{ 970 comments… read them below }

    1. Scotlibrarian*

      How about wide legged natural linen trousers and any top with the pinky colours in it – could be all over flowers, or anything really. I’d add a cardi / jacket that either matched the trousers or one of the colours in the top, but I live in Scotland, so you never know if you’ll need a wee bit extra warmth in your outfit

      1. Fashion advice please*

        Ooh I love that outfit with a Y2K ish top. Thank you!!
        I live in a humid tropical city that’s 25 degrees celsius even in the winter lol, so will forgo the jacket :D

      2. Angstrom*

        Despite the name, the photo looks to me like brown and orange, not pink. I’d look at blues to complement the orange, with an accessory(belt?) to pick up the brown.

    2. misspiggy*

      I think they’d be good with a longish, loose print dress. Possibly leggings underneath.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      As someone who’s favorite pattern is “paint factory explosion” — ANYTHING YOU WANT. :)

      For me, the “problem” is that they’re too many colors to be really neutral, but still too neutral in overall tone to be bright and obnoxious, so they would hit that donut hole in the middle of my wardrobe where they don’t really go with anything. But one of my favorite outfits is a long skirt that’s red, orange and teal paisley, with a bright red top and a denim jacket covered in pins, with mismatched converse sneakers. Teal headscarf optional. So whether one should take my fashion advice on anything is definitely questionable. :)

    4. Autumn*

      Maybe take a look at Gudrun Sjoden? The clothes are a bit pricey, but there are so many fun color combinations, you might find inspiration! Link in reply.

      1. the cat's ass*

        I love their stuff (on sale). I have a black long shirt/short dress thing covered in flying cats!

    5. J.B.*

      I would wear the shoes for every day with anything. I think they’re a great dress up or down option – would be fine with my business casual work wardrobe or truly casual. I have some salmon wide-legged pants and have found some linen joggers lately – either would work with those shoes for me.

      1. The cat's pajamas*

        I don’t know fashion but there are color palette websites online for graphic designers/artists etc that could give you color ideas for what goes together. You can do a search for color palette inspiration or color palette designer to find some.

    6. Wilde*

      It sounds like Gorman will have the kind of vibe you are looking for, but it is Australian based.

      With these sneaks I’d go for a loud billowy shirt with jeans, or one of those tiered dresses I’m seeing everywhere.

    1. allathian*

      Yeah. My parents’ stubby-tailed, polydactyl cat often used to sit like that. I still miss him.

    2. No Tribble At All*

      Finally, an unflattering picture of Alison’s cats!

      (Jk, I love her beans!!)

  1. RagingADHD*

    I mentioned a few weeks ago that a feral cat we’d been feeding had kittens, but we couldn’t find them.

    We noticed last week that she didn’t seem to be leaving the property anymore after she ate. My husband checked under the house again Monday night, and there they were! Based on the look of things and the weather, she must have brought them only a few days before.

    We get a lot of water flowing through that crawlspace in a heavy rain, so we got them indoors just in time before a gullywasher. Mama was wary but walked into a humane trap a couple of hours later, so they have been all together in a big dog crate in our front room.

    The babies are 4.5 weeks now, very sweet and growing fast. We’re following Kitten Lady on YouTube and getting advice from a local rescue. We supplemented the two runtiest ones with bottles for the first couple of days, but now we are just giving them a couple of rounds of kitten food + formula each day, since they are still nursing too.

    There are 2 gray tabbies and 3 all-black. We are now officially outnumbered.

    Fortunately we have already found friends to take 2 for sure, and 2 more maybes. So I have high hopes for placing them all pretty quickly when they’re ready.

      1. RagingADHD*

        We will certainly continue feeding her if she hangs around after getting fixed and released. But she’s quite feral, so we won’t try to keep her inside. She is not at all happy with the situation.

        Our indoor cat is one of her littermates that we found as a baby. We’ve also managed to TNR another sibling and the local tomcat who is the presumed father of both generations. So when we release her after her surgery, she has family nearby.

        Of course, neither of the other 2 have deigned to return to the feeders since we stole their gonads. (Can’t really blame them). So she may abscond as well. We’ll just have to see.

        1. Hotdog not dog*

          You never know with ferals. My mom has a cat who she found as a badly injured feral tom out by her barn. She trapped him and had the vet take care of shots, neutering, and what ended up being some pretty extensive dental work along with his injury. He lived indoors during his recovery, and somewhere along the line decided he enjoyed a soft bed, regular meals, and human staff on call. Eight years later he’s still indoors, with the occasional field trip to the backyard. I hope your mama kitty and the kittens all have a nice cozy life too!

          1. Cat and dog fosterer*

            Cats that become social once indoors are often pets that were dumped outside and became wild, so once indoors they take months to trust their human but they usually get there. Cats who are born outside and never in contact with humans can be worked with by a specialist foster carer who takes months of intensive work with them and there are no guarantees that they will like humans. There are exceptions and some true ferals could become friendlier faster, but it is very likely that RagingADHD can’t do more for mama than get her fixed.

          2. Cj*

            We had a cap that looked just like Alison’s Hank. He was a stray that work it and spit and swat at us. Was trapped him and got him neutered and brought him in the house to recover. He decided he liked it there, and became the sweetest most loving cat in the world.

          3. Worked in IT forever*

            Feral cats can definitely turn into happy indoor cats, given some persuasion and time!

            In 2005, we trapped a young pregnant feral cat who was living behind my office building. We’re pretty sure she lived through a whole Canadian winter outside. We kept her in a giant dog crate at first and then gave her the run of a closed room. She had four kittens, all black like her, and our wonderful vet found homes for all four. We kept the mom cat, even though we already had three cats and weren’t looking for more, because we figured no one else would adopt her and we couldn’t put her back where we’d found her. (By the time the kittens were weaned, she was no longer super scared and skittish, but she wasn’t exactly cuddly, either.)

            Over time, she turned into a lovely cat. She’s now 18 and reasonably healthy for her age. She’s creaky and deaf, but she’ll sleep between us, purring her head off. No one can believe that this lovely cat was a hissy, wild feral.

          4. RagingADHD*

            We occasionally let boy cat out to explore the yard because he’s a door-dasher and the planned excursions help cut down on that.

            When we do, we leave the door propped open for him to return.

            If she wants back in, she can be indoor-outdoor. But we are going to work on the assumption that she wants to go home, drink running water out of the creek, and eat the chipmunk buffet that she’s used to.

            She is obviously traumatized right now, choosing to sleep in her poopy litter half the time. Its pitiful, and we don’t intend to keep her in jail a minute longer than necessary.

            1. JSPA*

              I’ve found that extra litter boxes help, even with just one cat, if it has taken to litter box living for comfort and protection. (Notably for car trips–it’s hard to shoehorn two boxes into the back, but if there are two, one becomes the “I claim this land as my own” box, leaving the other still usable as a litterbox.)

          5. Cat and dog fosterer*

            My earlier comment was eaten, so this may become a repeat.

            Typically the cats who become friendly indoors that way were originally pets who were abandoned, so they lost their trust in people but can often regain it without too much work (living in a home and being around humans for several months is often sufficient for them to slowly regain this trust). The cats that are born outdoors and have never been touched by humans can often be rehabilitated, but it typically takes someone experienced and they need at least 6 months and often years before the cat is social enough to be adoptable. There are exceptions and some truly feral cats can become friendlier faster, especially males, but in this case TNR makes the most sense.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

              Ferals trapped as kittens also have a decent chance of becoming happy pets. (I miss the kitten I socialized, even if the process is what trigerred my cat allergies.)

              1. RagingADHD*

                Oh yeah, if you get them in the socialization window it’s not really different than any other kitten who needs to learn manners.

              2. Venus*

                Completely agreed, my comment was specific for cats. Our rule of thumb for anything under a year old is:
                8 weeks old or younger: almost normal
                8 – 12 weeks: normal or slightly skittish with a bit of intense rehab
                12-16 weeks: skittish around strangers with a bit more intense rehab
                4-12 months: with each extra month they are more likely to be skittish around their adopters, and very skittish around strangers, but they can be rehabilitated at about the rate of # months of rehab = (# months of age / 2)

                Obviously this is a very broad guide, as every kitten is unique, but if caught younger than 4 months old then we work hard to rehabilitate them quickly with experienced fosters (poor things get pushed to socialize, unlike cats who go more at their own pace, yet it pays off because the kittens do so much better long-term if pushed when they first arrive).

                1. Cat and dog fosterer*

                  Sorry if there was any confusion – I post with a different name (and forgot to change it) when I post about rescue, so that people know the context with which I post (I have experience fostering).

        2. UKDancer*

          I’ve always wondered how much tom cats notice when you neuter them (although it’s definitely the right thing to do). Do they miss their gonads or not? How aware are they of the fact they’ve gone? It would be fascinating to know what cats think about and how aware they are. My friend has a cat who sits and looks at the wall for long periods and we’d love to know what she’s thinking when she does that.

          1. Cat and dog fosterer*

            Outdoor ones notice the changes in testosterone and how other cats interact with them differently. Friendly older males who come indoors and get fixed seem to be happier, possibly because they are no longer worrying about territory.

    1. WoodswomanWrites*

      So wonderful that you’re helping this cat family, including neutering the mom.

    2. Thankful For Good People*

      Thank you for taking care of them! This heartwarming story reminds me of when a mechanic that my husband knew found a litter of kittens abandoned near his garage. After a couple of days, when the mother didn’t come back, he assumed something bad had happened to her. He took the kittens inside his house, which was on the same property, bottle-fed them, and took care of all their needs. He found them good homes with people he trusted (he became very attached to them). We took one of them, and he was an amazing cat. I am so thankful for good people like you and the mechanic.

    3. Cat and dog fosterer*

      I’m so happy for you! It is such a nasty cycle if you can’t find the kittens. You really did well!

      Note that mama could be pregnant again, so please don’t wait too long to get her spayed.

      Thank you for such a great update!

      1. RagingADHD*

        The clinic has its next feral day when the babies are 6 weeks, so that’s the plan.

        1. Cat and dog fosterer*

          Oh that’s wonderful! So happy for you. Some places have wait times of several months, so only having to wait a couple weeks is ideal. Mama has no idea how lucky she and her kittens are.

          1. RagingADHD*

            Yeah, we are lucky to have a dedicated low cost spay neuter clinic about a half hour away. They actually do feral pickups from different rural counties all over the state every week, but the local drop off days are about twice a month.

    4. TinyKittens fan*

      Thank you for helping the local cats.
      Do you know about TinyKittens.com in British Columbia? They have quite a track record for helping feral cats, some of which have become happy lap cats, & some returned to their “forest.” They have a bit different slant on things than Kitten Lady Hannah, I’ve learned a lot from each.
      (Tiny Kittens cat pack is a fan page on Facebook.)

      1. RagingADHD*

        Yes! We figured out how to set up a nice nursery in the dog crate, and how to change the blankets without being too disruptive, from watching her. KittenLady does more orphans than mamas and babies, and has like a whole spare bedroom for a family, so there weren’t as many clear views of a small setup.

  2. Jackalope*

    Book reading thread! What is everyone reading right now? Any recommendations? Requests for recommendations?

    I’ve long loved the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix, and recently discovered that a new book in the series came out last fall (Terciel and Elinor). I just finished it tonight, and loved it. Although it was a prequel, so it was odd to read it knowing what would happen in the future.

    1. Kiwiapple*

      I just finished reading Wahala by Nikki May which was excellent. Felt like I was *with* the main characters, rather than just reading about them.

    2. Leminwhirl*

      My kid and I are listening to the audiobook of John Scalzi’s “Kaijui Preservation Society”, which is read by Will Wheaton. It’s great – very funny sci-fi with imaginative world-building.

        1. the cat's ass*

          Same here-it’s really enjoyable. Also just finished “sea of Tranquility” by Emily St.John Mandel and it is strange and beautiful.

    3. Xenia*

      I’m two books into the Scholomance series by Naomi Novik and really enjoying it – would recommend!

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m really enjoying “The Tumbling Turner Sisters” which someone recommended here a few weeks ago!

    5. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Just finished volume 2 of Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End. It’s a manga that starts at the end of a fantasy story (demon king has been defeated, woohoo, party time) and focuses on the party’s elven mage coming to terms with the mortality of her party members.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Frieren is quite an intriguing manga so far – I loved the first book and have the second volume on my to-be-read stack.

    6. Never Nicky*

      I currently have three books on the go:
      Helen Macdonald – H is for Hawk
      Kate Atkinson – One Good Turn
      Janice Hallett – The Twyford Code

      I’m enjoying the first two, unsure about the second but it’s an easy read and I’m intrigued to find out how it will unravel. The ending will probably tip the scales!

      1. eisa*

        I read the first few pages of One Good Turn on Amazon just now – and not only do I want to read the book, I also want to read Martin’s books ;-)

    7. Foreign Octopus*

      Last week I mentioned that I was just starting Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson and was hopeful about it as I enjoyed his Seveneves book. As it turned out, my optimism was misplaced and I really, really didn’t enjoy it. I checked the publication date and it was about 1992, which does make it one of his earlier novels but it was so disjointed and messy with good ideas that got lost beneath an odd fascination of a 15-year-old girl’s ass.

      I hoping that Lady Audley’s Secret, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, which I’m starting today, will be better for me.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        It was odd to spring “maybe you would need security on the internet” as this late-arriving surprise.

        I finally remembered the title–Zodiac is one of his early ones I liked, about an asshole of an environmental activist monitoring pollutants in Boston Harbor and environs. Love interest is age appropriate.

        1. Foreign Octopus*

          It was jut an odd book overall. I comforted myself by knowing it was one of his earlier ones so I haven’t completely written off the rest of his books though I may find myself sticking to his later novels after I check out Zodiac.

          (Good to know the love interest isn’t a child again because that was just ick.)

        2. the cat's ass*

          Zodiac WAS fun, and Snowcrash was problematic. Interface (also early and co written) was pretty good tho.

        3. Cedrus Libani*

          That’s why I enjoy reading antique sci-fi. It’s a time capsule. There’s a past version of reality in there, one where minds could be blown by…things that are now part of conventional wisdom, sometimes to the point where a modern reader can’t imagine a world in which the concept in question wasn’t just trivially obvious (or obviously wrong). It’s humbling, because you know the readers of the future will be thinking the same about the stuff coming out now, but we can’t see it.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            All the lady characters have to put on a hat and gloves before climbing into the flying car.

            1. Cedrus Libani*

              Exactly.

              Granted, most of the “wait, what?” moments involve racism, sexism, or smoking indoors. Anything older than 1970 or so is reliably Mad Men In Space. If you go back a century or more, you’ll also find a now-startling indifference to human life – I think it’s that people just died, all the time, often for minor mistakes that would barely register as an inconvenience today. So if you killed somebody, no big deal. If you hadn’t, they would’ve just died from a stubbed toe a few weeks later.

              But sometimes you’ll find other things. My favorite example is Asimov’s Foundation series: spoiler warning, but it clearly wants to be About Something, and so it has a big idea / twist reveal…and it’s chaos theory. Which was simply “in the water” for as long as I’ve been alive, but wasn’t always a concept people had access to.

    8. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I’m reading a biography of Angela Merkel, which is fine. Next on deck is Kaiju Preservation Society, I think, which someone else mentioned, and I’ve been looking forward to that for a minute.

    9. BooklovinRN*

      Bury Your Dead: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny- yes a high ranking serious crimes detective with a heart of a poet. Bad things happen but the pacing is gentle and I throughly enjoy the Chief Inspector’s introspection and observations about life.

      The Pages by Hugo Hamilton for book club. Wartime Europe, author on the run, and the book is the narrator.

      The. teo practical books about menopause, The Menopause Manifesto by Dr Jen Gunter and Menopocalypse by Amanda Thebe because I believe in going to the doctor with a list of questions and what I am going through-insomnia, night sweats, irregular cycles etc.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Re Bury Your Dead: That’s a good one! It was the second “Three Pines” book I read, after The Brutal Telling, which describes the case whose fallout influences much of Bury Your Dead. I went back and read the series from the beginning, but those two books might be a good introduction to the emotional depth of the series.

    10. Atheist Nun*

      I read and liked The Verifiers by Jane Pek. If you have ever experienced online dating, you will have a special appreciation for this book, but really I think that all readers would enjoy it.

    11. madhatter360*

      I just finished Cover Story by Susan Rigetti. It’s very good, I highly recommend.

    12. Frank01*

      I just finished All About Me, by Mel Brooks. Laugh-out-loud hysterically funny! I’m a huge fan of his movies, so it was a natural love for me. It reminded me of sitting at a big seder dinner with my crazy uncles.

      I mostly read middle grade books (ages 9-13) and love recommending books in that age group. I just finished an advanced copy of Jennifer Nielsen’s newest book, Lines of Courage, about WWI. One of her best!

      1. All Hail Queen Sally*

        I just put this book on hold at my library. I love him! Thanks for the recommendation.

    13. AY*

      I’d love some recommendations for translated fiction! This year I’ve read and loved House of the Spirits and Chilean Poet,
      both from (you guessed it) Chilean authors, as well as Independent People and The Blue Fox from Icelandic authors. I’ve already peeped the Booker international shortlist and will be reading some of those, but I would love to know what you fine commenters have enjoyed. All genres welcome!

      1. GoryDetails*

        Translated fiction – I read a LOT of that, especially when you include all the manga. Currently I’m enjoying THE LOST VILLAGE by Camilla Sten, translated from Swedish; a small group of people are visiting a very remote little mining village that was abruptly abandoned decades ago, with the mysterious disappearance of most of the population – and the grisly murder of one woman, the only body found. Some nice suspense and atmosphere.

      2. Foreign Octopus*

        If you loved House of Spirits then you’ll probably enjoy Daughters of Fortune, by Isabel Allende as well. I finished it a few days ago and found that I enjoyed it more than I did Zorro, which was the first of hers I read.

        There’s also Elena Knows, by Claudia Piñeiro (author is from Argentina) and that’s been shortlisted for the International Man bookers. To be honest, the whole longlist of the International Man Booker is a treasure trove of translated fiction since that’s the aim of the prize.

        If you like epic, sweeping fiction as well then A True Novel, by Minae Mizumura (author is from Japan) might be up your alley. It’s described as the Japanese Wuthering Heights as I believe the author was inspired by it but I didn’t see the resemblance as it’s written in such an interesting way (the i-novel) and I’d never come across it before. It’s a bit of a chunkster though, I think 900-odd pages.

      3. eisa*

        “By Night Under the Stone Bridge” by Leo Perutz, one of my favourite authors.
        In his day job he was a mathematician employed by an insurance company, on the side he wrote fantastical novels (in both senses of the word).
        “Stone Bridge” is a set of interconnected tales set in the Prague of Rudolf II and Rabbi Löw.

        Copying a blurb from Amazon:
        “A tantalizing blend of the occult and the laughable, of chaos and divine order . . . Much of what Perutz depicts is eternal.” (The New York Times Book Review)

    14. Cj*

      I started our very own AAM commentator Elizabeth West’s book. Tuners after reading about it in the ghost read last week. I finished it on Wednesday, and it was great.

      I’m going to start the sequel, Confluence, as soon as tax season is over.

      1. Cj*

        It’s actually Tunerville. My speech-to-text didn’t pick it up right. Sorry Elizabeth!

      2. Elizabeth West*

        \0/

        I PROMISE I will finish the trilogy, but I really need to get out of here. Everybody cross your fingers that I get an awesome you-know-what very soon!

    15. Puffle*

      I finished ‘Gods of Jade and Shadow’ by Silvia Moreno-Garcia last week, which I really enjoyed.

      Have been reading ‘The Cult of We’ by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell this week, which is about We Work, but flagging a bit- the book itself is very good, I just have limited bandwidth for reading about wealthy megalomaniacs behaving badly and facing no real consequences.

      At least a lot of the people involved in the Theranos scandal legitimately thought that they were creating/ investing life changing pioneering medical tech and weren’t aware of the fraud, so I can better understand the hype. We Work just seems to be a story of unalloyed greed and people throwing away silly amounts of money :/ one person invested enough £££ to fund the San Francisco school district for 5 years, and it’s all just gone into the pockets of other billionaires :(

      On the plus side, it is improving my understanding of how global venture capital works and the underpinnings of business investment/ funding

      1. BalanceofThemis*

        I read Mexican Gothic bySilvia Moreno-Garcia for a book club. It was a little weird towards the end, but overall a good read.

    16. Turtle Dove*

      I’m reading The Tightrope Walker by Dorothy Gilman after a few people highly recommended it here last month. (Thanks, everyone! This book is a treasure.) When an author describes a feeling or insight that I’ve had too, I love the sense of resonance. It’s why I read fiction. Gilman does it beautifully.

      After this I’ll queue up more of Gilman’s books as I start the next book in the Joe Gunther series by Archer Mayor. A friend gave me the first Joe Gunther book, and I’m hooked. I’ve skipped a few pages that were too tense or violent for bedtime, which is when I read. Otherwise this series is a favorite.

    17. GoryDetails*

      THE CRY by Helen Fitzgerald, which opens with the protagonist being driven to distraction by her screaming baby on an intercontinental plane flight. The descriptions of exhausted-parent-in-trying-circumstances were sympathetic but also harrowing – and things only get worse once she lands in Australia with her now-finally-asleep child and her lover, the father. (They’re in Australia to try and win custody of the man’s teenaged daughter from her mother, who’s had serious drinking problems.) But a sudden tragedy changes everything… The story unfolds in two timestreams, with the most recent one involving a trial, and the earlier one leading us through the characters’ actions. I’m finding it quite involving, despite the way all the adults seem to deliberately make the worst possible decisions {wry grin}.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        If I’m remembering right, I think the BBC did an adaptation of this as well with Jenna Coleman as the mother, so you might like to check that out if you enjoy the book.

        1. GoryDetails*

          Thanks for that! Not sure how much of the internal-monologues from the book could be translated to the screen, but I might check it out anyway.

    18. Veronica Mars*

      I’m listening to Ann Patchett’s book of essays These Precious Days. I just started it on my walk yesterday, and when I got home (40 minutes in) I immediately put her other book of essays (This is the Story of a Happy Marriage) on my list. It’s funny and interesting and she can write. And she narrates it, which is often hit or miss for me, but works perfectly with this book.

    19. Texan In Exile*

      Warning: These books will make you very angry.

      The Pain Gap, Anushay Hossain: Misogynistic and racist attitudes in the US medical system kill women. In Louisiana (IIRC), Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. Hossain cites a 1986 study about how obesity affects breast and uterine cancer. The study did not include women.

      The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and What We Can Do About It, Mary Ann Sieghart: The US and the UK are sexist who knew?

      Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It’s Different Than You Think), Reshma Saujani: The work that women are assumed to be in charge of (ie, the sexist stereotypes we have been trying to eliminate) is not valued and yet it needs to be done.

      33 Things Every Girl Should Know About Women’s History: From Suffragettes to Skirt Lengths to the E.R.A., edited by Tonya Bolden: “When I noticed that a Minneapolis newspaper’s ‘Quote of the Day’ averaged one quotation by a woman for every 14 quotations by men, I wrote suggesting they even things up. After my letter appeared, a man wrote to me, explaining the reason for these figures was that ‘women have never said, written, or uttered anything worth quoting.'”

      Mother of Invention, Katrine Marçal: Guess who perfected the walker that gives so many older people independence? A young woman who had polio. Guess who has gotten rich from it? Not her.

      1. Jackalope*

        Have you read the books by Caroline Criado Perez? She wrote Invisible Women and Do It Like A Woman, both of which I enjoyed. It sounds like you might like them too. The first one goes more into points like what you mentioned with the breast cancer test, about how medical research, testing, city design, etc. tends to be done in ways that ignore the needs of women. It’s fascinating. The second one talks about women around the world fighting misogyny and finding ways to make it better, as well as ways in which they are sometimes stymied by sexism, and what could help that. The first book is her most famous one but I loved both of them.

      2. Anonymous Cat*

        Re: Pain Gap:

        How could they do a study involving uterine cancer and not include women? What did they do?

        1. Texan In Exile*

          I don’t have more details about the study, but it appears to have been based in the attitude that women are nothing but men without penises. Now there is some understanding that nope, woman and men are different from each other down to the cellular level, which affects everything, including how we have heart attacks and strokes and how we process drugs. (Although Dr McGregor, below, gives the example of some famous researcher, when asked about how his information affects women – his study was on men only – said he was sure the results would be the same for women. He was sure.)

          I’m reading “Sex matters : how male-centric medicine endangers women’s health and what we can do about it,” by Dr Alyson G McGregor right now. She talks about how women metabolize drugs and why that means taking the male dosage of Ambien (or possibly many other drugs) is such a bad thing. There were so many adverse impact reports about women and Ambien that the FDA had to do something. Dr McGregor wonders how many car accidents and deaths were due to women being prescribed Ambien incorrectly.

    20. Jacey*

      I’m completely in love with Ovidia You’d Aunty Lee series! I’m 3/4 of the way through the first book, and I really like the characters, especially Aunty herself. Also, like, as a nonwhite mystery fan it’s SO refreshing to read a detective of color. And even better than she’s my favorite type of detective: nosy little old lady.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I read those books a few years back! I loved them. I randomly remembered the author the other day, and I ordered The Frangipani Tree Mystery. I haven’t had time to read it yet.
        Do you have other recommendations for detectives of colour?
        I can only think of Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely and Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. Would love to discover more authors.

        1. Confused Publisher*

          Not the OP on this topic, but I have a few recommendations!
          1) The Baby Ganesh Agency series by Vaseem Khan
          2) The Perveen Mistry series by Sujata Massey
          3) The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith

        2. Jacey*

          I just heard about Abby Collette’s ice cream parlor series (cozy murder mysteries with a Black woman detective), and those are next on my list. And I keep meaning to give Blanche a try, so thanks for the reminder!

        3. pancakes*

          I want to read H. R. F. Keating’s Inspector Ghote books, set in India and featuring an Indian detective (with the Bombay CID), but the author was a white guy. I’ve also added Seishi Yamamoto’s Detective Kindaichi mysteries to my list, but haven’t read any yet.

    21. RagingADHD*

      The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz. Just started this morning and love it already.

    22. RosyGlasses*

      Finished up The Humans by Matt Haig (also authored The Midnight Library which I highly recommend) and am working to finish up Heather Cox Richardson’s How the South Won the Civil War before I go to hear her lecture on Tuesday.

    23. Chicago Anon*

      On the Zoom Mishaps thread, SLG referred to “a novel where the heroine travels from one world to another through literal doors. All the worlds are full of different magical creatures. There’s a footnote explaining that there are cats in every world, and anyone who understands how cats behave around doors will understand why.”

      I would really like to know what book this is, if anyone recognizes it or SLG is around.

      1. it's-a-me*

        It’s NOT Gabriel King’s “The Wild Road”, but the description does remind me of that book.

        Warning: Cats are the stars and protagonists of the story but they are frequently mistreated, including several mentions and descriptions of (questionable) medical experimentation.

        There are very few human characters in these books.

    24. Jamie Starr*

      I’m roughly one-third into THE RETURN OF FARAZ ALI (Aamina Ahmad). Faraz Ali, a police officer, is sent back to the red-light district where he was born to make the murder of a young girl go away. I like it so far, but there are a lot of references to Pakistani culture, history, dress, food, that I wish I understood better.

    25. Bluebell*

      Just finished slogging through the latest Liane Moriarty. Unless you really love tennis, I can’t recommend it. Getting ready to read Bury My Heart at Chuck E Cheese’s by Tiffany Midge.

    26. E. Chauvelin*

      I’m reading an advance copy of The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian, and it is so far, like The Queer Principles of Kit Webb and everything else by Cat Sebastian, a complete delight.

    27. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

      Laurell K. Hamilton’s short stories. At this week’s library stop, I picked up the short story collection “Strange Candy”. I I liked it more than the early Anita Blake books from when the plot line felt unforced.
      The first-written Anita Blake story was in there, from before the books became NYT best sellers, and it was an unexpected treat. I remember reading it, but I hadn’t rediscovered it in so long I was starting to think I had imagined it.

    28. *daha**

      Network Effect by Martha Wells. This is my first read within the Murderbot series, and it is not the beginning of the series, so there is a lot of prior detail that I don’t know about. It seems to be okay as a stand-alone read so far. Murderbot is a security device made of mechanism and electronics and flesh and blood and is a person with awareness and volition. Murderbot used to be property of an uncaring corporate entity. Murderbot prefers to spend its time watching soap operas, movies, stage plays, and other such entertainment, but also makes a living providing security services to interesting, quirky, and fallible humans who frequently come under attack by entities much more powerful and numerous than you would expect a single disposable security unit to withstand. Apparently (and I know this only from discussions I have seen about the series and not from my reading in this book) Murderbot is the name this person has ironically chosen to call itself. This is good, witty adventure.

    29. Jen Erik*

      Spent the evening reading the latest Ben Aaronovitch ‘Amongst our Weapons’. I’ve been havering about the series – with the last one I read I’d felt it was getting unreadable unless I was prepared to read the graphic novels as well – but I really enjoyed this one. And Lesley plays a part, which I always enjoy.
      There was just a suggestion that there might be a bit of a ‘Chosen One’ storyline to come:

      ‘You’re the Herald of the Dawn,’ said Artemis. ‘The harbinger of the new world.’ I’ve been getting this a lot recently and since nobody seems to have a clue about what it actually means, I try and not let it get in the way of work.

      I sort of hope not – it feels that would be a bit of a sea-change for the series.

      1. Formerly known as Archangels girl*

        I just finish Anthem by Nick Hawley which is fiction, but full of interesting ideas about environmental and consumerism issues and what kind of world we ate leaving for the next generation. I could not put it down

      2. the cat's ass*

        I’m psyched to hear that it’s good! I felt the last one was kind of a place-holder.

    30. SnootyGirl*

      I LOVE the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. Her (his) “four statements that lead to wisdom” have become a guide for my life: [1) I was wrong; 2) I’m sorry; 3) I don’t know; 4) I need help].

    31. PhyllisB*

      Earlier this week I finished another book in the Miss Kopp series by Amy Stewart. I am loving this series; they’re fiction but based on a real person, Constance Kopp who was the first female deputy sheriff in the state of New Jersey. Author lists a lot of research at the end for anyone who wishes to delve further.
      After that, I decided to switch gears and read something fluffy. (I’m a sucker for a rom com.) I just completed Without a Hitch by Mary Huddleston Hollis and Asher Foble Paul. I haven’t laughed so much at a book in a while. It’s about a wedding planner to the mega-rich and some of the things that happened to her on the job just go to prove that even with a million-dollar budget there’s no guarantee something won’t go wrong.

  3. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going? As usual, this is not limited to fiction writing, any writing goes.

    I have been rather busy this week so I haven’t done much other than write down loose ideas, but it’s something at least.

    1. WoodswomanWrites*

      After a hike on a trail with elk and wildflowers, I was inspired to add a blog post for the first time in a while. It’s short and mostly photos, but it’s the first time I’ve done any creative writing in a while. Better than nothing for sure.

    2. Redhead*

      I started a class for writing children’s books. I wrote about 10 books when my kiddos were little, but never published them. My 19-year-old daughter is encouraging me to get them published.

    3. Maryn*

      It’s been a tough week for writing, capped with the absence of a phone call to notify the winner of a writing contest at which I had a shot.

      I’ve been rejected many times, but it’s never fun.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve been too mentally exhausted to do anything, what with a disappointing interview on Tuesday and booster side effects on Wednesday (gah!) that lingered into Thursday. But like I said last week, I’m antsy. That’s a good sign.

      I’m extremely nonplussed to discover that my surroundings make this much of a difference in my productivity. Or maybe it’s just the lack of ability to escape them.

      1. NeonFireworks*

        They definitely do! The worst year of my life was thanks to this. The climate was a bad match, the surroundings were a bad match, the local culture was a bad match, and I got along with only one or two of my approximately 15 coworkers. The food was pretty good, but that wasn’t enough to compensate. I knew about a week in that I was miserable. My only regret is that I tried to give myself a chance to adjust! All that did was ensure misery turned into diagnosable depression. Anyway, I hear you on this one. Crossing my fingers – getting out feels amazing. (If you want a completely random lead, and if you’re looking for writing-adjacent stuff, a friend emailed me yesterday and said Wattpad is hiring into a bunch of positions in a bunch of places?)

        1. Elizabeth West*

          *channels Jean-Ralphio* It’s the WOOOOOOOORRRRRST

          Thanks, but I’m looking for something full-time (with healthcare) where I can put my project management certification to use. All writing time from now on, particularly outside a day job, goes to my work only.

    5. Jacey*

      I’m working on a particularly silly adventure module for D&D 5e. It’s my first time writing a module with an eye to publication, and I’m exited at the prospect! I originally started it as a quest for my current campaign, but decided it had legs as a stand-alone piece too.

      The module includes a little town called Applebottom (aptly named: it’s in a valley and full of apple orchards)… and I couldn’t resist naming the local tavern the Boots and Fur.

    6. Girasol*

      I’m struggling with plotting on a short story. I spend less time writing than stewing over how it should go, and then deciding no, that’s too obvious or it’s not believable or it doesn’t hang together. Maybe the story needs to start in the middle and flash back instead of starting at the beginning, or maybe it starts at the end and works back. I started doing short stories as an exercise in plotting over and over so that my skills might improve. Does anyone who’s good at it have tips?

      1. RagingADHD*

        This kind of impasse usually only gets solved in the writing. Write out as much of it as you can, in any order, and then restructure it afterwards.

    7. Jinni*

      Ugh! Trying to finish a book that’s well past it’s deadline, but the *real* deadline is now and I need to fix the last two chapters. But LIFE! And a big smidgen of avoidance as this is the first in a new series and I’m deathly worried that readers who LOVED the first series and heroine will not like the spinoff with it’s less likeable heroine….

    8. The Wizard Rincewind*

      I turned in two particular deliverables that had been languishing on my to-do list last week, so I’m feeling pretty great about that and I hope the work is noticed.

  4. 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 to including phone games and board games. Also feel free to ask for recommendations or help identifying a vaguely remembered game.

    Not much for me this week, other than falling back into the rabbit hole that is Cookie Clicker. I’ve been very busy and honestly that game is perfect for those moments.

    1. Jackalope*

      I’ve gone back to Skyrim for a little while. I recently started the Dawnguard quest, which I must say is much longer and more detailed than I expected. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by that since the Dragonborn quest was also very extensive. But I’m finding that I enjoy having Serana around. I’m normally a solo fighter in Skyrim and find followers to be unhelpful, but she’s really good. And while I’m trying not to test this, she seems to have plot armor and so is safer to keep around than anyone else.

    2. Jacey*

      I’ve started a new DnD campaign, and I’m having a blast running it! They started at level 1, so I’m getting to use all my favorite low level enemies: rat swarm, abyssal chickens, a single giant tentacle, etc. They’re up to level 3 now, so I get to start using slightly scarier baddies, too.

    3. Namenlos*

      Wordle and Quordle which are also a vocabulary building exercise as English is not my first language.
      And today the board game pandemic with family. It’s a collaborative game. We won twice, but only last minute.

    4. Smol Book Wizard*

      Going to have the final fight for my arc of the DND campaign tomorrow, I think! My party member who is taking over DM’ing has gotten a collection of challenges together for our next adventure… I anticipate that nothing will go the way I plan for tomorrow night. My lot tend to fight when I expect them to negotiate, and negotiate when I expect them to fight. Bless.

      1. Smol Book Wizard*

        Also I am trying SO HARD not to fall back into more FE3H. I know I hyperfocus on a new story about every 2 years on a cycle, so it’s not unexpected, but the refractory period between my playthroughs is just getting shorter and shorter :D.
        Considering buying the Cindered Shadows DLC, haha.

        1. Jackalope*

          I got the DLC for FE3H and am so glad I did. I enjoyed the quest (it was similar to but still different from the main game, with enough variety to feel satisfying), and I loved the DLC characters. I know it’s kind of a lot compared to the main game price but you should get it if you haven’t.

    5. Melody Pond*

      Okay, I’m not a gamer at ALL, but I have something to contribute (kind of) to this thread!

      I just watched The Legend of Vox Machina on Amazon Prime – which is apparently based on D&D, and I’ve learned a lot about the rules of D&D from watching it. It’s really entertaining! I’m eager for the second season now. :)

      I’d be interested to hear what any D&D players thought of it.

      1. Smol Book Wizard*

        Oh, I’m already a Critter (Critical Role fan) and I certainly loved it. I don’t know how close the show got to the rules of DnD, but the vibe is exactly perfect.

    6. MEH Squared*

      Elden Ring (FromSoft). Always and forever. I really am nearing the end of the game (I think), but right now, I’m focusing on cleaning up some bits and bobs. I love the Dark Souls games and this is right up there with them. It’s not perfect, though, and the things that frustrate me about the other games are here as well. (Bad platforming, insane difficulty spikes, unfair hitboxes, mob enemies, for example), and the open world aspect has gotten a bit old.

      Still. It’s an incredible game that I have played for 200 hours and won’t be stopping any time soon. I can’t stop playing it.

    7. The Dude Abides*

      All but given up on ladder play on Arena – the Alchemy stuff turned me off entirely. I still play Historic Brawl to get my daily rewards and get gameplay akin to EDH, but given the pivot back towards “real” gameplay, I see it as an also-ran in the mobile space, which I’m not sure how to feel about.

    8. SparklingBlue*

      Been playing more Pokemon Brilliant Diamond while I wait for any official news about Scarlet/Violet

  5. Scotlibrarian*

    I have horrible cuticles and fingertips because I pick them. I’ve done it since I was little and the only thing that works is getting everything so moisturised that there are no dry, sticking out bits. Can anyone recommend a cuticle cream, or whatever, that would help me get this under control. I’m in the UK, so need something that is obtainable here

    1. Princess Deviant*

      I have to use clippers on my cuticles to cut them back but that isn’t ideal as I tend to cut them back too far to try to make it comfortable, and then the skin bleeds leading to even harder skin after it’s healed.
      Ammonia works; you can get it from the chemist’s or you can go swimming if you’re able. And moisturising, of course.

    2. Catherine*

      I’m ride or die for Caudalie Crème Gourmande Mains et Ongles. My hands are so silky now.

    3. Oxford Blue*

      I smear a very generous layer of vaseline over any very dry/peely/cracking parts of my hands and then pull on cotton gloves just before going to sleep. Done for three or four consecutive nights this really helps and is fairly cheap too if you buy the vaseline from Primark or Savers.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Seconding the petroleum jelly and gloves. I would wear the gloves for a few nights to heal the skin, and then I’d just use the petroleum jelly regularly to maintain it.

      2. RagingADHD*

        It works even better if you moisturize first, then petroleum jelly on top.

        The jelly doesn’t add any moisture, it just seals it in. Hence the skincare trend of “slugging”.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Aquaphor is petroleum jelly + lanolin, and most drug stores have it in the moisturizer section. It’s the favorite of my surgeons for wound healing.

        2. RagingADHD*

          You can usually find lanolin nipple cream in the baby care section instead of the skincare section.

    4. Dunne*

      A good hand moisturiser will also take care of the cuticles – but I find the Aveeno -*body* cream (squirty tube with navy blue cap) really good at keeping my hands in shape. It rubs in easily so it doesn’t feel greasy or ick and doesn’t really have a fragrance. Weirdly I don’t rate their hand cream at all but the body one is fab for so many things.

    5. GraceC*

      I moisturise my hands religiously (possibly too much) so have never had a situation that bad, but for my other dry skin patches, and things I’ve seen other people have success with:

      Palmer’s cocoa butter, O’Keefe’s Working Hands (their lipbalm is magical for very dry chapped lips), or…there’s a Superdrug own-brand Vitamin E range, and it includes a small pot of what they call “Superbalm”. Adore that stuff, they discontinued it for a while then brought it back and it was the happiest day of my life. I’ve also seen people have success with Lush’s Gurugu handcream.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin*

        LOVE O’Keefe’s! : ) (And Palmer’s cocoa butter makes you smell like a delicious chocolate bar.)

        1. GraceC*

          The occasional person has said it seems somewhat obsessive? Basically I just can’t stand that tight dry feeling, so I keep handcreams in all my bags and moisturise after washing my hands, doing anything with water, being outside for longer periods etc. It’s less about keeping the skin soft and more about having my hands feel not-gross in the moment

    6. Claire (Scotland)*

      I’m the same way. My hands used to be a terrible mess as a result. What has worked for me is Soap and Glory Hand Food hand cream. I keep a tube in my bag, another in my desk drawer at work, a pump bottle by the bathroom sink to use every time I wash my hands, and another pump bottle on my bedside table to apply last thing at night. That last bit has been crucial! I apply a full pump right before I turn off the bedside lamp, every night.

      1. Not a cat*

        Seconding this. I’ve also found that the Soap & Glory foot cream is amazing for hands also. It has acids that my hands love.

    7. BooklovinRN*

      Nivea in the blue metal container. It has saved my hands these past couple of years. A tin lasts a long time. I also started taking biotin along with my multivitamin and it may be helping? Is it the hand cream or the biotin or the combo? I don’t know. I will keep using them for now. I am always on the lookout for good hand creams so will be looking at what everyone else suggests as well.

    8. Pool Lounger*

      Glossier balm dotcom salve. I’ve never found anything that works better or faster, including petroleum jelly, eucerin, badger balm, etc. i use it on my nose and cuticles in winter when things get bad.

    9. Damn it, Hardison!*

      La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume on my cuticles and any dry spots, and La Roche Posay Hand Cream. Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Cream is also very good. If you can find CND Solar Oil, that is great also. I have very dry hands and cuticles, and the best thing I have found is to have a daily routine with them. Every morning and night I put on the cicaplast baume or Solar Oil, followed by hand cream, and then put thin gloves on for 15-20 minutes to let it sink in. I also give myself a manicure on the weekend, using cuticle remover and trimming/pushing my cuticles back, cutting and filing my nails, then a hand mask (no polish, I’m terrible at applying it). Consistency has been the key for me.

      1. Generic Name*

        +1
        I live in a dry climate, and this is the only thing that keeps my fingers from cracking in the winter.

    10. MMB*

      Pure jojoba oil. It’s scent free, inexpensive, absorbs quickly, and softens even the driest skin.

    11. Chaordic One*

      It does help to wear gloves when doing chores. Rubber gloves when doing dishes, cleaning the bathroom and washing the car; work gloves when doing things like yard work or moving boxes or furniture.

    12. Sundial*

      I’m incredibly lazy about this and the only type of product that I will stick with is an oil pen. Deborah Lippmann and CND make good ones. Dabbing on cream and rubbing in is precious and fussy and annoying; I just won’t keep up on it.

    13. picker*

      Having gone to therapy for this – ANY moisurizer can work to break the habit of picking. Just training your brain to go “moisturize (or clip) instead of pick” is the key. Though sometimes clipping can become its own obsessive behavior.

      The most helpful solution for me was to put bandaids around my fingers as a barrier. The band-aid SkinFlex line is amazing for not coming off easily – it stays on all day, even through hand washing. I use them when I don’t have to work around people.

    14. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

      Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair (unscented). When I remember to wear it regularly I actually grow fingernails because I don’t worried them off.
      It is not greasy on the hands like you would think from the brand name, although it does leave streaks on a phone screen protector until it soaks in.

    15. LemonLyman*

      I’d look for a lotion with glycolic acid (or salicylic acid) in it. Apply at night before going to bed. Really massage it into your cuticles and all over your hands and fingers. Just like using this on your face, it acts like a peel and helps to shed the dead and dry skin. Do this a few times a week and then in the mornings be sure to moisturize and apply sunscreen (skin will be more sensitive to UV rays). Other’s tips people have posted about how to moisturize is good, but you need to get rid of the dead skin first. Moisturizer won’t penetrate if you have a thick layer of dead skin cells. (Again, similar to how skincare for your face.)

      I’m in the states and buy Alpha Skin Care’s Revitalizing Body Lotion from Ulta. I use this on my arms and legs, too. (I get the smoothest shave when I do!) But I know that Cerave’s SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy skin is well liked and I think you can get Cerave in the UK.

  6. Thread starter*

    Little Joys Thread

    What brought you joy this week?

    I finally managed to find time for a long talk with a friend and several fruit trees are slowly blossoming around here.

    Please share your joys big or small.

    1. Never Nicky*

      A pair of robins appear to be nesting in our garden, and they have been very curious about the building of our summerhouse and not at all scared of human activity, coming very close to investigate. Probably the casing of a circular saw isn’t the best perch…

    2. Anónima*

      I had a real emotional breakthrough this week. It’s been very tough, it’s led to insomnia and crying, but it’s a joy for me to have the realisation and know what I want to do about it to heal.

    3. AGD*

      I found a cute dress at a thrift shop. In my size and on sale. The manager said she’d been waiting for months for someone to come along and grab it!

    4. The Prettiest Curse*

      This story bought me some amusement this week, so I’m sharing it.
      My husband is on a local WhatsApp group for people with big dogs, and one of the group members posted this week that he finished upgrading the fencing around his garden to make it harder for his dog to escape … and then the dog managed to escape anyway, with the help of a trampoline that was in the garden. (The dog is fine and is back at home now.)
      The thought of a big dog gleefully launching himself into the air and over the upgraded fence has kept me chuckling all week. Hopefully, the trampoline is now inaccessible to the dog…

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Some how I really feel for the trampoline and dog owner. I have my own Houdini here. And I can just see him figuring the trampoline to fence story out. It’s funny– once we get them back safe and sound.

    5. Dunne*

      I’m recovering from a debilitating issue with my coccyx and this week there was one day where I was virtually pain free and had regained some movement. I don’t think you realise how lucky you are to be mobile – until you’re not! The joy of being able to shower and wash my hair….I could have cried.

      1. Generic Name*

        Ooh, that reminds me, I have a sticker of a rare mouse I need to find a home for…. :)

    6. Loopy*

      I took Friday off!

      I’ve long supported mental health days but have never taken one. So I just bit the bullet and took the day off!!

      I was so happy to clean the main part of my house, get to the chiropractor and treated myself to some throw pillows. I’m awful at interior decorating and have been feeling very meh about our space, so this was a small step at least.

    7. Hotdog not dog*

      My son’s high school orchestra had their first concert in forever. It was SO awesome to hear them perform live!

    8. the cat's ass*

      Had a wonderful trip to Portland to visit a dear friend I hasn’t seen in AGES. Got to hang with the whole family.
      Spent 3 hours at the County Courthouse but snagged a court date THIS MONTH to finalize DD’s readoption. AND renewed DD’s last ‘kid’ passport, and expedited it as well. This kind of stuff gives me tremendous anxiety, so biting the bullet and getting it done is such a relief.

    9. NeonFireworks*

      I ran out of cereal and the local supermarket was out of all the kinds I usually get, so I bought a box of kiddie cereal with way, waaaaaaaaay too much chocolate in it. I wasn’t even allowed this kind when I was an actual child. I regret nothing!

    10. UKDancer*

      I did a ballet class in person rather than on zoom and it was wonderful. It feels so good having room to do the moves properly and really extend. I’ve booked for one this week and I can’t wait.

    11. Jacey*

      I rarely shop for clothes because I’m not a size or shape that most clothiers anticipate, but I had two marvelous pieces of luck this past week! One was a pair of red boots that are not only perfect for a cosplay I’m planning, but maybe the most gorgeous shoes I’ve ever owned. And the other is a cardigan that looks like the sky at sunset and oh my god I adore it!

    12. WorkNowPaintLater*

      Looking out our back door and seeing the almost gone cherry tree bloom on its one remaining branch.

    13. Veronica Mars*

      I decided to start gardening because I needed more hobbies, especially ones that got me away from doom scrolling/comment reading (not AAM comments, to be clear!). I decided to start plants from seed (we have a short growing season where I live so it’s still not time to plant outside yet) and my little tomato plants are starting to look like real plants and it makes me so happy. Just checking on all of my seedlings and thinking about my plans for when I can move them outside is a huge daily joy, that I didn’t fully expect.

    14. Hunnybee*

      Such a lovely thread, OP! : )

      My joy is the gorgeous blossoming trees everywhere! I live in a part of the US that is having a beautiful spring and I can see blossoms from my window.

      That, and the demanding hummingbirds by my front door, who are decidedly vocal when their nectar has run low.

    15. Irish Teacher.*

      My direct boss offered to take my last class for me on Friday, as I went in early to help with our new Ukrainian students introduction to our school. As this was the last class before the Easter holidays and they were 1st years (12/13 year olds), it was a class I was expecting to be a LOT of work, so that was a nice unexpected break.

    16. Dark Macadamia*

      The forecast for my daughter’s outdoor party today has been rain (and possibly snow?! somehow?!) all week and we didn’t reserve a shelter, but we ended up being able to use the one right by the playground and it stayed chilly but sunny the whole time!

    17. Kimmy Schmidt*

      After more than a month of takeout and frozen meals, I finally found the energy to cook! I enjoyed tasty shakshuka and pita bread.

    18. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

      The bulbs I transplanted last week kept their flowers. So in addition to the many dozens of daffodils and several kinds of crocus in my yard, I also have little patches of Siberian squill.
      They match the wings on the bluebirds who have been seen checking out the box I put up over the winter.
      And I found a pansy that has self-seeded and flowered from last year’s plants. I’ve been planting pansies every spring since I was in kindergarten, and it’s the first time I had this kind of a treat.

    19. Sunshine*

      Kinder surprise has a line of national park eggs (all the toys are North American animals). My kids have been having a great time collecting and playing with them. Fingers crossed we find the woodpecker soon!

    20. beentheredonethat*

      I realized I have solar panels for the first summer season. No huge electric bills So excited

    21. WellRed*

      Perusing the small book selection at an airport shop and finding a new paperback by a fave author I hadn’t known about. This happens so rarely in general and certainly not typical during a desperation browse between flights!

    22. Healthcare Worker*

      This thread always brings me joy! Reading what has delighted others makes my heart sing. Thanks to each of you for sharing your stories.

    23. Rara Avis*

      At my shift at the cat shelter, I got to bottle-feed an orphaned kitten the size of my hand. Her little milky mouth was just the cutest thing ever.

    24. M&M Mom*

      No one wanted to go see the movie I wanted to, so I took myself to see Everything Everywhere All At Once, and I really enjoyed it.

    25. Stunt Apple Breeder*

      Achieving my goal weight after 1 year of sustained dietary and lifestyle changes. My fitness app even spotted me an extra 0.1 pound, and sent me multiple messages throughout the day congratulating me on achieving my goal weight (-0.1). I am pleased to say that I have surpassed my goal by an additional (and actual) 1.5 pounds as of this morning.

  7. Darby Carter*

    Boundaries and tips for establishing them with new neighbors (the interpersonal kind of boundaries, not the ‘you’re on my lawn!’ kind)? Moving from one very rural area to another and trying to avoid the mistakes of the past. Both houses are detached with their own driveways and separate though visible from the neighbors’ places. Currently my neighbor also happens to be my landlord (early 60s) and it’s like being 15 and living at home with your parents…constant commentary/observation of where I’ve been, what I’m doing, amazon deliveries etc….I’m single and haven’t brought a guy home in over 4 years! Invasive doesn’t even come close to describing it.

    I bought a place a couple of months back with tremendous hopes for free movement and privacy (I’ll add I was previously in an abusive controlling marriage so these things are unusually important to me) and it has a neighbor to one side, again totally separate properties but visible if you look hard. On my first showing with the realtor the neighbor (older lady 75+) came over to ask me all kinds of questions about who I was etc. and undeterred I bought the place anyway. In the few times I’ve visited since closing she appears in the (my!) driveway staring at me, and when I first pulled into the driveway after closing she came right over as I was in the car asking if she could ‘help’ me and why was I parked in my drive. I completely understand that age and security (and perhaps infirmity) have parts to play in this, so I’m keen to put her mind at ease if I can, whilst maintaining my own privacy and freedom to come and go when I want without anyone interfering with that, or interrogating friends who visit in different cars to mine that she doesn’t recognise. I feel like with my current neighbor that being firmer about boundaries in the beginning may have saved me from living life under their watchful gaze so I’m hoping for advice on ways to manage this new neighbor if I can. I do feel she’s the type who would take an overzealous interest in who is coming and going from my house and I want to nip that in the bud before it drives me nuts.

    1. Dino*

      I’ve had luck telling new neighbors that I’m intensely private and much more friendly when we all pretend not to be aware of every single goings-on at each other’s place. Happy to chat at the mailbox, not so fond of unexpected visits or commentary on how I’m living my life. I’ve had some neighbors turned off by me saying so, which I take to mean that they definitely want to comment of everything I do so it’s a win for me :D

      1. Reba*

        This is great in that it sets expectations about what you *do* want to engage in/are open to, not only what you don’t!

        Darby, you might also want to tell this new neighbor that you will have friends over who will use the driveway, and that this is expected and to please not bother them. I don’t mean each time you have a gathering, just a general announcement.

    2. the cat's ass*

      Having a garage at the end of my driveway with an automatic door opener means i can drive right in while waving and close the door behind me. I don’t know if that’s your set up or if she’s standing IN the driveway itself. I’d hate that, it’s pretty intrusive.

    3. Sloanicota*

      I sympathize – privacy is a hot-button issue for me and my neighbor tends to both watch me all the time, in that stupid cow-like way people do when something is moving in their eyesight, and also unfortunately likes to comment on going-on that he’s noticed, visitors, new outfits etc (the fact that he’s an older single man and I’m a single female is also part of the tension, to which he is of course entirely oblivious). I just try to focus on the good parts, like we can both watch out for each other’s properties a bit, and remain scrupulously civil but not invite any more closeness into our relationship. I know a good deal of it is a “me issue” more than a him issue, which I do remind myself of often.

      1. Darby Carter*

        This is my current nightmare with the existing neighbor who is also my landlord. I get ‘you’re gussied up tonight – who’s the lucky guy’ if I wear anything outside more dressed up than yoga pants…not to mention the running commentary the morning after I stay out all night. There’s a real line between cordial and invasive and sadly he’s the latter. I feel your pain!

        1. Batgirl*

          Have you tried letting his gross jokes fall flat? I mean you seem to have categorised him as “too involved and interested in me ….argh I must be too friendly a neighbor”, but he’s acting like he’s Benny Hill purely because of gender. I would honestly consider this as being outdated at best and sexual harassment at worst. Women aren’t animals in a zoo for continual commentary on their mating habits and plumage. Personally I wouldn’t try to educate him straight out with bluntness (though I wouldn’t condemn it), I’d just get a bit frosty, try to stifle the natural reaction of nervous laughter and eyebrow frown it to death. A bit of “I have female friends I like to see as well”, “well I didn’t have a curfew last time I checked” and “I’m not sure what you mean, can you break that joke down a bit for me?” Etc. I don’t think you’ll have the same issues with the next honestly, but an interest in your life, (especially your sex life!) doesn’t have to be satisfied. Everyone who visits is a “friend”, everywhere you go is “visiting friends”. Keep a wall of blandness up and if it ever gets too intrusive cut people off halfway with “I’m actually too busy too chat, but nice seeing you”.

    4. Unkempt Flatware*

      It’s nice that you’re trying to ease her mind but the kinder thing would be to give it to her straight. No you can’t help me and this is my driveway and why are you here? Please don’t just walk onto my property now that I own it.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      If you often park in the driveway (do you have a garage? I can’t think why she would find it strange to park at your own house!) and she keeps asking, maybe just the next time “yep, I leave my car out here a lot, nothing to worry about!” and you could also address future guests too if you feel like that would help – “I’ll probably have friends park out here sometimes too.” And then if she still keeps asking/hovering you can go a little colder and flat out tell her to stop.

    6. RagingADHD*

      IME, this kind of thing is best addressed immediately in the moment in small bites, rather than trying to have some kind of large overarching conversation.

      Her over-friendliness, or nosiness, or whatever you want to call it, is a habit. Habits don’t usually change without repetition. Having to repeat a big talk over and over is just going to be exhausting and infuriating for you, and increases the chances that you will get too wound up and be much harsher than you intended.

      Give bland, smiling, brisk, zero-content replies and don’t stop moving. No stopping to chat, no actual conversation. “Yep! Lovely weather! Can’t stop!”

      Then if (if!) you want to have a real sociable talk at some point, go over and knock on her door. This way you reinforce the desired behavior and starve the undesirable behavior of attention.

      Most likely this will taper off by itself. If not, or if she actually accosts your visitors, tell her, “Please don’t do that again. It’s very inappropriate.” And then if necessary escalate to “This is my home, and my schedule or visitors are not your concern. Please don’t come on my property again.”

      But unless there is something wrong with her, the brisk and boring stage will most likely take care of it without the need to tell her off.

    7. Emma*

      I am similar about wanting privacy. I’m curious what your response was when she asked if she could help you while in your driveway? And how she responded back? That may help give insight in how to prepare for the future.

      1. Darby Carter*

        I was surprised so replied ‘no thanks – I live here!’ in a jovial but firm fashion and then ignored her after that. She made some comment about not recognizing my car that day and I didn’t engage. The fact she dropped in during the showing made me think she’s possibly quite nosy and I really want to avoid contact where I can.

    8. Hunnybee*

      I recently had a BIZARRE encounter with a new neighbor which made me wish I would have been less friendly to start with. Let’s just say that while most neighbors appreciate a friendly neighbor who will make small talk or “hi and bye” but also largely keep to themselves, a few people interpret casual friendliness as some kind of immediate social intimacy or best friend thing, and that over-zealousness turns awkward. Whole other story. But I think that your giving some thought to how to slowly get to know new neighbors while also slowly establishing boundaries is a smart thing to think of in advance…I’m thinking a lot about this exact question, and interested in seeing how the thread develops over the weekend.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

      It sounds to me like she forgot who you were between when you met during the real estate search and when you started moving in. Would it be awkward to say “Hi Mrs. Wentletrap, I’m the new neighbor” at least a few more times?

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Yeah, I definitely interpreted asking why OP was in the driveway as having forgotten the earlier meeting, and knowing only that someone was hanging out by that empty house.

      2. Sam I Am*

        This is what it seemed like to me.

        I’m going to share an example of an anecdote I love. About 10 years ago, a storm blew through the state that knocked out power, roads, communications. We don’t get big storms here like that normally.

        A local commentator on the public radio station mentioned that she had never been close to her across-the street, elderly neighbor, though they said hello when they saw each other and shared enough chit-chat to have a sketch of what big things went on in each others’ lives. Neighbor lady had family somewhat locally who checked in on her.

        But with loads and power out, our narrator started to wonder, should she check on her neighbor? They hadn’t seen each other in a day or two. She decided to spend a little time out out in front of the house and eventually neighbor appeared. Much talk about the weather, questions about if each other were set for water, food and light at the moment. All was well.

        Then our narrator turned just slightly personal, and told neighbor she had been wondering if she should knock to see if everything was ok? Was that overstepping, since they weren’t people who dropped in on each other?

        Neighbor said, “Well, that’s thoughtful,” and paused. Our narrator shared with the listener that neighbor didn’t seem too excited to change behaviors. Neighbor then continued, “I always shut my front window curtains at night. If they aren’t open by mid-morning, there’s something wrong at my house and I would welcome a knock.”

        Our narrator said, “yes, the same is true of my front curtains,” and they made sure they had each other’s telephone numbers for when communications were restored.

        I don’t know how it’s gone over these years, but it was an excellent example of wanting to be a good neighbor to someone who had been an ideal neighbor themselves. They both valued their boundaries and each other’s consideration.

        I know this isn’t a how-to guide, but I find it aspirational.

        I think once your neighbor remembers who you are you’ll most likely be fine by keeping whatever boundaries you set, and one may as well hope the same from her unless proven otherwise.

        Congratulations on your new place!

      3. RagingADHD*

        Good point, there were probably a lot of people coming to view, and she didn’t necessarily remember your face.

    10. Don't be long-suffering*

      She might just be craving human contact. Friends and family die off with increasing rapidity at that age. (Ask me how I know!) I like the direct, kind approach. If she’s just lonely, she’ll conform to your boundaries quickly. If she’s a busy body, be firmer. I will be friends with anyone, any age. But I will also back way off when asked.

      1. Darby Carter*

        Oh I know the feeling, my parents died over the last couple of years along with some older colleagues etc. so I don’t wish to be rude to her, but I also don’t want to create a situation where we’re chatting every day etc. Where I live now (current neighbor = landlord) I can’t set foot outside my house without him appearing seconds later to try and strike up conversation. Honestly sometimes I just need to grab something from my car and don’t wanna talk! Or if I’m arriving home I’m usually dashing in to use the bathroom and he appears regardless trying to talk, make comments that I’m home late/early, dressed up etc. My parents weren’t even this bothered in my movements when I lived at home as a teenager.

        1. DaisyDuke*

          Just wanted to offer sympathy as this is what happens to my partner and me also. We often put our cell phones to our ears like we are on a call if we need to make a quick dash to the car or from the car to the house and wave and point if our neighbors come outside trying to chat when we just don’t have the time at that particular moment!

    11. JSPA*

      If she doesn’t remember you from one time to the next, treat it as you would senility (in someone you’re not in charge of). “Oh, just me again, the new neighbor. Some friends will be helping me move in and get the place in shape, so no need to worry if you see me or anyone else my age. ” Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repeat. (Anyone your age is anyone from 15 to 55. If someone her age with also be helping, add, “and some older relatives, too.” Act like you’re customer service; no personal information ever given, but constant reassurance.

      “I have a lot of friends from work and from school and from all over” (with no more specificity) is just fine.

  8. East Coast Traveller*

    First, thanks to the wonderful community here who gave me so many ideas for the trip last week! A special shoutout to BRR and ThatGirl who helped me to save a whole day of going back to NY to fly to Denver ;)

    My itinerary now looks like:
    – Flying to New York JFK late in the evening of April 22th
    – 3 full days in NY, then to Philadelphia on the 4th day in the evening
    – 1 day in Philadelphia, a trip to DC in the evening
    – 2 full days in DC, on the 3rd day flight to Denver late in the evening (from Dulles)
    – 4 full days in Boulder, Colorado, visiting my friend, on the 5th day flight back from Denver to NY (LGA)
    – 2 full days in NY, on the 3rd day in the evening my international flight goes from JFK on the May 8th

    Soo the questions.
    – I am an avid biker in Europe and would really, really like to rent a bike in DC, Boulder and probably even in NY, it is just such a great way to explore the city.
    So…. Is it a good idea? I prefer to use bike lanes and am not a large fan of driving on the road, so if I would rent a bike, I would look for good routes with bike lanes or more or less quiet streets.
    Can one also rent a helmet with the bike, or is it not a thing?
    Can you recommend some bike routes in DC or Boulder especially, probably in NY if it is a thing?

    – 4 days in Boulder. I am sure that my friend would have some ideas ;) but is there anything that I couldn’t miss? We are definitely planning a trip to Rocky Mountains.
    – I was thinking about a day trip to explore Denver as it looks pretty cool on the tourist pictures and it would be great to see a non-coastal city too. Is it worth it? And which are the best things to do?

    – Flying. I will be flying to Denver and back with United (economy and checking my bag extra) – something I need to know about US domestic flights?
    – International flights from JFK: how many hours before the flight should I get there?

    – Shopping. Would definitely like to do some of it in NY: which are your favourite shopping areas / shops in NY? Def going to bookshops / apparel.

    – Design! I work in information design / data visualisation, so I would also like to consider some design-related stuff (shops & obscure museums & etc)

    – Tipping. I do know that you are more or less expected to tip a waiter in the US; which is the usual percentage? And do I tip an Uber driver?

    And thank you all for all the ideas you gave me!

    1. Janet Pinkerton*

      Bicycling: you will be able to rent bikes in NYC (Citi Bike) and DC (Capital Bike Share). There are also electric bikes for rent in DC. DC has some protected bike lanes but very likely nothing like you’re used to. (I’m not an urban bicyclist so I’ll let others chime in more.)

      Design/Shopping: if you do make it into Denver, I highly recommend shopping at Shop at Matter! It’s an exceptionally cool store, and you’ll appreciate the books and the printmaking. Here’s how they describe themselves: “The Shop at MATTER is independent retail for designers and other thinking persons. We specialize in Typography, Design, Design Education, and Resistance-focused books and products. Carefully curated objects, tools, and titles made by people and businesses we love, including rare finds from Italy, Mexico, Japan, and the UK. We do not amplify the work or voices of people or companies who speak or act against Black, Queer, LatinX, or otherwise underrepresented communities.“

      More shopping: I like to shop in SoHo/nearby in NY when I’m there. I love the MUJI store and the McNally Jackson bookstore (which is in Nolita, nearby). DC also has a ton of great independent bookstores, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to go to the flagship Politics and Prose—I prefer their branch locations in Union Market or the Wharf.

      Tipping: 20% is considered the standard minimum restaurant tip these days. Calculate it off of the total price. You can tip up to 25% or more, remember that tipped servers get their primary income from tips, yes it’s a bad system. Definitely tip your uber driver as well. In general, I think if a place offers a way to tip, a tip is a standard expectation. (This feels like too broad a statement but I can’t think of any exceptions.)

      1. Lifelong student*

        When tipping- do not include sales tax if charged in the base of the calculation.

        1. Janet Pinkerton*

          I disagree, that’s why I said to calculate it off the total price. Frankly, it reads as stingy to me to calculate it off the pre-tax price.

        2. RagingADHD*

          If you don’t include the sales tax, then leave a larger percentage than 20%.

          Someone who can’t afford to tip properly is in the wrong restaurant. They should check the menu first, and go someplace cheaper.

        3. osmoglossum*

          I agree. The sales tax has absolutely nothing to do with the price of the meal/service and does not need to be included in tipping calculations. I really don’t understand how it’s stingy but I’m curious what the thinking is.

          1. Filosofickle*

            I don’t know if it’s stingy inherently, it’s just that the norm has shifted. Tips have expanded in my lifetime — from 15 or 20 pre-tax to 20+ on top of tax. Personally I tip fairly high and on the after tax amount but struggle with paying the full tip on, say, a higher end bottle of wine. The server does the same amount of work if I order a $40 bottle vs a $100 bottle! I still do it but it’s weird.

      2. Westsidestory*

        Bikes in NYC – there are lots of bike rental places to the west and south of Central Park, which is a nice place to ride. Just Google “bike rentals near me” to find a shop. Eddies Bikes and Master Bikes are two that come to mind.

        Tipping on US is 15-20 percent of the bill. In NYC you can just double the tax (8.8%) to get a suitable number.

        I will defer to others about shopping!

        Have fun!

    2. mreasy*

      There is a bike route that goes around the entirety of Manhattan which would be a fun long day. Brooklyn is fairly bikeable (though not bike friendly), but the city is a bit miserable on a bike when you’re in traffic (which is most of the time). I would recommend relying on the subway and walking to explore, but there are good options if you want to focus on biking.

    3. Miel*

      Seconding: Tip 20% in restaurants, coffee shops, Uber drivers, and anywhere else you’re offered the option to.

      (it’s considered *extremely* rude to not leave a tip at a restaurant. I wish our society and restaurant business models were structured differently, but here we are; wait staff generally rely on tips for the majority of their income as they’re often paid far under minimum wage. Look up the tipped wage.)

      1. Wildcat*

        Yeah general rule of tipping in the US: when in doubt, 20%.

        I should note that’s for sit down restaurants though. Places with grab and go food (where you don’t have a waiter), it’s not considered blanket rude not to tip and if you do tip, a smaller tip is fine.

        I should note I’ve lived in the US my entire life and even I regularly Google “How much do I tip for X”. Navigating tipping culture is not always easy.

        1. RagingADHD*

          Oh yes, with counter service or drive-thru tipping is optional because the workers make normal hourly wages.

          Most folks who tip at the counter don’t do a percentage, they just put a dollar in the jar, or round up to the next dollar.

    4. Yaz*

      I tip 25% for good service. 20% for any other kind of service. It’s a terrible system but people live off their tips.

      Shopping- NYC has the Chelsea / SoHo neighborhood where there is a ton of cool shopping to be found. For more traditional- it’s also the home of the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue (where I could happily spend all day). Lots to choose from.

      Instead of Philly (which imo will blend into NYC and DC), try Lancaster! It’s Amish Country and also in Pennsylvania. You’ll see people riding horse drawn buggies and selling fresh produce. Lots of cute livestock. It’s very interesting and rural. They also have a great cafeteria type place called Lancaster Central Market where hippies and the Amish join forces to sell great, fresh food. Good breweries too.

      When you’re in DC…. DC is an interesting city with lots to see but if you’re an avid hiker I cannot recommend more that you spend one day out of the city, in the Shenandoah Mountain Range. You’re looking at a bit of a drive but it is so worth it to see the blue mountains shrouded in mist. As a starting point? Luray, Virginia or
      Front Royal, Va. Drive to the Skyland Resort where you can get a bite to eat (admittedly it’s not great) and go hike!

      A great thing to do IN the city is kayaking! Rent a kayak from one of the three vendors in Georgetown and spend a gorgeous day paddling down the Potomac. While in Georgetown, stop in at Fresh Baguette (which supplies the French Embassy!)

      Boulder is a beautiful city. So much wonderful hiking and lots of good food. And you won’t really visit the Rockies because you will be IN them. I recommend a stroll down the Pearl Street Mall and a hike at Chataqua National Park. That trail reminds me of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So magical. Since you have four days in Colorado, I would also check out the Red Rocks Amphitheater (gorgeous and a must see), and spend at least some time in Denver (visit the Botanical Gardens and then walk to St Marks Coffee Haus… dinner at Phoenician Kabob if you like middle eastern food or La Cueva if you are in the mood for Mexican ((both are on Colfax Blvd)).

      Good luck! What a great trip.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin*

        I agree that Philadelphia, though more interesting than it used to be, is not really a must-see and that you might do better to visit other parts of Pennsylvania. Another Pennsylvania treat just across the river from NJ is the charming little tourist town called New Hope. It has a cute book shop. (And if you’re feeling safe enough to go to the theater, the Bucks County Playhouse is there.)

        1. ThatGirl*

          This makes me sad, I love Philly and can easily suggest several days worth of activities. There are great museums and historical sites and great food to be found!

          1. Squirrel Nutkin*

            My apologies, ThatGirl — I didn’t mean to totally diss Philly. Can you maybe tell us a couple of the things that you recommend there for those of us who might not have encountered them?

            1. ThatGirl*

              You’re allowed to have your opinion, of course :) I just can’t think of other parts of PA that would be more interesting for a first-time international visitor!

              My fave historical sites are Independence Hall, Christ Church and Elfreth’s Alley, the Poe house is neat, also South Street, Rittenhouse Square, Reading Terminal Market, Franklin Museum… just to name a few.

            1. Westsidestory*

              I also think a day in Philly beats the PA burbs any day. New Hope – half closed on weekdays and a nightmare tourist traffic jam on weekends in the spring.

      2. Philly Booster*

        Have to disagree. Don’t skip Philly! It’s a really interesting city with some great history and pre-Revolutionary war architecture.

      3. Westsidestory*

        Thank you for the tip on kayaking in the Potomac! We are planning a trip later in spring to DC and I would not have known about that on my own.

    5. Wildcat*

      I’m a DC resident. In DC you can easily bike the Mall/Tidal Basin. Lots of walking/biking paths down there away from streets. We have a bikeshare rental program but it doesn’t come with helmets. There are lots of places down by the mall that rent bikes.

      If you want to just bike (not past any monuments), you could do the Capital Crescent Trail which runs from Georgetown to Bethesda/Silver Spring. It’s built over an old railroad so it’s away from cars but is super popular with joggers and bikers. I sometimes jog it, get lunch in Bethesda, and metro home.

      Biking around the Mall here in DC is 100% doable. If you’re going into the city there are fewer protected bike lanes. But a lot of the popular tourist attractions are right on the Mall. The Mall is also bigger than a lot of tourists realize, I think it’s about 2 straight miles from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, but with a lot of detours along the way. So if you want to get around the Mall quickly a bike isn’t a bad idea.

      1. Reba*

        Also check with your hotel if they can loan bikes/helmets!

        In addition to the public bikes (Capital Bikeshare) there are
        – Bike and Roll – weirdly hidden but close to L’enfant plaza metro
        – Unlimited Biking – on the wharf, access from L’enfant Plaza or Waterfront stations
        -Big Wheel – access from Foggy Bottom metro, or bus – this is a bicycle store that also rents, and located right next to a historic canal trail which would be a lovely place to cycle, though not really connected to the other sightseeing things you might want to hit

    6. Dc resident*

      In DC, if you like design, I highly recommend the Renwick museum. It’s part of the Smithsonian, so free, and it’s right next to the White House. It has amazing exhibits and a unique permanent collection.

      1. Wildcat*

        Just FYI, the Renwick is closed through Mid May, so which it is definitely cool, not for this visit.

        If you go early, mid week to the Hishorn (the big circle one on the Mall) you might be able to hey timed tickets for the Kusama exhibit (mirrors, very very popular).

    7. Don't be long-suffering*

      For me, Rocky Mtn Natl Park is the best of the west. Or drive anywhere into the mountains if you are not from a mountainous area. Spectacular. You can drive to the top of several of the 14000′ mtns on a clear day. It’s another world up there. The view of the Rockies from anywhere in the Denver area is breathtaking, in case you’d rather stay in town and shop. BTW, they sell cans of oxygen at sporting goods stores. If you live near sea level, get one and use it every time you get short of breath. You’ll thank me later. ;)

      1. Lifelong student*

        Hydration also helps with the altitude adjustment. The air is very dry so you may want to increase your liquid uptake and carry a water bottle at all times.

        1. Don't be long-suffering*

          Forgot to mention that. Lifelong student is soooo right. Definitely up your hydration.

    8. acmx*

      In the U.S., our taxes are separate when you purchase things. A quick search turns out just under 9% sales tax in NYC and Denver and around 6% in DC. Also, probably a liquor tax. Obviously, I’m used to taxes broken out and don’t pay much attention to them.

      Flying US domestically, your liquids need to be in 100ml or less containers and in a quart sized bag that you would need to remove from your carry. So put all your liquids in your checked bag. You need to remove your shoes to go through security screening, so wear socks. Your electronic devices need to be taken out of bag for screening. You can check TSA dot gov for info.

      Currently, we have a face mask requirement in airports and on aircraft until April 18. (Uber and Lyft asks for them, too). Maybe Monday they’ll announce if they extend it again.

      I’d probably download United’s app. Help keep you aware of delays and gate changes.

      1. Jamie Starr*

        There is no sales tax in NYC on clothing and footware purchases less than $110. But otherwise it’s 8.875% . You should tip cab / Uber drivers, servers (if they are taking your order/bringing your food to you). If you are at a place where you order at the counter and then wait for your order I don’t normally tip. An easy way to figure out the tip is double the amount of the sales tax (that will get you up to 17.75%) and maybe add a dollar. If you are at a bar, I would tip at least $2-3 / drink.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Because bartenders make their living that way. Part of our weird tipping culture. I do a dollar or so per beer, more for cocktails, or if I’m on a tab just add 20% at the end.

          2. Batgirl*

            I have to keep reminding myself the rest of Britain doesn’t tip at the bar. There’s a tipping culture in Liverpool actually, but a strange one. We say “take one for yourself”, but they don’t take anything like the price of a drink, they take like 20p or 50p. On a busy night it adds up to a lot. Its common for Scousers to forget that it’s a local arrangement when they go out of town and tip way more than they intended because the bar staff take it literally! In those situations you say “keep the change” when small change is coming back to you. *With the caveat I gave up drinking a few years back and things do change.

    9. Squirrel Nutkin*

      NYC bookstores are certainly not what they once were, but some you can try are the Strand Bookstore (the big main store is a little south of Union Square; also often has a little kiosk on 5th ave a little north of 59th St. right outside Central Park) and Book Culture (upper West Side near Columbia University). If you’re on the Upper East Side, there’s a small but nice one called Corner Bookstore some blocks south of Mt. Sinai Hospital on Madison Ave. If you want a nice big Barnes and Noble, there’s one on East 86th St.

      1. mreasy*

        Great shops: Housing Works (not as good as it once was but amazing used funds), McNally Jackson, the Strand in Manhattan; Spoonbill & Sugartown, Word, Books are Magic, and Greenlight in Brooklyn.

        1. pancakes*

          I have bought so much stuff at Housing Works over the years. The west village bookshop I mentioned below is very near my favorite one. I got my kitchen table there one day, spotted it early in the morning while out for a walk and had my boyfriend go reserve it as soon as they opened while I was at work! I always find something there.

        2. Lore*

          If you’re doing Greenlight, the Center for Fiction a few blocks away also has a lovely bookstore (and possibly coffee shop–not sure if they’ve reopened the coffee shop after pandemic closures, though). There is also a branch of McNally Jackson in downtown Brooklyn now. Powerhouse in DUMBO is nice as well.

          DUMBO has some fun and interesting shopping in general–I would recommend walking over the Manhattan or Brooklyn Bridge (Brooklyn is of course more famous but the pedestrian footpath on the Manhattan Bridge has amazing views that include the Brooklyn Bridge), visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park, and wandering around DUMBO. There are some food concessions in the park and a lot of little restaurants and bars in DUMBO, plus shops. There’s a Time Out food hall in the park as well. There is also a gourmet food hall with a lot of good stalls in the City Point complex, where McNally Jackson Books in Brooklyn is located.

          Citibike does not rent helmets but there are some more tourist-oriented bike rental places around Central Park that I think do–their prices may be exorbitant, though. I would recommend riding in the parks (Central, Prospect, Hudson River Greenway) more than as a mode of transportation, though–between inattentive drivers, bad traffic, and other cyclists/deliveristas riding the wrong way in a bike lane or on a one-way street, I feel like biking can be dangerous, and public transportation is plentiful. (Especially now that all the buses are equipped with tap-and-go entry, you don’t have to worry about exact change or a Metrocard; you can pay a fare with any chip-enabled credit card–though you might have to authorize an international card with your credit card company?)

          The Noguchi Museum is a great suggestion if you’re interested in design and craft. It’s not far from the ferry stop in Astoria; the ferry isn’t a super-useful mode of transit because it only goes to a handful of waterside places, but Astoria happens to be one of them and it’s a beautiful ride on a nice day. (I have to travel between my partner’s home in Astoria and mine in Brooklyn and although the ferry landing is a solid half hour walk from my house it’s such a pretty ride that I do it a lot in the summer.) And of course the design galleries at MoMA are well worth the visit–and the design store.

          If you’re taking public transit to JFK from midtown Manhattan, I would probably want to get there two hours early, unless your airline lets you purchase expedited security (I don’t know if all the terminals have that option, but for the ones that do, it’s $15 very much worth it), and leave an hour for travel (I’ve done it faster but that requires some good luck on timing). Also definitely check on the MTA’s website or app that your trains are running normally, and with JFK that the Air Train is running, before you set out. This is usually only an issue on the weekends or late nights, but you never know. There are several different routes on transit to JFK and you want to make the right choice before you get on a train! (For example, the Long Island Railroad to Jamaica to the AirTrain is the most predictable because the trains depart at specific times, but it’s not any faster than the E train to Jamaica when it’s running express, especially if you’re not staying near Penn Station and you have to get on a subway anyway.)

          1. Patty Mayonnaise*

            This is all excellent advice. The Brooklyn/Long Island City/Astoria waterfront is sooooo nice and the Noguchi Museum is one of my faves.

            1. pancakes*

              I don’t get out to the Astoria waterfront often but really like seeing movies at Socrates Sculpture Park during the summer. In the past they’ve had vendors there so you can buy dinner, too.

    10. Anon today*

      I just wanted to add, because this confused me as an international traveller, you’re also supposed to tip bartenders in the US too even if you don’t get sit down service and you’re just ordering at the bar. Directly even if there’s no tip jar or receipt.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I assure you, it’s not like anyone’s local tipping rituals, or broader social rituals, are rooted in stringent logic and thus deviations are illogical. It’s all rooted in tradition.

          (I hate tipping, but I live where it’s tradition and so tip 20% wherever that would be expected.)

        2. Anon today*

          Yes, I’ve now been here in the US a few years and it still is very stressful for me. It’s all based on this complex legal system that evolved over the years from lobbying by various industries. And the laws can be different in different states. I had to read into the history so I could understand, because it just made no sense. You just have to learn the rules, as someone said above, by frequent Googling

      1. JSPA*

        Absolutely! Servers of all sorts are (legally!) paid far below minimum wage. And taxed on expected tips.

    11. pancakes*

      Are there particular types of bookshops you’re interested in? I live in NYC. The Mysterious Bookshop in Tribeca is a must if you like mysteries or thrillers. Rizzoli Books near Madison Square Park is nice for browsing. If you like arty books, Mast Books in my neighborhood (the east village) is terrific and there are lots of great restaurants and bars around.

      The Museum of Arts and Design is near the Time Warner Center (some interesting lunch or snack options) and the south-east corner of Central Park. There’s also the Cooper Hewitt design museum on the upper west side. Also consider the Neue Galerie, which is near the Guggenheim, and across the street from the Central Park reservoir, which is a nice place to walk in the spring. Café Sabarsky is in the same building and has incredible Austrian pasties.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin*

        OMG, thank you for mentioning Mysterious Bookshop — I thought they had closed! I will be checking them out. And seconding Rizzoli — they have some French and Italian books there too.

        1. pancakes*

          There was one called Murder Ink that closed, on the upper west side. Sadly I didn’t get into mysteries until fairly recently, and didn’t ever visit that one. There was another that closed that I loved, called Partners & Crime. It was next door to Village Natural, which also closed, and was so good for breakfast. Fluffy buckwheat pancakes. Sad to pass that block of Greenwich Ave. now!

          I don’t know about Italian, but there’s a beautiful French bookshop in the French embassy, at 5th Ave. and 79th St. (Very near the Met).

      2. osmoglossum*

        So glad you mentioned Museum of Arts & Design and the Cooper Hewitt. Two of my favorites. I would also add the American Folk Art Museum at 2 Lincoln Square. Plus, I gotta give a shout out to my home borough, Queens: The Isamu Noguchi Museum and MOMA PS1.

        1. pancakes*

          I haven’t been to the Folk Art Museum yet, but would really like to go. Hopefully soon. I have been to (and love!) both PS1 and the Noguchi Museum. I love Long Island City in general, though it’s maddening to get around – the addresses are just wild. Sweetleaf is one of my favorite coffee shops, and I used to love LIC Market. Domaine bar a vins is great too, and there used to be a great pizza place nearby. And M. Wells! I have eaten very well in LIC.

    12. Grits McGee*

      *Bikes in DC
      – Agree with everyone else. You can rent bikes by the hour using Capital Bike Share, but not helmets. Capital Bike Share has fixed docking stations and requires an account with a deposit to use. I would recommend checking the docking station map on their website to plan out your route. Other people have mentioned biking around the Mall, and if you stay off of the streets, that’s probably the safest option. Biking can be *so* dangerous in DC, and I would not want to try the regular streets as a first-time visitor. Just be ready to make ample use of your bell to alert people you’re behind them.
      -You mentioned that you were interested in having some nature time in DC. Another safe-ish biking option would be the paved parts of Rock Creek Park. Rock Creek Park cuts through the northern half of the District, and you can hop off and on the trail to reach various points of interest.
      *Design
      -In DC, you might want to check out Planet Word. It’s a newly-opened museum that’s off the main drag of DC museums. I haven’t been yet, but I’ve heard good things.
      -In NYC, you may be interested in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. It’s part of the Smithsonians (one of 2 Smithsonians outside of DC). Haven’t been to this one either.
      *Tipping
      -Also ditto to 20% being the minimum expected tip for sitdown service in a restaurant. In DC a number of restaurants have started adding a service change to the bill; in some cases this is meant to be in lieu of tipping, in other cases you are meant to tip as normal on the full bill. If the service change is at least 20%, ask the server if it is meant to be in lieu of tip; some places will also ask you if you want to add an additional tip on top of that 20% service charge (in that case, it is completely optional and the server would only expect an additional 1-5%). Don’t be embarrassed to ask, this has become a major area of confusion for DC diners.
      -Yes, tip your Uber driver, about 15%.
      Also tip your taxi or Uber driver (pre-

    13. pancakes*

      I thought of another NYC bookstore you should visit, Three Lives & Company in the west village. This is also a charming area to walk around and have lunch. I’ll link to an article about the shop separately. It’s near I Sodi (terrific Tuscan food, pricey but worth it) and not far from another shop called Unoppressive Non-Inperialist Bargain Books, haha. It’s also a short walk from Joe’s Pizza, and C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries, which is a fun shop. Mary’s Fish Camp is another great place for lunch not too far from there, if you like seafood.

      1. pancakes*

        Another idea, if you like scents at all, Aedes de Venustas. They’re now on the lower east side, Orchard St. That’s a fun area for restaurants and bars and shops, too. There’s a bookstore nearby I haven’t been to yet but have been meaning to check out, Sweet Pickle Books. If you like Chinese food, it’s a short walk from there to Congee Village, which has good food and a fun atmosphere.

        1. pancakes*

          If you like movies, Aedes is also just around the corner from Metrograph, which generally has great programming, and a nice cafe to have lunch or drinks in.

    14. Pucci*

      If possible fly from DC to Denver from Reagan National Airport, which is a few miles south of DC on a Metro stop

    15. Sue Smith*

      The joke for Boulder is that you can tell a person is from Boulder when they drive a $3000 car with a $10,000 bike on it. I’m not a cyclist, but Boulder is well-known for plenty of bicycles on the roads and in the foothills. I guarantee you will see students, commuters, and Spandex-wearers on bikes. Here’s a link to the city’s information on biking, including links to maps: https://bouldercolorado.gov/services/bike.

      There’s a nonprofit that has a few dozen bike rental stations around town: https://boulder.bcycle.com. You can return them to any station, I believe.

      This is a shop that rents bikes: https://www.fullcyclebikes.com/about/bike-rental-experiences-pg115.htm#rentals. Helmets are included with the rental. I have no experience with them, but the Yelp reviews seem pretty good. There are many, many bike rental places around town. I’d guess a lot of them have more mountain bikes than street bikes.

      Have fun! Boulder is beautiful. If it’s hot enough, you might like tubing in Boulder Creek, depending on how much you like crowds. Fun, but not a must-do.

    16. Fiction Reader*

      I loved biking through Central Park. I had often walked across the park and explored different areas but biking allows you to travel the long way, north and south. You can get an app for the Citibike or you can rent from bike shops near the park.
      You could bike from the Metropolitan Museum in Central Park to the Cloisters in about an hour, according to Google, and most of the route would be along the Hudson River Greenway with beautiful river views. If you like art and history, those are two great destinations in New York. My favorite room at the Met is The Studiolo from the Ducal Palace at Gubbio.
      For something completely different, I took my kids to see the Intrepid aircraft carrier and found it just as fun as they did.

    17. E. Chauvelin*

      Book shops in NYC: The Strand is the huge book shop that’s the must visit for anybody who’s into book shops. As far as more niche ones go, I like The Drama Book Shop but will say I haven’t been to NYC since it reopened in its new location. I’ll fix that next month.

    18. JSPA*

      This is a lot of travel–compare it to a map, distance wise, of wherever you’re from, to get a sense of how tired you may be.

      You may feel the altitude slightly in boulder (~5,300′, ~1600m) depending where you are coming from.

      Accuweather’s “minutecast” feature isn’t half bad, to figure out if you’ll get rained on. (Not perfect.) I prefer wunderground.com to quickly grasp the 10 day forecast.
      I tip 20% and round up to the dollar. That includes never tipping less than a buck even for a piece of pie and cup of coffee. (I’m taking the same seat and the same amount of time as someone who’s having steak and eggs as well).

      I would not do on-street cycling in NYC unless I’d lived there quite a while, if you’re in the city proper. Go walk the highline instead, and bike in Central Park?

    19. Patty Mayonnaise*

      NYC bookstore rec: Kinokuniya Books right on Bryant Park is a Japanese book store. It has a whole floor dedicated to manga, books in English and Japanese, housewares, art, craft kits, stationary, and a million items with cats.

      Also, I don’t think anyone mentioned the East Village but if you go to Saint Marks Place and east, there are a lot of vintage stores, edgier clothing, and cute shops, especially as you get closer to Thompson Square Park.

        1. pancakes*

          That’s my neighborhood. I live half a block from that park! I don’t think it’s a great place to buy vintage though, since the good pieces tend to be priced pretty high by the time they make their way here. Great restaurants and bars and coffee shops, though.

          An afternoon shopping in Nolita and Soho could be fun. Stop for a slice of pizza at Prince Street Pizza if you do. Black Seed Bagels and Ceci Cela Patisserie are great too, and The Meadow is a fun little shop. Fanelli’s in Soho has good bloody Marys and burgers. Housing Works Bookstore on Crosby St. is worth a stop.

    20. Laura Petrie*

      I did a Segway tour of Washington DC and loved it. Was a fun way to see a lot of the main sights.

      In Philadelphia I recommend the Eastern State Penitentiary museum. I found it really interesting and quite creepy.

      I loved Philadelphia, I really wish we’d been able to spend more time there.

    21. Hannah*

      Hello! Boulder resident and cyclist here, just wanted to point out a few local resources. We have this map hanging in our house which covers Boulder county and indicates the shoulder width and car speed limit of roads https://assets.bouldercounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/bike-map-2019.pdf I also want to highlight gravelbikeadventures.com which has some amazing local gravel routes. I don’t know what kind of cycling you do, but we have it all in Boulder and the gravel routes are really something. There are many cycling shops here to rent from. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

    22. DC Runner*

      DC – some great suggestions already, but my favorite trail is the Mount Vernon Trail. It’s on the Virginia side, so if you’re interested in Arlington National Cemetery you can pick it up there, or cross Key Bridge from Georgetown to the trailhead at Theodore Roosevelt Island (a nice bit of nature, I think someone mentioned it last post). It’s a flat paved trail that runs 18 miles to Mount Vernon, and you can see so much along the way. Highlights starting from TR Island going south: great views of the Washington Monument across the river, Gravelly Point (next to Reagan National Airport so the planes go right overhead), Old Town Alexandria (views of sailboats on the Potomac and a good place to stop for lunch plus some points of historical interest), Jones Point under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge (my favorite public bathrooms are here too!), Dyke Marsh (short walk through very pretty nature ending in a pier over the river – there are also nice marshy bits ), various parks directly alongside the river, and of course Mount Vernon itself. It’s popular with runners and bikers so be sure to call out or use your bell when approaching, less crowded if you can go on a weekday.

  9. The Moira's Rose's Garden*

    Do you wait until you really need a new phone to upgrade? Been using a OnePlus 6T for 3 years now and thinking of going for either a OnePlus 10 Pro or an iPhone 13. Tbh my phone is quite usable even after 3 years, but I’m thinking of buying a new phone now so that I get a higher discount for exchanging this phone in a good condition. Thoughts?

    Also if anyone has suggestions on what phone I can buy, please feel free to share! My screen time is high but usage is pretty casual. Looking for a phone that doesn’t overheat and with a good battery life.

    1. 653-CXK*

      I used to upgrade yearly with my phone carrier until last year, when I bought an unlocked phone from Motorola after AT&T didn’t have the phones I liked (I like the Motorola phones because they don’t overload them with bloatware). I paid about a fraction of what I would have if I bought the phone on a monthly plan.

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

        People tend to trash talk Motorola, but I find them the best in quality/price ratio. I recently had to retire my Moto G Power when the battery inflated and took the fingerprint reader with it, and bought a mid tier Samsung phone. It’s bloated, but I managed to uninstall most of it. It has a headphone jack, NFC and a nice screen, and I didn’t pay a arm and a leg for it.

        1. Taro*

          I love my Motorolo phone! Been using Motorola phones for several years now, and I couldn’t be happier. I get all the functionality I need at a the fraction of the cost of a iPhone.

      2. SnootyGirl*

        I only buy a new one if my old one quits working properly and can’t be fixed. Currently using a Samsung Galaxy S8 that I bought new on Ebay (paid less than $300) two years ago. Prior to that I had a Samsung Galaxy S3 for many, many years (and prior to that I had a flip-phone, only upgraded because my brother insisted on texting me ALL THE TIME and it got very expensive). I have been very happy with my Samsungs – I don’t understand the “need” to get the newest version of phones.

        1. PhyllisB*

          I just got a Galaxy S9. I had my previous one (a 3 I think?) for over six years and really liked it, BUT my phone was stolen from my shopping cart. (I walked out of the store leaving it in the cart, and by the time I realized, it was too late.) All those photos and contacts gone forever. The good thing is, since it was insured, I only had to pay $25.00 to replace it.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I upgrade yearly, because I enjoy having the new shiny and my budget allows it. (I buy it on interest-free monthly installments and trade each one back in for the next, so functionally it’s like I lease my phone, but if I chose to skip a trade-in year I could pay one off fully and it would be mine to sell or trade however.) I like my iPhone 13 but can’t speak to comparisons with anything Android-ish, I’ve been an Apple gal for 20+ years. (But it doesn’t overheat and I get plenty of battery life out of it.)

    3. mreasy*

      I usually let the thing become unusable, but I bought an iPhone 13 mini after only about 3 years with my 11 because I can’t stand the larger size. I had paid off my previous one so it worked out. I don’t anticipate I’ll get new phones often in the future but this upgrade has been a big life improver.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Before I got the Galaxy mentioned earlier (that I kept for six years) I was still using an LG that was teeny tiny. I only replaced it for two reasons: that T9 keypad was a bitch for texting and a couple of my keys were almost worn completely down, and my teenage granddaughter practically dragged me to AT&T and forced me to pick out a new phone. I must admit that after learning how to use it, I really liked it better.

      1. londonedit*

        I only upgraded my original SE (to the 2020 version) about six months ago! I could have left it longer but it was getting to the point where there just wasn’t enough storage left to do all the things I wanted to – I was having to clear out messages and photos on a very regular basis and had to offload a ton of apps etc. Treated myself to 128GB this time and it’s great!

        1. Lore*

          I was holding on to an original SE for dear life until they started making small phones again! I planned to do the 2020 SE but then with the pandemic the fact that the battery life on my phone was so crummy mattered a lot less because I wasn’t going anywhere. It got urgent a few months ago when the battery started crashing the minute I took it out in the cold, and I needed to use it in NYC a lot to show my vaccination proof. I went with the 12 mini–the Apple store folks said that they thought I’d get a noticeably longer time frame to be able to upgrade the operating system out of the extra $200, so I made that call. But it looks like the SEs have been popular enough that they’re going to stay in the development rotation so thank goodness for that.

    4. Teapot Translator*

      Environmentally speaking, it’s better to wait as long as possible to replace a phone. But also, the industry as a whole has more impact than us as individuals. So, it’s not clear cut.
      I’m annoyed by my phone because I’m running out of storage, but I think I can buy a extra memory so I’m going to try that.

    5. Getting Old*

      I don’t use my phone a whole lot (at least not compared to people I know), so I only buy a new one when the battery on my current phone isn’t holding enough of a charge for me anymore. So basically about every four years.

      So far I’ve gone from a flip phone to a slider phone to a small smart phone to a larger smart phone, so it always feels like a big “upgrade” to me. I don’t think getting a new smart phone would be much of an upgrade at this point, so I wish I could just replace the batteries now.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Your history sounds like mine. That’s exactly what I did. I miss my teeny LG because I could fit it in my pocket, but this Samsung is a lot better.

    6. RussianInTexas*

      I got Pixel 6Pro late last year and couldn’t be happier. The camera is phenomenal, vs especially my previous OnePlus 7 and boyfriends Pixel 5.
      I play a bunch of casual games and it doesn’t overheat. And Pixels go on special a lot. In addition, you don’t get all kind of cellular company crap on it, or Samsung crap.
      If you do go with the Pixel, do go with the Pro, not the smaller one, because those extra money really worth it.

      1. Observer*

        I got the Pro. But I wonder if it’s always the better buy.

        Why do you say the money is well worth it?

        1. RussianInTexas*

          The non pro had a significantly smaller screen (I didn’t want to downsize), larger RAM, higher screen resolution, and much beefier camera.
          These things were worth the extra $250 to me, but the I understand it’s not everyone’s choice.

          1. Observer*

            OP, these are really good things to think about. One good place to look at specs like this is to go to a site like GSMArena. They have decent reviews, but what’s really nice is that they have standard way of showing the specs, and a nifty comparison tool that lets you see those things next to each other.

            For the OP, the 6 and 6 Pro share two cameras in the back, but the Pro adds a telephoto lens. And, if you want a good selfie camera (especially if you do video calls) the Pixel 6 Pro definitely has the best of the three, based on specs and real world usage of reviewers.

            PS These were the features that also pushed me towards the 6 Pro vs the 6.

    7. Generic Name*

      I upgraded to my current phone when my prior phone was a few years old because I wanted a new phone and I was eligible for an upgrade. When the new iPhones cost $1000, I decided I would never get the latest phone model again. It’s too unaffordable. So I’m still using my iPhone 7. I think it’s 4 years old, and I won’t upgrade until it’s basically unusable.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      Well, you don’t HAVE to wait—if you can afford to upgrade and you can get a discount for trading in your old phone, why not? Personally, I usually run mine into the ground and only get a new one when the old one starts getting wonky. I dread getting a new one because Samsung has followed Apple down the hellhole of ditching the universal headphone jack. Grrr. Also, I NEED a microSD card for my tons and tons of soundtrack albums.

      1. Classical Music Nerd*

        Same here about dreading an upgrade because I don’t want to lose the jack for wired earbuds! (I don’t want to derail the main topic so I’ll start a different thread on wired earbuds one of these weeks . . . in the meantime just heartily agreeing and planting that seed.) Anyway in the meantime I’m more than content with my 6-year-old iPhone 6s.

    9. Banana*

      I wait until the phone is hardly usable before upgrading. I just ordered a refurbished iPhone 12 to replace the iPhone 6 I’ve been using for…I think six years? Maybe almost 7? The old one loses battery life very rapidly now, so it’s time.

    10. Girasol*

      I wait. We got our first phones when we lived out in the country and service was so spotty that it didn’t make sense to get more features that wouldn’t work. I hadn’t understood until we’d had the phones for four years (and hardly used them) that the cost of the contract included enough to pay back the phone in two years, and we’d paid twice over. So we switched to a service where you buy your own phone, and being the parsimonious sort, I wait until my phone is failing before replacing. My current phone has way more features than I need anyway, and if the new version’s camera has a few more pixels it’s not like I’d really notice the difference. YMMV, of course.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        You do notice the camera upgrades though. Something like real optical zoom, much improved low light photo quality, portrait quality etc. The flagship phones have a markedly better cameras vs discounted phones.
        My current phone is a real jump from my previous, 3 years old, not at all discounted model.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          Just to add, I want going to get the new phone just yet, but the Sprint/T-Mobile merger sort of forced me, my old phone was not eligible for the new SIM.
          But I love my new Pixel 6 Pro.

    11. Sundial*

      I buy a midrange unlocked Android and use it until the wheels fall off. I prefer to buy less and thoroughly wear things out. My Moto G Power has great battery life, but I’m not sure it’s still being made.

      1. Girasol*

        I bought a Moto G Power and immediately went on vacation with the wrong power cord. It rained 24 hours straight and I lay in my sleeping bag all day reading books on its Kindle. I listened to audio books half the night every night. After two weeks of use it was getting close to running out of its first battery charge. It’s old now but it still goes for days. I certainly hope they don’t quit making them!

      2. Not my usual name*

        I’ve got a 7-yr old Microsoft Lumia phone that is still going strong. Yes, it’s a Windows phone, why do you ask? Unfortunately, AT&T finally turned off their 3G network at the end of Feb, so I can’t make or receive phone calls via standard 3G voice phone app and 4G VoLTE is not supported on this phone. But 4G data service continues, so I just use Skype to retrieve messages and make calls. Texting still works, internet still works, email still works, navigation still works, etc. I never used dedicated apps for anything so no loss there. I got a deeply discounted unlocked Moto G Power from my carrier because of the whole 3G>4G switch so I suppose I should get it up and running, but it seems I can’t be bothered… It’s still in the unopened box 2 months after it arrived.

    12. anonagain*

      I came here to ask for phone advice too. My phone is so old I have to bring a power bank with me everywhere. I want another phone that will last me a long time. What phones have good longevity?

      1. Natalie*

        I had a 6s for several years and had the battery replaced which gave me a couple more years. I was worried about giving up my home button too. We were going on a scenic trip and needed a new camera, but the lack of options made it sensible to just get me a new phone. I got a 13 and very quickly got used to no home button. I refuse to use Face ID and just been slowly changing passwords to things I can remember (ha) and some apps let you use a passcode instead. So it’s been fine!! The one thing I struggled with is closing multiple apps, the action just isn’t intuitive to me, but it’s not a huge deal.

    13. Bluebell*

      I’m in the same boat — I have an original SE, and it really needs replacing after 7 years! I definitely need more storage. Trying to decide between the new SE and an iphone mini 12 or 13. I don’t love the idea of the face ID, but my spouse has the new SE, and the home button does have a different feel to me. Would love to hear from iphone mini owners.

      1. Lore*

        I went from orig SE to 12 mini and other than some unusual headaches porting over my stuff (long story short, I had to update the OS on my new phone before it would let me AirDrop all my stuff, don’t ask me why), it’s been seamless. I was worried about Face ID but I was pleasantly surprised that you don’t have to use it! In a case, it’s a tiny bit wider than the SE but still fits in pockets and small purses. Battery life is pretty good—I don’t have to charge during the day unless I have unusually heavy activity. The most annoying thing is now that I got used to the lock being on the side instead of on top, I’m always messing with the volume on my iPad by accident looking for the lock button.

    14. University Schlep*

      I only upgrade when absolutely necessary – e.g. my husband now qualifies for a senior plan but the new 5G plan wasn’t compatible with my old phone.

      iphones are generally much more expensive and seem to require upgrades more often. I prefered my Motorola to my samsung, but since we also switched carriers it could be carrier bias.

      I am on the extreme low end of phone switches though. I want to say I got my very first cell phone in 1999/2000, and am on my 5th total phone, 2 flip, 3 smart.

      1. Bluebell*

        I had a flip for myself, got 2 blackberrys for work , then an iphone SE for myself 6 years ago after changing jobs, and Blackberrys were getting obsolete. I figure if I’m getting something for the long haul, I should get what works for me.

    15. Esmeralda*

      I wait until my college-age son can’t stand it any more, then my husband buys everyone a new phone. Doesn’t matter to me.

      We like iphones. I loooooove my iphone 8. My son is waaaaaay past ready for a new phone, so I guess I’ll be getting an iphone #whatever’s newest soon.

    16. Observer*

      Been using a OnePlus 6T for 3 years now and thinking of going for either a OnePlus 10 Pro or an iPhone 13.

      A couple of thoughts. Firstly, moving between iPhone and Android is a bit of a pain (in either direction), especially if you have apps that you paid for (you have to buy them again) or that only exist in one ecosystem or the other, or if your usage takes advantage of something specific to the platform. There are not too many of those kinds of differences, and they can make a surprising difference.

      Given that you don’t swap phones every year, I’d be a bit hesitant on this particular phone. It’s not certified for water and dust resistance, unlike pretty much every other phone in this price category. I DO take a lot of care of my phones, and don’t do stupid things like taking it to a pool etc. But, life happens. I’ve actually had one phone fried by having to use it in the rain. (I’ve been told that this proves that I’m just not a good planner and I should become a better planner so I don’t need water resistance. Not happening.)

      The other concern is that it doesn’t do 5g on Verizon or AT&T. Now, they say that they are working on Verizon certification, so it’s possible that the phone will eventually be able to use 5g on Verizon (and any Verizon based MVNO) but there are no plans for AT&T certification. Now, at this point I don’t think that it’s a really big deal, but it’s definitely something that’s likely to change. If this were a lower end phone, I’d say that you shouldn’t even think about it – it’s inexpensive enough that if this does become an issue, you could get a new phone. But at $900, that’s a bit of a harder sell for me.

      Two alternatives to look at:

      Google Pixel 6 Pro or even the Pixel 6. They both seem to tick all of your boxes and they are good value for the money. They will probably be the closest experience to what you have with the OnPlus. There are some nice additional features that you may (or may not) find useful.

      Samsung- They have a whole range of phones, but I’d stay with the higher mid-range phones. Samsung does some of the best screens in the industry and they’ve started making some really good commitments in terms of supporting their phones for more than a year or two. The Galaxy S22 or S22+ are really nice phones that you should be able to get in your price range. Some of the A series phones are really nice as well (although I’d avoid the lowest end ones in that line), and some of them also have commitments for longer term support.

  10. Bobina*

    Gardening Thread: how are all the green things doing?

    Trying to decide if I want to do something about the fact that aphids seem to love my anemones and ranunculus. On the one hand, the plants themselves dont seem to mind it. On the other hand, its just a bit unpleasant to see? Also they absolutely destroyed the violas I had so feeling a bit like I should really do something about them.

    In happier news, a peace lily I had given up for dead twice (including leaving the pot outside over winter so I could reuse the soil for later!) is alive and putting out shoots, so excited to have a bonus plant!

    1. Jackalope*

      We had a fair bit of rain this week and one warm sunny day and that’s made the bulbs super happy. We have one row of daffodils that almost all sprang into blossom yesterday, a row of tulips that all opened up, and several more of each that are almost ready. I also planted some wildflowers and have seen a few sprouts popping up although not enough yet to tell if they’re the flowers I planted or weeds.

      1. Bobina*

        Exciting! I know I dont have space for tulips, but every year I see them looking all pretty and feel like I really want to try and grow some. Its that time of year where the urge to buy all the plants is strong and I need to restrain myself!

    2. Macaroni Penguin*

      My garden does not grow. My garden does not even exist!
      We just got the bad news that our community garden will not be available this year due to renovations. This is the worst timing possible, as we have a four month old baby. My husband and I had our hearts set on “teaching” the little one to garden while we’re on parental leave. This is the most free time that we’ll have in our lives. (sigh)
      Our names are on wait lists for other community gardens, but the situation doesn’t look good. Either the wait list is years long, or exclusive to their residents. Additionally, we live in a multistory condo building. So, we can’t dig our own garden. The best that we can attempt is a container garden on a North (boo!) facing balcony. We’ve had mini gardens there in previous years, but there just isn’t enough sunlight. Whatever we plant turns out small and scraggly.
      Nevertheless, we will persevere. Anybody have suggestions for small space, shade loving Zone 4a plants?

      1. Bobina*

        Zone 4a is a bit out of my temperature zone, but I also have a north facing patio so have done a lot of research on shady (easy to grow in pots) plants! Recommendations from experience: ajuga, heuchera, ferns, hostas, luzula nivea (grass). Recommendations I’ve not tried yet but according to the internet are fine: begonias (although these are tender, so definitely more of a start inside and only have outdoors for a bit of summer colour).

        There are definitely plants that do well in full shade, just dont be tempted like I have been in the past by thinking that a plant which says it is fine with “part shade” will survive there. Like you, everything just ends up a bit sad and scraggly.

        1. Westsidestory*

          Definitely second heuchera, hosta,would add bleeding heart, bishops hat and dwarf phlox if you can find them. Asiatic lilies (from bulbs) do surpringly well – look for the dwarf ones. There are so many interesting shapes and color of hosta I once had a flower box with just them in it and it was gorgeous. One tip: self watering planters. Gardens dot com has lots of designs – they do need the special soil but I found I could go away for a week if I filled the reservoirs to the max. I do feel for you as we couldn’t get into our community garden for most of the pandemic time.

        2. Salymander*

          I grew snow peas, lettuce, parsley, cilantro, basil (in the sunniest bit along with the peas), radishes, Swiss chard and green onions on my north facing, shady balcony years ago. I grew them in full summer, which normally would be way too hot in my area but was fine on that balcony. Most leafy greens do well in a fair amount of shade, so you should be able to have a little bit of garden to get you through until your community garden renovations are done. If the plants start looking leggy, is there a place you can move the pots outside for a few hours at a time?

      2. Venus*

        This might be a complete stretch, but maybe ask around if there is anyone who has a spare bit of garden space in your neighborhood? I have five raised beds and would be happy to share one with someone in my area if they posted on my Being Neighborly group. A friend of mine has a neighbor who has stopped growing in their yard, which happens to be just next to my friend’s garden, so he’s growing veggies in both plots. It might not be possible, but can’t hurt to ask?

      3. Salymander*

        Do you know anyone with a garden they can share? I have a friend who gave up his community garden plot due to his very poor health which prevented him from caring for the 15’×20′ plot. He was really sad about it, so I have let him have a little spot in my garden plot for a couple of tomato plants. I have borrowed garden space from others in the past. Usually, the exchange was garden help and some produce in return for garden space. Or, you may find someone who will rent a small part of their garden. Many aging gardeners start having trouble keeping up with the work, but don’t want to give up on the garden and might welcome a little help.

        Does your community have a garden that grows food for local food banks and shelters? They are usually thrilled to have volunteers, and you could introduce your little one to gardening that way.

        I started guerilla gardening in the unplanted tree pits in our garden parking lot. The city was happy to have the weeds and trash cleaned out, and I keep overhearing happy comments about the mysterious gardener who made the flowers grow. Maybe that could help assuage your gardening withdrawal until the community garden is back up and running. I planted native wildflowers, which are so easy to care for.

        1. Macaroni Penguin*

          Those are some great suggestions! The idea of guerrilla gardening pleases me spectacularly. There’s actually an abandoned lot within a block of my house. Nothing but gravel and creeping bell flowers grow there. I could perform a service for society by throwing down and protecting some native wildflower seeds.

          1. Salymander*

            I may or may not have also seeded several vacant lots with native wildflowers. ;)

            It is very satisfying to see a patch of trash, invasive weeds and dog poop turned into beautiful flowers. I have found that, once it looks like the land is cared for, people are less likely to litter and more likely to clean up after their dogs. The waste areas near my community garden were really bad, full of trash and dog poop. Lots of broken vodka bottles everywhere. Seriously, as a non drinker I never knew that vodka came in bottles that big! But now that it has been cleaned up and planted with flowers, there has been no rogue dog poop and almost no litter. Success!

    3. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      Something (??) destroyed one of my dracaena house plants. The leaves all got brown spots and then fell off. Right now it’s just a stem…but it seems green and healthy. I don’t even know what I’m combating because I don’t see bugs…so far the other house plants see ok.

      I managed to repot and prune most of the succulents that have run wild on my balcony. Now I have 4 empty pots to fill :-) and plans to attend the Spring plant sale at the Huntington in 2 weeks!

      1. Bobina*

        Lol. Empty pots to fill is such a dangerous place. Before you know it you are overrun with more plants and then need more pots for them ;)

    4. Girasol*

      Snow peas are up! And inside the houseplants are thriving. As a covid lockdown treat I got a five-shelf adjustable storage rack and built it with three shelves in the center and one on each side, then gathered all the house plants off their mismatched plant stands and boxes to make a plant wall. Everybody got repotted and they’re growing quite lushly.

      1. Bobina*

        Ooh that sounds like such a lovely setup. I’m definitely dreaming of the day I get to put something like that together!

    5. Fed Anon*

      My Rainier cherry tree bloomed for the first time this year, but alas I have no nearby cherry trees to cross-pollinate. I’m going to a community garden about half an hour away because there are supposed to be some bing cherry trees there, and I’m going to attempt hand-pollination, but I might be out of luck for the season.

      However, we’ve gotten a fair amount of rain and my other plants are looking fantastic! Phlox, mint, and rosemary are doing great, and I think the irises are getting ready to bloom.

      1. Salymander*

        Maybe you can splice (is that the term? no idea) a branch from another variety onto your tree so it can cross pollinate itself. You can buy trees like that, but I have known gardeners who did it themselves. It worked beautifully. I have not done this myself, so I have no technical knowledge about it, but I know for sure that it can be done.

    6. overeducated*

      The grass seed I put down almost 3 weeks ago in the bare back of the yard isn’t germinating at all. We had a cold snap, but some of the seed was leftover from last year, so I’m not sure if it’s delayed or just failed. What else can I do in a very shady area that won’t be destroyed by kids running around? Don’t think we are in a time of life when it makes sense to lose a large portion of a tiny yard to a scrubby shade garden.

      I was going to try to plant ferns and azaleas in the corners this year, but every weekend it’s not raining, someone in my house is sick. Someday, I want greenery!

      1. Venus*

        White clover. It does better in shade than grass. If you can cover the seeds with a thin layer of dirt then that also helps.

          1. Venus*

            Probably not if it is really shady. I bought a big bag for cheap and spread it around. It didn’t grow well in the shadiest corners, but did well in the parts that had reflected sun (the parts of the yard under trees weren’t great yet the northern side of a building had no direct sun but wasn’t covered overtop).

    7. Chauncy Gardener*

      It’s spring where I am and it is wonderful! Although the weather has been really interesting. Went from sunny and nice, to windy and colder, to pouring rain, then HAIL, then rain and now sunny and nice again. All right then!
      But, the daffodils are starting to bloom, my crocuses (croci?) look lovely and I planted my second round of peas yesterday. Yay!

        1. Bluebell*

          That was wild! :) I’m trying not to do too much cleaning up, so as not to bother any pollinators.

          1. Salymander*

            Good idea

            I looked up the life cycle of various beneficial insects, so I wouldn’t hurt any of them without realizing it. That has been really useful, as many of them look really different as larvae or pupae. I found ladybug pupae and was worried that they were something nasty. I had seen the eggs and larvae, but this was the first time in years of gardening that I noticed the pupae.

            Last fall, I rescued so many insects from the compost dumpster at the community garden. People pulled up their plants at the end of the season, and dumped the insects that were living on them too. By the end of the season I probably saved a couple dozen praying mantises, as well as a huge number of ladybugs and a few bees from being composted alive. This year, I pulled up my cover crops and left them to wilt in place until the insects had time to move to the section I keep planted with flowers for pollinators.

    8. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

      My spring plants are my little Joy this week oh, so they are already discussed up thread. I spent some time this week cleaning out last year’s dead stalks and a lot of winter kill. If this rain will ever stop, I am going to armor up and cut back the raspberries. I also am surprised that I did not kill the iris I forgot to mail to a friend last fall, so I am going to try boxing it up on Monday.(I hate going to the post office with boxes more than I hate cutting back thorny raspberries, so wish me luck.)

      1. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

        (Argh I didn’t proof that speech to text well enough. What is it about commas that makes my phone insert an ‘oh’ every time!?)

    9. Falling Diphthong*

      I have a LOT of would-be iris poking their leaves up all over. Too early to say how many of these will bloom.

    10. Salymander*

      I am still letting the cover crops I chopped down about 5 weeks ago decompose in place. There are a huge number of ladybugs in all their life stages, as well as other beneficial insects, so I’m just leaving a patch of the garden alone for them to hang out in while the rest of it is decaying into the soil. I still have carrots and onions from the winter, but all the other stuff is getting prepped for spring/summer.

      I have been trying to eradicate a patch of very invasive horseradish by digging it up and planting huge amounts of garlic. It seems to be working, though there have been a few baby horseradish plants peeking up from the soil. They come from tiny bits of the roots that broke off when I dug up the plants, but they are spindly and shallow rooted and so easy to get rid of. The garlic seems to keep some of the plants around it in a weakened state, and it seems to help.

      I had one garden bed with terrible root knot nematodes last year, and my tomato plants were really badly infested. This year, I am trying to decide between solarizing the soil in that bed or just planting a bunch of French marigolds there to try to reduce the bad nematodes. I also did three soil drenches a few weeks apart last fall using Neem oil solution, so that should help. Has anyone else had this problem? Any advice?

  11. Richard Hershberger*

    Just finished the first draft of the final chapter of my history of baseball from 1744 to 1871. This sounds pretty impressive if you assume I am writing them in order. In reality I have three chapters still incomplete: one almost done, one about half done, and one not yet started. But I am solidly on track for my September due date for the manuscript.

  12. 653-CXK*

    Sophie has a look of surprise on her face…”Hey, you scared the living daylights out of me! I was trying to stretch and you caught me midway!”

  13. Lcsa99*

    Has anyone stayed on Fire Island? My husband has been wanting to go, but we’re kinda stuck on the logistics. Can anyone give us an idea of what just getting there would entail? I am kinda picturing us having to walk miles and miles lugging our bags and cooler and everything. I know there are ferrys and expensive water taxis, but just how close do they get you? Is it more realistic to just plan a day trip, or is it a place we can realistically spend a long weekend?

    1. Loopy*

      My info is way outdated but I stayed there for a week as a teen (so 20 or so years ago) and everyone had those old fashioned red wagons to haul their stuff around in. We stayed with folks who had a place there so they had one- not sure if you can also rent one. They had a baby and we were three teens and an adult. I dont remember any issues aside from lugging our stuff when we first arrived- yes that was annoying but minimal.

      I found it very worth the experience of no cars though and look back on it fondly even now.

    2. GoryDetails*

      I didn’t stay on Fire Island so I can’t help there, but I did visit once – went to Cherry Grove with friends, via the Sayville Ferry. The dock’s smack in the middle of Cherry Grove, so not much walking needed there; don’t know how other towns along the island are situated. But I did want to recommend the Sunken Forest, which is in between Cherry Grove and Ocean Bay Park – maybe a half-mile walk from the villages. It’s an actual forest of holly and other trees, which have somehow survived in a gully between the dunes on either side of Fire Island – pretty amazing to see, rather like something from Middle Earth. There’s a boardwalk running through the Sunken Forest so it’s pretty easy strolling, and well worth a visit if you’re on that segment of the island.

    3. pancakes*

      Yes, but it’s hard to say how to get there without knowing where you’re coming from. Beautiful beaches.

        1. Westsidestory*

          Been going there for decades. You’re in Brooklyn? Take LIRR to Bayshore station snd then the ferry over to Ocean Beach. Taxis meet the train to take you to the ferry stop. (About $5 each way). LIRR had in past years offered a “package” that includes train taxi and ferry round trips to the main towns. Ocean Beach is a good first visit for a day trip because it has a lot of amenities, frequent ferry service and places for weekend rentals you can check out for a longer stay another time. You can walk on the beach from there to other communities. My favorite is Atlantique, it has a lively harbor community, nice quiet beach with clean restrooms and showers.

          The different communities all have personalities. There is much to explore and the beaches are great.

  14. Firebird*

    Finally found a new apartment but I’m concerned about the lease. It’s 32 pages long and very detailed, which could be a good thing. I really like the apartment but the lease is very intimidating.
    How common is it to need written permission to put nails in the wall to hang pictures?
    Also, there is no way to break the lease, even if you actually die. Is this normal or even enforceable?

    1. CTT*

      Definitely not common to need permission to put nails in the wall (or at least in any of the 4 leases I’ve signed). No early termination provisions are legal in some jurisdictions (in mine, you do need to carve out needing to break the lease because of domestic abuse), but I would Google your city/county and “landlord tenant law” just in case.

    2. ecnaseener*

      I’ve had leases where you couldn’t put nails in the wall period, not sure if any of them specifically said you could get written permission for an exception.

      Not sure about the rest – if you die, the landlord gets to collect rent from your estate?

        1. Clisby*

          I can remember that in only one apartment – but it had picture molding in every room but the kitchen and bathroom, so there wasn’t much reason to hammer nails into the walls.

    3. Miel*

      Ugh, it seems like landlords love to use the wildest, longest, least- sensical leases!

      I’d recommend asking if you can take out the nail part (or getting blanket permission upfront) and asking to add in a way to break the lease (with one months rent as penalty, is common).

      Also, you could just put nails in the wall and putty them up before you move out. Command hooks can work well too, but you have to read and follow the instructions to a T.

    4. Recruiter*

      Your question about breaking the lease is dependent upon where you reside. I was curious and counted up my lease document from my most recent apartment and it was 43 pages with the lease and all addendums! But in my state (Texas), they have a pretty standard lease format. Breaking the lease typically means you pay two months of rent since that’s the required notice period when you’re not renewing your lease/moving out. I was able to break a past lease by doing that when I was miserable in the apartment and it didn’t affect my credit since you’re essentially “paying them off.”

    5. WellRed*

      I would argue that If you die you aren’t technically breaking the lease ; ) I’d look for your local tenant laws. As to the nails, I’ve been lucky to avoid that, but it’s not unheard of. I think if a landlord needs a 32 page lease it’s an orange flag that they maybe won’t be great at it.

      1. fueled by coffee*

        My leases have all been ~30-40 pages, because my city has a standard lease. Half the pages are confirming that they have no reason to believe there’s lead in the paint or bedbugs in the building. Is it 32 pages of requirements from you (orange flag, like WellRed said), or is the bulk of it city ordinances about tenants’ rights and trash pick-up (very normal)?

        But yes, check into the things that concern you before signing (would they let you find someone else to take over the lease? Can you get written permission to hang pictures before signing the lease?). My guess on the “hanging pictures” clause is that they’ve had experiences with something like a wall-mounted TV pulling out the drywall, but then again my college apartment had a “no pictures” clause – we hung them anyway and then spackled the holes before moving out (but YMMV on how reasonable the landlord is about this).

    6. Not A Manager*

      Are all 32 pages actually details of your lease, or are they legally-required addendums and disclosures? I did guarantee a lease for a friend that was amazingly detailed – it listed ALL the animals you are not allowed to house in your apartment, for example. So I’d say, skim though it and see how many of those clauses realistically apply to you. Are you actually planning to have koalas in your unit, or to build open fires on the living room floor?

      Terms that really bother you, definitely do some research to see if they are normal and enforceable where you are. But the other thing to think about is what are they going to do to you if you violate the clause that’s bothering you? Obviously if they really can force you to pay a full year of rent if you break the lease, that’s one thing. (I’d definitely research that!) But for something like nails in the wall – what’s their actual remedy? Most locations either have a security/damage deposit – in which case technically they are only allowed to withhold what it actually costs to remediate any damage you’ve done to the unit, so in the case of nails it would be their cost to spackle and paint – or they have a non-refundable “move in fee” which is non-refundable whatever you do. So one thing to keep in mind if there are weird or onerous clauses is what’s really at stake for you.

    7. Cj*

      There might be things in there that protect you also from bad neighbors. Like ones you wouldnt want to live next to, and they are violating the lease which would allow your landlord to evict them.

    8. Raboot*

      My last lease definitely said no holes. I made holes anyway and just patched them before moving. Nbd.

    9. Stunt Apple Breeder*

      I have been temporarily renting after owning a home for over a decade due to 2 relocations in different states, so my leasing experience is both recent and short. One lease was clearly a standard lease from a landlord’s organization and was 4 pages front-and-back. It included some information on state law regarding renter’s rights. My current lease is the landlord’s own document, also 4 pages. It requests that I use the existing nails in the wall (there are 1-2 in each room) or ask the landlord to install additional nails. This is the only lease I have ever signed that has had this statement

    10. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      Is this a lease with an individual landlord/owner or a corporation/management? Sometimes the leases with a corporation have a one-size-fits-all lease that apply to only some of their properties or units…things like hardwood floors must be 80% covered by rugs for sound abatement, but your unit doesn’t have hard floors…or rules about fireplaces but your unit doesn’t have a fireplace. In California I have about a dozen pages of disclosures about all the things known to the state of California to cause cancer (thanks prop 65).

    11. Filosofickle*

      Last time I was given a lease agreement that required permission things like putting in nails — and forbade things like painting and hanging curtain rods — I walked away. I felt like it was a sign of a landlord that would would be unreasonable. That goes double for no way to break the lease.

    12. bratschegirl*

      In my area, a landlord has an explicit legal obligation to try to mitigate their damages from a broken lease by making every effort to re-rent the unit as quickly as possible, and if they don’t, a court is not going to look kindly on their claim that you owe them rent for the rest of the lease term. You should be able to find out whether this is true in your area. As for nail holes, pretty much every lease has that, and most people interpret that as meaning “don’t leave nail holes that I have to patch and paint over.” You can also hang all but the heaviest pictures with Command strips these days.

    13. Seeking Second Childhood, CTA*

      About the nails question only: Is it possible that this place has plaster walls? I grew up in a 1920s house with plaster walls. It is very easy to damage plaster when mounting pictures, and it is really tricky to repair especially if the surface shows original texture.
      Then I’ll throw in another complication. Antique plaster could be mixed with a binder in it. It’s commonly horsehair but occasionally asbestos. For those cases, it’s completely sealed in place behind paint and inside plaster…. but exposed if someone puts in a nail.
      So for me, that request is completely reasonable… but I would ask before signing the lease.

    14. MacGillicuddy*

      This is like the lease my son had for an apartment as a college student. It even included how long after pickup you could leave the trash cans at the curb (there was a fine). It also said the tenants were responsible for all repairs to appliances. Their oven didn’t work for the last 5 months they worked there, because the housemates couldn’t afford to have it fixed.
      Most leases aren’t like that. But I highly recommend taking photos on the day you move in (on your phone, so they have time stamps). Especially for stuff that is showing minor wear and tear so landlord can’t blame you & withhold security deposit.

      1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

        I agree on taking photos — both when you move in and move out. Also find out when any carpet/flooring was installed and the last time the apt was painted. Where I live, a landlord can’t charge for cleaning, painting or normal wear and tear on things that are beyond their “life-span” about 3-5 years. Also where I live, they have to give a leaving tenant the option of a pre-move out inspection where they note any deficiencies that may be charged to the deposit so that the tenant can fix them. I always insist on a move-in and move-out walk through with the landlord/agent even if they don’t offer it first.

  15. Cord-Cutting*

    I am amazed by the cord-cutting meditation and how well it works to get toxic people out of your head. Our minds are so powerful! The toxic person in my life is a fellow volunteer. I won’t go into too much detail, but he made my life miserable (think personal insults). He took up a lot of real estate in my head as I tried to make sense of the situation and deal with it. I resented how he disrupted something that I loved for ten years. Work that was so meaningful to me had become a nightmare. I’d heard about the cord-cutting meditation last year and gave it a try. It really helped!! I had peace for several months. Unfortunately, due to a recent incident, the same old feelings of resentment came back (it’s exhausting!!), and I held on to them for too long. I found myself on the verge of making a decision I knew I’d regret (leaving an organization whose clients I care about to get away from him). I remembered the cord-cutting meditation and realized that I not only reattached myself to him, but I also wrapped the cord around my neck. I was about to hurt myself and the clients I serve by quitting my volunteer work while he would get what I think he wanted (me gone and my position opened up). I wasn’t determined not to hang myself with that cord and give him what he wanted! I cut the cord again through meditation, and all those feelings went away. It’s an amazing technique. There are a ton of YouTube videos on it if you want to learn more.

      1. Cord-Cutting*

        This meditation is absolutely beautiful! I’m going to save it to use later when I need it. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Healthcare Worker*

      Thank you for sharing! I’m going to look into this – I feel it could make a big difference in my life. I’ve not heard of this before and am anxious to try it.

    2. Cord-Cutting*

      One of the people I had to cut the cord on was the old me. I was angry at myself for letting it get to that point with that man. The reality was I am a non-confrontational person, so I didn’t stand up to him soon enough. This empowered him to keep chipping away at my confidence and create a hostile environment for me while I walked on eggshells, not wanting to set him off. I just wanted to do my volunteer work and be left alone! I’d never met anyone like him before, and I simply didn’t have the skills to deal with him for a long time. It took a lot of self-reflection and learning to figure out what to do when you’re a target of someone like that, and it was through that process I found the cord-cutting method. I released my resentment toward the old me, who was just a trusting and gentle person who didn’t know any better. I hope you all get the peace that you deserve as well.

  16. Llellayena*

    House hunting thread! How crazy is everything for you?

    Has anyone pulled in the home inspector before putting the offer in? I’m trying to decide on going as is on a property to strengthen my bid but there is some minor evidence of past water in the basement that I’m concerned with. We’ve got the inspector coming through tomorrow, but that’s a chunk of change for a place I might not get my offer accepted on. Not awful, but I can’t do this for every property. So how do you decide when to do it and is it worth it? For reference, this is a townhome in a well kept community and the inspection will cost $450. Thanks!

    1. Fit Farmer*

      Now, I’ve only bought one house in my life, but it’s my understanding that usually there’s a 30-day (or whatever) review period for a buyer to inspect and evaluate the house, and withdraw the offer (and refund the deposit) if it is found to be unsatisfactory. Including for reasons like this–ask your realtor! I would think to just put an offer in if it’s an interesting spot, and work out the details later. I mean, there are any number of major house issues that might be discovered later in the process that you couldn’t suspect now; another person might not even notice the basement water evidence like you did, and find out later from the inspector. So I don’t think the game-plan would change because you have a suspicion that you might not want to go through with the offer on account of potential water damage. I think that’s pretty standard, at least for the properties I’ve looked at, to have some unknowns that need professional inspection but to make sure that the contract allows for inspection and withdrawal for all those counts. I’d say, wait to see if they even accept your offer, then do a thorough inspection workup.

      1. Fit Farmer*

        Ooh, now I see I think you want to enter into a contract that DOESN’T allow you to withdraw for inspection-related reasons, so they might be more likely to accept your offer. Sounds risky to me, but who knows. You could always just make the offer with no contingencies EXCEPT for that basement water. But still–you have no idea what a more thorough checkout might uncover.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          It’s because the market is so hot in so many places right now–your offer is competing against others, so “We won’t do an inspection and then renegotiate” can make your offer more appealing than a similar or slightly higher one that is open to renegotiate.

          The real estate agent who ran my local class on it strongly recommended getting an inspection, and noted that some people got around it by bringing the home inspector to a pre-offer viewing.

      2. Emma*

        I think the question here is OP is considering getting the inspection to then make an as-is offer, and the inspection might make them more comfortable doing so.
        In my area people are making as-is/no seller repair offers, and those do seem appealing to buyers, while risky in their own way. You do seem very interested in this property so hopefully your realtor can help you make the strongest bid possible for within your needs. Sending thoughts of luck your way!

        1. Clisby*

          We sold our previous house as-is, and bought our current house as-is. It definitely made a difference to us and to the seller of the current house – way easier to deal with as-is. At one point in negotiations the seller was persistent in trying to get us to raise our bid. We said, “Fine, but take out that as-is clause.” They came to their senses and took the lower amount.

          1. Camelid coordinator*

            When I was looking over offers for our townhouse I was more keen on the offers for the place as-is. I wasn’t especially interested in spending the time and energy over a back and forth related to the inspection.

            1. Clisby*

              And from a buyer’s perspective, we figured the seller’s incentive is to do any repairs the cheapest way possible that still meet the building codes, while our incentive was to do it right. So in the first house we bought, it was crystal clear it needed a new roof. No way were we going to put that as a contingency just so the seller could hire somebody to install a crappy 20-year roof and call it a day. When we sold that house, our two highest offers were: (1) as-is (2) a higher offer that would have required us, among other things, to repaint the house in a color the buyer approved (????) As is.

    2. Doctor is In*

      We had a chronic problem with water in our basement (40 some year old house that was not set up for proper drainage), and after years of fighting it, had B Dry come in which solved the problem for several thousand dollars. They dig a trench under the foundation and pump the water out. Until we had a prolonged power outage and heavy rain. Had to bail 100 gallons of water from the sump pump well by hand. If you want to have a finished lower level, water entry can be mitigated for not a horrible amount. (We could put in a generator backup for the pump but have not done so yet.)

      1. Llellayena*

        There actually already is a drain around the edge and a place for a sump pump but no pump. Even with that, there’s a stain on the floor that looks like there was a sizable puddle and a narrow crack in the concrete floor. However, even after 3 days of solid rain and a puddle in the backyard, the basement floor is dry. I’m just trying to figure out the balance between paying for the inspection before the offer and possibly going in as is or waiting until my non-as is offer is accepted, which in this market is a huge risk.

        1. Fit Farmer*

          I see. It sounds like you aren’t trying to decide whether to make an as-is offer before an inspection, which sounds risky; you’ll either pay for the inspection and then make an as-is offer or you’ll make a standard offer and inspect if it’s accepted. So the bigger-picture question here really is as you say, how to think about paying for “extra” inspections of houses that the sellers never accept your offer on. You would already, normally, be paying for an inspection of houses that sellers DO accept an offer on — that’s baked in, so those aren’t “extra” inspections. And houses that you reject after inspection and never make an offer on aren’t “extra” inspections either; that’s just like if the sellers accepted a normal offer, and then you did the inspection and withdrew your offer.

          Personally, if it were to be a big advantage to make an as-is offer, which it makes sense that it would be assuming the delay for inspection isn’t too long, it sounds like a sensible route to go down. So then I’d think…am I going to be doing “extra” inspections on, what, 4 houses? 8 houses? So if it’s just like half a dozen “extra” inspections, I’d probably think that the extra $3000 is just a cost of buying a house. Houses are already expensive to buy! It’s a bunch of money, but if it gets you a house you like, it’s a small fraction of the total money outlay for the project.

    3. Don't be long-suffering*

      Well, I’ve probably never lived in your city or state. But I did sell real estate in two states in a former life. The saying in both was, “there are hundreds of ways for the buyer to get out of a contract”. Maybe your real reason is the inspection, but that’s not the reason you use when you walk away. If I were in that market, I’d have a convo with a RE lawyer before I made any offers. Good luck!

    4. Squirrel Nutkin*

      My sis-in-law did — they wound up finding a TON of mold that would have made life in that house miserable.

    5. Anono-me*

      Can you get a look at the bylaws? Is the foundation a townhome owner responsibility or an association responsibility? Can you talk to someone in the neighborhood? (Either network to find a 2nd cousin of a friend or if you see someone who seems approachable when you are doing the evening drive by. ) They might have some information that they are happy to share.

      For what it is worth; Long ago in a different housing boom, I bought a townhouse sans inspection in a multiple offer first day in the market situation and it worked for me. It was a gamble, but for me enough of the risk was mitigated by it being a townhouse. Per our bylaws most of the big items were association responsibilities. Now days in the same situation I would reduce the risk even further with a homeowner’s warrenty. (Added at time of purchase and similar to an extended warranty on a car). It also helped that I am moderately handy and was able to rule out some basic issues in the viewing.

    6. Filosofickle*

      It’s a viable option if you’re really interested. You’re right that you can’t do it all the time, but for the right place it could be worthwhile. It would be worth it for me only if I had a great deal of certainty about the community financials and bylaws. See what you can find online. As Don’t Be Long Suffering notes, there are ways to get out of a contract and when they disclose the CC&Rs and HOA docs that’s a big opportunity. That will be “new information” that gives you a 5-day window to back out even if it’s not your real reason.

      Where I am you have to waive all contingencies to be competitive, but sellers provide all disclosures and inspections up front so you are not bidding sight unseen. You have to trust their inspections, though. At first this made me incredibly uncomfortable but now I’m seeing the benefits of it. When you see something you like you just pull disclosures and check out all the reports THEN decide if to bid and how much. It’s actually great.

      I’m in contract now! Yay! It was an off-market deal, and that’s only way I got so lucky. Still it’s a ton more than I expected to spend especially with the impact of higher rates :/

  17. Goose*

    I got my first tattoo this week and I’m obsessed!! I already have plans for more, but I’m still not sure how to tell my parents. My mom will be fine with the one, but my dad has always been vehemently against tattoos and I worry about his reaction. (I’m 30 with a very close relationship with both of them and I still desperately care what they think about me. Classic oldest child syndrome?) has anyone dealt with something similar? Not sure if I should go with a sit down or just walk in with a tank top showing it off lol

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My dad used to pitch fits about my tattoos, how blatant and obvious and unprofessional and blah blah blah, and at the time, we worked together AND I still lived with my parents. One day at work, he walked into my office, noticed a tattoo on the back of my neck. Started in. “Oh, is that why you were out late last night, blah blah.” I let him go on until he ran out of breath, then turned around and said “I actually got that one ten months ago. I didn’t realize you hadn’t noticed it yet.”

      He never said another negative word about them and I’m up to 25 now. (One of them is actually his and my mom’s handwriting, and he’s super proud of that one. :) )

      But I never particularly went out of my way to tell my parents about any of them, I just did what I was doing and wore what I was wearing and if they saw, cool, and if not, also cool.

      1. Arya Parya*

        This is what I did too. Just never told them. They’ll see them when they see them. I’ve got one on my back 7 years ago they still don’t know about. I don’t live at home and it’s always covered by clothing. They might see it later this year during a family holiday where there will be swimming. They’ll have a reaction and then will get over it. My body, my choices

      2. Sloanicota*

        Yep, I never told them (my tattoos are in locations that aren’t immediately obvious, to be fair) and then when they noticed them years later at the beach – because they are visible in a swimsuit – it was a bit late to act as if it was life-altering, since they had never even noticed before. I’m over 30 so I really don’t require their permission or approval anymore, and they are lovely kind people but this is a bugaboo for them.

      3. MEH Squared*

        Same here. I got my first when I was 25 or so and it was not noticeable. I added to them, not really caring one way or the other. My mom freaked when she saw one of my tats, but then she got her eyelids tattooed to make it look like she had permanent eyeliner when she was 60 or so. She still insists she doesn’t have a tattoo. I don’t know if my father has yet realized I have tats.

        I have four and am considering getting another one soon to commemorate a recent life-changing event. I’m 51.

    2. Wildcat*

      My mom used to be anti tattoo but after my sister got a couple she just got over it.

    3. Squidhead*

      No tattoos here but when I was 12 I got my ears pierced with my mom and she said “you’d better not ever get any more holes put in them!” And when I was 18 I got a 2nd set (didn’t need Mom for permission, but did it at the hometown jeweller on a college break) and then a 3rd set around age 20. I didn’t mention it at all, just didn’t hide it either, and Mom was like “oh, how long have you had those?” “Just today,” I replied. “Oh!” She didn’t say anything else about it…not like she could make me take it back! I wasn’t trying to “rebel” against her, I just wanted more earrings. Pretending like it was any other normal decision an adult might make about spending their money and adorning their body seemed to work, though I do think some people have more antipathy towards tattoos (both as an aesthetic choice and in terms of the cost). But again, you can’t take it back now, so if he’s going to make it his hill to die on, let him do all that work.

      (In my part of the country and in my field of work–healthcare–I would say I am in the minority by not having any visible tattoos. And that is across all types of employees at my organization, and all types of patients I work with.)

      1. Don't be long-suffering*

        I love this. ^^
        “Dad, if you’re going to make this your hill to die on, I’m going to let you do all the work.”
        Then silence, or hug him, or walk away. Just don’t talk to him about it after that. Don’t acknowledge that he’s talking about it.
        I hope they both accept your adulthood.

    4. Shiny*

      I got my first in my mid 30s and am up to three now. The first one is decorating a major, highly visible scar I have, and, somewhat surprisingly, my mom LOVES it. She thinks it was super clever. My point being, they may surprise you! Even your dad! His tune may change when he’s singing it to someone he knows, respects, and loves.

    5. Cocafonix*

      Wait until you’re fifty, ha! I never wanted a tattoo, until I did in my fifties. I’d gone to Maui and their incredible “kakau” history and design inspired me to get my own some months later. No one in my family or friend group has tattoos and all thought it odd at my age. Being older is different, but I’d say just own it. Be matter of fact about it, don’t try to hide it, make a big announcement over it, and don’t defend it. Having a “sit down” implies that you are inviting people to course correct your future decisions. Mine is in a conspicuous place. I answered the “what is it/why did you choose it” type questions for the honestly curious. My spouse’s lovely parents were tight lipped but pretended not to notice it until their grandkids piped up. To the negative reactions, I just smiled widely and said “I know it’s not for everyone but it makes me happy to see it every day.”

    6. acmx*

      My parents didn’t like tattoos either and I kept it hidden as long as I could (it was easy). My dad’s friend ‘ratted’ me out (mind you, I was in my 30s by then). I mean, he probbaly would have noticed anyways.

      I recently got my 2nd and it was on full display and sibling did not acknowledge it lol I don’t care what they think, was just amused at the complete lack of comment.

      I’d let them know whichever way you prefer. It’s your body and your decision (at least in some states). Good luck!

    7. NeonFireworks*

      I hear you on this one – oldest child, parents appalled by tattoos. I’ve found that it’s helped a lot to be cheerfully upfront about the enormous proportion of people under 40 who have them and how it’s a normal, positive thing. Big generational difference in the connotations – I suspect people born in the ’50s often jump straight to thinking about either stereotypes involving street gangs or about, well, concentration camps.

    8. mreasy*

      They will get over it eventually. Source: my parents got over it eventually, including my knuckle tattoos.

    9. Sundial*

      I was 40 when I got my first cartilage piercing and my dad pitched a fit. I just ignored it. He’s always been controlling and authoritative and that’s never going to change, but I’m no longer willing to appease him.

    10. Esmeralda*

      So I got my first tattoo when I was 38, 39. My mom had wanted to go get mother daughter tattoos back when I was 16 (in the 1970s….yeah, my mom’s amazing!), my dad was like over my dead body.

      I went home for a trip soon after getting the tattoo. I was sure dad would pop his gourd. Nope, he thought it was cool!

      Argh! I was so looking forward to that last bit of teenage rebellion…

    11. Jellyfish*

      Yep, I know that one! I’m in my 30s and recently saw a parent for the first time since I got both a large tattoo and an unorthodox haircut. I let them notice on their own and didn’t make a big deal of it myself. They asked if I was going through a delayed teenage rebellion. Not sure what I’m supposed to be rebelling against, but I cheerfully said “yes!” and that was that.

      Later on, they asked some questions about the process and art choices, but that was more curiosity than judgement. I still don’t think they approve, but I do, and that’s all that matters when it comes to my own body.

    12. Laura Petrie*

      I’m in my late 30s and have four large tattoos. I got my first 18 months ago and have definitely got the bug!

      My mum likes them which really surprised me. My dad hates them.

      I’ve got number 5 booked in for late June. I think my mum hopes I won’t get any more but it’s my body so…

      I also got my tragus pierced last year and am planning another cartilage piercing soon. I don’t think either of them like that.

    13. Batgirl*

      I say this as someone who doesn’t really like most tattoos; it’s your body! You’re an adult, you’re the person who has to live with your body and therefore make the choices about what you do with it. I can see why you’d want the people close to you to be as equally psyched as you are, but what you think about your tattoo is more important than what others think about your tattoo. If you come across as needing their approval then that’s going to read more worryingly to them; as though you’re not sure, and might regret it and that it will lead to disappointment and expense. So don’t go looking for their approval. I’m saying the obvious here: but I’m sure your parents will not love you any less because of a tattoo! With that golden rule in mind, all they’ll want to really know is that you’re sure about it, and that you’re happy. Telling them in advance would probably go down differently than when it’s a fait accompli as well.

  18. HannahS*

    How do you manage your lunches during the week? Same thing every day? Leftovers from the night before? All takeout all the time? I’m curious.

    I’ve re-started batch-cooking on the weekend, with the intention being that I have four packed lunches and one meal of scrambled eggs when I work from home. I’ve gone full neurotic on it and have made myself a nine-week cycle of meals so that I don’t get tired of any one thing. Not perfect yet (a gnome has walked off with some of my containers; I was SO hungry yesterday and bought sushi, etc.) But I’m interested to hear what other people do!

    1. Xenia*

      Sorry, I’m going to want to hear more about this gnome thing! Is that some sort of saying or was there actually an incident with a garden gnome?

      1. eisa*

        I’m guessing it was like
        “Who ate the rest of the ice cream ??” – – “Not me!” “Me neither!” – – “Ah, so I guess it must have been the gnome, then.”
        (where I am, the gnome has a name : “Pumuckl”, after a children’s TV show about a cobold who can turn invisible)

      2. Irish Teacher.*

        I think I just want to believe it was an incident with an actual garden gnome, because…that would be interesting!

      3. HannahS*

        Hahaha I wish! No, I just meant that they’ve disappeared without anyone in my household knowing where they went.

        1. Random Biter*

          I just know that somewhere in this world my missing Tupperware lids and all the socks that have disappeared from the dryer are sitting around laughing at me.

        1. Salymander*

          My college buddy had a car with gremlins. It was an ancient broken down Honda civic and was held together by my buddy’s very dodgy repairs. Pretty sure part of the engine was held together with gum wrappers and grocery store twist ties. The car required very persnickety and delicate operation of the clutch, and no one but my buddy could make the thing work. He always joked that the fast food wrappers, soda cans and assorted other trash thrown into the back of the car was really an offering to the gremlins who kept the engine from exploding. I guess if you bribe them they are less likely to mess things up! Maybe you need to bring your excel gremlins a happy meal to get them on side?

    2. time to go*

      I almost never eat out, because I’m too cheap. I try for a combo of leftovers, sometimes sandwiches or salads or soups – salad or soup that I’ve bulk-prepared. I often go with random-grabbing-as-I-walk-out-the-door : oranges, carrots, hummus and an entire box of crackers, anyone? I try to keep canned soup/nuts in my office/locker so if it gets desperate/I’m especially hungry today there’s a bit of a safety net. And, I have been known to stop on the way to work and buy a large baguette and round of brie and grapes.

    3. the cat's ass*

      I admire your planning! I do a combination of TJs premade things with leftovers and on Weds i buy my MA and myself lunch at a local place that delivers. I also try to line up dinner menus and also batch cook on the weekends. It’s exhausting.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Mostly leftovers from the night before, if there are any, packed up before I go to bed. I have a cute little Totoro bento box from Japan I use sometimes. This one—justbento.com/files/bento/images/jlist-totoro-thermal.jpg. It came from J-List, which used to sell lots of bento and kawaii stuff, but the site is all anime p*rn now. o_O

      I think when I’m working again, I’ll probably do meal prep so I don’t have to think about it every night. I can’t wait until I have my own kitchen back with my dishes and pans and stuff. I bookmarked a butt-ton of recipes I want to try.

      1. Rainy Day*

        Try J-box, it’s run by the same people but is the slightly more work-safe version (or at least it used to be)!

    5. fposte*

      I had fridge access at work and a not-too-long commute so I did a lot of frozen soups and stews. I would also bento up leftovers, which I really enjoyed. I have so many frozen soups in containers that there’s kind of a lucky dip flavor to grabbing one and at lunch going “Oh, it’s that coconut chicken curry! I *love* that one!”

    6. pancakes*

      None of the above. I buy a mixture of standards we like and things that are seasonal and/or on sale, and make what calls to me from there. My boyfriend and I are both home on weekdays and we often don’t have lunch, preferring a relatively big breakfast instead. A lot of times we have cheese and wine around 5, sometimes a fancier or more substantial snack (I like to cook), then a late dinner. When we do have lunch we’ll mostly have big salads, or some soup. I’m going to make a scaled down version of this big salad tomorrow or Monday, with little gem lettuces & watercress:

      https://amp.theguardian.com/food/2021/jul/26/simon-hopkinsons-lettuce-salad-with-eggs-mustard-cress-and-a-creamed-dressing

      I looked for the recipe in my bookmarks because I was thinking about making something with watercress – I like it a lot and it’s very spring-y to me. We also have this soup in the fridge because nettles are in season and I’ve been trying to use them as much as I can, and it’s so good. It’s probably one of the top 10 soups I’ve ever made.

      https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/wild-garlic-nettle-soup

    7. Irish Teacher.*

      I just bring a bottle of Lucozade, bread and butter and cheese, but…I have weird food habits anyway (definitely some sort of sensory issue with food or something).

    8. E. Chauvelin*

      I mostly just alternate between almond butter and jelly and turkey (or chicken) breast and swiss and an apple, with an occasional trip to the cafe or the market a couple of blocks away as a treat for a special occasion. But while any sensory issues I have regarding food tend to be more about avoiding specific disliked textures like tomatoes than about needing the same things, I don’t get tired of foods, and I find going with the regular way easier than planning out different things.

    9. Chauncy Gardener*

      Strangely, for me anyway, I’ve been craving oatmeal for lunch, so I’ve have had that almost every day for weeks (with golden raisins, maple sugar and milk). Today I did break it up and made a scrambled egg, cheese and salsa tortilla. That was really good!

    10. beentheredonethat*

      I batch cook. I make granola, roast vegetables. I take a string cheese, banana, protein drink for breakfast. We have a fridg at work. I store pot stickers, bread, shrimp.

    11. Let me be dark and twisty*

      Disclaimer: I absolutely hate cooking so I do the bare minimum to feed myself. I usually only eat out on the weekends (Friday dinner and either Saturday or Sunday). Lunch on Monday is either a PBJ sandwich or Saturday/Sunday leftovers from takeout. I cook a big meal on Monday for dinner and end up eating that dinner’s leftovers for lunch the rest of the week. My rotation is spaghetti, shepherd’s pie, a knock-off Bahama Breeze pasta/chicken thing, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf with potatoes, butter chicken with rice, and tacos. Everything’s refrigerated in tupperware. Throw it into the microwave for 2 minutes, stir, and eat. (I know you’re not supposed to keep leftovers for that long but I haven’t had an issue yet so don’t tell my doctor please.)

      If I don’t plan ahead like this, then lunches are sandwiches or Panera Bread soups from the deli section. I usually try to plan my dinners for the week so I’m not eating what I am for dinner. Like if lunch is a pasta thing, dinners will be tacos, risotto, chicken salad, etc. If lunch is meatloaf and potatoes, dinner will skew towards rice and pasta.

      (Pre-COVID, my routine was flipped. My commute was an hour each way and by the time I got home in the evenings, I had no energy to do anything. So I made big dinners on Sunday that I would eat for leftovers the rest of the week and I bought lunch from the cafeteria. I’m probably going back to this routine post-COVID on the days I have to commute in.)

    12. Little beans*

      I just returned to working in person post Covid and all of the takeout restaurants near my work have gotten so expensive! After the first week, I committed to bringing lunches. I usually try to make a big enough dinner that I have leftovers to pack for lunch, but my backup is a salami and cheddar sandwich, so I always try to keep those ingredients stocked.

    13. AGD*

      I need a better routine for this. There are almost never leftovers in my house, and I don’t buy a lot of snacks since if I’m lying around at home I’ll just mindlessly eat them. There is one excellent takeout place and one deli-and-corner-store on the way to work, but the excellent takeout place is pricey (my favourite whole meal there is $40), so this means usually gambling on the deli-and-corner-store. About a third of the time, the deli has good vegetarian-friendly options. When they don’t, I usually end up buying a large bag of chips or a box of oatmeal.

    14. mreasy*

      I work from home 4 days so it’s easier, but basically I have prepped ingredients to assemble 4-5 different meals, so I can rotate through the week. I eat the same breakfast every day, and honestly I would eat the same food every weekday.

    15. Batgirl*

      I make a couple of salad dressings for the week and a sandwich filler (mackerel pate is my favorite) on Sunday. In the evenings, I trow some bagged salad and cut up veggies like tomatoes and avocado into my Tupperware with easy prep protein like ready cooked chicken breast, leftovers, or kiln roast salmon and top with dressing (if you have a good container you can just take the dressing in separately. Sometimes I throw in a tortilla or piece of bread for an open top sandwich or wrap option that I can make from the salad. The sandwich filler can be used with either pasta, in a sandwich or in the salad.

  19. Meh*

    Brunch Help?

    We’re going to host a breakfast/brunch for another couple and their friend. I was thinking about a build your own biscuit bar (homemade buttermilk biscuits, sausage, bacon, eggs). Bloody Mary’s and mimosas.

    But what else?

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Fruit–melon, berries–is always good to balance the protein and carbs.

        Various breakfast casseroles are also trusty standbys to feed a lot of people early.

    1. Coast East*

      Once I held a paint and sip brunch, and made baked cheese stuffed French toast. Everyone raved about it, and you can prep it overnight so all you gotta do in the morning is throw it in the oven. Definitely coffee if anyone in the group is a caffeine fiend.

      Maybe some fresh fruit if any of them are light breakfast eaters?

      1. Accidental Itenerate Teacher*

        That stuffed french toast sounds amazing.
        Any chance you could share the recipe?

        1. Coast East*

          Its been a few years since I made some, but its pretty simple and can be changed easily based on the size baking pan you use. There’s several variations online.
          -thick sliced bread (this is important. Brioche cut or plain Texas toast sized slice)
          -nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, milk, eggs (1-2)
          -cheese. Cream cheese or ricotta seem like the obvious choice, but VT white extra sharp cheddar works surprisingly well.
          1) grease pan
          2) mix milk/vanilla/cinnamon/nutmeg/sugar/eggs as if you’re making regular French toast
          3) brush a hearty amount of the mix on bottom of pan or dip bread into it. Layer bottom of pan with bread
          4)brush top of bread with mixture. Add cheese on top.
          5)dip bread in mix, put on top of cheese.
          6) throw the rest of the mix on top of the bread (you now have cheese sandwiched between soggy breads in a pan). Cover and rest in fridge overnight (so the bread can really soak up those yummy flavors)
          Bake in the morning until golden and slightly crispy :)

      2. Squirrel Nutkin*

        In addition to brewed coffee, maybe some fun instant coffee/tea/cocoa options plus hot water? I’m a fan of Medaglia D’Oro instant espresso.

        1. Esmeralda*

          That stuff is the best thing for chocolate baked goods…I put it in Ghirardelli brownie mix, plus a little pinch of cinnamon and a tiny pinch of ancho powder. Killer!

    2. Squidhead*

      Seasonal fruit? Fancy coffee or tea? Gravy for the biscuits? Sautéed onions or mushrooms for the biscuits or just to put with some eggs on the side? Cheese?

    3. Not A Manager*

      Well, that sounds delicious. You could add some kind of fruit – broiled grapefruit halves, or a fruit salad, or just fruit. I personally find that brunches can get super carb-heavy, but if you’re trying for that brunch feel, sometimes people have a potato thing along with eggs and bacon. Cottage potatoes, or hash browns, or a tater tot casserole. Similarly, you might want to have a dessert option. Again, I tend more toward fruit with a yogurt sauce, but for brunch any kind of coffee cake or sweet rolls are pretty standard.

    4. MaxKitty*

      That sounds delicious! Also maybe something a bit lighter, like some mini muffins or pastries, yogurt and granola, and fresh fruit?

    5. Wildcat*

      One of my favorite foods ever is breakfast potatoes (basically just cut up potatoes baked with onions and peppers). Trader Joe’s has a good frozen option if you want premade.

      1. Jen Erik*

        That sounded so good that I googled a recipe and made them for my tea, with a fried egg on top. I will absolutely be adding them in to cooked breakfasts in future, Thank you.

    6. Sloanicota*

      One cute thing I did was make a mimosa buffet – I provided the champagne and then had blended juices of pomegranate, mango, and blood orange so people could mix their own or just enjoy the juice. People really seemed to like it, and with a miniblender it wasn’t much work at all.

    7. Chauncy Gardener*

      Blueberry muffins? They come together quickly and almost everyone loves them.
      Fruit salad? Broiled grapefruit with brown sugar on top?
      An asparagus tart? (piece of rolled out puff pastry, smear some ricotta on it, some herbs, chopped fresh asparagus and some grated parmesan. Bake at 425F until golden)
      Those biscuits sound amazing!

    8. Bluebell*

      Maybe a build your own fruit yogurt Parfait, or just a simple fruit salad and yogurt on the side.

    9. Esmeralda*

      For something savory: steam asparagus and serve it room temp. Lemon wedges on the side, or lemony mayo.

      Big bowl of strawberries, big bowl of creme fraiche or sour cream, bowl of brown sugar.

      You could make a fruit salad instead, but whole strawberries are easier and tidier and everyone will love dipping them into the cream and/or sugar. If there are kids at your do, this would be a big winner with the kids.

      Brownies or even mini chocolate bars.

      Biscuit bar, what a great idea!

      1. pancakes*

        Or roasted asparagus with shards of good Parmesan. I think that will keep better longer at room temp.

    10. Meh*

      Thanks for the suggestions everyone! My thought was to add potatoes (either a hash or diced) but then I worried it would be carbs on carbs :) I’ll still do and the asparagus tart sounds amazing!

      We have a Jura coffee/espresso machine but I’ll set out the electric kettle and teas for an option.

      I’ll definitely add some fresh fruit and maybe a sweet baked good.

      If anyone was wondering the biscuit recipe (which has never failed me) is from Bon Appétit, BA’s Best Buttermilk Biscuits. I’ll link it.

  20. Getting Old*

    Anyone have experience with lessening the appearance of wrinkles?

    I’m in my early 30’s and noticed a couple lines going across my forehead back in December. It looks pretty bad. I’ve been using a lot of extra moisturizer because I thought my skin was just dry, but it hasn’t helped. Reading about what to use online and looking at various brands was a bit overwhelming (apparently I should have started using botox years ago?!) because I’m used to having a simple skincare routine. I was wondering if you guys have a favorite product you use for wrinkles that you got good results with?

    I don’t wear make-up, and use Cerave moisturizing cream, Cerave hydrating cleanser, sunscreen, and Tretinoin (I’ve been using it a few years for acne–tried to stop using it for a few weeks but the acne started coming back).

    1. CrazyPlantLady*

      Honestly, the only thing that works to get rid of wrinkles once they’re there is botox. I’ve been getting it since I was 27, and I’m 34 now. It’s definitely an upkeep, but worth it IMO.

      Something that helps for sure but it takes a long time to see results is a retinoid cream, this is the prescription kind you can only get from a derm (like treninoin). Retinol and retinoid are 2 different things, and retinol is over the counter, and is much, much less effective. So much that I wouldn’t even bother with it. It takes a good 6 months to a year to see results, and they’re not going to be as effective as botox. But I still swear by it and when I see other gals my age, I’m definitely glad I started the retinoid products years ago! It will also help you have glowing, lovely skin. This with botox is a great combo :) You will see skin texture and overall complexion results very quickly with a tretinoin prescription.

      The only thing moisturizer does is it can help the appearance of wrinkle if you have super dry skin. It will not get rid of them.

      1. Getting Old*

        The tretinoin didn’t help with my acne scars, and it apparently didn’t do anything to help with wrinkles, so I’ll definitely steer clear of retinol if that’s actually less effective. Thank you for the warning!

        I guess I should clarify that I’m looking for products I can buy and use by myself (so not stuff like botox or lasers that you have to make multiple doctor appointments for).

          1. Getting Old*

            Just don’t like the idea of injecting chemicals in my face or having to go to appointments for anything. I have a chronic medical condition (not skin-related) that I already spend time dealing with, and don’t want more medical appointments and expense on top of that.

        1. CrazyPlantLady*

          Also, the tret can take a long time to work and you have to be consistent. How long did you use it for? My prescription is currently for 0.1%, what strength was yours?

          1. Getting Old*

            I’ve been using .05% gel for about four years (I’m using it for acne so never had a reason to keep “upping” the dosage after it started working). Was using it every other night, but switching to every third or forth night right now since it seemed like it was drying out my skin.

            1. Chauncy Gardener*

              Maybe see if you can get the .1% and use it on your forehead every night?
              There’s also these wipes called Bliss That’s Incredapeel. I get them on Amazon and it’s like a peel. I cut the wipe in half and use half one night and half another, or use the second half on my poor hands.
              Then I exfoliate quite a bit too. I just use the St Ives apricot scrub from my grocery store

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I think you are interested in topicals, so this may not be to the point. But hydration is super important and it gets more so with each decade. Hitting the same amount of water each day can make a difference in your skin and how you age. I take half my body weight and that is the number of ounces I drink daily. If you are no where near this- and most people aren’t- work your way up over a period of weeks.

      The other thing to do is to add small amounts of health oils to your diet daily.

      We can put stuff on top of our skin, but we need stuff under our skin also, or else we can end up spending big bucks on endless products. Happily water helps with organ function, brain function and a bunch of other good “side effects”.

      I started getting water aware in my 30s. I am 60 now. From what I am seeing dehydration problems at 60 are far more demanding than dehydration problems at 30. It’s not a waste of time making daily water a life habit.

      1. Getting Old*

        I do the “drink at least half my body weight in ounces” thing too! Love my 32 ounce water bottle (I didn’t drink nearly as much when I had a 16 ounce water bottle).

        What are health oils? Like using olive oil when preparing food? Or like vitamin E pills?

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Google to make sure you have the current thinking on this.
          I was using olive oil then I read that you shouldn’t really heat it up too much. So I have olive oil for salads.

          I keep changing oils and my current addiction is avocado oil. This is too weird. I just drool at the thought of avocado oil. For years I used safflower oil that appealed to me for a long time. I don’t get the avocado thing, but here we are.

          I avoid corn oil as much as possible. I also avoid oils in plastic containers. I try to aim for color glass bottles. It’s a little spendy, but so are prescriptions. I have a mindset of we pay now or we pay later. The problem with paying later is the pain and discomfort costs. I’d rather try to get in front of the problem rather than wait until a doc is needed.

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        Question from someone who is nowhere near drinking half her weight in ounces of water: Does your research indicate that it’s better not to replace the water with other “mostly healthy” clear liquids such as tea, skim milk, or flavored seltzer? I’m trying to increase my water intake but not doing very well at present.

        By “mostly healthy” I mean:
        – no artificial flavors or colors
        – neither real nor artificial sweeteners
        – neither caffeine nor alcohol (although what alcohol fits this description? vodka??)
        – milk only if the drinker doesn’t have lactose intolerance or other reasons to avoid cows’ milk

        1. MJ*

          I generally can’t stand plain water, but a couple years ago I had cucumber water at a restaurant. They shaved thin slices (like using a peeler/cheese slicer) and let them float in the pitcher. I’m lazy, so after the first couple times I just cut the cucumber into half inch chunks. I freeze them and throw a handful into my water bottle to act as ice cubes. I’ve recently branched out to mango chunks and figure I’ll incorporate other fruit this summer.

        2. Not So NewReader*

          My doc drilled it into my head, only water is water. To me it resonated because why add more stuff in to water if you are using water to help your body work. Your body just has to process the seltzer, milk, whatever to access the water it so desperately needs, that’s extra work for my already unhappy body. I had lots of stuff going on with my body- I decided that I needed to give my body a reprieve and just use plain water.

          I was a big soda baby. Oh my. Had to have my soda. As I walked back from all that, I started realizing that I had some sort of weird attraction to the bubbles. Then I started having thoughts about how I “missed” the bubbles… ugh. Way too much going on there. I kept stepping back from soda and the last soda I had I noticed how I felt a little off for days afterward. And that sealed it. I just stopped having those last random sodas. It took about a year or so and I even stopped saying, “I’d love a soda but no…..”. I just lost interest. I think the fizzies were a form of addiction for me.

          So I do some research but not overkill. I do enough to decide do I feel safe trying X or Y. I have people around me that I can discuss things with also. Then I go ahead and try. I am very results based. If I can get good results from something then I continue. The doc said to pay attention to how I feel and that is really what kept me on course. I needed to get up, go to work, run a household, etc. He was even a fan of keeping a written journal so I could keep on track. I did not do the written part. I just changed one thing at a time so I could see how I felt. For example, when I quit milk I felt instantly better. Those results came up FAST, I knew by the end of the first week milk was over for me.

          I use herbal teas. I find that there is such a thing as having too much fluid. If I drink my water quota I can’t drink tea all day because I will get up a couple times in the night. And I don’t feel comfy on the inside.

          Everyone has trouble getting in enough water, I think. My friend does not allow herself anything else until she finishes her water allotment for the morning or afternoon. She figures on x amount in the morning and x in the afternoon. She can have her tea or whatever once she finishes her water allotment for that time period.

          I know I must drink my water. Do I remember? heck no. I started measuring it out as part of my morning routine. I have it lined up on my counter and I can see how I am doing all day long. I do much better with visuals- hahaha. I use mason canning jars with plastic lids.

          I also agree that water is not very exciting to drink. The doc suggested floating a slice of lemon in the water bottle as that would actually be beneficial. Sometimes I do that. Or slices of orange or my fav- kiwi.
          I like the cucumber idea and I will try that soon.

          I did settle on the fact that water will never be a taste bud delight for me. I will never be all excited about having a glass of water. But I never get all excited about paying my taxes, making my bed and so on. Some things are just not that exciting. It nice to be able to function, go about my day, trust my body to work correctly as needed and all that stuff.

          Just keep trying, add things to your mix, try different approaches until something clicks for ya. I am a fan of doing one change at a time so I can see clearly if it is working or not. I have been doing this for decades and I still have to make tweaks in how I handle it in order to keep me on track. I guess that’s not so unusual.

          1. I take tea*

            We put out water in the evening in several pitchers and glass jars. Something about it when it has stood overnight and formed small bubbles makes it easier to drink. Somewhere I have read that it contains more oxygen that way, no idea if it’s true. But I find it easier to drink when it’s room temperature and has been overnight.

            Also, when you see it it makes it easier to remember to drink it. I do it at work too.

    3. Reba*

      If you can tolerate tretinoin then you should do well with retinol products. Something gentler would be products with peptides. Serums are really popular, but there are definitely good moisturizers with these ingredients for one-step options.

      It does take weeks for these things to show effects, and the changes are gradual but they do work! Not as instant as botox I suppose, but less risk.

    4. Swisa*

      I like retinol, and am slowly working up to increasing my frequency percentage. I use Paula’s choice 0.3%.

      I try to manage my expectations. I’m not planning to do Botox, so I’ll definitely have wrinkles. But this seems to make them slightly less noticable. Right now i try to do retinol 2-3x/week.

      I recommend Caroline Hirons’ skincare book. She extensively discusses things like retinol and what you can realistically expect from that vs Botox and fillers.

      I got it at the library and liked it so much I bought it.

    5. osmoglossum*

      Gua sha is awesome for smoothing out lines. I bought my stone from the Cecily Braden shop and did their online class — it’s really comprehensive. Also, red LED, like LightStim or QuasarMD, works really well.

    6. Emma2*

      Moisturiser typically adds oil to your face (or helps to hold in the oil) – which is a good thing. I would also add hyaluronic acid (I typically use a hyaluronic acid serum from The Ordinary, which is reasonably inexpensive) – this helps with hydration, ie keeping water in your skin. You need both oil and water (hyrdration) to keep your skin looking good. Hyaluronic acid is very mild, so very unlikely to irritate your skin.

    7. RosyGlasses*

      Gua sha is a great method for reducing wrinkle appearance and avoiding them in the future. There are a ton of videos online – but I bought the Wildling stone and went thru their 21 day series and saw a noticeable difference.

    8. Elle Woods*

      I’ve had really good luck with Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Serum. It’s kinda pricey ($75 for 1 oz.) BUT it works wonders and you only need 2-3 drops a night. A bottle usually lasts me 8-10 months. I’m in my mid-40s and wish I’d started using it earlier. It’s made a noticeable difference in my skin (softer, healthier looking, and my wrinkles are less pronounced).

    9. Holly the spa pro*

      Hello- esthetician here! If you can afford it, get a professional facial. Having some look closely and touch your skin is very valuable to determine what ingredients might work best for your skin. Trying to trial and error products gets expensive quickly. Here are a couple tips aside from that:
      When trying new products take a before picture and use the products for 3-4 weeks diligently, then take another pic. It’s hard to notice changes when you look at your face every day.

      The only way to get instant results is botox and fillers and its expensive. I know you already said you were averse to that anyways.

      Look into LED light therapy for wrinkles (my spa uses the celluma led device, check out their website. Lots of good info there). It’s also good for acne and pain/inflammation. The device is expensive but spas that use it will usually offer a package of treatments so you dont have to commit to buying one.

      Are you exfoliating at all? If not, your products might not be penetrating and dead skin and residue can make the fine lines more noticeable.

      Consider investing in higher quality products. This will totally depend on your budget and also why I recommend getting advice from a pro because it’s an investment. But in general, drug store products have a lot of filler ingredients and few actives so you may get better results from something of a higher quality. A good compromise is to use higher quality serums and moisturizers but a lower quality cleanser if cost is a factor.

      The type of products that will work best for you might depend on your skin. For example, most retinol are too drying for me but I have great results with hyaluronic and peptides. If you are not super dry, that might not be the case for you . You don’t need to go to a dermatologist for any of this unless you have extremely problematic skin.

      Sorry for the wall of text, I hope any of that helps! Let me know if you have any questions, I’m 36 and feeling your pain on the fine lines. Now is a great time to start your anti-aging regimen, don’t let anyone tell you you waited too long.

    10. Batgirl*

      Have you tried looking up Caroline Hiron’s advice? She has a lot to say about your specific concerns and she really helped me when I got my first wrinkles! I don’t see them any more. Some of her recommendations are quite expensive; I would say the best tips I got from her that are free/mid range are 1) use a non foaming cleanser (body shop Chamomile balm is my favorite) 2) use a hot flannel or washcloth to remove it as a pre exfoliating measure 3) Use an acid pad to prep for your serum and moisturizer (I like vitamin c pads for everyday exfoliating and Pixi Glow Peel Pads weekly because you wash the glycolic off to keep it mild but you still get the oomph and plumpness of the peel) and 4) your serum is more valuable than your moisturizer. I like Pixi Rose Caviar which is so moisturizing I often just use that as a lightweight gel moisturizer.

  21. I'm A Little Teapot*

    Update on last week’s plea for assistance with Arwen, the kitty who pees on the house. Arwen has started medication to treat anxiety and see if that helps. It will take more time to see if it makes a difference, but so far she seems to be tolerating it well. She doesn’t like taking meds, but too bad!

    1. Double A*

      Good luck! I’ve had good luck with the “sandwich” method for meds. I give them a couple treats, then the pill, then a couple more treats.

    2. Salymander*

      Good luck! I hope it works well for Arwen.

      You might want to add extra water to her food. Some of the meds for cat anxiety cause stress to the kidneys, and the extra water can help. Or so our vet told us. So, our cat gets soup instead of dry food, but she seems to like it. We didn’t know about this with our old cats, and one of them did develop kidney problems. She was on special food and had to be given subcutaneous water injections every few days. That didn’t help her anxiety much, though she liked being snuggled while the water was injected.

  22. Getting Old*

    The tretinoin didn’t help with my acne scars, and it apparently didn’t do anything to help with wrinkles, so I’ll definitely steer clear of retinol if that’s actually less effective. Thank you for the warning!

    I guess I should clarify that I’m looking for products I can buy and use by myself (so not stuff like botox or lasers that you have to make multiple doctor appointments for).

    1. Dwight Schrute*

      How long did you use the tret and what was your dose? It can take MONTHS to see a difference and you usually start slow and titrate up to an effective dose. It’s not usually effective until you hit about 0.025 and higher and use it multiple times a week for a very long time

      1. Getting Old*

        I’ve been using tretinoin for about four years. I started out with a weaker cream version for the first few months, but have been using the .05% gel every other night since then. Switching to using it every third or forth night now since I don’t know if it’s drying out my skin.

        1. Dwight Schrute*

          It could be the culprit! Have you thought about trying The Agency? It’s like Curology but for anti aging rather than acne. Hope you find something that works for you!

    2. mreasy*

      Please note, retinoids are very effective but can cause hair loss/hairline thinning in areas near application. I learned the hard way.

      1. Sundial*

        Would you mind expanding on this? Any way to prevent it or walk it back? Petroleum barrier, etc.?

  23. bibliovore*

    It’s happening. The bathroom renovation. The ground level/lower level, walkout
    To recap. I really really really want to soak in hot water. up to my neck, two to three times a day.
    I have picked a tub MTI Kalia 2 Bathtub (48″ x 48″ x 33.25″) or Americh Beverly 4040- no jets or things like that. Just soaking.
    It will depend on what the contractor says on Wed. about the space- he will be taking down a wall and expanding the footprint.
    He is bringing the plumber and electrician with him.
    He sent an estimate with a breakdown- I can afford this.
    Fancy Toto toilet.
    There will be heated floors and a separate shower-(no threshold)
    Floating vanity.
    Commentariot !
    What should I keep in mind when talking to the Contractor?
    Have you redone a bathroom?
    What do you wish you had done that you hadn’t ?
    What did you compromise on that you wish you had hadn’t?
    What did you spend money on that you wish you hadn’t?
    Things I should watch out for?
    What brings you joy about your bathroom?

    What I am most worried about- there is nowhere nearby to actually see these tubs and sit in them.

    1. fposte*

      I haven’t, so I’m following your progress with keen interest. I have a similar problem with some things I’m considering (more for kitchen than for bathroom), in that nobody anywhere near me has the full sized version to see in person. That’s an amazing superpower, isn’t it? “I like this uncomplicated looking one here.” “Ah, that’s the special slimline style that’s only viewable in our showroom in the Marianas.”

      I have two small bathrooms and will likely be doing work on both in the next couple of years. I don’t think there’s a reasonable way to change their footprint so I won’t be doing a shower without threshold, which I’d considered; I’ll probably just upgrade the cosmetics and get grab bars in at various locations. I just had to get a new toilet and that set me back more than expected, so I’ll have to sit down and breathe deeply before committing to other bathroom stuff.

      1. fhqwhgads*

        Right there with ya. I spend more time than I probably should daydreaming about if it’s at all possible to squeeze some more space out of my two bathrooms, but logically I know it’s probably a nope. We’ll end up doing the cosmetic things because no one in my house likes these bathrooms as-is, but we’ve also sort of been putting it off because it’s going to be disappointing to redo it, but still have some of the functional issues- because of where plumbing and doors are and how not really feasible it is to move them – still there afterward.

    2. Ali G*

      As a smaller woman that moved into a house with a giant free-standing tub, they can be too big. Mine uses all the hot water to fill it up and it’s kind of precarious to get in and out of. It’s also a pain to clean since I cant reach across it from one side to the other. If you do go big, make sure you have some non-slip mats around it for safety, and definitely have nozzle on a flexible hose for cleaning.

      1. Generic Name*

        I’m a small woman, and another thing I love about my bathroom is the contractors sized it specifically for me. He installed some floating cabinets a bit lower and the soaker tub is a narrow one.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, I’m a smaller woman myself so that’s good to think about. There will likely be a replacement medicine cabinet and maybe it can hang lower.

      2. M&M Mom*

        Agree with you, Ali G. The tub really is a pain to clean. And for the first time in my homeownership, I have glass shower doors. No matter what I try, they never look clean enough for me.

    3. MissGirl*

      I did my small bathroom but since I wasn’t reconfiguring anything, I did most of the work myself. I used to work in plumbing supply so I have strong opinions on toilets and faucets. I highly agree with the Toto toilet. Do not buy a faucet at a warehouse store; go to a plumbing store. The faucets at Lowes and Home Depot are cheaper versions made specifically for them. They break more often and parts are harder to come by.

      Figure out what your priorities are and what aren’t and spend money accordingly. Because of the above strong opinions, I got the black iron Moen faucet I wanted despite its price. It looks dang good. I was able to get matching towel and toilet paper holders cheaply on Amazon. I wished I’d had the money to replace the tub and surround as that’s the only part now undone. I did the cheapest Toto toilet. All of them are the same quality just different features. My bathroom is small so I went small. Some people care about a high toilet due to height or elongated for men so give that some thought.

      The only thing I paid someone to do was the tile. I figured it would take a long time for me to figure it out and there were tons of cuts around the supply lines (in the floor), toilet, and tub. Although that was twice as much as I thought it would be, I don’t regret it. I also saw how much work it was for him and figured it would be 3xs as hard for me.

      Everything is taking longer now so pick stuff out as quickly as possible and order the parts and labor immediately. It took me a few months to choose tile and when I did, I found it was a four-month wait for everything. I had to redo my choices and find someone else on the fly.

    4. Generic Name*

      Be sure there’s enough lighting at the mirror over the sink. Even if no one in your house wears makeup, it’s useful to have bright lighting. I redid my master bath about 5 years ago, and I absolutely love it. I have a lot of the features you have. Heated floors are the best, and it’s the thing I love most about my bathroom.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I have just beefed up what is already in place- new pipes, new paint, more insulation and that type of thing.

      I googled these two types of tubs because this is really interesting. You are living my dream. ha! Speaking from my own perspective, I’d want safety bars for getting in and out of the tubs. The pictures I saw showed the tubs IN the floor. Typically we see tubs ON the floor and climb over the edge to get into them. It could be that you have a different set up. So safety rails because I am thinking of my whole house as an “aging in place” project.

      The other things I think about with a really different tub are:
      Does the tub have a textured surface for better foot traction?
      How will I clean the tub once in place?
      And how deep will the water be on me once I am seated in the tub?

      Under things to watch for the first thing that comes up in my mind is “ease of repair”. Are there shut offs for each fixture? How easy will it be to access the relevant plumbing to fix a leaky faucet or a clogged drain? (Sorry, I sound cynical, but I have been with this house for 30 years this year and I know stuff gets tired and gives up. Then I have to pay someone to fix it. I lived in FEAR that something would break in my shower as that would mean tearing a part a wall. I now have a removable panel plumbers can take out to access the shower plumbing.)

      Under my favorite things that I have done — well, the panel that I mentioned above. And we put extra insulation in the ceiling over my bathroom. After years for freezing in there, I now have a warm toasty bathroom every morning. There is a ridiculous amount of insulation in the ceiling over the bathroom. But since my bath is not large this was not super spendy to do. And I enjoy that DAILY! lol.

      Other than that the most important thing to me is space. I like having a place to hang my fresh clothes that I will be putting on. I have a built in hamper and I enjoy that. There is plenty of counter space. This is great because my bathroom can turn in to a small ER in times of injury/illness. I have space to spread out bandaging materials and other supplies. I have helped friends with bandages and there is enough space for the two of us and our gear. Super helpful.

      Storage space is a little low. For example, when I started hoarding TP I had to put it in another room. It would not fit in the bathroom cabinets- even my modest few extra packages.

      Don’t forget an exhaust fan. But your people should be reminding you because fans are not unusual.

      1. bibliovore*

        Yes, Grab bars everywhere!
        Alas it will not be in the ground, so there will be a surround built .
        Both tubs have ADA non slip surfaces.
        The bathroom will open into the laundry room so lots of storage.
        Great idea about the access- in our old apartment the shower tile was torn apart when there was a pipe leak.
        the water will be up to my neck- trading water depth for easy accessibility.
        The idea is that I can sit on the surround swing in.
        There is a built in bench in both so can get out easily.
        And of course grab bars everywhere.
        thanks for reminding me- hooks that are my arms reach not the contractors! (ask me how I know)
        I will put some links to pictures in the comments to this

          1. WellRed*

            Omg that square one is gorgeous! Awfully big looking though so if you really want to soak three times a day, how many gallons of water is that?

            1. bibliovore*

              I know. I’m pretty sure it will be only one bath a day. I tend towards hyperbole.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            VERRRRY nice. I am sure you will enjoy that. I am living this vicariously now. hahaha.

            My last thought is to try getting in and out of the tub BEFORE the contractor packs up and leaves. Do it with clothes on and a dry tub. They don’t have to watch you, of course. But just run a practical double check to make sure you have all the safety stuff you want.

          3. Hey it’s Teatime*

            I stayed in a vacation condo with the Americh Beverly once, and it felt extremely constricting because the circular tub diameter is actually quite small, so there’s limited room for the legs, yet the seat is low so you are in a crouch rather than a sit. I would 100% go for the square Kalia because it’s already bigger overall, but more importantly the whole footprint is tub and you’d be able to extend your legs on the diagonal if you want.

            1. bibliovore*

              Oh THANK YOU! I was afraid of exactly what you had observed.
              I do want the square one!
              I don’t know what plan b is if that doesn’t work.

      2. bibliovore*

        Thank you all for your advice.
        There is a Team Bibliovore-
        The contractor came highly recommended. (grief councelor/concierge)
        I have personally seen his work.
        I have not met with him alone- friends (who have had renovations) are with me to remind me of what questions to ask like who gets the permits, seeing insurance etc
        Grief has given me short term memory loss.
        (I couldn’t remember the contractors name or where I put his contact information)
        Another set of friends will be here on Wed. morning.

    6. Atheist Nun*

      I had my apartment bathroom renovated in 2011 with the help of a general contractor and a designer. Here is my 11 year old experience:

      What should I keep in mind when talking to the Contractor? I think it is the nature of their business that general contractors always have multiple simultaneous ongoing/overlapping projects. That means that they are constantly multitasking and distracted, and by the time most (but not all!) of your project is complete, their attention has moved on to the next client. Keep in touch with them and regularly inspect their work during the process. Make sure you withhold some of the payment until the final walkthrough/punch list.

      What do you wish you had done that you hadn’t ? I selected textured wall tiles that I loved (Porcelanosa cubica), despite the designer warning me that there is no good way to clean them. Of course she was right.; they look a bit grungy and greasy now. I am really looking forward to replacing them soon with some traditional flat tiles.
      Everything about my bathroom brings me joy. I love the lighting (overhead lights and wall fixtures on either side of the sink). I added a built-in magnifying mirror that extends on an arm from the wall next to the sink, and it is fantastic for applying makeup and tweezing. I opted for a flushometer toilet because I needed strong water pressure in my high rise apartment, but I have always found flushometers to be very ugly, especially the metal flush handle. Instead I asked the contractor to install an infrared flush on the new Toto toilet. It is awesome! When I finish using the toilet, I close the lid (it is a soft touch, slow close lid, which is great), and that motion triggers the flush. Perhaps it is an odd thing to say but: I really love my toilet.

      I do not feel like I compromised on anything, and although it was an expensive renovation with all new fixtures, to me it was worth every penny. I am so lucky that in 2011, there were no supply chain delays, so everything I wanted was in stock. The project went slightly over budget because of unexpected issues. I wanted the electricals updated, and when the workers stripped the walls down to the studs, they found all kinds of unsafe wiring. I think there was also an unexpected leak into the apartment below that needed to be addressed. There are always going to be surprises, so keep some money reserved for that.

      The changes I want to make now, besides the aesthetic decision about the wall tile, are to future proof the bathroom because I hope to live here for a couple more decades. I was 39 when I renovated, so I had not anticipated what menopause would be like! I would now love to install some kind of wall or ceiling fan to cool the space. (My building does not have an active exhaust system.) I also worry about access to the bathtub when I grow older and less mobile. Way into the future (10 more years?) I might consider a step in shower.

    7. Maryn*

      IMO, it’s worth a day trip to see and sit in the tubs you are considering. I agree that a tub can be too wide and difficult to get out of (although the grab bars you plan will help a lot).

      Your floating vanity means no storage space, right? Be sure that’s going to be no problem. Do you have another place to store OTC drugs, cosmetics, beauty care, spare soap, your hairbrush, towels, etc.?

      One thing I wish I’d considered was better lighting, for reading in the tub (no hardcovers!) and for seeing what I’m doing with my razor in the walk-in shower. Even mid-day, the bathroom is fairly dim.

      Regrets? Paying quite a bit for marble baseboards. They’re very nice, but are they that nice?

    8. Sundial*

      We installed a giant corner Jacuzzi tub and the first thing our contractor did was march us down to the basement and check our water heater. It was not nearly big enough to support frequent tub use and still keep up with household needs, so we replaced it with two water heaters in a row (and got an inline filter/softener on the incoming line while we were having the system replumbed). It’s great because the first one in line serves as the sacrificial anode, so when it gives out, we still have hot water.

      So, my first question is: can your household system stand up to this heavy use?

    9. California Dreamin’*

      We just last month finished total remodels on all three of our bathrooms! Just a couple things I’ll mention: we put a fold-down bamboo bench in the shower in our master, and it’s very nice for leg shaving and foot washing. It looks really great. One thing I wish I’d done… we didn’t put a recessed light in one of the showers because that bathroom was already going to have a beautiful ceiling fixture and a 4-light fixture above the sink, so in theory there’s plenty of light. But because the shower is kind of a nook with three walls, it still feels a little dim in there. And last thing… we had chosen all the materials and fixtures several months before work started (supply chain!), and when we were just a week away from demo on the master (with one bathroom already done and another well underway) I suddenly got cold feet about the tile (floor and shower) that we’d selected for the master. I loved the tile that was going in in bathroom #2 and realized I should’ve done something more like that in mine. I called the contractor and was like uh, I can’t install this tile I’m having second thoughts about, I need to make a change. I’m so, so happy that I did that rather than plunging ahead with the plan! Good luck and enjoy your remodel!

      1. bibliovore*

        yes there will be a seat in shower .
        thank you for reminding me about the shower light!
        This will be a must have.
        Making a checklist .

    10. Texan In Exile*

      * Bidet: We visited a friend in Spain who lives in a very old, very cold house. In lieu of a daily shower, which would have cost a lot of $$ (she has spot pricing for electricity), I found the bidet to be very useful.
      * Heated towel rack: I have stayed in places with heated towel racks and they are wonderful.
      * Heated toilet seat: When we first moved into our (old, cold) house, I woke up when I had to pee at night because the toilet seat is so cold. We looked at heated seats, but they were too expensive, but we did get a wooden seat and it does not get as cold as porcelain.

        1. bibliovore*

          this is the one I am thinking about
          Drake Elongated 1.28 gpf Two-Piece Toilet with Washlet+ S550e Auto Flush in Cotton White – ADA Compliant

          1. Texan In Exile*

            Cool! (Although I want to redesign the Toto website – they are wasting all that valuable real estate without delivering their key messages!)

    11. bibliovore*

      HEY! can someone tell me the benefits or deficits in toilet shape.
      The salesperson at the fixture store said “of course you want an elongated toilet”
      “Of course?”
      Do I?
      I have no idea.
      AND they were very sure that there was some “horror” to a two piece toilet that you see the shape of the pipe.
      That never bothered me.
      In fact I never thought about it at all.
      Should it?

      1. Sundial*

        The benefits of an elongated toilet are hard to discuss within the limits of the type of conversation Alison prefers here.

        Let’s just say my husband has a strong preference for elongated, as would most tall men, because sitting down may lead to difficulties keeping both front and back within bounds.

        1. bibliovore*

          oh my goodness! Thank you for sharing. I am glad I didn’t google it. Elongated it is with an eye to “resale value”

        2. Toilet Sitter*

          Can you visit a number of public restrooms and have a seat on a number of seats, to form an opinion? Personally I am a tall male-bodied person and have never liked the elongated style; maybe just because we had round seats growing up, and I like the feeling of support around all sides rather than feeling only supported by the left and right edge, which is what the elongated seats feel like to me. And the elongated seats just scream “Public Bathroom!!” which is not the feeling I’m going for at home. It just seems like personal preference for me, not one that’s inherently better. I almost always sit down to use the toilet and I’ve never noticed any difference in functionality of the long vs round style.

    12. Fit Farmer*

      I’ve never done such a high-end renovation — I’m still on “make this exterior wall not leak” and “add a dishwasher.” But even in these relatively simple projects, it’s become clear that choosing the materials, the design, the appliances and fixtures is one thing; building it is another thing entirely. Some actual person has to actually, with their own two hands, install all of those bits and pieces properly and skillfully, in the right order, with as few surprises as possible, in order to actually turn such an ideal plan into reality. Once you have a good plan, it’s the contractors’ skill that determines whether the execution is good or left wanting. Not all people are as experienced as others; not all have as much attention to detail; none of them will live with the results for years in their own house the way you will. I’ve found it best not to blindly defer to their experience, even though they know much more than I do. It’s been important in many minor but consequential ways to be around as much as possible when contractors are doing anything at all — there are always questions now and then that I am glad to answer rather than leave them to make up an answer, things I see that are about to happen that I’d rather happen a different way, imperfections in craftsmanship I can ask them to make a little bit better. Perfection is impossible, and everyone who creates a physical project has to decide how good is “good enough.” It’s best if you can be around to make sure the tolerances are to your liking.

      1. bibliovore*

        Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
        I have had the unusual experience when our porch was built.
        Oddly I happened to be home and the workman who was placing the cinderblock foundation misread the specs from the contractor and added an extra row.
        I insisted it was wrong and had to be taken off immediately before it set-
        I knew it was too high because if I was sitting down I wouldn’t be able to see the yard.
        Called the contractor- showed him on my cell phone.
        Unbelievably I was right.

  24. Shiny*

    I am buying a house (condo) in one of the most expensive markets in the US. I have a budget, which in most other markets would be quite reasonable, and am trying to balance space and location. My realtor kept sending me gorgeous 550 square feet places, which I cannot possibly make work!

    I’m a first time buyer, doing this alone, and I’m very nervous. I make a good salary but I just switched jobs a few months ago. I’m settled in the area but my job has potential for stays of several months’ at least duration (I could even be posted somewhere else for a year or more). Will I be able to rent it out if that happens? Do I want to?

    I’m moving to a very near suburb, but still feel like a sellout, despite being squarely middle aged. Basically, I’m freaking out, and I would love to hear the wisdom and experiences of the crowd, or at least what got you through the first time home buying process!

    1. Can't think of a funny name*

      I’ve only bought single family homes so I’m no expert, lol but with condos, make sure you ask about monthly fees (HOA, etc) and find out what you are responsible for paying and what the condo association pays and ask about their reserves…like is there going to be a large assessment to cover something like replacing the roofs that hasn’t been properly funded.

    2. No Tribble At All*

      If the market’s that tight, you’ll definitely be able to rent it out. But if it’s a 1bd condo, and you’ll have all your stuff in it, and you’ll be far away you might need a property manager… idk I’m in a similar situation re: renting out a condo and it hasn’t seemed worth it to me.

    3. Ali G*

      Your condo building HOA will have rules about whether or not you can rent it out. A lot won’t allow it because buildings with high percentage of renters have lower value and can make it harder to get a mortgage.

    4. everytime is coffee time.*

      I’m in a condo, which is one apartment in a block of apartments (flats/units) that I own – I have both upstairs and downstairs neightbours. One of my neighbours does travel a lot – when she was gone for a year she had a management company rent it out as a furnished unit. One thing to consider if you go away for awhile is to give keys to your neighbours etc. Our units have several inspections that take place over the course of a year (fireplace, fire alarms, gas, etc) and if you are not there to let the inspectors in you’ll be fined, so ask about that. And, as others have said, the monthly fees, etc. On the whole, though, congrats! My small family of 3 used to live in a 550 sq ft place, and it was really well laid out and very nice and practical. And, that was with one adult working from home. There is more to a place than the out right square footage.

    5. Aphrodite*

      I don’t know if you want to see if you. can make a 550-foot condo work or not but if so, go to Apartment Therapy and look for the Small / Cool posts (https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/search?q=small%20cool). This is an annual contest coming up, I think, on April 22. (There are archives of older ones.) Anyone living in 1,000 square feet or less, can enter. I am always amazed by the inventiveness people find to create surprisingly beautiful small spaces. It might give you ideas or you may decide it simply cannot work for you. But it is a wonderful resource.

    6. Sloanicota*

      I hope this is helpful – I was … completely unprepared for the psychological stress of buying a house. I wish I’d had a better heads up about it. I also bought alone in a hot market with an as-is offer, and was in sheer panic over the thought of buying a lemon with all my savings on the line. It truly felt life or death to me, which seems a little silly in retrospect. What I needed to do was make a clear plan for all the eventualities I was afraid of. What would really happen if a week after I moved in, the roof collapsed or it turned out the walls were built out of newspaper or whatever? How likely was it that I would truly end up bankrupt from this decision? I had to confront these issues and make a plan so that I could get my mental health back. Four years later, the house has been probably the best decision I ever made … but I also realize I did get lucky in many ways! Good luck to you.

      1. Shiny*

        This is so helpful; thanks for sharing. It feels like it is already taking up a lot of mental space that it just . . . should not, so knowing I’m not alone in that does help to hear.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I mean, worst case scenario (in my mind) something truly too expensive to handle comes up, and homeowners insurance does cover it, *and* there’s no financing option available (either a home equity line of credit or a finance option from the roof company or a six-months-no-interest deal from Lowes or whoever) *and* it’s so urgent it must be done immediately with no time to save – *and* I can’t borrow money from my investments or family members (so we’re probably talking flood with no flood insurance or lava?) – I could sell the house as-is, and recoup a decent chunk of the money based on the land value alone, as I was in a hot metro area and close to public transit. If you are like me, this is actually reassuring … I apologize if not …

    7. Cendol*

      Yes, check the HOA rules about rentals! Your realtor should be able to get them for you. (The city or county where you are living might also have rules about rentals and Airbnb and the like—you might need permits, etc.)

      Spouse and I just finished a pretty harrowing 5-month search for a home in a hot market. We looked at 30+ condos, townhouses, and SFHs and made 10 offers. My two biggest tips for staying sane are (1) until you’ve closed and are holding the keys, the property does not exist; make your offer and then put it out of your mind! and (2) follow the zillowgonemild account on Instagram for some levity. Good luck to you!!

    8. Esmeralda*

      I was freaking out about how much money it was — more than I’d ever spent on anything ever — and how long I’d be paying for it (30-year mortgage). What if this!!What if that!!! OMG, what if what if what if!!!!

      My dad finally said, you know, people with less money, less education, and less stable life situations buy houses all the time. Please stop whining, none of can stand to listen to you venting and hyperventilating any more.

      Thanks dad! That did the trick for me.

    9. Shiny*

      Thank you all! I wasn’t around to reply as I was out hunting, but it is a comfort to read all these replies! Rationally, I know I’m lucky, in that if it all gets to be too much I can continue to rent comfortably. So I’m trying to approach this as I would job hunting while decently employed: do my best to find the right option, but know that staying put might turn out to be the decision for right now.

  25. ThatGirl*

    I’m considering a cordless vacuum, even better if it has a detachable smaller version for quick messes. Does anyone have recommendations or ones to stay away from?

    We have a Roomba but it obviously doesn’t work on stairs, nor do I ever take it upstairs, and it would be nice to have a quicker, lighter option for small messes and the stairs. Our upright vacuum is bulky, heavy and corded. Thanks!

    1. Xenia*

      I enjoy the Dyson we have – it’s got a wall-mounted charger and decent battery life. I will give the caveat that we have all hardwood floors and I don’t know that it would work as well on carpet; additionally figuring out how to de-clog it can be a pain. But I’d still recommend.

      1. the cat's ass*

        Second the Dyson stick! I love it and it works well on my rugs, my carpet, and the wood and tile floors to boot! Battery life is decent with “regular’ suction but only about 5 minutes with what we call “ultra suck’ not that you really need it that much. And i have 3 cats who shed enough to make a 4th cat.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        Our Dyson works perfectly on stairs and small spaces or quick cleanups of small areas (I use a trusty Kenmore cannister vac for main floor cleaning). Emptying it out can be a pain as noted! Pretty sure I got it during a Black Friday sale – watch for the sales, they make it worthwhile.

    2. Generic Name*

      I have a makita stick vacuum, and I like it just fine. The stick comes off and you can use it as a hand held too. We bought a makita because all my husband’s power tools are that brand, so the batteries are interchangeable. I use it for the random bits that collect in between regular vacuuming.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      My friend has a Dyson cordless. It’s a couple years old so maybe the newer ones are different?
      It runs for about 20 minutes on a charge. I have learned way too much about it because I have had to fix it a few times.
      It works for my friend who because of health stuff only vacuums a little at at time.
      I am the opposite, if I have the vac out, I am going to do the whole house.

      In helping my friend, I have used it a few times. It seems to be picking up less and less even though I am emptying it and cleaning the filters. I have a lot of difficulty pulling it apart to clean it or to use the smaller version of it.

      Again, maybe newer ones are better. Or maybe they wear out after a couple years?

      I was thinking about a vac like this and now I am less inclined. I think in the future these will be much, much better.

      1. Not a cat*

        We have a Dyson and it breaks frequently. Really not worth the money you are paying for the brand IMHO.

        1. JSPA*

          Buying the (better made) old dysons, refurbished (DC14, specifically) served me well from 2010 until now, but I can no longer get parts (or find used ones that don’t reek), so when my current ones die, that’ll be it.

          Maybe Dyson will re-onshore their production at some point?

      2. Just Jo King*

        I had a Dyson cordless a few years ago and I was very disappointed with it. I was expecting great things from reading reviews but it was a piece of junk. It ended up breaking entirely after a couple of years, but I had already needed to replace the battery and did not think that the suction was that great. Maybe I just got a dud? But not willing to try again. I got mine at Costco.

    4. Nicole76*

      I recently decided I wanted a cordless vacuum for the same reasons you mention, plus I was tired of literally getting hit by my upright when it would fall on me while using the hose attachments. However, I was not keen on shelling out $400 for a Dyson; plus I didn’t have a good place to wall-mount one.

      I did a little research and learned people really like the Shark brand, so I started looking at those. I really liked that you could detach the hand vac and clip it to the base of the wand for freestanding storage because I wanted to keep mine in a closet.

      I ended up getting the Shark Rocket Cordless Stick Vacuum (IX142) that was (and still is) on sale at Kohl’s for $229. I bought it when there was a 35% off coupon so it was under $200.

      I love how versatile it is, the suction is great, and the battery lasts about 40 minutes which allowed me to use it all week in various rooms without having to re-charge.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Thanks! Dyson seems a bit overrated for the price so I appreciate the Shark rec. and I always have Kohl’s and Bed Bath & Beyond coupons.

    5. Hunnybee*

      Stay away from the Shark purple cordless vacuum! It stopped working almost immediately and while not the most expensive on the market, mine was near $100. I brought it to a vacuum repair shop and they said that they don’t fix cheaper vacuums like mine because their fee is basically the original price of the vacuum. Wah wah.

      1. Nicole76*

        I’m sorry to hear that. Did you try reaching out to Shark? They’re owned by Ninja now; I had an issue with a Ninja product and their customer service was exceptional. Never hurts to see if the manufacturer will make things right.

    6. Janet Pinkerton*

      Refurbished Dyson stick vacuum. We have the 10 and it’s amazing. It’s so much easier and stronger than our previous vacuum.

    7. Little beans*

      We have a shark cordless and it’s been great. The only thing I noticed is that it’s a bit heavier than my friend’s dyson, but a lot less expensive!

  26. matcha123*

    I’m an elder millennial and as my younger millennials come into their 30s, I’m seeing more and more “I hit 30 and my body broke” memes. It’s kind of sad, but even more annoying.
    I had a part-time job from a young age and was pretty unhealthy when I was younger (didn’t have enough time or money to eat well/underweight). I would pull muscles reaching for things like turning off a lamp at night. My joints started cracking in middle school. If I stand too long or sit too long my back hurts, but it’s been that way since at least middle or high school. I remember classmates would use their chairs to twist and crack their backs.
    What’s up with the “omg, I am old!” type posts?

    I definitely am much healthier than I was then. I know bodies change with lifestyles, but I definitely didn’t hit 30 and have my body fall apart. I also am not from an upper middle class background. I’ve always walked, biked, or used public transportation. I don’t even have a driver’s license. I also never had a hard drinking and party phase.

    I don’t think 30 is super “old” either?

    1. Wildcat*

      I had a baby at 30 and I still have flare ups from the back problems I developed while pregnant.

      My brother developed some injuries thatvplagued him by his 30s nut he specifically worked in baking, which requires a lot of lifting.

      I have noticed also since I turned 30/had a baby things like my alcohol tolerance is way way lower. Two drinks and I risk a hangover.

      1. matcha123*

        Having a baby or doing lots of heavy lifting would definitely have an effect on one’s body!
        However, I don’t see those as specifically being related to turning 30 and more a result of something that happened at or around age 30 (pregnancy in your case and the results of heavy lifting that may not be felt immediately).

        I can imagine that if you held off from drinking for a year while pregnant and for another year (or longer) if breastfeeding, going back to your normal level of drinking would be impossible. I know that when I cut back on the amount I drink, my tolerance quickly falls and I can feel the effects faster.
        With that said, I’m not you and don’t know your specific body, so I’m not trying to say that you’re not experiencing something, so please don’t take it that way.

    2. NeonFireworks*

      Yeah, you’re seeing people who never had to worry about health begin to have to worry about health. Similar story here. I was constantly sick as a teenager, due to a trio of chronic health issues that kept either setting each other off or imitating one another sneakily. In my twenties, doctors figured it all out, and at 30 I made a few adjustments to my diet and sleep habits and all of a sudden things just started to WORK. Everyone told me my body would start failing me at 30, but that was when I began feeling like a superhuman compared to what I had before.

    3. Generic Name*

      30 is definitely not “old”, by any definition, in my opinion. It’s not even quite middle age. It may be because at 30, it’s easier to remember childhood when laying on the floor and then leaping up was no problem. Maybe they are feeling the metaphorical weight of full adulthood. When you are in your 20s, a lot of people will cut you slack when you mess up. You’re young and still figuring stuff out! Frontal lobes are still developing, etc. At 30, I think society’s expectations are greater. People are often held more accountable. But also, if someone is having chronic and debilitating pain on the regular at that age, it’s probably a good idea to get it checked out by a Dr. I have friends who were diagnosed with Ehrlos Danilo’s Syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis around 30/40. So there may be something else going on, medically speaking.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I read an article that said doctors believe at age 34 we start to exhibit the symptoms that will eventually kill us.

      I know this has definitely been true in my life. I hit 34 like doing 90 mph into a brick wall. The “care-free” days of doing whatever/whenever were OVER. I had extenuating circumstances that pushed my health over the edge.

      Some people have pain/difficulty and do/say nothing.
      Some just talk about it.
      Some talk about it and try to do something.
      Some people don’t talk about it and cut right to doing things to help themselves.
      There’s all kinds of folks out there.

      I am with you. I have zero interest in hearing an on-going story of someone’s elbow pain. OTOH, I have a lot of interest in hearing what they are trying and what is working for them.

      I think my uncle described it best. “At 70 I don’t bounce back the way I did when I was 20.” A cold took longer to shake off and so on. It’s that “bounce”. The ability to bounce back goes down with each decade.

      My in-laws were medical people with an interesting perspective. They felt that having a chronic illness was actually a benefit in some ways because it made the person look at their choices and do better. It made the person pick a self-care plan and stick to it. I have a friend who has not had much in medical problems all her life. She is now over 80. We suggested that she take some collagen for her random bruising that was starting to happen and she dug her heels in when she said NO. She has never had to “take stuff” before and why start now and blah, blah, blah. Shrug. I have been working with collagen on an off for the last 30 years. I see how it has helped me and I am most willing to take it when I am told.

      In short, Yes, I agree 30 is a turning point. We can pay attention and take action or not.

      I am 61 now, in some ways I feel better and I am stronger than when I was 17. Maybe my inlaws were right, my wake up call served me well.

      1. WellRed*

        Can you talk a little more about collagen? I’m 52 and wondered about it but didn’t know it might help with random bruising (looking at a giant mystery bruise on my arm). How do you take it? Side effects? Taste?

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Sure. With a lot of natural stuff if you experience a side effect, the solution is to stop taking it. I have had zero side effects and I tend to be a worrier, so I would notice something going off kilter. It tastes like flour and water. Yum, right? not. I remind myself that I am not drinking it for its great taste.

          I use Great Lakes Collagen. Two scoops (scoop inside container) into several ounces of water. You do have to stir it with a fork or spoon to get it to mix with the water. Recently the doc mentioned that vitamin C helps with the uptake of the collagen, so now I do that too. I take the C with the collagen “shot” drink.

          I do this twice a day. It worked faster when I was younger. But that’s true of everything. I am seeing less bruising so I will just continue working with it. I do so much work with my hands that my hands and arms can look kinda beat up. And that is the problem I am trying to dial back.

          You can find Great Lakes online or in some health food stores. I get the green canister. It might seem a little spendy but if you see a difference in your skin, then it might be worth it.
          I have a friend who “makes” his own. I never got into that aspect of collagen, so all I can do here is mention that some people salvage it from meats/bones that they have at home.

      2. Sundial*

        I agree with your in-laws! Severe GERD motivated me to completely overhaul my eating habits, whereas the vague desire to be healthy/thin didn’t get me very far. The immediate feedback of actual pain is a great inspiration that constantly keeps me in check.

      3. matcha123*

        I am pretty similar in that I also like to hear what’s working for others. I’ve had lower back pain on and off since a classmate threw a massive ice chunk at my back in elementary school. Through trial and error I learned that stretching and walking helps to alleviate my back pain.
        I used to pull muscles reaching to turn off lights before bed and also got terrible charlie horses. I now know that stretching, walking, and upping my B12 intake really help. To the point where if I feel like I’m prone to getting a charlie horse, I know that I need to move more and take more B12.

        I’ve long theorized that it takes 10 years for our bodies to show the results of our current lifestyles.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I laughed out loud- OH MY HOW TRUE!! It seems to be about 10 years for us to see what our current life choices have done or not done for us. I love this comment.

    5. ecnaseener*

      People exaggerate the suddenness of all sorts of things in jokes and memes. I really don’t think anyone truly believes your body naturally falls apart at precisely age 30, but it’s generally true that your body is more robust in your childhood and early 20s.

    6. KeinName*

      30s is a time many autoimmune illnesses set in. But I agree with the poster above, people who never had much of a hardship or noticed their bodies as something that needs maintainance might also be what you are seeing there. I‘m always irritiated when people first notice that life can contain hardships when they have children, but I should be happy for them that they had a sheltered life up until this point.

    7. RagingADHD*

      Every generation that turns 30 does this, because they start losing the ability to pull all-nighters or drink heavily, bounce back from injuries, etc. Which is partly a result of physical aging and partly due to life changes that mean you need to be more alert and presentable in the mornings.

      When they turn 40 they start complaining about throwing their back out putting on socks or having chronic issues with digestion, joints, etc. Those who had an easy transition to their 30s often get hit a bit harder with deferred maintenance at 40.

      At 50 the posts start being about how fabulous we are for our age, mixed with obituaries for our parents, friends, and spouses.

      Everyone thinks they’re immune to time until it’s their turn.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        Yeah, this is not new at all, you’re maybe just noticing it now because your peers fall into the category where it happens! My boomer dad had an “over the hill” party when he turned 40, with “elderly” themed gag gifts and like… tombstone decorations. I worked at a party store and we had that theme of supplies with options for 30, 40, 50, and 60. As an elder millennial now I find that kind of thing really weird – but I still make the “omg I’m ancient” jokes!

        1. matcha123*

          I definitely noticed it when I was a kid and made an effort to not be “old” when I got older. I kind of assumed that all of my peers had made the same observations growing up.
          The same goes for, “Grr generation younger than me does X and I hate it!” which every generation does, so I don’t get why I’m hearing it from my own peer group. So cringe…

    8. anonagain*

      “I’ve always walked, biked, or used public transportation. I don’t even have a driver’s license.”

      I walk a lot and my body much prefers it to driving.

    9. Irish Teacher.*

      Yeah, that seems really weird to me. I had a minor operation at 39 and all the doctors and nurses were like “oh, you’ll be fine as you’re so young. You should recover really quickly at your age. It takes longer for older people.”

      The only thing I noticed at 30 was that I started needing to moisturise my hands as the skin started getting dry. Otherwise I’m more than ten years past that now and still have no problems health-wise. I don’t think I’m any less healthy or fit than I was 20 years ago.

      My mum is in her 70s and still gardens, paints various rooms in her house, etc. She does have mild arthris, but I certainly wouldn’t think of her as being at the point her body is falling apart (and she would laugh if anybody suggested it), let alone people my age and younger.

    10. Angstrom*

      When you are young, your only experience of aging is that every year you are stronger and more capable than you were the year before. Your body is resilient and requires little maintenance.
      When that ceases to be true, it can come as a shock. We are so youth-obsessed that we don’t see the transition as normal.

    11. overeducated*

      My husband, who is a little older than me, used to say 28 is when your body starts falling apart. And by “your,” he meant his. And by “fall apart,” he meant “when I push it too hard or do things I know are unhealthy, I feel it the next day.” I just roll my eyes.

      Now, having a baby at 29 and getting a full time desk job at 31, with less sleep and exercise as a result of kids…those definitely impacted me. But they are obviously not the result of turning 30, that was just coincidental. People are being ridiculous.

    12. Kimmy Schmidt*

      As someone who is approaching 30, a lot of peers in my age group had to go without health insurance for an extended period of time because they couldn’t afford it. Is this a cavity or an abscess? Are my headaches normal or is this a bigger issue? Can’t get that mole checked yet. Can’t afford a colonoscopy to find out what my stomach hurts all the time. At least a few of my friends now have chronic conditions that maybe(?) could have been lessened or prevented if they’d been able to get healthcare previously.

      My body hurts all the time and I feel so sad thinking it’s just gonna be like this from now on.

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

      I started with knee issues at 27. Now I’m 33 and I’m slowly starting to lose some of the weight I got during my university years.
      It’s not age, is years of unhealthy habits biting back.

    14. Ginger Pet Lady*

      Eh, they’re not talking about your life or your experiences. They’re talking about their own, and their own experiences. You’re not the model of how things should be, so it’s a little bit boggling that you’re so annoyed by others sharing different experiences than your own.
      This is definitely a “you” problem. No ones saying those things at you, so why do you pick up and carry around an annoyance? You just spent most of this post talking about your own experience. It’s different than mine. *and that’s okay* Enjoy your better health, and let go of being annoyed.