weekend open thread – July 24-25, 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:  Malibu Rising, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Four siblings with a rock star father grapple with fame, family, and the legacy of their parents. And there’s a really big party.

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

{ 974 comments… read them below }

    1. Heffalump*

      Is he a Maine Coon? I’ve had two Maine Coons: Ashbury (1976-1994, gray tabby) and Sasha (1998-2015, brown tabby). After Ashbury I was totally sold on Maine Coons and wanted one for my next cat.

  1. L. Ron Jeremy*

    Is it smoky were you are? Looks like we’re in for endless fires and smoke blowing eastward from the western fires. I’m lucky that I’m in the SF Bay Atea and the eastern breezes have kept out sir clean.

    Could turn on a dime and reverse direction and we’ll be breathing smoke like last year. I’m ready for this year; have three hepa air purifiers ready to go this year with backup filter packs for each one.

    Hope you are prepared for poor air quality ad this fire season looks to be a long one.

    1. IGoOnAnonAnonAnon*

      Yeah, also SF Bay area and bought air purifiers (one big one for main floor, 2 smaller ones for bedrooms) in the off season. So far, we’ve been fortunate but I don’t hold out much hope that we’ll be smoke-free even out here along the coast through Fall.

      1. L. Ron Jeremy*


        My neighbors just moved to Truckee last month and just today the air has become unhealthy at 180 air quality index.

        Bad air is on the way towards us as we’re currently at 53 air quality index.

    2. Sue*

      We were just in Bend, Oregon and the air was great while NYC, 3000 miles away was getting smoke from the nearby (humongous) fire. Wind patterns create strange situations.

    3. fposte*

      I’m in the Midwest and we’ve been getting haze from the fires. It must be intense a thousand miles closer to the source.

    4. Pool Lounger*

      I’m in the SE USA and we had haze and bad air quality this past week from the fires out west.

    5. I edit everything*

      The light is really weird here in Ohio, and the sunsets looks like something out of a sci-fi movie, with a deep red sun.

    6. Mimmy*

      Even out here in New Jersey it was hazy earlier this week, and it wasn’t your usual humid summer haze; it had an yellow/orange tint to it…very strange. I remember that happening last year too.

    7. Can't Sit Still*

      I can smell smoke in the early morning, as well as garlic from Gilroy. Which is strange, because they are in opposite directions. I remember when fire season was the worst in September-October, before the rainy season. I can barely remember when we had a rainy season, though.

    8. Southern Girl*

      The full moon was very orange last night. It was hazy earlier in the week, almost like we get when it’s very humid, but the humidity was low. Eerie. In Kentucky.

    9. Double A*

      I’m in the Sierra Nevada foothills outside of Sacramento and yesterday we got hit by some bad smoke and air quality, I think from the Dixie fire. Today it’s cleared out but the light is orange. I wanted to call it firelight, but that’s already a thing. Smokelight, more like. I wonder if that will become a word as this becomes more common. It’s a really melancholy light; it was this way all of last August so I associate it with heat and smoke and having to hunker down in the waning days of summer.

      We have air purifiers I bought last year but I probably need to clean and/or replace the filters and I need to buy one more small one for when we move the baby into his own room. That won’t be for a few more months but it’ll still be fire season.

    10. KuklaRed*

      Long Islander here and we’ve had days of smoky air, which has been hard to breathe. Today seems a bit better. I hope it stays that way.

    11. It's Growing!*

      We have a trip scheduled to Glacier Nat’l Park in a couple of weeks. Not looking promising at the moment with a fire just to the west of West Glacier. According to purpleair.com, the air quality is 117 at the moment, which is medium not-so-good, although Glacier’s web cams show clearer air to the north. Crossing our fingers.

    12. J.B.*

      We are getting haze on the east coast that is supposed to be from the fires! I hope everyone is safe!

    13. Rainy*

      Make sure you’re getting plenty of the charcoal pre-filters if your air purifier takes them. We typically use 4-5 prefilters to one filter. Saves a lot of money, as the prefilters are a couple bucks per while the HEPA filter is…more than that. :)

    14. WoodswomanWrites*

      I’m also in the San Francisco Bay Area and have my air filters with new elements ready to go when they are sadly and inevitably needed. So far the smoke hasn’t come this way. I have a friend who lost her home in last year’s fires and another who lost her home the year before. This year, the Dixie fire is close to where a third friend is.

      I have a road trip planned to coastal Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia in September and will just have to see if that will still work out. I’m already planning to take one of my portable air filters with me for wherever I’m staying. I also got an air filter designed specifically for cars, and I’ve stocked up on reusable air filtering masks.

    15. Gatomon*

      Been rough here in Montana. Not only have we been having a hotter than ever recorded, but the smoke has been bad as well. I am very sensitive to smoke (it really triggers my asthma and migraines) so I’ve been hiding inside as much as possible. I’m fortunate to have a wall a/c, because opening the windows at night for cool air in this is just not an option for me. I wish I could’ve afforded a home with central a/c, but only newer and fancier homes have that here and I doubt it could be installed here. I know some people who are quietly looking to move into homes with central air for the future, but sadly the housing market is bonkers.

      I have 3 HEPA air purifiers now, one in my bedroom, one large one in the open kitchen/dining/living space and one in the bedroom I’m using as a home office. I have an arsenal of allergy eye drops, saline spray, regular allergy meds and a fresh my inhaler. If I’m outside for a while I just shower again to get it all off me, which really helps. I do try to plan trips out around days/times when the air quality is supposed to be better.

      Mainly I’m just hoping for an early and wet winter for the burning areas. I take back all the grumbling I did last winter shoveling the driveway.

    1. Virginia Plain*

      How fascinating, I remember reading them as a child and noticing they were “created” by Francine pascal but actually written by Kate William. Now I know who Kate William is! I always suspected Francine Pascal had some kind of…sneakiness going. Not a cheat or scam, just a way of having her name splashed all over a lucrative book series whilst someone else was doing the hard graft!

      1. AcademiaNut*

        There’s actually a long history of book series like this, particularly kids’ books and adventure books. Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, Doc Savage, Tom Swift – all published under an author name, and written to spec in a house style by a variety of ghostwriters. The Stratemeyer Syndicate was behind a lot of them.

        1. GraceC*

          There’s an interesting section on book packaging schemes and ghostwriters in a video I was watching (the “The Birth of The Vampire Diaries” and “LJ Smith” sections of Jenny Nicholson’s (in)famous 2.5hr Vampire Diaries video, incidentally) – I’d always known that a lot of long series I read as a kid were ghostwritten, like the Warrior Cats books, but it was an interesting closer look. I think I first came across the concept when I was younger when I found out that new Enid Blyton (Mallory Towers etc) books were being written despite the author being rather famously dead.

          In the case of the Vampire Diaries, allegedly the publishing company decided they didn’t like the relationships the author was working towards and ended her contract, while still publishing six more Vampire Diaries books with her name on the cover (with the “created by” caveat), because she didn’t own any rights to the characters or series despite creating them. It’s an interesting little industry.

          1. Clisby*

            I think the Warriors series was written by three people, which I guess is how they kept churning out approximately a gazillion books. My daughter and son liked those.

        2. Goody*

          There’s an article by Gene Weingarten about the Hardy Boys series ghostwriter. It’s very touching and did a wonderful job bringing the writer into focus.

        3. Whiskey on the rocks*

          Girl Sleuth by Melanie Rehak is a really interesting account of the authors who wrote as “Carolyn Keene” over the years.

          1. Lore*

            Harriet Adams, who was the Carolyn Keene of my own childhood, lived in the town I grew up in, and her appearances at my local bookstore were red-letter days to 9-year-old me! A moving snafu lost most of my childhood books when my parents moved house, and my collection of autographed late seventies Nancy Drews was the most irreplaceable (nor valuable, but irreplaceable) component.

        4. Kimmy Schmidt*

          I remember being CRUSHED when I found out Ann M. Martin didn’t actually write all of the Baby Sitter’s Club books!

          1. Felis alwayshungryis*

            But it’s actually fascinating to go back and find out who the ghostie is, because they all have their own quirks. One of them is very prim, another seems to be trying to figure out how much he (yes, he) can get away with.

        5. Virginia Plain*

          Academia Nut – I must admit that shows me how minimal my experience of American children’s literature was – I read one Nancy Drew, none of the Hardy Boy and I’ve never heard of the others! Thinking back, as a child my idea of American life was basically SVH and Judy Blume. I remember thinking Americans were all Jewish because the characters in Judy Blume all were, like I thought it was the national religion! Oh I did read Paula Danziger as a teen, she was great.
          I was also worried about how thin the svh twins were as I didn’t know about the difference in US clothes sizes….:-D

      2. They Don’t Make Sunday*

        Kate William was just a pen name for quite a few ghostwriters! Like a shell company. A size-six
        shell company with aquamarine eyes. It’s such a long series that of course it makes sense. I just loved the collision between the rarefied academic world of where the ghostwriter actually was (Harvard, coming off a master’s at Oxford) and beachy, idealized Sweet Valley. If you’ve ever wanted (needed?) someone with mad literary analysis skillz to unpack the world of Sweet Valley and the twin opposites driving it (…and a red Fiat Spider), this is your gal.

    2. fposte*

      There were quite a few doc students churning out SVH, in fact; a friend of mine in grad school did a few as well. They were very strict about the “bible” that the writers were supposed to work from; at one point she had Jessica looking at her reflection in a marble coffee table and she was sternly informed that the Wakefields had never been established as having a marble coffee table.

      1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

        OMG! You made my day. Yeah, “split-level ranch” doesn’t scream “marble coffee table.”

        1. fposte*

          I never heard her reasoning, but marble coffee tables did have a bit of a bougie run in the 1980s (and I personally found them loathsome, but maybe I never saw a really nice one?), so maybe that’s where she got the idea. Or maybe she just wanted a little stage business and threw in a table that would achieve that.

          1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

            The mom in the books is supposed to be an interior designer, so maybe she came down on them where you did.

        2. Pool Lounger*

          We were lower middle class in the south and had one! It was very ugly brown and cream marble. My dad still has it.

    3. Katie*

      Katherine Heiny (of Early Morning Riser and Standard Deviation), too! (I believe I read Standard Deviation because I heard of it on AAM; might have been one of Alison’s recommendations.)

    4. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I missed that post but I recall VC Andrews only wrote a few of her own novels before passing away; remaining series were written by a “ghostwriter” Andrew Neiderman. This is all I remember from the online board discussions in 1998, s o I am not sure if anything new has come up. I thought it was really interesting that someone can create/draft characters and situations but have someone else do the actual writing….

    5. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Seeing some of these names has me so nostalgic now for my childhood/teenhood books and now Im wondering if they were ghostwritten as well. The ones that jump out to me are Ann M Martin (Babysitters club), Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, Lois Duncan, RL Stine and Nora Roberts. I’m pretty sure Martin is the only one who wrote her books but I have no idea about the rest of them now that I think about it.

      1. Tuesday*

        The Babysitters Club had ghostwriters too – Ann M. Martin is a real person who wrote the first ones though.

          1. ampersand*

            I had no idea, either. It’s funny how something like this that shouldn’t matter (I enjoyed the books, that’s what matters!) now makes me feel like my favorite childhood book series was a lie!

      2. Mephyle*

        Beverly Cleary passed away only earlier this year, over 100 years old. She was definitely a writer, not a franchise.

        As far as I know and from what a little research tells me, Blume, Duncan and Roberts also write/wrote their own books, while the Babysitters Club became a franchise after Martin wrote the first books. R. L. Stine claims to have written his own books, but there’s some fuzzy area there.

        1. the cat's ass*

          This is a very cool thread, thank you for creating something about my childhood books that was so fun to read!

      3. Patty Mayonnaise*

        Cleary definitely wrote her own books, as did Blume. They both have super distinctive writing styles and only published books every couple years. Hallmarks of books that might have been ghostwritten are series of maybe around 10 or more where one or more books are published each year. Some of the Ramona books are decades apart.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          Another hallmark is relatively episodic books where the characters don’t age, and there is little character progression. I find them similar to a long running TV show like the Simpsons – everything resets to the status quo at the end of the episode, episodes are written and directed by different people, but in a recognizable style and framework.

          Some authors are just incredibly prolific, though. Elinor Brent-Dyer, who wrote girls’ school stories in the 30s to 60s, managed 58 books in a single series spanning about 30 years in story chronology. There’s strong speculation that the last two books weren’t completely written by her, but the rest were all solo author, with multiple books per year at some points.

    6. fluffy*

      Here’s a librarian who didn’t hate these series books. I could tell that the kids liked a new story but desperately needed the same story told over and over again. I think it’s similar to the toddlers’ request to read the book over and over again.

      I liked that they’re reading anything at all

      1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

        That’s a wonderful insight. My mom looked down on SVH as trash. It had me reading every day. And I would reread them, too.

    7. SummerBreeze*

      I loveeeee that article. I’m a ghostwriter of YA fiction and work in publishing — it’s a whole thing. AMA.

      1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

        Oh man! Are you having fun? What’s something about your job that people often get wrong? Do you have a “bible”? Is it possible to share anything in it that wouldn’t out you? Maybe an example of its strictness or particularness even if you need to change a detail?

      2. SS Express*

        I would looove to hear more about this job. Maybe you can do one of those interviews with Alison!

    8. Clumsy Ninja*

      I was never into those books, but I read plenty of other serial books that were ghostwritten. Thanks so much for the link! Fascinating!

  2. PollyQ*

    I’m thinking of getting rid of my landline. I’ve been giving my cell # to businesses, friends, and family for a while already — most of the calls I get on my landline are from those ****ing manufacturer’s warranty scammers. My only real concern is that I live in earthquake country, and we’re often warned that in case of an emergency, the landline is more likely to be working than the cell. Does anyone know how true that still is? And are there other arguments in favor of keeping the landline? Thanks!

    1. RagingADHD*

      Well, it depends where you live and how reliable your service is. In my area, we get ice storms in winter, tornadoes in spring, and torrential rains with thunderstorms and flooding in sumner. So our power or internet go out fairly frequently, the landline’s gone out once or twice in thr last few years, and cell service went out once.

      I like having 3 different means of contact, on 3 different systems/providers, because it’s pretty likely I’ll lose one in a disaster situation, but extremely unlikely I’d lose all 3.

      1. PollyQ*

        I live in the SF Bay Area, so aside from earthquakes, it’s pretty calm, weather-wise. (Well, except for the 20-year drought and possible wildfires, but I live in a fairly urban section of a suburb.) If my cell phone has ever gone out, I wasn’t aware of it, and the power’s only gone out maybe twice in the 15+ years I’ve lived here.

        I like the philosophy of 3 means of contact, but I’m not sure I want to keep paying for something that I may never need.

        1. Mr. Cajun2core*

          Having lived in San Jose for a number of years (though not any longer), if I will lived there I would still fear “the big one”. You may not think it would be a big deal for you but think about loved ones who can’t get in touch with you and are worried about you.

          Cell phones may not only be unusable due to power or damage to cell towers but also due to over-loading of the cell system. That happened once where I live after a natural disaster.

          1. RagingADHD*

            That happened to us in NYC after 9-11, even though there were still plenty of other cell towers. And IIRC it happened again during the blackout of 2003.

          2. the cat's ass*

            Reason #1 i still keep my land line here in the East Bay. Cheapest level of service and a senior citizen discount. It’s basically a dial tone.

        2. Observer*

          I like the philosophy of 3 means of contact, but I’m not sure I want to keep paying for something that I may never need.

          Do you have insurance? This is no different.

          Shop around for the cheapest actual land line (not voip). Think about what it would cost you if you DID need it and didn’t have it. Not just in terms of money, either.

          1. Quinalla*

            Agreed, get a “I will use this only in emergency” package so it is the cheapest monthly cost if you want to go that route.

            Where I live, the biggest weather events are tornados and those are so, so local – I don’t worry about my internet and cell phone going out at the same time. Though if it did, several of my neighbors still have non-VOIP landlines (we do have one of those for bills, etc. as we find a joint home phone still convenient) so we’d just ask to borrow theirs.

    2. IGoOnAnonAnonAnon*

      Is it an actual wired landline (AT&T, etc.), or is it through your Internet provider (so perhaps a VOIP line)? Not sure how cable (Comcast/Xfinity) phone lines work, but I know that my “landline” (Sonic) is just as vulnerable to earthquakes as my cell phone. We keep ours because it’s basically free with our Internet; otherwise, I’d not have one except to give that # out with purchases/for the scammers.

    3. DistantAudacity*

      The good old-fashioned copper-wire landline doesn’t require any separate power to operate, which is why it may last longer in an emergency. It is less vulnerable to backup power generators running out.

      Landline on voip runs on the internet availability, so is dependent on that service (you loose your internet connectivity and your internet access at the same time).

      Cellphones last as long as the cell phone towers, and any backup power they have, in the event of an emergency.

      Note – this is probably not all entirely accurate (don’t remember the details on the fixed-line telephony), but gives a ballpark overview.

      So – it all depends on your area/what sort of outtages you may get, for how long. There is severe weather or something, and things go down, how long until they are able to provide backup, and is it all a single point of failure?

      1. Gatomon*

        This is correct, copper landlines are powered from the CO (usually has mains, batteries and a generator) or remote cabinet (usually mains and batteries, and techs will go charge the batteries with a generator for an extended outage), depending on how the home is fed. Cell towers can be charged by generators if their batteries are exhausted, but it depends on techs getting to them. If you’re in a mountainous area it may be more difficult, as these are usually stuck up on mountainsides.

        One thing to remember with landlines is that even though the phone company is providing power via the line for it to work, you need an old princess or hot-dog style phone for your phone to still work off that. A cordless phone system won’t work if the basestation doesn’t have power, and the line power usually isn’t enough. So you’d need a battery backup for that as well.

    4. Weegie*

      I’d keep it. Five years ago extreme floods (which had never happened before – it was one of those sudden, unexpected events) knocked out all the power and cell towers in my area for the best part of a week. No lights, heat or broadband, transport couldn’t run, shops couldn’t process payments or even get their doors open, etc, etc. The only things still working were landlines and analogue radios! It hasn’t happened again since but it was an object lesson in Being Prepared.

    5. Anima*

      Keep it. Germany had a flash flood in a specific area and the cellphones were the first to go out. When they worked the network overloaded and even if people were still alive they could not be reached.
      That said, it was so bad even the landline got swept away, so maybe a battery radio is the best to have? (Which reminds me that I need to purchase one of those soon.)

    6. Sue*

      I know what you mean. We rarely get any legitimate calls on our landline. Recently had 17 messages on voicemail and 14 were from a politician (in a very loud voice) seeking donations to finish a building projet to the south of us.. Other 3 were warrant for my arrest, warranty expired and SS compromised. Kinda hard to justify the expense even if it’s more reliable in an emergency. We’d be in good company without a landline as so few seem to have them these days. My kids have never had landlines.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Over the years I found my landline was working when my neighbor phones were not working. I ended up changing to a cable phone because the phone-company phone was running $95 per month. I hated changing over but I really felt at close to $1k per year, I had to. Now I will be like my neighbors and my phone will be out also.

    8. fposte*

      Make sure you’re using a phone that doesn’t need a power source; a lot of people have cordless on landlines, and they’ll be out along with the power.

    9. Mr. Cajun2core*

      I am very cheap and will do many things to save a dollar. However, I have kept my land line for the exact reason why many of the people here have already stated. It often works when other means of communications fail.

      After a massive mile-wide, EF4, 80 mile long tornado hit where I live, for the next few days land lines often worked where cell phones did not. The cell phones not only did not work due to cell towers and power being knocked out but there was a very high usage of cell phones which overloaded the system.

      If only for the reason of using it during disasters, I am keeping my land line.

    10. RussianInTexas*

      I cut my landline 15 years ago and never looked back, never missed it. Now partner has a VOIP line for super cheap, for which we don’t even have an actual phisical phone. We give it out for stuff like websites that require to give a number to register, car dealerships, and stuff like that.
      As for emergency weather: during hurricane Ike, my dad’s landline went out. The AT&T box in the neighborhood (Southwestern Bell landline) shortened from the water.

    11. California Dreamin’*

      I also live in the land of earthquakes (LA) and my husband insists we keep our land line for exactly this reason. We keep an old phone that requires no power (I think it’s the phone I had in college!) stored in a closet to pull out when the big one hits. I’ve pretty much entirely switched all our contact info over to our cell numbers, so the only calls that come on the land line are telemarketers and my mom, who just can’t seem to remember to call my cell. I have an outgoing message on the land line voicemail that says that we don’t use this number or monitor this voice mail and to please call our cell numbers to reach us.

      1. California Dreamin’*

        I eventually got strict with my mom and I Do Not Answer on the land line even when I know it’s her, forcing her to hang up and call the cell. She still calls the land line first Every Time. And when I call her and she needs to call me back, she’ll say, “I need to call you back. Are you at home?” She just doesn’t get the concept that I can be reached no matter where I am. Sigh.

    12. Homophone Hattie*

      Given what you say about potential natural disaster, and unless it’s costing you enough to make a difference, I’d keep it, with the ringer turned off, just in case of emergency.

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

      I dropped my landline over a decade ago and also live in SoCal. Take into consideration how likely it is that you’ll actually be home during an emergency…for me it was more likely i would NOT be home and therefore a phone with me was much more valuable than one tied to a certain location. Text messages can often still go through even when service is overwhelmed. I also keep a solar charger in my car emergency kit. The money i save from ditching the landline goes into making sure i have the best cell service possible. In all the blackouts, minor earthquakes, wild fires, etc that I’ve been through, I’ve still never missed having a landline. If you have to evacuate, you can’t take it with you.

      1. Mr. Cajun2core*

        I don’t mean to be argumentative but I can tell you from experience, when the tornado hit our town, text messages did not go through reliably.

        1. ShinyPenny*

          This is disappointing to hear. I only got a cell phone and learned how to text after the Christchurch earthquake, where texting was the most-functional means of communication. I do like having more options.

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

          It’s actually recommended by ready dot gov under their earthquake section and the California Earthquake Authority, unless you are calling emergency services, do not call — landline or cell — text instead; they all say it’s more reliable and leaves lines for emergency use.

          1. Observer*

            The point is not “don’t text” but that, depending on the circumstances, that might not work. If the cell network is actually down (as opposed to be close to capacity) text is not going work, because it still needs those radios and towers.

    14. Wishing You Well*

      I’m keeping my landline. It can’t be electronically eavesdropped on like a cellphone, so I use it when talking to my bank, credit card companies, etc.
      Yes, almost all the incoming calls are spam but I get those on my cellphone, too. My landline phones can block spam calls without the phones ringing.
      You do what’s best for you! Cheers!

    15. Lucy Skywalker*

      Depending on the type of internet service you have, you might lose your connection when you unplug your landline.

      1. Christmas Carol*

        I get my internet through the phone company. After my parents deaths, I moved into the old family home, and had just left the landline in Dad’s name. It is cheaper to get the landline-broadband combo than just broadband, so I’m for sure keeping my landline, along with the phone # that has been in my family since 1962.

    16. Chaordic One*

      Where I live the cell service usually seems to go down anytime the power goes out. I suspect that the electricity goes out, it is going out to the nearby cell towers as well as to everybody else.

    17. Mephyle*

      Definitely true in my experience: I experienced the 7.1 earthquake in Mexico in 2017. Once the shaking stopped and I felt okay about going back into the house, I got out the old phone and plugged it in (our normal landline phone has handsets that sit in a base, and doesn’t work when the power goes out). Within a few minutes I received phone calls from concerned family members and we were able to reassure each other that we were all right.

      Cell phone service and home internet went down right away with the earthquake (and didn’t come back for the better part of a week) so if we had relied on our cell phones, we wouldn’t have been able to contact each other.

      Besides earthquakes, one argument for keeping a landline is relevant for a household with more than one person, and is based on other people’s convenience more than one’s own. When someone wants to contact the household, and it doesn’t matter whom they talk to, but they need to get someone who’s at home, it’s more convenient for them to call the house phone than to go down the list of calling each person’s cell phone especially if the person(s) they call is/are out of the house or not able to answer their phone in the moment.

    18. Filosofickle*

      I’m also bay area and I keep a hard line for earthquakes and emergencies. It’s a totally stripped down line, no features, so it doesn’t cost a lot and I have an old-fashioned phone to plug in so it will work without power.

      Where I’ve gotten the value is that I actively use it to filter calls from people I don’t want to talk to. Unless you’re a live person I know personally, that’s the number I give — online purchases, the cable company, the insurance carrier, UPS deliveries, grocery store affinity cards — to keep everything possible from coming to my mobile phone. The ringer is off always, so all calls go to voicemail. It’s getting harder because more and more businesses are forcing a mobile-based process (text to verify etc) so next time I move maybe I’ll ditch it but for now it’s earning its keep.

    19. SimonKitty*

      Another reason is to enable you to fax from your home fax machine without using the online fax websites. I would like to get my landline back since I think the faxing from my home machine is more secure than a web site.

      1. Observer*

        Faxing is by definition insecure. If you really need privacy or security, you need a different solution.

    20. Mr. Cajun2core*

      Another reason to keep the land line is if you have an older alarm system in your home. The older systems require a land line. There may be other services which required a land line.

    21. PollyQ*

      Thanks for all the advice, folks! Just to answer a couple of questions:

      * My landline is entirely separate from my internet (which is a good thing, since my internet is definitely my least reliable service).
      * Although I’m currently using a cordless phone that requires power with my landline, I still have an old-fashioned phone handy in case I lose power.

      Y’all have talked me into keeping my landline, although I am going to talk to AT&T and make sure I have the absolute cheapest plan.

      1. Christmas Carol*

        If you have “free” long distance on your cells, delete the long distance service from your land line. Also, sometimes there is a cheaper “measured service” option on landlines which limits the number of local calls you can dial out for free, but you can use you cells for that.

    22. WS*

      I live in a rural area with dubious cell phone service at the best of times, and in a highly fire-prone region. But all landline phones have been discontinued in favour of NBN (national broadband) lines over the internet, which means no power=no phone, even when the internet is working properly. And the service frequently overloads in summer when there’s thousands of tourists here, though at least that’s not an issue during COVID.

  3. Teatime is Goodtime*

    Happy weekend, commentariat! I am looking for books on yoga and possibly meditation. I’ve tried both via video and app, but it isn’t quite sticking right, yet. I think some of the issue is that the higher level concepts and some of the vocabulary are difficult for me to digest while also trying to do them, so I’d like to try a physical, asychronous medium next.

    I am mainly interested in practical how-to books, but I like to read and have no problem with extra background information, history, philosophy and/or religion, as long as it doesn’t get too preachy. All ideas welcome! Thank you in advance!

    1. Princess Deviant*

      The Mindfulness for Dummies book by Shamash Alidina was excellent – every one of the “for Dummies” guides I’ve read has been good; I bet the yoga one would be too.
      The Tao Te Ching is a lovely book on meditation and definitely not preachy (imo), as is Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet.
      As for videos – I know you said you hadn’t found them helpful. I don’t normally, but during the pandemic the classes went online. I’ve really been enjoying the RVS ones on YouTube: just search Virtual Village Hall by Royal Voluntary Service and there is loads of stuff on there. The yoga classes are very beginner friendly, and I find them easy to follow.
      Have you checked out Yoga by Adriene as well?

      1. Teatime is Goodtime*

        Thank you Princess Deviant! I will check out all of those, and the Virtual Village Hall.

        I have tried Yoga by Adriene and enjoyed it…but I find needing to crane my neck to the screen a hindrance. One solution to that that I tried was doing the same videos over and over so that I knew what was coming next, but that got boring and didn’t quite fit my needs in other ways. My hope is that if I have more background information, I’ll have a better idea of what to expect and how to move within the suggestions of the videos without having to be quite so glued to them.

        My other hope is that it will help me move around any physical hiccups I might have at the moment (e.g. wrist or ankle sensitivity or other stuff I’ve had at various points). Sometimes there are alternates offered, but if I have a well of information at hand to draw on, I can do it myself. In the back of my mind is also the idea of putting together my own routines, but I don’t know if or when that is really realistic. :) So thank you!

    2. Rrrrach*

      I would recommend Namaslay by Candace Moore. The copy I have is a large (almost A4 sized) soft back – mentioning that because the full page pictures with descriptions of different poses and tips has been invaluable for me alongside classes (in previous times) and online vids/classes.

      The majority of the book is covering poses, and some routines suggesting an order you can follow. There’s also some more ‘personal journalling’ type writing from Candace eg her personal journey to yoga which is less my thing – but that’s not a lot of content compared to the poses description, so I just skipped over that.
      I was recommended this by a friend training to be a yoga teacher – I think it’s helpful for all. Beginners, more experienced etc. When my copy was delivered to my workplace a few years back, a colleague requested a copy as their leaving gift! (I’d asked her if there was anything she was in need of).

    3. Thunderstorm*

      I really enjoyed Dan Harris’s 10% Happier, and Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. The first is a personal essay on the benefits of meditation while the second is more how-to. He’s a really funny writer and they are quick reads, fwiw.

    4. Pool Lounger*

      For meditation: The Art of Just Sitting by John Daido Loori is my “bible” of meditation, the book I always return to.

    5. ronda*

      Haven’t used books, but….
      there are many yoga videos available on the Brooklyn library overdrive. you can join as an out of state person for $50 a year.
      Do a survey of them and probably learn lots.

      The Rodney Yee video, Core Centered Yoga, give some information on proper alignment of the poses he goes thru, more instructional than just an exercise routine (so better for an occasional look than to do as your routine). I also enjoyed his AM and PM video it was a 30 minute work out for morning and 30 minute workout for bedtime. gentle and relaxing and more of an exercise routine. There are also some more strenuous ones if you are looking for more challenging.

      I am actually loving zoom yoga classes. Once you have enough experience you can usually stop watching and just listen. My yoga teacher from 3 time zones away started doing zoom and it is the best thing ever. He changes his class up every week so good variety and gives constant instructions on what to do. So many instructors do basically the same class every week. But I have learned something great for each instructor that I have had. My 1st yoga teacher was big on correcting peoples posture, but nobody else has been. I really loved that about her!

    6. Epiphyta*

      I’ve done a MBSR course and participate in a monthly online alumni reading group, so can personally recommend Jon Kabat-Zinn’s writings on the subject. Mindfulness for Beginners comes with a CD that has five guided meditations, which is useful if you’ve never done them before. The UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness has a lot of their audio available online for free.

      When I was just starting my practice, I found Judith Hanson Lasater’s Yogabody very useful from a “But why am I doing this, and are human bodies really meant to bend like that?” perspective, if you like a little anatomy and kinesiology with your mat time. My local studio was founded by a physical therapist with formal Iyengar training, so that background made them a good fit for me – your needs may prove to be different! A lot of the students are working with some kind of physical limitation, so modifications to the “standard” poses are the order of the day: you will see folks hauling in bolsters and blocks and wedges and sandbags and . . . .

      My local moved onto Zoom after the first lockdown, and most of my classmates adore it: they’re still getting feedback, the instructors can suggest modifications in the moment if someone’s having an argument with a part of their body that day, and there’s at least some sense of community. Is that possibly an option for you?

      (I haaaaaate it. Studio time is my primary social time, as I work from home. I want back in the room!)

  4. Cookies For Breakfast*

    I never commented in the non-work open thread before, but I make sure to check it out every Saturday for the book recommendation.

    I’m reading “Daisy Jones and The Six” and enjoying it so far, so there’s a good chance I’ll read more by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Now I’ve seen “Malibu Rising” on here, that’s probably what I’ll go for next.

    Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure the last two books I’ve read (John Carreyrou’s “Bad Blood” and Claire Lombardo’s “The Most Fun We Ever Had) were on my list because of past AAM recommendations. Thank you, Alison – I value these just as much as the work advice!

    1. Sue*

      Agree, I’ve read all of those but I highly recommend Daisy Jones as an audiobook. The narration from various readers is excellent.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        I’ve heard that and I’m thinking now I should have gone for the audiobook! But I’m reading it as an ebook, and I’ve after years of insisting only on paper copies, so, progress :)

        1. Cookies For Breakfast*

          Thank you both, I’m definitely going to check Loser out. Is it worth it even if I’ve already watched the WeWork documentary? I usually go the other way round and wait to finish the book before picking up a related film – I finished The Inventor yesterday, in fact :)

    2. AY*

      I loved Daisy Jones but was a little disappointed by Malibu Rising. Daisy Jones had a more inventive and fun style and Malibu Rising is just a nice beach read. Which is fine! I was just hoping for more.

      If you like Bad Blood (which I loved) you might want to check out Empire of Pain. It’s about the Sackler family and the sale of Oxy. It’s way more depressing and infuriating than Bad Blood, but I think fans of one would like the other.

      1. Katie*

        I liked The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo quite a lot, but Malibu Rising was disappointing and kind of pointless. The first half was engaging enough, but not too deep. The second half is like you’re at a big party with celebrities and rich people–and I don’t like parties much, or celebrities! It is a good beach read though–very beachy!

      2. Cookies For Breakfast*

        I’d never heard of Empire of Pain and will be sure to look it up. Thank you!

        1. Sue*

          I also read Empire of Pain and it is excellent but extremely infuriating. It certainly informs the news as the bankruptcy case is happening right now.

    3. Little Bo Peep*

      Huh. I know Daisy Jones and the Six was a huge hit, but our bookclub read it and not one of us liked it. I guess we are outliers! I loved the format, but I got really tired of hearing every (seemingly) two pages how gorgeous she was (the men in the group felt the same, BTW). And I found the end lame. Oh well, to each her own! Glad you are liking it.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Oooh, I totally get you! I’m around two thirds in, and have noticed that too.

        The oral history format and the fact it’s about rock music keep it interesting so far. I can’t yet comment on the end, so perhaps by that time I’ll have changed my mind about the story. But I really really really like the format, especially because I wasn’t expecting it when I picked up the book.

      2. fhqwhgads*

        I didn’t read it, only did the audiobook, but when I finished I was certain that if I’d read it I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much. Some of that repetition you mention felt less redundant hearing it outloud from specific different actors because it really did feel like different humans perceptions. And some of the performances we just that good. My brain wouldn’t have played it as interestingly as some of the actors did.

    4. RosyGlasses*

      Yes I love the book recommendations! I have snagged at least five – The House on the Cerulean Sea was amazing and I ended up picking up The Midnight Library as well which was a recommendation based on that book in my cart. Also excellent.

    5. BetsCounts*

      I **just** finished The Very Nice Box (last week’s rec) and it was B-A-N-A-N-A-S! In a good way but when I turned the last page (metaphorically) I felt winded!!
      Some of her other recent(-ish) recommendations that I enjoyed include “Chicken Sisters”, ” You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey”, “House on the Cerulean Sea”, “Hench”, and “The Nest”.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        “The Very Nice Box” is on my list too!

        I’m in two minds about “Hench”. Part of me wants to read it, but I’ve looked at more reviews and they left me doubtful. If my local library has it I might give it a go. What did you particularly enjoy about it?

  5. petty*

    What are peoples thoughts on people from out of town asking for donations via community social media pages and not making it clear they are not from the town?

    I’m sure I am just being petty and anyone needing help is important. However, I prefer to my local community. A woman posted on our community page asking for donations and I thought it was for the town’s kids. After I gave her the items I checked her page and realised she was from an hour away and had joined multiple neighbouring towns pages to solicit donations. It just feels like taking advantage when local pages are meant for local donations usually.

    Probably just being petty but I felt misled! Thoughts?

    1. petty*

      typo – prefer to donate to my local community. And this was things like toys, it wasn’t a necessity like food or anything which of course everyone should have no matter where they are from. Just a nice little added bonus I wanted to see local kids enjoy.

    2. Virginia Plaim*

      I suppose it’s just a reminder for another time to check up on exactly who you are donating things to and what the destination/cause is. You’ve a right to choose where your charity goes and make that decision on full info. I think maaaaybe it was a bit sneaky of the woman in question not to say outright what the circs were but ultimately people are sometimes like that and one just has to check.

    3. LDN Layabout*

      Personally to me an hour away would still qualify as ‘local’, but when I look a my charity giving it’s usually on a county level vs. local community level when I want to donate to smaller/decentralised causes.

      I think taking advantage is a little strong when the person didn’t lie at any point. When you checked, it was easy to find they weren’t from your town, right?

    4. Asenath*

      I think it is important to check out any charity appeal – and in this case, it doesn’t seem that appealing to people in other locations, particularly in the same region, is inappropriate. The situation wasn’t really hidden since you found out the details easily.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I think it’s best to look for places that specifically say, “Serving Town of X’ and just assume anything that does not say that has a larger targeted area.

      This happens for reasons. Not the least of which is donor base. Smaller communities need to partner-up with other communities in order to raise the funds necessary. Additionally, not enough people from that particular town might request services. No point to being an organization if there is no one to serve.

      We do a heat grant here. It’s for town people only. Administratively, one person could run this. We get more in donations than applications. While other towns around here keep around $10k in their heat funds, we keep a small fraction and it’s enough. We can have about 2-3 applicants a year. Because we are a small operation, screening is an issue because of human resources and physical resources. So we have the applicants go through the county assistance and they send people to us. Otherwise it’s word of mouth, people vouch for each other being a tight spot.

      We have a place that sells used clothing for pennies on the dollar. (Okay they do free days also!) There is really no good way to prevent out-of-towners from entering the shop. And it just plain looks bad to kick people out because of where they live. Likewise with a place that gives away free veggies. There is no really good way to say, “You don’t live here so you can’t have any.”

      If you are looking for ways to keep donations in your town, I have a couple suggestions.
      -Watch for area fires or other types of hardship such as people who are sick. Donate to specific situations.
      -Check with your town clerk to see where there are needs. Churches are another good source for knowing where people are struggling.
      -Our school does grants for local kids to go to college. These grants are small but they are locally funded and given to local graduates.
      -Check with your fire company/first responders. They can always use donations.
      -If you are in rural or a modest income area, you can check with your local library to see what their current fundraising project is.

    6. NopityNope*

      petty, just want to say that I think I, too, would feel misled. I don’t think of folks one hour away as being “local.” And while it’s true there is need everywhere, and your donation will be put to good use, when I donate “locally,” my goal is to help my neighbors, the other folks who send their kids to the same school as mine, who go to my library…and who pay their property taxes in my municipality. I’m sure people define “local” in different ways, especially depending on where you live, but personally, someone living an hour away from me definitely lives in a different school district (request was for stuff for kids, so that’s relevant), probably lives in a different county, and possibly even lives in a different state.

      So I absolutely sympathize that it feels like someone has taken advantage, and maybe a bit burned by the experience. And I agree that it would be nice if you could take requests on neighborhood sites at face value, rather than having to research every single one!

    7. RagingADHD*

      I agree, this feels like working the system. And if someone has enough time, energy, and (for want of a better word) gumption to work the system that hard, it seems like they might not need stuff as much as they’re making it sound.

      It sounds like a business model for a reseller, tbh.

      1. Observer*

        And if someone has enough time, energy, and (for want of a better word) gumption to work the system that hard, it seems like they might not need stuff as much as they’re making it sound.

        So any charity that works “too hard” or is “too successful” clearly doesn’t need the donations? Even if the woman @petty mentions were asking for herself, it’s just not reality based to claim that being able to ask for donations in a group that isn’t her home base means that she probably doesn’t actually need the help. And is she’s asking for others, the idea make NO SENSE whatsoever.

        1. RagingADHD*

          No, of course not, because charities are established organizations with public accountability and fundraising is their job. That’s a complete strawman. I’m saying that an individual doing this sounds like a reseller to me.

          I’m perfectly willing to be wrong. But my “this is sus” alarm works pretty well in real life and is proven right more than it’s proven wrong. And I don’t think the OP is petty for also thinking it is sus.

          1. Observer*

            What the OP is asking about is TOTALLY not petty but it has nothing to do with whether it’s suspect.

            Maybe your meter is accurate in real life, in that it doesn’t throw up too many false positives. But in this case, your conclusion makes no sense whatsoever. The idea that it take SO MUCH effort to “work the system” by posting to groups outside someone’s immediate neighborhood that it proves that a person probably really is not in need it bonkers. It’s one of the easiest ways to drum up resources that one could think of.

            Sure, a shady reseller could do this, too. But that’s partly because it’s so easy to do that even someone without a lot or resources can do it.

    8. Elle Woods*

      Not begin petty at all; I’d feel misled too. Over the years, there’s been a handful of kids come through the neighborhood who aren’t local. I’ve always declined to buy or support whatever it was they were pitching. I don’t mind helping neighborhood kids or local kids but if you don’t live locally you’re not any $$$ from me and I don’t care if that makes me sound like a grouch.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        The office building where I work had some posters up promoting some fundraising efforts (cake sale or similar) to raise funds for a child who needed very special medical treatment.

        It turned out the sick child wasn’t even living on the same continent. A parent worked for another branch of the company overseas, but it had been decided all offices would participate in the fundraising. Whilst I can appreciate and understand why attempts were being made to raise as much money as possible, it seemed a bit off, especially if people didn’t know the family.

    9. Observer*

      I don’t think you are petty. You have a right to decide how to apportion your charity / giving dollars. And while I don’t think that this woman is terrible, I do think it behooves fundraisers to be clear who they are benefiting, including where (in general, not specific addresses or anything like that!) the beneficiaries are located.

      On the other hand, it always makes sense to check this stuff out before you give any amount that you’re going to be annoyed about, if it goes someplace you didn’t want it to.

    10. Epsilon Delta*

      I don’t follow my community’s social media pages and I don’t think I would donate directly to an individual based just on a social media post, so we might have different expectations around this. But from what you described, it doesn’t sound that outlandish. An hour away seems like it might be a stretch for “local” in some cases, but certainly not all (rural areas come to mind). As long as the post isn’t misleading and saying that they’re trying to help kids in X city when it’s really only Y city, it seems like it would be on the donor to do a little reseach first to know who is getting the stuff.

      I can see why you feel mislead, but I don’t think the person who posted necessarily did anything shady.

  6. Richard Hershberger*

    Taking my daughter to visit my mother for the first time in a year and a half, visitors finally being allowed.

    1. SnappinTerrapin*

      I’m glad to hear this good news. The visit will mean a lot for all of you.

      It has been a blessing to be able to visit with my parents and aunts again.

      By the way, I always appreciate your thoughtful comments on others’ posts.

  7. Embarrassing privileged question - sorry*

    I am so sorry for this first world whining, but I need … some verbiage? My hair stylist is phenomenal – I don’t want to go to anyone else. She’s having health concerns and has not been working for months. (Not Covid.). I go back to school in two weeks (as a teacher). I’m not terribly invested in model worthy hair, but something must be done so I look professional enough at the start of the year. Do I ask her who is filling in for her? (It’s a one woman salon- she has no “coworkers” as such.). Do I ask if she’s sending her clients to a certain person while she’s recovering? Pestering her about this feels slimy – she’s dealing with health problems!! And I don’t want to “cheat” on her! But at this point, even my partner has said I need to do something, and this is a man who shaves his head because he doesn’t like to do anything to his own hair. How would you proceed in this situation? How would you word an email about this?

    1. Asenath*

      If I were in contact with her (perhaps on social media), I might ask. Or I’d ask other customers if I knew them. But normally, I wouldn’t bother her with work concerns if she’s been off sick. I’d take my chances on another hair stylist, and return to my preferred one when she’s back at work.

    2. Camelid coordinator*

      If she is having health problems she’d understand you seeing a different stylist to get ready to go back into school. I don’t think I’d ask her for a recommendation, I’d just ask a friend whose hair I like. If you are worried about giving her the wrong impression maybe send her a card letting her know you are thinking of her and look forward to being back in her chair?

    3. sswj*

      “Hi Margie,
      I heard about your health challenges and wanted to tell you how sorry I am. I’m praying/vibing/crossing everything that you are well again soon! (Or whatever is appropriate to the situation).

      I know you can’t work while you’re recuperating, but do you have anyone to recommend who comes close to your wonderful way with styling? I look forward to putting myself in your hands again, but in the meantime I need to look a bit less feral when I start teaching in person this fall!

      I hope you are up and around again soon, and I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts,


      That’s more or less what I’d write, and then drop it if I didn’t get a pretty quick reply.
      Either way I’d probably follow up with another well-wish note but without asking for a recommendation, I’d want to make sure she knows her wellbeing is the prime concern.

      1. Jyn’Leeviyah the Red*

        That’s awesome phrasing. My hair stylist is currently out on maternity leave, and I’m in the same “teacher on a deadline” boat. I phrased it to her as, “Do you have any recommendations/preferences for who will make your life easier when I see you again?” She wrote back with “Ha! Here’s who won’t screw it up.”

    4. Not So NewReader*

      FWIW, I think this is a legit question as it’s tricky to get across, “I prefer YOU! but NO pressure, Okay?”

      I think you can just ask if she has a person she is sending people to. Then ask for her to be absolutely sure to let you know when she is back on track. And of course add wording that shows your concern and that you do care about her setting.
      Figure it this way, she knows hair will grow. She knows people need to get hair cuts. No big surprises going on here. Part of running a business is having a contingency plan for foreseeable problems. She may have a friend who she has made a “pact” with that they would cover each others costumers in times of emergency.

    5. Bon voyage*

      I think you can ask nicely for a short-term recommendation while she’s out. Obviously, don’t hold it against her if she can’t or doesn’t respond.

      Personally, if I could afford it, I would send an e-gift card to a local grocery store or something similarly cash-like as a “thanks for the rec/til next time/in lieu of our regularly scheduled appointment” gesture in the amount I’d normally tip for her services. This isn’t a requirement, though, and I’d behave differently if hairstylists were better protected!

    6. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Well now I’m feeling weird b/c I see nothing wrong with the question itself in these specific circumstances so long as it’s worded appropriately.

      I began seeing a hair stylist a few years ago when I was going through my hair coloring phase. I moved away eventually and my hair is back to natural but I still follow her on social media. She was off work for a month or so b/c she had to have surgery. If I were continuing to go to her, I would have dropped her a message saying I was thinking of her and hope she got better. Depending on how desperate I was for a cut, I’d just go to someone else.

      The way I see it – I do freelance work. If life is too busy and I can’t take on an engagement for any reason, I’d understand completely if they went elsewhere. I may even refer them out — lots of people in my professional network do that, referring business to each other.

      It’s part and parcel of being a business owner/freelancer.

    7. RagingADHD*

      I think asking for a recommendation to tide you over until she’s back is fine. If she doesn’t want to deal with it, she is a grown woman and business owner who has agency and can choose to ignore the message.

    8. Callisto*

      I wouldn’t bug her, she’s clearly got a lot on her plate. Just get a recc from someone else, and go back to her when she reopens.

    9. KuklaRed*

      I think you are over-thinking this. Let the woman focus on her health and getting her mojo back and get your hair cut somewhere else. She will let you and her other clients know when she is ready to start working again. I think she has more to worry about than who is cutting your hair.

    10. Disco Janet*

      I’d just ask if she has any recommendations on a hairstylist to see in the meantime. Or just Google search, read reviews/see photos, and choose someone that way.

      Thank you for this post because it reminded me that I haven’t scheduled my back to school haircut, and my stylist only had one opening left before that day! Maybe it’s silly that even as a teacher I like to have a fresh haircut and new outfit for the first day of school, but it helps me feel prepared and put together.

    11. Jane of all Trades*

      Why not call the salon and ask if somebody is filling in for a her? And if you are concerned that she will worry about it/ want to check in, after the appointment you can always text something along the lines of “I went and saw [other stylist] today, they were great, but I can’t wait for you to be back! I hope you are feeling better and sending you best wishes for a speedy recovery”
      That way she doesn’t have to get back to you about work stuff.

    12. Office Pantomime*

      I would get another stylist temporarily the way you do any service. I’ve never understood why it feels like cheating to some people. I’ve had good long term stylists, sure, but your appointment is still a business transaction. I will definitely go to another stylist in the salon if my main stylist is booked or not available.

    13. Embarrassing privileged question - sorry*

      I know this was a “low stakes” question, so thanks, y’all, for humoring me. I get anxious as I prep for a new school year, so what better way for anxiety to manifest than something foolish! :) It’s so nice to have such pleasant people to check in with.

      1. Come On Eileen*

        this is my favorite place to ask low stakes questions! people are much nicer than on Reddit :-)

  8. Bad Skin*

    Update/follow up post: I talked last week about how I’d been getting a rash all over my neck for about six weeks that would only go away with hydrocortisone and that returned as soon as I stopped using it. My doctor thought the rash was hyperkeratosis and recommended Amlactin, which didn’t help at all (and actually started irritating my neck!). A couple posters suggested the rash might be an allergic reaction to something, and Orb said it might be the fragrance ingredient hexyl cinnamal in the shampoo I use.

    I stopped using the hydrocortisone, and started using a 24-hour antihistamine and a baby shampoo/wash that has fragrance but not hexyl cinnamal. The rash hasn’t returned. Thank you so much for all the suggestions! I’m really happy to be able to stop using the hydrocortisone before it messes up the skin on my neck and to not have to make another doctor appointment so soon.

    I’m going to get fragrance free shampoo before I try to go off the antihistamine. Does anyone have suggestions for fragrance free shampoo that’s reasonably priced or easy to get? I tried the Whole Foods brand a year or two ago and was going to start with that, but the Whole Foods website says it’s not stocked at my local store anymore. I tried googling a bit, but it seems like all the other shampoo brands either have to be ordered online or are expensive.

    1. FD*

      I have had a huge amount of success with using a shampoo bar from Royalty Soap! Look for Blameless Shampoo Bar on her site. They’re only $10 each and they last me a while, and I have pretty thick hair.

      I actually find I don’t need to use any conditioner either, as the shampoo bar has enough moisturizing in it to keep my hair from drying out.

      You do have to buy them online, so there’s a little bit of lead time unfortunately, but you might be able to get an expedited shipping?

    2. Drtheliz*

      E45 shampoo. It’s specifically intended for people with skin allergies and is I think available at Superdrug etc.

    3. heckofabecca*

      L’oreal Elvive!! I’ve used it for years. It’s great! Recommended by a stylist, too :)

    4. Clocoa*

      I have to get it online, but Neutrogena has a clarifying shampoo that is scent free. Quite like that one. Also, Dr. Bronner’s has a scent free soap that can be used as a shampoo, but can absolutely do a number on some hair types. Lush has a few shampoos (solid and non-solid) that can be scented, but they are super good about giving ingredient lists.

    5. Red Sky*

      I use Earth Science Fragrance Free shampoo and I like it better than the Whole Foods brand. It’s a bit under $10 a bottle from my local health food store. I’ve also tried Desert Essence Frangrance Free but didn’t like how it left my hair feeling rough and a bit straw-like.

    6. MMB*

      My skin and sinuses are easily irritated.
      I like Suave Naturals Shea and Almond
      Redkin’s All Soft line
      Davines DeDe – this one has more of a scent to it.

    7. Epiphyta*

      Jason’s fragrance-free shampoo comes in a 32-ounce bottle and is around $10 USD; my local Safeway carries it.

    8. old biddy*

      The Desert Essence unscented shampoo and conditioner are my favorite so far, after 5 years of using unscented. It’s a ibt more conditioning than the others I’ve tried. You can get them from Amazon or perhaps Whole Foods/Sprouts/etc. Try using only unscented for a few weeks and then try scented types if you like.
      I don’t know which fragrance I’m allergic to, and many companies only list them as ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’, so it’s sort of trial and error for me. I know that lemony/herbal scents are usually ok. I’m glad you have a suspicion which one it is!

    9. JustEm*

      I like Dessert Essence fragrance free — it makes my (fine, straight) hair shiny and doesn’t make my scalp itchy. I previously used Free & Clear from makers of Vanicream for years and it is non-irritating but my hair didn’t look as nice

    10. Dee Dee*

      I don’t have a recommendation on shampoo but I highly recommend using goat soap and/or goat lotion for skin issues. I have developed some skin issues as I’ve gotten older and spent a lot of time and money and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Nothing they prescribed or suggested helped long term so quite by accident I used some goat lotion and it was much better the next day so I kept using it. I’ve been using it regularly for over a year and I’ve haven’t had any more problems. I suggest and unscented lotion and tea tree soap. It is free of chemicals and additives that can irritate the skin. I just googled goat lotion/soap and there are a variety of options. ( I don’t know if I’m allowed to name the company that I buy from.)

      1. JustEm*

        Just heads up for OP – many people (including me) find tea tree oil to be quite irritating, so use this or any essential oil containing product with caution!

    11. Astor*

      Seconding Vanicream’s Free & Clear. I’m in Canada so it’s not an easy brand to get here, but it’s available at Target, Walgreens, CVS, etc, in the US. I haven’t used these particular products myself (since I have a Canadian brand that works for me), but I have sensitive skin and scalp and they are consistently one of the brands I see recommended from people who really have to be careful, including on a short list of recommendations from my dermatologist.

      Also, be careful: a few of the recommendations in this thread are for shampoos that literally have fragrance as one of the ingredients! Others are fragrance-free, but have ingredients that can be irritating for people who are very sensitive. Personally, Cocamidopropyl Betaine is one that I have to watch out for. I also prefer to use a brand that doesn’t make any products with fragrance, if I have that option. Plus, I avoid products that have more than a couple of plant ingredients even if I’d use some of them individually, especially because they often are used for fragrance. I’m mostly pointing this out in case you’re interested in taking the most cautious approach first.

      If you have dry/curly hair I bet that the Free & Clear won’t be a good solution, but it might at least help in the short term. I have dry and curly hair and I haven’t been able to find anything great, but my scalp/skin is a lot happier and it’s been easier for me to test new products. In the meantime, I use my conditioner as a leave-in and add hairgel from the same fragrance-free line.

    12. WoodswomanWrites*

      Here’s a third recommendation for Desert Essence fragrance free shampoo and conditioner. I am very sensitive to scents as well as having sensitive skin, and I’ve used these successfully for year. In checking the USA Desert Essence website just now, I see that they have a sale for 30% off through July 30. Good luck!

    13. identifying remarks removed*

      Aveeno baby shampoo is fragrance free and really gentle. I have eczema on my scalp and use that or Aveeno apple cider vinegar shampoo with no problems. But the apple cider vinegar shampoo has fragrance as the last ingredient.

  9. Sue*

    I would ask a friend for a recommendation and go back to her when she’s resumed her business. Unless we were otherwise friends, I wouldn’t ask her to help me find a fill in. Her main interest is probably getting well and hoping her clients come back.

  10. HannahS*

    What’s the worst/silliest/most absurd piece of advice someone gave you while you were expecting a baby? I asked a similar question when I was wedding planning and your answers gave me a good giggle.
    Mine so far is:
    “You have to pull the crib an inch off of the wall or there won’t be enough air for the baby.” That’s…not how air works!

    1. Teatime is Goodtime*

      Oh man, there’s a hole with no bottom. Folks where I am living at the moment are REALLY SCARED of sun on their babies, especially newborns. I mean, yes, babies shouldn’t get sunburnt both because it’s painful and sucks and also because it can increase the likelihood of skin cancer later….but the collective worry has reached utterly ridiculous levels. I have a friend who was stressing herself crazy because her baby’s arm was in the sun for five minutes on a walk home and she didn’t notice until later.

      The other one is drafts. Yes, a baby sleeping in a bed with an icy cold draft all night long is probably not good, but that’s not a reason to deny the whole living space of fresh air on a beautiful summery day.

      The other stuff that comes to mind was all the old-wivy sort of advice, like how I was carrying high so it would be a boy (or was it the other way around?) and such stuff. I’ll write back if I can think of anything else.

      1. fposte*

        The draft thing is pretty funny given that in Finland people often put their babies to sleep outside even when it’s below freezing.

          1. fposte*

            Below freezing in both measurement systems–it’s the same amount of cold either way, just called by a different number.

          2. fhqwhgads*

            Freezing is freezing, doesn’t matter which scale you use. Do you mean “below zero C, not zero F?”

            1. allathian*

              I did. 0 F is -18 C, I don’t know anyone who’d put their baby to sleep outdoors at those temperatures. When my son was a baby, my limit was about -10 C/14 F. Given that my son’s born in late May, he was more than 6 months old by December when it got that cold here. At the time he was already somewhat mobile and had switched from a baby carriage to a sit-up stroller, which meant that he wore a coverall that was appropriate for the weather, and he sat on a sheepskin.

              1. fposte*

                Ah, I think as a Celsius native you’re finding it hard to imagine that freezing in Fahrenheit is 32 degrees, not zero. So 14F is definitely below freezing.

                1. allathian*

                  That’s it.

                  But I wouldn’t put my baby to nap outdoors at 0 F/-18 C. That’s the standard freezer setting here. We have temperatures like that almost every winter, not counting windchill.

                2. fposte*

                  Right, but nobody’s suggesting putting your baby out at that temperature. I was just noting that Finland (and Sweden too, apparently) put babies out at temperatures below freezing. There’s a lot of below freezing before you get to 0 F.

      2. HannahS*

        That’s so interesting! I’m curious about where you are (but no pressure to share). One of my parents is from a hot desert place and firmly believes in throwing all of the windows open, which is a little TOO breezy in Canada in the winter.

      3. Potatoes gonna potate*

        I mentioned this in my comment below, but for some reason where I’m from they believe that air conditioning causes a baby to be sick. I clearly remember when she was 2 weeks old and not sleeping well, my mom called up her relatives back home and asked them and they said “oh it’s the air conditioning that’s made her sick, you should turn it off.” in JULY. Gee…..I wonder what 2 week old sleeps well?????

      4. Observer*

        I have a friend who was stressing herself crazy because her baby’s arm was in the sun for five minutes on a walk home and she didn’t notice until later.

        Perhaps you should point out to her that her baby actually NEEDS sunlight for proper development.

    2. Kiitemso*

      “If you raise your arms above your shoulders, the umbilical cord will get wrapped around the baby’s neck.”

      Not only is this untrue, pregnant women already can’t do a lot of things but raising your arms has nothing to do with the umbilical cord. Also, the cord may get wrapped around the baby’s neck and that’s always a really scary situation (even though I think most babies come through such a situation, though some do need time in the NICU because of it) so it’s a terrible thing to scare mothers-to-be about.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        It is a terrible thing to scare mothers-to-be about. (For what it’s worth, I WAS born with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, via an emergency c-section, and I’ve now been a merry pain in my parents’ tailfeathers for over 40 years. :) )

      2. Imtheone*

        Actually, the umbilical cord around the neck is almost always no issue—it sounds scary, but it usually is loose, and also firm, like a hose full of water that can’t be knotted tightly.

        1. Cambridge Comma*

          Yeah, it’s not as problematic to have something round your neck if you don’t need to breathe yet.

      3. Potatoes gonna potate*

        I’m not sure about the raising arms but umbilical cord injury is 100% a real fear, at least it was for me. Doctors assured me the raising arms didn’t cause it. Due to the way my body is, I barely ever felt her move but every ultrasound assured me that she was jumping and kicking healthily in there.

        My nephew was actually born with the cord around his neck but he also had his hand tucked under his chin so the cord didn’t affect him. He’s going to be 15 soon (!!!) and his mother isn’t in the picture so I don’t know/recall any of the details. but he came out 100% fine.

        1. comityoferrors*

          It scares me that this can happen, and I’m so glad your nephew is okay!

          At the same time, all I can think is that he’s a perfect Raul for his high school’s rendition of Phantom of the Opera…born knowing “keep your hand at the level of your eyes.”

    3. Felicia FancyBottom*

      “You’re only planning on having one? That’s the WORST thing you can do to a kid”

      Really? The worst?

      1. HannahS*

        Lol the WORST. If that’s the “worst” thing you ever do to your kid you’re doing better than any parent on earth, I’d imagine!

      2. Potatoes gonna potate*

        If that’s the worst then….I dunno.

        “OK Nancy, I already feel terrible b/c I can’t give my child a sibling now or ever but go on and tell me how my only child will be scarred for life.”

        The nerve lol.

      3. uncivil servant*

        I was an only child and it was kind of unusual in the 1980s/90s when I was growing up. People definitely took notice and attributed all my eccentricities to being an only child. Now I’m 37 and pregnant with my first. I don’t think I’ll tempt fate by trying to have another at 39, so I’m planning on an only too. I just sat down and thought about all my friends and Facebook acquaintances, and realized that one child is probably the most common number. And my friends are mostly now in their late 30s so there aren’t going to be a ton more babies.

        Childcare and housing are expensive, education and finding a good job takes a long time. If my daughter’s lonely, there are probably going to be 10-20 other only kids in her class who empathize. :)

    4. Katefish*

      I’m expecting now and mostly keep hearing annoying comments on how huge I am. (I’m not, not that it would matter if I were, but I am visibly third trimester pregnant bellied and short, so…)

      1. HannahS*

        How unfortunate! I got a “You’re pregnant? Oh, I thought you were just fat” a few weeks ago. Thanks? Not sure why people are suddenly cool with commenting on our bodies…

    5. Expiring Cat Memes*

      A woman I used to work with loved telling everyone (at work!) that the best way to induce labour for an overdue baby was to have sex. And following that nugget of advice would be her attempt to regale all and sundry with her personal tale of mid-coital broken waters. She went into detail. A lot of detail. Sooooo much detail. Vomitacious detail.

      I’m still scarred by the detail.

      1. Analyst Editor*

        Detail is disgusting but the advice is not necessarily wrong!
        Also carrying groceries.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          My mother “got tired of being pregnant and cleaned the attic stairs.”
          (Thanks but I’ll wait until my due date anyway.)

    6. Allie*

      I had someone in an exercise class tell me I should stay for Abs next because I was getting pudgy. When I told her I was 20 weeks pregnant, she unpromoted rubbed my belly (interestingly the only person to do so).

      Uh… thanks.

    7. Merle Grey*

      A cashier at the grocery store warned me about lifting a gallon of milk because doing so could induce early labor. All I could think of is what about all those pregnant people who already have and pick up older babies or toddlers 0r older kiddos who surely weigh more than 8 pounds?

      I bruised my knee while pregnant, and someone said the baby would be born with a birthmark on its knee because of it.

      And then there was someone telling me that comforting a crying 2 month old would turn him into a manipulative “sissy.” OMG.

    8. HBJ*

      Not advice but people being shocked at me … living my life when I was 40+ weeks pregnant. A cashier and the person behind me in line asked when I was due and was shocked that I was out getting groceries when I told her “tomorrow” and that my husband wasn’t. I informed them that walking potentially helps move things along. But really, we needed groceries, and my husband was at work, and I’m not an invalid.

      When chatting with neighbors, they were surprised and couldn’t believe I was making dinner after they asked when I was due and I said, “four days ago.” …We need dinner. Who else is going to make it?

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          In that similar vein… I gave birth at 36+2 via C section. Day 6 I was driving, although only 2 minutes away b/c I still had lingering diplopia and didn’t want to go far. I also had to go see my doctor the next day to have my wound vac removed, and I totally dressed up lol. She commented on how I was wearing a dress and wearing make up (we had a great rapport). Once I regained my appetite, I cooked a meal or two for myself (luckily mealtime/cooking wasn’t an issue for us).

          I think the most surprised of all was myself that I didn’t *have* to stay bedridden for 2 months, I could live my life, obvs within COVID parameters.

      1. Clisby*

        I gave birth to my first 15 days after the so-called “due date.” They come when they’re ready.

    9. Dark Macadamia*

      “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” Okay great, I’ll just train my body to fall asleep instantly and be fully refreshed from random 5-20 minute intervals. This is almost always suggested to a new parent after they say they’re exhausted because THE BABY DIDN’T SLEEP.

      1. Disco Janet*

        And when you’re pregnant it’s “sleep now while you can!” As if it’s soooo easy to sleep when you’re uncomfortable and your bladder is being pressed on.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah. Especially when my son lodged his head in my pelvis, I had to get up to pee on the hour, every hour… That said, I stopped working about a month before my due date, so I was home for 6 weeks before he was born. I must admit that I napped a lot during the day, but obviously that wouldn’t be possible if you’re expecting a second or subsequent child.

      2. Teatime is Goodtime*

        There was a lovely magazine article that included the response line: “Yes, I will sleep when the baby sleeps, clean when the baby cleans and cook when the baby cooks!”

        1. Dark Macadamia*

          Brilliant! I remember relating VERY strongly to a scene from Grey’s Anatomy where Cristina says “Should I sleep, or should I shower? I could sleep in the shower… but I’m also starving…”

      3. Mephyle*

        “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
        “Why are you sleeping now? What about the meal/dishes/cleaning?”

      4. Potatoes gonna potate*

        12.5 months post partum and i definitely trained my body to fall asleep in under 5 minutes. Being refreshed OTOH…..nah lol. In fact, I’ve always disliked naps and sleeping during the day, the feeling of waking up after a short time esp by a screaming baby felt worse than if I hadn’t slept at all. Plus there’s just always so much more stuff to do (that I want to do, not have to).

    10. Disco Janet*

      Sooo many things. The main one was that my grandpa and mother-in-law thought that I should do exactly what they did when raising kids, and ignore any more recent expert advice that contradicts that. Who needs car seats? Give that baby rice cereal when they’re a month old! And so on.

      Another was to not have my husband take any time off work because he’d just mess up my system and it’s better to do everything your way. Um, no. That sounds quite exhausting.

      1. Owler*

        Apparently my MIL gave her son (my husband) rice cereal at 6 weeks and steak at 10 weeks…a puree, I assume, but I didn’t ask for details. She wasn’t recommending the same routine for us, luckily!

    11. Quiet Liberal*

      When I was expecting our first baby, my late MIL told me we needed to get rid of our two beloved cats. She said that cats smell the milk on the baby’s breath and try to get at it and can suffocate the baby while the baby is sleeping. We didn’t get rid of them and never had an issue with them even wanting to be near him. I think he was too noisy and wiggly for their taste.

    12. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Hannah were you the one who posted a few weeks ago asking what we should have prepared before baby got here? Perhaps I got the wording wrong but I remember there was a lot of good advice. As always, I came up with a lot more things days after the thread was posted :p.

      How far along are you?

      To answer this question — I’m forgetting mostly! haha. Baby potato just had their 1st birthday and I’m quickly forgetting most of the pregnancy related stuff, except for obviously being at the start of COVID. As far as advice I didn’t get a lot as I didn’t really announce it until I was about 34 weeks along. I had told close friends beforehand and I wouldn’t say that their advice was silly/absurd.

      But after she was born some of the dumbest sh*t I heard was how air conditioning makes the baby sick and causes spit up.

      For the advice that you got – I have read that you need to have the crib at least a foot away from any other furniture and windows regardless of whether you and baby sleep in the same room. But the reason for that is to keep the baby safe

      Oh and re: air… one thing I’ve learned is that “breathable” esp wrt baby items is a marketing term and adds absolutely nothing to the value of the product but inflates the price.

    13. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Some of the advice I constantly got (from the same person) that aggravated me was to sleep with her. I’m 100% against co-sleeping/bedsharing and I made that clear. I sleep on a twin bed so there’s no where for her to go anyway. 

      A lot of general advice I saw in parenting groups and forums was to forget everything else and just concentrate on the baby. Have someone else help with chores. Or that there was resentment against ppl who only wanted to hold the baby and not help with chores. I know it was well intentioned but I just don’t think it’s universal. There were/are times I actually *wanted* to cook or clean or do something else that wasn’t baby related.

      And the biggest one which from reading here and my own personal experienced has shaped my view on – moms wanting a “WFH job so they can stay home and take care of the kids.” Outside of pandemic and closed daycares…..no.

      1. Felis alwayshungryis*

        I mean, I do think bedsharing/cosleeping has a place IF you don’t mind, it’s right for your family, and you can do it safely. If not, fine, don’t! I really dislike when people insist their way is the only way, as you found.

        For me it was ‘if you do/don’t X you’ll make a rod for your back’, closely followed by ‘put them down drowsy but awake’.

        My daughter was a feed-to-sleeper until she dropped all her naps at around 2 and she quit the nighttime boob at around 3, to the horror of most paediatric professionals. Sometimes it was a drag, but it was also mostly stressfree and easy. I refused to sleep train because I feel the same way as you do about cosleeping. Now at 4 she’s an amazing, mostly independent sleeper (though we still cuddle to sleep most nights, and I wouldn’t have it any other way).

        1. Double A*

          “Drowsy but awake” is more like “drowsy but then screaming like a banshee” in my experience.

          1. Dark Macadamia*

            “Drowsy but NOT ANYMORE, now you get to start the whole process over again!”

            1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

              Ha, agreed! There are babies that have “drowsy but awake” mode and those that don’t come with that feature. Both mine were/are more like “drowsy and Hiiiiii!!! Whatcha doinnnn’?”

        2. Potatoes gonna potate*

          Oh totally! I meant I was against it for myself, not for anyone else!
          Can you tell me more about her being an independent sleeper if you don’t mind sharing? I wouldnt mind cuddling/sleeping with her when she’s a little older but I feel she’s too young to be in the bed with me right now.
          I don’t sleep train either for various reasons but I follow safe sleep guidelines (alone, on her back on a regulated safe sleep space) I learned in my safe sleep groups. She still wakes a few times at night, I still rock her for every sleep and she has at least one feeding–all huge no-nos.. I feel so stressed out about her following wake times, independent sleeping etc. The groups seem to take a very all or nothing stance so I just feel like there’s no middle-ground there for me.

          1. RagingADHD*

            Sleeping through the night/sleeping independently is developmental, like walking or potty training. You can help it or hinder it, but you can’t make it happen.

            I did everything “correctly” with my first, and “wrong” with my second, because we were in a family medical crisis when my second was a baby, and it was survival mode.

            Neither of them slept through the night more than a couple of times until they were 2, and then not reliably till they were 4, due to night terrors. Because they inherited hyperactive ADHD brains from both sides, plus their daddy is a straight up insomniac.

            Any kind, loving parenting approach will “work” perfectly on about 25% of babies. But you don’t know which kind of baby you got until you try.

            Folks who tell you their ideal system definitely works if you just do it right, are actually telling you that they lucked into the right system for their baby on the first try.

            Do what you need to do to get both of you as much safe sleep as possible. That’s winning.

            1. Clisby*

              I found out that “sleep through the night” meant something very different to a pediatrician than it meant to me. Apparently, doctors think sleeping for 6 hours at a stretch is “sleeping through the night,” while I think it’s more like 9-10 hours. After all, if I sleep through the night, I’ve slept 9-10 hours. My child didn’t get to that point until she was almost a year old, and it was such a relief.

              1. fhqwhgads*

                By that (pediatrician’s) definition I didn’t sleep through the night until I was 14.

          2. Observer*

            I missed this when I responded to you.

            To this question – at this point you might want to drop out of those groups. The whole “all or nothing” attitude is crazy making and unhelpful.

            How old is Potato Junior? Because the idea of a night feed being a “huge no no” makes no sense. If the baby is young enough, they simply cannot eat enough to sleep more than 4 hours or so. Some babies build up that capacity sooner than others, but before 6-8 weeks is waaaay unusual. And some kids wind up needing it for a long time. On the other hand, if she’s actually old enough that she really probably shouldn’t need it, you should figure out if she’s doing this just as a comfort thing in the night (which needs one response) or because she’s not getting enough / the right nutrition by day (which needs a different response).

            An example of the “right”nutrition issue – In the past a common piece of advice was to give a baby cereal in the evening late afternoon by the time they are about 4 months, so they should sleep better – they wouldn’t be so hungry. The problem was the for many infants the advice backfired. Because their stomachs were not really ready for the cereal, they were uncomfortable. And guess what an uncomfortable tummy does to a baby’s sleep. That’s just one example – and I don’t mean to push solids vs not solids or anything like that. I’m just making the point that a baby might be reacting in an unexpected way to what they are being fed.

            1. Potatoes gonna potate*

              She just turned 1 a few weeks ago. Her pediatrician had recommended back at 6 months that I can stop the night feeds. Sometimes she’ll sleep through without waking and the other times she does wake, it’s really a judgment call where all she needs is a cuddle or an actual bottle.

              Your comment reminds me of something else I hear all too often – switching to formula will get them to sleep better. Not always true, and def not in my case.

              1. Observer*

                Her pediatrician had recommended back at 6 months that I can stop the night feeds

                “CAN” stop the night feeds doesn’t make doing it a “big no-no”. If the kid is hungry, she needs to eat. NOT feeding an hungry child is a FAR, FAR bigger no-no.

                On the other hand, at 1 year old, I’d probably be trying to figure out why she’s waking up hungry. It’s not such a big deal, I think, but it’s just untypical enough that I’d want to track down what’s happening.

              2. RagingADHD*

                If you’re ready to be done with the night feed, at 12 months with no health issues it is safe to go ahead and take initiative to drop it. You can just cuddle instead, or offer a bottle of water (less interesting). She’ll just eat more in the daytime. It’s a hassle, and takes a couple of days to adjust, so if you have a couple of low-stress days coming up you might just go for it.

                I guess she’s on solids, too, right? Doing high-calorie solids like avocado and banana at bedtime helps, because baby cereal and stuff like that doesn’t actually have much in the way of calories. At 1 year she can also have scrambled egg.

                1. Potatoes gonna potate*

                  I guess. I think I am just not ready yet — the nights she does sleep through, I wake up panicking looking for her. so I think I’ve gotten used to waking up middle of the night now.

                  She is taking solids but I’m trying to do more regular foods and less purees, that’s a good idea about bananas and avocados, I haven’t tried them in solids forms yet.

                2. Observer*

                  Bananas and avocados are among the best early foods because they are soft enough (assuming you get them ripe) that you can feed them to babies who don’t have teeth yet and they are very nutrient dense. Also, not likely to trigger allergies (although I don’t think there is a single food that CANNOT trigger allergy in anyone.)

                  It sounds like she’s fine and you are fine. Ditch the groups that are telling you that you’re doing it wrong.

              3. RagingADHD*

                I ran out of nesting, but if you want some free, fantastic entertainment, and don’t mind the cleanup, just hand the baby a whole slice of avocado and let her go for it.

                Squishy + big =no choking hazard, but the slippy factor is hilarious.

          3. PostalMixup*

            My first didn’t start sleeping through the night until 15mo, my second is just starting to, inconsistently, at 17mo. Also, keep in mind that formula/nursing also fulfills thirst. I know I drink at least a full glass of water during the night! We started putting sippy cups of water in the crib a bit after each kid turned one, and it definitely helps. That way they could get a drink themselves if that’s all they needed when they woke.

          4. Felis alwayshungryis*

            I was pretty easygoing about sticking to set naptimes – generally I didn’t let her go past a certain time in the afternoon because I knew it would make bedtime absolute murder.

            She went into her own room at 8mo – before that we’d had the cot beside the bed as a sidecar, so I could boob her back to sleep. She was always a massive comfort feeder, so every night waking was a boob. She didn’t reliably start sleeping through until 3 – though by that stage she was well out of the cot and I’d just jump into bed with her. I hated sitting in the chair at 3am. It’s not necessarily a linear process, either.

            There is ALWAYS a middle ground! That’s why I left all those groups, even the anti- sleep training ones – they were super black-and-white about everything. If what you’re doing doing is working for you and your family it’s the right thing. Babies don’t know the theories, they just tell you what they need. Most people were shocked I was still boobing a 3yo to sleep (and I was most definitely ready to be done) but it was clearly what she needed. Eventually it just faded out. Now if she does wake she just likes the reassurance that you’re still there and drops off again very quickly.

      2. Zooey*

        Oh yes re the holding the baby! I actually love it when I can get someone else to hold my daughter while I do chores. I only ever get tiny windows of time before she wants to be back with mummy but I love it! That said I also very much appreciate people who will cone and do things like load the dishwasher without being asked!

        1. HBJ*

          Oh yes, this. I never understood that on the forums either. It’s so nice to have someone else just hold the baby and keep them happy for a bit so I don’t have to.

          1. Observer*

            It’s this romanticized vision of motherhood. Every mother ALWAYS enjoys holding the baby. It the ONLY thing they REALLY want to do. And even if (whisper) you’re “touched out”, you STILL want to hold the baby because your touch is SO special and it’s the most concrete way of giving and that ALL you want to do. Dishes and housework? Well, you do those because you HAVE to, so anyone else can do those for you while you do your SPECIAL thing while holding your baby. Never mind wanting to make sure that the thing gets done right. Or, heaven forbid, feeling like a competent human being.

            As for showers, well! Why would you put your personal comfort about HOLDING YOUR BABY!?

            No, I don’t think that way, but it’s the kind of thinking that really underlies a LOT of this kind of talk.

            Personally, I think that under most circumstances it’s GOOD for a baby to have more than one person hold them. It’s actually the LOVING thing to do. I’m a contrarian sometimes :)

            1. Potatoes gonna potate*

              Don’t get me started on the fact that showering has been marketed as “self-care” as an example of how basic, hygeienic needs are considered a luxury for us.

              1. Observer*

                I won’t ;)

                But seriously, it ticks me off SO MUCH.

                I used to be in a group for new mothers (not as a new mother, long story). And every time someone someone would give a new mother the advice that “it’s ok if you don’t shower, it’s OK if you don’t get out of your nightgown, etc.” I used to really push back. Because, as a “moral”, sure it’s fine. But as a PRACTICAL matter? No, that’s a very bad idea. If you are feeling tired, dragged out and just not great, not taking care of your basic needs is NOT going to make you less stressed or tired or depressed. It’s just going to make all of that worse.

                1. Potatoes gonna potate*

                  I’m wondering if it’s pushback on the idea that you must look glam and put together at all times, and must immediately get back to being in prime shape. Weren’t there a few actresses in the 90s (and I’m sure earlier, but I don’t remember that far back) who showed up on the red carpet just days/weeks after having their children?

                  So growing up, I saw the surrounding pushback in articles and blogs that it’s not normal to go back to having a flat stomach right after having a baby and looking so put together. So I can see the pendulum going the other way, that one is “selfish” for wanting to look attractive when they have a young baby to take care of, or the baby’s being neglected (ugh).

                  I think now the ideal is do the things that make *you* feel good (in reason of course), for me it’s makeup and cooking, for someone else it could be exercising or reading a book.

                2. HBJ*

                  This, too. I’ve seen people say mothers and/or babies shouldn’t leave the house for 40 days or 6 weeks or whatever number. (Hey, hey, there’s another piece of bad advice!) With my first, my “baby blues” were worse on the days when I didn’t leave the house. I needed to put on real clothes and makeup and go out, even if I just went to the store for two things or to check the mail (and getting dressed up to stay home just didn’t cut it).

                3. Observer*

                  I’m wondering if it’s pushback on the idea that you must look glam and put together at all times, and must immediately get back to being in prime shape

                  It probably is. And that’s just as bad. Because things like getting dressed (even if it’s just out of your pajamas into a robe) and taking a shower are NOT about being “glam” or “put together”, any more than eating decent food is.

            2. Clisby*

              I remember being in one of those groups where I made a comment about waiting until my husband was at home to grocery shop, because I could leave our baby with him. There were women who were all “Babies are infinitely portable!” and I’m like “yeah, so are bowling balls, but I don’t want to lug one of them around with me all the time either.”

        2. RagingADHD*

          I had a massive meltdown when my first was about 2 weeks old, because I had supply issues and it felt like I never had a chance to *just* hold her. The minute we managed to get thru a feeding, some well intentioned person or other would snatch her up so I could rest, go to the bathroom, etc.

          I wanted so badly to just cuddle her without having a stressful work agenda to accomplish! (Of course, all I had to do was say it out loud. But I didn’t know I wanted that until it came gushing out. It’s all a learning process, and so individual.)

      3. Observer*

        I’m 100% against co-sleeping/bedsharing

        Sorry, you are actually wrong about that.

        If you are against bed-sharing FOR YOU, that’s a different story. It’s most definitely not for everyone. Also, most of the hype around both benefits of bed-sharing and the “harms” of not bed-sharing is just hype. So, I’m not trying to push for bed-sharing here.

        It’s valid to not consider it for yourself. And it’s even more valid not to push it. And you “adviser” was wrong for trying to push it. But it’s not valid to condemn the practice wholesale.

    14. Double A*

      Ok, so the advice I hate the most is “enjoy this time.” I don’t enjoy about 80-95% of infancy, depending on the exact age, and when people tell me to enjoy it it makes me feel like a failure that I’m not. I’m pretty good at letting BS advice roll off my back but for some reason that one hits me in all the guilt buttons.

      I’ve got an 8 week old and an almost 3 year old and while we’re surviving and have good moments, we are not exactly enjoying it. I especially hate the 4th trimester. Literally the only thing I like about babies at this age are about 30 minutes of them sleeping on you (the other endless hours of it get tedious) and that little dramatic chomp thing they sometimes do when they latch on to nurse.

      Toward the end of my pregnancy I was like, “Maybe I should try to enjoy or appreciate some of this because it’s the last time?” but literally the second I gave birth I was like, “oh thank God I’m not pregnant anymore” and I realized I had been in denial about how much pregnancy had sucked. So there’s nothing I will miss.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        Omg I did not enjoy breastfeeding but “dramatic little chomp” unlocked the cutest memory so thanks for this. I agree though that it’s pretty dismissive to tell someone to cherish every moment when they’re struggling!!

        1. fhqwhgads*

          I’ve also found it super odd when people say this before the kid is born. On the one hand, while I know it’s not all sunshine and roses and infants are exhausting, when people pull the “enjoy it” shit, in a tone that implies they think they’re giving genuine actionable advice, my kneejerk reaction is “do you think we went through all this expecting to be miserable?” (Partner and I are both cis F.)

        2. Jyn’Leeviyah the Red*

          “Dramatic little chomp”! Yes! That made me feel…almost…nostalgic for that sweet little downy potato head and satisfied noises. (Almost.)

          1. Jules the First*

            It’s the gummy little smile and adoring look “mama, you taste the best!” that gets me, even after the little terror has spent the last 40 minutes gnawing passively on my nipple without swallowing after insisting he’s ABSOLUTELY STARVING BECAUSE YOU NEVER FEED ME MAMA!! (*not true…he fed literally five minutes before raising heck…)

      2. Potatoes gonna potate*

        I wonder how many of the ones saying “enjoy” are childless or have much older kids and have forgotten the tough parts. I mean I’m only a year out and I find myself still squeeeing over her pix as a newborn and wishing she was that tiny again. But when I actually remember it, what I hated most was being clueless and not confident and doubting myself. Sleeping was the hardest to get used to and figure out. I’d read nightmare accounts of kids still being “bad” sleepers at age 3-4 and moms haven’t gotten more htan 2 hours of sleep in years and was so afraid of that.

        It feels nice when she’s sleeping in my arms but it feels even better when I can set her down and tiptoe away.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I think it’s not really advice at all, it’s just nostalgia. They are looking back on the sweet moments and wishing they could experience them again vicariously.

      3. Felis alwayshungryis*

        My friend just had her first, and is feeling a bit guilty for loving the newborn stage after everyone told her it’s so hard (I did not love it myself). I told her that she may as well enjoy to the full all the bits that she does enjoy, because eventually she’ll reach a stage that sucks for her. We all do! I didn’t really find my groove until about 2.5 – still little enough to snuggle but independent enough to not be so unrelenting.

      4. Carolyn*

        Oh, this brings it all back for me, too. My “babies” are now 6 and 4 and I can honestly say that it’s getting better with every year, and I don’t miss the baby stage at ALL. I enjoyed the cuddles for the first 30 minutes per day, and the little giggles, but no.

        I think that’d be the advice I’d give, if I were asked (and if I wasn’t asked, I’d give no advice at all). That you don’t have to enjoy every moment, cherish every nappy, coo over every stained onesie. That it gets so much better once they become people. (My younger boy just wrote ” heart MUM” for the first time – that’s a WAY better boost than when he was a baby.)

    15. Bulu Babi*

      I gave birth via C-section. Some weeks later, a well-intentioned lady asked if she could give my baby a cranial massage “to simulate natural childbirth”. She wanted to squeeze my baby’s head.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Oh my gosh, this wasn’t my baby, but a friend of mine who is extremely woo told me this long story about how her son’s behavior and attention issues at age 5/6 are because something about the (normal, uncomplicated) delivery did something to his craniosacral alignment (despite 5/5 Apgar scores). And that she started giving him regular adjustments since birth!

        He is a sweet, smart, rambunctious boy with a slight (very slight) touch of ADHD. He’s just a loud, emotive, messy, stubborn kid in a quiet, reserved, neatnik, rule-following family. He’s not brain damaged, and thankfully these adjustments don’t seem to have harmed him yet.

        But he’s going to wind up with a major complex if his mom keeps trying to fix his neck instead of accepting his personality.

          1. RagingADHD*

            Oh, I’ve heard some doozies. Including an ex-boss who wanted to sue his wife’s OBGYN for malpractice because of some farfetched theory about how using Pitocin to induce labor “gave” his son ADHD.

            Never mind how his son was a carbon copy of himself, and he exhibited the adult (and far more obnoxious) version of nearly every trait his son had, and was overcompensating for the others in even more obnoxious ways. He was just raised in a different school system and a different era, and was embarrassed because the expensive, high-pressure preppie kindergartens he put his son in were insisting the child get evaluated and diagnosed.

        1. Observer*

          But he’s going to wind up with a major complex if his mom keeps trying to fix his neck instead of accepting his personality.

          Oh boy! I hope that someone can say EXACTLY this to Mom. Because the hardest thing for any child is the sense that something is fundamentally “broken” about them.

            1. Observer*

              Thanks for trying!

              And if you can be in this kid’s life and show him that you know that he’s fine, that would such a good thing.

    16. Sombrilla*

      When I was pregnant with my first baby, a friends mom told me that I needed to brush my nipples with a toothbrush to prepare them for breastfeeding. Ouch

  11. Anona*

    What efficiencies do you have on making weeknight meals?

    My husband and I are both back in the office (with a kid in daycare), so the pace is more hectic than previously.

    So far, we’re working on a meal spreadsheet, with links to recipes that we use frequently, and a list of ingredients for each (to make grocery orders easier, which we do every other week). And my husband last night had the idea to occasionally shred chunks of parmesan in the food processor, since a lot of our recipes call for it, and we buy big chunks from Costco.

    Any efficiencies you’ve come up with for the whole shopping/cooking/eating process?

    1. LDN Layabout*

      I really like combining prep as much as possible, when the ingredients allow for it.

      So if I’m cutting up salad veg for dinner that night, I can also do cucumber and tomato and cheese for my lunch the next day and I can then just shred lettuce for lunch the next day. Or if I have beans in three dishes over the week, I do the beans on the weekend for all three dishes etc.

      It does take planning but it saves SO much time.

      1. Bananarammas*

        Quick note here: putting a piece of paper towel in with your lettuce/veg can keep it fresh longer. It collects the water seepage and slows decay.

    2. Bobina*

      Batch cooking on Sunday night to get me through Monday and Tuesday, another cook on Wednesday, gets me through Thursday, maybe Friday. Weekend is usually eating out or living off any leftovers/dregs in the fridge.

      I’m also very flexible about what counts as dinner (but I’m a single person who isnt fussy) so if you just cant be bothered, breakfast for dinner is one of my favourites (granola and yoghurt, eggs/bacon in a wrap etc) crudite type things, fruit salad etc.

    3. Slinky*

      Like others have said, batch cooking/prep on the weekend. There’s a fantastic cookbook called A New Way to Dinner that provides pre-set meals for whole weeks, shopping lists, and strategies (it assumes a family of four, so scale up or down as needed). They provide 16 weeks total, four for each season. Highly recommend!

      When I’m doing any kind of batch cooking, I’ll make twice as much as needed and freeze the extra. Things like tomato sauce, meatballs, gnocchi, chicken nuggets, and homemade sausage work really well. I even freeze pesto but dropping tablespoon-size mounds on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. When frozen, transfer to a ziplock. Then you have pesto for months. Another good cookbook is Make-Ahead Meals from America’s Test Kitchen, which includes a chapter of food you can make ahead and freeze. I’ve had homemade frozen burritos in my freezer pretty much constantly since discovering the cookbook!

      1. LDN Layabout*

        I also have a silicone ice cube tray that’s only used for savoury foods, so pesto, roast garlic etc. get frozen into convenient cubes if your freezer isn’t big/empty enough for sheet pans.

    4. Glomarization, Esq.*

      1) Embrace leftovers. When I was a single mom, at least once a week I’d have something in the crockpot (like chili) burbling away while I was at work for Supper One. Then for Supper Two I’d put the leftover chili in a casserole dish, top with cheese and breadcrumbs, and bake.

      2) One of the specific tasks of supper clean-up is choosing and planning tomorrow night’s supper. If Supper One is going to be chili, then supper clean-up the night before includes putting the beans in water to soak overnight, and I’ll chop an onion and measure out the spices, too. Saves some labor and mental effort when I come home from work.

    5. HannahS*

      1. Batch cooking and using the freezer. I’ve learned that I don’t really like spending more than 30 minutes on meal prep during the week, except on Friday. My go-toes that freeze well are large amounts of pasta sauce (it’s based on Smitten Kitchen’s bolognese but I add more veggies and eliminate the pork, dairy, and wine), chicken broth, and homemade won-tons.

      2. I’m working on it, but more robust meal-planning. I want to get to a point where meal planning is centered around knowing that we’ll have a certain type of dish on a certain day of the week. That way, there’s still flexibility based on what’s in season and what we feel like, but it makes it easier to shop ahead. Even doing it one night a week (Tuesday is pasta night, so either bolognese from the freezer, plain tomato sauce, or Smitten Kitchen’s zucchini pasta) has been helpful.

    6. WellRed*

      I buy prechopped stuff a lot and rely on Sunday prep for a few days ( it’s really not great by Thursday, dried out or whatever) and easy standbys that use few ingredients.

    7. Michelle*

      I have an inexpensive kitchen scale (the Escali Primo P115C Precision Kitchen Food Scale, if you are wondering), which I use to portion and then freeze meat in meal-sized amounts. We buy nearly all of our meat from Costco. Items like chicken tend to come in those packages that have a couple of chicken breasts in each pouch or four or five chicken thighs, BUT I always have an issue with freezing them as is and thawing them later. They are never recipe-ready straight from the pouch. I do admit to setting aside a chunk of time (usually at least an hour, depending upon what/how much we have purchased…boneless skinless chicken thighs are the worst!) and pre-trim all of the gunky bits off. I package them in 1-pound or 2-pound amounts and flat freeze them so that they thaw faster.

      I sometimes take advantage of this prep time to mix up different marinades (the McCormick Grill Mates Mesquite is awesome, or try Recipe Tin Eats Chicken Shawarma…soooooo good!) and then flat freeze the pre-seasoned meat. It will marinate as it thaws in the refrigerator and all you have to do is grill when you get home.

      If you commonly make meals that require chicken in certain “shapes,” then prepare them that way before freezing. It is not uncommon for me to have a freezer bag of chicken labeled “Chicken for Kebabs” or “Chicken Cutlets” (for dishes like chicken parm, chicken marsala, etc.) or thinly sliced steak labeled “For Stir-Fries.” If I have already dirtied a cutting board and knife to prep these meats out of the package, I may as well save myself the extra step of dirtying it all again later.

      I used to make a whole pan of lasagna ahead to keep in the freezer, but they always took up so much room. Now, I find a day where I can get the meat sauce started and allow it to simmer. I then cool and flat freeze just the sauce, which I always found to be the most time-consuming part of making lasagna. Now, as long as I remember to thaw it ahead of time, I can quickly assemble a lasagna using no-boil noodles, pre-made sauce, and grated cheese (which I also keep bags of in the freezer). If it is just you and your husband, you could get a lot of meals out of just one large batch of sauce, plus you could stir it together with pasta or ravioli, top it with cheese and bake, for something even easier. The same thing works for making meatballs and sauce, portioning it out into bags, then freezing.

      I just finished making a batch of pre-cooked pork ribs. Again, we buy the large package of ribs at Costco. I add our favourite dry rub and then cut the racks in half and stuff them all in our crockpot to cook on low for about four or five hours (no extra liquid added). I let them cool and then wrap each 1/2 rack of ribs in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag, and freeze. When we want ribs for dinner, we put them on the grill for a bit to warm through, add sauce, allow it to caramelize a bit, and serve.

      I will sometimes buy rotisserie chickens at Costco or when they are reduced in price at our grocery store, shred the meat and package it in 1-pound bags, then use all of the bones to make chicken stock, which I also flat-pack and freeze. So many quick recipes I use begin with pre-cooked chicken, like the baked chicken taco recipe from Cookie Rookie. (Note, this makes a lot for two people, so make the meat mixture, but freeze half for another night, so all you have to do is bake the assembled shells.)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yes! We pre-package and freeze meat for quick prep the same way. I also do big batches of different kinds of mac and cheese – taco mac, pizza mac, pulled pork mac, plain mac with mixed veg and ham or sausage – and freeze those in containers a little smaller than the size of a 3 pound butter tub, which can then be reheated in either the microwave or in a crockpot (only takes about an hour, hour and a half).

        Air fryers and instant pots help too – there’s entire websites devoted to prep-ahead meals for IPs (or crockpots) that you can prep ahead and then dump in still frozen when it’s time to go. Sheet pan type meals — roasted root veg with sausage or whatever – cook in about a third of the time in a big air fryer and still come out nice and crispy. (If you don’t have one and are interested, Costco has a nice big 5.7qt Gourmia model for fifty bucks right now – I have the previous generation of the same thing and it’s been going strong for over two years now.)

    8. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I have a recipe spreadsheet! It helps a lot, though over time I’ve started looking at it only when my mind is drawing a complete blank on what to cook.

      My efficiency is around reducing the number of meals I have to come up with for the week, because planning the grocery shop drains me. Most times I cook, I make twice the amount needed so that we can get two meals out of one recipe. So in practice, counting fourteen meals a week (lunch and dinner), I only have to buy for seven recipes, and not be hands-on with cooking every single meal (I’m too lazy to batch cook everything on weekends, otherwise I would do that too).

      It works well for us because we’re a household of two, and most recipes make four portions (if it’s two or six, it’s usually easy to scale up or down). It also suited us when we were working in office, because we always picked out dishes that could be easily microwaved or eaten cold the next day.

      I completely get this may not suit a family with kids just as well, but if there’s anything in here that helps at least a little bit, then I’m glad I typed this out :)

      Also, look up the cookbooks from Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin series if you don’t know them already. They’re life savers both if you want to batch cook, and if you want to minimise the prep/washing up. There are some recipes online for free, on the Happy Foodie website.

    9. Rebecca Stewart*

      As much prep ahead as I can do.
      Right now my tall upright freezer is stuffed. The top is full of garlic biscuits to eat with seafood dishes, and plain biscuits to go under sausage gravy, corn muffins and yeast rolls to go with various other dinners. There’s hush puppies there too. Blueberry muffins and a half a 9 x 9 pan of milk chocolate fudge. Unfrosted yellow cupcakes.
      Below that are a couple quiches frozen in their pans, a lasagna, and a whole chicken roasted and cut into pieces, frozen in a glass baking dish in its broth. There’s a basket of raw meat, pork loin chops cut and frozen in packages of 4 (the number of people I feed nights) and another basket full of cooked meat. Bacon cooked and chopped to top fettucini alfredo or go into a quiche. Pork and turkey sausage flavored for breakfast, with Italian seasonings, hamburger cooked either mild or hot to go into tacos and burritos. There’s mild carne asada in serving packets, and hotter pork al pastor. There’s a large bag of chicken filling for flautas, and a large bag of pulled beef filling for taquitos. There’s a couple bags of Chinese-battered pork bits, some filling for sausage egg rolls, some beef samosa filling.
      There’s a lot of ingredients. The various shredded cheeses for quiches and toppings and adding to this and that, the whole wheat flour for baking, a couple of pork tenderloins picked up on sale, and a large pork shoulder roast waiting to be cooked and pulled. Mostly, though, it’s premade or partly made stuff.

      I had a midfoot rebuilt after an accident in my twenties, and by the time I was in my forties, yep, the doctor was right. It IS arthritic. So any time I can take a meal and cut the prep into several different times, it means that I don’t have to stand there for long periods. I’m good with something that will let me get it out of the freezer and put it in the oven for an hour to thaw and crisp (while I do other things or sit) and then right at the end I can make sauces and warm things up and it’s all good but I’m not sore.

      A lot of things make up in large portions or bake by the dozen, and I just freeze the extra. Those blueberry muffins will go with three different “Breakfast for Dinner” type meals, and I’ll get them out in the morning and they’ll be thawed by dinner. A quick warm and they’re fine.

      We’re all trying to lose weight, so having extra stuff and leftovers sitting round is NOT helpful. The freezer helps me by letting me put things away for later.

    10. not that Leia*

      I LOVE the Paprika app. It lets you save recipes from any internet site (or enter manually), and then automatically populates a grocery list with ingredients. Makes it very easy to plan out meals and transition right to shopping. You can also save favorite menus, and there is automatic recipe scaling if you want to double (or halve) anything. I think it’s 4.99 on the App Store and it’s the best app I’ve ever bought.

    11. Fellow Traveller*

      One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to grill extra veggies on the weekend and then one night during the week make a pasta salad with it. I usually do peppers, eggplant and zucchini. Then on the day of, cook pasta, throw it into a bowl with the chopped up grilled veggies, add a can of beans (white or garbanzo) and some olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic. (Or just dressing too.) fresh herbs and tomatoes and cheese, if I have it. It’s very much a kitchen sink meal, but really satisfying.

    12. Elle Woods*

      I plan my meals a week at a time and, as much as possible, try to plan stuff that can carry over from one night to the next. For instance, one night I might do a rotisserie chicken and the next night I’ll shred the leftovers and make chicken tacos. Or I’ll make a double batch of a side dish (like rice, potatoes, or veggies) and re-heat them them the next night for dinner. I’ve also become a huge fan of sheet pan meals as they’re easy to make and easy to clean up.

    13. LibbyG*

      My system: Meaty Monday (whole chicken, big roast, or a pound of dry beans, served with veggies); Taco Tuesday (with leftovers of whatever I made on Monday); Watery Wednesday (fish filets or salmon patties); and Thirsty Thursday (soup featuring whatever leftovers I have in the fridge). Spouse cooks Fri-Sun.

    14. NoLongerYoung*

      Hint – one 9x 13 casserole recipe = (2) 8×8 (or shallower 9×9) pans.
      I get together with a friend, and we batch assemble casseroles in the small sizes as a friend’s night.
      We generally do 4 for each of us, of these recipes:
      Lasagna (she has a great recipe for sauce; we use the Cuisinart to shred the cheese, etc).
      Adult MacNCheese = Ham (the costco mastercook, diced), broccoli florets – halved or quartered, and a medium cheddar (I like Tillamook) sauce with spiral pasta. You can substitute for the ham as needed. (I have also added sweet red pepper diced, mild chiles, etc).

      Wrap very tightly, label (350 for an hour, etc).
      These also make a great gift or help for new moms, someone who needs a thoughtful meal, etc.

      Second hint: I also cook up all my meat (or divide and prep for the future) when I get home from Costco (or the next day). So make the meatballs /meatloaves (individuals), cook the pork butt in the one crock pot (shredded and then frozen in individual meal sizes for future burritos, pulled pork sandwiches, etc).

      There’s an awesome garlic-ranch-smoked paprika chicken thigh recipe – I cook up the costco thighs with that, and then freeze some, slice and freeze some, and dice and freeze some. I always have the ability to grab and put on a really robust salad for lunch, or a sliced chicken sandwich. (not to mention the wraps option).

      I also bought those wide-mouth Mason jars, and make my own hearty vegetable /chicken soups. With the Cuisinart to slice, the crockpot or pressure cooker, and a Saturday, I can fill the top drawer of the freezer with soups that beat the canned ones. (I have a whole cookbook of favorites – I recommend the America’s test kitchen Family cookbook – the Red one ). Then I can pull them out in advance and move to the freezer (a day to day and a half for thawing).

    15. Clisby*

      I’ve never been any good at planning day-to-day meals. What’s worked best for us is to keep our pantry/freezer stocked with the kind of food we like to eat, so we don’t have to plan far in advance.

      Back when I was working full time at night at a newspaper and going back to school full time for a computer science degree, I could not have survived without weekend cooking. Every weekend I’d make a couple of simple things (think pot roast and spaghetti sauce), and I kept eggs, bacon, and salad and sandwich stuff in the refrigerator.

    16. PostalMixup*

      We make large, more involved meals on Saturday and Sunday, and then eat those leftovers during the week (usually Monday and Wednesday). Our daughter picks dinner on Tuesday, which is usually spaghetti or breakfast burritos, because she’s 5. Then we have whatever leftovers still exist on Thursday and get takeout Friday. It works well for us!

      Another thing that works well for us is that we cook most of our meat sous vide. Throw and extra meal or two worth in a separate ziplock and stick it straight in the fridge, then a couple days later throw it back in the pot a couple minutes and sear it off. Perfectly cooked fish/chicken/scallops on a weeknight in minutes!

  12. Venus*

    How does your garden grow? We finally had enough rain that I had to trim back the weeds. Tomatoes are doing well, and I am keeping an eye on the garlic. A good time for the garden!

    1. Bobina*

      My violas are not enjoying the amount of sun they get and are starting to go a bit brown and lose their colour. Trying to decide what to do with them (move them to another pot in the back?) but feel like its too late in the season to start repotting things.

      Bought some geum and tickseed on a whim about 2 weeks ago, I’m also growing tickseed from seed but it grows very slowly and I wanted to the colour/flowers now. Probably did not water them enough during the mini-heatwave we just had, but hopefully this weekends rain will sort them out. No flowers on the geum, but hopefully some show up.

      Rubber plant indoors is giving me yet another leaf which I’m excited for. Didnt realise how much I had been mistreating it by not giving it enough water the first year I had it. Will definitely repot it before next year.

      Ooh, Begonia in the window box finally flowered and it is so big and pretty! Highly recommend tuberous Begonias as a very good easy beginner plant with excellent pay-off :)

      My hosta is flowering which is awesome. Unfortunately its been so slug attacked it is not the prettiest looking plant at the moment. Definitely going to be aggressive next year in protecting it – apparently garlic spray is an option.

    2. Blue Eagle*

      The green tomatoes in my raised bed garden are so sad. Unfortunately my plants have blight and the early girl leaves are all dead, the green tomatoes are just hanging on the stems and I don’t think they will ever ripen.

      On the other hand the baking soda spray must have worked on the cherry tomatoes – which seem to be indestructible.

    3. His Master's Voice?*

      Growing some pot marigolds from seed which are thriving! Never grown anything from seed before so I’m very happy.
      We only have a back yard so everything is in pots. They all got rather battered by the rain we had a couple of weeks ago but are (hopefully) slowly recovering.

      1. Hotdog not dog*

        Our deer are even eating things they never touched before, and leaping the 6 foot fence to do so! I need to win the lottery so I can afford to switch to a taller fence!

    4. DataGirl*

      opposite problem where I am- we’ve had so much rain this summer (and major flooding) that the garden is at Jurassic Park level in terms of plant size but little vegetables coming out, and mosquitoes are breeding in the greens. I can’t go outside without being swarmed so I don’t go outside. I’ve pretty much written the whole thing off for this year- if it ever stops raining long enough to treat for pests I might try to salvage some veg but I just don’t enjoy it like I used to.

    5. Girasol*

      My river birch tree is having problems. It’s a ten foot whip of a sapling that got hit with a 70 mph gust early in summer. Now it’s bent so low that the top is at chest height. I tried tying it to three stakes but it’s so limber that it evades the ties and bends over anyway. I’m debating whether to keep searching for a twelve foot pole to give it a sturdy crutch or to cut the whippy top to take the weight off and hope that what’s left of it would turn into a nice multi-trunk. Any ideas? At the moment it’s just sitting out there all bent and reminding me of Robert Frost’s poem where the birches have been swung too many times and are bent over like girls throwing their hair before them to dry.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        At this point can you even bend it back up straight? They bend for so long and then they can’t seem to straighten.

        1. Girasol*

          Its top is so skinny that it still bends, if only I could figure out how to keep it bent. It’s like trying to make a ten foot rope stand up straight.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            I did a google search for the current recommendations for high wind and new trees. All I found is the 3 stake answer. I’d suggest take a picture of it with your phone and go to a local nursery or two and find out what they see working. It almost sounds like where you are trying to stake is so thin that it escapes what ever supports you give it.
            I did see that it’s important to know which direction the wind is coming from. But it could be that you are dealing with different winds from different directions.

            My last idea is to consider moving it while you still can to a place with a wind block, such as a building or another group of trees.

      2. Pennyworth*

        You should be able to tie it between the three stakes so it can’t evade them – loop the ties around the trunk then back to two adjacent stakes, three times, so whichever way it tries to bend it will be held back. Do this at several heights.

    6. GoryDetails*

      Mixed. Some of the tomatoes are doing very well indeed, while one plant-in-a-pot produced four fruits and is now dying. The eggplant looks good, and the jalapenos, but the first fruits of the sweet peppers simply melted away on the stem – not sure what happened there, but I’m putting it down to some kind of fungus based on the mix of extreme heat and extreme rain we’ve been having. (The plants still look healthy so I’m hoping the next round of fruits will do better.) Cucumbers and summer squash are vining and blossoming, but no fruits set yet.

      The trumpet vine is rampant and blooming heavily, which pleases the humming birds. All the invasive vines are also rampant, which makes my yard look like it’s been invaded by kudzu (we don’t have that here, but the other stuff’s pretty bad).

    7. Kardamumma*

      It seems my husband may have been over diligent in the fertilization department. Our green bean plants are burgeoning – but nary a flower in sight. I said “don’t you need flowers before you get beans?” Apparently, you do – but we have none – so there go my dreams of picking a handful of fresh green beans every night for the next month. We do, on the other hand, have a nice big green plant in a pot on our deck!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        You can water it regularly and maybe flush out the excess fertilizer. I love the first harvest of beans I hope something works for you here.

      2. Venus*

        It’s the nitrogen balance. Fertilizer has three numbers, I believe the first is N, and if you have too much of it then the leaves are gorgeous but nothing to eat! Get a fertilizer with little or no N

    8. MinotJ*

      When do I harvest my tromboncino squash? I’m growing them for the first time and they’re just getting longer and longer. I know when to pick zucchinis and scallopinis but I’m at a loss with this summer squash.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Re tromboncino squash: I grew those one year, and had rampant vines all over the back of my garden plot, with surprisingly long squash hanging from them. I would harvest the younger/smaller ones – they should be edible from a very small size – and perhaps experiment with some of the longer ones to see if they’re still as tasty. (I *think* you can also let it ripen fully and treat it like a winter squash, but I didn’t let any of mine get that far.)

    9. CatCat*

      I’m battling aphids on the eggplant and bell pepper. So far, they are winning, ugh!

    10. I take tea*

      My chard has grown very well, enjoyed some on pizza the other day. The garlic looks good too, I’m just hoping nobody will steal them – some idiot dug up my wild garlic some time ago :-(

  13. Meh*

    I have sticker shock and I’m hoping you can tell me if I’m off base.

    I got a moving quote for transporting furniture only (no boxes, we’re doing those ourselves) from one house to another 150 miles away of 1500usd. This is from one city in VA to another so big city prices. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I didn’t think it’d be that much. Should I be shopping around more or does that seem about right?

    1. Slinky*

      Admittedly, it’s been a while since I moved, but it seems high to me. I’ve moved much longer distances with more stuff and was charged only slightly more than that. I think getting another estimate or two would be helpful, if only for peace of mind. If the all give you a number around that, then you can feel better that it’s the going rate.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Years ago I found price differences between nationwide movers and local businesses. I dunno if a local business would take your move, but you can ask.

      I will say, my father did a 180 mile move and I was very impressed with the movers (national name). They were very prompt, friendly and extremely patient. They were extremely efficient. They dropped certain items at my house then went an hour and a half north (an additional 50 miles or so) to drop off the rest at my father’s. I remember them complimenting my father on the clarity of his directions as they had absolutely no problem finding both houses. (I am at least 30 minutes from any major highway. My father was 45 minutes away.) I was amazed by this because they had worked so hard yet they were appreciative. While 1500 sounds like a lot, you might be pleasantly surprised by finding it worth the money spent.

    3. lapgiraffe*

      My best friend got a big truck of furniture moved from her father’s former house to her place in Maine, over 400 miles away but similarly not big city pricing, it was nearly 5k. She got a few quotes and there was no measurable difference so she went with the most communicative one. Her husband thinks they got bamboozled, but that’s because the father really oversold them on the quality of the furniture hahaha.

      Even for cross town moving I paid around a thousand dollars for an apartment amount of life, and that was a solidly middle price it could have been more with the premier movers of the area, so I’m not too terribly shocked by your prices given the few examples I have.

    4. Almost Academic*

      Sounds about right. Moving this year is incredibly expensive for some reason, I think because of how many people are doing it. I’m in the middle of a cross-country move and the cost estimates I received were about 3-6k more expensive than my last move of a similar distance between cities (paying 10k this year for coast to coast with partial pack).

    5. Valancy Snaith*

      Moving is undergoing insane problems right now. Moving companies are really struggling to find workers, and even contracted moves are being cancelled day-of and days before. I’m not at all surprised the quote is that much. You can keep shopping around, but I wouldn’t be surprised if all quotes are sky-high this year. Even people whose moves are covered under nationwide contract (i.e., not personally chosen) are having a tough go.

      1. T. Boone Pickens*

        Yup, the labor shortage is definitely causing prices to go up, this is also traditionally one of the most expensive times of year for gas which unfortunately, is going to get baked into the quote as well.

    6. Jejuneau*

      Not sure about now, but my “big city pricing” for a 10 mile move in 2010 for mostly just furniture was $300. $1500 sounds a lot, but ymmv. I would also check with them and find out if there is an appreciable difference to have them move your boxes too. If you are paying $$ why not save yourself some effort and and let them haul your books too and save $$ on any kind of other rental?

      1. RussianInTexas*

        This. You are normally is paying for the truck and the movers based on the type of the dwelling, not the load weight. Make them move your boxes too.

        1. Moved last year*

          Whenever we moved, the quote would change based on how many items/boxes were added as well as the type of dwelling and parking etc (i.e., a 5 story walk up on a one way street with no driveway vs a private house on a single floor).

    7. MMB*

      If they’re doing the loading and unloading, you’re paying for time and travel, so not really. I paid about $200 to have one item moved 30 miles. It would have been twice that if they had not already had a drop off schedule in my pick up area. If a company is local they will often charge for the round-trip, whereas a national or one-way company will only charge for the time and distance from point A to point B.

    8. RussianInTexas*

      6 years ago moving one apartment + one townhouse to a single house 3 miles away was $1600. They didn’t have to pack anything, we did our own packing.
      And 9 years ago a one bedroom apartment to another one bedroom apartment few miles away was $300 before the tip.
      So this sounds about right, and not even pricey.

    9. BRR*

      Mostly anecdotal but it possibly sounds a smidge high but movers are hard to come by right now. If you haven’t gotten a second quote I’d do that anyways and then you can get a sense what the market rate is.

    10. Girasol*

      Sounds similar to our last move. If you can load your furniture yourself, you could consider going with UHaul or one of the other truck renters, or getting one of those pods that can be dropped off in your driveway for awhile and then loaded onto a flat bed for delivery. You might be able to knock the price down that way.

      1. Meh*

        I can’t do the furniture otherwise I would just completely do the u haul route. I need a small pack of strong young people of which I have none :)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Might be worth pricing out hiring a couple of strong young folks on Taskrabbit for the loading and unloading? I hired a couple guys a few weeks ago to move some furniture internally, so there wasn’t any actual traveling (my husband and I just weren’t comfortable wrestling an assembled treadmill on the stairs, among other things :P ) but people who register for moving tasks on Taskrabbit will also tell you if they have a truck they can use or whatnot.

        2. Girasol*

          I once asked a local church if any of the young people wanted a job for a Saturday. They found us two nice boys for the promise of pretty good pay for a teen plus a ride home when we were done. They seemed to be pleased with the deal and we certainly were.

    11. SoloKid*

      Sounds just a bit high for me, but really just a bit.

      I’m comparing it to a cost of $800 during 1) My move 5 years ago, 2) in a big metro area north, 3) over only 20 miles 4) not in a pandemic when it was hard to find movers, and 5) on a non-busy move date (not sure if you’re on the first of the month or something like that).

      We got a local chain who did not know the destination area very well, so there was a bit of frustration having to navigate them through some truck-unfriendly streets. They also drove into some low hanging wires. *facepalm*

      Call around to get more estimates, but my personal advice is if you can afford it, consider the high price the cost of not needing to shop around for someone else at this point. It’s hard to find workers out there.

    12. Can't Sit Still*

      My company is relocating me and I had the option of a lump sum or a full service move with their contracted company. I went for the full service, and I am glad I did. They started pushing me for a move date back in April for a move this fall, since they are booked solid 6 weeks out for the foreseeable future. I’ve finally settled on a date in October, but still have to be flexible around that date. Prices are very, very high this year. But I would go ahead and have them move at least some of your boxes, too. It’s not going to be a lot more, especially since you’re packing them yourself.

    13. Hiding Behind a Different Name than Usual**

      I wrote back in February about my elderly parents seemingly sudden decision to move from the family home (which they could no longer take care of) to the metro area where my sister and I live. We paid approximately $4,200 to have people come and pack for us and then move them 300 miles.

      The moving company used rented U-Haul trucks. They had planned to take a day and-a-half to pack and then another day and-a-half to move. It ended up taking 2 and-a-half days to pack and another day-and-a-half to do the moving and unloading, so a total of 4 days when we’d expected it to take 3. They unloaded the furniture and the boxes, but we unpacked the boxes by ourselves.

    14. Anono-me*

      Doesn’t sound too unreasonable.

      However, you are probably paying an hourly rate for the movers including the drive. You might want to get quotes on renting a truck and hiring one set of movers to load and another set to unload.

      Also no matter what, please check to see how much it will cost to have the movers include your boxes. I did the boxes myself and the gas alone was probably more than the movers would have charged. (Assuming the boxes were ready to go in the garage. )

    15. Meh*

      Fun conversation I just had with partner:

      Me: since we are getting the movers we should see about them doing the boxes.

      Him: it won’t be cheaper. Wish we had friends who could help.

      Me: ok, what about hiring some help from task rabbit.

      Him: they won’t be insured, or come with supplies, and care about our things

      Me…neither would friends..

      Him: No, it just won’t work.. But I’m open to suggestions if you can think of any.

    16. Moved last year*

      Yikes, I moved from an NYC borough to central NJ and paid $1600 not including a tip. Approx 65 miles apart. We also did only furniture/big items and no personal items.

      1. Moved last year*

        Also this was back in December, in the middle of the week several weeks before the holiday. The account manager told us that time of the month is usually cheaper.

        In 2009, we paid I think $600-1000 to go from a basement apartment to a 3rd floor apartment building, a 2 hour drive away. So the price being quoted is definitely reasonable.

    17. Ugh! Moving!*

      It doesn’t sound high to me. But actually came here to add that you might want to pay a little extra (sorry!) to have them guarantee the price. Otherwise your “estimate” might balloon when they get to your house with your stuff and all of a sudden demand more to unload. This happened to us but luckily we had a guaranteed price so the driver’s extortion didn’t work.

    18. Holly the spa pro*

      Moving is really expensive right now. With the housing market, labor shortage, cost of gas, etc, prices are hitting top tier. Most movers charge by weight and it tends to go in tiers (ie up to 5000 lbs, 7500, 10000) so if you are already paying them to do your furnitire, have them take your boxes as it likely wont be much more.

      But for reference, our last move 9 years ago was about 3500 dollars, this one is 7000 for similar distance and i was quoted up to 10k so things are just pricey now.

      1. Windchime*

        I moved last fall and it was super expensive. I did all the packing but I hired movers to load, transport, and unload. They used 2 trucks because of potential issues with weight limits. It was a 4 bedroom house and I moved to a city about 150 miles away. The movers had to load and haul to the new city, then they had to spend the night in a hotel n order to not exceed the number of hours that it was OK for them to work. They unloaded the next morning.

        I think I paid in the neighborhood of $7-10k. Yes, it was expensive but they were professional movers and they carefully wrapped all furniture, lamps, etc. They disassembled and reassembled beds. They were careful with my floors and worked hard and steadily. All in all, I feel it was worth it. But it was definitely sticker shock to get the estimate.

    19. Healthcare Worker*

      We had an excellent experience with UPack. You have to pack the pod yourself but price was very reasonable.

  14. Big Nose*

    I’ve looked it up online, but I thought I’d ask here as well.

    What kind of glasses would be flattering to people with big, slightly hooked nose? My current, and also first, pair makes my nose stand out in a very unflattering way. Any other tips will be appreciated!

    1. WellRed*

      I guess I would avoid anything with plastic dark color Ed frames. My current pair is rimless on the bottom.

      1. ecnaseener*

        I have a big nose and dark (tortoiseshell) frames, I think they actually balance out my nose better than rimless frames would.

    2. heckofabecca*

      My nose is not like yours, so I can’t really help, but I will say that I was SUPER impressed by Zenni’s virtual try-it-on feature. You don’t need to buy from them, but it worked REALLY well.

      I suspect part of the answer of “what looks best according to artistic principles” does depend on the rest of your face (i.e. width, length). But those answers are always trumped by what YOU like, which might not line up with that :)

      Have fun picking out your new pair! I always do!

    3. Can't Sit Still*

      I know Zenni has a try on feature, so you can see how they fit on your face. I’m sure other online brands must have them as well? I’ve found that it improved my choices significantly.

    4. Wishing You Well*

      I have frame-less glasses and I find them flattering for my not-straight nose. Ask your eyeglass place what looks best on you. (That’s what I did.)

    5. anonforthis*

      I also have a hooked nose and prefer larger frames over smaller ones. For obvious reasons, small frames make my nose look bigger by comparison.

  15. matcha123*

    Did any of you watch the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games? I watched it here in Japan. The whole thing. It took forever. One thing my Japanese friends kept asking me was how it came off to people overseas who are not Japanese. The performances tended to feature a lot of traditional Japanese elements, like matsuri, that don’t seem all that special to people here. I’ve lived here a long time so I struggled to explain what overseas viewers might find interesting.
    So, if you watched it, what did you think?

    1. LDN Layabout*

      I’m struggling with the Olympics this year, as much as I usually love them and already know the IOC is trash. The games simply should not be happening and everyone I know in Japan is unhappy that they’re going ahead. I did enjoy the symbolism of the rings made from trees planted at the previous games.

      I nearly had a heart attack at the end when the US, France and Japan marched in huge delegations when most countries had slimmed down. I understand athletes want to be there but….oof.

      1. matcha123*

        When I saw the crowd of USA and then France and finally Japan, I thought, “Well…that is…special.”

      2. Eden*

        Fwiw the US certainly didn’t have all of its athletes either. Not even all the ones who were already in Japan. So it’s not like they didn’t gaf.

        1. LDN Layabout*

          Over 100 of your athletes aren’t vaccinated when you’re the country who’ve had access to it longest. They certainly don’t gaf.

          1. Observer*

            It’s the IOC that does give a hoot – they should have required that every athlete be vaccinated. Only make exceptions for athletes that cannot get it because their country doesn’t have the capacity. Same for EVERY person that is part of the games.

            But, then again, when you look at all of the other ways that they messed up, and not just in regards to covid, it’s hard to think of the IOC as an organization with any level of decency.

      3. WS*

        The difference was which events each country was doing, not whether they followed regulations – athletes can only arrive 5 days before their event begins. So the US and France have a lot athletes in team sports which run the whole length of the games, therefore they had more athletes present. Australia also had quite a few for the same reason but it didn’t stand out because our team is smaller overall.

        1. LDN Layabout*

          It’s really not about that. The vast majority of the bigger country’s slimmed down their teams walking in the opening ceremony except for a few.

      4. Pennyworth*

        Some athletes chose not to march in the opening ceremony because of COVID concerns, and I think some are only arriving to compete and then they have to leave withing 48 hours. I am so angry that the IOC insisted the Olympics went ahead this year against the wishes of the host country – this time next year there could probably have been overseas visitors, proper crowds of spectators and Tokyo could have made some money. I was also angry that the names of the countries were announced in French, English and Japanese last. Beyond rude. I know they always put French ahead of English, but common courtesy should put the host language first.

        1. Jules the First*

          It’s actually Olympic protocol…all events are announced in French, then English, and then the host country language. People often don’t notice it though as they usually work quite hard to make the bits in each language quite short snippets, which is very hard to do with Japanese.

          1. Observer*

            Which means that Olympic protocol is quite rude. Which is not surprising, given the IOC’s track record.

        2. Around the Rings*

          The Olympics did not proceed against the wishes of the host country. The Japanese government supported holding the Games now.

          1. I'm A Little Teapot*

            The Japanese government is stuck between rock and hard place. The citizens don’t want it. The government couldn’t pull out without financial loss. The IOC is the only one who could have resolved the problem, and they didn’t. The IOC should be ashamed of themselves.

          2. Observer*

            Against the wishes of most of the population.

            The IOC should have broached pushing the games back, and the government should have pushed back. Neither happened. That is shameful for both.

    2. Katefish*

      We enjoyed it but didn’t watch the whole thing and were multitasking, so it’s hard to say whether a continuous stream would have held our attention. I did think Japan did a nice job hosting, particularly with the challenges.

    3. ecnaseener*

      I really enjoyed the opening bit of CGI and the shadow performance that followed with the seed sprouting (HOW did they do that?? So cool!) and the dance/projections numbers with the spread out athletes / beating-heart themes.

      Obviously parade of nations takes foreeeeever and by the end of it I was falling asleep, so no opinions on the later performances.

    4. CTT*

      I’m not huge into the Olympics but I usually watch the opening ceremonies because I like pageantry. Honestly, to me all opening ceremonies are a little weird and muddled and a lot of lasers and interpretive dance, so I didn’t understand it any less than the others.

      1. matcha123*

        Without the explanation, I don’t think I would have understood the concept, either.

    5. Masked Bandit*

      US East Coast here. To be honest, I found it slow and dull, with the notable exception of the animated/live interpretations of the Pictograms, which was really cool and not something I’d seen before. That’ll be the “Olympic moment” from these ceremonies for me.
      I rarely miss an Opening or Closing ceremonies, but was thinking of skipping this one because I agree with the other commenters that these Games should not be happening right now. I only watched it because a member of my household wanted to.

      1. matcha123*

        My friend was trying to figure out what the pictograms were about, but I thought they would have been a fun way to rev up the crowd if covid wasn’t happening.

        1. Masked Bandit*

          On NBC’s broadcast at least, they explained beforehand that the Pictograms were developed for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics to assist with the language barrier in identifying the different sports. So it made sense to me why they were highlighting them in this return to Tokyo. But I agree that a live crowd would have loved it.

          1. Patty Mayonnaise*

            Eh, I actually think this worked better on film because the effect depended on what direction you were viewing from. I’m sure they would have projected the camera feed onto a screen for the in-person audience.

            1. Blue Eagle*

              The pictograms were my favorite too. I taped them and watched them with my husband in slow motion – which made the skit even more amazing when comparing the held positions to the pictograms.

    6. Allie*

      Honestly, I’ll catch highlights online later.

      I am struggling with these games too. Poor Japan, they spent all that money and no tourists or other revenue.

    7. Mimmy*

      We didn’t watch the Opening Ceremonies but did see some highlights on the news, including a really cool sphere in the sky, not sure what that was.

      I’m mixed about the Games. On the one hand, I am concerned about the rise in cases among athletes and others and the lack of spectators making for a less-than-exciting event. However, I think canceling would have a huge economic impact for Japan. It’s probably too late to cancel even if they wanted to.

      1. Observer*

        It’s too late now. But the reality is that even in a best case scenario, there was a good chance that the Olympics would not pay for themselves. Given the current situation? In all likelihood, they’ll be paying off the cost for decades without the related income (direct and indirect) that would have been expected under other circumstances.

    8. Chaordic One*

      I caught a bit of it when visiting my parents. It was a default choice for them because their cable was acting up and my father couldn’t get his usual baseball game. I’m very cynical about these kinds of things anyway, but given the worldwide COVID pandemic, I think they probably should have cancelled it.

      That said, the opening ceremony was pretty, but kind of boring. The people involved should just go ahead and do the bet they can under the circumstances, which they seem to be doing. It really does seem kind of hard to take it very seriously or to be all that interested in it right now.

      1. Chaordic One*

        The people involved should just go ahead and do the best they can under the circumstances. (typo correction)

    9. Elle Woods*

      I watched. Honestly, to me the opening ceremonies are always too long, and this was no exception. I want to see the parade of nations and the cauldron lit. The rest of it? Don’t need or want it.
      That said, I did like the pictograms bit last night. I thought it was clever, fun, and memorable. Plus I had no idea that’s how those icons got their start.

      1. Windchime*

        Oh, I liked the pictograms as well. At first I thought it was kind of dumb but I soon started laughing at how clever the whole thing was. It was fun.

    10. Mari*

      I live in Japan, too, and am just so angry that they’re being held that I’m not watching any of it. But I appreciate your post because now I’ll know what to look for on YouTube if I decide to check out the highlights.

    11. Blomma*

      I haven’t watched any of the Olympics yet but will probably watch a recording of the opening ceremony later. I’m not a huge sports fan but I usually really enjoy the opening. They should have waited another year to hold these games though. The pandemic is nowhere near over and I think it’s bananas to hold such a large event right now.

    12. Patty Mayonnaise*

      I have mixed to negative feelings about the Games happening in general, but I liked the Opening Ceremony overall! I thought the section after the parade of nations was more interesting – the drone globe was probably one of the coolest and most beautiful things I’ve seen in the Opening Ceremonies! I loved the Japanese trading elements and they did seem special to me, an American.

    13. Windchime*

      Honestly, I was underwhelmed. Parts of it were beautiful, but it seemed kind of low-budget compared to events of the past. I was kind of “meh” about it. Exceptions were the drone display (fantastic!) and………I guess that was really it. It seemed really pared-down.

  16. mreasy*

    I know this is a weird one and I probably can’t actually do anything, but: I really wish my parents would get a pet. They’re happier and less anxious when they have had cats in the past, but for some reason my dad is really pushing back against getting one. First it was the mess, the work of keeping up with litter boxes, and more recently he brought up toxoplasmosis. I think there must be something else going on with him (he’s 77 and while his health is ok, he’s very tired and not active). In the past, my mom has just gotten the cat and apologized later, and he’s fallen in love. Other than sending them pictures and videos of how cute and fun my cats are…I am not sure I have other options here. (I even bought them a gift certificate for the local shelter a year ago before I knew the extent of my dad’s hesitancy.) Maybe this seems like a weird overreach, but they aren’t very social people and mostly just have each other, and having an animal to love and care about seems really important for them based on how happy it’s made them in the past. Also I know my mom really wants a dog or cat and is sad that my dad doesn’t. I guess I’m wondering if anyone has any ideas of how I can help? If there is anything?

    1. WellRed*

      I think you need to leave this alone. Maybe they don’t have the energy for a pet. Maybe they are afraid of becoming a household fall statistic, maybe they are afraid what happens to pet if they pass away.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Agreed. I have been down this road with several older family members and I can only conclude that somehow they intuitively know when to stop getting pets. If an older person is saying no pets, then it’s just best to let it go.

      2. Wishing You Well*

        There are other ways to manage anxiety.
        (A niece has anxiety and a cat. The cat just smashed her flat screen tv. That didn’t help her anxiety.)

    2. Person from the Resume*

      I don’t think that a pet would make someone happier and less if they don’t want to have one. You’re concern and investment in their having a pet seems odd to me.

      OTOH I do think your mom wants a cat; your dad doesn’t and your dad is “winning”. When historically your mom has “won” by just bringing a cat home. Maybe your dad doesn’t want a cat and deserves to not have one for years after your mom had one. You can’t really compromise on half a pet.

      I think you should let it go. It’s not your concern. It’s for your parents to work out. Let them work this out on their own.

      1. StudentA*

        I have a feeling she’s concerned about what spurred the change in her dad. I can understand the concern. Could this be a sign of a big dip in energy? If someone loved living with pets before and now doesn’t, perhaps she is wondering what could cause the change.

        1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          He’s gotten older. That’s plenty on its own. I’m over 70, and our dog is 13. I’ve looked ahead and wonder if I want another dog after this one because some things are harder than they used to be. We have a half flight of steps to our back door; on days when my knees hate me, it’s a real chore to take the dog out. And he’s getting less confident on stairs so I have to lift him up the half flight. I can’t carry him because I need to hang on to railings. The LW’s father knows what he can and cannot do.

        2. Observer*

          That was my first thought, too. But the response to that is NOT to push the cat, but to try to explore what’s going on with Dad. It could be that he’s just aging, it could be something else. But in any case, getting a cat is not going to resolve any of those things.

    3. mreasy*

      I’m sure everyone that says leave it alone is right…I am just worried about them, they both have a history of anxiety and depression (I come by mine honestly) but aren’t terribly self-aware about it on a daily basis. There aren’t a lot of things that they can occupy themselves with and I worry about that. My mom is in great health, a few years younger than Dad and very active. I know it sounds weird to be so invested, I just think they’re unhappy and there aren’t a lot of options, whereas having a pet has been so good for their moods in the past. But yeah, I’ll let it go. Thanks everyone.

      1. Kinda Over It*

        Getting a pet at their age, with his level of resistance to the notion and their current needs, seems like a recipe for a bad life for a pet! Please do not consider this. Pets deserve to be wanted, loved, and cared for by owners with the capacity to do so.

        1. mreasy*

          I agree! I would never want them to get a pet if they couldn’t care for it. My mom often watches my sister’s dog at their house and feeds their cat. She is very active and healthy and is confident she’d be able to care for an animal, and they have a lot of outdoor space. It’s just my dad’s anxiety about it that prevents her getting one. But as they say pets are a one no takes it situation.

      2. Squirrel Nutkin*

        Since your mom does seem like she’s missing having a pet around, maybe encourage her to do some volunteering at an animal shelter (if it seems safe) or to pet sit or dog walk for friends if possible? Sometimes you don’t have to have a pet around 24/7 to reap the benefits of spending time with animals!

        For various reasons, I haven’t had a cat of my own since I was a teen, but I love cats dearly. It’s still fun to be a cat aunt/catsitter to friends’ cats when I get the chance.

        1. tangerineRose*

          I was also coming here to suggest she might want to volunteer at an animal shelter.

        2. CatCat*

          Seconding the shelter recommendation! The shelter may have different options for different activity levels and interest. Socializing cats (playing with them, talking to them, petting and brushing them, and just generally being near them) may be something they enjoy.

      3. I'm A Little Teapot*

        Then you need to address the bigger picture and encourage them to get and stay in treatment for their mental illnesses. Subjecting an innocent animal to probable neglect is cruel. It’s common for the elderly to not care for the animal properly because the human is struggling. Don’t insist they get themselves into that situation.

        Your mom can volunteer at the animal shelter and get her fix.

    4. Hornets*

      So on the other side, I have in-laws in their 80s who got a pair of kittens. Two years later, they now have large rambunctious cats who regularly knock down and break their art pieces. They can’t clean the litterbox regularly (hard to bend down and scoop), and can’t catch the cats to bring them to the vet when they are injured (cats are partly outside and sometimes get into fights with the wildlife).

      They love the cats, the cats bring them joy, but they are struggling to care for them. We do not live close enough to help them on a regular basis. I would never tell them to get rid of the cats, but if they had been hesitating on getting cats two years ago, I would also not have encouraged them to get pets.

      1. Sc@rlettNZ*

        Can they put the litterboxes up on something that makes them higher (the cats will still be able to jump up).

        Or place a chair nearby so that they can sit down when they scoop the trays. As for catching the cats to get them to the vet – use food treats. Most cats will come running when you rattle a bag of treats.

    5. DataGirl*

      my parents go through periods of having a pet, then get overwhelmed by how much work they are, then the pet passes and they go without for a while, then get lonely and get another pet then the cycle begins again. So maybe your parents just need time. Also while sometimes pets, especially cats, can be easy to care for sometimes they are not, especially as they get older and have more health problems. We have 3 elderly cats and as much as I love them and will miss them when they are gone- when they do pass I plan to not have pets for a while. Two of them have major health issues and the expense, time, and mental concern required to care for them is overwhelming sometimes. We can’t travel because they can’t be left alone and trying to find a sitter who can deal with all their special needs is really difficult- especially with the current pandemic. I can understand not feeling up to the responsibility.

    6. Not A Manager*

      I understand the urge to gently push something on an aging parent, and I think there can be an appropriate time for that. It sounds like a pet could bring your parents a lot of joy at this time. Be you’re sure that caring for the pet would not be too much for them now, AND that there’s some kind of assistance available if needed.

      I think the best model would be to take your mom out for lunch and ask her whether she wants some help bringing home another “it’s easier to apologize than to ask permission” cat. But if she doesn’t, I would let it go.

    7. Koala dreams*

      Can you suggest another way for your mother to connect with animals? Doing some dog-walking, visit local zoos/farms, bird-watching… You could also suggest non-animal related activities that you think your parents would like. In the end, it’s up to your parents, but you might want to show them that it isn’t too late to find new hobbies.

      1. mreasy*

        That’s a good idea. My dad doesn’t leave the house but maybe my mom could do some animal-related activities. Thank you!

    8. Dark Macadamia*

      I don’t ever want a dog and would be really irritated if a family member kept pressuring me to get one, especially someone outside the household who won’t benefit from it and won’t be there to help with it. Sure, dog videos are cute but I don’t want to have one in my house or take care of it. I’d be FURIOUS if my spouse got one anyway and yes, I’d be nice to it and probably enjoy it sometimes so it might seem like I “fell in love” with it but I would still prefer not to have one. I feel bad for your mom that she’s missing out, but a living creature who needs proper care is not something your dad should settle for/be forced into. If you really need to be involved you should focus on helping the two of them find something that will bring them BOTH joy.

      1. mreasy*

        I’m definitely not pressuring them. They love cats and have had much loved cats in the recent past. My mom really wants one but my dad doesn’t. It is something I’ll let go but I would never pressure them to do anything.

    9. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I agree with everyone else who says not to push this on them, but as a general recommendation in situations where it might fit: My mom, who likes cats but hasn’t had one in a while, has resisted adopting one in recent years because she travels a lot and also doesn’t want to take on a long-term responsibility (of any kind, I think). I’ve been telling her for years that fostering would perfect for her since it’s short-term and a good deed, and she just started fostering two little kittens and seems to be having a great time.

    10. Pip*

      If you live close to your parents, can you do a shared custody with them? My parents are also much, much better off with a dog in their lives, but they don’t want one full term. So, I drop my dog off during the day when I work, and pick him up at the end of the day. They get to spoil and play with him all day, and I get a very tired, calm dog in the evenings. If this works for you, then you might have a better chance of getting them to adopt one down the road.

    11. RagingADHD*

      I think if you’re going to urge your parents to do anything, it’s go to the doctor.

      Your dad sounds like he may be getting depressed (really common and under-addressed in men his age) or otherwise not feeling well. Being more active and having an interest would probably help, but there are a lot of different ways he might find that.

      But the main thing is to get a checkup.

      1. mreasy*

        You are right that he needs to address this. My dad is physically healthy, goes to the doctor often and all his vitals and bloodwork etc are good. I believe he is deeply depressed, but he is not willing to take that seriously enough to get treatment, and I’m frustrated that my mom isn’t urging him to do so. This is the culture of our family (and has certainly done a number on me), and there doesn’t seem to be a way to help with that in a meaningful way.

      2. Observer*

        I think if you’re going to urge your parents to do anything, it’s go to the doctor.

        Your dad sounds like he may be getting depressed (really common and under-addressed in men his age) or otherwise not feeling well.

        That was my first thought, too.

      3. SimonKitty*

        Has his weight changed? It may be time to check the dosages and interactions of all his medications. We just had to do that with my husband because he lost 20 pounds.

    12. Callisto*

      Pets are a ton of work, and can get tangled up in the feet of a slow shuffling walker. You need to let this go. They don’t owe you a “good” reason to live their lives the way they want.

      1. mreasy*

        Yeah I get that. I live far away, they don’t owe me anything and i didn’t mean to imply it. They’re just unhappy (my nearby sister agrees), my dad especially, and in recent past (their cat passed about 3 years ago) they have been much happier with a pet. My dad’s hesitance is really strange and my mom doesn’t understand it as it’s pretty sudden and unexpected to her. But he’s also very depressed and unwilling to address it as mentioned above. A pet is by no means the main issue here, it’s just the only one that seems solveable.

    13. Batgirl*

      Lots of cats visit our garden because we build up trust over time, let them know they are welcome to treat it as a pit stop, and we can pet them without having to do full on ownership. Perhaps your mother could do that if she misses having one? Or she could feed pets for neighbours who are away. I don’t think there’s any way to suggest one to your father without being patronising; it would just backfire. If he’s feeling low, talk about the things he wants to talk about.

  17. DrunkAtAWedding*

    Is anyone else really nice/passive to hairdressers? I had my hair cut for a wedding (the one I got drunk at) the other week, and I just sat there and nodded and smiled while the hairdresser did my parting weird, blow-dried my naturally-wavy hair straight (I love my waves! :() and cut my fringe weird. And then I tipped her. I did correct her once on the fringe and the parting – but not twice, even though it still wasn’t right – but didn’t bother when we got to the blow-drying, since that washes out. I’m normally very assertive. Why are hairdressers so powerful?

    1. WellRed*

      I’ve never had a hairdresser not ask what I wanted before starting. I have indeed had the occasional issue but nothing that’s not remotely my hair.

      1. DrunkAtAWedding*

        Oh, she did ask, but apparently we had different ideas about what “diagonal” meant.

        I’m not that fussed about my hair. It grows fast and the waves hide a multitude of sins. Maybe that’s why I’m not more assertive at the hairdressers – I figure I’ll just wash it, redo the parting myself, and the fringe will sort itself out in a few weeks.

        I normally trim my hair myself. I only went to a proper hairdresser this time because my MIL wanted us all to go as a treat, and she was the mother of the groom.

      2. OyHiOh*

        I haven’t had a professional cut in almost 20 years because no matter what I say or how I say it, I have yet to find a hairdresser who will cut my curly hair properly. It’s good that hairdressers ask what I want before starting, but very, very frustrating that they can’t (or won’t) do what I want/need. So I’ve kept it trimmed the way I like, myself. Fortunately, point-cutting curls is relatively easy given that I have an asymetrical cut with length on one side.

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Half the reason I’ve never had my hair professionally cut is because I’m scared something will go wrong. Every woman I know has a story of that time the hairdresser didn’t listen. I care way too much about my hair to risk it.

          The other reason is because my mom does it for free.

    2. LadyWhistledown*

      It helped me to mentally reframe the process as a conversation (kinda like an interview is a two way street). No one knows my preferences better than me, so I have to use my words to share what I do (and don’t) like. Any professional who isn’t open to client preference and feedback isn’t someone you want to continue working with. They should want to understand your vision and help provide guidance on the feasibility of bringing it to life.

      Short version: ya gotta talk to them. It helps to research specific stylists in advance and look for reviews that they take the time to listen. Good luck!

    3. ATX*

      I did this for a haircut I effing hated. Botched it completely, cut it way too short, and I spent 130 on it plus tipped my usual 20%.

    4. Roy G. Biv*

      Wavy hair here as well. It has been my experience that if my hair stylist does not have wavy or curly hair then they think of course I must want the straight blow out. So I have finally gotten my current stylist to understand we’re going to let the wave pattern lead the way, and use very little heat when drying. With a diffuser, of course. Good luck with your conversation.

    5. T. Boone Pickens*

      If I had to guess, it’s because of the power dynamic (they are standing and you’re sitting) plus there’s yanno the whole they are holding a pair of scissors and can ruin your look for a month if they so choose haha.

    6. No Sleep Till Hippo*

      I literally just went through this yesterday!! In my case, at least, it was someone I had never been to before (I should’ve planned ahead, my regular beloved hairdresser was booked and I’m going on a weeklong trip) so I didn’t have any kind of rapport. She was also constantly distracted with her phone/dog/other stylists/other clients, and would tell me she was going to do one thing and then do something completely different from what I thought that’d look like.

      I’ve been assured it’s not as bad as I think, but she bleached a full 3/4 my head instead of “just the top part,” and the cut’s a much more severe “let me talk to your manager” look than I was going for. =\

      I can be a rather passive person to begin with, but I feel like a good hairdresser (for me, anyway!) both takes the time to understand what you actually want, and checks in from time to time to make sure they’re on the right track. It can be hard to tell what’s going on until they’ve already chopped it off, soaked it in bleach, or done something similarly irreversible – so it’s hard to figure out when to speak up, or by the time you do it’s too late anyway.

      In the meantime, any recommendations for good hats? :)

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      I do this with nail techs lol. I think it’s because you are telling someone you don’t like their work/art, and that feels really rude! Even when it’s YOUR body and money. And if you’ve already commented on one or two things it just becomes too uncomfortable to keep asking them – it’s time consuming, you don’t want to be a “Karen”, they might just not be able to accomplish what you’re asking, etc

    8. Bulu Babi*

      Hair salons are places where I lose my free will. It’s just the way it works. One glorious time I knew what I wanted beforehand and managed to explain it to the stylist before I lost all ability to make choices of assert myself. Usually it’s an out-of-body experience where people will do what they want to my hair and I’ll vaguely smile and nod. I only recover free will when I get home after. I don’t know why Mulder and Scully never investigated hair salons.

    9. Batgirl*

      It’s because you’re in a vulnerable situation I think; feels like it anyway. It’s been my experience that hairdressers need you to spell out certain terms, or at least pictures. I settle on pictures because I always forget what the hell long layers are or whatever. Hairdressers also aren’t really in the business of natural beauty (a la steel magnolias), so they will usually blow-dry the crap out your natural waves and curls. They will even do this before curling your hair with a curling tong! So you have to treat that as the default and specify that you want to dry your hair under a hood, or to be left alone to dry naturally, or specify that you want it diffused (and how). In Liverpool you can specify that you want a “curly blow” which is blow drying the hair around the barrel of a round brush and unfurling it like a curling tong. I tend to go with that as Hairdressers get along better with something they can actually do to control the hair; I’ve only had one hairdresser that had a good stand dryer and was able to scrunch my natural waves and leave them be.

  18. Professor Plum*

    Poorly set expectations? Last week I mentioned having my first kidney stone. When I was at the ER early on a Thursday the medical team told me they expected it would pass in 24 hours. Ok, let’s prepare for a bad 24 hours, right?

    Eight days later it finally passed. While it was a traumatic ordeal anyhow, their expectation most definitely shaped my expectation and subsequent mental anguish in this. Fortunately I had close contact with my dr along the way and I realized this was a normal part of this (unwanted) journey. Next up will be discovering what I can about what caused this one so I can make dietary changes as needed. So grateful it passed before this weekend’s flight to see family for the first time since last year.

    So, when have poorly set expectations led you astray?

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Too often. I had a sprained ankle that did not heal… for a couple YEARS. Those were long years. I learned a lot.
      And my health changed a lot.

      I remember my uncle talking about aging. He got into his 70s and he said, “I am just not bouncing back like I used to. I know I should be over a cold or whatever and it just does not end as soon as it used to.” I thought to myself- thanks for the heads up.

      1. Callisto*

        My sprained wrist from 2018 is still painful and weak. The urgent care clinic said to wear a brace for 14 days and I’d be good to go. WTF.

    2. LadyWhistledown*

      Almost 3 days of labor with 4 hours of pushing (childbirth).

      This from a kid that was almost 2 weeks overdue by the time he did arrive. Midwife had estimated him at 7.5lb. 9lbs later…

      Love the kid to death and babies are entirely unpredictable but phew talk about expectations!

      1. Susie*

        Yup-childbirth for me too…
        When I was brought in to be induced because the sonogram tech said my first was going to be over 9lbs (and apparently there is a higher chance of complications at that weight), the physicians assistant admitting me said to expect to be in labor for at 24 hours. I took this to mean it would only take 24 hours. I think she meant to say it would take at least 24 hours.
        …at hour 24, 1cm dilated, a poor medical student enters my room and I start sobbing that I was told I’d have my baby by now. Oh and also he was 7lbs, not 9. My OB was pissed because she thought she might have to do an emergency c section given the slow labor and the complications of a 9lb baby.

    3. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Poorly set expectations:

      My first miscarriage at 11ish weeks along. The obgyn said I would bleed a little bit and it would be just like a heavy period and a little cramping.

      It was absolutely NOT like that all. It was extremely painful.

      1. OyHiOh*

        I had an early miscarriage at around 7 weeks, that felt like a combination of stomach flu and getting hit by a truck. Of course, emotionally it was a hard couple days, which I expected, but physically, I was not prepared for that kind of full body pain.

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          Right, the emotional pain is something else altogether. But physically, this was similar to giving birth unmedicated.

      2. Observer*

        The obgyn said I would bleed a little bit and it would be just like a heavy period and a little cramping.

        They said WHAT?! That’s just ridiculous. At 11 weeks that’s just not a responsible thing to say. Yes, it does happen that way for a lot of women. But by that point a LOT of women have the kind of experience you did.

        Then again, I’m at a point where I don’t trust what an OB says about what is “normal” if they have not been trained in the last 10 years. Because for DECADES, OB’s were being trained with insanely incorrect information.

      3. Epsilon Delta*

        Oh, the blood. Yeah, never had a period even close to that. Really bad comparison.

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          Yes, I didn’t want to get explicit, but goddamn there was so much blood. And oh yeah I passed a mass the size of my palm. Just like a regular monthly period. *eye roll*

    4. Ssssnakes sssssuck*

      Oh my word! congrats on getting that ordeal over with before going on vacation, though!!

      I was bitten on my big toe by a copperhead snake a few years ago. After assuring me that I wasn’t going to die, the doc told me that the swelling would continue for a couple of days and then would start going back down. So I naively thought, ok, I’ll be back to normal in a week, max. Nope… It was two MONTHS before I could even think about touching my foot to the ground without being in an insane amount of pain, and I still couldn’t wear a shoe on that foot for a lot longer than that. Those snakes are no joke!

    5. WoodswomanWrites*

      I had a knee replacement and was on a narcotic for pain. I asked if I needed to taper off when I quit the medication after a couple months, and multiple people on my medical team said I hadn’t been on it long enough to develop a chemical dependency. All of them were wrong. I had become physically addicted and got incredibly ill from withdrawal. Discontinuing the drug affected pretty much all my basic body functions, and it was horrible.

      I ended up contacting a medical team that specialized in addiction recovery and if it weren’t for them, I don’t know how I would have gotten through it. They gave me medication to treat my symptoms and it still took about three months for one of my symptoms, restless legs that kept me awake at night, to disappear.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Along the same lines, I was on narcotic pain meds pre- and post-op for a total of about 11 months. The pre-op pain management doctor transferred my post-op pain management to the surgeon’s team. I wasn’t told about what withdrawal symptoms entail, but I’d read about physical withdrawals and made sure to ask about being weaned off. What they didn’t tell me was that I’d experience mental withdrawal symptoms, even with weaning off. I spent a couple months last year, the length of the weaning-off process, having a mental breakdown. I was crying all the time, feeling very anxious, and had no drive to do things. I had no idea what was going on. I mentioned my symptoms to the surgeon’s PAs and they thought maybe it was the gabapentin, so they took me off of that. It didn’t help. They then told me to see my regular doctor or a therapist because they “don’t manage that.” My regular doctor put me on anti-depressants, which didn’t help. Then I took my last dose of pain meds and guess what? My symptoms disappeared almost overnight. I’m still mad that I had to go through that with no advanced warning or help.

        1. WoodswomanWrites*

          Oh no, that sounds truly awful! I’m so sorry you had to experience that when your medical team didn’t give you the correct advice.

    6. Texan in exile*

      Any time my husband says, “Let’s leave at X o’clock.”

      I’m at the back door with my outdoor shoes on and he’s doing the “Oh wait I need my thing that’s upstairs/to drink a glass of water ( from the bathroom tap because that’s the Good Water I guess)/to change to a different shirt.”

  19. Person from the Resume*

    I just discovered the British police mystery show Unforgotten and binged watched the first 3 seasons in just over 2 days. Now I’ve got the first 2 season 4 episodes left until I’m caught up b/c episode 3 airs on PBS on Sunday night.

    Tight, somewhat convoluted mystery. No action, chases or guns just plain old fashioned investigation and interviews. Very little (like 5 minutes an episode at most) about the two main detectives life outside work.

    Anyone else loved unforgotten or something similar?

    1. Princess Deviant*

      I loved Unforgotten, one of the best police procedural shows on ITV.
      Did you like Line Of Duty too?

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I haven’t watched it. I’ll look into it.

        I’m more of a reader than tv watcher; although, I’m pretty dedicated to the shows I watch.

        I’m reluctant to set myself up to binge watch anything because I do binge to the exclusion of all else. I like British tv shows because 3 seasons was only 18 episodes which is less than a season of American tv. So it’s more reasonable.

        I’m not good in moderating when a plot has sucked me in. When a good book sucks me in, the same thing happens. At least in this instance I didn’t watch all night forgoing sleep. That’s an improvement.

    2. Myrin*

      No but that sounds like exactly the kind of crime/mystery stories I like and which has become increasingly rare it seems like.

      I own almost all of Agatha Christie’s books and have recently started re-reading them, and while they’re certainly old-fashioned in a lot of ways, I REALLY enjoy that they don’t really feature any “thriller” or “action” elements like car chases or a race against time as the investigator becomes the next one on the killer’s chopping block (that’s a big annoyance to me, I’ve found, and it’s all-ecnompassing!).

      I like the psychological approach and the mystery of figuring out hints and clues because it actually makes me participate! (I’ve noticed this afresh when Brooklyn Nine-Nine aired an episode that was basically a chamber drama and it instantly became my favourite episode. I just think they’re neat!)

    3. Princess Deviant*

      Nicola Walker was in another police procedural show called River, with Peter Skarsgård. I recommend that too!

      1. Person from the Resume*

        Ah ha! So that’s why Netflix wanted to play The River right after.

        I have finished my binge watch now and am caught up to season 4, episode 2. Episode 3 airs on PBS tomorrow night so I’ll watch the remaining episodes the old fashioned way, I guess.

    4. Katie*

      Yes! Very happy that Unforgotten is back.

      I have one more episode of The Undoing on HBOMax to watch. So I have two “Un” shows on the go. Unforgotten is the superior one!

    5. I can never decide on a lasting name*

      Unforgotten was fantastic, and a new season is coming in 2022!
      I’d recommend The Victim with Kelly Macdonald as much as Unforgotten. Complex story that looks into the past.

    6. I take tea*

      It’s on the shelf (we bought it because of Nicola Walker), we need to get around to watching it.
      I can recommend Scott and Bailey, with two women in the main roles. Very good.

  20. LadyWhistledown*

    Favorite little thing your partner does for you?

    My spouse always sleeps closer to the door or walks closer to the street to keep me safe. It’s certainly old fashioned but it’s his own little bit of sweetness.

    1. Josephine Beth NotAmy*

      My husband makes me a cup of tea every night and makes my coffee every morning.
      We married young and it took me way too many years to recognize that the many little gestures of love he makes every day mean far more than any big showy declarations.

    2. Mimmy*

      My husband also walks closer to the street to protect me :)

      He also picks up the slack when I get busy with work or school. I too don’t need showy declarations. I’ll take a bag of peanut butter cups over a fancy, romantic meal any day!

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I do the cooking, but he does a lot of the prep work for me. When I buy big packets of meat, he takes charge of parceling them up into smaller packets for the freezer because I hate handling raw meat. He also cuts stuff up for me so I don’t have to do it; both the raw meat and also any veg that need chopping, onions and such.

    4. Wishing You Well*

      Hubby does some household chores – spontaneously! I never have to ask!
      He’s a keeper!

      1. allathian*

        Mine does most of the housework at home and almost never has to be prompted. He can see something has to be done as well as I can.

      2. Potatoes gonna potate*

        I’d say mine is better at chores than I am! He does the dishes every night and takes out the trash. I grew up not doing any household chores, so I’m not as disciplined or a clean freak as I wish I could be.

        The other day I told him I was tired and if he could take off work (he works from home) and come up and watch the baby while I sleep. I was joking. 15 minutes later he came up and told me that he told his boss he’s off for hte rest of the day.

      3. mreasy*

        Mine does many chores, including all the dishes and says he finds it relaxing. He’s a dreamboat for a lot of reasons but that’s one of them.

      4. SummerBreeze*

        Can we not give gold stars to men for simply doing everyday tasks that every adult human should know how to do? Yikes.

        1. Observer*

          Can we give “gold starts” to human beings that take the time and trouble to do things differently than they are programmed to? And to appreciate people who make our lives easier even if it’s “just their job” or “just the right thing to do”? The world would be a MUCH better place if we acknowledged people doing the right thing, and if more people actually did “just their job” and “just the right thing”.

    5. RiverGirl*

      My husband makes me breakfast every Sunday. If we are short on time, he makes me an egg. Seems silly, but that egg is full of love. I feel like the luckiest wife on the planet.

    6. Katefish*

      When I moved to my current cold climate/in with him, my husband carefully bought me a warmer coat, did all the shoveling, and hauled all the laundry to the laundromat in that very snowy year. I’ve gotten more comfortable with snow, and our chores have reconfigured over time, but he’s still wonderfully considerate and that was a great way to start out.

    7. Disco Janet*

      Almost all of our kids’ laundry! I guess technically that’s for them, not me…but if he wasn’t doing it, I’d have to. So I’m going to count it, haha. In general, he does more chores than me during the school year since he can stop thinking about work when he gets home, whereas I’m often grading or lesson planning after getting home. I also especially appreciate when he cleans the litter box since the cats were 100% my idea.

    8. Jyn’Leeviyah the Red*

      My husband cooks 99.999% of the meals for us. He’s good at it and enjoys it — thank goodness. My favorite favorite thing he did for me, though, was getting up with the babies at night, bringing them to me for feeding, changing them, and settling them back to bed. Lifesaver of a man.

    9. Office Pantomime*

      My husband does all the cooking. He likes it and is really good at it, even as he would prefer to branch out more being restricted by my allergies. He extends this to restaurants where he’ll only go if there are several options for me to choose from. I usually have to convince him that I really want only a salad just so I can see him enjoy his favourite dishes sometimes.

  21. ecnaseener*

    Who else is excited to watch the Olympics? I *completely* missed the 2018 Olympics — like I legitimately forgot it was an Olympic year until months later. That was the mental health low point of my life, and it feels crazy that it was 3+ years ago already. I’m so glad to have a reasonable amount of time and energy this year to watch them.

    (Obviously this year’s games also come with a side of anxiety for the people of Tokyo, because we can’t have nice things – but they’re happening so I’m watching them.)

    1. His Master's Voice?*

      Yes! Also the game that they have on Google in honour of it at the moment is super cute!

      1. GoryDetails*

        That Google-doodle game is addicting! I’ve managed to win three scrolls so far, but have failed miserably at the rock-climbing one and the archery. The little side-quests are quite charming, and once I found out how to teleport around the island I was able to complete a lot of those.

    2. Down under blunder*

      Do you mean the winter Olympics? Summer Olympics are a Big Deal here, but winter Olympics barely register so I was confused for a minute there (haha)

      I love watching the (summer) Olympics! I’ve actually arranged for my maternity leave to finish after they do.

    3. GoryDetails*

      Definitely mixed feelings for me. I do plan to watch some of the events – am fond of the equestrian ones, and the diving, and I often enjoy things like archery or rowing. Not as much for the softball/rugby/volleyball/etc. team sports. I hope that the event won’t turn into a COVID hot spot, and am trying not to think of the economic fallout – indeed, I always go into the Olympics with a distinct split between “is this logical/economically-sound/fair/safe” and “those athletes are AMAZING!”.

    4. Lucy Skywalker*

      2018 was also the mental health low point of my life. I think it was for a lot of people.

    5. Elle Woods*

      I’m ridiculously excited about the Olympics this year, even with all the COVID and IOC issues.

      1. Clisby*

        I don’t care much about the Olympics, but we have a hometown girl on the women’s track & field team, so I’m pulling for her.

    6. The Dude Abides*

      IMO, the IOC has blood on its hands. They have done fuck all to actually mitigate the risks to both athletes and the local population, and people will die because of it.

  22. Valancy Snaith*

    Any Edmonton residents here? My husband and I are going to visit family there next week and we haven’t been back in a couple of years. Does anyone have any good restaurant recommendations? Not Asian food, we have that covered at home, but anything else!

    1. Middle School Teacher*

      I live there! Anything in particular you like?

      Recommendations: Mexican: Tres Carnales (downtown) or Huma. Cafés and lunch: Café Bicyclette, Green Ash Cafe, Juniper Bistro, Little Brick, June’s Deli. Burgers: Woodshed Burgers, Fox Burger. Brunch: Canteen, Over Easy Breakfast.

      Other restaurants I like: Three Vikings, Culina, Sabor, Bodega (tapas), Dadeo (Cajun – on Whyte Ave), Have Mercy (just off Whyte), Leopold’s Tavern, MKT, Brewster’s, Beer Revolution (pub food).

      1. Valancy Snaith*

        Oh gosh, everything. We live in a small town (think, 2 sit-down restaurants, and they’re Kelsey’s and BP’s) so we’re excited to go out!

        1. Middle School Teacher*

          Then these should give you a good start! Other than OEB none of the ones I suggested are big chains and they’re mostly located within about half an hour of central Edmonton!

          1. Nessun*

            I’d second most of these; love Dadeo (no kids allowed, amazing po’boys), but OEB is overpriced for what you get IMHO and it’s always really loud. Tred Carnales is excellent, and there are some lovely small places on Whyte and Jasper Aves that are neat to try. And I love Remedy for their chai and wraps.

    2. Square Root of Minus One*

      A friend of mine who lives there loves a restaurant named The Marc, but I can’t exactly tell you more. Never been there myself, and it’s unlikely now she’s moving away.

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        I do NOT recommend the Marc because the owner is a jerk and was very vocal with the current government about reducing the minimum wage for restaurant workers.

  23. His Master's Voice?*

    I’d love to know if anyone else gas a “pet voice”, ie a voice you put on and pretend that your pet is talking.

    My dog has one which my mum and I do for him, and he recognises when he is “talking”. Apparently he becomes a lot less talkative when I’m away at university though…

    1. ecnaseener*

      I don’t think we’re super consistent with the sound of our dog’s voice, but yes we talk for her all the time. Particularly when she’s begging for food and when she’s annoyed at being woken up :)

    2. Dog Aunt*

      My sister’s dog has a specific voice that we all do (with varying levels of success). The voice has a congested/stuffed nose sound to it, and the dog refers to my sister as mother, me as auntie, and our parents as grandma and grandpaw.

      My sister also sometimes voices other dogs at the dog park, and they all get their own unique voices.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      For sure. My Elder Statesdog has a slightly low-pitched voice that’s a little … almost apologetic in tone most of the time? Because she’s a biggish dog and, behavior-wise, is always acting like she doesn’t want to be an inconvenience, like if she’s outside and it starts to rain she won’t bark, she’ll just stand there at the back door and wait for someone to notice.

      My Junior Ambassador, who is way more chatty than Elder Statesdog and also quite likely to “borrow my phone and text” my husband, can’t pronounce Rs very well and spells a lot of things phonetically, some of which have creeped into our household’s regular speech patterns, because she doesn’t have time to worry about spelling, because ascuse me, she’s too busy makin sure them kittens follows the WULES.

    4. Lucy Skywalker*

      I think most people who own pets do this. It’s a pretty typical thing. Heck, even Kristoff in Frozen did the same thing with his pet reindeer, Sven.

    5. RagingADHD*

      We used to talk for the kids when they were tiny babies, and we do the same for the pets now. But it’s not a particular voice, just kind of a hint of baby talk lilt.

    6. Squidhead*

      All 3 of our cats have “voices”. One is kind of plaintive, one is perpetually confused, and one swears like a sailor.

    7. Frally*

      Yes, we do this for our cat. I thought all pet owners did! The poor kitty, his grammar and syntax are awful, and he comes off as something of a loveable simpleton.

    8. Texan in exile*

      For Laverne and Shirley, it’s more about what they say as opposed to how they say it. :)

  24. Dr. Doll*

    This begins with work but really is personal (I think, anyway): going back to the office full time very very shortly. Since new beginnings are a great time for changing up habits and practices, I was interested in practical changes that you’ve made at a new beginning. Any new beginning, not just return to in person work.

    1. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I recently moved house and got a new bed, mattress and pillow that are, at last, truly comfortable (after years of living in a rental property where furniture was an afterthought, and I’d feel every single mattress spring prod my back). I took it as a cue to get myself in bed right at the time I start feeling sleepy.

      I used to fall asleep on the sofa at 11pm or so, and wake up at, like, 2am, at which point I’d feel awake and still have to get myself to bed. That made for very poor sleep and I’d wake up tired and cranky. These days, I still wake up earlier than I’d want (I’m not one of those early risers who enjoy being completely alert at 6am), but I don’t get so mad about it anymore, because I know I’m timing my bedtime better and getting enough hours in.

    2. heckofabecca*

      I recently set a daily alarm for 9pm to get off the computer and start moving towards getting ready for bed so I don’t miss my pills at 9:17—it’s been very helpful in getting me into bed when I want to be! Doesn’t do anything about my insomnia, but at least I’m not on my computer til 11 XD

    3. Roy G. Biv*

      Getting ready for the return to office feels similar to getting ready for back to school after the summer off. Must reinforce bed time, waking time, bathing schedule, have clothing and lunch ready the night before. I’m even going to start wearing office appropriate clothes a few days a week in August to be ready for the office return in September, so I am not squirming all day in my trousers instead of my beloved yoga pants. The sacrifices I am prepared to make for the paycheck!

  25. Big Moody Curve*

    A young relative is leaving the San Francisco Bay Area for college in Montana. Any suggestions for the cold-weather clothing she’ll need? She skis and snowboards, so has some outer gear for that. (But Tahoe “cold” is 20F, not -20.) She also has a pair of above-the-ankle Timberland boots with grippy tread. More stuff like that? Fleece-lined leggings or jeans? Are there particular brands that the cool kids wear?

    I saw comments last week about moving to a colder climate. The consensus was to wait and shop when you get there. But she has some free time now, and we do have REI, etc. locally plus the usual online options. TIA!

    1. Opinions, I've Had a Few*

      I grew up in Montana. Depends on where she’s going to be. I’m assuming Bozeman or Missoula. Missoula really only has a week or so of really cold weather and it doesn’t get as much snow as you’d expect. Bozeman gets a ton of snow and not quite as cold. Bozeman’s campus is on a hill so ice is a real concern which is why the grippy boots are a good idea.

      Patagonia has an outlet in Montana so Patagonia gear is often very reasonably priced. You want a water resistant/proof shell that can fit over a wind breaking layer like a fleece. Missoula is known for brutal winds coming out of Hellgate Canyon. Columbia’s layer system is really good for this, as is Patagonia. Invest in a good pair of thin (for lack of a better word) long underwear pants. Something to cover the ears is a must, either a fleece ear band or some good stocking caps. Depending on the snow amounts, it might be wise to get a pair of what we called gaters growing up, which were snowpant material clothing items that you wear over jeans and they go from the knee to the ankle (not as cumbersome as snowpants, which I needed when I was in Bozeman).

      1. Opinions, I've Had a Few*

        You asked for what the cool kids wear–Patagonia, Columbia, Hardware, Canada Goose (but those are sooooo expensive), North Face. I’m less familiar with what the skiiers/snowboarders wear but usually it’s the brands I listed with some things like Burton and ThirtyTwo mixed in.

        1. Opinions, I've Had a Few*

          Sorry. I wish there was an edit function. For boots, the Timberlands may not always be enough. Most people own Sorrel’s or some other heavier duty boots that go mid-calf and are more water resistant and warm in colder temperatures.

          1. Big Moody Curve*

            Many thanks for all the good info! She’ll be in Bozeman. Good call on the boots. I think hers are unlined and probably won’t accommodate thicker socks. And as you said, they might not be high enough. Will check into Sorells.

            1. Opinions, I've Had a Few*

              The last year we lived in Bozeman, we received 96″ of snow! That’s a little unusual but just to give you an idea of what the snowfall could be. The year before that was closer to the annual average but there was a ton of ice. My husband had knee surgery that year and we ended up getting him Yaktrax for his boots so he could navigate the campus. It’s a beautiful part of the state but the weather can be intense.

            2. Cocoas*

              Sorells are great, but I really recommend getting some silk under socks and wool over socks. Most of the Sorells don’t go below -25F, and that might be a concern.

    2. heckofabecca*

      It does depend on her tolerance for cold—I’m quite sensitive to temperatures. I check the weather every time I leave the house, because 60 and 50 and 40 and 30 can all be different coats! Things I like:
      – fleece-lined tights: can be work alone with a dress/skirt or under pants for extra warmth
      – proper warm socks
      – I don’t know about cool kids, but Lands End and LL Bean are generally super reliable.
      – My knee-length down coat! It’s a super thin material, very lightweight, and still keeps my bum warm XD
      – When one hat doesn’t cut it, a fleece headband/ear warmer/etc is excellent, and they can be worn on their own. Some are better-looking that others.

    3. Elle Woods*

      I live in a state (MN) that can get awfully cold in the winter. My two specific suggestions are Sorel boots and a knee-length coat (with a hood). Sorels are roomy enough that you can comfortably wear thicker socks with them; they’re also warm and waterproof. I recommend a knee-length jacket if for no other reason than to keep your butt warm in the winter. It’s also nice to have a hood to help cut down on the wind whipping your face.

    4. Susie*

      I moved from a southern state to Minnesota for college…and not in frequently ran from building to building in flip flops because I didn’t want to deal with winter gear…
      …but I think that speaks to my recommendations. I was very rarely outside on particularly brutally cold days for long periods except to walk to class. I didn’t want to deal with the layers because then I would get super hot in long underwear under jeans and a sweater in a well heated classroom. Also, because my mom was so worried about how I’d deal with the winter, I had a ridiculously puffy jacket. This just made me feel self conscious.
      I was super jealous of the girl who had a beautiful long wool jacket. I just wanted to look more put together and fashionable…not like a green marshmallow.
      So my two cents is that the focus should be less on super warm gear and more on warm enough clothing that makes your family member feel like herself.

    5. AcademiaNut*

      My setup when I lived in a cold climate (southern Ontario) as a pedestrian was

      – Gortex jacket, long enough to cover my butt
      – fleece shell
      – heavy winter jacket, also long enough to cover my butt, with detachable hood, synthetic fill
      – sturdy fleece gloves with grips and interior windbreaking lining
      – gortex overmitss
      – gortex rain paints
      – long underwear
      – medium weight hiking boots with leather uppers and good treads
      – wool/polypropeline blend hiking socks
      – fleece hats (two weights)
      – fleece scarves

      So through the winter I’d go from Gortex jacket, to jacket with fleece under it (which, with gloves and hat is comfortable to below 0 C), then pull out the heavier jacket. The rain pants blocked wind in really cold weather, and kept me dry in slushy weather (particularly getting sprayed by buses while walking). In the very coldest weather I could layer on everything, which was warm enough to do picket duty at -30 C. Leather uppers on the boots meant I could wax them, which kept the salty slush from disintegrating the fabric.

    6. Kardamumma*

      I’m up in Canada and, as well as all these great suggestions I would suggest a couple of super light down vests. I swear by the Uniqlo ones. You can buy them online and they are so light you can squish them into the little bag they come with and keep one in your knapsack. A great extra layer that can go over a sweater, under a coat. I always take one on a plane in case of chilly drafts. I machine wash mine on a very delicate setting and then dry them in the dryer with a pair of old sneakers to puff them up. Uniqlo are the best combo of quality and value IMHO.

    7. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Don’t buy anything in the Bay area. “cold” in CA is not the same as “cold” anywhere else. Great that you have free time now, go do something fun.

    8. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Silk is a great insulator, and long underwear made of silk adds warmth without volume. Not only does it have an elegant reputation& feel that cotton does not, it’s warmer than cotton.
      (It also dries fast over a radiator after a handwash.) Wool is also warmer than cotton. (Not all wool is equally scratchy btw.)

  26. Rescue Dog*

    I’m glad you asked this. I’m pretty sure I’m getting a jacked up price from the moving company I’m working with to move my parents. 500 miles, 2 bedrooms, all packing done by us except mattresses. But small town to big suburb, requiring shuttle to and from big rig at both ends. $6500. Only show in town at origin. If I were younger I’d do U-Haul.

    1. Anono-me*

      The shuttle is a big part of the cost. Crossing state lines is also.

      1. Can someone in the family drive the uhaul/pensky? If so, you should be able hire professional movers to load and unload.

      2. Have you checked with some of the smaller family owned movers in the destination city? A friend in a similar situation hired a small company in the new city (2 siblings with a box truck) and saved considerably.

    2. acmx*

      I paid a bit over 5k for a longer haul for a one bedroom plus (I’ve been in houses mostly but an apartment in my last city). It’s hard to find movers as you’ve seen. I wait 3 weeks for my stuff to be unloaded.

    3. MizPurple*

      Five years ago I did a 2500 mile move via one of the Pod services (UPack, IIRC) and hired local movers on each end – the first set packed the Pods and did an excellent job tetrising my stuff into 2 pods. At the other end, the second set eventually moved everything from the pods into my new house (I had the luxury of driving my car across the country with my sister as a fun trip and then taking 3 months to house hunt before having my pods delivered). Highly recommend – from my research it was the least expensive and most flexible way to accomplish that move.

    4. Rescue Dog*

      Thank you everyone for being so helpful! I checked on pods, but no one serves the remote area unfortunately. However, hiring people to load/unload a U-Haul is tempting because I’d have better control over the arrival. Grateful that you took the time to lend your advice.

  27. I edit everything*

    Anyone with experience in Niagara Falls (the NY side)? We’re going up for two nights, and other than the usual touristy stuff, is there anything we should try to do or a restaurant we should hit?

    1. Lucy Skywalker*

      Buffalo and Lockport both have some tourist attractions that aren’t as crowded as Niagara. Lockport has this really cool tour of caves (don’t worry, there are no bats) and the canal. It’s also the hometown of Joyce Carol Oates and the setting of many of her books (although she usually gives the town a different name) so if you’re a JCO fan you may want to check it out.

    2. Deanna Troi*

      The Polish Nook! It doesn’t look like much (it is in an old house and the decor is a little outdated), but the food is delicious! Best meal we had during our long weekend there.

    3. Worked in IT forever*

      Canadian here. We live about a 2-hour drive from Buffalo/Niagara Falls. Pre-pandemic, we’d go there at least once a year.

      There’s a large outlet mall in Niagara Falls. Also, if you’re into architecture, the Darwin-Martin House (a Frank Lloyd Wright property) in Buffalo is worth seeing. There’s also a display of military ships somewhere on the waterfront in Buffalo (can’t remember exactly where) that my husband enjoyed.

  28. heckofabecca*

    Has anyone here had experience getting an emotional support animal okay’ed by building management in a no-pets building? What was it like? (I’ll put my story in a reply.)

    1. heckofabecca*

      I rent in a condo building, and my landlords okay’ed my getting a cat (ESA, though no paperwork at the time). Another unit owner saw a Chewy package addressed to me, called building management, and now, quote, “the associations attorney is requesting that your physician or medical professional fill out the attached form to verify the need for an ESA.” Fine—except.

      This is one of the questions: “Please describe the nature of the resident’s or applicant’s disability and how that disability limits one or more major life activities.”
      Another: “Please describe and show the relationship between the person’s disability and the need for the requested accommodation.”

      That is apparently legal to ask, and I don’t think the form is only for ESAs, but I’m definitely not letting my therapist/psychiatrist answer those questions! Has anyone else come across such an invasive process?

      1. Amtelope*

        This is based on the recommended guidance from Housing and Urban Development. The only thing you might push back on is that if your therapist/psychiatrist is willing to state that you have a mental disability, explain how it limits one or more major life activities, and explain how the animal benefits you because of your disability, they should not actually be required to name the disability. But just letting them name your diagnosis may be the simplest way forward. The condo association almost certainly doesn’t care about any of this, they just want the right form on file when nosy neighbors complain that someone has an illicit cat.

    2. Southern Girl*

      This is usually the required wording to verify that you actually need a support animal. Otherwise anyone could get a pet just because it made them happier. Sad that more apartments don’t just allow pets.

      1. heckofabecca*

        Thanks!!! So the form already has yes/no questions asking the doctor/therapist if I have a disability as defined by the Fair Housing Act and whether they believe I qualify/need the stated accommodation. I guess I don’t see why the condo association needs the details of my medical issues when my doctor(s) are confirming that I do in fact meet the disabled definition + need the accommodation.

      2. ecnaseener*

        Those conditions apply to service animals, but an ESA isn’t a service animal. An ESA has to be prescribed, so verifying the prescription should be all that’s needed. (Versus a service animal, which doesn’t have to be prescribed – it just needs to be trained for a specific task that mitigates a disability)

      3. Callisto*

        Sad that people with allergies can’t find more places that won’t bend the rules.

        1. ecnaseener*

          Allowing ESAs *is* the rule. I do get that allergies are a problem and perhaps the laws need to be changed, but you can’t blame building managers for following the current law.

  29. It's Quarantime!*

    So I found a place that has all my must haves. (Double of some of them!) I’ve been looking off-and-on for a couple months now and seen a few that have some good features but this is the first that I’ve been able to imagine living in.
    But it’s right at the outside of my tippy-top budget. I have fantastic credit (because I don’t let myself overreach my means) and I’m certain that I could get a loan for the full amount, but, I’m genuinely not sure if I’ll just be chasing the mortgage payments for the next 30 years and never quite being able to get ahead of it. What’s the point of having the perfect place if I can’t afford to buy furniture and decor for it?
    I have supportive family who are eager to help with the move as it will bring me closer to them. Even to the point of helping with a down payment if necessary. But I’m so stubbornly self sufficient that I don’t know how to let them help. I don’t know how to let anyone help, really…
    I haven’t even put in an offer yet and I’m already dreading the idea of uprooting myself for however long it takes to settle somewhere new. I’ve always experienced relocating as a traumatic event to be endured, so my gut-feeling isn’t super reliable when it comes to this. I’m still dealing with the fallout of my bout with Covid back in February, and I know I don’t have the stamina to handle the packing and directing of the move on my own as I’ve done before. And I’m having an additional layer of emotion as leaving my current home will be the final separation from my beloved kitty, who I have been missing and mourning since April.
    I truly do want to find a new home. There are various aspects of my current condo complex that have lost their charm, and a new chapter in my life will be better served in new surroundings.
    So I guess my questions are:
    How do I handle the whirlwind of emotions and chaos?
    How do I deal with the financial uncertainty?
    How do I ask for and accept the help of my loved ones?

    1. heckofabecca*

      First of all, sending so many hugs.

      A lot of what you’re dealing with/thinking about is so normal! I think you could benefit a lot from talking this through with a therapist—it’s helped me through similar issues. And I’m reminded a lot of conversations I’ve had with my mom, who is 73 and dealing with both aging and increased chronic pain. It’s so hard to readjust our realities around new circumstances, especially when those circumstances feel/are worse than before. I’m sending such love and support to you!

      The people who are offering help are invested in you and want to invest in you, and that speaks volumes about who you are. They would be lucky to have you near them :)

      1. It's Quarantime!*

        Thank you for the hugs. <3
        It seems that we are all in need of therapy, after the chaos we've all been enduring. And therefore, the supply/demand of therapeutic care is nearly as cutthroat as the housing market.
        Suffice it to say, your advice is good, and I've been trying, but seeking therapy almost becoming another source of trauma itself.
        I wish you and your mom comfort and peace. Thank you again for your kind words.

    2. LDN Layabout*

      Your family are doing this because they love you. You let them help by remembering that this is born of love and caring for you. If you had a relative in a position where you could help, wouldn’t you? So why are you any different?

      1. It's Quarantime!*

        I am different because…. I’m not different?
        Well, of course everyone needs help, even me, sometimes. The goal is to accept help as necessary, but only when necessary, and for no longer than necessary. Once someone is capable of doing a thing for themselves they should. At least, that’s what every fiber of my self screams whenever help is offered to me.
        Am I capable of doing this myself? Well then, where do I get off allowing anyone else to use their own time and resources to do it for me? By the time I get to the point of asking for help it’s because I have reached my last resort and am truly desperate.
        It must then follow that anyone who asks me for help must truly be in dire need and, of course, I will be there for them however I can.
        I am being given to understand that not everyone shares this philosophy… but am I really the only one who thinks this way?

        1. Bobina*

          As someone who used to also hate asking for help, one particularly stressfull moving experience broke me of that habit. Because why put myself through so. much. stress. when I…could not? Literally, I was like, why make myself suffer (because thats really what it is, unnecessary suffering) when I could..not suffer? Sure I could do it myself, but it would be much harder and more difficult. Given the options of “you can do this thing with lots of difficulty or with less difficulty” – why actively choose to go for the more difficult option when there is no benefit to anyone? A friend once talked about getting help for a deposit from her family, and said “I know my family love me and want the best for me, and this is one of the ways they can show it. Why wouldnt I accept that?” and that really stuck with me. People who offer you help generally want the best for you, why would you reject that?

          fposte’s answer below about the “self-sufficient” element of it is also valid as well. Essentially at a certain point, I think there’s an element of pride and selfishness to it: “I’m too good to ask for help, regardless of how difficult it makes my life and also the life of those around me who can see me suffering needlessly“.

          Anyway, on a more practical level – rather than waiting until you are 100% desperate, why not try asking at 90% desperate? Or 80% desperate? I certainly dont wait until I’m in dire need before asking for things, mainly because (as stated above) – why let myself get to that level when I could ask for help earlier and avoid reaching 100% desperation level? If anything, asking for help earlier often means you need less help/smaller things, so its not as big of a deal as it would be if I waited until I truly had no other options.

          So to answer your last question – no, not everyone waits until they have no other options and are in dire straits before asking for help.

        2. Lillyofthevalley*

          Are you my fiance? Learn how to ask for help damnit! I’m sure you deserve it, would accept a no, and no one is going to be scarred by a simple request! It’s funny how similar you both are right down to previous moves being traumatic and not wanting to spend a lot on a big important purchase because you need a mile wide safety net.. because again, asking for help is apparently bad?… I think, honestly the only way out is through. Moves will not get more positive until you make a positive move, asking for help won’t be a reflex unless you get practice, and letting go of your kitty (so sorry!), won’t happen until you let go. It will probably be uncomfortable until it’s not. From the perspective of a loved one to a reluctant helpee, his reticence was a huge problem until he learned to ask for help recently. When people ask for help often, it’s just a request you can say no to. When people rarely ask for help you’re constantly in guess mode until they give up on the struggle. At that point they’ve let a problem get unwieldy, and stressful and you really have to put everything aside to undig it with them. It’s extremely annoying, especially when they get unnecessarily unhappy about how stressful they let it get.

        3. Observer*

          Well then, where do I get off allowing anyone else to use their own time and resources to do it for me?

          See, that ALLOW in bold? That’s the key word here. People WANT to help. You need to accept that juts as you are a competent adult and know your limitations, *so do your family*. The people who are offering to help you with the down payment know what they can afford. Why do you think it’s your place to manage their money for them?

          Of course, if you are concerned that they might have some string attached, that’s a different conversation. But the mere idea of “allowing” people to spend their money as they see fit? Not your place.

          I am being given to understand that not everyone shares this philosophy… but am I really the only one who thinks this way?

          You are not unique, but it’s not the most common. And I don’t think it’s the healthiest. The part about being there for someone in dire need is great. But the rest? I think it’s a set up for a lot of frustration.

    3. Not A Manager*

      Let your family help you. In your mind, you can decide that you will repay them if possible, but accept it from them as a gift. Your family loves you and wants you close to them, and you want to be close to them. Allow it to happen.

    4. fposte*

      For a lot of us, moving house can strike at some basic mammal uncertainty.

      First off, do you have a budget? Have you done longterm projections about the costs of moving and ownership, both with and without help from loving family?

      Second, about the stubborn self-sufficiency. That was me for a long time, and then I started thinking about what I got from it. It definitely can serve a purpose in teen and young adult years when you’re trying to individuate from parents, but beyond that it’s often more isolating, IMHO, than a cause for pride. Can you think through what that characteristic means to you and whether it’s useful to preserve it? What if you let that part of your identity go in favor of a more communitarian self-definition, like “I value being able to help people at times, and I understand people can value helping me”?

      Third, if you love the perfect place and its location is great, it’s likely to make you pretty pleased even with hand-me-down or freecycled furniture. The world is awash in brown wooden things that boomers thought their kids were going to want and are now desperate to unload, plus there’s Ikea. A house is always a long-term project, evolving over the duration of your time in it, and most people’s first house doesn’t get immediately furnished all new.

      That doesn’t mean I’m arguing for a purchase for sure! That would depend on those spreadsheets (and, ultimately, what you want). I’m just talking about ways to consider some of those reservations. I’ll also add that I’m seriously change averse and was pretty freaked out when I bought my house, but it was a brilliant decision that I’ve never subsequently regretted. (And I gotta say the Ikea furniture has actually lasted pretty well.)

      1. It's Quarantime!*

        The budget is a good idea. I tend to do things by broad outlines and this is apparently a matter that requires more minute attention. I wonder if a financial planner would be a good place to start?

        I do value helping people. I guess part of my problem is like… medical professionals tend to make terrible patients. Either it’s not really even bad enough to even require attention, or they could do whatever it is do much better if they weren’t stuck being the patient. I’m so very good at the things that I am good at and, because I am that good, I should be able to handle whatever this next thing is too. And if I can’t, well, maybe I should just get a grip and do it anyway… and around and around I go until I am so obviously broken that those who love me step in with help and kindness to lift me up. And once I’m back at some kind of normal, well… that wasn’t so hard, I probably could have handled it if I had just tried harder….

        I’m with you on the ikea furniture. I have a computer desk that has served me well for a decade now. :)

        1. Observer*

          I’m so very good at the things that I am good at and, because I am that good, I should be able to handle whatever this next thing is too. And if I can’t, well, maybe I should just get a grip and do it anyway

          What would you say if your patient said that to you. They are SO good at programming / accountancy / building houses. Of course they should be able to handle their own medical care!

          And what would you say if the best nurse you know said “I’m SO good at medicine, I SHOULD be able to handle diagnostics and surgery too!” You’d look at that person like they’ve grown another head. Being good at one thing (or set of things) doesn’t make you good at all of those other things. In fact, it should be a clue as to why you CANNOT be good at all of those other things.

          Think about it – what did it take you to become such a good medical professional? Is it even possible for one person to put all that effort into ALL things? Or even MOST things? There is a reason why we have specialization. And even in the most “basic” economies some people do things for other people and pretty much no one does all of the things for themselves. It’s just not reasonable or realistic.

      2. Lillyofthevalley*

        Another vote here for a budget. Budgets are rarely ambiguous about what your answer should be.

    5. Meh*

      Emotional issues aside, it seems like you are in browsing mode and not buying mode. When you are really ready you need to get pre qualified and your lender will approve you for the max (even if it’s way more than you want to spend). This will help you determine what your buying power is (and if it aligns with your max budget).

      **I’m not an expert, just someone going through the buying process** if you find ^the perfect place^ you need to have all your ducks in a row otherwise someone else will scoop you.

      1. Chestnut Mare*

        Yes, this. Unfortunately for most areas, buying a home you like means you don’t have the luxury of any dithering. If it’s perfect for you, you’re likely not the only one interested.

      2. It's Quarantime!*

        You guys are right. I wasn’t prepared for how this market had changed and not have I been caught off guard!
        It seems I have more logistical stuff to figure out before I start dreaming again…

    6. Not So NewReader*

      It’s at the outside of the tiptop of your budget?
      Just my opinion, no, do not do this. I understand it’s perfect. I get it. Its perfection will not help you sleep at night if your budget gets stressed for any reason. Again, just my opinion but this sounds like a nightmare in the making.

      The first two questions, I’d answer the same: “Slow down. Think.”
      How to ask for and accept help? Seriously, “please” and “thank you” are foundational pieces. However, it’s also good to have a specific plan and ask for specific things. Think about the people you have to help you. Using myself as an example, I would be a terrible person to ask to move furniture up a flight of stairs. But I would run errands with you or paint some walls. People have their limits, consider each person individually before asking. Another good thing to know about asking for help is to set time limits- “I’d like some help on Saturday between 2 and 4.”
      Where possible off them a token of appreciation. Let’s say your brother/cousin/whoever helps you push furniture around. You know that this person looooves pizza and their household loves pizza. Order a pizza and have it sent to their home. Use thoughtfulness rather than pricy-ness for choosing your tokens of appreciation.
      You will probably find it easier to ask for help if you know you are giving something meaningful in return.

      1. It's Quarantime!*

        Yeah, the lender will approve the loan, but I’m pretty sure I’d regret being so overextended.
        *sigh* it was so perfect though…. it was a lovely dream. While it lasted.

        1. Disco Janet*

          I can relate! I still occasionally think about the amazing house we didn’t buy because it was at the very top of our budget. It was a two story with the loveliest layout – sunroom, awesome kitchen, finished basement, one more bedroom than we needed, pool and hot tub, etc. But I’m not actually sorry that we went with our smaller but still nice house. For starters, with our smaller mortgage, we’re going to be able to pay it off in about 16 or 17 years instead of the full 30 and then have extra money to put towards retirement, vacation, upgrades we’d like to make, etc.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Mine had a summer kitchen and two living rooms…. siiiighhh. Reality is that house would have broke our finances.

    7. Katefish*

      One really key thing is that the quoted monthly mortgage payment won’t be what you pay because the loan documents typically don’t include taxes and insurance. I live in a notoriously expensive area and some visitors to the office yesterday and I were talking about how the monthly tax payment is usually the biggest part of the bill. It’s not that bad most places – about a quarter of my out of state mortgage – but still a huge sticker shock the first time. If you already have a good quote for the total mortgage payment please disregard, but that’s something I wish I’d known before I bought.

      1. It's Quarantime!*

        Yeah, that one caught me off guard too! It’s so frustrating, because we pay these professionals to be our guides through this process and then they just… neglect to tell us these huge, basic things!
        Thanks for the tip.

    8. Thunderstorm*

      For us, the “budget” was here’s what we’re comfortable paying each month, that won’t make us house poor. We just didn’t look at places above that price. So for us, “tip top budget” would be fine. So I guess my point is, reframe your budget as what you realistically can afford. If it’s more, then it’s not in your budget, period.

      (I admit this only works if there ARE places in your budget. Housing costs are bonkers in lots of places now.)

      1. It's Quarantime!*

        Yeah…. you have a very good point. The things that ARE in my budget are just different versions of what I already have. And there’s no sense in packing it all up just to set it all down in what is basically just new versions of the same problems. :(

    9. Kathenus*

      From my experience a lot depends on what your goal is, what’s most important to you in this situation – that might be what brings you the most happiness or what brings you the least stress.

      I live somewhere with a very hot housing market where houses go very quickly, frequently above asking price. I found a house I absolutely fell in love with that was really above the range I was planning on. But I loved it so much (layout, town it was in, proximity to work and leisure activities) that my goal was to see if I could make it work. It meant putting myself out there with a family member to help me out in a creative way, which was an awkward first conversation but resulted in my buying the house. And five years later I’m still in love with it. If my goal had been different – saving more money, staying independent vs needing help, preferring status quo to the whirlwind – then I would have needed to take a different course.

      So from someone who’s been through it – I’d suggest looking at the options in front of you and which goal each action achieves. Then look at those goals and see what resonates most with you. It might end up being clearer than you think, and even if not it’ll be more data to help inform the decision. Good luck.

      1. It's Quarantime!*

        Thanks for your story. I’m glad to know that these kind of things can work out. :)
        Right now my health issues are mashing the decision for me and stress is a no-go.
        Maybe I’ll be better off reevaluating my needs and trying again later.

    10. J.B.*

      If you do take financial help, perhaps request it toward a downpayment or to pay some points to reduce your eventual mortgage payment. If you are in a place where you expect the market to cool back down at some point though, it might be worth settling for less than all your wants later.

    11. German Girl*

      One thing to keep in mind is that mortgage payments stay the same while inflation happens – this can be a good thing if you can expect your income to keep up with inflation or even exceed it – then your mortgage payments will be less and less percent of your income as time goes on. Our payments were never really a stretch for us to begin with but as we progressed in our careers it became very comfortable, while rent is going through the roof in our town.

      That said, you have to be realistic about your expected income in the future.

      1. Observer*

        One thing to keep in mind is that mortgage payments stay the same while inflation happens

        That depends on the kind of mortgage you get. It’s true with a fixed rate mortgage, not so much with variable rate mortgages.

        @IQ I don’t know if this is the right house for you, but when you DO make your move, be very careful in the kind of mortgage you get. If you are anywhere near close to the top of your range (actual range, as someone else noted), then do NOT go with a variable rate mortgage, because you could find yourself with an increase in payments that could be devastating.

        1. German Girl*

          Yeah, good point. I never even considered anything but a fixed rate mortgage, so I forgot to mention that.

          Also, a household is considered overburdened with housing costs if they spend more than 40% of their income on housing, so that’s one upper limit to consider.

  30. Garnet, Crystal Gem*

    Wow, I think this is my first time posting in the weekend thread!

    I have an etiquette question for y’all.

    I have a new acquaintance that I made travel plans with. Nothing major, just a short trip a few hours outside the city we live in to visit a historic site next month. The plan was to head out early on Saturday, stay somewhere nearby overnight, and return to our city Sunday morning.

    Initially, when we started hanging out, there seemed to be potential for a genuine friendship, but I quickly realized this person was better suited as a professional peer/friend—basically an age peer who works in the same field that I can hang with and relate to in an informal context.

    I’ve come to realize that the same issues that made me hesitant to build a non-work oriented friendship with this person, have now made me disinterested in maintaining the work one. To summarize, this person comes across as self-righteous, imposing, and presumptuous and I no longer feel comfortable traveling with them.

    I think I have a simple script for backing out, but would like some guidance on how to reply if I’m asked why I’m canceling.

    I’m not worried about being perceived as being mean, but I work at the same company as this person (not on the same team, and our work doesn’t overlap) and have mutual contacts/acquaintances. For these reasons, I’d like to remain friendly but keep my distance. Any tips?

    1. fposte*

      “I’m afraid something’s come up. I’m really sorry to inconvenience you.” You don’t need to explain even if asked (one of the great revelations is understanding that just because somebody asks a question doesn’t mean you have to answer it); just go back to the “So sorry, gave you as much notice as possible that the schedule wasn’t going to work after all” well.

      I think it’s acceptable for you to bow out and acceptable for them to be annoyed and disappointed; at work, I’d just stick to the same line of “I was really sorry to inconvenience them but it just wasn’t going to be possible.”

    2. Not A Manager*

      If you want to gently slide the person into “friendly acquaintance” territory, I’d suggest biting the bullet and spending *some* amount of substitute time with them for the trip you cancel. Or at least offering. Tell them you realize you won’t be able to do an overnight trip for the foreseeable future, but ask if they want to do [other vaguely-related local thing] for an afternoon some weekend. Whether you follow up depends on their level of interest – those things usually just fade away, but if they try to make it concrete go ahead and do the thing.

      Generally you wouldn’t need to do this, but I think it’s too obvious to go from “let’s have an overnight!” to “oh sorry I’m not available for anything.” If you don’t want hard feelings or venting to your common contacts, I’d ramp this one down and then be a lot less available in the future.

      1. Garnet, Crystal Gem*

        Ah yeah, I’m afraid you’re right. This is probably the best approach to amicably pull away with minimal weirdness and friction. Thank you!

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      The rise of the delta variant is keeping some of us at home. If this matches your behavior otherwise it’s decidedly not personal.

  31. DataGirl*

    Curious how people handle name changes but at work but in personal life. How do you find the name that is right for you? I have a first name that has a very specific religious meaning- think Christian or Jesus- but that meaning has nothing to do with me or my beliefs. I get embarrassed when I introduce myself to someone new and they make assumptions based on my name. Last night I even got aggressively called out by a stranger because of it. I often think of changing out but there are shortened versions of my name that I like and coming up with an entirely new name just doesn’t feel like me.

        1. Lillyofthevalley*

          Could you look at translations of your name in other languages? Or transfer to a name with the same meaning? For example my name means complete and baby name sites can show you other names with the same meaning; they can also show you similar sounding names.
          You could also tag on a short syllable name to transition, like Jesus Leigh Surname, and then drop the Jesus and just be Leigh.

    1. heckofabecca*

      That’s a really rough spot to be in. I’m so sorry.

      Doing a trial run might be helpful. Do you have a friend/friends that you spend more time with than others? I’m trying out different pronouns, and I’m doing it with the friends I see most often to start.

      Possible script: “I’m considering going by [Newname] instead of [Currentname], but I want to try it out before I make any big changes. Can you called me [Newname] to see how I like it over the next [visit/period of time/etc]?”

      Best of luck :)

      1. DataGirl*

        Thanks. I don’t actually have any friends- a lot of acquaintances but no one I talk to regularly. But I could try it out in an online group or two…

    2. Not A Manager*

      If there are shortened versions of your name that you like, why not just introduce yourself/use those? The “Christian” example is a good one. People might draw a conclusion from the full name, but no one is going to blink at “Chris.”

      1. DataGirl*

        dang it, that was a typo it should have said there are NO shortened versions of my name that I like.

        1. Girasol*

          A nickname need not be based on your name. My grandfather decided that the logical nickname derived from shortening his son’s name was “sissy” (back in the day when people even said things like that) so he called my dad by a totally unrelated nickname. That worked fine for all of Dad’s life. He never needed to change his name legally. He just put his legal long name on business documents and introduced himself to people by his unrelated and unofficial nickname.

          1. Girasol*

            I forgot to say that I had to change my legal name recently. When I was married the rules for how a woman styled her married name were loose but they tightened up with the RealID program. I had to make the legal change: file at the courthouse, publish an announcement in the papers, and go before a judge. It was a fussy, spendy process. I wouldn’t recommend it if you can find a good way to get around it.

    3. fposte*

      I agree that if you like shortened versions of your name that would be the simplest way to go, but FWIW, that stranger was a jackass.

      1. DataGirl*

        typo- meant to say there are no shortened versions of my name that I like. And yeah he was a jerk. I know it’s on him not me, I just don’t like that every time I introduce myself my name screams “you don’t belong here”.

        1. fposte*

          Ah, bummer, the short version would have been pretty easy. What about initials? Can you become the equivalent of D.G.?

    4. photon*

      I’m sorry you’re dealing with that!

      I’ve gone from name -> unrelated name -> name -> nickname-based-on-name over the course of a decade. My social circles are generally pretty chill about these things, so it was fine for me.

      In my experience, people understanding going to a name-based nickname pretty easily, but people tend to get confused over choosing a completely random/new name. If you’re already leaning towards nicknames based on your name, I’d say try it out!

      As for the mechanics, some of it is pretty easy – update your email, any social media profiles, etc. You can let some friends know individually that you’d prefer to go by (or that you’d like to try it out). It’s going to feel awkward, and you’re going to be awkward, but you’ll get used to it. The more confident you act, the less awkward the process is going to be – so try to project confidence, but don’t beat yourself up when you don’t ;)

      1. DataGirl*

        thanks. it was a typo I meant to say there are no shortened versions of my name that I like. I agree going to a nickname would be easier. The problem is my name is really common and I know/ have worked with people with every possible version of my name so I either have negative memories associated with the name or like in the above example don’t want to be the 10th “Chris” in my circle.

        1. photon*

          Huh, I’m surprised you get that sort of responses on your name if it’s common.

          Can you do anything with your initials or middle name?

      1. DataGirl*

        I thought about that but I work with someone who has my middle name as their first name and I intensely dislike them so when I think about the name, I think about them and get annoyed.

        1. WellRed*

          Do you have an idea if the name you would like? The answer based on everything else you’ve said here, might be to just “own” it. “I go by Natasha now. I never felt like a Lourdes Guadalupe.” That’s it.

          1. WellRed*

            Sorry just realized you Don’t want to come up with a whole name. Maybe you should consider it. Or assess, how much your name really bothers you.

      2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Or maybe a nickname off last name? Just plain going by your last name would be a bit odd, but I think a nickname off it would be better.

        Is your first initial sturdy enough to hold up on it’s own?

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I stopped answering to the name on my birth certificate when I was probably 11 or so, and bounced around nicknames for a couple years until I was 14 and found one that stuck HARD. I finally changed it legally when I was 23, because my then-SO’s parents didn’t know it wasn’t already my legal name and bought me an international plane ticket with the nickname on it. :P (They would have been happy to change the ticket, but I’d been making half-ass noises about changing my name legally for a few years at that point, and I was going to have to get a new passport for this trip anyway, so when I researched the process in Washington state where I was living at the time and found I could literally have the legal name change done within 24 hours and for under $100, I decided the universe was telling me to get off my butt and do it already.)

    6. Still*

      I haven’t changed my name, but I’ve been known by different names and nicknames in different contexts: the English version of my name when I lived abroad, a nickname when meeting with friends who I initially met online, another nickname when I worked as a camp counsellor. In my experience, what makes a name feel like “you” is mostly using it. Each of those names felt a bit weird at first, but after hearing them constantly for a long time, especially coming from people I liked and cared about, made them feel like me. After a while in a new environment, I noticed that I’d started calling myself by the new name in my head, and that’s when I knew the switch had flipped.

      So you might not be able to pick a name that feels 100% like you straight away, but if you manage to find a “maybe”, I’d try to find a way to try it out. Give it a test run with a friend or a family member, use it as a nickname somewhere online, go to Starbucks and give it to the barista, introduce yourself to a stranger, sign up for a new email account, see how it feels.

      Good luck!

    7. Lucy Skywalker*

      I second the suggestion that you go by the initials of your first and middle names. For instance, if your name is Lord Jesus McCarthy, go by L.J. McCarthy. If your initials are something potentially embarrassing as well (such as B.S. or P.U., then go by the initials of your first and last names. Or your middle and last names. Or any combination.

    8. Dark Macadamia*

      Could you go by your last name or a nickname based on it? Like Jo/Joey from Johnson, Cici from Garcia, etc.

    9. RagingADHD*

      I have no advice, but I am just boggled at the idiocy of people. What kind of variegated moron thinks the name your parents gave to a newborn baby has anything to do with your personality or beliefs?

      Are you just constantly meeting people who lived their whole life in a hole in the ground?

    10. Aphrodite*

      I changed my entire name–first, middle and last–in 1989. I had been in therapy for a couple of years by then and the idea just came up to me somehow. I hadn’t discussed it with anyone. But one day I bought two books– one of baby names and the Nolo Press one on how to change your name legally. I had never liked my name but hadn’t thought much about doing anything about it. But now I did.

      It turned out to be easy–and wonderful! I worked my way through the process, got official copies of the name change, and notified everyone. The only hassles I had were from a sister (who accused me of being ashamed of my family) and the local cable company that, even thought I had paid my monthly bill on time for years, told me it would cost me $25 to change the name on the account due to college students who would get out of paying bills by switching names; I ended up with the general manager who overrode everyone to order it done without charge.

      I love the change. I will tell you that my first name has gone from Colleen to Lauren. And it is such a relief.

      1. Anonymous Pterodactyl*

        I radically changed what I was going by back when I was 19 or so. My full name is something like Anonymous Lily Pterodactyl, and for most of my life up until that point I went by Lily. I was starting a job at a software company and knew I would be interacting with people online a LOT, and decided I wanted to find a way to go by something that would be assumed to be masculine unless someone was actually meeting me in person or talking to me on the phone. I took my first name, chopped off the ends, and started going by Moe.

        Over a decade later and I still love the change. I managed to sidestep a lot of the adjustment period by jumping right into a new name with a new job, so it was really just friends and family who needed to get used to it. I’m now considering going ahead with an official name change, because I realllllllly dislike my given first name and it bugs me every time I have to pull it out. Unfortunately, I live in a state where it is both expensive and tedious to change a first name, so I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

    11. Person from the Resume*

      My initals (first, middle, last) make a word/name that I occasionally use. Think about some combo of initials.

      I use my full first name normally and happily but it shortens to a common name/nick name I don’t like and do not respond to.

    12. Littorally*

      One of the things I did when I was in the market for new names was I started placing online orders under different names — all with the same surname to make sure the mail would come, but different first names to see how I felt. It was an interesting way to try them on!

      There are also online services for trying on new names — they are mostly aimed at transgender folks (so you’ll get offered pronoun options too) but no reason you can’t use them just to try on new names. What they’ll do is have you enter your name and possibly some other information, then generate a short block of text, usually as though a friend were speaking about you. “This is Datagirl, she really likes X, Y, and Z! Her favorite things to do are A, B, and C. Datagirl is an interesting woman with many hobbies,” kind of thing.

  32. OTGW*

    Idk how many of y’all frequent tumblr, but they’re trial-running a Post+ which is where essentially, users can block posts behind a paywall which is terrible for a lot of reasons.

    Most of the people I follow there would never use Post+ but it is sorta triggering another “I might get off this site”. My question is: do any of you frequent a site that is like tumblr? Or livejournal, for another example. Just a blog-esque amalgamation of everything? Twitter, facebook, and reddit don’t really cut it where you can share personal stuff but also share gifs and art and fanfic and etc.


      1. ecnaseener*

        For one, tumblr has frequent problems with accounts getting hacked, so I definitely wouldn’t trust them with my payment info.

        For another, a major chunk of content on tumblr is fan content, and they’re explicitly encouraging you to put fan content behind a paywall. Of course the terms of service note that if you get sued by Disney for making money off your Avengers gifset or whatever, Tumblr takes no responsibility.

    1. Lia*

      I have Dreamwidth accounts from the original LJ migration, but it’s pretty dead, at least fannishly speaking. I tried Pillowfort but their various issues and lengthy downtime to deal with them was concerning and so I’m not using them. So currently it’s Twitter and Tumblr for fandom stuff, DW for rl blogging, FB for work and family stuff, and that’s it.

    2. Epiphyta*

      My best friend has an account on Dreamwidth she blogs on regularly – I have one as well, but honestly? I never do anything with it. I was part of the Great LJ Exodus, but for me it just didn’t grip fannishly the way Tumblr eventually did. Still, it’s an option.

    3. photon*

      I wish more people would use Dreamwidth. I miss the longform posts of the LJ days. Memes are fun and all, but LJ had long updates about people’s lives and thoughts, and I feel like it’s something that FB/etc have basically destroyed these days.

      1. Double A*

        Yes!! I miss live journal too. Although I wonder if in my late 30s I’d actually write longish updates about my life or that was a uniquely early 20s kind of thing I was willing to do?

      2. AGD*

        This is how I feel too. I went to college during the LJ heyday and it felt like a big, special part of my undergrad experience.

      3. Littorally*

        Oh man, I miss LiveJournal so much. I’ve got Dreamwidth accounts for the roleplay community that migrated there, but outside of that specific content it doesn’t seem like enough of the community made that jump to have anything close to the same feel. RIP community-based blogging :(

  33. A thank you to the person who gave me poodle advice*

    A few weeks ago I wrote about having a problem finding a groomer who would be able to groom my very senior poodle. She’s blind, hard of hearing, and gets super nervous.

    Someone advised asking the shelter where I got my dog for any recommendations. I called the shelter and he gave me a contact ( it was kind of cute, he started with a whole ‘we don’t really give recommendations -lowered his voice- but call this contact and tell them Joe sent you’).

    The contact turned out to be a very understanding groomer who let my dog come in earlier than their normal hours and did a wonderful job.

    Just wanted to say thank you to the advice giver. This community has such a wealth of experience .

  34. M.*

    I need some advice and my parents aren’t the best at this sort of thing. So. I live in NH (this is specific to the state). My landlady sold our building, it was supposed to be an investment sale and she intended for all for everyone to still live there but siblings bought the building and want to live in all the units. We have until mid September to be out and the family below us has 6 more months because they use a voucher. We are three adults, one child, low income. We work retail/service jobs and I’m supposed to be receiving SSDI but it got held up since last September and I just received a one month one-time payment because after six months of calling they realized finally I wasn’t being paid. So I’m waiting on that still.

    If you know anything about NH’s housing right now, there is about a 1% vacancy rate on rentals. One bedrooms are going for as high as $1,500 – what we were currently paying for 4 bedrooms. An options is moving out of state. My family lives in NC, I’ve found apartments we can afford. I’ve found apartments I could afford living alone – if I found a full time job. And I’m finding jobs that I could actually do with accommodation which is something I find hard up here. I really don’t want to relocate, but being homeless isn’t going to help anything.

    So how would someone with little income move halfway across the country, much less set up renting somewhere? What do I need to take into account with moving costs? I know I have to either have my SSDI figured out or a job waiting. My family can’t put me up for any amount of time as my mom has my sister’s brother-in-law and his family living with them while their house is built (going on a year now) and my sister has a roommate and a new baby. Plus her husband doesn’t think of me as family.

    Is it worth trying to make this move ? I also don’t know if either of the other adults will be coming, one would be bringing the child as well. We talk about it but no one seems to see how serious this situation is and they both keep going well we’ll find something.

    1. Tib*

      I’d say first off, see if you can finish out the month at your current place. This market is tough enough as it is and moving mid-month just complicates things even more. You’d have to pay double rent for September or find a place to crash for 2 weeks until October. Also, make sure the new owners are following the law as far as proper notice. I know NH doesn’t have great tenant’s rights, but check to make sure.

      I’m in NH as well, and yes, the rental market, especially the affordable rental market, is extremely tight. If NC is better, than that’s probably your best choice. You’re living in a gem right now and I’m sorry to say you probably won’t find another as nice or as cheap. It seems the service labor market is tight all over, so finding a job there might be fairly easy.

      And it looks like you’re the one driving this train for now. If your roommates are, well, roommates, then this may be where you all part ways. You’re the only one moving towards something more than an easier place to live. If there’s more to the relationship there you’ll still have to focus on your needs, but you can look at options that have room for others. But set a deadline for when finding a place to accommodate them becomes their problem and don’t let go of the options for just you, because based on what you’ve written, I wouldn’t count on your roommates to be very proactive on this. You need to make sure your needs are met and let them take care of themselves.

    2. Filosofickle*

      Two big factors in moving costs to make sure you have a good idea about: 1) Whether it’s cheaper to move what you have (meaning pay for a truck or movers) or take what you can carry with you and start over when you get there. Where I am, there is a ton of free/cheap used furniture right now and trucks/movers are very expensive. It depends on what you own and how hard it will be to replace. 2) Know how much cash you need to move in for deposits as rules and conventions vary by region. Do you have that cash in hand? Will the backpay on your SSDI provide a lump sum you can use?

    3. RagingADHD*

      Can/would your relatives in NC help with logistic support like visiting prospective apartments or passing along local job openings or apartment-share listings that may not be on the main websites? If you have eyes on the ground you could find better alternatives than you might see searching long distance.

      You have about what, six or seven weeks? That is already a tight timeframe, but feasible if you are on the stick.

      If your household members are adults and won’t participate in actually doing anything to keep you from the very real possibility of being homeless soon, then you need to decide how much you are willing to carry them on your back.

      NC is your best option. Make plans & arrangements for yourself, and give them a very short deadline (like a couple of days) to opt in or out. This is not the time for consensus building, it’s time for executing.

    4. AcademiaNut*

      I’ve done solo long distance move for cheap before. The keys are

      – don’t move much stuff. Sell off big items, keep smaller or more valuable stuff. If you’re moving by car, limit yourself to what you can fit in the car, and maybe a rented trailer. Moving furniture between states is expensive (see threads above) and you need somewhere to put it after you move.

      – look for temporary accommodation to start – sublets, Craigslist roommates, etc, that will give you a place to sleep, shower and keep your stuff while you get settled. You may need to buy a cheap mattress at this point.

      – once you’ve got a job, you can get a better accommodation setup (getting a lease without an income can be very difficult in some places), and then you can slowly refurnish the place.

      I wouldn’t count on your roommates moving with you, however. I’d make your plans based on it being just you, and if it works out that they’re moving at the same time you are, to the same place, you can deal with it at the time.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Yeah, is your stuff nice things that you care about, or is it just stuff? You can get more just stuff at the thrift store when you arrive.

        I’d also suggest checking out airbnb for short term stays. Occasionally it can be an economical and flexible option, especially because it comes with furniture.

        Also, dunno what kind of job accommodations you need, but check out the production job market. Places that make stuff. My brother says it’s booming here right now-the little town he’s working in has a hundred empty jobs they can’t fill, and my place is certainly having a hard time finding temps on the factory side. These jobs pay better and have better benefits than retail and food, and often are happy to hire people with no experience. Plus you don’t have to deal with customers. Ignore this if you have a field already and can find a job there.

        Temping could be a good stopover job too, while you find something more permanent. You might even be able to call ahead and get something set up in advance, if the temp market is as hungry as it is here.

        If your family’s area doesn’t offer any family help, consider moving somewhere else that does excite you, if you are moving anyway. Obviously somewhere with good jobs and cheap housing available. What kind of climate, natural features, and city/town would you like to live in? Check cool places out on Indeed and Zillow and see what’s out there.

    5. Pool Lounger*

      I moved from NYC to NC. In NYC I lived in a very tiny, roachy place for $1400 or more. I pay less than that here for a full house with a yard, central air, and no bugs! I looked up places online, then visited for one day to tour rentals. Signed a lease that night. I did rent a truck and hire movers, but selling everything and moving with your car and what you can fit is worth it. If you can’t afford first+last month’s rent, renting a room in a place with roommates at first is hopefully doable. But you can definitely find a large place for less than or equal to the rent you paid in NH.

    6. RagingADHD*

      Oh, just remembered – in one of my no-budget moves back in the day, I got rid of all the furniture and appliances as others mentioned (or left them for roommates), boxed up everything else I couldn’t carry, and shipped it UPS to a relatives house in the new city.

      At the time, it was cheaper than renting a truck for the same distance.

    7. Sending warm thoughts your way*

      I would call NH Legal aid — nhlegalaid dot org — first thing Monday if you haven’t already. And look at their pages on eviction and help with moving/security deposits etc. But call them too, because everyone’s situation is different and they may come up with stuff you don’t realize applies to you. There may be a lot of rights you don’t know you have. For example, in some places new owners may be able to evict you to move in, but you may get help with extending the timeline or something else. Also your particular city may have additional rights. For example where I live even though owners can evict you to move in themselves, if you are disabled or over a certain age they have to give you a long time to move out AND they have to pay you money to help with relocation.

    8. Anonymous Pterodactyl*

      Hope you’re still checking for replies!

      I would recommend contacting a local Center for Independent Living and seeing if they can offer any financial assistance with figuring out a move. My husband works for one down here in NC and they had a huge infusion of cash with the first covid relief bill last year, all of it earmarked for covid costs. His agency has been able to provide a lot of direct financial assistance that they normally just do not have the funding for, as long as it can be justified as a covid-related cost. A lack of affordable and available housing right now can definitely be pegged as covid-related.

      I can’t guarantee results, obviously, because they’re all run independently and services and funding levels can vary a lot. Also, at least in NC, CILs cover specific regions and if you fall outside of their geographic area, they would have to refer you to a different one. I don’t know if “I’m trying to move to your area so I don’t end up homeless” would be enough to qualify for services, but there’s certainly no harm in reaching out to the one that covers the area of NC you’re thinking of moving to and asking – especially if you find that CILs up in NH can’t help in the way you need.

      1. Anonymous Pterodactyl*

        Little additional info in case it’s helpful for you or anyone else. I checked with my husband and he said CILs generally don’t do one-off services so ones up in NH might not be able to assist with funds for moving. He thinks you might have more luck with a CIL or other agency down in NC, since you’ll be able to establish a consumer relationship with them instead of one-and-done.

  35. fretting*

    What should someone do if their information has potentially been hacked through a company that has their information? I’ve read that using the free year of credit monitoring opens you up to more info stealing because those sites need your sensitive information as well.. I truly dont know what to do except for getting credit reports and I cant find any good info out there at all.

    1. fposte*

      Since you can get free credit reports once a week until April 2022 right now there’s not a huge advantage to the credit monitoring anyway.

      Check haveibeenpwned dot com; it’s likely you’ll see your information has leaked on more sites than just that one. Most of us have had information leak these days; it’s annoying, but it’s not usually a big deal. Change your passwords, make sure they’re strong or use a password keeper, put in two-factor authentication, and check your credit reports regularly; consider freezing your credit.

    2. Wishing You Well*

      One thing I’ve done is FREEZE my credit with 4 major credit rating companies. I can always unfreeze it for a brief time if I need a loan. Yes, the sites need your sensitive information for a freeze but they already have it. They’re just confirming you are who you say you are.
      Best of luck.

      1. Ali G*

        This is the best thing to do. We had an accident with USPS and a lot of our personal and financial info was “lost.” We keep our credit accounts frozen, our retirement accounts are managed by a third party, so nothing can change on them without his/our approval, and we monitor our bank accounts. We did pony up for Life Lock which notifies us of large transactions among other things, which helps too.

    3. Ugh*

      Looks like my comment didn’t post, probably because it had a link in it. So try this. Go to the Federal Trade Commission website at ftc dot gov. On the very first page is a link to ID theft information. There is a step by step guide on what to do if you think your info has been stolen. Sorry this happened to you.

    4. Observer*

      I’ve read that using the free year of credit monitoring opens you up to more info stealing because those sites need your sensitive information as well.

      The companies that are doing credit monitoring generally already have the most sensitive data, so that’s a non-issue.

      The Credit monitoring is often not as useful as it sounds though. Basically they do for you what you can do for yourself in most cases.

      1. Credit reports. All of the major Credit monitoring agencies are required by law to give you one credit report per year for free, and as many more as you want for a fee. There are 3 majors – so you can pull a report every 4 months without paying a penny. Just rotate which agency you use.

      2. Credit freeze. You can put an alert on your credit so that you get alerted every time someone tries to check your credit at any one of these agencies. But even better is to put a credit freeze, when you cannot take out a loan or get any sort of credit. The key here is that YOU can “thaw” your account for specific purposes using extra layers of security, so when you know that you need to do something that requires credit you can “thaw” the account, then re-freeze it. Most of the agencies used to charge a fee either to freeze the account and / or to “thaw” it, but I believe that they are now required to do this for free.

      1. Observer*

        Oh, and make sure that you are using non-SMS based 2 factor authentication on all of your on-line accounts.

  36. Lucy Skywalker*

    Does anyone besides me have a problem navigating this site on a tablet or smartphone? If so, what’s the issue and how do I get around it?

    1. acmx*

      I use ad blockers with Firefox on an android phone (and my desktop). I don’t typically have any issues.

    2. Might Be Spam*

      What kind of problems are you having? I use the Opera browser on my tablet and don’t have any trouble. In the settings, I set the default font size to a larger size. There don’t seem to be as many ads as other people in the comments mention.

    3. ecnaseener*

      The only problem I have is how easy it is to click “reply” while scrolling. I’m on Firefox. Can you clarify what problem you’re experiencing?

  37. Laura H.*

    Little Joys Thread

    What brought you joy this week?

    I bought two of my favorite ring from the jewelry store before the style leaves the active line for good. I’ll wear stuff on occasion when I’m not working there, and those match a bracelet I have that I’ll wear off-season. The style just goes nicely with just about anything.

    Please share your joys.

    1. Filosofickle*

      I was given a beautiful art deco ring that I never wear because it’s so fancy and big. I’ve been wearing it the last couple of days around the house and I just love having it on :)

    2. Cookies For Breakfast*

      The ceiling lampshades for the living room in my new house have arrived, and they fit perfectly. I don’t have much of an eye for interior design, so it was a nice surprise to get them right first time.

      The room still isn’t perfectly tidy, and will take months to furnish in full. But after months of naked lightbulbs, these nice big shades are finally starting to make it feel like a grown-up home.

    3. llama pyjama*

      I’ve had a pretty bad week, but my one little joy was drinking very bitter coffee at the same time I was eating a very chocolaty chocolate cookie. Coffee and chocolate, yum!

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        My little joy was that I misread your comment as “my little one was drinking very bitter coffee” and now I’m imagining a sweet little baby sharing a cup of coffee with you. I’m sure that in real life babies do *not* enjoy strong coffee. (Not an issue when our child was small because I’m neither a coffee drinker nor brewer.)

    4. NoLongerYoung*

      I finally replaced the broken and crummy wheels of my home office chair with a set of great casters. Little things mean a lot – who knew that smooth, quiet, and getting the chair to roll again, were all so helpful? I only regret waiting!

    5. GoryDetails*

      I’ve been enjoying the Google doodle game for the Olympics; it’s very nicely designed, and while I’ve had trouble with some of the sports contests (I cannot work out how to scale the mountain or win the rugby game vs. the ogres) I did get five scrolls AND have completed all of the mini-quests, including the very sneaky final one. (Folks who play a lot of video games might find the whole thing too simple, but as I seldom indulge in online games it’s a nice change for me.)

    6. Yay!*

      Being able to visit with my dad in his house for the first time since the pandemic started! And seeing all the beautiful trees in the city he lives in.

    7. Voluptuousfire*

      Got my little elliptical set up today and using it now. I need to exercise and this is a great way to get started.

    8. I take tea*

      I’ve been lying in a hammock at night, listening to the grasshoppers and watching the bats swoop around. It’s a very summery thing, and I love it. (Except for the mosquitoes, of course.)

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Mosquitoes + bats = humans are not “at the top of the food chain” !

    9. GoryDetails*

      Just had another lovely moment – I was admiring the blooming bee balm near my garden, loaded with very happy bees, a nice sight in itself. And then a movement at my feet drew my eye, and I saw a very large and handsome garter snake slither away! (I like snakes.) I was sorry to have disturbed it from its sunny spot on the driveway, but was glad to see it even briefly.

  38. I just want a nice haircut*

    Has anyone ever switched from a hair stylist they’ve been seeing for a long time to another stylist at the same location? How did you deal with the awkwardness?

    I got a pixie cut many years ago, and the stylist did a perfect job every time I went for a trim. When she “retired” to take care of her kids, the stylist she recommended absolutely butchered my hair. (It was traumatic because my hair’s short, so I couldn’t just put it in a ponytail or have someone else cut it more to fix it.) I ended up going to Shannon, a stylist my parents knew from their old neighborhood, for the past few years.

    Shannon isn’t good at cutting my hair. She almost always messes it up in some way. Like not cutting my bangs, so then I need to trim them when I get home. Or instead of blending the various layers of hair, you can tell where she cut big chunks of it. Or the hairline on my neck will be uneven and jagged. Or she’ll cut way too much around one ear but do fine around the other. Etc. I’m been increasingly unhappy, especially since her price has gone up $10 over the past few years. The only reason I kept going to her was because I was scared someone else would be worse, and I felt obligation because of the family-friend connection.

    Shannon is out on leave right now, so I had to go to another stylist today, and my hair looks great! I want to switch to the new stylist. I booked another appointment with her on a day Shannon isn’t there to avoid awkwardness, but if I end up going on a day Shannon is there, do I need to say anything?

    1. Wishing You Well*

      No, you don’t have to say anything. Your move to a new stylist says the most. You might have a response ready in case Shannon asks you such as,”I’m sorry, Shannon. I like the way (other stylist) cuts my hair.” I hope you’ll eventually stop scheduling around Shannon’s absences; that’s way too much work on your part for a haircut.
      Glad you found a great stylist!

    2. Not A Manager*

      You don’t need to apologize or explain. Just say hi, maybe ask about something you used to talk about when she cut your hair. “How’s your pet snake doing these days?” She’s suuuuper unlikely to say anything about your switch, but if she does, just say something like, “yeah, you and Fergus are both great stylists,” or something like that.

    3. WS*

      You have a great built-in excuse in that Shannon was on leave! Just say hi and behave normally, because switching stylists isn’t really a big deal like it feels. It’s extremely unlikely anything will be said, but if it is, you can just say, “Oh, Shannon was on leave so I got an appointment with [new stylist], I really like her!”

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I might have a similar problem to this with my change of doctor, which I discussed a few weekends ago. The new doctor shared a practice with my current doctor, but I think the practice receptionist went with her when she moved. I think, if asked, I will respond with “Oh, I thought it would be good to get another opinion”.

  39. Bike commuting*

    I am thinking of starting bike commuting to the office when we go back (at least some days) and am looking for suggestions on how to deal with all that is not related to the bike per se. Do you wear bike shorts/technical shirt? Keep your office clothes in a bag to change? (we are business casual most days). Do you keep wipes in the office? I sweat, are wipes typically good enough? (the showers will be unavailable when we go back). Anything else you leave in the office that makes your life easier? Do you have a favorite bag you carry clothes and lunch? Anything else? I’m sure I’m both forgetting something and overthinking it. Thank you!

    1. ronda*

      the mrmoneymustache blog recommends bike commuting and I think a lot of people who participate in the forum do it, so it might be a good question for them. you could probably even find old posts on the topic to look at if you dont want to sign up for the forum.

    2. Bobina*

      When I lived in a nice flat area – I just wore my normal work clothes (sans any sweater of course) cycled to work and that was fine. Paneers on my bike meant I could just throw in whatever handbag I had for the day which usually was big enough to hold lunch plus the extra sweater .

      Now I live in a hilly area and have a longer commute. My bottom half is usually my normal office wear but I wear a sports shirt on top because sweaty. When I get to the office, I just wipe down with a flannel and then get changed. Again, paneers on my bike so I can put in whatever I need for the day (top half of outfit, lunch etc).

      Some colleagues who did longer commutes or just preferred to cycle in lycra would either bring their change of clothes each day or leave some in the office (eg wear the same trousers all week and just bring a new shirt each day).

    3. Fellow Traveller*

      I used to do a 7 mile bike commute to a workplace without a shower. I would bike in my work pants/skirt and a t-shirt. When I got to work, I would down with baby wipes and wash my face with a wet towel, and put on a fresh shirt and bra and deodorant. Sometimes I would also do a shoe change, depending. (Not sure if you wear a bra, but the fresh bra was key for me). Everything went in the same LL bean backpack I’ve had since college. I tried panniers once, but I found I preferred the weight in my back rather than on my bike. You may have different preferences. I also tend to not buy a lot of bike gear and work in a really casual environment.

    4. llama pyjama*

      I bike commuted about 40km/day for the best part of 8 yrs. If showers are unavailable: get a couple of those super absorbent towels from a camping store, and give yourself a wash/dry at work: that’ll wash you and they should dry by the end of day. If you have a drawer at work, keep a spare set of clothes for emergencies. As for emergencies: my (usual) clothing emergency was lunch fail. Soft fruit did really badly in my pannier. I only had a few salads leak. So: get decent leak-proof containers/lunch bag, and put your day clothes in a protective bag as well.
      You’re not overthinking it! Enjoy the bike commute! I loved it!

    5. Nicki Name*

      I brought a backpack that had, depending on the season, a change of shoes/clothes (in the summer when it was too warm to wear office clothes), a change of socks (rainy season), and/or rain gear (ditto). And extra deodorant at every time of year.

    6. CatCat*

      I used to bike commute. I kept a bag of hygiene items at the office and some hair products. I wore athletic clothes for the ride and put my work clothes and lunch in a pannier. Once I got to work, I’d grab my toiletries/hair bag from the office. Then I’d change in the disabled stall (trust me when I say this is fine at my office/not keeping someone who needs it from using it), use wipes to clean up sweat, apply deodorant, and get dressed. Then I’d just fix my hair at the sink. For hair stuff, I had a comb, hair ties, dry shampoo, a little hair spray, and a round brush/hair dryer comb.

    7. German Girl*

      I bike commute about 3 miles each way. For me the key to not sweating through my clothes in the morning was changing from a backpack to panniers and using deodorant right before I leave the house.
      I usually just wear my work clothes, maybe one layer less, but I keep a set of clothes at the office so I can change if I feel too sweaty when I arrive at the office – but that’s rarely the case.
      Mornings are usually a bit chilly here even in the summer.
      I do sweat through my shirt on the way home in summer, because the way home is uphill and it’s a lot warmer in the afternoon, but I can just change at home.

      Colleagues with longer commutes often cycle in lycra and then just change in the office.

      Also, good rain gear is key if you really want to do it every day. And spike tires for the winter if you’re going to keep doing it in snow/ice conditions.

      But you can just start out with doing it in nice weather, too. Every mile counts.

    8. LGC*

      I’m a pretty regular Citibike (NYC’s bikeshare) user, and I average about 3 miles each way with the to work direction being uphill. In summer, I’ll wear a different shirt, maybe (workout) shorts, and keep my office clothes in my laptop bag. (Which happens to be large enough to keep my clothes.)

      Wipes are generally good enough for the distance I’m traveling. Even on hot days, I don’t get THAT sweaty; I can just ride a bit more slowly and in lower gears, especially on uphills. If you want, bring deodorant along just to be sure.

      It really does depend on how far you’re riding, though (and where you’re riding). Again, my morning rides usually are about 3 miles or so (~20 minutes travel time – lights and all that).

      One of the things I’m considering getting is a backpack-style laptop bag. I have a messenger/briefcase-style bag, and while I’m okay with balancing with it…it’s also kind of uncomfortable.

  40. Anonymous court question*

    I’m appearing in court as the complainant. I’ve done this before, but it was pre-pandemic.

    Does online court work similarly to in person court? I’m having sort of an anxious reaction to the whole thing given the nature of why I’m appearing.

    Also, what are my chances I can not appear on camera? I figured I’d dress for court just in case I had to have my camera on… Which leads to my last question. What does one wear for online court? Same thing you wear to in person court? TIA.

    1. fposte*

      Your court may have guidelines for Zoom court; mine has a section entitled “Behave as You Would in a Courtroom” giving guidelines about clothing, backgrounds, nearby noise, etc. I suspect you’ll be required to have your camera on absent a pressing reason that you can’t.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I’d wear the same thing as I would in person, if it were me.
      They are probably going to want to see you, so plan on using your camera. There may be guidance on the court’s website. You could probably call the court also.
      Since you are the complainant, you can put some extra time in to organizing your thoughts and materials which may in turn reduce some stress or at least keep the stress from getting worse on you.

    3. Katefish*

      Hey! I regularly appear in online court and hope I can help. 1) Each judge’s website will have how they’re doing appearances. I just Google “[judge name] + calendar.” The court itself may also have COVID appearance info online. The court might also put a calendar online a day or two before if you’re lucky. 2) The most common appearance types are telephonic (either through a conference call line that the court provides, or Courtsolutions or the like) and Zoom.gov. If you call/email the court and ask for the judge’s courtroom deputy, they can confirm up-to-date information on how to appear. If you’re representing yourself, make sure the courtroom deputy has your email address and that you RSVP beforehand if required. Be faultlessly polite at all times. 3) Whatever the hearing type, make sure your method of appearing has a mute button and that you use it 24/7 when not speaking. “You’ve got mail!”, hold music, yelling at staff/clients/pets/relatives in the background is fun for everyone, but you do NOT want to be that person! 4) Show up 15 minutes early like you would in person. 5) State your name each time before you speak – this is very unnatural, but helps the recorder. 6) If it’s video court, wear a suit (if possible) and make sure the device you’re using isn’t trying to connect to a VPN during court. 7) Some courts cancel hearings by issuing tentative rulings the day before, or if no opposition is filed. Ask if the court does this when you call ahead. If so, make sure you follow the court’s exact procedure to have the hearing (if necessary). Best of luck!

  41. ecnaseener*

    Today on Surprisingly Difficult Things to Find for New Apartment:

    Where can I get a nice heavy door-stop? I’ve definitely seen some big iron ones, with like a little lip that goes under the door for stability…but I would settle for any heavy non-breakable object that doesn’t look completely stupid, probably doesn’t have to be intended as a doorstop.

    The door to my apt is 2 inches off the ground so a normal wedge won’t work. (And it’s heavy enough that even an oversized wooden wedge wouldn’t hold it.)

    1. Wishing You Well*

      Some people use a brick covered in a nice fabric but any heavy, artsy thing would do. Scout your local thrift store.
      Happy Hunting!

    2. acmx*

      Check HomeGoods and the like. I’ve seen pretty heavy book ends that could be used for a doorstop. Also, antique stores.

      1. SnappinTerrapin*

        That’s how my grandparents repurposed theirs when they got electricity. Decades of use in their secondary role.

    3. Chaordic One*

      A few weeks ago I went to a farmer’s market and there was a booth where they sold what looked like stuffed animals. I picked one up and was shocked at how heavy it was. It turns out the stuffed animals were intended to be used for doorstops and they were filled with sand.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Yeah those are actually the only kind available at bed bath & beyond…not my style.

    4. Cookie D'oh*

      In our garage, there’s a door that opens out to the backyard. It has a higher than normal gap between the floor and door. My husband nailed a regular doorstep to a 2×4 piece of wood and it makes up for the sif.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          The wood isn’t holding the door–the floor is. The wedge just has to be high friction enough not to slide across the floor, and at least a half inch taller than the door gap.

    5. sswj*

      I’ve used an interesting-looking cobblestone that I got at a Lowe’s/Home Depot type store.

    6. I just want a nice haircut*

      I was looking for door stops a year or two ago, and I remember coming across “stackable” or “interlocking” rubber door wedges that could be used for higher doors.

      There are also doorstops that go on the top of the door instead of the bottom, like the Wedge-It Ultimate Door Stop.

      (I ended up getting normal doorstops from Target, so I haven’t actually tried either.)

    7. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I use fisherman’s knot doorstops (you can search them on Amazon). Basically a heavy (but not too heavy) ball covered by braided rope with a handle. I live in New England near the water so it looks appropriate in my house, but YMMV.

    8. Homophone Hattie*

      A nice big rock? Like an attractive water-worn one from a local river or beach, or even bought from a garden centre or rock store? I’ve seen ones with words or images carved on them, too, meant, I think, for rock gardens, but good for doorstops if that’s your jam.

      1. Lizzie*

        Years ago I was into tapestry, and I eventually used my indigo and gold tapestry of Tutankhamen’s head to cover a brick, and I can see it now from where I am sitting – King T has done an excellent job for at least 30 years! If you needed more height, you could wrap two bricks together in any material you have to hand.

      2. ecnaseener*

        I thought of that, but I feel like it would look silly since the door just opens onto an indoor hallway not the outdoors.

    9. Susie*

      Jamm Door Stopper. Amazon has them.
      I got one to hold my industrial, fire proof, must be made of solid iron classroom door open. I think it is shorter than 2in, but I think they are stackable. I was using a dumbbell, which was a pain to move every time I needed to shut the door…

    10. Longtime Lurker*

      I got mine on ebay – it’s an incredibly heavy, adorable but not cutesy, goose (duck?). Just be sure to check the shipping costs before you bid/buy!

    11. NMFTG*

      Mason jar with heavy and decorative stones might work, depending on how heavy the door is.

  42. TurtleMom*

    What’s the strangest thing you’ve found while moving into (or out of) an an apartment/house/etc.? I’ll put my answer in a comment.

    1. TurtleMom*

      I found a gun in my closet! The apartment I was moving out of had built in shelving in the closet and the top shelf was too high for me to see, even standing on the little step stool I have. When I was cleaning out the apartment though, I had already packed the stool so I stood on a regular chair to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind on that top shelf and I could see that there was something pushed all the way towards the back of the closet, but I couldn’t reach it or see what it was. That is, until I pulled out my phone and pointed the camera at the shelf, and very clearly saw a gun laying there!

      I don’t own any guns and I live alone, so it must have been there since I moved into that apartment a year ago. Who moves out and forgets to pack their gun? How did the landlord not find it when they were cleaning the apartment after the last person moved out? How did I miss it when I checked all the shelves right after I moved in??

      1. Meh*

        What did you do?!

        My story is from a goodwill find. An awesome pair of antique binoculars in a end table drawer (which my roommate then stole, grr)

        1. TurtleMom*

          Well, despite the fact that I am an adult who has not lived with my parents in 5 years, first I called my dad… because he knows everything, right? Then I called the police department non-emergency line and they eventually sent an officer to come take care of it.

          Your find is so cool! (Grr about the roommate though)

      2. ronda*

        my nephew worked at car rental place and said people leaving guns in the car was incredible common and that they turned them over to the police.
        He said one customer called in looking for his gun and the car had already been re-rented. I think an employee got fired over not finding it.

      3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Safety issues aside, those things are expensive! Unless it was super cheapo, that’s at least several hundred dollars, if not several thousand.

        I must say though, if whoever left it there thought it was a good hiding place, they were certainly correct.

        1. TurtleMom*

          That’s honestly the weirdest part to me – I understand people forgetting something like a water bottle when they move out (or leaving it in their rental car) but I would sure think you’d remember that you have a gun laying around somewhere!

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      There was a red plastic mug shaped like Mr Peanut in the kitchen cabinet when we bought our house. It stayed the whole time we lived there (we did not use it) and I think got donated with some of our stuff when we moved.

    3. HBJ*

      Weed. That explains why the garage smelled a little musty the entire time we lived there.

        1. HBJ*

          Umm, no. What part of our garage smelling a little bad for a year is a “score”? We don’t smoke, so it just went in the trash. And it appeared to be home grown, it wasn’t very much, and it was not in any sort of container, so I doubt anyone would have considered it to be very “good.”

    4. A313*

      Some old Playboys and Hustlers in my first house (bought from a younger couple with little kids) semi-hidden in the shelves under the basement stairs. My second house, a small basement closet completely lined in tinfoil; we’re only the third owners, and I suspect it was from the era of the first owner, but what was it for? Any ideas?

      1. TurtleMom*

        Interesting! The part of me that loves conspiracy theories wants to believe it’s some sort of primitive panic room. Although I could also see my uber-geek brother building a similar thing because his projects are at such a high level of uber-geekiness that the radio waves in the air might *actually* interfere with whatever the project is!

      2. Chaordic One*

        When I was a kid, my parents moved into a house that had a “canning closet” in the basement, a small room completely lined with shelves. I guess in those days, people canned a lot of fruit and vegetables that were grown in the summer and stored them there and ate them throughout the winter. I wonder it it was something like that. The house also had a “coal bin” in the basement, a closet like room with a comparatively small metal door (2 x 3 feet or so) that opened to the outside. People opened the little metal door and shoveled coal into the closet from outside. The basement also contained the cast iron wood-burning cook stove and an old wooden”ice box” that the original owner must have used at one point. The house had been built in the mid 1930s, but when we moved it had modern electric appliances and a natural gas-powered furnace with forced air heat.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          My childhood home had one of those, although we called it a fruit cellar, and yes, that’s what it was used for. It was mostly underground, and had no heating elements, so it was nice and cool even in the summer, and we kept things like onions, apples and potatoes, plus home canning (pickles, jam, tomatoes), plus things like pop and purchased canned stuff. And occasionally the cat, when he snuck in and didn’t get back out in time.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      When I first looked at my house, I went out into the backyard, kinda pulled the shed door open while talking over my shoulder to my realtor, turned and looked into the shed and literally screamed, because there was a zombie-looking Halloween mannequin with the creepiest face, standing there RIGHT in the shed doorway.

      I wasn’t 100% sure that day that I wanted to put an offer in, and the market was such at the time that I could take a couple days to think about it. So I went back a few days later, having told the above story to my husband and brother, with the guys to look at it again. We went out into the backyard, brother randomly opened the shed and literally screamed, because there was the mannequin. (Legit startled, not being silly.) I decided that day to put in my offer, which was accepted.

      I went back for the inspection, and my best friend was in town visiting, so she came with me, having heard both parts of the above story at the times they happened. Three guesses what happened.

      At the closing, which was the first time I actually saw the seller, I said, “Hey, silly question. What’s with that creepy Halloween doll in the shed?” She looked blank for a second, then was like “Oh! He’s just a Halloween decoration, I’ll put him in the goodwill pile.” I said “You know what, if you’re just gonna get rid of him anyway, you can totally just leave him in the shed.”

      Because at that point, my household had discussed it and we were 100% positive that if anyone got rid of Lurch, we were going to find him mysteriously reappeared in the shed with, like, a blood-dripping axe or something one morning. So he is still out in the shed, almost six years later, except that he goes out to the front porch every Halloween where he watches over our candy bowl for the trick-or-treaters. (A couple times my husband has set him in the house along the way and I’ve come around the corner and screamed again. Also, the cats don’t like him at ALL, like fur on end and hissing. So Lurch doesn’t get to stop in the house anymore on his way up front or back.)

      1. TurtleMom*

        Oh my goodness! My parents have a similar relationship with a dismembered shop mannequin that lives in their crawl space – no one is entirely sure where she came from, but they also can’t seem to get rid of her. Luckily, my parents solved the “is it funny to hide the mannequin to scare each other” debate long before I was born. (debate result: NO)

      2. Meh*

        I was house hunting recently and the basement had been used as a haunted house. The utility sink/wall was covered in “blood” and there was a partially buried body. My realtor warned me thankfully. But apparently another person went to look and wasn’t forewarned and completely freaked out.

    6. Chaordic One*

      My one set of grandparents were renters for most of their lives. At one point they rented a house from an elderly gentleman who had to move into a nursing home and while the house was empty, the garage behind it was filled with all sorts of interesting old things. The garage was built in the 1910s or maybe the 1920s and it was too small for most cars so it was used for storage. I remember it being filled with old furniture, shipping trunks and boxes. The strangest thing to me was a small alligator (or maybe it was a crocodile) that was about 3 feet long and that been taxidermied. My grandparents never messed with any of the stuff left behind, but used part of the garage for storage of their garden tools.

    7. PollyQ*

      Some years after I’d moved in, I found a half pack of cigarettes hidden between the top of the bathroom medicine cabinet & the light fixture.

    8. Coenobita*

      Extremely large containers of protein powder accompanied by a rather nice glass butter dish.

      This isn’t my story, but someone I know moved in to an older home in the U.S. midwest and started fixing it up. He found a box in a wall, and it had a bunch of letters sent home by a soldier in World War II. I think he was able to find the family and give them their letters back!

    9. The Dude Abides*

      I never found strange things from my own moves, but for the year-plus I lived in a trailer park in rural Iowa, I helped my uncle move people in/out and clean out abandoned units, since I was young and had no sense of smell. For abandoned units, we were allowed to keep anything of value we found.

      Once, when moving a couch out of an abandoned unit, a battery-operated boyfriend of decent endowment fell out from under a cushion.

    10. AGD*

      Most of the stuff I’ve found has been prosaic, but I know a couple who found a single rusty old roller skate.

    11. WoodswomanWrites*

      Years ago a housemate and I lived in a repurposed trailer that had been moved from a trailer park. In a closet, we discovered an ancient container of Rexall tooth powder in a metal container that pre-dated the days when plastic would have been used. We kept it for a while before finally giving it away to a collector.

    12. Windchime*

      A Ladies’ Home Journal magazine from 1945! This was back in the 80’s and I have to assume it was left by accident. I still have it; it’s very fragile but so interesting to read the articles about the “boys coming home” from the war, the advertisements, etc.

    13. German Girl*

      A pile of sand and some wet spots on the floor right in the middle of the living room. Neighbors informed us that the previous tenants had thrown a “beach party” for their friends before leaving town.

    14. ampersand*

      I found a love letter written by the former tenant to his (male) roommate; this was in a house I rented about 20 years ago, and I met the former tenants briefly before moving in. So the writer of said letter was very in love with his housemate who, according to the letter, had no idea. It was actually a very sweet letter–I found it hidden on the top shelf in a bedroom closet and assumed that it was written and put there for safekeeping, only to be forgotten when they moved out. I read it and put it back. I wonder who else has found it in the intervening years.

    15. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Got possession of my house, started doing stuff. Found a big box in the back of the closet, tucked out of sight. Pulled it out, opened it, and realized that the previous owners had left the wedding dress behind!

    16. Squirrel Nutkin*

      My ex moved into an apt that came with an old ironing board that folded down into the kitchen from a very shallow cabinet on the wall. An earlier tenant’s household accounts (from the 1920s or 1930s based on the prices) were scribbled there (on the inside of the cabinet door, if I remember right) in pencil.

  43. Lady Unemployed*

    Some blogger problems! My Alexa rank takes forever to change for a particular unemployment blog of mine, I want it under a million to get into HARO.

    1. RagingADHD*

      Generally, the best way to make a blog more popular is to produce new content more frequently, and make that content more engaging and more valuable or entertaining.

      It’s not a fun, easy quick tip, but it works.

      If you’re going to share stories, they need to be well written and resonate with the reader.

      If you’re going to give advice, you need to qualify yourself somehow as an expert or authority so people believe your advice is worth taking.

      Most importantly, your posts need to be something that readers want to share with others — so that they get “credit” for being helpful, smart/knowledgable, funny, insightful, compassionate, or however they want people to see them. So that’s always a good thought exercise — why would people want to share my content? How would sharing my content boost their perception of themselves, and/or their own popularity?

  44. KeinName*

    I‘ve recently read three books by a gay British author which I really enjoyed, as they combined historical fiction and contemporary life and are really funny. I was about to download a fourth book when I noticed Amazon recommended lots of trans-critical books to readers of this author, and after googling him I found he is a great champion of JK Rowlings viewpoint and has lots of ideas about how trans rights promote a harmful gender ideology and whatnot. I am really bummed because I so enjoyed these books and found some jokes about the left and anti-racist agendas and so on quite funny, thinking they were meant self-deprecatory. Not so sure now…
    Have now downloaded some short stories by Kiley Reid and Jia Tolentino to cleanse my Kindle a bit…
    Did you have similar experiences with enjoyable books or other artists?

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      Really just with JK Rowling. It’s appalling that she wrote this great series about like… fake discrimination, but those values don’t translate to her real world views? I don’t generally pay attention to authors outside of their books so they have to be really openly, intentionally awful for me to hear about it.

        1. Siege*

          Her stereotypes about EVERYTHING are racist or otherwise ist AF. Jews, the Irish, women, fat people, thin people, vaguely-middle-eastern people, slaves and slavery, gay people … it’s utterly appalling.

          1. Princess Deviant*

            Oh god yes, I forgot about that (haven’t read the books, only seen a couple of the films).

    2. Opinions, I've Had a Few*

      Orson Scott Card. Warren Ellis. Hemingway. Lovecraft. There’s no shortage of brilliant authors who were/are incredibly problematic.

    3. anonforthis*

      Unfortunately, most Western authors I grew up with. If they were white, they were probably racist. If they’re male, they were probably sexist. (Some examples would be any 19th century English writer, Roald Dahl, and of course JK Rowling.)

      1. Chaordic One*

        Or very anti-Semitic. Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I can see where the ideas for “The Plot Against America” tv series on HBO came from. (I recently saw a rerun of an old TV movie about the Lindbergh kidnapping where the actress playing Anne was Jewish. I wonder if the casting was intentional.)

    4. Nicki Name*

      I learned about Roald Dahl’s thoughts on Jews a couple years ago. There are some books I’m never going back to.

      (Since I also know he absolutely hated the Willy Wonka movie, I can still watch that.)

      1. UKDancer*

        Definitely. I have really mixed feelings on Roald Dahl. I loved his books growing up because their mix of gruesome and funny worked for me. This was before the Internet so his views were not well known. Then I read some of his adult short stories and they were so creepy and horrible that I wondered what sort of mind comes up with that sort of thing. I mean you can see traces of it in his children’s fiction (the deaths of the aunts in James and the Giant Peach and the slightly disturbing ending of The Witches for example) but the adult books were quite disturbing to me.

        Then more recently I learnt about his views on Jewish people so I wouldn’t read his works again for that reason.

        Yet for all that I find his article on the death of his daughter Olivia due to measles deeply moving. It’s one of the best arguments for vaccination that I’ve seen. It’s hard to work out how someone who can write something this beautiful can also write something so ugly.

        1. Felis alwayshungryis*

          I suppose there’s a certain amount of having to look at his thoughts in a historical context, and the moment in time in which he wrote those (horrible) things. He may have revised his opinion years later but not preserved a written record; or, indeed, not, but as he’s been dead since 1990 we can’t really ask him.

          That said, I loved his books as a kid but I’ve gone off them as an adult. There are still a couple that I like (Danny, Matilda), but I don’t think I’ll be pushing him on my own kid.

    5. Chaordic One*

      Two people who I kind of admired and who I think fall in that category are the singer Morrisey from the Smiths, and the standup comic/actress Roseanne Barr.

      1. mreasy*

        Morrissey! Why can’t he just stop talking? I’m thankful I saw him live before we all knew the extent of his awfulness, and it was truly great.

        1. Chaordic One*

          I know. So many, now middle-aged, people say how his music helped them through dark times when they were young and then he, well, you know. Just be quiet and let people think you might be deplorable, instead of opening your mouth and removing all doubt.

    6. Double A*

      V.S. Naipaul has extremely disappointing views about women that definitely tainted my enjoyment of his books.

    7. WoodswomanWrites*

      I read the fantasy The Mists of Avalon many years ago and enjoyed it, an anomaly for me because fantasy isn’t a genre I’m typically interested in. It wasn’t until I read a comment on one of the weekend threads here that I realized author Marian Zimmer Bradley and her husband were exposed later as pedophiles who harmed many children.

    8. mreasy*

      David Foster Wallace. I love most of his work but it’s very difficult to reread knowing that he was a violent sex abuser.

    9. I'm A Little Teapot*

      We are all human, we are all imperfect, and we all have prejudice ingrained in us. Even babies show preference for other babies that look like them. The real question is how visible whatever is going on is. I know nothing about the authors you referenced, but what’s to say they’re not equally objectionable in some other way?

      Read what you enjoy. Be aware of the problems, and reject that viewpoint.

  45. Wooden Blinds*

    We have blackout shades in the bedrooms and I am permanently incapable of using them. I just can’t get the angle right to jerk them so they retract, and I’m constantly cursing a blue streak as I fight with them.

    I want to replace them with wooden blinds, but I’m concerned about the difference in light leakage. Do routeless blinds provide good light blockage? Are there other features I should look for?

    1. Kathenus*

      I can’t help with the wood blinds question but I use blackout curtains – more forgiving than shades as they cover a larger area than the exact window. Not sure if they’re an option for you but tossing it out as an idea.

    2. Person from the Resume*

      If it’s not marketed as “blackout” it won’t be. And surprisingly wooden blinds don’t block nearly as much as you think wood would.

    3. A313*

      I have fabric blackout honeycomb shades. I was warned in advance that light will come in on the sides, and it does, and that’s fine for me. If I really wanted to block light, I would choose blackout curtains, I think.

    4. AY*

      We bought honeycomb blinds that are absolutely fantastic for light blocking. They’re not super attractive, but they were less than half the price of wooden blinds, the cat doesn’t mess with them, and they were a great purchase for us.

    5. WS*

      Wooden blinds do not provide good light blockage. They are great when you want to control the angle and amount of light coming in, but they’re not good for completely shutting out light.

    6. NoLongerYoung*

      I also have the wide wooden blinds, and had to put the blackout drapes over them because there was simply too much light.

      I do have different styles of blackout curtains. All are on the blackout rod (with the curved sides). I don’t have to “draw them” with a pull cord – I just close them with my hands.

      The ones with the metal grommets do slide easier than the ones where the rod goes through the pocket. But the only place I have any problem is the small transition from where the rods “nest” into each other. The home office one catches a little for some reason (home depot rod) – the bedroom ones are perfect.

      Can you describe your problems with pulling them shut a bit more? It may be that a different rod might make it easier.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I think she means a roller shade that you pull down and yank to make it retract. Sounds like she has trouble retracting the shade.

        Although That could just mean the retraction mechanism is messed up and not her actions.

        1. NoLongerYoung*

          In which case, I highly recommend the honeycomb retractable shades – my SIL just installed blackout ones in her guest room, and I stayed – they were great. Smooth up and down.

          But complete blackout – not perfect. Complete blackout I got with the curtains on the special curved rods, over the existing blinds. (Light significantly alters my sleep).

  46. Fellow Traveller*

    Looking for suggestions for a sewing project!
    I impulsively picked up some sparkly pink fabric in the 50% off remnants bin to throw in my daughter’s dress up chest. But now I’m thinking I would like to use it to make my nine year old and her friend something matching to wear for their performance at the summer camp talent show (they’re singing A Million Dreams from Greatest Showman- so cute!). Thing is there is only a little less than half a yard to split between the two of them, so I’m not sure what to use it for. It’s not enough to make them each a skirt, which would have been my first impulse. Any suggestions for something I can make instead? I have pretty basic sewing skills.

    1. Hey y’all*

      How about the front of a vest for each of them?
      You could make the back from another fabric.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      Headbands, like a wide one that ties. Arm bands or leg warmers. Capes with a different fabric for the lining (bonus: they’d be reversible!). Maybe more like a sash thing that could tie over a skirt or pants like an apron so they get the look of a skirt using less material.

    3. llama pyjama*

      If they each have black t-shirts or tights, I’d hand sew on accent marks. Lightening bolts or stripes. I’ve done something similiar when my kid was about that age.

    4. thewingmaster*

      Fabric marble necklaces. Some sewing, but most of it is putting marbles in it to create that pearl necklace look.

  47. Ask a Manager* Post author

    People with ADHD: Any book recommendations for someone with ADHD who’s frustrated that he keeps not retaining information (and thus ends up with conflicting plans for the same day, etc.)? All my advice that works for me doesn’t work for him (“write everything on a calendar!” / “I won’t remember to check it/won’t remember to write things down on it”) but I know there are ADHD-specific strategies that work for people and wonder if there’s an especially useful book.

    1. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I don’t know about a book but I think one thing that helps me is that if it’s in my Notes app on my iphone, I will remember it, esp if I wrote it down. I think the reason it works for me is b/c I open the app maybe 100 times a day (ok I’ve never actually counted but it’s a fair amount). I never open a calendar so I wouldn’t use that.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I found “Smart but Scattered” and a non-ADHD-specific book, “Work Clean” to be very helpful, not because of specific tips, but because they give you a different way to think about what you’re trying to do.

      SBS has a strength-based approach that helps you understand which executive skills you are strongest in, and come up with ways to use them to compensate for weaknesses.

      WC is all about examining your own processes for getting things done, and adjusting them to be more consistent and effective.

      This kind of lateral thinking helps to overcome the common thought distortions that plague many ADHDers, like magical thinking and all-or-nothing thinking. And it helps to find an individual plan, since ADHD is so highly variable from one person to the next (and with the same person at different times.)

      1. Susie*

        I’m addition to Smart but Scattered (which is awesome), I’d recommend Driven to Distraction. How to ADHD Is a great YouTube series and ADHD Essentials is a great podcast.
        The Motivation Breakthrough is a book for parents and about learning disabilities, but it has such great framing so that the reader is better able to empathize and strategize as opposed to shaming when something that “should be easy” isn’t. Shame is a huge component to deal with when developing strategies to minimize the impact of ADHD. (Sped teacher here who works with kids with mental health challenges and frequent comorbid ADHD diagnoses) (well and also an adult woman who likely has ADHD but was never properly diagnosed cause of gendered screening biases)

    3. ADD*

      I don’t have a book rec, but I’ll share what works for me. I know you said scheduling on a calendar doesn’t work for this person, but to be frank, it’s simply the only way I can manage (and manage quite well, if I may say so myself). If this person will forget to check their calendar, they can set it up for regular reminders (all events have automatic reminders, anyway), and even have Google Home/Sirri/Alexxa set up to give reminders, or a daily run-down of the day’s events. By the way, I believe that a calendar is how 90% of people (ADD or not) “remember” events and appointments. Literally, the only other alternative is to hire a personal assistant to follow ​around and tell you what you need to do and when…

      What I do:
      I immediately put every appointment/meeting or time-based reminder on my Google Calendar (I can access it on my work computer, personal computer, and phone). This includes everything from “Give pet monthly medicine” (recurring monthly) to “Friend’s important surgery” on such-and-such date (so I can remember to ask them about it) to birthdays (recurring annually) and one-off meetings. Within Google calendar, I have different calendars: one for personal things, one for work-related, etc. They show up in different color (which you can select). ADD famously involves time-blindness, so when it’s especially important that I reach someplace on time, I often schedule “events” like “7:30 – Start getting ready”, “8:30 – Leave”, and “9 – Reach.” This helps me stay on track.

      I always have Google calendar open in a tab, and I check it several times most days.

      1. ADD*

        I do think that going from never using a calendar to putting everything on one is unrealistic and overwhelming (or at least it would be for me). I didn’t start off this way. I started off by putting in only the 1 or 2 MOST important events/meetings. That seemed to help, and I eventually put in more. So, I suggest trying that.
        I am a visual person so it’s incredibly more useful and reassuring for me to see what events are coming up. This also helps me plan out how and when to prepare for important things. It is a big stress-reliever that I no longer need to worry about forgetting important things. I essentially outsourced that effort to an app.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yeah – I’m a little perplexed at how one would expect to remember time-based obligations without somehow writing (literally or figuratively) them down on something, and even if that’s not a monthly/weekly grid, a list of time-based obligations is still functionally a calendar – it’s just a question of finding the format (electronic vs paper, grid vs list, whiteboard vs notebook, whatever) that works for each individual.

        I mean, I get executive dysfunction, I have a whole houseful of it in different individuals that display in different ways, but “how do I remember stuff AND WRITING IT DOWN IS TOTALLY NOT AN OPTION” seems kind of self-defeating right off the bat.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I recognize this, though. It’s not really refusal, it’s being stuck in a loop of negativity and all-or-nothing thinking.

          “I have never succeeded with this before, therefore there is no way I can ever succeed, and it’s all awful and there’s no point trying because nothing will ever help.”

          There’s all kinds of things that could help, like voice notes, or multiple calendars, or learning (gradually) to never make committments on the fly.

          But when someone is emotionally stuck in the “No-nos,” it’s very much like a toddler who says they don’t want ice cream, because they can’t change gears.

          Mental flexibility, problemsolving, and metacognition (recognizing your own thought patterns) are all executive functions, too. And people vary in how well they can use them at different times.

        2. Batgirl*

          I completely get it. If I do nothing more than simply write things down it’s to help me process in the moment, because I have come to accept that I will probably never see it again, (or I will view it when it’s too late to matter), without an additional tool to help remind me to check it. I have three tools I use to help me do this: 1) A standing Alexa reminder to check my calendar at a given time as well as Alexa reminders for the individual things on my calendar, it’s just so much more useful to have the voice pipe up and the reminder to pop up on my phone/smart watch.
          2) Attach the calendar to something you use every day already/will have to consult. I have a planner with my internet passwords, school timetable… Just my whole life in general. It is left open at the last checked calendar page so it’s the first thing I see when I have to go consult it.
          3) Make it part of your routine. I check my electronic agenda every morning and the three morning things I always forget to do (defrost dinner, coffee flask for work and set a timer so I get out of the house punctually) are always on there so it’s always worth consulting.

    4. A Cat named Brian*

      I dont have a book either buttI like the FB ADHD magazine/group. ADDitude. I also use “a place for everything and everything in its place” to help remember things. Like my eyeglasses are kept next to microwave. Weird but I know where they are. I would be completely lost without my calendar app with reminders and Any.do app (lists). I put info in at the time and add reminders for both of those.

    5. Observer*

      (“write everything on a calendar!” / “I won’t remember to check it/won’t remember to write things down on it”)

      For someone like that it can be worthwhile to use a phone app, so you can put things in AS THEY HAPPEN. No remembering to put it in later. AND set up the default appointment to alert you.

      1. German Girl*

        Yeah, I had the same problem with a calendar until I put a calendar widget on my phone’s home screen – almost full screen so I see all my appointments the moment I look at my phone and adding something new / checking availability doesn’t even require opening an app.

    6. ampersand*

      No book recommendations, but I highly recommend the YouTube channel and site How to ADHD. It’s informative and offers useful advice, and what I appreciate about it is that it normalizes the ADHD experience. Learning helpful strategies resonates so much more when the person suggesting them has ADHD herself and really gets how hard it can be to live with.

      Writing things down is key for most of us. I have a written list in a notebook of things that need to be done/are important, iphone calendar reminders that go off at set times beforehand, and a dry erase calendar on my fridge that includes all appointments/activities/etc. It can take time to find workable strategies, and I know for me even my three-prong approach to calendaring isn’t foolproof–I sometimes still forget things, but overall this approach works much much better than doing nothing and hoping I remember (which is what I used to do).

    7. insertusername*

      I liked these books:
      Healing ADD by Dr. Daniel Amen
      Driven to Distraction
      You Mean I am not Lazy Stupid or Crazy?!

      Charlene Johnson also has a lot of podcasts on this topic. She also pitches a lot of things, so take it for what it’s worth, but I enjoy her perspective sometimes.

  48. Lotus*

    Random question:

    Has anyone watched Never Have I Ever on Netflix? And if so, how sad are the issues dealing with the main character’s fathers death? I know I sound weird, but I don’t deal with parental death in shows and movies very well, and this past year, my tolerance for any bit of sadness in movies and shows has pretty much diminished. It seems like a good show otherwise though.

    1. TurtleMom*

      I watched season 1 a couple months ago, and just recently binged season 2. I loved the show! There were a couple of scenes in the first season that made me cry, but my stress levels were so high at the time that literally everything else also made me cry. Over all though, it’s a pretty light hearted show and when they do deal with the father’s death it’s in more of a “honor your loved one by continuing to live your life” tone than a “feel the crushing weight of the character’s grief” tone. Plus, he reappears in flashbacks and dreams, so it doesn’t feel quite as final as it would real life.

      1. Unkempt Flatware*

        Totally agree. Her father’s death already happened when we meet her. It is the plot line that keeps her grounded to her family and also creates the tension with her family in a way. I also cried a couple times but it wouldn’t be anything I’d think to recall when remembering the show. It’s a fantastic show.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          This is an aspect of it that would very much touch a nerve with me “It is the plot line that keeps her grounded to her family”. So thanks for the heads up even though I realize I’m not taking it the way you’d intended. Useful info nonetheless.

  49. Very imp. Q for Alison*

    Alison — do you have a favorite child, or are all six cats the same in your eyes?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Well … it’s easier to tell you the cats’ favorites. Wallace, Eve, and Laurie are more bonded with me, and Sophie, Olive, and Hank are more bonded with my husband. But I adore them all!

      The other day I asked my husband who he would save first in a fire, me or the cats, and he hesitated for a really long time.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Perhaps he was thinking “Alison is a rational adult who could get herself out the door if I shouted a warning, whereas the cats might run and hide and make me take valuable time to catch them” or “if I warn Alison, she can help me catch the cats to get them outside”?

      2. Very Imp. Q for Alison*

        OMG, that’s hilarious. Well, when I was 6 we lived in a development where it was known the houses were tinderboxes. The fire dept came and did drills for all the families. In case of fire in the stairwell, which separated the kids’ rooms from the parents’, I was supposed to drop my little brother onto the bushes out the (second story) window, and then jump myself. But secretly I planned to save my hamster first.

        1. ampersand*

          1. I love that you wanted to save your hamster first, that’s hilarious!
          2. As a parent, I am appalled that you were supposed to drop your little brother out a SECOND STORY WINDOW (I get that it’s better than the alternative, but still…).

      3. Callisto*

        Amy time we have more cats than humans (I foster litters sometimes) I start to have nightmares about getting them all out in the event of a fire.

        1. Worked in IT forever*

          I guess it never hurts to have a plan, even if you’ll likely never need it. My husband was just saying that we should really move the cat carriers from the basement closet to the first floor. That way, they’d be easier to grab if there’s an emergency and we have to stuff our cats into them.

          Good for you for fostering!

      4. Not So NewReader*

        In an odd way that is sweet. My aunts have a term for men who like cats: “Keepers”.

      5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Our household agreement is that everyone is top-level responsible for their own pets in an emergency – help the others if you can, but each pet has one official owner, and each official owner is first-and-foremost responsible for their own pets.

  50. OyHiOh