weekend open thread – August 14-15, 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: A Good Family, by A. H. Kim. When a wealthy pharma exec is sent to prison, her sister-in-law steps in to help with the kids … and uncovers a string of lies and deception. Much suspense and excitement ensues.

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

{ 1,076 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Some reminders of the commenting rules for these weekend threads:

    • The weekend open threads are for relatively light discussion.

    • We cannot give medical advice here. (Please don’t ask for it!)

    • Comments should ask questions and/or seek to discuss ideas. Recommendations or one to two updates on things you received advice about in the past are also fine. But I ask that people not post “here’s an update on my life” personal-blog-style posts.

    These rules keep things in the realm of what I can moderate on weekends.

  2. Missy*

    Can we do a non-work mortification thread in this post and talk about our embarrassing mortifications outside of work? I’ve spent all week laughing at the mortification posts and don’t want to quit them. Who has more funny stories?

    I will start. Last week at a family barbecue I sidled up behind my husband, put my arms around him and pressed myself against him from behind, and said right in his ear “you look amazing right now.” It was his brother.

    1. Anon but mortified*

      I was at a hardware store getting some paint for our house. The poor guy who got stuck helping me (paint mixing takes FOREVER) was finishing up his work shift soon, and told me he would be getting off at about 4 or so. We made awkward chitchat of the kind that comes from two people not good at small talk stuck in a situation where they had to be around each other for several minutes. Finally he finished and handed me the paint. It was now only 5 minutes or so before his shift was going to end. What I MEANT to say was to wish him a good evening once he got off work and could go home. What I ACTUALLY said was, “Thank you so much for the paint. I hope you have a good time getting off.” The funniest part is that I didn’t even realize what I’d said (and he either didn’t hear me or hid his reaction well). It was my friend who was with me who absolutely lost it when we got out of the store. Sigh.

      1. noncommital pseudonym*

        Oh dear, hardware store mortifications.

        I was trying to repair a wood fence, and needed a 3-4″ wood screw to hold boards together.

        I walked up to a employee and announced, “Hi! I need a nice long screw.”

        We both stood there stunned for a moment, and then I clarified that I needed a 3-4″ wood screw. He showed me the bin and pretty much ran away.

    2. BlackStarHome*

      My son was talking to my in-laws (his grandparents), so proud of how tall he’s getting. “I’m so tall, I’m almost to mommy’s nipples!”

      I’m so thankful I wasn’t present for this.

    3. Anonymous for the rest of my life*

      I was asked by a friend and his fiancee to be their wedding officiant. I traveled out of town, met his fiancee for the first time and was honored that she wanted me in this role. Together we went over all the logistics and the ceremony the day before including her excellent written directions for the ceremony the next day at a venue they had rented and couldn’t access until the day of the wedding.

      They explained there would a designated chair in front where some props for the ceremony would be that they and others would use as their part of the ceremony. I got to the event early and the props were there. I was calm and comfortable with being the officiant. Then I realized I had forgotten a small bag of other items back in my hotel room. I drove back to my hotel, picked them up, and returned in time for the ceremony but someone had moved the stuff on the chair. I dashed around to find them, located them nearby, and was so frazzled at that point that when I got the signal that the bride and groom were ready, I just started reading what I was supposed to say before the musician had started playing and the couple wasn’t even in the room yet.

      The groom had to walk out and interrupt me while the guests all sat there quietly. I apologized to everyone present, and we started over. Everyone was gracious about it, and the bride had photos taken with me both officially and at a photo booth, but I just wanted to teleport out of there. I had agreed to help with logistics at the reception and everyone was gracious and at least I did that part well.

      When I got home, I mailed an apology about being out of my freaking mind with anxiety because of not finding the props until the last minute. My friend called to say they appreciated my card and haven’t held it against me. It’s been a few years and still… ugh.

    4. The Prettiest Curse*

      I was wearing ankle-length lace-up boots and a knee-length skirt to a performance at the local opera house. While I was taking a walk during intermission, a lace from one boot got caught on a hook on the other boot and I went crashing to the marble floor with such force that the people around me actually gasped. Fortunately, nothing was broken, but ugh, that was humiliating! I’ll stick to wearing those boots with trousers in the future.

      1. Cordelia*

        A friend and I were staying at a youth hostel in the hills and preparing for a days walking (which was out of character in itself, neither of us being particularly outdoorsy). After showing off at the communal breakfast table about how far we were planning to walk, then setting off with all our gear, we got as far as the car park before I managed to get one shoelace of my hiking boots hooked round the other boot, basically tying my feet together – I then crashed forward, for some reason not putting my hands out to save myself because I didn’t want to drop the (paper) map, landing face first. We had to go back into the youth hostel 5 minutes after we had left. No major harm done, except to my ego, but I feel your pain, Prettiest Curse!

        1. PhyllisB*

          I was walking down the aisle at church with my (then) 3 year old granddaughter when I suddenly turned around…and fell headfirst over granddaughter. Of course the men close by jumped up to assist me, and the pastor asked if I was alright, was I hurt? I told them nothing but my pride. So then of course they had to make jokes about pride going before a fall. The worst thing is, they video our services and there I was immortalized on film at my graceful best. Cringe!!I was only thankful that I wore pants that day instead of a dress.

        2. The Prettiest Curse*

          Ha, soI’m not the only person whose boots have betrayed them in this way! Also, I’m glad that I didn’t put out my hands while I was falling. I hit the ground hard enough that I definitely would have damaged my wrists if I’d done that.

    5. river*

      At a local supermarket they put clearance items in a shopping cart with a big orange sticker on them with the clearance price, often amazing bargains! So when I was shopping I saw the cart at the end of the aisle and went over to check it out. There were several things I was interested in. I picked up a can and turned it over. There was no sticker. I picked up another item, confused. I couldn’t see any orange stickers. It dawned on me — it was somebody’s cart with their personal selections in it! I looked around real fast but thankfully nobody saw me. You can bet I scuttled off real fast to writhe in shame at the other end of the store!
      They stopped doing that now, no more clearance items. I’m ok with it.

      1. pieforbreakfast*

        One of my favorite family story is about my mom and aunt getting lost in a rural part of the state, so they stopped at a yard sale to get directions. They decide it’s rude not to look at what’s for sale so they walk around commenting about the items for a few minutes. They finally approach the women holding the sale and ask about how to get to where they want to be, the woman responds “I don’t know, I’m new to the area and I’m waiting for my son to help me move my stuff into the house”. They wordlessly, but quickly, walk back to their car and drive away.

      2. Choggy*

        On a very busy day, before the pandemic, I was grocery shopping with my husband, it must have been around the holidays. I went to put something in the cart and saw some odd items already in it and started asking my husband about them only to look up into the faces of an older couple into whose cart I was placing my items. Oops!

    6. Asenath*

      I love my aging cell phone, and when its battery died I got it replaced at a local business. Recently, the battery died again, so I went back there. This time, the clerk said that it’s getting really difficult to even find batteries (why oh why are cell phones designed so it’s hard to replace batteries?), but he’d plug it in and see just how bad it was at holding its charge. When he returned it, he politely said that it seemed to be holding its charge for now, and we both pretended politely that maybe the problem hadn’t been that for the first time ever, I swear, I’d forgotten to charge the thing overnight. And that must have been the problem, because although it’s slightly worse than I’d like at holding a charge, it could and still does, do so. At least there was no charge for their help!

      1. Jay*

        We had the electrician here recently to check out a few issues, including the under-cabinet lights in the kitchen that had stopped working. He looked at the lights themselves and then asked my husband where the transformer was. My husband, who is quite handy, said “What transformer?” They found it in the basement, and the electrician proceeded to turn it back on. My handy husband had noticed it a few weeks before, didn’t know what it was for, and flipped the switch to “off” just – because?

        The good news: there were other things we needed, so we didn’t pay the $80.00 service fee just for him to come out and flip the switch.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        At one point I called AAA three times in like eight months because my aging car would stall when I put it in reverse and I could not remember that I needed to put the damn thing back into park (or neutral) to restart it. (I mean, I’d rather feel dumb than have actual car problems, but still.) After the third time, I wrote a large IS IT IN PARK in sharpie on my AAA card :-P

        1. Quiet Liberal*

          When we were young newlyweds, the battery in our car died. My husband wanted to push start it so he could take it to buy a new battery. It was a very hot day and he pushed the car several times while yelling “now” to me to pop the clutch. He was exhausted and was puzzled as to why it wasn’t starting and asked if the car was in second gear. Just then, I looked down and noticed it was in neutral. Of course, as soon as I put it in second gear, it started right up. I did not say anything about this until many years later.

          1. PhyllisB*

            I feel your pain!! When I was in college I had a VW that stalled a lot. The first time this happened, a bunch of guys told me they would push and for me to pop the clutch. Well, those poor guys pushed across the parking lot about three times, and nothing. Then it occurred to me that I had my foot on the brake the whole time!! I said, “Try one more time!!” Success!! I never confessed what was wrong.

      3. fposte*

        I like that we seem to have mortification subheadings. Since this is the electrical one, I’m putting mine here. I put in a new ceiling fan with light to replace one whose looks I hated; it was more sophisticated, with complicated instruction booklet that I put away somewhere, but it worked great. This one was great but the light one day lost some of its power somehow. I turned it on and off but it didn’t seem to regain its force. I eventually called the electrician. And in front of the very patient man I shrieked, “Oh, my God, there’s a *dimmer*?”

        Oops.

        1. Squirrel Nutkin*

          My first time driving in a year and a half due to pandemic logistics was taking my freshly spruced up car on a road trip yesterday. I got worried that my sight had deteriorated as I couldn’t see the dashboard data well. Nope, just had to turn that little dial to brighten it up!

          1. ampersand*

            That reminds me: I filled up my gas tank exactly once last year (pandemic really cut down my driving!) and have filled it up once so far this year, in June. This was memorable because it had been so long since I’d last put gas in it that I couldn’t remember how to open the tank. It took a good two minutes, during which I wanted to disappear because there were cars in line behind me…finally figured it out and was able to pump gas. I’ve had my car since 2014. This was not new information.

            1. AJoftheInternet*

              My husband has always been the main driver of the family (I have spatial issues.) so he has also been the one to fill the car. Recently we finally became a two-car family, and I realized that the gas light was on, and so I would have to pump gas. For just about the first time in ten years. I stood there at the pump staring at the buttons and seeing myself that helpless little old lady in all the internet stories that everyone kind of snipes at about how people need to be self-sufficient. “Excuse me, sonny…. can you help me run this newfangled contraption?”

          2. Liz*

            I LOVE your user name BTW. My dad used to call me nutkin as I was kind of naughty like Squirrel Nutkin! But I have a similar story; new car, first time driving it in the dark. Leaving my PT job, and you had to drive the length of the parking lot to get out. I was about halfway down when I realized OOPS my headlights are NOT on. but appeared to be, but it was just that I wasn’t quite familiar iwth all the lights, etc. on the dashboard yet.

      4. California Dreamin’*

        We recently had the electrician coming out for some planned work. My husband asked me to please have him fix the light in the basement while he’s here because it no longer turns on and hubs has been having to use a flashlight down there (we have a California basement… that’s an actual term… so it’s a lone bulb type situation.). Electrician asks if we’ve changed the bulb. I scoff. Of course hubs changed the bulb. Electrician asks for a new bulb just to see. Light comes on. Now, hubs is not super handy, but he’s not that clueless. This light hadn’t been working for weeks. I don’t know how he skipped the bulb changing step and went straight to we need a professional

        1. Sam*

          LOL, my husband is an electrician and my family has pulled ALL of these on him: the “accidentally turned off the light switch”, the “needs new bulb”, the “reset the GFCI” and I remined him at least they’re easy to solve!

    7. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Once I was walking home with a coworker/friend and they made me laugh so hard I farted :( Luckily it was at night and a little chilly and slightly windy but we knew it happened and after getting over hte embarrassment we laughed even more.

      Another time, I was in college and I walked up to my friend and greeted her. Turns out it was a different girl. Even worse the girl knew who I was as we’d seen each other around. As soon as I got close enough to her I knew it wasn’t my friend but I had already started approaching her and greeting her. I actually said “I’m sorry, I thought you were my friend , you look a lot like her.”

      1. Felicia FancyBottom*

        My best friend in college went up to a girl she thought was me, poked the girl with her fork, giggled and said “I forked you….OH MY GOSH YOU’RE NOT FELICIA!”

      2. Fartonimous*

        Hey, at least you havent cleared a room full of folks that work in the sewers…or cleared the actual sewers.

      3. allathian*

        This happened when my sister and I moved from my parents’ 1-bedroom apartment. It was so tiny that they wanted us out of there and we wanted to move away, their bed was in the living room while my sister and I shared the bedroom. I was 19 and in college, my sister was 17 and in high school. Both of us were working part time and we paid for the utilities but they didn’t charge us any rent, my parents owned the apartment.

        Anyway, one day we’d just been to the store or something, and there’s a spot between buildings where it echoes a lot if you make a noise. Guess how I found out? By farting loud enough to hear the echo. Both of us started giggling so hard we could hardly walk, when a guy my sister had a slight crush on at the time walked past. She was mortified of course, but I just couldn’t stop laughing. I did apologize to her later, though.

    8. Expiring Cat Memes*

      CW for bodily functions.

      Back in the day, had a few drinks at a friend’s house and stayed the night. Was feeling a bit off in the stomach so retired early to the fold-out couch, which I was sharing with the guy I was crushing on at the time. Woke up in the morning feeling VERY off, so quickly gathered my things, keen to make a quick escape. As I bent down to pick up a CD off the floor, I had to bolt straight back upright clenching my butt cheeks hard… I knew there was no way in hell I could make the 20 minute drive home.

      The house was deathly silent at that hour, and the bathroom was located right next to the living room. It was one of those fully tiled affairs – the kind that echos horribly. But I was in desperate need and there was nothing for it but to get in there and unleash the fury. I don’t know if “explosive diarrhoea” adequately describes it. My body was making sounds I didn’t know were humanly possible. I was trying so hard to be quiet and hold it back, but I was so sick it felt like it was going to start rocketing out my eyeballs, so I just had to stop fighting it and let the demon out.

      Some time later, I emerged, sweaty, followed by a cloud of death fumes, silently praying my crush was still fast asleep and perhaps just having an odd dream about learning to play a broken trumpet during a battle reenactment in a methane swamp. No. I saw him laying there, eyes wide open in shock, notice me and QUICKLY CLOSE HIS EYES AND PRETEND TO BE ASLEEP. Oh yeah, he heard.

      To top it off, it turned out to be a nasty and highly contagious stomach bug. I heard later that he caught it and it made him miss his med school entry exams.

      1. ampersand*

        This is hilarious!! Thank you for the laugh. I’m so sorry though—that sounds mortifying!

        What happened with the crush? Did you ever see him again? I need a follow up!

        1. Expiring Cat Memes*

          We did continue to see each other through our mutual friend, and after months of will we/won’t we, we eventually did. But after all that anticipation it turned out to be one of the most dull, passionless experiences ever and we began avoiding each other after that.

          I guess I’ll never know if was the explosive diarrhoea that killed the chemistry.

      2. allathian*

        Oh my goodness. That reminds me of my last stomach bug. I was sitting on the toilet with explosive diarrhea, when I realized I absolutely had to vomit. I wouldn’t have been able to reach the sink, but luckily my son was just potty training at the time, so I was able to grab his potty and puke in that. Just as this was happening, I got really worried because I saw blood in the potty, but I soon realized that my nose was bleeding as well. I’m eternally grateful to my husband who volunteered to clean the potty. This happened on the weekend.

      3. Edwina*

        omg, I’m laughing so hard.

        When my husband and I had only been married for a year or two, we scrimped and saved and took a trip to Paris. In Paris we stayed in the tiniest hotel room, so tiny that they’d obviously carved a “bathroom” out of what had once been a closet. Right next to the bed.

        I was young and carefree and eager to try new foods, so we had mussels for dinner. I’ve long since realized I can’t go anywhere near shellfish. Anyway in the middle of the night I awoke and realized Things were Not Happy. I hurried into the bathroom, two feet away, and vomited so propulsively and so loudly I’m sure I woke up the entire hotel. Finally it was over, and pouring with sweat, I went back to our bed, completely and absolutely mortified.

        My husband leaned over and said in his best “poetic” voice, “Are you ailing, my delicate little flower?”

        We’ve been married 42 years now and STILL laugh about it.

      4. Jackalope*

        Your story popped into my head randomly last night and my brain suddenly tied it to the story from earlier this week: the one where the OP announced apropos of nothing, “I HAVE DIARRHEA!!” Somehow that just made me giggle.

      5. Alexis Rosay*

        I was traveling internationally as a college student with a small group, including “Bob”, a guy I didn’t know very well. Bob became constipated and started panicking and saying that he would need to be airlifted back to the US for treatment. It took a phone consultation (pre-cell phone) with my parent–a physician–to convince that he just needed to take a laxative. We went to the local pharmacy where we asked for a laxative (it was a place where everything was behind the counter). The pharmacist, a young woman who was trying to be discreet, asked politely, “For what size of person?” Bob shouted at her loudly enough for the entire pharmacy to hear, “FOR ME, IT’S FOR ME.” I was sharing a hotel room with Bob and one other student when the laxatives finally kicked in, and we quickly realized that the ‘door’ to the bathroom did not go all the way to the top or bottom of the door frame, a bit like a bathroom stall door. My cheap early-2000s headphones did not do nearly enough to block that out.

    9. Felicia FancyBottom*

      I had been seeing this guy for a few weeks. He worked at a bar right near my parents house and one night they decided to join me because they knew I had been going there a lot. The night was going fine until the end when my dad saw me leave money on the bar. He turns to me and goes “Why are you tipping him? You’ll be giving him a lot more later.”

      Then my mom, not to be outdone in embarrassing me, decides to ask him if we’ve talked about marriage and kids yet! He quickly tells them that he has to close up and they need to go.

    10. Kathenus*

      Slightly work-related, but could have happened at any event. I was at a conference ice-breaker years ago, went to the bar to get a drink with one of my drink tickets. There was a napkin/drink stirrer holder on the bar and on the other side I saw a glass bowl. Assuming it was a tip jar, I reached across and put in a dollar. It was a candle holder…

    11. Girasol*

      Had a half full cart in the grocery check out line at a place where I rarely shopped. The woman behind me just had a handful so I invited her to go first. Then I started to check out and saw two other people behind who didn’t have much and were glaring at me. Got finished and glanced back to see five people glaring at me. From this angle I could see that all the teddy bears that the store had hung from a pole by the checkout obscured a “6 items or less” sign. I was That Woman.

    12. ThatGirl*

      I did something similar a few years ago at my friend’s house for Thanksgiving. I put my arm around my husband from behind and cuddled up and then realized it was HER husband!

      But my most mortifying moment was ages ago – 16 years maybe? I was with my then-boyfriend at the Museum of Science and Industry. We were looking at a water related exhibit that included a water fountain. There was a group of foreign tourists who all had plastic cups they were trying the water with, so I inquired as to where they’d gotten the cups, through a language barrier. Thought I was missing them somewhere. After much confusion one of them handed me a wrapped plastic cup with a hotel logo on it – it was their own stash they’d been carrying! I was so embarrassed. They were so kind.

    13. Not playing your game anymore*

      I was a 16 year old girl scout touring the capitol with our troop. Split my uniform pants from waistband to inseam. OMG mortifying. Fortunately one of the other girls had a cardigan that she discretely tied around my waist. I still cringe to think about it and will be forever grateful for the share.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin*

        I’m taking my belt test in karate with a big group of various ages, genders, and ranks in front of a lot of proud parents and siblings. We’re all showing off our forward rolls, going ass over teacups, when one of the moms in the audience is directed by my macho karate teacher to pull me aside — apparently, I had gotten my period in the middle of the belt test, which was pretty obvious to everyone watching since I was wearing those white pants.

        Good thing I was in my mid-thirties and not as easily mortified as I would have been had this happened when I was younger! They just got me some sweatpants and a maxi-pad and I hopped back in and finished earning my belt.

    14. MEH Squared*

      One time, I was at Target wearing my favorite pants. They had seen better days, but they were still more than functional. I spent about an hour walking around Target, seeing one more thing that I just had to buy. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself as I walked back to my car. A woman tapped me on the shoulder and kindly told me that I had a split in my pants.

      I wasn’t wearing underwear. For an hour, I was mooning the good people of my local Target. I was so embarrassed, but thankful she told me (what if that was my first stop of the day???). I tried to console myself that I would never see these people again as I sped my way home.

      1. Alexis Rosay*

        Ack, I once had a split in my pants happen while on an international flight. The pants somehow ripped right along the bottom of my butt cheek. I was extra embarrassed because my very nice seatmate, who I’d been chatting with the whole flight, was a young Saudi woman wearing the full abaya, hijaab, and niqaab, and here I was with my butt hanging out of my pants.

        1. MEH Squared*

          Oh no! Butt-flapping solidarity to you. At least we can both take comfort in the knowledge that we don’t have to see those people again.

          1. Irina*

            I did what the Bible says you shouldn’t do and mended an old garment with a new patch. Then I went folk-dancing. The first time the dance made me crouch and hit the floor I heard a loud RIPPPP!!! and the patch had torn my flannel pants completely in half. I didn’t have any other clothes with me so a friend lent me a spare T-shirt that I tied around my waist to cover my shame with.

    15. Squirrel Nutkin*

      Summer camp. Someone is getting a surprise birthday party, and it is my job to walk them into the dark, seemingly deserted cabin so everyone can yell “Surprise!” and turn the lights on. As the lights are coming on and the cheering and singing are starting, feeling that my job is well done, I sit down on one of the twin beds next to the door. On the cake.

    16. BOD is god*

      One fine Sunday morning, I was scheduled to referee a HS girls’ rugby match.

      KO was scheduled for 1pm. I arrived a little after 11am, met the home coach, and got changed into my kit.

      I’ll note here for those who have never seen rugby, the kit can run a bit…snug, and I was 5’7/165lb soaking wet.

      Several players are warming up on one side of the pitch, so I run my two laps and go to the opposite side to give them ample space.

      As I’m doing my stretches, the coach comes jogging towards me. He said that as an officer with the local PD, he needed to see my ID to check my age, as some of his players were saying things about me.

    17. AJoftheInternet*

      I’m not sure who should be more mortified, me, or the stranger who spoke to me.

      I was 20, newlywed, with a six-month-old baby, and visiting DC with I forget whose parents. For some reason, when we got onto the Metro, it made sense for husband and parents and baby to sit in the seats and for me to stand across the car by the doors. After a couple stops, a woman came over to me, and I thought she wanted to look at the map behind me. Oh no. She wanted to talk to me.
      “Um, ah, your nipples are showing,” she said.

      I could only blink at her in confusion. Yes, my nipples were showing a bit through my bra and shirt, but why was she telling me? Even if she couldn’t tell I was with the baby, this wasn’t like telling someone their fly was down or their pad was leaking. There are obvious fixes to those problems. Was there some kind of universally known Thing to Do About Nipples of which I was unaware? What did she want from me?

      I ended up glancing at the baby and muttering there was nothing I could do about it, and she went back to her place in the train. I have never found a satisfactory reason for why a stranger would tell another woman that her nipples could be seen through her clothes as though that was a service and not just admitting to having been closely examining her chest.

    18. Alexis Rosay*

      Most mortifying moment of my life by far was when I was in high school taking a city bus to school. I was standing in the bus aisle when the bus suddenly started moving. I reached out to grab the back of a seat…or so I thought. I was wearing very thick winter gloves and didn’t realize I was actually holding onto a bald guy’s head! The entire bus was laughing at me.

    19. MissCoco*

      Mine is second hand mortification, but at a wedding my partner came up behind someone wearing a similar outfit to mine and kissed her on top of the head! Luckily she is a good friend, but they were definitely both surprised. To make it funnier, he told me he just pretended it wasn’t weird and initiated a conversation as if this was a typical greeting between them

    20. TJ*

      I had weight loss surgery and lost a f**k ton. Wardrobe didn’t keep up. I was on a flight from Canada to not Canada. When I raised my hands over my head to put my bag in the overhead bin, my pants fell to my ankles. Like, all the way. The flight attendant was horrified. I carried on with my hands over my head, then sat after. I felt worse for him since he had to see me and not laugh, but it was funny and I was chill

      1. Sleepless*

        I was behind a guy going through airport security who had taken his belt off. As he was picking his stuff up, his pants fell down to his ankles. I caught a full-on glimpse of his tighty whities as I turned away and pretended I didn’t see.

      2. Liz*

        i was on a flight back in college. i wore a skirt, with a slip, and high heel boots. unbeknownst to me, the elastic on the slip’s waist had crapped out. so while walking down the aisle, my slip landed around my ankles. whoops. i think no one saw, and i managed to yank it up, and hold onto it through my skirt. got off the plane (this was a 3 flight trip) adn tossed it in the trash in the first ladies room i came to

    21. Liz*

      I have two; both similar and both due to me not paying attention. When I was in HS? i was out shopping with my grandmother. And in the shoe dept. of a pretty nice dept. store. Might have been B. Altman. Anyway, i’m looking at boots, leather boots with a heel. and my grandmother had been standing next to me. So without looking up, i see someone next to me pick up said boots, and I say “Grandma, looking at those at your age?” well, it wasn’t my grandmother! she had moved across the dept, and it was another woman. I apologized and bolted!

      Second time, my then boyfriend and I are in a bookstore, same thing, he was next to me, i’m looking at books, and i reach over and grab his hand. ONLY to discover, whoops, its not him, but another guy! I apologized, found my BF and told him we needed to go ASAP! he found it quite hilarious.

  3. Can wet cat food pouches spoil in heat*

    Hi
    Throwing this out in case anyone can put my mind at ease. I bought 20 pouches of wet cat food and had them delivered. But they were warm when I got them – hours spent in a hot Fedex truck on a summer day. When I googled it all kinds of warning about botulism etc came up so now I’m concerned about feeding them to my cat.

    1. PollyQ*

      Were they regular commercial, vacuum-sealed pouches? If so, I wouldn’t worry. I’m sure they’re designed to be driven across the country in un-air-conditioned trucks, just like everything we eat that’s not meant to be kept refrigerated.

    2. Aphrodite*

      I’d call or email the manufacturer and ask that question though I would tend to think they are safe too. But … I wouldn’t take the risk without digging deeper for accurate information.

    3. Can wet cat food pouches spoil in heat*

      Thank you – I felt silly after I’d posted my question. My brain is telling me it’s fine as they’re manufactured to take that into account. My emotions, after 18 months of WFH and social distancing/isolating which has seen me spending too much time alone, are immediately going down the worse case scenario path.

      1. PollyQ*

        Yeah, I live alone, and I get that. COVID’s been so crazy-making what with the constant calculations of what’s safe & what isn’t.

      2. Cat and dog fosterer*

        I would call the company. Food can get transported to the grocery store in cooled trucks. When we drop off food for fosters, we avoid having the wet food out for hours on a hot day. We may be overly cautious as the cans can sit in a cupboard for many months, but it is a very reasonable thing to ask.

      3. Vesuvius (I own 2 rescue cats)*

        I would say you’re not being overly anxious given that botulism is a pretty bad thing (and a risk with wet cat food!). I wouldn’t take the risk either. My partner and I got our cats recently (last September, the shelter was doing a very socially distanced adoption and it was very easy), and I still freak out over botulism in tiny dents in cans. The very smallest dents, like little tiny ones that are a manufacturing error and not on a can seal, no. But if the can creaks or I can bend it funny, I don’t buy it. I’ve taken to going to the local pet food store in spite of the risk to select cat food. My partner has done the same, though we sanitized regularly, back when I had my fulltime Toxic Helljob. These days we do the wet food shopping in person with masks and sanitizer, and dry food shipped, because I got so many badly dented cans when I last ordered in bulk.

        If your vacuum-sealed pouches were left out in the sun, and you’re worried about this, call the manufacturer to confirm. They may even have a few notes about this on their website depending on how much of an online presence they have. Safe is better than sorry and I’m sorry this happened to you. It might also be worth calling them because they may offer to refund you the cost of the pouches if they are ruined.

  4. Free Meerkats*

    Who has dealt with chronic kidney disease in cats? One is our 11 year old girls lost her appetite and started dropping weight quickly. Regular vet couldn’t get her in for 6 weeks and their emergency clinic was full, so I went to another emergency vet and spent 7 hours sitting in my car there. She was taken in about 90 minutes after I got there, the rest of the time was mostly waiting for test results. Assuming the cultures come up clean, she has Stage 3 CKD.

    She spent almost 2 days there on IV fluids. We now have her home with appetite stimulants. Got a follow up blood draw today, waiting for results.

    We’re now about 2 1/2 mortgage payments into the vet clinic; luckily, it’s not a major problem yet.

    Thoughts? Advice?

    1. Liz*

      My eldest at 19 has kidney disease. She’s on Benazacare and is now pretty stable, although she never regained her initial weight loss and looks scrawny as ever. Depending on bloodwork, your vet may recommend a special diet to reduce the stress on the kidneys, so that might be something to consider. The biggest issue we have is that she drinks a lot and has a weak bladder, so our house is now full of puppy pads.

      Our girl has been going for almost 3 years now since her health first declined. Her kidney function is worse now, but the vet always says as long as she is eating and drinking, she wants to stick around, so we keep an eye on her and watch for her cues.

    2. Emma*

      Not sure what country you’re in, but if it’s the UK then check if you’ve fed her any food manufactured by Fold Hill Foods (Google for brands). They have had a contamination issue which causes pancytopenia, which has some similar symptoms.

    3. Cordelia*

      My mum’s 11-year-old cat has this – about 3 months ago we thought we were going to lose her, she wasn’t eating or drinking, lost lots of weight and seemed weak and listless. Vet diagnosed the Stage 3 kidney disease, she had the same 2 days on an IV. She also had a urinary tract infection, and after having antibiotics for this she actually made an amazing recovery, back to her sprightly, noisy (she’s a Siamese and very shouty) self, but hasn’t regained the weight and is very bony. She has special food that is better for her kidneys, which are still deteriorating so we don’t know how long she has left.
      As Liz says below, I think its probably a matter of watching her cues and seeing if she’s happy, comfortable and still enjoying her life. You know your cat, and I think you will know when she’s had enough.
      Wishing you and your cat all the best

    4. Asenath*

      I lost a cat to kidney disease (combined with thyroid disease, which couldn’t be treated without making the kidney disease worse) not that long ago. So much depends on the progression of the disease in the individual cat, and to find out how that’s going, aside from the obviously like poor appetite etc, you need the vet to examine and test the cat, which gets pricey. I decided, with the vet, to try a moderate approach that involved a special diet and semintra to cut down on the protein she was losing in her urine. She also had a very bad UTI (common apparently in such cats) which had to be treated, then she needed to be checked for a recurrence and treated again. She did very well for several months, but when she went downhill, her decline was stunningly fast. On a Thursday, the vet thought she could keep going for a few months before another checkup, on the weekend she suddenly stopped eating and drinking and became extremely lethargic, and when her tests were re-done, it was clear that her kidneys had gotten so much worse, that it hardly seemed worth trying to keep her going with subcutaneous fluids.

      Kidney disease seems common in cats. I had another cat die from it some years ago, and in his case, by the time I noticed something was wrong and got him to the vet, he was so far gone that the fluids were the only thing to really try, and they didn’t help. So some cats, with care, can have a good life for a while after diagnosis, but with others, the disease progresses very fast.

      Good luck with your cat.

      1. Pippa K*

        I’ve lost two cats to kidney disease and as in Asenath’s experience, one went downhill much faster than the other, who ticked along fairly normally with treatment for a couple of years. One small thing that helped when they weren’t eating enough was the nutritional paste you can smear on their paws. My fastidious, dignified old guy would give us a disapproving look like “great, now I have to clean that off my white paws!” but he’d eat it when he wasn’t interested in his food. When that stopped working, it was a pretty clear sign he felt too sick to carry on.

        1. Pippa K*

          Meant to add – good wishes to you; it’s hard to see our pets ill, but you might have some good options for treating her, so I hope it goes well.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I’ve lost three cats to kidney disease – one must’ve been some sort of acute issue, because he went from 100% normal to nothing-we-can-do in literally two days at the age of 7, and another was a 18 year old cat who was being treated for a thyroid issue, which (as it turns out) was keeping the kidney issue in check, so when the thyroid got sorted the kidneys came roaring to the forefront and basically steamrolled her overnight. The third was 17 and had a more “traditional” progression, but he refused to eat any of the kidney support type foods, all he would eat was the same old food he’d been eating all his life, so rather than keep hassling him about it, we worked with the vet to basically manage him on hospice until his time came, which was about six months later. I think it’s probably one of the more common ailments as cats get older, and the progression is super variable. Good thoughts to your kib.

      1. Rara Avis*

        My cat died recently at 19; he had a thyroid condition and evidently it’s a balancing act to treat the thyroid without damaging the kidneys. (He was on thyroid meds for many years but it got complicated near the end as he needed more help with the thyroid but the higher dose started to interfere with kidney function.

    6. mreasy*

      I had a tortie who was diagnosed with kidney disease around 13 and lived to a happy 18. She required subcutaneous fluids every couple of days, but that was actually pretty easy to do as she got used to it (took maybe 5-10 minutes). We tried the kidney diet but she wouldn’t eat it (she was always picky), so I just made sure the food she ate had plenty of liquid. I gave her a supplement called AminaVast which was recommended by my vet (you should be able to find it online). Eventually her kidney values were testing as nearly normal after things evened out and my vet called her a “miracle.” I highly recommend the supplement and as another poster said – keep an eye on how they’re doing/eating and if they’re losing weight. You’ll need to take your cat to the vet for bloodwork every few months, but it’s a manageable condition for many cats.

    7. Cookie D'oh*

      I had a kitty with CKD. We managed it by giving her subcutaneous fluids at home a few times a week and using Mirtazapine occasionally as an appetite stimulant. She actually participated in a clinical trial for CKD cats to test Mirtazapine in a gel form that could be applied to the ear.

      After she was diagnosed, she also got dental work to remove some teeth and she did better with eating after that.

      She was also on blood pressure medication and B12 injections.

      Unfortunately at one point she developed an infection that she never fully recovered from. She was on antibiotics that impacted her appetite, and we ended up getting her a feeding tube in her neck. The goal of that was to keep her fed and get her weight back up while she completed the course of antibiotics to help the infection.

      Unfortunately, she also had issues with severe constipation and had two deobstipation procedures.

      Ultimately, we chose to say goodbye to her because her quality of life was declining. She was a stray, so I’m not sure how old she was, but it was over 10 years of age.

      The doctor we worked with was incredible and her area of expertise is researching kidney disease in cats to eventually find a cure and better support cats who have been diagnosed.

      Since it is a progressive disease, you can offer supportive care throughout the process. The most important is keeping kitty hydrated with fluids. The vet showed us how to do that at home and there are tutorials online. The appetite stimulant and special diet are good too. She was also on Cerenia, which I believe is an anti nausea medication.

    8. Callisto*

      I’ve done this several times. Search for “Tanya’s Comprehensive Guide to Feline Chronic Kidney Disease”. It’s a dated-looking site, but it’s absolutely exhaustive and contains both scientific and lay explanations and instructions. I regularly donate to help keep it up and running.

      Giving you specifics is too complicated to get into in this venue, but I will say that cats excel at hiding pain, and in retrospect I regret how far we went with treatment. Learning when to quit is just as important as learning what to do.

    9. the cat's ass*

      I’m so sorry about your kitty! I’ve lost 2 to kidney disease and it was a different experience with each one. IV fluids at home, special diets and meds; my current kidney baby is a 13 yo rescue who has been mildly symptomatic for about the last 2 years and is a very picky eater but is still happy, affectionate, litter box perfect and pretty peppy for an old guy (also a little demented). We’re just enjoying him, treating him based on his symptoms (UTIs are really common with this dx) and keeping an eye out for his quality of life.

    10. Cute Li'l UFO*

      My sweet calico kitty got diagnosed with kidney disease in like May of 2019. She didn’t have an appetite, wasn’t acting herself, and it was so out of character. She had been gulping water as well. She stayed a few days while they ran tests, got her stable, and I got to take her home. She had a couple UTIs in her last year with me but nothing antibiotics couldn’t fix. She also had subcutaneous fluids every day/other day and she was very good about it because she got a treat after. Transition to a low protein kidney safe diet. I can’t recall what stage she was at but she was like her old self. She was about 16 at this point and had barely slowed down as she aged.

      My vet (both the e-vet and her regular vet) said that there is a point in a pet’s life, particularly if they’re on a special diet that they don’t like, it’s time to consider just making sure they *eat*. She had no problem sneaking food and I knew she had a wonderful life behind her and that my little calico hurricane needed food. Of course she would eat her special food but only after a little serving of the regular stuff. She sat for the exact amount of time it took the fluids to get from the bag to her and she always beat me to the kitchen for her treat.

      In February 2020 she crashed again, sitting like a loaf under the table and acting very un-Annie like. She went for one final hospitalization (projected to be about half the cost of my car) and that night I knew I couldn’t be away from her. It was very serious at that point and the e-vet thought there was a contributing factor as they’d felt a mass in her stomach. I wanted to be with her when she passed away, not separated in the middle of the night. I made the decision to have her euthanized because I didn’t want to put her through more pain (she had crashed at the vet and I had signed a DNR for her) and the almost year of giving her subcutaneous fluids and lots of love made me know our limits. I couldn’t keep her alive for never wanting to let her go. And the expense. The vet policy actually refunded for any care and supplies not used, which was something I wasn’t even thinking about.

    11. curly sue*

      Our elderly cat is in stage 3 – lost appetite, losing weight, etc. We used an appetite med twice and moved her onto the Royal Canin kidney-care diet for both kibble and wet food, and saw almost immediate improvement. We had her blood tests done again six months later and there was noticeable improvement in her levels, weight and general attitude, so we’re sticking with this for now. I’ve been impressed by the amount of change we’ve seen just from the diet switch.

      I hope your cat feels better soon!

      1. Nicotena*

        I want to check out this food, my senior cat seems to be doing okay (eats normally, flouffs around as usual) but had lost weight at the last check up and drinks a lot of water. If a special food will help her head this issue off, I’m happy to give it to her – she’s too old to be doing kitty dialysis or whatever they do for 16 year old cats.

    12. Cj*

      I was diagnosed at 18 and live to be 22 and 1/2. She ate special cat food from the vet oh, and we also give her fluids at home every other day. She was so good about it and just lay there and purred the whole time.

      However, we had to give fluids to another cat for a heart issue, and it was impossible .I actually quit doing it because I was afraid she was going to have a heart attack from the stress of it.

    13. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Kidney issues are common with cats. You do your best to manage it and keep them comfortable. As long as their quality of life is good, you’re fine. But once quality of life starts to decline, then you need to very seriously consider when it’s time to let them go.

    14. Schmitt*

      Two things I haven’t seen mentioned yet.

      * Our vet gave us a sample pack of various kidney-friendly diet foods so we could test what kinds she would eat before we spent a lot of money.

      * We tried a supplement called PorusOne that really seemed to work well.

    15. Salymander*

      Our cat had chronic kidney disease for years. She was really thin and quite small, almost like an older kitten size. She needed special food from the vet, but was otherwise fairly ok most of the time. We mixed her food (wet and dry) with water (maybe 1/4 cup water per serving of food), which the vet said would help her a lot. She was more prone to illness than most cats, and she had to go on medication several times throughout her life. For the last year of her life, we were giving her subcutaneous fluids at home every few days in addition to medication. She didn’t like the meds, but the fluids turned out to be something she didn’t mind/maybe enjoyed a bit. We would gather around as a family to give her the fluids, and she enjoyed the petting and attention from her people. She was a really affectionate, trusting and outgoing cat, so other than the initial needle prick I think it seemed like we were all getting together to make a fuss over her. She remained active and happy until the last week she was alive, and even then she was just really snuggly and even more affectionate. Reading over this, it sounds like a lot of work, but this cat was so smart and full of personality that we didn’t even notice how much more work she required. She was almost like another person. She lived to be almost 20 years old.

    16. One KED Is All You Need*

      My Clio didn’t seem like she’d been eating much, and then lost interest in treats (which was unusual as she was a big girl). The critical care vet diagnosed her with CKD and she stayed in their ICU for nearly a week before her creatinine and BUN levels stabilized. Still high, but stable. We did subcutaneous fluids (every 3 days, then every other day, then every 36 hours) for about 6 months before she was gone. It was super easy to do, and I distracted her with special treats she only got when we did the fluids.

      Her regular vet thought she may have had an acute issue and just couldn’t recover, because she was still a hefty girl and they said by the time they saw cats with her levels (and that’s after they’d dropped after that ICU stay) they were usually skin and bones. But we couldn’t find anything that would have caused that.

      Anyway, getting them to eat again is rough – we did syringe feeding and appetite stimulants for several days before she voluntarily started eating again. But even then, she didn’t eat much and wouldn’t touch the kidney diet food at all. Even with FortiFlora sprinkled on it.

      She did okay for 6 months and then got a UTI, and that was the beginning of the end. I spent a lot of time coming up with my “is it time” checklist, and recommend doing that. It’s too tempting to see them have good days and unconsciously give them more weight.

      Best of luck to you all. Sounds like you’re doing al the right things!

  5. Gruvbabie*

    I just finished the Villanelle series by Luke Jennings (I watched the BBC series before reading the books) and I wondered if anyone here has read the books / watched the series, and if so, what did you think?

    The books were *significantly* different from the show although there were more similarities in the first series / book.

      1. Gruvbabie*

        I think that the books were good (except for the third which I personally wasn’t into) and a lot of fast paced suspense reading.

        But I think that I came into them initially thinking that they would be the same as the tv show, and maybe it’s good to know that they aren’t.

  6. No Holmes*

    Do you prefer formality in your doctor? Would you prefer they introduced themselves as “doctor Watson” or “John Watson”, and are you happy to call them by their first name?
    Do you prefer a more formal outfit, business casual or literally anything as long as they’re decent with no blood spatter?
    Obviously the most important thing is how they treat you and their knowledge/skills, but what are the other things that add or take away from the doctor-patient relationship?

    1. OBMD*

      I am a female physician. As such, many people want to call me by my first name instead of calling me doctor. Which I hate. I call all my patients Mrs. Lee, Ms Patel, Dr. Smith. I introduce myself as Dr. OBMD and expect that level of formality. I cannot expect my patie to to call me Dr if I call them by their first names.

      1. Jay*

        Also a female doc and I also start with Mrs/Ms/Mr with my patients unless they tell me otherwise. I always introduce myself as Dr. Jay. After 35 years in practice, I no longer correct patients who call me by my first name. I do not wear a white coat – hate the things.

        1. Blackcat*

          Do you find it odd if a patient then insists on “Dr” if they are a PhD?

          I’ve gotten called “Mrs X” a lot and it really rankles me, and I always say they either need to call by my first name or Dr, that I am not nor have I ever been “Mrs.” I don’t mind “Ms.” at all, but the default of Mrs that some offices seem to do really bothers me.

          1. Clisby*

            I’m not a doctor, so can’t comment from that perspective, but I find it odd for someone with a PhD to insist on being called “Dr.” outside the realm of academia. Actually, I wouldn’t call a medical doctor “Dr.” outside the realm of medicine. For example, I would call Rand Paul Sen. Paul, not Dr. Paul. Unless, of course, he was my ophthalmologist, and then he can be Dr. Paul.

          2. MissCoco*

            I’m a doctor in training, and we’re taught to always use Ms./Mr. with new patients, unless they are young children (Miss/Mr). Many offer their first name, but I haven’t yet had someone ask to be called Dr. (perhaps because I’m not using Mrs.). Personally I would find it slightly odd if either a male or female PhD/MD/etc corrected Ms./Mr. with Dr, but if I mistakenly used Mrs. and was corrected to Ms, I wouldn’t find it strange at all, because I also find that particular default off-putting

      2. Potatoes gonna potate*

        That sounds sooooo frustrating that they automatically assume you’re ok with being called your first name. :( I’m not sure how that happens. I was raised to call people Mr/Mrs/Ms/Doctor/Professor.

      3. Invisible Fish*

        What grown up things it is okay to call another adult by a given name in a BUSINESS SETTING!?!? Oh my word. We don’t need to go back to the days of formal calling cards being part of our routine, but as my students would say, “You don’t know me like that.” Who thinks they’re on a first name basis with a health care provider right off the bat?

        1. Filosofickle*

          Well, me. I am okay with Dr because I know it’s what most doctors prefer. However, I prefer first names in business settings, and go straight to them in almost all cases.

        2. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Most American adults use first names with each other in a business setting…

          Doctors seem to be one of the few professions where that convention hasn’t changed, but even that is changing. All the doctors at my practice use their first names with patients.

          1. Windchime*

            My health-care provider is a P.A., so she goes by her first name. My previous provider was an MD and I wouldn’t have dreamed of calling her by her first name. Not sure why; I surely would have called her by her first name if she were my lawyer or something similar.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yeah, I think we’ve been conditioned to use titles for doctors in a way we haven’t been for any other profession. I still feel weird about calling mine by her first name but I like that it’s changing.

          2. Clisby*

            Yes, before I retired I worked for a non-profit where a large percentage of employees had PhDs – they’d have been laughed out of the place if they had insisted they should be addressed as “Dr.” They were called by their first names, just like everybody else.

        3. Jenny20*

          Every single person I know thinks it is okay, or even the default normal, to call another adult by a given name in a business setting. Maybe doctors except. I’m shocked that you’re shocked by this.

      4. ThatGirl*

        I do not want to be called Mrs anything, please use my first name. but I definitely use my Doc’s last name. Which is funny cause she signs her messages Dr Elizabeth. I suspect it’s because she’s also a pediatrician.

      5. D3*

        Well, you would not be a good fit for me, then. I find that doctors who insist on being called “doctor” and being formal have a much more authoritarian style, and I very much prefer a collaborative approach with my care providers.
        I find the insistence on a formal title off putting. And that goes for care providers of any level (MA, nurse, doctor, midwife, phlebotomist, etc.) or any gender.

    2. Quoth the Raven*

      I prefer informality; it tends to put me more at ease. I don’t mind doctors calling me by my name (or using less formal pronouns in my language); however, I will still call them doctor and use formal pronouns unless they explicitly tell me otherwise. As OBMD mentions in another comment, there can be an element of sexism in calling a female physician by their first name, and I would not want to add to it even if it’s not my intention.

      I don’t particularly care about the outfit either, as long as it’s clean and presentable.

      Ultimately what matters more to me is that I feel respected and able to ask questions, and that I am heard and not dismissed. If a doctor is very formal, but I feel I’m not being taken seriously, that formality doesn’t really mean much.

    3. Anonosaurus*

      I’m not in the US but I would never call a physician by their first name, not even if invited to do so. Interestingly, I’m an attorney, and I am fine with clients and other attorneys using my first name! Wondering about that now.

      In general I want the doctor to be warm but not over friendly, kind but brisk. I want to feel I have their full attention. I don’t need to feel that they like me as a person. My primary care physician team have all started wearing scrubs recently. I rather like that.

    4. Kara*

      I’m in the UK. I would expect to call you Dr Surname.

      What I care about is whether you introduce yourself at all and explain who you are (the NHS has done a big push for this after a campaign by someone with cancer who was sick of medical professionals not bothering to say who they were), whether you get MY name right and listen to me about the shortened name I am always known by, whether you ask questions and listen to the answers, and whether you write accurate letters that reflect that you listened to me.

      I don’t care what you wear. I have several long-term conditions – some of my doctors dress smart and some don’t, I don’t give it much thought.

      1. banoffee pie*

        UK here. Dentists and opticians have been introducing themselves with their first names as long as I can remember, maybe to help with the fear factor? More doctors have started inroducing themselves by their first names recenlty. I like it, it makes me less nervous. It doesn’t mean I don’t think they know what they’re talking about – I know everyone has a first name! I didn’t like it when I was younger (but still an adult) and some called me my first name but expected to be called doctor, as if doctors deserve more respect than anyone else in society. I don’t care what they wear at all. Scrubs might be a little alarming in a GP surgery? Not sure. I basically think everyone should call each other first names all the time in society anyway. And I’m a fan of anything that makes the medical experience more relaxing. My dentist used to play Van Halen while he checked my teeth, which was great for me, but maybe not if you don’t love Van Halen as much as I do lol

      2. Batgirl*

        Huh that’s interestingly new information to me. My NHS practice never has doctors who introduce themselves. The interaction basically begins with “next” and “how can I help you”. They also seem to want you to treat the doctors as interchangeable.. This has been the case with a few practices, so it must come from the regional trust.

        1. banoffee pie*

          Yeah, some are like that too. They never introduce themselves as anything, just ‘how can I help you?’ At my NHS GP surgery it’s too hard to get the same doctor every time, I just take whovever is free and none of them really knows me cos I’m hardly ever there anyway.

    5. river*

      (Not in the US.) My doctor wears work-appropriate dresses and a cardigan, and glass bead necklaces. She looks great, not too fancy, but cheerful. My Gynae wears more tailored dresses. She has a picture of Frida Kahlo in her office which I found rather reassuring. I think normal office wear is fine. I would be surprised to see doctors in heels though. The radiologists often wear jeans and a blouse. I’ve noticed some crossover between healthcare dressing and librarian dressing.
      I don’t call any of my doctors by name because it doesn’t come up. At the hospital they say, “Who’s your GP?’’ and I say “Mary Andrews at Healthcentre”.
      Having pictures of nice landscapes or something in the office gives you something to look at during shots etc. I find it really helps. (Ooh, nice mountain. I bet that snow is cold. The shot isn’t happening.) Blank walls are useless. Pictures should be more common.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        My last doc’s office had a big Where’s Waldo mural on the ceiling of one exam room, and a collage of baby animals covering the ceiling of another :)

      2. Been There*

        I was trying to remember what I call my doctor, but names just don’t come up in one-on-one conversations. If I have to mention somewhere else who my GP is, I will call them Doctor Something.

        I also like that my GP’s office is covered in birth announcements. It is nice to look at all the different designs and read the names given to new babies :-)

      3. KittyCardigans*

        I am in the US, and I agree with your point that calling doctors by their names just doesn’t come up that much. On the phone they sometimes ask who I usually see, and I say their full name. Even when I’m actually there waiting to be seen, though, the nurses will be like, “Oh, she’ll be in in just a few minutes”—names and titles almost never come up. If I needed to address her directly for some reason, I guess I’d default to Dr. Lastname, but I just don’t think it matters all that much. If she asked me to call her by her first name, I’d be fine with it.

        My gynecologist dresses like your doctor, and I find it cheery and comforting.

    6. Tau*

      Joining the not in the US train – holy cultural differences Batman, I would never in a million years call my doctor by their first name! My head exploded a little trying to picture it. Similarly, although the overall trend over here in Germany and especially in Berlin has been towards less formality, I’d expect them to call me by surname. And formal second person, since German.

      Cosigning what others have said – I mainly want to feel that I am in good hands, what I say is taken into account and I am respected and able to ask questions. I super appreciate them explaining what they’re doing, what the consequences of a particular course of treatment are, etc. They don’t need to be overly friendly, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m Patient #6352 and they only care about getting me out of their office for Patient #6353. Clothes – eh. I would probably be taken aback if my doctor showed up wearing ratty jeans and a T-shirt with holes in, but I’d get over it.

    7. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t care what my doctor looks or dresses like as long as they listen to me, tell me what’s going on with my health in clear language, don’t need me to constantly remind them about things that are Very Obvious to anyone who takes half a second to look at my chart, and call me by my first name if they need to call me anything. I prefer female doctors for personal reasons, and my last two have both been nice-slacks-and-blouse-under-lab-coat types that I have called Dr. X, where X is the first initial of their last name, if direct name addressing is needed. (But I rarely call anyone by name in direct conversations, and I personally hate being called by my last name with any honorifics. Always have.)

    8. Asenath*

      I do like a bit of formality in the doctor-patient relationship, and usually that seems to mean I call them Dr. X, and they call me by my first name. I suspect some of them wouldn’t have minded if I did use their first name, but I don’t want to be the one to suggest it. As for dress, in an emergency, anything goes, but if I’m seeing a doctor by appointment, they usually seem to dress neatly but not extremely formally. Women (a lot of my medical care is provided by women) seem to mostly wear some kind of nice slacks and top – I guess you’d call it business casual. I’m not really fashion savvy, but the result is something that doesn’t stand out for formality or bright casual colours, but sometimes I notice the colour and style of the top and it strikes me that something that gorgeous wasn’t picked up in the local discount store. It shows a kind of discreet good taste. Men never seem to wear a business suit. (I guess you can tell I notice men’s styles less than I notice women’s styles).

    9. Hrođvitnir*

      On the contrary to other not-in-the-US’s, I don’t think I have EVER called a doctor by their title in my life. I call my surgeon his first name, and would find title-level formality with a doctor absolutely excruciating to the point where this has brought up that that cultural norm would be something to consider if living overseas.

      I’m in NZ, for reference.

      1. Expiring Cat Memes*

        Aussie here, and I feel the same. I’ve only ever had doctors introduce themselves to me by their first name. Clearly it’s cultural, but here I think it’s an important part of being approachable and building rapport.

      2. WS*

        An Aussie here and all the doctors are just called by their first name, sometimes a nickname. Same with most professionals! Nobody here is “Dr Surname”…at most they might be “Dr Firstname”. But they wouldn’t be Mr/Mrs/Ms either.

    10. CatCat*

      Appearance-wise clean and professional is all I care about. Name-wise, whatever they prefer to be called. My primary care doctor typically is business casual with clean sneakers and a lab coat. He goes by Dr. Lastname.

      The dental practice I go to is a husband-wife dentist team. They both dress pretty formally. They have the same last name so each goes by Dr. Firstname or it could get confusing. Similar to the optometrist office I go to where the father-son optometrists have the same last name.

      I’ve had a doctor with a really long last name who went by Dr. First Letter of Lastname.

      1. RagingADHD*

        I do call my dentist by his first name, but only because we were close friends in high school!

    11. The Other Dawn*

      I prefer a less formal doctor. I like to think of my doctor as a regular person, just much smarter than me. :) I like that most of them have a sense of humor and like to chit chat a bit. It puts me much more at ease. I hate when I get a new doctor and they’re all business and formality. It makes me feel like a number.

      I call all my doctors “Dr. LastName” and the typically call me by my first name, which I like.

      As for how they dress, I’ve always thought it strange that most of them are dressy given their occupation. I mean, I guess they probably don’t encounter much “mess” in the way an ER doctor might, but it could still happen. My OBGYN always wears a blouse, skirt and heels, but she’s very down to earth and friendly; she’s not formal at all. My new hip doctor dresses very sharp. He always has on really nice business suit, silky tie, tie pin, cuff links, etc. I wouldn’t say he’s formal, but he’s a little more formal than the OB. He’s still friendly and has a sense of humor, though. My back surgeon is always in scrubs and he likes to talk in between getting stuff done. We’re the same age and seem to like the same music, so we talk about that usually.

      1. Windchime*

        I think that my healthcare professionals have always worn either scrubs or a white coat (with the exception of the pediatricians my kids went to when they were little). I had one doctor who had wild curly hair and wore long-ish skirts that displayed her ankle tatoos. She was super funky and kind and also a really great doctor. The doc after that tends to be more conservative looking, with slacks and practical shoes. But also very kind and professional.

        I think that kind, attentive and thorough is what I care about most. I could care less whether or not they have a beard, tattoos, or other external things. Oh, but I do need clean, short fingernails.

    12. Laura Petrie*

      With regards to clothes, in the UK hospitals have a ‘bare below the elbows’ policy for infection control reasons. No white coats, no ties and no long sleeves. Personally I don’t care what the doctor is wearing but most NHS Trusts have a dress code. This also covers tattoos (fine but nothing offensive), jewellery and hair (long hair should be tied back). Doctors seem to be the only medical staff with no uniform as such. Nurses and other healthcare staff wear a dress or tunic with trousers in a specific colour depending on their role.

      Normally I hate titles and rarely use them, but would call the doctor ‘Dr Smith’ etc.

    13. Ana*

      Honestly, I don’t recall ever calling my doctor anything. I rarely use my conversation partner’s name. As long as the clothes are clean and not too casual I wouldn’t give that a though either.

      1. Ana*

        On second thought, I would use the doctor’s first name because the doctor calls me by my first name. But then again I’m from a flat hierachy country…

        1. allathian*

          I’m also in a flat hierarchy country, and in my culture it would feel weird to use the name of your conversation partner in a 1:1 conversation. When referring to them in the third person, such as to the receptionist if I need to make a follow-up appointment, I’ll use Dr. Surname.

          I’m fine with fairly casual clothes, given that I wear pretty casual ones to work myself. I’d probably feel intimidated if they wore very formal clothes, like British surgeons do on TV shows when they’re not in the operating theater. Just as long as they’re clean and tidy, and wearing something slightly more formal than sweats and a hoodie…

          For me, the most important thing in a doctor is that they should take me and my health issues seriously, and not dismiss what I’m saying just because I’m a fat middle-aged woman.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        This is me. I don’t know that I refer to my doctor by name at all. I think I would respond with how they introduce themselves. I’m fine with doctor (last name).

        I tend to think that I don’t care but take me seriously. I just ditched a doctor who didn’t take me seriously but I knew her son-in-law joined the AF because she was chatty with me. So probably I’d prefer formality and seriousness. I don’t need handholding. Let’s just get down to business – my health and stick to that. If they are doing that I really don’t care about formality at all.

    14. NopityNope*

      In US here, would never call my dr by their first name, but I do ask them to call me by my first name, as I generally hate being called Ms. LN. But I don’t think I actually ever say their name, just “Hi,” not “Hi, Dr. Beetlebroth.” I hate chitchat, so I’m fine with briskness as long as it’s combined with competence and I don’t feel like I’m being shoved out the door.

      I hope they are wearing something comfortable, just because they are human beings and I hope that for everyone, but I don’t really care what that is. I seem to recall most being more or less business casual, chinos/trousers and polo/blouse type stuff, and that’s fine. I care most about them paying attention to me. It’s frustrating when medical professionals are typing on the computer while I’m talking, especially when it’s positioned so their back is to me.

    15. Once a doc*

      Retired optometrist here. I always wore a white coat and introduced myself as Doctor; I was in an office full of women (and one man, sometimes). So the coat helped distinguish me as the doctor AND kept my clothes clean (fluorescein dye doesn’t come out of clothes). I always used a title when introducing myself to patients and always used their title when speaking to them. As a patient, I prefer using titles (mine and the doctor’s…I don’t want to be their BFF) but am OK with first names if we are BOTH using first names. I prefer an equitable but more formal (note: the opposite of formal is informal, not unfriendly) relationship with medical providers. I think it’s important to note: how doctors treat/interact with staff, respond to phone/email queries, and whether you feel they are really listening to you and engaged in your care. Also I can’t stand it when a doctors decide what’s wrong before you even finish telling them and when they have a clear attitude of superiority and condescension.

    16. Lora*

      Most of the ones I have had to deal with as a patient are in scrubs and sneakers and that’s totally fine. Honestly I don’t care what they wear or how they want to be addressed as long as they don’t treat me like an idiot or a junkie.

    17. Not So NewReader*

      This is interesting to me. I always call doctors by Dr. Surname. I can never remember a time where I was addressed as Miss/Ms./Mrs. Not once. It’s always been FirstName. I don’t like the one way street.

      Overall, I am best with less formality, but I am really not seeing it at least in my area.

    18. Sunny*

      I prefer some formality. So introducing themselves as “Dr. Watson” and letting me call them “Dr. Watson.”

      I’d prefer if they wear scrubs or a lab coat with casual clothes so it feels like I’m talking to a professional doctor, but I don’t care if they wear scrubs with neon orange sneakers or a hoodie, or jeans and a t-shirt and a lab coat. If they wear a business attire, that’s fine, but not necessary.

    19. RagingADHD*

      My doctor & OBGYN introduced themselves as Firstname-Lastname, and I call them Dr Lastname. They both have a very warm and friendly demeanor. They call me by my first name, and would probably be fine if I called them by their first name, but they never suggested I do. They both wear business casual with a white coat.

      That all seems just right to me, not cold and stuffy but not overly familiar. It is more comfortable for me to have a little bit of clinical detachment.

      Mutual firstnames, or very casual dress, would be embarrassing. I don’t get naked with my persinal friends or social acquaintances, and I don’t want the illusion of a personal friendship with my doctor.

      1. RagingADHD*

        BTW-I have been seeing them both for years, and by coincidence, we are all women of a similar age range, with kids of similar ages.

        IIRC, they called me Ms Lastname at first, and the first name thing evolved over time. My GP is a family practitioner, and the whole family goes to her.

    20. fposte*

      I’m in the U.S., smallish town. After years of consideration, I’ve landed on I don’t much care; I do find annoying doctors who get stiffly annoyed if the disparity of address is pointed out when it comes up or if they default to calling me “Mrs.” (Those are the ones who get “It’s Doctor, actually.”) Mostly we seem to resolve the problem by the in-law maneuver of never addressing each other directly at all, especially with younger doctors.

      (The smallish town thing comes up because my doctors are sometimes friends of friends, where they’re known by their first name, so my Dr. Swift will sometimes come up in conversation as Jonathan to people who know I know him–but it still takes me a minute.)

      1. the cat's ass*

        Small-town NP in a specialty group. I introduce myself as, “Hi, I’m cat’s ass, the NP who works on the ortho team.” People call me Cat, or Ms. Ass. I don’t really care. If asked, i go with call me cat. I wear immaculate lab coats and scrubs as well as insane socks and very silly clogs with backs. I also wear a handmade heart pin from a patient and my sigma theta tau key on my lab coat with my name tag and all of its alphabet soup. I ask my patients what they’d like to be called when i first meet them and follow through with that. I hope that’s a good start.

    21. Anon doctor not Md*

      As a patient, I am neutral as long as the doctor doesn’t try to act condescending and superior, or acts like they are worthier as a person because of their degree and position. I would suggest that an MD consider a neutral approach. I’m a PhD academic and am a title optional person professionally, and I make that clear when I introduce myself to students. Hi, I’m Dr. first name last name. Feel free to call me first name or Dr. last name. What I want to avoid is Mrs (I’m married and wear a ring) or ideally any gendering (Ms or, especially, Miss). FWIW, I’m a white woman and young for the field.

    22. Cookie D'oh*

      I see a certified nurse practitioner for my yearly physicals and I call her by my first name since she’s not a doctor. If I do see an actual doctor, I address them as Dr. LastName. I want to be called by my first name. Don’t have a preference about clothes.

    23. TurtleMom*

      Most of the doctors I’ve seen for regular appointments (not ER/urgent care trips) introduce themselves as Jane Johnson or Jane, and they call me by my first name. I am a teacher, so being called “Ms. Last name” tends to snap me into Work Professional mode, which is not what you want when trying to explain very personal medical information! As I’ve been thinking about this question, I also realize that I almost always see an NP or PA for my regular check-up appointments unless there is a reason I actually must be treated by an MD for that issue – probably because I like the slightly lower formality level of the appointment!

      It may be worth noting that I live in a Midwestern state in the US, in an area that tends to be very informal all around.

    24. Rara Avis*

      A few years back I had an ear infection and was seen by a resident who was probably 20/25 years younger than me. She called me “Sweetie,” which I found entertaining. When she asked, “When’s the last time you had an ear infection, sweetie?” I was very tempted to answer, “Before you were born!” I call doctors Dr. Last name.

      1. banoffee pie*

        haha i get called love and pet all the time by medical people (UK). I don’t mind, they’re trying to be reassuring I think, they must think I look very scared or something! In my 30’s but young looking and female

        1. Batgirl*

          Yeah I’ve definitely been called love in a doctor’s office but you don’t notice that as it’s the same as everywhere else.

    25. Blackcat*

      “Do you prefer a more formal outfit, business casual or literally anything as long as they’re decent with no blood spatter?”

      This might sound odd, but I’ve appreciated the switch I’ve seen in my doctor’s offices in COVID times: Everyone is in scrubs. Pre-COVID, my kid once barfed on his pediatrician’s blouse. I felt bad about that! I would not have felt bad if he barfed all over scrubs.
      In any setting at all where there’s ANY risk of bodily fluids, I actually feel best if medical professionals look prepared for that!

      1. Coenobita*

        Forget kids, I’ve barfed all over my doctor’s blouse before, as a 30-something-year-old adult! I’m always a little surprised to see clinicians in dressy clothes – I mean, I can barely keep my own work clothes clean, and all I do is ride the metro to an office. If I had the choice to wear scrubs I absolutely would.

    26. Barbara Eyiuche*

      I prefer the white lab coat or scrubs. I would have thought it didn’t matter to me, until the neurologist who was examining my dying father came in wearing ragged jeans and a t-shirt. She also had messy multicolored hair. She looked so unprofessional and so young that it upset me. Give a thought to the seriously ill patient and their grief-stricken family. She must have been told to dress more professionally, because weeks later I did see her in a dress and high heels, which was also ridiculous. No one expects doctors in the Emergency Department to be working in high heels.

    27. Vesuvius*

      Am in the US. Reading some of these replies — I was raised in a house where you do not use anyone’s first name in a professional setting UNLESS they tell you to. I default to manners and politeness when I’m nervous; it’s a good default, lol. It gets me out of trouble a lot.

      I talk to my doctors by their last name. I have a specialist I’ve been seeing for 2 years now who is great, and I’d never use his first name without permission. He’s the first doctor in YEARS not to suggest “have you tried (thing that makes condition worse)” and listen when I told him yes, and that they didn’t work. (It was like night and day listening to him versus a doctor who tried to diagnose it as entirely psychiatric in nature.) I don’t have a preference of outfit — wear what makes you comfortable! Honestly I would feel a little weird seeing my current specialist in a different outfit but that’s because he dresses conservatively and professionally as a rule (although I think I’ve seen him in scrubs, too, which I consider pretty normal). I’ve had NPs and PAs, and doctors too, who wear scrubs habitually and that’s always been normal to me? But I would find it very odd if they insisted on me using their first name. (If that’s what they want me to do, I do it, but I’ve never done so. I’m in California.)

    28. MEH Squared*

      I don’t care what my doctor wears or wants to be called; I don’t think I’ve ever called them by any name, really. I want to be called by my first name, though. I prefer a more relaxed manner, but what I really care about is that they actually listen to me and are not dismissive of what I say. That’s why I have to find another doctor because the one I currently have (only went to once) did not fill me with confidence when we met. She made everything about my weight and offered questionable suggestions based on her bias.

      1. banoffee pie*

        I really surprised by how many people want to call them dr lastname. Very interesting topic!

    29. My Brain Is Exploding*

      If my feet are in stirrups and I have a male doctor, then I want to be addressed more formally. (Especially when spouse was in the military in the medical field and it was a small base and we saw the same people at formal dinners. :) ) Current provider is a woman I have been going to for over a decade; we are on a first-name basis even though she knows spouse, and we can even continue a bit of chit-chat during procedures.

      1. allathian*

        Ugh, I’d never go to a male ob/gyn unless it’s an emergency. I can’t help it, but I think there’s something skeevy about a man who wants to be looking at women’s genitals all day, even if they’re professional about it.

        1. Sleeping Late Every Day*

          My favorite OB-GYN was the male obstetrician I saw when I was pregnant. His wife had just given birth so he was about as empathetic as a male can get, and he had skinny fingers, the main requirement! One of the worst I ever saw was a female who, after the exam, wiped her gloves on her damn lab coat – who knows how many people she’d examined that day?

          1. allathian*

            Oh yuck. I’m not saying that a man can’t be a good ob/gyn just because of his gender, it’s just that I’d never be able to relax enough for a pelvic exam with a male ob/gyn.

            That said, when I had a childbirth with complications, my obstetrician was a youngish man and I couldn’t have cared less. The main thing was that my son was born safely.

            1. allathian*

              And conversely, not all female ob/gyns are good and decent just because of their gender, either.

              1. Dawbs*

                Yeah, I’ve had good and bad of both genders.
                Unfortunately, several female ob/gyns who were incredibly dismissive of things they never experienced. (File under “… just cramps” and “yeah, some discomfort is normal”- it took some good make OBs to get it taken seriously.
                (My current female OB rocks)

        2. No Holmes*

          As a female gynaecologist, I have to defend my male colleagues here. They do the work because obstetrics and gynaecology are both amazing, interesting specialities. To help women throughout pregnancy, delivery and postnatally and to manage the spectrum of women’s health disorders is so rewarding. And honestly, looking at genitals is a fairly portion of our time! I think women should be able to have choice in their care providers but please know it isn’t about sex for us. Quite a lot of my male colleagues are gay! I myself am bisexual, but it is not relevant to the care I provide my patients.

    30. Noblepower*

      I call my doctors by the names they and their staff introduce them with. My primary is Dr Surname, my OB/GYN II s Dr First Name, etc. I feel like it should be like everywhere else- I will call you what you want to be called, and you should call me what I want to be called.

      1. Batgirl*

        I used to write a medical column with a retired GP called Dr Tom who was locally revered in a pretty deprived area. Maybe it was because Dr Tom was awesome and knew the answer to every bonkers and bizarre question but I’ve always thought that Dr Firstname was a nice combination of formality and warmth.

    31. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      I call all my doctors “Dr. Lastname.” Most of my doctors are female, and I think they wear scrubs and a lab coat, but I honestly don’t pay a ton of attention. My one regular male doctor wears some entertaining but eyewatering clothes, like neon tie-dye snakeskin patterned leggings or jeggings (I have no idea what the male version of skin-tight lightweight nether region garments are called) at my last appointment. He had on a solid color shirt and a patterned bow-tie and a white blazer. But what was really distracting was his mask, which was a light tan that looked like the non-latex medical gloves texture and every time he talked or breathed, it conformed to the shape of his mouth. Creepy! I was glad to have his clothes to look at!

    32. Retired Prof*

      I have known my dentist for 30 years. We call each other by first names, and he shows me pictures of his latest woodworking projects as if they were his grandchildren.

      I call my docs Dr. X, but some of them refer to each other by first name in talking to me (they are all in the same big medical group). I just want them to listen to me with respect. With most of my docs, I have known them so long that I know about their families and we usually chat about that. But I have a rare disease, so I have to have docs who are willing to be educated by a patient since I know more about my disease than they do, usually.

    33. asteramella*

      White coats are usually filthy. They serve no purpose but to signify authority.

      I just left a job at a clinic where almost all the practitioners are referred to by their first names and none of them wear white coats. It’s an explicitly informal environment and most of the practitioners wear jeans and branded t-shirts daily. The clinic serves populations that historically have been mistreated and looked down on by health care professionals, and it’s important to avoid signifiers of hierarchy and authority for that reason.

      My personal physician I do call Dr So-and-so, but he has an informal manner and doesn’t wear a white coat. I prefer to be called my first name because I’m nonbinary and being called Mr or Ms Lastname is not my preference.

    34. One KED Is All You Need*

      I don’t care for titles, so my preference is first names both ways. I will use them if people insist on them because it’s not really a hill I want to die on, but if someone wants me to use a title when I’m addressing them, I’d expect them to do the same when they’re addressing me.

  7. WoodswomanWrites*

    I’m consistently oblivious when I read AAM posts with references to TV shows and other popular culture stuff in comments here. I haven’t watched TV in decades, nor am I familiar with video games or popular music. I do the screen equivalent of nodding and smiling when I read those. This isn’t a complaint at all–I’m just curious if there are a bunch of us like that (at least in the US) or if I’ve officially now become an old fogey. :)

    1. Liz*

      I’m not old, but I’ve never really had TV except for a short period when I moved back with my parents. I always figured satellite was so expensive, there was no way I was getting that, and the terrestrial/free channels weren’t worth paying the license fee (I’m a Brit, we have to pay a fee to receive any live broadcast). Now I have Netflix, which is much cheaper, and although I’ve now caught up with a couple of shows that everybody was talking about a few years ago, plus the odd Netflix original, I still mostly use it to watch my favourite old movies and haven’t watched 90% of the stuff people are talking about.

    2. Teatime is Goodtime*

      Yes! Me! It doesn’t help that I haven’t lived in the US for a while, but even then I was pretty mystified. Most of the major stuff gets exported to where I am living now, too, though sometimes there’s a small delay. I haven’t owned a TV in years. I’m not even 35 and I feel old (although some of that is because I have a toddler, and there’s nothing like young kids to make one feel old!)

    3. Quoth the Raven*

      (Not in the US) I seldom watch TV or movies. I don’t have anything against them or think they they’re a waste of time or anything, I jut find it extremely hard to focus (I do have ADHD, and that’s one of the things I have trouble with). Watching something takes a lot of conscious effort on my part (especially in movie theatres). I do play videogames, but since they tend to be a lot more interactive, challenging, and interesting than TV and films, I have an easier time with them.

      I keep kind of in the loop with pop culture because one of my jobs is for a Comic Con in my country, so it kind of comes with the territory, and I find these things out in the process of what I do.

    4. KR*

      I don’t get a lot of common TV references. I haven’t seen Game of Thrones and I’m not into a lot of popular shows that other people seem to be into.

    5. NopityNope*

      Same! We never had a tv when I was growing up and I really just never got one. I turned into more of a reader than a tv watcher. Now I have a television so I can occasionally watch a movie, but no tv service. And I very, very often miss or don’t understand references to shows. Even on AAM, I have to look up names like Sansa and whatnot. (I just had to look it up again to write it here!)

      I very clearly remember (back in the day) co-workers talking about these people I assumed were folks they knew: Rachel, Monica et al. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize they were talking about a tv show and I was (and honest still am) astonished at how deeply invested they got in fake people’s lives!

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        (waves hand) Add me + my sibling to the list of the tiny minority of Americans raised without TV as per parental preference. I got used to looking polite but blank when a conversation turned to shows, and people got used to my blankness.
        Between reading the Style/Lifestyle section of the local newspaper (remember those?!) and marrying a former TV watcher, I catch enough cultural references to get by. It’s still not an interest, though, except for the occasional documentary or coverage of truly memorable current events.
        There’s not enough time to do everything in this world. We all make choices. I don’t feel deprived.

      2. Astoria*

        Not that different from discussing in a novel. They involve “fake people,” too. A well-written TV show can be as engrossing as a novel.

    6. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I find myself kind of clueless when I hear about a lot of TV shows/characters here esp when they’re sci fi/historical/documentaries etc.

      On the other side, I’m clueless when I hear/see references to most popular TV shows as well (i.e., “White Lotus” or references to GoT [while I know what it is, I have never watched it and never plan to]) so I’m kind of lost on both sides :(

    7. LQ*

      The thing I really like is that while you don’t need to know anything about them to understand the post, and you really don’t, there’ve been several I didn’t realize were shows (or classic novels, it’s not all TV shows old fogey, some of it’s for you too), if you do it can sometimes add a nice level of humor to the posts or the responses. I don’t think you need to “smile and nod” when you read them. You can just be engaged in the content. It’s like watching a Pixar movie (these are animated movies that are primarily targeted at children, but also have jokes that are something you’d have to be an adult to get, and not just “blue” content) as a kid, you may laugh and love and enjoy, and then when you grow up you get a whole additional level of the movie. That doesn’t mean you can’t be engaged entirely with the content when you’re a kid.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      Ha! Me, too. I got my tv working long enough to see President Obama get inaugurated. It hasn’t worked since. I really don’t have a plan to buy a new tv. I watch some stuff on YT. But what I know about pop culture comes from what I read here.
      The cable company is fun.
      Them: We have a deal for tv service.
      Me: I don’t watch tv.
      Them: For a mere bizillion dollars a month you can have blah, blah, blah.
      Me: I don’t watch tv.
      (Insert several more rounds here.)
      Them: You don’t watch tv? Really? Well, maybe with a deal like this you will decide you want to watch tv.
      Me: I don’t watch tv.

      1. Lora*

        Oh, I see we have the same cable TV / internet / phone provider! Though I somewhat think they must all do that. “If you spend just $$$$/month you can also get in your package, ESPN, HBO, Disney blahblah…” Remember in the 90s when you’d go to buy a computer and the Gateway store guy would try to sell you encyclopedias on disk, and a bunch of children’s learning software, and a bunch of games – doubling the price? And if you insisted that those things NOT be on the computer, just sell me a box with an operating system, they flat out refused even though Gateway’s whole shtick was that you could get the computer built as you liked it. And that was when I learned you can buy components and build your own for much MUCH cheaper…

        I read a lot, and had read the Game of Thrones books, so was good up to a point – then binge-watched the DVDs with a friend and started getting disappointed about halfway through where the books left off. Current “TV” is not so much a TV as a large-ish computer monitor that happens to be connected to a Blu-Ray also for movies on disks.

        Honestly I also feel like TV as a thing to do is starting to fade out: my friends who have teenagers and younger kids and grandkids don’t watch TV like people did even ten years ago. They’ll play games on the TV like Jackbox or a multiplayer video game, and they treat a TV series like any other movie series, and don’t necessarily care about watching it regularly or seeing the same characters elsewhere. They’re far more interested in YouTube channels and Tiktok where they can customize what they watch and create their own content. I have to say I agree with them – not so much about Tiktok, but I really like being able to pick and choose what things I’ll watch on YouTube and not being stuck with what some producer imagined people in my demographic would enjoy. For example, I love watching historical educational things on YouTube (Townsends, Karolina Zebrowska, Prior Attire) but the old TV History Channel used to bore me stupid when my mother would turn it on – it seemed like all they had was either some war strategy Monday Morning Quarterbacking or some nonsense about aliens building pyramids or Hitler’s Final Days. And still, other YouTube history presenters who are making videos about things I’d ordinarily be interested in, like weird history and people’s daily lives, I find horribly annoying because they seem like they’re on entirely too much cocaine: super enthusiastic, loud, obnoxious, presenting in an “oh my GOD what a bunch of weirdos people used to be, can you BELIEVE it” tone. Being able to customize it for “people speaking in a normal tone, at a normal pace, teaching me something” has been critical to my use of entertainment in any shape or format.

    9. RagingADHD*

      I stream everything, so I’m not usually current on watching broadcast stuff, but I spend enough time online that I usually recognize series names or have seen ads for popular stuff.

      I like to look shows up when I hear about them, if they sound interesting. Most things can be found online. My watchlist is huge and I’ll never get through it all.

      1. Double A*

        Same; even if I haven’t watched something, I often have at least read a review or analysis. I love tv and movies though, so I like to have a passing acquaintance with stuff. Like I’ve only seen a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones but I’ve read all about it. It goes way back; I was obsessed with movie reviews when I was in high school.

        Here’s a scenario from the ancient past; my local newspaper (which had its own movie critic) had a phone line you could call to listen to movie reviews, and I would call constantly. So even though I haven’t seen every movie from 1997-2001 or so, I know about them.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I like to read reviews, too! I also enjoy celebrity chat shows, and you can always find Kimmel and Fallon and Graham Norton clips on YouTube.

      2. Disco Janet*

        Yeah, I’m the same in that even when I haven’t seen or have no interest in watching a show (GoT would probably be the main one that comes to mind – my coworkers were obsessed but it’s not my kind of show), I read about it online. That way I don’t just have a bunch of cultural blind spots or total unawareness of pop culture references to it.

        (I do watch TV though. Laughing together with my husband over an episode of Brooklyn 99 or something is a great way to unwind after putting the kids to bed.)

    10. GoryDetails*

      Heh! I have a pretty good head for trivia, even when I’ve acquired it via pop-cultural osmosis rather than by actually watching/listening-to it – but I do have major gaps. I started listening to audiobooks while driving, and haven’t listened to current radio in decades, so my pop-music knowledge cuts off abruptly at about 1990 (with a few exceptions for the songs from movies or theater). I watch very little current network TV (though lots of the classic-TV-rerun channels, food-channels, etc.), so while I could sing the theme songs from ’60s TV shows I wouldn’t even recognize many of the current ones. And I only know some video-game stuff thanks to friends who play (or, again, pop-culture crossover, for the games based on manga or some such).

    11. Girasol*

      Me too. We do watch TV sometimes but one streaming service seems like enough guilty pleasure. So we’re quiet when our friends who take half a dozen streaming services all chat about the latest popular show on one or another.

    12. Chaordic One*

      Yeah, there are a bunch of us like that (at least in the US). I think it all started for me in the early 2000s. All my favorite pop radio stations went Spanish language (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And about the same time I got tired of most TV (except for PBS).

      If I try to make a pop reference to a TV show or pop music or a movie, it is probably for something from the 1970s and no one has any idea what I’m talking about.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        I”m amused to see that certain catchphrases from decades ago are vanishing into the mists of the collective American memory. (Examples: “Who’s on First?” to describe confusion; “Keystone Cops” to describe a situation of ineptitude on steroids; “Tawk among yourselves” to direct others to stay busy while the main speaker takes a break.) I don’t mind being out of touch myself, but I’m sad that future generations won’t be able to enjoy these jokes.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          Confession: This topic is near the top of my mental stack because John Kelly, the Metro columnist in the Washington Post. wrote about it recently. I’ll try to circle back with a link.

      2. ampersand*

        I’m sure this is coincidence: it’s funny you say “not that there’s anything wrong with that”…it’s a Seinfeld reference (also a totally normal thing to say, but I’m still amused!). :)

    13. Ask a Manager* Post author

      They are really just names when used here; they’re rarely providing any additional context. People need fake names to use, so we’re plugging in names from a show/book/whatever. There’s nothing to “get,” just like there’s nothing to get when the name is Jane or Lucinda! (Very occasionally there’s an additional layer there, like giving a jerk in the letter the same name as a villain from a show, but it’s still nothing that adds any additional understanding for people who have seen that show. They’re just being used as names.)

    14. Aphrodite*

      I’m just like you. I haven’t owned a television or seen a television show since … nearly 30 years now. I recall the last shows on as being Hill Street Blues, Murphy Brown and Designing Women. Movies? The last one I saw was the one about Tina Turner.

      I don’t mind not knowing because also like you I sort of smile, nod and head out since I can’t add anything to a popular culture conversation.

    15. allathian*

      Not in the US. I was 15 when my parents bought our first TV. They weren’t moviegoers either, so I had a pretty sheltered childhood. ET gave me nightmares when I went to see it with a friend’s family, and I was 10 at the time. Most of the TV I saw was at either my grandparents’ or my friends’ houses, except the year we lived in the UK, when we rented a furnished house that came with a TV.

      Now I watch very little broadcast TV, except for the news. We do subscribe to a couple of streaming services, though. I like quality drama and well-made documentaries, and I have nothing but contempt for most reality TV, especially the kind of shows that attract viewers by humiliating the contestants.

    16. HBJ*

      Fwiw, I’m “young,” and we don’t have a TV or any streaming services. We don’t watch much Tv or movies, but when we do, we borrow DVDs at the library. The couple of current shows I like to watch (such as Survivor), I will wait a week after it airs for CBS or whoever to put it on their website for free. I don’t feel the need to watch things the minute they’re released, and I don’t really care if I get spoiled before seeing it.

      I do stay up with what’s current and often read the Wikipedia entry for whatever show I see mentioned in headlines. So even though I’ve never seen and never plan to see Game of Thrones or Bridgerton or Schitt’s Creek, I’m aware of the basics of the show and thus get a lot of the references. And of course, I can google whatever reference or meme I don’t get and find where it came from.

    17. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      It’s not uncommon at all. I don’t understand personally why people keep acting like not being a big TV watcher is some weird and unique phenomenon to be humblebragged about – it’s pretty common these days and doesn’t really mean anything.

      1. Clisby*

        I don’t know that it’s uncommon today not to have an actual TV – my husband and I haven’t had one for more than 25 years, and our 25-year-old daughter doesn’t either. But from what I hear from friends, it’s kind of uncommon to have no TV-like experiences, like Netflix or Acorn or Amazon Prime Video. (Amazon Prime is the only way I know anything about Parks & Rec – I made it through 3 or 4 seasons before they started charging for it.)

    18. PhyllisB*

      Ah!! A kindred soul!! I only know what I do about such things because I have teenage grandchildren and millennium children who try to keep me updated They’ve decided I’m hopeless.
      Now if you start making book references…and that where I leave them in the dust.

    19. asteramella*

      I’m a TV-watcher but the genres I like (animated series for adults, niche [non-British] comedies, and paranormal horror) don’t intersect with what the majority of the commentariat here seems to like. So I am right there with you. :)

      If there were names being used from, say, Tuca & Bertie, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, or The Haunting of Bly Manor, I’d be with-it. But I don’t like murder mysteries, Britcoms or most dramas or big-budget fantasy shows, so those mostly go over my head.

  8. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going? As usual, this is not limited to fiction writing.
    I’ve mostly worked on the slice-of-life fanfic project I use as a bit of palate cleanser. Keeps the writing muscles going while I don’t have to think *too* much about it.

    1. river*

      I’m still working on the second draft of my WIP. I thought I’d have it done by now, I only have to rewrite 6 chapters and tweak the rest. Lately, I find I can’t concentrate in the short amounts of time I get to myself. Like, it takes me time to get into the right mindset and then I’m sure to get interrupted. To the point that I don’t want to start because being interrupted is so disappointing. I just don’t get enough time to myself — and when I do, I want to veg out and watch tv. I used to be able to write in short stints. Now I stare at it for five minutes, feel overwhelmed, and give up. I have extensive notes and an outline, I know what I want to write, I’m just finding it hard to make myself do it.

      1. The Dogman*

        I am in the same boat really. Too tired to think and even rewriting parts for clarity or better word choices is limited to 5 mins tops then I burn out.

        I think it is the pandemic personally, it has really sapped my will to do anything.

        Good luck getting it done and don’t be too hard on yourself too, that never helps!

    2. Bee Happy (they/them)*

      I’ve been buckling down to actually finish some of my WIP fics and actually getting a lot of good feedback on them! I’ve published four fics in the last month (2-5k words each, but still, wow, that’s more than I thought it was) and man, the seratonin hit when the engagement numbers go up LOL. It’s not entirely sustainable- I’ve been working on most of these for a while- but it’s been a pretty terrible week at work so I’ll take it.

      Does anyone else who writes oneshots seem to flip between moods? I find I alternate weirdly consistently between slice-of-life and flavorful magic concepts.

    3. LQ*

      I’ve been slacking on my weird weird weird writing project and I think I got myself a little stymied on something and should just skip it and move onto something else since the whole point is to churn. Not perfect.

    4. GraceC*

      I’ve barely written in the last week, and I REALLY need to get back on that – I have a fic event deadline in a couple of weeks and although I’m over the mandatory wordcount and could cut it short if necessary, I haven’t hit even half the beats I wanted.

      Depending on how this next week goes, it might end up being chaptered/serialised and I just post the first section for this challenge. I’m friends with one of the organisers, so I’ll have to poke her about it – there are rules on “a new work, not a new part to an existing series” for the challenge, but not sure of the stance on making it the first part of a new series.

    5. Troutwaxer*

      I have finished the rough draft of my WIP, and am waiting to hear back from Alpha readers. I’m also reading someone else’s work as a beta-reader. It’s a fantasy book about a badly scarred exile who must make his way through the Orcish lands.

    6. RagingADHD*

      Got comments back from the editor on the dry nonfic, and she said, “Welp, it’s not a page-turner, but you did a good job making it clear and accessible, and injected some personality.” Which is awesome to me, considering how deadly dull the material actially is.

      Client #2 is starting to find her feet in the interviews, and really trust that I have a plan, and it will work.

    7. Girasol*

      After six failed attempts on a particular short story plot I’m finally getting traction. I’m always tempted to start the story at the beginning of the plot, like Dickens’ “I was born.” What I need to do is start somewhere in the middle of the action and use flash backs and foreshadowing to flesh out the tale. I never manage to do that on the first draft and so I have to start over and over. But it’s going now.

    8. Cari*

      Working on my next book for submission to my agent… wrangling the timeline in the first few chapters is killing me. I can’t believe I thought all those flashbacks in the first draft were a good idea!! LOL

  9. Green Beans*

    Here’s a question somewhat taken from an earlier post this week! What’s the pettiest (non-work) thing you’ve ever done?

    Mine’s in the comments.

    1. Anon For This*

      Many years ago, I had a kind of toxic friend who used to bully me into cleaning her house. I was mentally unwell, out of work, and she felt she was “keeping me busy” by giving me something to do. Actually she made my illness far worse. She was something of a hoarder and very messy, and all sorts of things would just get dumped on the floor, gathering dust, and not be seen for years. As revenge, every time I was prodded into wasting hours of my life picking up after her, I would steal an item of clothing from the forgotten heaps in the corner, wash off the dust bunnies, and keep it. I considered it “payment” for services rendered.

      We’re not friends anymore. It’s probably for the best.

        1. StudentA*

          No. There’s nothing brilliant here. There’s petty and there’s petty theft.

          The normal response is to either decline helping or ask if you can keep the freaking clothing item.

          1. Anon For This*

            Oh believe me, I absolutely wouldn’t do it now. Unfortunately I was very unwell and caught in a fundamentally abusive cycle that this was my outlet for the resentment. I’ve reclaimed my autonomy now and am doing much better, but that was such a destructive time that petty acts of revenge became a coping strategy until I acquired the strength to walk away.

            1. Generic Name*

              I totally get this. Unless someone has been up under the thrall of coercive control, they have no idea of how it slowly eats away at your humanity. My petty story is that when I was mad at my psychologically abusive ex husband, I would mess up the silverware drawer to get him back. Now that I am out and safe, I see how bananacrackers that was, but when I was in that relationship, he demanded that the spoons and forks were all carefully nested together. The big forks and to be nestled with the big forks and little spoons had to go with the little spoons, etc.

              1. Anon For This*

                I can relate to this sort of thing. I learned in therapy that it’s really common for victims in abusive relationships to switch periodically to the persecutor role on the drama triangle, either to enact revenge in small ways, or to enable themselves to have some control over when the abuser flips out, thus relieving tension or at least making the abuse somehow predictable. It helped me make some sense of what went on in that dynamic and come to terms with some of my own behaviours that did not seem at all reasonable without that understanding.

              2. allathian*

                I’m so grateful and feel privileged that I’ve never experienced anything approaching this, but this really sounds a lot like the Julia Roberts movie Sleeping With The Enemy… I’m so glad you’re out of that relationship, and everyone else who’ve shared on this thread, too.

      1. IntoTheSarchasm*

        She was taking advantage of you at a time when you truly needed a friend. You rebelled in a way available to you. Glad you are no longer “friends.”

      2. Observer*

        We’re not friends anymore. It’s probably for the best.

        Definitely. This was, to say the least, not a healthy or reasonable relationship. I’m glad you’re out of it, and doing better in general.

    2. Green Beans*

      For the pettiest thing I’ve ever done:

      There are two key players from my friend group here: Rapunzel and Belle, who were good friends at the time. Belle is in a relationship with an emotionally manipulative woman, Ursula. At one point, Ursula throws a gigantic fit about a conversation our friend group had (it didn’t include her and wasn’t about her) and eventually demands a one-on-one conversation with Rapunzel. Ursula says she can only feel comfortable around Rapunzel is if she establishes a relationship with Ursula independent of her friendship with Belle, starting with one talk to clear the air and then moving to regular monthly meetings.

      Rapunzel doesn’t feel it’s an appropriate request but after much thought agrees to the first talk. Me and another friend, both experienced with emotionally manipulative people, were talking to her the day before the scheduled conversation when I had the pettiest idea of my life.

      I made Rapunzel a 25-square online bingo card for the conversation, predicting the different tactics Ursula would use and specific things she would say.
      Rapunzel filled in the bingo card during the (virtual) conversation. 20/25 predictions were dead-on, and 2 others were borderline.

      I wish the story had a happier ending (Ursula and Belle are still together), but the bingo card definitely helped Rapunzel feel a lot better about setting very strong boundaries post-conservation.

      1. GoryDetails*

        I love the bingo-card idea! I wish I’d had that idea as a way to endure visits with my (now-long-ex) in-laws, whose combination of co-dependency, habitual lying, and other… interesting… dynamics made me very uncomfortable.

      2. Bluebell*

        I make bingo cards for all sorts of things — when I was textbanking for the 2020 election, when my sisters and I were regularly watching cheesy TV show, and for my friend on a particularly rough day at work when she knew she was going to deal with a lot of annoying questions. I started doing it during phone calls with a relative who is wildly self centered.

      3. Salymander*

        My daughter and I call this game Vampire Bingo. We used to watch a kids tv show about vampires, but some of the male characters did things (like calling all girls babes) that we both thought were a bit inappropriate. My kid liked the show, but we didn’t like those parts of it, and so we played Vampire Bingo, calling out the various icky things we saw. Now, whenever we see something sexist in a film or on tv, we call out, “Vampire Bingo!” It sounds weird, but it has been a pretty good way of talking about sexism with my early teens daughter while still having fun. She called Vampire Bingo on her dad the other day because she said he was trying to use feminism to convince me to go out and buy him some ice cream. And he had to admit that she kinda had a point! But I still went out to get us all some ice cream, because it is delicious.

    3. RentalLife*

      Not my most petty but certainly a recent petty. We’re in a somewhat deceptive house rental at the moment sharing a wall with a landlord who is “never home” (hint: they are home far more than advertised). It’s not the end of the world but it’s not great for my husband’s PTSD to hear doors open at midnight or second guess soft footsteps (yes we’d prefer to live somewhere else, no the rental market doesn’t make that an option right now).

      Anyway, we have a toddler who LOVES music. Since we share a wall with only one this landlord and because they’ve insisted up and down that they want this to be our house and they’re “never there”, I have felt zero shame about letting kiddo be loud in the morning. I may or may not have turned up the Disney music before we went for an early morning neighborhood stroll. Petty I know, but hey they wouldn’t hear it if they were never there!

      1. Patty Mayonnaise*

        I’m confused. Why would you think your landlord would literally “never be there” if that’s their primary residence? Your landlords are making very limited noise at night (sorry about the PTSD but that doesn’t mean your landlord is doing anything wrong by simply existing in their apartment), and it’s coming off as very rude to purposely make noise in the morning. Did they tell you they have a different primary residence at another location or something?

    4. The Other Dawn*

      I don’t know if I’d consider this petty, more like “moving things along.”

      One sister, Anne, lived with my dad after my mom died. When my dad died, we had to sell the house. It took maybe four months from listing to sale, and Anne knew she had to pack up and move. She had multiple reminders to start culling things and packing, even though we didn’t yet have a buyer. That way when it was time to move, it wouldn’t be so bad. We told her this because Anne is someone who is a bargain shopper and often buys a lot of crap she doesn’t need or won’t use much, like cheap crafting materials, dollar store decor, As Seen on TV things, and other things like that. She’s also a big procrastinator and was also diagnosed at 55 with ADD, so we knew packing up would be a huge, long, drawn out undertaking for her.

      On the weekend the house sale was to close, my oldest sister, Mary, and I drove up on a Friday (out of state) to help with getting the last of sister’s stuff out of Dad’s house and into her new one. We arrived and it was as though Anne had done nothing over those four months other than just pack a few boxes. (In fact, it looked like she’d bought even more stuff.) The house was nearly full still…and the closing was going to be Sunday! Guess what Mary and I, and Anne’s daughter and the daughter’s saint of a boyfriend, did all weekend??

      One of my tasks was to clean out Anne’s bedroom closet and pack the stuff. I opened the door and it was…something to behold. Packed floor to ceiling and it was one of those double closets. It started off well. I was taking care to pack the easier stuff. Then I uncovered multiple boxes of old wrapping paper (fine), bows (fine), shopping bags, random gift boxes, and SO many clothes hangers, among other things. I got so fed up with the fact that we had to scramble to pack all of HER shit when she should have been doing it all along, I just started throwing stuff in the garbage bag, saying it’s broken or it’s just paper or whatever. (No one was in there with me anyway.) A lot of stuff just magically disappeared that weekend and Anne never even noticed.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I’ve done this on a much smaller scale. They never, ever notice. And they have no recollection of having those things.

        1. Clisby*

          I used to do it when my kids wouldn’t clean up their playroom. Toys that were left out magically disappeared into a box in a closet. If they hadn’t asked after it in a month, it went to Goodwill.

    5. Green Kangaroo*

      A horrible roommate was asked out by a guy she’d long had a crush on. When he arrived at our apartment to pick her up, we chatted a bit, and since he was a very nice guy, he politely asked if I wanted to join them.

      I said yes.

        1. Green Kangaroo*

          She looked at me in shock, then tried to pull me aside. I pretended to not understand what she wanted, so she couldn’t get rid of me without making it awkward. When she confronted me when we got home, I went wide-eyed with innocence and insisted that I only said I’d go along to be polite.

    6. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I have to think about this one for a minute.

      But I just read a news story this morning where two women were on line at a bakery. The second one in line said “I hope the fat b* doesn’t buy all the cupcakes.” Said customer overheard and ended up buying alllllllll the cupcakes.

      Love it.

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      I think I’ve told this here before, but our house had a really ugly outdoor screen on the front window when we bought it, and after at least 2 years of living there someone suddenly decided to complain to the HOA about how ugly it was. I made a big show of “struggling” to take it down while visibly pregnant, then left it in a tangled mess where it could be easily seen from the road, even though it would’ve been less work to keep it somewhere hidden until garbage day.

    8. whistle*

      I have never and will never eat at Quizno’s (are they still around?) because of commercials they ran around 2003 with a loud socket puppet that annoyed the everloving crap out of me.

      The closest I came was one time walking around an unfamiliar city looking for food and not seeing much. Saw a Quizno’s, and I was really hungry, but then I thought “nah, I just can’t do it” and found something else on the next block.

      1. MEH Squared*

        Oh my god! I just learned of these commercials yesterday. Someone told me about them and when I clicked play on the first one, I shut it down after two seconds. How did those commercials ever get played?

        1. asteramella*

          They were based on a viral meme at the time. People mostly seemed to hate the commercials but they weren’t born out of thin air, at least!

    9. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      This isn’t actually petty but it gave me the same lovely petty feeling vibes… My overly critical sister was visiting. In the morning she was overly critically looking at my Keurig coffee machine and said “I could never use one of those, they are so bad for the environment.” (Referring to the waste that the k cups make.) I didn’t say a word but proceeded to pull out my reusable k cup and ground coffee and make her a cup.

      Of course after this, she went on to say that her husband takes a thermos of coffee with him to work in the mornings so she still couldn’t use a Keurig. I just replied that since my husband doesn’t drink coffee that it works just fine for me.

    10. Expiring Cat Memes*

      Me as a teenager, not appreciating the way my mother barked at me to make her a coffee: sure Mum, extra Worcestershire sauce for you.

    11. KingKatzen*

      I’d periodically flush my father’s girlfriend’s stuff down the toilet. Jewelry, perfume, cosmetics. I was 8 and didn’t understand septic tanks yet.

      1. I'm A Little Teapot*

        also, you were 8 and your dad had a girlfriend and clearly you were having a hard time with it. Poor septic tank, but otherwise you get a pass.

      2. Salymander*

        My sister used to wear really long, dangly earrings to annoy our very conservative, judgmental stepmother. Long dangly earrings are a sign of the devil, apparently. Every time we went to dad’s for a visit, the earrings got longer until they were past her shoulders and longer than her hair. My sis (age 11 or so) was always the perfectly behaved one, so when she looked at our stepmother with wide eyes and a sweet smile, asking if we all liked the pretty (foot long) earrings that she made all by herself (batting her eyelashes), no one said a word against them. You could hear my stepmom’s teeth grinding together. It was glorious.

    12. Chaordic One*

      I was a censor. Before moving to a different community, I used to be a volunteer at the local Friends of the Library Used Book Store. One of my duties was sorting through donations of used books. We’d remove things left between the pages (I never found any money, but lots of old letters and photos) and we didn’t put out old books that were moldy, damaged or missing pages. A few of the books ended up joining the library’s regular collection and were put into circulation. There were a handful of books that were rare and fairly valuable and I’d sort those out. A couple of them joined the library’s rare books collection and a few ended up in the library’s rare books and local history collections. Other rare books were sold for decent money on eBay. All the profits went back to the Friends of the Library.

      There were a couple of times when the donations included books that were, not merely political but, really offensively racist and/or promoted negative bigoted stereotypes of certain religions. A couple of those books “accidentally” ended up in the recycling bin, instead of on the shelves to be resold.

      1. Jackalope*

        I once did a book drive for the library at a domestic violence shelter. One of the books someone had donated was a romance novel in which (per the back cover) the female lead fell in love with a man who who had a terrible nasty temper, but she was kind and sweet and through her forgiving love redeemed him and made him a good person. No WAY was I putting this in the DV women’s library.

      2. Scarlet Magnolias*

        I used to have a lot of fun going into “big chain bookstore” and rearranging some of the books. Tucking copies of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s stuff in with “How to make love like a Hooker” and Bill Bennett’s “Book of Virtues” near the self help Gambling problem books

          1. banoffee pie*

            In Waterstone’s (book shop) I used to cover up MRA type books with novels written by women. I don’t really feel that was too petty and I enjoyed it ;)

    13. Elle Woods*

      In college, I shared a house with seven other women. Things started out OK but went downhill pretty quick after Christmas break. By the time our lease was up at the end of May, the house was divided into two group: one of six people, one of two people. (I was in the six-person group.) The two-person group had become increasingly unreasonable in their demands over time, asking that no one stay up past 10:00pm, that no alcohol be consumed in the house, that the only visitors allowed in the house were relatives, that we all follow gluten-free vegan diets, etc. It was completely miserable.

      The six of us hadn’t renewed our lease for that particular house for the following school year but had instead found another place to live. As luck would have it, our new place was available about 10 days early and we all jumped at the chance to move. While the two-person group was away visiting their families for the weekend, we all moved out and took everything that was ours which included all the dishes, cookware, cleaning supplies, shower curtain, laundry detergent, and living and dining room furniture.

      I wish I could’ve seen my ex-roommates’ faces when they returned and realized we’d moved out and taken almost everything with us.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        Omg the shower curtain is the funniest part of this to me. I can see them going to buy dishes and cleaning supplies but not noticing the curtain is gone until they’re about to take a shower and being like NOOOOOO

        1. Elle Woods*

          That was the one that really made them mad. They didn’t discover it until the next morning when they went to get ready for work. :)

    14. Lotus*

      This is actually an ongoing petty trait of mine, but I refuse to go back to a restaurant or coffeeshop where I received really bad service even once. Not like they forgot the ketchup but like if the service was extremely rude. I don’t complain to anyone or bother to write a review (I don’t write reviews), but I just don’t go back because of the bad memories LOL. I am fortunate to live in an area with a lot of good establishments so it’s not a huge sacrifice to give up any one place.

      1. Pennyworth*

        I do that too, but with retailers. I don’t think of it as being petty, rather being picky about where I spend my money. I do not use Amazon, ever, and I still will not set foot in a chain store that years ago sold baby rompers emblazoned with ”SHAKE ME”.

      2. Clisby*

        I don’t see that as petty. Petty would be going on Yelp and giving them a terrible review because they forgot the ketchup.

    15. newbie*

      When my ex and I broke up, he remained on my Netflix account. No biggie. After about 2 years, I took a look at the “things you recently watched” section. I don’t watch much TV, so most of the stuff on there wasn’t anything I’d seen. Noticed he’d watched up to the 2nd to last episode of Stranger Things.
      Time for a password change.

    16. Monumental moment..*

      I got home late from work one night. Mild summer night. Was just starting to get dark.

      I walked to my mailbox. Nobody was around. Ripped off an *epic* fart. Seriously. This thing echoed off the building walls. Felt a wave of hot air roll down my pant leg. I snickered.

      And then I hear…”well that was nice Wakeen”. My neighbor was out walking her dog nearby :)

    17. Might Be Spam*

      This actually happened by accident. I have a super competitive younger sister who really enjoys negging people. Several years ago my sister was being her usual snotty self, and tried to make me feel bad by asking if it bothered me to know that I would always be older.
      I said “No, because I will always feel younger.” What she actually heard was “I will always Look younger.”
      I only found out what she thought I said, because another sister told me later. Ironically, although I am the oldest of five siblings, I’m starting to be mistaken for being the youngest. (I’m sure she’ll be happy that I’m letting my hair go gray now.)

  10. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week?
    As usual, this is not limited to video games, so feel free to talk about any kind of game you want including phone games and board games. Also feel free to ask for recommendations or help identifying a vaguely remembered game.
    I got started on Great Ace Attorney Chronicles and been having a blast with it. Finished the first case (how drafty is that courtroom??) And the first part of the second case, which introduces Sherlock Holmes (though here he is called Herlock Sholmes for legal reasons. Watson has also been named Wilson following Arsène Lupin canon, though I don’t know if the gentleman thief will actually make an appearance). Sholmes is…a bit full of himself, but doesn’t seem actively malicious.
    The story seems like it will be a lot more political than the usual Ace Attorney games, as it is set during the Meiji/Victorian era and Japan is definitely the underdog – expect a lot of casual racism towards the Japanese cast. My sense that Sholmes isn’t malicious is mostly based on the fact that he so far hasn’t said anything incredibly racist (other than somehow concluding Ryunosuke and Kazuma are Russian…while an actual confirmed Russian is also standing in the room. He fixes that error, though).
    Most of the same humour is still present, with pun-based names (such as a Russian sailor named “Bif Stroganov”), as well as some utterly ridiculous outfits – seriously, the culprit from the first case has an outfit that basically screams “I’m the murderer”. Even Hyacinth Bucket would call that outfit “a bit much”. It comes with an amazing breakdown animation once you get them to confess though. There’s also a few in-jokes with some of the characters – you’ll see what I mean by that when you see who your opponent is in the first case.
    Two big additions are the ability to cross-examine multiple people at once (carried over from the Layton crossover, where you have to also point out inconsistencies between the multiple testimonies) and the Dance of Deduction, where Sholmes and Ryunosuke team up to clear up mistakes in Sholmes’s original deduction. So far neither of these mechanics have been difficult, with the game giving a cheeky question mark when something odd occurs, but I can’t say yet whether it remains that way.
    So far I’ve been having a blast with it – I just hope Ryunosuke manages to not get himself accused of murder a third time! (Yes, he manages to get accused of murder two times in a row. Unluckiest lawyer in the world, that one.)

    1. Laura Petrie*

      I’m still obsessed with Animal Crossing. I caught a Coelacanth the other day which was pretty exciting.

      1. LimeRoos*

        Yes!! I restarted my island and just caught an ocean sunfish! It looks so silly I love it.

        I’m impatiently waiting til I can start terraforming, but I still need Nook’s Cranny to become the store and the clothing shop to come to the island. Though I just got my 6th villager, Shep, who is hilarious and adorable.

    2. Bella*

      I’ve been thinking about buying the Sims 4: Cottage Living but one thing have me pausing. The Grim Reaper. I have so far avoided him by not having any sims die but in this expansion the animals die. I believe you can turn off death for your own livestock but I am not sure about the wild foxes and rabbits. Is there any way at all to disable the Reaper? I am fine with sims and animals dying but does he really have to come? And apparently dead sims keep showing up as ghosts? Can that be disabled?

      1. KingKatzen*

        You can turn off death for wild animals! They die within Sim weeks if you don’t. Not sure about ghosts.

    3. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I have a question! Is “Operation” a good idea for a 5 year old? I know he likes a certain character and will be starting school soon, so I have some ideas for gifts. But I was also thinking of getting a board game? I was at the store the other day and saw “Operation” and thought that might be fun. he also has a 2yo brother if that matters.

      1. heckofabecca*

        I think Operation sounds good, assuming the 5-y-o is at the “expected” development for his age. Operation sounds like it’d be good for the 2-y-o to help out on! It’s good for fine motor skill development and reinforcement—maybe the toddler can play on a parent’s team?

        I’d make more suggestions but I don’t think any of the ones I’m thinking of would work for most 5 and unders… I’m sure you’ll get plenty of ideas though!

      2. heckofabecca*

        Gnomes at Night!!! Technically 6+, but probably doable with a 5-y-o, and no reason the 2-y-o can’t help too. My niece (now 8, but has played for years) really like this one.

        1. Jyn’Leeviyah the Red*

          Yes! Gnomes at Night is AWESOME! Plus it’s cooperative, so there’s no pouting about losing or crowing about winning. We figure it out together, or we don’t! (Also fun to play as adults with a beverage, FWIW.)

        2. Cari*

          Yes! Anything by Peaceable Kingdom is so great for that age group. I really liked Mole Rats in Space too.

    4. The Dude Abides*

      Just got some cards back from an artist (Alan Pollack).

      Not sure which artist I’ll send stuff to next.

    5. Purt’s Peas*

      I bought a friend’s PS4 off him for cheap and borrowed Persona 5–I like it a lot and I can already tell that I’ll be happily inching through it for a good long time.

    6. heckofabecca*

      I’m working on designing a homebrew D&D campaign, and because I am a history nerd, I am naturally working on a document detailing the state of the world 2000 years before the campaign is set when an Elvish warlord from the east invades and conquers most of the area for 200 years…

      I’m stocking up on resources for DMing and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself!

    7. Nicki Name*

      Since we’re trying to wait Delta out now rather than opening up, I’ve been thinking of buying premium access on Board Game Arena for a few months and expanding the games I play there. Anyone have suggestions of where to start? I’d prefer games that can be played in an hour or less in realtime, but I’m willing to have a turn-based game or two going at any given time.

      1. Kukurukuru*

        My friends and I love playing Draftosaurus and Welcome To on BGA, can definitely be completed under and hour if everyone is present, or easily done over days if turns are asynchronous. Happy playing!

    8. MEH Squared*

      I played a game called Boyfriend Dungeon by Kitfox Games. It’s a dating sim/dungeon crawler in which you can date your weapons. As someone who does tai chi weapons in real life and has likened them to different kinds of romantic relationships (the sword is my one true love), I was intrigued. You can be a woman, a man, or a nonbinary character. You can date people from the same categories as well. There is also a cat called Pocket who is Brass Knuckles in the dungeon. The dating sim side is pretty damn good and the combat is serviceable. It’s not great, but it’s not the main purpose of the game, either. I did like that the monsters in the dungeon were representations of your fears that related to the dungeon they were in.

      It’s really short and comes to an abrupt end. Also, there is a stalking element that really bothered me, which meant I missed content because I refused to have anything to do with that character. However, the game was done by a small team and I’m impressed with how well they did. And I love the art style. I’m hoping they will add to it in the future and I’m glad I gave it a go. It’s on Game Pass for those who have PCs and Xbox.

      1. MEH Squared*

        Addendum: The stalking element is embedded into the story so while I could ignore the character for the most part, the last third revolves around the stalking. Just wanted to make that clear because that’s really not the impression the trailer gives. I was more repulsed by the character than anything else, but just wanted to note that you cannot avoid this character completely in the game.

    9. LDN Layabout*

      Herlock Sholmes is also a ‘via Lupin’ character, not just a modern copyright fudge. After Doyle complained about Leblanc using the character, he renamed him, in an incredibly passive aggressive fashion that still makes it very clear who he’s referring to.

      Glad you’re enjoying the game, it’s on my wishlist.

    10. asteramella*

      I’m very slowly making my way through Disco Elysium (bought the fully voiced version after it came out a few months ago). I like it a lot! Already planning my next play-thru with a different skill build for the main character.

    11. Generic Name*

      We’ve started playing Magic the Gathering! I love traditional card games, so this is an interesting gameplay experience. I think it’s weird there’s no set number of cards you have in your deck. I like it better than dungeons and dragons though. I’m a project manager in a highly technical field at my day job, and I do t want to project manage a fantasy scenario on my off time. Lol

      1. The Dude Abides*

        Most formats have a minimum deck size, and in general it’s a good idea to keep your decks that size. Having lots of splashy cards is great in theory, but you also want to make sure you have a chance to draw them.

        I’ve been playing Magic off and on since 2001, and am slowly counting down the time until I can teach it to my daughter (I miiiiiiiight be keeping a second copy of a burn deck updated for her).

    12. LimeRoos*

      That sounds so awesome!! Thank you for updating here! I’m definitely adding this one to my list and game library soon hopefully.

  11. Just want a dog pal*

    I am very tempted to get a cavapoo puppy. It’s not what I planned. I wanted a poodle but they are hard to find where I live with all the recommended health screening carried out on the parent dogs. The breeder of this particular cavapoo has not done all the recommended health screening either but is committed and kind. I feel she will do her very best for the pups (health screening of parent dogs aside). The pups are gorgeous of course. I am not someone who usually takes risks but I am surprising myself by how tempted I am to go for this.

    I would love to rescue a dog from a shelter but a suitable dog (nice temperament, not too many health issues) hasn’t come along, despite a months-long search. Should I hold out for either a poodle puppy that ticks all the boxes in terms of health screening and temperament, or take a chance on this cavapoo? If I am in the business of taking risks over dogs, should I instead offer a nice senior dog a loving home. I feel I have more chance of getting a rescue dog who is much older (around 10) and it would make me happy to help an older dog. I don’t want to lose them too soon though.

    What to do? Any advice welcome.

    1. EventersAreAwesomeButSometimesKindaDumb*

      Hold out for a reputably bred poodle, or adopt from a shelter or rescue. Please please please do not support backyard breeders or people who are breeding mixes!

      1. The Dogman*

        I am a dog trainer and sitter, lots of experience in the breeding world too, and I have to disagree.

        Mixed breeds are usually much more healthy and long lived than “pure” breeds, which is a synonym for inbred/incestuous anyway.

        If one wants to buy a dog a mixed breed dog is likely to cost less and spend much less time in the vets over it’s lifetime.

        “Purebred” dogs cost more upfront, and will cost more over the lifetime of the animal, and also spend more time at the vets on average than a similar sized and aged mixed breed.

        This is not to say all mixed are alway better than all “pure” breeds. But in general this is a good rule of thumb to assume a “pure” bred dog will be beset by health issues at much higher rates than a mix or mutt.

        Just want a dog pal* I recommed getting an olde boye or gerrerrrl! They are so happy to have a loving home they will repay your love with tons of affection and a 7-9 year old dog will often have 10 or so years of life if they are a nice mixed breed or a healthy “pure” type… then once the old one is settled in getting a puppy will be a good idea too!

        Good luck, be sensible and go get that old dog ASAP!

          1. The Dogman*

            Always happy to offer dog advice and suggestions!

            Good luck finding your perfect poochy pal!

      2. Pennyworth*

        What is wrong with mixes? They have hybrid vigor and unlike pedigree purebreds will not have father/daughter breeding. Pedigree dogs often have inbuilt genetic defects courtesy of breed standards. Purebreds with a breed standard that is basically sound conformation are OK, but some are just cruel.

        1. EventersAreAwesomeButSometimesKindaDumb*

          Designer “breeds” aren’t starting with the best specimens of either parent breed and you can’t magically erase genetic issues by combining substandard dogs. Mixes are fine but get them from a shelter or rescue, not from a backyard breeder or puppy mill. OP’s question was (hopefully well-need pure)bred poodle vs “cavapoo” and “reputably bred” and “cavapoo” are mutually exclusive.

          And yes, there are plenty of issues within the purebred dog world too. My breed is Labrador retrievers (my 12.5 year old is and has been healthy her whole life, and my Jack-Russell-Terrier-in-law turns 15 in October and is in great health other than some hearing loss — turns out someone barking loudly next to your ear your entire life doesn’t do you any favours ;)) and watching the prevalence of obese dogs pinning in conformation is sad. Waiting for a puppy from a reputable breeder who selects for healthy dogs is always worth the wait.

            1. EventersAreAwesomeButSometimesKindaDumb*

              Thanks! It was directly relevant to the last comment I left a few months ago but I liked it so I left it. We’ve got a CT in a week so wish us good luck and good choices ;)

          1. The Time Being*

            This.

            “Hybrid vigor” is nonsense. Take a dog with genetic deficiencies A, B, and C, and a dog with genetic deficiencies D, E, and F, and you get puppies at risk for the whole spectrum of A-F, not puppies magically protected from any of the above.

            Breeding problems out of a line involves a whole hell of a lot of careful breeding for generations upon generations, not the breeding equivalent of throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. The backyard breeders crowing over their poodle crosses have a lot to answer for.

            1. EventersAreAwesomeButSometimesKindaDumb*

              It’s the poodle crosses that get me the most! I’ve asked so many people what it qualities it is that makes them want to get a “labradoodle” or “goldendoodle” and I’ve never had an answer that couldn’t be better achieved by getting a well-bred poodle!

    2. Rage*

      Agreed with Eventers. Keep away from the backyard anything.

      As for puppies, well, they’re a lot of work. If you’re willing to consider an adult, go that route. You said you’ve checked shelters, but have you looked at local (or regional) rescues?

      1. PhyllisB*

        Agree on the rescues. When our little ankle biters passed away we got our current dog from our local rescue. He’s such a sweetheart, couldn’t ask for a better companion. Another good thing; the dogs are spayed/neutered and will be up to date on shots. The only downside? Be prepared for a somewhat lengthy vetting process. I had to list every pet we’d ever had and how they died, describe our yard and give a detailed description of how/who would care for him. Some rescues do home visits. I was more than okay with all this because I knew that meant they were committed to finding good homes for their animals.

        1. Jackalope*

          I couldn’t bring myself to go through one of the local rescues. I looked at one that had a pair of cats that we were open to adopting, but their application was SIX pages long and asked a lot of questions that quite frankly weren’t any of their business. I can understand questions like whether you’re renting or own a house, and if you’re renting, do you have permission to have pets. But this asked for extensive information on every member of the house, including what everyone’s jobs were, was anyone in the military or a student, how many kids including guests might ever be in your house (I mean… cats live 15-20 years; how am I supposed to know that now??), what brand of food you were planning on feeding them, would there be a water fountain for them….. For SIX pages. A lot of the questions also seemed like they would screen out anyone who was not upper middle class and white. My housemate at the time also said that some of the rescues that do the home visits make you sign a form when you’re applying for adoption saying that if they decide that your current pets are being abused they will confiscate them. All well and good, right? Except some of the “abuse” that they refer to includes things like not having a human home all day, so that the critters in question have to spend time without their people. I mean, I know that dogs in particular are very social, but saying that someone working a regular 9-5 job is abusing their pet by going to work is… excessive. So the rescues left a really bad taste in my mouth. I appreciate them and what they do for critters, but….

          1. RagingADHD*

            Yes, a lot of the questions do indeed screen out people who are not affluent, white, and subscribe to extremely narrow views on what constitutes responsible pet ownership.

            I noticed this with a local cat rescue. We had arranged good homes with people we knew for a litter of stray kittens on our street, but we needed help from a rescue to trap and vet them.

            Turned out our friends were not qualified to receive cats from this rescue for entirely bullshit reasons. So guess what? Those strays never got rescued at all, or they may end up in the kill shelter.

              1. RagingADHD*

                Thank you, but this was back in May. Our house is full up with animals now, and so are all the foster networks, and our friends adopted elsewhere. There’s just nowhere for them to go.

                Next month they will be big enough to neuter, so we’re going to call a TNR program, hopefully they will have a spot for the kittens to recover.

          2. Coenobita*

            Rescues can go on absolutely wild power trips. It’s absurd and so counter-productive. In my experience, the worst offenders are the breed-specific ones, so OP might have better luck with a general “pull animals from overcrowded rural shelters and bring them to more populated areas” type of rescue. I foster for a super chill, accessible rescue that doesn’t require any BS from applicants. Somehow, even though our adopters generally don’t have fenced yards, full-time stay-at-home dog caretakers, or big suburban houses, our success rate with placements is really good. Imagine that!!

            1. Nicotena*

              Some are legit scams; I came across one on petfinder that asked for an “application fee” up front. Um, no. I also think it’s pretty hateful that they have you fill out a very detailed application before they even check if the animal is still available. I foster for the city shelter and we don’t treat people like that.

          3. RC Rascal*

            When I was a year or so out of college I tried to adopt a cat from a rescue. They wouldn’t give me the animal because I said I would give it the Feline Leukemia shot as I might have to occasionally kennel the animal when I traveled for work. Said I was an unsuitable home.

            About that time my mom’s co-worker took in a pregnant stray and that lady gave me one of the kittens. I had him for 19 1/2 years and he was a great cat. When he was 12 he developed diabetes and I gave him shots 2x a day for 7 years. The last 90 days of his life he was in kidney failure and I gave him subcutaneous fluids at home.

            Not bad for an “unsuitable home”, huh?

            1. RagingADHD*

              Wait, so the rescue didn’t want people to vaccinate their cats? Or they thought occasional work travel was abuse?

              I mean, both are bonkers but different flavors of bonkers.

              1. RC Rascal*

                Apparently they thought the Feline Leukemia vaccine was abuse. It is required to kennel board.

                I also think they didn’t like that I lived in an apartment.

          4. HBJ*

            A friend tried to go through their local shelter but didn’t because, among other things, they had to agree to allow the pet free reign of their home, which included allowing it on all furniture.

    3. Macaroni Penguin*

      Hold out for a responsible breeder.
      One of my friends got a kitten from an unethical breeder. No genetic or medical screenings were done for the parents. Then 14 months later kitten develops a genetic autoimmune disorder. Kitten will be fine, but the diagnosis and treatment was horribly expensive. Pet health isn’t worth taking a gamble on.

      1. Double A*

        We adopted a kitten from a municipal shelter, just your standard alley cat rescue. He was a great cat but after a few months developed a massive lymphoma that filled his whole rib cage and we had to put him down. Sometimes animals just have health problems. Local shelters and rescues don’t necessarily do extensive health screenings.

        This is just to say, any source can have bad luck.

      1. Not playing your game anymore*

        I’ve had both Cavs and Poodles. Hold out for a health tested poodle. My Cav was the most wonderful sweetest dog, who left me at 8 years old. They have the shortest average life span of any small dog. All sorts of issues… Heart breaking and horrifyingly expensive.

    4. Oatmilk Cap*

      You could try to rescue from craigslist. Many folks adopted during the pandemic, now have to return to the in-person work, and don’t want to leave the dog by their lonesome. Many don’t want any money or want very little, so long as the pet goes to a good home.

      1. Nicotena*

        FWIW I wouldn’t recommend this. This is exactly how the most disreputable breeders find people. My friend picked up a puppy that way; it died of parvo a few days later, and clearly they had known about it when they sold it to her.

    5. Blythe*

      Where are you located? I might know of some reputable poodle breeders for you! Well, standard poodles, at least.

      1. Just want a dog pal*

        Thanks! I am in the UK. I’m willing to travel within the UK for the right dog.

    6. Bluebell*

      Hey there Future Dog Pal – I’m also team Responsible Breeder or Rescue. The backyard breeder is neither of them. We had to wait about 9 months to adopt our last dog from a breeder who lived an 8 hour drive away, so during that time we fostered with a rescue. Mostly, the rescues were about 2 years old, but I can tell you that in the US, being willing to take an older dog opens up more possibilities. In the meantime, if you are open to fostering, it’s a great way to get in some quality dog time.

  12. Granny Smith Apple*

    We moved last weekend and got our new fridge a few days ago. It’s an upright, one-door fridge with no freezer. And it’s LOUD. Not making-it-impossible-to-have-a-conversation loud but I’m sitting alone in the kitchen/dining room area and the level of noise makes me feel uncomfortable.
    My partner and I are on the fence about returning it but my online research shows that fridges might have gotten louder as technology evolved. There are no curtains yet which might make the sound feel louder.
    So how’s your fridge? How much can you hear it?
    (For the record, the max noise level is 41dB on the fact sheet and a noise level phone app confirmed that but that’s a very approximate thing.)

    1. river*

      Our modern fridge is very quiet. Like quieter than rain quiet. You don’t need to settle for an annoying fridge. It’s a Mitsubishi Electric Inverter Fridge Freezer with a vegetable drawer (which I recommend, by the way, it keeps veges fresh considerably longer).

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t think I’ve ever consciously noticed either of my fridges running, in terms of making noise.

    3. Jay*

      Ours is very quiet – the only thing I ever hear is the ice maker occasionally rumbling. Return it.

    4. sswj*

      When we got our new fridge (double door top with freezer on the bottom) I was initially VERY aware of the noise. I hate low-grade hum noises. But I think it wasn’t so much that it was loud, it was just a new, different hum. Several months later and now I barely notice it, and it doesn’t bug me when I do hear it. Again it’s not loud, I certainly don’t feel like I have to talk over it, it’s just there.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      The floor could be acting like a sounding board or the walls. Maybe try putting a mat underneath or behind?

      1. Squirrel Nutkin*

        I agree — maybe it’s making something else vibrate as well that could be moved/damped down?

      2. Jim Bob*

        Not behind, unless there’s quite a bit of free space back there. Impeding airflow to the coils will make it use more electricity – same reason you’re not supposed to block the space above the fridge with cereal boxes, etc.

    6. fposte*

      It was quite a few years ago, but when I got a new fridge last time it was super-loud. And the tech they sent out said, “Yeah, we hear a lot of complaints about the noise of the Whirlpools.” (Fridge manufacturers change so much that I’m not suggesting anything about current makes here.) I swapped it for another brand and was very happy with a fridge I couldn’t hear except in the kitchen.

      For new fridges, I’ll definitely look at noise scores before I purchase.

      1. Clisby*

        I haven’t had a problem with fridges, but I’ll definitely pay attention with dishwashers when we replace ours. It didn’t bother me much (although it was noisy), but when my husband got hearing aids, he was like, “Man! I never knew how much noise the dishwasher makes!”

    7. BlueWolf*

      Mine is not loud at all, except for the ice maker in the freezer which periodically makes loud clunking noises as it unloads a new batch of ice. It’s a Samsung with a top freezer, I’m not sure of the exact model.

    8. RagingADHD*

      We have a fairly old fridge with a freezer. I sometimes hear the compressor kick on if the house is very quiet, and I can hear the ice fall in the icemaker sometimes.

      Other than that, I’m not aware of it at all.

    9. Girasol*

      Ours is a regular Eeyore: generally silent but it has a remarkable vocabulary of occasional, sometimes startlingly loud, comments. “Aaauuugh! But…but..but… Ohhhhhh! Hmm. EeeeEEK?” The manual that came with it said that although it was an exceptionally quiet unit, occasional noises were perfectly normal. We’re used to it now but I still can’t believe this is normal.

    10. Spessartine*

      We just got a new fridge a few days ago (a Whirlpool) and it’s very quiet–the only time I hear anything is when I’m standing next to it. The fridge it replaced was 20 years old and also very quiet, so I don’t know how much age or technology level really factors into it. Personally, I’m very easily irritated by appliance sounds, so if I were you I would return it!

    11. Chaordic One*

      My fridge comes with the apartment. It makes these weird loud popping noises that remind me of plastic ping pong balls bouncing off something. I’ve heard that when your fridge makes loud noises, it probably means it is on its last legs and about ready to quit working, but so far it seems to work fine. If it does quit working, the apartment management company will replace it.

      I have heard that in newer refrigerators, they have replaced the traditional refrigerant of freon with other refrigerants that don’t work as well, but that are more environmentally safe. I wouldn’t be surprised if your refrigerator has one of the newer refrigerants and if that is contributing to the additional noise some how because the engineers haven’t yet figured out how to make refrigerators with the newer refrigerants as good as the old freon-based ones.

    12. fhqwhgads*

      I cannot hear my fridge at all, except when the ice maker is on I occasionally hear the ice falling into the container. But the fridge itself in general operation does not make a sound.

  13. Koala dreams*

    Dear media consumers,
    What do you call a drama series with unusually short episodes? I’m talking about the “new” (that is, new for me) trend of drama series, often fantasy themed, with 5-10 minute episodes. Some have 3 episodes, some run up to twenty +

    My recent favourite is the animated “No doubt in us”. Recommendations welcome!

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Well, the original concept was promoted by Quibi and they were trying to make their name take hold for the concept. Since they had a disastrously timed launch and shut down in December 2020, I doubt there’s a trademark issue with using the word for the format if made & streamed by another org.
      But from hearing stories about early movies from grandparents born around 1900, I think of them as serials.

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

      If it were a book, it’d probably be called a novella — longer than a short story and smaller than a novel — so I think you can call a short TV series the same.

  14. Laura H.*

    Little Joys Thread

    What brought you joy this week?

    I’m rewatching Avatar The Last Airbender and have also discovered the accompanying podcast “Braving the Elements.” And it’s captured my interest and is the most engaging thing I’ve consumed in weeks- the loss of interest in things I enjoy is what most stinks about my recent mental health dive, and I’m glad to have something to wrap my brain around that’s enjoyable.

    Please share your joys.

    1. LadyWhistledown*

      I didn’t know there was an accompanying podcast for Avatar the Last Airbender – thank you for that!

      If you’re a reader, there’s some excellent FanFiction out there for that universe. I filter by story length to find longer stories that are almost as good as the original series (fan gush: there are some Zutara alternate story lines that are AWESOME). Plus more time with Uncle Iroh is always a win.

      My little joy – our summer sitter can stay on for an extra week so my husband and I can have a date night next week. And she got our son to make great progress at the pool.

      1. Camelid coordinator*

        The podcast sounds fun. I have been watching “Avatar: The Last Airbender” with my 15-year old kiddo. I appreciate the chance to do something with him. He recently finished up the series but is rewatching with me.

    2. Laura Petrie*

      I acquired an elderly guinea pig to add to my existing duo. She belonged to a friend and she needed a new home after being bereaved and then the new herd she moved in with not suiting her. She’s very sweet and seems to be settling well.

      My new rat kittens are a delight and very entertaining. They’ve livened up my lazy old girls too!

    3. Paralegal Part Deux*

      I got my first Moderna vaccine shot this week, and I get my second shot 9/7/21. I’m just hoping I don’t come down with covid between now and then what with delta raging.

      ION, I’m getting to spend today with my sweet niece and nephew (9 and 7, respectively) while my sister goes into work. We have a lot of fun together. :) I don’t get to see them often, so it’s a treat to get to spend all day with them.

    4. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I got 8 hours of sleep. I made it through a 12 hour day without breaking a yawn or even drinking a cup of coffee. Energy drinks are long behind now. For once I finally knew what it felt like to be a “healthy”-ish person, i.e., well rested. even years before having a kid I would sleep 8-1o hours and still be tired or need multiple cups of coffee/energy drinks/espresso shots).

      I have another joy coming this weekend. Fingers crossed it all goes well!

    5. GoryDetails*

      Avatar: The Last Airbender – I love that series! Might check out the podcasts; hadn’t heard of them before.

      My own little joys include spotting a goldfinch at the feeder – the bright yellow always lifts my heart. (Also, lots of hummingbird appearances.)

      Another little joy came thanks to a comment in one of the “Mortification Week” threads, sharing a link to a very funny and charming Marvel-universe fan-fiction writeup based on the infamous AAM “best office holiday party date story” letter:

      https://www.askamanager.org/2021/08/mortification-week-the-sleepover-the-angry-bees-and-more.html#comment-3506234

      1. I take tea*

        Oh. My! Thankyouthankyouthankyou for that fanfic, it was adorable! I mean, the original was a joy to read, but the fanfic was really fabulous :-)

    6. fposte*

      As usual, I love this thread, Laura. Thanks for the prompt.

      I’m going to give a shoutout to a COVID luxury I’ve continued with: a flower CSA. A local farm, which also grows some non-flower things, has a subscription where once a week for a predetermined time (I went for the four month version) you get a big bouquet of flowers, and for a small additional fee they’ll deliver to your house (you’re supposed to leave out a bucket of water on the day). The flowers are in great shape and most last at least a couple of weeks; often I cannibalize survivors from the previous week into the new batch. They’re very well chosen to make nice textured bouquets with a lot of interest, and it makes me happy to see all the different flowers around my house.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        I’m familiar with CSAs but it never occurred to me to look into one that focuses on flower deliveries. I often buy flowers and I’d love to support a local grower. I’m looking into this now.

    7. the cat's ass*

      My new kitten has grown to the point that i can stop worrying about him fitting under the dishwasher!

    8. Girasol*

      New electric mower. I’d been using a push mower which I loved – great exercise! – but it’s been a bit too much this hot summer, and it cuts so low it was encouraging weeds. So now I just unplug two batteries the size of my fist from the charger inside and plug them in the new mower. It rolls so smoothly over the lawn making funny vacuum cleaner noises and cutting very nicely. There’s something so satisfying about a freshly cut lawn.

    9. WorkNowPaintLater*

      This weeks gardening joy was watching the milkweeds I bought early in the summer get totally eaten by a pack of Monarch caterpillars. Never thought I would be so happy to see a group of plants get destroyed. The caterpillars I saw yesterday were HUGE and gone this morning, hopefully out making themselves into butterflies.

    10. Cute Li'l UFO*

      Last Saturday I found a keyring in the middle of the street and figured out who it belonged to by hitting the buttons on the keyfobs. The vehicles were also in the driveway. They weren’t home so I wrote them a note and put them in their mailbox and hoped they’d check that before panicking and getting new keys made because I know from other people’s experience they’re expensive and a pain to get remade!

      I got a call from her Tuesday that she was so thankful to find they were in the mailbox. Her husband was like “I’m glad someone honest found them” since their cars were in the driveway and I’m assuming the regular keys on it were for the home. I was happy enough that they got the keys back but she brought by a really generous unexpected reward and I’m just super blown away.

    11. German Girl*

      The two weeks after my second vaccine were over and I was the last in our friend group to get it, so we finally had our first barbeque with friends since the pandemic started.

    12. Pam*

      Got a massage today! I also ate a yummy lemon bar. My sister and I are planning make them weekly treats.(the lemon bars, not the massages)

    13. allathian*

      My 12-year-old got his first shot on Monday, and I’m so happy with case numbers in my area higher than at any time previously during the pandemic. I’m also grateful that most people who catch it are young and basically healthy, so it hasn’t led to a huge increase in hospitalizations. I can be grateful for that, even though I realize that knowing you’re a rare exception doesn’t help at all if someone you love dies from it, or you get long Covid…

    14. Seeking Second Childhood*

      We introduced the teenager to Firefly.
      One episode turned into 6….and they were translating the Chinese dialog for us!

    15. Voluptuousfire*

      Put in all my stuff for a wellness reimbursement at work. The money back will help pay off some debt, which is great.

      I let some things get away from me but I’m in the process of reigning myself in. I feel optimistic for the first time in awhile.

      Also the first day in about a month I could have the windows open and AC off. It’s glorious since there’s much lower humidity.

      Also going to see about putting the seat on my bike. I tried a month or so ago to do it but it was so hot and humid, it was hard to be outside for more than a few minutes

    16. Clisby*

      Our newly renovated upstairs bathroom is now fully functional – I had my first bath in several years yesterday. (Our other 2 bathrooms have showers.)

    17. Might Be Spam*

      I just got a bagful of walnuts from a neighbor.
      We used to have our own walnut tree, but the squirrels always beat us to the nuts. In 30 years we only ever ended up with two walnuts from our tree.

  15. LadyWhistledown*

    Favorite activities to keep a toddler busy?

    We’ve got a water table and we love going outside but very open to other tried and true games/activities for indoors or outdoors. Google and Pinterest are a bit overwhelming (and kinda heavy on the mom shame – no I do not have time to create a backyard magical wonderland!). We don’t have a TV at the moment but we do love a good music dance party in the living room.

    1. Sunshine*

      Duplo! Ultrawashable crayons and markers and a cheap notebook. Note: washable are not as good. Simon says, follow the leader. YouTube cosmic kids yoga. A set of kitchen items just for them. Magnatiles. A durable photo book with a lot of them and their family. Kids love photos of themselves.

    2. Teatime is Goodtime*

      We’ve dubbed one kind of game “logistics company”: the moving of X to Y. For example, moving all the stuffed animals from one room to another, using a dump truck to load up blocks or duplo in one spot of a room and driving it over to the other corner and dumping it, and so on. It can be Tupperware or dirty clothes to the washing machine or whatever. Ideally, all of X will get to Y and then the game becomes transporting it back if it needs to be cleaned up, but that doesn’t always work.

      Some kids love destroying stuff, so cardboard boxes, magazines, paper and such that can be stomped on, thrown, ripped, discussed, drawn on and so forth can be handy.

      Blanket forts. Usually over chairs or the sofa in our house.

      Baths. With bubbles and toys and cups for pouring back and forth.

    3. Anons*

      The @busytoddler account on Instagram has a lot of simple, straightforward activities that often use stuff around the house.
      There’s one that involves freezing craft pom poms that I did a few weeks ago that my kid really liked.

      She also has a website if you don’t do Instagram. I used a lot of her stuff during quarantine, things like taping toys to a cookie sheet and having your kid remove them, or making a cardboard box with a slot in it and having your kid put playing cards in it.

      She’s also very understanding that as a parent I have very little time to prep activities, and her stuff reflects that. No parent shaming.

    4. Koala dreams*

      Snail watching.
      Dog watching.
      Paper destroying.
      Playing with pots and pans.
      Counting things.

    5. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      My mother used to give us a scrubby old paintbrush and a bucket of water and send us outside to “paint” the woodwork. We might have been older, but I think a toddler would enjoy it.

      1. D3*

        I always had my kids do the driveway first in sidewalk chalk. Then the next day with paintbrushes and water. They LOVED the second day even more than the first!

    6. Michelle*

      One of the best toddler activities that I used was to put some water in a bathroom sink (you could use a kitchen sink as well) along with some dish soap for bubbles, and then placed a sturdy stool in front of it. I then filled the sink with (clean) toys or safe kitchen gadgets and let my kids wash them. They would spend a good hour pouring water, scooping, washing, and making a mess, but it was a wet mess, so in the end, the toys were clean, the kid was clean, the counter (after wiping with a rag) was clean, and the floor was clean!

      Another activity that worked well was Ooblek, which is basically cornstarch mixed with water to make a paste. The cool thing about it is that when you go to scoop the mixture, it becomes a solid, but when not under pressure, it is a liquid. You can scoop it with a funnel and then watch it drip through, etc. I always set this up on a cookie sheet on the kitchen table. It is messy, but super easy to clean up. Again, little plastic containers, spoons, or funnels are all good here.

      Painting the deck was something that my son enjoyed doing. I gave him a bucket of water and a Dollar Store paint brush. He went out on the deck and “painted” whatever he wanted. The water painted on allows you to see where the “painting” has been done, but of course it dries, so there is nothing to clean up afterwards.

      One of the other things that some of my kids enjoyed (I had one kid who didn’t really like play dough) was body and animal parts (glasses, feet, wings, noses, etc. like Mr. Potatohead) that they could stick into a blob of playdough to make creatures or funny people. The two sets I have are older, and I don’t think they are being made anymore, but I found something similar on Amazon called “Colorations – BUILDME Creative Creatures Dough Builders.” (I haven’t gone scrounging for similar items, this was the first one that came up that I could use as a point of reference.)

      1. Anonymato*

        We did a variation of the washing – painting toy cars with water paints and then washing them. We did put a towel down on the kitchen floor and a tray/big pan and several containers of water.

        Doing “inventory” of animals/toys was popular too. Having the kid draw pictures of each. A plus if you make a book for them by folding several pages of paper with a colorful paper on the outside and staple them in the middle to make it “a book”.

        Cooking and baking together (if you have good nerves ;-)).

        Have kid scrub dirty spots on my kitchen cabinets, esp if allowed to spray a lot first.

        And then, there is always tape. I don’t know what it is about Scotch tape (and later on about scissors), but they kept my kid occupied super long.

        Blowing/waving bubbles.

        Balloons (as long as kid is prepared for them to pop loudly).

        Lastly, if you can, sandbox is awesome. Hiding “gems” rarely makes it even more exciting.

        For inside, at some point my kid started to last longer playing solo when listing to music/audio stories.

        1. Michelle*

          The mention of balloons reminded me of something I picked up for our youngest. There was a product called Ballzac (it now looks like similar products are produced under different names such as Bubbaloon, etc.) which was a cloth sack that you blew a balloon up inside of, that made it less likely to pop. You could also add a penny into the sack before blowing up the balloon, which would make it wobble when tossed. Our version did need slightly larger balloons than are commonly sold (larger than the tiny decorative balloons), which we were easily able to purchase at party stores.

      2. Skeeder Jones*

        I came on here to comment but you already mentioned my ideas! Are you inside of my head? Are you a former preschool teacher like me? Cornstarch and water is amazing. I used to play with it myself. One day I had all my kids come in old clothes and we filled 2 swimming pools. The kids had a blast and it all washed off. Bonus! It’s not only great for keeping them occupied but is a great thing to do when dealing with “big feelings”. I also second the idea of painting with water. No mess except water, which dries.
        A few additioinal ideas for the poster:
        Line up toys on a strip of paper outside and have the kids trace their shadows (the example I saw was plastic dinosaurs). I’m not sure how old the kids in the original post are but they may also enjoy cutting paper with safety scissors. It keeps kids occupied but also helps build those small muscle skills.

        1. Human Resorceress*

          OOBLEK! I love that stuff! Brings back very specific memories of being in preschool

    7. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Following along. I’m looking for craft ideas for my 13 month old, but I think she’s too young. I’d love to sit and color or paint with her but she still puts everything in her mouth and isn’t’ a steady walker yet. So sick of Cocomelon :(

      1. allathian*

        You can start painting with your toddler if you use food dyes that are safe to eat. They don’t taste very nice in the concentrations needed for painting, so most kids learn quickly not to put it in their mouths. You can also use things like thawed frozen berries. This does make quite a mess, though, so I recommend doing it in the shower, or preferably an empty bathtub if you have one. Especially berry juice can be hard to wash out of clothes, so it’s best if your kid can sit just in her diaper.

        When she’s a bit older, you can graduate to hand paints. They’re also safe to use, but then she’s less likely to put her hands in her mouth. Many kids like seeing their handprints in paint.

    8. Tib*

      Let them help you with household chores as much as you can. I’ve found it’s easier for me to mentally handle their level of helping if I frame it as entertaining them and any cleaning accomplished is a bonus.

      If you can accept there will be a mess: finger painting with pudding or flour is fun. Flour is easier to clean up than you think. I used a baking tray as a work surface.

      If you buy frozen juice, you can use the lids in all sorts of things. I put matching stickers on pairs of lids and we could play matching and concentration games. Put a slot in the lid of a container and you have another game and a handy storage place.

      If you use beverages that come in a carton, you can make blocks by cutting them down and inserting one upside down into the other. They’re lightweight and easy to stack and knock down. My brother had the best time running his big wheel through a block wall.

      I made large signs for the toy storage boxes that included words and pictures so toy cleanup was easy. I also don’t subscribe to the ‘one toy out at a time’ policy. It’s a bigger cleanup but fun things happen when the dolls can ride the dinosaurs.

    9. blue*

      honestly? let ’em at the tupperware drawer. stack them, knock them over, fill them with smaller toys, pretend tea party/picnic, wooden spoons to make a drum set, fill with dried pasta and shake like a maraca.

      1. Clisby*

        We set aside one lower-level kitchen cabinet and filled it with a couple of lightweight pots (nothing cast-iron), a collection of wooden spoons, measuring spoons, and tupperware, and put childproof locks on all the other cabinets. Toddler was welcome to pull out any and all contents, bang on it, chew on it, whatever.

      2. Disco Janet*

        This just gave me a flashback to when my son was a toddler. His favorite activity at my parent’s house was taking all the cans out of the pantry, lining them up and inspecting them, then putting them back away.

        (And wow as I’m typing that my brain is going, “Ummm yeah, that might have been an early sign of autism that you missed.” Whoops! Well, we figured it out a few years later.)

    10. Michelle*

      Depending upon your child’s age/abilities, logic games and other thinking puzzles are always great. Some examples can be found here, https://childhood101.com/logical-thinking-games-preschool/ but other games we have done include things like placing a toy or other treat in the middle of a table where it is too far for them to reach and ask them how they can get it. (Answer: Show them how they can problem solve to “extend their reach,” by using another object to push or pull the item closer to a side of the table where they can reach.)

      When my son was down for a nap, went to bed, or was otherwise engaged, I would hide one of his stuffed animals and then have him look for it. We did this maybe two or three times a day so it wouldn’t get old too fast. At first, I hid it so that part of the animal was visible, then moved to totally hiding it, but keeping it in the same location, and then finally moving it around to various locations as he started catching on.

      You can lay out a few small toys (I used plastic animals) on the table, say them by name, then cover your child’s eyes, put a cup over one of them and then ask if they know which one is hiding under the cup.

      Kids love stickers! Get some stickers that have duplicates. Put some on a piece of paper in a column and then have your child put one that matches yours next to it.

      I’m sure you could find so many more simple ideas using the things you have at home by searching for toddler/preschooler logic puzzles or games. Another good search would be for “toddler busy bags,” where you can find very simple activities that parents have created for their kids, such as buying a bag of pompoms at the dollar store and then having their child sort them into color piles, or whatever.

    11. Small town*

      We had two things that really helped. A small indoor trampoline, like 3 feet square with an attached handle for them to hold. Also an elevated “kid tower”, enclosed on all sides, where they could help in the kitchen. I think we got it from a Montessori catalogue.

    12. Emily Elizabeth*

      In the water table it can be fun to vary things you put in – a bucket of ice cubes; a few drops of food coloring; a couple toys, dish soap, and washing brush. Second the Magnatiles – they can be pricey new but can often be found on FB Marketplace/local buy and sell groups if you keep your eye out, and as an early childhood teacher they’re one of the first things I always want for my classroom. Recyclables of all kinds are wonderful for building and decorating; throw a passive collection bucket in each of your bathrooms for used toilet paper and paper towel rolls and soon you can play with the whole collection. Homemade playdough also can seem intimidating but is fairly easy, something you can make together, and once you have a big batch it can last for quite a while in a Ziploc in the fridge. Put it out with a different kitchen utensil or recyclable each time (tongs, rolling pin, spoons, bottle caps, etc), or take a small ball and add spices to it (cinnamon, rosemary, etc) for a different smell. Lastly, if you have a yard, often an old toy can feel new when played with outside. If you bring out a blanket and some Duplos, dolls, blocks, etc, it can be a nice change of scenery for both of you when the house is stifling.

    13. Chauncy Gardener*

      Sandbox. With a hose is a plus
      Make playdough from scratch. (see King Arthur Flour for a recipe)
      Toys in the bathtub (with you supervising, of course)
      Kiddie pool in the backyard
      Bubbles!
      Make bread shaped like teddy bears with raisins for eyes etc
      Go for a walk and be on their time, seeing everything they see. It’s the best!

  16. Landlocked*

    How are people feeling with travel with Delta on the rise? My family and I had planned to take a trip to Ireland, England, and France this year. In 2020, when we would have started buying our tickets and what not for a 2021 trip, we decided to push it back by a year, hoping thing would be settled in 2022. Now we’re in 2021, planning on laying down money in the next month or two for a 2022 trip and hesitating with everything we’ve hear about the Delta variant. What’s happening with all of your travel plans at present?

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Last month we booked a trip to Las Vegas, which will be February 2022. I was feeling good at the time I booked it. Now, not so much. It’s a mix of not wanting to get sick even though we’re both vaccinated, and not wanting to drop all that money on a vacation and have to spend it in a mask or dealing with more shutdowns. All the hotel reservations have refundable deposits and I have until something like a week before the reservation date to cancel. I got insurance for the plane tickets in case I need to cancel. I haven’t booked a rental car simply because of the prices and not having decided if we want a car or an SUV.

      1. NopityNope*

        100% agree—vaccinated but don’t want to get any level of sick with covid and don’t want a masked vacation. Throw into the mix: 1) It was a do-over a trip to Florida to see friends after the original March 2020 trip was cancelled and 2) said friends are being very cagey about whether they and their kids are vaccinated. So, probably unvaccinated friends and, you know, FLORIDA (‘cause they are handling things soooo well), that’s a big Nope for me. Am in the process of canceling everything.

    2. KR*

      The uptick in cases is worrying me because I haven’t seen my family since 2018-ish, and the only time my spouse is able to visit home is around Thanksgiving. If something happens and we can’t fly to see them, it will be another year before we can even think about flying there again. The possibility of a lockdown is looming, and people want to come see me but it’s just not safe at the moment.

      I had a lot of travel I wanted to do last year, and then the pandemic happened and I had to move continents, so my non-family travel plans are thoroughly squashed until I can get back to my home continent.

    3. No Tribble At All*

      My inlaws retired & moved across the country just before covid hit, so we haven’t seen their new house. I finally have some time off & we’re flying to see them. I figured now would be less risky than Christmas/Thanksgiving, because fewer people traveling. My area has a very high vaccination rate, and theirs has a medium rate. We probably won’t go anywhere when we’re there (like we won’t go into the city or to any events) because of delta covid. Idk, it’s hard to tell now.

      1. allathian*

        Same here. I don’t think there’s any point if I have to be masked. I’m just happy that I managed to see my friends in person at an outdoor restaurant this summer. Masking up on public transport was unpleasant enough for me that it pretty much takes all the joys out of a meeting, but at least at the time the numbers were much lower and it was fine to go unmasked outdoors.

    4. Anon From Here*

      How am I feeling? Almost overwhelmingly angry. I’m in Canada and had to cancel a trip to the States for a week around Labor Day because of the risk of infecting elderly family members there and/or bringing the delta variant back to where I’m located in Atlantic Canada. My family members are fully vaccinated but vulnerable. My province has a high vaccination rate, and I’m fully vaccinated, but I don’t want to be a vector for this variant. I haven’t seen these family members or the friends I’ve known for decades since late 2019 and I am so, so angry at how the pandemic’s been handled in the U.S. Now it’s looking like another year before I’ll be able to start planning this trip again, and my family isn’t getting any younger.

      1. Weekend nd Pantomime*

        I’m Canadian too and while I’m not angry, I am dismayed and bewildered by the turn The U.S. has taken in the last few years, including the poor attitudes of so many on public safety and vaccination. The bizarre conspiracies is as insidious as the virus. I won’t go to the US either. You are making the right decision for your family, though I understand that is small comfort. Atlantic Canada was a model for us all.

        1. Anon From Here*

          No joke, I want to look into how to get our Chief Medical Officer of Health appointed to the Order of Canada. We’ve had fewer than 1,500 cases and fewer than 10 deaths in our province. She has saved probably hundreds of lives with her work, not just from COVID but also due to the fact that our hospitals and ICU beds were never overwhelmed.

          1. Weekend Pantomime*

            I hope that comes to pass. It would be well deserved. I’m on the left coast and we did okay, but we’re in a Delta surge right now even with 80% eligible partial/70+% fully vaccinated. Not travelling anywhere. Plus we’re on fire.

      2. Filosofickle*

        My parents were supposed to visit British Columbia from California around Labor Day, and they cancelled because they weren’t entirely convinced the borders would stay open if things got worse. (I think that’s a stretch but I do get deciding against traveling.) This is their 4th try. Originally fall 2019, delayed due to a death in the family. Rescheduled for June 2020 then June 2021 then Sep 2021. Not sure when they’ll be able to make it at this rate.

        I have a friend undergoing cancer surgery and I’ll be going to visit to help out. It’s two days’ drive each way (alone) which totally sucks but the thought of flying right now isn’t pleasant either. Cancelled/delayed flights, plus the surgery could even get bumped. Travel feels like shifting sands. Driving gives me the most flexibility.

    5. Potatoes gonna potate*

      My mother is travelling to her home country today. My husband will be taking her to the airport, so I can report back what their experience is.

      Earlier this year after we got our vaccines, we (hubby baby and I) contemplated travelling to Canada to see his family. We’d been doing a road trip every Thanksgiving in prior years and everyone’s dying to meet lil tater. I’m hoping that we can make it this Thanksgiving :(

    6. fposte*

      I’m not planning anything international for the moment, but for a trip like that one I’d buy travel insurance and make sure it’s CFAR, cancel for any reason.

    7. Weekend Pantomime*

      We are exploring locally only, where we can travel by car within our own province in Canada. We’ve made our trips when we were allowed and infection rates are low, and cancelled them when not (buh bye ski trip). Luckily, my province is a marvel. I love travelling but we won’t travel by air or ground unless our destination country has good public health practices, high vaccination rates and low infection rates. That leaves the U.S. completely out of the picture for me for the foreseeable future. But then I haven’t been there for a few years owing to the challenges politically. Sad that it will be longer since we used to visit several times a year before – so many great places to see.

    8. Elizabeth*

      I didn’t have travel plans (we managed to squeeze in a family reunion in June), but I was planning on going to a concert in early December. The band recently warned fans that they know that they can continue with outdoor concerts, but they are not sure that the indoor concerts on the tour, starting in late October, will go on as planned.

      I’m genuinely angry. It did not have to be this way.

      1. the cat's ass*

        Went camping locally x2-great fun, tho water use was severely limited due to the drought, and lots of little car/day trips to areas we’re considering for retirement later, but I don’t plan to get on a plane for quite awhile. My daughter’s exchange program was cancelled this summer (appropriately) and may be cancelled for next summer as well. My oldest friends who live in Munich are trying to sort out when to come visit us and of course that’s on hold for the near future, too.

      2. Windchime*

        No, it sure didn’t. There is a branch of my family (cousins, etc) that are staunchly opposed to the vaccine. Half a dozen of them are now infected (including two young children); my cousin with terrible asthma is hospitalized in serious condition and may be moving to the ICU soon. It didn’t have to be this way; they could have been vaccinated but chose not to. It’s upsetting and infuriating and I’m worried that my cousin could die over this.

      3. banoffee pie*

        yep, angry here too. My gov (UK) did a crap job with this pandemic. We’ve never had decent checks at airports and now delta is everywhere

    9. Choggy*

      Still have our plans to travel to FL though not happy with the idiots who don’t want to be vaccinated including hubby’s best friend. Thankfully we won’t be seeing him and his employer (Disney) is requiring employees be vaccinated.

    10. photon*

      I’m traveling. I use microcovid.org to estimate my risk and take precautions. This means traveling in a train or plane (masked), staying in a hotel, outdoor dining, these are all fine. But I limit indoor dining, I declined to go to a baseball game, and I do less overall when there’s an active wave in my area.

      I live in the US and wouldn’t book travel outside of it, though, more from a regulation perspective than a safety one. I’m not sure where we’ll be a year from now, though I’m hoping vaccine passports will become popular.

    11. Nicki Name*

      We have plans to fly to the other side of the US in a couple months to visit relatives. Everyone involved is vaccinated and both our state and theirs have done relatively well during the pandemic and have fairly sensible governors. I’m figuring I’ll be wearing a mask any time I’m out and about, which I was hoping not to have to, but we are still planning to go right now.

    12. Tofu Pie*

      I think it’s ridiculous that people are undertaking non essential travel now. I have friends in Australia who were enjoying lots of freedom and now under strict lockdown. We are still very much in the middle of a pandemic and I don’t understand why people are going on holidays and participating in the spreading of the disease.

      1. photon*

        As someone who is traveling, my perspective:

        For 14 months, I did nothing but stay at home, walk outside, go to the grocery store. I got vaccinated at first opportunity. I thought the endgame was in sight – everyone would get vaccinated, and we could go back to normal. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people avoiding vaccination, and new variants are rising. There is no longer an endgame. And the isolation certainly has negative effects on me in other ways.

        This virus… it’s more deadly than the flu, but not by much. This isn’t ebola. And most of my personal risk is mitigated by the vaccine. If there’s no longer a feasible endgame in sight, I’d rather just accept that the average human lifespan is now slightly shorter, and more on with my life. I continue to strive for safety (wearing my mask, avoiding crowded places), but plane flights (with masks) and hotel stays are not particularly unsafe. Statistically, this pandemic is continuing because of people who are anti-vaccine and anti-mask, not because I got on a plane flight where I wore my mask nearly the entire time (besides eating/drinking).

        So I guess what I’m saying is, I have no idea how you convince anti-mask/anti-vaccine people what to do next. But if you want *me* to continue the lockdown, you’re going to have to tell me what the endgame looks like now, because the old one is gone.

        1. Ali + Nino*

          Thank you for sharing your perspective so eloquently. I oscillate between inching toward some kind of normalcy and totally freaking out. But I agree that full-on freak-out is neither sustainable nor desirable. Like you, I’ve already been vaccinated, and I take whatever precautions I can in terms of masking up, social distancing, and washing my hands, etc. I don’t want heightened fear and anxiety to be our new normal.

    13. PollyQ*

      I’m angry and frustrated and scared is how I am. Just before the latest surge took off, I bought airline tickets for a relative’s delayed wedding reception in late Sept., and now I’m not at all sure I should be going. I’m vaccinated, but I’ve got a couple of those “underlying conditions,” so I’m not sure that’s good enough. The only reason I haven’t called it off entirely is a hope (probably vain) that the situation will be significantly better 6 weeks from now.

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

      They’re on hold. I wanted to travel south to see the whales, but even though is a domestic flight, both provinces are making it really complicated. Shame, because I really want to spend my money there and they need it badly.

    15. 653-CXK*

      I’ve wanted to go outside the city of Boston for day trips and haven’t done so since 2017 (last trips were to Connecticut and Gloucester, MA), but I have enough money saved up to go on once-in-a-lifetime trip to celebrate my 50th birthday this year. If COVID and the Delta Variant calm down at some point, I may make those plans for next year.

      I’m thinking of either taking the train/plane to Chicago, a trip to England, Belgium or the Netherlands, or spending a week in DC (in my own hotel room).

    16. WoodswomanWrites*

      I have had a three-week northward road trip planned from California to British Columbia to see a friend in September, with stops to see people I know and national parks along the way. With the Delta variant, I am rethinking my trip. I cancelled my reservation for a national park lodge. I’m currently considering driving straight up to the rural area of BC where my friend is rather than a leisurely ramble to places where there are a bunch of people. And I’m recognizing that I might just cancel the whole thing altogether. I made reservations at a California campground for a few days as a back-up.

    17. Lemonwhirl*

      I am in Ireland and in January 2020, we invited my husband’s US-based sisters and their families to join us for Christmas at our house for the first time in 10 years. By July, we had to tell them that we would not be hosting Christmas, but we’d try for 2021. Now, 2021 is essentially a repeat of last year. My son is just a shade too young to be vaccinated, and given that our daily case numbers are the highest they’ve been in 7 months, it seems like we could be in for a very rough winter. Maybe 2023? :(

      I’m traveling nowhere for the time being and would be uncomfortable taking my son on one of our European city breaks until he’s vaccinated. And the situation would have to be very much improved before I would consider visiting family in the US.

    18. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Off, as soon as it became clear that us vaccinated are able to spread it, risking development of variants.
      Delta is significantly more dangerous to children who still have no vaccine available.

    19. Spearmint*

      I took the pandemic very seriously from the start, and often took it more seriously than friends and family for over a year until recently. But that said, I’m currently traveling and will also likely travel for the holidays. Even with the delta variant, vaccines are highly effective, and all my fiends and family are vaccinated. For vaccinated people, covid is equivalent to the flu. You’re unlikely to catch it, if you do catch it it probably won’t hospitalize you and almost certainly won’t kill you. Vaccines are free and widely available in the US. All unvaccinated people are either choosing to not be vaccinated, or are under 12 and at extremely low risk anyway. I don’t view it as my responsibility to hinder my life, my mental health, and my relationship with my out of state family to protect people who are choosing to put themselves at risk. That’s their problem.

      We need to get over being purists about covid. Life is always about trade offs. Covid is a global disease and will never be eradicated, much like the flu. But we have gotten to the point where it’s not a serious illness if you’re vaccinated, and most people (especially high risk people) are vaccinated. I’m going back to life as usual and feel no guilt about it, and I think others should as well. We don’t lock ourselves in our homes out of fear of the flu or measles, after all.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        50 million children under 12
        328 million people total
        So 15% isn’t even eligible for a vaccine.
        Keep the mask on at least please.

        1. Spearmint*

          Children under 12 are at extremely low risk even without the vaccine. In fact, for young children, the flu is a greater risk than covid, but we don’t shut down or curtail normal life in fear of the flu.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            2018-2019 flu season deaths from flu
            Age 0-17: 136
            Adults: 33k
            March 1, 2020 – December 2020 COVID-19 deaths
            Age 0-17 : 178
            Adults: 377k

            Besides which, the flu doesn’t usually cause hospitals to run out of beds this century, but COVID-19 certainly does. That’s why all the “curtailing normal life”.
            Meanwhile, the asymptomatic/mildly symptomatic children are absolutely breeding grounds for new variants.

            Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/2018-2019.html
            https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7003e1.htm

          2. banoffee pie*

            More younger people are being hospitalised now with the delta variant. Flu hardly ever hospitalises younger people, does it? I think delta is worse than flu. I really sympathise. I would love to go out more too. It’s a pity these variants have got loose but it was pretty clear they would becuase we weren’t keeping enough of a lid on the original virus, it was spreadin too much and mutating. Can’t blame countries like India where a lot of people couldn’t afford to stop working and stay in for months, but feel like here (UK) and US could have done better

      2. MissGirl*

        Thanks for posting. I am tired of watching unvaccinated people take zero precautions while I stay home and take them all. I am vaccinated, masking, and traveling. I’ll be careful about where and when I do travel. I’m not going clubbing in Vegas or to a concert.

        I’m not putting my life on hold waiting for people to take their heads out of their arses when that isn’t going to happen.

        1. Choggy*

          +1. Totally agree! I’ve done everything I’m supposed to, and have tinnitus from the shots, so now it’s my turn to enjoy my life again.

      3. Pippa K*

        We don’t stay home out of fear of measles because, until recently anyway, pretty much everyone was vaccinated and the disease was nearly eradicated. Given the extreme infectiousness of measles and the seriousness, if measles was having uncontrolled spread in a mostly-unvaccinated population, and developing new variants, a lot of us absolutely would be staying home.

        I’m vaxxed for COVID and had been feeling more comfortable resuming activities, but emerging research suggests vaccines aren’t as effective against delta as expected. So for my own health, for immune compromised people, for my friends with young kids, I’m willing (but sad) to return to stronger public health precautions. And I agree with commenters above – it didn’t have to be this way, and I’m angry about that.

      4. not really*

        All unvaccinated people are either choosing to not be vaccinated, or are under 12 and at extremely low risk anyway.

        You’ve left out immunocompromised people and people who can’t get vaxxed because of health conditions.

        There’s also long covid even from mild cases.

        1. Who is the asshole*

          And, you know, the rest of the world. We are talking international travel as well and there is a huge amount of countries that plain don’t have enough vaccines available right now. It’s how we got the delta variant in the first place. it would be absolutely callous to endanger these people. (Though I’m aware that people upthread may be limiting themselves to travel within their own countries.)

          Also Long Covid seems to affect 10 to 50 % of unvaccinated people. That is an incredible number for severe longterm health effects.

    20. OxfordBlue*

      I’m in the UK and I am expecting there to be an enormous spike in our infection numbers this coming winter and I am both afraid and angry at our government.
      I would not travel to the UK before this time next year and probably not then either.
      Either go ahead and make your bookings but ensure you can cancel/reschedule them at no cost whenever you want to or wait until this time next year to see what happens.

  17. Jyn’Leeviyah the Red*

    “Cave drawings” — (lightly supervised) crayon drawing inside of a large cardboard box on its side (great for rainy days).

    Dry rice or beans in a large bin (or empty water table) — “hide” some items in there and your toddler can search through the rice, and then pour rice from one cup to another!

    Scrubbing/washing plastic toys was always a big hit for my kids when they were little, too!

    1. Clisby*

      One of my daughter’s favorite “toys” for months was an empty wardrobe box we saved when we moved (those big boxes with the built-in rod for hanging clothes. She’d crawl into it with a couple of her favorite toys, and sit there, talking to them. Sometimes she’d take a pillow and take a nap there.

      1. Generic Name*

        My son taped 2 wardrobe boxes together and made a “fort” out in the yard when he was about 10. He slept in there many a weekend/summer night.

  18. Oxford Comma*

    After years of renting, I finally have enough for a down payment on a house. Any tips for picking out/dealing with a realtor? Or things you wish you had known at the start of your search? I am in the US.

    1. Venus*

      I sent a basic list of criteria to 4 realtors and picked the person who did what I asked. It would have taken them two minutes, so I wasn’t being difficult. I was looking for an apartment in an area, within a price range, and I knew there were about 5 on the national realtor website. I told them all that I had sent the request to a few different people, and I was prepared to have a phone conversation if needed.

      In the end two of them sent me a list of everything in the area, one of them said that I needed to look at bigger homes in a part of town that would have made commuting very difficult, and the one I picked listened to me and sent a prioritized list of 5.

    2. Meh1*

      Start with your friends/family for recommendations. Look to yelp for reviews. Have your financing lined up before you start looking at houses so you won’t find your dream place and then not qualify.

      Also know that no one is going to work harder than you can to find your home. I made it my job to scour the listings on Realty . com so I knew my agent wasn’t going to necessarily bring me something new.

      I had to switch realtors and it was a process made easier since I hadn’t signed an exclusivity agreement.

      A good agent (for me) was able to schedule a lot of places to visit ( we had 15 in a day). She had knowledge about the area, and when I narrowed it down that night she got me comps and he thoughts on a viable offer.

    3. Llellayena*

      I’m following this thread. I’m jumping into the market probably in spring. For me though there’s a realtor I know from my church and I plan to ask her for recommendations (if she recommends herself that’s fine, we’re not so close that it would cause problems). I’ve also hit up a handful of open houses to dip my toe in, being very clear that I’m looking only now and buying in spring. I’ve collected a few cards and had some good, informative conversations with realtors from that. One of them I might go back to since he specializes in an area that I really like (based on the townhome I saw, I’d jump on anything that popped in that neighborhood).

    4. Reba*

      Interview your potential agents. It’s helpful to get someone who is sort of on your emotional wavelength (or at least compatible with it) — it’s a stressful process even when everything goes perfectly, and you want someone who is in your corner, who can keep things moving without pushing you unduly, and who can stay cool if problems come up.

      The first time I found our agent through internet searching and cold emailing, the second time through a coworker.

      For the research part, it’s helpful to look at recent sales in your target areas (and have defined target area or areas) so that you already have a sense of what your budget can buy. And be real about your budget, not just what the lender says you can “afford.” Good luck!

    5. fposte*

      It takes me a long time to come to a decision, and I bought during a hot market, which quite likely you will be too. For me the big surprise was that I was going to have to make the offer immediately on seeing the house–I’d sort of imagined a bunch of return visits with various people. My realtor did a good job of preparing me for that, asking me what did and didn’t work for me in houses that I looked at (good to go to open houses for that too); somehow looking at real houses gives a different insight into priorities and dealbreakers than just listing them in the abstract.

      I also think that it’s common to have a platonic ideal house in your head and that part of the process is coming to terms with the reality of what’s out there so you’re not waiting forever for a house that doesn’t exist. That may sound depressingly pragmatic but I dearly love my “good enough” house, even if it didn’t hit everything on my list.

    6. BlueWolf*

      What fposte said is so true. I bought my first house last fall after looking at probably 30+ over a couple months and putting in offers on several different homes. The more houses you look at in person, the more you get a feel for what are deal breakers vs. nice to haves and what types of homes are available in your price range. It’s also totally different seeing properties in person vs on a computer. Nice lighting in pictures can make a place look totally different than in person, but you start to get a feel for properties and you start to get better at judging listings with a critical eye. My budget didn’t stretch far in my region and I had to compromise on location. Even with that, the homes I could afford were either older or townhomes, and many needed major work like new roof, new HVAC, or had outdated kitchens, bath, etc. Patience is definitely key. I ended up with an older home that had been completely renovated inside, had a relatively new roof, new HVAC, and new appliances. It has some other drawbacks and ended up needing some expensive work in the crawl space, but overall I am satisfied with it as a starter home.

      For a realtor, I worked with an exclusive Buyer’s agent (actually a family team so it was like having three agents working for me, a husband and wife and their son). The son was just starting out and I’m sure they had him take the lead since we had a lower budget, but we also had the benefit of his parents’ extensive experience in real estate and construction. They didn’t help me so much with finding listings, I found most of them myself scouring the various listing sites, but they understood the speed of the market and were quick to arrange viewings, provide comps and prepare offers. With the speed of this market you want an agent who is going to be responsive and it may be helpful to go with a brokerage, so if your assigned agent isn’t available to go to a showing they have a backup person. I also had a great lender who explained the process and was able to provide detailed estimates for listings I was considering before putting in offers.

    7. Let me be dark and twisty*

      Don’t be afraid to ask for references! It can be former clients/properties sold and also people like inspectors and mortgage brokers/lenders. It should be very easy for a realtor to get back to you with that sort of information and feel free to follow up with those people too, especially former clients.

      Another thing to that you should be thinking about is your mortgage. Find a direct lender or a mortgage broker now and get prequalified/preapproved so you don’t have to scramble when you find the right property later. A direct lender is someone who works with a specific financial institution. A mortgage broker is someone who’ll shop around all the banks to find a good deal for you. I used a direct lender for my first house and a mortgage broker for my second house — hands down, I’d go with a mortgage broker again than a direct lender. (My experience was the direct lender just wanted to make a deal and the mortgage broker wanted to make the right deal for me and he would spend hours on the phone with me going over every little detail, which I really appreciated.)

      And finally, when you do start looking at houses, pay attention to the House Hunters trap. That’s where people focus on the paint or the flooring more than anything else, like the layout or size of the rooms or the space functionality. Paint and flooring choices are important (since if you don’t like it, you’ll have to do new paint or replace the flooring, which is a cost to consider) but not as important as, say, the location of the washer/dryer or a powder bathroom in the kitchen, or the parking situation in a neighborhood, or the proximity to main roads, or the street being a busy thoroughfare or a shortcut by nonresidents.

      1. Clisby*

        Your last paragraph is SO true. Also, in case you live in a neighborhood where there are a lot of older houses (my house was built in 1925) consider talking to your realtor about whether it’s worthwhilie to make an as-is offer. That’s how my husband and I bought both our houses, and it’s how we sold house #1.
        In buying house #2, we beat out someone offering $20,000 more because we didn’t require the seller to fix anything up pre-sale. Their incentive is to “fix” things the cheapest possible way, while our incentive is to fix it right.

    8. Jackalope*

      One thing my realtor did that I really appreciated was have us do a practice offer. Knowing that we’d have to jump on anything we liked the second we found it, he wanted us to know what we were doing. So we went to see 3 houses with one of his staff, houses that we liked alright but didn’t adore. Then when we came back he had us pick one and we did a practice offer on it. They wrote everything up exactly as it would be if we were putting a bid in on the house (we didn’t actually make a bid, just had the forms), and then painstakingly went through all of the forms we’d have to submit and explained what each section meant and why it was there. We got to ask any questions we wanted to, and figure out some of what we were doing. That meant that when we actually found a house we didn’t have to worry about the forms because we had more of an idea about what they meant. SO helpful.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, that’s really smart.

        Not unrelated to that, it could be useful to check out what the laws are in your state about realtor representation, conflicts of interest, etc. There’s a pamphlet available for my state, for instance; also in my state, the agent for the buyer is legally obliged to represent the buyer’s interests, which isn’t true in all states.

    9. Anono-me*

      Right now you probably want to find out what their covid protocols and mask policies are . (And the same for any coworkers you might deal with.)

      I’m a big fan of referrals, but of people that have actually used the services, not the my cousin type.

    10. bunniferous*

      I am one.

      Pick someone who has been in business at least five years, and hopefully someone one of your friends/family recommend. Also if you have already talked to a mortgage person (I recommend getting preapproved for a mortgage as it makes things easier) they may have some recommendations of folks to work with. If you have the right person it makes all the difference.

    11. Windchime*

      I picked a realtor off a sale sign once. Bad plan; she was very strange and a weird person. But she took me to look at some new homes and the site realtor there was poised, professional and just awesome. So I dumped realtor and went with #2, who found me a perfect house.

      I find that having a very specific list is key. I divide my list into “must have”, “must not have”, and “nice to have”. Must have = quiet neighborhood, one level. “Must not have” = basement. “Nice to have” = pool. When I moved this last time, I presented my list to realtor #3 (who was recommended by #2), and she showed me one house. It ticked all the boxes and I bought it.

      If you aren’t lucky and just stumble across someone good, then get recommendations from friends. Read reviews online. And if you don’t gel with someone, ditch them because buying a house is a stressful thing to do and you need someone you KNOW will be in your corner and handle all the details.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      I was dismayed to see what was going on with realtors when we bought this house. Ask advice from people around you who you think have something to say of value. Ask them why they liked their realtor. This is interesting because some answers can be much stronger than other answers.

      Top priority for me was to use a real estate calculator to find out how much of mortgage we should have. That number was 30% less than what we were approved for. We used our number not the lender’s number.
      I know you asked about realtors and not about lenders. If you know what your price range is you can stick to it and not get pushed into a higher purchase. Find your number on your own. There’s online calcs now. Know your range THEN pick a realtor.

      It took us a while to find something. I found that realtors tired out and drifted off. Never stop looking for a house yourself. Don’t count on the realtor to do your looking for you. You can call her when you find a place you want to see so you’re not stepping on her toes rather you are just advocating for yourself.

      I second the advice of making a list of “must haves” and a list of “nice to have”. Not much different than buying a car, you don’t want to buy more car than you need.
      The advice of looking beyond the paint is wise, wise, wise. Do the walls and the roof look like they are properly inline? Do you see standing water in the yard? Do you see anything that looks like dampness or mold? How old are the major features of the house- the furnace, the roof, the AC if any, the plumbing and so on. A lot of this stuff needs to be replaced every 25 years or so. The idea is that things should be relatively new so that you do not have any major expenses within the first few years. If your realtor won’t help you with these questions then get a different realtor.
      The realtor is not your new BFF. Take someone with you who IS. This can be a trusted family member or a sharp friend. Look to them for objectivity. My father looked at one house with us. He went into the basement and found a nail on the floor. Being a person with a curious mind, he reached up and was able to push the nail into the beam above with his THUMB. Powder post beetles. I mentioned the problem to the realtor and his reaction was, “Well, he’s your father. He is going to tell you whatever place you want to buy is not good enough for you.” Drrr- the beams holding up a two story house were rotted- drrr. I kept my father and ditched the realtor.

    13. Rick T*

      We got the realtor that helped us buy our new house in another state as a referral by Zillow. We had done lots of research on our new neighborhood but having a local resource is invaluable. Jimmy was actually our second referral, the first Realtor never contacted us to engage.

      What we learned:
      – Keep your search criteria loose so you see properties above and below your price range.
      – Inspections may find things to be fixed but you can use that information to negotiate the price.
      – Don’t get in to Analysis Paralysis.. Houses move quickly, when we were reviewing houses to purchase the house we were going to see next that afternoon got an offer and went off the market.

    14. Alexis Rosay*

      Look for a realtor who will be honest with you. I have heard of so many people wasting time bidding on houses that go for way over asking price because their realtor told them it was a fine idea to offer the asking price in a hot market. I am grateful that our realtor told us point blank that we would not be able to afford certain houses or neighborhoods given what we had told him we were willing to pay.

  19. Potatoes gonna potate*

    So I have a question for creative people, like those who do arts & crafts as a serious hobby or a side gig or as a career. I’ll put the questions first and more details in a reply…

    Is it normal to

    – not be able to think of anything on the fly and always needing something to be inspired by/copy and make your own?

    – coming up with lots of ideas but never fully implementing them?

    1. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I always considered myself a creative person. As a kid, I loved art class and reading books. I came up with dozens of stories – I could flesh out characters and situations but never actual dialogue. In HS I took sewing and art classes at FIT in NYC. I majored in creative writing in college, and for a brief while I took up cake decorating which I actively quit for reasons.

      Eventually I lost interest in painting, drawing, writing and even reading fiction as I focused on my marriage and starting a career. The only semblance of artistry I had was in cooking and doing my makeup….

      I began feeling interested in painting again about two years ago but I was so busy with life issues and I had no time. Then COVID came and I lost my job so while I had plenty of time, being pregnant and anxious & depressed stopped me from doing anything creative

      Anyways, I kind of got back into it again with my kid’s birthday party and learned how to make floral centerpieces. I discovered a Hobby Lobby near me and oh my God it’s like it woke something up inside. I go there and I’m like a kid in a candy shop. Fancy paper, stickers, flowers, fabrics, paints, brushes etc! I think I’ve been good with self control as I know my time and space limitations.

      In all of those pursuits I realized that I get so many ideas but I struggle to implement. I can spend hours thinking and designing and planning to my hearts content but actually doing them and getting in the weeds of it, the physical work? I lose interest fast.

      1. Vivi*

        I feel seen with that last statement. Your story is so similar to mine where I’ve drawn/paint growing up, went to art school to try other things (printmaking, video), dropped out from burnout/finances, and focused on my BA/MA/career/relationship. I’ve yet to find the thing that works for me but hoping it’ll click!

    2. Koala dreams*

      I think creative people are inspired by a lot of things. That’s what makes creativity fun. But I also think you can train this ability, with exercises. Perhaps not entirely, but to a certain extent. You start by following recipes or doing drawing exercises, and eventually you can do your own thing.
      /Non-serious hobby creative

    3. river*

      Yes to both. Time and effort are finite so you will always have more ideas than you can implement. That’s ok, you don’t have to do everything you think of.
      With inspiration it helps if you can learn to take inspiration from things other than other people’s work. It’s fine and normal to be inspired by people’s work. But try to find inspiration from the world too, from nature, from science, from other fields of art, from things that are important to you. This is what sets the greatest designers above the others because they are not just inspired by the work that has gone before but by the world around them, their response to it. Even if what you’re making is small and simple, it will have a more dynamic, human quality.
      You can learn this. Look at something in your world and listen to how it makes you feel. It gets easier with practise. Then you will find inspiration is all around you. It doesn’t have to spring fully formed from your head.

      1. river*

        Another thought. Try skipping the designing, planning stages (if you can, it depends what art/craft you’re doing) and plunge ahead not knowing where it will lead. Give yourself permission to be ugly and you may be surprised. It’s easy to overplan, and that uses up your interest. Explore without a detailed map.

        1. Reba*

          Yes, I think this is where to look deeper — it’s fun, easy, and in some way *safe* to plan and gather image references and make mood boards. When you get to finally doing the thing, it’s actually a space of uncertainty and vulnerability, right? It’s real materials, it doesn’t align perfectly with what’s in your mind. This is where your ideas are going to actually succeed or fail, and where your skills are actually going to be on view to yourself and others.

          Speaking from experience here! And I very much relate to being really productive in younger years (leading to a BFA) to being an infrequent artist now, too.

          Classics like “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” and “the Artist’s Way,” (the latter is more geared toward writers and a bit woo, but good!) can help with the feeling of being blocked or running out of steam, if you think that having some structure or curriculum to work through would be good.

          1. Potatoes gonna potate*

            Yes, I think this is where to look deeper — it’s fun, easy, and in some way *safe* to plan and gather image references and make mood boards. When you get to finally doing the thing, it’s actually a space of uncertainty and vulnerability, right? It’s real materials, it doesn’t align perfectly with what’s in your mind. This is where your ideas are going to actually succeed or fail, and where your skills are actually going to be on view to yourself and others.

            Oh goodness, yes, this too! that makes perfect sense. I was experiencing that when I was making centerpieces. the sticker & tape wouldn’t line up or they fell off or the glue wouldn’t stick etc. the struggle!

        2. Potatoes gonna potate*

          Oooo…. so I think this is where the issue may lie. I’m a planner. I have to plan out as much as I possibly can, and it goes from either a loose “get this done today” to sometimes down to the minute.

      2. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Yes to both. Time and effort are finite so you will always have more ideas than you can implement. That’s ok, you don’t have to do everything you think of.

        I can’t believe I didn’t even think of that – that absolutely makes perfect sense!!!

    4. Washi*

      For me, I find that when I try something new, I have a long stage of mainly copying before I have all the tools I need to be really original. I’ve been doing linocut for 3-4 years now, but only in the past year or so do I feel like my designs have gotten more original and I’m not googling “linocut cat” or whatever and mostly copying that. I mean, I still often work off of photos, but usually they are my own photos now, or I am just using them as a reference for smaller elements.

      And I think there are some artsy things that lend themselves better than others to copying. Like I almost never make up my own knitting patterns, but I do make my own patterns for sewing. I think if you’re enjoying it and not actually infringing on copyright, don’t worry about any copying! And if you aren’t judging yourself so much, you might also find yourself a little more inspired to make stuff.

    5. RagingADHD*

      Yes, and yes.

      When you express yourself artistically, you are responding to something. That’s where the impulse comes from – it’s a response, like an emotional response. Even people who aren’t consciously aware of using a prompt in the moment, are still responding to past experiences, relationships, etc.

      Creativity is problemsolving. That’s the mechanism in the mind that is working when you have ideas and make stuff. Artistic creativity solves artistic problems (like, What can I do with this? What if that happened? What does this feeling sound like? What shape depicts this moment?)

      So if you don’t have any ideas, it’s because you aren’t thinking about any problems. Prompts or examples, inspirations, get that engine started.

      Finishing is the hardest part. There are a lot of reasons for that. Sometimes it’s because the thing that interested you was the experimental stage, and once you scratch that itch, you’re done. That’s fine, leave it.

      Other times it’s because you’re stymied, and don’t know how to move forward or what needs to be done next. The way to deal with that is to change your focus, and address that problemsolving energy to discovering the missing piece.

      Another roadblock to finishing is perfectionism. There is a real existential pain to seeing what you really made, and how much it falls short of the vision in your head. The way to deal with that is to understand that this gap always exists, and the more skilled you are, the more you see the gap.

      So you have to embrace the pain as a friend bringing good news – it is telling you that your perception grew by doing this project. And then you can make peace with imperfection. But that understanding and peace lies on the other side of finishing. You can’t get there until you learn to finish.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Background: studied visual art and theater, had first career in theater, now a novelist for love and nonfiction writer for money.

      2. mousey*

        Your last two paragraphs were so exactly what I needed to hear right now, thank you. I want to embroider it all on throw pillows

    6. bunniferous*

      Yes. It is a long process to kill your inner critic.

      I recommend getting cheap supplies and just -playing. Practicing being creative is valid, and every work you make, even if it is not successful, teaches you something.

    7. Skeeder Jones*

      I relate to both things. In my life, I have done so many different crafts and a lot of them come and go over time. My most recent burst of crafting came because I am going to be moving in a few months from a studio to a 2 bedroom and will have a lot more wall space. I started browsing Etsy and did buy a number of items (stuff with wood and metal, glass and fire – things I cannot do here in my studio) but also got a ton of inspiration.

      Whenever I start a craft project, I like to look at Etsy and see what other people have done. And though they inspire me, I still change things up and make a project my own. I’ve also been trying to take photographs I love and let them inspire me as well. As for ideas, I have folders full of ideas that I’ll probably never get through most of them but you never know so I keep them and browse through them when I need inspiration.

      Probably my biggest area of weakness is craft supplies! If I think I might do something, well I must own the material to make it, and a whole bunch more. It’s probably where my obsessive behavior comes out the most because I must have every color of felt, every color of thread, every bead, every cute piece of cardstock. It’s madness. Right now, I’ve packed away a lot of my craft supplies and they are hard to reach in a storage unit. I wasn’t supposed to still be here and when I packed them up, I thought I was 6 weeks away rom a move. But now it’s been several months and I’m finding myself buying replacements because projects will come up (for a wedding gift and baby gift) and it would just be too hard to dig out what I already have. It’s definitely an area I need to work on.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Probably my biggest area of weakness is craft supplies! If I think I might do something, well I must own the material to make it, and a whole bunch more. It’s probably where my obsessive behavior comes out the most because I must have every color of felt, every color of thread, every bead, every cute piece of cardstock. It’s madness. Right now, I’ve packed away a lot of my craft supplies and they are hard to reach in a storage unit. I wasn’t supposed to still be here and when I packed them up, I thought I was 6 weeks away rom a move. But now it’s been several months and I’m finding myself buying replacements because projects will come up (for a wedding gift and baby gift) and it would just be too hard to dig out what I already have. It’s definitely an area I need to work on.

        Are you me? Cz I am…100% this way too. With makeup, and clothes etc. I still haven’t fully unpacked my upstairs yet 9 months post-move. so allll my makeup and beauty supplies are up there, I just haven’t updated it yet

        I was telling a friend that every time I pass by the yarn/knitting section at Hobby Lobby I think of her and in the course of our conversation she mentioned that buying supplies is a hobby in and of itself, lol. Dangerous!

        1. Skeeder Jones*

          Yes, I can never have enough of anything despite the fact that I have too many of everything! That’s true, buying all my craft/hobby supplies is much more of a hobby to me than any of my hobbies, though I have been in creation mode lately so I have been using a tiny fraction of my supplies. I’m thinking about opening an etsy store so I’m just sort of building inventory right now. But I definitely need a craft supply 12 step program!

    8. moss*

      I will speak to this as a painter. The first one is normal, yes. I am not an imagination painter, I am a plein air painter which means I am actually looking at the thing I’m painting. People are different, some people like to let their imagination roam free and more power to them. But I’m interested in the geometry of the urban landscape so I go out and draw and paint from life.

      When I can’t go out I do other things that prepare me for the goal of making a painting. Color samples, preparing painting surfaces, other types of painting such as geometry drawings that can be done at home.

      For me I enjoy the process of mark-making. I like putting tone or color on canvas. I like taking a flat surface and creating the illusion of a 3D space using lines and shades. So I enjoy the process and have taught myself to focus on that. I can definitely hear the voice in my head reminding me I am not Picasso. I have learned to ignore that voice and carry on to something that I enjoy doing and enjoy looking at when I’m done.

      If you’re coming up with lots of ideas and not implementing them, then you’re not actually doing your hobby, you’re just thinking about doing it. Obviously there’s room for creative thought in any endeavor but if you’re going to progress in a certain discipline you need to have or develop the will and endurance to fail many times. You’re not failing if you’re just thinking about doing it. You have to actually fail (and along the way have a few surprising successes) in order to get the experience to go on to succeed.

  20. IntoTheSarchasm*

    She was taking advantage of you at a time when you truly needed a friend. You rebelled in a way available to you. Glad you are no longer “friends.”

  21. Venus*

    How does your garden grow?
    I am excited to have a lot of tomatoes! It is much better this year than last.

    1. CatCat*

      Cherry tomatoes are going crazy. Our other tomato plant (determinate type) only ever got one tomato that is taking forever to ripen.

      We’ve had three eggplants with more incoming.

      Bell peppers are going nuts. None have ripened yet. Can’t wait for that though. I had to add a stake to support one of the plants since it is so loaded.

      My dill and tarragon croaked. Not sure what happened there. Lemon thyme is also dying, which is a bummer since I love the flavor. All other herbs are going strong, especially the basil.

      Our pathetic jalapeno plant finally grew some and has flowers. No fruits yet.

      Cukes aren’t doing great. I’m losing the war with aphids on it. Probably won’t do cukes again.

      Zuke plant isn’t producing much, but crook neck squash is still going strong. There’s definitely some cross-polination going on as the yellow squashes have green on them.

      It’s been fun having my first vegetable garden.

    2. GoryDetails*

      Southern NH here – alternating Very Very Hot and Very Rainy. My jalapenos are doing the best of all the veggies, lots of lovely fruit. A few sweet peppers, a fair number of heirloom tomatoes (Berkeley Tie-dye variety, green and purple stripes), lower-than-usual yield of eggplant. I did get some okra pods yesterday, with more of the lovely blooms on the plants. One, count ’em, one cucumber out of four different plants, all full of flowers but slow to pollinate. One summer squash (same); I’m wondering if the heat is contributing to all-male-blossoms or lack-of-blossom-set or something…

    3. Other Meredith*

      My tomatoes and cucumbers have been very successful this year. Less so the peppers, which grew really well last year, but they do seem to be getting started, so maybe I’ll still get some. Fingers crossed.

    4. tvrh*

      My cherry tomato plant had a rough start, we’ve had several heat waves here that I guess affected it? I’ve never had issues with tomatoes in containers before. It is only now starting to fruit, and I don’t think I’m going to get much. I have a SW balcony that gets lots of sun. Its in a fabric 5 gallon container, better than the plastic bucket I used last year, I thought. I don’t have much of a green thumb. I think I need to fertilize more. It’s leggy as heck. It’s companion, a pumpkin plant, has taken over one whole wall, but no fruit in sight.

      What a year.

    5. Lizabeth*

      My rosemary plant has doubled in size. It is loving the heat/humidity/sporadic rain. I will have to trim it back in the fall and dry the trimmings.

    6. Callisto*

      I’ve been gifted four zucchini the size of watermelons. I plan to grate and freeze them, but I’ve heard the larger ones have bitter edges. Should I trim them before grating?

      1. Campfire Raccoon*

        Cut and taste one, before making a decision. When my zukes get super-large and feel overwhelming, I freeze them and give them to the chickens. Guilt-free, lol.

    7. Campfire Raccoon*

      Monsoons are in full swing. It rained quite a bit last night, so I spent a few hours this morning smiting the spurge and crabgrass with the weed whacker. It was 78% humidity, there’s standing water everywhere, and my poor desert butt is not built for this. The main garden is covered by a solid 18″ of crabgrass: I’m going to have to scrape it with a skid loader before digging in the compost next month.

      I moved the winter pepper, tomato, and cuke starts out to the patio to start hardening them off to the heat. If it appears we’re going to stay under 105, I’ll put them in the ground next weekend. The monsoon zukes are big enough I was able to remove their shade covers. Last but not least – I sloppily planted a pound of pinto beans and random greens in the tortoise pen. Voldetort is currently cruising around the herb/hot pepper garden. She’ll appreciate some tender grazing options.

    8. Me*

      Still lots of zucchini. The ground cherries are dropping so the squirrels aren’t actually getting them all. Soooo sweet!

      My peppers have set a ton of baby peppers. Really looking forward to smoking and drying some paprika peppers this year.

      I have a nice sized long pie pumpkin, and several more are setting fruits. I only have one good sized spaghetti squash but more babies on the way. My big disappointment is the sweet meat. I have several tiny fruits but I’m not sure if they’ll mature in time or not.

      My cucumbers are all producing but I gave them really challenging conditions this year, something I’ll avoid next year.

      My large heirloom tomatoes are starting to tinge with a color other than green so I’m looking forward to an over abundance of those.

    9. Susie*

      I started seeds a few weeks ago for second planting of my beds…but the heat wave we had and my forgetfulness resulted in all the starts dying. I was going to transplant this weekend.

      That said tomatoes are coming in like crazy and we’ve done a first batch of sauce which we’ll jar and freeze.

    10. allathian*

      Last weekend, we picked our blackcurrant bushes clean and made a delicious juice. No sugar added, so we put most of it in the freezer, but we kept a couple bottles to enjoy this fall.

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My lavender is blooming. It’s small, only a dozen stalks, but it’s one I planted LAST year. So I may finally have found a space where herbs similar to it can thrive. If the tarragon I planted in the spring makes it through the winter, I’ll try rosemary again.

    12. Chauncy Gardener*

      Northern Mass here. Cucumbers going crazy, Can’t keep up! Everything else is meh. Smatterings of cherry tomatoes, when usually by this time we have buckets. Not great hot peppers either. I still have hope for my birdhouse gourds, though!

  22. Aza*

    Any long term tips for surviving infidelity?
    I posted on here months ago when I first found out, and people were really kind and helpful.

    Now I’m 7 months out from learning about my partner’s infidelity. We’re in marriage counseling, which has been really helpful (I wish we had done it long before the affair), I’m on antianxiety meds (also wish I had done this long ago), and we talk and communicate a lot more, and a lot more directly than we used to. My husband has had no contact with his affair person since I learned of the affair, and he’s been working to be a more active partner- he’s taken over more household responsibilities, overall pulling more weight. He’s treating me with the respect he should have always treated me with, and is deeply sorry for all the damage he’s done to me and our relationship.

    I still have sad days, and it’s still overall a really crappy thing to deal with. Deeply damaging and challenging. But we’re making progress.

    Any tips from people who have been through this, as we head into our long term recovery? Tips for coping, victories, healing?

    Our counselor says a lot of it (in addition to coping skills and communication) is just time.

    1. Aza*

      And hot tip for anyone who needs couples counseling. I’m sure this varies by counselor/insurance, but ours is covered by my insurance. Our counselor accepts insurance (not all do, but we filtered for that on the psychology today website when we were searching), and said it’s covered as long as one partner has some kind of issue (I guess mental health issue?). So when she submits the insurance it’s for treating me (I think for anxiety), even though my partner attends the appointments too.

      Also, in the time of covid, zoom counseling has been amazing. We’ve never met in person and being by zoom (or a zoom like program) has meant that we can do this during a lunch break, either separately or together).

    2. fposte*

      Are you also in individual therapy? I know family members going through the same thing (and their reconciliation did stick, and they’re both happy) found that really important. It’s something that puts you and you alone in the foreground, which is really valuable.

      I also agree with your therapist that time is important here. I think you get to grieve even if you’re deciding to stay married; the one doesn’t erase the other.

      1. Aza*

        Thank you! I’m not in individual therapy- I don’t know that my insurance would cover it, since the couples therapy we’re in is billed to my insurance as care for me. But I can see the benefit, especially as I only have 1 person I’ve disclosed the affair to (it seems like people judge spouses who stay…. and I just can’t deal with that).

        1. fposte*

          Oh, yeah, I see the point about insurance there. Is it worth checking to see if there’s something sliding scale that you could cover out of pocket?

          And yes, I think you’re unfortunately right on the judging. I don’t know if there’s a surefire way around that; I think talking about post-affair recovery is a bit of a taboo, whereas talking about kicking a partner to the curb is fine. I don’t talk with my relative about it now (it’s like ten years ago), but we did then; I said I didn’t have a vote on what choice they made, but it should be a choice, not something that they just let happen to the. And it really was, and the work they both did in counseling really stuck; my relative is a lot more emotionally competent now in general, too.

    3. Generic Name*

      Hugs. I recommend getting your own counselor and doing some deep thinking about what you want out of life and a relationship. Don’t even think about your spouse or what they want for a bit. What do you need in a relationship to feel safe. What is acceptable behavior to you. What are your needs and how do you prefer them to be met. Then think how your spouse fits into that. You mentioned that your spouse wasn’t treating you with respect before. I’m glad they’re treating you respectfully now. Watch their actions. Do they match up with their words? It’s easy to say your sorry and to make promises. Watch out for actions not matching words.

      1. Aza*

        Ha! I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to be cheated on. But it’s not as simple as starting over. The cheating will always affect me, whether I stay with him or not. I’m staying with him because we have a lot of history, a kid, and I honestly think we’re really good together, despite the infidelity. Our counselor says to “choose your hard”..that with this, there is no easy way out, even with divorce, a sentiment which I agree with.

        His actions post affair have been really consistent. I truly don’t think he would cheat again…I think the level of devastation he caused has been both surprising to him and painful, but if he did, I don’t think I could stay.

        1. allathian*

          I can understand forgiving someone for cheating if they show genuine remorse, like your spouse seems to have done. That doesn’t mean they have the right to expect that you’ll forget what happened, or that your forgiveness would be an implicit permission for him to cheat on you again. “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” most definitely applies to cheating.

    4. Mindovermoneychick*

      Search ChumpLady. She is the Alison Green of infidelity advice columnists. There is lots of great stuff on her blog.

      1. Aza*

        Does she have recommendations for people who have decided to stay? When I looked at her website immediately post-affair, it seemed like it was mainly aimed at people divorcing.

        1. Mstr*

          She has some … like clearly defining what you want & knowing that it reasonable to ask your partner for certain things, getting a post-nup, etc. But most is geared towards leaving — things like how to tell if remorse is genuine, common traps optimists fall into, reactions people received when they did tell their friends, could still be helpful or supportive though. Just the angle of focusing on you as the faithful spouse & how to strengthen/rebuild yourself seems to be of value whether you’re doing that in a relationship or not. But I guess be prepared for the viewpoint that cheating is abusive.

          1. Aza*

            Yeah, I just looked through the site again, and I don’t think it’s for me. My husband bdoes seem to meet her definition of remorse, so I guess that’s something.

    5. Nonymous*

      Time.

      Also, forgiveness is over rated and you should not feel pushed to offer it. You can accept what your partner did and move past it, but you don’t have to forgive it.

      That’s my experience anyway.

  23. Nordic Noir Show Recommendations*

    Looking for recommendations for “Nordic Noir” show recommendations, along the lines of The Bridge (original, not English remake) or Bordertown. It doesn’t have to be Nordic per se, but same sort of sensibility. I’ve enjoyed a few French crime dramas as well (Blackspot, La Manta). I’ll be finished with The Bridge this weekend so I need a new show. I have several streaming services to choose from, and I’m not opposed to buying shows from Amazon. Thanks! – Damn it, Hardison! (regular user name)

        1. Pumpernickel Princess*

          I must have watched this a dozen times and it’s still so funny to me! “This is Gunnar Gunnarsson, is it about my son, Gunnar Gunnarssonsson?”

    1. Weegie*

      Have you already watched The Killing (Danish)? If not, that’s another Scandi noir. Also Trapped (Icelandic) and maybe Beck (Swedish). And I wouldn’t quite describe it as noir, but if you’re enjoying French drama, then try Spiral – series 3 in particular is brilliant.

      1. Pumpernickel Princess*

        Thank you for reminding me of Trapped! I watched a bit of it a few years ago and it was chilling, in a good way!

    2. ThatGirl*

      I don’t know if this is quite what you want, but season 1 of Fortitude is very good. I do not recommend the rest of the series which went very off the rails.

    3. WellRed*

      Deadwind (Finnish) Trapped (Icelandic), cardinal ( Canadian, just watched, loved). Le accident and le disappearance ( both French). Hinterland, Hidden and oh, there’s a couple good other Welsh. Names escape me. Unforgotten ( British).

      1. WellRed*

        Loved Bordertown and le manta. I can’t figure out where to watch the original Bridge. Where did you watch it?

        1. Damn it, Hardison!*

          The Bridge is on Amazon, 1-3 through Prime but 4 is only with subscription to “Topic,” whatever that is. I signed up for the free 7 day trial and will then cancel. Deadwind was also one of my favorites!

          1. banoffee pie*

            Inspector Montalbano is all-round brilliant – acting, script, scenery, atmosphere etc and can be very funny. It’s not scandi (sorry!) but it can scratch a similar itch to The Killing, etc. It’s set in Sicily. Borgen is Danish, not a murder mystery but a kind of political drama. Also v good

            1. allathian*

              Borgen was great.
              I’m happy to see some love for Finnish shows like Deadwind and Bordertown.
              I can also recommend Arctic Circle (Ivalo/Der Unsichtbare Tod), a Finnish-German noir production. It’s an appropriately dark crime show involving a deadly virus that could potentially kill every human on Earth. The first season was shot in 2018, so long before the Covid pandemic, and they’re currently shooting the second season. It’s apparently available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime…

  24. Sunny*

    Question for hair dressers and people who get haircuts.

    I normally schedule hair cuts for first thing in the morning. I go immediately after showering, so instead of having my hair dresser wash my hair again, she just soaks it with water to make it easier to cut. I skip getting a “blow out” (my hair is very short and it’s not worth the extra $11), so when I get home I wash my hair again to get all the tiny hair bits out (if I didn’t, I’d be shedding them all over the place).

    I scheduled my hair cut next week for after work/dinner so I could sleep in on Saturday. But that means by the time I go, it’ll be 12 hours after I washed my hair that morning. Would it be okay to ask my hair dresser to just soak my hair instead of washing it as usual, or would that be gross or hard for her to work with? (I don’t use any products in my hair, but I assume by then there would probably be some scalp oil in it?)

    I really just want to be in and out, I find the idea of someone else washing my hair weird, and I have to wash my hair again when I get home anyway, so I really just don’t want to get my hair washed. But I don’t want to be a bad customer.

    1. GoryDetails*

      I’m pretty sure you can just tell them you don’t want a shampoo. (If you applied hairspray or gel or something, then you probably should shampoo first, but for wash-and-wear hair I don’t think it should matter.)

      That said, I go to the walk-in quickie places, where they don’t do shampoos at all, just enough of a water-spritz to make the hair easier to cut.

      But I do follow your post-haircut protocol of dashing home for a shower, the only way I’ve found to get all the tiny bits of hair off!

      1. Sunny*

        I thought I was the only one who had to wash their hair to get the tiny bits out. Glad I’m not alone!!! :)

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Those bits are sharp and can work into your skin. Literally. I once had to tweeze out a “splinter” from my foot that turned out to be a hair. Hopefully my own hair because there was almost 1/8″ / over 2mm under my skin.

    2. Reba*

      That’s fine. I mean, unless your hair gets oily unusually rapidly? You can just say you prefer not to shampoo.

      My hair salon has cut down on shampoos due to the pandemic, and what they are asking clients to do is just what you describe, to come with with hair washed within about 12 hours of the appointment and styled how you usually do (no product). Then they wet it to work, then air dry or helmet.

      1. Sunny*

        I don’t think my hair gets oily rapidly, but I thought maybe ANY oil would make it hard to work with or it would feel gross. But if your hair salon is cutting down on shampoos for people who washed their hair within about 12 hours, then it must be okay! :)

    3. Callisto*

      I always avoid shampooing because I use unscented products, and all salons are like a perfume bomb. It’s never been a problem, even if I haven’t washed in a couple of days.

      1. Sunny*

        That’s actually a good point. I use unscented products too, so it would be annoying to have heavily scented product in my hair.

    4. Valancy Snaith*

      You can ask if your stylist does dry cuts. I know most hairdressers in my area do–just come in as you are, they maybe spritz your hair a little to dampen it but don’t soak it, trim, and away they go. This likely doesn’t work for major cuts, but perfectly fine for a trim.

      12-hour-old hair is nothing. Most stylists who do substantive updos will request that clients not wash their hair for at least 24-48 hours before, because hair that’s too clean won’t hold a style correctly, so your stylist will likely not think anything of your hair being half a day off a wash.

    5. Trixi*

      When I kept a pixie, I asked my stylist to a quick rinse after the trim which worked out well. Then just a dab of product for control, and I was done.

      Sigh, I miss having a pixie. (But making friends with longer hair again.)

    6. tra la la*

      My stylist only does dry cuts. She cuts my hair, then straightens it (my hair is naturally wavy) to make sure it’s even. This seemed weird to me at first, but I’ve gone to her for years now (recommended by a colleague who has much more complicated hair than I do !) and I’ve always loved what she’s done with my hair.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        That is a little weird- usually the expectation is to cut wavy/curly hair dry and natural so that it’s even the way you’d normally wear it. If I straightened mine to trim it, it would be super uneven in its normal state because of the way the waves lie. But as long as you’re happy with the outcome that’s the important part :)

        1. tra la la*

          No, she cuts it in the normal state (it’s not THAT curly — for some reason my hair went from stick straight to somewhat wavy years ago when I went off the pill) and then straightens it. I think it’s more to make sure she hasn’t missed anything. She doesn’t do “wet” haircuts at all and hasn’t in the 8+ years I’ve seen her, so I trust her to know what she’s doing.

      2. MissCoco*

        I recently started going to a stylist whose really concerned with how even the cut is, I definitely find it a bit odd and probably unnecessary, but he does a great job and I love the cut, so I don’t mind spending a few extra minutes in the chair while he cuts it to the exact same length everywhere only for my curls to spring up and never fall in the same place again!

  25. Liz*

    Anybody have any experiences of orthodontics or cosmetic surgery related to overbite? (CW: surgery and dentistry)

    I’m about a year away from qualifying in a specialism in my field that could basically triple my income. For the first time, I might be able to afford to have my overbite corrected. It sounds silly, but when I think about what to do with my extra earnings, this is all that comes to mind.

    My overbite is classed as severe – about 8-10mm – and I sometimes get headaches, discomfort, and a “popping” jaw. Other than this, my teeth are pretty good. I’m ashamed to admit, my main concern is purely cosmetic. I hate seeing my profile in pictures – I have almost no definition to my jawline, just a double chin that seems to blend straight into my neck. I feel ridiculous being so concerned with this, but I’m half considering it as an option.

    But where do I start? I feel like a dentist is just going to be concerned with my teeth and not really give a crap about how my chin looks. If I go with a cosmetic surgeon, I gather there are 2 options, either a simple implant or a more complex procedure that involves sawing and reshaping the jaw, often with some dental work involved with the latter.

    I’m reading that people are recommending a “trial period” of dermal fillers before I look at surgery, but I find it hard to imagine injections are going to make that much difference. I also struggle with feeling vain and stupid for even considering this (I’m working on this with therapy).

    Any thoughts or recommendations on where to start?

    1. Anon5775*

      Check into Las Vegas institute dentistry (LVI). They try to change your bite position and the profile of your face often improves. They do this without surgery, as surgery isn’t highly recommended I guess. The process is slow and expensive but it’s helping my TMD issues and possibly my headaches. There’s a Facebook group for patients to talk to other patients and dentists but you have to ask to join I think. Good luck!

      1. Liz*

        Thanks, I’ll have a little look online. I’m based in the UK but I’m open to traveling and having a little holiday while I’m away. I’ve always wanted to see Vegas anyway!

    2. Reba*

      I don’t know, my dentist is pretty interested in aesthetic issues! :) I think the dental professionals understand that there are both cosmetic *and* medical reasons for various interventions. I understand what you mean about worrying that you are being shallow, but there’s no shame in this!

      I would start with a consult with an orthodontist to see what a treatment plan would look like. You can ask your dentist for a referral if needed. My mom actually went to like 3 orthos to see their different proposed treatment options and compare.

      1. Reba*

        I should add, I have *just* spent two grand on veneers for my front teeth. I dd need to replace the 12 year old ones I got due to some discoloration, that were deteriorating… but I did not really need to get those ones in the first place! But, it’s my front teeth, and they are large! I’m so happy that they look good.

    3. Invisible Fish*

      I don’t have recs on dentistry, but I do have recs on dealing with feeling vain for pursuing self care – the nice way of putting it is “Keep working with your therapist on this issue. Wanting to look and feel your best isn’t vanity; it’s part of being a healthy, well balanced adult. You deserve to feel your best every day, mentally, emotionally, and physically.”

      Now, the way I’d really put it … Be as “vain“ as you wanna be!!! It’s your money, it’s your life- if you want to change something, do it!! Make yourself your top priority all day every day! I spent years not taking good care of myself because I had it drilled into me that self care of all sorts was vanity and selfishness, and that’s simply NOT true. Your soul gets one vessel in which to travel here on Earth, and since you deserve a GREAT journey, you DESERVE to feel great every day. Do what it takes to make that happen for you! Do your research on options, pick the very best providers, get everything you want to do done, and sally forth to be HAPPY.

      1. Liz*

        Thank you for this. One of the things I explored in therapy was the fact that my rather conservative parents saw dressing up as “frivolous” and worrying over appearance as foolish. I was a very insecure teenager who wasn’t really allowed to dress like a teenager (makeup was frowned upon, I was expected to dress “smartly”) and my mother’s only response to my anxiety was to shrug and say “there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s the rest of them.”

      2. Trixie*

        So true. My mom struggled with her teeth for years, and invested in braces at 71. She also felt embarrassed for years that her bottom lip was so thin. She felt immediately better with a touch of lip filler. I didn’t realize she was so embarrassed about her lips, and while I never notice anything, I am just happy she is happy.

    4. Southern Girl*

      I had overbite to the point where I could barely get my teeth to meet. Had orthodontics for a year, then surgery to advance my lower jaw, then more orthodontics. I did it for dental health reasons but it did improve my appearance. Started the process at 38, now 20 years ago. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

      1. Liz*

        This is good to know. I’m 36 and there is part of me that thinks “what’s the point? I’m already going downhill anyway.” But your comment is reassuring. My teeth don’t really meet at the front at all – I have to tear food rather than biting and I do all my chewing with my molars. I’m not sure how bad that is.

        1. Windchime*

          I had a bad overbite and was able to get orthodontia at age 22. It was bad enough that I had to wear “headgear” for about a year, for 20 hours a day or something awful like that. I did it, and I have never been sorry. I was very self-conscious and rarely smiled; it was so nice to not have to worry about how my teeth looked.

          There is nothing wrong with doing things solely for the purpose of looking better, but it sounds like this will also address some issues with your teeth functioning properly. Do it; you will not be sorry. 36 is still very young; my sister got braces in her 50’s to correct a crooked tooth that had always bothered her.

        2. PollyQ*

          Oh, honey. I’m 54 and 36 is nothing. More importantly, it sounds like you’ve got serious functional issues with you teeth! Pain, jaw issues, trouble chewing — even if you don’t believe that looks are a valid reason to do anthing, you’ve got all of this going on! Your dentist may or may not be interested, but they can definitely refer you to someone who can help.

        3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Well, teeth are something you have your whole life. Maybe you won’t care at 90, but I’d think you’d very probably still care at 60, so you’d get a quarter century out of your investment.

        4. ampersand*

          I have the same teeth/bite issue, so I understand—and I second what everyone else is saying: you’re not vain for wanting to feel good about how you look! Also it’s physically uncomfortable when your teeth don’t align, so that’s one more reason to go for it.

          Getting my overbite fixed is on my list of things to do very soon. I’m 41. I had braces when I was a kid, and I’m likely about to have them again. I have no doubt it’ll be worth it! My only advice on the process is to make sure you’re comfortable with your treatment plan, and get a second opinion if you think it’s warranted.

        5. ampersand*

          I have the same teeth/bite issue, so I understand—and I second what everyone else is saying: you’re not vain for wanting to feel good about how you look! Also it’s physically uncomfortable when your teeth don’t align, so that’s one more reason to go for it.

          Getting my overbite fixed is on my list of things to do very soon. I’m 41. I had braces when I was a kid, and I’m likely about to have them again. I have no doubt it’ll be worth it! My only advice on the process is to make sure you’re comfortable with your treatment plan, and get a second opinion if you think it’s warranted.

      2. ronda*

        My sister had surgery after she cracked a molar cause her teeth only met in 2 places. (there was also lots of orthodontics around this)

        she was very happy with it, cause now she can eat a sandwich.

        I think a person at work had a similar thing done and it made her nose turn up, but my sister and I have big noses and it did not change my sisters face.

        I think my sister got hers in her 30s or 40s

    5. purple blues*

      Not related to overbite per se, but as a 55 year old, I just had braces for two years (to correct a different problem). About half of my orthodontist’s patients were adults, though I was the oldest I ever saw there. If you want it, do it! I’d say the only thing about age is: do all the recommended brushing/flossing after eating. I had to change up the way I ate (was a grazer, then moved to more structured meals) to ensure my teeth were clean. Being older has greater chances of cavity-creating bacteria living in your mouth.

    6. I'm A Little Teapot*

      That amount of overbite IS a dental issue, so any decent dentist is going to be concerned with it. The appearance stuff is just a side effect. So, while it might be your main concern, there are real medical issues at play as well.

      I had mine corrected (mostly) as a child, and they took advantage of growth spurts. That won’t work as an adult. My cousin had jaw surgery a few years ago to pull things into better alignment, I believe they had to break her jaw and reset it. Given the problems you’re experiencing now, actually fixing your jaw alignment is your best bet. It will get worse with time, and you won’t be happy if you start breaking teeth or whatever.

    7. WS*

      Definitely start with the teeth – that level of overbite is a medical issue and it affects all your teeth and your jaw. A dentist can refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon (basically a surgeon specialising in the mouth and jaw) to review your best options.

    8. allathian*

      I wore braces for 6 months in my early 40s to correct a severe overbite. It’s still not perfect, but as good as they could do without resorting to surgery, and I wasn’t willing to have my jaw broken and reset. Before I got treatment, my incisors never met in front, and I was literally getting long in the tooth. The braces pushed my lower incisors about 5 millimeters into my jawbone.

      My dentist told me that his oldest patient was nearly 70. Age is not an issue unless you have fragile bones/osteoporosis.

    9. Vincaminor*

      Long comment ahoy!
      When I was 16-18, I had fixed braces to correct (among other things) an overbite, and also had surgery to move my lower jaw forward 3.5mm so my back teeth met correctly. (The overbite stayed to some degree, because if my front teeth meet, nothing else does.) Now at 40, I’m just finishing up another 2 years of orthodontics because my front teeth had gone wonky, and I could again fit my thumb between my top and bottom teeth!
      At the first round, and surgery, my orthodontist was definitely concerned about jaw shape — though the opposite direction, as I have a very pointy chin and he thought I should take the opportunity to have it softened; still regret that 17 yo me was too nervous to tell him what I thought of that. I’m glad I had it done, as it improved the jaw popping and weird bite. My orthodontist this time suggested surgery, and had I not already had one round, I definitely would have considered it more.
      The maxillofacial surgeon took loads of pictures, and they will be able to show you how it will look after.
      My recommendation would be talk to an orthodontist and find out what your options are. It sounds like you have three things going on:
      1) your overbite
      2) how the rest of your teeth line up, which may contribute to
      3) your TMJ issues (popping and discomfort)
      I don’t think it’s vain or silly to do this, or to do it now! It’s your face, and your teeth, and you want to like them and have them work well! And I promise, this will not magically fix itself now.
      Much love and support to you, whatever you decide!

      1. Vincaminor*

        And a follow-on: while yes, they do “break” your jaw, it’s not someone going in and just smashing things! There’s a nerve in a groove of your jawbone, provides sensation to your chin and lower lip, and they don’t want to damage that. It’s an L-shaped cut each side, the lower jaw slides forward, and titanium screws hold it in place. I can still just barely feel the notches.

    10. elvie*

      You’re not vain or stupid for wanting to do this!
      I’ve recently seen my orthodontist about my overbite and he had zero problems about the fact that my main reason was cosmetic (I don’t even get headaches which, by the way, is a perfectly valid medical reason if that helps you reframe things in your mind).
      I’d advise going to an orthodontist first: mine told me I’d need to wear braces for two years before surgery, to ensure better results.
      It’s not cheap but if you can afford it there’s no reason not to do it!

    11. KR*

      It’s fine to care about how you look! Recently I damaged my front teeth pretty noticeably. I’m fortunate that they are repairable, and there really hasn’t been pain, but seeing my teeth in my reflection just horrified me! It made me feel so unhappy and like I wasn’t even looking at myself, and made me SO conscious. I don’t think I really smiled until I got them fixed – thank god for masks! I was surprised how much the appearance and worrying about how they looked stressed me out.

      Long story short, it’s perfectly ok to want to fix something that makes you unhappy or unsatisfied with how you look. Your teeth are important and your smile is something worth investing in if you have the opportunity. You are worth pampering and taking care of. Sending good vibes your way and good career wishes.

    12. OxfordBlue*

      I think this would be worth doing just because of the difficulty you’re having eating.
      My father lived to be 86 and enjoyed his food until his last four months, in fact food was the longest lasting pleasure of his life. For this reason alone I do believe that everyone should pay attention to their teeth and if you are someone who is a “foodie” even more so.
      This is a UK based forum where several dentists give good general advice about how to choose a private or NHS dentist and what questions to ask https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/categories/health-beauty-moneysaving
      Commenters to look out for are Toothsmith, brook2jack2 and welshdent.

  26. Potatoes gonna potate*

    Ok so after last weeks shower thread I want to ask something that I’m dying to know —

    How does one take a 5-10 minute shower????

    Currently I need at least 75-100 minutes for a shower. Even when I was in good shape and didn’t have hand/wrist or back/leg pain, I would need that much time.

    I would love to cut down alll that time.

    1. Valancy Snaith*

      Shower routine: get in, get my hair wet, shampoo and rinse it (2 minutes?), apply conditioner. Shave legs, or exfoliate my face if necessary, otherwise just wash my face. Rinse conditioner. Soap up washcloth, wash myself, rinse. If I spend more than ten minutes in the shower it’s a really, really long one. Even when I had hair down to my waist it was no longer than 15 minutes in the shower, total. Can you describe what it is that takes 75-100 minutes?

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Washing my face, washing my body, shampoo & conditioner all takes about 15 minutes. adding shaving, another 5 minutes.

        Dry off as much as I can, go to the bedroom and stand in front of the fan. It takes me *forever* to dry off no matter how hard I pat/rub with a towel. I hate the thought and sensation of clothes on a wet body (shuddering as I type this) so I have to be fully dry before i get dressed.

        My bathroom gets extremely humid no matter how cold the water is. I get sweaty as soon as I get out of the bathroom and as soon as I step away from the fan I begin to feel sweat/dampness.

        I do my hair in the bathroom b/c a lot of it falls and I don’t want it ending up in the kid’s space, so Doing my hair takes 10-30 minutes depending on whether I’m blow-drying it or not.

        finally, there’s cleaning the bathroom. I can’t stand a wet bathroom ; there’s always body scrub residue in the tub, and my hair shed has practically carpeted the floor. So.much.hair.fall.

        So the actual shower itself doesn’t take *too* long, it’s all the stuff afterwards that has to be done and having to go back and forth between the bathroom and bedroom.

        1. Valancy Snaith*

          I think the reason you’re getting cross-talk is that I don’t know anyone who includes all of that in “shower time.” I think the vast majority of people count shower time as the time they spend actively under the water. I would never count the time spent doing my hair as “shower time”–I managed to cut a lot of that out by cutting my hair short. A good dehumidifier or bathroom fan upgrade will help with the humidity.

          1. matcha123*

            I count the moment I take off my clothes until the moment I am in my PJs and dried off as “shower time.”

            1. Potatoes gonna potate*

              same, growing up and after being married that’s always been considered “shower time” (aka, “you take foreverrrr to shower!”)

              1. Hornets*

                You’re also counting cleaning the bathroom. I don’t think people usually count that as shower time.

                1. banoffee pie*

                  I don’t think most people clean the bathroom every time! I don’t ;) so that saves some time. Also I let my hair dry naturally in summer. I don’t think you’re unusually slow, you’re just counting differently! :)

                2. matcha123*

                  Perhaps you have only lived in newer or well-ventilated places, but when I was growing up wiping down the mirrors after your shower was the bare minimum. Warm water + closed room = condensation on everything. No one wants to use the bathroom when the toilet seat and sink top are wet with condensation.

        2. Tib*

          First, I think most people consider a shower to be the actual time they spend under the water. This, I’d call a morning or a getting ready routine that includes a shower.

          Do you have a fan in your bathroom? Mine is on a timer and I push the 30 minute button as soon as I walk into the bathroom. I’ve heard you should leave the bathroom fan running for 15 minutes after you turn off the water and 30 minutes on the timer works well for me. That could help cut down on the humidity.

          Some other ideas based on your routine:
          -comb your hair in the shower to catch as much as you can before you get out, use a hair catcher in the drain so it doesn’t cause clogs
          -get really absorbent towels
          -put a large towel on the floor to catch extra hair, you could shake it outside to get the hair off as part of your cleaning routine
          -use a daily shower spray just after showering, get dressed, rinse the soap and squeegee the walls, or just squeegee and deal with the soap scum in your weekly cleaning

        3. OyHiOh*

          A couple things

          First, your hair. I’m really concerned with your description of the amount of hair you’re shedding. Most people loose around 100 strands or so a day, but it shouldn’t be “carpeting” your floor. If you have the mental bandwidth for it, I would strongly encourage you to work with a doctor about that. Thyroid issues are usually the top suspect, but there are a lot of things that can influence hair loss.

          Second, do you have enough influence on your physical environment to have ventilation in the bathroom added/fixed/updated? My bathroom takes about 10 or 15 minutes to fully dry after a shower. I run the fan with the door closed for about half that time (lotion, etc), and then with the door open while I get dressed in the bedroom. By the time I finish dressing, the bathroom is dry and I turn the fan off. I do live in a very dry part of the US, where summer humidity is regularly dryer than dog kibble, as a veterinarian in the family once observed (dry kibble is at about 15% moisture content; we’re lower than that more days than not in the summer) which probably has some influence on dry time.

          1. Potatoes gonna potate*

            Carpet is hyperbole but my hair has always fallen, for most of my adult life. I had the postpartum shed, but a while back this was way beyond that so I went to see a dermatologist; it’s gotten slightly better so I chalked it up to stress. Still thinking of just shaving it all off…..

            1. Golden*

              My doc told me my excessive hair loss was just stress for years, turns out it was celiac disease and it got much better after I adjusted my diet. Not saying that’s what you have, but I just wanted to echo OyHiOh about considering seeing a doctor. I had the best luck with and endocrinologist who blood tested for basically everything.

        4. Long hair*

          A tip that might help with the hair and the damp feeling…towel off your body, wrap up hair in a towel, and put on a robe to wear while doing hair if you can tolerate that the robe might get somewhat damp from skin contact. Brushing and styling my hair with a robe on keeps the hair from sticking to me (and getting in folds…ugh!). And my terrycloth robe absorbs some dampness if I don’t fully dry off. Then I remove the robe and get dressed without getting hair all over my clothes.

          1. Potatoes gonna potate*

            Ooo, so I use one of those towels that wraps around you and has velcro on top. I could never get regular towels to wrap around my waist so this was such a huge lifesaver. But yea…..wet hair getting caught in folds…argh!

        5. Middle School Teacher*

          Ok I still can’t picture this. How do you have enough time to do this EVERY DAY? Who is watching your baby? Do you get up super early to get all this done before work?

          1. Potatoes gonna potate*

            I do not do this every day. I shower 2-3x week, and wash my hair once a week. When I do, my husband is watching the baby. When I was younger and more active, showers were more frequent but hair washing was a minimum. A lot of those showers were actually in the gym before work, so not having to wash & style hair + minimal clean up = shower/getting ready time was cut in half and therefore easier to manage more frequently.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I agree it sounds like an unusually long time, but “who is watching your baby” (when there are presumably other capable adults around!) seems to be a question only women get asked. Let’s not do that here.

            1. ...*

              I dont know… I see what you’re saying but I think it’s a good question – not to “question” her but maybe she has some tips other parents don’t know about or something! I’d like to shower more, but it’s hard because only my husband can watch the kid, you know? There aren’t endless options of adults around to take over.

            2. Middle School Teacher*

              I wasn’t trying to be sexist. But OP mentions often that her husband works, and she’s the primary caregiver. I can’t fathom having hours to do this and not look after a baby.

              1. ...*

                I completely agree. Sometimes as parents, we get curious if other people are facing the same struggles and how they are handling it. It’s naive to think there’s multiple adults waiting to watch the kid at any given moment. There’s usually only one adult (spouse) and they could be often away at work.

              2. Potatoes gonna potate*

                Like I already explained Janet, I don’t do this every single day. I’m not sure why it’s so shocking that my child’s father is available to watch her for a few hours while I shower etc.

        6. comityoferrors*

          I don’t know if this is obvious, but, you might try wiping yourself off with your hands and squeezing the water out of your hair before you towel off. I’ve heard the former referred to as “body squeegeeing” and it helps me with the same issue you have (I hate fabric on parts of me that are wet and no towel will get me fully dry.)

          For the hair, I twist it from the top down as if I’m putting it up in a bun, then squeeze water out of it all the way down. With every pass I end up pulling loose hair off at the bottom, and since I’m still standing in the shower I can just stick it to the wall. I do this until it’s not a constantly dripping mess – it helps with the hair shedding, doesn’t soak my towels as much, and then I don’t get that horrible damp and sticky feeling on my back. Or not as much, at least.

          Because I’m so particular and don’t want to rush my shower time, I’ve also changed my habits around so that I shower in the evenings and treat it as a chunk of self-care time. When I brush my hair I watch or read something I’m interested in, and sit with my towel in my lap to catch all the drips and the leftover shedding.

          1. Runaway Shinobi*

            I use a flannel to take off most of the water after the shower, while I’m still in the tub. The towel then is just for the last bit of drying and never gets really wet. So much quicker!

          2. Potatoes gonna potate*

            Actually no that wasn’t obvious haha, never heard of that but I’ll try that!

            1. MissCoco*

              I started doing it recently and it’s really helpful! I also hate the damp-post shower clothes feeling

        7. Not So NewReader*

          Ask for a bathroom fan for a holiday or bday. For what you have to go through here, the fan is more than worth it. I actually agree with you on a wet bathroom- it feels like a greenhouse for molds to me.

          Until then, I’d suggest putting on a robe and doing a few things around the house while the room and you dry off a bit.

          I stopped blow drying my hair. I just comb it out and let it dry as I continue on. This kind of made me think about my hair style and I got something practical.

          The residue on the tub. Get a shower squeegee. You can just pick up a cheap one at a dollar store- that will be good enough.
          If your shower is on a hose, you can rinse the walls with the shower fixture then squeegee the walls and tub. Last step is to clear the drain of hair.
          If your shower is not on a hose you can fill a plastic bucket and run water down each wall and squeegee as you