weekend open thread – December 3-4, 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: Diary of a Provincial Lady, by E.M. Delafield. This is Bridget Jones if she were married and writing in 1929, and it is hilarious.

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

{ 1,273 comments… read them below }

  1. Jackalope*

    Reading thread! Please share what you’re reading, and ask for or give recommendations if you wish!

    I just finished River of Silver by S A Chakraborty. She wrote a trilogy called the Daevabad Trilogy, and this was a sort of follow-up. It has a handful of short stories, deleted scenes, etc. related to the series. It would only be interesting to someone who has read the original books, but since I have I enjoyed it a lot. I also read The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy this week by Megan Bannen. It’s a light, fun book where nothing too terrible happens to any main characters and it ends happily. Genre is a bit hard to pin down, but it’s parts fantasy, romance, and mystery.

    1. Teapot+Translator*

      I read A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson. I’m having a slow weekend so I’m hoping to get some more reading done.

    2. ThatGirl*

      Small Game by Blair Braverman – a quick read and really good. Survival reality show becomes too real.

        1. ThatGirl*

          I haven’t but if you enjoy her threads on dogsledding I bet you would – I’ve been thinking I should myself.

        2. Lemonwhirl*

          I bought it for myself for my kid to give me for Christmas. Really looking forward to reading it.

        3. Fellow Traveller*

          I’ve read it and it wasn’t as much about dogsledding as I thought it would be. It was pretty good, but I remember being disappointed that it wasn’t more about the dogs.

      1. Squeebird*

        I just read that too. I think I like her non-fiction writing better, but if she writes any more novels I will definitely pick them up!

    3. Auntie Matter*

      I’m re-reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I love this book so much. It’s got it all: travel, history, adventure, vampires! It’s my dream to put together a vacation that includes all the spots in Europe that the characters visit.

      1. Jackalope*

        Fun story: I worked for a couple of years in Snagov, Romania, one of the places in the book. The author tries to make it out to be super creepy, but the place that I worked was one of the most cheerful buildings I’ve been in, bright and sunny, and the lake mentioned in the book is a pleasant, peaceful, placid location. I enjoyed reading about it in the book in the, “Hey, I’ve been there!” sense, but I could not for the life of me consider it creepy.

    4. Broken scones*

      I finished Lotería by Karla Arenas Valenti. I was enjoying it but the way it ended was a mixed bag for me. Now I started Little Women (for a buddy read) and I also picked up Daughter of the Drowned Empire by Frankie Diane Mallis.

    5. Vio*

      I’ve just started The Cost Of Living Like This by James Kennaway. It’s about a man with terminal cancer who decides to cheat on his wife. So far there’s four key characters, two are thoroughly unlikeable but interesting, the mostly sympathetic wife and a so-far likeable guy she meets in Scotland.
      I forget who recommended it to me or why, so I went into it totally blind with no idea what it would be about and no expectations. It’s an enjoyable, but somewhat depressing, read. I may have to follow up with a comedy book when I finish it.

    6. Person from the Resume*

      I’m reading Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo. It’s the 3rd novella in the Singing Hills Cycle. It’s feminist high fantasy (supernatural talking animals, no technology) set a world based on imperial China. The main character is a non-binary (they/them) cleric who travels the world seeking stories in order to record them for their monastery. A major point is that the person telling the story brings their own point of view and alters the story based on that.

      I have already listened to it but with Asian names (causing me to mix up characters) and a fantasy world, and a rather complex story, I missed a lot while listening because I cannot give the same attention to an audiobook. Some stories just need to be read.

      The plot of this one:Wandering cleric Chih of the Singing Hills travels to the riverlands to record tales of the notorious near-immortal martial artists who haunt the region. On the road to Betony Docks, they fall in with a pair of young women far from home, and an older couple who are more than they seem. As Chih runs headlong into an ancient feud, they find themselves far more entangled in the history of the riverlands than they ever expected to be.

      1. Autumn*

        Thank you for mentioning this! I absolutely loved the first two, tracking this one down immediately!

        1. Person from the Resume*

          I’m pretty sure there are a least two more novellas coming after Into the Riverlands.

      2. Geezercat*

        I finished Into the Riverlands in the last few days! I love this series, and this was probably my favorite (so far).

    7. JustForThis*

      I’ve been on a cozy fantasy spree the last couple of weeks, fuelled by some recommendations in previous weekend threads:

      – Amy Crook, To Hive and to Hold. Fluffy, nearly conflict-free community building with lots of food, even more tea, and romance.
      – Everina Maxwell, Winter’s Orbit. Soft SF focussing on relationships and diplomacy, with one protagonist who reminds me of _The Goblin Emperor_. There is some non-consensual boundary crossing which pushed it outside the “cozy” realm for me, but I still enjoyed it.
      – Wynn Mattesons Housekeeper Series. The idea and the characters are delightful and witty.
      – Sangu Mandanna, The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. A novel about the benefits of being in a community even when living alone might seem “safer”.

      Any recommendations along these lines? In three out of those four novels / series, houses play an important role, and I’ve discovered that I really enjoy that.

      (I’ve already read Becky Chambers’ novels which also fit in this category.)

      1. Siege*

        Have you read Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree yet? It’s very cozy. Post-adventuring, an orc sets up the first coffee shop in a meeting city, and gathers up new friends and family as she does.

      2. OtterB*

        You might try Lifelode by Jo Walton. It’s about the interlocking lives of families in a manor house. One of the characters has a “lifelode,” kind of like a purpose or a vocation, about the house itself, and will see events from the past or future. Not entirely cost – there are some external threats and a death – but most of it is about the house and a sense of family and finding your lifelode.

      3. Sparkly Librarian*

        Payback’s a Witch, by Lana Harper (which I read the same week I read The Very Secret Society…)

    8. Irish Teacher*

      Just reread “Miss Pim Disposes.” It’s an excellent book. It’s a murder mystery, but honestly, it would be excellent even without the murder.

      1. Siege*

        I adore Tey, particularly The Daughter Of Time and A Shilling For Candles. I’ve never read her Daviot pseudonym or her non-fiction, but I really quite like Alan Grant.

    9. just another queer reader*

      I’ve been on a queer scifi kick!
      – “The long way to a small angry planet” by Becky Chambers (and sequels) – the world building is absolutely breathtaking
      – “A psalm for the wild built” also by Becky Chambers – a quick, delightful read
      – “Catfishing on Carnet” by Naomi Kritzer – teens endeavor to save the world alongside a benevolent AI. The sequel is more intense/scary but also includes a lot of worldbuilding around imagining a future with a better public safety system, which is kinda cool.

      A friend recommended N. K. Jemison so I’m going to read that this weekend!

      1. PostalMixup*

        Have read any of Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy? Not queer, but set in a gender-less society. You never find out the biological sex of the vast majority of characters. Also, artificial intelligence.

        1. the cat's pajamas*

          I tried listening to the audiobook for Ancillary Justice. I liked the concept but found the diplomacy aspects hard to follow.

          1. Person from the Resume*

            I find some sci fi is a bad fit for audio. When there’s complex world building, I think I need to give it my full attention by reading instead of listening while doing other things. It’s my impression that this series will need my full attention and it hasn’t risen to the top of my book pile yet.

      2. Siege*

        I’m starting The World We Make this weekend, and I cannot recommend the The City We Became enough. I liked TCWB more than the Broken Earth books, partly because I read Broken Earth at a time when I could not track the world-building well enough but TCWB is set in a world much like ours.

      3. Magpie*

        The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders is very good queer scifi, though the world in it is extremely bleak and unsettling. I loved it, it’s just not a light read.

    10. just another queer reader*

      Other queer fiction I’ve loved recently (not sci fi)

      – True Biz by Sara Novic
      – A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo
      – Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
      – Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

    11. ecnaseener*

      I finished Babel this week, and LOVED it. It’s a historical fantasy where the magic is powered by translation between languages – specifically by the unavoidable loss of connotations and shades of meanings – extremely cool.

      It’s set in the 1830s with the magic being an integral tool of the British Empire. The protagonist is a Chinese boy raised in England and groomed for a translation/magic career – Britain doesn’t have enough translators in non-European languages so of course they go around plucking children from their homes.

      1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

        As a translator and language geek like allathian, I’m going to have to pick this up and check it out posthaste.

    12. Still*

      I’ve started reading Girl, Woman, Other because I’ve heard it recommended so many times, and y’all, I’m struggling. My version has 400 pages and I’m yet to see a single period. It’s all written in this poem-like way, where the next line might be the start of a completely new thought, or it might just be an enjambment, and it’s hard to know which is which. It really throws off the voice in my head and I keep tripping over the words and having to go back to re-read whole paragraphs.

      So, those of you who loved it – did you like it because of this structure, or despite it? If you think it adds something important to the experience, could you please share? I’m hoping that I’ll stay enjoying it once I get a bit more used to it, but I would love some encouragement. What did you love about it?

      1. Pj*

        I loved it…the structure is very different but just try to roll with it. I have not been a big poetry reader but it’s like…exploring a new form of art.

        It’s a book that will take you out of your comfort zone and teach you new things!!

      2. RW*

        I loved it, and I felt similar at first. I only kept going because it was a recommendation from my sister. I think I loved it despite the structure – what I really loved, as you get farther into the book, were the ways the different women intertwine and the compassion the author had for these different characters, and the reasons that made them who they were.

    13. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      Buchi Emecheta’s *The Joys of Motherhood* — about the crushing pressures of societal and personal expectations about motherhood, in this case, via the story of a woman navigating those in Nigeria in the 1930s. Content warnings for murder, enslavement, sexual assault, suicidal ideation, domestic violence, abandonment, and I’m sure a whole lot of other stuff I haven’t gotten to yet.

    14. GoryDetails*

      Current/recent reads include:

      A THIEF IN THE NIGHT by KJ Charles, a short audiobook featuring a charming tale of a down-on-his-luck thief and a soldier just back from the (I think) Napoleonic Wars, whose initial meeting includes some steamy sex – followed by the thief’s making away with the soldier’s watch and wallet. Some weeks later the thief seeks employment at the country house of an earl, only to find the house in shambles and the earl none other than his previous victim – making for a very awkward meeting. Quite fun!

      Just starting Donna Andrews’ TWELVE JAYS OF CHRISTMAS, another of her funny cozy-mysteries featuring Meg Langslow and clan.

      Carrying-around book: IRAQ+100 edited by Hassan Blasim, an anthology of SF stories from Iraqi authors; many of the stories are understandably harrowing, and I’m finding it fascinating.

      Non-fiction: YOU’VE GOT RED ON YOU by Clark Collis, about the making of the hilarious “zombie rom-com” film “Shaun of the Dead” – lots of how-movies-get-made details as well as entertaining interviews with the creators and many of the cast members.

    15. Bluebell*

      This week I finished Island Time by Georgia Clark- the setting was my favorite part- an island off the coast of Australia. I like when she writes a range of ages. In this one, parents are stranded there with their adult children. Includes a variety of relationships, including a developing queer romance. Also read A Novel Obsession – not very satisfying. Taking my time with the nonfiction 52 Ways to Walk. And I just started The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal. If you ever wanted to read “The Thin Man in Space” this one’s for you!

    16. Pool Lounger*

      Just finished Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. Three editors at a vanity press get tired of the ridiculous conspiracy theories contained in the manuscripts they have to dig through every day, so they start designing their own theory—the Plan—just for fun. Their plan encompasses the Templars, the Cabala, Shakespeare, the sewers of Paris, kundalini, various secret societies, and much more. But their game comes to life when one of them is kidnapped by a secret society that believes their Plan is real, the ultimate universal conspiracy theory.

      Eco is a genius, but what really struck me was how relevant the commentary of conspiracy theories and their believers is to our current moment. It’s also funny and thrilling. I’d definitely recommend it.

    17. Morally Gray*

      Predictably Irrational: Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

      Half way through it. Quick read, well explained, and very interesting!

    18. carcinization*

      Soon to start reading A Night in the Lonesome October because my husband, my mom, and myself all agreed to read it so we’d have something to talk about at Christmas. Even though it’s kind of a cult (haha) favorite, I’ve had trouble finding “book club” questions for it, but I’m sure the three of us will manage.

    19. Siege*

      I’m considering making my next year’s reading list focus on rereads. I usually try to read 50 books I haven’t read before but I’ve increasingly found myself saying I don’t remember X book and should reread it. I read the Daevabad trilogy and retained so little of it that it was nearly impossible to finish. Same with Jemisin’s Broken Earth series, and Bennett’s Divine Cities. I can’t just dip in and out the way I do with some other series, because I remember so little I can’t fill in what happens around it, and they’d be pretty meaty rereads – I would not be able to read them AND read 50 new books.

      I just finished a reread of the Inspector Wexford series by Ruth Rendell (because frankly I was behind on count and 24 books got me back on track) but allowed it because I went into it with questions about how she structured the series. The final books are very different from the first few. I’m about to start The World We Make and the Decade In Tory. I’ve got Starvation Heights and Allow Me To Retort partially complete, and that’ll finish out my list for the year.

      1. Jackalope*

        If you want to do a mix of rereads and new, S A Chakraborty, the author of the Daevabad trilogy, just released a short book connected to said trilogy called The River of Silver. It’s a combo of short stories, deleted scenes, and other bits and pieces. You definitely would want to read it right after finishing the trilogy again (I struggled to remember who some of the characters were since it’s been over a year since I finished the series), but it was kind of fun and for the most part a lot lighter than the books.

      2. noncommittal pseudonym*

        I’ve been rereading the entire Ngaio Marsh Roderick Alleyn series. It’s sort of fascinating to watch various attitudes evolve, since she wrote the series from the 30s to the 60s. My hold on Julie & Julia just came through, so I’ll take a brief break from Marsh to read that.

      3. allathian*

        I haven’t read any truly new books for so long I can’t even remember when I last read one. I’ve read new books in series that I’ve started before, but I can’t remember when I last read a book by a completely new to me author…

        1. Siege*

          I’ve been a Hugo voter for the last two years, so I’ve gotten an astonishing number of REALLY GOOD new authors. I also pay attention to recs from Twitter. But I don’t require the authors be new to me, just that the books do. Otherwise I get depressed and just reread The Scholomance or October Daye in chunks for three months, as happened this summer. It helps to clear out my backlog, since I have the common problem of buying more books than I could possibly read.

          The more I think about it, the more I think rereading those series I mentioned is workable, and doesn’t have to take over my list. It would be nice to be able to have a coherent idea of what happens in them!

    20. DataGirl*

      currently reading “What Would Dolly Do?” Sorry of an inspirational life guide based on the philosophy of Dolly Parton.

    21. Squeebird*

      I just started “The Lost Metal” by Brandon Sanderson – the newest Mistborn book. I really enjoy the characters in this series so I’m having a lot of fun with it.

    22. Jessica*

      I also just read River of Silver! Well worth it if you read these book; I enjoyed it as much or more than the original trilogy.

    23. the cat's pajamas*

      Recently re-listened to the audiobook for The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steivater and it just registered that one of the main characters is literally a teapot painter, lol

    24. cat in cardboard box*

      I am halfway through listening to Witches of Moonshyne Manor and quite enjoying it! sorta just starting to come back to fiction after a very long time away. I won’t recommend it unless I still like it after finishing it, but so far I am very caught up in the mystery and motivated to continue!

    25. Person from the Resume*

      I started a new gentle sci fi audiobook. We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker.

      It’s all about the impact of a new near future technology on a family with two moms, a son, and a daughter over probably 20 years. It’s called a “pilot” and allows humans to functionally multitask. The son gets his first because the fad starts with students. The daughter has epilepsy so can’t get one and as all kids who can get one do, she ends up in the “slow” class for kids without pilots. One mom gets it and the other is resistant. As everyone gets one except those who can’t and those who refuse they become a left behind minority.

      I’m only 25% into it but I’m enjoying it lots so far. Family drama, small cozy (maybe) sci fi.

    26. Heffalump*

      Currently working on two:

      Up Jumped the Devil, a biography of bluesman Robert Johnson. I’m about halfway through, and it’s very good.

      The First Four Georges by J. H. Plumb, about George I through George IV of England. Many years ago one of my high school history teachers spoke favorably of this, and I finally got around to getting a copy. The course was in American history, so this book wasn’t on the syllabus. I’m about a third through, and it’s very good.

  2. kr*

    Favorite comfort movies to watch when you are tired, sick, or just need to relax? I need to de-frazzle this weekend and am staying in because it will be cold outside! All recommendations welcome, but nothing stressful or tense.

    1. Dwight+Schrute*

      What we do in the shadows, bridesmaids, the princess bride, ice age, the emperor’s new groove, legally blonde, elf, Christmas vacation, and the proposal are usually my go tos! Hope you’re able to relax and recuperate

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        A Knight’s Tale is delightfully anachronistic, witty, and irreverent. Jousting as a professional sport in Chaucer’s (yes, he has a supporting role!) middle ages.

    2. NeonFireworks*

      Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Toy Story movies, Bend It Like Beckham, any of the Bill and Ted movies, Wayne’s World, Before Sunrise, The American President, Monsters Inc., Good Will Hunting, and most recently Encanto (which I have seen an embarrassing number of times).

      1. Lilo*

        I have a 3 year old and Encanto is his favorite movie. I’ve probably seen it at least 20 times and listened to the music 200+ times (it’s become what he wants to listen to when he goes to bed).

        But I don’t absolutely hate it yet so that has to be something.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I liked Encanto a surprising amount. I’m still not sure how I feel about the central message “some people don’t get any magical talents and that’s okay.” I think I like it.

          1. Lilo*

            I always thought the central message was about toxic perfectionism and the pressure we put on kids. I guess it actually had a lot to say.

              1. NeonFireworks*

                This is one of the reasons I can’t stop watching it or reading the TV Tropes page lol. There is so much going on and I see something new with every rewatch.

            1. Sloanicota*

              Yeah I should have said, of course there’s lots of themes, I just found that one to be particularly interesting and I’m still thinking about it. It feels like a unique message compared to some of the more expected themes I guess.

          2. Siege*

            And see, I interpreted the final scene as meaning that the magic Abuela prevented from manifesting was centered around the house. Casita always responded more to Mirabel than to anyone else, and the story centered her in the family and as the guardian of the miracle. That she had magic, but Abuela was able to domineer the miracle into preventing it from clearly manifesting. I didn’t see it as Mirabel actually not having a gift; since no one freaked out over how much Casita responded to her, I think they just didn’t see it. But you don’t clearly see Casita or the candle reacting positively to anyone else. Even Bruno’s hiding place is at most Casita not throwing him out, and the candle reacts badly to Abuela’s anger and fear. It also explains why the journey in Bruno’s room was like it was – Casita can’t intervene in the rooms.

          3. curly sue*

            The number of different themes packed into that movie is amazing. I see it as a story about overcoming generational trauma, and the kind of damage someone can do to a family through inappropriate coping mechanisms / trauma responses (Abuela).

            We went through an Encanto phase here as well and I still love it after sitting through it a bunch, so that says a lot.

            My personal comfort watch is the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries. It’s streaming on Britbox for folks who have that channel!

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      The Anne of Green Gables miniseries starring Megan Follows. The Holiday (only Christmas movie I’ll watch when it’s not December)

        1. Dark Macadamia*

          I have it on DVD, sorry! Maybe that Acorn channel you can subscribe to via Amazon? I’ve watched other Canadian shows that way but they were more recent.

    4. Rosengilmom*

      For people of a certain age, Mamma Mia, the ABBA movie. And The Hunt For Red October, which I have seen enough so there’s no more suspense, all those handsome men in uniform

      1. allathian*

        The first Mamma Mia, definitely. The second’s okay but doesn’t grab me the way the first one did.

    5. Broken scones*

      Kiki’s Delivery Service and both the 1995 and 2005 versions of Pride & Prejudice (nope, can’t make me choose–I love them both!).

      1. Girasol*

        Oh yes! Anything Miyazaki, like Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind.

        1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

          Yes – but Princess Mononoke is a bit dark as a comfort movie (although I like it a lot)

    6. Who Plays Backgammon?*

      My favorite sick-day double feature is always The Sting + Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Also Annie Hall + Manhattan. Yeah, oldies, but favorites anyway!

      Can’t go wrong with MGM musicals from the 1940s and 50s. Love the costumes!

      1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        Ooh, musicals! I love *Meet Me in St. Louis* and *Singing in the Rain*.

    7. Blueprint blues*

      His girl Friday. That blazer she wears … I so want one. I often have to stop the movie to admire how the stripes on the collar match so perfectly with the rest of the jacket

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Yes! Donald O’Connor’s Gumby-like performance of Make ‘Em Laugh alone is incredible. I love this movie. And I confess I’ve had a crush on Gene Kelly since I was a kid.

    8. Teapot+Translator*

      Kung Fu Panda. Always makes me feel like I, too, could be a Kung Fu master, i.e. do anything.

    9. just another queer reader*

      Studio Ghibli movies! My favorites are Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle.

    10. Sloanicota*

      For me it’s the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, although I note with dismay that my generation seems to actually like the Keira Knightly version just as well, and the 1995 Little Women with Wynona Ryder, although I didn’t mind the newer one that just came out a few years ago either. Neither feels stressful to me bc I’ve seen them ten billion times, YMMV.

    11. Jay (no, the other one)*

      High Society with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. Plus Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong and amazingly gorgeous interiors.

    12. Molly*

      I’ve been watching Home For Christmas on Netflix (it’s Norwegian, with Eng subtitles) and enjoying it and am wanting to go to Røros! It’s v cosy.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        LOVE that one! (It is suspenseful, but all turns out right in the end!)

    13. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      Katherine Hepburn double feature: *Adam’s Rib* and *The Philadelphia Story*.

      *Thin Man* double feature: *The Thin Man* and *After the Thin Man*. Mysteries, but not very tense.

    14. Russian+in+Texas*

      Stardust, Clueless, Mean Girls, Pride and Prejudice, Emperor’s New Groove, Cars, various Pixar movies.

    15. Qwerty*

      I love The Holiday! I always kinda feel like I can do anything after watching it. I’m not normally into romance films, but the story feels more centered on the lead women enjoying their lives more which just happens to involve new friends/love interests rather than the whole “career driven woman’s life is meaningless without a man” that’s in a lot of rom-coms of the time.

      Also, gumption presented in a good way!

      I may need to watch that movie tonight…

      1. HannahS*

        SUCH a good movie. I watch it every year. I “made” my husband watch it with me the first year we were married and now each year in November he goes, “When are we watching that movie?” “What movie?” “You know, the one we watch! With the houses.”

      2. WellRed*

        I’m watching this right now. Nancy Meyers movies are always a tad too long but it’s charming. And I’m feeling Christmasy and coveting Iris’ cottage.

      1. Anonymous Cat*

        “When they’re pounding your favorite head in the wall, have you paid your dues?…look ‘em in the eye and say, the check is in the mail.”

        That line just cracks me up for some reason!

    16. movies.....*

      Roadhouse
      Dirty Dancing
      Ghost
      Grease
      The Mummy 1 & 2 (1999 w Brendan Fraser)
      300
      Lord of the Rings
      Kingdom of Heaven (Orlando Bloom)
      John Wick
      The Terminator
      Smokey and the Bandit

    17. tessa*

      Not a movie in the usual sense, but I like to watch “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” (Pluto TV [free streaming platform] has a twenty-four/seven MST3K channel) when I need to de-compress stress-free. YT has some samples if you want to check it out there first. I hope you have a relaxing weekend!

    18. Anonymous Cat*

      The Incredibles either first or second movies if I just want cheerful.

      Sherlock Holmes movies if I want some plot.

    19. DataGirl*

      The Mummy movies (original 3), the Jurassic Park/ Jurassic World movies, the Night at the Museum movies. Disney movies.

    20. Voluptuousfire*

      I like the Grumpier Old Men series. Burgess Meredith being the spicy old Grandpa always makes me laugh, even if his humor is a little problematic today. The first movie also works since it takes place in the holiday season.

      I also like First Wives Club, Moonstruck, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (the soundtrack is amazing and I have a huge crush on Stephen Trask, who wrote the music for the film/show in general), Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Beavis and Butthead Do America. This movie makes me laugh just as hard as when I saw it was a teenager in the mid-90s.

      1. allathian*

        Oh, I love them. And granted, the original SW trilogy could qualify as comfort movies, simply because I’ve seen them something like 20 times. I love LotR, but they’re too violent to be my comfort movies.

    21. Yay movies!*

      The American President, School of Rock, Dave, A Fish Called Wanda, Miracle on 34th Street (the 1947 black and white version if possible), The Thomas Crown Affair (the one with Pierce Brosnan), Bridget Jones’ Diary, Legally Blonde, My Neighbor Totoro, Roman Holiday (oh! So wonderful!), The Devil Wears Prada, Sense and Sensibility (the one with Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, etc), Babe, The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, Being There, Galaxy Quest. Feel better soon!

    22. WoodswomanWrites*

      Two of my favorite oldies but goodies are Tin Men and Heaven Can Wait (the 1978 version, not the 1940s one with a different plot).

    23. Jackalope*

      I love Undercover Blues. It’s about a married detective/police couple on parental leave with their baby who get called back to work on a case. It’s a comedy and no stressful moments (at least for me), not a ton of death, etc.

    24. They Don’t Make Sunday*

      Down with Love, Empire Records, the Music Man, 27 Dresses, PCU

      Seconding When Harry Met Sally and 10 Things I Hate About You.

    25. cat in cardboard box*

      UHF , movie from the 1980s starring Weird Al. Obviously very very weird, don’t expect any plot, just a random assortment of fun and parody.

      And my other favorite movie, Airplane!

    26. I take tea*

      Adding to the love for Legally Blonde. Elle’s development is wonderful, and the support she has from her friend always cheer me up.
      Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, somehow the colourful afterlife cheer me up, and the songs are catchy.
      The new Jumanji was quite fun, I like the way it pokes fun at tropes.
      Big Business with Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin, fantastic comedy.
      Sister Act, also for the friendships and community feeling.

    27. glouby*

      The Booksellers – documentary about rare booksellers, past and present. Lots of footage of bookfilled shelves, naturally; ample attention to women and people of color in the field!

      1. OxfordBlue*

        Snap. My two all time favourite authors.

        I also like Denis Mackail and Angela Thirkell who were brother and sister, E.F Benson’s Mapp and Lucia books, Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver series and Arnold Bennett’s books about the Five Towns.

        I’ve found that Dean Street Press Furrowed Middlebrow imprint has lots of authors worth reading and Persephone Books are also worth a look.

  3. ruda*

    I really love year end roundups so maybe we can do some here. What is your favorite thing you bought this year? For me it’s a tie between a really good electric kettle and a sound machine that plays rain at night and finally lets me sleep through street noise. What have your best purchases been this year?

    1. Double A*

      Improving my garbage management! Bought a nice trash can that is easy to empty and I just got an actual countertop compost bucket that is SUCH a big improvement over my little Tupperware I was using (“If it’s small I’ll empty it more!” lolol not).

      This purchase was from a couple years ago but I bought a big Yogibo bean bag for our TV/playroom and it’s been a great purchase. A kid can jump from the couch onto it and it absorbs all their energy so they can go really nuts. It’s super comfy for adults to lounge on. It’ll have a lot of longevity.

      We also replaced the ratty rug in the playroom with a Ruggable rug and I love it. Bright and cheerful and machine washable. I can’t quite justify replacing the rest of the rugs in the house because they’re perfectly good but…I kind of want to.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Re: garbage, I need to do something like that. I always just kept supermarket bags around for trash and as they’ve become scarcer (because you have to pay per bag in my county now) I have not made a satisfactory trash switchover.

      2. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        Thirding on the joys of improving garbage management. I found a bunch of little attractive wastebaskets from Umbra and got some little 4-gallon trash bags, and I realized that I am not an incurable slob, just someone who didn’t really own enough wastebaskets! I also find that I am more likely to get the garbage IN the bag if the bag is in a wastebasket than if I’m hanging a plastic bag somewhere. Having a larger opening helps.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I just hate buying new plastic garbage bags. I really want to re-use plastic bags from other areas of life, and that dream is interfering with my need for plentiful and appropriately sized waste receptacles. Maybe I can look for post-consumer recycled bags or something.

          1. NeonFireworks*

            Know the feeling. I hate buying plastic just so it can hold my garbage. I’ve started buying compostable bags and using them for everything.

          2. Squidhead*

            We have a wastebasket in each room with a re-used plastic bag, and as long as nothing wet gets put in there we just empty the bag into the kitchen trash and take the one bag to the curb. The others go back into the wastebaskets. It just becomes a habit: dry stuff goes in whatever room we’re in, but we usually walk wet stuff into the kitchen (and if it’s food like an apple core or something, it’s going in the compost anyway).

        2. IT Manager*

          I’ve been skimping on trashcans for years but last year I bought a simple human trashcan and it is AMAZING. (Also $99 but you get what you pay for trash cans apparently.)

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

      Oooh i do love my electric kettle too, but I think I pick my Kalita Stainless Steel Wave Coffee Dripper. I’ve become a pour over coffee snob (it’s almost like a morning meditation) and love this dripper.

    3. RLC*

      Dyson TP02 tower fan/air purifier. It’s quiet, moves air well, removes much of the summer forest fire smoke, and is cat-safe (nothing little paws can poke into). The multi feature remote is a nice touch as I can adjust speed and motion without getting out of bed if I get too warm or cool at 3 am. Expensive but worth the price.

    4. Linny Bru*

      This is sort of ridiculous, but a small garbage can that fits perfectly in my van. It wedges in just right! I’m so easy!
      And, this is the opposite, but we downsized a lot of stuff this year. Donated lots of furniture and kids stuff to friends, lots to the thrift store, and lots to the garbage can. Feels SO good!

    5. Casper Lives*

      New kitchen knives! My old ones had a colorful coating that started flaking off after sharpening. It was time. I’ll miss the colors though.

    6. Broken scones*

      One of my best purchases this year was a new backpack for myself. I can’t remember who mentioned diaper bags on one of the previous weekend threads but thank you so much for mentioning them! After reading that, I went ahead and purchased a really nice looking diaper bag backpack that is spacious, looks chic and has insulated pockets. I’m childfree but the insulated pockets are perfect for me to store my snacks lol.

        1. Broken scones*

          Here’s the amazon link to the one I purchased– https://a.co/d/8NmV813

          It suits my needs perfectly but if you want to look for more options, just type in “diaper bag backpack” in the search bar.

    7. DarthVelma*

      We did a big upgrade to our bedroom – new TV, sound system, dresser, bookshelf, even new art. It’s hard to pick a favorite single part of that whole…but I am really digging the better sound system.

    8. Granny Weatherwax*

      A pack of 12 handkerchiefs. I have year round allergies and went through so many tissues and this is less wasteful and the handkerchiefs are soft.

        1. Granny Weatherwax*

          They are sold by GBS official store on Amazon. They softened up wonderfully after washing. They are mens handkerchiefs so they are large, which I wanted but I know isn’t for everyone. I’ll attach a link in a reply.

        2. They Don’t Make Sunday*

          There are also these nifty handkerchiefs called HankyBook. Easy to always use a clean section because they’re cut into a cloth “book” with pages. They fit easily in a pocket, even paltry ladies’ pockets.

    9. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Our coffee table. It was the last piece in a living room redo and I absolutely love it – it’s walnut with a blue “river” running through it. It makes me happy every time I look at it.

      A set of fabric cocktail napkins from William-Sonoma. Yeah, I know, but I love their towels and table linens. We switched to cloth napkins at the beginning of the pandemic and we also started having cocktails most evenings, usually with nuts, and I love the little napkins for wiping salt off our fingers. They’re navy blue and look very nice on the new coffee table.

    10. The teapots are on fire*

      New carpet. On the night before the installers cam I had great fun cutting up the old carpet and screwing down loose, squeaky areas of floorboard and sometimes when my fiancé or I get irritated by life, I’ll go jump up and down on a formerly squeaky area to remind myself that some of life’s little annoyances can be fixed.

      1. Piano+Girl*

        I had a drawer in my kitchen that I had fought with since we moved in fixed. It now opens and closes silently and smoothly. So nice!

    11. Girasol*

      A graphics tablet, I hope. I got it to restart my drawing habits that I set down long ago, and do it in a way that no one would see all my fumbly early attempts. I’m still trying to learn enough of Firealpaca drawing software to be able to do something with it. If this gets me back drawing again it will be the best thing.

    12. Russian+in+Texas*

      Not a fun or a cheap one, but all new piping for the house. After multiple leaks, couple collapsed ceiling areas, it was time to bite the bullet and get PEX.

      1. Subtle Tuba*

        I would love to know more about your experience! We’re trying to do something similar – our house has 1940s pipes that need to be replaced. Did using PEX mean they didn’t have to cut into the walls that much? How many weeks did the repiping take? Any advice or warnings?

    13. fposte*

      Recorders. Started with one, have now three different sizes (a fourth is coming) plus two backups for the main one. Who knew that would turn out to be what I wanted to do with my spare time?

      1. OyHiOh*

        I love recorder :-)

        I have sopranino, soprano, and alto. Saving for a tenor (and training my lungs for it. After planning sopranino and soprano for years, the amount for breath required for alto took me by surprise).

        1. fposte*

          I’m taking lessons on soprano. I have small hands that need to stretch to properly do alto, and I decided I’d rather learn F fingering on something I can practice for longer sessions without pain, hence the sopranino. And my brother freaked out at the teeniness of the sopranino so I’m getting a garklein just to mess with him.

          I will probably never do tenor, though they’re beautiful; I love the lightness and near-disposability of recorders and a tenor feels more like a commitment, even if I can solve the stretch problem with keys.

        2. IT Manager*

          We should do an AAM ensemble

          (tenor here – though woefully out of practice in the past few years!)

    14. Rosemary*

      Washer/dryer! Actually got a whole new kitchen and bathroom, which I love, but the W/D has been a GAME CHANGER. Definitely a luxury to have in NYC, but I will never, ever live without one again (if I were to ever move, which I don’t anticipate doing – at least not in NYC)

      1. Rosemary*

        On a smaller scale, my Dyson cordless vacuum. I hesitated because of the price, but this thing is SO much better than the cheaper vacuums I have had in the past. I have dark hardwood floors that show allll the dust and dog hair, so I am constantly vacuuming. Definitely worth the investment.

        1. M&M+Mom*

          Agree. I find myself vacuuming about four times a day now just because it’s so much easier. That’s kind of sad though…

    15. SuprisinglyADHD*

      The lego titanic kit (and the off-brand lighting kit we got for it)! So many hours of fun and it looks soo cool!

    16. YesImTheAskewPolice*

      A one person tent – wasn’t that easy to choose, as I’m pretty tall any many options either were too small (or too heavy). I then did the West Highland Way in Scotland, which in turn was my highlight of the year.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Ooo, that sounds like an amazing trip. I love solo trips.

        My highlight is a tent purchase, too. I have… um, a lot of tents and gear. My back told me on my last trip that it was time to get a tent that I don’t have to crouch to get into. I took advantage of a sale at REI and splurged on a Snow Peak car-camping tent that I can walk into and stand up in. In addition to being a palace, I anticipate that its comfort will motivate me to camp more often.

    17. All Monkeys are French*

      Induction stove. It heats up quickly and cools down quickly, and it’s so very easy to clean. The oven is spacious and has loads of settings (some of which I haven’t even tried yet) and I feel better about less gas usage.
      There’s a bit of a learning curve coming from the gas range, but we’re getting the hang of it and loving it. We did have to buy a few new pieces of cookware but those have turned out to be favorite purchases as well (especially the Made In saucepan).

      1. Rosemary*

        I recently renovated my kitchen and really regret not going with induction. I stuck with gas, which is what I am used to – plus I like how gas ranges look (lol priorities). But I live in NYC and gas shutdowns have become increasingly common, so I would have probably been better off going with induction (plus the top is easier to keep clean!) Oh well, next time :)

        1. All Monkeys are French*

          I totally get the esthetic part and miss the look of a gas range. My compromise was choosing a model that had knobs instead of just a touch panel.
          That’s interesting about the gas shutdowns. My worry now is a lengthy power outage when I’ll have to break out the camping stove.

    18. Just+a+name*

      New door handles for my vehicle! I had the ones where you had to use your thumb to push a button to open the door. Ouch, my arthritis! Switched out to ones that open with a pull. Life changing. Lucky for me that I drive a Jeep because there a modifications for absolutely everything on them. o|||||||o

    19. OyHiOh*

      I bought a set of sturdy canvas “trolley bags” that fit neatly into your average grocery store cart. They have supporting dowels through them so they hang neatly inside the cart and don’t fall over or collapse, and good handles to carry when you get home. One is insulated, the others have pockets to protect eggs wine bottles, and similar. When empty, they roll up into a single tidy package. I can fit the weekly shopping for 1 adult and 3 children (2 of whom are teens with the appetites to go with) easily into the set.

      1. Esprit de l'escalier*

        Is it the Lotus bags? I keep several cloth grocery bags in my car and I’m not sure if I can justify replacing them, but the Lotus bags look really nifty. The egg carton pockets are drool-worthy….

        1. OyHiOh*

          Yes, Lotus brand. I eyeballed the set for close to two months before committing and I wish I’d gotten them sooner. Going to get their produce bags soon, as well, or at least a few. I buy so much produce every week and need to cut back on the filmy bags you can’t do anything else with.

    20. Koifeeder*

      My snailax shoulder massager (and also a really good electric kettle that was recommended in a previous open thread).

    21. Llellayena*

      My house! I’m past the frantic DIY phase (except for still needing to build the bed frame) and am feeling all settled in now!

    22. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      Two things come to mind:

      I bought a new Mac desktop because my old one was 14 years old! What a difference. It was time, even though there was technically nothing wrong with the old one.

      I bought 2 small narrow laundry hampers on wheels to replace my one big one. Now the hampers sort dark and light clothing as I throw them in, and for some odd reason this has been a total game changer! Can’t imagine why I didn’t think of it before and spent all those years sorting the pile.

      1. WellRed*

        It’s surprisingly hard sometimes to replace something that still works but I’m getting better.

    23. Esprit de l'escalier*

      It’s probably my new clock radio which I asked AAM readers for advice on several months ago. I found its controls really pesky at first, hard to memorize, and was kind of ruing my choice, but now I have it down and it meets all of my clock-radio wishes and needs. This was after the old one stopped playing all but one station and then that one faded too, so it was a Clock Radio Crisis until someone recc’d this one!

    24. the cat's ass*

      Boring, but we just installed a new water heater-nice hot water AND more energy efficient!
      Also, the black ceramic Kyocera knife i got last year for Christmas.

    25. Kittee*

      Shark Navigator Liftaway vacumn. Lightweight, doesn’t give me a backache to use, picks up stuff very well. First time in my life I haven’t hated vacumning. Not too expensive, but also goes on sale at Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc pretty often.

    26. Professor+Plum*

      I bought my first air fryer. Was debating between basket style and oven style. I happened to see an oven style one with a rotisserie spit on the day that it was at its best price ever so I got it. I love it. Since then I’ve watched its price—it’s been up and down a lot and its Black Friday price was more than double what I paid. So even more than loving the product, I love that I got a great deal.

      To see pricing history of products on Amazon, copy the url and go to camelcamelcamel (dot) com and paste the product url into the bar at the top right. For most products you get a great pricing history.

      1. Professor+Plum*

        And my favorite thrift store purchase this year was a set of jump ropes for $2.50. Two ropes in a bag—they looked interesting and I’m interested in trying new forms of exercise. Got home and looked them up—it’s a $150+ set of jump ropes and handles! Who knew? I certainly didn’t. Got them just before getting sick over a week ago, so I haven’t used them yet, but am looking forward to trying them out as soon as I’m healthy again.

    27. The OG Sleepless*

      Does this count as a purchase? I had my hardwood floors refinished this year. I’ve lived here almost 20 years and the floors have looked terrible this whole time. It has *transformed* the way my entire downstairs looks!

      1. Bluebell*

        Yes, we had scary 20+ year old carpeting torn out of what used to be the kiddos room and got the floor refinished there. Also new carpeting on the stairs, which is sooo nice to walk on barefoot. I also replaced a cheap 20+ year old bookcase with a much more decorative one.

    28. Inkhorn*

      My indoor worm farm. I now have hundreds of little pets munching their way through my kitchen scraps and waste paper, and providing fertiliser for my plants.

      1. Cat in the hat*

        Can you tell me more about the worm farm ? Is it high maintenance ? Ive been thinking about it but not sure about making the leap.

    29. Dwight+Schrute*

      My self emptying shark robot vacuum and a nice air purifier for my living room. I have a lot of pets the dust was just out of hand these two things help SO much and I love having less dust around

    30. Been There*

      JVN shampoo and conditioner. They were a lot more expensive than the Head & Shoulders I’ve been using all my life, but my hair looks and feels so much better. And my first bottle is still not empty after 4 months of daily washes.

  4. Kayem*

    During 2020, we ran afoul of the TP shortage and were saved only by the generosity of a friend who happened to have stocked up beforehand. Ever since then, I’ll have the occasional dream (not quite a nightmare, but not a pleasant dream for sure) that there’s another shortage. Usually this leads me to running to the store first chance I can get to buy some extra just in case my dreams are prophetic.

    So, who else has had those dreams? Has it spurred you to buying extra of daily essentials just in case?

    And for related curiosity, what items do you now keep extra of around as a result of shortages (if you do that)? For me, it’s an extra bag of flour in the freezer and lentils in the pantry and a small stockpile of bar soap in the bathroom. Along with the occasional TP stockpile.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I haven’t had dreams but I buy my preferred kitchen wipes every time they’re on sale whether I need them or not. There were a few months where I had to use weird-smelling sprays to clean surfaces because wipes of every kind were sold out everywhere

    2. California+Dreamin’*

      I don’t have dreams about the Great TP shortage, but it definitely affected my thinking. We had a decent amount on hand when the shortage happened because I buy it at Costco and had a mostly full pack. But I had six people in the household using it, so our supply did start to dwindle. It made me realize that I should never let us get down to just the last few rolls because the shortage happened so suddenly… like one day, boom, the shelves were empty. We could’ve been in real trouble! So I try to always have more than half a Costco pack around.

      1. Jackalope*

        We had just gotten low with our normal usage, and all of a sudden it was mostly gone. Thankfully I was able to find some, but it was weird getting to the point where I’d normally grab some more and… more did not exist for awhile.

      2. Sloanicota*

        I agree the shortage has permanently altered my setting for when I think “I’m running out, I need to get more” on many products. It used to be something I’d think when I was taking the last TP roll out of the closet, now it’s half way through the pack, and same with essential food, paper towels, cleaning supplies etc.

    3. RLC*

      Nitrile disposable gloves, paper towels, laundry disinfectant, and disinfectant wipes. I’m a full time carer for a family member and running out of any of these products would make household cleaning and laundry much, much more difficult. I remember the psuedo-shortage of TP back in the 1970s (panic buying for no logical reason) and my folks having a literal industrial size case of TP which supplied us for years. My dad had a building maintenance business so janitorial products and sizes were the norm for us in the days before Costco and Sam’s Club.

    4. Squidhead*

      In general, when we open something, we buy another one unless we already have a spare (because we got it on sale). This goes for TP (big BJs pack), flour/sugar, canned or frozen core items, shampoo, toothpaste, etc. We did this before the pandemic, but it requires space, organization (so we don’t lose things), and enough cash flow to not need to worry about when we buy stuff. Our biggest problems are the seasons (we buy more tomato soup in April when we use the last carton, and all of a sudden it’s July and no one wants soup!) and also our tastes do change (we used to keep all the canned beans for chili on the shelf because we made it several times/year, and now we only make it occasionally).

      We do keep extra backups of the wipes we use for the litter boxes (don’t want to find out how the cats would react to a new smell!)…we did have to ration those for several months! Even now, our preferred brand of dish soap comes and goes, we usually have 2 or 3 around if we find them.

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

      It actually made me rethink my reliance on paper products and think of other ways I could reduce other consumable products. I got a bidet attachment and used less TP, and stopped using paper towels/napkins at all. I used other things that I could find for cleaning and disinfecting…vinegar, baking soda rubbing alcohol, diluted bleach (not mixed together!), boiled water. I tried to think back to basic, pioneer skills for some stuff. No TP at all? A wash cloth and soap/water works. Wash the wash cloths often. I think i stockpile those things more now…keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol, boxes of baking soda, extra spray bottles to use in all kinds of sizes, have 2 dozen washcloths, have a big stash of general cloth rags.

      1. tessa*

        On my way to this, too. I’m tired of all the individual-use plastic I use and wish corporations would find a different way to package things. So, it’s been Comet, baking soda, re-use of plastic (spray bottles and large containers of vinegar), hydrogen peroxide, reusable cleaning cloths, etc. I wish lemons were cheaper, as I’d use them for cleaning, also.

      2. Needmorecoffeeplease*

        Same! The bidet was such a game changer, both in terms of cleanliness and cutting back on single-use paper products. And at one point when we couldn’t find our preferred soaps and cleaning supplies anywhere, we remembered we had a huge container of castile soap – between that and some white vinegar, we were good to go for months.

    6. Aphrodite*

      I have long been a stocker-upper (but not a hoarder) of TP, paper towels, cat food and litter, boxed or canned soup, bar soap, and gas in the car.

      I buy those large boxes of 40+ toilet paper rolls and generally have three around. It was a habit I developed after once running out of TP in college and in desperation stealing a roll from one of the college’s lesser used restrooms. Didn’t ever want to do that again. I also live in earthquake country; never letting the car’s gas tank get below halfway is simply smart. I didn’t add anything except disposable gloves to my list to stock up on after Covid started. But I did begin an in-home emergency fund made up of about $50 in change, and the rest, about $500, in mostly $1s, $5s, a few $10s and a couple of $20s. ATMs certainly won’t work if the electricity goes out and having the money in tiny amounts is much better than larger bills.

      1. Kayem*

        I always keep my tank above half full, though that was less pandemic and more going through natural disasters. A major storm hit the east coast years ago, knocking out power to the whole state for weeks. We barely made it to a town in another state so we could fill the tank and some gas cans. Then when a hurricane hit Houston five years ago, we were stuck at dwindling quarter tanks for a couple weeks. I had passed a gas station on my way home the night before it happened, thinking “nah, I’m too tired, I’ll do it tomorrow.” By the time tomorrow happened, gas stations were completely out due to panic buying. I was supposed to go to my mom’s 70th birthday party that year, but I couldn’t make it because I couldn’t drive far enough to reach locations that had gas stations safe from the panic buying.

        1. Clisby*

          I live in SC, and just reflexively keep the gas tank in the car topped up. Not just in hurricane season – it’s a habit now.

          This past summer, my daughter had a summer internship in New Mexico (the area with all the raging wildfires) and I warned her to always keep the gas tank full in case she had to evacuate quickly. Fortunately, she didn’t have to. .

        2. Pine Tree*

          Yep, where I live I’ve been through major earthquakes, blizzards/ice storms, flooding, wildfires, and even a volcano spewing ash. So I was pretty prepared for covid and supply line disruptions. I am not a hoarder, but always have a few weeks worth of TP, cleaning supplies, food (including emergency dehydrated food), water, kitty litter, etc. I even had some n95 masks I kept for when the wildfire smoke got bad. And I never let my gas tank go below 1/2, especially in winter. The only thing I was scrambling for during the early days of covid was hand sanitizer.

    7. Dragonfly7*

      No dreams, but I couldn’t find 9 volt batteries for two months in 2020. Luckily none of my smoke detectors started chirping, but that would have been awful.
      I have 4 on hand now.

      1. Dragonfly7*

        Also mostly switched to reusable menstrual products early on in the pandemic and was later glad of that!

      2. A Girl Named Fred*

        Last Christmas, my boyfriend’s grandmother gifted him with a hard-case battery holder and organizer filled with Duracells of every size. It’s got foam inserts so that all the batteries are neatly arranged by size, easy to see what you’re running low on, and much less annoying to look through than my “junk drawer”.

        My boyfriend asked me who we should re-gift it to and my response was, “Are you NUTS? I LOVE this!” I think he finally understood why I liked it a month ago when our smoke detectors started chirping and it took me less than 30 seconds to find and replace their batteries lol

        1. Pudding*

          A friend regifted one of those battery organizers to me more than a decade ago and I still use it.

        2. allathian*

          OMG, I need one. I might just buy one for my husband for his birthday in January, because I’m so sick of having batteries everywhere on the kitchen countertop. (We celebrate Christmas by eating traditional Christmas food with the extended family but the only acceptable presents for adults are flowers and consumables like candy, coffee, and tea.)

    8. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have some things where I have brain weasels if I don’t have them in the house, and most of them don’t have any actual motivation behind them, they’re just weird quirks in my head haha. I get absolutely twitchy if I don’t have a half-gallon container of milk in my fridge, and I honestly confess we never actually use the whole thing before it goes bad and I wish I could find like, shelf stable quarts or pints of cows milk but all I ever find are the little 6-8oz containers for kid lunches. ANYWAY, sorry.

      Toilet paper is another one – I buy it at Costco and I get twitchy if I don’t have a full unopened case in my garage aside from the one that’s open and being put out. (I try not to buy the new one til the open one is on its last pack, my husband does not appreciate my TP hoarding even post-lockdown :-P )

      1. OyHiOh*

        Try Dollar Tree for the shelf stable milk. I’ve been able to buy quarts of UHT processed milk there for years.

      2. Squidhead*

        I think Parmalat comes in quarts at Wegmans, but I don’t love the taste…ymmv! Somehow a quart of cow’s milk never lasts long enough for us but a half-gallon will go bad before we finish it!

      3. ShinyPeneny*

        I had a roomate who got her milk in the little pint cartons. She kept them in the freezer, so they lasted really well.

      4. Needmorecoffeeplease*

        Not sure if you use it already, but I’ve noticed organic milk lasts way longer than conventional. The half-gallon I picked up yesterday doesn’t expire till mid-January.

    9. Asenath*

      No dreams. But I grew up in a family in which stocking up is normal, especially if you see a non-perishable item on sale, or have freezer room for food. Supposedly the habit goes back to my grandmother who raised her family during the Depression, but it is so deeply rooted that I sometimes wonder if it doesn’t go back even farther, prudent planning as handed down from mother to daughter for generations. In fact, I’ve had to try to break myself of the habit because really I don’t need to stock up enough for the hungry children I don’t have, and don’t want to tip over into hoarding. But I still keep extras on hand, and none of the COVID shortages bothered me at all. Except yeast. I rarely bake any more, but a relative does and ran into shortage, so I looked out for some to mail to her. You can keep yeast a while, but not indefinitely, and since I rarely bake I didn’t stockpile it. Neither did she.

      1. Kayem*

        The stockpiling habit is hard to break. I grew up with parents who were affected by their Depression-era parents, then I grew up in a rural area on a subsistence farm (as in, we didn’t eat if we didn’t grow our own food). There was a lot of food insecurity when I was a child, coupled with bad storms that could keep us from reaching a grocery store for weeks, and when we did go to the store, we had to stock up on everything we might need for the next few months. As an adult, I lived in another rural area where it gets 20 below and everything is covered in ice for months, so I kept up the stockpile habit.

        I moved to a large city ten years ago, where I could walk to the grocery store. I realized I was throwing out so much food I had kept stockpiled because I just didn’t use it. So I had finally managed to break the habit and my pantry was finally just enough. Then the pandemic hit and all the old habits have come back. I’m trying to whittle the pantry back down again.

        I think the hardest part is learning to stockpile not just the right amounts but also the right things. Extra bag or two of all purpose flour, yes. Fifty pounds of flour, no. A case of canned of chickpeas, yes. A case of coconut milk, no.

        1. Asenath*

          What helped me realize I didn’t need to stockpile as much as I had been doing was moving, needing to empty the chest freezer, and realizing that I had far more frozen meats and vegetables bought on special lurking in the depths of that thing than I’d ever eat! I ended up throwing out much of it, and deciding not to keep the chest freezer. I’m not totally cured, though. My refrigerator freezer is usually packed pretty full, though. I’m better with things like toilet paper, detergents of various kind and (sometimes) canned goods. The trick, as you say, is to keep only reasonable amounts of canned tomatoes or toilet paper or whatever it is.

          1. Kayem*

            My mom has an enormous fridge crammed to the gills, plus an upright freezer and large chest freezer, both also crammed to the gills. There’s stuff in there from when I was a kid. It’s just her and her husband living there, so 90% of that stuff will never get eaten. I don’t even remember the last time I saw the back wall of the fridge. When I visit, I bring only shelf stable snacks that don’t need refrigeration after opening and I resign myself to warm drinks because even if I fit a bottle of water in her fridge, the amount of stuff I’d have to rearrange each time isn’t worth it.

    10. just another queer reader*

      I’ve had plenty of covid related stress dreams, and stress dreams related to other things, like being late…

      I haven’t really stocked up more on particular items, though. We were lucky to not be hit too hard by the shortage times.

      However! I have been looking for Sriracha for literally months, and it’s not to be found. Apparently climate change/ drought impacted the spring chili pepper harvest in Mexico, and now there’s no peppers to make Sriracha.

      1. Kayem*

        Good to know! Note to self: don’t toss the Sriracha packets from takeout that I’ve been collecting.

    11. Falling+Diphthong*

      My one bit of good luck in 2020 was being in the grocery store at the start of March and thinking “Are we low on toilet paper? I can’t remember. I’ll throw some in the cart” and two days later the panic buying started.

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        My husband did that! He cannot stop himself from going to Costco and, like some suburban version of the prehistoric mammoth hunter, loading up on large quantities of whatever strikes his fancy. He brought home an enormous brick of toilet paper at the beginning of March. That one bit of serendipity will justify, in his mind, every big thing he buys at Costco for years to come.

        1. Eff+Walsingham*

          My late father never had less than 50 rolls of toilet paper on hand. I thought of him often during the past couple of years.

    12. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Chicken. For a while at the beginning of the pandemic our grocery store didn’t reliably have chicken. We eat a lot of chicken. We now buy chicken at Costco, cut into single-meal-sized portions and freeze it. I probably have eight dinners worth of chicken in the freezer right now.

    13. Unkempt Flatware*

      I use cannabis daily so having all the isopropyl alcohol gone was hard. I couldn’t keep my implements clean. Now I buy in massive bulk from a chemical supplier. 99% isopropyl, baby. Gotta keep your bong clean!

      1. Kayem*

        Oh yeah, that was another one that was a jolt. I have a couple resin 3D printers I use for making miniatures and terrain and could not find any 91% IPA. I also started buying 99% in bulk from a local chemical supplier. It will be a while before I run out now!

      2. Eff+Walsingham*

        As a team lead where I worked, I was strangely touched when our youngest staff member asked me if I knew where to buy isopropyl alcohol so he could clean his bong. (Well, I asked. Nosy of me; it’s legal here.) There was none to be had at any of our local stores in the spring of 2020, so I gave him half of the bottle I had at home to tide him over. I was on the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee, so it made me happy anytime someone wanted to sanitize something!

    14. Russian+in+Texas*

      I don’t have dreams, but I make sure I don’t run out of anything. Buy replacement while you still have whatever it is you are low with.

    15. Qwerty*

      No dreams, but I generally try to keep a backup supply of food for a week or two and try to have one extra package of daily essentials like TP/soap/cold medicine/etc.

      I was like this before the pandemic since I grew up with snowstorms and thunderstorms that flood roads, plus I’m prone to pneumonia and colds. So I learned to have a little stockpile for life’s little emergencies and found it a lot easier to buy things *before* I need them.

      On the other hand, I have four bottles of my favorite lotion because it was hard to find for the past 3yrs so I bought a bottle whenever the store seemed well stocked thinking the line was getting discontinued. So sometimes it backfires.

    16. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      I ran out of dish soap during lockdown and was reduced to googling to see if one could use shampoo (answer, yes) instead. I keep a big stash of dish soap and liquid hand soap and bars of soap as well as a healthy supply of toilet paper. I’m also better about making sure I have rubbing alcohol, peroxide, and band-aids in the house. Foodwise, I am stocked up on extra oatmeal, lentils, flour, coffee, and random canned stuff.

    17. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      I don’t know about spurred, but I’ve always kept essentials like TP and paper towels, soap, and CAT FOOD etc., well stocked in my house. If I see it on sale, I will buy extra. I have a shelf in the basement where the overflow lives.

      I got very lucky about 2 months before the Pandemic. Acme had a sale on the mega jumbo pack of Scott Tissue TP, for like $9.99 and I bought two packs just because it was a good deal at the time even though I didn’t need it immediately. We had plenty to last us through the Great TP Shortage of 2020.

    18. The OG Sleepless*

      The closest thing to a stockpile that I keep is my “bolt bag.” Ever since I had to race out of town when my dad died, I keep a bag in the car with spare clothes, travel sizes of toiletries, extra contacts, and a few days’ worth of medications, so that if I have to go out of town with no notice, I’m prepared. It hasn’t happened yet, but with my mom aging it could still happen.

    19. Cookie*

      I used to be a just-in-case buyer except for TP and paper towels, which I bought in bulk to save money. Now I’m a Deep Pantry person…I use a particular no-allium pasta sauce that was really hard to find for about a year, so I usually have half a dozen jars on hand. Extra batteries, extra cat food, extra cough syrup in case I get covid and can’t go out to buy it. Lots of frozen vegetables, canned tuna, and currently I have two dozen eggs in the fridge – and I live alone!

    20. Wombats+and+Tequila*

      I paid more than i would care to admit for a gallon of hand sanitizer during the height of the pre-vax lockdown era. It’s not even the globby kind; it’s more like gloried rubbing alcohol with some aloe thrown in. I use it mostly to clean things these days because Im not even sure if its still effective for sterilization. There’s still 3/4 of the damn thing left.

      I also have absurd quantities of dried pasta, because for about a month one couldn’t even find that in our area.

    21. KathyG*

      Not so much as a result of shortages, but as a Child of the Great Depression, I’ve always tended towards a full pantry. However something new has happened recently: I finally have enough of everything! Went through the grocery flyers a few weeks ago, and there was NOTHING I needed to stock up on! Such a secure feeling!

    22. Missb*

      I have a normal sized home. My kids are grown so it is just dh and I.

      I’ve always kept a pretty deep pantry (measured in terms of months of food, not literal inches/feet). Over the years, I’ve merged the store what you eat/eat what you store – along with grow what you eat/eat what you grow- much better.

      I keep a basement cold storage room as a pantry room. I store things like beans, lentils, coconut milk, canned tomatoes, oils, pasta, etc. The dry goods are stored in quart or half gallon jars, vacuum sealed with a jar attachment to my food saver.

      At this point in my life, I know how much shelf space to dedicate to each item. I know how much coconut milk I’ll go through in a year. I know how many cans of tomato paste I’ll use, and how much orzo we’ll go through. Generally, when I pull a jar of orzo from the basement to bring up to the kitchen, I’ll add the item to my grocery list for the bulk food store for the next Saturday’s shopping trip. I’ll jar up the bulk orzo and seal the lid and put it at the back of the rack, marking the month/date on the lid. If I see that our favorite clam chowder is on sale, I’ll look in the pantry room and see how much space there is for that item, and add just that amount to the list.

      I don’t keep a years worth of flour or sugar. I do buy in Costco-sized amounts, and use a combination of glass jars and cambro buckets to store them. If there was ever a hint of an issue – like for example, if the rail strike was likely to take place – then I’d probably grab another bag or two of each. I have the buckets with gamma lids from Lowes – four each for sugar and flour – that are sitting empty in my basement just in case. But I don’t want to sling those around unless I really need to and I’m only interested in keeping a short term layer and not a long term layer of food storage.

      I don’t run out of things like shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies or TP. With the exception of TP, I’ve long since figured out how much of an item we use in a year. It’s pretty straightforward to track this – just mark on the container when you opened it to start using it, and then when you’re done, figure out how much you’d need to go through in a year.

      Keeping a deep pantry mostly shielded me from the shortages. I was never in any danger of running out of TP, and was able to avoid the stores during the worst of the Covid peaks. My TP closet dropped uncomfortably low for me, but we didn’t run out. I still did curbside pick up of fresh items like milk, fruit and veggies but really hated having someone else select my produce for me.

    23. Flowers*

      Having TP has always been super important. Same thing for menstrual pads – back when my period used to be consistent and regular I tried to scour sales and buy what I could. Not hoarding but an extra 2 packs every few months. Since having my kid 2 years ago I’ve had to buy a pack maybe 2x.

      I always make sure there’s enough gas in the tank and would always fill it when it was 2/3 full.
      BUT a few months back I decided to try and see how low my gas could go; my car starts beeping when it gets to below 90. Luckily I live right across the street from a gas station so technically I can fill it whenever I need to. I’ve never been this “daring” nor do I intend to do it again. But its nice to know that I don’t need to panic as soon as it gets below 100.

    24. Eff+Walsingham*

      In the spring of 2020, as an essential service worker, I couldn’t sleep soundly until I had procured a thermometer and 10 pounds of rice. That is what it took to give me comparative peace of mind. (Everything else we needed, we already had plenty of, or else it didn’t seem to be overly scarce here.) In case of shutdown, lockdown, or quarantine, that’s what I wanted to have that I didn’t have before. Now I’m probably always going to have a hoard of carefully stored rice, come what may. We have 3 varieties of rice now.

      Eventually I also acquired spelt, tabouli, falafel and couscous. My husband said, “I know you’re under a lot of stress, but can you please stop? We don’t have room for the other foods we eat anymore!”

  5. EdgarAllenCat*

    Hoping PhyllisB is checking the site this wknd. Can you tell me how/why you were approved to drive after hip replacement surgery? I *should* wait for the surgeon to clear me but won’t see him until Jan 12. And holy swearword am I not waiting that long.

    Hoping to crowdsource info and discuss at upcoming PT appointments. Hope your recovery continues to go well and you’re improving quickly.

    1. Becky+S.*

      If it’s your left hip, probably when you feel up to it, at least locally. If it’s your right hip, you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to slam on the brakes and injure your new joint. I had my left hip replaced 3+ years ago and drove locally (within 3-4 miles) after 3 weeks.
      Good luck!

      1. EdgarAllenCat*

        Thanks, BeckyS. Had my right hip replaced 4+ weeks ago. Posterior incision so I need to be cautious about internal rotation or moving foot from accelerator pedal to brake.

        I hope to overachieve and be cleared to drive in a week or so. Who knows if that’s possible but am keeping fingers crossed.

    2. PhyllisB*

      Hi Edgar!! Hope you’re doing well, I asked my physical therapist, and he said it was fine if I was comfortable doing it.
      Depends on which hip, also. I had the right done so had to wait a bit longer. What I read online (and therapist agreed with) is, you must be completely off narcotic medication, and have good movement (I do.) You have to be able to smoothly move foot from brake to accelerator. He also suggested practicing somewhere like a parking lot to make sure you’re comfortable. I didn’t do that, I live in a neighborhood with very little traffic (on a cul-de-sac) so I just went out to see how it felt. I was fine, so just…kept going.
      Bottom line: if you’re progressing well with your therapy and having little to no pain when you move around, you’re probably okay. If your therapist doesn’t want to say, you might can call your doctor’s office and ask them. Good luck!!

      1. EdgarAllanCat*

        Definitely off narcotics & take Tylenol ~1x/day. My hip doesn’t hurt (amazing, right?) but the incision site does because it is huuuuuge, 11″, and is still swollen. Need to improve balance and strength on surgical leg. but otherwise been walking unaided for 2+ weeks.

        Am doing well w/stairs bc lizard-brain takes over and I walk up & down normally, despite all intentions to be cautious and prudent. :)

        Good suggestion re parking lot and may try that late next week.

        1. PhyllisB*

          Glad you’re doing so well!! When I first responded to your post, I didn’t see your answer to BeckyS. My incision was in the front, anterior I think that’s called? And not really big. I think posterior ones take longer to heal, and if it’s still swollen, you might need to wait a bit longer. (I know that’s not what you want to hear, but we do want a good recovery, right?) My therapist kind of manipulated the hip area to see how well everything was moving, and he said it was all moving smoothly and there was no pain, so…ask them about it.

    3. bratschegirl*

      I may be joining the crowd this year (right hip) and the surgeon I’m talking to said at least 4 weeks, sooner for a left if automatic transmission. You need to be capable of executing a panic stop if needed.

      1. EdgarAllanCat*

        Oh, yes, concerned about a sudden stop and having a fast enough reaction time. And hope everything goes well with surgery, if you end up getting a replacement.

    4. Hiring Mgr*

      I had a THR around six months ago, right side… I waited 3.5 weeks to drive ’til I was cleared by the dr at the first post surgery appt

  6. Jackalope*

    Gaming thread! Please share any games you’ve been playing this week. As always, any kind of games are welcome, not just video games.

    I haven’t gamed a ton but I did get a bit of time to play Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes again. Right now I’m close to the end and am grinding to get my characters leveled up.

    1. Kayem*

      I’ve been playing Dead Matter again. It’s a multiplayer zombie apocalypse survival game. It’s designed to be more collaborative than competitive, but I’m still not sure how well that’s working. It’s a little more crafting and less fighting, which I appreciate because I’m terrible at PVP and trying not to be killed by zombies. It’s been enjoyable, but development has been slow. I was one of the alpha testers and haven’t kept up with dev announcements so I’m not sure if it’s still in alpha or if they finally moved into beta/early access.

    2. Vistaloopy*

      I just saw that Crisis Core Reunion is coming out on December 13, and will be available for PS4. Happy dance!!

    3. DarthVelma*

      Been diving back into Valheim here. My projects for today are a) kill a huge sea monster and b) come up with names for about 40 chickens. :-)

    4. A Girl Named Fred*

      I’ve been back on a Final Fantasy XIV kick lately; I finally got my first healer class to the highest level possible and am trying to catch the other healers up so I can clear out my armoury chest. I have WAY too much gear in there right now lol.

      My boyfriend and a couple friends have been playing a lot of Pokemon Scarlet/Violet. I don’t want to buy it because I haven’t actually finished the last several Pokemon games I bought but I’m starting to get FOMO so I might look into some other calm/relaxing Switch games so I can “join in” when they start playing. If anyone has recommendations I’d love to hear them!

      I’m also fending off the twice-yearly “time to play some Minecraft” itch, but we’ll see how that one goes lol

      1. Vistaloopy*

        Ooh, how is FFXIV? I’m a big FF nerd but I’ve never played the online ones (XI, XIV). Is there actually a story that unfolds? Is there a goal/endpoint? Or is it just endless? I’m more into the story than anything else, which is why I’ve hesitated to play those.

        1. Kelpie*

          FFXIV is excellent! It’s very much an RPG first and an MMO second, with a strong singleplayer story. It starts off slow but the story in the later expansions is some of the best in any FF game. There’s also a very generous free trial.

          1. Y'shtola*

            Agreed with Kelpie. Longtime FF fan here. The story is one of my absolute favorites of any FF game. The game is story driven first, and the community is pretty great, so if you run into trouble you’ll be able to find a group to help out. But, like Kelpie said, the first 50 levels or so are pretty rough. If you can get to the Heavensward expansion and further, you’ll be in for some of the best writing and characters in any FF game.

        2. A Girl Named Fred*

          Agreed with Kelpie and Y’shtola that there is an AMAZING story. The game is endless in the sense that they always have new content coming out (new story beats in patches/expansions, but also other things) and you can also spend as much or as little time doing other things like gathering, crafting, buying and decorating a house – or you can just do the story and put it down until the next story patch comes out. It’s really up to you!

        3. Nessun*

          Gonna give a more cautionary opinion here, as someone who has played an MMO (Guild Wars 2 – very different from FF), and a HUGE fan of story in games and FF games in particular. I have started FFXIV, and currently lv.44 so I’ve invested some time (and do plan to chip away at it). The core game is a massive slog in terms of getting to a level where your set up appropriately, and the story does take a long time to go anywhere, both from what I can tell and from what I’ve been told. I keep hearing it’s amazing when you get to the expacs, similar to what others are saying here – but getting there has not been amazing for me. I’m f2p, as I wanted to check it out before deciding if the subscription fee was worth it, and that may be impacting my opinion.

          I wouldn’t say DON’T play it, but as a person who’s loved all the console FF games I was more than a little disappointed that in order to experience the whole story I’m going to have to grind out a core game that is not the best. On the other hand, it is very much everything that FF stands for and has been in the past, and the music and graphics are gorgeous.

    5. Rosyglasses*

      We played 7 Wonders at my in-laws over Thanksgiving and finally sprung for our own board game set since it was on a Cyber Monday sale. We have played it twice now and I really love board game family nights!

    6. Koifeeder*

      Slime Rancher 2! It’s great, and I love no longer having to deal with extractors, but I sorely miss my beloved drones.

    7. MEH Squared*

      I decided to try to get through my pile of shame–and promptly bought two more games in the Steam autumn sale. I tried Yakuza 0 (Ryu Go Gotoku Studio), Steelrising (Spiders) and Yakuza Like a Dragon (Ryu Go Gotoku Studio).

      I had heard rave reviews about the Yakuza games and had Yak 0 and Yak LaD on Game Pass, so I decided to give them a try. Yak 0 is a brawler and not really my jam. Yak LaD is turn-based and zanier–plus I like the protag better. I’ll probably play more of this game.

      Steelrising is a soulslike with automatons, set in the French Revolution. You’re a female automaton, Aegis, who is protecting Marie Antoinette. The combat is floaty, which is the death knell for a soulslike game.

      Next up will be Judgment, also by Ryu Ga Gotaku Studio and set in Yakuza universe–but not a Yak game. It’s a detective/mystery game, which intrigues me more.

    8. SparklingBlue*

      Been enjoying Pokemon Scarlet, and am waiting on reviews for Dragon Quest Treasures to see if that is worth picking up (it’s a prequel to Dragon Quest 11 focusing on the backstory of a character)

    9. curly sue*

      We were at a local board game cafe last night and got to try some games that were new to us – Marrying Mr. Darcy was by far the runaway hit, even with my 11-year-old son. He was very grumpy at the idea at first, then got into it, and then was the winner by a lot of points.

      The basic setup is that you pick one of the heroines from P&P, spend the first phase attending and hosting events, and in the second phase suitors will propose to you (or not) based on the various qualities you improved during the events (wit, beauty, etc.)

      Playing Caroline Bingley, Mr. Boy exiled Mr. Bingley to London and refused to bring him back (only party hosts can bring someone back from Town, and Mr. Boy somehow drew all the ‘host a party’ event cards), got drunk at the Meryton Assembly, and ended up marrying Mr. Collins as a last-ditch option after Georgiana (me) snaked Col. Fitzwilliam away from him. Much complaining ensued about how I stole “the only good husband in the pack.”

      Meanwhile, my husband and 15 year old daughter, playing Lizzy and Jane Bennet respectively, got into a rivalry that involved torn gowns, cunning plots to damage each other’s reputation, an elopement with Mr. Wickham (Jane) and a vow to live life as an unrepentant spinster (Lizzy).

      Mr. Darcy went unmarried, as none of us proved witty enough to meet his high standards.

      Apparently there’s an Emma expansion, as well as a P&P&Zombies ‘undead’ expansion. I think we’re going to need to pick this game up for ourselves fairly soon.

    10. Lana+Kane*

      I’ve been playing Pentiment (PC) – medieval murder mystery with beautiful graphics and writing. Each decision you make drives the story into different pathways so you can play it many times over.

    11. Finny*

      The husband just got me the special edition of Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, sealed, from a seller on our local video game Facebook group! Best present ever–one of my top favourite games (I love 2D platformers), only rivaled by the Shantae series.

  7. RMNPgirl*

    Just some advice to freeze your credit with the credit bureaus if you can. I had someone try to open a bank account in my name (must have gotten info off the dark web), but because my credit is frozen it was flagged as potential fraud. It’s really easy to freeze it and then you can do temporary lifts when you know your credit needs to be pulled for something. I’ve had mine frozen for 3 years now and I’m so happy I did that.

    1. Yet Another Unemployed Librarian*

      Freeze your children’s, too. People get a hold of their Social Security numbers and it could go unnoticed for years…

    2. time for cocoa*

      Also freeze The Work Number and Truework. They gather details about your job history and finances, down to exact paychecks.

    3. KatEnigma*

      That reminds me, I need to go refreeze ours. We bought a newer used car this week.

      It really is easy- log in and toggle a button.

    4. Just here for the scripts*

      In fact when I unfreeze mine—for wanted credit—I set an auto-refresher for a few days later.

      As to how to do it, just go to each agency’s website. There’s an easy toggle on/off for freezing.

    5. tessa*

      Good call, RMNPgirl, and thanks for mentioning, as I’ve been meaning to do this.

      I once accidentally left a flash drive on a gas station counter, and I thought maybe there was personal info. on it (Ah, yes, hello, lesson, right this way), so I filed a police report, and, as I was talking with the police officer, he mentioned freezing my credit for peace of mind. I was really grateful he did that, and followed through. One of the best, easiest things to do for protection against i.d. theft. Basic protection is free, but there are also at-cost options. I also signed up for alerts from TransUnion, which has helped me keep an eye out for suspicious activity (I believe the three major credit bureaus work in tandem, so if one reports something, the other two also get that report – I *think*).

    6. Not My Money*

      mine’s been frozen since the Sony hack and I’ve needed to unfreeze it like 3 times since then

  8. Dwight+Schrute*

    Favorite bedtime teas? I’m looking for things that are designed to be a “bedtime tea” or also things that don’t have caffeine. I quite enjoy a chai or decaf breakfast tea with some milk as an idea for flavors I like

    1. ThatGirl*

      Sleepytime is a classic. Celestial Seasonings also has a vanilla chamomile that’s good for relaxing.

    2. Bluebell*

      Pukka has a nice Nighttime tea with Lavender and a bit of licorice for sweetening. I also like their Love tea with chamomile and lose. Traditionals Nighty Night has valerian, lemon balm, and passionflower.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Seconding Pukka teas. My favourites are the Three Cinnamon and the Three Fennel. Also tried a couple of their chamomile flavours and they are very nice.

    3. Walla Walla*

      Trader Joe’s candy cane decaf green tea. It’s only available in the holiday season. Very yummy. Very calming.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Ooh interesting! I’ve had mixed results with decaf teas (and coffee) – often they have way less caffeine but I feel like I’m still getting *some,* which I would not want for bedtime. But I do have peppermint herbal “tea” that I like at nighttime.

        1. carcinization*

          That Trader Joe’s tea is a knockoff of Celestial Seasonings’ Candy Cane Lane, and I like both versions for bedtime type tea.

    4. Squidhead*

      For actual sleep, Sleepytime worked better for me than Sleepytime Extra (the kind with valerian in it which I think tastes very bland and seemed to make me less relaxed). I do like adding honey to Sleepytime but it’s not essential. For a non-caffienated Chai flavor, I like Bengal Spice (also made by Celestial Seasonings). It’s herbal and has a sweet/spicy flavor.

      I also like Yogi tea Egyptian Licorice Mint, but it’s hard to find in stores and licorice is a polarizing flavor…you like it or you don’t! It helps settle my stomach and I like the taste. No caffeine.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yessss to licorice. I love it as a tea, although I never cared much for the candies, but I know some people strongly dislike it in all forms!!

        1. tessa*

          I love it, too! I use a small bit as an appetite suppressant if I feel I’m going to start eating out of boredom.

      2. Decidedly Me*

        My naturopath told me that valerian has the opposite effect for about 25% of the population, so that may be the case with you.

        1. Koifeeder*

          This is anecdata from people genetically related to me, so I’ll be delighted to hear either agreement or disagreement, but in my experience my fellow POTSies don’t do valerian root at all. Gives us palpitations.

          1. Squidhead*

            No POTS dx here, but my resting HR has always been on the high side and after having COVID a year ago I continue to feel out of breath frequently (the heart-racing sensation is mostly gone now)…so I think you’re onto something! Valerian didn’t give me palpitations, but it definitely didn’t “extra” help me sleep like the box said.

    5. Amory Blaine*

      Mountain Rose Herb’s Evening Repose (minty/ chamomile/ herby) and Fidnemed (hoppy) are my go to teas after 8 pm!

    6. RagingADHD*

      Linden leaf, aka tilo. You can usually find Goya brand tea bags of it in the spice aisle or the Spanish / Mexican foods section. Very calming.

    7. Marion Ravenwood*

      I don’t know if you can get it outside the UK, but Yorkshire Tea does a Bedtime Brew blend – it’s decaf and flavoured with vanilla and nutmeg, among other things. Really nice and warming and comforting.

    8. Llellayena*

      Rooibus chai (a couple companies make this)
      Stash decaf chocolate hazelnut
      Stash decaf vanilla chai
      I think I saw that Republic of Tea has a decaf version of their Vanilla Almond

    9. Pippa K*

      Bengal Spice is the go-to bedtime tea in our household. We buy it in six-box cases. I really dislike chamomile in any form, and lavender and licorice in tea, which seems to rule out most of the explicitly “bedtime” teas on the market. But Bengal Spice is good, with or without honey.

      1. Grey Panther*

        Another Bengal Spice fan here, with and without honey and sometimes a drop of milk.
        I sometimes have to search for it in my area, but one way or another it’s always in the cupboard.

    10. Morally Gray*

      Twinings has a camomile, honey, vanilla tea that has a nice subtle flavor. I usually add some milk to it.

    11. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Celestial Seasonings’ “tension tamer” blend, either plain or with a little sugar or honey. (My girlfriend puts soy milk in hers.)

      I also like hot chocolate near bedtime, but that isn’t quite caffeine-free, and it is a bit more work than herbal tea if you make your hot chocolate by heating milk (I use the microwave) rather than boiling water.

      1. Generic+Name*

        I was going to suggest this tea as well. Note of caution for cat owners- it has catnip in it, and my cat tries to get at the tea while we’re drinking, so we have to avoid him when we drink it. Ha ha

    12. Russian+in+Texas*

      Harney and Sons Decaf Vanilla Comoro. It smells magical. Camomile Vanilla and Honey by Ahmad. I don’t like just camomile and this has that extra flavor that makes it nice.

    13. Helvetica*

      Hojicha! It’s roasted green tea, so it has this slightly nutty flavour and it is very low in caffeine. It is my best nighttime tea.

    14. Kayem*

      If Celestial Seasonings still makes Candy Cane Lane, that one is my favorite nighttime tea. Peppermint, but with warm vanilla notes, so it’s very cozy.

      1. Morally Gray*

        This is one of my favorites too! I couldn’t get it in stores at all last year, so I ended up ordering it online during their Black Friday sale this year.

    15. Pool Lounger*

      Rooibos chai—you can buy it or make your own. My nighttime tea is a blend of traditionally calming herbs. No idea if it’s anything more than a placebo, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something to wind down.

      1. Drink up*

        I love the vanilla roiboos from Brooklyn Tea. Sometimes I find roiboos a bit sour tasting, but this one is just cozy and delicious.

    16. carcinization*

      Recommending another Pukka one, Nighttime, which is oatflower, lavender, limeflower. I also have a Traditional Medicinals Chamomile with Lavender that I like.

    17. Professor+Plum*

      Here are some of my favorites:
      Pukka: three cinnamon and three ginger
      Stash: Christmas in Paris (mint and lavender), Christmas Eve (cinnamon, orange and spearmint)
      Lipton stress therapy (cinnamon, chamomile and lavender)
      Great suggestions in this thread! Ahhh…

      1. cat in cardboard box*

        Oooh , I have a whole bunch of Christmas Eve, haven’t made it in a while… I want to make some soon, now :)

    18. Chaordic+One*

      I love TAZO Wild Sweet Orange. (It’s caffeine-free and naturally sweet so it doesn’t need any sugar added to it.)

  9. time for cocoa*

    I bought several matched pairs of earrings from an online artist, and they are way too small because I am dumb and bad at the metric system.

    Is getting hoops stretched out to a larger diameter a thing that can be done? Can I take them to a jeweler and have them sized up a couple of millimeters? These are clip-style huggie hoops. They are so tiny that I cannot fit my entire earlobe inside the circle and close them.

    Searching online is only giving me craft instructions, not actual metalworking info.

    1. ThatGirl*

      I’m not a metal worker but I don’t think so – you’d need to melt the metal down and it would become thinner. Not worth it. Can you exchange them?

        1. Sloanicota*

          This seems strange. Were they for children or something? The span between the hole and the edge of the earlobe doesn’t vary THAT much surely.

          1. time for cocoa*

            In retrospect I believe they are intended for the helix or tragus. The shop did have measurements listed (which I biffed, as I mentioned) but did not have separate categories for cartilage versus lobes, which is what I’m used to from other brands.

    2. RLC*

      If the hoops are solid metal, not hollow, maybe? We have a local jeweler (small family shop) who has a ring stretching/shrinking device they’ve used to resize some of my vintage gold rings without cutting them (didn’t want to lose the engraving on the insides). It’s worth an inquiry if you have access to a shop like that.

  10. Alex*

    Has anyone ever had a washer/dryer hookup installed? Was it very expensive/complicated? The space I’m interested in installing one is *near* other plumbing but not right next to it (in the bathroom, but on the other side of the room from the other plumbing). I’m assuming the plumbing is the hard part and the electric outlet is easier.

    1. Janet Pinkerton*

      Honestly, yes, it was expensive and complicated. We’re in a condo so everything had to be permitted. All of the subcontractors sucked, too. I’m so glad to have a washer dryer now but it was a ton of money and frankly only mediocre work. (We also needed a closet wall demoed to fit the w/d so that added to the complication/expense.)

    2. DIY Fixer*

      The difficult part is cutting the hole in the wall to get to the plumbing/electrical. Depending on what your walls are made of, this could be easy or not. Accessing the plumbing from behind the bathroom is easy in typical American constructing, not sure in other countries. And don’t forget about cutting in your exterior wall to place a vent. I’m assuming this is a “modern” home that can handle the electrical draw of a washer and dryer on the existing circuit. But if not, you will need electrical upgrades, and those will be pricey.

      1. Rosemary*

        While vented is preferable, it is not totally necessary. I have a ventless dryer that I have been very happy with so far (Miele, so not the cheapest, but worth it)

    3. Sloanicota*

      Ugh I dread having to do this. I have an old washer/dryer from the 80s that still works and I’m guessing all the rigging up was not done professionally, so when I have to replace them it’s going to end up being an expensive job. I have not emotionally recovered (kidding) from redoing the kitchen so I’m putting off any home projects that can’t be completed in one visit for as long as possible.

      1. Cookie*

        Your situation might not be that bad. When I bought my condo in 2021, I had a guy doing minor remodeling and he had to move the washing machine out of the way. He somehow managed to break the cold water valve, and I had to get a plumber immediately to replace it…and the hot water valve was also a screwy mess because whoever built this place 20 years ago apparently was “creative” with plumbing. So, had the valves and adjoining sections of pipe entirely cut out and replaced. I think it was around $200.

    4. Jay (no, the other one)*

      We moved our laundry upstairs from the basement and had the hookups installed. They pulled the plumbing up through the wall studs and the electric was already there. The biggest issue was the dryer vent, since the first floor of our house is stone so they had to drill through it which was noisy and messy.

      And then I took up beadmaking and we decided to put a torch in the basement and the old dryer vent was the perfect place to put the exhaust fan.

      1. Kayem*

        The lazy person who installed the hookups before we moved in didn’t vent the dryer, so we still have to get that taken care of. I’ve so far gotten quotes between $150 and $300 for it. The inside is cinderblock and the outside stucco, so I’m not about to do that myself.

      2. Rosemary*

        You don’t HAVE to get a vented a dryer. I live in NYC where it wasn’t an option, so I got a ventless Miele dryer. It is a stackable, apartment size (not sure if they make full size ventlesss or not) and so far it has been great. They are not the cheapest though – I think the washer and dryer were each ~$1200. But coming from have NO W/D, it has definitely been worth it.

        One thing to pay attention to, that I did not – easy access to both the power and water supply. Mine ended up shorting out, and my building handyman had to get another person to pull it out, which was no easy task in a small, narrow kitchen. Depending on where you are putting yours, definitely something to keep in mind.

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

    Leading with the question because this is long…Am I being unreasonable re. dental issues and my dentist? I’m ready to find a new dentist. I know the short answer is going to be that I can change dentists for any or no reason, but if I’m the unreasonable one, then I don’t want to do or say anything to ruin a good until now 5-year patient/dentist relationship. My dentist is a general dentist.

    I have a 15-year old root canal that has failed…the tooth is maybe broken down on the root per x-rays taken back in July. I wasn’t too worried then, no pain since the nerve is gone anyway but at that time the dentist indicated that they have a new “specialist” that only works at the office 1-2 days a week, and they want the specialist to remove the tooth…can’t fix the old root canal. I was surprised by that and honestly didn’t want to loose a tooth that wasn’t really bothering me…and also didn’t know why that needed a “specialist” (not an oral surgeon just want to note that)… my dentist should be able to do an extraction if necessary, and then of course they strongly recommended a dental implant.

    My fault… I delayed and now I have an abscessed tooth…since November 10. I called my dentist office thinking I would be seen pretty quickly…swollen, tender, discolored gums and all…and they sent an antibiotic prescription to the pharm and set me up for an appointment with the specialist for the 17th…a week later. My private thoughts I didn’t express was “For an abscessed tooth? Is that not more of an emergency?” The antibiotic did help though and I waited for my appointment.

    And then, on the morning of the 17th they called me and said the specialist took a look at the x-ray that morning and actually they want to refer me to an oral surgeon. The surgeon can see me for a consult only appointment in 2 weeks Nov 30th… … … i asked if there was anything earlier, thinking to myself that I STILL HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN SEEN for an accessed tooth! they gave me the phone number to call to schedule the consult. When I call, the surgeon’s office has no referral, they can’t schedule without a referral…what tooth, what problem…they will need to contact the dentist.

    I had the consult on the 30th. They talked me through the extraction/healing and then implant rod/healing process and gave me the cost/insurance breakdown for both. No procedure done but looked at it (finally), did their own x-rays, answered my questions and the surgeon doesn’t think it’s really bad, but it should come out as soon as possible…which is apparently December 14.

    So, I think i have everything settled…until my dentist tells them no he’s going to do the implant…so they call me they won’t be doing the implant, and I don’t get to choose? No.

    I want to put one foot in front of the other and just get the extraction done, maybe a follow up on the healing. And then find a new dentist before going forward with the implant.

    Anyone been through this simliar procedure …with an abscessed tooth…and think there’s something wrong with how this has been handled? Am I just panicking about Scarey Dental Things but I’m unreasonable and my dentist is fine?

    1. RagingADHD*

      I haven’t had any of those things, but my husband has had several root canals, and one of my kids got an infection under a baby tooth.

      This seems not only lackadaisical but needlessly chaotic. It’s not just the ever – increasing delays but the communication breakdown and contradictions.

      Make sure they know which tooth to take out.

      1. brushandfloss*

        Not lackadaisical, urgent but not an emergency. As long as no facial, not gum, swelling is present and the pt is not in extreme pain, this is normal procedure.

        It’s common for a general dentists not to do extractions especially if it’s a molar and refer to a specialist. Possibly an endodontist or periodontist if it wasn’t an OS.

        1. RagingADHD*

          Scheduled a month out is one thing. Rescheduled three times, with different providers contradicting each other and changing their minds about who is actually going to do what – and the surgeon having zero idea who she is after the specialist supposedly referred her, is a whole different thing.

          Each piece has a reasonable explanation, but taken together it shows very poor practice management and does not inspire confidence.

    2. brushandfloss*

      There’s no saving a tooth once the root is fractured, so you were always on borrowed time with that tooth until it became problematic. Some dentists aren’t comfortable doing certain procedures and maybe that’s why they wanted a specialist to do the extraction. As long as your face( not just gums) is not swelling then antibiotics and a later appointment is the proper protocol. An infected tooth won’t take anesthesia well and you want to try to clear up the infection as much as possible before extraction.

      Depending on which tooth is abscessed(especially if it’s a molar), a referral to the OS is reasonable. Again as long as your face is not becoming hugely swollen and the pain, if any, is tolerable, this isn’t an emergency. The tooth probably been infected for awhile just asymptomatic.

      You have every right to decide who does your implant. If you feel comfortable with the OS, go with them or find another dentist. Did the the OS discuss placing a bone graft? That should be done at the time of extraction but after that you have to wait 4-6 for healing so you have time to find a dentist your comfortable with if you can’t/won’t with the OS.

      1. Unkempt Flatware*

        Yes, leaving a tooth in that needs to be removed will cause bone loss around it. I just got an implant after about a year or more of waiting for bone to grow and all that. Now I love it and am so glad no to have to worry about that tooth anymore.

    3. brushandfloss*

      I posted a longer reply but it disappeared, in recap
      – a tooth with a fractured root cannot be saved because of risk of infection(what happened here)
      -As long as the pain/discomfort is tolerable, a course of antibiotics before extraction is proper procedure. An infected tooth doesn’t take anesthesia well and you want as much of the infection cleared up before extraction

      – You have every right to choose which dentist does your implant. Did the OS mention a bone graft? That should be done at the time of extraction. That takes 3-6 months to heal and while waiting you can find a dentist your comfortable with to do the implant.

    4. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      Dentists can’t do anything to an infected tooth until the antibiotics have had time to clear up the infection, otherwise the infection can get in the bloodstream.

    5. PX*

      So sounds like some poor communication all round from your dentist which I think you are allowed to be annoyed about, and definitely worth asking some follow up questions (like why does your dentist want to be the one to do the implant?).

      BUT, as someone who has had one root canal done that ended up being more complicated down the line (and also had complicated extractions) – I can say from experience that not every “general” dentist is good/familiar with doing root canals well. If they have specialists who only do this – personally I would prefer having a procedure done by them than a generalist. Similarly, if you’ve reached the point that an oral surgeon needs to be involved, I would also question why your general dentist now wants to be involved with the implant.

      If you’re comfortable asking questions or advocating for yourself when speaking to them, I’d ask a few more questions and make sure you are comfortable with the answers before going ahead with anything.

    6. slashgirl*

      If the antibiotic course you took didn’t get rid of the infection–ask them for another course. Also, if they had recent xrays of the tooth, then there’s not really a reason to see you again just for the abscess; they can’t do anything until the infection’s gone–they’d just take another xray; I’ve had a few abscesses. As someone else said, they generally won’t pull an infected tooth, although mine kinda did–I had a front bottom tooth that was damaged when I was a kid–I’d had root canals and other work done on it over the years until I was 50–it got tender and I recognized the signs of infection (had it before), so my dentist gave me antibiotics and then it had to be pulled–there was still a mild infection, but that was gone within a few hours of it being pulled. There was literally nothing left to hold it in and no more that could be done for it.

      I’ve had several molars pulled while I’ve been with this dentist (crappy teeth and when I was younger, not great dental hygiene on my part)–and she did all but one. I can’t remember why she wouldn’t do it, but if she wasn’t comfortable doing it, I’d rather she send me to a specialist.

      I’m getting a bridge to replace my front tooth and two of my bottom molars–because it’s the most cost efficient method for me–my dental plan through work is not the greatest. She’ll be doing the bridge for me.

      Oh, and when that tooth I mentioned above broke when I was kid, when I was a teenager, around 15-16, our then family “dentist” (I use the term loosely, the man shouldn’t’ve worked on animals, let alone people), did a root canal on that tooth. Shortly after, I developed a small bump on my gum under that tooth, and when i pressed on it, the swelling would go down…this was constant. This dentist said there was nothing wrong when I brought it up to him.

      Fast forward to my early 20s–we’ve moved, he’s retired and I go to a new dentist (not my current one). Who tells me that the problem is that I have an infection under that tooth and I was basically draining it when I pressed on the swelling. I’d had an infection in my gums for not quite 10 years. I had to go to a dental surgeon for that one, but it was awesome cus after he put in the first needle, I didn’t feel a thing.

      It’s up to you as to whether you go to a new dentist. I left one dentist because his receptionist talked to my mother about what was going on with me. I was in my 20s and if I wanted my mother to know, I’d tell her (I did, but that wasn’t the point, she shouldn’t’ve been sharing my medical information).

    7. Libra10*

      I had an abscess and my face blew up, went to hospital and they gave me antibiotics, went to dentist a few days later, they were happy to try, got some of the tooth out I think, part of the infection?(a few years ago now). Go back to hospital a week later as I still had swelling, I got admitted, on antibiotics through a drip for a few days, no change to swollen face. They operated on me (one and half weeks by this stage), tooth extracted and swelling goes down immediately and discharged a couple days later.

      I agree with them having a surgeon to do it. Normal extractions they can do, but infections are different. I was the last patient the day for surgery.

      The problem I have with your dentist is their priorities. Your infection and tooth extraction is the priority, not the implant, I’d assume that could be done anytime at a later stage.

      1. KatEnigma*

        The only thing about the implant is that for the usual anesthesia reasons, it would be better to do it while she’s already under.

        1. Implant survivor*

          You don’t put the implant screw in at the same time you extract the tooth. You have to wait for the socket to heal first. So being under wouldn’t matter.

          1. Commander Shepard's Favorite Store*

            That’s not necessarily true–implants are often placed at time of extraction if things are healthy enough. But if the patient needs a bone graft, for example, then you have to wait for that to heal. That said, regarding being under, implants can be also be placed while the patient is awake. Personally I don’t think I could do it, but I’m sure sedation adds to the cost of things.

            1. Implant survivor*

              Well as I wrote below, my implant was done after the socket healed. I didn’t have a bone graft and I didn’t have anything more than novacaine for either the extraction or the implant. None of it hurt more than slight soreness. No swelling or anything. But I have very good oral health in general so that probably contributed to the ease of everything.

    8. KatEnigma*

      As a new to the area patient with an abscessed tooth, those timelines aren’t that bad. I called around for someone who could SEE me that day, but then it was a week before they could do the root canal when they decided they could do it and that it didn’t need an oral surgeon. Yes, they gave me antibiotics. And they can’t do ANYTHING if you are actively swollen and infected. (He did, however, offer me an extraction that he would have done, if I didn’t want the root canal. But again, this was the root canal and simple, not the failure after)

      The not sending the referral and insisting they be the ones to do the implant was flaky and then shady. So mixed bag? You’re unreasonable about what you expected to happen and when. They didn’t drag their feet. The rest, you’re not unreasonable about.

    9. Falling+Diphthong*

      You sound normal; the dentist sounds needlessly chaotic.

      Leaving the practice of the person who took over for my beloved retiring dentist and moving to my kids’ dentist paid off–when I called with a chipped filling they got me in that day.

      I still regret not walking out in the middle of the precipitating bad appointment. Trapped by politeness and years of not making a fuss.

    10. Implant survivor*

      Agree with the poster who said your dentist sounds chaotic (and perhaps a little disorganized). I have been through an extraction and implant (bottom molar) – it was about 6 years ago.

      I went to my dentist due to pain in the tooth; she sent me to an endodonist for a root canal. The endodonist got half way through the procedure and realized my tooth was cracked (parallel to my jaw, so not visible on the Xray) and told me a root canal would only postpone issues. She *refunded* half my money(!) and sent me back to my dentist. I discussed the implant option and process with the dentist who told me to have the tooth extracted. So I went to the same oral surgeon who’d done my wisdom tooth extraction.

      The oral surgeon extracted the tooth the same day of my first visit if I recall. (The entire process from first dentist visit to endodontist to oral surgeon couldn’t have been more than 2 weeks if memory serves.)

      After the extraction you have to wait until the socket heals. I can’t remember how long that took – maybe a month? I didn’t need antibiotics – just took Advil for a day. Then the oral surgeon puts the titanium screw in. I think I just had novacaine for that… I don’t remember it being painful. You have to wait several months for the jawbone to fuse to the screw/heal properly. After that, the oral surgeon did one last review and gave me to the okay. (I love my oral surgeon; she is amazing but I hope I never have to see her again. haha)

      Back to the dentist who then had to order the actual implant/cap part and she is the one who installed that. Out of everything – the root canal, the extraction, the titanium screw, the cap – it was the cap that hurt the most…because the mold created some sort of suction effect and it was very hard to remove. The extraction wasn’t painful per se but pulling a cracked adult molar wasn’t easy…it was a lot of pressure. The screw itself was nothing…I took ibuprofen for a few days and it was fine. But I also think that’s because my oral surgeon is so good — she took these 180 degree Xrays and had a program that calculated the exact angle to insert the screw.

      All in all the process took about 7 months. I haven’t had any issues other than every few years my dentist tightens the implant/cap. (I’m a tooth grinder so all the grinding loosens it slightly.) My dentist loved the job my oral surgeon did so much that she now refers all her patients to my oral surgeon. :-)

      It was expensive though. Partially because my dental insurance didn’t consider the implant dental work and my medical insurance did; and partially because my oral surgeon was out of network. I paid her in literal cash (thousands of dollars) and she gave me a 10% cash discount. lol.

      If it were me, I wouldn’t let the dentist do the implant of the screw. Maybe they are saying implant meaning the part that goes on top/attaches to the screw — the faux “tooth”? If so, that makes sense – my dentist did that part too.

      And yeah, I would look for another dentist. Especially if you’re already a person who doesn’t like going to the dentist.

      1. Samwise*

        You can get a night guard (not sure if that’s the right name) if you grind your teeth. I cracked off a piece of a molar…the guard is pricey and the dentist has had to adjust it a few times, but dang, it works well! No more breaking teeth, no more waking up w jaw pain and headaches. Worth every penny.

        1. Implant Survivor*

          I have one! I’ve worn one for years – way before the cracked molar. Actually I’m on my second one; every time I go to the dentist for my cleanings she checks it and is surprised I haven’t broken through it yet. I am very diligent about wearing it but sometimes I still wake up with a sore jaw because of how much I clench/grind.

          1. Eff+Walsingham*

            According to my long-time dentist (now retired) the thinking on clenching / grinding has evolved over the years. When I was in university, she made me a guard. Within a couple of years, I broke it all along the bottom, in a way no one at the practice had seen before – they literally passed it around!

            She told me that, to save costs since I was no longer covered by my parents’ insurance, I should just buy one of those drug store ones and fit it myself. She said that studies didn’t show enough difference in performance to make a custom one a better solution for a determined grinder such as myself. And it’s not like the custom fit stayed the same for long as I brutalized it!

            The drugstore ones were equally comfortable / uncomfortable as the custom one, and about as long lasting. A few years later at a checkup, she asked if I was still clenching, and if it was still hard enough to give me headaches. It was. She said that they’d been discussing this at a conference she’d attended, and that some dentists had come around to believing that the guard actually made some patients clench harder. And that this might be because it gave them/us something to clench onto. So she suggested that maybe I should try to sleep without the guard for a while, and see if my headaches went away.

            Well, it worked! But now a couple of decades later, I’ve noticed that I’m grinding again. (Increased stress, maybe??) I think I’m going to get another drugstore guard before I destroy all the fillings in my molars.

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

      Thank you to everyone for the reality check. In my mind, and experience with non-dental abscesses, an abscess can’t begin to heal until it’s drained/flushed of the infection. Whether or not they take the tooth at the time, I assumed the dentist would at least look at it and hopefully stick a needle in it before letting the antibiotic do its job. As it is, the antibiotic did help…3 weeks ago…but it’s still definitely abscessed/infected and isn’t going to heal until the tooth is out. I have a second round of penicillin at the time of extraction, and a bone graft and need to wait several weeks for that to heal/harden before the implant rod can be done. The OS talked me through the 8-month plan, answered all of my questions, and I was feeling relieved until they called back and said they weren’t doing the implant. I prefer the surgeon at this time, but they won’t do it without the dentist agreement. I haven’t pressed anything with the dentist because I wasn’t sure if I was unreasonable. I might request the dentist let the surgeon do the implant and see where that goes.

      1. Sunflower*

        This was over a decade ago but I had a dentist try to place bone grafts and do an implant and the experience was awful. I got 2 implants a few years ago and went right to an oral surgeon. Personally the dentist being so insistent on doing it himself is incredibly strange – esp since he referred you to the oral surgeon – and enough of a red flag to find someone else IMO. At this point, the dentist is almost a moot player because you won’t need his services until the implant needs a crown.

        If you like the surgeon, I’d ask if there is another dentist they work with who they can refer you to. As others have said, some dentists won’t touch anything more than cosmetic and others will do it all. It’s a bit more of a scheduling annoyance to have to see multiple doctors but it’s worth it to know you’re seeing an expert in each area.

    12. Just+another+librarian*

      Can’t speak to the implant but my kiddo had a gross abscessed tooth in his mouth for two months because of all the rigamarole involved with X-rays, oral surgeon,.pediatric specialist, needing anesthetic etc. I thought abscesses were Big Deals Act Right Now but it seems as long as you’ve got antibiotics they’re not. I learned that too, after getting really frustrated with the timeline.

    13. skylight*

      Hi! I don’t have a direct answer to your question but just wanted to advise you to check with your dental insurance (if you have it) on what they will and won’t cover, if you are in the US. An elderly family member had a multiple teeth problems this past year (failed root canal and infected teeth led to extraction, bone graft, and implants), and we discovered that their insurance (Medicare and supplemental policy) covered very specific procedures within the whole process and others not at all. I was shocked to learn that extractions were not covered unless due to specific illnesses, which family member did not have (and thankfully so).

      I ended up investigating dental discount cards (not insurance). I found one that was accepted by the oral surgeon who was already going to do the procedure and confirmed which procedures were discounted with their billing office in advance. Getting the card and waiting for it to become active took a week so it didn’t delay the procedures by much. The card cost a little over $100 (I found an online coupon that reduced the price) but saved thousands for my relative.

  12. Dark Macadamia*

    Best and worst holiday episodes of TV shows! What are your favorites/least faves?

    Best: I just rewatched the Christmas episode from season 1 of Bones and I always love it. They’re all quarantined at the museum, exchange homemade gifts, and the scene where they’re all visiting with loved ones through a window makes me cry.

    Worst: I really don’t like the Schitt’s Creek Christmas special. So much of the show is very wholesome, comforting humor and I find this episode too tense and awkward. Johnny is a jerk the whole time and it doesn’t really feel like he “deserves” the nice ending – usually the grump is the one who has a change of heart and saves Christmas or whatever so it feels weird basically seeing him berate everyone and then they do what he wants without him really earning it.

    1. Rara+Avis*

      We are rewatching Bones with our 14 yo, and that’s one of my favorites. Also the one from a slightly later season where one Santa killed another.

      1. A313*

        Is that the one where the character exclaims, “Santa teeth!”? My husband and I still randomly call out Santa teeth! When something reminds one of us. Still axes us laugh.

    2. Lilo*

      Community’s Glee parody Christmas episode is a favorite. They also did a Rudolph parody one.

      Doctor Who usually does a Christmas episode and those are.a bit of a mixed bag, but I like Runaway Bride and A Christmas Carol.

      X-Files did a pretty funny one with Lily Tomlin where there are.ghosts.

      1. fposte*

        I will play Annie’s hilarious “Teach Me How to Understand Christmas” from Community just straight up as a Christmas song.

        1. Lilo*

          “Eventually you hit a point of diminishing returns on the sexiness”.

          That show, when it was good, was so very very good.

      2. Damn it, Hardison!*

        I also like the Christmas episode in the first season of Community. Anthony Michael Hall as a bully/gym rat! Now I want to make winterdoodles.

    3. CatCat*

      Best, hands down, “Night of the Meek” from The Twilight Zone. Gets me right in the feels every time.

    4. Marion Ravenwood*

      The Blackadder parody of A Christmas Carol.

      I liked the Father Ted Christmas special as well, but I feel a bit guilty watching it now because of its creator’s views.

    5. UsuallyALurker*

      That’s my kind of question. My taste in TV shows is a little eclectic but here’s my personal favorite holiday episodes.
      Arthur’s Perfect Christmas – Arthur (the PBS show)
      The Alan Brady Show Presents – The Dick Van Dyke Show
      Basinger’s New York – Highway to Heaven
      The Magic School Bus Holiday Special – The Magic School Bus
      Let It Snow – Night Court
      Christmas Eve on Sesame Street – Sesame Street
      The First Noel – To The Manor Born
      And if Peanuts specials count as a show I can’t not mention A Charlie Brown Christmas.

    6. Lemonwhirl*

      The Leverage episode where they have to take over a mall Santa setup to thwart a dodgy mall operator.

    7. UKDancer*

      Not really into TV series but I love ghost stories at Christmas. When it’s cold out I usually rewatch an old BBC dramatisation of an MR James story with a mug of hot chocolate. My favourites are “the Stalls of Barchester” (the version with Clive Swift and Robert Hardy), and “Whistle and I’ll come to you” (the version with Michael Hordern).

    8. Falling+Diphthong*

      I enjoy the Leverage Christmas episode, which I think is Season 3? Parker insists that they take a gig helping Santa Claus.

    9. Elf*

      I have a deep fondness for the Star Wars Holiday Special, which should only be watched in some form of altered state with the original 1970s commercials included.

      1. Grey Panther*

        LOL, Elf. I remember seeing it in its original TV airing; was in the state you recommend, and thought I’d imagined the whole thing—until the next day, when friends pointed out no, it really happened.

    10. Elle Woods*

      My favorite, hands down, is the Ted Lasso Christmas episode. There’s such love, lightness, and laughter throughout the episode, even when it’s dealing with some not-so-nice stuff.

    11. NeutralJanet*

      Both of the Christmas episodes of Ghosts, particularly The Ghost of Christmas. I have a secret soft spot for Julian–he’s terrible, but he charms me somehow.

      1. NeutralJanet*

        Oh, and I don’t have a specific least favorite, but I don’t really enjoy any pastiche of It’s A Wonderful Life. People tend to forget that that movie is actually very dark, so “retellings” just focus on the cheery little “every time a bell rings” bit, and it feels almost disrespectful in a weird way.

    12. NancyDrew*

      Best: The X Files episode with Ed Asner and Lily Thomlin. (S6, E6) I watch it every holiday season!

    13. tessa*

      Best for me is from “Frasier,” Season One, Episode 12, “Miracle on Third or Fourth Street.” Just pure hilarity.

      Can’t think of a worst.

    14. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

      Going way back: I don’t think the Bob Newhart “moo goo gai pan” Thanksgiving episode will ever be beat. The last five minutes of WKRP in Cincinnati’s “Turkeys Away” is also hilarious.

      The worst? I’m not really sure why I’m on a Thanksgiving kick, but I’d go with the General Hospital Thanksgiving-themed episodes. My wife watches General Hospital religiously, and the dumb song they sing every Thanksgiving gets stuck in my head with the wrong lyrics for a week afterward. (Maybe I’m on a Thanksgiving kick because just about every Christmas episode of every show is hokey and forgettable.) Also, competition shows where they don’t eliminate anyone on the holiday-themed episodes “because it’s Christmas!!” Ugh.

    15. Professor+Plum*

      MeTV is showing Christmas episodes from a bunch of older shows throughout the season. Sunday afternoon 12/4 includes The Lucy Show to The Mary Tyler Moore show to Cheers to MASH and more. I’ll post a link to the full schedule in a comment.

    16. Kara Danvers*

      Best: I have a fondness for Xena’s A Solstice Carol, which is a wacky and warm-hearted combination of Grinch, A Christmas Carol, and a Santa origin story.

      Worst: Doctor Who’s The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe. It just hit all the wrong notes for me – tried to be a traditional Christmas episode, but couldn’t capture the warmth.

      The Bones episode you mention is pretty good, too!

    17. allathian*

      I loved the Christmas two-parter that kicked off the most recent season of Death in Paradise. Made me want to celebrate Christmas in the Caribbean…

  13. Casper Lives*

    Anyone else dealing with an upper respiratory infection this winter season? I forgot how annoying they are as I didn’t have even a cold since March 2020.

    The cough is the worst part. I’m sleeping, drinking tea, and listening to podcasts.

    1. Rara+Avis*

      My husband had two in October and missed 7days of work. My kid went down for 10 days the week before Thanksgiving, and I caught it on Tuesday. We are in 3 different schools and they’re all being hit hard with non-Covid viruses. I’m in the stage where the slight sniffle just never quits.

    2. Cat in the hat*

      Two kids in elementary school, and the house hasn’t been been snot / cough free since mid-September. It’s been BAD this year… reports of peds hospitals running out of space, etc.

      1. Casper Lives*

        That’s rough! I hope y’all recover well and get sick as little as possible.

        The children’s hospitals here in Atlanta are setting up tents to accommodate all of the sick kids. It’s scary.

    3. Doctor is In*

      MD here. This is the worst year I have seen in over 30years of practice. Colds lasting 2 weeks with bad cough, plus scattered flu. 3/4 of my staff was out yesterday with flu. I had a bad cold last month, first one in almost 3 years. Fortunately little Covid in my area. The theory is we lost immunity during Covid masking and lockdown.

      1. SaltedChocolateChip*

        There is research suggesting that having COVID messes up your immune system, leaving you open to worse cases of other things.

      2. Dr. Anonymous*

        I’m seeing the same. I’m using this story to push back on the patients who “never” get the flu shot, telling them that this is the year to make an exception. I’ve never had so many people change their minds. I figure I’m saving hospital bed space for all the RSV we are going to see in children and the elderly.

        The colds seem worse and also people aren’t used to them anymore. I’m seeing a lot of people who seem to have just forgotten how long the cough takes to go away after a cold and they are frankly a little scared.

        1. Casper Lives*

          Honestly it is a little scary! Testing shows I don’t have flu or covid. But I don’t remember the last time I coughed up yellow phlegm with a fever over 100.4 (broken thankfully). The last time a URI set off my well-managed asthma was 7 years ago. Until now. I’m lucky to have good health care and a steroid pack has helped tremendously.

          1. Dr. Anonymous*

            There ARE some scary coughs, to be sure, and with asthma it pays to be cautions. But all coughs are scary to a lot of people now, as well.

      3. Kara*

        I have questions about that theory given that there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between families who weren’t taking precautions (or had kids in daycare who were still bringing stuff home) and those that were. You’d think we’d be seeing a difference in immunity between those groups, and we’re not.

    4. Falling+Diphthong*

      I have my first bout of covid, and managed to infect my husband and children. (I am the quiet homebody and the last of the four we would have guessed to pick up the germs somewhere.)

      I get asthma bouts after each upper respiratory infection, so my husband is on call to lift the garbage and laundry.

      My daughter had gotten something called Throat Coat from Traditional Medicinals Seasonal Teas, with slippery elm bark, and it does really work to sooth a cough. The main ingredient is licorice (for flavor/sweetness), which I do not like in tea, but the effectiveness is enough that I go ahead and drink this.

      1. Casper Lives*

        I’m going to try that tea. I feel you on asthma. It’s been a long time since mine was set off by a URI but here I am. I hope you and your family recover quickly.

      2. Professor+Plum*

        Sounds like a similar tea, I like Yogi’s Throat Comfort and Breathe Deep. Drank a lot of both this week with a mild case of Covid.

    5. Pool Lounger*

      I still have an itchy/tickley throat and cough from post-covid bronchitis. I’ve had it for weeks, tried basically everything it seems you can try, and it’s still there. I’m drinking a lot of herbal tea, using a neti pot, taking meds, and using a humidifier. Blah.

    6. Koifeeder*

      Yeah, I got bronchitis from whatever I got. The virus/bacteria/whatever itself is gone, but the inflammation remains… sigh.

    7. Double A*

      I have two children in daycare so yes. Constantly. Hoping that our first ER visit (for my 4 year old, turned out to be flu, though she had the shot; I know it’s never perfect and maybe helped prevent something worse) will be our only one.

      We’ve only had a few days where one of us wasn’t sick since… August? And my son especially is always snotty if not full blow sick.

    8. Kay*

      Solidarity.

      It knew it was bad out there because I don’t ever recall a time when there was literally empty shelves, in every nearby grocery store, where the soup aisle once was (maybe the start of covid??). One near us hasn’t had chicken noodle in weeks (tells you how long I’ve had this) and my husband was lucky enough to find 3 jars at another store. Its not like making my own is high on the list to do when sick so I tell myself this is an adventure in sampling the obscure soup offerings of the world…

    9. Been There*

      Yes, I’ve been down for two weeks now. Several coworkers have been hit too.
      There was a news item here that RSV has been hitting the country hard. For most adults it presents as just a cold, but it can be very dangerous for little ones.

  14. Vio*

    I have a really weird anxiety issue with the Christmas season. I’m sure most people will understand the stresses of whether people will like their gifts or how to deal with Christmas shopping on a low budget, those make sense even if the mind can blow them out of proportion.
    But for me there’s the Christmas cards. When my mental health was at the lowest it didn’t matter, I had nobody to send any to. Now though I have people in my life and many of them send me cards. So I’d buy some cards, start making a list of who to send them to… and then stop. Because I’m always certain I’ll forget someone. I wind up sending none, every year (to the point I still have the cards I bought years ago and so don’t need to buy more anyway) because I worry so much about leaving somebody out and how much worse they’d feel if everyone got one and they didn’t… realistically I could just carry some blank cards with me and write some more out for anyone I forgot, I know several people who do this… I also know that most of my friends understand my memory problems and wouldn’t be offended… and that sending nobody cards carries the risk of offending more people (or would if they didn’t understand)… but none of that helps. I sometimes wonder if there’s some other subconscious reason not to send them but I can’t think of anything it could possibly be. And it’s such a minor thing to stress over.
    I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas but I’m no Scrooge either. I’ve been away from retail work long enough that I can even enjoy Christmas music now.

    1. Cordelia*

      how about an ongoing list? Add to it over a week, or 2 weeks, however long you have (maybe not for this year), every time you have contact with or think of someone you want to send a card to. Then do the cards. That might be easier than sitting down to write a list all in one go and then doing the cards straight away?

      1. Morning reader*

        I am not sure this would help ease your anxiety, but, I have never known anyone to compare what Christmas cards they receive. Quite often the cards are way to keep in touch with distant friends and relatives so they are unlikely to be seen by recipients visiting each others’ homes. They are not like invitations, where a person should be careful about mentioning an event to someone who wasn’t invited. So I think it extremely unlikely that friend A would notice friend B has a card from you and they don’t. Often they are displayed in a way that the front of the card shows but not who sent it. So if friend B is visiting friend A and they see your card, most likely they won’t notice it’s from you. (Unless you send your picture as your card, I guess.)
        I know you can’t logic your way out of an anxiety, but, if it helps at all, this scenario you worry about isn’t going to happen. I’ve never even heard of an advice columnist getting a letter about it. In contrast, the “wasn’t invited to wedding” or “my name wrong on envelope” questions are very common. Be more common and turn your worries to whether you got the Mr/Ms/Dr/Mrs titles and preferred names correct.

        1. KatEnigma*

          That’s what I was thinking. In the past, I have kept track of who I received cards from, to choose whether I continue to send a card after several years running of not getting one (and possibly not having a current address?) No judgement, but I just stop sending.

          But never, not once, have I compared who anyone else is getting cards from! Or heard about it anywhere.

    2. Squidhead*

      We send cards to about 60 people/households each year. I keep a list and work from that. I use them more to reach out to faraway folks and family, so the list of people doesn’t change much from year to year, but if a friend moves away we add them to the list (local friends get little treats in-person). I do make sure that anyone who sends us a card gets on the list.

      I think these days that some people do cards every year, some do them sporadically, and some used to do them but don’t anymore, so the chances that someone is tracking whether they got a card from you are low. The chances that they are tracking whether someone else got a card from you and they didn’t are even lower (unless you and everyone you know routinely reads each other’s mail). And hey, at the moment no one has gotten a card from you so if they do it will be a pleasant surprise and if they don’t they won’t know the difference!

    3. bratschegirl*

      Cards always feel overwhelming to me too, before I get started on them. One possible approach: as the cards start arriving this year, start your list. Don’t even try to complete the whole thing in one go, just write down the 4 or 5 folks whose cards arrive that day. If you have the energy, write out your own cards back to those same folks (or at least to as many of them as you want to maintain a card-sending relationship with). If you want to do more once you get going, great, and if not then wait and see whose cards come tomorrow and reply to those.

    4. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      I can suggest two possible solutions.

      Don’t send cards. It won’t make or break a relationship, and you can always cite budget or environmental reasons if anyone ever mentions it, but they probably won’t.

      Send New Year cards. It’s the same feel-good, touch-base intention, but you can wait until all cards to you have definitely arrived and all the holiday chaos has calmed down. You avoid any awkward religious affiliations to an actual holiday, and receiving a card in January is a very nice reminder to remember all the good stuff that just happened.

    5. Falling+Diphthong*

      How much worse they’d feel if everyone got one and they didn’t.
      No one is comparing cards. Even if your friend Jennifer went to your friend Bianca’s house (something less common since covid) and saw a card with a sleigh on it on the mantle, she wouldn’t know you sent it.

      My advice is to either tell yourself that you are not a Christmas card type of person and embrace being someone who makes hot chocolate, or whatever you do actually enjoy. Or send a handful of card this weekend and see how you feel. Maybe it’s pleasant.

    6. Glomarization, Esq.*

      You don’t have to send them to everyone, whatever “everyone” means.

      You don’t have to send them all at the same time.

      They don’t have to arrive before Christmas Day, or even the end of the year.

      They don’t have to be all the same.

      They don’t have to be all different/individualized.

      1. NeonFireworks*

        Some years I get around to sending one card, some years I send a bunch, some years I send MANY, some years I forget entirely. No one has ever commented on my utter inconsistency.

    7. Sloanicota*

      I was once reminded that sometimes when you imagine other people putting a lot of judgement into something, it might be in part because you yourself carry too much judgement around an issue. So if you are very prone to count who sent/didn’t send you cards, or who sent them last year and didn’t this year, and put a lot of meaning and pressure on that, you might be able to help reduce your own anxiety around sending cards by reducing the emotion of receiving them. Practice saying things like, “Oh, Tom didn’t send a card this year. He probably got busy and spent the time on something else that was fun and meaningful to him – and I know he’s still loving me and sending me good wishes.”

      1. Kara*

        Not necessarily; i tend to judge myself far harder than i judge other people. ADHD forgetfulness and anxiety are a fun combo! Not really sure what to recommend as anything helpful. In the long run practicing forgiving yourself for an oops does help, but I’ve yet to find anything that reduces the initial OH NO I MESSED UP panic nor the fear of starting a project because i might mess up. Pushing through anyway is the only way I’ve found, and long run that just makes it worse.

        1. Vio*

          I always judge myself worse than I would anybody else. I tend not to keep track of who does and doesn’t send me cards, I always thank for them and try to make sure they’re displayed clearly if the person visits. If I did send any cards I’d make sure to include them.
          May well be related to childhood. When I was a kid my mum always insisted we had to send cards to everyone in our class as well as anybody who sent us cards. Each also had to have a personal message. She meant well, but it was exhausting and I continued to be as unpopular and socially awkward as ever so it always seemed a waste of time and energy. Once I was old enough that she stopped checking them I fell into the habit of just pretending to send some and maybe giving one or two to my friends if I had any at the time.
          Weird the stuff that still screws us up from childhood sometimes.
          I think, for this year at least, I’m going to give myself a break and tell myself it’s OK not to send any. Maybe I will next year, maybe not. Thanks everyone for the advice!

    8. RagingADHD*

      The people who don’t get cards from you (whether by accident or bad delivery) aren’t even going to know you sent out Christmas cards at all.

      Nobody is going to be offended that you didn’t send one, unless you have an awful lot of jerks in your life. (I always feel like I have to make that caveat, because I run into more and more folks who are anxious about other people’s reactions, and then it turns out they were raised by or are surrounded by truly horrid people).

      I hardly send any, anymore, but the smartest thing I did was switch to more generic “Peace on Earth for the New Year” type cards, because then my window for sending them gets more flexible.

      There are a number of reasons people choose not to send them. Some people just don’t enjoy the process and it feels like drudgery in a busy season. Some people are concerned about paper waste and energy use for delivery. Some people find it too expensive. So it could be that you feel obligated to do it but also have practical reasons not to that have been buried in the emotional context.

      I hope you’re able to try out the tradition and truly enjoy it, if you want to.

    9. A Girl Named Fred*

      I think everyone else has offered really great solutions for ways to approach this if you WANT to do it, so I just also want to add – if you don’t WANT to send cards, or you don’t actually enjoy the process, I’d say don’t worry about it. I didn’t grow up in a house that sent Christmas/New Year cards, and now on my own I don’t send them either. As far as I’m aware, my friends still love me regardless. I always think it’s kind when I receive a card from a friend, and if they decided to stop sending to me because I don’t send to them then I’d think that was perfectly reasonable, but I NEVER think poorly of not receiving a card from any of my other friends. (Honestly, I tend to forget that these cards are A Thing until I start receiving some.)

      So if it’s something you enjoy once you get past the anxiety and you can figure out a system that works for you – great! If you don’t, I think it’s fine not to do it.

      1. Rosemary*

        This. I don’t send cards. Never have, never will. I am single/don’t have kids – so maybe it is less “expected”? Dunno, don’t really care. I always get cards from people, and I think oh how nice…and they go right int he garbage (sorry! but I hate clutter). I know for sure I get way fewer cards than someone who sends out cards…because I know people who send cards, feel they need to send cards to people who send them cards. But whatever, I truly do not care.

    10. time for cocoa*

      Just send them to the people who send you one. The postal system is still in chaos, it won’t matter if your card arrives slightly late. I got a bunch in April this year, and we had a good laugh.

      For the future: every January, I gather the cards we receive and update our address book accordingly. Within the past five years, I’ve added another step where I mark yearly checkmarks for each person who sends us a card, so if we don’t get one, I can figure out what’s going on. This became necessary since some extended family/friends I rarely speak to (i.e., my uncle’s ex-wife) have started dying off, and my cards were coming back undeliverable.

    11. Kay*

      In addition to the other solutions:

      1. E-cards or even an email. Less waste, less clutter, pro planet and much more economical!
      2. If anyone ever says anything (they probably never will), blame the mail/technology. It has been my go to excuse for my entire life even though I don’t send cards.

    12. Eff+Walsingham*

      I used to procrastinate and never get them addressed and sent in time, but I still sent them off, because it seemed a waste not to. A number of people over the years have told me what a pleasant surprise it is to receive my holiday greetings in January (or, ahem, February!) because otherwise it’s nothing but bills then.

      It’s a matter of perspective. Most people love hearing from those they care about. As others here have said, healthy people do not measure and compare signs of affection and regard you send out. If you realize later that you left someone out, you can always buy a non-seasonal card and write “Saw this and thought of you!” Maybe bearing that in mind might take some pressure off?

      Cards are sort of a dying form of communication. This year, the only birthday card I got was from our mortgage broker! And yet, I think most people enjoy a little low-stakes, out-of-the-blue reminder that someone thinks they’re worth a line or two. Maybe I’ll step up my own game, and see what happens.

      Merry Whatsit. (I haven’t been away from retail long enough. I still have a 2-seasonal-tune limit before I have to go somewhere else.)

  15. Person from the Resume*

    Suggestions for how to mop a shiny ceramic tile floor well. It’s a glossy ceramic tile which looks like dark, red wood … not to be confused with it, it’s clearly tile, but that’s the design on it. It’s so shiny that people used to comment how clean it was (it wasn’t that clean), but now there are obvious dirty spots (especially in the kitchen because of drips) and I’ve failed at successfully mopping it.

    I hate mopping and it left me sore (back) and possibly the cause of injury (tendentious in my wrist) last time. Also left a dull film on the floor last time (too much cleaner???).

    Is there a secret? Best type of mop? Magic cleaner? Etc.

    1. MM*

      We use a steamer wand to clean our tile, no cleaner. It reduces the back and forth you do with a mop and you don’t have to use any force which helps reduce my back pain.

      If our floors are exceptionally dirty, I will use a small amount of cleaner but then I redo with plain water, to remove the cleaner. Long term the small amount of cleaner does build up, can make the floors slippy and somewhat sticky, which leads to more dirt build up, so you have to mop more often.

      Since we went to the steamer, our floors are much better.

      1. KatEnigma*

        I use this method. Spot clean for anything that’s stubborn or a thick drip, etc. But otherwise, steam.

      2. UKDancer*

        Steam mop is fantastic for tiles etc. I have a Shark steam mop and it’s great. I mostly use plain water and the power of steam, but sometimes I add a small amount of dettol for the bathroom tiles. I’d not be without one.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          Definitely, steam mop. Game changer both in terms of how clean the floors get and how much less effort it is.

    2. StellaBella*

      I use a wet bath towel and walk around on said towel cleaning carefully not slipping on my tile. Then dry with dry towel. Sometimes there is a bit of soap on wet towel but not much as makes floor too slippery.

    3. Sloanicota*

      It sounds like more than a clean/dirty issue there could also be a finish or polish on the tile that would increase the shine? … at least that’s how it is with my wood floor and my countertops. Perhaps that’s not true for tile.

    4. RagingADHD*

      I love my Spin Mop (there are generic versions now) because it’s easy to control how much water you wring out, and there’s no bending over to wring.

      I’d spot clean the spills with all-purpose cleaner (or even dish soap) and then mop the whole thing with white vinegar in hot water to shine it up.

      1. Citra*

        I was going to mention this, as well. My O-Cedar spin mop was a game changer for me. I love it and use it all the time, not just to clean the floor but to easily mop up spills and such, too.

    5. Unkempt Flatware*

      I use a Libman swiffer looking thing that used to spray liquid when you squeezed the trigger on the handle. I knew I didn’t want a battery powered one. The trigger mechanism broke so now I use a spray bottle just for floor-soap-water (dawn and ammonia). I use terry cloth pads that are for that Libman and then wash after each use. I love it and won’t go back to anything fancy or different.

    6. Person from the Resume*

      Thanks, everyone! I didn’t know that steamer mops existed until yesterday. I’ll definitely look into that. And those spinner mops.

      I also think the mentions of vinegar or ammonia may be on the right track too.

    7. MeepMeep123*

      I mop our floors with just water and vinegar, no soap or anything. It seems to get them clean enough.

  16. Person from the Resume*

    Does anyone have a robot mop they love that does the job? Seems like they’re joining the robot vacuums but are definitely not as popular/successful yet.

    I have no carpet and no stairs so it doesn’t have to be super smart in that regard. Just the ceramic tile floor mentioned above. I’m perfectly willing to sweep up crumbs and tracked in dirt before letting it loose. Spot sweeping is generally the extent of my floor cleaning.

    1. Helvetica*

      I have a robot with a mop function, but I rarely use it. It is really only useful for a light swipe, and places where I feel like I really need the floor to be scrubbed – like kitchen and bathroom – are not really up to the robot’s task.

    2. fposte*

      I use the Braava Jet 240. I don’t know what the difference is between it and higher lines of the make; it was just the one that was available when I decided to do it. It has three modes, a dry mop, damp mop, and wet mop. I am not a diligent sweeper so I (as I think the machine recommends) do a dry mop first then a wet mop.

      I have cleaners who come in monthly and I use this every couple of weeks, often just in the kitchen, just to keep standards up a bit in between. I’d say it’s closer to using a damp Swiffer than really cleaning the floor. As a person who hates cleaning I find it useful because it’s sort of entertaining, and thus I actually use it.

  17. Eater+of+Cupcakes*

    Recently I bought myself an antique silver dollar from 1879. (That’s right, the Wild West era! A year when you could meet Calamity Jane, Billy the Kid and almost all of the Dalton brothers!) For me, a European, a Wild West coin is such an awesome thing to have. I absolutely love it, always keep it with me, and go around flipping it, like the Batman villain Two-Face, all the time. (Though I keep myself from doing it too much when other people are around. I know that it can get annoying, haha.)
    Thing is, though, I wouldn’t be that sad if I lost it. It wouldn’t exactly thrill me, but I’d just buy another one and that’d be that. It doesn’t have to be this silver dollar in particular.
    So my question to you all is, what’s your most beloved possession that’s still completely replaceable?

    1. Sloanicota*

      I guess I feel that way about my favorite clothes, which I love to death, but a new one in the exact same size and color would also be great, perhaps even better. In general, I usually value the story connected to an item more than the item itself.

    2. TeaFriend*

      Depends on how replaceable you mean. I have a winter jacket that I adore but which is easy to find second-hand online if something were to happen to it. I also have a haori that I’d be devastated to lose and couldn’t replace *exactly*, but could likely find something similarly beautiful.

    3. AGD*

      Particular books. My copy from the early 90s of one middle grade favorite was half destroyed by the time I reached adulthood (a mix of sun damage, rereading it a bazillion times, and writing things in the margins and on the inside covers), to the point that in adulthood I deliberately replaced it with a copy of the same edition that hadn’t been through the wringer.

    4. fposte*

      This is an interesting question–you’re talking about being attached to that kind of item rather than that particular one? That’s probably most things in my adulthood, assuming I genuinely could replace them and they weren’t gifts from somebody important. Books for sure, musical instruments (fortunately mine are cheap), even some nice ceramics.

      OTOH, my garage houses a bicycle that was given to me by a late friend twenty years ago; it cost more than a new one to get back on the road last year and they said really it’s at the end of its life. That one may just live in the garage forever and confuse my heirs.

    5. HannahS*

      My sewing machine. It was a gift that my mom’s siblings pitched in for when I had my Bat Mitzvah and it’s still going strong. But if it broke tomorrow, I’d buy another Janome machine without a second thought. I don’t really get people who name their machines–I absolutely ADORE mine, but I’m not really attached to it, if that makes sense.

    6. Ginger Pet Lady*

      My camera. I love it for how I feel when I tap into my creativity as I use it. But if it were lost/stolen, I would get another. The possession is integral to the activity but the activity is the most important part.

    7. carcinization*

      I guess my water bottle? It’s glass but could pass for plastic because it has a sort of rubber outer net, so I can get away with taking it to “no glass containers” parks and such, and I almost always have it with me. The brand is “ello” and I’d guess this is my 5th bottle or so… I accidentally dramatically smashed one in a parking lot despite the rubber net, I guess I dropped it just right, and the other ones eventually wear out the push-button flip-top mechanism. I used to buy ones with grey rubber at my local Target or WalMart, but they quit carrying this particular bottle so now I have to order from Amazon. My most recent one has purple rubber.

    8. Tiny Whisk*

      Oh I have one – or rather a suite or them. I am Very Online, but when my phone or computer breaks, out they go! Bring in the new one, same as the old one! Maybe this is an apple thing? Someone said that every android phone works a little differently, which made me want to lie down for a while.

  18. Mom of the groom*

    My son is getting married next year. He and his fiance plan to have a small wedding with immediate family and close friends. They do not plan to invite their aunts and uncles but will invite grandparents. I’m struggling with the thought of my brothers and sisters who live nearby being excluded, but I know it is their wedding, and they get to decide who they invite. I dread my siblings bringing up the wedding or asking why they’re not invited. I plan to say that my son and his fiance want to keep the wedding small, so they had to make some tough decisions. I guess in my heart of hearts, I disagree with it, and it bothers me. I talked to my son and his fiance about the decision not to invite their aunts and uncles, and I had my say. They know how I feel and why, but they stuck to their decision. I plan to support them in their decisions fully and not cause any wedding drama. I need some help coming to terms with this particular decision, though. Would you be bothered by your siblings not being invited to your child’s wedding? Am I making too much of this? Is it normal for aunts and uncles with a good relationship with the couple not to be invited, even when it is a small wedding? We’ve offered to cover the cost of these additional guests, but it was turned down.

    1. Eater+of+Cupcakes*

      Depends. How many close friends are invited? How close are the friends? How many wedding guests in total?

      1. Mom of the groom*

        30 guests, 10 of which are close friends (the wedding party is included in this number).

        1. Eater+of+Cupcakes*

          So all the other 20 are grandparents, parents and siblings, if I understand things correctly?

            1. Mom of the groom*

              Just want to clarify that the nieces and nephews are my son’s nieces and nephews, my grandchildren.

        2. CheerfulGinger*

          30 people is probably close to the maximum number of guests you can have, and still have the wedding be small. By making a blanket “no aunts/uncles/cousins” guest list rule, that keeps the wedding small and it prevents hard feelings if they were to start inviting only their “favorite” people from the “aunt/uncle/cousin” category. My suggestion for making peace with this is to focus on their desire for a small wedding. I understand the desire for something bigger that is more inclusive of family, but that is not what they want. Maybe think about channeling your desire for a big family affair into a family reunion or other event that is 100% separate from their wedding?

          1. Rosemary*

            Agree with this. My cousin recently got married and while he invited aunts/uncles, did not invite any cousins. I was totally fine with this. And my parents (his aunt/uncle) would have totally been OK not being invited. I think the key is inviting none, or inviting all. Had SOME of my cousins been invited and I wasn’t, I might be bothered. But none of us were, so I respected it was about keeping the wedding small. Same with aunts/uncles – as long as none are being invited in the interest in keeping it small – totally fine (that said, if they didn’t invite aunts/uncles but invited all their random co-workers, not-close friends, etc…then you could be offended)

    2. Cormorannt*

      It’s a little awkward if some cousins of couple are invited but not their parents, but it’s not your awkward. You don’t have to explain or make excuses, it was the couple’s decision. Just say they decided to keep it small and leave it at that. It’s the truth! Don’t say anything about it being a tough decision. It was not your decision and maybe it wasn’t tough! Don’t tell people you offered to cover the cost of additional guests. Try to frame it as the couple choosing the wedding they want to have, not rebuffing people you think they ought to have invited. There is nothing more awkward than being at a wedding where the parents telegraph their disagreement with the style/content/guest list of the wedding. I have been at a couple and it just made me want to avoid those folks. No snark, if you want a big party with all of your siblings, throw one! Parties are great!

      1. Bibliovore*

        this “if you want a big party with all of your siblings, throw one”
        This is such a good idea!

      2. Sloanicota*

        Yes, I might ask your son and daughter in law if you can host a family bash later to celebrate. I’ve heard this advice for those who eloped. It’s not a wedding party and no gifts, just a “we love and value you also” causal gathering. If they don’t like the idea, you can still throw a holiday or birthday gathering for yourself and include these family members.

        1. Citra*

          My suggestion, too. I know a couple of couples who eloped and had a party afterward, and everyone had a good time and No Hard Feelings. They could even show a video of the ceremony in another room in case people want to watch it, if that seems like something people would enjoy rather than being overbearing or “Here’s what you missed.”

          That way, OP can use the line about hard decisions, which is true, but can also say, “But we want to have a party later with everyone.”

        2. WoodswomanWrites*

          Friends of mine eloped. They hosted a wonderful party a couple months later, including a slideshow of the romantic ceremony they had on a beach in Hawaii with only the officiant present.

          That’s the only time I’ve been to a reception that was at a different time than the wedding. It was so much more relaxed for everyone, especially the couple! They could hang out for hours with no pressure and had time to introduce their family and friends to each other. It was a blast.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My siblings didn’t come to MY weddings, so … heh.

      I mean, ultimately, it’s not your call. If your siblings object, they can be tacky enough to take it up with the couple and risk the outcomes. And if they get shirty with you about it, you just put up your hands and go “not my wedding, not my call.”

      1. WellRed*

        Yes to the “ it’s not my call.” And if your subs want to be tacky enough to pursue this with the happy couple, let them manage it. If they are mature enough to marry, they are mature enough to manage their own relationships. If there are already 20 family members attending (which, to me that’s a lot of family!!) how much bigger would the guest list get if they had to add all the aunts and uncles, assorted spouses from both sides. And then must we add in cousins, their assorted spouses or SOs and possible kids? Now do you see why they did this?

      2. Sloanicota*

        Yep, a wedding is the perfect time for parents to stop managing their child’s relationships with the rest of the family. “You’ll have to ask Tom about it, I really am not the one planning this wedding” is fine. Don’t triangulate, it’s really not helpful or productive.

      3. Lilo*

        I didn’t go to my brother’s wedding, but because he and his wife got married at the courthouse the same day they decided to get married (and at the time we lived on opposite coasts). My aunt was actually the only family member there (she lived in the same city).

        I don’t feel remotely hurt by it. My brother and sis in.law would have absolutely hated a big to do.

        It’s really really okay. Small weddings are fine.

    4. Mom of the groom*

      Thanks to those who’ve weighed in so far. Just to be clear, I will be outwardly supportive of my son and his fiance’s decision. It’s their wedding, and I will do whatever I can to make sure it is a special day for them. There will be no awkwardness or making people uncomfortable. It is the inner turmoil that I need to deal with. I don’t think my siblings will say anything to my son or make him uncomfortable. It is just so unusual for anyone in my family not to invite aunts and uncles.

      1. Cormorannt*

        Honestly, I would work on being inwardly supportive, too. Traditions change. This is the wedding they want and you want them to be happy. I think when you are outwardly supportive but inwardly judging it’s very hard to hide. Try to be joyful about the celebration you get to participate in. Try to actively move your thoughts along when you start to dwell on what the celebration could have been. Free yourself from worry about what others will think about someone else’s decision.

        1. New kid*

          This is the entire reason she’s here, though- she wants to work through it. If she could just start feeling good about it, she probably would. Not very helpful to tell her to simply stop feeling that way.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I don’t mean to be snarky, but you might start by finding a slightly less dramatic way to describe your feelings about someone else’s event guest list than “inner turmoil.” You’re thinking of it in big deal terms, while simultaneously saying you don’t think it will be a big deal, which is probably making it difficult to align yourself. I think it will help if you reframe your thinking and focus on the part where your son and his fiancée are grownups and can do their own thing and handle the results on their own, and this is the epitome of not actually your problem. Maybe ratchet it down to “slightly bummed” :)

      3. Glomarization, Esq.*

        Let them have their unusual wedding. I hope you can find a way not to feel so much inner turmoil, which sounds like an extreme reaction to me, regarding your adult son’s choices for this very special event in his life. Your feelings are your feelings, of course, but your vision (or your family’s vision) of a perfect wedding simply aren’t aligning with his.

      4. ecnaseener*

        I get why you’re bummed about it. You want to celebrate with your immediate family.

        I don’t think you need to try to force yourself not to be bummed, you know? You’re committed to behaving well about it, which is awesome. Presumably you’re going to do your darndest to focus on the joy of the day and really enjoy yourself. But you might still feel a little bummed, and I think that’s fine – we put so much pressure on weddings to be Perfect.

        1. Agatha*

          Agreed on all of this. The advice of “have you considered…not feeling like that?” is unhelpful and unrealistic.

          1. Not+in+your+timezone*

            I disagree. Feelings aren’t fixed and deliberately reassessing and changing them is an important cognitive skill.

            1. New kid*

              Yes, I think that’s understood. Which is why OP is seeking constructive advice. “Stop feeling this way” is not that.

      5. MEH Squared*

        I hope you can get to a place where you’re innerly fine with it as well because it’s truly not a reflection on you. When my brother got married nearly 30 years ago, he and his fiancee wanted it to be a small wedding (75 guests), which he paid for completely. My mother threw an absolute fit because in our culture (Taiwanese), she and my father would lose face if their friends were not invited.

        It was awful. It was so embarrassing and did not help the antagonism between her and my SIL. It ended up with my parents throwing a huge dinner at a local Chinese restaurant for their friends and the immediate family of my SIL, but it did not make up for the fit my mother threw.

        You say you’ll be outwardly supportive of your son, but if you’re grumbling about it on the inside, it’ll probably leak out in some way or another (not as bad as my mom, obviously!). I’m not saying to pretend you’re not unhappy about it, but maybe try to find ways to accept that it’s just not your call.

        As an aunt, I was thrilled to be invited to my niece’s wedding (we are especially close now that she’s an adult), but I would have understood if she had decided to have a small wedding with only her friends and immediate family.

      6. NancyDrew*

        I just want to say, I feel you on this. I personally would be heartbroken if my kids (way in the future – they’re young) didn’t invite their aunts and uncles to their wedding. We’re a very close family and, without a good reason for doing so, I’d be super confused and sad if my kids did this.

        1. allathian*

          Either way, it’s their decision, if and when they get married. They might never marry or have kids. They might throw a big 200+ person wedding. They might elope and not even invite their parents, just announce it to the world with a cheerful “Spouse and I got married today!” social media post.

          Also, just because you’re close to your siblings doesn’t mean that your kids feel the same about their aunts and uncles.

    5. bratschegirl*

      Our kiddo’s wedding was similar. The couple wanted to pay for and control it themselves, and kiddo’s spouse has a huge family, so they decided to invite immediate family only (parents, grandparents, siblings and their spouses and kids), one best friend apiece, and one more couple to make a minyan (the traditional 10 men variety); no aunts/uncles/cousins or beyond on either side. Less than 30 altogether. No drama or recriminations from anyone who didn’t make the cut.

      1. bratschegirl*

        And then we threw them a party later where we got to invite everyone else we wanted to include!

      2. Lilo*

        Yeah, I come from a giant family on boyh sides. If I just invited my aunts, uncles, and first cousins to something, just for me, it would be over 50 people. My husband on the other hand has one living uncle and one first cousin. So inviting the same level of connection would be massively uneven had we done it.

      3. allathian*

        I was 8 months pregnant when my husband and I got married at the registry office. An employee took our wedding photo. The guests who attended the ceremony were my parents and sister, and my MIL, her then-fiancé (they got married a year later), and my SIL. My FIL came to the reception, but he skipped the wedding, probably because if he spent too much time away from his wife, there’d be ructions. His wife was invited, but she still bears a grudge against her husband for having a past life and kids to show for it, even if she also has kids and grandkids from a previous marriage. We invited her but didn’t expect her to attend, and weren’t too disappointed when she didn’t, because we could do without that kind of drama. My sister and SIL were our witnesses. We had a blissfully stress-free wedding, and none of us got any pushback, even if most of my husband’s married friends and all of my married friends had large weddings.

    6. SakeWand*

      Perhaps there are reasons you don’t know about. We had a small wedding because my spouse was a third-generation only child orphan and we wanted to keep family and friends somewhat balanced.

    7. Cheesesteak+in+Paradise*

      We included aunts and uncles but my husband had a huge family so it was a LOT of people. Also, I have a small family so I had to put my foot down about “sides” during the ceremony so it wasn’t like 90% on one side. 30 is really small – they don’t want to have a hundred folks at the wedding. It’s disappointing to you but doesn’t sound unreasonable to me.

    8. Janet Pinkerton*

      Maybe consider it like this: they have 30 guests. Those 30 guests can be broken down into: their immediate family of origin, their siblings’ immediate families (partners and children), their grandparents, and their closest friends. Adding in aunts and uncles means that it’s also their parents’ immediate families of origin, plus their partners.

      I feel like once your aunts and uncles are included, the center of the family becomes your parents, since your parents have their entire immediate family—of origin and the immediate family they created for themselves—there. And I think it’s fair to center your wedding around yourselves and who’s most important to you.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I have often observed at weddings that there tends to be a nexus around which the party is organized. For some weddings, it’s the friends of the couple. Family will be there too of course but the main emphasis is shifted. Other times it’s clear the family was the focus and the friends maybe more of an afterthought. This is hard because the couple naturally wants mainly the people they personally love most, while the parents are almost always lobbying hard for the family, particularly extended family of the older generation, to be centered. The deciding factor is typically who is paying more, TBH. My mother certainly managed to wrest control of my sister’s wedding, and tip it towards extended aunts etc, by offering to pay the whole thing. If she had not, it would have been smaller, cheaper, and more oriented towards the couple’s college circle.

    9. BRR*

      I had a smaller wedding due to cost and family size. I adopted the motto “celebrate the marriage not the wedding.” It’s about the long term addition to the family, not one day. Yes it was a bit disappointing for myself and those who were not invited, but eight years later nobody cares.

      You could offer your son to host a casual get together at a later date for your siblings but only offer once. Yes it’s ok to be bothered but you need to not bring it up again with him.

    10. Falling+Diphthong*

      If they invited some aunts and uncles but not others, I can see someone feeling hurt. Even if you know the aunt who made the cut has a much closer emotional relationship than you.

      But if the line was “No aunts, no uncles, no cousins” I would shrug and roll on.

      Consider whether there is a problematic aunt/uncle/cousin on the bride’s side, and this is how the couple are choosing to minimize drama around not inviting that person. Your paying for the aunts and uncles on your side would make that worse, not better.

      1. Squidhead*

        Yep, we didn’t invite one aunt who doesn’t get along with my spouse’s mother. We invited all the other aunts and uncles & spouses out of a feeling of fondness/obligation, but we didn’t want my MIL to have a bad day and excluded the one aunt. She doesn’t really talk to anyone else in the family either; it’s been more than a decade and she may not even know her nibling got married!

        OP, consider, too, that your son may feel more connected to his cousins than he does to your siblings. I grew up playing with my cousins at family gatherings, while the aunts and uncles were onlookers. I liked them well enough (except for Uncle Bore), but I wouldn’t say we were close.

    11. FashionablyEvil*

      Weddings are so stressful and bring out a lot of complicated feelings and family dynamics! Here’s what I see when I read your letter:

      This is a big deal for you and, by extension, your family. You are excited and want the people you love to be there to celebrate with you.

      Your kiddo is having a smaller wedding and excluding some people that you love and would want to include. Not having them there feels personal—you want the people you love to feel included and to celebrate with you and your kiddo (who they also love!)

      This is all super normal! Of course it’s going to sting a bit! But not having the aunts and uncles doesn’t mean they’re not loved, doesn’t mean you’re a bad sibling, or anything like that. There will be lots of opportunities to celebrate and family events in the future. This is one day and there will be many, many others. You’ve got this.

    12. Glomarization, Esq.*

      Would you be bothered by your siblings not being invited to your child’s wedding?

      No. It’s not my wedding. The relationship of me to my sibling is not the same as the relationship of my child to their aunt/uncle.

      Is it normal for aunts and uncles with a good relationship with the couple not to be invited, even when it is a small wedding? We’ve offered to cover the cost of these additional guests, but it was turned down.

      Even if the relationship is “good,” and even if the costs would be covered by someone else, those aren’t the only factors in deciding who gets invited to a wedding.

      I’ll urge you to quit going down this road. The decision is 294237198% out of your hands. Let your son and partner have the wedding they want. This is a huge, adult decision for them and one of the best wedding gifts you can give them is to let them create the event that they believe is best for them, and to choose joy at their choices.

      1. Lily of the Valley*

        “The relationship of me to my sibling is not the same as the relationship of my child to their aunt/uncle.”

        This. And it’s reasonable for your kid to have a different relationship with their aunt/uncle then you have with your siblings. Their relationship is not a reflection on your relationship or on you. I hope you are able to reduce your inner turmoil.

    13. Epsilon Delta*

      You said there are 30 guests total at the wedding. If each biological parent has just two siblings who are married, that’s 16 aunts/uncles and by inviting them it’s no longer really a small wedding. Still smaller than average, but 46 people is noticeably bigger than 30.

      Would it help to count up the number of aunts and uncles across both sides of both families and see how that would impact the total number of guests? My parents are baby boomers so the actual number of aunts and uncles invited to our wedding was somewhere around 35. That number would more than double the size for your child’s wedding.

      If the numbers are still very small or if that doesn’t sway you, another thing to consider is that while you may be very close to your siblings, your child (and/or their fiance) may not be, even if they have a warm relationship and genuinely enjoy their aunts and uncles. That changes the dynamic they’re going for with the guest list they currently have.

      1. Washi*

        Exactly! My husband and I were targeting a wedding attendence of 50 which we thought would be pretty manageable since we don’t have especially large families, but even that was really tough! You cant just invite the 50 individuals you’re closest to, people often need to be invited in sets of at least two to include spouses and/or kids. A wedding of 30 means that there are really only 10-15 “slots” total, 5-7 slots for each part of the couple. Maybe seeing it in terms of the math will help you make sense of it?

    14. ThatGirl*

      Your relationship with your sibs is not your child’s. I have 5 aunts and uncles between my parents. Of the 5, I am only kind of close to one. The rest have an assortment of untreated mental illness, hardcore religious beliefs and general racism I find it hard to be around. But I don’t tell my parents these things – I just drop the reins on a relationship. You may not fully know how your kid feels about his relatives.

      1. Sloanicota*

        That said, I wouldn’t assume that OP’s child not having the aunts and uncles there is because of some terrible problem like this!! They’re just planning the small wedding they value and can afford, that’s all. I realize it’s hard because my parents also view weddings and wedding invites as social chits – including tracking who had been invited to whose children’s weddings and what gifts had been given to who – which was not at all the social level most of the children were operating on. I think this is a wealthy person thing, where having, say, the father of the bride invite a bunch of business associates and employees, has nothing to do with the daughter’s new relationship.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Thinking more about this, I’m sure there are zero brides in this day and age who are excited to have their father’s business associates at their wedding, but I suppose there are some who sort of shrug it off as the cost of having the whole thing paid for / hope for some nice gifts at least.

          1. Janet Pinkerton*

            This entire phenomenon (wedding as social chit) sounds exhausting. But I will say that for my sister’s wedding, my mom had four work friends there (so like 5% of attendees!), and my sister was happy to have them because she’d hung out with them too. And they’re fun! So it has happened at least once.

        2. ThatGirl*

          No, I wasn’t trying to imply that the siblings were secretly awful – just that kid has own relationship with them that may be different from mom.

        1. ThatGirl*

          I didn’t say it was – though who knows! – just an example of how parents might not know how their kids feel, and that those relationships are separate.

    15. Jay (no, the other one)*

      “Is it normal” is rarely a helpful question unless you’re looking at a thermometer. It’s what they want, and they get to decide. What do you need in order to come to terms with this?

      I would be upset if my daughter invited one or two of her aunts and uncles and not the others. If she didn’t invite any of them, it wouldn’t bother me. I invited my aunts and uncles to my wedding. We had about 100 people. My brother married much later, had about 30 people there, and didn’t invite any family outside of the nuclear family for each of them. If my aunt was distressed about this, I never heard about it.

      My mother accepted my decisions about who to invite to my wedding, and I deliberately left out one of her first cousins and invited the rest. I had my reasons, they were petty and fairly childish for a 24-year-old, and I have long ago apologized to the cousin in question who has been very gracious about it. That’s not what your son is doing.

      I hope you can find peace and enjoy the wedding.

    16. RagingADHD*

      I would be sad if my one sibling weren’t invited, but together with my husband’s side that would mean adding about ten more people, which is a huge deal for a wedding so small. So I get why.

      I think, mom to mom, this is one of those moments when you feel the existential pangs that your child is separating from you. Which should & must happen but still feels like an amputation sometimes.

      They are the inner circle of a new family now, you are on the perimeter, and your siblings are one ring further out. You just have to suck it up and think about how healthy it is for them to make their own decisions together.

    17. Venus*

      My sibling was pressured to invite someone’s family. I said that it should be easy because they could agree if it was paid for. My sibling pointed out that it would then set an expectation that other family would be invited, and would that original person pay for those and also the extra costs of a bigger venue? I don’t know what happened but I think that my sibling should have calculated the extra costs of inviting all the extra family. If you want to invite your brother and sister and spouses, then you should offer to pay for all the others, and that could easily double the guest list. More importantly, as others have mentioned, it could easily bring in unwanted family dynamics.

    18. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Yes, that small a wedding/guest list is normal, and shouldn’t be a problem.

      Likely reasons for wanting to keep the wedding small include not liking crowds, being out of practice socializing in groups, and wanting to be able to actually talk to everyone at the wedding and remember it afterwards. Even if your son is close to his aunts and uncles, inviting them means inviting several people who are effectively strangers to his fiancee, and vice versa if they invite her aunts and uncles.

      Or they may be trying to avoid conflict with her family of origin: maybe she has an uncle or aunt who she doesn’t want to have to deal with. Inviting aunts and uncles (for example) on only one side is the kind of thing that could cause drama, including if her familyis tip-toeing around “we know Aunt Horrible is Like That, but if we leave her out but invite the groom’s Aunt Wonderful it would upset grandma.”

      You could offer to hold a separate party some weeks later, for the local members of your family and hers to celebrate and get to know each other. Make it just a party, with no wedding vows or Christmas presents or “we have to have green bean casserole” Thanksgiving menu.

    19. carcinization*

      I’m neither a parent nor a sibling, so maybe I am not the right person to chime in on this, but when my cousin got married she actually invited some aunts and uncles (and adult children of those relatives) and not others! Honestly it was a little awkward when the pictures went up on social media and that’s how those relatives even found out she got married. It was a little surprising to me because I didn’t know of a particular rift, but I respected her decision and defended her decision on social media. My cousin and her husband were paying for their own wedding and it wasn’t huge (though more than 30 guests I’m sure), so I feel that it was up to them and not anyone else.

    20. MissCoco*

      This is hard. I just got married, and my husband invited VERY few relatives, and a lot of friends, I had a much more traditional guest list, (smaller family) which probably made everything feel a bit harder on my in-laws, because it accurately represents how we each feel about our extended families.

      They are throwing a family party this summer, and I’m sure they wanted more of their family there, but they still had a great time at the wedding. I agree with others to really try to be more internally ok with this. Initially it was clear his mom was unhappy, but at some point she accepted that he isn’t going to have the relationships with her siblings that he had as a child. We could both tell the difference, and appreciated the effort she put into not just behaving, but actually supporting our choice.

    21. Dinoweeds*

      As someone who got married this past September, I really hope you can reframe this in your head and be fully supportive of the newlyweds and the choices they make. My husband and I each had an aunt on our respective sides of our families that we didn’t want to invite for very valid reasons. Both sets of our parents proceeded to throw fits when they found out and bullied us into inviting them. We still had an amazing wedding day, but it was frustrating for me to deal with the fact that even though we are in our late 30’s, our parents had so much to say about our choices that day and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

    22. Not+in+your+timezone*

      You seem to have a very healthy attitude to this in that you recognise your feelings are outsized and that the choice is not yours.

      If you want to manage your feelings can I suggest you google “CBT strategies for rumination” and “techniques for cognitive reframing”. Google is personalised so your hits won’t be the same as mine but if you stick with reputable sites these terms should give you good strategies that will help.

      Basically, this is a fake it till you make it approach where you address your thinking in the moment while simultaneously finding new ways to look at the situation. Best wishes.

    23. Samwise*

      You are making too much of this.

      As you say, it’s their wedding, not yours.

      Support them, and do it nicely too — no saying or implying to your sibs that “weeeelll, *I* told them to invite you BUT for SOME REASON they’re not inviting most of the family…”. No. Short and sweet, matter of fact, Jr and fiancée are just having us and granny and grandad.

      If you like and your son and fiancée are ok with it, offer to throw a party for them with aunts and uncles, say a couple months after the wedding.

      BTW one of my nieces had a tiny wedding, hardly anyone invited because it was small (the couple, best man and maid of honor, several friends). Not one person in our very large family took offense (except for my former sister in law— the mom — one reason why it was so small tbh). We all wished her well and sent nice presents.

    24. Mom of the groom*

      Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment. After reading them all, my mindset is starting to change to a more positive one. It’s not like they’re picking and choosing aunts and uncles to invite (though they could if they wanted to, and I’d have to accept it). They aren’t inviting any. Also, I know my siblings would understand. They know my son and his fiance are introverts who don’t like crowds and that they live frugally and take great pride in it. That’s one thing we all admire about them. My brothers and sisters often say that more young couples should be like them regarding money. Their wedding will be small and low-cost, but it’ll also be elegant and beautiful. They want to celebrate their marriage with the people they’re closest to, and we will support them, just like we do with all their decisions. I just needed a bit of help coming to terms with my siblings not being invited so I could be free of any negative feelings. You gave me what I needed to get on that path; thank you!

      1. allathian*

        I’m so glad you returned and posted. I’m sure the wedding’s going to be lovely.

        We used my pregnancy as the perfect excuse not to have a big wedding, but honestly neither my husband nor I wanted the fuss of a big wedding or standing up in front of a huge group of people and say our marriage vows.

  19. The Prettiest Curse*

    Are there any fellow film lovers with obscure tastes who want to discuss the newly released Sight & Sound Top 100? (I’ll post a link in a comment.) I haven’t counted properly yet, but estimate that I’ve seen around 70 of the filns on the main list.

    The usual disclaimers: all lists are inherently subjective and will inevitably have gaps. Lists of the greatest (whatever) of all time are reductive, but can also be useful as a starting point- and to work out where and why you disagree with the consensus opinion. And “the greatest film of all time” usually just means “the greatest film for this time.”

    The directors’ list of top films, as usual, isn’t as good as the main list. Directors often seem to get distracted by flashy technical brilliance at the expense of the more human side of film. Anyway, interested to hear people’s thoughts on this list.

      1. tessa*

        Thanks so much for this! I’ve started exploring the list and happy to see “Spirited Away” on it. Such a gem!

    1. TPS reporter*

      I’ve seen some (some in college classes others just on my own) but want to see more. Weekend goal is to watch at least one, HBO Max has an excellent selection.

      I like that some more modern films are represented, although so much Lynch. He’s just not my bag. Much love for Scorsese though and Portrait of a Lady in Fire was incredible.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Yes, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is one of my recent favourites, great to see it on there along with Parasite and Get Out. I think Drive My Car was released slightly too late to be included in voting, which is a pity as it’s one of my recent favourites.

        My personal equivalent of Lynch is Luis Bunuel. I can see that his films are well-directed, but most of those I’ve seen just didn’t do that much for me.

    2. Lilo*

      So it’s definitely an eclectic list. There are some films on there like The Searchers that the attitudes in the films haven’t aged well. Definitely strange to see films like My Neighbor Totoro on the same list as North by Northwest.

      Ultimately I think it highlights how incredibly subjective film is as an art form and how particular films really are a product of their time.

      1. fposte*

        When I was doing book awards, we’d talk about them as being like dog shows. You can’t be saying “But a Great Dane is better than a chihuahua!” You’re saying “Is this Great Dane closer to the perfect Great Dane than the chihuahua is to the perfect chihuahua?” But it also really brought home how much an award is a product of the people conferring on the day, and it might have been different if one person wasn’t there or if it had taken one more day. It’s a snapshot, not an engraved set of commandments.

      2. The Prettiest Curse*

        Yeah, I think a lot of people love The Searchers because of the way that it’s shot, but it’s almost impossible to watch now because it’s so racist. It’s also interesting to note that neither Polanski nor Woody Allen made the main list, though Chinatown was on the the directors’ list.

        And films really do go in and out of fashion. The Seventh Seal always used to be high on this list, but wasn’t on it at all this time. Persona is now the Bergman choice, probably because people find the subject matter more appealing. And I did wonder if people voted for Jeanne Dielman this time because we were all observing each others’ routines so minutely during lockdown that a film which mirrors that experience has a particular resonance today.

    3. Pool Lounger*

      I like this list. I’ve seen maybe 40% of them. Happy to see the new #1, happy to see Ugetsu on there, really glad Wanda is getting recognition. This’ll inspire me to go on Criterion and stream a few things I either haven’t seen or started and never finished.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Great to see Wanda on there, I only heard of it for the first time last year, watched it and thought it was great.
        My husband loves Ugetsu, so he was pleased to see it up there.

        I was glad that Agnes Varda got some recognition too. And it was a nice surprise that Meshes of the Afternoon made the list and ranked so high – it must be one of the most influential short films ever made. Very much one of those films you watch and wonder WTF you just saw.

  20. Bibliovore*

    The Great Bathroom Renovation is happening.
    To recap: instead of selling my house and moving, I am renovating the ground floor bathroom.
    Designer was hired.
    Contractor was hired.
    Met with contractor then plumber and electrician.
    Delays because of supply chain and workers on other jobs.
    First end of June, then July, then August, then November- work starts on Dec. 15.
    Designer quit in October to move.
    New Designer. Very good at anxiety and handholding.
    This is going to happen!
    Permits gotten.
    Window is here AND the tub!
    For those who are interested-
    The tub is Omnitub from England. Even with the airfreight it was less than the local ones AND it is deep!
    Details-
    Slate colored tile for heated floor.
    Walls for shower and behind tub will be large faux marble tile.
    No threshold shower.(roll in if I need it)
    Teak fold down bench in shower.
    Teak surround to the tub with a stair (cubbies under the stair) and lots of grab bars.
    Teak vanity with white top and white sink. (the designer is saying quartz composite on the top, I really cant “see” it)
    Reusing the old mirror.
    Can lights in the ceiling.
    Two sconces next to the mirror on dimmers.
    (plenty of electricity)
    No room for a towel warmer.
    Oh and the world’s fanciest Japanese toilet!

    Plumber is either going to replace the boiler or put in an auxiliary on-demand one- Any opinions?
    So am I missing anything?

    The contractor will be framing and enclosing the work area.

    Is there anything I am missing? Should know?
    I have never done this before.
    Anything anyone who has done this before wished they had known?

    1. Libra10*

      Sorry no advice to offer. Just very excited this is finally going ahead. It’s always nice to hear how you are going.

    2. Morning reader*

      Congrats! I did a similar but not so extensive remodel last year. You’re going to love it.

      What to know? Um, don’t lose the manual for the toilet, and learn how to program it. (My contractor lost my copy in English. Still have the French and Spanish ones but I haven’t gotten around to looking up how to change settings, my fancy bidet still on defaults.)

      Leave room for a small litter box, if you’re inclined toward cat companionship. I swore I’d never have one in the bathroom again, but, here I am…

    3. Red Sky*

      Yay, I’ve been wondering how your remodel was going, so glad to hear it’s near to happening and your choices sound lovely!

      One thing I don’t see is any ventilation? Maybe the window is enough, but depending on your climate you might want to consider adding a bathroom exhaust fan if you don’t already have one.

    4. Not A Manager*

      Advice – anything that has fancy plumbing or fancy electric, ask the contractor not to drywall over the access. Instead have them make a plate or access panel so that if anything needs repairs, you don’t have to open up the wall to get at it. And absolutely do not TILE over any access.

        1. Not A Manager*

          You should definitely ask someone with expertise about that. Most of my plumbing backs up to a non-tiled room, like a closet or a different bedroom, so you can access through the drywall on the other side. If I had to cut the drywall to access it for repairs, I would ask them not to close it back up, but to create a panel for next time.

          If there’s no access from the backside, then they would need to destroy some of the tiles for access. I’m repair-averse and somewhat stingy, so if I were doing a big remodel I’d ask the designer and the contractor what access options there are in case of plumbing that you can only get at through tile. I might settle for an aesthetic compromise with a pretty metal panel or a painted wood one (it wouldn’t have to be very large) set into the tile, or I might tile over the access and accept that it will need to be damaged and replaced in case of repairs. It’s just good to know in advance what you’re choosing.

          In any event, be sure to store extra building materials for any patching or repairs later. Those can be hard to match and you don’t want to have to replace an entire floor or tiled wall just because of some small damage.

          1. Anono-me*

            If possible, keep a few spare tiles, just in case done gets damaged. (Maybe store them in the vanity. )

            Sounds really nice.

    5. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

      After the plumbers are done and you are told it’s okay to try out the faucets, do – and then check for leaks. My SO decided to initiate the bathtub, and that’s how we found out that a connection was leaking. Better to catch any leaks early on.

      Ask all of your contractors (esp. plumbers) to save your product manuals and any installation tools (e.g., hex keys) that were included with your fixtures. The manuals have helpful cleaning and maintenance info as well as part numbers that you might need down the road. My fixtures had certain hex keys to attach some of the parts, and having them from the fixture boxes is more convenient than having to try various keys from a set.

      If you have a frameless shower door installed, keep a note of the company that did the install. The door gaskets can slowly fail over time and the door could start to sag. Better to have someone who knows what they’re doing do a service call than attempt fixes yourself and risk breaking a very heavy and very expensive piece of glass.

      Mistakes and accidents can happen, but if you’re dealing with experienced contractors, they’ve probably seen it all at some point. So try not to freak out if anything goes a bit sideways.

      1. bibliovore*

        Thank you. Fortunately the designer has taken over the role of Project Manager and has worked extensively with the contractor.
        I do expect some expensive surprises in this 72 year old midcentury modern house so have set aside money for that.

    6. Rekha3.14*

      I am just excited for your Japanese toilet! Toto? We just renovated but didn’t do the Japanese toilets… maybe next time. My dream to have them! Or at least the bidet attachment.

      Your description of the bathroom sounds very accessible and I am glad you’ve found a designer /project manager that you trust and who is reducing anxiety. Hope it all goes smoothly! Good luck!

    7. IT Manager*

      Sounds great!

      Advice – put in a ventilation fan and get a timer switch indteas of a regular light switch (has an on/off or timed option). Much more likely to get used if you don’t have to remember to go back and turn it off later, and ventilation will help with damp issues in bathroom spaces.

    8. Weekender*

      We have done our own renovations and one thing that has come in handy are photos of the job while it is going on. It is always cool to see in progress photos but more importantly, when they open the walls, it is good to have photos of where everything is and how pipes are running. It is helpful for future renovations to the room or to adjacent rooms so you know where you can tap into plumbing or electric.

  21. little_my_in_the_garden*

    Do you give gifts for preschool teachers/staff? My child is 3 in a 2-day program. There’s the teacher, teacher’s aide, after school program staff. Any guidance is much appreciated!

    1. KatEnigma*

      Yes. But we only had Teacher and Aide. That was a 2 days a week, 4 hour program then at 4 moved to 3 days a week, 4 hours a day.

      My son doesn’t really understand that a gift card is a “present” so I get fuzzy Christmas socks (first two years disguised as “cupcakes.” This year, stuffed in a clear Christmas ornament with ribbons on top) to which I attach a gift card. I gave less to the Aide than to the Teacher.

      This year, we have teacher, music teacher, PE teacher, and then 3 admin staff who rotate through to give her a lunch and rest period every day, in a 5 day, 7 hour private PreK program. So the TEACHER is getting socks and a gift card. Everyone else is just getting socks.

      I chose socks as one-size-fits-almost-all, easy to regift if she doesn’t care for them, and something that not everyone will give and it’s hard to have too many of.

      1. little_my_in_the_garden*

        Thank you! If you don’t mind me asking, what was the range of the gift card? On the teacher’s website it says that she likes tea- should I go with that from a local tea place? Or do teachers prefer Target (or similar)?

    2. cat+socks*

      My mom is a second grade teacher. She appreciates getting gift cards. She’s gotten a lot of “stuff” over the years that gets donated. A heartfelt card would be nice too.

      1. little_my_in_the_garden*

        Thank you! Would you recommend personalized gift card (teacher’s website says she likes tea and there’s a nice local tea shop) or something generic, like Target?

        1. Falling+Diphthong*

          I think a nice local X when you know they like X (tea, Japanese food, books) is the way to go. Generic if you have no idea what they like, but then it’s sort of akin to handing them the cash but in a more complicated way.

        2. Sloanicota*

          Honestly, she’d probably get more value out of something broader, although I understand the thoughtful impulse of the tea gift. Teachers are buying school supplies out of their own funds and a giftcard to Target defrays that. A giftcard to the teashop does not. Perhaps a nice box of tea with a more general giftcard? My teacher friends have said “the best gift would be cash” so that’s influencing my feelings here. I’m sure that’s not universal.

          1. KatEnigma*

            A preschool teacher in a 2 day a week program is not buying her own supplies.

            And even aside from that, I’ve heard many teachers say they appreciate gifts for them, not gifts they are expected to put back into the classroom.

            1. BookMom*

              Ummm… as a former half day preschool/parents day out program teacher, I absolutely bought many of my own supplies. I could request purchases but whether our program director actually fulfilled them or not was such a crap shoot that it wasn’t worth risking being able to carry out an activity plan.

            2. Ampersand*

              My daughter’s preschool teacher does. Also, some kids attend part time even though their teachers work full time.

            3. Belle*

              Our preschool teacher is often buying her own supplies and so I would.rhonk Target would be a good idea. We also now ask once a month if there are any supplies needed to help and then buy one or two things from Amazon. Many of the preschools here are under resourced and appreciate help with supplies (construction paper, crayons, glue sticks, tissues, paint, etc?

        3. cat socks*

          I think the Target card would be fine! That’s nice of you to think about what would be best for her.

    3. Ellis Bell*

      I’ve been both a teacher and aide, and all we really want is recognition! A nice card will do the trick. If you do however want to buy something, get something for the staff room, like chocolate, biscuits or tea. Oh, and stationery. I’ve yet to meet the teacher who has enough fancy marking pens, planner accessories or the nifty post its that have full sticky backs. Honestly I would go cock a hoop right now for paperclips (chunky ones!) that I don’t have to buy myself.

    4. PhyllisB*

      When my kids were in school, this is some of the gifts I gave that went over very well: fuzzy socks, a Christmas jar that I filled with ranch crackers. This is oyster crackers coated with a mix of ranch dressing mixed with some cooking oil and dill weed then baked. (You can find the recipe on the website for Hidden Valley dressing.) Jars can be bought at dollar stores for super cheap. Or if the crackers don’t appeal, Check Mix or Puppy Chow are also popular. This was one of the most popular gifts I gave ( the crackers) because the longer they age the better they taste, and it could be served to guests. Another thing I gave that was popular is tote bags and water bottles. I found some at a clearance sale for 75 cents a piece, and my daughter wrote their names on them with a paint pen. I have three kids so we were involved with this school for a number of years. They were still using those totes and water bottles when the last child left. One of the teachers confessed to me years later that they were thrilled when they found out that they had one of my kids because they knew they would get a good Christmas gift. :-) If you know something they really like/collect you can buy that. I knew one teacher collected Christmas mugs. I found a beautiful set on clearance and gifted that. She was thrilled.

      1. E*

        Glad the teachers enjoyed this, but as a rule, OP and others, please no homemade food. All the teachers of young kids I know just throw homemade food gifts out — they see kids with their fingers up their noses etc all day and tend not to feel excited about receiving homemade food as a gift this, even if parents have supervised.

    5. Rara+Avis*

      My mother was a preschool teacher. Gifts were common, but she got so many mugs and candles that she took to putting up a sign suggesting that parents who wanted to gift could get something for the school — new markers, a book, etc.

    6. Alexis Rosay*

      Gift card. These people are likely earning a pittance (yes, even if you think you’re paying a lot for the preschool, staff may still be earning minimum wage) and could really use the financial help around the holidays.

      1. little_my_in_the_garden*

        That’s what I’m thinking. The teacher probably makes the most of them since she has a degree in education and her program is so great. The aide and afterschool staff are probably min wage or near it.

    7. BookMom*

      A heartfelt card or note is fantastic. One of my favorite ever tangible gifts to received was personalized notepads (regular or sticky). I have ordered them for my own kids’ teachers even up through high school (Mr. Smith, SchoolName) and they have been a hit. Vistaprint does a nice job and they are quick and reasonably priced. I know many teachers who throw out all homebaked goods because of hygiene concerns, and they feel bad wasting food but have been watching your kids pick their noses and have to be reminded to wash their hands at bathroom break all fall!!

      1. little_my_in_the_garden*

        Thank you! Definitely will write a personal note on our holiday card for the teacher and the aide. Do you recommend I give one to the afterschool staff or the “front office”? I don’t know them well- the afterschool program is only for 2 hours a day.

    8. jtr*

      From my perspective (extracurricular instructor in my own school, not school teacher) getting gifts from multiple parents who don’t know me well: get gift cards to local popular places and DON’T write their name on the card. A kid-written separate note saying thank you for being a ninja (or, you know, appropriate to them!) is really the best gift, but adding the gift card also lets them either enjoy something they like for free, or regift something easily, saving them some money.

      MOST teachers will feel very uncomfortable about being gifted cash. They say “Oh, just get something for the staff room” because they ALSO don’t want yet another piece o’ crap that’s not really to their taste to have to deal with.

      Close second for me, personally, is milk chocolate. But you have to know your teachers to know that about them. And not give them chocolate covered cherries, earning their burning hate forevermore. (well, no, not really, but what a waste of mediocre chocolate!)

      1. Hard Agree*

        Seconding DON’T write their name on the gift card so they can regift as needed. Unless they are independently wealthy whatever you give will be going right back into getting them through their own holiday season. When I was first teaching the only thing I could afford to give my SIL was a regifted Starbucks gift card. Cash and gift cards are very helpful to ECE educators (all educators, really). Every little bit helps.

  22. Morning reader*

    Kitten update re sibling pair and a question re electronic cat equipment.

    I took the advice I received in one of last week’s open threads about my kitten waste problem, with good results. Baby girl has had only two instances of pee on the floor, and nothing recently, since I raised the question. Additional litter box (now there are 4), liberal application of nature’s miracle, stepped up box cleaning, all did the trick.

    My question is about implants or other devices that can be helpful with cats. Any recommendations for types or brands? My older cat has the identifier type implant that’s supposed to help if he is lost. Currently they only have access to common area and the bedroom they stay in, but when they get older they’ll be everywhere and will inevitably find hiding places in the basement. And, eventually, they might get out of the house by accident, and it would be great to be able to find them if that happens.

    are their other types that I could use to track location from a phone app, or set up food dishes for them? Right now they seem too little; even the small collars I bought them are too big for them yet. How old should they be before getting an implant?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I would’ve thought that anything for actual long range tracking would need to be external so you can charge or change batteries. My dogs have FitBarks on their collars for GPS tracking and they need to be recharged about every six weeks.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        to be clear, a regular microchip like shelters put in pets they adopt out etc is low power (so it doesn’t need recharging and fairly close range, like within a foot or so. It can be scanned if someone physically puts the scanner against the cat, or it can trigger an auto-feeder to open when the cat comes right up to it, but it’s not gonna be, like, trackable from your phone if your cat gets out and wanders off around the block. Anything long-distance trackable like that will probably require regular charging of a device and a cellular subscription.

    2. KatEnigma*

      The SOP seems to be 8 weeks. They CLAIMED our kitten was 12 weeks when we adopted her, but she was barely 6 (my guess that our vet verified) when we got her from MADACC (Milwaukee’s animal control) and she’d been chipped and hasn’t suffered from it. The chip is TINY. I watched them do it to our puppy, and they use a syringe.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Re: kitten ages, as a kitten fosterer, if we don’t know the birth date – and we often don’t – there is a scale to estimate ages based on features that is typically fairly accurate up to a month, and after that you’re typically guessing by weight. Weights vary widely even within litters (with smaller weight kittens sometimes behind developmental age, or bigger kittens ahead, anyway).

        1. KatEnigma*

          Yeah- that is how I and the Vet knew their number was BS. She didn’t have the teeth she would have had at that age. And she isn’t a small cat- about average. They must have assumed she was just small for her age? She didn’t EVEN weigh 3 lbs, and they shouldn’t have done her spay, but…

          They also gave her to us with a “URI” that came with a weepy eye, and it’s marked on her papers that she’d been tested and wasn’t FelV positive… *cough* MADACC is a mess. Luckily once we got the initial prescription for an anti-viral (after going round and round with our vet and switching vets, and getting a referral to a specialist, taking 4 months!) she is well controlled on just L-Lysine powder mixed in her food. It just means no other cats until she’s gone.

        2. Cat and dog fosterer*

          The eyes change color very consistently between 5 to 6 weeks of age. There are also changes to the ears and face up until 8 weeks of age that make it easy to age a kitten within a week or possibly two. Some factors like weight, teeth, eyes opening when a baby, level of activity such as running, they can all vary if the kittens are sick or not eating enough. There is no way that a rescue could have mistaken the difference between kittens at 6 weeks of age and 12, especially since they would have had the kitten in care for longer than a few days before adopting it out. If it was 6 weeks old at adoption then the shelter would have absolutely known due to the eye color change. Even if the kitten had arrived in care at 6 weeks and been adopted out at 7 then there would have been signs. Kittens become super active and fearless at 8-9 weeks old and don’t change much after that age, so agreed that age is best guess based on teeth and weight (2 lbs at 9-11 weeks, where a scrawny outdoor kitten is closer to 11 weeks and a chunky indoor one full of mama’s milk is going to be hitting 2 lbs at a younger age like 9 weeks).

          The comment “didn’t even weigh 3 lbs” when spayed… makes me think that the 12 week estimate might be accurate. I have had 8 week old kittens weigh 2 lbs 4 oz and they were fat and their mama was big boned, and it’s very unlikely for an 8 week old kitten to be 3 lbs. If your vet said that a 3 lb kitten was 6 weeks old then I wouldn’t trust your vet.

          A lot of places do spays and neuters when the kittens are 2 lbs 3oz or 1 kg, so yours isn’t that unusual if she was 3 lbs. There was a study about a decade ago that showed something like 30% of adopters didn’t get their cat spay / neutered even if the surgery was free, so many shelters do it before adoption because the average adopter can’t be trusted.

    3. TPS reporter*

      Orange collars are recommended for indoor cats. If they accidentally get out, then they can be more easily identified as jailbreak candidates not outdoor cats. And if they are found by someone the microchip would have to be scanned while they’re in custody. It’s not a tracker.

    4. No Tribble At All*

      If you’re really worried about tracking, when they’re big enough, you can get them collars with AirTags on them. Airtags are specifically designed to be easy to find (if you have an iphone!) with a sort of “hot/cold, left/right” mechanic.

      You can also train them by making a specific sound (eg ringing a bell) when you’re giving them dinner. Then, eventually, they’ll come running for the bell and you can give them a treat if you have to Summon Cat at non-dinnertime.

    5. Bagpuss*

      My vet now recommends getting the microchip at the same time as they are spayed / neutered so they can inject it while they are under anaesthetic.
      However, as above, it’s not a tracking device, just allows it to be scanned and your pet to be IDd if they’re lost and taken to a vet or shelter, and can be used to access a cat-flap or feeder at close range.

  23. Holiday Tipping*

    Holiday Tipping! Anyone want to share how they decide how much to tip? I am thinking of giving my cleaning lady the amount she charges me. I am having a harder time with the various people who work in my building: I used to give the same, but this year we have newer people and some who went above and beyond when I needed help, and some I don’t see much but keep the building clean, so I’m unsure how to decide. There are 10 people total so that also adds up (it’s a big building).

    Another question, when is it ok to give them their tips? As close to the holiday as possible? Anytime in December? I don’t celebrate any of the December holidays so tend to forget it’s coming since my life stays pretty much the same in December.

    1. Therapist or Housecleaner?*

      Aw thank you for doing this! One of my goals this year was to tip more rather than save it up for a charitable donation (I know both are great, but I wanted to do something different this year that helped the frontline workers). Honestly the cleaners would probably be thrilled to get $20 but it sounds like you’re considering doing more and that’s great. I would give them any time in December, either in a card with a note for the people I’ve worked with, or just hand them the cash I guess. I would be a bit stressed about missing people I don’t know well. I wonder if the building has a list of employees or an employee fund (although I’d be nervous about that latter actually getting there …)

    2. Lore*

      Ugh I’m having a hard time with this because I have a cleaning service monthly but the actual person who’d done my cleaning for most of the year left the company so the person coming in December is new. I don’t know if I should tip the service by sending them extra via Venmo when I make the payment or leave an extra large cash tip for the cleaner. I assume if I leave it for the person he’ll recognize it’s a holiday thing and not expect $100 every time right?

      1. Not A Manager*

        He’ll recognize that if you put the bill in a holiday card and write “happy holidays” inside it.

        In the past I have tracked down corporate employees who left or were reassigned and mailed them a gift. Several times I got thank-you notes from them because I think this is unusual. If you really liked your cleaner and had a personal relationship with them, you could consider trying to reach them.

      2. Sloanicota*

        Last year I finally got my crap together to put out a nice package for the mailman, and … it was a different mail guy that day who got the gift haha. Sorry, regular mailman.

        1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

          Yeah, my constant worry! Thank you, regular postal carrier, and sorry if your colleague got what I meant for you!

    3. Not A Manager*

      A lot of buildings have some option for residents to donate to a common gift fund which is distributed proportionately. If there are a lot of employees that you never see, I’d give a reasonable amount to the gift fund (remembering that the building should be paying them their Christmas bonus and that other residents are contributing to the gift fund). Then I would give extra to the employees that have been especially helpful over the year or that you have a personal relationship with.

      Having given to the gift fund, I would not give them cards. I’d carry crisp bills and anytime in December, when you see one of them, say “Of course I’ve given to the holiday fund, but I want to give you this personally because I appreciate [whatever they do for you] so much.” The important thing is to make a note of who you’ve already gifted to. I keep the bills clipped into a sheet of paper so I can jot it down right there. If you miss someone in December, you can still gift them in January.

      If for some reason your building doesn’t do gift funds, then you need to determine what your budget is and give the smallest reasonable amount to most employees (I wouldn’t do it based on tenure, just treat them all the same), and give more to the building manager, the chief engineer, and anyone extra helpful. In that case I would write checks and put them into cards, but I am old fashioned.

      I give my personal employees, which includes the cleaning lady, the equivalent of one or two weeks pay. I do not agree with the commenter who says the cleaner would be happy with $20, unless this is a cleaning service and you have no relationship with the cleaner at all.

    4. Nitpicker*

      For the building staff (8 employees), I give different amounts depending on their job and what they do for me (super gets a lot; night doorman gets “something “).
      Definitely in a card (I do “Season’s Greetings) right around Christmas- when the staff starts hanging out in the lobby. You may see when other residents hand out their tips. I’ve sometimes been late (when I was in crunch mode at work and couldn’t get to the bank for the exact bills I needed) but when that happened I said something like “don’t worry- I haven’t forgotten you to one of the doormen).

    5. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I tip my housecleaner and my hair stylist the cost of one service, rounded up. I gave that to the housecleaner when she came right before Thanksgiving figuring she probably could use the money over the next month and I’ll do the same with my stylist when I go next week.

      In 2020 we put out a basket of gift cards to Starbucks and Panera (both plentiful around here) for delivery folks to take. We put it out each morning and brought it in each night for about two weeks. I think we had 20 total and all of them went. We were, of course, at home all the time at that point and we have a video doorbell so we weren’t worried about someone walking off with the whole thing. Now we’re out and about much of the time. I was thinking about doing it again – not sure about it.

    6. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      Wow, 10 people is a LOT! I just have the porter and super in the building to tip, and I give them $140 each, but if I had 10 people to take care of, I would definitely give considerably less per person so that’d it’d be a level of giving I could sustain.

      In terms of timing, this year, I did it early at Thanksgiving because I happened to have Thanksgiving cards handy. I usually do it later with New Years or Peace on Earth cards at the end of December in order to be non-denominational.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        My mom basically gave our housekeeper two weeks of paid vacation at the end of December by giving her two weeks of pay and telling her not to come in.

      2. Double A*

        Wow, $140 is more than I spend on my immediate family for gifts…is this really normal?

        Can I ask what people’s incomes are? What do you spend on gifts in total for everyone?

        I just started a cleaning service a few months ago and she comes once a month and it’s about $120-180 each time. She also did an initial deep clean that was over $1000. Would like an extra $50 be insulting? That is more than I spend on like my niece.

        1. Anon for this*

          To answer your question – for my main 3 contractors they got 2-3 times their monthly rate, though my guess is that this isn’t typical per se. It was given at the end of November-which is a bit earlier than I usually do. Others I haven’t decided on a figure yet (personal trainer, stylist) as they have changed during the year.

          Our household, DINK, is in the mid 6 figure range and our expenses are low (though we do have very ambitious charitable goals) so while I don’t think these figures are all that much, and we could give more realistically, we do have our funds earmarked for things.

          We don’t really do gifts outside employment/contractors. I’m hoping people are happy with what you can give-so unless you are a billionaire giving your cleaning person $50 I hope they would appreciate it!

        2. Squirrel Nutkin, (the teach, not the admin)*

          I live in New York City, which I think has kind of higher tip expectations than a lot of other areas of the country, and I think I’m a bit on the higher end of tips in my building? I wouldn’t say $140 would be expected in most cities.

          I think the reason I give a substantial amount these days is that I found out that the super in my previous building was VERY poorly paid — when he told me what he made, it was ridiculously low. He had to work a second job, and even then, it was hard for him to make ends meet. So kind of like with food service workers, I guess I think of my tip as helping to pay part of the worker’s salary.

        3. Squirrel Nutkin, (the teach, not the admin)*

          P.S. Unlike a lot of people, I don’t have a lot of other gift-giving obligations in December, so that gives me the luxury of being able to give bigger tips. If I had a lot of friends and family to whom I was giving, I’d probably have to dial the tips down a bit.

        4. Therapist or Housecleaner?*

          I’m in your boat. To me, $20-$50 is what I would do, and I agree that’s my range for family gifts also (I mean, I have seven people in my family expecting gifts, so that’s a good chunk out of my paycheck to me). I’m fairly low income compared to most commenters on this blog, from what I can tell (in the 50K range but can have a 10K swing in any year due to freelancing). I think many folks don’t do anything, so I have a hard time believing a service worker would be offended by getting “only” $35. I wouldn’t let the concern that it’s not enough stop me from giving something.

    7. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I tip my housekeeper 2x her usual fee, because she has been with me for 10 years. I give it to her in a card before the holidays, which she likes because she has a little extra to spend on her kids.

    8. Just here for the scripts*

      Cleaning lady gets a single cost’s bonus (we also pay half pay when we’re away and don’t need her).

      We give different amounts for building staff based on time of service and personal relationships with staff (the “above and beyond for me” part). When I was single and young, it was baked goods, then went up to $20-&50 each (super got on the higher end)…hubby and I now do $50-$200 using the same metrics…some staff have only been with us a month, others for years.

      I try for us to give the $$ during the early part of December as folks need it for their own holiday shopping.

    9. WellRed*

      Newspaper delivery person who I’ve never met! She does good at hitting the doorstep. The carriers deliver a card with a note around this time of year. Ours explains how she stepped back in November 2020 after her husband died, followed by her son a few weeks late. More tragedy has followed. I wish I could send her a big bonus.

    10. AvonLady Barksdale*

      You can give tips at any time. I usually put them in cards, label the envelope, and give the stack to the morning door person. (She’s also the head door person.) I don’t like to walk up to staff members and hand them their tips, it feels really awkward to me. I’ve always done it this way, come to think of it.

      It is absolutely ok to tip some people more than others. Our “problem” in this building is that all four regular door people are wonderful and kind and helpful, so while last year I gave less to the weekend staff, this year it will probably be equal.

      I really wish our building did a pool. It’s so much easier that way and you don’t have to worry about giving too much or not enough.

      1. Ther*pist or Housecleaner?*

        I’d think it could be easier to run into the “waitress problem” too, where certain staff are more visible but other staff you might not be aware of are making the magic happen behind the scenes.

  24. Amy Gee*

    Has anyone used any of the various contact lenses for people who need bifocals? I want to try monovision contacts, which has one lens for near vision and one for far. But there are also multifocal lenses, which is a bifocal contact lens. A friend of mine has contacts for far vision and uses reading glasses for near. I would appreciate any experiences anyone has had-both positive and negative. Thank you!

    1. Cordelia*

      I’m similar to your friend – I am very short sighted, and have had contacts for far sight since I was a teenager. As I’ve got older, I’ve gradually been less and less able to see to read, as well. I did try multifocal contact lenses, but couldn’t get on with them at all. First pair were good for reading but I couldn’t see well enough at a distance. Second pair the other way round – better at a distance but not good enough for reading. You’d hope that the third pair would be “just right”, like Goldilocks, but no – didnt work at all at any distance!. so I gave up, and have worn reading glasses over my contact lenses when needed, for last couple of years. This isn’t ideal because I can only read when I have my contacts in, so I can’t read in bed, on planes, if trying to give my eyes a break, etc. So last week I got fitted for varifocal glasses, going to give them a go, even though I really dont like wearing glasses. The idea is that there are different parts of the lens for reading, for computer use, and for far sight. I hope I can get used to them.

    2. mreasy*

      I have them and they’re fine for me. I have other issues with contacts but when I switched from unifocal to bifocal it didn’t cause any new issues.

    3. Contact lenses*

      I use one lense for near and another for far and it works pretty well. I still have to wear reading lenses sometimes, but less often than if I had lenses only for far vision. My husband is trying out bifocal contact lenses at the moment. The first brand made him dizzy. He is now trying another brand but no verdict yet.

    4. Anon5*

      My eyes have been bad since 4th grade and I’m 47 now. I can’t see anything without glasses or contacts but prefer contacts so have been on the multifocal ones for about 4 months. The first few days things were a little blurry, but I’m used to them now and can do things like read small print and pluck my eyebrows while having the contacts in. With the regular contacts I just gave up, it was easier to do those tasks without the contacts and to just get up close to the mirror to pluck. I’m impressed with them overall.

    5. DistantAudacity*

      I’ve just started with multi-focal contacts, and they are great for me!

      I found them very easy to get used to (my far sighted-ness is not much, it’s just the reading distance). So nice to not have to dig out reading glasses all the time!

      I find the whole thing about how they work to be a bit of modern magic :)

    6. MissCoco*

      Optometry student here: we tell patients that multifocal contacts or monovision can get you good vision 80% of the time. If you want great vision 100% of the time, progressives, multiple pairs of glasses (or single vision contacts and glasses) are probably a better option.

      Monovision works well for most patients. Some downsides are reduced depth perception, poor intermediate vision if you have a higher add, and halos/glare that can cause problems with night driving. Lenses are sometimes cheaper than multifocals. Some patients do struggle to adapt to multifocal lenses after trying monovision.

      Multifocals may be better for people with higher adds, and can sometimes provide a better range of clear vision at near, but they often require more troubleshooting, and people tend to notice issues in low light situations. It also depends on your prescription, your eyes, and your lifestyle and goals from the contacts.

        1. MissCoco*

          This was the perfect timing for your question — I have an exam next week on advanced contact lenses, including multifocal options! I hope you find a great solution for you

    7. Mary Connell*

      I use Alcon Total 1 multifocal contacts. Pricy but quite wonderful. The other brand I used didn’t work so well for me after a couple of years.

    8. AHN*

      I’ve been using multifocal contacts for more than a year now, and I like them. I commute via public transit, and find it a lot easier to read on my phone with the contacts. By the end of the day, if I’m reading and watching TV at home, I need to layer very low power reading glasses over the contacts because my eyes get tired.

      I wear the Bausch & Lomb Ultra for Presbyopia. I needed an increase in reading power this year but found that the higher reading power in both eyes was negatively affecting my distance vision. Because my priority for the contacts is distance vision, I have the higher reading power only in my non-dominant eye, and that seems to be a good balance so far.

  25. Therapist or Housecleaner?*

    Ok, this is a bit odd, but my financial situation is FINALLY looking a bit better after a rough two years and I can budget to give myself a little bit of a treat. There are two things I was considering, either going to therapy, or hiring a monthly house cleaner. And I’m not sure which one will increase my quality of life more!! The advantages of the house cleaner are that I will be able to find one quickly (my friend has one he likes) and that I’m pretty sure I’ll get immediate satisfaction, as my messy house is a source of stress for me. Maybe I’ll establish better habits about picking up when I know this person is going to come. Disadvantages, it’s not truly a “need” and I anticipate some stress around managing an ongoing business relationship with someone. For therapy … I know everyone says therapy is lifechanging, but I’ve been a few times in the past and I’m not sure it has helped yet. I don’t have a big issue, it’s more like minor discontents – one thing I’d like to “fix” is my messy habits and why I can’t get ahead of them despite my best efforts. That would be longterm better than hiring housecleaner, but probably less short term satisfaction. Finally, I know it will probably be difficult and frustrating to get one with no guarantee the person I get will be the right one for me. What would you do?

    1. RagingADHD*

      If you went to therapy and said you wanted to solve having a chronically messy house, they would probably ask whether you could outsource that by hiring a cleaner.

      Like, if it’s a chronic problem, outsourcing is a valid and frequently-recommended method of managing it.

      1. OP on this one*

        I should clarify my slobbyness is not the *only* reason I would be going to ther*py, just that it’s a symptom of the kind of problem I’d be working on (not being able to improve habits that I know aren’t serving me anymore) and that level of bothering-but-not-urgent. If I was in crisis therapy would be the obvious choice!! To be honest, I am leaning towards the housecleaner at the moment.

        (I changed my screen name because it seems like using the t-word sends comments to moderation, understandably so).

    2. WellRed*

      I’d probably go with the housecleaner for the immediate satisfaction and the removal of a source of stress which could then contribute to your Better mental health. But does it need to be either or? Can you do both, just less frequently?

    3. Janet Pinkerton*

      I’d bring a cleaner for a one-off visit first. I have a lot of thoughts about therapy to “fix” messiness (mainly, this may not align with many therapists’ skill sets) but I’d recommend checking out KC Davis’s tiktok DomesticBlisters, book How to Keep House While Drowning, or podcast Struggle Care.

      Honestly having a clearer forced you to tidy before they arrive, and it’s so nice afterwards. If tidiness is your main mental health issue, I’d pay for a regular cleaner.

    4. Venus*

      Based on those two options, if your aim of therapy is to address messy habits, then a cleaner seems to address the same thing while also saving you work?

      Keep in mind that a cleaner will do whatever you ask (within the scope of cleaning) for the time that they have. If you want them to do a really deep clean of the washroom, or declutter a bit, or vacuum half the rooms but avoid others… they can do this. Your place can look a bit messy and that’s okay provided you don’t expect them to fix it all.

    5. Red Sky*

      If it were me, I’d pick the house cleaner; not having to stress about keeping up with cleaning would def help my mental health. I’ve also tried therapy a few times and never got much out of it either, not sure if it was due to bad fit or maybe I’m just not a good candidate.

      Caveat, if you’re depressed or dealing with trauma my answer would be different.

      1. OP on this one*

        Yeah, I can’t figure out why ther*py doesn’t seem to work well for me. I know people for whom it’s been truly lifechanging, who weren’t dealing with terrible trauma either, just a general sense that they weren’t quite where they wanted to be and didn’t seem to be headed in that direction, either. I would not be going just to be tidier, but it’s no crisis either.

        1. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

          Have you heard of Internal Family Systems therapy? Absolutely life changing for me (after 10 years of various other types of standard therapies didn’t help much) and you don’t have to have big-T trauma to do it.

    6. time for cocoa*

      I’d get the house cleaner. My experiences with psychiatry and therapy were negative, and I intensely distrust the field.

    7. Cordelia*

      I’d probably go with the housecleaner first, give it a try for a reasonable period of time, and review. How do you feel? Has it improved your quality of life? If not, try the therapy instead. Easier to stop and start the cleaning than the therapy!

    8. fposte*

      I’m pro both. But I would vote for the cleaner, as it’s a lot easier, IME, to decide this cleaner isn’t worth it and end the relationship than it is with a therapist.

      Also IME, the management tends to become automatic. The first time with a cleaner is usually the most demanding, because you’re more available and more directing. But with my cleaners these days I leave a check on the table, open the door for them, hang in my bedroom (which they don’t clean) for an hour and tell them thanks when they’re done; the biggest complexity is I’ve started confirming time the day before by text because they’ve had some availability shortages.

    9. Bibliovore*

      I was spending more than a half a day Saturdays cleaning.
      Mr. Bibliovore did stuff but not the deep cleaning like kitchen and bathrooms and dusting.
      I said it was marriage counseling or a housekeeper.
      We got a housekeeper.
      Never regretted it.

      1. bibliovore*

        oh also needed a therapist just for me but first it was imperative that I took care of the immediate thing that was making me miserable.
        Also the plus on the housekeeper.
        Mine comes every other week. When I know its her week I set aside time put away stuff, sort and throw out mail and newspaper and magazines.
        When she comes all the surfaces are cleared, stray shoes closeted, clothes, washed and folded and put away and clean sheets on the bed.

    10. Alex*

      Housecleaner.

      Also, look into your health insurance re: therapy? Mine offers an online service with no copay, and it’s awesome. A lot of people don’t know about it (who have the same insurance) because it is only mentioned in the teeny tiny print, so I’ve been telling all my coworkers about it.

      1. Katiekins*

        I think for now you’d see more return on investment with a house cleaner. Therapy can be great, but it can be hard and expensive to find a good therapist.

        I recommend listening to the episode about working with a house cleaner on the podcast A Slob Comes Clean for a look at what a house cleaner did (and didn’t) do to improve one messy person’s home.

    11. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      I’d vote for housekeeper as a more instant cheering strategy! Not that you can’t later/also get a therapist, but making your surroundings nice is a great investment in your mental and physical health. Even if it is not 100% a “need,” I’d argue that hiring someone so that you can have a nice place to live is definitely a Good Thing worth spending money on.

    12. Nitpicker*

      I love having a cleaner but there’s a difference between getting the house cleaned and tackling mess which I interpret as clutter. In my case, getting rid of the clutter and getting the house organized was on me – the cleaner could only do their job once the mess was cleaned up.
      But there are people who specialize in helping get rid of clutter and organizing the house. Maybe start with that and you’ll be able to manage by yourself. It’ll certainly make things easier for your cleaner.

      1. Ther*pist or Housecleaner?*

        I’m just kind of a slob :( There are things out all over the kitchen counter, mail on the table, work papers all over the coffee table, socks on the floor. The pets definitely don’t help as I see the dog has dragged his bed out of the corner again and his collar is sitting on the couch for some reason. I find I put my cleaning energy into just picking up, and then the deeper cleaning doesn’t get done because I’m tired and bored after spending the morning tidying. I’m picturing a housecleaner could come in at that point and like, polish surfaces, run the vacuum, scrub the sink and the toilet. Maybe over time I’d have a better reason not to leave those socks and papers that way.

        1. Bibliovore*

          Yes the cleaner coming in will help keep things tidy.
          Here’s my strategy.
          Every night around 7 , I do a sweep of the kitchen area. I am about 80% successful going to bed with the counter clear and dishes in the dishwasher.
          I listen to podcasts like Fresh Air, Smartless, Mark Maron, and Terrible Thanks For Asking. There are old On Being by Krista Tippet and I listen to the unedited version.
          Also, I put the dog in her place with a chewy so she doesn’t distract me.
          On the kitchen counter is the days dog food, my library books, my headphones (for dog walks)
          I found having a stick vacuum hanging in the kitchen encourages me to vacuum the kitchen floor. (I also use it as a coat rack for my winter coat for dog walks)
          All dog toys get scooped up and go in a large round container.
          About once a week, random socks etc down to the laundry.
          I start on the 1rst floor and put a laundry basket on the stairs to sweep in things that go upstairs.
          I am a big fan of good enough. After about an hour, I quit and go do something else.
          Sometimes I put a stupid TV show on my laptop like Bones.
          Yes the housekeeper does all the rest of those things.

          1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

            Love all these strategies! The part that sticks out to me the most is having the cleaning implement(s) already be right where you need to use them the most. I’ve been reading the book *Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD*, and one of the principles is to put stuff right where you use it to increase the chances of following through on a task once you think of it.

    13. Jessica*

      Therapy: even if it’s the most successful, best therapy experience ever, first (or second, after finding them) you have to establish some relationship of knowledge and trust, and then the work will be done over time and some of it might be hard for you. If you don’t stick with it you probably won’t reap the benefits.

      Cleaning: sounds like you don’t have to find them because you already have one in mind. the very first time (which would probably be an initial “deep clean”, or at least that’s how my service rolls and it makes sense) will be absolutely transformative and wonderful. And the effort by you will be minimal. If you don’t stick with it you’ll still have gotten a big chunk of help.

      Obviously I vote cleaning. I’m not knocking therapy but finally hiring a cleaner was a substantial mental-health boost to me in its own right.

    14. cat in cardboard box*

      I am such a huge advocate of therapy. I wish I could everyone access to good therapy; it’s been truly life changing for me. That said, in your situation I feel like you’d get immediate results from the cleaning, and just being able to take some time away from chores/screens/the never ending to do list is known to be good for mental health, not to mention the mood benefits of a less cluttered space and of not constantly beating ourselves up over the never ending “shoulds” of cleaning… I suggest going with the cleaning and am realizing I may want to hire a new cleaning person too :D (and as someone else pointed out, there’s much less of a sunk cost effect if you change your mind on cleaning in a few months)

    15. Elf*

      I say cleaner, but in addition to cleaner you are going to have to get organized. I really struggled with this. I strongly recommend checking out clutterbug; she has a theory that the reason people can’t maintain organizational systems is because they are using the wrong systems for their organizational style, and that made a world of difference for me.

      Having a cleaner really helped for me because I had to run around tidying on a deadline before she got there. It would also just get less bad between cleanings, so there was slow progress over time. You might be able to add actually decluttering and organizing one very small area a week and see a lot of progress. If getting in the weekly habit doesn’t work then you can try having a friend come help or hiring a taskrabbit or something (probably wouldn’t go as far as hiring an organizer because $$ and also they mostly tell you how to organize things but you have to do the work mostly yourself). The friend or taskrabbit can be moral support and an extra pair of hands. My house isn’t perfect yet, but it’s like 80% organized by now, and a big part of that is that I have asked my husband the last few years for my present to be spending at least two hours organizing with me every day of the Christmas break. Having another person working on the task with you makes it much easier.

      1. Ther*pist or Housecleaner?*

        This is my theory! When I have guests coming (only once or twice a year) I run around for days beforehand getting everything cleaned up and for about 48 hours it looks real nice. But, unless more guests are coming, I don’t manage to keep it up, and slowly over time we sink back into disrepair so that the next time we have to start all over from scratch. Maybe, just maybe, if this cleaner was coming often enough, I’d manage to keep it picked up so there’s not so huge a task of getting it back into shape.

        1. Cookie*

          You also have to recognize that you are important enough to have a clean house. Your guests are not more important than you, but by saving your clean house for them, you’re making it so!

          I can’t afford a cleaner myself so there are many boring days I have to tell myself, “Cookie, you deserve a clean house and you’re also the only one who can get you there.” I do love walking out into the clean kitchen in the morning and making some coffee! Not saying my place is spotless, I just try to do a few priority things daily and other stuff as needed when time/energy permits. Daily it’s dishes/counter, cat box, vacuum wherever cat hair is the worst, lint roll the duvet (where the cat insists on sleeping). Other stuff includes vacuuming/swiffering, cleaning sink/toilet, etc. I like to pick a small random task and do it while talking hands-free on the phone to a friend – something like wipe down all the cupboard fronts, clean out a drawer, descale the bathtub faucet, etc.

          The old Flylady method had you clean the kitchen sink every day and “swish and swipe” the toilet every day. Never having a gross dirty toilet to clean is its own reward, I must say. Even if I had a cleaner, I wouldn’t wait for them to do that particular task – if it’s done daily, it never gets yucky. She also said, “You can’t organize clutter – all you can do is throw it away.” Words to live by.

    1. TPS reporter*

      It could really be anybody right??? My money is on the piano playing escort for one, maybe thr original player comes back and is angry about his overdose.

      Then maybe the grandpa? He did fall before. Could be accidental.

      1. Elle*

        What about Cameron? I know daphne found the body BUT I think they’re sketchy and have no money and are up to something.

    2. Isabel Archer*

      Elle, I’m shocked this topic got so few replies! I believe Tonya is the body. Not sure yet if it’ll be accidental or some kind of creepy sacrifice (“I’d die for beauty, wouldn’t you?”). That group definitely SELECTED her for some purpose.

      1. Elle*

        Mike White would never do Tonya dirty like that. I think he wrote the first season for the actress. She could be the killer to protect herself and Porscha. And not get caught and be around for next season.

        1. TPS reporter*

          Oh I love that theory, what a twist if Tanya kills her husband. I now need this to happen.

          Cameron is gross but seems too obvious.

  26. Morally Gray*

    When companies send you extra products, do you keep them or return them?

    I’m wondering what other people do because I’m in this situation: I ordered a bunch of vitamins from a store recently, and after the tracking number said “waiting to be picked up by carrier” for a few days, I asked customer service if their carrier was behind in picking up packages and when they thought they’d be picked up. Customer service told me the package was lost, and resent the order. Unfortunately, the carrier just wasn’t scanning packages, and I got the original package the next day.

    I let customer service know and asked if they could recall the second shipment (which was coming via three packages). They said they couldn’t, but I could return the vitamins to the store or they could arrange a FedEx pickup. I agreed to the FedEx pickup (the store is in a town I never go to, and I don’t want to make a trip there just for this). Two weeks later, after I finally got the last of the three extra packages, I let them know I was ready for a FedEx pickup. Their response was to ask if I could take it to the store. I’m aggravated now, and google research says they can’t charge me for something I didn’t order, so I’m just keeping them.

    Friends/family have told me I shouldn’t have said anything to start with. Do most people just keep extra products? Is there like a price point where keeping extras is “right” or “wrong”?

    1. Ali+G*

      Every time I’ve asked to return something when it is wrong/extra I’ve been told to keep it. If they aren’t willing to pick it up then you should just keep it. I would not go out of my way either in that instance.

    2. Sloanicota*

      Ugh this is a tough one for me, an overthinker. I would feel differently if it was my error or I was impatient, but if I waited a reasonable amount of time before reporting the package missing, and then the package ends up arriving much later, I would probably not wade back into it and would just keep the extra – I’d probably try to balance the karma scales by making another order from the company or leaving a good review or something.

    3. KatEnigma*

      Keep the extra. I have this happen fairly regularly… The companies always tell me that if the item shows up, keep it.

      If someone is telling you differently, time to find a new supplier.

    4. Glomarization, Esq.*

      In this context, keep them. Sending the wrong product or too much product is a cost of doing business. And you are not obligated to pay for something that you did not order. If the price point is too high for the company, then they will arrange to retrieve the item(s).

      The answer is less clear for very big-ticket items. The answer is clear — but the opposite — in the context of something like an incorrect paycheck or a bank error in your favor.

    5. Not A Manager*

      When I get extra I always notify the company and ask them how to resolve it. Ninety percent of the time they tell me to keep it. When they want it sent back, I refuse to go out of my way to do it. In your case, I’d just inform them that you’re happy to leave it out for a pickup whenever they like, but you can’t make it to the store.

    6. Asenath*

      I always try to return it. Often, the company tells me not to bother returning it; if they want it back, they make the arrangements. I think I’d have refused to drop things off at a place that was very inconvenient to me, and I have had pick-ups at home 0r (often more convenient to me) pre-paid shipping through a post office.

    7. Qwerty*

      Calling customer service was the ethical thing to do. In this scenario, it makes sense to keep them. If they had worked with you on the FedEx pickup or if the store was convenient, then I’d say work with them but no need to rush it. Delivery issues are built into their business model.

      For your price point question – the benefit of calling is the store normally makes this determination for you. Often I get told to keep it. Usually its when it doesn’t cost much, but once I got told to keep a Cricut when I said I couldn’t take it to the store (big city, no car) because they didn’t want to deal with the hassle of sending me a shipping label. Maybe also because they had no record of the order and didn’t want to sort out the paperwork.

      1. Morally Gray*

        The initial customer service person who responded to my e-mail was the one that offered and agreed to the FedEx pickup. A second customer service person responded to the e-mail thread when I let them know I was ready for the pickup (two weeks later). Maybe the second person thought it was too much of a hassle to set up the FedEx pickup and that’s why they were like “could you just bring it to a store”?

    8. Pool Lounger*

      I give the company a chance to send me free return postage, but if they don’t respond or never send it, I keep the items. I have 2 Pantone mugs because they made a mistake, then never sent me the postage they said they’d send.

    9. HBJ*

      Why not just respond, no, I can’t bring them to the store and leave it at that? If they want them back, they’ll arrange for the pickup then.

    10. time for cocoa*

      If it’s a small family business, I’ll go out of my way to fix the issue. If it’s a major retailer, I don’t bother, because my experience (both as an employee and as a customer) shows that it’s more money and trouble for them to sort out the error than to just write it off.

      1. Morally Gray*

        Luckily, it’s a major retailer, not a small business. Good to know it probably more money and trouble for them to sort it out–makes me feel less guilty.

    11. looking for a new name*

      I would have said something, too, but I think it’s on them to send prepaid postage via a carrier you can easily access.

    12. Cheesesteak+in+Paradise*

      I had this happen when IKEA accidentally delivered (not post, more like moving company) extra furniture. I let them know and they wanted to give me a looong weekday window for picking it back up on a day of their choosing. Like, I’m not taking a day off work for your error, you know? Pick a Saturday or forget it.

      1. Morally Gray*

        Yes, there is a point where the inconvenience for you is just too much!

        I had to keep checking the tracking numbers and then checking my front door for the deliveries (or asking a family member who was home to check for me when I was in-office) for three separate packages over a two week-span. (I didn’t want the packages sitting around and getting stolen since that’s happened to neighbors.) I had agreed to the FedEx pickup, so I figure them asking me to take it to the store instead means the “agreement” is off and I have no more obligation to them. I have other things going on in my life and don’t have spoons left to keep dealing with it.

    13. Observer**

      Friends/family have told me I shouldn’t have said anything to start with. Do most people just keep extra products? Is there like a price point where keeping extras is “right” or “wrong”?

      There is no price point where it’s ok to just keep something that was sent to you by mistake. (I’m not talking about the fundraising garbage that they send you to guilt you into giving. That wasn’t send by mistake.) Of course if it’s an inexpensive item, no one is going to come after for it, but it’s still not OK.

      They asked you to bring it in to the store. What did they say when you said no? They can’t require you to bring it in. And at that point I think you are totally in clear if you tell them that it’s on them to arrange a pickup.

  27. Ali+G*

    Help! Hanukkah is coming and I can’t eat potatoes :(
    I know it’s not the end of the world, but our tradition is basically either a small brisket or a roast chicken with latkes and some sort of salad.
    I am currently on a short-term therapeutic diet that is gluten-free, dairy-free and nightshade-free. Honestly the nightshades are giving me the most trouble (I love potatoes, tomatoes, hot sauce, etc.). I hate sweet potatoes.
    Does anyone have a good sub for potatoes??

      1. KatEnigma*

        Great idea! With maybe corn starch for the binder?

        I also saw a recipe using carrots and parsnips. (that used greek yogurt, so that recipe also won’t work)

    1. OyHiOh*

      Zucchini fritters are a traditional Sephardic dish for Hanukkah. You might also like middle eastern style omelettes, which are also fried like a latke.

      Four cups of green stuff – green onions, parsley, cilantro if you like it, spinach, I usually include the leaves from a head of celery and/or fronds off a bulb of fennel.
      Four eggs, beaten
      Salt and pepper to taste
      1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

      Hot heavy pan on the stove, enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan
      Drop 2 tablespoons of the mix and spread into a patty about 3 inches across. Recipe usually makes 8 to 10 omelettes/fritters.

      For those that don’t have dairy restrictions, a variant that my kids adore uses 2 1/2 cups of greens, and 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, rest of recipe stays the same.

      1. OyHiOh*

        A second note for those without gluten restrictions, you can add 2 to 4 T flour to get a fluffier, more “pancake” like texture. But the basic mixture is traditional and yields a softer more custard-like texture.

    2. Not A Manager*

      I think you could modify recipes for arancini to exclude dairy and gluten. They are basically cold cooked rice with egg and a binder, fried in balls. I’d try subbing gluten-free breadcrumbs and fry them in patties.

      1. Kate*

        Seconding the parsnip suggestion.

        Also, I was reading this morning that the original latkes were actually made of cheese. You could try that! (I’m tempted)

    3. Shiara*

      Turnips and rutabagas! They work for latkes. It won’t be quite the same but I was surprised by how successful it was when I tried it.

    4. Bluebell*

      I’m seconding the zucchini option, but cauliflower pancakes are also good. They have them at Trader Joe’s, if you only want to throw something in the oven. I’ve also had corn fritters during Chanukah, but not as a latke substitute with applesauce.

    5. Aspiring Stoop Crone*

      Another type of starchy tuber? yucca maybe? I know you said no sweet potatoes but have you ever tried white sweet potatoes aka Japanese sweet potatoes. They are much less sweet and firmer texture. Definitely can find in Asian grocery but often in regular grocery too, and I’ve seen domestically grown ones more and more.

      1. Observer**

        You have to experiment with them. Despite being starchy, a lot of yams don’t make good latkes. I’m not sure why.

    6. Chaordic+One*

      I was listening to NPR the other day and they had a story where various staff members prepared a low-cost Thanksgiving dinner where they substituted mashed butter (lima) beans with mushroom gravy for potatoes.

      (They also substituted some kind of cheap 3-ingredient roll covered with unspecified baby food, in place of dinner rolls with butter, sweet potato pie for pumpkin pie, and BLTs for turkey.)

    7. Cookie*

      Daikon, if you’re okay with the mild radish-y taste.
      Parsnip.
      Rutabaga! These grate very well and aren’t as pungent as turnips, as long as they’re pretty fresh.
      Kohlrabi would work great too.

    8. Ali+G*

      Y’all are awesome! This is great. I am going to try out parsnips and zukes next weekend. I’ll report back!

    9. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I don’t know about for latkes, but plantain chips make a good substitution for potato chips, and plantain can otherwise be treated fairly similarly to potatoes in terms of cooking method.

      (Plantain is the English-language word for “savory banana” if you live in an area with banana-eaters from Latin America, and they are available as whole fruit in both English-predominant and Spanish-predominant markets in my area but only at some of the English-predominant ones. Look for green bananas in a separate bin near the regular bananas, and then check signage to make sure that they’re plantain rather than just unripe sweet bananas. Plantain chips also became a Health Food Trend in the last few years, and are now often to be found for more money in a wider variety of places as a result, but whole plantain fruit I mostly still see at places where people from more traditionally plantain-eating cultures shop. If your primary source for non-default bananas is instead an Asian market it gets complicated because there are actually many, many kinds of bananas out there of varying degrees of sweetness so you’d probably just want to ask the grocer for suggestions for a starchy non-sweet cooking banana option.)

    10. E*

      Oh! Also wanted to recommend cabbage and carrot. I recently made a (probably Americanized) version of okonimiyaki that were surprisingly reminiscent of latkes but maybe even better — i used Smitten Kitchen and Feed me Phoebe’s recipes but there are probably Japanese cooks’ recipes out there that would be even better to promote, sorry I didn’t do proper research here.

    11. Sutemi*

      I’m nightshade free (so many tasty foods are off limits!), and found sunchokes aka Jerusalem artichokes to be a good substitute.

  28. AGD*

    I dreamed that I started a thread on most amazing names of celebrities. In context, this was inspired by having found a Wikipedia page for a young actress named Zeke Photograph. I have no ideas for actual interesting/amusing celebrity names and am not sure this really needs to be a thread (I always feel bad sensationalizing this sort of thing – people with unusual names are probably all sick of watching other people react), but if anyone needs a new username, apparently my subconscious has provided a suggestion!

    1. ecnaseener*

      Oh this is killing me, I swear I have seen a list of famous people with names relevant to their fields – like if Zeke Photograph was a model – but I can’t find it anywhere.

      1. Lexi Vipond*

        New Scientist collects them, although I’m not sure they’ve ever made one huge list – they call it ‘nominative determinism’, which might be something to search for.

      2. WellRed*

        A friend an I like spotting these names in the wild. Speaker of the house: Larry Speaks, a cabbie named Fare, a real estate agent named kitchen.

        1. Lexi Vipond*

          A programme I watched spoke to a geologist called Bruce Mountain, which is just a lovely name anyway.

        2. allathian*

          When my best friend and her husband went on their honeymoon to the US, they splurged a bit and the limo driver who drove them from the airport to the hotel was called Justin Thyme. They saved his business card and put it in their wedding album (this was in the very early 00s, so while digital photos existed, paper prints were still popular).

      3. Ellis Bell*

        I used to know a fire service press officer called Gideon Fireman when I was a reporter. My favourite criminal name was Jimmy Jump.

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

      Not a celebrity, but a regular customer I had at a long-ago job was named Jean Poole and I giggled every time I worked on her projects. She was an older lady and I’m somewhat sure she married into that name.

    3. tessa*

      Not a celeb., but I went to school with someone whose last name is Laughinghouse.

      More to the point, a well-known scholar in library circles has the last name of Puppybreath. I kid not.

  29. Strong Aroace Vibes*

    “Kindred spirit” is a phrase describing a person; I’ve been aware of that language my whole life, as I assume others are also aware of it. It isn’t commonly used though and I’d never thought about until it occurred to me to google recently. My impression is that to describe people as kindred spirits communicates a sense of particular and unusual “knowing-ness” or immediate connection, and importance or impact of their place in or effect on one’s life, a type of person who might only come around once a decade and is unrelated to “romantic” interest or relationship. (And is also an entirely different thing than the language of “soulmates.”)

    How would you describe what the language of “kindred spirit” implies to you? I don’t think it means one particular thing, and I wonder what sort of genre of concepts come to mind for you.

    (Leave aside the “mechanism” of whether there’s something involving actual spirits, that’s not the point—unless this idea is actually only used in new-agey circles and DOES connote some association with the woo-woo spirit realm…)

    1. GoryDetails*

      The phrase “kindred spirit” actually crops up quite a lot in my circles – usually in reference to people who’ve discovered that they share an interest in a particular fandom and/or hobby, which may be a milder version of the term than you’re describing. But for those of us with some odd, niche hobbies/preferences it can feel really wonderful to find others who understand!

      I do think of the term more in the sense of “someone else who sees the world largely the way I do” than in anything soul-mate/relationship-like.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I agree. I think of it as people with the same hobbies or interest especially less common ones. And it’s used most specifically in terms “they have the same interest. They’re kindred spirits.”

    2. KatEnigma*

      Since I, like most people in the modern day, only ever heard of it because of Anne of Green Gables, I’d describe it as you do, as that’s how L.M. Montgomery used it.

    3. fposte*

      I think of it more as a situational phrase than a statement about being overall in sync. So a friend of a friend, whom I’ve never met, is a kindred spirit on comedy video clips–we share them through our mutual friend, who doesn’t like them as much as we do.

      I think Anne of Green Gables’ other commendation, “bosom friend,” is probably a no-go these days.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Why no “bosom friend”?
        I always think of the Anne of Green Gables as in a kindred spirit would be someone who would be fast friends given the opportunity.

          1. bibliovore*

            ah– of course I should have known that as a former teacher/librarian
            I can take down a class of 3rd graders just saying the word a word like that.

    4. Sloanicota*

      I think it’s a pretty common phrase in my social circle. To me, it distinguishes friend whom I like and I have some things in common (but not everything) from those friends who just immediately or very quickly GET IT. I definitely notice when it happens. You are just on the same page about things and think about things the same way. I actually think it’s great to maintain a diverse social circle including those who are not automatically kindred spirits, but they are certainly special and more comfortable/natural friendships when they happen.

    5. ecnaseener*

      To me it mainly means we “speak the same language” – we see the world in largely the same way and share a lot of values, communication between us is pretty effortless. Most likely we saw that in each other and clicked right away, usually means we will be good friends, but I don’t think it’s a necessary or sufficient condition for very close friendship. With some of my friendships, I value them all the more because they’re *not* effortless, I had to figure out what made them tick and how to be a good friend to them.

    6. Cat in the hat*

      I see it as someone who views and interacts with the world in the same ways that I do. I have a kindred spirit at work who is 2 decades older, different race, and different educational background… and yet we are friends.

    7. Sigrid+says+hey*

      The phrase kindred spirits is an Anne of Green Gables reminder for me. I have come to think of it as a way to describe a relationship where two people are of one heart rather than of one mind. Full agreement on all issues is not the point, but full trust that each one cares for the other and holds the other with gentleness and acceptance through all life’s stuff and struggles.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, absolutely. A kindred spirit is a person I can feel safe around pretty much no matter what.

  30. GoryDetails*

    Small joys thread!

    Mine include a bevy of Advent calendars, including:

    the animated Jacquie Lawson calendar, this year themed on Sussex, with lots of games to play and scenery to explore

    a paper calendar, “Owl in Winter” by Angela Harding, that I bought at a local independent bookstore; it’s free-standing, woodcut-style, and shows a wintry wood with horsemen in the background and owls in the foreground, with the images behind the windows featuring various forest creatures and other items – got a badger today!

    Food: the Bonne Maman calendar with its jam-of-the-day in adorable teensy jars.

    And the XO marshmallow collection; so far the flavors have featured “peaches and cream” (not bad though not especially peach-y) and “pumpkin spice” (quite tasty).

    1. SuprisinglyADHD*

      I am unreasonably excited about my cheese advent calendar! The very first one had truffles in it. My boyfriend teases me about how much I like cheese, he likes seeing how happy I am about it!

      1. KatEnigma*

        We couldn’t find a cheese one this year. Aldi sold out before they were supposed to even have them out, and we’re not in Wisconsin where we picked it up last year, as we went through, from a regular grocery store, because Wisconsin and cheese.

        The local candy shop, however, sells their own advent calendars and refill kits, making the easiest it’s ever been for us to get candy to fill what we already have. This is our first December in the area, and this shop’s chocolate truffles are SO good- superior to the local candy maker we’ve used the last 3 years, without having to pick out 24 X 3 matching chocolates by hand.

        1. SuprisinglyADHD*

          Aldi is where I got mine. They run out of stock of specific things at the most random times, sometimes they come back in stock if you can make it there in the morning.

      2. GoryDetails*

        I’d love a cheese-themed one – though from what I’ve read of the Aldi version, it doesn’t have 25 unique flavors, but repeats some of them. Still a cool idea.

        1. SuprisinglyADHD*

          More than half of the flavors listed on the nutrition facts are variations of Gouda. And there’s definitely not 24 of them, either. I got it anyway because I like gouda, I knew what I was getting in to lol

    2. KatEnigma*

      I had resisted Elf on the Shelf, because why in the heck would I make more work for myself this time of year, especially with an “elf” who seems to make a lot of messes.

      But my mother saw this gnome kit at Aldi, and didn’t pay attention to what it was. SHE thought it was like an Advent calendar and my son would open a box every day for something to set up for the gnome to play with. *I* didn’t open it up until Wednesday, so thought it was like the kits they sell (for $150+) for that blasted Elf, that at least gives you all the things you need to set up little scenes. Noooo… it gives you one prop, with a list of things you need to actually make the scenes… Ugh. But the 5 yr old already knew about it at that point, so I’m stuck unless I get tired of it and give the gnome a broken leg, saying he can’t travel.

      Well, my son is so absolutely into it! He talks to the gnome and kisses it throughout the day, talks about what the gnome will be doing the next day, keeps reminding himself that he has to be good where the gnome can see of here, and it’s SO STINKING CUTE. I totally regret my grinchy feelings about the whole thing and it’s brought so much joy to us this week! So far the gnome has left a letter for him in a small mail box (had to YouTube how to fold my own small envelope), made cookies (out of premade dough) and last night the gnome was supposed to do a small painting on a small canvas (Srsly Aldi?) or square of poster board, but Thursday night, my husband found these little wood houses to paint in Target’s dollar spot, that worked even more perfectly. The gnome started the paint, but ran out of time because he had to explain to Santa about some naughtiness at dinnertime… and asked my son if he could finish them. Tonight it’s a simple tie him from the ceiling fan and put on a superhero cape.

    3. fposte*

      I’ve been doing the Jacquie Lawson for three years, and I love it. My favorite is still the first one I had, the Scandinavian one, which had a few more bells and whistles, but I enjoy all of them.

    4. UKDancer*

      I got a make up and beauty advent calendar and I’m enjoying seeing what I’ve got each day.

      I’m also enjoying the online one from English National Ballet which has lots of prize draws inside.

    5. GoryDetails*

      Also giving me low-key joy: the set of intricate cookie-cutter/stamps that I just got from Bakerlogy. Three of them are of icosahedron shapes (aka 20-sided dice), one plain, one showing the number “1”, and one showing a “20”; should make fun treats for my old D&D pals. (Also got one with a Celtic interlaced-triangle pattern, just ’cause I like those.) Keeping the designs from warping or disappearing as the cookies bake means finding the right recipes and doing lots of chilling-of-dough in between steps, but I’m looking forward to trying it. [Might also use them to stamp out patterns in that cinnamon-and-applesauce dough, to use as decorations.]

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have two Star Wars ones, one Funko Pop and one Lego, and I was very proud of myself for figuring out how to assemble a Republic gunship without instructions. (And the tiny R2-D2 with antlers is adorable.)

    7. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      Ordered myself some entertainment items — cassette/CD/radio boom box and knitting book and beginner knitting kit.

    8. Bagpuss*

      My sister gave me a gin advent calendar – I haven’t actually had any of the gin get but having miniatures of 24 different gins to try is going to be great!

      1. GoryDetails*

        Hadn’t heard of the gin calendar variant, but it does sound fun. (And I’m ridiculously fond of those tiny little bottles!)

    9. bibliovore*

      I sat in a children’s bookstore today and read through the best of the year in picture books. I felt joy.

    10. Girasol*

      A couple dozen house sparrows and house finches decided to have a party in the barberries under the kitchen window of our postage stamp sized yard. All day I could hear them yakking back and forth and watch them from so close that if there were no glass I could have patted their little heads. Then BAM! One hit the window in a panic when a little sharp shinned hawk dropped by for a snack. She sat right outside the window looking into the kitchen for half an hour. She finally left but the next day the sparrows were back in a pouring rain, lined up just outside the french door in back, all ganged up on a lawn chair protected by the eave, fluffing and cheeping. One dropped down onto the window frame and tapped the glass as if he wanted my attention. They watched our resident mourning doves – five of them – sit on the grape arbor in their favorite corner of the yard getting drenched. We can’t feed (long story), so why all these birds should pick this one tiny yard in the middle of a suburb to hang out in is beyond me. But they were a delight.

    11. Jackalope*

      Were you the one who mentioned the Bonne Maman advent calendar here a few weeks ago? I got one for myself and one as a Christmas present and we have been having fun with it! Thanks for the heads up!

      1. GoryDetails*

        I don’t recall if that was me – but I think I first heard about Bonne Maman in this forum a couple of years ago, so if it was me I’m glad to be able to pay it forward!

    12. Paralegal Part Deux*

      I got my haircut and colored today and then my nails done. Plus, my eyebrows waxed. It’s like I’m a whole new person, lol. It was a long day at the salon but worth every penny. I feel so much better. I had a bad week, but it’s amazing how a cut/color and new nails can make a bad week seem like a distant memory somehow.

    13. Chauncy Gardener*

      I’m very happy about my Wine “Advent-ure” calendar from Costco! One half bottle of wine for each day. They’re from all over the world, including many places I wouldn’t think to buy wine from. It’s so fun to try to wine and learn more about where it was grown and made!

    14. Firebird*

      The tree outside my bedroom window shed all of its leaves and so much sun is shining. I just spent the last three hours lying in the sunspot like a cat.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Heh! Yeah, I’ve noticed that myself – I live in New England where there are lots of deciduous trees around, and the difference in perspective and sunlight and sheer mood between “foliage so dense I can’t see ten feet” and “full visibility across the brook and into the neighbors’ yards” is quite dramatic. My cats have been enjoying the suddenly-unobscured spots of sunlight, and at times I’ve been tempted to join them…

    15. GoryDetails*

      Today’s (Dec. 4) entry in the Jacquie Lawson “Sussex” calendar featured the stained-glass window of a church, with 5 or 6 different sets of images that one could choose from – on a pane-by-pane mix-and-match basis if you didn’t want to stick to the obvious choices. The central image could be a religious one – the Nativity, an angel, etc. – or a nature art-deco-type one, and there was one more option: a portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II in full court regalia… A nice touch, I thought.

    16. Rosyglasses*

      I adore the Jacquie Lawson calendars!! This is the fourth or fifth year I’ve done them. Unfortunately I end up being IT Tech for my mom but it’s a small price to pay for the beauty and fun!

  31. DivergentStitches*

    Other crafters who sell online, via Etsy or whatever:

    are you also struggling with sales this holiday season? I make handbags and design fabric and I’m getting zero sales :( Other bagmakers tell me under no circumstances should I lower my prices because then I make it harder for THEM to charge prices worthy of their skill and time, but I’ve seriously lost my sewjo because what’s the point in creating more things if no one’s going to buy them?

    Is it just me? Are holiday sales super slow this year?

    1. OyHiOh*

      I participate in a local gallery’s annual holiday art show. Last night was opening. In past years, they’ve had about 300 people come through on opening night, including last year, and they usually sell about 30 to 40 pieces on opening night.

      Last night, it felt more like a friends and family reception than a show opening, and only one small piece had sold when I left. Very disappointing to see, but in line with what you’re observing too.

    2. Person from the Resume*

      A friend who used to sell at markets is stopping after this year. I suspect it’s the economy/inflation. Less money for gifts or things for themselves.

    3. DIY Fixer*

      I don’t sell online. But I typically buy hand made gifts on Etsy. I’m spending much less than last year. And several family members are not buying gifts at all.

    4. Jessi*

      I think many people are worried about money this year and the first things to go when people are worried about money are “luxury” items

    5. Chaordic One*

      I think that, what with inflation being a big problem and the rising costs of rent, gasoline, and groceries, people aren’t spending as much on discretionary things. I was surprised at how comparatively empty my local stores were during the Black Friday weekend sales after Thanksgiving. No where near as busy as they usually are during a holiday weekend.

    6. Cookie*

      My budget is SO tight but I had to google your username and I think I found your shop – your bags are AWESOME. I’m bookmarking for when I have better cash flow!

      As to why others aren’t shopping right now, I don’t know. Not everyone had my year of budgetary maladies, but that’s my reason.

  32. Rosemary*

    Does anyone else get the LOUD popup ads on this site? They are delayed reaction too… Like I will have the page open, and anywhere from 10-30 minutes after I have opened the page, all of a sudden a video ad will start. Really annoying, and makes it difficult to “multitask” and read AAM while on a work call :) Last time it happened I was on a call and it was…not good. I now make sure I close the tab before I get on call.

    1. KatEnigma*

      Yes- in the middle of the doctor’s office on Thursday. Normally I am on my home network that has automatic ad blockers built into our network (via pi-hole) or I have the volume muted for media on my phone. Thursday, I had volume up for Maps to navigate to a new office, pulled up AAM in the waiting room, and like 2 minutes in, LOUD AD.

    2. sswj*

      I have not, but you should probably give Alison a heads-up. Somewhere on the main page there’s a link for notifying of site issues (or at least there used to be), I’d describe what you’re getting there.

      1. Squidhead*

        I’ve flagged a few but I think the bots are getting more clever. I can’t usually even see the ad that’s playing the sound, so I just kill my volume (not ideal, but rarely a true problem for me).

        There’s a link for bug reports right above the comment box on mobile.

    3. Sloanicota*

      Only when I use chrome, so I had to stop using it for this site. It’s really good on Firefox. It turns out I kinda hate chrome anyway.

    4. Ask a Manager* Post author

      They’re supposed to be blocked but some advertisers look for ways to get around it, and they’re especially aggressive before elections and around the holidays. The next time it happens, if you can tell me what the ad is for (or send a screenshot — which is better but harder when you might not know which ad is responsible), I can send that info to my ad network and they will try to track it down and block it. (There’s a link right above the comment box to report problem ads.) Unfortunately I can’t get anything blocked without that info since my ad people need to know what they’re searching for.

    5. KatEnigma*

      I tried so hard to trigger it today (while waiting at a 5yr old’s gymnastics “meet”) and couldn’t. I even tried leaving up the article I’m pretty sure I was reading Thursday morning. My Pixel helpfully had opened it in a separate media tab, so I could at least quickly stop it- and it was identified!

      1. Kw10*

        I get this too – have tried to report it to Alison but it’s always just audio (no actual ad visible), and sometimes I can’t even figure out from the audio what company it’s for!

  33. PhyllisB*

    Want to thank the commenter last week who suggested asking my therapist for a list of exercises to do after therapy ended. They printed off a list for me.
    Since I had my final check with the doctor this week, I asked him also. He said that was good, but to incorporate walking, that it was the best exercise.

  34. Goldilocks*

    Looking for how to jump start my creativity. I posted yesterday in a work context – but its my personal life that I’m most interested in answers to. I used to write stories, make up songs, do craft projects. Sometimes make a sad attempt at learning to draw but I didn’t care because it was something new! Now I browse Netflix or play a simple-but-addicting phone app. I’m even bored of Pinterest!

    I’m not trying to turn any of that into a business, it’s all for me. I’m not even trying to do any of it well. I just like creating stuff plus it’s therapuetic. Actually, missing that therapuetic part might be the worst – I’ve channeled a lot of emotions into knitting/crochet and did a lot of self improvement.

    Caveats – I’m in a cold area prone to snow, so outdoorsy stuff is off the table for at least four months. Icky cold weather, not pretty inspiring snow – think dirty slush and unsafe ice. Can’t take a vacation either, otherwise I’d go rent a cabin in the woods. I was briefly inspired on a recent trip to a national park but that expired by the time I got home.

    1. Pool Lounger*

      The Artist’s Way is a classic for jumpstarting creativity. I find the three pages of journaling very helpful—you just keep writing, whatever comes out, even if it’s nonsense. It also helps me if my supplies—craft supplies, art supplies, musical instrument, whatever—are easily accessible. If everyone is in a closet or hidden away I forget about it or feel too lazy to get everything out. Last thing, talking to other creative people, people who inspire you, who will listen to your ideas, tell you theirs, give feedback and encouragement. I often feel stuck on my own, but then I have one great conversation and I feel inspired again.

      1. OyHiOh*

        The Sketchbook Project has an annual Art Club subscription, one of the benefits of which is a daily art prompt. They usually send out two weeks or so of prompts per month, generally with a theme – dog says of summer, opposites, and portraits were some of the 2022 themes.

        Same program sells books of art prompts which both I and my kids enjoy working on.

        Check and see if you have an Urban Sketchers club in your area. In my area, the group meets on Sundays and sketches a variety of indoor and outdoor locations. Participation is no cost, although we sometimes pay an entry fee to a zoo or other attraction. I am not an artist who “draws” but the weekly practice has improved my art in so many ways, plus getting to hang out with other artists for a couple hours.

    2. Weekend Warrior*

      This is such a good question. Why is it that we avoid doing the things we know would give us pleasure? Laura Vanderkam has a good suggestion about engaging in “effortful before effortless” pastimes, e.g. reading a book or magazine rather than scrolling, jig saw puzzles rather than Netflix, even if just for a short while before heading down the passive route. It’s a way to (re)build the habit of seeking active fun rather than passive distraction. For me it’s watercolour. I love it when I do it but rarely get out my supplies and just get to it! I am (almost) motivated by Laura V’s other idea from Tranquility by Tuesday, that is, doing something 3 times a week makes it a regular activity. If I painted 3x/wk, I’d be a watercolourist!

    3. Fellow Traveller*

      Can you take a class? I took a drawing class at my local community college and the weekly assignments really gave me a nice way to regularly do something creative.
      Or focus on something really small like write two sentences while you wait for your coffee to brew.
      There is a group called 64 Million Artists in that does a January Challenge where every day in January they send you a creative prompt- I thought that was fun and stretched a lot of creative muscles for me.

    4. beach read*

      I have found inspiration from/within the amazing work of others…that is to say, after reading an amazing, amazing book, it inspires me to do my own writing. I watched one of the holiday baking shows the other day and the desserts the contestants made looked scrumptious and had me thinking of trying to copycat one or two. You get the idea.

  35. Stuck*

    Content warning: pretty much every type of bigoted “phobia” eg. homophobia, misogyny, etc.

    For the foreseeable future, I’m going to have to share a house with one of my most ofensive family members, for most weekends and holidays. This person is far-right wing, full of conspiracies about “leftist elitists taking over the world” and how much the world is stacked against him, a white, cis-het, christian man. He is very outspoken about his views, including the following conversations I’ve had with him: 1. women are biologically more nurturing and emotional and therefore need to get married and stay home to care for the children 2. having children is a duty and anyone who doesn’t want to (especially women) is failing in life 3. therefore, there is no reason to ever have an abortion for any reason and therefore it’s good that roe v wade was overturned 4. gay marriage is a threat to society and needs to be illegal, children should not learn about the concept of a same-sex couple, only opposite-sex 5. Trans people are all pedofiles, teaching anyone under 18 about the concept of being trans is pedophiliac, and it should be illegal for trans people to exist 6. there is no such thing as systematic racism because (i couldn’t even follow his argument here, it was EXTRA stupid) 7. we shouldn’t have any social systems like medicaid, food stamps, etc. because there is rampant abuse of the system by “wellfare queens” 8. if someone isn’t working hard all day every day it’s because they’re lazy, no mental illness isn’t a reason, neither is disabillity.

    How can I survive being stuck with this person for 3 days nearly every week? I can’t change his mind on anything and I’ve long since given up on that. His entire personality is talking politics, and it’s completely exhausting. Any “hey I don’t want to discuss this with you” MIGHT give me a day’s break but it doesn’t stop him from talking to other house members (who at least partially agree with him).

    1. DivergentStitches*

      Any time he starts in, just get up and leave the room. If he asks why, just say “I don’t agree with your perspectives so for my own peace of mind I’m going to keep doing this.”

    2. Cordelia*

      ugh I’m sorry, this sounds awful. I think I would just have to keep away from him and stay in my room whenever I’m in the house and he is there. I would make my room as nice and homely as I could, and live in there. I’d make sure I built up my own friendships and social supports, online and in person, so I could go out as much as possible and have friendly people to talk to online while at home. To be clear, I don’t mean that I think you should have to do this – you should be able to live comfortably in your own house, and I hope there is an end to this situation soon.

    3. Not A Manager*

      I would set a firm boundary on him talking about this stuff with you. Zero. If you engage even a little bit, it will only encourage him. Be prepared for an extinction burst where he gets more aggressive and banana-crackers to try to reel you in. Every attempt should be met with *one* response of “I will not discuss this with you,” followed by leaving the room if it continues.

      In terms of him engaging others, I’d absolutely ignore it. Wear noise-canceling headphones.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Also, he sounds like a terrible awful person, but if you want to maintain the illusion of “family,” you might think about a hate the sin, love the sinner attitude even if you don’t actually feel that way. If you and he have any common ground in neutral areas, make a real effort to engage with him occasionally in pleasant non-political interactions. Watch a movie together, or sports, or chat about how cute the cats are or whatever. Think of it as a workplace relationship with a colleague that you strongly dislike, but it’s unprofessional to show it.

      2. DJ Abbott*

        Can you get in a state of mind where you feel sorry for him? He has allowed himself to be programmed and used by politicians. He’s pushy because he needs reassurance he’s right. It’s sad.

      3. Observer**

        This was pretty much what I was going to say.

        Don’t discuss, stay out of his way when you can and heave your headphones on – preferably listening to something you enjoy- when you are stuck hearing him go on.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        Ooh, and even without the headphones, maybe audiobooks in the car if you need to be in there with him. Audiobooks while you cook if you have to be in the kitchen with him. Maybe hearing something not hateful will be good for him.

    4. GoryDetails*

      I’m so sorry! My first reaction was along the lines of “blunt instrument” but that really wouldn’t do (would it?), so the existing suggestions to divert/ignore as much as possible might be your best option. The “grey rock” method is pretty much made for this kind of situation; if you can manage it, react with vague disinterest or outright boredom to ANYTHING HE SAYS, so at least if “getting a rise out of you” is part of his methodology you might break that circuit.

      Alternately – are there any non-politicosocial-issue sites you could tempt him to? YouTube videos about bizarre lifeforms could be fascinating. [And the really gross ones could be weaponized: “What was that you just said, Grumpy-Person? Oh, wait, you have to see this video about botfly larvae emerging from a host!”]

    5. WellRed*

      I would turn my room into a cozy hibernation cave with tv, books, music, soft lighting. I would also get out of the house as often as possible.

    6. RagingADHD*

      Since you are in this position where you have to share a house, just forget about expressing any kind of disagreement or disapproval, or trying to actively get him to stop doing this. You know that saying, “Never wrestle with a pig – you both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

      If he’s talking to you, say “hm” and change the subject. If he isn’t talking to you, put on headphones or leave the room. If he’s actually talking about something pleasant it neutral, or being quiet (however briefly), act normally and politely.

      I disagree that you should explain why you’re turning out or walking out. That’s not going to put him in his place, it just hands him more fuel. Give a totally neutral reason – you have to get something from the other room, it’s a really good song, or something like that.

      I have seen extremely vehement ranters wilt and run out of steam pretty quickly in the face of “hm.” They thrive on arguments and opposition, and the lack of it makes them feel like they’ve climbed a staircase with one less step than they expected.

      Flow like water.

    7. Double A*

      A boundary is something you do. So set your boundary: I don’t listen to intolerant rants. To enforce this, what action will you take when one starts? State your boundary and either leave or give him an option to change the subject or you’ll leave.

      Is there any neutral topic you can talk about? Sports? Childhood memories? Gardening? House repairs? A TV show you both enjoy?

      I’d be very tempted to disagree while offering conservative framing but that’s just me. “Shrug, I guess it just doesn’t sit right with me for the government to tell me what to do like that but I guess we disagree there…. Oh, I believe in freedom so if we aren’t on the same page about that we should probably talk about something else…”

    8. Solokid*

      I’m going to go against the grain and say you should speak your own views (if it won’t lead to you losing your housing, or violence).

      Not to change this guys mind, but for the sake of others in your household that may not agree (especially kids).

      Hiding around these kinds of people when you have the privilege to not have major repercussions is how hate continues to rampage through society.

      1. Observer**

        Based on the way the question was put, I don’t know that the OP actually DOES have that level of privilege. It’s not clear that the can push back without some significant repercussions. Even if those repercussions are “just” to their mental health.

    9. Calalia Montegue*

      Honestly, it depends on how much you want to take on.

      Personally, I would take some scripts from Allison in dealing with a coworker who is fairly off the wall. “Huh. That is so weird that you are bringing that up. We were talking about Bernard’s jam tarts.”

      “That sounds like a lot of online stuff. I’m not really online that much. Let’s talk about Bernard’s awesome jam tarts!”

      “That’s not been my experience, but everyone has different ones. Jam tart?”

      Etc.

      But if you want to engage more, you can take other advice from above this response. It really depends on how much energy you want to give this. Because you can give it minimal. Avoid, or headphone up, or ignore with a “Oh, did you want my opinion? I was reading my book/embroidering/staring out the window/yawning and contemplating a nap?” if challenged to engage. Or a “Hmm? Oh, sorry, I am off in my own world. Work/school/life has me pretty burned out. I am gonna be off in space a lot.” and write fanfic in your head for a while.

      Or take up an outdoor sport?

  36. IrishEm*

    Not sure if this is too heavy for weekend thread, please delete if it is.

    I just need a place to vent. So I’m queer. I’m out at the place that is not named at weekends as both asexual and nonbinary and received great support. I presume because DEI is important but also those people are cool and closer to my age.

    I came out to my mother as ace but not enby, I introduced her to my girlfriend and she seemed to be accepting but today, today I call her and she asks how I got on at the hairdressers yesterday. I told her about the cute undercut I got and she went from low grade, generational non-understanding homophobia to transphobe really fast.

    Do I want to be a man? Telling me, not asking, that my identity is “a pretty, pretty girl.” Not woman, girl. I will be 39 in a few weeks I am hardly a girl. That kind of talk makes me incredibly dysphoric and highly uncomfortable at the best of times. But when it is being directed at me by my boundary stomping parent who refuses to accept that her “child” is queer and refuses to even remotely educate herself out of literal embarrassment (I offered her books to read but what if the carers in her nursing home discovered she has a queer kid? No way, can’t have it).

    I’m queer, I’m butch, I love and respect the butch aesthetic after a lifetime of being very femme presenting because it ws what she expected me to be. I have Hannah Gadsby as my Netflix profile pic and mum “doesn’t like” her and “thought she was a boy in the picture”. So my mum thinks butch women all want to be men and that’s ridiculous according to her. Just because her relationship with gender is simple she thinks everyone else’s should be too, apparently. And I am infuriated, and I can’t relax or enjoy anything because literally all I can think of is WHY WILL SHE NOT ACCEPT ME AS I AM. I am literally adopted, she fucking chose me, she doesn’t get to pick and choose what bits of me she gets to see.

    I am angry, and sad, and sore, recovering from a hospital treatment.

    1. Not A Manager*

      I’m very sorry you’re going through this. It’s wrong. You deserved to be seen and honored by your parent.

      I hope you have a smooth recovery from your treatment.