be able to imagine. As far as work goes, if you can blow it off for a couple of months I would; your attention span is likely to be very shit for a while. Also cooking; if you find you can’t cook, don’t try for a while. It took me 3 months to be able to make coffee without zoning out and boiling the kettle dry. I couldn’t even cook an egg. For the first week after my first husband died I lived on otter pops. They were the only thing that tasted like anything, and I could swallow them. I couldn’t get much else down.

      It’s okay to cry or rage or sit staring at the wall for a couple of hours dissociating. It’s okay to tell people “terrible, thanks”. You don’t have to perform okay-ness just to make people feel better. Whatever gets you through is okay. Whatever helps is the right thing. There’s no road map for this, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Get up in the morning and do the thing and go to bed and try not to dream and get up in the morning and do the next thing. If you can keep doing that, joy will creep back in.

      You might feel like you can never be the same again, and that’s true. I am not the same person I would have been if my high school boyfriend hadn’t been killed three weeks after graduation. I am not the same person who was married to my first husband (who died over a decade ago). But I am still here, and I am thriving. I have had a whole second life since my first husband died and it’s a really good one and will go on getting better if I have anything to say about it.

      You have all my love and support. You can do this.

    12. beach read*

      My sincere condolences to you Bibliovore. I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t think it is mean to respond to people asking how are you that you are ‘terrible’. First of all, it’s the truth and second of all, of course you are terrible. I lost my Dad in January and it’s just awful. Day by day Bibliovore, take care of and be good to yourself.

    13. Virginia Plain*

      Do you have a workplace EAP? I had some sessions of (phone) counselling via mine when my father suddenly passed about six months ago.

      As for not feeling like you will ever be ok; judging by my mum (and backed up by my counsellor) this is normal and it’s just a matter of time healing a bit. It’s only been three weeks, but you will start to feel a bit more like the future exists.

      Good advice I received and found to be true: your trajectory of emotions will generally have an upward bent but it will have ups and downs within it; every day won’t necessarily always be better than the one before, and that’s ok. Sometimes you’ll feel a bit better but don’t beat yourself up if you have a down day or are unexpectedly blindsided by the sight of a favourite mug and have to have a cry. Also, there is no deadline – cast any thoughts of “by now I should feel…” out of your head.

      It can be nice to write down 2 or3 positive things at the end if each day – “unblocked sink all by myself after looking up what to do on YouTube” or “saw cute dog walking past”. To help your confidence and to see the world as not completely black.

      1. Bibliovore*

        yep. dealt with the plumber sat. morning with a backed up sewer pipe. gold star for me. avoided getting the cell phone service shut off because I didn’t realize he had it on auto-pay from his debit card not our checking account and his debit card was cancelled because duh, he was dead. didn’t go into a complete rage when I received a notice that the rates for his long term disability insurance were increasing that I had canceled including a death certificate addressed to the Estate of Mr. Bibliovore.

    14. NoRegularPosterName*

      Be kind to yourself & do NOT worry about seeming mean to people who ask “how are you?” It’s been 3 weeks! Feel free to say “not good” or “hanging on by a thread” or however you are feeling. My husband died very suddenly at home 8 years ago so I understand. It takes a long time to accept this new normal but please don’t worry about managing other people’s feelings.

    15. NoLongerYoung*

      I am sending you a virtual hug of support. I am so late here that you have already gotten so much excellent advice, there’s little I can add. Except 2.5 years ago when my husband died (was expected), this group was so helpful.

      I did have one hint – I used it when DH was slowly dying of cancer. I couldn’t talk to more than maybe one person in a row, without emotions overwhelming me (such as after church). So I took the advice of someone else and put the update status on an index card and would just hand it to them )for in person – you could write/copy/paste for emails). The 2nd or 3rd time in a 15 min span that I had to talk about my situation – no matter how well meaning – I just cried. So it was easier to just hand them the card, let them read it, and accept a hug (back then) than it was to say over and over again… and at work, I just simply said “I can’t talk about this at work, please understand – it is not that I do not appreciate the sympathy.” I had a great boss – she ran point, put out the informs (prior to his death, and after, and then my thanks email for all they had done).

      And walks – 5 or 6 times a day, I took the dog on a walk and just cried. Sunshine, outside air,movement… it was so helpful.

      again, sorry I’m so late but know I am thinking of you.

    16. Blossom Fowler*

      You can find online support at: soaringspirits.org
      There is a blog and a lot of different resources and ways to connect with other widows and widowers.
      I was widowed 14 years ago, and what you’re feeling is completely normal. I used to answer the question about how I was feeling with either “As well as can be expected” for people who just wanted to hear that everything was fine when it clearly wasn’t, or “The answer to that changes moment to moment” for people who really cared and wanted to know.
      Grief is NOT a linear process, it’s lots of steps forward and steps back, and hard work.
      I’m sorry for your loss.

  20. Bibliovore*

    Resource request.
    I am thinking of having a quilt made of Mr. Bibliovore’s t-shirts. Many available on the internet. Has anyone done this? Recommendations? I fear sending his shirts off and receiving something crappy and disappointing.

    1. merope*

      I think that sounds like a lovely memorial. If you are worried about working with the internet, is it possible to find a local crafter whose work you could inspect before commissioning the piece? If you have a local yarn or fabric store, they might be able to put you in touch with someone.

    2. Venus*

      I’m not a quilter, but I have friends who quilt, so my advice is based on what I would try myself. Yet I don’t know if it would be successful where you are.

      There are likely local quilters, and they might be your best resource for a good job. My understanding is that the jobs where they do big pieces are relatively easy, as they can put a strip of material between each of the t-shirts and then just sew the layers together without a fancy pattern. From the one time I did a quilt, it was two major steps: putting pieces together for the top, and then sewing all the layers together (and then the edging). With the complicated quilts they have a lot of little pieces to sew together, and then the sewing of layers is also complicated, which is why they take a lot of time. I know someone who does it with only big pieces because it is very easy for them. Someone local to you with experience can also work with you on material quality (some t-shirts might not do well in a quilt) and they could also help with which parts of the t-shirt need to be cut.

      I make no guarantees with this last point, but the three quilters I know do it for fun and are often asking to make things for friends and family, so while I doubt they would make a quilt on demand for just anyone, you might find that someone local would be willing to give you a discounted price given your recent circumstances. Not that I would ever suggest expecting this or taking advantage, but if cost is a factor then maybe mention it and see if anyone can help for what you can afford.

    3. Anonymath*

      My father-in-law was known for his collection of job-related pun t-shirts which he wore almost everywhere. When he passed away the collection was split by his children, who then sent several sets off to be made into memorial quilts for themselves and their mother. They used an internet company named campusquilt and were happy with the finished products.

    4. My Brain Is Exploding*

      If there is a fabric/quilt store in your area that longarming, ask them if they know someone. Also look for a local quilt guild, or a quilt group at a church, and ask them.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      It is indeed a lovely idea. I have a friend treasures the quilt made from her grandfather’s and father’s neckties.
      If you are area has county fairs, harvest fairs, 4-H fairs, etc., look on the fair website for a local quilting group. They could be a good resource.

    6. Llellayena*

      Ask at a local quilt shop or find your local quilt guild. Someone there will be happy to either tell you who they would recommend or be able to do it themselves.

    7. mreasy*

      Recommending the local option. A fabric store will very like know the local quilt guild. If you sew at all, I have done this exact thing and it was a very easy project! If not, it should be simple for an experienced sewist.

    8. Wishing You Well*

      Lots of good advice here.
      Just an FYI: don’t hire someone who has never done a t-shirt quilt before. T-shirts have to be stabilized with fusible interfacing before used in a quilt to prevent stretching out of shape. There might also be other techniques that experienced t-shirt quilters know about.
      Best of Luck

    9. OyHiOh*

      My sister made my memory quilt with the help of an expert quilter in her area that she worked with 1 on 1. If possible, I’d reach out to a local quilt shop and see if there’s an expert person locally you could work with.

      The quilt I ended up with is lovely. The t-shirts were stabilized (basically a stiff interface on the back so they don’t stretch different from the woven fabrics) and the wovens coordinate well with the t shirt selections.

    10. Wandering*

      Friend took long sleeved shirts & stuffed them as pillows-with-arms for each kid who left for college, so they could always get a hug from home. Might that be of interest to you?

      Internet hugs if you’d like them.

    11. Cedrus Libani*

      I got one via Project Repat (dot com). I had a giant pile of shirts from my high school days that contained happy memories, I didn’t need them as shirts but I didn’t want to toss them either, so that’s what I did. It’s exactly what it looks like on the website: squares taken from the interesting bits of each shirt, roughly a foot on each side, with a fleece backer. Nothing fancy, but it’s held up for the several years I’ve had it, and I still use it.

    12. Rainy*

      I did it myself actually! The key for a t-shirt quilt is to use fabric for the back that isn’t knit, so it’ll keep its shape. I used flannel. For the tees, I cut the seams and necks out and figured out what shapes I needed, and then the second I cut the shapes out of the tees, I flipped them over and ironed fusible interfacing on the back. This helps everything keep its shape and stabilizes the back of any embroidered designs.

      We still have it. My second husband sometimes asks questions about the blocks and loves to hear stories of trips we took or funny memories associated with the tee in question.

    13. Lizy*

      I don’t think my post posted… my godmother makes quilts. I tried posting the link but maybe that’s what fudged it – gypsydreamerquilts dot com.

      She’s made each of my bio kids a quilt and they’re really quite amazing.

  21. Person from the Resume*

    Arg! Just lost a long comment and won’t redo it.

    This keeps happening to me. For over a month, I think (not that I post too often). I think it might be an ad or something that triggers the page to reset intermittently and when resetting my comment is lost.

    Anyone else having the problem?

    1. Person from the Resume*

      The page refresh also happens while just reading and I lose my place because it takes me to the location in the address rather than where I moved after that.

      It’s super annoying when it loses a long comment, though.

      This seems to only happen on my iPhone but I don’t look at the weekend thread on a computer.

      1. ampersand*

        This exactly. I’ve been meaning to ask Alison about it (is there a fix? I have no idea), and it does only happen on my iPhone, not laptop.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My phone is brutal that way, if I click on a sidebar by mistake it’s a 50-50 chance whether or not my comment will be there when I go back to it. I’ve also had times where I am commenting on something without refreshing first, and the thread has been closed. That took a while to figure out the first time it happened.

    3. CatCat*

      Yes, I’m having this problem on my iPad. I now write my comments in another app because it’s so unpredictable. I thought it was maybe just my device, but maybe it’s the site.

      1. Teal*

        Same! iPad is slow and then it crashes. So annoying. I type what I want in Notes then copy/paste, but it disrupts the “in the moment” reply stream of thought sometimes.

    4. Chilipepper Attitude*

      If I am writing a longish comment, I copy it every so often so I can paste it if it disappears. And I almost always copy my comments before hitting send. I lose things a lot for some reason.

    5. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*


      I tried a different browser and it didn’t help.

      It makes it nearly impossible to read a longer thread.

    6. No name McGee*

      The only thing that fixed this for me has been using the Brave browser (which has an as blocker). It was happening every minute at least, on both my iPhone and my Mac.

    7. Pug Mom*

      Yes, I’ve had this problem for a while. I have even thought about typing my comments on a doc and then doing a copy/paste. At least that way my comment won’t be completely lost.

    8. Might Be Spam*

      I’ve been using the Opera browser on my tablet. Resizing text is so nice and it also has an ad blocker which might be why I don’t see page resets.

  22. Nacho*

    My dishwasher died on me yesterday, and repairing it will be almost as much as just buying a new one (it’s about a decade old anyways). I’ve been thinking though, and I don’t really use it all that much. I’m single, and I re-use my plates and glasses, so all I really need it for is silverware and Tupperware, which I could start doing by hand. Has anybody tried living w/o a dishwasher here? Is is difficult, or worth it to save the money and effort I’d need to spend to buy and install something new?

    Alternatively, has anybody tried one of those countertop dishwashers? They don’t need to be installed, so they’re a lot cheaper/won’t require me to tear up my flooring because the last people who owned my house put in laminate after they put in the dishwasher, and they don’t look that bad.

    1. Dwight Schrute*

      I have lived without a dishwasher in the past and it wasn’t for me. But I am someone who HATES doing dishes by hand so that may vary. I love the ease of using my dishwasher and I couldn’t go without one for long.

      As for the counter top ones, I suggest watching reviews online before buying. I believe Freakin Reviews has done some!

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I’m in the same boat – I’ll load and unload the dishwasher with no problem, though now we’ve moved to a “if the dishwasher isn’t full of clean dishes, put your own damn dishes into it” system, and I’m pretty Johnny-on-the-spot about emptying it because that’s one of my household chores. But when we were tallying out the household chores, I specifically requested that someone else take on trash-taking-out and hand-washing dishes that can’t go in the dishwasher, because those are the two things that need frequent doing that I hate doing more than anything else.

        1. Dwight Schrute*

          Yes! We have a similar set up in our house. Hand washing dishes is my least favorite chore

      2. Filosofickle*

        I’m in this camp. I won’t go without a dishwasher. I’ve had homes without it and I resented every cup and fork I had to clean.

    2. Teapot Translator*

      I’ve been living alone for over ten years and I never had a dishwasher installed (because I was worried about leaks – I tend to over worry about stuff). I rarely think, “Oh, I wish I had a dishwasher.”
      I would try it out for a few months and see if you mind washing by hand and if you really don’t like it, get a new dishwasher.

      1. Observer*

        That’s a great idea.

        It’s a lot easier to try living without one first – it doesn’t cost you anything and you can change your mind from one day to the next with no penalty.

      2. Eff Walsingham*

        This is us as well. Actually our unit came with a newish-looking dishwasher (and minimal kitchen storage) that I’m afraid of using due to potential leaks and people living downstairs. So we use the dishwasher as a cupboard for our clean dishes, which my husband washes by hand because he finds it “relaxing”. I have slowly pulled away from the process entirely, because while I don’t hate it – except for pans and forks! – I don’t find it relaxing. And our kitchen is too tiny for us both to be in there at once. ;)

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      We had a countertop dishwasher in our former house. I should say, we to sequential countertop dishwashers. I can’t remember the brand name of ours, but it worked fine until it started to leak. Both times. The first time, I got a warranty refund. The second time I rigged up a stand with a draining tray underneath, and we used it for years. It was a very slow leak, but enough to make the counter top icky.
      You will have to do pots and big pans by hand , because they just don’t fit. And check your faucet first, because we had to remove the end of ours to attach the dishwasher connector.

    4. Buni*

      I’ve never had a dishwasher – as it’s mostly been just me, and I will happily e.g. reuse a breakfast plate for lunch, or just use one glass all day (if it’s had nothing sticky) it’s never been a problem. I wash up maybe once every other day, and even a huge, side-full pile that looks unsurmountable has never taken me more than 15 mintues.

    5. CTT*

      I’ve lived most of my adult life without one, and it’s so, so doable. You just have to do it regularly (if not after every meal then once a day).

    6. Pocket Mouse*

      I’ve lived 8 places in the last 15 years, and only had a dishwasher at one of those places (so for about 1 year). It’s not that uncommon, though maybe dependent on where you live. I typically don’t mind doing dishes by hand, and I actively like washing silverware by hand. It sounds like you don’t mind doing your volume by hand either. I do know people who are happy with countertop dishwashers but haven’t tried them myself. I’d recommend you go for a while (2-3 months, maybe) without any dishwasher, and then ask around about countertop units or consider a repair/new installation if it’s not working out for you or if your washing habits change for the dirtier. I’ve found drying racks are key for hand washing, if you don’t already have one.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I have been here for 29 years and have yet to install a dishwasher.
      I had one growing up and from what I saw you had to almost wash the dishes before putting them in the washer. huh? I didn’t get the point.
      I do see that dishwashers tend to wear out the pattern or the finish on dishes quicker than if dishes are done by hand. I do miss that hot-hot water and how squeaky clean the dishes were.

      For doing them by hand I have tried two approaches. One is let them stack until there is a mountain. This is only enjoyable for the time where I avoid the dishes. Once I start to tackle The Mountain I seriously regret my laziness. The other method is to do them every day or every other day and that seems to go much better. If I decide to skip a day I just scrub the big items and the items I will need for tomorrow.

      I did not see this in my early years. My mother did dishes after each meal and there were never, ever dishes drying in the drain board- she dried them and put them away immediately. Let’s just say that’s not something I would choose or even consider. Once we got a dishwasher, we probably ran it 5 nights out of the week and that was with three of us.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Older dishwashers often didn’t work very well, but that’s no longer true – while you should scrape off large bits of food, modern dishwashers and detergents actually need food residue to work at their best, and I love ours. I don’t mind washing the occasional delicate glass or large pot but everything else goes in.

      2. WS*

        Yeah, my family growing up had a dishwasher and I decided never to get one because it was so terrible but this is no longer true! I moved into a house which had one, and they’re so much better these days.

      3. Observer*

        I had one growing up and from what I saw you had to almost wash the dishes before putting them in the washer. huh? I didn’t get the point.

        The newer dishwashers generally don’t require that.

    8. Llellayena*

      I love my countertop dishwasher! As someone else said, you might need to remove the tip of the faucet to fit the connector but leaving the connector on doesn’t interfere with anything. Mine has lasted 9 years with no issues. It does take up a solid chunk of countertop, best if you have an unused corner near the sink. Since it’s half size, you should only use powder detergent, not pods. Pods have enough soap for a full size DW. Oh, and make sure you can reach the outlet when the DW is installed, mine needs to be unplugged between uses or it yells at me.

    9. mreasy*

      I haven’t had a dishwasher since leaving home for college (more than 2 decades ago) and I desperately wish I could have one. If the landlord would let us have one. I’d pay for it entirely. I hate doing dishes, I hate seeing dirty dishes in the sink. I’m lucky because my husband is a big dish-doer but even still a dishwasher is my number one wish for a future place. Why don’t you see how it goes for a few months? If you really don’t miss it, all the better.

    10. Grace*

      I had a dishwasher back when I lived with parents but haven’t had one since. I live alone and find it isn’t too much of an issue (and wasn’t when I had housemates, either – we were all very conscientious about washing up every night).

      It’s not a chore I enjoy, and I do sometimes let plates pile up for a few days before I finally knuckle down to it, stick on a long video essay or film, and just power through them all. But I live alone! Even if stuff gets a little bit gross and I have to leave things soaking in the sink overnight, it’s not inconveniencing anyone but myself. It’s best to get into the habit of washing everything as you use it or by the end of the day, and putting things in to soak as soon as you’re done eating, but honestly?

      For one person, I wouldn’t bother with a dishwasher at all, if you have the mental/physical bandwidth to deal with washing them. Only if you deal with a larger volume for a while family or regularly use lots of pots while cooking.

    11. Generic Name*

      Yes. I lived in a rental house with no dishwasher. It was fine I guess, but I much prefer having a dishwasher. I assume you own your home? Keep in mind that buyers will likely expect a working dishwasher, so you’ll likely need to buy one at some point in the future. Why don’t you try living without it for as long as you can stand it?

    12. Meh*

      Our dishwasher crapped out last year and I used it as a drying rack because I hate counter clutter. Now that we are considering selling our house I put in a new, bottom of the line dishwasher. Holy heck I’m so happy I did. Even just the two of us, there are a lot of dishes, mostly from cooking.

      For those worried about leaks, we put sensors under all of our water appliances (washer, sink/dishwasher, water heater) so that we are alerted if something happens. The sensors are part of our simplisafe set up.

      If you don’t want one then don’t replace it. But installing it yourself is easy.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I am just here to crow about the usefulness of water alarms, after an unpleasant sump pump issue last spring that would have been about twelve times more unpleasant if the water alarm hadn’t gone off at 4am because otherwise we wouldn’t have found it til closer to 11am or noon. Mine are “The Basement Watchdog” model off Amazon, $12 each for standalone ones rather than part of a full setup. They run off 9v batteries and I have them under my sink, dishwasher, water heater, washing machine, and two around the sump pump JUST IN CASE.

        1. Meh*

          Yes! We put next to our sump pump as well. Which is getting a heck of a workout with all the rain we’ve had this week.

    13. Texan In Exile*

      We have a dishwasher only because there was one in the house when we bought it 13 years ago. I think we have run it maybe a dozen times. There are two of us.

      When a friend’s dishwasher broke, she was frantic and ready to spend $700 that she really couldn’t afford to replace it immediately. I wanted to ask her (but I didn’t), “Why can’t your two teenagers wash the dishes?” because as far as I’m concerned, if you have kids, you should never wash dishes, cut the grass, clean the bathroom, or shovel snow yourself.

    14. RagingADHD*

      I didn’t have a dw when I was single, and it was fine. Washing up for 1 person takes just a few minutes. I think they only make sense when you have multiple people making dishes, or a big cooking/baking hobby.

      Otherwise, you’re either running it half-empty which is inefficient, or you leave the dishes too long waiting for a full load, and they get all crusty. And you need more dishes that way.

      1. Nacho*

        I have noticed that my dishes aren’t super clean coming out of the dishwasher, though I never connected it to the fact that I was only washing once a week or so, letting them dry and crust over. Thanks for the tip.

    15. MissCoco*

      The only time I want a dishwasher is after a get-together when it’s just a lot to do by hand, otherwise, I’m on close to 10 years without one, and it’s really not an issue (though I am a bit more conservative about using multiple pots and pans when I plan meals).

      That said, I really don’t mind doing dishes, and actually I kind of enjoy it as a chore, if you hate washing dishes, the math will probably be different for you.

    16. Voluptuousfire*

      Nope, never had one. I’ll let dishes pile up in my sink and let the sink fill with hot, soapy water and let it soak overnight and rinse afterwards.

      Sometimes it piles up but unusually soak them or hand wash if it’s only a few dishes.

    17. Unkempt Flatware*

      Yes I live with much too hard of water for a dishwasher. I use mine (covered in limescale) to dry my dishes so I can do huge loads at once. I don’t mind a bit.

    18. Clisby*

      Our dishwasher died a couple of months ago and apparently whatever part is needed to fix it isn’t available anywhere. We’re planning to redo the entire kitchen soon, so we’re just doing without it for now. I don’t find it particularly hard – I lived for years without a dishwasher – but I do like the convenience of having one. I’d probably feel differently if we were washing dishes for us and 5 kids, but it’s just me and my husband most of the time, and our college-age son is home for the summer. All 3 of us wash dishes, so it’s no big burden on any one person.

    19. Rainy*

      I grew up without a dishwasher and then lived in a series of apartments without dishwashers and when I moved into an apartment with a dishwasher I was like, well, this is amazing, never doing without this again.

      I hate doing dishes. If you live alone and don’t hate dishes you are probably fine, see how it goes, but if you hate washing dishes by hand now, you’re really going to hate it in a few months.

    20. Jackalope*

      I’ve lived about half my adult life with no dishwasher and I’m fine with it, although it’s nice to have one for all of the eating dishes. It depends of course on how many people are in the house; when I lived by myself it was no problem, now with my husband and a housemate it’s more of an issue. (And we all wash dishes, but it’s still more of an issue because we’ll usually wash them after work and with three people they stack up more even if we take turns doing them ASAP.) But I’m still okay with hand washing.

    21. Might Be Spam*

      When our dishwasher died it took us a month to pick out a new one. When our microwave oven died we went out and got one the next day. We couldn’t remember how to cook without it.

    22. Nancy*

      I have never lived anywhere with a dishwasher in my entire life. No, I don’t find it difficult to wash my own dishes.

    23. Observer*

      Has anybody tried living w/o a dishwasher here? Is is difficult, or worth it to save the money and effort I’d need to spend to buy and install something new?

      I own a dishwasher and almost never use it. It’s just not worth it. When most of my kids (6 kids) were sill living at home, I’d run it once a week after Shabbos (Sabbath) because wirh 2 multi course meals, and some guests, I had enough dishes at the end of the day to run a full (or almost full) load. So that made sense. But even when everyone was home for supper, there wasn’t enough for a full load.

      Now? Even most weeks I don’t bother. Even from an ecological pov, it’s less wasteful to use disposables than to run a dishwasher load for the amount of dishes I use. During the week, I use real dishes and handwash. Trying to collect enough dishes to run a full, or even almost full load means leaving dishes for close to a week. Just not worth it.

        1. Observer*

          That’s assuming a full (or almost full) load. But if you are washing 4 plates, forks and knives that’s just not the case. And it’s not just the water.

          1. Old and Don’t Care*

            I’ve read that with the newer dishwashers the break even as to whether it uses more water to wash by hand vs. dishwasher is 8-10 items. Probably fewer if you’re me and like your dishes to feel squeaky clean, which can take a lot of water. But as you note there are other factors than water use.

  23. Dwight Schrute*

    I’m having issues with the collapse all comments as default setting. I have to select it every few times I visit the blog and it never seems to stick. Is it a browser issue? I read on my phone from the Facebook link if that makes a difference. Anyone else have this problem too?

    1. Llellayena*

      I have the same thing, about every 2 weeks I have to redo the collapse settings. I’m reading on an iPhone. On a computer, I don’t try to use collapse all automatically so I’m not sure if I have the same problem there.

    2. Eden*

      Make sure cookies are enabled in your browser. And if you ever “clear settings” or anything like that in your browser app, that could get rid of your preferences.

      If you are using a facebook app that opens links up in its own previewer, open them directly in your web browser. The app’s previewer may have a button or setting to do this.

  24. Teapot Translator*

    What’s everyone watching? I finished Lewis (Morse is definitely a better show than Lewis) and I’ve started Endeavour.

    1. Britbox Watcher*

      Personally, I prefer Lewis to Morse, so we might not have the same taste here, but have you tried Silent Witness? It’s a crime procedural from the medical examiners point of view.

    2. Queer Earthling*

      The new Loki series, and we’re still working our way through Columbo. We’re just about to do the last episode of Season 4.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        Lucifer is a delight. I had a bone (so to speak) to pick with Shadow and Bone: they used my hometown name as one of the places the story is set, but butchered it. But I forgive them for Ben Barnes.

    3. RussianInTexas*

      With partner: finished the latest season of Lucifer, next on Queen’s Gambit. And keeping up with The Bad Batch and now Loki. Finished Sarah Connor Chronicles (missed it when it ran originally) and I have issues with it. Mostly that Lena Headey’s is a completely different character than Linda Hamilton’s. Finished the latest season of Death in Paradise.
      On my own about to finish Babylon Berlin and the new season of Midsummer Murders.
      Highly recommend Babylon Berlin and with English audio. Warning though: you have to really pay attention, it’s not a show for the background.

    4. WellRed*

      I’m catching up on Million Little Things which simultaneously interests and annoys me. And judging by all the summer tv promos, we’re all in for a lot of crap. Celebrity Dating Game with..,Michael Bolton? Extreme Mini Golf? Sigh.

    5. Chaordic One*

      I’m a little bored with TV right now. I don’t subscribe to any pay TV things and there isn’t very much very good that I can get with my antenna. My local PBS station is re-running Downton Abbey and I’ve been re-watching that. It (Downton Abbey) was really quite well done and holds up well to repeated viewing. This time around I’m noticing some of the details and subplots that I missed the first time around.

    6. Lizabeth*

      Like all three for different reasons…

      Watching now: In the Heights (great), rewatch Hamilton (great) the first season of The Nevers (Victorian steampunk time travel) very well done, rewatching Handmaiden’s Tale to refresh for the final season which I haven’t watched yet. And rewatching The first season of Games of Throne because we don’t have that season digitally.

    7. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I finished Law and Order Organized Crime, (Bobby Donnelly y u do dis!?)
      Started watching 9-1-1.
      Been watching Workaholics here and there.
      Caught up and finished Fresh off the Boat, have a few seasons worth of Blackish and Goldbergs to watch though I’m not sure if I can watch the latter without tearing up.
      Finally think I’ll begin This is us since the final season is coming up so I can watch alongside.

    8. Coenobita*

      Can I take over this thread and ask for recommendations? I am in a rut and re-watching the first season of Designated Survivor (which I don’t even really like). What should I watch next? My favorite shows are light-hearted procedurals from the “characters welcome” era of USA: Royal Pains, White Collar, that sort of thing. I also like high-production-value dramas like The Crown or The Handmaid’s Tale. I mostly do not enjoy half-hour sitcoms (I am very susceptible to that secondhand embarrassment cringey feeling), anything set before about 1940, or shows featuring antiheroes/mostly unsympathetic characters. I have access to lots of streaming services but I’m overwhelmed by the options!

      1. Stitching Away*

        Have you tried Brooklyn 99? I hate secondhand embarassment but it doesn’t hit that for me. It is a half hour sitcom, but it’s light hearted and has lots of characters, so I feel like if you like Royal Pains and White Collar, it might be a good fit.

        Or on an entirely different note, Midsomer Murders if you have Britbox. Very much a hilarious procedural that does not take itself too seriously (kind of like Law and Order in that every British actor has been on it, some multiple times, and in one episode a character goes, wait, weren’t you murdered in earlier episode? and the person goes, oh, no, that was my cousin! to give you an idea) but is a delight.

        1. Coenobita*

          It might be time to give Brooklyn 99 try! Thanks! I always just assume that sitcoms that aired after about 1990 will be too cringey for me but of course they can’t all be painted with such a broad brush :)

    9. J.B.*

      There are some mysteries on PBS in the US, not sure which British network put them together, of Agatha Christie detecting. The first one was during her disappearance. We’ve also gone back to the beginning of Miss Marple.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      The last season of Kim’s Convenience (they canceled it). I love this show and I’ll miss the characters. I read posts from a couple of the cast members and apparently, they had some very bad experiences working on it, which makes me sad and angry for them. But I’m looking forward to seeing Simu Liu in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I think Awkwafina’s in it too, and I LOVE her. If you haven’t seen The Farewell, you should.

      I also binged M.O.D.O.K. on Hulu–Marvel animated series about an inept supervillain, voiced by Patton Oswalt. It made me laugh uproariously but it’s not for kids!

      Also, Loki just started! And it’s great! More Marvel, yes please and thank you! #nerd

      1. Chantel*

        “I think Awkwafina’s in it too, and I LOVE her.”

        Same! She is so, so funny. Thanks for the recc.!

    11. DistantAudacity*

      I’m watching “Doom at your service” (K-drama), which I’m really enjoying.
      Also loved the first episode of “Loki”!

      Also, I’m continuing my re-watch of “Nirvana in fire” (C-drama, on Viki), because it’s just So Great, close to an all- time favourite up there with Chernobyl, From the Earth to the Moon, West Wing, etc.

    12. Ron McDon*

      I’ve recently watched Starstruck and loved it – a woman goes home with a man as a one-night stand, but in the morning realises he’s a famous movie star.

      It’s funny, and sweet, and I loved it – I’ve rewatched it several times. It’s on BBC iPlayer and it’s just been released on HBO(?) in the US.

      Great British Sewing Bee is another fave (also BBC).

      I discovered How to Get Away with Murder abs have been watching 6 seasons over a few months – it’s all very far fetched and silly, but also exciting, sexy, funny, and really clever. That’s on UK Netflix.

    13. Marion Ravenwood*

      Loki (loved the first episode), One Day At Disney (short little five- to seven-minute episodes of people with various jobs in the Disney machine – everything from animators to robotics engineers to the actress who plays Anna in the Frozen musical on Broadway – great for something quick to watch with dinner), and The Great British Sewing Bee (which finishes on Wednesday and which I’m irrationally sad about!).

    14. Chantel*

      Mayim Bialik as most recent guest host on “Jeopardy.” I don’t share her anti-vaxx views, but I really like her hosting style: warm, conversational, subtle ad-libs. Buzzy Cohen was my pick until Mayim came along.

      That said, Savannah Guthrie is next guest host, and I gained a WHOLE new respect for her from that interview she did with the former occupant of the White House. I didn’t know until then that she’d been a prosecutor before joining “Today,” and man, she was on FIRE, so I’m curious how she’ll fare as guest host (although I read she doesn’t want the job full time).

      Anyway, that and “Atlantic Crossing” on PBS are what I’ve been watching.

      1. Cruciatus*

        If it helps, I don’t think she’s anti-vaxx. I remember when she got a lot of bad press about this, but I follow her on social media and she was very happy to get the COVID vaccine, and said her children are vaccinated. I think she has questions about big pharma, but is mostly a pro-vaccine person, at least as far as I can tell.

        And she’s blowing away the competition in all the online polls I’ve seen for who people want as Jeopardy host! So many of my Facebook friends are ready for her to just take the job now.

  25. Be the Change*

    Is there a way to buy and download just one audiobook rather than subscribe to Audible? I have an Android phone if that matters.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      You can buy books via Amazon/Audible without actually having a subscription, yes – go to the book’s Amazon page and it’ll offer you the option to buy it at retail price. I think you still have to access it through the Audible interface though.

    2. identifying remarks removed*

      I think you can also do a trial subscription on amazon which gives you a free book – you just need to remember to cancel the subscription.

    3. It's Quarantime!*

      Do you truly want to own the audio book, or do you just want to listen to it?
      If the latter, I’d recommend checking out your local library’s digital collection. Most libraries use the Overdrive app, or Libby.
      I truly enjoy using the Overdrive app. My library had ebooks, audio books, movies, even magazines available for free use just because I have a library card.

      1. Be the Change*

        Own it, actually. I keep checking out the same thing again and again from the library because it’s my can’t-sleep book and it seems unfair that I always have it out.

    4. Piano Girl*

      I access a lot of books from my public library via Libby. Sometimes you have to wait for a book, but at the end, you can just send it back!

    5. Dancing Otter*

      Try Libro dot fm (not .com). They do offer subscriptions, but also sell one audiobook credit at a time. Unlike Amazon/Audible, they support local bookstores.

      1. Pickled Limes*

        I use Libro FM, and I actually like the app a lot better than the audible app.

      2. Stitching Away*

        And unlike audible, you don’t have to worry about them taking it back if they get into a dispute with the publisher.

    6. Bumblebee*

      Check out Chirp. No subscription and their prices per book are substantially cheaper than audible.

    1. AGD*

      I’m a vegetarian who has decided to up her tofu game a bit. My default is just to drown it in soy sauce and eat it cold, which is profoundly boring. I’d like to start experimenting a lot more seriously with marinades, cornstarch coatings, baking versus frying, etc. But the first step is to get the water out, and I never buy paper towels. Anyone have any recommendations for a tofu press? Thanks!

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I’ve used a clean tea towel. I wrap the tofu in it, put it on a big plate, put a small plate over it, and then press it with something heavy. I cut the tofu into small cubes and put it in the oven for 30 minutes.

        1. AGD*

          Thanks so much, everyone – this has me excited! I’ve just put ginger and cornstarch on my shopping list for sure, and I love black pepper so that’s going to have to happen. Awesome!

      2. Whiskey on the rocks*

        I just use clean, non-linty tea towels. Part of me would love a press but it’s another thing to store, and I grew up eating tofu (often close to your way, shoyu and furikake!) and never had one so I’ve just never gotten to it. Rinse the towels well if they don’t go straight in the wash, I’ve had them attract ants a few times. Serious Eats has some of my favorite tofu recipes, and The Kitchn has an excellent technique for baking cornstarch coated pieces on parchment (don’t skip or sub the parchment). It comes out similar to frying, but I prefer the technique as frying lumps of water is… challenging. Also if you like spicy, look up Ottolenghi’s black pepper tofu.

      3. Meh*

        To jazz up your tofu:

        Try adding fresh grated ginger and chopped green onions/scallions. Since you’re vegetarian skip adding bonito flakes (fish). But otherwise that’s a refreshing Japanese tofu salad called Hiyayakko. You could also add a splash of sesame oil or seasoned nori.

      4. lemon meringue*

        I do a very lazy cornstarch coating, but it’s good enough for me. Take the (extra-firm) tofu out of its package, wrap it in a clean dishcloth and squeeze for a minute, cut it into small cubes, toss with a couple tablespoons of cornstarch, heat oil in a large saucepan, throw in tofu, leave it for a few minutes until it browns, flip as many pieces as possible, leave a few more minutes, flip again if necessary, until it’s crispy and golden. Then remove and sprinkle a little soy sauce over top. If I really want to press the water out, I’ll put my cast iron pan over it, but I don’t find it makes a huge difference.

      5. The Green Lawintern*

        You can also hit up your local asian grocery for other tofu varieties: pressed and pre-seasoned tofu blocks, tofu sheets, tofu knots, etc.

        1. AGD*

          Ooh, yes! I buy smoky tofu strips and long ago started just skipping the rest of the sandwich and eating them straight out of the package, heh!

      6. BrambleBerry37*

        I got a tofu press and love it. It was $30 at a local Asian market and paid for itself in a couple months. If it is a shop-made tofu (extra drippy), I’ll use a clean cheesecloth.

    2. RussianInTexas*

      I am making a big bowl of Texas caviar again. It makes great lunches and lasts in the fridge for days. Basics: black eyed peas, black beans, corn, red onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, dressing made from olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice, salt, pepper. It actually gets better after couple of days.
      Also planning on making a gazpacho tomorrow. Our summer is in full swing now, and cold foods are it.

    3. Mid*

      I learned how to make pierogis last night! From scratch! (Well, I cheated and used instant mashed potatoes because it’s very hot here and I didn’t want to boil water for hours.) But they turned out excellent, if slightly lumpy and misshapen. I used sauerkraut from the farmers market and it was magnificent.

    4. GoryDetails*

      I decided to try a different meal-kit provider as a change from Hello Fresh, and gave Sunbasket a shot. It’s… OK, with some tasty dishes, but not as varied or as well-packaged as Hello Fresh, so I probably won’t stick with them. (One glitch that really got to me: a recent kit was missing an ingredient, and while the site did give me a credit on the meal, the fact that the dish was “Spicy yuba noodle stir-fry with citrus-miso dressing and mango” and the missing ingredient was “spicy yuba noodle” left me with a dilemma: make the dish without the key ingredient, substitute some other pasta-equivalent and hope for the best, or try to find another source for the missing item so I could taste the dish as intended. Found the same brand of the yuba noodles in another town half-an-hour’s drive away, so I went with that, and the resulting dish was quite tasty, but I’m still irked that the key ingredient was the one that was missing!)

    5. Chilipepper Attitude*

      The plate with weights worked ok for me. But a real tofu press is so so so much better.
      I have one I linked in a reply that is simple to use and clean.

      I follow a vegan blogger and I have loved every tofu recipe I found from her. Her name is Woon Heng and you can google her. I’ll link to her too.

    6. Rebecca Stewart*

      We changed the menu around to deal with the fact that this area has now entered the “Sauna” season, and no one wants to eat heavy. There’s a lot of tacos and vaguely Tex-Mex wraps on the menu, and a lot of grilled chops.

    7. Meh*

      Coming for one this week and it’s tough to have the motivation to dirty the kitchen. Making a large pot of Puerto Rican beans to eat off the next few days.

      I’ll start some dough tonight for bread, thinking one olive and one onion loaf

    8. Ali G*

      I made pizza dough this morning and it will be ready to top in about an hour and a half. I’m proud of myself for figuring out how to make it just how we like it. I use the NYT recipe, but I make 3 pizzas instead of 2. I put a pizza stone on the gas grill, crank up the heat and they cook in like 3 min and are perfect.
      Tonight we have pepperoni and red sauce, a white pizza with carmelized onions, and I don’t know the other yet. Maybe just cheese and red sauce.

    9. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I’m always trying to eat more veggies, but kind of fail at it. I did buy rainbow carrots from Trader Joe’s last week and baked them and enjoyed them.

    10. Rainy*

      After many delicious–and a few inedible–experiments, I have finally zeroed in on a really definitive Greek style seitan, steamed in foil in the Instant Pot. I’ve made it to that “final” recipe 3x now and we are so happy with it.

      I’ve also recently come up with a final tzatziki recipe (in the summer if we can’t grill it or make it in the Instant Pot it doesn’t get cooked, so I have quite a few “cold” recipes that are summer go-tos) and that one’s excellent as well (mostly on the seitan!).

    11. zaracat*

      I invented a dessert recipe whose bottom layer is thin tangelo slices in a cardamom syrup. Since tangelos are seasonal, today I’ve been testing whether tinned mandarins would be an adequate substitute (answer = nope, not even close) and also running a comparison of putting the tangelo into cold syrup vs hot syrup vs cooking in the syrup for a couple of minutes. Cooked was not that nice, cold and hot syrup about the same, so easiest method is to make syrup and pour over tangelo while it’s still hot and then I can just forget about it until its time to assemble the dessert (drain syrup off tangelos, 2nd layer = zabaglione, top layer = chunks of home made pistachio praline). I love the contrast between the different tastes and textures of the different layers: tangy/juicy, smooth/creamy/alcoholic, crisp/slightly bitter

    12. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I bought a toast from a coffee shop that had fig butter, mascarpone, crushed pistachios and balsamic glaze. It tasted amazing. So naturally, I’m going to spend $35-40 on ingredients so I don’t have to spend $7 (and drive 25 minutes) on toast. LOL.

      But in all seriousness, does anyone else fall into this cycle of recreating something at home using special ingredients and then looking for more recipes to use up those ingredients and buy those ingredients, so the cycle repeats? :)

  26. Teapot Translator*

    I have a new bike question. Help!
    So, my bike has 21 speeds (three big gears controlled on the left; seven smaller gears controlled on the right). This is too many speeds for me, but I bought the bike based on other criteria (hybrid on sale). I’m now trying to figure out which ones I should use. Gear three on the left is out of the question. I tried it with gear one on the right and it’s not sustainable. I’m usually on gear two on the left and switch between gear 1 to 3 on the right. Today, at the end of my ride, I tried gear one on the left and the upper gears on the right.
    Anyone have any opinions on this? Per one of the physical therapists I saw, I’m trying to avoid unnecessary pedalling (like, if I were on gear one both on the left and the right).

    1. newbie*

      There is a bit of overlap, so for instance on my road bike, the large front chainring and the largest/easiest cog on the back requires the same effort for speed as the small front chainring and the 2nd or third largest cog on the back. There are reasons why in this isolated example, using the latter combination is preferable, but it has nothing to do with my effort. Your bike will be the same, but with different gear ratios.

      I’m not clear from your post if, when you speak of “unsustainable” or “unnecessary pedalling”, you mean your cadence, or the amount of pressure exerted on the pedal. In general, you want to maintain a relatively high cadence at a lower pressure exerted on the pedal. You can always tell runners who are new to cycling because they tend to mash the pedals at a slow cadence, then complain about how sore their legs are are later. Picking an easier gear and learning to shift effectively (ie before you’re halfway up the hill and struggling) will take care of most of that.

    2. No Tribble At All*

      (Parents are avid cyclists) You mainly want to avoid having the chain diagonal, eg gear 1 in the front and gear 7 in the back. If you were doing that you’d want to switch up to maybe gear 2 front & 1 back. This reduces wear on the chain and makes it last longer. But, chains are cheap, so if you’re just getting used to it, do what you want!

      I’m gonna disagree with the previous commenter who said keep it in as low a gear as possible. It’s really a personal preference. Parent 1 puts the bike in a low gear and pedals a gazillion times. Parent 2 likes high gear and pedals only a few times compared to P1… but of course each pedal takes more effort.

      I’m not sure what your PT means by unnecessary pedaling. It sounds like she wants you to avoid the extra motions of having the bike in low gear, if you’re worried about repetitive motion on your hips. So I’ll say Check With Your Physical Therapist is the most important part of making this decision :)

      1. newbie*

        I didn’t say “pick the easiest possible gear”, rather that runners who are new to cycling (the folks I mostly am around) tend to pick too hard of a gear and pay the consequences. It’s like lugging an engine if you’ve ever driven a manual transmission car. You know what the car should sound like at the correct RPM and when you’re too high or low, you need to shift.

        1. No Tribble At All*

          Sorry, I missed where you said runners! Having no experience with that besides “oh no, do I have to?” I’ll defer to you. I can see how someone who’s really fit in one way would think they can switch over easily to biking, but it’s totally different muscles!

    3. Girasol*

      I usually pick a front sprocket setting generally suitable for the terrain and shift the back sprocket up and down a lot. It’s like picking between a low, a medium, or a high seven-speed. I flip the front sprocket up or down when the terrain changes in a big way (like that really big hill). BTW, I learned the hard way that it’s best to keep a higher cadence – feet going around pretty fast but not pushing very hard – rather than a low cadence, where you pedal slowly with a lot of push. Pedaling too hard wears out both the bike and your knees. Replacing a bottom bracket is rather spendy and that’s nothing compared to fixing knees. I had to do both before I learned to keep a light gear and a quick cadence.

    4. MissGirl*

      Unless I’m on something steep going up or down, I usually live in gear two and shift the small gears in that. It’s really awkward at first but you’ll be fine after a few times. Just bike where you’re most comfortable.

      1. Tau*

        Exactly. Practice shifting the rear gear and what it feels like, figure out what cadence is most comfortable for you, and eventually you just stay there automatically. I also live in gear 2 on the front gear 90% of the time, but I usually couldn’t tell you which gear I’m currently in on rear and don’t consciously realise I’m shifting unless I’ve reached 1 or 7 and need to decide whether I want to shift front gear to stay at my comfortable cadence.

    5. Person from the Resume*

      I’m a cyclist. You ride in what’s comfortable for you. What’s comfortable for you depends on terrain. Easier gears for uphill. “Harder” gears for downhill.

      I live in an extremely flat place. I kept my front chain ring in in the larger of 2 (on my bike with 2) and the middle of three (on my bike with 3) and shift the rear gears based on what’s happening – head wind, incline, decline, actual climb or descent.

      You generally try to keep the same cadence (speed at which your legs turn) as the terrain gets harder and easier.

      You have to answer this question for yourself based on fitness. And you should also never ever say I never ride in X gear because maybe you’ll need to when you come to a steep overpass or something.

    6. Alex*

      Keep your front gear (the one that goes 1-3) on 2, and shift up and down on your rear gear as needed. This is sufficient for most conditions.

      If you need to go up a very steep hill, shift your rear gear to the middle and then downshift to 1 on your front gear. Don’t use 1 on the front and 7 on the back–that’s not super great for your bike.

      And if you ever want to go extra fast, shift up to the higher numbers on your back gear (5-7 or so) and then shift up to 3 on the front. Don’t ride around on 3-1, because again, not super great for your bike.

  27. INFJedi*

    Looking for a QR-code scanner app

    I was wondering if anyone know a decent (even if it is a paying) app that can scan QR-codes ? I had a decent one on my last smartphone but apparently that no longer works on my new one, and in trying to find a decent one, I only find crappy ones (too much commercials/adds) in the app store.

    Granted, the ones I am looking at are all free (so crappy by definition) but before choosing to buy one, I want to be sure if it is a good one. So any recommendations for a QR scan app is greatly appreciated :-)

    1. RussianInTexas*

      Have you checked your phone camera? My phone can read QR codes right through the basic camera app, automatically, once you point it on the code. I think it’s standard on Androids now, not sure about iPhones.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t know about Android for sure, but on iOS, if you look at a QR code through your phone/tablet camera, the QR reader is built in. (I thought Android did the same thing, but I could be totally making that up, I’ve never had an Android phone.) Are there other features that third-party scanner apps have that you need?

      1. INFJedi*

        Got the iPhone 11 Pro and did not know this. I do think I have to check something in my settings because it didn’t work last wednesday when I tried to check a menu online with a QR code on the table and tried the photo-app (pandemic-rules but the world is slowly opening up here :D )

    3. ThatGirl*

      I have an iPhone, my husband has an android, they both read QR codes through the camera.

    4. BRR*

      What throws me off still is after scanning with my camera I still tend to swipe away the link that will pop up when I’m supposed to click it.

      1. Lady Alys*

        Not QR-code-related, but Google Lens is amazing – I can photograph text that I’m supposed to move from a book into another document, copy it to the clipboard of whatever computer I’m using, paste it in – maybe 10 seconds have elapsed.

        1. INFJedi*

          Thank you acmx & Lady Alys for the rec.
          Google Lens looks amazing! I’m definitely going to use that :-)

  28. Mid*

    Recipes! I saw a comment from Dec 2020 from higheredrefugee that mentioned sticky peanut noodles and I would love that recipe.

    What are some of your favorites?

    I’ve been doing a lot of breakfast burritos (I make a large batch and freeze them) and have finally stumbled onto my favorite version.

    6 eggs
    2 chorizo sausages (roughly 2-3c I’d estimate)
    1 can black beans
    2 bell peppers
    2c shredded cheese
    1 large sweet potato, grated
    6 burrito sized tortillas

    1. Scramble eggs and cook in your preferred method. Set aside.
    2. Thinly slice and halve (or crumble) chorizo and cook. Set aside.
    3. Mash black beans and season (I like cumin, paprika, garlic salt, a pinch of cinnamon, and chili powder.) Set aside.
    4. Slice bell peppers into thin strips, cook with olive oil until tender. Add in grated sweet potato, cook until done. (Should be hash brown like for the sweet potatoes, and I like my bell peppers blackened. I have a gas stove and will sometimes roast them on the flame so they’re charred.) Set aside.
    5. Get foil/wax cloth/plastic wrap ready for 6 burritos. Lay out tortillas and ingredients.
    6. Put 1/6 of beans onto tortilla, spread evenly throughout, leaving room for folded ends.
    7. Add egg, chorizo, and sweet potato/pepper mix. Sprinkle with cheese, and then roll tightly into a burrito.
    8. Wrap burrito and stick in freezer until ready to eat. Usually I reheat in the microwave on defrost for about 2 minutes and then high heat for another 2 minutes.
    9. Coat with your favorite hot sauce and/or salsa and enjoy.

    I’ve tried adding tomatoes to mine, but they end up getting soggy and breaking apart easily. You can use potatoes instead of sweet potatoes, refried beans instead of black beans, add onions, etc. I use a meatless chorizo, which is a bit drier than meat chorizo, so you might need to pat the chorizo dry to absorb some of the grease.

    1. RussianInTexas*

      I commented couple posts above, my favorite summer recipe is a big batch of Texas caviar, from Comfort of home cooking website.

      1. Mid*

        The ingredients I use are fairly dry, and then I rotate while reheating and it seems to dry it out nicely!

      1. PiperWhite*


        I had posted that to agree with someone who was replying to a post that was taken down before my post went through
        But, you made me laugh, Grim, so thanks for that!

  29. Poppy*

    How do you buy furniture?

    I am in my late 20s and my literal entire condo is furnished with hand me furniture from my husband’s family. A grandparent died, another one downsized, people got married and combined households, etc, plus we didn’t have very much extra money until recently. We bought new nightstands a few months ago and I realized it was literally the first piece of furniture we had purchased.

    Now I’m pregnant and want to replace our ugly armchair with a glider. But most places don’t just have gliders in stock where you can go sit and see if they’re comfortable! How do you find out if something is good quality? I’d rather get something that will last a long time and is a step above IKEA quality. Any guidance would be helpful!

    1. Let me be dark and twisty*

      Have you tried secondhand/consignment stores? When I furniture shop from those places, I focus mostly on the construction and quality – the fabric and upholstery you can always change and replace later if you don’t like it. (And realizing you’re pregnant, reupholstering may not be an expense or a project you want to take on right now but I did want to throw it out there!)

      And most real furniture stores in my area (like Ashley, RoomStore, Value City, La-z-boy) do have gliders. They may not have a wide variety but they do usually have a couple. I came across a lot of them when I was shopping for a new reading chair. And don’t write-off the baby stores like Buy Buy Baby or the nursery section at Target. You can find some gliders there too! (My cousin found one at Babies R Us she loved, back in the day, and put it in her living room instead of in the nursery.)

    2. Meh*

      If you go to a “real” furniture store usually the floor model will come with different fabric choices. The Lazy boy store should have a huge selection if one is near you.

      For furniture in general, I’d start a mood board of how you want you house/room to look. Colors type of furniture-MCM, scandi, modern, traditional, etc. Then you can shop piece by piece with a vision in mind. Hodgepodge is fine, but if you are adding you can try doing it with intention. This is coming from someone who moved with zero furniture and we had to start from scratch. Having a look in mind made buying easier

    3. Fellow Traveller*

      Have you checked out a baby store? They often have “nursing gliders” in stock for you to try out. Most people who bought a nursing glider did so from a baby store, either new (like Buy Buy Baby or Babies r us, if you are in the US) or at a baby consignment store. Or craigslist/FB Marketplace/ Buy Nothing. The good thing about used is you can try it out.

        1. ampersand*

          Same. Buy buy Baby is where we got our rocker, and we still use it. Also very helpful to go sit in rockers while you’re pregnant to figure out what’s actually comfortable.

    4. Sunshine*

      Find your furniture goals and watch fb marketplace and Craigslist for items that can be cleaned. I got a beautiful Ethan Allen dining set for a fraction of the price.
      And if you have what you need focus on buying what you love a little at a time. Although I will say I bought an ikea bed and it’s held up great through five moves and 15 years.

    5. Choggy*

      Love my Lazy Boy glider/swivel recliner and it’s not huge by any means so would work well in a nursery and transition to a living room as needed. They have LOTS of recliners you can try out. Of course this is assuming you have one where you live.

    6. Unkempt Flatware*

      I love American Furniture Warehouse. Great prices and quality. But depends on where you live.

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      In the US northeast, Bob’s Discount Furniture does have stock chairs to sit in. The furniture can be surprisingly durable & comfortable. We had a sofa bed for at least 20 years & passed it to the next resident.

    8. Carlottamousse*

      We went to a couple baby stores (local and chain) to try out gliders and ended up ordering the one we liked directly from the vendor (Monte).

  30. Marie*

    *This is a medical/dental question. I’m not sure if we’re allowed to post this, but feel free to remove if it isn’t allowed.
    I have a crack in my tooth and need to have a crown put on in about a week. Meanwhile, I have an appointment for a cleaning this Wednesday. Is it still safe to go to the cleaning? I’m worried that they’ll mess up the tooth that needs the crown. Should I ask them not to touch it? Or should I reschedule the cleaning until after the crown is put on? I don’t know what to do. Has any experienced this? What did you do? Is it okay to go to the cleaning?

      1. Choggy*

        +1 My dentist office does cleanings and crowns, so I assume you are having the crown done elsewhere? Yes, just give them a call and explain the situation. And really, putting off a tooth cleaning until after the crown is done, and settled, is perfectly fine to do.

      2. Hornets*

        Yes, always start with your medical provider and not random internet strangers. A quick call to your dentist should get you an answer right away.

    1. Rick T*

      This is US-specific, but the dental hygienist who does the cleaning will be able to see the cracked tooth and work around it. To be sure you can tell them what is planned for that tooth before they start and you always have the right to tell them to stop mid-procedure if you have concerns.

      You should be fine getting your teeth cleaned before the crown prep.

    2. brushandfloss*

      How would a cleaning mess up the tooth? I clean teeth that need work all the time. If you have any doubts just call the office.

    3. KR*

      I have broken front teeth from a dental injury, and had a cleaning before I had them patched up. I just asked the technician to skip those 2 teeth since I’ve convinced myself the little electric scrubby they use will break what’s left of the teeth in half. They understood completely, letting me know that the dentist might opt to clean it later before fixing it.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’d suggest you ask the dentist doing your crown. There may be pros & cons we wouldn’t know about.
      Some friends have had dentists recommend antibiotics in advance for a badly cracked tooth, so you could ask 2 questions at one time.

  31. Abby cats*

    I need help with my two cats. I’m a lifelong cat owner and foster, but our current two are trying my patience.

    Cat 1, Cori: underweight due to hyperthyroid, needs meds twice a day, bad/extracted teeth due to stomatitis, grazer who doesn’t eat much at once but nibbles all day. Needs all wet food due to bad teeth.

    Cat 2, Remi: giant Maine Coon who definitely needs to lose a few pounds despite being legitimately “big boned”. Was a singleton preemie, has no cat social skills, is a desperate food gobbler (probably due to food insecurity as a baby). Is a GD Houdini genius who lives here because he kept crawling up the tomato cages, through the garage window, and crying at the kitchen door to be let in.

    So, summary: Cori needs to eat much more and Remi needs to eat much less. Locking them up separately with meals is hard, because Cori takes hours to eat a full portion, and Remi spends that time throwing himself at whatever door is keeping him away from the food. Timed feeders don’t help because she picks and walks away, then he zooms in to hoover the rest up and there’s nothing left when she comes back.

    I locked Cori in with her food on Monday night and instead of calling to be let out like usual, she peed on the rug. She was only in there about 20 minutes, and she barely touched the food. She has constant bloodwork for her thyroid and bad teeth, and the vet assures me she is fine, no UTI or other issue.

    I’ve had pairs before where one was a pig and one was a delicate eater, but these two are so extreme in both directions that my usual tactics are insufficient.

    It’s starting to seem like these cats just need to live separately. Cori needs to be free-fed and Remi needs strict portions. They just aren’t compatible if I want them both to live with full access to the house.

    Any ideas?

      1. Abby cats*

        …this might be exactly what we need! Have you used one? Can you control how fast it closes, in case Remi learns to hover and cram his face under the shield after Cori leaves? He’s clever and a bit of a bruiser.

        (I feel so old, this is freaking amazing and I had no idea such a thing existed. My pet skills are hella dated.)

        1. BRR*

          I have not used one. I had to search to make sure it did what I think I did before I posted haha. From a very quick read through of reviews it looks like one common issue is a second pet being able to still access the food from another angle.

          1. merope*

            If you want to see some microchip feeders in action, Jonathan Van Nes (from Queer Eye) feeds his group using them, and he has several short videos of feeding his clan on Instagram. They seem to open and close at a reasonable pace, although he still has to feed one cat separately because he (the cat) will steal food if at all possible.

        2. fposte*

          A friend of mine used them. You have some control over the closure speed, but you might also want to put some distance between the feeders.

        3. I'm A Little Teapot*

          I have used them. The cats can defeat them if determined enough, but my experience is quite good. The intro period can be rough if the cat is scared of them. I got one cat perfectly adjusted in a week, the other took a month. They say not to put the bowls in the dishwasher. I did it anyway, the rubber around the top would probably die prematurely but otherwise they did fine. Regardless, get extras once you know which style you prefer.

        4. BrambleBerry37*

          I just ordered a new one (the smaller girl knocked it off a high perch) because I refuse to deal with my cats without one. As mentioned, it might take some adjustment by the cat, but my kitten was so thrilled to HAVE food all day, she got used to it super quick. Also, because it seals, the wet food stays more hydrated longer than just leaving it out.

          Note: it sounds like a DVD player opening, which was super odd to hear the first few times.

        5. Danish*

          We gave up on our microchip feeder because our other two cats were EXTREMELY Determined and it wasn’t as crucial as it is with you (had a new kitten still getting baby food). There’s a few second delay befoelrw the feeder closes once the microchippef cat steps away, and the plate won’t close on a cat actively eating, so if an Incorrect Cat gets in there in the delay than the plate stays open. It does at least cut down on the amount of stealing that can happen though, and if you’re willing to hover a little it can work.

          Maybe do a combo – put big chonkus in the bathroom with his food, and while he hoovers that down tiny miss can pick at her food and wander away (thus closing the feeder) and by the time Remi gets out of the bathroom there won’t be any food available to steal?

          Our worst food thief offender definitely learned the motor noise of the auto feeder, so any time the kitten opened the bowl she’d go zooming over to it… Not much to be done there expect put the auto feeder near where we typically hang out in the house and stop our food stealer whenever she tried to go for it.

    1. Not A Manager*

      Since the underweight one is much smaller, could you set up an area with an entrance that only the little cat can get into?

      If she’d be okay with a small space, it could be a big box or a crate with a small entry hole, but it sounds like she might not enjoy that. Otherwise, maybe give her that room you were feeding her in? Put a gate across the doorway with an entry hole just big enough for her.

  32. Ask a Manager* Post author

    In the thread above that I removed (in response to someone announcing he was unhappy with the site’s moderation and thus would be reading elsewhere — a good choice if you’re unhappy with a site), a couple of people mentioned in their replies that I write this site for free and out of the goodness of my heart, and I don’t feel right letting that stand! I do not write this site for free; it makes money from advertising. It is free to read, but I am not writing it for free. I wouldn’t be able to put nearly as much time into it if I were! (In the early years of the site, I was indeed writing it for free — and as you can see in the archives, there was much less content when that was the case.)

    I do do some of this work for free, but it’s not the parts you see. I spend an hour or two most nights answering letters privately since the volume of questions people submit is way too high for me to post all of them, but I can often send quick, short responses back to people one-on-one. (But even then, most people aren’t getting a response; the volume is too high.) That doesn’t earn any money, obviously. Comment moderation doesn’t earn money either, although doing the amount of moderation necessary to ensure this site doesn’t turn into the comment section cesspools you see out there does benefit the site, which undoubtedly contributes to its revenue indirectly … although comment section participation is a small enough segment of overall readership that its role in site revenue is correspondingly pretty small as well (which is why it’s always a balancing act to decide how much effort to put into managing it relative to other things one could spend time on).

    So that’s me setting set the record straight. I hadn’t realized anyone thought I was doing this for free; I am not!

    1. anon24*

      It still amazes me Alison that you manage to put out as much content for this site, do the amount of moderation that you do, AND it’s not your actual job. I don’t know how you do it. Sometimes I feel exhausted just trying to *read* every post on top of my full time job.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        To clarify, I’m not doing full-time work plus this anymore — I used to, but I consider this part of my full-time work now (roughly a third of it). That was part of my initiative to take back my weekends a while back (which was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had — it turns out weekends are great — although the podcast and some client work were the collateral damage).

        1. Princess Deviant*

          I know I’m not the only one who’s very grateful for your advice on this site being made available for free, and for the lovely comment section which is indeed very well moderated, so thank you!

          1. StellaBella*

            +1 I really, really appreciate your site and all you do, and the commentariate is a wealth of knowledge too. I am glad the ads and book links and other things help you to get paid for this work.

        2. ampersand*

          I don’t think you’d ever suggest that anyone do this amount of work for free if they could be paid for it, so I’m amused someone would think that you put so much time and energy into this site for free…

          I’m glad to hear this is now part of your full-time work, and yay for weekends!

          1. RagingADHD*

            Yes, it is odd that so many people struggle/complain about the amount of advertisements, and then seem to think the blog is not providing a revenue stream. There’s a logical connection failure somewhere.

            Then again, we also have folks who think Alison somehow had to personally code a Google sheet, so ya know…using the internet doesn’t always equal internet literacy.

        3. Raia*

          I’ve been utilizing this site since 2014 – Love it here and so enjoy coming back to it when needed (when work is being terrible) and I can get the same high quality advice and tips not only from you Alison, but from all the readers who choose to comment. Thank you.

    2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      This is one of my favorite websites and you deserve to get paid for your work! And thank you so much!

      1. StellaBella*

        +1 LOL
        Another site I frequent has a rule that is you post a blog that is basically “goodbye cruel world, I am leaving” you get automatically banned from the site for ever. As in, cannot create another alias even (banning by IP or something I guess).

      2. Tuesday*

        It gets me when people have to go flouncing off. I mean, if you don’t want to visit a site anymore, maybe just… don’t? The rest of us are pretty happy here, thanks.

    3. Tofu Pie*

      I don’t agree with everything you do here but this is still by far the best moderated comment section online. I appreciate you treating letter writers and commenters with respect- not allowing pile ons, outright rudeness, etc. From this site I also learned so much about managing when no one else in my actual workplace was giving me any direction or training. I’m glad you’re making money off of this because it allows us more good content! Thank you.

    4. Jackalope*

      I thank you so much for the heavily moderated comments section (compared to other spaces). I can’t stop myself from reading the comments so any webspace I frequent can either be one with no comments or with moderated comments. I enjoy your blog so much.

    5. Invisible Fish*

      Goodness of your heart… huh. There has got to be a joke in here about you not working in the public school system (since so many folks think people in education chose that career out of the goodness of their hearts and should therefore accept crap wages). See also: day care workers, CNA-type positions, home health aides, folks involved in providing care for the elderly and those with special needs …

    6. Appreciate the post*

      Thank you for adding this clarification! I think it’s important. That “goodness of your own heart” assumption really stuck in my craw for reasons I’m having difficulty articulating. It conjures up a mental image of you as some self-sacrificing blog lady martyr. Ew. It feels gendered and diminishes your accomplishments as a savvy entrepreneur who took a great idea and managed to grow it into a viable business model. You can be good-hearted, have integrity, contribute to society AND strive to make it work in your best financial interest.

    7. Laura H.*

      Thank you for what you do as well as for the clarification!

      Please keep up the great work.

    8. Observer*

      Thanks for the clarification.

      It’s odd to me that people seem to think that you can only set appropriate boundaries on your site (or elsewhere) if you are doing the work for free or “out of the goodness of your heart.” That’s just ridiculous.

      I thinks it’s hugely useful to point out that “being paid” does NOT mean that you cannot set limits on how you provide the service. Just like vendors are also allowed to decide to “fire” a customer, or set limits on who can enter their premises (assuming non-discriminatory reasons, naturally.)

  33. star anise*

    I’m looking for clothing tips from other transmasculine people! I’m just starting to transition and finding the idea of getting a whole new set of clothes very overwhelming. Any kind of tips or wisdom anyone can offer would be much appreciated.

    1. Coenobita*

      So I’m a cis woman, and I’m about to tell you something based on my wife’s experience (she is a trans woman), so obviously feel free to disregard all of this as we are extremely not transmasculine people. With that caveat, my wife has had really good luck with subscription boxes like Stitch Fix. Especially since a lot of her wardrobe-replacing happened during the early pandemic, she has really liked the combination of not-going-to-stores plus the limited decision making (i.e., “should I keep this specific thing?” vs. “holy crap the internet is a big place full of clothes I may or may not hate”). I’m not sure whether your taste/size/budget is a good fit for Stitch Fix (which I think does have men’s styles now) or any of the other similar services out there, but you might want to give one a try.

      Also, my style is pretty femme (when I bother to put something on that isn’t a tshirt), but I do have a few button-ups from from Wildfang that I bought on deep clearance and I like them a lot.

    2. Evolving hominid*

      I’m Afab NB and ordering the “mens” stitchfix boxes has been life changing. I vacillate between more femme/masc/androgyne presentations and the men’s boxes have really helped up my game.

    3. Tib*

      I’m currently helping the transmasculine person in my life create their wardrobe, so that’s where I’m coming from with my advice. Start with the undergarments you want (binder, boxers/briefs) and get to know your base shape and how close it is to a masculine body shape. It’s also good to have a place to save ideas, lists, and notes, because it’s likely going to take a lot of trial and error at the start. Then sort through your clothing for what provides the look you’re going for, what’s tolerable, and what’s definitely out. You likely have more that works than you think, and a bunch of masculine pieces can help a more feminine piece pass and help your wardrobe transition as you do.

      Now see where the gaps in your wardrobe are. You’ll get the most mileage out of a capsule wardrobe where all the pieces cross-coordinate. It will probably only take a few key pieces to give you a decent starter wardrobe. And men can get away with wearing the same thing over and over again better than women can.

      When you’re ready to start shopping, go to the biggest place you can: like a mall or a department store with many brands and styles in one place. Bring your notebook and try as much as you have energy for. Take notes on everything. If you can, bring a friend to find things for you so you can stay in the dressing room. You can also bring a tape measure and figure out the flat waist, hip, thigh and calf measurements that you like. That info will also be helpful when you’re thrifting.

      Think about the sales cycle for where you live. In the US, you’ve only got a few more weeks to buy summer clothes. Stores will start stocking fall fashions for back-to-school as early as mid-July and shorts and sandals will be harder to find. Thrift stores will always have an abundance of tee shirts. I’d save thrifting for pants and dressier shirts for when you know the brands and styles that work for you.

      Men’s shoe sizes are more straight-foward than women’s. boy’s and men’s overlap at size 7 and the next size up is a 7 1/2 in men’s. A men’s/boy’s 7 is equal to an 8 or 8 1/2 in women’s. 7s are tough to find in both boy’s and men’s shoes, but it’s a helpful reference point and you’ll have better luck shopping online.

      Depending on where you live and how comfortable you feel with this…Nordstrom and some large thrift stores offer free or cheap personal shopping. There’s no obligation to buy and you have the advantage of someone who knows their merchandise to help you find things. It’s also possible there are online shopping services for trans people. I would totally do that as a job if I lived in a bigger area. If you have a very feminine shape, it could also be helpful to find a tailor who can adjust the clothing you find to better fit you.

      I know this is a lot of information and a lot of work, but you don’t have to do it all at once. And I’m certain that once you start looking the way you want to look, you’ll have more energy and excitement to expand your wardrobe.

      1. Not my info to share*

        Where does someone get a binder? A family member has mentioned wanting to try one. They’re overwhelmed, and I’m clueless but helpful.

        1. c-*

          Shapeshifters’ binders are awesome, Underworks’ are serviceable. You measure yourself and place an order on the website and they ship it to you.
          Please tell your relative not to bind with ace-bandages, actual bandages, or any kind of bandage, and to take breaks when binding. The consequences for unsafe binding range from awful muscle pain to broken ribs and can be very, very serious.

        2. c-*

          Also, since people reading this may be new to binding, I’ll just leave a few binding tips here:
          – Pick a binder in your size. If you’re between sizes, pick the *bigger* size. It will look fine and your back will thank you later.
          – If you’re short, get a short binder (down to the end of your ribcage, no more). Full-length ones may not play well with your hips, as they will want to roll up and pinch your waist.
          – T-shirt-like binders you pull over your head are best at staying put.
          – You may need to adjust your chest after putting the binder on. While doing this, don’t try and force it into very unnatural positions, as that will likely make your nipples hurt.
          – Light colors and skin tones will look more discrete under your clothes. Shapeshifters has options for non-white skin tones.
          – Binders are really warm. Careful with heatstroke. I sometimes wear a thin cotton undershirt underneath to soak up sweat, but that can look a bit weird.

        3. Danish*

          Gc2b! They have a good range of cut styles and shipping is reasonably fast even in the time of covid.

    4. c-*

      Ahoy! I’ve had to deal with this in the past, and I have some links for you:
      1. “The FTM’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Looking Like a (Hot) Dude” – Start here. A bit dated and a bit sexist, but the most comprehensive and practical guide for FTM fashion I know. Must read, just, grain of salt.
      2. “Effeminate FTM passing tips” by Not Another Aiden. Shorter, but much needed palate-cleanser in the “there’re many ways to be male” sense.
      3. Shapeshifters is awesome, go take a look at their wares.

      Getting a new wardrobe *is* daunting, but it can also be fun. I hope you enjoy the process :)

    5. star anise*

      Thanks for the advice, everyone! I probably should have mentioned that I’m in Canada, so sadly Stitch Fix or anything that only ships to the US won’t work for me. I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed, but it’s good to have some specific ideas to try. I’ve never liked buying clothes much at the best of times!

    6. Danish*

      I just started transitioning in April and I’ve had really good luck with target. Totally dependent on your size and body shape of course, but they have a good range of nice t-shirt or casual collared shirts that are not too expensive and stylish.

      One thing I’ve found that helps with the overall image is wearing pants lower on your hips (so the curve of hips isn’t accentuated by pants) , and then a shirt that is long/loose enough to make a straight(ish) line out of your torso.

      Googling “transmasc fashion tips” will also get you some good blog posts and YouTube videos!

      Of course, again, all of it depends on what your body shape is and also what your individual fashion likes are!

      Best of luck my friend

  34. Lauragh*

    I’m a little concerned that I’m not over an ex (or maybe it’s the trauma of the breakup)….over five years later, and I still think about the guy every day. We were a couple for around four years, thought we’d make it, hit a rough spot and we got so frustrated with each other that he eventually met someone else and broke up with me by text message. I never saw him in person after the breakup message, he told me to trash all his belongings at my place, and he wished me well but he didn’t love me anymore and hadn’t for a while apparently. This was right in the middle of some other traumatic major life events that were happening for me. A couple of years of no contact later he resurfaced, he still loved me, could we try again, he had never loved the other girl (despite staying with her until a few weeks before the resurfacing), whatever I wanted it was mine, he was so sorry, how could he have treated me so terribly etc….until he changed his mind on reflection and said he wasn’t in love with me but loved me as a friend (we hadn’t reconnected in person at this stage, just FaceTiming occasionally). I told him where he could go with his ‘love’ for me and that was that. As far as I know he got back together with the other girl and remains with her.

    Now smart balanced me knows I had a lucky escape and in some ways I thank the universe every day that he left me when he did before we wasted any more time. But a tremendous part of me is still almost in shock at how he did it, and misses him. I don’t want to get back together with him romantically at all (I could never trust him again) but it bothers me he still crosses my mind to varying degrees every day. I’ve been in therapy and it doesn’t really help. Am I crazy and is there anything I can do to get over this guy?!

    1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

      I’m sorry that happened but also glad you are rid of him!

      Does his crossing your mind every day interfere with your ability to enjoy your life? If not, it may be something that just takes time to take up less space in your head. I’m happily married (10 years, with kids) but *still* have dreams every month or so involving some form of rejection from a guy I loved but who treated me badly in my early 20s. I think rejection can really stick. Maybe because it was a choice made for us, something we would have liked to have control over but didn’t.

      1. Lauragh*

        Thanks so much for your kind words! The thoughts I guess are pretty substantial each day but I wouldn’t say they stop me living my life if that makes sense? I’ve had a rough few years with other life stuff so am still trying to bet back on track after that anyway so am not skipping through the daisies even at the best of times.

    2. Reba*

      I’m sorry that he did that, what a selfish dingus.

      Is it really, literally daily? That does seem like a lot. I’m not sure if by “crossing your mind” you mean that it’s like “oh this is similar to Fred’s old tee shirt” and it passes, or if it’s a more distressing thought or memory that you really feel bad about.

      My suggestion is that you come up with a little plan in advance for what you are going to do when the thoughts come up. It’s simple — maybe seems overly simplistic — but for me it has been really effective. Like, I would plan something like “when [unpleasant thought] occurs, I will turn on music.” Maybe “if I think of Fred and imagine his face, I’m going to immediately picture myself instead, sitting happily in my house alone or doing [something you do that he wasn’t into].” Help yourself move on quickly from the thought by defusing it and replacing it with another topic.

      Have you tried dating other people much since?

      1. Lauragh*

        It is literally every day! I reminisce about times we spent together, our conversations, the bond we had around certain things we’d been through together….but also the ending, how cruel he was and I remain kinda shaken by how vicious he ended up being when we’d been so close for so many years. Sometimes I think what our life might have been like if he hadn’t left me, where we’d be etc. I haven’t met anyone serious since (I do try but it’s tough out there!) and sometimes I think it’s not him I miss, it’s my old life and also the closeness of a romantic partner and all that comes with that.

        We’re not in contact, don’t move in the same circles at all and will most likely never cross paths again. The finality of that sits next to the shock of how awful he was when things ended and I guess I can’t get my head around being so close to someone and them just casting me aside.

        1. Reba*

          It is shocking. I think your insight about missing the experience of being partnered, and that’s tangled up with feelings about this person, is a good one.

          What you wrote reminded me actually, that I used to have tell myself, when I thought about someone I had been involved with who really hurt me, “Yes that sucked, but I never have to see him or his friends again in my life” and I found that freeing. For a long time I had feelings of distress and even shame about the situation, and I don’t think I’ll ever totally stop thinking of it once in a while, but it’s really diminished in the years since.

        2. StudentA*

          I am so sorry about your terrible experience with this guy. I can relate to thinking about him every day, even five years later. It seems being single this whole time has contributed to it. And the fact that he behaved in such a nasty way that was misleading to both you and the other girl doesn’t make for a clean break. Your head and heart are still healing.

          How’s your social life? It could be loneliness. Any chance you can fill your world with more supportive people and enjoyable moments to make the healing a bit easier? You’ll meet someone eventually, whether by accident or not (online, friends setting you up, etc.) But in the meantime, I would try to focus on getting all the love you can from friends and family, and making new friends.

        3. LuckySophia*

          The circumstances under which my long-term relationship ended are different than yours but like you, my brain couldn’t process how two people could connect as well as we did, for that many years…and then he just…wasn’t connected to me anymore. Like, a switch flipped in him. My reactions were much like yours…immediate pain and grief, followed by multiple years of many thoughts and reminiscences and “why” and “what-if”…because so many things reminded me of him, or of the fascinating conversations we used to have, or some of the truly amazing adventures we shared. I don’t know if this will help you , but I literally had to re-program the part of my brain that used to affirm (many times a day) “I love him.” I had to re-train my brain. To let two opposing beliefs co-exist: (1) that he truly was the man I loved (for a while) and (2) he also embodied aspects that were much less positive, and much less honest and courageous, than I had believed possible. I had to recognize that my lack of trust (of him) was more emotionally real to me than my ingrained habitual thoughts of “I love him.” Then it became easier to re-frame my daily thoughts as, “I loved what I believed we had. But I can’t trust him, and that means I’ve lost respect for him, and I could not NOW love someone I can’t respect.” Once I got there in my thinking, it got a lot easier. I hope this might help you too.

    3. StellaBella*

      You can try some EMDR therapy for all the traumas, that may help. Also, try to occupy yourself with things that you have to focus on to leave little space in your brain for him. Good luck, and remember, your love for yourself is way better than his lack of self-awareness, his wishy washiness, and his meanness. I was once broken up with by text from a guy, on my birthday, and yeah, it is a harsh, mean thing to do. Those men do not deserve space in your brain.

    4. Mstr*

      This takes discipline, but I think it’s worth a try. Can you redirect your thoughts? Like every time you begin to think of him, stop yourself and say “Ugh, Tom (insert his name here). Someday I’m going to meet the man of my dreams” and spend a few minutes imagining that. If you’re not in the mood to daydream about romance, try “Ugh, Tom. I bet he wouldn’t appreciate this trip I’m taking with my girlfriends” & then spend a few minutes thinking about travel. Or “Ugh, Tom. He would probably think my craft project is dumb. I bet brown is his favorite color” & then think about as many cool color combinations you can come up with. Don’t let yourself entertain any thoughts about him! Interrupt yourself with “Ugh, Tom” every time & eventually your brain will get bored of going “Ugh, Tom” and just focus on another thing to begin with (or you decide you’re ready to drop the “Ugh, Tom” & think about something else). If you need more motivation, try “Ugh, Tom. He picks his nose” & then redirect.

      1. Mstr*

        Also, this might sound morbid, but can you pretend he’s dead? He is dead to you. He’s not at all available, you’ve mourned this, you can never pick up the phone and call him. Try to focus on your current & future life instead. Find a way to tell him goodbye, like saying a prayer or writing a letter to the deceased or something. Put him firmly in your past.

      2. WellRed*

        This is what I was gonna suggest. “ he chewed with his mouth open.” “That mustache he was so proud of made him look like a 70s porn star.”

    5. Unkempt Flatware*

      Meditate every single day and with every single thought with the image of you launching a small boat off a dock with him in it. He is safe and happy in the boat and you watch as it drifts off into a beautiful horizon. You wave goodbye and wish him well. You stand in your strength and watch until he is gone thanking him for the lessons. Do this every time.

    6. RagingADHD*

      I think it’s significant that the breakup happened at the same time as other, traumatic major life events. So nostalgia for the relationship is entertwined with nostalgia for your life before those traumatic changes. And imagining what “might gave been” if you were together is probably entertwined with what life might have been if those other life changes hadn’t happened.

      In a way, he may have become a symbol of the many things you are grieving. A proxy for things that are irrevocably lost.

      Are you dealing with all the traumas in therapy, or only the breakup? Perhaps it might help to consider the other, non-romantic changes that have happened in the last five years, and think about what your aspirations, hopes and dreams were before you ever met him. What kind of life do you want to build for yourself? What kind of joys and fulfillment can you imagine that have nothing to do with a partner at all?

      Who were you before any of this happened, and who do you want to become?

      1. Pickled Limes*

        This is what struck me as well. I’m also a trauma survivor who lost a relationship as the other traumas were ongoing, so I know how your brain can tie these unrelated things together in unexpected ways.

        Lauragh, I can’t really tell you whether or not you’re over your ex. But. I think it’s possible that you’re doing something similar to what I did when I was in your shoes. The end of this massively important relationship became a kind of scapegoat for me. I was hurting from multiple losses, and the person who was supposed to love me unconditionally didn’t stay, and they words they said as they were leaving were hurtful enough to haunt me for a long time. I spent a lot of time focusing on “this person didn’t love me enough to stay and support me when I needed them” because I wasn’t ready to focus on all the other terrible, life altering things I had been through.

        So, while it’s possible you’re not over your ex, it’s equally possible that what you’re not over is the trauma unrelated to the breakup.

      2. Lauragh*

        I think you might be onto something here now that I’ve seen it written down! My therapy is for all the events, including this one which in some ways on the scale is farther down than others but is the one I keep circling back to. There’s this shock element that someone I’d spent years with romantically and intimately could be so careless with me and my feelings and just leave and never really look back (excluding the momentary declaration of love a few years into the breakup). I understand relationships end, people fall out of love and sometimes it’s messy and horrible, but it’s almost like my mind can’t actually get around the scale of what he did and how he did it….even with years of therapy. I want to move on with my life and have him in the rear view but my mind won’t let me.

        1. RagingADHD*

          IME, moving on from hurt or loss doesn’t happen all at once. You just start doing stuff that makes you happy, and as you get busier with it you get more engrossed in it. Then after a while you realize you haven’t thought about The Thing or The Person in a couple of days. And that feels very weird, and you think about it/them even more for a little while, like a rebound effect.

          But that project or activity or commitment or responsibility that you started needs to get finished, so you get back to it, and then something else. And then you realize it’s been a week since you thought about The Thing.

          And so forth. You don’t even realize you’ve moving on until much later. Maybe coming out of pandemic mode with more options to just get out and do stuff with people will help. We’ve all been ruminating way too much for the past year, it’s not good.

    7. Tofu Pie*

      I am happily married and I still occasionally dream of and think of my ex whom I dated almost 20 years ago! I’ve come to the realization that I don’t miss him as a person; but he represented a significant turning point of my life when I was not doing well. So you’re not alone in thinking of a relationship that ended ages ago where you know fully they aren’t someone you would choose to be with again.

      When I find myself thinking of any unwanted thoughts, I find it better to simply acknowledge the thought without judgment rather than try to suppress it. Like, “hmm hello Thought, there you are again. What does this thought/feeling tell me about me right now?” And contemplate on it briefly and move on.

    8. Generic Name*

      I was married for 17 years to a guy who was emotionally abusing me pretty much the whole time, except I didn’t realize I was being abused until after I left. I think about him waaaayyyy too much as well. It sucks. Unfortunately we share a child, so I am legally obligated to have some contact with him, plus he is using the courts to continue to abuse me, which is hampering my recovery (it’s pretty hard to move beyond abuse when it’s still happening to you). Here’s what I’ve done to try to get better: I switched therapists to one who specializes in trauma, I’m reading books my therapist has recommended, and I’ve been a long-time journal-er, and I’m trying to write the thoughts I have about him down even more. I’m hoping I’ll get sick of writing about the same thing over and over and stop thinking about him as much. I’m very happily remarried, so I’m not missing our time together, but I’m still processing what happened during our marriage. I’ll remember stuff that happened and realize how messed up it was. It’s been a long road, but I know things will continue to get better.

  35. Potatoes gonna potate*

    What’s *NOT* cooking? (Sorry :p )

    As in, what have you decided that you will never attempt to make (either through repeated failed attempts or outright deciding to not even try)?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t make anything that requires kneading or rolling out dough. I have ridiculous squicks about having sticky stuff on my hands. So I use the bread machine and I make drop cookies. :)

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Same, so any roti/parathas i am never going to make although part of me thinks I should learn from my mother before it’s too late bc she’s famous in our family for her cooking.

    2. Can't Sit Still*

      Any sort of pastry, including pie dough and biscuits. I just don’t have the patience for keeping the butter cold, putting the dough back in the fridge when it gets to warm, rolling it out, and on and on, it’s just too much work. Fortunately, there are many excellent bakeries here, so I can just buy one or two of whatever I’m craving, rather than making a mess of the kitchen trying to make them from scratch. Or even better, buy frozen from local bakeries so I can bake them at home.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Puff pastry sheets (either the frozen ones or even the canned pillsbury ones) are a godsend.

    3. Wicked Witch of the West*

      Eggplant Parmesan. Early in my married life (49 years and counting) I tried making it. Had never dealt with an eggplant but had eaten the dish in restaurants. Not only was mine inedible, I ended up throwing away the frying pan! Non stick didn’t really mean non stick.

    4. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Ok now I feel bad for saying this cz everything y’all listed is complicated stuff. but For me it’s gotta be grilled chicken. I can never get it tender and juicy like from restaurants or even fast food (looking at chick fil A here). Tried too many times and I just can’t get it right

      1. BRR*

        Are you using boneless skinless breasts? Those don’t grill that well (I’ve found an America’s test kitchen recipe that works well for those when you brine them first). I also highly recommend using a thermometer. I call that my cooking insurance device.

      2. My Brain Is Exploding*

        We had a hard time with that when we first got married. Then we learned to partially cook the chicken in the microwave and then put it on the grill!

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A lot of US suppliers brine their chicken so it’s really got too much water in it. The only way mine gets good is outside on propane, on high, with the cover down. Also we butterfly it so it cooks more evenly.
        What I’ll never cook again: mom’s creamed onions. I love them but not enough to peel all those slippery little spheres.

    5. Alex*

      I can never get the crust to cook right. It’s always soggy.

      And when you calculate it all up it is cheaper to just buy it from the pizza parlor.

    6. RC Rascal*

      I had a major cooking fail a few weeks ago with a recipe for Crab Pie. It didn’t have a binder and called for sour cream. It came out of the oven as inedible crab dip in a pie shell. I ended up getting some nice beefsteak tomatoes, coring them, rubbing oil and salt on them, and then stuffing with the failed crab pie filling. That turned out super delicious!

      In retrospect I am wondering if the recipe was supposed to call for cream cheese, not sour cream. I found it in an old Junior League cookbook and thought it looked interesting. It was interesting, all right….

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Cream cheese makes sense. I had a really good savory crab cheesecake once, with a crust kinda like a graham cracker crust only made with butter crackers instead.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      For some reason, I could not get hard-boiled eggs right no matter what I tried, so I just started buying them. But that little Dash egg cooker I bought works amazingly well.

      The thing I don’t want to make is pie crust. I like quiche, but I buy frozen crust because I just don’t care enough to make it by hand.

    8. Ali G*

      Thanksgiving Dinner. Realized a couple years ago I don’t like the majority of the side dishes and turkey is just…blah? I’ve tried brining, smoking, spatchoching, you name it. It’s not worth all the time and energy. Last time I hosted I made beef wellington.

    9. Teal*

      I made the world’s worst blueberry biscuits the other day…straight into the trash! Never again.

    10. Chaordic One*

      I’ve had a major disaster with lobster. I don’t know what I should have done, but it came out like rubber.

    11. Generic Name*

      Ha, love this thread! I’ve decided I will never try to make tamales. I used to live in Texas where making tamales around the holidays was a big tradition, but it’s very time consuming, and I frankly don’t like tamales all that much.

      I made a cake from scratch once. It was like an all day endeavor, and I decided that it just wasn’t worth it. Box mixes are quite good and it takes a fraction of the time.

    1. Daphne (UK)*

      Yes. I have a hunch this was meant for the above cooking thread but yes to anything baklava-y. Nom

  36. Can't Sit Still*

    I dyed my hair this week in Arctic Fox Purple Rain. It has just the right amount of red in it to look good with my complexion and it looks fantastic! It’s a deep purple indoors and red-violet in the sunlight. While it’s bleeding a bit, it’s nothing like other brands I’ve used. I’m a fan!

    Thanks for all the suggestions last week, especially Red Reader the Adulting Fairy.

    1. Holly the spa pro*

      I used to use purple rain all the time for my purple. I also really like Joico Amethyst. For me personally, that has been the longest lasting purple. It also looks really good with some orchid mixed into it.

    2. Whiskey on the rocks*

      Ritual for me! This is the second time I’ve used arctic fox. It washed out almost completely over about 2 months, washing my hair about twice a week. Any marks on towels or sheets washed out as well. I love that it being actually semi permanent as well as conditioning means I can change it more often.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Your mention of conditioning reminds me, I did forget to specify last week — when I put Arctic Fox dye in, I wrap in plastic and put it up in a towel turban and leave the dye in for like, three or four hours, not the 30 minutes a lot of dyes recommend. I find it soaks in really nicely and, because the dye itself is conditioning, it doesn’t hurt anything. (Mine still looked like a proper color at 8 months of once a week washing, albeit not the SAME color as it had done fresh, but still a nice color that someone might have done intentionally. I don’t know if the added duration is because I leave the dye in for so long, or what, but it certainly doesn’t harm anything.)

        1. Holly the spa pro*

          Yes to this! If you dont like to switch colors often this is totally the way to go. I also like to put some of the color into my normal conditioner and it freshens right up. Im platnium blond atm but still do quick rinses with the purple conditioner and that helps keep it from getting brassy.

  37. WSID*

    So quick survey, I ordered a top from a dept store online, I not only received the one I ordered, but received three additional of the same top in different sizes. So, should I return the tops to the store or donate them?

    1. Decidedly Me*

      Call the store and ask them what they want. Usually they’ll just have you keep them anyway, but it’s worth giving them an option.

    2. A313*

      Ask the store how they want to handle it. I got an unexpected expensive-ish (retail ~ $250) watch along with a clothing order a few years ago. I called the store and they told me it was mine to do with as I wished. It wasn’t my taste, so I donated it, and I like to think someone is happily wearing it after they got a bargain. I couldn’t believe the store didn’t want it back, which makes you wonder about the price and worth of things.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Wow, really? We get a lot of The Wrong Thing mailed to us at work and the company wants it back at least half of the time. Not if it’s a single cheap tee shirt, but if it’s a box of cheap tees or a single decent jacket, totally!

      1. Mstr*

        Nah. Unless you want me to mail you something & then demand payment for it (or report it stolen) because it’s in your possession?

      2. Rainy*

        That is absolutely not true. According to the Federal Trade Commission, when you receive extra items–stuff you didn’t order–not only is it yours now and the company is prohibited from asking for payment or asking for the items back, you aren’t even obligated to inform them.

      3. Observer*

        Probably not the case, legally.

        But morally? Depends. If the company is putting in you to make significant effort or expense to return, then NO, it’s not stealing. If all you need to do is print out a label they send you and hand it to the shipping guy who comes to pick it up? Yeah, it’s stealing.

    3. WS*

      This happened to me and the company wanted them back at my expense. I said no, I’m happy to post the four extra garments back, but I’m not paying for your error, and they gave me a reply-paid address. Which they could have given me all along. So don’t put yourself out on their behalf.

      1. Observer*

        Wow. If that happened to me, they would have lost me as a customer. It’s possible that I would have even returned the item that I had actually purchased. That’s SUCH garbage.

    4. The Dude Abides*

      Almost a decade ago, I ordered a shirt from a niche website, and got someone else’s order along with it.

      I called the customer service line, and they asked me to return it using the pre-paid return included with my order. After the seller got it back, I received store credit equivalent to the amount of my order (about $30) as a thank-you.

      Mileage may vary, but I would strongly recommend reaching out to the seller.

  38. RC Rascal*

    Duvet cover question:

    My washing machine recently tore up my cotton duvet cover, so I am shopping for a new one. Here is my conundrum, and I am hoping someone out there has had experience with this: It appears my down comforter is an oversize queen. It measures 94″ long. Nearly all the available ones at department stores and major specialty retailers are 88″. A few are 90″. (The only brand I can find that comes at least 94″ long is Ralph Lauren, which is
    both expensive and has a specific look.) Then there is the possibility of it shrinking, and I’m concerned it may not fit after washing. (There is a cat in my house, so there will be lots of washing….)

    I purchased the one that tore from the same major outdoor catalog company where I purchased the comforter.
    (Hint–they are based in the NE). NE catalog retailer is known for quality but not style, so I really don’t want to purchase another duvet cover from them. Comforter is totally warm, awesome, was expensive, and is in great shape after 7 years. I don’t want to replace it. Aforementioned cat loves it, so without a cover there is lots of washing at the professional laundry as it doesn’t fit in my machine.

    Anyone had any experience fitting a 94″ comforter into an 88″ or 90″ cover, even after laundering? I am doomed to another duvet cover from NE catalog retailer?

    1. PiperWhite*

      I have no duvet cover experience but it would be a simple thing to make, or have someone make for you. Or could you get a king size and have it altered?

      1. Virginia Plain*

        Yes I’d say get a larger cover and schmooze someone you know who has a sewing machine. It’s a matter of two straight seams, trimming excess and finishing raw edges. All on fabric that behaves well (unless you buy satin sheets!). It’s the sort of thing I’d do for a friend, and accept a bottle of wine and their thanks. But if you don’t know anyone, I’d think that a businesswho does clothing alterations professionally (in the uk many dry cleaning companies do, especially small independent shops) wouldn’t charge much.
        (This would be easier than making one from scratch if only because fabric wider than 60” is rarer and your choice is reduced unless you want a seam across the cover.)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          The easy way to make one from scratch is to buy a couple of appropriately sized flat sheets and sew them together on three and two-quarters sides, then stick some Velcro or buttons-and-loops on the half you didn’t sew :) Plus, bonus, if you do it that way, two different pattern options!

        2. All the cats4 me*

          And I say, don’t smooze the person you know that has a sewing machine. Especially if the only time you talk to sewing machine person is to get ‘a little favor’.

          Act like a real person and pay someone who is willing to trade services for money to do it.

    2. Meh*

      I’d just get a king cover. Duvet covers shouldn’t shrink so that’s probably not a consideration. You could get it hemmed but it’s only about 5 inches on either side.