weekend open thread – July 23-24, 2022

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

Here are the rules for the weekend posts.

Book recommendation of the week: Any Other Family, by Eleanor Brown. Three different families adopt siblings, vowing to function as one big family to keep the kids connected. It turns out, though, that chosen family can be just as aggravating as the family you’re born into — and then the kids’ mom announces she’s pregnant again. I really loved this.

I make a commission if you use that Amazon link.

{ 801 comments… read them below }

  1. Aphrodite*

    Does anyone else love Lucy Worsley’s documentaries? I never tire of watching them, and right now I am (re)watching one called “Inside the Body of Henry VIII.” Lucy hosts it with two others, and they explore what the king went through with all his illnesses and injuries using modern techniques. A bit gross but absolutely fascinating.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I’ve never heard of this but now I need to. Where does one find them to watch?

      1. ScarlettNZ*

        I’m not sure if the one Aphrodite recommended is there, but there are a ton of Lucy Worsley’s documentaries available on YouTube.

        1. Yay, I’m a Llama Again!*

          She’s got a podcast on bbc sounds ‘lady killers’ – investigating Victorian ‘murderesses’

          1. UKDancer*

            It’s great. I loved the one on Amelia Dyer. She’s got a really good way of exploring the social issues.

    2. misspiggy*

      Her books are great too. There’s one about domestic habits of people through British history that’s very illuminating about our current way of life. She manages a good balance between scholarship and liveliness. Her biography of Jane Austen is my favourite.

    3. Coast East*

      love Lucy worsley! She just presents history in such a light, fun way that you know she’s having the time of her life sharing costumes and Austen or Tudor history with the audience

    4. Granny Weatherwax*

      If you like Lucy Worsley, you might also like Ruth Goodman. She’s done several experimental archeology series including “The Edwardian Farm”, “The Wartime Far”, a Tudor monastery one, one on early pharmacies, and more.

      1. reject187*

        I love those! I’ve seen them all and it’s so fun to watch them live like they would in those periods.

    5. Russian in Texas*

      I love her stuff. Highly recommend her book “If Walls Could Talk”, about the history of home, and various rooms.
      I really enjoy her series on the British murder mystery genre.

      1. Aphrodite*

        Yes! I love each and every one she has done, and the four-part home series (If Walls Could Talk) is utterly fascinating.

    6. KuklaRed*

      O yes! I follow her on Facebook and I always record her shows. I love the details she uncovers and the access she gets to all of the coolest places in England. I am a lifelong Anglophile and this definitely feeds my addiction.

      1. Madame Arcati*

        Now you can say, a person who once saw Lucy Worsley getting into a black cab in Pimlico, has commented on my post!! Lol
        She’s great isn’t she, I love her programmes.

    7. All Hail Queen Sally*

      Oh yes, I love her documentaries! I watch every one I can find. I love the costumes and how she takes us to different places and shows us artifacts. She really makes history come alive!

    8. Salymander*

      Yes! I love her documentaries! She gets so enthusiastic, and dresses up in period clothing. So much fun to watch.

  2. Almost Violet Miller*

    I asked this question a few years back but the pandemic happened and swimming pools were closed so let me try again.
    I’m looking for a fitness watch that can track swimming accurately. I swim in a smaller pool (25m) so it needs to be quite sensitive to short distances. I hate counting laps and want to be able to just swim.
    I’d occasionally use it for hikes as well. If it integrates with my iPhone’s default step/activity counter, that’s a plus (is this even a thing?).
    Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Shakti*

      Apple Watch does it and you can customize your lap distances! It calculates everything for you and is really helpful

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Yup, if you already have an iPhone then Apple Watch should be exactly what you need.

    3. Everdene*

      I use the Garmin Vivoactive 4S. Tracks my swimming in a 25m pool accurately. Also doesn’t look to sports watchy if that matters to you (I don’t like the look of lots of these things!) It also has GPS thet can be set to automatically record walks/runs/cycles. There is even a SUP setting which delights me.

      1. Jessi*

        I have a garmin watch too. I’ve never used it for swimming but it has a swimming function. It’s fairly accurate for running so I imagine it would be for swimming as well. Echoing Everdene I love that it looks like a regular watch, and isn’t massive and bulky

    4. Can't think of a funny name*

      I have a Garmin watch and was able to enter a custom size…my pool is 17 yards…watch counts accurately.

    5. Swimmer*

      There is also a Garmin Swim. It has five modes: pool swim, open water, run, bike, and cardio. Its #1 advantage is that it *doesn’t* do all the things a more general Garmin does, so it’s much lighter weight. If you are mostly interested in swimming, I highly recommend it.

  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’ve been reading some of my dialogues out loud to edit them. Some of them are pretty good, others are so horrendously awkward they really do need a lot of editing ^^’

    1. Put the Blame on Edamame*

      Been stacked this week but today is next round edits, got to rewrite the intro and expand a scene.

    2. The teapots are on fire*

      I’m not writing but am beta reading a first novel written by the father of a friend. I read straight through to enjoy the story and now going back through to make notes, trying to more where awkward phrasing took me out of the story or where something seemed to be missing.

    3. Almost Violet Miller*

      I’ve submitted a short story to a competition. I should hear back by the end of July. This is the first time I’m participating to anything like this.
      I have been trying to treat this as a job application – forget it as soon as it’s sent and be pleasantly surprised when I hear back that in reality I’m checking my emails very frequently.

      1. LBD*

        Somebody I know is in a poetry group that did a challenge one year. The goal was to get 100 rejections. “Hurray, I’m at 79 rejections! Oh, no, wait, just got 2 acceptances, gotta put it back to 77. Oh, well maybe my count will be better next month!”

        1. Squirrel Nutkin*

          Love this idea! My ex’s wife has been on a campaign to send out a lot of her poetry, and it is totally working! Yes, she gets rejections, but she has also been getting a bunch of prestigious acceptances! Putting your work out there means giving it the chance to get published.

      2. Almost Violet Miller*

        Thank you for the encouragement.
        I love the idea with the rejections! I write in my mother tongue (that isn’t English) and opportunities are scarce. I really need to look into them more.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I was thinking about going up to the library a few days a week just to sit and write. Generally, I don’t do well writing outside my space (like in a coffee shop or whatever), but I am about to go bananas from being stuck in here all the time.

    5. ecnaseener*

      I haven’t actually started it yet, but I have a new and very daunting writing project that I might be posting about in the future!

      You see, my sister just got engaged, which means it’s time for me to take up the mantle of our family’s traditional loving-roast poems. My parents are both great writers and have been doing these poems for each other and other family members (their own generation and above) to celebrate milestone birthdays, weddings, etc. Now that it’s my sister’s turn to receive her first poem, the task falls to me.

      I have a little over a year to write it and I’m excited but very nervous!!!! Creative writing is not my strong suit, and the bar is high.

    6. beentheredonethat*

      So 20 year old niece started dating a new guy. He wrote her a poem. They both work for big box type of place. I discussed writing with them and the use of writing about one thing to describe something else. So sad, I wasn’t invited to read the poem.

    7. OTGW*

      I finished, and posted, a fanfic after nearly a decade of just being unable to write fanfic. V proud of myself and I think there’s more stories in that ‘verse I could bang out too. It’s just so nice, getting back into a habit I’ve sorely missed.

  4. How to short term foster for adult cat*

    Hi
    I am moving countries and due to problems with export paperwork my 8 year old rescue cat will not be able to join me for 3 months. A friend is kindly going to take her for that time. My concern is that she is a rescue cat – found dumped in a car park and took over a month to stroke her – so she may have trouble adjusting to new home. To anyone who has fostered have you put the cat in one room – let her be comfortable there and then explore the house or just let her roam free from the start? She’s also used to going outside and she won’t be able to in the new location which will add to her stress. I know I’m probably overthinking this – she lived on the streets for a couple of months and it’s not long so I’m sure she’ll be ok.
    Thanks

    1. Liminality (It's Quarantime, Again...)*

      I have found that “base camp” is a good idea no matter how confident/skittish the cat is. Establishing that familiarity with where the food and water is prior to roaming free is just good sense. (In my opinion.)
      It also helps the people get a good idea of food/ water consumption and litterbox usage offer the first day or two.
      Plan time for extended visits to base camp, either for pets and cuddles or just to sit quietly to acclimate then to your presence. Then, on a quieter day when you have lots of time to give treats and encouragement, expand access to the rest of the house in stages or all at once depending on the cat’s needs.

    2. Sparking Stardust*

      Along with the ideas above, I recommend using a Cat classic calming diffuser (Feliway). I’ve had a couple of long distance moves and the second move I used Feliway calming pheromones. I bought both the spray for the trip and the wall diffuser. My cat was much more calm.

    3. Cat and dog fosterer*

      Cats can get overwhelmed by new locations, so rescues often recommend starting with one room where they get used to the smells and sounds, and when they are ready the door can open to give them access to the entire home. Some cats are never interested in leaving base camp, and others are ready to leave within minutes.

    4. Red Sky*

      Cats can be overwhelmed and freaked out by new and unfamiliar environments so it’s best to start them in a small space where they can learn the environment quickly, identify their food, water, litterbox and safe areas. When I was fostering, a new foster cat would be confined to the ‘cat room’ until they showed signs of being comfortable in their new surroundings, at which point I’d leave the cat room door open about halfway so they can come out on their own time. Confident kitties usually wanted to explore beyond the cat room the same day of arrival, skittish and fearful kitties could take anywhere from days to weeks to feel comfortable coming out. For those especially skittish kitties I’d only open the door at night after everyone went to bed so they could explore the house when it’s quiet and on their own terms.

      I’d also recommend blocking off any hiding spaces like under furniture, some especially skittish/semi-feral kitties will not adjust if there’s the option to hide all the time. We used cut up cardboard boxes to wedge under beds and sofas. Instead, have a few high up perches where kitty can feel removed from threats and observe their surroundings from a distance. This could be the top of a bookshelf that you’ve made cat accessible or even wall-mounted cat shelves.

      I’m going to add a link to the American Pets Alive! doc on socializing shy or feral cats in a reply to this comment, you probably wont need to use all the techniques but there are some really useful tips you can adapt to your cat’s situation

    5. Trixie*

      In addition to what others have suggested, I’m wondering if the rescue cat will acclimate slightly more quickly with your friend. That is, you helped socialize her when you brought her in, and she may be a little further along when going to your friend’s home. (Something similar to when foster animals from foster home to placement.) She may be more open to attention from your friend as she moves from one home to another.

      Is your cat familiar with your friend now? Some time together might help your cat become familiar with and used to her. If you really had time, I might recommend some play dates at your friend’s house before the three -month stay. Either way, it sounds like she is good hands!

    6. Eff Walsingham*

      You are getting some really good suggestions here! I’d like to chime in in support of the Base Camp concept.

      We took in a second cat in May who was very bonded with her older gentleman owner and had never lived with another cat, and we don’t have a lot of space. So we gave her the bathroom, and for about 3 days we kept the door closed, let them just sniff and talk to each other through the door, and then opened it up. She still seems to prefer to retreat to the bathroom for sleeping, which seems a bit odd, but it is cooler for summertime. We just have to make sure she’s getting enough love because she really is a cuddly cat. She just doesn’t seem to like the configuration of the other rooms.

      We would make more of an effort specifically for her wider comfort *if* we were not planning to move in the next couple of months. So our situation is temporary as well, and we have tradesmen working and everything is everywhere, and it’s probably for the best that she prefers the one room where nothing moves and no work is being done. A couple of times a day, mainly late nights and mornings, she comes out to explore, and she doesn’t seem stressed now that she’s no longer grieving the absence of her gentleman.

      As long as your friend is patient and understands that there probably will be some level of stress and grief in the beginning due to your not being there, things should go fine. Give as much guidance as you can about your cat’s habits and preferences to help ease the transition.

    7. Dont be a dork*

      We’ve done it both ways — starting in a single room or just letting the cat roam — and it really depends on the cat. From your description of this one, I would recommend the single room/gradual intro to the rest of the house.

      One thing; be sure to sleep in/sweat in several shirts and Do Not Wash them. Your friend can use one or two in the room where your cat will be staying to give her the reassuring “you” smell. Keep the others in a sealed tin or bags and deploy them as needed for a couple of weeks. And then, when your cat is about to be sent to you, have your friend do the same thing with those same shirts and send them along with the cat.

  5. 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.

    I’ve really been getting back into Divinity: Original Sin lately. Playing with different character builds this time, let’s see how this goes.

    1. Scot Librarian*

      Still on Plants v Zombies on the tablet. DMed D&D with my kids, first time I’ve ever DMed and only the 2nd time I’ve ever played D&D (1st time,my eldest child DMed). I’m finding all the rules to follow very hard to remember, but I’m using one of the starter books and both kids said they enjoyed it, so I guess I did it OK. I just wish there was somewhere I could go locally that would gently walk beginners through how to actually play the game

      1. Evergreen*

        Are there any game shops in your area? I have a friend who used to work at a boardgame/comic book store and helping introduce people to rpgs was something my friend loved being able to do

    2. LG*

      I have been playing Civilization V, which I just love! (I played one of the early editions in 7th grade Social Studies class and loved it then, too.) There is a more recent Civ VI but my computer won’t run it (I have a Mac for my graphic design job and did not realize pre-pandemic that I would want to be able to play games on it.) There is a nice Reddit community of folks playing this game.

      The game I would LIKE to be playing is Stray where you get to be an orange cat having adventures in a city populated by robots (I think). It looks so charming. My computer definitely won’t run that one, though. I think it is for PS4 and PS5 and Windows, if that sounds interesting to you!

    3. CherryScary*

      I’ve been playing through Stray! Love my little kitty and their robot companion. The world is fascinating, and I love the different communities you end up wandering through.

      1. Cormorannt*

        I’m liking Stray except for the sections where you have to deal with lots of Zurks. It’s not a type of gameplay I enjoy and they take me many tries to get through. I wish there was a no Zurk mode.

      2. OTGW*

        Oh man, I’ve been hearing so many good things about it. Seriously tempted to buy it before it goes on sale.

    4. DarthVelma*

      Still engrossed in ARK. We decided to put off “Ascending” for a while and have built a starter base on the new Fjordur map. I have to say, so far it is just gorgeous.

    5. cubone*

      I have gotten back into Stardew Valley! Never really explored the Ginger Island update so giving it a go.

    6. Bookgarden*

      Stray! It’s even better than I was hoping, though the chase sequence parts hurt my heart when I fail. Sometimes that jump prompt doesn’t show up at the worst possible time.

      Also been working on the Portal collection, specifically the co-op in 2 with my partner. We try to do all kinds of silly things with the physics in the game.

    7. Pam Adams*

      I’ve reached Level 3001 on Candy Crush- major surgery in 2019, followed by a pandemic, does wonders for one’s “progress.”

    8. Beancat*

      Husband and I picked up the 2D-HD remake of Live A Live, which has been really fun and unique! It feels like an important piece of gaming history.

  6. Liminality (It's Quarantime, Again...)*

    So…. the thing I’ve been afraid of is happening.

    I just picked up two of the family members I’m living with from the airport after their two week Eropean road trip.

    I practically demanded that we all wear n95 masks in the car and I handed them the at home test-kits the minute we walked in the door.

    Positive. For Covid. Both of them.

    Once again, I feel like Wile E Coyote, ten feet off the ledge and looking down at the rocks.

    So, my question is two fold:
    Any tips on how to live amongst the covid without acquiring the covid? Again?

    And, how have you handled sharing a home with and loving someone who has such frustratingly opposed opinions and behaviors to your own?
    The knowledge that they have been so cavalier about their symptoms and didn’t take precautions to avoid spreading the “head cold” they thought they had, even after they began to suspect covid? This, despite having a family member who has passed away from covid and my entire life being upended by long covid? I’m so angry, and scared.

    I hate the idea that this might be the new cycle of forever. Please, help me find a bright side.

    1. Commentator Name goes here*

      Can you go to a hotel? It is possible to live there and not get it…. but only if they are careful. Which it sounds like maybe they won’t be.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      No advice, just sympathy. It really does feel like it will always be like this now.

        1. SaltedChocolateChip*

          It is not endemic. Endemic means predictable (and can still have devastating effects — malaria is endemic!), and COVID is not predictable and we have no guarantee that the next variant will not be more deadly/have even more terrible long COVID impacts. I know that the media and politicians have been using this word and people want it to be true, but it’s not there, and encouraging people to treat it like the flu is not helpful.

          1. fhqwhgads*

            I think a lot of people don’t know what “endemic” means and, due to the flu comparisons, infer it must mean “is always around and something you might get”.

            1. VegetarianRaccoon*

              yes, I am one of those people who thought that ‘endemic’ just meant ‘here to stay.’ I appreciate the explanation.

          2. allathian*

            This very much depends on where you are, and on the local vaccination rate. I’m in an area where almost 80 percent of the population across all age groups has been vaccinated, and here the currently circulating Covid variants are considered endemic in the sense that it’s extremely unlikely that Covid will be treated any differently from a standard flu pandemic from now on, unless a new variant appears that is even more infectious and lethal than the previous ones. It’s only a matter of time before Covid will be treated just like any other respiratory infection, because quarantining is no longer considered to be an effective way to stop it spreading. People are no longer routinely tested, and tracing infection sources has been abandoned as ineffective because so many people are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms.

            Most people who have been hospitalized and who have Covid here have been hospitalized *with* it rather than because of it. People are routinely tested for Covid when they’re hospitalized, even if they go to the emergency room with a broken leg or visit the hospital to give birth, because a patient’s Covid status affects their treatment. So someone who goes to the hospital and has asymptomatic Covid still counts in the Covid hospitalization statistics, even if Covid isn’t the reason they’re in hospital. In the same way, any non-accidental death that occurs within 30 days of a confirmed Covid infection counts as a Covid death, which can be misleading.

    3. Owler*

      How easily can you segregate yourself from the family members? Several families I know (including my own) managed to keep Covid to one family member by having the sick person stay in a separate part of the house and asking them to mask in common areas. The difference here is that the sick family member was on board with doing all they could to not infect the rest of the family, and it sounds like you can’t count on that. Can you keep your distance, mask inside for the next week, and take your meals separately?

      1. Other Alice*

        Absolutely this is what my cousin and her husband did. Sleep in separate rooms, use separate bathrooms if you can and if not take turns and make sure you air the room before & after. Take meals separately, ideally they would stick to their bedroom and take their meals on a tray, no roaming. It is harder if they are cavalier about spreading illness.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        We did this a couple weeks ago – my husband came home from work travel and tested positive a few days later, we basically barricaded him in his office and he only came out (masked) to use the bathroom when nobody else was on the same floor or pick up a tray of food we left for him. The rest of us stayed in the house until he was cleared, but never showed any symptoms ourselves.

      3. the cat's ass*

        This is what i did when i got COVID (probably at work). We don’t have a huge house but there’s good separation of space; my husband slept in the living room, kid in her room, and i masked when i made myself something to eat. Or husband masked if he brought me something; i confined myself to our bedroom. Nobody got it. I’m sorry your folks are less diligent as this is still definitely a thing.

      4. Cat Lover*

        Yeah, I just got over a thankfully mild bout of Covid. I live with my parents and I stayed in my room for 5 days. My mom just left food on a table by my door and a bathroom is connected to my room so I just camped out. Neither of my parents got it!

    4. misspiggy*

      If you’ve had Covid before (if the long Covid sufferer is you) the evidence suggests you will have a good chance of avoiding severe illness if you do get it, especially if you isolate as much as possible. I know that doesn’t help much with potential long Covid issues though.

      On the emotional side, I don’t know if I could bear to be around people with such a cavalier attitude. I don’t think I’d feel able to offer care or any interaction, other than to advise them to use a pulse oximeter and call an ambulance if blood oxygen goes to 90.

      1. askalice*

        I’ve had two people who share a house with me get covid and not caught it. Seperate times.
        Masks on in the house, use kitchen and bathroom at seperate times, strict rules on washing dishes immediately and having extra disinfectant spray/wipes in those areas to keep it extra shiny.
        Feed your body as if you had an illness, so loads of broths, fresh fruit and salad, super healthy meals, minimum 2 litres water a day. Plus absolutely smash vitamins C, d, zinc and magnesium (with your healthcare providers approval ofcourse!) I also make big pots of a brew of lemon/citrus with ginger/turmeric/garlic/honey and sip it often.
        I’d encourage the sick people to do the same to make their recovery as quick as possible.
        And good luck. Being exposed to covid does not guarantee you will catch it, so boost your immune system and make sure you have the max vaccinations you are eligible for! This is not foolproof obvs but will give you a fighting chance.

      2. Jen Erik*

        Just to add, my sister has had long covid since March 2020, and despite being extraordinarily careful, got it again this May. We’re in the UK, so she was eligible to get the antivirals, and whatever happened – whether it was the vaccinations, the antivirals or just her system having a second go at the thing, she made the most marked improvement since she originally got sick. So if you have long covid, and you do get it again, it would be worth seeing if the antivirals are available wherever you are.
        In terms of not passing it on, we’ve had it twice (unrelated cases) in the past couple of months without passing it on. We ventilated as much as possible and the ill person just stayed in one room (or went outside) until they tested negative, and socially distanced for a few days after that – we were careful about towels, dishes, wiped taps after they were used etc. – it’s hard to know if we were just lucky, though.

        1. Rosie*

          Hi Jen Erik, can I ask about the antivirals? I have long covid and I’m in the UK, and I don’t know what you mean by antivirals. Do you mean medication? (Ivermectin? Other?)
          Thank you. I am so curious. That is great about your sister!

          1. Anonosaurus*

            Presumably this was a reference to Paxlovoid? I think CEV people are eligible for it but you need to get it within five (?) days of infection. There is information about this on the NHS website, I think.

          2. MigraineMonth*

            Just to note that while Ivermectin is effective in treating conditions caused by parasitic worms, there is still zero evidence supporting Ivermectin to prevent or treat Covid.

          3. JSPA*

            Ivermectin only looked like it helped in places where many people have the conditions it actually treats (notably parasitic worms). It makes sense that people with underlying conditions that leave them undernourished or anemic or in a state of heightened inflammation, fight Covid better when the other, underlying problem is treated. But ivermectin has no direct effect on Covid. I’ll look up which antivirals are available in the UK, and add links (purely informationally) if I find.

            1. Westsidestory*

              Just a side note here: avermectin is used to kill roaches and other vermin including intestinal worms. It works by disrupting the reproductive system

          4. UKDancer*

            My father (being extremely clinically vulnerable) got Paxlovoid when he had Covid. He had a special rapid test kit and when he caught Covid he did the test immediately and sent it off. The hospital rang to offer him anti-virals straight away and arranged for him to take the tablets. He got better more quickly than my mother (who had Covid at the same time). I was so thankful for it.

            I think you have to be on the NHS ECV list to be eligible.

    5. Quandong*

      I’m so sorry you’re in this situation!

      I recommend searching for cleanaircrew.org answer to your question.

      The site gives DYI box fan air filter instructions, guidance for improving indoor air quality and safety, and other information related to the pandemic.

      The question of how to avoid infection when sharing a home with COVID+ people is covered – it’s certainly possible. You can find detailed information with diagrams of air flow, fans, windows and air purifier positioning etc.

      I really hope your family members will take your safety seriously!

    6. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I put my husband in the front bedroom and taped off the hallway with garbage bags sealing him in with a bathroom and an exterior door. I brought his meals to him from the outside.

      If it were possible for you you probably would have already moved out. But that’s my advice unfortunately.

    7. The Other Dawn*

      If you can stay in a separate space in the house away from them, do that. If you can’t, a hotel would be an option assuming it won’t break the bank.

      In my experience, it’s been a total crap shoot as to who gets it from their housemate and who doesn’t.

      When I had it, I contracted it on a Tuesday and didn’t know until Sunday–about three days after my symptons started–that I had it. All that time my husband was sleeping in the same bed, kissing me goodnight, and just being around me as normal. He then went to sleep in the other bedroom for the duration and we avoided contact. He never got sick.

      My friend contracted it a several weeks ago, didn’t quarantine within the house (according to her), everyone went about their lives as normal (she works at home), and none of them got sick. No idea how they avoided it, but they did.

      My sister got it and everyone in the house, including her daughter who doesn’t live at home, got it even though they took precautions. Her husband, who’s considered the vulnerable one due to age (he’s 80), never got it even though they were in the same bed until she tested positive.

    8. Radical honesty*

      I was reading something that an epidemiologist posted about how long Covid was more of a thing early on and for the unvaccinated. Might want to look into that for peace of mind!

      I was terrified of Covid until I got it about 6 weeks ago. I’m still cautious, but I’m less worried about getting it now that I’ve had it and it was so mild.

      1. Lilo*

        I dunno, I’m triple vaxxed and I felt crappy for weeks after having COVID. It felt like my heart overreacted to everything. I had to have a heart monitor and it was unfun. I’m in my 30s with no high risk factors. I had COVID in May.

        1. Prospect Gone Bad*

          I had that heart feeling to, in fact, it was probably the worst system. I’m not going to pretend to be a doctor but I will say it peaked and then I was back to normal in a month or two (covid went away quickly then a few weeks to feel normal and start doing exercise beyond walks, 2 months to be back into excellent shape) so it wasn’t the end of the world for me. But yeah, definitely scary because you shouldn’t feel your heart unless you’re running a marathon

        2. Sundial*

          My hypersensitivity to scent is still out of control, and I had COVID in March. It’s hard because it’s the opposite of the common side effects, so people think I’m lying or exaggerating.

          It makes chores so much more work. For example, I have to re-rinse and hand-dry all our dishes with paper towels. The unscented detergent we use is still so pungent that eating off the plates tastes/smells like pouring soap directly on my food. Using a cloth dish towel makes me retch because the odor of the fibers on the plate is so strong.

    9. Stuffies!*

      I don’t have time to read all the other replies right now, so sorry if I’m repeating what others said.

      I live with someone who got Covid about a month ago. They were coughing all over the place and refused to wear a mask. This is what I did for 10 days after their positive test (and somehow miraculously avoided getting Covid!):

      -I kept windows open in the whole house to improve air circulation.
      -I wore a mask, except in my bedroom (I kept the door closed and ate meals in my bedroom).
      -I tried to keep the Covid-infected person quarantined in their bedroom as much as possible (though they kept opening their door and leaving it open…and they laid on the couch in the living room a bunch of times because they got sick of being in their bedroom). I brought them all their food and drinks (and removed plates/empty bottles).
      -I kept a table fan on, pointed out a window, in whatever room the infected person was in to help pull Covid droplets out of the house.

    10. Doctors Whom*

      My husband and 2 kids and I each got COVID – at different times, months apart. None of us got it from each other when living in the same house.

      We:
      – limited the COVee to one bathroom, and ran its exhaust nonstop
      – isolated COVee in the guest bedroom
      – delivered meals to the door
      – COVee could come down to the kitchen and grab stuff when masked but had to text everyone to warn us so we could be in other rooms
      – when it was the kids, both happened when the big kid was home from college so we masked up everyone and the hubster moved the dorm fridge in to the kid’s room so we could leave them groceries
      – masked when doing delivery/pickup and sanitized hands

      FWIW my youngest kid got COVID on a European school trip. He wore a KN-95 mask EVERYWHERE EVERY DAY ALL THE TIME. But, the teacher leading the trip was a real piece of work, came down with COVID midway through and got quarantined in Italy, and didn’t see fit to notify any of the parents back home that their kids were exposed. We tested him after he got home and he was immediately banished to his room. They were confined to buses etc with this teacher for hours on end and even though he masked religiously he couldn’t escape it. But when we are all home and someone has COVID it’s been easy to isolate and keep everyone safe. (The rest of the family take the usual exposure precautions and rapid tests at various points too.)

    11. Monkey, Bear and Mouse*

      I’m in a similar situation. I am so sick of it. In last 3 weeks I’ve moved accommodation 3 times to separate myself from Covid sufferers.
      If it’s any consolation, although it can be a drag for people with long covid, I’ve never heard anyone say it permanently put their progress back. Everyone who does feel it at least says that they get back to their previous baseline within a few months. Sending solidarity and strength.

    12. Liminality (It's Quarantime, Again...)*

      Thanks everyone for your good advice. I’m not in a position to relocate, even temporarily. And technically I’m exposed now, so…

      Yes, I’m the one who is dealing with long covid. I got covid in February 2021, two weeks before I would be eligible for the vaccine. I will spare you the details, (feel free to ask if you want to know. I’m fine sharing.) I sold my home and moved in here because long covid had made it too hard to live independently. It’s been a year and a half and I’m definitely not close to ‘baseline’ yet.

      Our bedrooms are at opposite ends of the house. They have promised to wear n95 masks, wash hands frequently, and limit their time in common areas. Somehow they have avoided catching covid until now. Maybe they will take it seriously now what is happening to them? Who knows?

      They said they began noticing symptoms about a week ago so… maybe they are almost “over” it? They’re going to go get a pcr test today for the ‘official’ results. I’ll suggest they look into the antivirals too but I hear you have to start taking them during the first five days of symptoms, so maybe they will only be an option for me. (If I catch it from them which I am going to try my very best not to do.)

      Thank you again for all your support and well wishes. I’ll keep reading the replies and keep you posted.

      1. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

        My husband just caught Covid a week ago and I have managed not to get it. We have been careful but not overly so- generally staying in different rooms and not sleeping together but we do both use the kitchen and bathrooms.

        Covid is supposed to be most contagious 1-2 days before symptoms start to 5 days afterwards. It sounds like you are outside of the most contagious period.

      2. MJ*

        Have they had a rapid test? Every person I know who has rapid tested daily after catching covid has been able to watch the viral load tapering off over time. I think that would be more informative as to whether « nearly over it » than a PCR test.

        1. MJ*

          Should note that we have had several instances in our family where one covid positive individual didn’t infect anyone else.

          In some cases they didn’t bother isolating, some did (air filters, masks for the infected, isolation during meals or meals outside and distanced). The ones that didn’t bother isolating were all vaccinated, barely had symptoms and had relatively faint rapid tests, so our theory was that they were never terribly contagious.

    13. BEC*

      We were the friends in your situation recently – came back with COVID and our housemate didn’t get COVID while we recovered.

      We wore masks around each other and got two high quality air purifiers with the UV light that kills viruses, one in our bedroom (since we were breathing in there a lot and presumably spreading the virus through the air vents) and another for the common space (kitchen and den area).

      We wore KN95 masks except when we were in our bedrooms. We avoided spending time in the same space (texted each other when we were coming down to the kitchen so the other person could leave).

      And we kept as many of the windows and doors open as possible, with fans, even when it was hot outside.

    14. Squirrel Nutkin*

      No brilliant advice, but you have every right to be furious. People’s willingness to infect and potentially disable (or worse) others disgusts me.

      I like the hotel idea above. Best of luck to you — I hope you stay well!

    15. Alex*

      No advice, but this exact thing just happened to my extremely high risk elderly parents–had to live with a COVID positive person who had insisted on visiting from out of town (came down with COVID on the second day…)

      And they managed to not get it, so it is possible. They wore masks.

      1. pancakes*

        “who had insisted on visiting from out of town” – I don’t understand how this happened. If someone I didn’t want staying with me turned up at my door (and my pushy half-sister would indeed possibly attempt this, she has attempted to invite herself in the past), I wouldn’t let them in. Sharing genetic material, or a family name, or having gone to school with one another, or lived next door, or what-have-you, does not create an obligation to let someone stay in your home. Being the type of person to try to impose on elderly, high-risk people is in itself a very good reason to not let someone in. That in itself indicates poor judgment and a big sense of entitlement.

    16. MCL*

      I’m really sorry. It’s a stressful situation. My spouse had Covid in 2021 and I came down with it a couple weeks ago. This, despite our best efforts to stay healthy. We managed to avoid giving it to each other, but we really took the isolation seriously. We have a small 2 bedroom 1 bath home. We were able to keep the windows open through most of my illness and eat outside together while maintaining a safe distance, but it really depends on how committed everyone is to doing the isolation.

    17. Westsidestory*

      I am so sorry you have to go through this. Hubs came back from a trade event with what he thought was a “sinus infection” and I insisted on a home test. After testing positive, he went for the PCR – also positive – and they put him on the Paxlivid. He quarantined and I slept on the sofa. Couldn’t manage it (my back was so sore) so I went full throttle into precautions. Some advice for you:
      1. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, all of you.
      2. No shared foods, paper plates, plastic forks, paper towels.
      3. Don’t be angry. The current versions are so transmittable that anyone can get it, even if they are vaccinated and boosted, as he was.
      It’s a month later and I never got it. He is still suffering some respiratory issues. We are Team Mask till end of summer at least.
      Hand washing is the thing.

  7. Health Insurance Question*

    I am an American citizen but I live abroad. I came to the US about a year ago, because of a family member’s health problem. I got travel insurance, but I can only get it for 1 year. I will be leaving the US soon, but unfortunately I will be just over my year limit. I need somewhere between one to six weeks more of health insurance. Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it possible to get short term insurance? I have a US address where I get mail and have my driver’s license, so I could use that, though it’s not in the same state where I have been staying.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Short term health insurance is indeed a thing. Google for your state–probably the one official addresses have for you.

      1. fposte*

        Agree! The one thing to be aware of is that it’s not subject to the same ACA regulations, so read all the fine print.

        1. Houndmom*

          Golden Rule is a UHC company and they offer short term coverage but as fposte says there are limitations so be aware of what you are buying.

    2. WellRed*

      You need to check your state’s insurance exchange website if you want to see available options ( if I’m understanding you correctly). There are short term options, )not as short as a week) depending where you are but they tend to suck. Can you go without for such a short period of time?

    3. Not A Manager*

      You might be able to purchase a plan from an American company as an American citizen, but also check to see if companies in your country of residence will offer you a plan as a legal resident traveling abroad.

      1. Health Insurance Qurstion*

        My country of residence offers insurance based on what a procedure would cost there, under national health insurance. This works for most (all?) other countries, but not the US. Unfortunately.

    4. S*

      I had travel insurance for 9 months (limit of that plan) and then took out Cobra or something very similar to it until open enrollment started and I could get on my partners plan. It was expensive and the co pays and coinsurance fees were ridiculous. I was basically only going to use it if something catastrophic happened, which luckily it didn’t. But if you’re only looking for six weeks max that should be fine.

  8. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

    Disney Cruise

    I am thinking of taking a Disney cruise next summer when hopefully COVID will be better. This question isn’t about COVID. Next summer we will have a 3 year old and a 6-7 month old (depending on when we actually go).

    I figure the oldest will be able to go the kids club and the baby will still be at the portable stage. I’ve been on many cruises but not Disney ones yet – I’ve heard good things about the entertainment, atmosphere, child activities and food.

    The other option would be to wait until the baby is over 3 as I don’t want to have to corral a toddler and a preschooler at once.

    Any experiences with very young kids? We may do a balcony room so we all don’t have to sleep at 7 pm.

    1. Katie*

      As a mom of a 9 year old and and two (very disabled) 7 year olds who just took their kids on a cruise, I would be leery. Granted I didn’t go on Disney but kids stuff is really limited right now for kids under 5 especially.
      My brother and his family went on a cruise and disappointed to find out that the kids programs were non existent because of staffing.
      I am not saying don’t go (my family still had a good time) but I would recommend really researching to ensure what you think will be there, will be there. 3 years ago offerings could not be the case now.

      1. Disco Janet*

        Disney cruise ships won’t run unless the kids’ programs are fully up and running – their pricing included the cost of all the kids’ activities, they cost a very significant amount more than other cruise lines for this reason, and it’s basically their bread and butter.

    2. Nack*

      We are doing a carnival cruise this October with 2 & 5 year olds. I don’t really have advice since this will be our first time but I wanted to mention that our cruise has no kids club for under 5 due to Covid. I suspect it may change now that vaccines are available for under 5s but as of this moment, there will be no kids club for our kids on our cruise.

    3. Tierrainney*

      My children loved the Disney cruise. But it was pre-Covid so hard to say how it compares. One thing they were already doing then was lots of hadwashing. The kid clubs had automatic hand washers at the entrance. My kids liked the clubs so much we hardly saw them.

  9. Ama*

    I’m looking for insight on women who got diagnosed with ADHD as adults. Ideally from anyone who knows the Canadian medical system well but I’ll take what I can get!

    What sort of symptoms did you have, how did you know it was adhd vs something else/just needing to get your act together, what treatments did you pursue and what was most effective?

    A quick summary about me: I’m about 30, biggest issues are perfectionism and avoidance behaviour, and I don’t know why I can’t just do the thing I tell myself needs to be done. I was kind of hoping medication would help, but maybe I’m just being childish or maybe my attention span has been warped by years of owning a smartphone?

    1. curly sue*

      I’m early 40s, Canadian, diagnosed last year after my teenage daughter went through the process. It turns out both her dad and I have inattentive form as well – there were quite a few eye-opening ‘but I thought that was *normal*’ discussions as we went through the stacks of diagnostic questionnaires for her.

      We did have to go private for her diagnosis, as she would have aged out of the children’s hospital program before she got through the waiting list (2 years and counting). But my postdoc came with a blue cross insurance boost for mental health care and that covered it – it ended up at about $1700 for a day of testing, interviews, and all the paperwork.

      I had been diagnosed with ppd and general anxiety disorder when my kids were little and been on and off various antidepressants. The stimulant options had helped more than my gp had expected, given my anxiety issues, so when eldest was diagnosed, my gp looked at that and my history, and agreed to try getting me off everything else and trying just biphentin instead. It made a huge difference in my executive function, and looking back it makes sense – if it actually is harder for me to manage some things, no wonder I was depressed and anxious!

      Most ADHD women our age slipped through the cracks as children, so it’s been a wild ride trying to figure it out now.

      As a heads up, my pharmacy has warned me that the supply chain for biphentin is a mess right now, and I may have to change meds. So if you do go that route, be prepared to ask about consistency of access and backup options. (Also, we weren’t warned about this possibility, but my husband has diabetes and biphentin spiked his blood sugar. So watch out for those side effects if blood sugar is a concern.)

      Other than meds, I’ve been in touch with a local ADHD coach, but mostly I’m working through the ‘smart but scattered’ books on my own right now. They’re helpful for getting me thinking about practical strategies as well as bigger picture things.

      1. curly sue*

        One thing our GP did was have us do self-assessments to get a sense of things before going the full paid-evaluation route. CADDRA’s got them online: https://www.caddra.ca/etoolkit-forms/

        Husband and I did the ASRS and the CADDRA self-assessment forms from that list, and it was an interesting process.

        1. cubone*

          I think the self-assessment is a great way to evaluate your symptoms. My doctor told me to think about each element in a few contexts: at school, at work, at home, and then all of those as a child and as an adult.

    2. Hen in a Windstorm*

      I don’t have it, but my husband does, and he was not diagnosed until college. “I don’t know why I can’t just do the thing I tell myself needs to be done” is ADHD 101. That is the most basic description of the executive dysfunction there is. He once took a “how to be a professional with ADHD” class and one of the main frustrations the instructor talked about is that it isn’t actually attention deficit, but that you can’t choose where to put that attention when you want to. <This is the part that meds can help with. My hubs tried several different meds, and Ritalin/methylphenidate is what works best for him. Bonus, it is easier to get than the others.

      The fact that you are negatively labeling yourself as "childish" is somewhat telling. My husband has a lot of residual poor coping mechanisms and negative self-talk from all the years of not being able to "just do the thing like everyone else, what is wrong with me, I must be lazy". He was so ashamed to admit it to me. You aren't childish, you don't need to get your act together, those are the indicators that you have a medical condition. Treat it like a medical condition! Would you judge someone for having high blood pressure?

      Be kind to yourself and try different things until you find what works. For my hubs it is meds, structure and routine, so that doing things is a matter of habit/thoughtlessness. And lots of cognitive behavioral therapy. He's gotten quite good at talking back to the little voice that whispers "I'll do it in a minute".

      1. EW*

        100% everything Hen in a Windstorm said! I got diagnosed this year at 33. I didn’t think I could have it because the stereotype of ADHD is young boys disrupting class…which both my brothers and father had. My therapist actually suggested it and the official diagnosis (from a psychiatrist) really changed my life. I take a non-stimulant (Stratera) and I still can’t believe that I can work at my desk focused on the right task for hours now. Even if you end up not technically notching off enough criteria to meet the DSM definition, there are tons of ADHD resources online that might also be helpful to you!

    3. Emily Dickinson*

      Canadian woman, late 30s. Currently in the process of getting a diagnosis – I just have to get organized enough to bring a form back to the doctor, ha! Symptoms are that I lose everything all the time, hide all my mess in closets/the basement, trouble switching tasks at work and on personal time, can focus for hours on work I’m enjoying to the point I forget to eat/go to the washroom but cannot get started in other cases, and leave a trail of partially done chores in my wake.

    4. socks*

      I’m a woman who got diagnosed at 30! The thing that’s helped me most is meds, honestly (Ritalin, in my case). “Just can’t do the thing” is basically the short description of my symptoms, and I’d really encourage you to at least talk to a doctor about it! You don’t have to /know/ it’s ADHD to seek a diagnosis.

      ADHD can manifest in a lot of different ways, so I don’t want you to feel discouraged if this doesn’t sound like you, but since you asked these are my main symptoms:
      – Laser-like focus or zero focus, with very little in between, and almost no control over what tasks fall into which category
      – Difficulty starting tasks, especially if I need to figure out which steps to take and what order to take them in
      – Difficulty doing the last steps of a task, even if those last steps are very easy and straightforward
      – procrastination

      (As a side note, I also don’t think anyone just needs to get their act together — if you want to do the thing, and it’s causing you distress that you aren’t doing the thing, and yet you aren’t doing the thing, there’s a reason you aren’t able to do it! Even if that reason isn’t ADHD, that doesn’t mean you’re lazy or whatever else, it just means you haven’t figured out what’s stopping you.)

    5. RagingADHD*

      I didn’t recognize any symptoms, because I had no idea that my normal state of being for my whole life was symptoms. I just thought I was kind of lazy and immature, and maybe had some kind of emotional problems that made me sabotage myself.

      I went through grief counseling after my mom died, and one of my main problems at the time (and in any major stressful situation) was emotional eating. The counselor recommended a book about magical thinking and disordered eating, but I didn’t read it at the time.

      A few years later, I wanted to look the book up but couldn’t remember the title, so I was googling the topics. And I got hit after hit about the correlations among magical thinking, weight issues, and ADHD in women. So I went down that rabbit hole.

      And everything I read was …about me. All (or most of) the descriptions of “symptoms” were my normal life.

      I went to my GP, asked about it, she sent me for evaluation, the psychologist dxed me as combined subtype, and they started me on Adderall. (I mean, I’m leaving out the normal-to-me stuff about the hassle of making and getting to appointments, getting lost on the way, having to call several times for results because the psychologist also had ADHD and forgot to send me the report, etc, etc).

      I have a very different vocabulary about symptoms now because of reading up on it. The meds were immensely helpful in my biggest weak spots: working memory and short-term memory, task initiation, and impulse control. They also helped reduce random errors and “glitches” like saying or writing a different word than I meant, or turning left when I meant to turn right. Also helped with my attention to detail so I could catch those errors. The thing my family noticed was that I got much less overwhelmed in highly distracting or sensory intense situations: for example, I was much calmer and happier at crowded public events, and less irritable when the kids would interrupt me making dinner. I didn’t demand total silence when merging onto the freeway.

      The meds did not help with my tendency to hyperfocus and lose time, or hyperfocus on the wrong thing. They made it a worse, actually. But at the same time, they helped me use tools and systems more consistently to compensate for that. Like setting timers and alarms. Or like, I still have a weak mental map and a tendency to get preoccupied or glitch and miss turns when I’m driving, but now I use GPS to go pretty much anywhere that I go less than once a week. Even if I know the way, the voice prompt keeps me on track.

      The meds did not help me with the larger, long-term issues like goal-directed persistence, difficulty deciding on priorities, or low ability to form automatic habits. But again, they helped with remembering to use systems and tools, which helps a lot on those big picture things.

      I had to be very careful with timing my doses so they would not interfere with sleep, and take a day or two off at least every ten days, or I would have trouble falling asleep. Eventually I just stopped taking it on weekends unless there was a specific reason.

      From what I have read since, I think my relative ease of diagnosis was based on several things. Some of this may also apply in Canada, and some will not.

      First, in the US, neuropsych testing is not universally accepted as the standard for diagnosis. That’s a double edged sword. Many providers rely on it, but many insurers will not cover it, so it can be prohibitively expensive to pursue diagnosis. I live in an area with a research hospital and lots and lots of medical offices and specialists of all kinds, so it was not hard to find a provider who diagnosed from a clinical interview, which was covered.

      Second, my provider specialized in ADHD across the lifespan and therefore understood the different ways it presents in men and women, children and adults.

      Third, I had no other history of psych or behavioral diagnoses that would need to be ruled out, and my symptom cluster does not include intense behaviors that could cloud the issue, like risk-seeking, emotional dysregulation, or rejection-sensitive dysphoria.

      ADHD is comorbid with a lot of things, and my comorbidities are all physical. A lot of people have trouble when the provider needs to tease out whether their executive function problems are causes or results of another issue. So I lucked out in that respect.

      Fourth, the only physical condition I had that could relate (hypothyroid) was already dx and being treated, and I was up to date on all my checkups.

      I recommend the book “Smart but Scattered,” even though it’s directed at parents of ADHD kids. It has a very positive framing of strengths and weaknesses, good descriptions of what various executive functions do, and how different patterns of strengths and weaknesses form different disorders.

      I’d also mention that ADHD is a lifelong condition. Some kids fly under the radar because their traits don’t cause problems in school, and symptoms fluctuate, but there will be recognizable patterns or themes in your overall mode of functioning. ADHD traits are woven into your personality and inherent to the way you think and perceive life. The wheels are more likely to come off when you are in a new life situation that makes different demands on you.

      If you feel like something inside yourself has changed, or you are not experiencing the world the same way as usual, it’s possible that you have something else going on that mimics ADHD symptoms – there are a lot of physical and mental things that do that!

      If you have healthcare access, it is always best to start with a visit to your GP to discuss your concerns and start ruling things out if necessary.

    6. KathyG*

      My sister was officially diagnosed in her early 60’s. Her family doc gave her the self-asessment questionnaire, I believe he handles the prescribing too. Almost everything that she had been told growing up (and had spent her lifetime telling herself) were character flaws turned out to be symptoms. Ritalin hasn’t fixed everything, but it has made a HUGE difference to things she didn’t know were related: not only is she able to “just do the thing”, but also her face doesn’t itch, she doesn’t have to press her feet into the floor to sit still, and doesn’t have to clasp her hands together to keep from fidgeting.

      When we were kids, ADD/ADHD was something that only happened to boys. I suspect there are quite a few of our generation who have lived entire lives not knowing what was “wrong” with them.

      So my suggestion is to see if you can get a diagnosis from your family doc, or whoever your primary care professional is, before getting into the whole mental-health professional waitlist clusterf*ck.

    7. cubone*

      Hi!! Canadian woman, diagnosed ADHD earlier this year. I don’t know what province you’re in, but I ended up paying to go to a clinic. I absolutely think it is awful that this is a choice some people have to make and I understand it’s not an option for many. But tbh, it was extremely worth it for me. I had to reorganize my finances to make it happen and I don’t regret it. When I actually looked at the time the clinic spent with me, it worked out to like $150/appointment (just under $2k total), which is less than I’ve spent on therapy .. so. They also caught a few other diagnoses that tbh have been possibly even more eye opening than ADHD; I’m not certain if that would’ve happened elsewhere. I am NOT pro-paid/private healthcare at all, but I had a good experience, felt treated incredibly well, and have been endlessly supported by them.

      In terms of symptoms and knowing it is ADHD vs something else, here is what I have recommended to everyone I know who also is wondering about ADHD: try not to frame the problem in your head as “do I have ADHD or not”. Focus on the symptoms and frame the problem as “I struggle with XYZ, I’ve tried ABC, and this is the result etc, I need help with these symptoms”. This is not to diminish that identifying with ADHD is a bad or secret thing, but really the problem ISN’T that you think you have ADHD, it’s that you’re struggling immensely. There could be other explanations (or there might not be! It very well might be this). You can say to your doctor “these are my symptoms and this is how they impact my life negatively. I did read a bit about ADHD and thought it sounded like what I’m experience, but I want to know for sure.” But focusing on symptoms I think helped me get better at communicating WHAT those symptoms were and how they impacted my life, which probably helped the diagnosis. It also helped me when I panicked thinking “what if I pay this clinic and I don’t have ADHD??” because I knew, regardless they were there to help me understand and find solutions for what I was struggling with. Hopefully that makes sense.

      Happy to answer more questions!

    8. Pocket Mouse*

      Quick plug for the Kaleidoscope Society- centered on women with ADHD. They may have useful info/resources.

  10. Cruciatus*

    I’ve been with Verizon for “forever” but I’m on an old 4GB data plan that isn’t enough anymore and I’ve been going over my limit the last few months, however their new unlimited plans mean the cheapest my bill can be is $120 a month, for 1 smartphone and 1 basic phone (they will charge smartphone pricing for the basic phone and…no). My dad has the basic phone and doesn’t use it a lot, but he likes to have it.

    Does anyone have a plan for mixed cell phone types (basic and smart) they are happy with? Or is it better to go through separate companies? I’ve been looking at Visible for my smart phone which runs on Verizon’s network, though Visible customers get deprioritized and have slower speeds–but I’m not sure this will be a major issue for me. I’m certainly willing to try it out because it’s cheap enough. But I don’t see any info on their site about basic phones and I want to make sure my dad is covered, and covered easily. I just want him to be able to use the phone and not worry about limits regarding minutes or needing to use calling cards or what have you.

    Does anyone have any suggestions, or thoughts about Visible or any other cell phone company, good or bad?

    1. NoRealNameHere*

      How about a Tracfone for the basic phone? You pay $100, and it lasts for 400 minutes or one year, whichever comes first (and one text = one minute). I think it works similarly to Visible, but for such light usage, it probably doesn’t matter.

      1. Clisby*

        I use Tracfone for my smart phone – it cost $70. And yes, the price you quote seems about right. I never use up all the minutes – I don’t like talking on the phone and hardly ever text anyone.

    2. Fit Farmer*

      Check out Ting. The use Verizon or T-Mobile networks (you can pick), and the plans are great for low data use.
      For example, $10/device + $5/GB used during the month. I’ve had them for a long time for data, in a pretty unusual tech setup, and their tech support has been top-notch in every way.

      1. Overeducated*

        What do you mean, you can pick T-Mobile or Verizon? I couldn’t even figure out what network they used on their own website, it looked elsewhere like T-Mobile, so we were about to sign up with Visible because Verizon network coverage is so much better in some areas around us. Ting is far cheaper so I’d love to know if I’m wrong!

        We also looked at Mint, which is cheaper than Visible. But it does look like data is more limited, not sure if it would be enough if you’re using over 4G already.

        1. Fit Farmer*

          As I understand it, Ting and all the other small companies lease the use of either Verizon’s or T-Mobile’s towers, and Ting has an arrangement with each company to use its network of towers. You can pick, and sign up with a Ting service that uses Verizon’s towers. It seems like Ting has different “divisions”(?) or something for each of the networks (this wasn’t the case when I joined, so I’m not sure), so they might have to transfer you to the proper customer service person, but like I said the Ting tech support is super so if you explain your situation to them and that you want to use Verizon’s towers they’ll tell you what the options are.

          1. Lore*

            Agreed. I had Ting using T Mobile network and then switched when they started offering Verizon because of one specific place I go that doesn’t have coverage. They’ll send you a different SIM card (which might cost $7? Can’t remember) and then all else is the same. You pay $10 per line for unlimited calls and texts and then they have various data plans. Right now it looks they’re offering 12 gb for $35, 5 for $25 per line (total, including the calls and texts), pay as you go for $5 per gb. I do pay as you go because I started this plan during full wfh and was very rarely off wifi. Now I generally use around 2 but if I start regularly going over that I might switch to the 5 to have a predictable bill.

      2. Yet Another Unemployed Librarian*

        I also used Ting when I was in the US and was very happy with it. If you don’t use much data it was just right for a low cost and I agree their service was always great.

    3. Holly the spa pro*

      I’m thinking you are best going with separate plans. I don’t know which companies offer basic phone support, you’d probably have to call since it might not be apparent in their marketing.

      I switched to mint mobile several years ago and I pay $20 a month for unlimited everything. The data does get throttled at 10 gigs but I never use that much as I’m connected to wifi most of the time. We put my teen stepson on the same plan and he almost never goes over his data either so that is definitely a good sign. Most importantly, they don’t charge you for going over. I’m not sure about their support on basic phones. I purchased a new unlocked phone prior to switching so I don’t know if you would be able to switch your specific phone over but it’s definitely worth looking into because $120 a month is obscene. I pay $240 a YEAR for my service. My husband’s is even less since he doesn’t need unlimited minutes. Get out of there, friend! Lol

    4. Cat and dog fosterer*

      I don’t know details, but I’ve heard that many companies have senior discounts. If your father is over 65, or even 55 years old, then splitting your contracts is probably cheapest.

    5. 653-CXK*

      I joined Consumer Cellular about a month ago, and I’m very pleased. I was an AT&T customer for 17 years, and even though I had a 4GB data plan from them, my monthly charge was $68 a month and rising, and I hardly used the data (100-150MB tops) and the phone. My first bill from CC was $28, with 3GB of data.

    6. CatCat*

      I’m very happy with Mint Mobile. I’ve found it inexpensive, reliable, and the pricing is transparent. You can bring your own device and plans start at $180 per YEAR with unlimited talking (limited data, but irrelevant for your dad). They also have plans with more data, which would be an option for your needs. I pay $240 per year for my plan.

      1. I don't mean to be rude, I'm just good at it*

        I use Mint for Mom and I paid $180 for 13 months. Her apartment is not mobile phone friendly but Mint works fine.

    7. Liminality (It's Quarantime, Again...)*

      Maybe consider looking into the Verizon prepay options? I don’t know what is available on your area, but that’s what I’m on and I can’t tell the difference between this and the “standard” service. Plus, no surprise bills!

    8. *daha**

      I had good service and good pricing from Consumer Cellular. They sell “shared” data meaning they add together the data used by all the phones in the plan and that’s what your plan covers. In your case, it would mean the only data would be that you use, and none by your dad. You pick a data plan to start. A plan with two lines of unlimited calling and texting and 7 gb of shared data is $55 per month plus all the local, state, and federal taxes. AARP membership saves you 5% and if that is all you ever use the membership for it about breaks even. If you go over the data in your plan there is no overage charge, but they will move you to the next higher plan automatically starting the next month. You can move to lower plans whenver you like.

    9. Pam Adams*

      I decided Verizon was too expensive and went with T-Mobile for half the price. No coverage issues seen. My sister-in-law keeps a cell phone for emergencies/being on the road and likes tracphone for it’s cheapness/reliability.

    10. fhqwhgads*

      I’m currently on Verizon prepaid and I get 5GB for $25/mo. Technically if you look, it’s the $40 plan, but I get discounts for being on autopay, and another discount for being on it for over a certain number of months. There are other prepaid plans that’d get you more data than that, and the same discounts apply.
      Ting is also good and very inexpensive.

      1. Dragonfly7*

        I’m also a fan of the Verizon prepaid plans and have found it very easy to change plans when I need more or less data.

    11. Coenobita*

      You might want to check out Metro PCS, too. We have three lines with unlimited data for $80/month (bring-your-own device, no hotspot ability). We sometimes have to go to the kiosk in the mall to get in-person customer service but that’s basically the only downside, as long as you live somewhere with good T-Mobile service. Every once in a while they run a promo where you can add another line to your plan for free, so that might be something to look into.

    12. noahwynn*

      I have Wing on the AT&T network, but I know they also offer Verizon plans too. Their unlimited plan is $55 and the flip phone plan is $12.

    13. Cruciatus*

      Thanks everyone for the tips! I have a LOT of tabs opened in my web browser right now looking over everything people have suggested! I’ll still keep checking this thread if anyone has something to add after this post. I knew there where carriers that used the major Verizon and AT&T networks, but I was always nervous to try them but now I’m wondering why I’ve been spending so much at Verizon postpaid when it appears I can get more data just about everywhere else prepaid (including Verizon!). I guess I’m just bad at change, which was Verizon’s (monetary) gain, my loss.

      1. Annie May*

        I just wanted to say inertia has kept me with Sprint/T-mobile, and now I’m definitely going to be looking at changing plans too.

        Anyone have thoughts on Spectrum cell coverage? I have TV, internet, and even my landline (which will have to be pried out of my hands), so…

    14. meow*

      My partner has Mint and he really likes it! I think his plan is $30/month, not sure what exactly is included. He uses his phone quite a bit, but never runs out of data. I will say that when we are at big events (MLB game, art festival, etc.) or in slightly more remote areas, the data was pretty much unusable, which worked out ok since I still have Verizon. I’ve also been considering switching, but being somewhere where neither of us are able to use our phones reliably is giving me pause.

    15. saf*

      We have a T-mobile senior plan. 2 lines, unlimited data. They have several options that range between $55 and $90 per month for 2 lines, inclusive of taxes and fees.

  11. Put the Blame on Edamame*

    Favourite low conflict documentaries? I’m yearning for stuff I can watch but not get stressed over- 20 Feet from Stardom would be a great example

    1. curly sue*

      The thread above about Lucy Worlsley’s programmes is a great start if you like history! She’s done a pile of very gentle ones on things like the UK royal wardrobe, and she’s a very charming presenter.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Antarctica: A Year on Ice. About the folk who stay in Antarctica over the winter. Really fascinating–I had pictured “the base” when there are multiple bases; I didn’t realize you needed a dispatcher for the fire department; etc.

      1. PM*

        A sticht in time with Amber Butchart! Also, if you’re in the US, I”d just donate to PBS to get access to their back catalog of American Experience, Nova, and Secrets from the Dead documentaries.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I love the American Experience episodes. You can watch a lot of them for free via the website on a computer, or a donation of $5/month gets you access to streaming on Roku/AppleTV etc.

      2. WoodswomanWrites*

        I hadn’t heard of this one and will check it out. I knew someone who spent years at the McMurdo Station seasonally. I’ll have to see if she’s in the film.

      1. I take tea*

        I read this as one show and had a moment of “such a strange combination, sounds interesting” :-)

    3. AY*

      Summer of Soul by Questlove! It’s about a music festival in Harlem that featured gobs of wonderful black musicians and includes some amazing performances.

    4. Charlotte Lucas*

      Saw American Horse about a month ago. Very good. Also, many of the PBS Nature documentaries would probably fit the bill.

    5. The Prettiest Curse*

      Two recent documentaries I’ve really enjoyed are Sisters with Transistors (about female electronic musicians, focusing mostly on the 1960s-70s) and Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliche, which is a really fascinating portrait of the lead singer of 70s punk band X-Ray Spex.

    6. BEC*

      Fantastic Fungi – can’t recommend it enough. About all the different ways plants use to communicate with each other and all the medicinal and environmental uses of fungi. Cinematography is out of this world, and the whole content of the video is remarkably fascinating and energizing.

    7. cat socks*

      There was a documentary on HBO I watched called Fake Famous. It takes three regular people and tries to turn them into social media stars. Apparently there is a fake airplane set somewhere in Los Angeles. You can rent time there and take pictures of yourself “flying” to an amazing destination. It was an interesting look into behind the scenes of influencers.

    8. WoodswomanWrites*

      Mad Hot Ballroom is a wonderful film about New York City fifth-graders learning about and competing in ballroom dancing. It’s really fun.

  12. Dainty Lady*

    Librarians and archivists, what do you recommend people do with boxes of old (1850-1970 or so) documents, diaries, letters, scrapbooks etc.? Any idea how to tell if they are of interest?

    1. Academic Fibro Warrior*

      Not a librarian or archivist, but I work with old documents as rhetorician. My great aunt has a couple boxes of letters from her ww2 soldier pen pals that I’m going to use for a literacy research project. A couple other graduate students in my department got some personal papers by being friends with families of folks involved in civil rights. So one possibility is to contact a university English department to find out if any of the faculty might be interested or have a graduate student that is interested. My point is not that archivists might not be interested but that there are definitely other options. I suggest rhetoric because we definitely look at things that people kind of look at and go, that’s everyday stuff not important enough for an archive to understand how the everyday in the past shaped the world and our thinking. You could also call local libraries to see what the person who handles procurements is interested in? Don’t call one though. Different libraries have different specialties in their archives. Like here I go to one university library for labor history and another for antebellum history, for example. I went to Kentucky for my dissertation research.

      I kind of want to see these papers now! Good luck!

      1. Kw10*

        What is a rhetorician? I’m so curious to learn more. (Or if that’s not appropriate for the weekend thread, would you consider posting info about it in next Friday’s thread?) Thanks!!

    2. Ginger Pet Lady*

      Inquire with a university library or historical society. We were able to donate my MIL’s papers to the local university, though she wasn’t anyone of note. They still wanted them as an example of someone in that time period. I was honestly surprised they took them!

      1. A.N O'Nyme*

        If she wasn’t anyone of particular note, they probably wanted it as documentation of the common person – all too often we know a lot about royalty, nobility and Important People but not about the people around them, which causes people to fill in the blanks themselves and then when research does get unearthed it is very difficult to go against that initial perception.

    3. merp*

      I work right now in the archives branch of my local public library – particularly if the records are tied to a specific city/town (but even if they are not), a place like that might be very interested if you have one near you! Especially the letters, photos, scrapbooks. So local historical societies, genealogical societies, or city/county archives (if they have collections outside of just gov’t records, which admittedly not all do).

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

      If the person had a specialized profession or hobby they documented, an alumnus of a university etc, you could try those organizations as well if they have an archives.

    5. Joie De Vivre*

      Depending on the papers and place, some libraries with genealogy sections might take them.

      One of the best gifts I’ve received was old photos of people in my family tree. A lady and I descended from the same 1800s couple. When she was cleaning stuff out she sent several old photos to me.

      1. Joie De Vivre*

        Just going to add – if the documents and papers pertained to people in my family tree, I’d love to have them.

  13. sagewhiz*

    Last weekend I asked for ideas for a p-t job for a mom-to-two-tweens character in a novel, and wow did y’all come through! Your brainstorming unclogged my brain and led me to a great solution, and actually adds to the story development. Thank you so much!

    1. Liminality (It's Quarantime, Again...)*

      Woohoo! I’m glad to hear it! Good luck with your creative work and thanks for the update. :)

  14. Stuffies!*

    I recently posted about my large stuffed animal collection that I wanted to donate to an organization that would give them directly to children. Good news: I found somewhere to donate them all to! :)

    My only problem now is I think my older brothers might be upset when they find out.

    My one brother lives on the other side of the country and has two kids (oldest is 7). When he visited with one a few years ago, he was upset that I hadn’t dragged my entire collection of stuffed animals over to my parent’s house for his then 2-year-old to play with. (I was too busy helping clean my parents’ house and scrubbing big plastic toys and all the accessories from the attic the weekend before to remember my stuffed animals. I just said “She’s having fun with the toys I cleaned for her—I don’t think she needs more” at that point.)

    My other brother has been telling me for years how great it would be if I gave one or two stuffed animals to my nieces every time I saw them. Which I would be fine with, except my Sister-In-Law mentioned to me that they had way too many stuffies and she didn’t want any more in the house. And I’ve been able to visit them twice, and they’ve visited here once, so I don’t see them often.

    Anyway, if they get upset at me for not saving all/any of my stuffed animals for my nieces, I’m not sure how to politely shut them down. It’s like, “You expected me to reserve the entire top shelf of my bedroom closet for stuffed animals for children who live on the other side of the country?” I guess the nice way of saying that is, “I just didn’t have space to store them anymore”?

    Does anyone have any experience with deflecting decluttering guilt from family members?

    1. WellRed*

      I just wanna say good job! For getting that done. You’re brother is being really weird about YOUR stuffed animals. If you gave them to a charitable organization, can you shut him down with that?

    2. Bogey*

      I would call them and ask if they want them enough to pay for you to ship them to them.

    3. Kittee*

      I suppose you could offer to send them to them (at their expense) if they want them, and then if they don’t, go ahead and donate? Unless you’d really rather just donate, which of course is fine too!

    4. CarryAll*

      Let them be upset. You can just repeat “I didn’t have storage space for them so I gave them to charity”. But their feelings are their problem, it’s unreasonable of them to expect this, and you get to do whatever you want with your stuff. They’ll get over it, unless they are completely irrational and unreasonable – and if that’s the case, nothing you do will ever be right so do what you want anyway.

      Maybe if you haven’t already given them away you could pick out one special one to give to each kid as a gift, and donate the rest?

    5. Greengirl*

      If you wanted to, you could pick out one for each child and then donate the rest. But honestly they probably have enough stuffies and “ I didn’t have the room to store them” is a good answer.

    6. CatCat*

      I deflect it by giving a reasonable opportunity for the person who wants it to come get it or arrange and pay for shipping.

    7. Heather*

      God, yes, although my conflict comes from my 11 year old son, so it may not be relevant.
      But with adults– the most you can do is be matter-of-fact. I wouldn’t get drawn in to any teary arguments. Just say, “Oh I didn’t have room for them anymore and I was so happy they went to children who can use them.” Don’t engage emotionally or try to justify why you did it.

      1. fposte*

        I think this is brilliant. You can’t make sure he feels and responds the way you desire and it’s not worth spending energy to make him agree with you on something you get to do whether he agrees or not.

    8. Not A Manager*

      But why wouldn’t you just offer them to your brothers now? The kids are at the right age for them, why would you need to store them in your closet? Just ask your brothers if they want them, and tell them you’ll let them know how much the shipping costs.

      If the issue is that you really *want* to donate these and not gift them to your family, then I would go with some version of “I’m so happy that [deserving group of] children will be able to enjoy them.” I personally wouldn’t give away sentimental items before offering them to family that have already expressed an interest. In terms of your SIL’s preferences, let them work that out. You don’t have to doorkeep for her.

      1. Generic Name*

        Yes, the bit about this sis in law stuck out to me too. Ultimately it’s your stuff. You get to decide what to do with it, and everyone else gets to have their own feelings about it.

    9. Dark Macadamia*

      Oh, my god, what kind of parent WANTS their kid to be given more stuffed animals? I guarantee they have a thousand and will get a thousand more. Save one for each kid or let them each choose one next time you see them. Don’t engage with your weird brothers who have had kids for several years and still don’t realize that stuffed animals basically just materialize periodically under the bed whether you want them or not.

      1. Observer*

        That’s weirdly and unnecessarily judgemental. And you certainly cannot “guarantee” anything.

        Not that the OP needs to worry about how their brothers will feel, but this is just a distraction.

    10. Generic Name*

      You can’t manage your brothers’ emotions/control their reactions. You can only control you. I think it would be reasonable for you to send them an email saying that you no longer have room to store these items and need to get rid of them. Tell them they can pick up the items by X date and if they haven’t, you will donate the toys. You could offer to ship them, but if it’s a huge box, that might be very expensive. Alternately, you could just donate the items and if they complain, you could cheerfully say, “Sorry! I just didn’t have the room for them anymore. You could have taken what you wanted any time during the last 15 [or however long it’s been] years.”

      1. Generic Name*

        I misread your original post about these stuffed animals being yours specifically and not toys you all had communally. That makes your brothers’ reactions even weirder. Ultimately, it’s your property and you get to control what you do with it. I’d make an offer for them to acquire your stuffed animals by a deadline or you donate as you desire.

    11. RagingADHD*

      In this instance, the quickest way to shut that down would be to tell him to talk to his wife.

      I have had to do some house-clearouts after relatives died, and I’d probably handle this the same way. I’d call each brother and tell them I’m downsizing, and if they want me to send them anything, they need to tell me this week. I can pay to mail a small package, but if they want anything very large or that requires insurance, I will need them to pay shipping costs.

      Everybody I approached that way felt that it was more than fair, and I only had minor requests for things that were easy to mail. Of course, in my case I was the legal owner of items that were reasonably considered family pieces or mementoes of the person who passed. Your brothers don’t really have the same emotional claim on your collection.

      But since you already decided that you don’t want to keep it, there’s no harm in making the offer for the sake of peace and harmony.

      1. Tea and Sympathy*

        I agree with Raging ADHD. For the sake of family harmony, and so this won’t be brought up sporadically in the future, I would tell your brothers that you found a good charity and are donating them on X date, and that you no longer have room to store them. If they want any of the stuffed animals they should let you know before that date. Unless it’s a hardship or a ridiculous amount, I would pay for the shipping, again for the sake of family harmony.

      2. Observer*

        This is totally on target.

        It’s worth making the offer. But, as others have said, don’t get between your brother and his wife.

        If he wants to pay for you to ship x number of teddy bears, and you SIL calls and gives you a hard time, you need to tell her that that’s a conversation between him and her. If she calls you BEFORE you send anything, let your brother know that his wife called and he needs to square this away NOW, because you are donating the bears on X date and not waiting around.

    12. Swisa*

      Could you, the next time you see them, pull your brother and sister in law aside and say something like “I’ve made a plan to donate my stuffies to xyz place. Before I do that, do you want to choose 1 each from the collection for the kids? Talk it over, and let me know. I’m planning to donate them by xyz date, so if you do want to choose one, just let me know before then. I’m fine either way!”

      Basically notifying them, with a deadline, and not being overly involved in their decision. If your brother comes back wanting more, you can say, oh I’d prefer it this way, and since this organization is already expecting them, that’s what I’m going to go with. Basically just shutting it down.

      Your brother may have feelings about not keeping them all, but it might be a kindness to offer 1.

      1. Swisa*

        And since they live far away, you could basically just text them a few photos of the whole collection (nothing crazy, just literally a picture of the shelf). If you’re not seeing them soon, this could all be accomplished by group text.

      2. Observer*

        Could you, the next time you see them, pull your brother and sister in law aside

        Don’t wait till you see them next or the next time you talk to them. Send them both and email, text or other message with a definite “donate day”, the offer, and some pictures.

    13. Squirrel Nutkin*

      YOU get to decide to whom YOU give your things. Your family does not own them. OP, this is an important chance to assert boundaries. If your brothers wanted to shower their kids with a ton of stuffed animals, there is nothing stopping them from prioritizing that in their family budgets. They do not own your stuff, and they do not have rights to tell you what to do with your stuff. It is not your job to make sure that they are happy with every decision you make about your life. Let them be upset and childish if they want. Not your problem.

      Sorry if this is a little strongly worded. I’m a little touchy because my extended family thinks like this. They literally kept nagging me for the hearing aids taken from my dead father’s CORPSE for my uncle to use (they are not poor, just cheap) until I gave in, but I should have just told them they were insane. Who DOES that?!

      1. Squirrel Nutkin*

        P.S. I’d just give the collection away and then tell them. That way, there is no way they can guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do (and that is unreasonable for them insist upon).

        1. PollyQ*

          Agreed. I have very limited patience with people who think they’re entitled to other people’s property. I’d give the collection away, and NOT tell them, because it’s none of their business. If they asked later, then I’d just say, “This is what worked best for me.”

        2. Pam Adams*

          Or not tell them. When they see you again or ask about them- you can respond- “Oh, I donated them to Charity XYZ. They said the kids were so happy to get them.”

      2. RagingADHD*

        The thing is, reflexively saying “No!” to everything isn’t a healthy boundary, though it can be an important intermediate step to developing them once you feel secure.

        Healthy boundaries are permeable and allow for a reasonable amount of give and take. Like your skin. If you didn’t have pores, you’d die.

        Nobody here is grieving. Nobody here is asserting a claim on items OP wants to keep or that would be disrespectful to remove.

        OP is literally planning to give these things away. It is not reasonable for the family to expect OP to store this stuff indefinitely. But it is reasonable to offer them to the family before strangers.

        Healthy boundaries allow for finding a middle path and being generous without being put-upon.

    14. Sundial*

      My cousins bought my grandparents’ house after they passed and, after saving up for a few years, started renovating to bring it up to date.

      My brother, who was coddled his whole life and has no concept of the real world, flipped out on them for daring to change anything about the house. He said they had to leave it just as Pop and Nana had left it, acting like it was a shrine.

      This escalated to him dumpster-diving their construction waste, dragging everything back out onto the lawn, and screaming and crying that they had to put everything back. They got a restraining order, which I applauded because my brother needs to be put in his place.

      So, yeah, I get it. You do you, and make no excuses. “I did what I wanted to with my own possessions, and I’m not discussing it further.”

    15. Ellis Bell*

      I don’t see anything wrong with your first draft version to be honest? There’s nothing unkind about pointing out the logistics. Your brothers are a little thoughtless (especially the one not considering his wife’s PoV) but there’s no indication they need delicate handling. If they haven’t considered the practicalities, .. or that these are your belongings to dispose of as you see fit(!) … just point that out.

    16. Observer*

      I think that suggestion to call your brothers is a good one.

      Call and tell them that you ARE getting rid of the stuffed animals. You can send them whatever they want, but you have a drop off date of (two weeks from the call) to bring over the stuffed animals, so you need an answer from them by then. Then send the a set of pictures or a video of your collection so they can make their choice. Remind them ONCE about 3 days before the deadline, if they don’t come through. And then just give away whatever they didn’t ask for.

      The thing is you need to use very definite language. This *is* happening, you’re not open to discussing this, nor are you open to “alternatives” like finding a storage module or cluttering up your parent’s. home.

    17. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Safety! The older stuffed toys might have eyes or other things that are not safe? Say you were worried about that even if that was not a big concern.

  15. Neighbor problem: trespass and poison*

    Someone recently trespassed and scattered about four dozen mothballs all over two large garden beds that run along two edges of our backyard. Some of the mothballs were 15 feet into our yard and on the grass.

    Mothballs are toxic to humans and pets. Mothballs are illegal for outdoor use (link to follow). Our young grandson was here last Sunday when I found them, and he tried to touch them. We all smelled the noxious fumes.

    Maybe recent skunk sightings prompted this. I hope it wasn’t intended to poison my pets.

    We often see wildlife out back. There aren’t many fences, so it’s mostly a large expanse of open back yards. One backyard neighbor at our property line has a bird feeder that attracts deer. A large park with woods is one block away, and that’s where deer, raccoons, and opossums come from. This is the first year we’ve seen a skunk.

    I’m livid. I feel violated. We’ve been here for over 30 years without anything like this. Our neighbors keep to themselves, wave hello, and share a chat sometimes. We like that vibe. I do suspect one neighbor out back and a few houses over. We’ve had a few unpleasant interactions over their wandering dogs and illegal fireworks. They are often loud and inconsiderate. Otherwise, we like our neighbors.

    So far I’ve chatted with two of our four immediate neighbors to ask if this has happened to them and if they’ve seen anyone out back. I asked the same questions in our neighborhood’s Facebook group, and I filed a police report to get this on record. I plan to chat with a few more neighbors as I see them outside.

    I’m looking into security cameras next and will start a separate thread to ask for recommendations.

    What else would you do? I’ll be out part of the day but will check back when I can to answer any questions. Thanks in advance.

    1. CatCat*

      How about motion activated sprinkler to deter humans and dogs? (This would also deter wildlife and I’m not clear if that’s something you wouldn’t want.)

    2. Generic Name*

      OMG. I would be pissed too. I live in a neighborhood surrounded by grassy fields, or parks with lots of unmowed grassy areas, so of course there are mice in people’s backyards. Some neighbors seem to love blaming other neighbors for seeing mice. One neighbor tried to blame us for the mice he sees running along the fence line that borders our property until my husband nicely pointed out that the mice are probably attracted to the seeds in the dozen or so bird feeders he has in his backyard. If it were that you disagree with what people are doing on their own property, the most you could do would be to educate people and maybe arrange for someone from the county extension office to present at a community/HOA meeting. Since they are trespassing on your property, I would focus on that angle. Another thing you could do is contact your local humane society and ask them for advice. That’s really crappy that someone is doing that.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      If you have a neighborhood forum, why not make a post on there? (This would be a non-FB site.)

  16. Neighbor problem: security camera*

    Can anyone recommend a security camera to catch a trespasser? (My other thread with “neighbor problem” has details.) I want night vision and cloud storage. I’d like to pay under $100, but more is okay. I heard about trail cameras with straps, and I’d prefer that to a permanent mount on my house. Not sure about battery vs. electric, but there’s an outlet at the back of the house. Mostly I want a clear image to identify the perpetrator and to show the police. The distance from the house to the property line is about 50 feet. There’s a tree about halfway back that I could use (no outlet in that case). A camera mounted indoors could work instead, but it might be tricky to get a clear line of sight. Thanks for your help!

    1. CatCat*

      I recently got Blink cameras and they were easy to set up, alert me when motion is detected, let me view live if I want, work at night, and pretty reasonably priced annual storage plans. I saw there are kits with flood lights too. I can’t speak to how they work, but there are a lot of good reviews and the floodlights would help snag a better picture at night and maybe deter the trespasser.

    2. fposte*

      Your situation is really frustrating; I’d be really upset in your position. One thing I’ve seen (and that you can Google guides for) is to use old phones, but I don’t know if that would work in your setup since it sounds like you may want at least one outside and maybe not under shelter.

      But I’d also consider something more like a deterrent, such as a motion-activated sprinkler. If you don’t get a great picture (people skulking through yards love a pulled-up hoodie) or the offender isn’t somebody you recognize, the camera doesn’t really get you much, and even if the camera does capture your neighbor, you probably won’t get much more than the police talking to the guy. Or I’d combine the cameras with signs to make them a deterrent (or just put up the signs) as well as a trap.

    3. Generic Name*

      We have exterior mounted ring cameras. They use batteries that have to be charged periodically, but you can get solar chargers for them. I’ve been happy so far. Just note that you have to pay like $10 a month for them to store the video footage so you can review later. And as fposte points out, cameras really aren’t a deterrent and only work if you recognize the people in the video.

    4. cat socks*

      We’ve used Arlo outdoor cameras. They use batteries, but I think you can also plug them in.

      1. Angstrom*

        The Arlo solar panel has worked well for us for a camera in a difficult-to-reach location.

    5. beentheredonethat*

      I use NEST and love them. My door camera will catch a cat walking, a bird singing in the bush. Very easy setup and control. I also use an interior camera pointed out a window at my swimming pool. And I love the nest thermostat.

  17. PM*

    I’m looking for an e-reader recommendation. I never had one… I use a bunch of apps to read e-books from the library and I want to get an e-reader that supports kindle, cloudreader, adobe digital editions, libby… basically allows me app downloads. It seems like a lot of librarians and book lovers hang out out, and I’d love to hear what has worked for you.

    1. onebitcpu*

      If you don’t need to be able to read in direct daylight and can live with a tablet, that is compatible with most e-reader software.
      Where I live, you can get used tablets at second-hand shops, and it doesn’t need to be powerful to be a decent e-reader.

    2. Deschain*

      I have a 6th gen Kindle Paperwhite. I check out books from two local libraries using the Overdrive app on my iPhone, which then pushes to my Kindle because the libraries have a “Read now with Kindle” feature. As long as my Kindle WiFi is on, the books sync immediately, and when I’m done, I can return them directly from my Kindle. I never leave home without it since it’s easy on the eyes due to the lighting feature and ease of increasing the font.

      1. The Person from the Resume*

        I agree with this most Overdrive/Libby ebooks are in kindle compatible format can easily be pushed to a kindle when you download it. I did just encounter an ebook on Libby that can only read in the Libby app, but that’s 1 in 100, I’d guess.

        I do occasionally read ebooks from CloudLibrary on my phone. There’s no way to get it to my kindle that I know of.

        Libby/Overdrive overwhelming has the content (ebook and audiobook) that borrow.

      2. Coenobita*

        Same! I don’t necessarily love being in the Amazon ecosystem, but I got my kindle as a gift years ago, use it constantly, and have never paid a cent for an ebook. I have Overdrive/Libby access to five library systems (you might be surprised at the reciprocal agreements your local library has!) and also “bought” a bunch of public domain classics for $0. I have an old paperwhite, not sure which generation, but it’s a workhorse. The soft backlight is a big priority for me – I want to be able to read in a dark room without having a glowing tablet screen. For what it’s worth, my mom recently got the newest paperwhite and it has some weird issues that apparently are not uncommon.

    3. HamlindigoBlue*

      I have a Kindle Paperwhite, older generation, that works just fine and a new Rakuten Kobo Libra 2.

      The display on the Libra 2 is fantastic and has adjustable warm light. My understanding is, for Kindle devices, this option is only available on the Kindle Oasis.

      The Libra 2 connects directly to your Overdrive account, so accessing library books is super easy. I was just looking for options to get out of the Amazon ecosystem, and the Libra 2 has been great so far. If I want to read any of my Kindle titles, I will need to download, convert, and transfer those via USB. It also connects directly to your Adobe Digital Editions account.

      The Kindle connects directly to Amazon, but it doesn’t connect directly to Overdrive. Library books require me to borrow from the Overdrive or Libby app, then choose the format of the book. If a Kindle format is available, I can download it directly to my Kindle via Amazon. If only EPUB is available, then some wizardry is involved because the Kindle can’t read these files natively. Converting to .mobi is pretty easy if the file is open EPUB, but Adobe EPUB has DRM protection on it. If you can’t remove the DRM, then you can’t convert the file, and it can’t be read on Kindle. There are some third party tools that will remove the DRM protection, but it’s gotten a bit trickier to do it with each Kindle update.

      I also bought the sleep cover for the Libra, which I think was worth it. Although, after just one week of use, there are a couple of wear marks on the edge of the cover that I wouldn’t expect to see as standard wear and tear until at least a year of use, so I’m going to fix that and do a coat of Mod Podge around the edges to hopefully help prevent more of that.

      There are a lot of comparison videos on Kindle devices vs. Kobo devices on YouTube. I would recommend checking some of those out to help you with your decision. Right now, there isn’t one eReader that does everything.

      1. Raboot*

        Kindles can read epubs now! Or rather, Send To Kindle can be used on epubs, and possibly converts them under the hood. Pretty new development.

        1. HamlindigoBlue*

          I hit submit too soon. Do you know if it converts Adobe epubs too or is it just the open format? I’m assuming it’s open only. Still, that’s a very nice development!

    4. Lady Alys*

      I have a Kindle Paperwhite and *love* it. I get library books through Overdrive and Libby, and there is a neat feature that allows you to email a PDF to a special email address which converts the PDF into the Kindle format and puts it on your device too (I’ve saved lots of long articles and software instruction manuals to read. Battery life is fantastic compared to phones/tablets too.

    5. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      I have an iPad mini that I use for reading and other stuff. There is a kindle app as well as the Libby app and any other reading app you would like.

      I also like that I can FaceTime, text and make and receive calls on it as well.

      1. Blomma*

        I also have an iPad mini and love it as an e-reader. (I was previously reading ebooks on my phone and it was just too tiny!) I also like that I can use my iPad for a variety of other apps/activities.

    6. cleo*

      I have a Kindle Fire, which is a tablet, not an ereader. I got it because it was the cheapest tablet at the time and I wanted to be able to install all my book apps. You have access to a limited version of the android App Store and they have Hoopla and Overdrive (like Libby but not as nice interface). I don’t think they have Adobe Digital Editions. You can sideload apps not in the Kindle App Store (it took me like 3 days and a lot of googling to side load my Kobo and Nook apps but I did it. I also learned the hard way that you should install an anti virus app before attempting to sideload). I have an app that reads ePub files (don’t remember if I sideloaded that one or not) and I use DropBox to store my ePub files. I’ve been very happy with my Kindle Fire but I’m not sure I’ll be up for the hassle of sideloading when it comes time to replace it.

    7. AnonForThis*

      I have a very early Kindle that’s still trucking along great. For me, the electronic ink makes a HUGE difference in eye strain.

      I absolutely love Libby/Overdrive. I even have two different library cards (reciprocal agreements) because they have different ebook collections.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Samesies. I have an original kindle and I love the easy on the eye ink and lack of backlighting. I have no problem downloading books.

    8. Lady Alys*

      There is a program called Calibre (available for Win/Mac/Linux) that lets you convert from one ebook format to another, among many other features. I’ve been thinking of downloading all my Kindle books and backing them up with this program.

      1. Westsidestory*

        Haha Calibre… a blast from the last. The only problem is the system is no longer updated, making it perhaps not viable if one wants a device rather than an App,

        These days I’d recommend a Kindle or one of the Kobo readers. They are compatible with Libby (the main Library ebook system) so the main difference is whether the user buys a lot of books (through Kindle) or prefers to get them free from the Libraries (Kobo etc). After that it’s just a matter of hand feel.

        I personally prefer the Apps for flexibility since I’m good to read on my iPhone.

    9. rosyglasses*

      If you want Kindle and other eReader apps (Nook, etc) I would recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tablet. They are a bit more spendy but they support you downloading pretty much any reading app (whereas Amazon Fire we had trouble with Barnes & Noble / Nook app working).

      If you want a simple eReader, I love my Kindle; I have the basic black and white so there isn’t the glare but I don’t use any other apps with it because it’s slower and is annoying to connect to internet.

    10. Jamie*

      I’ve used e readers in the past and liked them, but I prefer my iPad. It supports tons of different apps for reading (I personally use Libby, Apple books, Nook, Kindle, Glose, Bluefire Reader, and Bookshout). I like that everything lives in one place and there aren’t any compatibility issues.

    11. sometimeswhy*

      I use a Kobo and like it in part because it integrates seamlessly with Overdrive (same parent company) and in part because it’s not an amazon product but preserving an existing Kindle library can be problematic.

      1. Book the Wink*

        HIGHLY recommend Kobo over Kindle, specifically for the user interface and diversity of file type. I had a Sony Reader and then moved to the Kobo when those were phased out. I have used a Kindle (mostly to try out the Kindle Unlimited function) but actively hate the interface.

        That said, if you do get a Kobo, buy a couple covers when you get it because it is hard to get them later.

      2. Westsidestory*

        Another note here: Overdrive is making great inroads into European library systems, so if library use is wanted Kobo is a good choice for a device.

        Google also has a reading app (via Google Play) that works with Galaxy phones but surprisingly I don’t know anyone who use the reader amongst my Galaxy-living colleagues.

    12. Gatomon*

      I really love my Kindle Oasis, but once you’re in the Amazon ecosystem, you’re in. (I hope one day the government cracks it open for but now, I’m stuck. I looked into Calibre to convert my existing books but it didn’t work for me.) They are getting far more friendly to library usage but Kindle is probably still best if you just want to purchase ebooks via Amazon or use their Kindle Unlimited service.

      I think Kobo is the biggest competitor and is far more open so I’d look at their options.

      1. Westsidestory*

        Haha Calibre… a blast from the last. The only problem is the system is no longer updated, making it perhaps not viable if one wants a device rather than an App,

        These days I’d recommend a Kindle or one of the Kobo readers. They are compatible with Libby (the main Library ebook system) so the main difference is whether the user buys a lot of books (through Kindle) or prefers to get them free from the Libraries (Kobo etc). After that it’s just a matter of hand feel.

        I personally prefer the Apps for flexibility since I’m good to read on my iPhone.

  18. Porch Screens*

    Tchotchkes! What do you do with yours when you feel a need to downsize and declutter? I’m grappling with this right now as I slowly work on decluttering the house. Most of what I have are little pottery pieces, decorative dishes, and figurines. Many of them were either given as gifts over the years or date as far back as vacation souvenirs from childhood. I hate to just throw them away altogether but I need to clear some space – not to mention my tastes have obviously changed over the years and some of the items are things that I would not buy or ask for now. Are these things that would be acceptable to donate or is there a better option I’m missing? TIA! :)

    1. WellRed*

      My local buy nothing group has been great for this! Maybe you have something similar in your area?

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        That’s what I used for my tchotchkes! Amazing what people are thrilled to get.

      2. AnonAcademic*

        Yes, agreed, same here, lots of success getting rid of tchotchkes on my local Buy Nothing group (on FB) as well!

    2. Cookies For Breakfast*

      Perfectly acceptable to donate in my opinion. If there are users of platforms like Freecycle and Olio in your area, try posting there too and you might find someone wanting to pick them up. I’ve done both things when decluttering or moving house and it’s worked well for me. Only kept the few items that had sentimental value, finding storage for them so they’re out of view but it doesn’t feel like I’m giving away precious memories.

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        Take photos before you get rid of them to preserve the memories without taking hop physical space.

    3. AGD*

      Absolutely – thrift shops are full of knick-knacks. At least in theory, pretty much everything falls into multiple categories of “someone collects this” – either because it was made in the 1950s, because it’s from Particular Studio, because it’s porcelain, or because it contains a cat.

      Even something ostensibly undesirable could be put to good use (I’m thinking of the mother-daughter pair who developed a new Christmas tradition of giving each other the most hilariously ugly tree ornaments they could find within the previous year).

      None of this guarantees that a given piece will be snapped up, but you never know what people are going to be looking for or why!

      1. Greengirl*

        Donate them to a thrift shop! That’s where I used to go as a prop master for set dressing ( ie decorations and props that help bring the set to life and aren’t specific plot specific props).

    4. Paris Geller*

      Depending on if some of what you have is valuable, you could try selling some things as well. FB marketplace and instagram are great for this. Obviously, selling takes more time than donating, so your mileage may vary if it’s worth it or not. Otherwise I agree that if you have local FB buy nothing groups that’s a great option. Thrift stores can be a good option, but I would maybe try to find one that caters more toward home goods in that case if you have a variety in your area. I love thrifting, so I know where I live there’s definitely stores that cater more toward home goods & furniture, some more toward clothing/children’s items, etc. A little googling or asking around will probably go along way if you don’t tend to shop those stores much!

    5. Heather*

      I recently joined the town’s Buy Nothing group. I had to create a Facebook account in order to do it!– and i use my FB only for that, I don’t have any friend connections or anything. In my town, the group is AMAZING. In the past week, I passed on: two vases, a cowboy hat, a 2022 calendar, some facial cleanser, a cat grooming tool, a stethoscope, an embroidery hoop, a piggy bank….
      I could go on. Join your group, even if you have to make a new FB account to do it. If it’s anything like mine, someone will absolutely want your childhood ceramic frog lamp.

      1. Yet Another Unemployed Librarian*

        Just so you know, Buy Nothing now has their own app… in my area it seems like people are still on FB instead though :-/

        1. rosyglasses*

          Thank you SO MUCH for this tidbit! I left FB last winter and the only thing I missed was my Buy Nothing group. Just added the app. Thank you Thank you!

    6. UKDancer*

      Charity shop every time. I have a minimalist decorating sense and elderly relatives who gave me a lot of ornaments. Many of which were carefully photographed in situ and then taken to the charity shop.

    7. RagingADHD*

      Do you have interior storage space in a closet or cabinet? One option for very sentimental things is to rotate them and only have a couple on display at a time.

      And if you find that having them packed up puts them out of sight/out of mind, then you can always donate the box later.

    8. De-clutter*

      My preference is donate to local thrift shops, after looking up the items online to see if they’re valuable.

    9. Liminality (It's Quarantime, Again...)*

      The other option is: once you’ve pared down your collecting to only the things that ‘spark joy’, display a few items and store the rest while rotating through the collection on a semi-regular basis.
      This helps keep the items from becoming boring and also helps you realize your level of attachment to any particular item.
      Also, if great-aunt-alice asks where the tchotchkey she sent from her trip to the cheese factory is you can explain the rotation and say “that one isn’t out right now” whether it’s still around or not.

    10. Observer*

      Are these things that would be acceptable to donate or is there a better option I’m missing?

      Assuming nothing offensive or otherwise problematic, yes and yes.

      As others have notes, local “buy nothing” or “neighborhood exchange” type groups are a great way to go, and in many cases a better path than donations to organizations. If you don’t have such groups, find a place that can use whatever it is that you have.

      Just make sure of one thing – unless you are donating to a group that does recycling of the kind where they basically destroy the item anyway (eg a place that uses donated clothes for rags) make sure that what you are donating is in decent condition.

      1. Westsidestory*

        Yard sale/stoop sale/garage sale. Clean them nicely, let them sparkle in the sun, and let someone be thrilled to get a Knicknack for $2 or $5. if you’ve got clothes/shoes/handbags/household items in good shape that no longer “bring you joy” than that adds to the inventory. But it’s always the little things that sell.

        This is on my mind as I made $82 USD yesterday selling off husband’s least wanted soccer jerseys and a bunch of dust catchers that had been pressed on me by my well meaning in-laws. We live in a large city and it is not unusual for someone to set up a table in front of their building on a weekend. We spent three hours sitting in the shade and chatting with neighbors, it was fun!

  19. bassclefchick*

    I use a Kindle Fire tablet, but be aware that they don’t have a Libby app. They have Overdrive so I can still check out books. However, my local library told me the preferred app is Libby. If you prefer Libby to Overdrive, this might be a mark against a Kindle. YMMV.

    1. Amtelope*

      You can download Libby onto your Fire from the Google Play Store. Amazon doesn’t encourage you to install any Google apps, but you can, and it doesn’t require rooting your tablet. You’ll need to enable “Apps from Unknown Sources” and then search for instructions for how to download the Google APK files and install them in the correct order (there are plenty of guides for how to do this available on the Internet).

      After that, you can download Android apps from the Google Play store the same way you would on any Android phone. Occasionally you might hit one that doesn’t work well on a Fire tablet, but Libby works just fine.

  20. Bibliovore*

    I HAVE to get a lot of cleaning done!

    Bathrooms vacuuming dusting laundry!
    What music to do you clean to?

    Anyone have playlists or Sirius XM .
    I like loud rock and roll but can’t seem to get moving.
    Can’t listen to my usual suspects like Springsteen (too many triggers)

    1. Pocket Mouse*

      I had a ‘get stuff done around the house’ playlist that heavily featured Queen. If they’re up your alley, recommend starting with Let Me Live, then a handful of their other more uptempo songs like Don’t Stop Me Now and Seven Seas of Rhye, then see what you crave next.

    2. GoryDetails*

      I tend to listen to soundtrack albums from favorite musicals – “Little Shop of Horrors” is a good one, very rock-and-roll-ish. My mother swore by opera, though – I remember her doing the vacuuming to “Turandot” at top volume, while I read the liner notes to find out what the plot was. [Opera is amazingly grisly, something that tends to be obscured by the beautiful music and the foreign languages…]

      1. Bibliovore*

        oh Little Shop of Horrors was my go-to FOR YEARS! OMG. I can’t believe I forgot that!
        Maybe not.
        “Suddenly Seymour” was one of our songs.
        Hamilton it is.
        Mr. Bibliovore just didn’t “get it.”

    3. KuklaRed*

      I am similar to GoryDetails, above. I will either play the On Broadway channel from SiriusXM on or a classical station. When I was a kid, I would usually put on The Nutcracker score when I was going to clean my room. Some habits stick with you.

    4. Bexy Bexerson*

      Do you like hip-hop? I like to listen to stuff from the 1985-1995 range when I need motivation to get stuff done.

    5. RagingADHD*

      I don’t know why, but the Chieftains’ “An Irish Evening” and the soundtrack to “Bend it like Beckham” are my very best cleaning music. They are not at all something I listen to casually, but they get me up and moving every time.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Oh yes! The Chieftains are perfect cleaning music! And that reminded me of DeDanaan’s Half Set in Harlem. Going to dig that one out now.

    6. Blomma*

      I also listen to musicals when I need to get stuff done (or improve a cranky mood). The soundtrack to Moulin Rouge is fun (it’s a jukebox musical so most of the songs are pop/rock). Mamma Mia! is also a fun one. I have been listening to Six the Musical a lot lately too.

    7. Fish Microwaver*

      I always crank Green Day for cleaning and other projects I need to power through.

  21. Quadra*

    How do you know when to step back from ambition to take care of yourself by down-shifting?

    Childfree, so not about that, but just being anxious and miserable all the time? Struggling psychologically to give up what I’ve achieved.

    1. fposte*

      This could apply in a lot of different areas, I suppose, in work and in private life, and I’m wondering about your saying it would be genuinely giving up things you’ve achieved, not just choosing not to pursue other achievements.

      But I really liked a recent comment I saw online about a “f*** it list” to go alongside the bucket list. There can be a lot of value in taking things off of the pressure list. It also might be worth thinking about days where you’ve had the most satisfaction and enjoyment. What have they involved? What makes you feel most you and most alive? Can you prioritize those aspects of life? That doesn’t mean your reach never has to exceed your grasp, but maybe you can shift the balance to more things that feed you and fewer that drain you.

    2. Hen in a Windstorm*

      Make taking care of yourself a goal. And redefine what you mean by ambition and achievements. Your ambition is to be a rounded, complete human, right? Or was it your goal to be anxious and miserable ALL THE TIME? (Seriously, just… yikes.) It sounds like you’ve put all your ambition into your career, but you can shift that focus to other areas of your life.

      You are telling yourself a story right now – that to take care of yourself is giving something up, is less, i.e. bad. You’re likely comparing yourself to other people, but that’s pointless. Compare yourself to yourself, and set goals that are about you. You already know you have a problem, so now you need to look at how to solve it. Try to set aside the feelings and focus on the facts.

      If you need resources, the retirement and layoff transitions are a pretty hard identity hit for a lot of people and there are a lot of books on it. Three I’ve seen recommended but not read are: “Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams”; “Now What? Revised Edition: 90 Days to a New Life Direction”; and “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life.”

      1. Quadra*

        Thank you, I needed to hear that! I have definitely not been taking care of myself in the way that I needed to. I’ll check out these resources.

    3. cubone*

      Tbh dunno your age/gender identity, but every woman I know in her 30s seems to go through a period of recognizing that all the fighting they did for career/personal success kind of means nothing if they’re miserable. I sort of think what you’re describing isn’t downshifting at all; it’s maturity and getting more in tune with your values as you gain more life experience (but I don’t know your exact circumstances/details!)

      1. Quadra*

        Ha, late 30s female, so fairly well pegged! There’s been so much fighting to get to the “top of the mountain” in my career, but it feels very empty and unsatisfying…. plus all the judgement from my higher-ups that I’m not the right fit/personality/etc. as they try to push me out for more normative early 30s high-income white men that are the de facto standard in my industry.

        Thank you – will take the mindset shift very seriously.

    4. RagingADHD*

      First step would be to take a temporary break or temporary lightening the load to rest and recover from burnout. Along with that, discovering or rediscovering things that refresh you and give you joy.

      Many people find that they have given up too much for the sake of ambition, in return for too little satisfaction. You don’t have to throw out all your achievements to correct that. You can move incrementally to increase your satisfaction and find balance.

      Don’t make major life decisions when you are stressed, anxious and miserable. Get respite first, then make decisions from a happier place.

    5. Generic Name*

      Here’s something to ask yourself. Is something that makes you anxious and miserable worth having? Even if you worked hard to get it?

    6. Squirrel Nutkin*

      Maybe think of what you believe you’ll remember fondly in your old age and try to do more of that, whatever it is?

      When have you been happiest or most peaceful? Can you try to re-create that in some way? Pre-covid, I got back to playing in music groups because I remembered how very happy doing that had made me when I was younger. It was awesome to recapture some of that same joy.

      What has given meaning to your life? Was there some volunteer activity that made you feel great about yourself?

      On the flip side, what is stressing you out the most? Can you stop doing that, at least for a while? Maybe take a step back or sideways and try doing something different that doesn’t make you miserable all day?

      At the end of the day, money/awards/titles/prestige/fancy house and car/degrees etc. aren’t necessarily what your life is all about. Neither is whether your friends and family think what you’re doing is “important.” It’s YOUR life, and (I believe) we only get one, so it should be one you enjoy. A good life on YOUR terms, no one else’s.

      One of the last things my dad said to me when he was dying was “Enjoy life. Have fun.” It’s good advice.

    7. MigraineMonth*

      I was in my mid-thirties, working at my dream company, and despite all the money and the perks I wasn’t happy and got completely burned out. (I also developed a bunch of GI issues that my PCP thought were stress-related.)

      I ended up taking a 40% pay cut to switch to a job with far less responsibility and with a mission I care about. Thanks to the big-fish-small-pond effect, it’s the first time in my career that I’ve been considered a “rock star” employee.

      I’m still Goldilocks looking for the “just-right” balance of challenge and stress, but the last two years were what I needed to recover from burnout (and also get the right diagnosis for my GI issues).

    8. Irish Teacher*

      I’m not sure you need to take a step back from “ambition.” I do get that by ambition here, you mean career success, but I really think they are two separate things and to me, the first part of ambition is deciding whta you really want and then ambition means getting that. If you are anxious and miserable all the time, maybe what you are achieving is not your ambition, but something society or those around you have made you feel should be. (Or maybe it IS your ambition, but you are just going through a tough time, but I think there’s a possibility it’s not.)

      I wouldn’t consider a rich businessman who has made millions in a career he hates and always wanted kids but never had them because he was afraid they’d distract him from his career to have achieved an ambition (now, if he really WANTED to build up that business and make it a success and made a conscious decision that even if he wanted kids, the career was more important, then yeah, I’d consider him to have achieved his ambition but not if it was something his heart wasn’t in and that he just felt he couldn’t admit was the wrong thing for him in case people thought he stepped away from it because he couln’t make it successful).

      I would consider somebody who went back to college after retiring to get the degree they always wanted or the person who finished writing their novel, even if it were never published or who ran a half-marathon that they’d always wanted to do but never thought they could to have achieved their ambition.

      Yeah, this is probably semantics, but my point is that success comes in many forms and I’m not sure doing something you’re unhappy with is really success. Sometimes stepping back IS success/achieving one’s ambition. (And I know that isn’t possible for everybody, as many people can’t afford to, but that doesn’t mean it’s not their ambition, just that ambitions aren’t always achievable.)

  22. Beethoven, nooooo*

    Ok this is nuts but just throwing it out there: I have a slobbery dog. He does a specific behavior where, after approaching for cuddle/pets, he shakes his head vigorously right in your face. I haaaaaaate it. Is there *any way* I can teach him *not to spatter slobber on me*?? Complicating factor, I think this is like him scratching an itch, possibly because petting around his ears has made him tingly or something, so as far as I know he’s not doing it on purpose; yelling at him is probably not right. He doesn’t understand why I shriek and push him off when he starts this bit. But it spoils my enjoyment of loving on him!! Aren’t dogs supposed to be attuned to cause and effect?? The minute he does this in my face I go from loving to repulsed, why can’t he learn to move away before spattering (it’s still gross but not as repulsive). Any other slobbery dog owners want to weigh in??

    1. fposte*

      I’m totally with you in that I’m fine with all the dog kisses but I’m not a fan of flying dog drool. If this is really an itch-type response, it’s going to be really hard to teach him to put up with an itch. Scratching an itch probably brings more satisfaction than being pushed off brings dislike. A few possibilities come to mind: you can sharpen your observational skills about when he’s going to shake and try to teach him a new behavior instead (it’s always easier to train a dog to do something than not to do something); you can adopt a petting configuration that allows you to redirect his face or wipe/mask his muzzle along the way to minimize the splatter (towels can be positioned by favorite spots); you see if you can give him a similar satisfaction so he doesn’t need the shake, maybe by a brisk muzzle toweling or starting the shake yourself while you’ve got his muzzle in a towel.

      I think all these have better chances than trying to teach a dog the concept of personal space :-).

    2. pancakes*

      “Aren’t dogs supposed to be attuned to cause and effect??” To the point of not shaking their own head to get rid of slobber? No. Not all dogs are slobbery. I’ve always avoided the slobbery breeds because it seems very unlikely to me that individual dogs will just not slobber for some reason. I think you’ll have to get out of range fairly quickly after cuddling.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      My vet said they have lymph nodes behind their ears (back side toward the bottom– but google so you can see for yourself).
      It could be that you are accidently giving the dog a lymphatic massage, loosing up the lymph nodes so that stuff is ready to move out, shall we say. The vet has me do this to help my dog.

      I have had a massage therapist do behind my ears and oh my stuff just starts running. So I know first hand there is something to this, and I can see it when I rub my dog’s ears for him.

      Teaching a dog not to splatter you may take a bit. It’s not the easiest concept to grasp.

    4. Pam Adams*

      You may need to change your habits- the slobber will happen. Try keeping small hand towels/dish towels around and wipe away the slobber when he comes for pets. You can teach him to enjoy it- rub down his mouth area, along with the skritches.

    5. FisherCat*

      You may want to inquire w/ your veterinarian about allergies. I know that sounds vaguely nuts BUT I have a very slobbery dog with lots of allergies, and the head shaking/drool flying on me in particular (as opposed to just in the house but not on a person) seems to happen most often when his allergies are not controlled or poorly controlled.

      1. pancakes*

        That doesn’t sound nuts at all. People’s noses and eyes tend to run and weep when our allergies are poorly controlled too!

      2. Beethoven, nooooo*

        Yes, we are constantly working on his allergies, which is no doubt a factor in why he’s so droolly/snotty (but he also has big loose flappy jowls so he was going to slobber either way).

    6. One Two Three*

      What if you created a routine that would redirect as fposte suggested? For example, the end routine could be scratch/ pets, turn head, then shake.

      I would break this into multiple steps first. 1) Teach them the command for pets. Teach them the command for turn- head. Teach the command for shake. 2) Once he knows those commands well, immediately after pets tell him to turn head. Then tell him to shake.

      You might be able to skip breaking the training into multiple steps. Pet, lure dog to turn head with treat, then allow to shake. You might be able to encourage head turning while petting. I’d focus the praise on the turning head part.

      Not completely related, but I accidentally taught my dog to present her butt for scratches to me when her muzzle is wet after drinking water. I’d routinely say “Oh, you’re wet. Give me that butt.” Then I’d aggressively scratch her butt. She never learned to just not put her wet muzzle on me with me avoiding touching it.

    7. Anono-me*

      Could your dog wear a loose bandana with a breakaway fastener? You could use the bandana to dry your dog’s jowls pre scritches.

  23. PhyllisB*

    I looked to see if there was a reading thread yet and don’t see one. If I missed it apologies and just respond to this query if you like. Have any of you read Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus? I’m reading it now and finding it highly enjoyable. I’m a semi-nerd (not smart enough to be a full blown nerd!!) Some of the scientific terms I understand because my son majored in chemistry so I picked up a lot from him,but some of it makes my brain hurt. In a good way. And it’s really funny in some places. Anyway, I highly recommend it.

    1. GoryDetails*

      I looked up Lessons in Chemistry and found it was a novel – not what I was expecting! Does sound amusing, though. (For non-fiction about chemistry, I recommend Sam Kean’s book “The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements”; also Oliver Sacks’ “Uncle Tungsten,” a mix of autobiography and a lifelong fascination with chemistry.

      I’m currently reading THE ANOMALY by Hervé Le Tellier, a slow-developing tale of an impossible event with a “Twilight Zone” quality: a jet full of passengers lands after a turbulent flight only to have it revealed that the identical plane and passengers had already landed several months before… Most of the focus is on the individual passengers (the ones who experienced the time-skip and the ones who did not), with some metaphysical musings on how this might have happened, and the inevitable political involvement.

      On audiobook: SEVEN DEMONS by Aidan Truhen, which is a follow-on to “The Price You Pay” (which I haven’t read but am now curious about, though “Seven Demons” is working pretty well for me as a stand-alone). I’m not sure I’d like it as much in print version, as it’s the narrator’s fabulous performance that’s making me love it – Christian Coulson doing another marvelous job. It’s quite violent, in a near-supervillain sort of way, but from the viewpoint of the clever, probably sociopathic protagonist Jack Price, as he leads his troop in a daring bank heist.

      I think I mentioned C. S. Pacat’s “Dark Rise” last week; a fantasy novel in an alternate-history 19th-century London. I finished that one and while it did have some interesting plot twists near the end, it was also very, very derivative – loads of “Lord of the Rings”-type tropes, from the noble stewards of an ancient white temple, standing against the forces of the Dark, to a very Gollum-like character (not that he lasted that long, but still…). It also took a primary antagonist, introduced in the beginning as incredibly cruel to the point of sadism, and attempted to make him sympathetic by the end, so… I have concerns there. [Not that it’s impossible to have complex characters and all, but the way the book’s handled it so far is – not that deep.] Anyway, it had its points, but I wanted to mention it because the first book ends abruptly at a key shift in the storyline, a very much “to be continued” situation; if you hate that kind of thing, wait until the next book (or the rest of the series – I have no idea how long it’s supposed to be) comes out before you try the first one!

    2. AZ*

      I’ve heard lots of great things about Lessons in Chemistry! I might check it out to see if it would work for my book club.

      I just finished Who Is Maud Dixon? late last night, which is a nasty little thriller set in the publishing world. I really enjoyed it! I know that some readers don’t gravitate to books with unlikable characters, but I love seeing horrible people face off in a thriller (or other genre fiction). On the other hand, if it’s a family saga or long tome, I usually need someone I can sympathize with to get on.

      1. Paris Geller*

        I loved Who is Maud Dixon? It was a wild ride–and yes, filled with horrible, but interesting, characters!

    3. Bluebell*

      I liked Lessons in Chemistry so much that I actually sent Allison an email after I finished it, enthusiastically recommending it to her. (First time ever doing that, and I’ve been reading AAM for over a decade.) She wrote back that it was in her TBR list, and I was really pleased when she had it as her book of the week earlier this summer. I’m looking forward to the TV adaptation, but am skeptical it can live up to the book.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m listening to “The Paragon Hotel” on audio and it’s SO good. One of my favorites I’ve read this year, I’m pretty sure someone here recommended it awhile back.

    5. Jamie Starr*

      I recently finished Best of Friends (Kamila Shamsie) which I liked except for the ending/last chapter. I would not have made the same choice.

      I also read Camus’ The Stranger. My first time reading Camus, although he’s been on my to-read list forever. I like Sartre and Ionesco so it wasn’t surprising that I loved this, too.

      I’m one chapter in to Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris (Graham Robb) and like it so far.

    6. M&M Mom*

      Reading Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett. Not sure where I saw it recommended, but enjoying it. It’s fiction.

  24. Teapot Translator*

    What is everyone doing to enjoy the summer? Yesterday, I went hiking and got devoured by mosquitoes.

    1. Come On Eileen*

      I bought a hammock for our backyard and have LOVED lazing around in it reading books on my Kindle. It even has a little cupholder you can hang over the edge to hold whatever you are drinking.

    2. CTT*

      The social club I belong to has a pool that I had long avoided because I assumed it would be a Party Party crowd. But last Sunday it was so hot that I broke down and went and it was wonderful! There were people but it wasn’t too loud and I was able to stand/float in a corner of the pool that was in the shade and read. So my plan is to do that for as many Sundays as I can for the rest of the summer

          1. Squirrel Nutkin*

            My cheap version of this is to lounge in my tub with a bath pillow and read.

    3. Paris Geller*

      I’ve been avoiding the outside as much as possible (I’m in Texas, where we are having stretches of 100+ F days), but I have been going to my apartment’s pool some evenings. All in all, though, I’m itching for Fall!

      1. Clisby*

        Same here (except it’s SC). The only way I could have fun in the summer would be to decamp to somewhere like Boone, NC for four months – I’m pretty much isolating inside June-Sept. and living for October.

      2. Ampersand*

        Same, and this summer has been the worst. I’m envious of people in less hot places and am counting down the days until October!

    4. KuklaRed*

      I am sorry to be the grumpy voice here, but summer is not my favorite season and the one thing I really love – swimming in my local community pool – I can’t do for another 6 weeks because I recently had a spinal fusion. So I am grumping my way through summer this year, more than usual. Maybe some of your ideas will spark me out of my grumpiness.

    5. Hotdog not dog*

      Best Good Dog and I have been taking our walks in the evenings to beat the heat. For the past several nights we’ve come home through a field full of fireflies, which feels almost magical! When we get home we have ice pops together on the porch. (Homemade with fresh fruit, so good for dogs…and yes, I know he’s a little spoiled!)

    6. Generic Name*

      We just got back from camping. The new camping pad I bought at the last second was great! Slept really well the whole trip. After living in a tent for much of a week, our house feels obscenely large. :)

      1. Teapot Translator*

        Sleeping in nature must be nice! I don’t do camping, but I can certainly see the appeal of sleeping close to nature.

        1. Generic Name*

          The best part about camping is my husband does the lion’s share of the planning and executing. I basically pack my clothes and show up. It’s amazing. :)

    7. Prospect Gone Bad*

      I hike and wear a full outfit and hat even if it’s 90 degrees. Being sweaty > eaten by bugs!

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I did wonder if my sweat attracted them. I did put on insect repellent, but wore short-sleeves. I will need to adjust my outfit, I think.

    8. Love the summer*

      For me, it’s all about the beach and getting on the water. I visited a new-to-me beach last week and it was delightful. The sound of the ocean, playing in the surf, sand on my toes, ahhhh.

      I don’t have a boat myself, so I need to make more friends with boat owners, ha.

    9. Jay*

      At home I sit on our screened porch and read or do puzzles or just look at the lovely yard my husband enjoys maintaining (he really does). At the moment I’m traveling and visiting friends, swimming as much as possible in new-to-me ponds and lakes, and exploring museums and other air-conditioned venue. Also eating fresh local corn, which is just coming to the stores in our area.

    10. allathian*

      I’ve enjoyed sitting either on our deck, or the balcony. It’s been warm enough to sit in the shade in just a short-sleeved tee and capris. Our hottest days have been around 30 C/86 F.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        That sounds like a just perfect temperature. Our days here get hotter than that sometimes, plus humidity. But we got to enjoy summer while it’s here!

    11. ThatGirl*

      First weekend of August I have an Airbnb booked by a lake about 90 mins from here, with three friends from college. We will catch up by the fire pit with margaritas.

  25. Not A Manager*

    Kazuo Ishiguro.

    I really like him as a writer – or at least, I thought I did. He sets up terrific situations with some kind of weird twist that the main characters take for granted. I love his language. I’m always drawn in for about the first two-thirds of the book… and then by the last act I just don’t care anymore.

    I thought these were one-offs, or that my attention span is getting bad, but on this last book that I’ve been reading, I’m slogging through to try to reach the end, and I realized that actually this has happened to me with almost all of his books that I’ve read. I’m not sure why. Maybe he draws it out too long, and the interesting thing isn’t interesting anymore in this last iteration? Maybe his worlds are quirkily weird for a while, but then start to just seem random? I don’t know why I lose the thread, but it happens a lot. I’m wondering if anyone else has a similar feeling about his books.

    1. Kw10*

      Interesting! Which books of his have you read? One that’s less well known is The Buried Giant- very different writing style from his other books. It’s set in medieval England and feels almost like a fable or mythical story (an older couple seeing out on a journey; knights and wizards and dragons), but it’s really beautiful and has so much depth in terms of reflections on the meaning of life, death, memory, etc. I also liked Klara and the Sun. I personally didn’t love When We Were Orphans quite as much as the others (almost like what you said – the last third or so just seemed so improbable that it kinda of turned me off), and haven’t yet read Never Let Me Go. Remains of the Day was interesting in a very restrained way – I definitely feel like I got more out of it from a book club discussion than I would have on my own, because people pointed out things I hadn’t thought of and it made for a good discussion.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Mild spoilers ahead although I’ve tried not to be too explicit.

        I read The Buried Giant first, and it definitely lost me about 3/4 of the way through. I made it to the end of Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, but even with those, while I was interested enough to want to get to the end, by the third act I wasn’t as interested. I think he mostly lost me at the scene shift in both of those – after the war when the big house is almost empty, and after boarding school when the characters are out in the world. The two “travel escapades” – when the butler goes on the road trip and when the lovers go on their quest – both felt like beating a dead horse. Klara and the Sun was interesting for a while, but then started to feel like a reboot of Never Let Me Go. Again, the childhood stuff was more interesting than after everyone is grown up. Now I’m having the same problem with When We Were Orphans. As another commenter said, the last chapters are so improbable that I just can’t slog through anymore. Also, it’s not quirky and fun that everyone thinks his parents are still alive and they’re all rabid for them to be returned. It’s just random and strange.

        I liked Nocturns very much – the short story format works better for me – and I think my favorite is actually A Pale View of Hills, which I did enjoy reading all the way through.

        1. Not A Manager*

          With that summary, you’d think I would have figured out that maybe I don’t love Kazuo Ishiguro. But every time I see a book of his that I haven’t read, I’m like “oh! I love his stuff.” And I do love it – for the first 2/3.

        2. Patty Mayonnaise*

          I love this author and Never Let Me Go is one of my favorite books, so I’m going to throw this out there and you can see if it resonates. A bunch of Ishiguro’s books spend the first 2/3rds setting up the world and the “rules” that govern the characters’ lives (some are self-imposed roles and some are external). Then in the last 1/3rd, the focus goes to the question of “what are the limits of this world and the “rules” and how much change can the characters affect” (with more specific questions like can they break the rules, can they meet their goals, do they have free will, can they change their lives and do they want to). The characters’ travel is part of this questioning and exploration. That’s the section that gets into Theme, and to me that’s the section that makes the whole book worth reading! In Never Let Me Go in particular, that section takes the books from being about three characters in a specific set of circumstances to being about all of us and the human condition (and I loooooooooooove that. In the book it’s beautifully subtle and in the movie Cary Mulligan hits you over the head with it in voiceover lol). You seem to lose interest when the book becomes more theme-driven, so I’m wondering if it’s something about his themes that doesn’t resonate or feels off to you, or you just don’t like that the plot is not necessarily moved forward during those sections (depending on the book).

    2. Lilo*

      I’ve read Klara and the Sun and Never Let me Go, but I just couldn’t make it through Remains of the Day. I think Never Let Me Go was his best. I just felt like I’d read Klara and the Sun already, if that makes any sense, but I read a lot of Sci fi. It just felt like everything in it was well-tread ground.

    3. Goose*

      I have the same problem with Ann Patchett–I loved 75 of the book, and then am vastly disappointed by the last few chapters.

    4. Fellow Traveller*

      I like Ishiguro a lot, but I do find that there is something almost disingenuous about the naïveté of his narrators. I think it’s certainly a skilled technique for exploring themes and ideas from a blank place, but at a certain point in the book, I wish the narrators would wake up and stop sleep walking.
      Having said that, When We Were Orphans and The Buried Giant are two of my favorite books. i think I’m really drawn to how they tackle the ideas of how much we owe it to ourselves to be present in our own lives and the context past plays in our present.

    5. Irish Teacher*

      I LOVED “Never Let Me Go.” It’s just a beautiful book. I read “Klara and the Sun” and while it was fine, I didn’t think it compared in the least. I can sorta see why it felt like a reboot as both have a similar theme, but the world felt a lot less real, it seemed like a lot wasn’t fully explained and the character seemed less relatable.

  26. Laura H.*

    Little Joys Thread

    What brought you joy this week?

    I got to hang out with some cute kiddos and awesome adults as we did a choir camp this past week to prepare for a Children’s Mass this Sunday.

    And I learned stuff there too. Never too old to learn.

    And got a pedi, which included getting my toes did and painted in my favorite bluish purple color.

    Please share your joys.

    1. GoryDetails*

      Found a new-to-me local microbrewery with a really lovely taproom – lots of options for tastings, some good bar-food, and near some historic locations.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      This morning I took both my dogs for a walk together by myself – first time, it was an experiment – and it went really well! (Aside from the lady around the corner trying to hand me kittens while I had my hands full of 105 pounds of dog, which was really cute but NO THANK YOU.)

      Also, this week they are exactly the same size, which means the Ambassador’s days of being the big sister have come to an end, physically.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I got my results for an MRI on my lower back and it turns out the L3/L4 disc has gotten worse and I’m likely a candidate for another fusion. That might not sound like a “little joy” on the surface, but it is to me–it means I have an explanation for all the BS I’ve dealt with these past two years with my hips and now my lower back.

      1. fposte*

        I’m glad it looks like you’ve got some potential intervention, Dawn. I still think exoskeletons would have been better human design.

    4. fposte*

      I got an August outing planned to a nearby city for a concert for a group I’ve never seen but have liked, and a friend there is delighted to come as well. So there is an outing in the offing!

    5. The OG Sleepless*

      I randomly texted an old friend yesterday. I’ve seen him in person once in the last 10 years, but we have the kind of relationship where we can kind of pick back up where we started. He was delighted to hear from me. I asked him where he lived, because he lives in an area of the country I am not at all familiar with and I wanted to see it on a map. It really made me happy.

    6. Hotdog not dog*

      My eggplants are all either blooming or fruiting, and some are doing both! This is the first year in a long time that we’ve gotten this far without a flea beetle infestation. Eggplant flowers are a beautiful shade of lavender that really complements the soft green of the leaves and dark purple of the fruit. I’m really enjoying just looking at them.

    7. AGD*

      Lunch on Thursday was delicious. A friend and I each did a huge favor for each other and are both the better for it. I’ve enjoyed the warm weather, and at one point ended up cry-laughing in the library thanks to Mortification Week.

    8. UKDancer*

      I got tickets to 2 different ballets this autumn. I’m going to see the United Ukrainian ballet which is based in the Hague and comprises Ukrainian refugee dancers. They’re doing a performance of Giselle in London this autumn and I booked a ticket for it. It will be lovely to support them. Although I’m sad that one of my favourite Ukrainian dancers is probably still on the frontline as a combat medic.

      I also got ticket to see the Trocks in September (ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo) which is an all male company which takes both the male and female roles (including going en pointe). They’re brilliant.

      I also went for a lovely walk through the park and then had a Frappuccino while watching the ducks on the river. The joys of the weekend.

      1. Annie May*

        I’ve seen the Trocks once and I’d love to see them again! You are right – so brilliant, talented, and funny. Also, what a fantastic way to support Ukraine.

    9. StellaBella*

      Finishing drugs for shingles and not itching. Also working at home all week due to shingles. And finally, getting 2 pairs of men’s army boots, 4 pairs crutches, and 200$ in medical and feminine hygiene supplies for a colleague driving to Ukraine with others to donate medical and military gear.

    10. RagingADHD*

      It was my birthday yesterday, and for my present, I asked my younger daughter who is obsessed with skincare to design me a new routine and give me a facial, and my elder daughter who is obsessed with makeup to put together a new look and give me a makeover.

      What they don’t know is that this was a clever ploy to get several hours of direct engagement with them, without phones or eyerolling. It worked!

      I can’t use most of the products because they burnt my face off and made me come out in horrible angry red blotches, and the makeup was entirely unsuitable for a middle aged lady with saggy eyelids, but IDC. I got the present I wanted, no regrets.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin*

        You are a genius! (And an awesome parent.) Happy Birthday, and have a great year ahead! : )

    11. Girasol*

      Learned a recipe for homemade no churn ice cream that is to die for. I can’t believe I never knew this. It’s the one where you whip a pint of cream, then separately whip a can of condensed milk with low-water flavorings like cocoa, peanut butter, or nutella, maybe add some alcohol-based flavoring like vanilla, then mix the whipped cream and milk mixture together, fold in any crunchies like nuts, chopped chocolates, or cookie bits, and freeze it. I made a half batch of decadent peanut butter and a half batch of choco-vanilla that tasted like Haagen Dazs only a bit richer. Any week is more joyful with ice cream.

      1. Pippa K*

        Ooh, Nigella has a no-churn ice cream recipe similar to this, only using a tin of dulce de leche instead of condensed milk. It’s easy and incredibly rich – almost too rich, even for me. Hers has a healthy slug of bourbon that keeps it from freezing too hard. I made it a second time with espresso in place of the bourbon but the alcohol version is nicer, I think. Your peanut butter version sounds good, too!

    12. Squirrel Nutkin*

      Brought home my traditional celebratory ham sandwich from a deli after the stress of having to take the subway during covid to a medical appointment.

    13. Healthcare Worker*

      I was driving in misty rain and saw a large dog wearing his harness prancing in the middle of the street. I stopped, called the number on his collar and reunited him with his very grateful human. Made me very happy!

    14. Inkhorn*

      I spied a stray petunia blooming in the desert of bare dirt under the stairs of the unit block I live in. Makes me smile every time I come home.

    15. allathian*

      We watched the TNG finale, “All Good Things…” on Netflix yesterday, and as soon as my son saw the name of the episode, he said “…must come to an end.” I have no idea where he’s heard that idiom before, and neither does he, although both of us suspect he’s heard it on YouTube. He’s about to start 7th grade in the fall, and given that he’s only had English at school since 3rd grade, he’s amazingly fluent.

    16. CTT*

      Recently, the food choices at the games for my local lower-league soccer team have been hot dogs and more expensive hot dogs, but last night, my favorite Mexican restaurant had a food truck at the game for the first time since last season! I had already eaten dinner since I thought the food options would be bad, but I found room for a few tacos.

    17. Katie*

      The family went to the aquarium Tuesday. My disabled daughter, who usually doesn’t care about much was entranced by it. Of course now I feel the need to build a giant aquarium for her….

  27. Ask a Manager* Post author

    My mom — who has generally seemed healthier and more active than most people my age — has pancreatic cancer. We’ve known it was likely for the past 10 days and it was confirmed yesterday. It’s not a good cancer, as cancers go. Does anyone have any experience with non-horrific outcomes with pancreatic cancer, which I guess I will define as people who lived more than a year after diagnosis and still with decent quality of life? If so, I would appreciate hearing them. (Please do not post bad outcomes here though, I cannot handle them right now.)

    1. The OG Sleepless*

      OMG, I am so terribly sorry. A close family friend had it. She did well with treatment and went into temporary remission for several years.

    2. KuklaRed*

      I am very sorry to hear this. I do know 2 people who had pancreatic cancer, caught relatively early and had very successful treatment. Both are still doing well, 4 and 6 years after treatment, respectively.

    3. Lore*

      So sorry to hear this. My good friend’s mother had a similar experience to what OG Sleepless talks about—treatment (I think surgery but not sure) that gave her a remission that lasted about two years, with fairly normal quality of life. (She was in her late eighties when diagnosed and had other health problems as well.)

    4. Bexy Bexerson*

      I’m so sorry to hear this, Alison. I don’t have any stories to tell, but I wish the best for your mom.

      I think you said in one of yesterday’s posts that you’d be willing to answer questions on foster parenting in the weekend thread. Would that still be okay, or would you like to save that topic for another time, considering what you’re dealing with right now?

      Again, best wishes for you mom…and for you!

    5. fposte*

      Oh, Alison, what a shock. My dearest friend and mentor is a ten-year pancreatic cancer survivor, and she’s pushing 80 years old now. She had a full Whipple at the time but I don’t think she had any chemo or radiation. She did eventually get classified as diabetic (she finally had a good doctor explain that she was technically type 1 so that the type 2 interventions that health care folks kept suggesting wouldn’t work for her) but travels internationally and domestically and still has a million things going on. Hopefully this is your mother’s future as well.

      1. fposte*

        I will add that she had a rough go after surgery and was in the hospital for longer than anticipated, and still ended up a success story.

    6. EventPlannerGal*

      I am so very sorry to hear that, Alison. I’ll be thinking of you and your mum.

      My godfather had it and lived for several years after diagnosis, including a period of remission. He had a good quality of life, travelled with my godmother and was pretty active.

    7. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Just to illustrate who my mom is: when I visited her in the hospital a couple of weeks ago (she’s home now, was only there 4 days) this was the scene:
      – she had tied her hospital gown up around her waist to create some sort of fashionable blousey top and had paired it with yoga pants so she could appear normally dressed
      – she had created a yoga corner in her room where she was doing actively doing yoga when I walked in
      – she was trying to sneak past the nurses to go outside so she could take a walk, against their strict instructions

      This is her at her most herself.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Very sorry to hear this, Alison.

        A friend was diagnosed and he remained active for several years after. He continued to hold down a job and do family stuff. Some days required a time out, then he would get back to life as usual.

        She sounds like she has a great attitude. I think that will do a lot for her.

      2. Squirrel Nutkin*

        Your mom sounds lovely! Very best of luck to you and her as you navigate this.

      3. Ellis Bell*

        Yoga people! This reminded me of rushing to go see my dad in the hospital because he’d had a mini stroke and he was sat on top of the neatly made hospital bed in the half lotus position, looking at me like my concern was crazy.

      4. Observer*

        Your Mom is awesome. And her attitude will infuriate some doctors, but captivate others. More importantly, it will be a benefit to her in trying to deal with this.

    8. Loon*

      Alison, my uncle was diagnosed in 2016. He lives in the DC area, went through a trial treatment at Johns Hopkins (he’s in the DC area) and is now living a fuller life than ever with grandkids and a second career. Sending your family all the best wishes.

      1. Fieldpoppy*

        Alison I have just been through a health crisis with my mom and I am sending you all the love in the world. Moms are moms, and since you’ve just started mom-ing I know this must be even more difficult. Your mom sounds kickass and determined and that’s the most important thing with any acute health diagnosis — not that “a positive mindset” is a cure, but determination plays a big role in being able to withstand and keep going with hard decisions and treatments. Try all the things they offer. I send light to you and your mom from Toronto.

    9. Hotdog not dog*

      Many years ago my grandfather had pancreatic cancer. He enjoyed several good years, traveling, boating, hiking, fishing, and spoiling his grandkids until he eventually passed from something else. This was back in the 80’s and 90’s, so medical care has come a long way. At the time, he credited his well-being to having a good mindset. It sounds like your mom has a good attitude already. (I am filling away the fashion tip to pair a hospital gown with yoga pants for future reference!)

    10. Dr. Anonymous*

      I’m so sorry you’re going through this! A patient of mine was diagnosed (his cancer was kind enough to give him bothersome symptoms in time for him to be diagnosed and treated), had surgery and chemo, and a year later was running in a cancer survivors’ fundraising 5k race.

    11. StellaBella*

      Alison I am so sorry. The Macmillan Cancer Support group and its info s very helpful for all of this stuff if you need it or your mom does. They are at macmillan dot org dot uk. Best of luck, her responses to the medical from you posted here are charming. I will also tell you that positive attitude does help cancer patients. Yoga helps. Exercise does help with cancer. I will send her good vibes that she can get thru this and live another 20 years healthily.

    12. sagewhiz*

      Oh, just remembered something from in an NPR interview with a doc/researcher last month: cancer patients should ALWAYS ask if there are clinical trials available to become part of (esp POC) as docs tend to forget to mention them. Big reason: if accepted, outstanding cutting-edge treatment.

      1. Esmeralda*

        There are online sites that list clinical trials. Your mom’s team should be able to point you in the right direction.

        Wishing your mom and you the best, Alison. We are all holding you in our hearts.

    13. Ali G*

      I don’t have any direct experience, but I am sorry to hear this. Thinking of you and your mom!!

    14. ThatGirl*

      My uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last summer. They kind of caught it on a fluke. He had a whipple, chemo and targeted radiation and… he’s doing pretty well! Some side effects, including fatigue and neuropathy, but he thinks those will fade. It’s a rough diagnosis for sure, but it’s not impossible, and now he will just have regular screenings to make sure it’s not back. Good luck.

    15. WoodswomanWrites*

      Alison, I’m sorry to hear this news. I don’t have personal experience, but I’m sending my warmest thoughts to you and your mom.

    16. PollyQ*

      Alison, I’m so sorry to hear this news. I’m wishing all the best for you, your mom, and the rest of your family.

    17. Irish Teacher.*

      I don’t know anybody who’s had it, but I am really sorry to hear that and I wish her the best.

    18. Mimmy*

      Alison – I’m very sorry to hear about your mom. A family friend–a close friend of my mom–had it. After an initially grim prognosis, she lived about two and a half years with good quality of life for almost that whole time. She was on long-term chemo, but she remained fairly active, including going on long walks with her adult daughter. I never spoke with her directly, but it sounds like she maintained a very positive attitude and just enjoy life.

      Sending you cyber-hugs.

      1. Mimmy*

        I posted this before seeing your description of your mom – she sounds a lot like our friend. Everyone at the infusion center (where she received treatments) loved her and the family because of how upbeat they were. Our friend’s daughter often posted pictures and videos along with stories of interactions with others–these posts were always so uplifting. I remember one video of our friend; I think it was during Christmastime–she wearing these cute elf slippers that had little jingle bells on them.

        Again, sending you hugs and wishing your mom all the best.

    19. HannahS*

      I’m so sorry to hear that. I wish you and your family peace through whatever comes.

      Not that I knew him personally, but Alex Trebek lived with pancreatic cancer for several years, and it sounds like he had good QOL in those years.

    20. yokoznornak*

      I am so sorry to hear about your mom. My uncle lived for close to 18 months after diagnosis. He was an advanced aged and chose not to do treatment. His prognosis at the time of diagnosis was a year with or without treatment was about the same so he didn’t want to go through chemo. He had a previous bout with another type of cancer and had gone through chemo previously so he made an informed decision.
      He felt remarkably well up until the very end other than dealing with some jaundice and getting tired easily. Just remember that every case and outcome is different and every person responds differently to treatment and the disease. Don’t give up hope.

    21. Anono-me*

      We have a family member walking this path right now (surgery was last month).

      His cousin was talking about a new treatment procedure that had a wonderful outcome. Lester Holt NBC news 6/1/22. (Link to be posted later. )

      Wishing you and yours all the best.

      1. Anono-me*

        Sorry, an important part of my follow up didn’t show up. I believe that there is a new study at the Univ of PA

    22. Josephine Beth*

      I just want to say how sorry I am that you and your family are going through this. I dont have any related stories, but I hope for the very best for your mom.

    23. Dwight Schrute*

      I’m so sorry to hear this Alison. Sending you and your family healing and comforting vibes.

    24. Sam I Am*

      The new interventions are the best, generally speaking, and have much more positive outcomes. It sounds like she has an excellent baseline of health, which is also in her favor. If it means she needs to travel for treatment, this is what she should do. Johns Hopkins is having great successes treating pancreatic cancer, as is Cleveland Clinic. Hopefully these new protocols are getting out to other communities; she should be treated somewhere that is adopting them if she prefers to stay local. Shop around.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Likewise a friend swears by Sloan Kittering. It’s her belief that making these places your first stop is critical as
        previous treatments muddy the waters.

      2. Green Beans*

        It is also possible to do a consult at one of the big cancer hospitals (MD Anderson, Johns Hopkins, Dana Farber Sloane Kettering, Cleveland Clinic) and then have them work with your local care team to receive treatment at home. Less travel, and if it’s important, regular care from your local medical team.

    25. Falling Diphthong*

      I want to share that I got immense help from my local cancer support center, which I got fliers for from several of the cancer doctors. (For example, they knew a local volunteer organization that would come by and walk my dogs after I had chest surgery; dog walkers have months’ long waiting lists where I am.) Even with covid sharply limiting in-person things now, a lot of the help they provided was linking me to existing programs I would not have known existed, and certainly didn’t have the energy to find.

      All my sympathy and best hope for your mom.

    26. Carolyn*

      Not exactly the same, but my dad was diagnosed with cancer where the pancreas and bile ducts join the intestines in 2018 at the age of 68. He had surgery that October and chemo until May/June 2019 (was originally scheduled until July but they needed to end early because it was taking too much out of him) and he’s been in remission since. He’s doing great now and back to golfing in the summer and curling in the winter just how he likes! My mom found that whole year took a lot out of her as well caretaking for my dad – be sure to look into support groups for yourself and your mom’s partner.
      I’m sorry about your mom – I hope everything goes as well as it can

    27. Anon teacher*

      I’m so sorry. I have a relative who was diagnosed relatively early (stage 2+?) when he was in his early 60’s. Had the whipple surgery at Hopkins in Baltimore. This was over 7 years ago, and he’s been cancer-free since then, and excellent functioning/quality of life considering what a major, potentially life-altering surgery that is. Even went back to work full-time for a bit until retirement. Also, cancer therapeutics have come a long way, and NIH runs drug trials that are always accepting people. They did some sort of genetic analysis of my relative’s cancer, and it would have been a good match to one of the new immunotherapies out there on clinicaltrials(dot)Gov at the time, if the whipple hadn’t been as effective as it was. I wish you and your mother all the best during this time.

    28. Jackalope*

      So sorry to hear this. I have a friend whose mom lived for multiple years after her pancreatic cancer diagnosis and as far as I know, all but the last couple of months were good QOL.

    29. saf*

      I’m sorry – it’s a hard road. But it is getting better with research! My brother in law lived several years, and was treated as part of a study in Philly somewhere. I’m sorry, I do not remember which hospital. A friend also lived several years, and he was treated as part of an NIH study. Both had decent quality of life.

      Is your mom DC local? Look into NIH! If not, a friend’s father had decent results at UCLA, also a study.

      There’s a LOT of research going on in this. I hope for progress! (Pancreatic cancer runs in my husband’s family.)

      1. saf*

        I should note – all of these were more than 5 years ago. Things are even more advanced these days.

    30. Green Beans*

      My friend’s dad (sought treatment at MD Anderson) lived 3+ years – I think maybe 5? – post diagnosis with a solidly good quality of life for 2-3 years, and a decent quality of life for 6 months to a year after it began to noticeably progress.

      I’m so sorry. That is not a kind disease.

  28. Spessartine*

    I’m looking for privacy solutions for my backyard! When we bought the house, the huge property against our backyard was full of nothing but meadow and a few trees, giving us a stunning view of the mountains. It is currently a dirt wasteland which is soon to be stuffed with approximately 400 massive houses on tiny lots, but at the moment is full to the brim with loud, noxious, dust-cloud-creating construction equipment. We do not want to stare at dirt, bulldozers, or into someone else’s living room while we’re hanging out on the back porch. What can we do to make our backyard into paradise again, even if it’s a paradise with no mountain view?

    Difficulty level: There is already a fence, except it’s not really a fence. It’s a short (~4ft) stone wall, which due to the lay of the land pretty much only goes a foot above the ground level of the construction zone. The wall is in great shape, looks good, and I don’t want to tear it down to put up an 8 ft fence. We’ve considered planting some tall privacy trees/shrubs right up against the wall, but it’s currently just grass and we have an irrigation system which I’m sure would need to be relocated to plant things. I’m not opposed to it, but I’m not sure how much of a headache it would be. We’ve also discussed perhaps a large number of pots filled with bamboo, to prevent it from spreading like the monster it is, but I have no idea if that’s practical (never dealt with bamboo personally).

    I would love to hear other suggestions or more information from people experienced in this kind of thing!

    1. fposte*

      My main questions are gardening zone, utility easements, and relevant local regs (a lot of places limit fence height, for instance). But I would definitely prepare to bite the bullet on moving the irrigation system, and my first step would probably be to find out how much work and money that would involve. I would only use containers if they could be added to the irrigation system–if it’s dry enough that you need a watering system, containers will be high maintenance. There might be other, clumping rather than running grasses that are less invasive and could be ground-planted instead. Which way is the front of the fence facing? That will affect what you can plant as well–if it’s north, sun-loving grasses might not fare so well.

      In my neck of the woods, I would prefer a tall conifer row or hedge to grasses, but unless you really want to spend that’s going to take a few years to grow into a satisfying screen, so that’s a point for grasses as well. And while lots of gardeners cut grasses down each spring, leaving you bare for a bit, it’s not requisite, especially if you choose the right grasses.

      1. Spessartine*

        Thanks for the suggestions! I hadn’t really started to think about local regulations and such. We do have an HOA but when I looked through the covenants before we bought, it seemed pretty benign (mostly just exists to handle irrigation). I’ll have to dig them up and look through them again. The wall runs NW to SE and is at the top of our property, so anything planted there would be to the south and largely exposed to sun (which is quite a scorcher here).

        I really hate decorative grass but I like the conifer or hedge idea. We’re in zone 6b/7a and a quick googling already turned up some lovely appropriate shrubs. We’d also thrown about the idea of a looong trellis with climbing roses, but I think that might be more maintenance than we want to deal with. I do suspect that moving the irrigation system is something I *could* do myself, but I’ll try to get a couple companies to come out and give estimates. We’ve spent a lot of money on various remodeling projects this year and also need a new roof, so I may just bite the bullet and spend a weekend or several on it instead.

    2. BRR*

      What about a yard privacy screen? There are a wide variety of designs on wayfair that look to both let light through but still grant privacy and I’ve seen retractable ones as well.

      1. fposte*

        Oh, that’s a great idea! It also gives the option to put in longer-term shrubs in the meantime if desired.

      2. Spessartine*

        Oh man, I just looked on Wayfair and some of those are right up my alley! I even see a couple I could probably DIY if I felt like it. As long as our wall/property line is, I think it would get expensive…but it might be worth it.

        1. nobadcats*

          Or a lattice fence/privacy screen on which you can grow a variety of climbers like, morning glory, sweet pea, ivy (careful with breed tho, can be invasive), or beans. Also, you could hang potted flowering plants as well.

          If you plan it right, and depending on your zone, you could possibly have things growing nearly all year ’round.

          I liked a lot of the stuff on Wayfair too!

      3. Girasol*

        I planted tall plants to screen the view from my back neighbor. Five years later they’re just barely big enough to begin being useful. Neighbor, on the other hand, put up several tall fence posts and tacked store-bought white plastic lattice on them to make a screen. His idea was better for the short term.

      4. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

        A cousin of mine used marine canvas on framework to create a lovely and simple privacy screen along the road side of his property. It’s sturdy stuff and made to be out in all weather, and easy enough to replace when needed.

    3. Missb*

      Our backyard neighbor sold his house and the new owner was going to rip it down and build a much bigger house (original, 3500 sq ft, new, 6500 sq ft). The new house was going to tower over our back yard. Not really over our house per se, but our property slopes downhill away from theirs. If I were out in my garden, it would be nearly impossible to avoid their 35′ tall wall of siding.

      Luckily they’re not tearing down the house any longer.

      However, I did look into the options before they decided not to tear down the house, and decided on English Laurel. It gets to be impressively tall. There is a good deal of maintenance with keeping it trimmed, but that can be hired out. We were going to put it up within 2 feet of an existing fence, so there would be room behind it to get in and trim the backside.

      1. Spessartine*

        Oof, I’m happy for you that they decided not to tear down–what an unpleasant situation. I’ll look into English Laurel. We already have a yard care company that trims things for a reasonable price, so that wouldn’t be a big deal.

      2. ShinyPenny*

        Just a heads up that, at least on the wet side of Washington State, English Laurel is amazingly invasive (constant seedlings, at impressive distances) and robust. A hedge will want to be 10 or more feet wide and 20 feet tall, and it takes a sustained battle to force it to reduce its aspirations. (Pruning more than once a year.) Maybe there are new varieties without the “world domination” drive? An adult hedge really does block sight and sound well, if you can live with the amount of space it overtakes.
        Also, the berries are safe and attractive to birds, but have enough cyanide that they are toxic for dogs. (And the leaves are deadly.)
        It does grow really fast, and it’s really hard to kill– definitely mixed blessings, lol.

    4. Kw10*

      Just chiming in to say DO NOT do bamboo!! I’m not sure how well it would even work in pots since it gets really tall and top heavy, but even more importantly things can spread out of pots into the surrounding areas and if anything can do that I’m sure bamboo would. Then you’ll never be able to get rid of it. Highly highly suggest avoiding it at all costs!

      Signed,
      Someone who spent many summers as a kid cutting bamboo and trying futilely to dig it up and keep it from spreading. This bamboo was planned by the previous owners of the house for privacy along one edge of the property… my parents are still dealing with this massive headache!!

      1. Spessartine*

        Hah yeah, I’ve heard bamboo can be a complete nightmare. When we first found out about the planned development I did some light research and apparently there are varieties that do well (aka, don’t spread like wildfire) in pots, but I did not think about how heavy they would get! It’s probably better to avoid the possibility of it spreading, regardless. Come to think of it, I don’t know that we live in the right zone for it anyway.

        1. Prospect Gone Bad*

          Oh yeah, there is a completely unmanagable patch in my hometown that is taking over a few yards near my parents house! It’s been spreading for years and once it’s there it’s like chopping down trees

      2. KoiFeeder*

        We have some bamboo that was planted for this reason. We can’t get rid of it- at least we haven’t been able to without resorting to poisons that we very much do not want to use (and which we may not be allowed to use, as we live right near the drinking water reservoir).

        My dad made friends with a very cool old lady who does bamboo art and she brings her pickup truck over every spring and goes at it with a chainsaw. Between her efforts and my mom’s desperate digging, pruning, and destruction, we can just about keep it from spreading further.

    5. Wishing You Well*

      I’d consider an 8 foot fence on top of the retaining wall, if possible. With those 400 houses, you’re bound to get kids and pets on your property without a sturdy fence. I’d also research your idea of bamboo in pots inside the fence. Tall trees or shrubbery will help as a noise break, too. Another idea is to put a privacy screen around your back porch. It might cut off the view but will you have one when all the houses are in?
      Sorry to hear about that huge development. They’re building houses like crazy in my area, too. Our local government ELIMINATED zoning laws. So, the 1 acre lot next to us could be an apartment building in a few years – on a cul-de-sac in the middle of single family houses! Oy!

      1. Spessartine*

        400 houses was, uh, a little bit of an exaggeration (I’m still pretty bitter about the whole thing). But you’re 100% right about kids/people being too close to comfort. The *best* part is that there’s literally a dirt path right next to said wall, which was there before the development started, and is already frequently used by walkers, bikers, and best of all, morons tearing up and down it on their ATVs. I can’t even imagine how congested and loud it’s going to get once there’s an entire second neighborhood there.

        We definitely will not have a view once the houses are up, so I’m not at all concerned about blocking anything. I’d rather not wall off the porch itself–I really like looking at our lawn, plain as it is–but privacy screens/fencing in general is a good idea.

        Good luck with the lot next to you. I hope it stays peaceful for a long time! I’m not necessarily opposed to more housing being built, considering how bonkers this market is, but they mailed us a layout of the planned neighborhood and the lots are seriously small, and the houses are seriously crammed in there. I’m sure it’ll be one of those awful cookie-cutter neighborhoods where every house looks exactly the same and there’s no room for trees at all. Ugh…

    6. A313*

      Arborvitaes can make for a nice, green screening “wall.” But you may need a lot of them and depending on their height, may need to wait for them to grow a bit.

      1. Spessartine*

        It’s interesting, I saw arborvitae everywhere in the state where I used to live, but nobody seems to have them around here. I’ll have to check if we live in an appropriate zone for them, but definitely a good idea!

    7. *daha**

      Reach out to the developer/contractor and ask if they’d be kind enough to put up some opaque fencing or windblock. I don’t think they are under any obligation, but they might choose to do it to be a good neighbor, and the worst they can do is say no.

      1. Spessartine*

        That’s an interesting idea, hadn’t considered asking them directly. It’s a pretty long stretch of property so I doubt they’d oblige, but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

    8. Prospect Gone Bad*

      I bought “dwarf” pine trees that turned out not to be too small, and are perfect. I think they’re dwarf moonglow juniper and Leyland cypress but don’t quote me on it (just browse Home Depot and if you only want 10 feet tall trees, make sure you buy a dwarf version of them! I remember buying trees years ago and they all looked the same except one would grow to 8 feet and one to 45!). Having trouble matching pictures to my yard. Most people prune them too hard but I think it looks way better if you let them grow into eachother and the branches aren’t trimmed like a neat wall. It doesn’t look messy, it looks natural and thick. I know most people line their driveways with Emerald Green Arborvitae Shrub and that is an option, but they don’t grow wide to fill in gaps like you want if you really want a wall of green.

      I bought them when they were 1 foot tall and it took them “only” 5 years to get thick at 10 feet tall. If you want privacy sooner, you’ll have to get some bigger ones but still give them a year or two to form a wall.

      1. Spessartine*

        Oh goodness, I don’t think we want 45 foot tall trees, thanks for the tip! (Well, I love tall trees, but our back yard is small enough that it probably wouldn’t be a great idea.) We probably do want them to be bigger sooner, which I’m sure would be more expensive, but probably worth it.

        1. Prospect Gone Bad*

          I so wish I could tell you specifically what I have. They look like Leyland Cypress but are only 10 feet tall and they stopped growing around there. So 10 feet tall X 4 feet wide. Perfect border and looks so natural and birds nest in it (though you may not want a bunch of birds doing mating calls and chirping near your window at 6AM!)

          1. Spessartine*

            My bedroom is nearest to the wall and I naturally wake up around 6:30 and I love bird sounds, so that actually sounds perfect!

    9. Not So NewReader*

      Bamboo is incredibly invasive. Frankly it scares me. One place I lived the bamboo pushed up through new black top. This was 3-4 inches of black top and the plant BROKE the black top from the bottom up. Here’s the kicker the nearest grassy spot was at least 20 feet away. Please read extensively before planting or even bringing it on to your property.

      What I would do is go to my local government and as if residents can get a privacy fence installed by the developer. Around here is it more or less expected that the developer will provide and install an 8ft solid-fill privacy fence for residents already living next to the development. I believe each resident has to ask on their own.

      If local government blows you off, then go to the people who enforce building code and ask them who you would talk to about this.

    10. Healthcare Worker*

      Not all bamboo is invasive! We have lovely graceful bamboo (that’s the name as well as bow it looks) which is clumping and, although it does spread, doesn’t run amok. Ask your garden center for clumping bamboo, there are many varieties with various heights.

    11. Anono-me*

      Can you add a wood or ironwork lattice on top of the stone fence?

      I not sure if I can describe this well, but alternatively I suggest lots of big 3x3x3 planters 6 feet apart all connected above by lattice and planted with a pretty and fast growing flowering vine. So at the base: 6 feet of wall shows then the planter then six feet of wall and then another planter and so on. While on the top section there is lattice all the way along and it is covered with flowering vine.

    12. Ellis Bell*

      I cannot find the link now, but I saw a great idea this week for a household who had to keep their waist height wall due to restrictions, but needed more privacy. They installed a structure just in front of the wall based on posts set into the ground, trellis from waist height upwards and a small arbor top. They intended to use it to support climbing plants but it seemed extremely private just as it was.

    13. Falling Diphthong*

      With the neighbors we have put flowering trees along the property line (between our driveway and their side yard). Things have grown up and filled out and it looks really nice. Taller trees (dogwood, crepe myrtle) in the middle and shorter ones (rose of sharon, hydrangea) in front.

      Something I recall from This Old House–if you use a sound meter, shrubberies and tall fences that block the view of the neighbors/road make only a small difference in the amount of noise. But they make a huge difference in our perception of the noise. When visiting relatives on the coast I’m always impressed by how sheltered the plantings make the yard feel, when the area is in fact densely populated.

  29. Eff Walsingham*

    Renovation question:

    Our current plan is to list our condo on August 15th. We have a trusted realtor who we’ve known for many years. He has sent us a contractor to install baseboards. The plan is that we don’t have to pay until after the sale, when we pay our commission. We are appreciative that he set this up, because it can take time to find someone who’s available, and we already asked our contacts if they could recommend a “baseboardist” and no one could.

    We rescheduled once, he rescheduled once, and then he worked Wednesday and Thursday of this week. He had to be elsewhere on Friday, but that was fine because I had a property assessor coming and wanted to clean up a bit so he could safely walk around. But then the contractor announced as he was leaving on Thursday that he has no availability at all next week, and he’ll be in touch! (Whatever he’s doing, it won’t be trim work, because he’s left his mitre-cut power saw in what’s left of our living room!)

    But that’s not the worst part. This guy is a conspiracy-spewing racist covidiot nut job! He hadn’t been here for an hour before revealing himself to be something known in our country as a “Freeman On the Land”. (Spoiler Alert: it doesn’t hold up in court.) He recommended that I embrace a keto diet because it can be life-changing! (I was neither eating nor talking about food when he brought this up.) He *unplugged my modem* because he was working in its vicinity! (It’s not near the baseboards. It’s 5 feet off the ground.) I have no reason to think he’s dangerous, and he hasn’t hit on me. But he will not shut up! I don’t feel that my contractor’s values have to align with my own; I believe it’s absolutely none of my business what he believes. But he’s supposed to be doing a task, not talking, and I am trying to clean and pack and work, and otherwise be efficient here! Almost the worst part is that he seems like a good-hearted fellow just trying to get the “truth” out and “help” others! I wonder if he ever read anything on the internet that he didn’t fall for.

    Among the semi-serious suggestions from friends and family: (1) pretend to have a bad cold; (2) hang Husband’s large motorcycle jacket in a conspicuous location(!); (3) ask Husband’s uncle (also a big man) to come while Contractor is working, to estimate the painting job, which we do want done. Uncle does not suffer fools gladly.

    But seriously, I *dread* being in this sort of situation. I’m forthright enough when I’m out in the world, but this is my home as well as my workplace, I need baseboards, and time is of the essence. I feel like a hostage, which is probably ridiculous. Today or tomorrow I’m going to reach out to our realtor with our concerns about the timeline, but I don’t know how much to say yet about the other stuff. Our realtor is very warm, professional and… gentlemanly, and a person of colour. I think he may be appalled when I tell him who he’s been sending into clients’ homes. I think it’s very possible that the contractor seemed fine until the pandemic. It’s had a huge effect on so many people’s psyches.

    Regardless, my questions are: Has anyone had success in getting an overly chatty person to stop talking and do what they’re supposed to be doing? And: Should I say anything to our realtor now about what this guy is like, or just relay my timeline concerns now and save the rest for after the work is done? Any and all advice is welcome as it will almost have to be more rational than most of what I’ve been hearing lately. /s

    1. Missb*

      I’d toss him. Honestly, I’d call the realtor up and say, hey, this isn’t working out, your guy needs to come pick up his equipment. Set it outside right before he comes over. And then ask if he has someone else. Tell him that the guy is making unsolicited comments/giving advice/wild conspiracies and you can’t have the person here any longer.

      So sorry, I wouldn’t allow someone like that in my house. The contractors I hire usually bring their own music, which is fine in some cases and not okay in other cases. If they’re working outside I don’t care at all, but if they’re inside and I’m working, then sorry, bring some headphones to play your music on. It is my house, not theirs. I wouldn’t deal with someone that couldn’t figure that out.

      Our most recent contractors were floor installers and they chatted a lot with each other. But they were also professional and didn’t spew wild conspiracy stuff. That would just not be cool.

      Good luck on the sale!

      1. Wishing You Well*

        I agree. Get rid of the guy; he’s trouble.
        You might have to pay him for what little he did, if anything but it would be WELL WORTH being rid of him. Inform your realtor, too. Find someone else. Any handy-person can do baseboards.

    2. The teapots are on fire*

      Say everything you want to say about this contractor. The realtor would want to know. AND the realtor has a business interest in getting your house finished and listed and sold and can probably figure out how to light the correct kind of fire under this contractor to get the job completed and get this noo-noo out of your life.

    3. pancakes*

      I would not do business with this guy at all, in any capacity, knowing that he belongs to a group of people who believe they’re not bound by laws unless they’ve specifically consented. I would not so much as buy a cup of lemonade from someone who makes a point of trying to detach themselves from societal obligations in that specific way. It’s not only a problem when he’s being chatty, it is going to be an inescapable problem and pointless, maddening obstruction if anything should go wrong, and something may very well go wrong when doing business with someone who has colossally poor judgment and is keen to get into details about it with all and sundry.

      1. Pippa K*

        Yeah, I study this (academically) in a particular context, and apart from the irritation of dealing with this nonsense in conversation, the risk of a business dispute with this man if the work somehow goes wrong would make me unwilling to have him as a contractor. The “freeman on the land” types and their sovereign-citizen cousins have weird ideas about their rights and obligations and the tools they can use to enforce them. I don’t want to hear their nonsense in my own home (even though I do want to hear about it in a research context!) and would be wary of ending up in a lawsuit with the world’s most annoying type of vexatious pro se litigant.

    4. pancakes*

      I want to ask, what’s with two of the three suggestions you’ve gotten being all about trying to intimidate the guy with large men? I know you said semi-serious, but in all seriousness the guy told you he sees himself as being outside of laws. He’s serious about that, to the point of having joined an organization, and to the point he tells his clients from the start. He seriously would love to handle every dispute vigilante-style as well! It’s not something to lean into even as a joke, it’s one of the more alarming aspects of his character.

      1. Eff Walsingham*

        *shrug* In this part of the world, Large Men Solutions are commonly proposed. I usually just act as though the (often a family member / inlaw) is joking, whether they are or not.

        Also, my understanding is that these so-called “Freemen” are not an organization that one joins, at least not here, so much as a bunch of lone nutters who share conspiracy videos online and refuse to pay their parking tickets or other taxes. Eventually they get caught and prosecuted, and have to pay up. Although I find this kind of anti-community sentiment deeply repugnant, if he’s not working for me he’ll be rabbitting on about it to somebody else, and at least I’m not at risk of falling for his claptrap.**

        ** I should clarify – I have nothing against keto, have actually thought of trying it, *but my diet is so absolutely not appropriate for him to be bringing up*!!! We hired a contractor, not a life coach.

        I agree about the poor judgment being a red flag and potential problem, and am relieved that we intend shortly to be changing our address to one he doesn’t know about!

        1. pancakes*

          They are eventually held responsible when things go badly, but these are people who are basically announcing up front they’ll fight any attempt to hold them legally accountable for pretty much anything they feel entitled to do, which is pretty much anything, to a bitter and totally illogical end. It’s not much consolation to eventually prevail at the end of a bad encounter with a guy like this in comparison to having steered away from even the possibility of it.

          I realize there are places where Large Men Solutions are a common theme, but I don’t see the problems with guys like this as ones that can be solved with physical conflict, and I’m not a fan of the idea that all they need is to lose a brawl, or think hard about the likelihood of that. Or that the problems a guy like this presents are a joke because he’s probably not an immediate physical danger, if that makes sense. I realize it’s a joke, but making a joke of it is also a mechanism to sweep a great deal of ridiculous behavior and poor judgment under a rug.

    5. Macaroni Penguin*

      In your place, I’d tell the realtor what’s going on and find a new contractor. Being chatty is one thing. Spreading harmful conspiracy theories is another.

    6. Prospect Gone Bad*

      There is a lot going on here and I don’t agree with the “just fire him” part. There is too much advice on the internet about “just get divorced” or “just quit the job.” The internet polarizes these sort of things too hard.

      You can actually respond to what he’s talking about, that’s my strategy. For example, if people act like keto is the be all and end all, I bring up the fact I had not great digestive health and never got used to so much meat or so much fiber especially at once. So if someone brings it up, I respond, and move on.

      But even if you do this, you just don’t seem happy with chatty workers in general. That seems to be 1/2 the issue here and with many questions of this sort. So even if you finish the covid conversation, he will still be chatty and you will still be annoyed. And many other workers will be the same, so just finding someone new won’t automatically solve the issue. In fact, this isn’t even a problem to many people, some of us have fun shooting the breeze with workers in our house.

      So to solve this situation – do you need to physically be there the entire time? Can you go shopping after he arrives? Pretend to have work to do (since so many people work remotely now?)

      1. hobbette*

        I wouldn’t feel at all comfortable leaving any contractor, workman, etc. alone in my house, much less someone like this nightmare (shudder). Just my $.02.

      2. ThatGirl*

        No, the last thing to do is engage him about it, he’ll think he can convince you!

    7. fueled by coffee*

      You have two issues here:
      1. The work keeps getting rescheduled/not done.
      2. The contractor is a conspiracy theory-laden nutjob.

      For 1 – I’d contact the realtor and ask if he has alternatives. You need this job to be done on your timeframe, and that’s currently not really happening. Is there another contractor or a way of getting the current guy to actually finish the job?

      For 2 – I agree with (perhaps) letting the realtor know that the contractor is a conspiracy theorist, but ultimately you do need this work to get done. If the current contractor is going to finish the job, you’ll need a way to put up with his nonsense. Yes, in the ideal world you’d be able to easily replace him with a different contractor, but you’re in this position because you had trouble finding a contractor through your own network. I also don’t think you need to take an ethical stance by firing him ASAP – he’s already (obviously) lost your business as a future customer and you’re not going to be referring him on to anyone else. Losing one job is not going to make him re-evaluate his world view, and you’d owe him for labor already performed anyway.

      I do think you need a way to avoid getting dragged into conversations with him. If you aren’t able to leave the house, can you have “work meetings” scheduled over zoom all day (in air quotes because you could probably claim to be ‘watching a mandatory training’ even if you’re just getting your regular work done) or a phone call with a chatty friend, so that you are clearly otherwise engaged? I would mostly ignore any comments he makes, or give noncommittal responses:

      Him: “Keto is the best diet!”
      You: “Hmm, I’m not really looking for a new diet. Thanks, though” or “Thanks for the suggestion, but I like pasta too much. Speaking of which, I need to run to the corner store to pick up a few things. Back in a bit!”

      Him: “I don’t believe in laws!”
      You: “Well, I hope you believe in the home inspection safety ones. I have to go make a phone call, see you later!”

      You aren’t going to change this guy’s mind by getting dragged into a fight about his conspiracy theory beliefs. There is plenty of information out there about how keto is not great for you and how, like, we have to follow the law because we live in a society. Your goal here is just to keep the service interaction as brief as possible and your involvement in these conversations at a minimum.

      1. Prospect Gone Bad*

        Him: “I don’t believe in laws!”
        You: “Well, I hope you believe in the home inspection safety ones. I have to go make a phone call, see you later!”

        I like this one! Seriously though, these are the conversations people need to have. By the time I was middle aged I have had conversations with people of every type with bad ideas, misinformed, and loud about them. Every issue. I don’t think people grasp this. People online laser focused on a particular type of person, but people do this on all sides of issues and in all areas. There is no way to avoid the concept of having a conversation you are not comfortable with or never meeting someone who is overly chatty or who is wrong on stuff and thinks they are right. Better to have scripts like this ready and be generally informed so you have rebuttals. And if you don’t want to follow the news at all, then you can claim ignorance and just shut down the conversation with “I’m not interested in that so don’t know anything about it” repeatedly. One of my sisters just does not follow news at all. Lives in her own world. She’s said people try to talk politics with her and she just says “I don’t know” and after the third time they stop.

        I know some people online will disagree with my philosophy, but I’ve learned it’s better to go out and interact with people and have scripts for the 2% you won’t get along with, rather than be hesitant to ever interact with anyone.

    8. sswj*

      I’d be less concerned about the chatty (despite the topic) and more concerned about the delays.

      But, when he does come back you’ll have the perfect opportunity to tell him that you’re now *really* under a time crunch, have a ton to do, and to please excuse your dashing about and being on calls in the other room. Tell him to just go ahead with what he has to do, but you’ll be available if he runs into something that needs your input.

      And in your place I’d set my phone to have a short timer with an alarm that sounds like a ringtone, and keep that handy at all times. If he gets on his soapbox, open your phone like you’re checking a text and hit the 45 sec timer. Listen politely until it goes off, then “answer” the phone and disappear. You can also be on “conference calls” with headphones/earbuds.

      Hopefully being frank about ‘sorry, no time to chat, we’ve both got a lot to do’ will be the end of it. If not, get creative with escaping.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      Please tell your realtor asap. It reflects badly on him that this contractor is so awful. Let your realtor know that you need to find someone else. Your inroad here is that you need this done, you are willing to pay for the work completed and the materials that have been purchased, be very clear about this part. The let the contractor know you have to get someone else because you need set work times and a set deadline for job completion.

      I know one of the groups of the type you are talking about. Please move away from this person quickly and as discretely as possible. Be positive with the guy, “Great work, I just need to get this done. It’s got a quick turn around time on it. I really can’t wait.”

    10. One Two Three*

      I hired a chatty contractor once. Thankfully, I personally liked him and had no problems with his values. I also didn’t feel threatened. However, I didn’t have time to be chatting with him.

      One morning when he arrived, I said something like, “I can’t be as talkative as I have been lately. I’m getting a bit behind at work so I need to stay pretty focused. If you need anything let me know by waving at me.” I then put on my headphones (merely as a prop) and worked away on my laptop. I also purposely set up just out of the way. He could easily find me if needed, but he wasn’t regularly tempted to chat with me.

      1. One Two Three*

        Oh, timers for “phone calls.” When I did have to interact with him, I set a timer on my phone to go off in a few minutes. I just pretended it was a phone call and took the “call.” That gave me an out when he kept talking even after the normal outs.

    11. Maverick Jo*

      Who is responsible to pay this worker? I’m concerned that there’s not a strong definition of who is responsible for what…who is doing the work/who is paying for labor/who is paying for products? This all sounds sketchy to me; it’s sketchy before the guy launched into conspiracy theories/diets/government over-throwing.

      Set up some written boundaries. May it clear what is to be done, deadlines, clean up, communication, etc. It’s your house. Act like it!

      1. bratschegirl*

        When work is being done before putting a house on the market in my area, it’s extremely common for the realtor to engage one of their usual list of contractors etc. who are then paid by the title company out of the seller’s proceeds from the escrow account, following the close of the transaction. It sounds like this is the case here.

      2. pancakes*

        Why make a point of trying to set up written boundaries with someone who has made a point of announcing he doesn’t do boundaries? You can’t unilaterally make someone like this into a reasonable person simply by treating them as one.

    12. Anono-me*

      Headphones. You don’t need to have the sound on; just wear the headphones and make a big show of removing them and saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Could you please repeat yourself?” You want to draw out the process of removing the headphones and requesting the repetition as much as possible to make unnecessary talking too much bother.
      I would suggest that you mention your concerns about the conversation topics to your realtor after your situation is resolved. The structure of your deal is not one that I am familiar with, but it sounds complicated, so it maybe in your best interest to get through it as quickly as possible.
      Going forward, please consider a screening mechanism meeting when hiring people to work in your home. This was unpleasant, but it could be worse.
      I had a very sweet young man working on my house for about a week. He was very skilled, hard working, pleasant, responsible and heavily tattooed. I was absolutely going to hire him for future projects. The last day of the current job a more worldly wise friend showed up before the young man left. My friend was absolutely rude. I was horrified. After the nice young man left; I lit into my friend. My friend explained that they were upset by the tattoos. I thought that was a snobbish thing (20+ years ago anti tattoo sentiment was less uncommon). My friend then explained that there were not upset by tattoos in general, but by those tattoos in particular. And that my friends is the story of how I learned what tattoos are associated with various hate groups.

    13. Eff Walsingham*

      Thanks to everyone for the needed perspective and suggestions! In particular, the phone timer and headphones sound applicable to a whole range of life situations! Yesterday I couldn’t respond much because a whole different dumpster fire broke out with a different vendor, but y’all have given my husband and I a lot to think about.

    14. Bob-White of the Glen*

      If you do finish using him (or even if not) make sure he gets a proper 1099 for his work. :D

  30. Anon in IL*

    Trying to Find a Short Story

    I know we have a lot of librarians and readers here so thought I’d see if anyone can help.

    I am looking for a short story I read several years ago. I was certain it was by Henry James, but I looked through all his stories and cannot find it. Then I thought perhaps Edith Wharton or LP Hartley, but I cannot find it there either. I am pretty sure it was by a well-known author, and written in the early twentieth century. Has anyone else read this? Here is the plot:

    The set-up is similar to Edith Wharton’s “The Dilettante” A man is introducing his new bride to his former mistress. The bride is young and sheltered and from a small town. The man moves in a sophisticated big-city society (I think New York, but maybe Paris or London). He wants to give a party to introduce the bride to all his friends. The former mistress pretends to befriend the bride and advises her on what to wear to the party. The bride shows up ridiculously overdressed, in an over-ornamented gown of ruffles, flounces, spangles, tapestry, etc. The bride makes a terrible impression and the jilted woman has her revenge.

    1. too hot go away*

      The dressing wrong strikes me as part of “Rebecca”, but I haven’t read the book, only seen the Hitchcock film

      1. Lilo*

        Yes that does sound a bit like the party scene in Rebecca. The housekeeper tricks the new wife into wearing the same costume as her husband’s first (now deceased) wife.

      2. RagingADHD*

        Yeah, I can see the parallels.

        But OP, in “Rebecca” it was the housekeeper who arranged the dress for the new bride, and it was a copy of a dress Rebecca had worn. So the “terrible taste” was more about looking callous than the dress itself being tacky. And of course Rebecca herself was not present (at least, not corporeally).

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          This is interesting as I’ve read at least one book with this scene–I believe his scheming female relatives were involved, but there were dastardly exes too. It was a Faith Fairchild mystery about a young married couple to whom I kept offering really helpful advice, like “Wow, your communication is terrible” (everything around this scene) and “Okay, who the heck starts house hunting and doesn’t discuss the number of digits in the price? Seriously, book.”

          And I could swear I’ve seen it in movies. Shaming by fooling someone into dressing wrong. It was speculated here for the only-person-to-wear-a-costume deciding to blaze a trail of glory and aggressively trick or treat a meeting of high execs and important customers to which they were not invited.

          Now that I have typed this, I’m thinking that in real life people care much, much less about what you wear than in fiction, where a mean person tricking a good person into the Wrong Outfit has devastating consequences.

          1. RagingADHD*

            At least Du Maurier made it believable, both in terms of stakes and outcome. I went and had a look. In Rebecca, it had only been about a year since Rebecca died, and the dress was the one she wore to her very last costume ball. It was also a copy of a significant family portrait hanging in plain view. So it’s quite believable that the dress would be recognized and remembered.

            The other guests are initially shocked but quickly get over it and believe the story that the dressmaker sent the wrong costume. The more lasting consequence is that Maxim thinks she did it on purpose and holds it against her for a while. And we already know he’s a bitter guy.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              The scene in the mystery is clearly drawn from Rebecca, based on your description–it’s a portrait, I think of his grandmother who died tragically, and the new bride wears the identical dress after being assured by A Scheming Woman that this is a family tradition and she must wear it to make a good impression at the Grand Gathering that will be her introduction to extended family.

              But I haven’t read Rebecca, so missed the parallels, and in the modern adaptation it’s a head scratcher–the claimed tradition, which she never mentions to New Hubs, and it at no point crosses his mind that maybe someone told her to wear this antique dress rather than her just coming up with the idea all on her own. (He is, of course, a private investigator.)

    2. fposte*

      I did a quick search and couldn’t find anything, but I think your authors are plausible; I know James had mistress vs. wife stuff elsewhere. While I don’t think this is what you’re remembering, there’s a real life report of this with Caroline of Brunswick’s first meeting with her betrothed husband, later George IV of Britain, where his mistress the Countess of Jersey dressed her very unflatteringly for her first appearance. (I think she needn’t have bothered as it was clearly a doomed marriage in every way anyway.)

    3. Owler*

      There’s a discussion on Reddit where you can pose a query: /r/whatsthatbook/ if you don’t find an answer here.

    4. Owler*

      If you don’t have luck here, try r/whatsthatbook on Reddit. People there are pretty good at finding titles.

  31. WellRed*

    Watching the Dropout about Theranos. Last week watched Wecrashed. Read books about both scandals. How did so many people get snowed for so long? Is it hubris? Is it dollar signs? They aren’t even likable!

    1. Kara Danvers*

      One thing to understand about Silicon Valley is that… investors expect most of their investments to fail. They’re buying 100 lottery tickets, in the hopes that one of them works out, but they’re not putting a meaningful amount of their total network into any individual startup. The risk of investing in a few frauds is worth the reward of getting one right.

      Unfortunately, buyers of the product tend to look at the investor list as a form of legitimacy, not understanding that they may be of a very different risk profile (particularly when it comes to healthcare!).

    2. pancakes*

      Some of it was outright fraud, like using the logos of big-name companies to mock up letters showing them as clients or partners.

    3. Can't think of a funny name*

      I read the Theranos book too…omg, I wanted to slap so many people in the book, haha!

    4. Voluptuousfire*

      I worked at WeWork in 2014 for a few months and met Adam Neumann once or twice. He’s an attractive, very charming man who believes in his own bullshit wholeheartedly. He dazzles you with his brilliance but it ends up being bullshit. The vibe the company was that they were changing the world, which was absolutely toss.

      1. WellRed*

        Right?! Leasing coworking space isn’t exactly brokering world peace. I see you only worked there a few months…

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      There’s definitely an “emperor’s new clothes” aspect to it. If a big investor sees that another big investor has invested, they may think that lends the company credibility, and that may make them doubt their own doubts or skepticism about the company. They don’t want to miss out on a big payday that “everyone else” is getting. There’s also a huge “fake it until you make it” mentality with Silicon Valley startups. The thing is—if you’re pretending you can make an app you haven’t made yet, you can make that mobile social media app. But Theranos and WeWork were dealing with real physical products. You either can do all those tests from a drop or blood… or you can’t. There’s no “we’ll figure that out later.” Same thing with buildings and subleasing. It’s either viable… or not.

      1. WellRed*

        Haha! Yes! I kept screaming “the emperor has no clothes” watching the dropout. I mean I screamed it in my head but still.

    6. PollyQ*

      Well, they aren’t likeable to us, now that we know what frauds they are, but based on Bad Blood (which really is an incredible read), Elizabeth Holmes seemed to have that tremendous magnetism that successful con artists often do. It is amazing still to me, though, how little due diligence big corporations did before they put millions on the line.

    7. Cat Chant*

      i got a bit obsessed with the Theranos story too! One of the things that came out in the Dropout podcast on the trial was that the investors in that case were mostly not venture capitalists – they were wealthy families (the DeVoses etc) with no tech/medical knowledge. She got Schultz and Kissinger on the board – plus the faked reports & demonstrations – and it all looked plausible enough.

  32. Butch in Dallas?*

    I plan to travel to Dallas in the next couple of months. I’ve never been to Texas.

    I’m a butch woman. I’ve visited North Carolina (Research Triangle) and Alabama (Huntsville) without issue other than a few glares in an airport bathroom, though I was warned to not stop by gas stations in the sticks of AL.

    Should I be concerned at all to visit Dallas? I’m not too worried about it, but having only lived in very liberal areas of the country, I’m not sure if I should be.

    1. Lilo*

      Dallas proper, like most big cities, is probably fine. I lived there as a kid in the 90s, though.

      1. DarthVelma*

        You’ll be fine. Dallas elected a lesbian, Lupe Valdez, as their sheriff (she served from 2005 to 2017). She’d probably still be sheriff there if she hadn’t resigned to run for governor.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      Dallas is a “blue dot” city with a large LGBT community so I wouldn’t be terribly concerned, although it might depend on where you go.

    3. Paris Geller*

      Lifelong Texan here. I currently live in the Dallas suburbs, and from my experience, Dallas proper is pretty accepting and diverse. Most of the suburbs are also fine, but there are a few I would advise you steer clear if you’re going to be venturing out of the city.

  33. Ali G*

    Looking for people who have watched the las season of The Walking Dead!
    Hi Everyone,
    I want to thank you all for helping me through the decision process with my Old Man Dog. We have decided to say goodbye next Friday. We are/will be sad, but it’s the right decision.
    So, The appointment is early afternoon at our home. I am thinking about how we can distract ourselves after and I noted we have a ton of The Walking Dead last season on the DVR. BUT, before I suggest we binge that, I need to know:
    Is Dog OK at the end?? Yes I am asking you to spoil this one thing for me, because I could absolutely not bear saying goodbye to my boy and then seeing something bad happen to Dog.
    Please let me know how Dog fares (and others who haven’t watched and don’t want to know – don’t read the replies!!)
    Thnaks!

    1. alex b*

      I’ve watched all of S11 of TWD and can confirm: Dog is still alive and well. There is a scary, stressful Dog plotline in early eps, but he’s ok!!

      I’m sorry about Old Man Dog. I, too, have a very old dog and will be there someday soon. It absolutely sounds like you’ve made a decision that will leave you and your Dog at peace. I hope you have a really nice week with him!

  34. Anon for this*

    Have any of you ever been through a lawsuit?

    My partner was recently sued by a former friend. She made a false accusation against him. (I was present when the incident allegedly happened–it’s not a he said/she said situation.) It was an absolutely hideous betrayal and a naked cash grab. We settled in mediation to get her and her horrible lawyer out of our lives. It cost a lot, but a trial would likely have been even more stressful and expensive.

    My partner is still having an incredibly difficult time. He doesn’t trust anyone other than me. He parses texts from from friends and family for signs of imminent betrayal. He spends hours railing against the person who did this to us, speculating about how she’s spending his money. He says he will never make friends with a woman again.

    I feel like I am drowning in the negativity, but I am the only person he can talk to because I was there for it all and I know the terms of the settlement. (We’re not allowed to share that information with anyone besides our lawyer and accountant.) I take him with me on errands because I honestly fear he might have suicidal thoughts.

    I know therapy is the logical answer for both of us, but it’s exhausting to even contemplate sharing our story with even one therapist., much less the several it might take to find a match. Besides, we don’t have great insurance and we just took a big financial hit.

    Basically, I just want someone who’s been through something like this to tell me it gets better, that we’ll trust people and have friends and have fun again.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Anona*

      Currently going through a lawsuit, and it definitely has made me and my husband more aware/paranoid about our digital activity.

      My first thought when I read what you wrote was therapy. Maybe someone on a sliding scale? Or, I’ve had therapy covered in the past (with the exception of a copay) because the therapist said I had anxiety. So it may not necessarily need to be expensive?

      Hugs. Lawsuits are very stressful. So sorry you both went through this.

    2. Lilo*

      I unfortunately think this is above our paygrade. I do sympathize with therapy being expensive.

      I know this is also expensive but if you have concerns he’s passively having suicidal thoughts, he needs to call a doctor. If you are concerned he has active suicidal behavior that’s an emergency situation and you need to go the hospital asap.

    3. PollyQ*

      If you’re so afraid he’s suicidal that you can’t leave him alone, then he absolutely needs therapy, right now. No, it’s not cheap and it’s not even easy to find someone, but this is life-or-death shit. You don’t need to tell a therapist every last thing to get a sense of whether they’ll be a good fit. Just a high-level description plus the way he’s feeling will be good enough.

      I’m answering this question even though I’ve never been sued because you seem to be hoping that what’s going on will just pass with time, and I think that’s a dangerous attitude to have, based on what you’ve told us. I’m so sorry the two of you are going through this. It’s terribly, terribly unfair, but I do think with professional help, your husband can get better.

    4. Generic Name*

      You were smart to settle out of court. I’m in a never ending court battle with my ex, and I wish he’d just go the eff away. (There’s a reason I yeeted him from my life….) It will get better with time. Since you are worried your husband may be suicidal, you could call 988 and ask for help. I’m sorry you’re going through this. It’s totally understandable he’s having trouble trusting anyone again. Maybe it would help to make a list of all the people he’s friends with and list all his coworkers and acquaintances and then make a mark next to every person who has sued him. I’m guessing it will be one mark next to one person and a few dozen/hundred people with no mark. Maybe it’s a silly exercise, but it could help. He could also read In Sheep’s Clothing. It’s a book about how to recognize unscrupulous people, and it helped me after I got screwed by a contractor.

    5. WellRed*

      I’m so sorry. But your husband is angry, paranoid, obsessive and stuck in a loop AND you worry about him suiciding. Get help NOW.

      1. AGD*

        YES, this. Emergency room, helpline, local social workers’ organization, or all of the above. This is what they’re there for. I’m so sorry to hear that this happened – it makes sense that his brain is reacting very very badly to something awful that shouldn’t have happened at all. But yep, get some professionals on this team right away. It can’t and shouldn’t be all on you; that’s unreasonable. Thinking of you and wishing you the best!

      2. Observer*

        This is really the heart of the matter.

        Get help, and get it now. Figure out how to pay for it later.

    6. Ellis Bell*

      I don’t see any reason why you both shouldn’t recover entirely from a horrendous betrayal of trust! I did, and there were times I thought I’d never be happy again….but in my experience it’s a narrow path to recovery, and usually involves the help of others. If you recover in the right way you will not just survive but thrive. Is it unfair that you have to put time, effort and money in when you didn’t do anything wrong? Yes! Is it necessary? Also, yes! Get the therapist! Yes, it ironically involves trusting another person when you don’t trust anyone, but the only way out is through! The only other suggestion I have is to look around for a support group, but the situation seems a bit niche for that, and it would probably go against your legal agreement. It’s also probably easier to trust one professional than a group. If you can afford it at all, I would front load tackling the bad stuff, because clearing it away makes room for the good stuff. The best of luck whatever you decide.

    7. Observer*

      Basically, I just want someone who’s been through something like this to tell me it gets better, that we’ll trust people and have friends and have fun again.

      To an extent, it’s a choice you make. I have a close family member who was betrayed by a close friend. Very different specifics, but the betrayal was real, costly and bitter to the person betrayed. But they HAVE moved forward. More cautious? To some extent. But they key thing is that they made a choice to move forward with their life and business.

      Therapy can help. But it’s not likely to help unless you / your partner realize how toxic and honestly unreasonable some of these reactions are. I mean “never make friends with a woman again”? That’s one kind of toxic. “Speculating on how she is spending his money” is another kind of toxic. And most of what you describe really falls under one or the other heading. If he recognizes that this is a problem, you have a chance of moving forward. But that’s going to have to be the first breakthrough.

      In the meantime, take care of yourself. You need some space. And please don’t take on the responsibility of keeping him from self harm. You can’t be together every minute, 24/7. If he’s really suicidal, you need to find a therapist – check your EAP and his. Or check if you have a 211 / 311 line that could connect you to resources. If that doesn’t work, try 988 – they are intended for crisis situations, but they might be able to point you to resources that you might not have known about.

  35. WoodswomanWrites*

    Let’s share about birds.

    There is an osprey nest along a lake in a park where I like to hike, atop a tree trunk that had it’s top snapped off. It’s been there for many years and easily visible from a spot along the trail in the forest. I’ve never seen the ospreys at the nest because I typically avoid that trail in the warmer summer months. I decided to hike there last weekend in the morning, and I could hear the birds occasionally calling to each other from across the like. They started chirping to each other again just as I arrived on the trail below the nest where they were visible. One was on a branch next to the nest, and the other was perched in an adjacent tree. So cool to see and hear them after all these years of watching for them!

    1. Girasol*

      Do you have the Merlin app? You can point your phone at a bird and if the call is loud enough Merlin will come back with a good guess of an identification. I am enjoying this because unless the bird is very close, with my eyesight and even binoculars I can’t do much better with identification than, “Yep, pretty sure that’s a bird.”
      That said, at the lake where I still haven’t seen the old colony of yellow-headed blackbirds, I did see a small group of pelicans. I paddled the area after I spotted them from the dam, and while I didn’t see the pelicans from the boat, I saw a ton of small carp hanging out near the surface which might explain why the pelicans liked the spot.

      1. fposte*

        Tangentially–are there any tricks for using binoculars on the water? Even on calm lakes, by the time I’ve brought them up to my eyes to find the bird, it’s drifted out of view. One day I’m going to lean over too far to see it and be very wetly sorry.

        1. Generic Name*

          The main thing that helps is getting binoculars with a larger field of view. Otherwise, yeah, it’s one of the things that makes identifying birds. They move around so much!!

          1. WoodswomanWrites*

            Yep. One thing that can help is anticipating the direction the bird on the water is taking and trying to track them. That said, I consider it a stroke of luck anytime I can actually watch a bufflehead. They pop up so briefly after diving for fish, and it’s always somewhere else than where they started. I tried photographing the males with their beautiful iridescent head for years before I finally got a halfway decent image. I can’t count how many I have of a splash with only their tail feathers and pink feet showing.

      2. WoodswomanWrites*

        Yes, I know about Merlin. It’s a great tool for sure, especially for me because I only know a handful of calls by memory. In this case, I recognized the osprey calls right away.

      3. nobadcats*

        The Merlin app is the best!

        Last year, when I was still living Chicago, there was an injured raptor in a very small city plaza in front of a walgreens. Some jerk always throws birdseed out for the pigeons and they were ganging up on her. I took a pic, uploaded it to Merlin, and found out it was a female Northern Harrier hawk. I called a local raptor rescue (Chicago has a surprising number of native raptors, like Cooper’s hawks), and stood guard over her til they got there. Her wing was injured, poor thing.

    2. KoiFeeder*

      I was walking to the bus stop from physical therapy the other day and saw a mob of red-winged blackbirds beating up on a crow. It was fascinating, and I missed my bus because I was too busy watching them.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        I’m smiling thinking about you enjoying the birds so much that you missed the bus.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          Well, it didn’t have much dignity after that, but it was physically unharmed.

          I think it’s still nesting season for the blackbirds, though I know that varies by state and temperature and all that, so I suspect Mr. Crow was trying to make an omelette and got caught in the act.

          1. nobadcats*

            Red wing blackbirds are notoriously cranky and territorial. There was one pair that made their nest in the same tree along a busy paved walking path from the train to the office. The male bird would dive bomb everyone who walked by, he wasn’t joking around either, I felt his claws once. So, I started carrying a big umbrella during nesting season.

    3. Shiara*

      I’m visiting a relative and she pointed out a flock of pelicans flying by. It was fascinating watching them. They’re so big and yet the flock seems to dance through the air. I would have expected them to fly more like geese, but it was very different.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Oh yes, pelicans are my favorite bird, simply because of the way they fly. So very graceful!

    4. HannahS*

      I live in one of the largest cities in North America, in one of most densely populated areas. Not a lot wildlife, except for rats, raccoons, pigeons, and gulls. But the other day, I was sitting in a park at dusk and watched thousands of starlings in murmuration. It was gorgeous.

    5. Pippa K*

      I was out trout fishing once, standing in the river on a sunny day, and an osprey was fishing the same stretch of river. No one else in sight, just me and the osprey under the blue sky. It was one of the most peaceful moments I’ve experienced.

    6. Lizabeth*

      Second brood of the Carolina wrens are almost ready to fledge…noisy lot. I wonder if they’ll try for a third? Considering moving the nest box to a different location next year.

  36. Can’t Sit Still*

    Electric fireplace recommendations! I would like to install a wall mounted electric fireplace in my bedroom. I would like it to have semi-realistic flames with sound and a heatless feature. I’m willing to spend a bit more to for realism, but I’m also willing to accept pretty instead of realistic.

    Do you have one? Love it? Hate it? Brands to buy or to avoid?

    1. WellRed*

      I can’t recommend but I grew up in a house with an actual wood burning stove. When my parents downsized they put in a small “fake” one. It’s pretty awesome.

      1. Can’t Sit Still*

        Yes, I grew up with fireplaces and wood burning stoves, too, and I miss it at night especially.

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

    Neighborhood drama!
    One of the neighbors downstairs left, tired of the kid downstairs (yes, the one that yells obscenities), the lack of parking spots and the area in general. They were replaced by a young couple with dogs. The thing is, the dogs LOVE singing the song of their people, and they do it for HOURS. Am I happy the previous neighbors left? Meh. Am I happy with the new neighbors? Meh. Are the dogs loud? Yes. Is it interesting watching Annoying Kid’s mom losing it, constantly complaining about having to live next to someone as annoying as her “lovely boy who can do no wrong”? Absolutely. If you excuse me, I going to grab some popcorn before checking the group chat.

    1. beentheredonethat*

      oh please keep updating. Seriously. I have been on and off the site. How many updates did I miss and I need to go back and look?

  38. Louis*

    Current events thread! What current events have stood out to you this week or what have you found to be particularly interesting?

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      As I mentioned in the work thread, Ireland is changing it’s pensions age. Now one can retire any age between 66 and 70, get the full current pension at 66 or get a higher one if you do extra years. And I THINK companies are going to be required to let people stay on, though not sure as all the details aren’t really out.

      I think it’s good as I like my job and while 66 is a good few years off and I might feel different then, I currently think I’d like to keep working, if I can.

    2. WellRed*

      Oh well I was thinking the Jan 6 hearings. But actually, the heat everywhere but especially on all the poor European folk that aren’t used to it. I live in northern New England and feel so much sympathy. We need to do better.

    3. osmoglossum*

      The photos taken by the Webb telescope are wondrous. It’s a striking counterpoint to the horror that is the environmental destruction occurring on this pale blue dot.

    4. Come On Eileen*

      I’ve been amused listening to news reports of Biden’s health following his diagnosis with COVID — charming radio reports like “his doctor reported that he had a little cough, and was a bit tired at the end of the day, but this morning is chipper and working while remaining in isolation.” I mean, I feel like he could be my grandpa who came down with the cold of the moment except it’s being broadcast as national news.

  39. WoodswomanWrites wondering about Twitter*

    Here’s a question for those of you who use Twitter.

    Although I have my own blog and use LinkedIn professionally, I feel like a bumpkin when it comes to social media in general. There is an individual who has the most up to date information anywhere online about California fires, from New Zealand of all places, that he posts on Twitter. As a Californian with friends who are unfortunately increasingly affected by the rise in catastrophic fires, I like to follow his posts but only get a couple views before I get a pop-up telling me I have to join Twitter to see more. I’m considering creating a Twitter account to follow his feed as well as others (despite Elon Musk’s likely ownership soon, ugh) but I don’t want to get ugly comments from strangers online. Any suggestions for creating an account and being able to keep my identity anonymous?

    1. fposte*

      I’ve had a Twitter account for well over a decade. I posted three tweets on it when I first got it and nothing since then. I’ve never gotten a comment from anybody, ever. If you don’t tweet, I don’t think anybody on Twitter will even know you’re there.

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Yeah, I think if you have 100 or fewer followers, and you never comment on anyone else’s tweets, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get anybody interacting with you. Keep your profile pic generic, too.

      2. Anna*

        I second this. It’s pretty unlikely anyone is going to bother you if you’re not active.

    2. PollyQ*

      Easy as pie — create a new anonymous email and use that to sign up. If you never comment, then no one will respond to you because they won’t even know your account name, or I believe you can lock down your account so that no one can post to you. And FWIW, I’d say Musk owning Twitter is not that likely. Yeah, that’s what Twitter’s suing him for, but my money’s on them coming to a settlement where he pays them a bunch of money but doesn’t take ownership.

    3. I take tea*

      I am really extremely frustrated with Twitter, because I don’t want an account, but it’s a really good source for quick info, plus there are some people I like to follow. I recently found Nitter.net, which allowes you to read Twitter without an account. Can recommend.

    4. pancakes*

      You can make a private account if that seems preferable. It’s one of the account settings. Do a search for make private twitter account and instructions should come up.

    5. RagingADHD*

      You don’t have to use anything connected with your real name unless you want the blue checkmark that famous people get. You can create an account and call it anything you want.

      I have had an account for years and have had exactly one unpleasant DM, and even that wasn’t obscene or scary. I have had a handful of angry replies to some comments, usually because I accidentally jumped into a conversation without reading the backstory.

      Twitter is huge, and most of it is people seeking attention. Nobody targets nobodies. If you just want to read and follow, it’s unlikely anyone will ever interact with you.

    6. WoodswomanWrites*

      Thanks, all. I created an anonymous account that’s protected. Now I just wish the news about the fires in California was better.

    7. Cedrus Libani*

      I have had a Twitter account for years. I’ve tweeted a handful of times, mostly related to that time where I was about to get screwed over by United Airlines and a vastly more online friend shamed them on Twitter and then they fixed it. It’s attached to my real identity, but even so, I can confirm that nobody bothers to mess with the quiet nobodies who are just there to read. At worst, Elon Musk would know my email? I can live with that.

    8. thoughts on twitter*

      One way to think about Twitter (and this is from a philosophical piece I read, it’s not a unique idea to me) is that there are “channels” –– film Twitter, academic Twitter, bird Twitter, etc. The “main channel” is politics, but if you don’t follow many political folks, you can stay off that channel, which reduces the likelihood that you’ll get ugly comments from strangers online.

      I had an account that was largely inactive for a year, and mostly did not remember it existed. I now have an account that is identifiable to me IRL, tweet regularly (about once a day), and rarely/never get weird or ugly comments. Occasionally I get followed by a bot, and I just block them.

      Also, it’s weird that you get pop-ups that tell you to join Twitter to see more. It’s the most public of the social media sites, w/ the possible exception of LinkedIn (I’m not on there enough to tell), to the point that it shows up in Google search results. Viewing w/o an account can distort display, but it shouldn’t affect what you see?

      1. fhqwhgads*

        Twitter is just marketing themselves. You can google a twitter and go see a post without ever logging in. If you scroll within it past maybe half a dozen, it prompts you to login/make an account. Been that way for a bit. There’s code you can put in your browser to prevent it from doing that though.

    9. mreasy*

      I have a Twitter account I use only to follow folks in my industry, having quit my active account years ago. Recommended!

  40. Sharpening*

    I’m looking for advice regarding sharpening your own beauty tools (things like nippers and tweezers).

    There’s a ton of info out there on sharpening kitchen knives, but I’m not having much luck with this genre. Most instructions suggest sandpaper or tinfoil, both of which were ineffective.

    Anyone successfully do this? I know I can just replace them, but it’s so wasteful to throw out an entire well-made metal tool because the tip is dull.

    1. WellRed*

      These are items you use on yourself. Better to wastefully toss then to risk injury or infection if not done properly.

    2. Double A*

      If they happen to be tweezerman brand, I believe they offer free sharpening and other brands may offer a similar service.

    3. KoiFeeder*

      I use a straight razor strop. Pinch, pull, spend a good 15 minutes just doing that. If the strop can’t do it, I don’t want to risk using something that might leave shards of the metal sticking out to stab me.

    4. Melody Pond*

      Well, I don’t have any tips on sharpening, but I will say that anything metal can be fully recycled, of course. You may already know this – by “throw out”, you may have meant “recycle as scrap metal” but wanted to mention that, just in case.

      I actually didn’t realize the extent to which just about anything metal can be recycled. I was used to operating around complex requirements for the types of plastic that can go in curbside recycling, and so I’d assumed it was the same for metal – like you can only recycle standard metal cans, etc. And at least in my municipality, you can’t put hazardous, sharp metal things in the curbside recycling, and you also can’t include metal objects that are too small – because they can gum up the recycling machinery. But – that doesn’t mean it’s not recyclable. There are loads of scrap metal recyclers everywhere, and you can generally drop stuff off for free. Shoot, if you have enough scrap metal, sometimes they’ll even pay you for it.

      Anyway, I share all of this mostly because of how ignorant I was about it, until a couple years ago.

    5. One Two Three*

      There is a place that professionally sharpens knives, scissors, and chisels where I live. I’d look to see if you have a similar place near you.

    6. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      I keep my tweezers grippy by just holding them closed tightly onto an emery board, then dragging the emery board out from between them. I do that three or four times. Maybe once a month or so. Has done a good job so far, and they do get lots of use!

    7. Worked in IT forever*

      I just bought a little tool for sharpening tweezers. I haven’t tried it yet. It’s from a Canadian drugstore, but something similar must ba available from other places. I’ll post a link in a comment below.

      1. Worked in IT forever*

        https://shop.shoppersdrugmart.ca/Luxury/Categories/Beauty/Tools-%26-Accessories/Makeup-Brushes-%26-Accessories/Nail-Care-%26-Tools/Tweezer-sharpener/p/BB_057800209348?variantCode=057800209348&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=Shopping&utm_campaign=2022~01~01~LD~External~Enterprise~Beauty~SDM~None~National~shopping~shopping-Tier1Mass&utm_content=PLA~Intent~EN&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQjw2_OWBhDqARIsAAUNTTGRlfqzzA2a4PJ8IsLQQjz6BXUbli3QiXB5j4YUNQmL_48EeQzB9UoaAgfwEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

        1. Worked in IT forever*

          (There’s a metal file on both sides of the tool. You close the tweezers around the bottom of the tool and drag the edges of the tweezer against the files.)

  41. Melody Pond*

    Cross country moves!

    For the first time in my life (mid-30s) I am considering a move across the country. I’m a west coast (NW Oregon/SW Washington) native and I never pictured myself living anywhere near the east coast. But, for various reasons, which I won’t get into here, Mr. Pond and I are very seriously considering moving to upstate New York.

    How the heck do people do this, logistically speaking? We have ideas for what we’d do about jobs, which we’d plan to get lined up before selling our current place and moving. But we’d still need to sell our current house, and then either buy or rent in the new locale. Our intent is to buy in the new area, but – isn’t it hard to buy right away when you can’t easily come look at properties before being in the area? Do you rent first? Are you committed to renting for six months or a year, or can you rent more short-term somehow, while looking at properties to buy? Do people normally drive their car to the new location? Is shipping your car to the new location a thing that happens?

    Is there like, a book somewhere on how to juggle all the logistics of a cross country move? :) Please share your wisdom and insight!

    1. kina lillet*

      You can definitely do a month to month lease, or a long-term airbnb. Either are things people do while house hunting in the area. It is definitely expensive!!!

      There will definitely be movers who specialize in cross-country moves, but I know a lot of folks do drive their car with some clothes and their pets.

    2. too hot go away*

      unless you know the area well, I’d definitely say to rent for a while – it lets you get to know the area, the commute, and what you value in the new place. And, shipping cars is absolutely possible, I’ve done it. If you’re part of a 2 (or more) person household, it’s also perfectly possible for one person to go, get a job/apt/settled, while another person(or people) stays back, sells old place etc.

      1. One Two Three*

        I was going to recommend renting for the same reason. It’s hard to know where to purchase without really knowing the area. Renting will also help with other logistics of how to look at places while being on the other side of the country.

        I know nothing about it, but there are moving companies that specialize in moving cross country. From what I understand, you know your stuff will take longer to move. However, it will be cheaper than paying a regular mover.

    3. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      Last time I moved cross country I had movers put all my stuff put in storage (except what fit in my car) and got a 3 month furnished sublet. I wanted time to learn the neighborhoods first and find the right place. If I were doing it now in this market I’d want a month-to-month / Airbnb type place so I didn’t have a definitive end date. I’d plan on 6 months, personally. The only way I’d feel comfortable selecting a house/neighborhood long distance would be to take a few trips to scout or have family/friends who could do that — if you have that luxury, great. If not, get a rental. It’s expensive and annoying in the short term to move twice but it gives you the space to make a smart long-term decision.

      You can absolutely ship a car and fly. My parents drove one and shipped one. I drove mine, packed with everything I needed for my 3 months. I can’t imagine not driving, honestly — even if you’re moving straight into your final destination, you need enough stuff to manage for at least a week or two until your truck gets there. I like to have my stuff and it’s IME somewhat less expensive to drive than ship a car.

      1. Melody Pond*

        Good idea to leave stuff in storage for a while! I think we would do that. Thanks!

    4. WellRed*

      Make sure you have enough money to buy or rent and cover everything in between in what may be an insane market. Where I am there’s a shortage of rentals and houses to buy.

    5. Road warrior*

      Jobs probably come first so you have a target area to investigate, but start visiting the area too, especially in summer and winter. The seasons in upstate New York aren’t what you are used to. We used Zillow a LOT searching for our next home so you can get a feeling for housing prices, etc. You can also tour neighborhoods and developments during your scoping trips to get another feel for housing, travel, shopping and entertainment options. If you have the resources to cover two mortgages you can buy now, but renting for a year while you look is quite common.

      I’d expect to drive your vehicle for the final move, there are too many potential issues that could put you in a rental car for a LOT longer than you expect. I was moved from Pennsylvania to California by my first employer and that included shipping a car. It was damaged in transit (broken side mirror) but I had a different vehicle I could drive while it was repaired. You also want to personally transport valuables, minimum kitchen equipment, pets, etc. so you can get somewhat settled while you wait (wait….. wait…… wait……) for your household to be delivered.

      Your new employer may pay for your move which helps. If not, hire a moving company directly so you get the move estimate done correctly by the people involved. I haven’t heard anything good when people go thru a broker, my cousin got scalped for several thousand dollars AFTER her father’s estate goods were in the truck because the estimate was off.

      Enjoy your adventure!

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        Yeah, don’t use a broker. A friend of mine is having to sue because their items were all stolen (auctioned out of storage) due to a broker’s malfeasance. They lost everything! You want the company picking up to be the one dropping off and you want to own that relationship.

    6. beentheredonethat*

      A friend just did a cross country and did the numbers on moving furniture or selling and buying new and it was cheaper to sell and buy.

      1. Cedrus Libani*

        That’s what I did, though to be fair, all of my furniture was from Craigslist. I sent it back where it came from. I figured out which airline had the most generous baggage policy – at the time it was Virgin – and then got rid of anything I could replace for less than $25 per 50 lbs. Still had enough to merit a minivan taxi, but that’s a thing. One cross-country move, broke student style; it actually went quite smoothly.

      2. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        I hear that a lot, but I must have more expensive (or just plain more) stuff than a lot of folks! It has always been cheaper for me to take with than start new. Beyond furniture there’s cookware, tools, art, dishes, etc… I’d find it exhausting to have to replace every single thing.

    7. Cedrus Libani*

      I’ve done this twice – once as a pre-teen, with my family, and once as a single 20-something.

      With the family move, my parents flew out and spent a weekend looking at houses. They had a realtor who could arrange all the viewings for them and show them from place to place. This works better in a real estate market where you can just point at a house and offer to pay the asking price; this was the case in the DC exurbs in the late 1990s, and I suspect also in upstate NY right now? In less civilized markets, it’s more normal to get a short-term rental / AirBNB and then do your house-hunting on location.

      IIRC, my family sold one of their cars, and the other was filled with stuff and loaded onto a moving van. People do drive cross-country, but I’ve never done it. Also, in both moves, there was a cat involved – flying with cat is bad enough, driving is worse.

      Also, I will say that I’ve never had any luck job-searching remotely. Zero. Not even as a college student. It’s an extra layer of complication that nobody wants to deal with. (My cross-country move was for grad school.) That’s something to be prepared for.

    8. Slightly Above Average Bear*

      Sort of doing this now. North to South instead of West to East. Mr. Bear started a new job 5 weeks ago while the teens and I are prepping the current house for sale (goes on the market Friday)
      I’ve learned the following
      1. You own more stuff than you think you do. You actually want to keep more stuff than you think you do.
      2. Everything will take longer than you expect and things will go wrong, causing further delays.
      3. It all costs a lot more than you’re anticipating, especially temporary lodging and food in the new location.
      Eventually, it will all be behind you. Good luck!

    9. Falling Diphthong*

      The semi-ideal is that you move to the new area and rent for a year; this lets you learn a lot more about neighborhoods, traffic, and other stuff that might wind up really mattering to you. This order also means that you have all the money from the sale of your old house to put toward a downpayment on the new one, without needing to make a contingency offer when you are ready to buy.

      This is much easier if you have 0-2 pets. Renting with 4 pets, or 2 large dogs, etc, tends to really limit your options.

      Renting month-to-month is a thing; usually places charge more for that option–like it was $2000/month for a 1-year lease, and $2200/month for a month-to-month.

    10. anon for this*

      Only semi relevant, but I actually made the same move way back in the day (had lived in the Pacific Northwest for a long time, got a job in Ithaca, NY for a bit) and had a fantastic time out there! I found a rental apartment by Googling local real-estate companies and calling them up one at a time (can you tell this was a while ago?), and moved by putting an absurd number of boxes in the mail (it worked, but…do not recommend except as a last resort). I absolutely loved the town and the Finger Lakes scenery (it’s flatter than the PNW but still stunning). Wegmans is the best supermarket chain in existence; I did not miss Safeway for an instant. The weather was definitely an adjustment, because none of the seasons behaved the way I was used to, and there are a lot of microclimates in the area (the amount of snow varies wildly across the region depending on whether you’re in the path of lake effect precipitation, for instance). Spring is gorgeous, quick, and very dramatic (it’s a lot like going from a black and white photograph to full vivid color). Summers are much hotter and far more humid than in the PNW, but are also a stunningly lush emerald green, and if you have a gorge or a Finger Lake nearby you can probably jump into it to cool off. Fall is flat out amazing (colors, temperatures, breezes) – the Northeast really blows the Northwest out of the water in that regard. Winters are long, cold, windy, and harsh – I learned how to buy real winter boots and dress in a lot of layers, but it was the dryness I really didn’t expect, and it took me a long time to figure out I needed to buy moisturizer because my skin was cracking so much. (The flip side is that buildings are all heated well, which isn’t a given in the damp cold of the Northwest!) In the PNW, sun generally means it’s reasonably warm out, but elsewhere a sunny day can be extremely cold – that threw me off – but on the other hand, I experienced a far lower amount of those winter blues that clouds and rain cause easily in the PNW – even though I heard Ithaca is on average the third cloudiest city in the contiguous states after Seattle and Portland! Transportation is a bit of a challenge in the region because most of upstate NY is your prototypical middle of nowhere, but there are a reasonable number of airports (Ithaca’s is small and Albany’s is medium-sized, but Rochester and Syracuse and Buffalo are all decently connected). And emphasis on the “middle” part – upstate NY is shaped oddly and overwhelmingly rural, but it’s ringed by large cities in adjacent parts of the continent (Pittsburgh, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York, Philadelphia), and those places are where most of the highways are going, so it’s hard to find any part of upstate that isn’t within about a 4-hour drive of at least one of these. Anyway, I loved living in both areas (have moved on again now and obviously miss both, but I really like where I live now as well).

      1. Melody Pond*