weekend open thread – February 11-12, 2023

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: Silver Sparrow, by Tayari Jones, in which a man has two daughters — one in his public family and one in his secret family on the side. Only the secret family is aware he’s leading a double life, but when the two daughters meet things begin to unravel.

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

{ 1,198 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    A reminder that the weekend posts are for relatively light discussion — think dinner party or office break room — and comments should ask questions and/or seek to discuss ideas. Recommendations or one to two updates on things you received advice about in the past are fine, but “here’s an update on my life” personal-blog-style posts are not. The full rules are here.

  2. Aphrodite*

    Dishwashers. My 1978 one died. I had called out the repair store in my town that sells older brand appliances, and services all older and newer ones, and they confirmed it. He recommended I get a new dishwasher rather than try to repair it as it would probably cost about the same.

    So I went to Consumer Reports Online and read their new reviews of appliances including dishwashers. The first four are all Bosch, then there are two xxxxxxxxx, But some reviews from other CR subscribers who have purchased those brands are not as good as CR says.

    Now I feel lost. So I am seeking information here about your experiences with dishwashers. Have you bought one in the last three years? What brand was it? What are its pros and cons? Would you recommend it, recommend it with reservations, or not recommend it? Please tell me how you feel about your current dishwasher and why. I am willing, if not entirely happy, to spend around $1000 to maybe $1400 or so. Made in America would be a big plus. What I do not want is a “bargain” that will cost a lot less and last just as long as you’d expect it to last.

    Thank you!

    1. Aphrodite*

      Yeesh, typos and errors. The second paragraph should read:

      So I went to Consumer Reports Online and read their new reviews of appliances including dishwashers. The first eight of the top ten are all Bosch, then there are two Thermador. But some reviews from other CR subscribers who have purchased those brands are not as good as CR says.

      1. Patty*

        Just bought a Fisher & Paykel. It has two drawers. You can run one or both. Love it. A bit pricey, but we had had a run of bad luck with dishwashers.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I bought one last week! I had a pretty narrow search, the rest of my kitchen is all Whirlpool appliances and I’ve been pretty happy with them so I wanted to keep the dishwasher “in the family” so to speak. So I went with a midrange option, about $650. Mine has a stainless steel lining rather than plastic, a silverware tray with multiple parts so it can take up only as much space as needed, a height adjustable upper rack, and a third tippy top rack that is super shallow and holds things like cooking utensils, dry measuring cups, the little condiment cups that don’t really fit anywhere. So far my favorite thing about it is that when it’s running, it’s quieter than the microwave.

      1. KatEnigma*

        If you have sterling that you want to be able to wash in the dishwasher (I do) that plastic lining is a feature, not a bug… it’s hard to make sure your silver doesn’t touch stainless and accidentally electroplate it when the sides of the dishwasher are stainless… Ask me how I know.

        1. fposte*

          Whoa, I didn’t know that sterling was okay if it didn’t touch steel. And I’m generally a “put it in and see how it goes,” so this may encourage me to use my old sterling more.

          1. KatEnigma*

            Yes. IF you are using it daily, the silver eventually will get “worn” – meaning it takes on a softer more matte finish. But if you’re only using your sterling once a month? It takes a lonnnng time for that to happen. As in I’ve had my sterling and gold-enameled china now for 21 years and it looks pristine, using it and dishwashing it 5-6 times a year.

    3. KatEnigma*

      Two houses ago we bought a midrange Bosch ($650) BUT be warned that you’ll need an electrician if you go Bosch, because of the special wiring/box they use. We knew this because my inlaws gave us the money to have it installed, and we needed an electrician anyway because there was no dishwasher in that house, and Milwaukee code requires it, regardless and the stores won’t even sell you a dishwasher without an electrician.

      The last house, the cheap dishwasher died and we replaced it with a Whirlpool with the “Made in America” sticker on it. I loved that 3rd rack. It did a decent job of cleaning, but be prepared that the newer dishwashers, by design, take a lot longer (3+ hours) to run a basic cycle than the old dishwashers. They use less water and power, but. (My current house has a dishwasher that looks like it’s mid 90’s and I love it, and lament that it will one day die. The normal cycle is less than 2 hours and it CLEANS the dishes, but probably uses more water than I really want to know about)

      1. KatEnigma*

        * inlaws gave us the money to have it installed, and had bought several Bosch’s over the years and warned us.

      2. KatEnigma*

        Also, they cost more, but the models where there is a grinder to chop up any food waste that is in the dishwasher so it goes down the drain is a wonderful feature to have!

      3. ThatGirl*

        We have a Bosch (it’s 8 years old or so) and didn’t need any special electrical – though it was replacing an existing one. It’s still working really well! We run cleaver through it once a month. It’s gotten a tiny bit louder over the years but still not half as loud as the one it replaced.

      4. the bean moves on*

        we just bought a bosch too and needed the electrical box. thankfully the third (third!) guy we hired was an electrician too and did the box for 80$

      5. Hiring Mgr*

        Hmmm… we just bought a new Bosch a few months ago… Expensive but great. We didn’t need to do anything with an electirician though – it was the same installation as any other unit

    4. Bluebell*

      We had our kitchen redone 4 years ago. Got a midrange Whirlpool, and it’s perfectly fine. I like the third rack. We usually just run the 1 hour cycle and it does a good job. We have some glasses that are 10-15 years old that have gotten a bit cloudier/scratched, but it’s not horrible. Of the 3 Whirlpool appliances we got, it’s the least annoying- I don’t like the oven for several reasons, and the fridge has already had the handle come loose once.

    5. California Dreamin’*

      Yes! I had two Bosches in succession that I loved from 2005-2020. When the second one needed an expensive repair in 2020, we opted to replace it but could not find a Bosch anywhere because that was during the whole supply chain appliance shortage. We went with a thermador, which we understood would be nearly identical. It’s… nearly identical but not identical. The Thermador is louder, though both are quiet (the Bosch is basically silent.). And the Bosch controls were a little better to me. The interior is pretty much the same and the cleaning performance is the same. Next time I will go back to Bosch.
      Side note if you’re coming from an old model… I highly recommend the third tier rack on top for flatware. I’ll never go back to the flatware baskets on the bottom.

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        I just came from the store to replace my 22-year-old Bosch (Siemens branded but it’s one maker, Bosch-Siemens). It still works but is starting to make weird noises; I don’t want it to break at an inconvenient time).
        I ordered a new Bosch to be delivered next week.
        It does not require special wiring, all wall sockets here are 230 Volt/16 Amp anyway.
        The newer washers take 3-4 hours for the standard cycle but need less than 3 gallons of water for a full wash. Many have also a “fast” cycle that is basically the older washer’s standard cycle – when you let dishes basically soak longer, you get them clean with less water and energy. So you can take your pick: Fast, clean or economical, choose two.

    6. Nameo*

      I bought a stainless steel-interior Bosch dishwasher last October to replace a different brand that died after just a few years. I love it!! It cleans really well on both the Auto (2.5 hrs) and 1-hour cycles, and I haven’t had any issues with the filter or drainage, even though I’m super lazy and don’t really rinse my dishes. It hasn’t harmed my plastic containers on the bottom rack, either.

      I picked a model that cost ~$1000, so it doesn’t have a third rack or height-adjustable top rack – I kind of regret that now, since I love the washer and don’t expect to have to replace it anytime soon (but who knows?)

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        Yup. We have a Bosch – higher-end than we wanted because our old one died in September of 2021 and we got what we could. Love the third rack, and ours also pops open at the end of the cycle to air-dry which means a) I know it’s done and b) the plastic actually dries

    7. Missb*

      I just did a full kitchen remodel last year. I planned for the remodel the entire year prior, down to the smallest detail.

      I knew I was getting a Bosch 800 series dishwasher, but… they were fully unavailable by the time I needed one. I ended up getting a JennAir dishwasher for a few bucks more.

      And I love it. Super quiet. 3rd rack, stainless interior.

      The best part is that there is no badging. Unless you open it, and know that the J next to the controls stands for JennAir, you’d never know.

      1. Cormorannt*

        The Bosch was impossible to get when our dishwasher died in 2020. We got a similar Samsung. I have since heard not-great things about Samsung, but the dishwasher is fine. Stainless interior, adjustable middle rack, third rack for silverware that can be removed if need to wash a bunch of large items. It does have a moisture sensor to prevent use if it’s leaking, which is great in theory – I had to have major work done at a previous house when my elderly dishwasher leaked down the wall into the sub-floor. However, very hot humid days will sometimes set the moisture sensor off. I wouldn’t recommend it in a very humid climate.

    8. Can't Sit Still*

      My Bosch came with the condo when I bought it this past summer. I estimate it’s about 6-7 years old now. So far, it cleans really well, even with hard water, and is very quiet. It takes a little over 2 hours to complete a cycle. My previous apartment had a Whirlpool, which worked fine, too, if a lot louder than the Bosch.

    9. Blythe*

      I bought a Bosch recently and I like it Just Fine. I did a minimal amount of research (Consumer Reports!) and looked for midrange prices. So far, I’m happy with it. I DO wish I had paid more attention to the layout of the bottom rack– it’s layout doesn’t align with how I want to insert dishes. I’d recommend checking that out!

    10. Bibliovore*

      Okay. I love my six year old Bosch. Recently had a problem with it draining, The repair was $140 dollars. Best part is adjustable shelves and a third level silverware rack.

    11. Grateful for my dishwasher*

      We remodeled our kitchen about 3 years ago. Got a Bosch dishwasher (used Consumer Reports as our guide). I selected the one with the options I most wanted in our price range. I use it every day and it is far and away my fav kitchen appliance purchase. It is super quiet and does a great job on everything. It looks great and did I mention quiet ?? I have literally gone back into the kitchen thinking I had failed to turn it on only to find it running.

    12. RedinSC*

      Originally we had the Fischer Pikel (sp?) drawer dishwashers – DO NOT GET THOSE, they’re terrible.

      My mom has a Bosch, she really likes it, I have, most recently a Whirlpool. It’s fine, so much better than the drawers we had. (Seriously, don’t get them).

    13. Radar’s Glasses*

      Just bought a GE Profile dishwasher and I love it – so efficient and quiet! We replaced a very dead 25-year old Kenmore. Stainless steel interior, two shelves and one tiny flat top rack for kitchen tools etc. Online instructions suggest handwashing cast iron and nonstick pots and pans, expensive knives and delicate glassware to avoid chance of damage from heat /detergent.
      $800 range but be prepared for extra fees – basic delivery and installation, haul-away old washer, installation kit ( tubes, screws etc.) . Workers found that the overflow tubing and cover were wornout and leaking, and needed to be replaced. It made sense for them to install the new parts since they had it on hand. Then they could “test drive” the dishwasher and made sure everything was working properly. Final tab was $1300 (including tax).

    14. Indolent Libertine*

      We have a Bosch that’s about 5 years old. It’s very quiet, and even the 30 minute Express cycle works quite well except for stuff like dried-on peanut butter. It has an adjustable height upper rack, which we never actually adjust because all our plates are tall and it’s got to be at maximum height for them to fit. It’s also got the third tier for flatware.

      What makes the Bosches so quiet is they lack a food grinder, so you either have to rinse or scrape thoroughly, or clean the filter all the time.

      However: the electronic control panel has a poltergeist. Every now and again it goes kaflooey and does things like start cycling through the delay function without being asked, counting up from 1 to 24 hours and then starting over until we finally stab the reset button in exactly the right way and it calms down. I don’t really want to think about how expensive it’s going to be to fix that when the time comes that we can’t coax it along any more…

    15. Emily Dickinson*

      I will never buy a Samsung kitchen appliance again. Anyways, when our relatively new but JUST past warranty Samsung died after completing Thanksgiving, I polled my family for dishwashers they didn’t dislike – I knew my in-laws HATED their GE. Anyways, we got several strong recs for Bosch as well from people who had done multiple kitchen renos over the last few years. So we bought the last one in the city and we also quite like it.

    16. becky s.*

      Newer dishwashers are slightly smaller inside due to extra insulation – the reason they are quieter. One of my friends had a griddle (rectangular shaped) that didn’t fit in her new dishwasher.

    17. E*

      We have a Whirlpool Front Control Dishwasher Model# WDF320PADS and I do NOT recommend it. Loud, doesn’t clean silverware or items well in the back/front

    18. the bean moves on*

      we had an lg for about 5 years and when it started to go no one would repair it.
      last year we got a bosch and my only reccommendation for you is do not go through home depot. a very long story short is that older houses may not be up to code, and if something isnt up to code they will not install.

      long version: this have been fine, but the first time they came, we needed a new plumbing part and so they suggessted we leave it here so it doesnt get damanged. fine. we left it in the package and called the plumber.
      after the plumber, the installers came again and noticed the door was severely damaged and they could not installed it. ok fine.

      home depot wouldnt replace the damaged dw neither would bosch because it was in our house. but they would warranty repair the door. great! now time to go back to home depot.

      but the install had been canceled, so they couldnt install the door so finally had to call around handymen in the area and finally found a guy who would do it. he was more expensive than the home depot install, but was an electrician too so he could do the junction boxsame day.

      1. rr*

        I don’t really have recommendations, just non-recommendations:

        This was 10+ years ago, given, but bought (for us) a fairly expensive LG dishwasher. No. Just don’t. It never cleaned well, took forever to run, kept breaking, and we finally gave up. It now sits as a very expensive empty dishwasher, taking up space that would be better used for a kitchen cabinet.

        On the newer side, about 2 years ago, we got a cheapish (not the cheapest, but not the most expensive version either) GE dishwasher. It is…ok. Again, takes forever to run, but is supposed to be energy efficient. That said, we’ve already had to have it repaired, and the top rack seems like it might start breaking soon (the problem with the old dishwasher that came with the house, a Whirlpool) and the cleaning isn’t too hot. When the repair person came to the house, he recommended Bosch or Whirlpool. He also said that if you want to really get your dishes clean, you can run an empty cycle with vinegar water in it once a week. I don’t want to spend the time, the money (with energy rates the way they are) or waste the water. Dishwashers should just do what they are supposed to do!

    19. Llama Llama*

      Don’t get Samsung. I bought all new Samsung appliances for the kitchen and they each have given us grief. To be be fair the dishwashers was not Samsung’s fault (my husband fell on the door hard and the door broke). But alas they burned me on the rest.

      1. Emily Dickinson*

        I know! Our Samsung oven decided it only had one temperature setting (inferno), the door shelves and main drawers in the fridge all cracked early on, as did the ice maker, and our dishwasher started leaking from the bottom just after the warranty expired.

    20. Chauncy Gardener*

      We have had a Fisher & Paykel from New Zealand for years. Very energy and water efficient.
      We love it

    21. Falling Diphthong*

      Bosch. Quite happy with it. Very quiet–in fact this is my only critique, that I can’t tell it has turned on and so sometimes discover I failed to do that. (Noise was my spouse’s biggest criterion, so he’s happy on this front.)

      Ours has the option of removing the silverware thing on the bottom shelf (I use that space for pans) and using a horizontal tray at the top, which I quite like. Stuff doesn’t get bashed around, and it’s all sorted by type when I go to unload.

    22. My Brain is Exploding*

      Kids got a Samsung which has been nothing but trouble. We like our Kitchenaid. Tip: when you go to look, bring a couple of the dishes you use all the time to see how they fit. Especially bowls. Also newer dishwashers take a MUCH LONGER time to run through a cycle.

    23. Lady Alys*

      We bought a Bosch in 2021 when the Whirlpool installed new as part of our condo build started leaking*. It works fine, but I don’t think I’d call it “quiet,” and as someone else has said, the layout of the racks is sort of weird and doesn’t really align with what I want to put in there. But stuff gets clean, so I’ll survive.

      *I will never buy a dishwasher that doesn’t have a metal interior ever again – our Whirlpool started leaking out on to the kitchen floor because the heat had warped the plastic liner – replacing it was essentially as expensive as buying a new dishwasher since of course the model had been discontinued and finding that part would have been challenging/impossible.

    24. FashionablyEvil*

      Definitely Bosch with the top rack. We got the middle of the line model that didn’t have the top third rack and I regret it.

      Also, learn how to clean the filter and do it regularly. Makes a big difference in performance.

    25. SofiaDeo*

      I had a Maytag with a built in food grinder, a removable/height adjustable top drawer, with controls on the outside. It also had a “no heat” dry option to save money plus wear and tear on more delicate glassware. I loved it.

      The Bosch that came with the next house had controls on the top inside panel, so you could not see them. It was also very quiet. Hubby opened it during a cycle thinking it was not running, destroying the electronics.

      I dislike my current Fisher Paykel 2 drawer so much I am going to change it out soon. I can no longer fit oversized items in the drawer, and this particular design does not drain well such that I *must* keep the doors ajar otherwise even more black stinky mold than usual forms in it. So now food particles get into the dishwasher if we aren’t super careful from keeping the doors ajar, and it’s difficult to clean: numerous parts to be removed, food filter cup that’s not easy to clear out (the built in grinder was better). Water doesn’t fully drain under the food particle cup and must be removed in between cycles, plus, the excess water sopped up. Not easy to used tablet cleaners, the built in soap dispenser is for liquids only. The rinse aid seems to need to refilled much more than others, IDK if more chemical is being dispensed or if the reservoir is small. I must run it at least monthly with citric acid to keep the mold problem under control.

      I’d recommend, think about features that are important to you, and go with those. I used to use Consumer Reports religiously, but agree with others that the past few years it seems their advice isn’t so great anymore.

    26. L. Ron Jeremy*

      Bosch says their dishwashers use a condensation drying process. Instead of utilizing a heating element at the bottom of a dishwasher, condensation drying involves a number of dishwashing elements that work together to efficiently dry your dishes.
      I prefer active heating element to dry my dishes like I have in my old dishwasher. Anyone have wet dishes or utensils after using their Bosch?

      1. California Dreamin’*

        Most everything gets dry, but admittedly plastic containers generally don’t. You have to leave it closed for a while after it finishes running for the dishes to get dry. And since the normal cycle is already over 2 hours, it’s a long process. We set ours on a time to run late at night and unload it first thing in the morning.

      2. the bean moves on*

        I have a bosch, my plastic items are still wet, but my other items get mostly dry. I find that things like mugs with places for the water to collect dont completely evaporate. but my plates i can put away. I always run it at night, so i dont know if that is a factor. My plastic items didnt get dry in my lg either.

    27. Generic Name*

      Just about every midrange dishwasher I’ve had is utter crap. Every brand. My parents have Bosch dishwashers, which are quite expensive, but are excellent. If you can afford a Bosch, get that. If you can’t, I suggest buying the insurance/warranty/protection plan they offer. I got one for my current dishwasher and I got a free repair when my dishwasher inevitably broke 18 months after purchase.

    28. The Other Dawn*

      A friend of mine swears by KitchenAid. They range from about $700 to $1,200. She said the one she has never seems to break down and it does it great job on the dishes.

      I have a Bosch that she gave me about seven years ago, and she had it for about 10 years before giving it to me. It still runs great. I only mention Bosch from the perspective of longevity.

      1. All Monkeys are French*

        I am on my second KitchenAid dishwasher and am very happy. My previous one was 12 years old and still going strong. I wanted to keep it but the contractor doing my kitchen renovation wouldn’t reinstall a dishwasher that old. I looked at Bosch models to replace it, but I wanted to stay under $1000 and none of the Bosch models could offer good drying performance for less than that (I live in a damp climate so drying is important to me).
        My new KitchenAid is great. It cleans well and is very quiet, and everything except some plastic comes out dry. It has the third rack on top which I find handy, though it does mean that the bottom rack sits lower than in my old model, so there’s a little more bending to load, unload, and close the door. I think I paid around $800 in 2021.

      2. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

        I have a KitchenAid too and I love it.
        Bought it probably 6-7 years ago to replace my original dw. Think I paid in the $600s for it, but there were a couple of rebates (for the dw itself and for delivery/install). I don’t remember what the original brand was but I was totally stunned at how quiet the new KitchenAid was. It’s got a metal interior, adjustable top rack (no 3rd rack on my particular model), separate sprayer arm for the top rack, and easy to remove/clean filters. It cleans so well! I do always use a rinse aid, which definitely helps with water spotting.

    29. Polyhymnia*

      I am happy to see all the Bosch recs! That’ll be our next one. We couldn’t get a Bosch when we had to replace our old one, and ended up with a Kitchen Aid that has already had to be repaired three times. All under warranty – we are wondering what it’s gonna do when the warranty ends! We love our Bosch stove. I’m seconding all the Bosch recommendations for sure.

    30. Nihil Scio*

      Okay. This is going to sound a bit weird but. Get a dishwasher with push buttons instead of a touch screen. We went through sooo many dishwashers in the past 10 years (4) and the thing that broke irreparably was the touch screen. I’m not sure how correct this is but two of our repairmen told us that the touch screens are sourced from one country and are highly variable in quality.
      We are now happily using a Bosch with push buttons.

    31. Miele for the win!*

      I recommend Miele — the dishwasher was so quiet we weren’t even sure it was working. Ours had the third rack which is a gamechanger for silverware, etc — and all the racks were adjustable so you could cant one side down for a tall thing but leave the other side up so high things fit underneath. Basically all the dishwasher innovations, Miele invents and then Bosch copies. Miele also makes their own parts (at least this was the case when we bought ours several years ago) so the quality is high. Personally, I recommend getting the dishwasher model that doesn’t have hidden controls. Given how quiet it is, it’s nearly impossible to tell if it started / stopped running when you can’t see any buttons/lights. Having the stainless interior means we don’t get that funky smell. You do need to buy things like dishwasher salts and it works better if you use their detergent, rather than the American ones that can gum them up, so that’s a little more expensive, but worth it given how well it cleans. You also will have to get used to a different way of drying — they don’t use a heated dry to save energy, so if you pop it open right away everything will be wet. It takes a few hours to dry, and pops the door open when it’s done.

    32. Grouper*

      One consideration is if you are in a rural area or not. I thought about getting a high-end DW, but I live in a town of 300 people. The nearest repair place is 45 minutes away, and that is the only option for almost 100 miles. Sears went out of business locally. Only because of my concerns for possible future repairs, I ended up buying a KitchenAid, which has been great for over 10 years. I think the Whirlpool corporation makes KitchenAid, Maytag, and Whirlpool, so they should have similar parts.

    33. EJ*

      My biggest piece of advice is to go to a store and open a bunch of different styles look around their internal layouts and how you would load it given your dishes/habits. I had read up on one type but when I opened it in the store I didn’t like it at all, so I had to go back to my research.

    34. o_gal*

      We bought a GE Dry Boost with 3rd rack and bottle jets and we hate it. We only got it about 3 months ago, so not long enough to justify replacing it with a Bosch. But I’m ready to do that when we’ve had it at least a year. The bottle jets are OK – they don’t work as well as we thought they would. But the bottom rack sucks. The prongs just aren’t right for holding up some of our dishes, and they are constantly collapsing onto each other like a string of dominoes. But the worst thing is that they is a huge bump when we roll the rack out. It’s not smooth, and I keep meaning to stop by Lowe’s and see if the display model does that. I’m betting it’s a manufacturing defect. Because I’m sure that if we had noticed that on the display model we would not have bought it. It’s also noticeably smaller than our previous GE dishwasher. But there are some good points to it – that 3rd rack for utensils and other flat stuff is great, and it’s so much quieter than our last one (which is why we have less room inside, so it’s a trade-off.)

    35. Isolda*

      I bought a Bosch to replace my old Bosch that died during the Covid shutdown. I wasn’t sold on another Bosch, but because I had a wooden panel that matched the bottom cabinetry, I called my local appliance place (I live in a rural area, so there isn’t much choice) and explained my situation. They had two Bosch dishwashers that fit and most importantly, were in stock. I bought a SHVM78W53N/11. It has three racks, is super quiet, and cleans the dishes well. The only detergent that works well in it (with my well water) is Cascade, so if you want to use pods or one of the I Don’t Hate the Environment brands, you don’t want this model.

    36. DannyG*

      Just replaced a 15 year old KitchenAid with a Whirlpool. It works fine, but is much slower. The arraignment of the racks are better design.

    37. Quinalla*

      Big fan of Bosch, quiet, insides are well thought out for various types of dishes, get things clean, and the more you pay the quieter they get. Highly recommend!

    38. VI Guy*

      I bought a Kenmore about 8 years ago and it’s still going strong. I bought it on a really good sale and wasn’t sure if it would last a long time yet have been pleasantly surprised.

    39. Aphrodite*

      I appreciate so much everyone’s input. Unfortunately, I feel no more certain than I did before. It seems as though the opinions of the members of CR who posted in response to their ratings were as varied as the ones here. There isn’t a lean, even a small one, in any manufacturer’s direction.

      One thing I do have going for me is that we have a great and honest appliance store that services older and newer appliances. They also sell older, refurbished ones–but the only type they don’t see is dishwashers. So I am really on my own here.

      What I do plan to do is visit our two top independent stores plus maybe Home Depot and bring dishes and look at and try out the various ones. I dislike shopping so this may take three or four weeks to complete. But I am thinking that unless something specific changes my mind I will probably go with an American brand like Whirlpool, GE or similar in the $600-$1200 range. Bosch sounds good but the (apparently) horrendous customer service puts me off even though I’d probably never call them.

      Thanks again! I really do appreciate all your suggestions and advice.

    40. allathian*

      I love the third rack on our Bosch. I honestly wouldn’t buy a dishwasher without it, because I love the fact that the risk of touching the business end of your silverware when you’re putting them in the kitchen drawer is minimal when you can grab the handles. I wouldn’t buy another dishwasher without that tray ever again, because the idea of putting silverware in my mouth that someone else may have touched with their hands, and it’s pretty impossible to avoid touching the business end of a spoon in a rack like that, *grosses me out*. Even if those someone elses are members of my own family. It does help that in our kitchen the silverware drawer is right next to the dishwasher.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I love small wild cats! (and… all cats, lol) These ones look so grouchy!

      My favorites are African black-footed cats, which look like leopards but are smaller than house cats. It’s ridiculous.

    2. MEH Squared*

      I love Pallas’s cats! These are adorable. My favorite small wild cats are sand cats. Those big heads! Those even bigger ears! They are so cute.

    3. Rara Avis*

      I did a school project on small wild cats ages ago, and made little clay cats in shoebox dioramas. Haven’t thought of that in years!

    4. GoryDetails*

      I got to see a caracal in the wild on a trip to Tanzania many years ago; quite stunning, with those big tufted ears!

    5. nobadcats*

      I LOVE Pallas cats.

      Here’s a video from Big Cat Sanctuary of a rescued Pallas cat discovering a camera in her bedroom. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHRx46hI4X8

      Here’s another video of a Pallas cat discovering a camera in their habitat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg8FMNEt8KY

      One thing about Pallas cats that is unique is that they don’t have the oval pupils we’re used to in our own small cats and smaller wild cats, it looks like they have human eyes.

      But just look at these little fur babies! https://youtu.be/32QsSxsYvPA

  3. CSRoadWarrior*

    Just wondering if anyone on here lives close to a railroad and what it is like.

    I am asking because I remember when my parents were looking to move when I was a child, there was this one house in a neighborhood across town that was for sale, but we knew that it was close to the railroad since the main road we had to turn in from had an at-grade railroad crossing about a quarter mile from the neighborhood. So we didn’t end up moving there; the railroad was literally right behind the backyard just beyond the trees. This was just a random memory that popped into my head earlier today.

    So for anyone who lives close to a railroad, what is it like?

    1. KatEnigma*

      Define close? I grew up a mile from a crossing that was in use, but it wasn’t a crossing where the trains have to signal, so mainly it was just the house would rumble when a train went by. We had a similar situation in an apartment we rented when my husband and I were first married- the last train went through at 10pm and I always knew it was 10 by the rumbling.

      Then I worked in a building where the train went by- and signaled- right next to the building right as we got to work every morning. It made us jump out of our skins every day! And then my son attended a school where the active track was across the street… At a crossing they signaled at every time. I’d forgotten how loud a train can be in the years between the two. And how annoying it is to be stuck behind a train when you just have to get to the other side of it to pick up your kid… No, you don’t ever get used to it, when it’s that close. (Although you probably do learn to sleep through it- I learned to sleep through the fire sirens from the station a block away)

    2. Right Next to One*

      I live in a large condo building directly on railroad tracks. It’s quite loud when you’re outside and a train goes by but not too bad when you’re inside since the windows seem really solid, kind of like homes built near airports can be.

      The bigger issue is when you’ve got a short commute somewhere and then a train is there – fortunately I can turn the other way and go around the train and it just takes a couple more minutes, but I can be stuck 10-15 minutes waiting on the train if I’m not lucky and if I don’t go around.

    3. Old Plant Woman*

      I grew up next to a railroad and just loved it. I liked the noise, the rumble in the ground, the feeling of power from the engines. I was an avid back packer, got a new pack, tested it by loading it and walking by the tracks. A freighter was coming up on me, going slow. So as a joke I stuck my thumb out. And it stopped! Engineer was young and really cute, offered to take me to a neighboring city. Still hurts to remember it, but for some reason I decided to be responsible and just rode across town.

    4. Sir Spoopin*

      It’s not quite the same, but I went to games night at a friend’s house and they lived right next to train tracks. I mean, their prperty line ended where the train line began.

      It was fine. The trains would go through and be noisy, but because it was regular noise your brain just learned to tune it out.

      1. RLC*

        My grandparents had train tracks down the middle of their street (Pacific Fruit Express, northern California). Super fun for train-obsessed kid (me), background noise for the adults. Much like a chiming clock or similarly repetitive sound, it becomes quite ordinary over time. Grandparents’ main concern was properly timing backing car out of garage to avoid train (tracks were that close to their house).

    5. talos*

      I grew up probably a mile from a railroad that didn’t really impact me getting anywhere I had to go (the city I lived in a suburb of was in the other direction), but there were a couple of minutes a day (like, a full minute once or twice a day) where the train horn was very loud. Later the town became a “quiet zone” and that mostly went away as well.

      I later lived in an apartment less than a quarter mile from a railroad, and that railroad tended to be way worse from a traffic perspective (it made me 15 minutes late to things probably ~once a month) but I literally never heard or felt it – I guess it must have been a quiet zone or something.

      In the second small city, there was a bar I sometimes went to, where the street out front literally had train tracks down the middle of it (the bar was on Mason St in Fort Collins, CO, for those curious). That definitely interrupted conversations when a train was going past!

    6. Esprit de l'escalier*

      For several years we lived close enough to railroad tracks that I heard the train whistle in the distance every night as I lay in bed waiting to fall asleep. I loved that sound. I probably wouldn’t think so fondly of it if we had lived close to the tracks, but as it was, I looked forward to hearing it every night and I missed it terribly when we moved away. That was years ago and I finally got over it, but it remains a wonderful memory. Thank you for reminding me of it.

      1. Wannessa*

        This sounds like my childhood, too. The freight trains only come through here at night and my childhood home is a ways from downtown so I didn’t hear it all the time. But when there were perfect, still conditions some nights, I could hear the whistle while laying in bed. I had frequent night terrors and fear of the dark, and hearing that whistle was soothing (though also kinda eerie and mournful, somehow).

        It’s funny how the sounds we hear going to sleep can impact and stick with us. In my first off-campus college apartment I could hear seals barking at night. When I have trouble sleeping now, I really miss the train and the seals.

    7. WoodswomanWrites*

      Your question immediately made me think of the old movie Letter to Three Wives and the scenes where the train went by and everything from the dishes to the humans would shake.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Re Letter to Three Wives: I love that movie! Though I didn’t envy being *that* near the tracks. (The way the family had worked out the choreography to stabilize the cupboards and whatnot was hilarious.)

    8. Inkhorn*

      I spent years during and after uni in a house where the train line ran behind the yards of the houses across the street. It was mostly used by electric commuter trains which aren’t that loud, and soon it wasn’t the sound of the trains I noticed but the silence when they weren’t running. The only downsides were the night track works (rail grinding is LOUD) and the occasional freight train taking livestock to the abattoir – you could smell those ones coming and for some time after they’d passed.

      When I moved away I actually missed the sound! Then last year I moved to an apartment a similar distance from the train line (different train line, no livestock on this one). I think having that familiar noise in the background helped it feel like home.

      1. Anne Kaffeekanne*

        Rail grinding is my nemesis! I live by a tram line and usually don’t mind at all, but the nights they’re rail grinding I can hear the machine hours before they finally pass by my building and at least another 30 minutes after.
        I know it needs to be done but I wish they’d announce it beforehand so I could make sure to sleep somewhere else that night.

    9. Megan*

      I live next door to a train station – and by next door, I mean there isn’t a road that separates us, I can literally see the train platform from my house. Where I live – metro Melbourne, Australia – I have the usual commuter trains, and every now and then get heavy (what I assume is) steam/coal trains go through. THOSE make such a racket. The commuter trains less so, I barely hear them nowadays, and the announcements (next training on arriving on platform one is…) is what annoys me more. It’s not that big of a deal, but everyone has different tolerance levels. I would obviously prefer silence but it’s what I could afford, and plus it is super convenient when I’m getting the train.

    10. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I grew up a short block from a railroad, but I think it was an inter-urban line and not very rackety. We’re a few blocks from a mostly freight line, and I love the sound of the cars swaying, especially late at night. The only thing I don’t like is when the loading spur near here gets noisy, but that’s only bad when the metal screeches. A distant train horn late at night is one of my favorite sounds.

    11. Rara Avis*

      We live less than a mile? If I’m awake at night I hear the night trains howling through (lots of horns because it’s all level crossings all the way through a major metropolis, and the tracks run parallel to a major road). Got stranded on the wrong side of a stopped train due to a pedestrian death (“incursion on the tracks” is what they call it) and had to take a long detour to get home.

    12. Emily Dickinson*

      We used to love across the street from houses that backed on to a commuter rail line, lived basically on top of a subway line where we could feel the trains sometimes, visit a family cottage close to a rail crossing, and can sometimes hear the train whistle when it’s quiet at our current place. When I was little we would go wave at the people on their way home from work. I kind of find train sounds comforting.

    13. English girl*

      I live in the UK where this is very normal as we have a lot of trains. Beyond the end of my garden there is a deep cutting, and the train track runs through the bottom of the cutting. As it is private land where no one is allowed to go, there is a row of trees between my garden and the train track, so I get quite a lot of wildlife considering I live close to a town centre: woodland birds such as owls and cuckoos, foxes and deer. It’s also very convenient living close to the train station, where I can catch trains to London or the south coast.

      The disadvantage is really only the noise. 6-8 trains per hour pass by. Those heading north sound their horn as they are about to go under a bridge. It’s . . . loud. But I have grown to kind of like it.

      No passenger trains run between about midnight and 5am, however the railway service do need to move some trains around overnight, and these pass by at high speed. I do hear it if I’m awake, but it’s not loud enough to wake me. Occasionally there is overnight engineering work on the track, but it’s rarely loud enough to be problematic. I do remember one night when they seemed to be using some sort of giant hammer that shook the house. We do receive advance warning of engineering works.

      In some places the trains runs very close past homes. I would find that too noisy, but I don’t have any real problem with it being at the end of my garden, especially since it is down a cutting. It’s fairly common in this country and just not something we thing a lot about.

      1. M*

        One thing I learned when I moved from Western Europe to the US that trains are not the same here. Back home, on a line where commuter trains come by at least 2-4 times an hour, is a different experience than if you’ve got heavy, massive, slow freight trains. Commuter trains don’t keep you at a crossing for 10-15 mins at a time and they don’t make as much noise as long as they don’t signal.

      2. UKDancer*

        My grandparents lived somewhere similar, cutting at railway at the bottom of the garden. They had regular passenger trains going by. The early morning ones always woke me up but neither of them noticed. I guess you get used to it. I live on a Heathrow Airport approach path and hardly notice the planes after all.

    14. ghost_cat*

      In my experience, how much noise you get will depend on the train (i.e. commuter or freight) and whether you are near a crossing. Have lived near both – one in a city and one in more a rural location. Commuter trains are generally quieter, but I found the alarms as the boom gate came down on the level crossing, as well as the horn blast from the train as it passed through, carried much further than the noise of the train itself. Freight trains are louder, but it’s a much more consistent noise if there is no level crossing to deal with. A related issue with level crossings that might not be obvious – there will regularly be someone who decides to run the lights. Some make it, some don’t. We often had outages on the train line due to some idiot running the lights and taking out the boom gate. If the boom gate couldn’t come down, it scuppered the automatic green light for the commuter train to proceed through the crossing, leading to delays until the situation was assessed and over-rides were put in place.

    15. Pamela Adams*

      I lived next to tracks in a mobile home. Double-paned windows helped. There was enough noise and shaking that I missed an earthquake.

    16. A Becky*

      I currently live 500 meters from a railway, and I can’t really hear anything when the windows are shut. When they’re open it’s a nice sort of sheeewwww sheeewwww sound every so often. We’ve got good insulation, which is worth having anyway!

      I’ve also attended lectures in a room that was so close to a metro line the seats buzzed every two minutes during peak hours. THAT was a lot, though I did get used to it.

    17. Seahorse*

      Yes, our property line to to the west is a railroad, and to the east, there’s another line directly across the the road.

      We hear the trains, but they’re far enough from the house not to be disruptive. The Amtraks just sound like large trucks driving by. A rumble and a whoosh, and then they’re gone. The freight line in the back is louder, but doesn’t make the house shake or anything.

      Occasionally there will be a slow moving one that comes through at night. It has spotlights on it that eerily light up the trees, and it plays it looping recording about the tracks being clear. Waking up to that the first couple times was a weird experience. We took to calling it the Ghost Train. I’m still not sure what it carries – it might be some kind of standard maintenance or safety check.

      The property value is lower due to the tracks, which is why we can afford to live here. It also makes nearby development unlikely, and I’m very fond of the trees, so that’s fine with me too. Occasionally we have to stop for a train while driving to and from home, but it’s less common than I expected, and we don’t get the huge ones that take 20 minutes to pass.
      I wouldn’t have sought out a house by a railroad, but it turned out to be a pretty good deal.

    18. Yet another librarian*

      I grew up in a house where the neighbors across the street had the RR tracks directly behind them. Everyone had about 2 acres of land so it wasn’t as close as in a city. The tracks were mostly used for commuter rails, and at least in my memory, weren’t too often. We also lived about 1/2 mile from the crossing, so we didn’t hear the bells. Overall, I never noticed the noise until I went to college and then came back for a visit. Friends visiting for the first time would be a bit startled. Also, over time, both our house and our neighbors’ houses developed cracks in the walls from shaking. I’m pretty sure that was cosmetic, though.

      I would consider living near tracks again if 1) trains weren’t too frequent 2) didn’t have to hear the crossing 3) had good windows and 4) didn’t have to rely on a crossing to get anywhere. Luckily the crossing where I grew up was at an intersection, and going into town didn’t involve crossing the tracks. It could be super annoying to wait.

    19. English Rose*

      I live in an apartment block which backs onto a mainline rail network, with a station nearby. It’s a modern block and very carefully built so all the apartments face front away from the track. The block integrates a multistorey car park which is right next to the track, then internal corridors between the car park and the apartments. There’s excellent soundproofing so we hear nearly nothing of the trains in the winter. In the summer with windows open we can hear the trains but not intrusively.
      I used to live in a house with a garden backing onto train track. That was much noisier, but you got used to it and in fact the trains were quite soothing.

    20. Cormorannt*

      I currently live about half a mile as the crow flies from the nearest tracks and the trains are a low rumble that’s audible inside the house if it’s quiet, but not enough to bother me. There isn’t a crossing nearby that they have to signal for, but when they do sound the horn we can hear it pretty clearly. I mostly tune it out. In college I had an apartment where the train went right by our back deck. Diesel freights. We tuned it out completely after a few days. I’d only notice because suddenly you wouldn’t be able to hear the TV or carry on a conversation while the train passed. Our main issue was that diesel exhaust made our patio furniture all grimy. If I had kids I wouldn’t want to be close to tracks that were easily accessible. Around here they tend to have embankments and fencing but that’s not the case everywhere. So air quality and safety would be a much bigger concern to me than noise.

    21. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

      My mother’s grandfather was a crossing tender for the Boston & Maine a century ago, so my grandfather grew up knowing a good bit about trains. I’ve forgotten all of it.

      When I lived in DC, I lived for a few months in an apartment that sat right next to the Red Line north of the city. Trains would pass just a few yards away from my bedroom; I remember thinking a derailment at just the right time (which as most DC residents know, is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility) would not have ended at all well for me…

    22. Carsies*

      I live quite close to the elevated metro line (DC area) and honestly, I love it. I’m probably the perfect distance where you can see it and hear it as a gentle rumble but it’s not very disturbing. It makes me feel very urban and cool haha. I’m also on a busy road and that’s much more of a nuisance than the train. I would think twice about raising kids in a house with this much noise pollution (and presumably air pollution, sigh) but it’s okay for me and my dog.

    23. Chilipepper Attitude*

      There are two railroads that run through the length of the east coast of Florida. One for passengers that is not as busy as the cargo train that runs through or near most business districts. Plus we now have the high speed Brightline on the cargo tracks. People have died on the cargo tracks trying to beat the train at least twice in the 25 years we have lived here which is awful. The biggest issue is a long cargo train holding up traffic or a train sitting in the passenger station and triggering a light in the nearby main road and holding up traffic.

      I used to live just under a half mile from the tracks/a crossing and definitely heard the whistle. Now I’m a little more than a mile from a crossing and can hear it if I listen for it. In shops facing the tracks (a road travels parallel to the tracks for many miles with lots of shops and even homes), it could really rattle the place and conversation had to stop when a train passed.

    24. Chilipepper Attitude*

      There are two railroads that run through the length of the east coast of Florida. One for passengers (frequent commuter trains plus Amtrack) and a cargo train in the east that runs through or near most business districts. Plus we now have the high speed Brightline on the cargo tracks. People have died on the cargo tracks trying to beat the train at least twice in the 25 years we have lived here which is awful. The biggest issue is a long cargo train holding up traffic (about 10 cargo trains a day) or a train sitting in the passenger station and triggering a light in the nearby main road and holding up traffic.

      I used to live just under a half mile from the tracks/a crossing and definitely heard the whistle. Now crossings are a quiet zone and only Sound if there is danger. I’m a little more than a mile from a crossing and can hear it rumble by if I listen for it. In shops facing the tracks (a road travels parallel to the tracks for many miles with lots of shops and even homes), it could really rattle the place and conversation had to stop when a train passed. Google FEC railroad to see what I mean.

      1. Newbie*

        I so wish passenger rail would return across north Florida. Y’all are so lucky to have a few passenger options.
        I live near tracks and for years could just about set my internal clock by their comings and goings. It’s one of the few background noises I actually like. There’s not as much rail traffic now and I miss it.

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

      I’d say how tolerable it is depends in part on how busy the line is and how much you like to keep your windows open. I rent across the street from Long Island Railroad tracks, with my apartment windows facing the train, and it’s a little bit too close to live next to such a busy line. Like, I’ll be on the phone, and when the train goes by, I’ll have to ask the other person to repeat themselves. It’s also distracting when a train goes by if I am having a Zoom meeting or trying to listen to the radio. Things are considerably quieter when my windows are closed (and one can buy special double noise-reducing windows, I’m told), but I’m more of a windows-open gal.

      On the other hand, I’ve always lived within earshot of a train whistle, so I like to hear those, and I actually enjoy seeing trains go by–I just wish they were a little quieter. An earlier apartment I had in this neighborhood was more like two blocks away from the railroad, and that was quieter enough that I didn’t feel interrupted every time the train went by. And I once lived RIGHT by the train tracks, but the line wasn’t used much and only had a train go through once or twice a day. That was fine too.

    26. L. Ron Jeremy*

      I hate it. Freight and Amtrak trains start running at 3 AM and use their horns at each crossing, which includes 3 close to me.
      Very loud and obnoxious, especially during the summer with windows open. Don’t recommend.

    27. costello music*

      I lived by trains with my parents. When I moved out, it took a bit to get used to the silence. I miss hearing the train all the time. Though I didn’t like the few years when we lived right on top of the tracks/by the station—waking up at 3 am isn’t great. But a quarter mile was way more bearable.

      Getting around was a pain sometimes as the tracks divided the town in half, but idk. It was funny to listen to two trains talk to each other with their horns for like 5 minutes straight.

    28. Generic Name*

      Mose everywhere I’ve lived except my current house I could hear trains in the distance. They were maybe within a mile away? I don’t mind the sound at all, and find it very comforting. Husband and I are looking to move to a small town with tracks running alongside one part of town. We are looking at properties in the OTHER side of town because I do not want to be next to the tracks. It is quite loud. So loud that if you are in the yard, you have to stop talking.

    29. PaulaMomOfTwo*

      One of the reasons we picked our new lot to build on was it’s close to a railroad. I absolutely love the sound, very reassuring and helps me sleep. But that’s because I grew up 1.5 miles away from one. And then they were also nearby in college.

      Try playing some railroad sound white noises at a low volume when you’re sleeping if you can find such a thing, see if it is annoying or an okay background.

    30. GoryDetails*

      I grew up in Rock Springs, Wyoming, one of the “railroad towns” built up along the right-of-way of the Union Pacific railroad. (Also a coal-town, not coincidentally.) I loved hearing the train whistles at night – but didn’t love it if I happened to get stuck waiting for one of the coal-trains to cross; those things were HUGE, just ridiculously long, and very slow, and could take as long as 20 minutes to clear a crossing. (When I was old enough to drive I timed one such stoppage just out of curiosity.) One could see and hear the train coming, and sometimes people would floor it to cross the intersection before the train-gate came down… not prudent, but understandable!

      I live in southern New Hampshire now, and there are train tracks through my city, but trains run on them so seldom that it’s a bit of a shock to see one. I did get stuck for a slow freight train once (though for less than 10 minutes), and had a flash of nostalgia for the coal-trains of my youth…

      1. DannyG*

        Grew up in southern NH, our house was built on the bluffs above the Connecticut River. One set of tracks ran along the river on the NH side and another across the river on the VT side. Both far enough away to just hear the rumble.

    31. Girasol*

      You love trains or you hate them. We lived a mile from a track when I was 10 and I loved counting train cars and looking for rail names I hadn’t seen. We lived a half block from rails when I was 18. The train would go to the turn bridge a mile away, wail the horn, then stop with an echoing crash starting a mile down and going past us and beyond, as each car slammed into the one in front so the train could wait for the bridge to turn. Then there would be another crash as the engine started across and each car pulled back from the one in front. It woke me but I loved it hearing it, the sound of everything going along as it should in the night, and I would go right back to sleep. Now I hear the sound of those harmonically tuned train horns on a snowy night and …aaah, sweet. But my husband, who can complain that he didn’t sleep a wink because a dog barked two whole times at a farm several miles away…well, he hates trains.

    32. Lexi Vipond*

      The line heading north is about 3/4 of a mile away, and the main line to the neighbouring city, which it has just split from, is about half a mile beyond that. Never hear anything from either of them.

      Occasionally if it’s quiet – sometimes in the night – you hear ghostly hooting from somewhere over near the hills, presumably the minor line west.

      I think one difference in the UK is that lines through a town almost always run under the roads – level crossings are a rural thing, and even there generally on minor roads or tracks or footpaths, not blocking main roads.

      (And now I’ve realised that the reason why I hear the far away line, which is something like one train an hour in each direction, and not the busy ones, is that it does have a scattering of level crossings on farm tracks, which it presumably has to hoot for!)

    33. Henry Division*

      I grew up down the block from a LIRR station and live near a station in a different system in a different city now. It’s convenient if you take the railroad often, kind of just becomes part of the background if you don’t. The sound is definitely an adjustment for anyone who never grew up near them, but you tune it out. I gotta say commuter rails are WAY quieter than subways, I used to live by the Franklin Shuttle in Brooklyn and boy was that noisy.

      We also have trolleys were I live now, and they are DELIGHTFUL. Some even decorate for holidays.

    34. MissCoco*

      I grew up with my bedroom about 100 yards from a railroad track.
      My brother and I were VERY heavy sleepers as kids (like could sleep through a fire alarm kind of heavy sleepers), and I’ve always thought that might have been because of the trains at night.
      It might be harder for adults who weren’t used to it, but my mom said within a few months of moving in she would wake when trains went by at night, and then fall back to sleep within a few minutes. Other than at night it caused no issues.
      We used the tracks as a balance beam, had a collection of railroad nails in the garage, and would always try to get passengers on the commuter trains to wave at us. Friends of ours bought a house near a train recently, and though they were very wary at first, they aren’t bothered by it after a year there.

    35. Sparkles McFadden*

      I think it depends on how solid the construction is and how you react to noise in general.

      I live three blocks away from a train station. I love it because I can walk to the train. Your brain learns to filter out the noise. I have friend who lived in an apartment where she literally shared a parking lot with the train station, and this was a station where they HAD to blow the horn at the crossing. She said she never noticed any of the noise. I did not believe her until I was hanging out at her apartment during a busy commute time. Her building was pretty solid so there were no vibrations and you really did learn to ignore the sounds quickly.

      But I also grew up near a train line so maybe I just like the sounds?

    36. Buni*

      The school I was at for 7 years had a railway immediately next to it, like 10ft from the first line of classrooms. You just got used to it, you got used to talking like……this for as long as it… took. There was a train about every 20-30 minutes, and there was a bit of notice because there was also a pedestrian crossing with alarm bells. I honestly don’t think anyone even registered it after the first few weeks.

    37. nobadcats*

      This is probably more a city answer than a rural answer. My place in Chicago was about three blocks away from the Brown line el stop. In general, our neighborhood was pretty quiet. But I did love the sound of the el. Late late at night, it was this constant, consistent sound of the train, which I personally find soothing.

      Lin Manuel Miranda wrote “Wait For It” whilst he was on the train on the way to a birthday party for a friend, you can hear that rhythm in the song, the consistent beat that mimics the sound of the wheels on the track. He bagged out from the planned festivities he was headed toward to complete the song. I’m so glad he did, because “Wait For It” is one of many showstoppers.

    38. Barbara Eyiuche*

      I used to live close to railroad tracks – about a block away. I wouldn’t recommend it. At first I couldn’t sleep well because of the noise, but I gradually learned to tune it out. But living in a really noisy place is not good for children’s development.

    39. DannyG*

      We live about 1/4 mile up the mountain from a heavily traveled section of tracks (mostly freight & coal). The heavy forest mutes the sound and the horns are rather pleasant. We have 3 possible exits across the tracks, but have been blocked in a couple of times in the last 30 years. Can’t hear inside, lovely when we are on the porch.

    40. Cedrus Libani*

      I live within rock-throwing distance of a major train station AND a light-rail station, both of which have at-grade crossings. There’s an expressway between me and the light-rail, though, plus the neighbor’s pack of hounds and the other neighbor’s garage band, so at least there’s some variety…

      You really do get used to it. For the first couple of months, I did wake up every time a freight train went by in the wee hours (HONK! ding a ling a HOOONNK!! rumble rumble HONK!).

      I used to live a half-mile away along the same train line, and it wasn’t bad at all, because there was no crossing nearby and thus no noise besides the moving train itself. It was just a low rumble that you mostly wouldn’t notice unless the windows were open.

      The one that I didn’t think I could handle was a condo that was right next to the interstate. There was one of those big concrete barrier walls at the property line. Even so, when outside, it sounded like someone was blowing leaves. When inside, it sounded like a white noise machine. I figured there was at least an 85% chance that I would adapt and simply not hear it after a while, but it would be an awfully expensive mistake if I couldn’t. At least the HONK!!! only lasts a minute or two each time, it’s not there 24/7.

    41. Samwise*

      I grew up across the street from the RR. Amtrak and a lot of freight trains. Those are the loud ones. Got used to it fast. When I visit my folks it wakes me up the first night and then not at all after that.

      My sons apt is right next to the el in Chicago. Now that’s loud, and trains go by often. He says he sleeps thru it.

    42. anon for this*

      I have LOVED it. First one was a mile up the road, second one was across the street, third one was one block away, fourth one was about three miles away but I could hear it at night because the sound would carry up from the valley. Now I am far from any RR and I miss the sound. Unless you live in a Blues Brothers apartment, the sound does not bother after a couple days.

  4. Jackalope*

    Reading thread! Everyone share what you’re reading this week. All reading welcome.

    A few weeks ago I started the sequel to Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I quickly discovered that I would need to do a reread (or at least skim) of Ninth House to know what was going on, so I’ve been working on that. I previously read the whole thing in one day while waiting at court to see if I’d be called for jury duty, so I’m having a hard time not going on mental trips down court memory lane. But I enjoyed it a lot last time and am enjoying it so far this time too.

    1. Atheist Nun*

      I finished Sleep of Memory by Patrick Modiano, and it was wonderful. I love the sense of melancholy and longing in his books, as well as his descriptions of 1940s-1960s Paris.

      A couple weeks ago I told a work friend about Modiano’s books (she loves Paris and was looking for something to read that was set there), and I warned her that they often feature children/young adults who were abandoned or neglected by their parents. She was a little taken aback and shared that both her parents died of illness when she was a child, and now her interest was piqued by this author. That made me wonder (which I shared with her) if one of the reasons I like Modiano is because my mother died when I was a kid.

      1. Weekend Warrior*

        I love Modiano’s evocation of loss and longing, reflective of his own childhood and on a larger scale, the trauma and tragedy experienced by French Jews during WWII. I didn’t have traumatic loss in my childhood but but his novels still touch me deeply. Like Anita Bookner, he returns to the same themes and settings in many of his novels, as if constantly retelling the same story hoping for a different ending. A wonderful writer!

    2. Bluebell*

      Finished Kashana Cauley’s The Survivalists, and it was OK, but I didn’t love it. I’m in the middle of The Frederick Sisters are Living the Dream, and like it a lot. I have a trip later this week, so have my Kindle loaded with LA Weather, Mean Baby by Selma Blair, Paris Daillancourt is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall, and Providence by Caroline Kepnes.

    3. Teapot Translator*

      I read The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin. I look forward to reading the conclusion, but I’m going to wait a bit. I’m now reading a book translated from Korean to French as I’m trying to read more in French. 

      Any other bilingual/multilingual people who have a hard time reading in their mother tongue? I read a lot in English and I’ve neglected French.

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        That’s my call! I read way more (I’d say about five times as much) in English than in German. The habit started at college when most manuals were in English or very badly translated (almost none of the professional translators knew much about IT in the eighties) so one was much better off with the original text.

      2. allathian*

        I wouldn’t say a hard time, but I vastly prefer reading in English to reading in my first languages Finnish and Swedish. It feels like my reading speed and comprehension are better in English, because most of what I read for fun, I read in English.

        I’m a translator, but I just can’t read translations from a language I know, I have to read the original. The 1970s Finnish translation of The Lord of The Rings is said to be awesome, but I haven’t been able to force myself to read it yet, not even to admire the mastery of the craft.

    4. Princess Deviant*

      I’m reading How I Met My Son by Rosalind Powell.
      It’s an account of her and her husband’s adoption of their son. It’s a positive memoir, which is good to read because a lot of adoption accounts tend to focus on the difficulties, but…I find her very middle-class. I can’t relate very much to her. She got stressed and bought a house in Spain, e.g., to escape to when things get too much.
      I imagine that’s not realistic for most people.
      And it’s all very white.

      1. Ali + Nino*

        FWIW, I wouldn’t consider buying a house in Spain “middle-class.” I think of my family as being middle-class (two working, college-educated professionals in a metropolitan area) and I can’t imagine we’ll ever be able to buy one house, let alone two.

        1. constant_craving*

          I had the same thought. A house in Spain and presumably semi-regular flights to get there= rich, not middle class. Not for this generation anyway.

          1. Laura Petrie*

            I’d still say pretty solidly middle class though. Flights from the UK to Spain are cheap and lots of people have bought property out there.

        2. allathian*

          Depends on where you’re located. I doubt it’d be workable from the US, but from much of Western and Northern Europe, certainly. Spain and Portugal are the Florida of much of Europe, lots of people move there more or less permanently when they retire. For EU citizens it’s a fairly simple process, and because costs in Spain and Portugal are generally lower than in most other parts of Western Europe, they can afford a better standard of living than they would in their home countries. Cheap flights from, say, Helsinki to Málaga cost less than 200 euros, and if you’re willing to take a last-minute flight, it can be considerably less than that.

    5. germank106*

      I just finished “The Perfume” by Patrick Suesskind. I read it in the original language (German) almost forty years ago and the English translation is just as good. The language is absolutely beautiful. It it set in 18th Century Paris and tells the story of Jean Baptiste Grenouille. Born underneath a market stall he is discovering the world by scent. In order to find the scent of love and adoration he becomes a murderer…….
      The Geezer (a/k/a my husband) still has a hard time with fine motor skills (like turning pages in a book), so we’ve been listening to Audiobooks. He is currently obsessed with John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers series. We did finish “Holy Ghost” and have just started on “Bad Blood”. Both are great suspense novels and that F*&^%ing Flowers (they call him that in the book) is just the type of quirky investigator that the Geezer loves.

      1. Helvetica*

        I was obsessed with that story when I first read it as a teenager. I also read a translated version, though not in English, and it was so gorgeous. Creepy but gorgeous.

    6. A Becky*

      Little Wars by HG Wells – it turns out he invented a playroom war game and wrote a really fun pamphlet/novella/splatbook for it.

      It’s remarkably close to modern tabletop wargaming!

    7. Serenity*

      I loooove Tayari Jones’ books, including Silver Sparrow (Alison’s recommendation this week). I’m currently reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (a Man Booker Prize finalist). It’s quite a tome (700+ pages), but outstanding and I can’t put it down.

    8. My Brain is Exploding*

      Inklings by Jeff Koterba, who for a long time was the editorial cartoonist at the Omaha World Herald. A well-written memoir that covers his trajectory as a cartoonist, his years growing up in Omaha with a unique family (that somehow didn’t totally mess up his adulthood), and his discovery that his “nervous habits” were really Tourette’s (not a spoiler, this is easy for the adult reader to guess).

    9. anonagain*

      My commute book is “Mind and Matter” by John Urschel and Louisa Thomas. It’s about Urschel’s experiences as a football player and mathematician. I like the math parts more than the football parts.

      My before bed book is the “The Finnish Way” by Katja Pantzar. Also nonfiction about mental fortitude. Lots and lots of discussion of swimming in cold water. It’s fine. I can’t tolerate anything stressful in my before bed reading and this certainly meets that requirement.

    10. Angstrom*

      Invisible Women by Caroline Perez, about how data bias(male=standard human) affects women’s health, safety, economics, etc.

      Just finished The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis, the first of the Marcus Didius Falco novels about a detective in ancient Rome.

        1. SarahKay*

          This is my problem with Invisible Women (and other similar books). They’re fascinating, and obviously it’s better if I’m aware of all these issues so that maybe I can do something about them, but gosh they do make me furious with the world.
          Definitely a case of ‘ignorance is bliss’, even if I know that my personal comfort is not a reason to stay ignorant.

    11. And the award goes to*

      Recently I read Shutter by Ramona Emerson. Rita is a forensic photographer who sees spirits. One of the spirits demands that Rita solve her murder. I could not put the book down and I am glad Emerson is working on a second book.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        I finished the memoir _I’m Glad My Mom Died_ by Jennette McCurdy a couple of days ago. It’s good: the first part is mostly about McCurdy being a parentified child and about McCurdy’s mother pushing her into an acting career starting when she was about six, because that’s what her mother had wanted and not gotten. The second part is more about the author’s adolescence and young adulthood, including her eating disorders, and trying to figure out what she actually wants other than “do and say whatever makes my mother happy.”

        I don’t know how this will read to people who remember watching iCarly, or otherwise seeing McCurdy on screen regularly, whether that will add meaningful context, or conversely be “I didn’t want to know that, I was a kid watching those shows.”

    12. lobsterbot*

      I’m reading the Lord Peter Wimsey books by Dorothy Sayers. They’re a bit overelaborate at times, but I’m loving the glimpse into various subcultures of the times. Been getting them not quite in order from my library via overdrive/Libby

      1. Dancing Otter*

        If you enjoy Lord Peter, look for the newer books by Jill Paton Walsh following Peter and Harriet through WW2 and after.
        Caveat for other readers: there’s occasional stereotyping that may strike modern readers as antisemitic, but A) it’s typical of the society and time-period, where the upper class was terribly snobbish about everyone else, not just Jews; and B) Lord Peter isn’t the one displaying prejudice.

        1. Observer*

          it’s typical of the society and time-period, where the upper class was terribly snobbish about everyone else, not just Jews;

          That’s a fairly lame excuse.

          The question is whether the author is expressing that prejudice directly, or by portraying the prejudiced people positively.

    13. GoryDetails*

      After stumbling across the historical-Korea/zombie series “Kingdom” on Netflix, I discovered it was inspired by a graphic novel, and have been reading THE KINGDOM OF THE GODS – the story does differ a bit from the series (and it looks as though the series has already overtaken the book), but I am enjoying it. [Very, very grisly, with detailed artwork that lingers on every image, fwiw.]

      On the lighter side: THE EXTRA WOMAN by Joanna Scutts, about lifestyle author Marjorie Hillis and her books from the 1930s, starting with LIVE ALONE AND LIKE IT – which I’m also reading. Scutts’ book mixes biographical details about Hillis and quotes/comments about her books with a snapshot of social, political, and economic life at the time. Hillis’ book is rather delightful – encouraging women who are living alone, whether temporarily or voluntarily or otherwise, to find ways to enhance and celebrate the experience. Some of the advice is dated, but a lot is surprisingly practical and open-minded.

    14. PastorJen*

      I just finished reading B.F.F.: A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found by Christie Tate. I went to high school with the author so I wanted to support her. The book was great. It offers a really compelling take on the joys and challenges of friendships. I had previously read her first book, Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life. It was excellent and this follows in a similar way.

      1. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

        Oh wow! I loved GROUP so much – I think about it all the time. I will track down the new one – thanks for the rec!

    15. Girasol*

      How High We Go In The Dark, a sci fi story in a series of short episodes about a horrible pandemic. It’s very good. My immune compromised spouse happens to be sick now so it’s really creeping me out, but I just have to know how it ends.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Re How High We Go in the Dark: I loved that one! Well, in between the sobbing – it gets pretty intense in places. Beautifully imagined throughout.

        1. nobadcats*

          That sounds like when I was reading “After You’d Gone” by Maggie O’Farrell, I was sobbing through the last half and my ex said, “nobadcats, if the book is hurting you, maybe you should stop reading it?” Me, “No, it’s too good.”

      2. carcinization*

        I really liked that one but read it from the library awhile ago; looking back over a review, I’d forgotten much about it other than a certain theme park.

    16. PseudoMona*

      I gave up on The Girl Who was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill , I just couldn’t get into it. The chapters were short and almost self-contained, but it made the overall story feel disjointed.

      Next up is The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. I enjoyed Middlesex so I’m looking forward to reading another of his books.

      1. Serenity*

        My book club read The Marriage Plot years ago, and we pretty uniformly couldn’t stand it. Several had read Middlesex and loved that one. YMMV, of course, but if you don’t like The Marriage Plot early on, don’t waste your time expecting it to get better. Move on to something else.

    17. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m continuing my slow read through Newbery books, and just found The Winter Room by Gary Paulsen at a Little Free Library. In one paragraph the introduction caught me… if books could have smells…

    18. carcinization*

      Finished with McGuire’s Seasonal Fears, which I thought was okay, and (E.) Straub’s This Time Tomorrow, also okay. About to start Gladstone’s Last Exit, which I hope will be better than okay, but we’ll see!

    19. Ampersand*

      The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. The writing is captivating, all the more so since it’s translated. My husband grabbed it off his bookshelf one day and said he thought I would like it—he was right!

    20. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I’m reading Fatty Fatty Boom Boom by Rabia Chaudry– she’s the attorney who first got Sarah Koenig involved in the Adnan Syed case, and this is her memoir about growing up Pakistani-American and overweight, and there’s a lot of great food descriptions in there. I expected to like it well enough but it turns out I’m really digging her style and I stayed up way too late last night reading it.

      I got most of the way through Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle and just couldn’t do it anymore.

    21. germank106*

      The teenaged grandkids have been cleaning out the garage and came across a box with books that I didn’t remember I still had. Among others they found “The big book of household economics.” It is big….literally. Almost 2500 pages of advice about how to run an efficient household, lists for everything you need to establish your household (four bath towels, six hand towels, 6 washcloth, at least 2 table cloths…), it also gives advice on how to place furniture, sew your own skirts and dresses, write a business letter, set the table for a variety of dinners and so on and so forth. I now know how to preserve just about anything and how to set my hair with sugar water.
      The book was printed in 1952 and was a wedding gift to my mother from her mother in law. I can’t remember Mom ever reading it, but she used it as a stepstool, a highchair and a doorstop.
      I will curl up tomorrow with a cup of tea and take a closer look.

      1. MG Wright*

        Is this an update of a Mrs. Beeton’s book? Regardless, I would be interested in the details of the book (publisher and whatever else would be helpful).

        Due to your post, I found a new book I am going to read. The Secret History of Home Economics: How Trailblazing Women Harnessed the Power of Home and Changed the Way We Live by Danielle Dreilinger. It was a NPR Favorite History Book of 2021.

        The author “traces the field’s history from Black colleges to Eleanor Roosevelt to Okinawa, from a Betty Crocker brigade to DIY techies. These women—and they were mostly women—became chemists and marketers, studied nutrition, health, and exercise, tested parachutes, created astronaut food, and took bold steps in childhood development and education.”

    22. Rosyglasses*

      I’m reading through the Jonathan Stroud “Lockwood & Co” series since I had read them back in 2018 and really enjoyed the Netflix series that just dropped.

      Finished “Oh William!” by Elizabeth Strout and was pleasantly enamored with the book. She is able to evoke SUCH emotion with a seemingly quick twist of the pen – each page is filled with longing, bittersweetness, happiness, sadness. It’s amazing.

      Limped to the end of “Moonflower Murders” by Anthony Horowitz – the actual book inside the book was more interesting than the “container” book. Fascinating twist tho to have an actual murder mystery book inside of the main murder mystery narrative.

  5. Old Plant Woman*

    Thanks for the help a couple weeks ago. I asked how to emotionally detach from a community cat I am feeding. Great advice. I am feeling a lot more relaxed about her now. Also thank you to Irish Teacher for a kind, thoughtful response to a comment I made about how our younger selves would look at our current selves. You all are the best. So. New question. Has this thread helped you personally? How?

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I’d been a silent reader for awhile and started commenting during Covid. It was a really helpful source of entertainment and company when I didn’t have other options and has continued to be a nice place to check in throughout the weekend.

      I’ve gotten some good gut checks on personal and work stuff in these threads too, a few product recs, and tons of book recs!

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      I’ve bookmarked threads about favorite movies, healthy snacks, and favorite memoirs. I’ve enjoyed hearing about people’s wildlife sightings. Indirectly, I’ve benefited from the respectful exchange of ideas, gotten ideas about travel, laughed aloud at funny stories, learned from others’ experiences or hobbies that they posted about, and just enjoyed reading everything.

    3. Princess Deviant*

      Yes! I got an autism diagnosis off the back of a couple of threads I posted here about it, a few years ago.
      Very grateful!

    4. English Rose*

      Yes, I posted a while back about feeling isolated socially. Lots of great suggestions but more importantly, non-judgemental support. I am slowly but surely getting out and about more, and making new… not friends yet, but lovely acquaintances. Perhaps I could call them future-friends. I don’t always catch up with these weekend threads but when I do they are so rewarding.

    5. Chauncy Gardener*

      I’ve loved hearing all the different perspectives on various topics. The recommended books, recipes, podcasts, shoes, clothes, pets and animals, family issues, everything! This group is a wealth of useful and interesting information and is also so kind and constructive. I look forward to reading it every weekend.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      Book recommendations. From new beloved series (The Scholomance, The Murderbot Diaries) to really interesting reads I wouldn’t have stumbled across (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, The House on the Cerulean Sea).

      Also it’s interesting how I can love something that some others find off-putting (The Midnight Library) or be bored by something that others adored (sorry, The Spare Man).

    7. Carsies*

      I think about this a lot, as a frequent commenter (I switched names for this week). On one hand, meant with great respect, this is definitely a bit of a Try-Hard community with a lot of people who Do Things Right and care a lot about that. Sometimes I come away feeling a bit exhausted or discouraged that I don’t optimize enough factors of my life. That’s when I know I need to take a break and do less commenting for a while, or just focus on trying to be helpful to the OP on the daily posts. Of course there are also plenty of generous and compassionate posters with all sorts of handy advice – it’s really more about me and my issues!

      1. Academia-Blues*

        I totally get what you mean! I’m writing this while seating in my messy room after postponing doing chores till evening so that I can mindlessly scroll stuff on my phone. I guess that is what makes us humans even if it’s annoying to admit)

    8. Turtle Dove*

      I second what others have said about gut checks, product and book and travel recs, and support. Most of all, the tone here reflects what I value and how I try to live: practicing kindness and consideration. I’m often touched by the compassionate, helpful responses. I’m very grateful to Alison for this community.

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

      Since I am still being cautious as the panini drags on, I’ve lost outlets for in-person socializing. Over the last many years, these weekend threads have helped me feel like I have another community to check in with, even if I’m not a central member of that community. I’ve gotten some good advice when I’ve posted queries here, and I enjoy seeing what everyone’s reading/watching/doing/joyful about.

    10. the cat's ass*

      I started reading AAM just as the pandemic was breaking and it’ s (both w and non w threads) been an invaluable resource of kind and thoughtful folks with great advice, awesome book recommendations i never would have come to left to my own devices, hotel and trip recommendations, and really great humor, even in the midst of tragedy. I salute you!

    11. Aw, coffee, no*

      About a year ago a there were a few comments about / defining demi-sexuality, in response to (I think) a question about dating, and it was a moment of revelation for me.
      While I’d always been aware that I needed to know someone fairly well before being attracted to them, somehow having it explicitly defined as it was in the comments just made so many pieces fall into place for me. I hadn’t ever really realised that how I respond actually doesn’t match with how most of the fiction I read or watch presents how people start relationships, so I’d spent a lot of time effectively trying to square a circle.
      It’s a bit startling to discover something so fundamental about oneself in one’s fifties, but I’m so grateful for that chance discovery.

  6. Jackalope*

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

    I’m still working on Fire Emblem Engage. I’m a bit annoyed that the grinding battles are keyed to the main character and they’re automatically added to any fight (you can remove them but you have to be paying attention). I just realized that recently when I was trying to figure out why all the fights were so dang difficult and I couldn’t level up my weaker characters for anything. Now I’m working on a bunch of leveling up while not using my main character.

    Also, has anyone here played Breath of the Wild? How did you feel about it? I tried it a tiny bit and it wasn’t my thing, which I was bummed about since I’m generally a Zelda fan, but I thought I’d see what other people thought.

    1. Nameo*

      I’ve been playing Potion Craft on PC, which is very lovely and relaxing.

      I LOVED Breath of the Wild. I’m a huge Zelda fan, and BotW reminds me a lot of Wind Waker. My only complaint is that there aren’t any real dungeons – the Divine Beasts are supposed to be like dungeons, but they’re not challenging at all. Some of the shrines are more challenging, so that helps increase the overall difficulty level.
      Despite my complaint, if you like Zelda, I would definitely recommend giving BotW more of a shot – overall it’s really good!

    2. Bookgarden*

      Power Wash Simulator. I got it to help me fall asleep because I figure it’d be incredibly dull, but it’s actually a lot of fun. I have no idea why washing crud off of fire stations and playground equipment is so intriguing, but eh.

      Also was delighted with the new Nintendo Direct and picked up Metroid Prime Remastered. Ahhh it’s so good!

      I got my partner Fallout: The Board Game so we can play it on Valentine’s Day. He got me the Stardew Valley board game for the occasion last year, so it’s his turn now.

      1. Ella Kate (UK)*

        Yay another Washer! How far in are you? I was pleasantly surprised that there’s a storyline and its actually engaging when I first picked it up, and I still go back to Free Play levels (I love love love the Playground for just wasting a few hours).

        1. Bookgarden*

          Ooh, yay! I just finished the Fire Station and Leonard’s car. I do love the little stories you get through the texts! I’m still looking forward to seeing what happens with the missing cat (if it gets resolved). It really is a fun game. The playground was rough for me at first until I realized I could buy and equip different cleaning fluid, then it became MUCH easier, lol.

          Glad you’re enjoying it, too!

    3. SparklingBlue*

      I am stoked for Tears of the Kingdom!
      Breath of the Wild, while deserving of every accolade it has, had the potential to be even better.

    4. Megan*

      I am utterly obsessed with Disney Dreamlight Valley! It’s like SIMS cross with Disney, all the NPCs are Disney characters (Ariel, Remy, Elsa, Anna, etc). There are quests and daily tasks you can do much like Animal Crossing (mining, gardening, fishing etc). I log in every day and I shudder to think how many hours I played it over the summer (I’m in Australia so it’s summer now!).

    5. Hylian*

      Breath of the Wild is incredible – it’s the only Zelda game I’ve played, and I adore it. Currently approaching the end of my third full play through. And awaiting TOTK enthusiastically!

      I did buy Skyward Sword for the Switch but the motion controls were a nightmare and I just didn’t click with the linear game style after playing open world. I didn’t get very far with it before I got bored and quit playing. My favourite parts of BOTW are the exploration and puzzle-solving, rather than combat, and I much prefer the flexibility of being able to choose if and when to fight.

    6. English Rose*

      Just literally downloading Syberia – The World Before as we speak. Loved the first three, looking forward to this one. Kate Walker is the best!

    7. A Girl Named Fred*

      I also couldn’t get into Breath of the Wild, which was such a bummer to me because it was beautiful, the character designs were excellent, and I loved the story (I’ve watched several friends play through the full thing.)

      But it just wasn’t my genre. I like running around exploring, the puzzle shrines are fun, but I can’t stand the weapons constantly breaking so all the fights felt way too hard to me as a result of it, because I didn’t have decent weapons to go kill anything that had good weapons so I couldn’t go kill anything that had great weapons, and on and on. Totally get why other people love it but it quickly becomes frustrating to me every time I try it again lol. Just a bummer because I’ve always loved Zelda games so I was sad not to be interested in that one!

    8. The Ginger Ginger*

      I just found the table top game Flourish. It’s basically a card game with accessories. Beautiful art, easy to learn. The goal is to build a garden. Lends itself to basic or more advanced strategy so avenues to improve your game play. Best is that it can be played alone or with up to 7 people, and either cooperatively or competitively. The rule book comes baked in with a couple alternative/supplemental rule options. Really fun! One round is about 20 minutes long, so quick to play.

      I’ve been diving into the world of solo play table top games to give me something to enjoy when I don’t want to stare at a computer screen. If anyone has recs in that direction, I’d love to hear them!

    9. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

      I love Breath of the Wild but I ditched the main quest after one divine beast. One of my favorite pastimes is Bokoblin Bowling. Find a camp with a hill nearby, roll bombs into camp, repeat.

      Right now I’m using the Sotenbori battle arana to grind jobs in Yakuza 7/ Like a Dragon. I’m going to be so overleveled when I finally move the plot along, lol

    10. Rage*

      I’m (slowly, b/c grad school & work) making my way back through the Aveyond series. Currently playing A3: Gates of Night.

    11. RagingADHD*

      I found a text adventure in which you play a grue (as in, the old Zork reference “It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.”)

      Only in this version, if you make any attempt to harm the NPC “adventurers” that wander into the caverns, you are admonished, “Please do not perpetuate harmful stereotypes about grues.”

      It’s called “Gruesome,” and if you like IF it is clever and fun. I have not figured out all the solutions yet.

    12. Henry Division*

      Almost done with Hi-Fi Rush, which is a rhythm action 3-D platformer. Truly nothing else like it. The platforming is a little lacking but the combat is super fun and the little rhythm puzzles incorporated into it are really good. A+ animation, really fun. Much more forgiving than Crypt of the Necrodancer.

      I looooooove Breath of the Wild. I was surprised because I don’t like RPGs and I LOVE Zelda. It’s different, for sure, but it’s really fun in its own way. There’s so much to explore and combat is fun – frustrating at first, but it gets really good. It’s really cool how the controls and physics allow for different ways of puzzle solving. It’s more fun if you have friends who are playing it as well (or who have) and can discuss it. I hope the new one has more temples or something that ties back more to traditional Zelda dungeons because I do miss that.

    13. Also Cute and Fluffy!*

      I am looking forward to the new We Love Katamari REROLL + Royal Reverie coming out this June! I just hope I can play it without getting too much motion sickness. Does anyone else get motion sickness from playing games on the computer?

      1. Henry Division*

        Not so much on my computer, but I was playing Stray on a bus and realized I was getting quite motion sick. I guess I’ve never played a 3D platformer while in motion before, and now I know I shouldn’t!

    14. Single Noun*

      I started Stardew Valley a little less than a month ago, just before I had two weeks off work for medical leave, and my little pixel farm is THRIVING. This game is absolutely charming and so addictive. :) The only downside is that in-game time goes really fast- I think it’s 15 real-life minutes per day- so there’s always something else that I wanted to get done at the end of the day and I think “just one more…”

    15. Roland*

      If you’re not super far in, I’d recommend just to keep going instead of trying to keep everyone on-level because you’ll get a lot of new characters and many of them have way better stat growths and/or classes than the ones you get earlier on. (You can google for numbers but be prepared for spoilers.) You’ll never keep everyone on level, there’s just too many characters and not enough units per battle.

      1. Jackalope*

        That’s a good point and I think I finally got there this weekend. I finally overcame the hurdle of not being able to make it through a single fight with everyone (I had several grinding fights that ended with me only scraping by with two or three characters who hadn’t retreated, now it’s usually all of them or at least most). So now I can have more fun with it, but I still have some of my early characters that are too weak to make it through a fight. I think I’ll “retire” them to a life of ease wandering around the Somniel, swimming, gardening, and taking care of critters.

        1. Roland*

          I’m sentimental about my chars so it’s hard but yeah, gotta put em out to pasture! Sometimes if you talk to them in the post-battle stage they’ll be like “please take me with you again I miss u” and it’s like, oh my heart :( At least there’s enough ways to grind support in the somniel that I’ve even gotten to A-tier with multiple characters I’ve never deployed at all, just because I like them.

    16. Decidedly Me*

      I love Zelda games, but I couldn’t get into Breath of the Wild. I also like open world games in general, but remember feeling like I was unintentionally making things harder for myself by going one way rather than another and I really didn’t like that.

  7. MEH Squared*

    I love Pallas’s cats! These are adorable. My favorite small wild cats are sand cats. Those big heads! Those even bigger ears! They are so cute.

    1. OyHiOh*

      My zoo had a pair of Pallas’s cats (one recently passed). So chronically grumpy looking. It took me almost a year of visits to spot the female – she has learned to blend into the rocks in her exhibit so effectively that if you don’t know exactly what to look for, you won’t see her.

  8. NeonFireworks*

    I’m curious about things that people find fun that aren’t, air quotes, “supposed” to be fun. This goes for hobbies, special interests that might get stigmatized as “boring,” etc.

    I actually love Excel spreadsheets and keep a few recreationally. One of them (which doesn’t measure anything consequential at all) is turning into a favorite. I just like playing with it.

    Also, I enjoy riding public transit recreationally, at least when I’m not having to commute on it.

    1. Sunshine*

      I love public transit too.
      I love office /school supplies. So full of possibility for organization.
      I love waiting rooms. Especially post children. Magazines. Forced nothing to do. Quiet.

      1. AGD*

        I love stationery! Sometimes I go to office supply places for fun. Pens, notebooks, messenger bags, everything.

        I also like bottle caps and used to collect them.

          1. Paris Geller*

            I love airports once I am IN the airport. Getting to the airport, parking or taking uber, & getting through security are all exhausting! But once I’m in the airport and have time to relax (because I’m always ridiculously early for flights) I love getting a coffee or tea and reading.

      2. Carsies*

        Ha! I need to find some waiting rooms like that. Most of the ones I’ve used lately have some terrible TV prattling away (bonus if it’s stuck on Fox News and can’t be changed) and three people on their phones, at least one of whom is using speakerphone for some reason.

        1. EdgarAllenCat*

          I love the disc system and the subsequent search for pens that wouldn’t bleed through the paper. Squeeee! Y’all know about jetpens dot com, right? I happily spend hours pouring through the options.

    2. Unkempt Flatware*

      I love to vacuum and do so several times a day. I also love riding public transit and am in the industry professionally.

      1. Carsies*

        Please come to my house and vacuum. Please. My pets, they are so sheddy. In a fit of optimism I even bought a whole new vacuum to deal with this and … it’s still in the box three months later (hides in shame).

        1. Voluptuousfire*

          Hah, I know the feeling!

          I bought a Shark stick vacuum to replace my two other vacuums (full size older Shark and a cheap stick vacuum that is now used for litter duty) and vacuuming is SO MUCH easier. It’s a pain because the battery life isn’t great, (roughly 30 mins of max cleaning) but it does the job I need it to do.

        2. Cookie*

          May I recommend the Chom Chom pet hair roller/remover? I use this on the bad spots before I vacuum (or sometimes INSTEAD of the vacuum) and also on my clothes, while I’m wearing them. This thing picks up SO much hair with a few quick passes. We’re heading into shedding season, and my cat likes to overachieve in this area…the Chom Chom looks gimmicky but it’s one of my favorite things ever bought from Amazon.

          1. allathian*

            My parents’ cats loved to be groomed with a sticky lint roller! The brand they used was marketed as pet safe, and both of them lived to be 16, so I doubt it harmed them. But as soon as anyone took the roller out of the closet, both of them would come and sit by that person and beg to be groomed.

    3. Teapot Translator*

      I don’t know if it counts but I love all kinds of museum even the ones about “boring” stuff. I once went to a tiny museum about postal services and I got to write a letter with a quill and seal it with wax.

      1. English Rose*

        Sounds wonderful. I visited a small telephone museum once and they had those old switchboards with the peg things that you put in and out to connect calls, the sort of thing you see in movies from the 1930s. They explained how it all works and let us try. So interesting.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          When I was wee and saw that in a movie, I thought that sounded like the most awesome job EVER.

        2. English Rose*

          If anyone is visiting London, there’s an amazing place called the Sir John Soane Museum. It’s in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, an historic part of London and is basically the Georgian townhouse that John Soane, an architect who died in 1837.
          The house is a museum absolutely stuffed to the gills with all his collections of sculpture, drawings, art, architectural models. It’s a kind of celebration of eccentric Recency/Victorian collection mania, and due to some of the sculptures and antiquities, it’s the sort of place you might not want to sleep in alone at night! Absolutely fascinating.

        3. PhyllisB*

          I used to work as a long distance telephone operator, and when I started in 1971, this was still what we used. Of course things evolved, and by the time our office closed in 1993, we were in individual cubicles with a console.
          I went on a school trip to Washington DC with one of my kids and we went to the Smithsonian. I was thrilled to see a cordboard on display.

        4. Bethlam*

          I was an office aide in HS (early 70s) and covered the switchboard operator’s lunch and bathroom breaks on one of those old cord & peg switchboards! I loved it. Alas, the district built a big new HS with a more modern telephone system, and answering the phone my senior year wasn’t as much fun.

        5. DannyG*

          My 91 year old MIL was an AT&T operator starting in the early 1950’s. Used those switchboards for most of her 30 years. She worked overnights & I used to kid my late wife that she had been on the night shift since conception. My wife worked overnights in the ICU/CCU most of her career.

      2. Chauncy Gardener*

        I adore tiny local museums! One year my resolution was that if I was driving by a small local museum (I’m in New England, so there are many) and it was open, I HAD to stop and check it out. I saw so many cool things from our local history! I need to do that again.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        I LOVE the Houston Natural History Museum’s massive exhibit of trilobites. It really captures that life on Earth did not start with dinosaurs. (Which are in the same large exhibit, but at the very end.)

        I like going alone so I can read every trilobite card. “Huh, so they think the jump in body designs here was a response to the development of vision.”

        1. Chauncy Gardener*

          Oh my goodness! That place sounds like heaven on earth. Noting it for future travel plans. I love trilobites.

    4. Alex*

      I love meal planning and grocery shopping. I love making a plan, a list, then going there with my shopping cart and picking out all the food and coming home and having a full fridge. I look forward to this every week!

    5. 2QS*

      I like exploring public buildings and finding hidden corners and staircases to nowhere and quiet places to sit. More so if it’s just a boring office building than if it’s a library or college campus!

      I also like quietly doing long stints of people-watching in busy public places, especially if there’s absolutely nothing gossipy or sensationalistic going on. I really missed this during the pandemic.

      1. ronda*

        I was going to say doing taxes :). I volunteer to do other peoples taxes with TaxAide. (and also do for 3 of my siblings)

    6. talos*

      I have this weird trying-new-music system – it’s a plaintext file which is just a big list of albums and singles, all grouped under the band they’re by. When I need something to listen to, I pick a random number, go to that line of the file, and that’s what I’m listening to, then towards the end of it I record in the file whether I liked it or not, and for the ones I really liked I eventually try and buy them on Discogs. On days when work is quiet and I’m doing boring stuff after work (like reading political news, another favorite of mine), I might get through like 10 or 15 albums. New music I want to try just goes at the bottom of the list and eventually might get selected.

      There are currently almost 30,000 entries, and I find some strange joy in shortening the list, even though I’m probably literally never going to finish all the music in the list.

      1. talos*

        I should say before people ask if I’ve tried a simpler system, and the answer is that my musical tastes are too esoteric for music I like to reliably be available on any streaming platform, much less one that has good recommendations.

        Plus I like this one even though it’s ridiculous.

    7. Not A Manager*

      I love getting baked-on gunk or burned stuff off of nice pans. When I’m visiting friends if we are cooking together and they complain about a pot (never if they don’t mention it first!) I will offer to take the gunk off, because I enjoy it.

      I enjoy packing and unpacking for moves. I have traveled to help family pack/unpack because I love them but also because I enjoy it.

      I really like using the simple math I learned in junior high in my daily life. I did get through calculus in school and remember none of it, nor do I remember any trig. But basically anything through algebra and geometry I use pretty often and I always get a kick out of it.

      I enjoy staying in very anonymous, completely uniform, mid-range chain hotels.

    8. Inkhorn*

      Last month, in an attempt to stop my brain ossifying courtesy of the Place Which Must Not Be Named, I bought some textbooks and began studying Latin. It doesn’t have the best reputation as a riveting subject but I’m quite enjoying myself.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I studied Latin at high school and it’s kind of fun. It’s useful if you go on to study other languages used in Europe, because many of them have their roots in Latin. There’s also a Duolingo course in Latin if you ever want to supplement the textbooks.

        1. Inkhorn*

          That’s one of the things I’m hoping to achieve (aside from mental exercise and nerd cred) – an advantage when trying to learn other languages in future. I didn’t do well with my schools’ attempts at teaching Spanish and French so I might need the help…

      2. Rara Avis*

        Ok, I may be biased here (been teaching Latin for 30 years) but I think it absolutely is riveting! I just started a course in women writers and there’s a ton of fun stuff to read beyond what might be the “standard” high school curriculum, which tends to focus on a few writers from one very narrow time frame. Also lots of novellas being published, many available on Amazon, for all levels of readers.

        1. Inkhorn*

          My bookworm’s heart just went “Squee!” at the thought of an expanded world of fabulous things to read. If I ever find my motivation flagging I’ll just think of the literature.

        2. Donkey Hotey*

          Specifically (and please forgive, I’m sitting from memory):
          Winnie ille Pu and Harrius Pottericus et lapis philosophii.

        3. allathian*

          I’m rather sad that the Finnish public broadcaster YLE stopped broadcasting news in Latin on the radio in 2014 or thereabouts. But they do have a weekly podcast with news from Finland and around the world. They’ve done a great job in creating new words in Latin for phenomena that didn’t exist when Latin was the European lingua franca. Google “Nuntii Latini” for more info.

      3. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

        Not taking Latin at my Jesuit-run high school is the only regret I have from that time in my life. My straight A’s in French should have given me the hint, but I wanted to be an astronomer and took physics instead.

        Guess who doesn’t have the head for math he thought he did?

      1. fposte*

        I get very excited about the end of the financial quarter because that’s when I get to update the *big* spreadsheet.

    9. The Prettiest Curse*

      I find organising and filing documents weirdly enjoyable for some reason – possibly because my mother will let 2-3 years’ worth of junk mail build up, then have a filing/shredding spree to get rid of the 98% which actually is junk.

      1. Inkhorn*

        It could be worse, I once inherited 8 years’ worth of unshredded shredding. Took me months to get through it all because there was only so much shredded paper that could fit in the recycling bin at once.

    10. JSPA*

      Things, more than actions, but: experiencing bridges / overpasses / underpasses / any sort of intervoven multi-level pathways.

      The rustle and clatter of dumping the (indoor) recycling bag into the (outdoor) recycling bin.

      Anything that “just fits.” I get much the same satisfaction of “final jigsaw piece” from “soup fits perfectly into the storage container, and container into the fridge.”

    11. anon for this*

      Decluttering and organizing. I absolutely love going through possessions and sorting them and paring them down to only the useful/wanted items…to the point that I thought about becoming a professional organizer for a while.

      1. English Rose*

        Yes me too! When I mention I iron my towels I get all kinds of odd looks, but it makes them softer and lovely on the skin. I like to use a lavender-scented ironing lotion, and I have one of those big irons with a separate steam compartment.
        I get a kick out of ironing shirts and blouses so there’s no visible crease-line on the sleeves.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          When we were growing up, my mum used a laundry service that washed and ironed all our sheets. Apparently, my sister just got used to the feeling of ironed sheets, because she irons all of hers to this day! I don’t even own an iron, but I’m kind of impressed by how much my sister likes ironing.

          1. ronda*

            my mom had a big ironing machine with a big roller. She would iron the sheets with that thing. (but she was also able to iron like a regular shirt with it too, cause she used to do all the ironing at her parents house with her 7 siblings and various other relatives living there from time to time)
            When we moved states, they did not move it with us…… so no more ironed sheets!

      2. Voluptuousfire*

        I rarely iron, but when I’m in the mood to do it, I love it. It’s soothing because you can look at it as pressing the chaos out of your life, so to speak.

      3. Cookie*

        I also love ironing, and I save it up for particularly stressful days so I can do a pile of it all at once, preferably while watching something soothing on PBS.

        Stain removal is also big fun for me…friends contact me every so often for stain removal advice, because my weird fondness for it is well known.

    12. English Rose*

      This is such a great question, I love Excel spreadsheets too. I long for occasions when I need to remind myself how to do a pivot table!

    13. My Brain is Exploding*

      Organizing people’s closets, kitchen cabinets, etc. (although they do usually have to be willing to get rid of a few things). I like making order out of chaos!

    14. fposte*

      Spreadsheets are delightful. I especially enjoy making colorful drop-down menus. I don’t necessarily even end up using them, but I made one to plan for retirement activities, I have several different meal planner ones, they’re travel planners, etc.

      1. Bethlam*

        I also love spreadsheets. I do a quarterly financial one like you do; and I have a multi-tab one that tracks all my fitness statistics, with conditional formatting and formulas to add and average different categories and compare them to previous weeks.

        I also do my daily and garden journals in spreadsheets because columns! And the search feature! When did I last divide those daffodils? When did we buy/replace/repair whatever house or car thing? Search the spreadsheet!

        And any new doctor I see is very impressed when they ask for medical history and I hand them my printed spreadsheet. Although this is not as big a deal as it used to be now that computers can access records from all practices in the system.

    15. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I had such a fear of public transport when I was about college age. Growing up we only had cars. Took Amtrak a few times for a long distance with grandma but that was more like a plane, it stops for a bit at your stop and you have time to figure it out and get off.

      At uni I had to take a public bus to get to a larger town and it terrified me. I felt like I would not know how to do it or how or where to get off. So I did not try. But I had to access a larger library in town so I had to do it. I do not generally have anxiety but I realized I had a real fear. It was so frightening!! A friend lived in NYC and she took me on the subway and I realized that was pretty clear. Later still we lived in the UK and I became an expert on the busses! You could plunk me down in almost any part of town and I would just know the best combo of busses and stops to get us home or a detour to take to swing buy a good store on the way back, etc. it was very empowering!!

      1. Jackalope*

        I lived in a large city for a few years that I couldn’t find a map of ANYWHERE (this was before GPS, although to be honest I would have wanted a map anyway so I could get to know the whole city, not just one simple route). The one exception was a public transit map. This city had a robust network for different kinds of public transport, and the map was great. So when I first moved there and had some extra time, score my job really ramped up, I’d sometimes just get on a bus or tram or whatever and ride around the city. It was low stakes since to get home I could just take the same route back. Then I started using the map to triangulate where I was based on which routes were intersecting. I got to the point where I could whip my map out and find where I was in the city within a block or two in just a few seconds. (Of course I got familiar with the city’s general layout which helped, but it was big enough that there were still bits I wasn’t crazy familiar with even after a few years.) Still a memory (or series of memories) I look back on fondly.

    16. Lady Alys*

      Learning software – right now it’s Excel PowerQuery (LIFE-CHANGING), next up is QGIS and then OBS. Other people watch cat videos online; I watch software tutorials (I mean, I watch the cat videos too…).

    17. The Ginger Ginger*

      I don’t know if fun is the right word, but I LOVE organizing. It’s so, so satisfying. Both the processes of selecting the best set up and then categorizing everything as it gets put in its new spot. And then the end results are SO gratifying.

    18. Irish Teacher*

      Reminds me of when I was in college and came home for the weekend all excited about some book I’d found in the college library on the 1916 Rising or de Valera or the War of Independence or something and my 14 year old sister looked at me and said in tones of utter disgust, “you read history? For fun?” Eh, yes.

      I also enjoy a certain amount of lesson planning and researching resources.

      And last year, I took a sort of online course (or series of online lectures) on early Christian church, partly for teaching (Early Christian Ireland is part of the course here, so I thought it was worth learning about what was happening in the rest of the world for the sake of comparison) but mostly it was just for fun. I’ve now signed up for another course from the same organisation on the Russian Orthodox Church and that’s totally just for fun.

      1. Yet another librarian*

        Ha! I used to read the encyclopedia for fun (pre-Internet) and my brother would say I had no idea what fun was. Of course not, I hadn’t gotten to F yet!

    19. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Cheap pens: I’ve found a kind of ballpoint pen I like, and have the same model with several different colors of ink. Most of the people I know who are enthusiastic about pens are interested in fountain pens, and the ink discussions tend to be things like “if you want a good dark green, try X company.” Meanwhile, I’m buying packages of the fie-point Pilot G2, either multi-color so I can get the maroon, green, sky blue, and purple, or just two- or four-packs of blue or black pens for everyday use.

      I was actively pleased when the confirmation for a recent appointment told me to wear a face mask and bring my own pen.

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

      Recreational public transit for the win! I love long, romantic train rides, but I also think it’s fun to explore my city’s public transit system just for kicks. I went through a phase where, for entertainment, I was finding books in a mystery series I liked at various public libraries around the city and then figuring out how to take transit to a new neighborhood to check them out.

      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        Oh yes – gotta love this summer. From May, we’ll get a monthly pass for 49 Euros that’s good on ALL local and regional trains, buses and ferries all across Germany (for perpective: About the same area as california although twice the population). My company will even subsidize it, reducing my expense to 9 Euros ($10) monthly. I’ll definitely go places off the beaten tracks of the high-speed trains (those are not included in the deal but you can’t have everything).

    21. Maxie's Mommy*

      I love wallpapering. Choosing the paper, getting out my zinc table, watching my family disappear so they don’t wind up helping. . . lovely!

    22. Mimmy*

      I like making Excel sheets too but there is a lot I still need to learn. The day I learned how to do “Format as table” was life changing though, lol!

      I love textbooks and other educational materials. I sometimes wish I could w*rk in a library or education-related publisher so that I could skim through different textbooks to see what I didn’t appreciate in high school (mainly science and social studies) and to fill knowledge gaps.

    23. Girasol*

      Yard work: mowing, trimming, weeding, planting. My mother couldn’t drag me into it when I was a kid and now I enjoy it. Also errands. I like driving around even if it’s just to pick up some necessity. It’s like a tiny road trip.

    24. AlexandrinaVictoria*

      I love going to the grocery store and especially enjoy visiting stores in new-to-me cities or countries.

      1. Cookie*

        AlexandrinaVictoria, we should travel together. Going to the grocery store in any place I’m visiting is a must…I love it. Last spring I did a week-long road trip to another state and only ate at a restaurant once…took a cooler and just went to a new grocery store every day to restock. It was amazing!

        I’ve had some adventures in non-US supermarkets, for sure. Since they aren’t meant for tourists, it’s unfiltered local culture.

    25. Little Beans*

      I also love spreadsheets and make them for everything!!! I use them for my Christmas gift shopping, for meal planning, for personal budgeting. The more formulas and conditional formatting, the better!

      I’m also super into flowcharts…

    26. Seeking Second Childhood*

      This for lovers of public transit.

      Travel
      Edna St. Vincent Millay – 1892-1950

      The railroad track is miles away,
      And the day is loud with voices speaking,
      Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
      But I hear its whistle shrieking.

      All night there isn’t a train goes by,
      Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
      But I see its cinders red on the sky,
      And hear its engine steaming.

      My heart is warm with the friends I make,
      And better friends I’ll not be knowing;
      Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
      No matter where it’s going.

      1. SarahKay*

        I’d like to join you in your sibling group as a fellow lover of Excel and public transport. I’ve jus moved back to the city I went to university in, and am taking great joy in re-learning all the bus routes. I am most definitely getting great value out of my bus pass – and even better, it’s also valid on the trams!

    27. Veronica Mars*

      I love (and miss!) writing papers for classes. I was an English major and close reading the text, writing essays, and trying to prove my wild theory about the book at hand was one of my favorite things to do.

      Along with that, one of my retirement plans (assuming we still live near a university) is to audit classes. I’ve always said if I was independently wealthy I’d just get a million degrees in increasingly more impractical subjects because I love being in a classroom and learning. My brother asked me about “the old people” in his college classes and when I told him it was my plan to be one of them one day he looked at me in a way that made me realize most people don’t find this idea as fun as I do.

    28. HBJ*

      No one will agree with me on this. Local government meetings. City council, advisory commissions, whatever. I attended them when a family member joined one when I was young. Found it fascinating. Then I attended them for work as an adult for awhile. I still find them so fascinating and interesting. My husband and I are going to one next week for a date night. It relates to our business, so we’re going to hear the discussions, possibly give public comment, and then following it up with dinner out.

    29. They Don’t Make Sunday*

      Digging up information on long government filings or other nonprofit, academic, or agency-type reports with a narrow audience. See also: reading or skimming the full report when only a summary has made it into the news. The depth and specificity of information available in these things is sometimes breathtaking. Sometimes I think about the people who made the report and how they must have worked toward its completion for months or even years.

    30. Anima*

      I love infrastructure. I always say I like trains to make it easier for my fellow people to understand, but I’m actually interested in train related infrastructure. I blame Jago Hazzard on YouTube. I started with the London tube and moved on to my own city, which has quite an interesting train track and bridges related history!
      I’m in no way interested in rolling stock or timetables. Just the train tracks and station buildings etc.

    31. Donkey Hotey*

      Travel planning is my jam.
      As a side note, i love weird public transit. For example, those familiar with Washington State, it is possible to circumnavigate the entire Olympic peninsula using only public transportation in about three days and about $20.

  9. Ghostlight*

    First time home ownership thread! We just bought a house and it’s amazing but A LOT of space. Which is great but also please send all of your cleaning, organizing, and “you’ll never think of this if you’ve never owned but you really should know this” tips our way!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Maintenance! Have your HVAC checked yearly, mind your dryer vents, check all your alarm batteries.

      Put water alarms around your washer, hot water heater, sump pump if you have one – you can get fancy ones that tie into a home alarm system or manual ones as simple as a battery box with a shriek and a metal sensor on the bottom. An overflowing sump or a water heater that just blew out the bottom is not something you want to miss until you happen to find it. (Also plungers by each toilet. Good ones. Plumbing issues have been my bane, can you tell? :-P )

      Plan for yard maintenance – do you want to do it? Do you have the tools to do it? Are you “pay an intrepid local teenager to do it” folk? Do you know where to find one of those?

    2. QuilterGirl*

      Clean your gutters and roof of leaves regularly.
      Change your furnace filter every month.
      Don’t put grease down your disposal or in your dishwasher.
      One thing out/one thing in ( I know you feel like you have loads of space now, but guarantee your parents said that too and look how much stuff they have!)
      If you have big lovely trees near your sewer line, take them out now or save for sewer repairs later. (I know! This sucks)
      Save at least $200/mo for the House account if you can afford it.

      I bought my first house, a foreclosure, in 1986. Been a solo female homeowner all this time! I do what I want. I have purple walls and a hot pink sewing room.

      1. JSPA*

        Or gutter guards. (But still check that they are doing their job.)

        Carbon monoxide sensors if you have anything that isn’t electric (water heater, stove, fireplace, home heat.

        Have duct cleaning done, then change furnace / hvac filters (or buy washable reusable). Don’t get “better” (more filtration) than what your allergies demand / what your blower can handle, as it increases wear on the blower and decreases efficiency.

        Don’t block off pipes that need ventilation to deal with freezing in winter or with condensation. In fact, be very cognizant of all access panels (and places where there are no access panels).

        If the house is old enough, read up at length on how to identify all the various forms of asbestos containing materials. Ditto lead.

        If an electrical outlet consistently throws sparks, stops working, or magically stops/starts/stops working, there is a loose or disconnected wire somewhere in your wall (and/or an improperly grounded outlet and/or a breaker in the process of failing). ” Well I’ll ignore that because it’s funky” is not the right response.

        Unless you’re professionally trained, never try to work on the innards of your washing machine, microwave (!!) old TV or anything else with a strong capacitor. Even unplugged, they hold enough charge to maim or kill.

        Mice fit through half-inch holes.

        If you have a plague of house centipedes or spiders, the key question is usually, “where’s the hidden water infiltration or sewage or rodent problem that’s making the wet wood or fungus or nutrient- rich waste that’s feeding the termites or flies or other insects that are feeding the larger carnivorous arthropods?”

        “Cooler than this surface should be” is a way to find dampness.

        Basement floor drains (and any drain with a trap) needs some water in it, to prevent sewer gas from coming up and out. Depending on climate, check every couple or 3 or 6 months, rather than waiting to notice “that smell.”

        If you live someplace where flooding is a possibility, figure out how high the water has ever gotten before, and put things up on blocks (in your basement or garage) to several inches above that level.

        Know where all your shut-offs are (not just the main ones). Know if they are functional or corroded. Find out if you have hard wate. If you do, small leaks may be self healing… but water heaters take a beating (especially tankless).

        If you’re in an area with poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, giant hogweed (or anything else that can give you a lasting blistering rash) know the many ways they can look, including as dead branches / vines / stems or as seedlings, before you start in on the gardening.

      2. fposte*

        Just checking–the usual recommendation is to change the furnace filter every year. Do you have a special one or did you type “month” for “year”?

        And your paint colors sound amazing. I have lilac guest room and an apple green bedroom.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Ours get changed every 3 months – it may depend on the type of filter. But every year seems too long!

        2. BlueWolf*

          I try to change mine every 3 months or so. It definitely needs to happen more than once a year for mine, but maybe it depends on the type of system? I just changed mine because it was filthy. I’m not the best at keeping up with the dusting and vacuuming though. Oops.

        3. fposte*

          Oh, this is interesting. I’ve got a small house with no pets or kids and the furnace folks have actually suggested I could probably go longer than a year if I want to, so it might be the kind of furnace.

          OTOH, I had to wrestle with a highly calcified water pad for the humidifier this week and I definitely need to change those more often than the furnace people suggested to me.

        4. The OG Sleepless*

          Huh, interesting! I have an upstairs and a downstairs furnace. The downstairs one takes the ones that are about an inch thick and the recommendation is to change them every 6 weeks to 3 months. The upstairs one takes the AirBear ones that are 4″ thick and those are supposed to be changed once a year, but I’ve found them filthy after six months enough times that that’s how often I change them now.

        5. EJ*

          Mine says change monthly and it gets pretty dirty even then! I think this may be impacted by region, I am in the desert.

          1. Cookie*

            Mine doesn’t say, but I change it approximately monthly, though I might go longer in summer when windows are open a lot. I’m in the upper Midwest, I have a cat, I’m allergic to dust, and the filter is gross after 2-3 months so I change it more often than that.

          2. The OG Sleepless*

            That’s what I suspect, I live in Atlanta where the plant life would take over if we let it, and it’s pollen and dust all the way down.

        6. DannyG*

          Return air vents change every couple of months; heavy duty filter in the main HVAC unit gets changed every 6 months to a year.

          1. JSPA*

            If you have filtered return air separate from main filter, that explains it. I’m only aware of basic boring gas forced air furnace with a single filter at the point of air intake, on the body of the furnace.

          2. EJ*

            Seems the takeaway on filters would be to find out what YOUR new hvac requires as apparently they can vary widely and you don’t want to put your system at risk

    3. Stunt Apple Breeder*

      Keep a dry-erase calendar somewhere with monthly or seasonal maintenance chores recorded on it, like “average first frost date, winterize sprinkler system.”

      Write the date the furnace filter was installed on it, or get a smart thermostat and program reminders to change the filter into it.

      Download the manuals for your furnace/heat pump, water softener, gas fireplace, or other things that you have never owned before. This helped us because didn’t know what type of salt our softener needed or how to set the regeneration schedule.

      Check the weather stripping on all exterior doors and replace if needed. Also check if your windows have weep holes, as dirt and dead bugs can plug these and cause water to accumulate in the sills. An electronics air duster can helps when you clean out the holes.

      Congrats on the new place!

      1. Stunt Apple Breeder*

        The robot vacuum comment below reminded me of something else:

        If you can swing it, replace the carpets when you move in. Especially if the prior owners had pets. If that’s not possible, have the floors professionally cleaned. I had already invested in a black light to check for pet stains left by my own pets and used it when we moved into the new place… We could see the outline of every piece of the previous owners’ furniture on the rug. We knew something was up when we toured the house and there were tropical scented air fresheners everywhere.

    4. Missb*

      Couple of categories:

      Systems:
      Get to know your systems and their maintenance needs. What kind of furnace will you have? Do you know when it was last serviced? Do you know whether the air filter has been changed? Is it changeable or do you have to wash it? Where do you buy your filters? (note: I have my gas furnace serviced each year, and the last technician said – oh, here, see this link? Buy them here and have them available, it’ll save you like $75/year because we overcharge for them.) Also – if you’re in the market for a gas furnace, consider a multi-stage furnace. Several grand more than a dual-stage furnace, but super super super quiet and very efficient. Our fan runs constantly, but at such a reduced rate that we don’t hear it. It also keeps the house better balanced in terms of heat.

      Are you on a well or on city water? Is there any treatment system in place? Do you have a sprinkler system? If so, there could be a back flow device on the system. Most of them should be testable, and many municipalities require an annual test. Some do it for the homeowners and some require the homeowner to find a company to do it for them. Does the sprinkler system need to be winterized? Do you have outdoor water spigots? If so, do you know how to turn them off before it freezes? (Our shut offs for the various branches of outdoor spigots are in the basement. I know where they are and how to turn them off.)

      Know where your gas and water shut offs are, and how to turn them off if you need to. Generally the gas company doesn’t want you to just randomly turn on and off your gas at the shutoff, but at least know where it is and have the appropriate tool nearby just in case, especially if you live in earthquake country.

      Seriously recommend doing a “systems” notebook, keeping notes and manuals (and even paint colors) in one place. Know how things run, so that when they go south, you can get on top of things quickly. (aside: dh and I looked at a house last weekend that was a literal black box for the current owners. They didn’t know anything about how any of the systems ran, and it was clear they weren’t keeping them up. It was a huge turn off to us. Heated floors not working, but they also knew nothing about how they work. Also, two wells on the property and they were using a well that was producing 2 gpm rather than the nearly brand new, deep well that produced 75 gpm. I’m guessing that the 2 gpm well was pulling from the nearby pond or the nearby drainfield, or maybe both. At any rate, gah, we ran.)

      Organization:
      Now is the time to start dedicating space for organization – before you move in. We have a full basement/garage under the house. We have lots of hobbies, and everything has its space. Camping gear, canning/dehydrating, gardening, woodworking. It could be bedlam down there if we didn’t take the time to say, ok, we have X, let’s assign this spot for all items related to X. My cold room even has shelf labels, so I can send dh down to grab something for me.

      Upstairs we have a hall closet for just paper goods, an extra closet in a bedroom for holiday items, and part of another closet in the other bedroom (since our kids are out on their own) for my crafty goods. My vacuum cleaner, steam cleaner and swiffer are all in the hall coat closet on the main floor.

      Also – robot vacuums are my friend. I have one for the first and second floors. I put them on a schedule, and generally check them every two days or so to make sure there isn’t excessive cat/dog hair clogging up the wheels. But they keep my wood floors nice and clean. I have pets, and I work full-time. Robot vacuums are my most favorite invention ever.

      1. Unkempt Flatware*

        I’d add: know where your water main is and have a key to turn it off if you ever have a water emergency like busted irrigation.

        1. Carsies*

          When the house is empty and you first move in, familiarize yourself with things like flipping fuses (or replacing them, if as in my house, they’re the old screw-in-kind) and relighting the pilot light of the furnace, if that’s a thing for you. The home inspector might be able to show you how. I literally recorded our furnace inspector guy walking me through the pilot light process. It wasn’t at all difficult, but it’s not at all intuitive, and you don’t want to make an emergency out of things that are a simple enough fix. (Next question, why is my pilot light suddenly blowing out so often? It’s easy to restart and stays lit but in a few days or weeks I’ll be back down there again – grrr!).

          1. fposte*

            And in a lot of houses, there are unlabeled fuses, so it can be helpful to take a moment and label them. This is easier with a second person but you can do it with just one–you just have to do some back and forth.

      2. No Tribble At All*

        I have a question about the robot vacuums!! Do you worry about pets leaving Surprises that the robot vacuum would smear all over?

        1. Missb*

          I would, but both Dh and I work from home so it’s a non issue for us. I’ve seen the horror stories though!

          Our pups are kenneled when we are gone, so they haven’t pooped inside since they were little puppies.

        2. Stunt Apple Breeder*

          Yes, this has happened to us. They are remarkably good at picking up liquids, also. Our first robovac died after finding our elderly dog’s accident.

        3. Kuddel Daddeldu*

          Oh yes – gotta love this summer. From May, we’ll get a monthly pass for 49 Euros that’s good on ALL local and regional trains, buses and ferries all across Germany (for perpective: About the same area as california although twice the population). My company will even subsidize it, reducing my expense to 9 Euros ($10) monthly. I’ll definitely go places off the beaten tracks of the high-speed trains (those are not included in the deal but you can’t have everything).

    5. Squidhead*

      Draw a rough floorplan of your house and mark every electrical thing (outlet, switch, light, fan, doorbell, appliance, smoke alarm if they aren’t on batteries, etc) and then figure out what circuit everything in your house is on. If you have a breaker panel you can do this by turning off each breaker one at a time and going through every room to see what isn’t working. (If you have fuses you should call an electrician.) Keep in mind that sometimes not all the switches in a box are on the same circuit, and even one half of a duplex outlet might be on a different circuit than the other half. You might have a couple of mystery switches that don’t do anything, but a “tick tester” can show you if they have power. We are moderately handy and knowing which circuits to turn off when we were replacing drywall or took off faceplates for painting was very handy (we’d then re-confirm that it was off by using the tick tester…good practice every time). Our house is nearly 100 years old and contains 3 or 4 generations of wiring, most of which makes no sense!

      When we moved in 14 years ago our house seemed empty and now it is, um, quite full. Don’t buy stuff just to fill the space…the stuff will find you! However, if you can afford it, buy the definitive version of the thing instead of a make-do version. Like, we wanted an actual guest bed but we had a futon that was sort of comfortable and we left that in the guest room for a long time before finally buying a real bed for guests. I feel a little bad that we waited so long, though no one actually complained.

      If you like gardening (or the idea of gardening) pay attention this year to what naturally grows after winter, what areas get a lot of sun or shade, good drainage or constantly muddy. Plant some annuals, they are a low investment and can bring some color to your yard while you think about adding shrubs or removing a tree or making a raised bed garden or whatever. (Pay attention to the wildlife, too…if the squirrels dig up your sunflower seeds, you know that’s a problem that won’t go away. If gophers dig burrows across the yard, you can think about what to do.)

      Enjoy your home! And I’m hoping your username is a theatre reference…it’s what I used to do!

    6. Anono-me*

      Buy two good plungers, one for the sink and one for the toilet. (Yes you can get one that converts to work on both, but you really won’t want to use the same plunger on the kitchen sink after you used it on a stopped toilet. )

      Learn where all the electrical, gas, and water shut offs are. Make sure they all work.

      Rekey the locks. (Replace any old or cheap lockes rather than rekeying them.) Between the prior homeowners and all the realtors; you don’t know who has a key.

      Make a house book, out of a huge 3 ring binder. For you first entry, print out everything from the real estate listing. That way you will have a bunch of the information like room dimensions and when the garbage disposal was replaced. Add any warranty and instruction manuals to the binder with clear notebook pockets. (Put in things like paint colors and the name of the neighbor’s repair person. )

      Paint cloests and put an extension cord behind all heavy furniture, even if you don’t need it now.

      Congratulations.

    7. Cookies For Breakfast*

      If it’s not too late, try finding out from the previous owner (or whoever your point of contact is) the brand and model / colour of the wall paint, hard flooring or carpet, and any tiles or paving you have. In case anything needs patching up or replacing, and you don’t want to rip it all out and start again.

      We thought we’d done it all, but forgot about the wall paint because duh, it’s all white. We’ll live with scuffed walls for the rest of our time here, because it turns out that, when it comes to painting over the million small marks left by moving furniture and having works done, there are SHADES of white to wade through. Nothing we bought ever matched (and I already messed up one minor repainting attempt so much, I have no desire to think about doing it to entire rooms).

      1. Imtheone*

        You can have a paint store match a chip of paint. We did that with a few rooms that needed repainting, but which ran into other rooms. (Such as the entryway which has a big doorway into the dining room.

    8. rr*

      I don’t know if this is an outdated tip (probably depends on your pipes), but I was always taught not to drain boiling water directly into the sink because it damages the pipes. Run cold water while draining hot water to make the boiling water cooler.
      Also, drano is not good for pipes either…though, given, I can’t remember why.

    9. Anon. Scientist*

      Depending on your area, you should check for radon. You can find this online – radon gas is from particular rock types. I have really high radon (also one of the previous owners was a nonsmoker who died of lung cancer) so we had a mitigation system installed for like $2k.

      If you have a well, test for contaminants. Nearly every state has an environmental department that can point you to the tests you need and will have a list of labs that will give you instructions and same bottles for them. I’m in the environmental biz so I tested for VOCs, lots of metals (lead, iron and arsenic are the usual suspects), bacteria, and radon. This was before PFAS blew up and my particular situation doesn’t warrant it, but it may be worth a check if you leave near or downhill of an industrial area, fire station, or landfill.

      1. rr*

        You ever see those ads that present like columns where they talk about houses they are trying to sell? I saw one recently that talked about a new house they hadn’t built yet and were trying to pre-sell and it said it could add on radon mitigation! My eyes practically rolled back in my head. Wouldn’t you think that would be a feature of a house that was being built if there was any concern?
        Our house has radon, but it was simply too expensive to mitigate for the levels shown. I’d still like to do it, but, yeah. If children were living here though, absolutely. More time to be exposed to it.

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      For the yard, it can make a lot of sense to wait a year before doing anything. Pay attention during that year. The patterns of light can be very different at different times of the year–a deciduous tree can block out high summer sun but let in low winter sun. You can discover that the row of scraggly things are lilacs that are spectacular come May. Getting an idea of where the sunny sheltered spots are and where you need something sturdy (we’ve got lilies and hostas in front of the fence by the street) can help when planning to add or subtract anything from the landscape.

    11. Ellis Bell*

      First move in tips: We got the heating system safety checked by a gas safe engineer. We got an electrician to check the system, install new lights and switches where they were outdated as to regulations, as well as installing outdoor security lights (super dark otherwise) and to make sure the system was protected from surges. We knew the gutters needed checking because we had a waterfall so we got them rejigged and cleaned.
      Cleaning tips: lots of white vinegar and baking soda for the basic first cleans, and these staples remained useful whenever an unexpected cleaning job came up. Other things we’ve needed have been a heavy duty drain buster product for the outdoor drains and sugar soap for pre decorating cleans. Oh, and an oven cleaning product because we used theirs.
      Organising: Try to limit buying large and permanent storage furniture as long as you can, or you’ll end up filling it. We had a big off landing cupboard room and we filled it with freestanding wardrobe units to create a walk in wardrobe. If we hadn’t, we would have filled it with junk and then bought extra covered wardrobes at greater expenses: it was worth keeping some decorating junk out for a bit just while it was being used instead. Temporary storage methods can be experimented with to discover just how much you need: I used baskets to store clothes in for a while, and temporary clip shelving cubbies in the pantry before deciding what shelving configuration best fit the pantry for bespoke built in shelves. My best advice is not to rush anything permanent or costly. Live with your arrangements and feel free to rearrange.

    12. Lady Alys*

      Make a Gmail account for your house – use the calendar for maintenance reminders, and get all the emails that come from repair people, insurance, taxes, etc etc sent to your house’s email address, and make sure both you and your partner have access to the account of course. I heard Merlin Mann suggest this on one of his podcasts a while ago and it sounded like such a good idea – wish I’d heard it about 5 years sooner.

    13. BlueWolf*

      If you haven’t moved in yet, definitely paint before if you want to change the wall colors. If you have moved in, you can probably still do it now before your house fills with even more stuff. We were a bit cash strapped after closing on our house, but I wish I had just sucked it up and bought a few gallons of paint and did it before we moved in. I hate the color the flippers used and every wall in the house is the same sad, matte gray. I did eventually get around to painting the bathroom since that didn’t involve moving any furniture, but I wish at least some of my other rooms were nicer colors. Also, definitely try to figure out a good closet organization system (if there isn’t already anything installed). Since our house was a not so great flip, all the closets were just completely empty. Not a single hanging bar, hook, or shelf in sight. We got the most basic metal custom closet kit for one closet, but the one upstairs has a weird low angled ceiling so we still haven’t figured out a great system, and it’s our biggest closet. For freestanding storage, Ikea has some great options. The nice thing is that they have different modular systems, so you can create storage that fits your space. I chose a combination of open and closed shelving, so I can have some stuff hidden away and some on display, like books and knickknacks. You also can choose from different types of handles and knobs in different finishes. Of course, you do have to assemble unless you want to pay someone to do it for you. I was able to manage ok with mine, but if you’re dealing with large pieces, you may want help.

    14. Generic Name*

      If you live in a northern climate you MUST blow out your sprinkler system in the fall. Otherwise the pipes will freeze and your system will break.

      Water damage is often unseen and is no joke. I replaced the original primary bathroom in y house, and I could tell that there were going to be some areas of water damage. I was right, and there were also carpenter ants we had to deal with. They eat moist and rotting wood. I recently replaced the other bathroom because a tile just above the tub was cracked. It had been cracked for a couple of months max. When we ripped the tile down, mildew was already growing back there, and only would have gotten worse.

      YouTube is great for learning how to do small fixes around the house. You can save hundreds of dollars by replacing a faucet yourself, for example. Only do this if you follow expert directions exactly. I’ve fixed many many botched repairs done by clueless DIY homeowners. If you can’t do it correctly yourself, hire someone who can.

    15. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Keep a dated list of what you do when, preferably electronic so you can answer immediately when a repair tech asks when you last replaced the Llama filter.

      Keep receipts for capital expenses because those can be deducted from profits when you sell someday. And backups somewhere so you don’t lose them in the basement flood that leads to your NEXT capital expense…why yes that’s Voice O’ Experience (TM).

    16. Observer*

      Thermostat / HVAC- Get a thermostat with a really good and easy to use interface. When I got my first smart thermostat (an ecobee) I was blown away at how much easier it was to use. I’m not even talking about the app. Just the interface on the thermostat itself. SOOO much easier to use. Accommodating complex schedules and making immediate short term changes went from major pain in the neck to stupid simple. This kind of thing is much more common now, and you don’t necessarily need an expensive thermostat to get this kind of function.

      Where you place your thermostat can make a real difference, but sometimes you either don’t have a lot of choice or it won’t help because there is too much variability. In that case, having a thermostat that allows multiple sensors and uses that to set your heat / cooling can be extremely useful.

      Another thing that can be very useful if you have a large house or one on multiple floors is multiple heating / cooling zones. You can do this even with a single HVAC unit. You need a separate thermostat for each zone but it makes a really big difference.

      Internet / WiFi – If you want to access internet in spots not near where it comes into the house, getting wiring all over is great, but it tends to be costly and if your house is older, it can be difficult. Wifi is your friend. Just don’t count on using the wifi unit your ISP provides – in my experience they tend to be junk. Buy your own. If your house is on one floor and small (even if it’s big compared to your old rental), then one good unit should be all you need. If you have too much space or are on multiple floors that probably won’t work. There are a lot of options, but in my experience, mesh is really the easiest thing to implement. And there are some really good system out there. I’m not going to say that they are cheap, but they are also not wildly expensive, and they tend to just last.

  10. Teapot Translator*

    What habit have you picked up that is often recommended and you’ve found has helped? Examples: get enough sleep, cut sugar, go outside to get more natural sunlight, etc. I saw people on Twitter complaining in a jockey manner that they started to follow a good habit and they were annoyed to find that it works for them.

    I’ve stopped bringing my phone to bed with me and I read a paper book before bed. This actually seems to help: I feel my tiredness more and fall asleep quicker. Now I need to work on the whole regular sleep schedule thing.

    1. AGD*

      I floss my teeth every day. And always make the bed right after I get up. Both of these things are vast improvements.

      1. I can make the bed*

        Yes, making the bed every morning helps my mood. I’ve accomplished SOMETHING and the room looks pulled together. It takes 1-2 minutes, tops. I read also if something will take 30 seconds just do the thing. But, I’ve found my life is filled with 30 second tasks and I jump around too much trying to do them. But the bed. I can make the bed.

        1. Squidhead*

          At w*rk, especially, 30-second tasks cascade and then I never get big tasks finished. So if I’m in the middle of a big task, I write down the 30-second task and make sure I take care of it before I leave, but I don’t let it disrupt the big task the moment I think of it. See also: cleaning the bathroom (big task) but realizing we need another big pack of TP from the spare room (30-second task, right?) but in the spare room discovering that there are some things that need to go to the attic (30 seconds, I swear!) and then in the attic the floor needs to be swept…an hour later, the bathroom is only half-cleaned and I’ve reorganized all the boxes in the attic! Which, sometimes, is fine but other times I really should have just stuck with finishing one thing before moving on. Writing the little things down lets my brain stop fixating on the 30-second task because I know I won’t forget it.

        1. Ginger Baker*

          I suspect this is going to be the case for me soon (For Reasons exercise really needs to become a top priority for me, and I’m also pretty positive I’m going to be VERY ANNOYED at how helpful it is lol!)

      2. Ali*

        Can you say more about flossing? I thought it helped prevent long-term heart disease; but how does it improve your day-to-day life?

        1. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

          Yes,I was intrigued by this too! I don’t floss but maybe if there is a benefit I can see/feel, I would start…?

          1. AGD*

            For sure! Mainly that going to the dentist sucks a lot less now. My gums don’t bleed randomly, having the dentist floss my teeth for me doesn’t hurt even a little bit, and I get far fewer cavities.

          2. floss*

            Do yourself a favor, go floss right now and then smell the floss. What you smell is what other people can smell on your breath, once you smell that you’ll never not floss again.

        2. RecentlyRetired*

          It’s satisfying when you discover that you’ve flossed often enough that your gums no longer bleed from flossing. The dental hygienist hasn’t been lying to you all those years – regular flossing is good for your gums.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      I saw that meme earlier today and was going to mention it before I saw that you did, haha. One of them was from the tweet I saw: you mean it will help my lower back pain if I walk more and sit on the couch less? NOOoooo.

      I love drinking water.

      When I was able to get into the habit of intermittent fasting I did notice my body feeling better, but I went on vacation (where I got Covid) and haven’t gotten back on track yet… like six months later, whoops.

    3. Aphrodite*

      One of the best is one I instituted a few years ago–that if something can be done in one minute or less do it immediately. (This refers to small chores but I use it for anything.)

      I also always put things back in their place immediately. (Saves ever looking for something.)

      I have a specific and carefully chosen place for everything in the house which means I do not have a junk drawer.

      I have almost no duplicates of anything having done good de-cluttering over several years. (The one exception is scissors. I have five of them: a kitchen scissors used on food and nothing else. A regular scissors in a kitchen drawer, another in the large closet hung on the interior wall from a nail, one in the master bedroom nightstand, and a small one in the master bathroom.)

      1. lobsterbot*

        I have been trying to do that first one, and keeping track also of really how long certain chores take so I can fit them in. I also have a lot of scissors, I keep a pair in many of the places I might need them.

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

        I like having specific things that make life easier in convenient locations too! I have dental floss anywhere I might be sitting and see it, and that helps me floss when I otherwise wouldn’t. Also, lots of mini-garbage cans near anywhere I’m sitting and might want to throw out the dental floss or anything else.

    4. Littorally*

      Getting more natural sunlight for sure. I started taking walks around my neighborhood a few times a week and the difference for my mood has been enormous, much larger than just exercise by itself achieves.

    5. Turtle Dove*

      I get to “sink zero” every evening so I can wake up the next morning to an empty, clean kitchen sink. I used to let dirty dishes sit for a few days before loading the dishwasher. We don’t cook much, so it’s mostly empty coffee cups and plates with crumbs. For several months now, I’ve made myself stop reading or watching shows around 7pm, whether I feel like doing it or not, to clean up the kitchen. I enjoy the sense of discipline, and I feel a lift in the morning when I see my kitchen sink.

      1. londonedit*

        Same. My New Year’s resolution in 2022 was to do the washing up and wipe down the kitchen surfaces every evening before I go to bed, and I’ve stuck to it! I live on my own so often there’s just a plate and some cutlery and a saucepan in the sink at the end of the day, and it’s really easy to leave it there until the morning. But now I love making sure everything is clean and tidy before bed, and it’s so much nicer to go into a clean and fresh-smelling kitchen in the morning rather than seeing dirty plates in the sink.

      2. Chauncy Gardener*

        I love “sink zero.” It’s a basic Fly Lady tenet to “shine your sink” every day, and so help me, it works. I may not follow much else from her, but my kitchen is so much more under control with an empty sink!

        1. Chauncy Gardener*

          Oh, and I “Kondo’ed” my sock drawer a couple of years ago and have easily maintained it! It’s pretty amazing how her folding technique lets you see every single pair of socks when you open the drawer.

    6. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I’ll be contrarian and share tips that everyone loves that did nothing for me:

      Making the bed – have never understood this since I was a kid, I’m just gonna mess it up again! I did it for 3 months (60 or 80 days to create a habit rule, apparently) and still did not care. So I stopped. My husband loves having it made so I sometimes do it FOR him and making him happy makes me happy.

      Clean sink every night – did it for more than 2 months. Did nothing for me. Did not establish a habit and I don’t care. At all. I happily move through life with dirty dishes to be done later, when the mood strikes.

      Tidy every day/before bed – ditto on the attempt to do it 60 days or more. No habit, no joy.

      Exercise – my dear husband gets us walking for exercise or to the gym every day. Weight is still too high and no impact on mood. I’m good either way. But I know it is good for me and I do it!

      What has helped is a version of Marie kondoing my life, plus a bit of the Minimalists and Project 333. I came from a use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without family. We had a lot of stuff “just in case.” Now every item I own is intentional. I still save some stuff – because I want to. I’m not too fussed about putting things away every moment or day, but everything has a place and it is easy to tidy up.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        I don’t make the bed. I sorry of cover it to protect from cat hair, but that’s all.
        My partner gets up later than me normally, and he doesn’t care either.

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        Yep. A made bed looks nice but does it look nice enough to be worth doing when I’m already rushing around struggling to get out the door on time?

    7. scientist*

      Starting the day with even just a tiiiiiny bit of exercise. (I just added 100 jumping jacks and a plank for a minute, and it honestly makes me feel a lot better in the morning.)

    8. RussianInTexas*

      Put dishes in to the dishwasher immediately after use, because if I don’t, they stock up, and then it’s a mountain, and I really don’t want to.
      Turn the clothes right side out when sorting after laundry. That way I am not annoyed I have to turn them inside out before wearing.
      After work walks.

    9. vv*

      haha i saw that too, or a similar tweet. getting back into a “normal” adult routine after finishing grad school and moving cross country was feeling pretty impossible in the fall – but it was amazing how much easier it got after committing to a consistent bedtime routine for the month of december and sticking to it. no falling asleep on the couch for hours then trudging to bed but sticking to a standard face wash, toothbrush, then bed routine 7 nights a week, no exceptions, made picking up other smaller but necessary routines much easier to add over the past few months.

      also, the one i am really mad about, is moving my phone from charging at my nightstand to my dresser across the room at night. i wouldn’t even process my first few alarms when it was near my bed and was constantly anxious about sleeping through the start of the day. having to get up to switch it off rather than smack a button while asleep changed my life overnight, i wish i was joking

    10. HannahS*

      Stopped having caffeine after noon. Did wonders for my sleep. I thought that caffeine didn’t affect me because I felt so tired in the evening, but it was getting in the way of falling asleep. I dont even drink coffee! It was tea. I’m just really sensitive.

    11. Generic Name*

      Wearing a supportive bra. I mean, I’ve always worn them, as I have a larger bust, but I switched to bralettes and sports bras during the pandemic and I was dismayed to discover that my cycle-related breast pain was much much worse wearing less supportive bras. So now I’m back to wearing a full underwire bra unless I’m exercising or sleeping. :(

    12. Girasol*

      I tumble out of bed in the morning for a short stretching and medicine ball routine. It’s not ten minutes of effort, not even what most people would call real exercise, but it does wonders for how fit I feel.

      1. Cookie*

        I want to know what exercises you do with a medicine ball! I might get one for my little home gym if I find exercises I’ll do consistently.

        1. Girasol*

          Google “Tar Heels Medicine Ball.” It’s just ten exercises that a college coach put together to keep his team in shape off season. That makes it sound hard but it isn’t. I’m in my 60s using a 10lb ball and by the time I’m all the way awake in the morning I’m nearly done. But in spite of how easy it is, I can really feel the difference.

    13. carcinization*

      I drink more water than anyone I know… I used to laugh at those memes about how dehydrated the reader was, and say, “I’m literally drinking water constantly unless I’m asleep or in the shower.” One of my main adjustments for the couple of years that I always wore a mask while at work/in public was that I couldn’t drink water quite that often. I still wear a mask in situations like being in a crowded grocery store for a good while, but there are other situations where that’s eased up, so I’m basically back to the pre-COVID amounts of water consumption. The pandemic itself has led me to wash my hands more often (I had already done so at the obvious times like in the bathroom, but now I make sure to after the aforementioned grocery store trips, etc.). I never started bringing my phone to bed with me (I still have an actual alarm clock, for example), so I guess that helps too.

    14. Veronica Mars*

      Working out, especially core work and weights. I’ve always loved walking and moving, but working on my core really, really helped my lower back pain! Now I’m one of those annoying people who wants to suggest it to everyone who has lower back pain (although I don’t unless they have specifically asked for advise).

      Also, whenever I’m off social media I feel SO MUCH BETTER and spend my time doing more things that bring me joy, but then I get sucked back in so I haven’t managed to make that one stick yet, sadly.

  11. Yet Another Unemployed Librarian*

    Crafting thread! What are you making?

    I finally finished my first crochet project – a washcloth. It turned out pretty well despite some wonky edges. Now I am working on a cowl and I want to make all the things!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have three and a half motifs left on a double-knitted colorwork scarf that I am making for a friend from a pattern that was initially a short RPG to randomize the motifs. Once that’s done my next project is a Star Wars double knitted colorwork scarf for that friend’s husband, because he really liked the one I did for my own husband.

    2. Accidental Itenerate Teacher*

      I have so many WIPs, but right now I’m trying to finish knitting the second of a pair of socks (the first of which I finished in 2017).
      I also this week finally admitted I hated the design I had on my inkle loom and took it off, replacing it with a design I’m much happier with.
      I know what you mean about wanting to make all the things,. I’m constantly finding new patterns on Ravelry, despite having far too many things on my needles already.

    3. QuilterGirl*

      I am a quilter, obv. I have one quilt on the longarm (which I’ve named Steve) waiting for my attention, a big Crown&Anchors quilt in dog fabric just for moi waiting for like a year for me to get back to it, a finished top for a niece that needs to get on Steve and get outta here, a absolute embarrassment of fabric in my stash just…waiting, and yep I bought more fabric today.

      I work in a quilt shop which all things considered is probably not smart despite the employee discount and first dibs on everything. Sigh

      1. Shorty Spice*

        Quilter here too. Working on two projects right now: comfort/grief quilts for friends. A really awful rain but I’m so happy I can give them something that says I’m thinking of you and your loss.

      2. A Becky*

        I finished the top sheet for my baby bump’s quilt! Now I’m taking a quick break to make a teddy bear hoodie for Toddler because they’ve got a fancy dress thing coming up at daycare.

        1. QuilterGirl*

          I want to start making costumes for my Aussie, I know she’d love the dressing up and getting all the attention. I think AussieSaurus or AussieCorn first…I’m thinking I can Frankenstein up a kid’s costume pattern with a standard dog coat pattern.

      3. Liminality*

        I’m working on a petit-point (sp?) embroidery kit that will eventually be a lovely mountain/forest scene. I started a little over a year ago and I have gotten almost half done!

    4. sewsandreads*

      Adding another quilt to my potential makes list — I got a heap of my dad’s old business shirts and want to make him a quilt from them. So just on the hunt for a pattern (and… of course… I still have plenty of unfinished quilts that I should do first)

    5. English Rose*

      Junk journal for travel. Lots of pockets for keeping train tickets and museum/gallery entry tickets etc. (I do regret that so many tickets are now digital and on our phones, I like the physical reminder.)

    6. Peanut Hamper*

      I have an odd addiction to pencils. And the dollar and a quarter store always has pretty holiday ones.

      As a result, I have more pencils that I can ever use.

      So I’m working on a way to turn them into a wall display. So far, I have some paint sticks that I am painting with black(ish) milk paint. I’ll then assemble them into a board using glue and brass tacks, and then fasten the pencils to them (how, I have no idea) and then add a picture hanger to the back.

      That’s the plan, anyway.

    7. Lifelong student*

      I committed myself to learning how to do a cable in crochet and finally did it! It wasn’t easy and may not be the neatest cable ever- but after trying multiple times, I succeeded!

    8. HamlindigoBlue*

      I’m working on a pair of socks, and I’ll be finishing my test knit (cardigan) today. I’ve also got a crochet blanket that I’ve been working on off and on. After this test is done, I don’t think I’ll be signing up for any more for a while. I don’t want to work projects on a deadline right now. I’ve been signing up for test knits to help me use up the yarn that’s just been sitting in my stash, and if there’s a deadline then I know I have to finish the project. It’s effective, and I like what I’ve made, but now I need a break.

    9. germank106*

      Still knitting the never ending cardigan. It’s at almost 20 inches now and I have just found out that I have three skeins of yarn left instead of two. Each skein is worth about 8 inches so I’m hoping to actually have that thing done before it gets too hot to wear it.

    10. HannahS*

      I’m so close to being done a test-pair of trousers made out of an old pair of curtains! Just have to top-stitch the waistband and hem them. I’m also slowly hand-quilting a gingham quilt. I’d meant to machine-quilt it, but the only time I can really sew is after my toddler is in bed, and in a small apartment, the sewing machine is too loud. So by hand it is! I think I’m about half-way done.

    11. Clara Bowe*

      I decided to learn book binding because I have a ton of long fanfic saved that I want to read in print format. (The binds would just be for me so that I can reread them for pleasure and/or to make bind up gifts for my writer friends of their own work.)

      I am really enjoying being this bad at something! I had to have the “It is fine to be bad to mediocre at something while you learn!” talk, and it has been helping me with the trial/failure stages. Plus, I get to play with glue.

    12. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m about 10 inches into my first big, twin-sized afghan. How on earth do I handle all this fabric I’m making??
      It’s beyond not portable already and I’ve barely begun — are there tricks or tools?

    13. HamlindigoBlue*

      I just went through my stash of yarn and found 3 cakes of this jumbo chainette yarn that I got in a mystery box last summer. It feels like cotton, but the stamped bag it came in says it’s acrylic. I need to make a small rug to put under a square shaped ottoman that is always being scooted from place to place over our bamboo flooring, and I decided to try to make something with this mystery yarn. Each cake is 300ish grams (low 300s, each one weighs in differently). I’m almost through the first cake, and it looks like it might work out. It will be close, but so far I’m happy with what I’ve done. It might be better with a larger crochet hook, but I don’t have anything larger than a Q/15.75mm, and I don’t want to buy anything new for this project. I just hope it all works out because then that will free up a ton of storage space, and I’ll have a useful item by the end of the afternoon. I really don’t know what else this yarn would be good for if not a rug, and 3 cakes just isn’t going to make anything larger than 21×21 in. (which is my goal).

      1. germank106*

        I always work my rugs with a much tighter gauge than usual. I found out that they last much longer that way.

        1. HamlindigoBlue*

          I think you are right. I’ve never crocheted a rug before. Now that it’s done, I think using a larger hook would have been a mistake. I was just barely able to finish the rug using this hook size.

          I was also able to determine that my mystery yarn was probably Premier Home Cotton XL in a discontinued color, so I guess the acrylic stamp on the bag didn’t mean anything. I went to look at what other people have made with it before, and rugs were made using the 15.75mm hook so I think it was a good guess!

    14. Not Australian*

      Temporarily stalled on the second of my ‘Christmas dinosaur’ quilts due to running out of fabric – which, of course, I can’t match. Fortunately, though, I can just do the sashing and border in a contrast colour which will probably look even better. FWIW I usually buy ends-of-rolls at a discount place so this problem does crop up occasionally, and I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of it.

      Also, continuing my eccentric money-saving ways, I recently bought 75 reels of vintage sewing thread on eBay … stuff with actual names, rather than numbers … which (combined with what I already have) I’m hoping will keep me going for roughly another five years

    1. ThatGirl*

      Most people don’t need a multivitamin – the water soluble ones just produce expensive pee. look for specific supplements if you need help with D or B12 or whatever. Beyond that, I’m not sure there’s a ton of difference? We take the Target brand.

      1. E*

        Because vitamins are unregulated, they can contain things they don’t say or not contain what they’re supposed to. This is a place where I think having a reliable brand makes a diff.

        I agree generally a multivitamin isn’t needed. But OP didn’t specify they’re looking for a multivitamin so I wouldn’t assume …

        1. ThatGirl*

          Well, I’m not suggesting buying Bob’s Discount Vyteemins. But major reputable brands, sure. PollyQ didn’t specify so just my two cents.

          1. Cookie*

            Bob’s Discount Vyteemins should become another AAM product like teapots or llamas. I hope Alison reads this!

    2. Princess Deviant*

      I’m in the UK.
      I buy Holland & Barrett magnesium supplements, omega 3, and the vitamin D ones (vegan version of all of them).
      I also like the Pure and Essential brand, which I get from Amazon. It’s cheaper too.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      I figure Target store brand is pretty good? In the sense that Target is going to be there if any irregularities are found.

      I take Target store brand chewable magnesium because that was the magnesium I was randomly taking before discovering that formulation makes a big difference.

    4. Vegan vitamins*

      I buy from Dr Fuhrman online. Pricey but we do have confidence in the quality of each ingredient and that they are each there for a good reason.

    5. HamlindigoBlue*

      I never took a multivitamin until one year when my annual bloodwork came back with some questionable numbers. Since then, I’ve been taking Women’s One a Day, and my numbers have been good each year since.

    6. MMB*

      I’ve had lifelong issues with anemia (vitamin B and Iron). I started using MegaFoods Blood Builder a few years ago and my B & Iron levels have steadily improved and remained stable. I’m happy with the results and will continue to take it. YMMV

      1. Cookie*

        My old primary care doc recommended MegaFood’s multivitamin, because he said it wouldn’t give me nausea/heartburn even on an empty stomach, and he was right. However, I eventually got tired of paying that much for vitamins, especially because this one contained so many trace minerals and I wasn’t sure I needed all that. I switched to Alive! gummy vitamins, but I only take half the dose (one gummy) and only on days when I haven’t eaten a good diet.

    7. Newly minted higher ed*

      I have some diet sensitivities that can be strong or mild, so I just avoid most offbrand vitamins. And the doctor has a list of vitamins I’m supposed to be taking for various things. I usually take Naturemade because it does not use a gluten filler, it’s ISP certified, and been around for a long time. I tried what looked like it might be good for bone density and found that it worsened my fibro symptoms, actually, so I avoid anything that markets itself to a particular concern or seems gimmicky. I’ve also found that, like the calcium and D3 amounts I have to take, Naturemade is least likely to upset my stomach (even if taken with a meal).

    8. Just a different redhead*

      I’ve found Swanson and Jarrow are trustworthy to what’s on their labels. Puritan’s Pride has a lot of info on their products generally, but if you ask them questions like “does this ‘special bioflavonoid blend’ ingredient contain naringen” they’ll refuse to give you an answer because I guess you’d steal their proprietary formula or something?

      I look up a bunch about a particular vitamin/supplement and compare ingredients and reviews on a bunch before trying one. I get all of them separately except the b-complex… Finding a b-complex that works and doesn’t have milligrams of something you need micrograms of is challenging. Currently I’m using Swanson Balance B-200 Complex. This is mostly because first the brand I used to take switched their b-complex formula after years, and then the generic store brand took away their strawberry chewable b-complex all of a sudden after more years.

      Sorry for going off topic, anyway while I do have a number of vitamins I regularly get made by the ones I mentioned, Swanson or Jarrow, I also have one-off’s from a bunch of places. As long as they describe their product accurately with full ingredient information, size, dosage, and actually make multiple supplements (not just this one), I’m usually fine at least trying them. If they avoid fully explaining anything or do lots of marketing-speak, especially if it’s about how magical this product will be for your life, I tend to not try them.

    9. Chaordic One*

      If you have any kind of food allergies pay attention to the ingredients! I have food allergies and ended up having a bad reaction to a particular variety of Occuvite brand vitamins. I’m allergic to soy and it turned out that Occuvite uses soy as a filler ingredient in some, but not all, of their vitamins. It is not something I would have thought of when taking vitamins and I learned the hard way.

  12. Princess Deviant*

    Who’s your favourite famous funny person?
    Who would you recommend to others? Mine would be any scene from Would I Lie To You with Bob Mortimer in it. He’s also wonderful in Gone Fishing with Mortimer and Whitehouse.

    1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I love WILTY, with or without Mortimer! I’ve gotten addicted to so many British celebrity panel and game shows: Taskmaster, QI, Mock the Week, Eight Out of Ten Cats Does Countdown (worst title ever), and bits and pieces of others I’m finding. My husband wonders why I’m cackling and guffawing loudly late at night. I recently realized I know the names of many more British comics than American ones.

      1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        Oh, and my favorite was the late Sean Lock, sadly gone too young, but he can still be watched via the wonder of the internet.

      2. AlliterativeApple*

        Re: the title of 8oo10cdc.. It started life as a mash up between two separate shows.. 8 of 10 cats (a comedy panel show loosely based on statistics in the news, a la “8 out of 10 cats prefer XYZ cat food”), and Countdown which is a very popular long-running words & numbers puzzle game. Channel 4, which broadcast both shows, had a special evening for reasons I can’t remember, and broadcast mashed up versions of their popular shows. So they had Jimmy Carr (the host of 8oo10c) host Countdown on the usual countdown set, kepts the regular countdown experts, and had a few regular 8oo10c panellists playing as contestants. It was called 8oo10cdc as that described the mashup, and it was only expected to be a silly one off so there was no need to come up with a “better” title. However, the show worked incredibly well, and after a few more one-off episodes they commissioned it as a standalone series, keeping the name as it was still a mashup of the two shows. By the time it had established its own identity, it would have been too late to change the name.

        It’s often referred to just “cats does countdown” or even sometimes “catsdown”, as 8oo10cdc is a bit of a mouthful!

    2. Helvetica*

      Dara O’Briain is great; I’ve roared laughing to everything he’s ever done. His live shows are so good, he’s so fast and amazingly witty.
      And from the US, I’ve really enjoyed Taylor Tomlinson’s Netflix specials – so honest, so biting and also unexpected with her punchlines.

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      I’ve listened to the Gilbert Gottfried podcast for a while now. It’s definitely NSFW, but if you like stories about old Hollywood, it’s pretty interesting. Definitely not for everybody’s tastes, but I have learned some interesting things, like Kirk Hammett of Metallica has a huge monster movie collection. (It’s probably the only interview he ever did where he didn’t get asked about music.)

      RIP, Gilbert.

    4. fposte*

      I have a lot. I saw James Acaster’s show when he was in the US and he was absolutely amazing, and my non-comedy friend enjoyed it too. He’s probably the one I’d recommend most. I just watched some Daniel Sloss specials I hadn’t seen and he is amazing. He’s hard-edged in a way that isn’t usually my thing but it’s not in a testosterone-y way, and he’s incredibly smart and humane. I also really loved a Fern Brady special. Oh, and the new Joe Lycett special for much more than humor.

      For non-standups, Bob Mortimer of course.

    5. GlowCloud*

      I have a CD of Bill Bailey’s ‘Bewilderness’ set, and I don’t mind hearing it over again. His Chaucerian Pub Joke is just delightful.

      I also think James Acaster and Bo Burnham have elevated their artform to something so sublimely well-crafted that it would stand more than a couple of re-watches.

    6. Turtle Dove*

      I adore Craig Ferguson and still watch YouTube clips from the late show he hosted ages ago. For me they’re a guaranteed laugh. His “tweets and emails” segments are my favorites, and I enjoy his opening monologues and interviews too.

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

        Ooh, I didn’t even think of British talent! They’re all dead now, I think, unfortunately, but the cast of *Are You Being Served* were so, so funny. I didn’t appreciate them when I was younger — I found their humor a bit broad — but now, I love them, particularly John Inman, who played an unapologetically out gay (or maybe bi? there are occasional hints of that) main character a long time before we really got gay main characters in American media.

        1. Chaordic One*

          The humor was more character-driven (and timeless in that way). When I’m in the right mood, I love watching old reruns of the ’60s TV sitcoms I grew up watching, such as “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” or “Bewitched.”

      2. allathian*

        Oh yes, Keeping Up Appearances is hilarious. At least mostly, I do think that the couple’s difficulties in openly acknowledging their gay son Sheridan’s sexuality is cringey now. To be fair, AFAIK Sheridan never appears on screen, he just calls his mom in every other episode.

        1. Chaordic One*

          Poor Hyacinth’s cluelessness, and even some disappointing remarks from her neighbor, Elizabeth. It makes me appreciate Moira Rose from “Schitt’s Creek” as a mother.

    7. Chauncy Gardener*

      Chiming in here with some really old ones (which can be fairly politically incorrect sometimes), since most listed so far seem to be relatively current:
      Carol Burnett with her crew (especially where Tim Conway cracks everyone up)
      Buddy Hackett
      Eddie Murphy
      Old SNLs
      The Golden Girls (I adore Betty White)
      Emo Phillips
      Bob Newhart

    8. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m currently renewing my crush on Judge Harold T Stone–Harry Anderson in the original Night Court.

    9. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      Tig Notaro, in anything, but one could start with her show “One Mississippi” on Amazon and her podcast with the very funny Cheryl Hines, Tig and Cheryl: True Stories.

      1. Chaordic One*

        Not just a funny person, his co-star, Maureen O’Hara said he was a “comedic genius but an actor with an extraordinary dramatic talent.”

    10. Anonymous cat*

      Is the kid old enough for mysteries? Nothing like a good Agatha Christie! Also, she had several short story collections so that would come with natural breaks.

      And I always recommend Cabin Pressure, a BBC radio comedy series. You could buy just the first episode and see if you think the family will like it.

      Another humor writer is Patrick McManus who wrote humor pieces about outdoor adventures. Definitely suitable for all ages!

      His estate has a few of his stories on YouTube if you want to try them out.

      1. Anonymous cat*

        Nesting fail!

        Though I do think John Finnemore, creator of Cabin Pressure and voice of Arthur, is very funny.

        He also has a sketch show called John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme that’s fun.

    11. Rinn*

      Too many to count! I love stand-up comedians, sketch comedy, some sit-coms, and really any fiction that has humor woven through it.

  13. The Prettiest Curse*

    Content warning: pet death (first sentence only)

    I recently discovered a sad but wonderful Instagram account (@creaturecrypts), which is entirely photos of pet graves and memorials. Seeing all the nicknames people give their pets made me want to know about the nicknames and titles that people here give their pets.

    My current dog has the title Guardian of the Rhubarb Crumble, because my husband likes to make rhubarb crumble. And I used to joke that my previous dog, who had the most intense love for toast of any dog I’ve ever known and who was probably part-German Shepherd, was in fact a previously unknown breed known as the Bavarian Toasthound.
    So please, tell me your pets’ nicknames!

    1. Cookies For Breakfast*

      Our foster cats have been here a month and already have loads.

      The small grey one goes most often by Baby Boy, but we also made up a high-sounding aristocratic title based on his name, which sometimes evolves into calling him His Lordship (he’s a tornado on tiny paws, so calling him a name that would better suit a pompous old man is hilarious). Because of his colour, I call him the Silver Surfer, and was close, earlier this week, to making a video of him with me singing along to the Beach Boys’ Surfin’ U.S.A. (this is my idea of fun in my 30s).

      My favourite nickname for the larger, fluffy white one is untranslatable – it’s the way someone from my native country would say his name in broken English. For some reason, I swing wildly between calling him Big Gentle Snowball and Little Dude, no middle ground.

      There are many reasons why it wouldn’t make sense to adopt these two, but oh, they’re so special, I wish I could!

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My Elder Statesdog Gone Beyond was Miss Angua Grace Puppinsky-Rompanopolis, Lieutenant General of the Red Hound Army and High Ambassador to the Kitten Kingdom. AKA Miss Puppy. She was a red bloodhound mix and passed a year and a half ago.

      My Senior Ambassador is Miss Alannah Jane Sleepyface Corporal Radar Wigglebottom the Froshus, Queen of the Carrot Mafia and Bane of All Flossiraptors Errywhere. AKA Baby Bit. She is an eight year old fawn boxer mix.

      The Attache is Miss Abigail Rose Sleepyface Goofin’ Gorilla-Paws Sinatra, Wuffleberry Princess and Druid Boss of the Boo Rhimoceros Gang. AKA Abigoof or Baby Goof. She is a blue baby Great Dane who will be a year old in a couple weeks.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        My husband’s cats are Captain Kyna Whitepaws, SCOURGE OF LAND AND SEA, and Princess Kiara Scaredyfluff the Dark and Rarely Seen. We call them the Captain and the Princess, I always have to say their whole names to remember which one is Kyna and which is Kiara. They are littermates, 8 year old tuxie girls.

        The Princess is the one who picked us – my husband was looking at cats at the shelter and I was waiting in the lobby, when suddenly a wee kitten had reached out of her kennel and grabbed my bun with both paws. After a minute I said “can someone go get that dude in the green shirt and tell him his cat has his fiancée by the head out here?” He came out and extricated her from my hair and went “Now we just need a second!” and the worker was like “Well, she has a sister back in sick bay?”

        The Captain lost an eye as a kitten due to the recurring eye infections that had her in the sick bay. We had her on medications for a couple months but nothing worked, so finally we said “Can we just *cork pop noise* and stop putting us all through this?” So they did, and the issues never recurred again after the enucleation. They also removed most of her working brain cells I think – she is fearless, sweet and absolutely dumber than rocks. Their shelter names were actually pirate themed, but while the Cap was in having her eye surgery, we told the Princess not to get any bright ideas about peg legs or hook paws.

    3. High contrast*

      We have a shorthair tuxedo cat. Since having a baby, this cat has mostly been referred to as High-Contrast Kitty.

    4. Geezercat*

      In the past, we have been a multi-pet household. Currently we have one cat, referred to as the Supreme Being. She outlived her companions, and is SO MUCH HAPPIER as an only pet that there will be no more pets until…..there are no more pets. She rules the house exactly as you would presume a Supreme Being would…..

    5. No Tribble At All*

      We have a Lap-Seeking Missile. She’s currently parked on my hip (I’m laying in bed) purring. Her usual target is my husband, and when he works from home, she hops up on his lap within 30 seconds of him sitting down.

    6. QuilterGirl*

      I had a big Maine Coon cat that I named Hoss Catwright, because of his obvious resemblance. Sadly, and increasingly these days folks don’t understand the joke.

    7. SofiaDeo*

      Hubby had a previous pet, Impy, that was spoiled and went by Queen Impylou. So after he got get PeeWee, that dog became Princess PeeWee, and when I got Zeus he became Duke Zeus!

    8. Turtle Dove*

      I often call our cat Simba “Simba Bimba” or Simbabwe. My husband calls his favorite cat Poopy because of that cat’s … ahem … chronic misuse of the litterbox. Our third cat has no nicknames except for an occasional rhyme with his name (think “Simba Bimba”). He’s very dignified and would eschew the casualness of nicknames if he could voice his opinion. I just know it.

    9. Rara Avis*

      Our cats’ actual names are Leonardo (da Vinci) and Artemisia Gentilleschi, shortened to Leo and Arty. Or Leo the Bearcat and Arty Party/Squeakadoodle. My husband calls Leo Big Fluffy Allergen, especially when Leo climbs into his lap and waves his tail in his face.

    10. Enough*

      Had friends whose cat was Saturn Cat with Rings of Fat. She was a gray tabby and covered the whole toilet lid when she laid on it.

    11. Blythe*

      All of my pets have abundant nicknames, but none more so than Abner, the standard poodle. He is Babs, Babbity, Abbity-Babbity-Boo, the VGB (very good dog), honey bunny, etc. He is called Abner Hunt Francis for serious occasions (the historical figure for whom he was named) and his registered name is Oakridge Silver Lining.

    12. Accidental Itenerate Teacher*

      Our current dog has a whole slew of nicknames such as: Winky (he has one eye), Babykins, Trouble, The Problem, Bubbles, and Bagel (he’s a fawn pug so when he’s happy his tail curls up and looks like a bagel)
      We’ve also nicknamed his favorite toy “The One True Artifact” he has a number of toys he’ll play with but there is only one he will tear the house apart to locate if he loses it.
      Memorable nicknames for previous dogs include: Little Man in a Dog Suit, Pug Baby, Stinky Butt, Big Dog, and Vomit Dog (earned in a single incident that lives on in family lore).

    13. My family will recognize this*

      My brother’s dog was a cross of Jack Russell & Yellow Lab that I dubbed the Jack Daniels Terrier.

    14. sewsandreads*

      My partner and I have gotten into the bad habit of adding “butt” to various characteristics to make a new nickname.
      E.g. when she’s in desperate need of a clip, she’s crinklebutt. When she’s rolled in something heinous, she’s stinkbutt. When it’s dinner time, she’s hungrybutt.

      I also call her Scoopy Scoop and I have absolutely no idea where that came from, given her actual name has nothing to do with that! Also add “roo” to the end of her name (her favourite food) or rhyme anything that works with her name.

      Sorry, doggo, for rarely calling you by your name.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Our dearly departed doggo, Link, was referred to as fuzzybutt constantly. Along with Linkasaurus, stinky linky, best boy, fuzzy derelict, puppywuppy, Buddy, baby, babydog, you name it.

    15. Not Australian*

      Our special needs rescue cat came to us last year named JayJay, which I absolutely couldn’t stand. (Even the vet hated it!) Kicking the syllables around a bit gave us ‘George’, which is his new name, but I must admit it also has a lot to do with Joyce Grenfell’s comedy routine about a teacher which includes the line “George … don’t do that.” These are words we often find ourselves uttering these days, and it’s become his unofficial full name.

      BTW having mentioned George on here before a time or two I feel justified in offering a brief update. His health has improved by leaps and bounds, and most recently we’ve changed his diet which has cleared up his skin condition and his fur is growing back nicely. The problem with his eye (microphthalmia) is congenital and will always be present, but we’ve taken care of everything else and he’s well and truly settled in to our household now.

    16. carcinization*

      My dog Potemkin is usually called “Tippy.” I also call him “doodlebug” in general and “goonybird” when he’s being goony. My cat Samedi is usually called “Sam.” Since he’s a cat he gets called all manner of ridiculous things, from “Yamblor” (because he makes weird noises we refer to as “yambles,” to “Rollypig” (when he rolls around luxuriantly as cats do).

    17. RLC*

      All felines here…and they all have/had “real” names, these are nicknames.
      Cheeky Cheek: always has a sassy comment when we speak to her
      Miss Itty Bitty: smallest of the crew
      The Anglerfish: lures us in for a pet then grabs the hand petting her
      Stinky Boy: gas emitter, sometimes called Mr Poopybutt
      Mr Monkey Toes: only cat we’ve ever had with opposable thumbs
      Sweet Little One: youngest of the crew and full of beans

  14. I Want To Ride My Bicycle*

    Hello! We’ve just bought a baby bike trailer to drag around Mr 10 Months.

    Has anyone used a bike trailer before? Any tips?

    I know baby is a bit young, so plan to start with some very short rides before working up to commuting to daycare (all of ten minutes by bike) and the pool (maybe 12 minutes away) by summer time.

    We have a helmet for baby and a flag for the bike trailer! Is there anything else we should invest in to make this journey easier?

    1. JSPA*

      Is the neck at that age up to handling a helmet? I’ve seen 12 months as the lower limit for the helmet itself not being problematic, but that may be outdated.

      1. A Becky*

        German recommendation is 6 months. My kid haaaaaates the helmet, though. (Also hats, but he gets angry when he can’t pull the helmet off).

        1. I Want To Ride My Bicycle*

          Oooh good point – baby is in 75th percentile for head, so I’m confident a 1year old helmet will fit – that’s good to know the German recommendation, thank you. We wouldn’t ride without a helmet.

    2. Jenny*

      I have one though I didn’t start using it until kiddo was about one and a half. They’re quite maneuverable but it’s definitely a lot harder to take hills. I’d recommend biking around a few times with the trailer totally empty.

      I don’t think I’d personally ride after dark, but if you do make sure you have lights.

    3. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Recommendation – looks into kickstands for your bike. A problem we had when I was a kid was if you stopped and laid the big bike down it could get badly tangled up with the trailer.

    4. My family will recognize this*

      Walkie talkie headsets? My then toddler didn’t like being in there alone.

      Also a second lock for the trailer so you can stop somewhere other than your garage.

    5. Missb*

      Not necessarily an investment tip, but we figured out a couple of things with our Bob trailer:

      They don’t turn on a dime.

      They do overturn on a dime.

      The straps keep the kid(s) in when the trailer turns on it’s side.

      The trailers are sturdy enough to not get ruined should you turn over the trailer and drag it along the pavement for a moment or two.

      We used ours until the kids moved up to our tandems. Then we passed it along to another friend with young kids, and they used it until their kids outgrew it.

      Dh started taking the kids on 2-week bike trips when they were under 5 (4 and 5 to start iirc). It was awesome for that.

      Even better when they could pedal along as a stoker on the back of the tandem. I always claimed the oldest kid as stoker.

    6. Informal Educator*

      I second the recommendation to get used to the trailer before small person is in it. Just a few of those short rides should do it. I loved biking my 1 year old to daycare, and he loved it, too. We always took a stuffed animal buddy for company. Enjoy your adventures!

  15. JSPA*

    Basically, there’s a lot of jouncing in even the better trailers. You need a certain level of muscle tone, coordination and skeletal robustness.

  16. I take tea*

    The thread with the horrible Aubrey and incompetent HR made me think about comments on apparencies. I never would comment on anybody’s body weight, but is it okey to comment on tattoos? I mean, they are on the body, but people put them on themselves. I love hearing about why people have a certain tattoo, but now I’m wondering if it’s ok to ask. What do you tattoed persons say?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have 25 tattoos. I don’t mind if people ask about them, as long as they aren’t getting judgmental about them. :)

    2. rr*

      I wonder about this too. First, it indicates you’re looking at somebody else’s body, which could, particularly depending on tattoo placement, be awkward. Second, maybe the tattoo is a personal thing? I don’t want anybody feeling like they have to tell me something that is personal. Maybe they wouldn’t, but I’m an over explainer, so if I had tattoos, I could totally see myself doing that.

    3. Carsies*

      I think “lovely tattoo” or “I really like that tattoo” is totally fine when someone has a visible tattoo in a non-sexual area (upper arm and the person is wearing a tank top). They may absolutely express willingness to talk more about it, or they may just say thanks. Follow their lead. “Tell me about the meaning of your tattoo” is a bit much- comes across as maybe a bit intense and nosy to me if you’re not intimate friends. I have tattoos and they are a bit personal. And if a tattoo is partially covered it’s kinder not to ask the person to move their clothes so you can see it better, IMO! That’s a pet peeve for me. I’m trying to buy groceries, lady, not lift up the hem of my shirt in public.

      1. English Rose*

        Yes, I think that sort of casual comment is fine. I’m a tattoo virgin, but my sister has loads, and she quite enjoys the opportunity to tell people about them, and definitely likes having them admired.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          The ones I don’t actually want to talk about (which usually means to this specific person), either I say “No story there, I just liked it” or sometimes I make up an outlandish story. (“It reminds me of the time I fought off a marauding shark.” Then they go “Really??” And I go “No, no story there, I just liked it.”)

          But I will totally tell you that this one is a song lyric from the movie Brave and it incorporates both my parents’ handwriting, and that one is a glyph denoting a Glass Walker Galliard, with the glyph wrapped in ivy like a trellis, and that one is just a green pointy design that a friend doodled that I liked but it actually sort of goes with these two other green pointy designs (left bicep, wrist and ankle), and that one is a song quote from a Sully Erna solo album. (I have a lot of word tattoos.)

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              There’s a Corax glyph with a song lyric (“creatures made of sunlight don’t intend it when they burn”) on my right thigh too but nobody sees that for the most part :)

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      I view tattoos as akin to T-shirts–someone chose to display this symbol, and it makes sense to ask about it. (The flip being that the person in the tattoo or T-shirt should not pearl clutch when people react to them like they just read their T-shirt aloud.)

      The only comments I have made have been along the lines of “What a lovely/interesting tattoo!” I definitely wouldn’t treat it as something you critique in an artistic sense–same as I can think that shirt is very unfortunate but obvs would never inform the wearer of that opinion.

    5. Seahorse*

      I have a large tattoo covering most of my upper arm, and it’s nice when people are complementary. I don’t expect or solicit comments, but they certainly don’t bother me. It feels more akin to saying someone has nice earrings or looks good in red – deliberate aesthetic choices rather than things like weight or skin tone.

      That said, I don’t have a dramatic or emotional story to share if people want to know the deep meaning behind the art. Partly it’s something I am unwilling to share with strangers or coworkers, and partly I just liked the idea enough to permanently stick it on myself. Logistical questions like where I got it or how I finalized the design are less personal, and I’m happy to answer those. Some people like sharing more, but in my experience, they’ll volunteer the information if you mention you like their tattoo.

    6. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      I’m happy when people say things like “I like your tattoo.”

      I wasn’t pleased when someone said “why do you have the state bird of Virginia on your arm?” because (a) I didn’t even know it was the state bird of Virginia, and (b) it meant that rather than talk about why I’d chosen that image, the answer had to include something like “that’s not why I have it, I didn’t even know it was your state bird.”

      None of mine have text or are well-known brand names or symbols (no hearts, flags, religious symbols, coats of arms, cartoon characters…) which makes it easier to say “I just liked it” if I’m not in a mood to talk about it beyond that.

    7. RagingADHD*

      I think saying, “cool ink” or “that tattoo is great/beautiful/” is the social equivalent of making a positive comment about someone’s TShirt graphic or earrings.

      The exception would be if you only saw it due to an accidental flash, because they chose to wear clothing that would cover it and the coverage failed. Then you should probably not mention it unless they do.

    8. carcinization*

      I think I’ve only been asked about my tattoos at work once (and two of my five tattoos are often visible at work), and it was by another tattooed person who explained their visible tattoo to me after I explained mine to them (at least one of the meanings, anyway). Not all tattoos are “meaningful” though, unless you count “I thought it would look cool/cute/etc.” as a meaning. I think it’d greatly depend on the person and the approach as to whether I’d take well to someone not visibly tattooed asking me about my tattoos at work.

    9. MEH Squared*

      I have four tats, three in places that are noticeable. Two are on my arms (one on each) and the other is on my left breast. I have very large boobs so if I’m wearing any shirt that doesn’t go to the neck, it’s going to be noticeable. Personally, I appreciate a compliment on any of my tats as long as there is no leer accompanying the noticing of the one on my boob. They all have fire incorporated in them and are very colorful. I’m happy to talk about them!

    10. Clumsy Ninja*

      As a non-tattooed person, can I just say that my go to IF I want to ask about someone’s tattoo is usually something along the lines of “May I ask about your tattoo?” Being prepared to change the subject immediately if they say no. But I really only ask about tattoos that I’m prepared to compliment (not that the person knows that, admittedly).

      This is a great question – thanks for asking!

      1. Anonymous cat*

        I ask carefully in case it’s a sensitive subject but so far everyone has answered nicely so IME people usually don’t mind a polite question especially if you compliment it.

        (And I wouldn’t ask at all if I thought it was a bad design. That’s like telling a stranger “ I hate your face” ! )

      2. allathian*

        I don’t have any tattoos either, but I only comment on them if I can give a sincere compliment, like “cool ink, does your tattoo have a meaning you’re willing to share?” Only one of my close friends has tattoos, and I certainly wouldn’t dream of commenting on a random stranger’s appearance in the street or anywhere else.

    11. Expiring Cat Memes*

      I have one which is occasionally semi-visible depending on what I wear. Despite loving my tattoo and it having enduring, special meaning to me, I’ve been thinking about having it removed simply because of how weirdly interrogative some people can be.

      I don’t mind at all if someone points out my tattoo with a passing compliment, or just because they’re surprised they haven’t noticed it before, or if they have logistical questions about pain, finding an artist etc. What I DO mind is persistent, invasive questioning about what it means. I usually respond with “oh, just something personal I designed for myself” or “it means think before you ink hahaha” or “I’ve had it so long I forget” but some people will just. not. let. it. go. and it is SO freaking awkward to keep politely redirecting without just giving a blunt “none of your business/please stop asking”.

      For tattoos that don’t have special meaning, you’re going to get a pretty unsatisfactory answer as to why they have it anyway (“I picked it from a book”, etc). But tattoos that do have special meaning often come with personal, and sometimes painful or traumatic stories. It’s not like clothing or jewellery – there’s a reason some of us want a permanent mark. So before asking about why/meaning, you should consider your relationship to the person and what standing you have to ask something like that. Could you potentially ask them about the loss of their loved one? Their spirituality? Their mental health struggles? Their ancestral heritage? Their victimhood/survivorship? Their concept of self? If not, just leave it at “hey nice tattoo!” And if they want to share more about it with you, they will do so of their own accord.

      It’s great the letter this week has prompted you to consider this! Hopefully your question helps others consider the potential sensitivities around tattoos too.

    12. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

      I would think if the comment is expressing interest, or a compliment, it should be ok. It would seem silly to me if a person with a visible tattoo would be taken aback when people notice it, especially in a nice way. Of course there are people who like to make negative comments because they “disapprove” – I’d say they are in the same category as people who comment on weight. I remember a letter here where a woman’s coworker freaked out about her tattoos, as though she could just take them off or something. As I recall there was an update with a satisfying resolution. One thing I do find awkward is when someone’s tattoo has writing in it, and the only way to read it is to look at it for what seems like way too long. I guess the solution is to just ask what it says instead of staring.

    13. I take tea*

      Thank you all for your answers. I usually go with a compliment, not demanding to know about the meaning, if that was unclear. But I’ve found that people sometimes tell me unprompted: “this is because…” and I’ve always found that fascinating. I’m far to much of a wuss to get a tattoo myself, but I have understood that they can be addictive.

    14. Catherine*

      I’m usually happy to discuss it with people I’m already on good terms with, but like, strangers waiting next to me in the grocery checkout line or something need to mind their own business and I won’t entertain their questions.

      Also, I’m fairly pale-skinned and get white ink tattoos–if someone notices and comments, they were definitely applying a level of scrutiny that is inappropriate to direct at a stranger. I can’t even see my tattoos in a mirror from more than a foot away under most lighting conditions, and i know exactly where to look!

    1. Gyne*

      Prep and Pastry for brunch.
      Feast for dinner (call ahead, the Gem Show is in town this month and we were turned away last weekend because we didn’t have reservations)
      Raging Sage is a great coffeeshop with good scones!
      Barrio Charro for lunch (sadly not open for dinner, they are a breakfast/lunch only place.)
      If you are going downtown, the Mercado San Agustin has some good restaurants and food (Agustin Kitchen)

    2. Filosofickle*

      El Charro is iconic — there are other locations, but downtown / old town is best. Known for carne seca (something you won’t see anywhere outside of that part of AZ) and chimichangas. Chicken mole is also good.

      1. Unkempt Flatware*

        Oh my glob I am salivating just thinking of El Charro. That Carne Seca is like….gourmet beef jerky inside a burrito or taco. It is the greatest thing I have tasted in a good while. Please go to El Charro and report back. If you have to be in Phoenix for any reason, go to Cocina Madrigal. It’s near Sky Harbor.

        1. Filosofickle*

          For those who haven’t had it, which is like 98% of you, it’s shredded beef that’s dried in the sun (or used to be, maybe they use ovens now) until it gets a little chewy and the flavor intensifies — not nearly as tough as jerky but heading in that direction.

          Personally, I prefer shredded beef — which they call birria, but growing up there I would have called it machaca — most when it’s a lot of meat like a burrito, and carne seca in smaller volumes like on a cheese crisp or taco.

          One item I forgot to put that on my list — the fresh corn tamale is also a must-have for me :)

    3. Stunt Apple Breeder*

      Fire Wok and North Italia. There was a great gelato place across the parking lot from N. Italia when I lived there.

    4. Donkey Hotey*

      Small world! We’re going to be there next weekend too! If you see some obvious tourists from Seattle, say hello!

  17. E*

    Hi, I’m looking for insights from people with ADHD or loved ones of people with ADHD.

    3 close adult family members have diagnosed ADHD that they’ve chosen not to treat. That’s their choice of course, but some of their challenges with attention and executive function do impact me — sometimes minor inconveniences but sometimes dangerous or emotionally upsetting: last-minute scrambling to reschedule plans if they forgot, having to wait around when they’re pretty late, revealing something that I’ve asked to keep private bc they forgot…As an example, recently it involved spending first 3 hours of a family vacation lost in jungle in middle of night after a really long day of travel for me while pregnant, bc the person in charge of the hotel forgot to download the directions before losing phone service.

    I don’t (and they don’t) want me to be the one to take over all the planning stuff, and I try not to take things personally, but it can be really frustrating. I’ve drawn some lines — e.g., no longer will be a passenger in the car of one after some really near accidents when they weren’t paying attention to the road/lights. but sometimes it’s less clear where the line is or I don’t always anticipate things that would probably be better for me to take over/say no to.

    Do people have advice on how to cope? Protect myself while not offending or being paternalistic to them? I would love to hear how it feels from the other side, esp if people have chosen not to treat their ADHD, hearing why.

    Just want to be clear I know living with ADHD can be really challenging (and I imagine also rewarding in some ways — my loved ones are really creative and spontaneous in ways I’m not!), so I am not all, “woe is me” here. Just looking for tips on managing these relationships well and developing my empathy/understanding, esp as all 3 were diagnosed in adulthood so some of this is a new lens for all of us.

    Thank you!!

    1. Carsies*

      Hmm, I totally understand not wanting to take over executive functioning for other people, but I think anything with directions or navigation I would insist on being able to be in charge. It sounds like a safety issue with those vacation plans. I’d try to anticipate worst-case scenarios with logistics and at least insure for my own comfort that safety is prioritized. If someone’s just late or cancels on social gatherings, I’m not going to be in charge of that for them, I’ll just make sure I’m either willing to go myself or I’m inviting other people also and let them deal with the consequences themselves there. Unless these are my own children we’re talking about.

      1. anonymous brain*

        It sounds like you’ve set some healthy boundaries, but have you actually had a conversation where you told them the impact on you from their behavior apart from the adhd? Not specifically because adhd, but kind of like how Alison talks about that place we don’t talk about. For example, “when you share information I asked you to keep private it hurts my feelings to be exposed and makes me question if I can trust you… etc.” Looking at past posts about people at that place with suspected diagnoses might help.

        Adhd sucks but is not an excuse for being a garbage human. If they use it as an excuse enabling them isn’t going to improve the situation.

        I don’t have enough info from your post but if you’re just putting up with it or being passive aggressive that’s not going to change anything. Or, just learn to accept it if they are the kind of people who won’t everchange. I have family members who are not going to change and work around them as best I can and limit time with them, etc.

        You could also try setting more boundaries, like if someone can’t be trusted with private information, then stop sharing it with them. Captain Awkward has a lot of posts on this, search for “information diet”. If they are miserable to be with on vacations, then maybe they are just not your vacation people. See also “sometimes friends” on Captain Awkward.

        If you’re not in therapy, talking through this with a therapist who understands adhd would be ideal as not everyone with adhd is the same.

        Not all mental health professionals believe adult adhd is real, unfortunately, so screen therapists for that if possible.

        My first therapist who helped me figure out I might have adhd warned me about it when I was first looking into further treatment. I’m being treated but it’s not 100% effective, and definitely still a challenge. Good luck!

    2. Friendly Neighborhood Extrovert*

      The adhd is a red herring. Presumably these family members have not changed their behavior substantially since their diagnoses? So having a diagnosis is relevant only insofar as it offers a potential for prescription medication that may change some of the behaviors you’re listing. (Various other non-pharmacological coping mechanisms for ADHD being available to anyone regardless of diagnosis, though of course labels help you to know what sort of thing you might look for.)

      This sounds incredibly frustrating! My face when you mentioned wandering through the jungle while pregnant is not to be described. But your options are basically: stop doing things that rely on your relatives’ executive function, or suck it up and deal with its consequences. They don’t have to be intending to make your life unpleasant for you to be justified in drawing boundaries that work for you.

      1. ecnaseener*

        I agree, focusing on the ADHD doesn’t seem helpful here. It’s not like treatment would magically make them stop forgetting things or running late, either.

        It’s good that you’re sympathetic to the fact that their brains work differently than yours and they’re not just choosing to be irresponsible. But don’t get hung up on the idea that they could get treated and then it would all be different, no guarantees there. Set your boundaries where you would set them without the diagnosis.

    3. Kate*

      So I’m an adult with unmedicated ADHD. It’s both complicated and not.

      I’ve set up a lot of my life to accommodate my own ADHD. That means having the kind of job that works with my brain’s reward centres and not against them, setting up my house and my things in such a way that it’s harder for me to not do the thing instead of doing it, immediately inputting things into my calendar — sometimes four or five times— to reduce the chance of forgetting, and frankly, having a job that pays enough that I can pay the “ADHD tax” of almost never paying a bill on time.

      That said, my ADHD absolutely has impacts on other people in my life. *I* have an impact on other people in my life!

      The thing is… we all have the things that make us “us”, and provided they don’t actively HURT other people, the people who love us love us *with* those things.

      I think my partner would be pretty bewildered to hear that he shouldn’t be “facilitating” my ADHD by downloading the directions — why WOULDN’T he, when he knows we need them and it’s not my strength? Why play to my weaknesses and then punish me for them afterwards?

      (There’s a great Jewish saying here about not putting a stumbling block in front of the blind)

      I am probably harder on myself than anyone in my life could be about my ADHD, and the people who love me know that. They are typically more concerned with snapping me out of the spiral of self-loathing I can go down when I do forget things than “putting their foot down” and I am grateful for that.

      I try to be the same way with other people in my life: my friend with a new baby, my partner with his bum knee. I love them for their own reasons, even if they are likely to be late, or they can’t run for a bus.

    4. Not A Manager*

      I think the issue is less their diagnosis, and more that they are dangerously unreliable sometimes. If I were you, I would stop planning such high-stakes experiences with them. Instead of you trying to anticipate everything that could go wrong and proactively manage it, you could decide whether the whole experience would be safe and manageable for you if things *did* go wrong. That might mean that you can still travel with them, but not to the jungle when you are pregnant. Maybe you can only travel to large capital cities that have reliable cell service and transport, and only when you have enough of a cash cushion to be able to bail yourself out of difficulties.

      Frankly, I would find the unreliability about things like confidentiality and social cues to be more of a problem than planning issues. I guess I’ve had enough relatives who slowly became unreliable chauffeurs, or who stopped being able to plan a workable itinerary, or who showed up late all the time, that I feel like you can work around that stuff without really compromising the relationship. But when you can’t talk to people about things that matter to you because they misuse that information, that’s hard.

    5. LG*

      How would you deal with these people if they had not been diagnosed with ADHD? That is how you should be looking at this. For example, if I know someone is bad with directions, I wouldn’t rely on their navigation skills. We all have workarounds for doing things with others when we know their weaknesses. Try reframing the problem with that mindset instead of focusing on the ADHD diagnosis.

    6. RagingADHD*

      Boundaries are not blame.

      Boundaries are you, keeping yourself (and your baby!) healthy and safe. You can say “no” to things without that thing being anyone’s fault.

      Nevertheless, there are a lot of things those of us with ADHD can do to manage our lives better and be good to those around us, that don’t have anything to do with taking medication. The fact that your family members refuse to take this level of responsibility has nothing to do with bodily autonomy and everything to do with their choices about how to conduct their relationship with you.

      Please bear that in mind. They are not choosing to have ADHD. They are choosing to let you suffer for their problems and not do anything about it.

      Tell them what you need and let them figure out how to make it happen. If they can’t or won’t do the work, you need to look after yourself and the baby, even if that means ruffling feathers, hurting feelings, or even disrupting the relationship.

      If one of them is your partner, I recommend couple’s therapy while you figure out where the lines are.

      Most people with ADHD do not endanger themselves or others. That is at the extreme end of intensity. If your family members are putting themselves and you in dangerous situations, this is a much bigger problem and it is possible that they have other comorbidities that also need to get addressed. If someone is incapable of having a safe and healthy relationship, then it is not judgmental or un-empathetic to step away. You do not have a moral obligation to sacrifice yourself or your child on the altar of someone else’s problems.

      I highly recommend the book Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend. It has some churchy language that some people might find off-putting, but the principles are very sound and practical regardless of your personal beliefs.

      Good luck to you!

      1. Observer*

        Most people with ADHD do not endanger themselves or others. That is at the extreme end of intensity. If your family members are putting themselves and you in dangerous situations, this is a much bigger problem and it is possible that they have other comorbidities that also need to get addressed.

        100%.

        If they can’t safely drive, they should not drive. If they cannot plan, they should not engage in activities that can only be done SAFELY with basic planning, etc.

    7. Ellis Bell*

      I’m an unmedicated ADHD person who people think of as really well organised. So, I think it depends on what do you mean by “not treat”; do you just mean they’re simply unmedicated or do you mean they don’t do anything at all to manage the ADHD? Medication can come with a bunch of side effects, and it can take ages to find the right fit, potentially making you worse, and it’s not the only solution. I could be reading the situation totally wrong but it seems like your relative’s current approach is: “pretend nothing is wrong, we are just going to trust that our executive function and memory is going to kick in any minute now and we just need to keep trying to give our brains chances to rise to the occasion as though we’re neurotypical”… If that’s the situation, then hell no, I would not be letting them plan my trips! You can’t just trust your brain or your memory to do what other people’s do, you have to have additional strategies and routines; aids that will take the place of your memory and organizational skills. It’s not on you to manage, but I wouldn’t agree to be part of any situation where you’ll be at the mercy of a memory experiment, personally.

    8. anon for this one*

      My “other side” perspective as an (also autistic) ADHDer: I think there is an important difference between “treating” ADHD and learning how to function well with it…and that you definitely don’t have to do the former, but you do have to do the latter in some way, shape, or form to guarantee your own wellbeing and your relationships with other people.

      I choose to be unmedicated — I gave meds a chance and experienced too many negative effects + not enough positives. I have found much greater success with setting up external structures that create accountability and routine for myself, and as a result I’m actually quite organised, similar to a couple of other commenters. Many of my friends are also unmedicated ADHDers, so there is little to no social friction around the typical issues: we don’t get annoyed at each other for switching topics abruptly mid-conversation, or forgetting about minor commitments (emphasis on minor), because that’s how we all function, so among ourselves it is perfectly normal and inoffensive.

      When the stakes are higher, we cope by overcompensating in the areas where we struggle. It may be more of a process but we absolutely can take responsibility for planning trips where no one ends up stranded in a jungle. Last week I watched a friend spend multiple hours buying plane tickets — triple-checking every detail, cross-referencing with other people’s calendars, making calls to confirm dates and times — because he wanted to make as much effort as it took to be sure he didn’t mess anything up. ADHD makes things like this harder, not impossible.

      Likewise, ADHD may be challenging, but it does not remove our personal agency in being decent to others. You can accept certain traits (like “spontaneity” or “forgetfulness”) as fundamental to who your loved ones are, while still holding them accountable for actions that adversely affect you…especially with examples as serious as the ones you gave. Your loved ones also need to understand this. Like, several of my friends manage to drive safely while unmedicated, ADHD doesn’t automatically make it impossible, so perhaps your family member could actually work to develop strategies to keep their attention on the road — but if they can’t, they are then responsible for recognising and responding to their limitations appropriately. “Inability to focus attention” is an ADHD trait; “knowing that you can’t keep your eyes on the road and still getting behind the wheel” is an active choice that endangers people.

      I have to say the confidentiality thing also really bothers me because in over a decade I have never, ever found remembering and respecting requests for confidentiality to be a problem for myself or anyone else I know with unmedicated ADHD. Maybe it’s because we’re also all queer/trans and maintaining confidentiality has been kind of a basic survival skill at previous points in our lives…plus a few of us work in fields that require it…but regardless, violating someone’s trust like that is not inevitable or acceptable just because ADHD.

      Anyway, tl;dr I agree with everyone else who has said that ADHD is not the thing to focus on here, but rather their actions and how they affect you. Please don’t resign yourself to “coping” — your loved ones should, I hope, care about how you feel! You haven’t said a lot about their attitude in all of this (are they actively using ADHD as a free pass to be reckless? are they just oblivious?) or whether you’ve spoken about your feelings (other than setting the boundary of not being their passenger), but if you think they’ll be receptive to conversations about specific behaviour, that’s where I would start.

    9. E*

      OP here. Thanks everyone for the comments and support!

      To clarify a few things:
      I’ve been pretty clear and direct about how the behavior impacts me, esp with the family member with whom it’s the most problematic. This is sometimes met with understanding/apologies (but no change) and sometimes defensiveness/sensitivity.

      When I say untreated, I don’t just mean medication. As far as I know, none of them are intentionally managing the ADHD via behavioral or structural changes that some of you mention (tho maybe doing things like finding careers that are compatible for them). They are all in talk therapy and on some meds for other conditions (anxiety, depression), but I think I would have heard if they were doing specific work on managing the ADHD.

      To clarify about the jungle fiasco, we were fortunately in a car and not on foot. Bc my flight had been so delayed due to the mess that was travel this winter, I was arriving too late to the ferry I was supposed to take to our ultimate destination. Before my plane finally took off, I liaised with family member who was already at destination and chose a hotel for the night closer to airport. When they met me, they “surprised” me with another, cooler hotel (and it was nice, once we finally found it!) “30 min from the airport”. I didn’t have any of the info bc of this surprise change, so wouldn’t have been able to know it was actually in the jungle, that we’d lose phone service, that they hadn’t downloaded offline maps, etc. This is kind of characteristic of this person — very generous with some grand gestures but the execution challenges makes it much worse than just not doing the “nice” thing in the first place.

      But your comments have been helpful in illustrating that a lot of the challenges are more about lack of self-awareness / dedicated management / other personality challenges than the ADHD itself.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Yeah, if someone is causing you problems and denying it or refusing to change / adapt, that is not an ADHD symptom. ADHDers generally tend to be good at creative adaptation and problem-solving.

        If they act angry or offended that you are not grateful for crappy “surprises” that make things worse, that is not an ADHD symptom, either.

      2. Ellis Bell*

        A lot of that honestly just sounds like bad luck. I don’t know how you could have prevented any of that while mid travel crisis and your sounds relative sounds like they’re still figuring out where their creativity and generosity meets reality; it’s a journey! I actually have some relatives like this (yay for how it runs in families!) and there are some things I do when I engage with them: 1) I make sure I have my own ride home, or exit plan 2) I want the itinerary, menu or contact details of hotel and the general details up front. At first this was because of dietary stuff but it quickly just made more general sense. What if the main organiser gets sick or their phone runs out? Much better if everyone has the main details. Plus the older I get, the more I hate surprises. 3) I do my own research: is it easy to get cabs from that club? Does that hotel pick you up from the airport? Are the reviews horrified? Don’t be sensitive in asking questions of your organiser either, you’re a guest not cargo and this has nothing to do with “you should be able to do this” ADHD sensitivity. 3) I carry a power bank charger everywhere. This is mostly for me, because even though I charge on a schedule and with reminders: the day I forget will definitely be the day people are relying on me. I certainly take it out when my relatives’ phones are in play. 4) I have back up plans. Like, I will meet you in that area where I like to browse, but not in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. Text me when you leave. If all else fails I’ll come round later with pizza.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I disagree that it was bad luck. The relative chose to be a chaos monkey and disrupt a perfectly sound plan in favor of their whim.

          The result, predictably, was chaos.

          Chaos monkeys don’t mean any harm They never do. But they are often so convinced their way is “better” that they refuse to admit they are the ones causing trouble, and blame it all on bad luck.

          When you are an adult with a long history of losing things, forgetting to charge your phone, being bad with directions, etc, then making a last minute change of plan in a strange country late at night, to try to find a place you’ve never seen before?

          It doesn’t take a very advanced level of adulting to realize that’s a bad idea. Just some basic self-awareness and a modicum of caution.

          I’m glad it all turned out fine, but it was a miserable and scary experience. And completely unnecessary. If the chaos monkey is subsequently acting like OP is a whiner or unappreciative, that’s really a jerk move.

            1. Observer*

              Yes, bad luck for the OP, but a lot of bad behavior on the part of their relative. And that’s why the OP needs to not give control to or accept unplanned changes from this person.

              1. Ellis Bell*

                Yes I think that’s obvious. I’m not sure why you’ve made an essay out of such an obvious point that no one disagrees with. Please don’t quite me out of context either, it’s incredibly annoying.

        2. Observer*

          A lot of that honestly just sounds like bad luck.

          Not at all. It was a lot of carelessness.

          I don’t know how you could have prevented any of that while mid travel crisis and your sounds relative sounds like they’re still figuring out where their creativity and generosity meets reality

          E had a hotel and instructions. Their relative decided to make a surprise change, but didn’t take some basic precautions to insure that they don’t get lost (downloading maps before going into a totally new place *in the jungle* is basic – it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that you might lose connectivity!)

          I don’t care how “generous” someone wants to be – you need to think through the effects of your “gift” before you take actions. Relative failed in the most basic way.

          As for the rest, yes this is all good advice. And E was actually apparently trying to do all of this, but their relative decided to surprise her with a change. Going forward, E should feel free to refuse their surprise gifts, because they have shown that they can’t / won’t take measure to insure that the gift will actually be a positive experience.

          As for the rest of what E says, none of it is back luck. They just won’t do what they need to do.

    10. RecentlyRetired*

      When I am alone in my car, or driving with someone who is not a talker, I have the radio on. It is just enough of a distraction that my mind doesn’t wander any further. I use 70% of my brain on driving and 30% on listening. When I don’t have the radio on, I get distracted and have 60% of my attention on the new (distracting) thoughts and the remaining 40% is not enough for safe driving.

    11. Flowers*

      ADHD-er here. As others mentioned, I’d remove that from the equation and address the impact of the actions:
      spilling your secrets
      getting into car accidents (!!)

      I can’t imagine any circumstance in which you refusing to drive with someone who’s been at fault for near accidents would make YOU the bad guy.

    12. Observer*

      I don’t (and they don’t) want me to be the one to take over all the planning stuff

      I don’t think that that’s a choice they get to make. Especially since they are making a choice to essentially not ameliorate bad consequences to the point that it practical.

      Figure out what is REALLY important vs what may be annoying but not a truly bog deal. Let the latter go. It’s sometime tricky, so it’s going to take some learning. But, for instance, you now know that one person is just not safe as a driver. You also know that this person is not terrifically responsible – multiple near accidents should have been a huge wake up call for this person to realize that they have several options, but that NONE of the are to continue driving without making any changes.

      For anything where planning could make a significant difference in cost of in safety, they don’t get to make the plans. And you decide whether you want to get involved or do the thing. eg YOU plan a vacation trip – and you get to decide it you’re going. This is not about you not being respectful, etc. but about the fact that they cannot *reliably* plan these things.

      Make your decisions based on what is realistic for you. But accept that this is the way it is, much like if you were dealing with someone whose mobility restrictions limited some of their options in areas that also affect you.

      1. Observer*

        I left out one piece.

        That is whole issue of “forgetting” that you wanted something to remain private. I am putting that in quotes, because more often than not it’s not about *remembering* but rather about *respect*. In the case where what you wanted to keep quiet is something that MOST people would actually be happy to tell the world, yes, it’s a matter of remembering. But for anything that tends to be sensitive or “gossip” rather than the news that is normally shared, they don’t need to “remember”, they just need to respect your right to share your sensitive information with the people YOU choose.

        In any case, even if you are convinced that they really ARE forgetting, you still get to stop sharing sensitive information with them. If they can’t figure out a way to keep private information private, then you simply cannot share with them. Like they also can’t have a job in a doctor’s office. Because whatever the reason for their over-sharing, no medical practice would ever take the risk of keeping them on staff.

        1. RagingADHD*

          As an example, I know that I have a hard time keeping track of semi-private info, where it is okay to discuss in one group of mutuals but not others. I’m fine with putting things in “the vault” and not discussing/ disclosing to anyone.

          But if someone says “A and B already know, but please don’t say anything to C or D,” I just tell people to leave me out. Do not tell me anything under those conditions. I wouldn’t go actively spreading it, but I’m very likely to accidentally make some oblique reference that gives it away. Or get mixed up as to whether it was B or D that already knew.

          I may not be able to stop screwing up, but I can (mostly) stop being in situations where my mistakes screw other people over.

  18. M&M Mom*

    Walking shoes for a vacation: We will be going on a city vacation in a few weeks, and I’m looking for a good walking shoes so I don’t need to wear sneakers all the time. Has anyone bought Taos shoes? The Ta Dah model looks Like it might be a good option. Thanks!

    1. Traveler*

      Whatever you decide on, buy them ASAP so you can wear them around and make sure they are comfortable. Have fun!

    2. Pharmgirl*

      I really like Allbirds, and depending on the style you get they can be dressed up a little to wear for dinner / night out. Less to pack that way.

      1. HamlindigoBlue*

        I agree. I bought a pair of Allbirds Tree Breezers a few years ago for vacation, and I love them. I recently bought the Tree Dasher, which they label as a running shoe. While I wouldn’t wear them for running (just personal preference), they are a really good everyday shoe.

      2. Elle*

        My Allbirds did great on our recent vacation. I was on my feet the whole time and they were very comfortable. I also have their flats. Best work shoes I’ve owned.

      1. Not Australian*

        Seconding Skechers, by a significant margin the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. Around here they’re known as the top choice for nurses and others who do a lot of walking in their work, and IMHO there couldn’t be a better recommendation.

    3. Unkempt Flatware*

      To answer your question about Taos….I can live in my Taos boots. I would guess a shoe or sandal would be the same high quality.

    4. Maryn*

      Taos is an excellent comfort brand. (I don’t have the Ta-Dah but I have a pair of their boots and a pair of their sandals.) For a flat with a strap–which means it will stay on–I can recommend Rockport Cobb Hill Women’s Pearl, extremely comfortable right out of the box, or their Carly Aasymmetrical flats, which are dressy enough for fancy outings.

      Other comfortable shoes I’ve bought include Clark’s Ashland Spin (which looks someething like the Pearl) or the Roseville. I have both in two colors, and no need to buy more shoes for a long time.

      (I’ve had to give up even low heels completely. Sigh.)

    5. Maryn*

      Taos is an excellent comfort brand. (I don’t have the Ta-Dah but I have a pair of their boots and a pair of their sandals.) For a flat with a strap–which means it will stay on–I can recommend Rockport Cobb Hill Women’s Pearl, extremely comfortable right out of the box, or their Carly Asymmetrical flats, which are dressy enough for fancy outings.

      Other comfortable shoes I’ve bought include Clark’s Ashland Spin (which looks something like the Pearl) or the Roseville Mary Jane. I have both in two colors, and no need to buy more shoes for a long time.

      (I’ve had to give up even low heels completely. Sigh.)

    6. Clara Bowe*

      Taos brand sandals are my “cute” walking sandals in summer. I Public Transit and log a minimum walk of 2+ miles a day on concrete, and have worn out 2 pair over the last decade. DO recommend the brand.

  19. Helvetica*

    My city (Brussels) seems to have upgraded their buses recently so that when they pull into a stop, it will announce the number and direction of the bus in both official languages, so people waiting for the bus, for example with impaired vision can still easily know what the bus is.
    I think it’s ingenius and such a simple thing to do. I don’t have problems with my vision but to me, it’s an example of something not created specifically for me but does benefit everyone.
    What’s something similar that you’ve experienced, as in which makes your life easier in ways you did not think of?

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      In the US we have many more accessible buildings and walkways than in other countries i have visited. I notice it does make moving around easier for everyone.

      But lately I’ve been thinking about lever door handles. Those I noticed abroad before the US and we only have them in public places. I sold my home, with lots of round door handles and a thumb press front door handle, and now live in a large apartment building. I came home last night with my arms full of stuff and it was easy entrance – just push down on the lever with my elbow and I was in!

      1. Jackalope*

        I will say one thing about the lever handles though. They can be convenient for opening doors with your hands full, but I had a TON of issues when I lived in a country where they were everywhere with them “grabbing” me by the pockets when I walked by. Somehow I would get them a tiny bit stuck in sweatshirt pockets, for example, and then would get yanked back when I tried to keep going. Not sure how I did this so reliably but it happened a LOT and made me not a fan.

      1. fposte*

        Ha, and I was looking for the name for this phenomenon, where a change intended to benefit the disabled benefits everybody, and it’s “the curb cut effect.”

      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Yes, I’m not deaf, but I love closed captions. Sometimes people mumble, or there’s some other reason I can’t make out what the characters are saying, and the captions are very helpful.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          My husband likes to lay on the couch while I’m watching something, and read, and he reacts to what he’s reading. Audibly. :P Usually louder than the TV. :P

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

      Elevators/escalators in subway stations (which we definitely need a LOT more of here in NYC). I don’t use a wheelchair, but nowadays, I have issues that make it harder for me to do a lot of stairs, and elevators and escalators are a lifesaver for me. Elevators are really important for parents with strollers (my heart leaps into my mouth when I see parents carrying a stroller up the steps with no free hand to hold a railing), people with luggage or large purchases, people who break a limb, people with arthritis or heart issues, people who’re just not feeling very well that day . . . .

    3. Warrior Princess Xena*

      A lot of ergonomic tools – OXO good grips began as a line of kitchen products for people with hand problems (arthritis, etc) and are just generally good to use. Office equipment too.

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

      The ability to make text bigger on computers. I’ve been having some temporary glasses troubles, and it’s so nice to be able to do what I need to do still. Even before that, I noticed that while I *can* read small text on the computer, it is a lot less of a strain on me mentally if I can see things in a bigger font. I’ve been transitioning to bigger fonts in my online course management systems in response to make things easier for my students to process.

    5. Fellow Traveller*

      One small accessibility feature on iPhones is that you can double tap or triple tap on the back to so certain things. I’ve set my phone up to open the camera when I double tap on the back of my phone. It’s made taking pictures with my gloves on so much easier!

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Pedestrian crossing signs that beep when it’s safe and speed up to indicate time’s running out. They would have made my great-aunt’s later years a little less closed in. She could see enough to walk around, but not enough to read crossing signs on the other side of the street.

    7. Been There*

      Oh, this sounds good! Our Flemish buses just have the screen which announces the next stop, but that can get hard to read from the back of the bus. (It also often doesn’t work, but that’s a different issue).

  20. Carsies*

    Well, my dear old car from college is finally giving signs it wants to shuffle off the mortal coil. I am interested in getting a great trade-in for it (it still drives – a year ago I was hearing it may be worth as much as I bought it for, but that market has presumably long since peaked) and replacing it with essentially a similar less-used car, although people keep telling me a new car may be almost the same price. Has anyone used the online-only services? Do they even offer trade-in? Do I have to sell my current car to a dealer or someone separately and then buy online? I have previously only bought and sold cars on a lot, but like most people, I’d be happy to skip the hassle and the high pressure sales tactics.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I traded in my old car for a gently used one (2 years old, about 12k miles) through Carvana back in May. It was a totally painless process, I did the whole thing from my phone browser. They brought the new one to my driveway on a hauler and took the old one away the same way. I did a test drive around my neighborhood while she was finishing paperwork and loading up the old one; if the test drive had changed my mind she would have just unloaded the old one again and taken the new one back, no harm no foul. I knew exactly what I wanted – a newer version of the CR-V I already had with a couple of specific features – so that probably made it a little easier to do the online shopping, but their selection process was very easy and like I said the whole process was completely painless.

      I had to set the insurance up before delivery date, they couldn’t leave it without proof of insurance, but I had the VIN ahead of time and that was easy to do through my insurance agent, I told her what was going on and said can you switch from the current one to the new one effective (date). I think to be safe she had both of them listed for the one day, then the old one deactivated at midnight that night.

      1. Carsies*

        Thank you! Did you feel that you got a good deal for your trade in? Was it, like, blue book value off the new car?

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Yep, I felt they were very fair about the valuation. They didn’t make me prove anything either ahead of time – I mean, if I told them it was in excellent shape and they got there and it was obviously ragged and belching smoke, I’m sure something would have happened differently, but they asked me several very straightforward questions about the condition of the old car, I answered them truthfully and they knocked the trade in value off the new car’s price to process the rest of the financing before they actually saw the old one, let alone had a chance to do a thorough inspection.

      2. Buni*

        I have nothing to add except that in the first line I read it as ‘cat’ and just got more and more horrified as I read on…

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Oh, I regularly tell my husband’s cat I’m going to trade her in for a model with half a teaspoon of brains :)

    2. Emma*

      We had luck recently selling a car on Facebook marketplace. We did lots of photos, and consulted Kelley Blue Book for pricing. It took about a month to sell, and we had to deal with a bunch of people who weren’t serious. We also dropped the price a couple of times. But the first person to actually come see it bought it. We googled how to do a sale and avoid scams (things like them bringing a cashier’s check to the bank that you then have the bank verify accuracy and deposit). And we sold it for several thousand more than the dealer was offering!

      1. Carsies*

        I worry about that because I can’t promise the car is in great condition (that’s why I’m trying to sell it, after all) and I don’t want to sell someone a lemon. I assume a dealership or car mechanic has more use or ability to fix an older car than a family in town.

    3. 2023, You are Not Nice*

      I can tell this about car values: I posted below about being rear-ended and totalled last Sunday. My 08 Honda Fit with 170k miles, purchased in 2018 for $8k with 81k miles, was valued yesterday by insurance company at $5,917. I was frankly shocked.

    4. ClosingTime*

      I bought a car through carvana last summer and I love it. I did not have a trade in since I lost it in a flood and had been making do with working from home and carpooling for almost a year. I was looking for a specific car that had certain features and there were none for sale locally. My only error was to finance half of the purchase through my own credit union to get a better interest rate. They gave me bad info and kept blaming their own colleagues for giving me the ‘wrong’ info. It would’ve been much simpler and seamless to just do it all through carvana! Never would’ve thought I’d shop for a car like this but it was great overall. They inspect and fix any issues before putting it up for sale, so I knew mine had new brakes, for example. My mechanic confirmed that too.

  21. Peanut Hamper*

    I need nutritional and culinary advice.

    I am trying to introduce more lean protein into my diet, while at the same time avoiding sodium. So far I have on my list:

    Canned tuna
    Canned salmon (has fat, but it’s the good kind)
    Chicken breast
    Eggs (whites, mostly)
    Frozen fish fillets (mostly tilapia)
    Beans and other dried legumes

    Nutritional question: What can I add to this list? I feel like I am missing something. (I could add ham and a lot of luncheon meats, but–sodium.)

    Culinary question: Even though eggs are expensive, they’re still a fairly inexpensive source of protein. I’m not a fan of the yolks, no matter how they’re cooked. I’ll typically use 1 whole egg and 1 or 2 egg whites. But besides boiling eggs (which is an excuse to put lots and lots of pepper on them; also deviled eggs), or scrambling, what else can I do with them? I’m not a fan of egg bites, quiches, or reheated eggs (which is why I avoid breakfast burritos).

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Pork chops can be lean, if you trim them.

      This isn’t exactly what you asked, but almost everything on your list (and the pork too) is really easy to overcook and end up dry – if you have a bit of room in your budget, consider a sous vide cooker. We haven’t had dry chicken or pork or overcooked fish since we got ours five years ago, and it’s a very low maintenance cooking style as well.

      1. English Rose*

        Ooh, just googled sous vide – looks really interesting, going to investigate that. Thank you.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          It’s wonderful. I thought it was a gimmick, but my husband wanted to give it a try and he actually got two of them for our wedding (one from me :-P ) and I’m a total convert. We also have a vacuum sealer, so we prepackage meat in serving portions (sometimes pre-seasoned as well) and then just huck it straight from the freezer into the sous vide container, no need to defrost. It also makes wonderful potatoes and carrots – not the same as roasting, but still very good.

    2. English Rose*

      Poached eggs are lovely, although they do include the yoke. You can either get a little round-shaped thingy to float the egg in on top of boiling water, or just crack the egg and drop it straight into boiling water then scoop it up in a slotted spoon once done.

      Tofu would be a good thing to add to your list. You can get flavoured ones but sometimes they have sodium. Natural tofu just takes on the flavour of whatever you cook it with, and it’s a great lean protein source. I often stir fry chopped tofu, brocolli, ginger, shallots and whatever else I have, often using coconut oil or sesame oil. It sounds quite ‘virtuous’ but is actually delicious.

    3. Carsies*

      Re eggs – do you buy the egg whites in a container? That’s how I do it when I want to make something with more whites than yolks, like strata. They’re not as cheap as they used to be either, but much easier to use with less waste.

      Re lean protein, if you’re not avoiding red meat, I believe I’ve heard bison and venison are very lean and also nutritious. There are lean cuts of beef too although I don’t tend to eat beef. But it’s great as a diet hack because it’s filling.

    4. Littorally*

      Hummus is a great addition. Falls generally in that legumes category, but it’s a different enough food that it can get overlooked when building nutrition plans.

      If you don’t care for the taste of traditional hummus, they do make plenty of kinds these days with different additions that give it a more interesting flavor. Some might introduce less healthy components (looking at you “dessert hummus”) but some of them can be health-conscious while also being really tasty — roasted garlic, red pepper, jalapeno, etc. It’s easy to add as a spread in wraps or sandwiches, and I’m a big fan of dipping veggies in it.

    5. Retired Accountant*

      Greek yogurt. A serving has about as much protein as two eggs and is an easy breakfast. (People can have Strong Opinions about how full-fat dairy is the only acceptable kind but I prefer the fat-free.)

      1. Squidhead*

        I am team full-fat but don’t like greek-style yogurt. Cottage cheese for me, please! (low-sodium if needed). I just talked to someone the other day who says she whips it into her eggs for omelets and it works well, too.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      Eggs:
      Soft-boiled eggs. These taste best if you happen to own egg cups. (I always enjoyed this at my mother-in-law’s, and then when the kitchen store near me had little piggy egg cups I leapt at the chance to own my own.)

      Poached eggs, on various breads. The key to these, I have learned, is to put the egg in a fine mesh strainer, which gets rid of the thinner part of the white. Then the resulting poached egg is like the one at a restaurant.

      Chicken thighs are not much fattier than breasts, and tend to be more flavorful. (I use both, in different things.) Poaching chicken breasts with some whole spices can be a good way to get a protein that can go in a salad, in a sandwich, with pasta.

      Is fresh fish and shellfish an option?

      For the tilapia, baking in a pouch made of parchment or foil is simple, low fat, and you can vary it a lot with the vegetables and spices.

      1. eeeek*

        Chiming in to say YES to straining eggs before poaching. They are so satisfyingly…contained. And if you’re super thrifty the strained liquid does fine in things like egg-drop soup.

    7. Emma*

      Ground turkey! It doesn’t have much flavor, but it takes spices really well. I love it in tacos, spaghetti, etc. Budget Bytes has some recipes specifically designed for ground turkey, like a Greek turkey and rice skillet and turkey burgers.

      Also, avocado! Not a ton of protein, but the good fat can help keep you satiated. I love avocado smashed on toast with a little sea salt and pepper, or something everything bagel seasoning.

    8. Angstrom*

      Red rice has more protein than white. Combining rice and legumes enhances the proteins in each.
      Green peas add a bit of protein to the plate.
      I like sardines in olive oil(healthy fats).

    9. fposte*

      Meat broth/bone broth is high protein for a liquid, so you can cook beans in it and bump the protein up more. Nuts have higher fat than some but it’s generally good fat and they have a lot of other nutritional value.

    10. Alex*

      Tempeh! It’s wonderfully versatile. I like to give it a quick steam (like, 1 minute) and then marinade in soy sauce, garlic, and a touch of brown sugar. Brown in a pan. Then add to stir frys, curries, salads, and even soups.

      It is also a versatile meat substitute for ground beef when you crumble it. People make tacos, etc. with it. And it is good for you, with a plant protein and fermentation goodness.

    11. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Oatmeal cooked in soy milk is protein and not much sodium (standard commercial soy milk is as fatty as 2% fat dairy milk), and tastier than if it’s cooked in plain water. I use cow’s milk for a lot of things, but soy works really well here.

      Things I and my family then add to the cooked oatmeal include dried fruit, chopped pecans or other nuts, jam, maple syrup, flaked coconut, and cinnamon.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        My husband actually uses Premier Protein brand protein shakes as the liquid for oatmeal – they come in both chocolate/vanilla shake-type flavors and also several fruit flavors. He really likes the pumpkin spice and strawberries-and-cream versions for oatmeal and the chocolate and cafe latte for drinking straight. All the flavors have 28-30 grams of protein per serving, and at least all the ones I’ve tried taste “normal” without the weird aftertaste that some protein drinks get.

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

      Unsalted nuts and seeds? Unroasted is better for one, but roasted can be very tasty, even unsalted.

    13. Charlotte Lucas*

      Have you considered also adding more beans, which are a very cheap form of protein (even more so when dried rather than canned)?

      When I was younger, I also disliked egg yolks. They can have a sulfurous flavor, especially if the eggs are older or overcooked. I like them better now, but whol cook eggs for my SO, the yolks have to be mixed into the whites, to make the flavor less intense.

      Seconding tempeh, which is versatile but can be pricey in some areas.

      1. Alex*

        If there is a Trader Joe’s near you, the have cheap tempeh. No one gave them the memo that tempeh is expensive. It’s about half the price of the tempeh at the regular store.

    14. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      A cup of milk has a bit more protein than an egg and is very easily added to the diet by simply drinking it.

    15. Seeking Second Childhood*

      You can freeze egg yolks until you have enough to bake a pound cake.
      Or use them for the egg wash when sautéing thin sliced something else.

    16. The teapots are on fire*

      I stir pumpkin seeds in to my oatmeal, and I cook brown rice protein powder with the oatmeal (about 4 parts steel-cut oatmeal to 1 part brown rice protein powder). I find soy or pea protein powder don’t taste good with it.

    17. Cookie*

      @English Rose, look into sprouted grain bread. I buy mine from Trader Joe’s, but Ezekiel and Angelic are other good brands (avoid the sprouted bread at Aldi, it’s dry and falls apart). One slice of this bread has 5-7 grams of protein, depending on the variety. I eat a lot of sandwiches – this helps up the protein in them.

      I also make a smoothie nearly every morning with pumpkin seed protein powder. I can’t tolerate much dairy, so whey protein is out, and soy protein also bothers my stomach, but the pumpkin seed protein is fine. I’ll sometimes make this for an afternoon snack if I had something else for breakfast. It’s frozen berries, frozen spinach, some banana for sweetness, non-dairy milk, pumpkin seed powder. If for some reason I’m still hungry after all that, a slice of sprouted grain toast!

    18. PoePuck*

      Other protein options (I’m not the best with low sodium so not sure of the sodium content of most of these):
      -Greek yogurt
      -Cottage cheese (if you can’t stand the texture of cottage cheese like me, it is really good blended into a smoothie – can’t even taste it! – or added to scrambled eggs [add into the bowl when you are scrambling])
      -Shrimp or scallops
      -I like the packets of tuna fish with flavors if you haven’t tried those!
      -Turkey pepperoni, or Chomps sticks
      -Cheese (LF mozzarella or swiss slices, or 2% shredded cheese has relatively high protein compared to fat content)
      -Powdered Peanut butter (PB2 is a common brand) – reconstitute with water to make a drizzle for fruit, oatmeal, etc
      -Quinoa adds a bit of protein as a side rather than rice
      -Protein pasta, or chickpea pasta
      -Turkey meatballs (come frozen)
      -Chicken Sausage – comes in lots of flavors, slice it up and roast with veggies
      -Not sure if this fits what you’re looking for, but, protein powders, collagen, protein bars, protein shakes, etc. Obviously don’t want this to be a main source of protein in your diet but used sparingly I think there can be a place for it.

      As for other egg suggestions:
      -Egg salad
      -Hard boiled but then sliced on toast with Everything but the Bagel seasoning
      -Haven’t tried this personally but I’ve heard you can add egg whites into oatmeal as it’s cooking

  22. Carsies*

    Guinea Pigs: I am currently fostering a mama and two baby piggies (I signed up to foster all the weird animals at the shelter since my current kitty is done with other foster kitties in her space). What are some enrichment activities we can do together? The babies are four weeks, so they’re pretty sturdy now. I want to encourage them to approach a hand and be calm when handled, as much as possible. I’ve just been offering them treats from the hand so far. Do they like anything else? From what I understand, it’s not good to offer them as much food variety as I have with my past foster bunnies, who could usually be won over with interesting new treats.

    1. Chilipepper Attitude*

      As far as I know, you need to separate the boys and girls or they will have babies before you know it!!

      1. AGD*

        Yeah, I heard of a case where a male baby guinea pig a few weeks old started trying to get it on with the nearby female one (his mother).

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      If you have a yard that you know isn’t treated with pesticides & etc, see if you can rig up their cage to be secure without the bottom plate. Then when the weather warms the ground up put the cage onto grass. My childhood gp loved it. Stay with them at all times to keep away predators from hawks & weasels to the neighbor’s escaped rat terrier.

    3. MissCoco*

      Guinea pigs can eat a pretty varied diet, especially when it comes to treat amounts of food (though IDK how it compares to bunnies). Guinea Lynx is an awesome website with tons of suggestions for safe veggies and treats!
      I would recommend using a playpen of some kind and sitting in it with them. They can approach you and explore at their own leisure, and young ones may enjoy climbing up on your lap or over your legs.

      Popular “toys” at our house pretty much all involve putting treats or hay into something else, either a cardboard tube, box, rolled up paper, etc.

      You can also do simple puzzle toys with pigs, and they are easy to trick train because they are so food motivated. A really awesome thing to train would be “pig elevator” where they hop into a low walled basket or box to be moved. Pigs almost universally hate being picked up, even the ones that don’t mind being held don’t like the picking up. Using a container that you pick up lets them keep all their feet on the ground, and they won’t associate you with being snatched up. Also practice gently handling their feet so they aren’t (too) horrified by the concept of nail clipping.

    4. Fastest Thumb in the West*

      Long time guinea pig owner- they definitely like a wide variety of foods. They must have timothy hay, and beyond that ours like romaine and green leaf lettuce (they cannot eat iceberg), fennel, parsley, carrots, cucumber, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, and watermelon (they love the green part).

      If your cage is small you should be giving them floor time where they can run around with supervision. When my kids were younger they would set up obstacle courses and use treats to get the pigs to jump over things. Some piggies love to jump, some don’t.

    5. Workerbee*

      A word on treats in case you weren’t already aware: Watch the calcium content and the sugar content in whatever you feed them. And lactose – a lot of actual marketed treats have horrible ingredients for guinea pig digestion, bladder stones, and other bad things that come out of the above mentioned components. At the same time it’s hard to get any Vitamin C veggies without having some calcium in them. We keep our piggies on a green leaf & timothy hay (because they’re adults) diet, with some un-pesticided grass.

      Guinea pigs, like humans, would prefer all the junk food though. :)

      When I’m with a new piggie of any age, I also just try to be very still or move slowly, whether coming into the room they’re in or when I have them out on the floor (and me with them). It may take a few days, but invariably the guinea pig’s uber curiosity wins out and suddenly they’re checking YOU out without you having to offer anything interesting at all. You’ve become a big piggie to them. They start to associate that being picked up leads to good things. Some train themselves to walk up on your hand/arm, while others prefer to wait for you to scoop them up. (And others will complain no matter what you do.)

      Providing boxes with doorways and windows cut out is also a must.

  23. RMNPgirl*

    Heated, round hair brushes – does anyone have one and what brand is it?

    I’m growing out a pixie into a short bob and I think it would be nice to have one since a hair dryer and round brush by myself is a bit difficult. But there are so many options to choose from, I’m not sure which one to spend money on. I would want one that’s a bit smaller in diameter, no more than an inch round.

    1. Excuse Me, Is This Username Taken?*

      I got one from Revlon. Definitely not that small, but it works really well! I was surprised at how much better and faster it works than a regular hairdryer. It does get very hot, though, so get some heat spray or something to protect your hair.

    2. PoePuck*

      I have the Revlon one as well – I think it’s a little bigger than an inch but you don’t really get curls from it, more of a blow-out. I have had it for probably 3 years now and love it!
      For heat protectant spray I love the Hairitage brand (sold at Walmart – I know I know, but it smells AMAZING and it’s from a small business).

  24. Morning reader*

    Movie question: I recently watched “everything everywhere all at once,” as usual with closed captions on. The captions indicate that sometimes the characters are speaking Cantonese and sometimes Mandarin. Could that be right?

    My impression of the two languages was that they are spoken in different regions. It seems odd for people in one family to speak two different languages to each other.

    Can any of you more knowledgeable people enlighten me on this? At first I assumed the captioners were wrong and mixing up the two languages. But it appears to be a choice by the director so the different languages must be meaningful to the character portrayals. I think it was usually the grandfather speaking Cantonese so could something generational be a factor? Does it indicate region, class, age, traditionalism, or something else, for those more in the know about cultural factors?

    I’m just curious. As for the movie, imho, kind of a ridiculous plot that felt like being in a video game, but great acting and very entertaining special effects and action scenes.

    My viewing companion had seen it previously in the theater and had very little idea of what was going on. This time, with the captions, we managed to follow along better. I guess in the theater only the non-English was subtitled so if you miss some of the English dialogue, you can get lost quickly. Love my captions!

    1. Jenny*

      I believe the main character spoke Cantonese with her father and Mandarin with her husband. That’s not uncommon at all.

      It does suggest she and her husband came from different regions originally.

      1. Jenny*

        I should note I don’t think it really indicates traditionalist just regions. I think they’re supposed to have been from Hong Kong, where people more commonly speak Cantonese. But her husband must have immigrated to Hong Kong. With all the different storylines I didn’t 100% keep track of where they were from.

        There is some aspect in Hong Kong that speaking Cantonese rather than Mandarin is resisting some of the mainland China pressure but that’s a bit of a massive oversimplification of a very complex issue.

    2. Chilipepper Attitude*

      I don’t know about that movie but my husband grew up in Hong Kong and his family sounds like the movie! In Hong Kong Cantonese is the main language so my husband spoke Cantonese. His dad was from northern China and spoke Mandarin. Only Mandarin! His dad refused to speak Cantonese so growing up my husband spoke Cantonese and his dad would reply in Mandarin. So my husband can understand mandarin better than he can speak it. Obviously his dad learned to understand Cantonese but he would refuse to shop in a place where the workers did not speak to him in Mandarin!

    3. Anonymous Educator*

      It’s not as wild as you might think. I know lots of couples where one person in the couple is from Hong Kong, and the other person in the couple is from Taiwan; and so one will speak Cantonese (Hong Kong) and the other will speak Mandarin (Taiwan).

      It’s quite common in such “mixed” couples for the person who natively speaks Cantonese to pick up Mandarin (but not vice versa), as Cantonese is a bit trickier (not exactly the same written as spoken and has more tones).

      That said, even though Cantonese is regional (Hong Kong and that southern part of mainland China near Hong Kong), Mandarin isn’t really regional, as it’s the official language of China and Taiwan. There will always be other regional languages, too.

    4. Team9to5*

      I just asked my Chinese friend this same question! Similar to what commenters said above, it’s regional. My friend pointed out that, given all of the reginal dialects, Mandarin serves as a lingua franca and is commonly learned as a second language in China for those who grow up with Cantonese. Mandarin could also be seen as more useful, hence the Anerican-born daughter leaning Mandarin.

  25. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I want to add a tree to my yard this spring. My preference would be an apple tree, but my understanding is that apple trees require friends to cross-pollinate in order to bear fruit, and I’m not sure that I have room to add two trees to my yard. While I’m pondering my options, does anyone here have experience with grafted apple trees, the kind that have branches from three or four types grafted onto one rootstock? They’re a little more expensive than the normal trees, but if they really do cross-pollinate each other, it sounds like a neat idea. (Plus I could make jokes about having a Frankentree.) I even saw some of them that have multiple types of fruits – apple and pear on the same tree, for example, or peach-and-nectarine. Does that type of tree require unusual maintenance above and beyond a normal young tree?

    1. GardenGnomic*

      Theoretically, a multi-fruit tree shouldn’t need more maintenance than a regular tree, but do make sure you prune each scion branch according to the type of fruit that it bears. Tip-bearing apples and spur-bearing apples need a slightly different approach.
      https://www.rhs.org.uk/fruit/apples/winter-pruning

      Make sure you choose the right root stock for the size of tree you want! Don’t buy a dwarfing root stock if you want a tree that will fill your yard, and don’t try to grow a vigorous root-stock in a container.
      https://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/Beginners-Guide/Fruit-basics/Rootstocks
      https://www.rhs.org.uk/fruit/fruit-trees/rootstocks
      https://www.frankpmatthews.com/advice/fruit_rootstocks/
      You should try and match the vigour of the rootstock to the vigour of the scion wood – think of it in terms of how the sap flows from the roots up to the tip of the branches. A vigorous-growing branch needs lots of sap to maintain its energy, and can out-compete its neighbours if they’re a less-vigorous type.

      Your rootstock also needs to match the species or category of the fruit you’re trying to graft onto it. Apples, pears and quinces are all similar enough to be grafted onto each other, but a cherry would be too genetically different, and would get rejected.

      If you’re buying a ready-made multi-graft tree, you can avoid a lot of the pitfalls and decision-making headaches. I’m sure anyone who grafts multi-fruit trees for sale would also be able to give you excellent advice on their maintenance.

      I hope your tree search will be a fruitful one!

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Oh wonderful! Thank you so much for all this info! I’m looking at ready-made for sure, my thumb is less black than it used to be but definitely not green enough to try grafting trees yet :)

    2. Chauncy Gardener*

      This Old House dot com has an article about five in one grafted apple trees. Five seems slightly excessive to me, but what do I know?
      I do have friends who have two and three grafted apple trees (I am in New England) and they are doing really well in a smaller space. It seems like a great way to get your cross pollination done without having to have a bunch of trees. From what they say, they fruited earlier than a single type apple tree and I know they get a lot of apples because I am the recipient of some of the overflow! Their trees are semi dwarf, I believe. They are not huge, but they do prune every year. They prune them in the late winter/early spring like any other apple tree. They do have them fences since we have a lot of deer in this area. They spray with dormant oil before the pollinators come out.
      I hope this helps!

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        It does a lot, thank you! I’ll see if I can find that article you mentioned as well.

    3. MMB*

      This may have been a weird anomaly, but I used to live in a house with a green apple tree in the backyard. AFAIK it was the only fruit tree in the neighborhood and it bore fruit every year.

      1. Apple anon*

        We had an apple tree that bore fruit. We relied on ornamental crab apple trees in the neighborhood for pollination.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        As long as the bees went past two trees your tree had a chance of getting fertilized. And they fly surprisingly far when they have to.

    4. Girasol*

      Be sure to thin fruit ruthlessly when it first comes on. We only thinned about half the fruit the first time our grafted Rome bore. In one stiff breeze, Wham! Snapped off right at the root graft, hardly even a stump left. If we hadn’t let if get that top heavy it might have made it.

    5. RagingADHD*

      The cross pollinator for an apple tree can be up to 150 yards away, so if any of your near neighbors have one it could work. The issue we have had with our apple trees is bloom time. We thought the varieties were close enough to overlap, but in practice they are usually about a week out of sync, so it doesn’t work most years.

    6. WestsideStory*

      Multi fruit trees are fun but tend to be weak; branches grow differently and the tree goes out of balance unless you are a good pruner. Self pollinating varieties are an option.

      If you’d like an apple tree, there are two crucial questions. The first is what varieties do well in your area; if you are in US look up your local Cooperative Extension/ Master Gardener group and they can tell you. Frost dates, length of maturity, chill hours needed are all factors to consider. The second is what kind of apples do you you like to eat? Sweet, or tart for pie, multipurpose, long keeping etc.
      Generally for home gardens a semi-dwarf or dwarf (own root or graft) are the easiest to manage. Full size apple trees reach 40 feet quickly.

    7. JSPA*

      Had a different sort of multiple-graft tree (4-way plus root stock included as the 5th variety, or that’s what I deduced after).

      Lost one graft, thus losing two varieties (graft plus pollination partner). Then a third turned out to be extremely susceptible to a fungal disease, which became a point of entry for the entire tree. Then the little branch that probably corresponded to the root stock essentially took over.

      I’d say multiple grafts are good for experienced gardeners who have intense awareness and skills, but are probably more often bought by people with space constraints who are new to gardening, and can’t judge the quality or health of the grafts.

      I’ve been tempted to try columnar apple trees; if one of those matches the flowering period of your most-desired variety, you might be able to fit a “real tree” and a couple of columnars for pollination?

    8. RecentlyRetired*

      There are a couple of really good articles on Backyard Orchard Culture and High Density Planting on the Bay Laurel Nursery website. Essentially putting up to four fruit trees together (18 inches apart) in one hole and using intense pruning to keep them small enough to harvest easily. This also reduces water use for those of us living in the desert.
      https://baylaurelnursery.com/
      I planted two apple trees with one peach together last spring (all locally store-bought), but one of the apples didn’t make it. This year I’ve planted 9 bare-root fruit trees from them (4 each for 2 holes and a nectarine to replant in the apple location). I’ll know in a couple of years how well they do.
      I was planning to buy locally for another apple, as Bay Laurel wasn’t able to deliver the variety that I wanted this year. Maybe I’ll skip it and see how my single apple tree does alone, based on possible pollination from neighborhood trees.

  26. scientist*

    What is (are) your pet peeve(s)?

    The very specific, relatively minor, things you encounter in the world that annoy you probably more than they should?

    1. scientist*

      One of mine is when a car turning left at a lighted intersection doesn’t pull forward when the light turns green in order to wait their turn in the middle of the intersection – both making the process less efficient, letting fewer people through at each light; and meaning that people in the lane behind them, if it’s not a designated left only lane, can’t get around to go straight.

      Another is when people pick up my things from where they are and hand them to me when it’s CLEAR my hands are completely occupied (usually by my toddler and various of her belongings as I’m trying to get out the door) – then stand and wait until I have to set something down and reconfigure just to take the item, usually just in order to set it down again. This is often my MIL though, so maybe that’s why it feels extra annoying. (“Oh, you forgot your phone! Here you go!” “I did not forget my phone…I am in the process of getting boots, hat, and mittens on this tiny wiggling creature and then I will pick up my phone.”)

      1. fposte*

        Interestingly, I’ve been hearing that new drivers are being taught *not* to pull forward when waiting for a left but to stay out of the intersection. I don’t know if I can break the pull forward habit but it’s put the other behavior in a new light.

        1. Scientist*

          Oh interesting! Why is that? Just for extra safety precaution? The inefficiency of so many extra idling cars at so many lights feels like it’s a worse cumulative effect. :-/

          1. fposte*

            Okay, I did a quick Google and it looks like this is quite the kerfuffle at the moment. There’s one Florida paper’s report on the debate where the cops interpreted the law as no, you can’t, because once you go into the intersection you have to clear it. But many other sources in other states are saying it’s fine. So it might depend on the state and also what happens as a result of your positioning–even in Florida you might not get ticketed for doing it unless you block a pedestrian or get stuck there in gridlock.

        2. Peanut Hamper*

          Our local drivers education programs always encourage you to “claim the intersection” — the actual terminology they use.

          1. Sloanicota*

            That would not fly in DC where a lot of intersections are marked with “Don’t Block the Box” signs – with our crazy traffic, drivers who pull forward may never find a clear spot to turn, meaning the light goes and now they’re blocking the intersection for the cars going the other way. It’s unclear what you’re supposed to do when you need to turn. Scr*w you, I believe is the general sentiment in DC rush hour.

            1. Buni*

              Funnily enough my pet peeve is people pulling in box junctions without a clear out – there’s a huge junction at the top of my road with three clearly marked (box-hatched! In bright yellow!) and people still pull into them, can’t get out, and then honk at the driver in front as if it’s their fault they’re blocking the entire flow…

              1. fposte*

                Heh, so you’ve reminded me. My town isn’t busy enough to have much gridlock but there are a couple of sticky spots. So my pet driving peeve is being honked at from behind when I’m staying out of an intersection that is obviously not going to clear in time for the cross traffic’s green.

                1. Buni*

                  One thing that’s stuck with me from my instructor when I was learning to drive *mumblemumble* years ago: if you honk, you are only honking at the person immediately in front of you. The amount of people here leaning on the horn when they’re 5-6 deep in a queue, like…what do you expect the guy in front of you to do?! There’s four cars in front of him!

        3. SofiaDeo*

          I am told the police and fire do not want people in the intersections, since cars may need to pull into them to clear a path, especially if a first responder needs to turn left.

        4. Enough*

          Not just new drivers. I was taught never to enter the intersection unless you were confident you could get through it while the light was green. I am 67. If you get caught in the intersection you have now blocked the cross traffic.

          1. rr*

            Yup and could get a nice big ticket (besides the obvious safety issues). I can’t tell you how often I’m honked at though for not moving forward.

          2. Littorally*

            This is what I was taught too. Don’t enter the intersection until you can see where you have space to leave it.

        5. LG*

          When I was in Driver’s Ed (40ish years ago!) I was taught never to pull forward until I could make the turn safely. So obviously not a “new” thing.

        6. Clisby*

          Heck, I’m 69 and I was taught not to do this. There’s no guarantee you’ll get the space to turn, and if not, you’re stuck out in the middle of the intersection when the light turns red.

          1. scientist*

            Okay but what I learned and have always done is that if you don’t get an opening during the green, you just are ready and waiting and turn immediately when the light turns red, as the traffic coming towards you slows and stops, in those couple seconds before the light turns green for the other direction of traffic. There’s *always* that opportunity for one car (and sometimes two if they’re ready! But I wouldn’t count on that) and it keeps things moving and cumulatively limits idling time in cities – but you can’t take advantage of the liminal space between lights if the first car waiting to turn left doesn’t pull into the intersection.

            1. Littorally*

              There is most definitely not always an opportunity. Dunno about drivers where you are, but where I am, there are frequently the last couple people racing the red light and blasting through even as the light’s going green for cross traffic.

              1. scientist*

                It seems there might be some geographic differences that make this more or less possible/reasonable! That *sometimes* happens where I live (in a Midwestern urban area in the US) but so rarely that it wouldn’t make sense to plan my driving around it.

        7. The OG Sleepless*

          There is an intersection near me where I have seriously seen 4 or 5 bad accidents from people doing that. Somebody will pull into the intersection to turn left, and the light changes and somebody comes flying into the intersection, either because it’s super busy or because the visibility is poor. I have told my kids over and over to NEVER do that at that particular light.

      2. Sc@rlettNZ*

        OMG. Are you me? These are the exact two things that drive me nuts. Except it’s my partner that will try to hand me something when my hands are full. It annoys me no end (but that’s pretty much the only thing he does that gets up my nose so I try to just mentally roll my eyes and let it go).

      3. WellRed*

        Related to vehicles: people who park on the side of the road facing the wrong direction. Drives me nutty.

        1. ronda*

          I didnt even know that was a thing til my uncle came out and told me that I could get a ticket for doing that in front of his house :)

          much later in my life I lived on a street where you could get a ticket for it too!

      4. Solokid*

        I never pull forward at a left unless I can see space being made in the next handful of seconds.

        1) Potentially blocking the intersection ruins the efficiency for cross traffic when then light changes
        2) Never pass on the right. Going around me to go straight while I am trying to take a left means you could potentially be hit by someone across me taking a left of their own.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Dirty dishes left in my sink.

      Joking responses to legitimate questions from people who know I can’t tell when they’re joking.

      People who think they’re exceptions to the local leash laws. Also people who don’t pick up after their dogs – there’s a lot of overlap in those two :-P

      When people leave three drops of milk, or three squares of toilet paper, or similar, they leave just enough to convince themselves that they didn’t use up the last of something and don’t need to throw out the empty/replace it, but there’s definitely not enough for the next person who comes along to get the job done.

      1. Scientist*

        All of this! With dogs, it’s also annoying when people bag the poop on trails but then leave it by the side of the trail to fetch on their way back. Even if every single person magically did remember it on the way back, I still don’t like being on a wild nature trail and seeing little plastic sacks of poop scattered nearby.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Geez, yes — people do that in my subdivision! If you’re going to take the time to bag it up, just take it with you. You can get a little doohickey that clips onto the leash and holds it for you if you don’t want to carry it yourself.

          1. Sloanicota*

            Huh. That’s … a real misunderstanding of the concept. I will say, my freaking mutt has the most incredible habit of pooping a second time right after you found a nice bin to dispose of the first bag and were really enjoying walking without slingin’ a bag o turds for five freaking seconds. Stupid mutt.

          2. londonedit*

            Yeah, it’s not really throwing them into trees, it’s hanging them on the trees. I think the idea is that they’ll come back at the end of their walk and pick the bag up again rather than having to carry it around with them, but of course people don’t. That said, there is a real lack of dog bins in the British countryside. But still, people shouldn’t be hanging poo bags in trees or leaving them anywhere that isn’t in a bin.

        2. Rose is a rose is a rose*

          Oh the little bags of dog poop left by the side of the trail or hanging on a branch drive me right round the bend!

      2. Sloanicota*

        Haaaaate off-leash dogs. The owners are nearly always idiots. “They’re friendly!” Great, but mine isn’t, and now he would like to kill you *and* your dog. Hope you can calls yours back! Oh, huh, you can’t, who would’ve figured. A guy the other day had his boxer off-leash in a local park, and we didn’t see it in time – the dog came bounding up to mine of course (mine is a part-yeti giant dog). The darned owner was actually on his freaking phone, and while I’m yelling, this d*uche has the audacity to wave at me like, ‘yep, this is fine.’ NOPE. I find it extra offensive in Rock Creek park, which is a national park for the enjoyment of all, but some selfish jerk thinks it’s just a giant potty for their mutt that nobody else should get to use. Also, I’m guessing half the reason they’re doing it is so they don’t have to pick up the poop; no way they’re finding it when the dog is 50 yards away in the bushes. I guess that’s just for OTHER people.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          In my neighborhood, they don’t even ACCOMPANY their dogs outside, just open up the front door and let them out. (LADY, YOU HAVE A FENCED IN BACK YARD. WHAT.) So, great. I’m currently holding onto 150 pounds of dog, 50 pounds of which are reactive to other dogs getting in her face and 100 pounds of which are reactive to her sister reacting to anything, and here comes a little rat yapper who thinks it’s in charge. And then, to boot, while I’m trying to shove it back away from my dogs so it doesn’t get eaten, someone else drives by and rolls down her window to yell “now let’s not kick at the little dog.” Lady, if you want to get the little dog out of my hair, I will HAPPILY stop trying to shove it away with my foot, but right now it is trying to feed itself to my dogs and I am trying to get us all home for everyone’s sake, because this thing has zero sense of self preservation. :P (One of the neighbors knew where it lived and went and knocked on their door and they looked out the window, saw what was going on and straight up refused to answer the door or come out and even try to get their dog.)

          1. Sloanicota*

            Wow, I haven’t quite seen that around here. Seems like they don’t care if the dog gets hit by a car?? Fortunately, my yeti is quite tolerant of the lil yappers (“chickie nugs,” we call them) even if they get out and run right up to him snappin’ and yappin.’ He has BIG issues with dogs like huskies, german shepherds, american bulldogs. Where I live, a lot of people leave these out in their yards all day to bark wildly at passerbys or or run crazy circles along the fence line, and he remembers where every single one of these enemies lives and is very reactive when he gets there (but I also blame him for that, as they’re not actually out and able to attack him). The tough spot is like, big dumb labs and goldens, which are not naturally his enemies but their humans are too casual and trusting that their dog is good natured; if they get in his space he will feel threatened and react.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              Luckily my reactive dog doesn’t mind if they’re within a fence, no matter how obnoxious they get. She starts to get snotty if she sees another dog of any size or type out even on a leash, and she gets REALLY reactive if they get close. The big baby (Dane, turning a year old here in a couple weeks) doesn’t mind the other dogs, she goes to doggy daycare semi-regularly so she’s used to meeting new friends, but she gets riled up when her sister gets riled up, and then they just amp each other up from there.

        2. Polyhymnia*

          Oh I am so with you. My dog (always leashed) is frightened of other dogs. She’s a rescue, we don’t know what the history is with that. If a loose dog comes up, all friendly, to do sniffs, she gets nervous, curls into a ball and eventually will anxiously growl and then the other dog’s owner will get all offended. She’s a sweet and friendly dog to people, she’s not dangerous, but I keep her from other dogs. Your dog may be as friendly as all get out, I’d love to meet her, but my dog just doesn’t.

        3. Bluebell*

          Yes to the off leash dogs who suck at recall, especially when the owner just stands there and yells even as I’m shortening my dog’s leash more and more as I try to make sure my dog doesn’t lunge. This happened a few weeks ago. Other dog was happily bounding and trying to get in my dogs face, and owner was 10-20 yards away just yelling and yelling. I refrained from yelling back “move your butt, lady!” Grrr.

    3. GlowCloud*

      The number of drivers who don’t use their #!£% indicators!! Tailgaiting! Beeping the horn at me because I took a fraction of a second to get into gear at the green light! I’ve seen at least 3 drivers (including a bus!) run a red light just because it was “about to” turn green. SUV drivers generally – just *every* single one.
      My partner jokes that I should be a traffic cop.

      I can shrug off inconsiderate behaviour in other spaces, but it sickens me when it’s being shown by someone in a potentially lethal 2+ ton metal box on wheels.
      I risk death daily on my commute, and I don’t appreciate it.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I am especially irritated by drivers who activate their turn indicators as they are turning. I mean, what do they think the point is?

      2. rr*

        Oh, god, yes, on the signaling. I will let you through/go ahead of me with no problem if you signal. Sometimes, even if you don’t signal, I can tell, and I’ll make room. But often, somebody just pulls in front of me really fast. So many near-misses. So much stupidity.

      3. Chauncy Gardener*

        How about tailgating me (within inches) as I TURN INTO MY DRIVEWAY. With my signal on. On a residential street. What the actual heck people??

      4. Buni*

        Our family retort is “That’s all right I’m psychic!”, But I’m fond of my friend who used to just shout “BLINKERS WANKERS!”

    4. sswj*

      My rant from elsewhere yesterday:

      Dear entitled idiots in waiting rooms: If you must watch videos on your phone, USE HEADPHONES!! I know you think you have it on very quietly, but I’m sitting a good 8-10 ft away, *I* have headphones on, and I can STILL hear your noise … Grrrrrrr

        1. Can't think of a funny name*

          Yes! Just had this happen a few days ago…woman next to me was listening to something on her phone without headphones…I’m usually non-confrontational…but there’s no way I’m listening to that for 2+ hours…in my head I was thinking, “Do I really need to tell you to put headphones on for f*’s sake!” But out loud I asked nicely for her to put headphones on and she did.

      1. Carsies*

        I *try* to be patient if it’s a kid but I think parents forget how noisy this stuff feels to other people who aren’t in kid-mode. I know my sister, bless her, just accepts that her two kids are noisy all the time and tunes them out, and I’m always a bit shocked when I first come over and then I adjust. I have definitely seen parents *trying* to coax their younger children to either wear headphones or play without sound while the kid whinges and whines, which is probably more annoying (or at least as annoying) as the jingling and bopping of the game, so I sympathize. There are also kids who can’t handle the sensory feel of headphones. Sometimes the parents are just being thoughtless though, and I have no sympathy for adults who play music at volume (?) or put phones on speaker (?) or play movies on planes without headphones.

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        Ugh!!! Yes!! Everything sounds so bad on those tiny speakers anyway, I don’t understand why anyone would choose to listen to something on phone speakers when even cheap headphones will be easier to hear with better sound quality. And then inflicting that sound on people who can’t control it???

    5. RussianInTexas*

      People who let their kids (and adults too, although it’s usually the kids that I see) to watch stuff on the phones, tablets, etc at volume in public settings. Places like waiting rooms, restaurants, on the plane.
      People who don’t return shopping carts to the corrals.
      People who changed their minds on buying something refrigerated, and just leave it on regular shelves.
      Drivers that hang out in your blind spot.

      1. Sloanicota*

        -Drivers that hang out in your blind spot – what IS that? Either pass or don’t pass, what are you doing?? I also seem to be next to someone surfing like this when I’m trying to merge over to turn, and they just – stay there. Forever.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Weavers. Drive in one lane, pass in one, don’t go from right to far left to pass the middle lane and go back to the right. At speed limit +20.

    6. Dark Macadamia*

      When people use IF in an apology like maybe they didn’t actually do the thing (I’m sorry if I whatevered). Or frame it as the other person being offended rather than themselves being offensIVE.

    7. Sloanicota*

      Lately, I have been very grumpy about the number of dudes in my acquaintance who insert little sexual jokes into everything. There’s a deliberately-ironic resurgence of the “that’s what she said” joke going on in this demographic, or similar. I don’t get it. These are 40-plus year old men, they are usually married, and they are not flirting with me in any real way. It’s usually in group convos so it’s really not targeted at me specifically. I suppose it just adds a little spark of naughtiness for them, and I can be a bit of a prude, but I’m just – over it. It’s like Have I Mentioned Lately That I Am Horny.

    8. Dr. Doll*

      People idling their cars in wait lines or parking lots, ever, but especially if the weather is just fine and you could open the damn window. Spewing carbon and other fumes into the air, and then no doubt complaining about gas prices.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Ha! In my neighborhood there are people who sit in their idling car parked in front of their house, like, all morning. I’m not sure why. I think it’s a quiet personal space for them if their households are noisy, and I guess the weather isn’t good enough for them to just leave the car off (?) but I think it’s a bit odd. Particularly as I walk my dog, because there are no sidewalks and I’m always on high alert for cars and I can’t tell if they’re about to pull forward – but nope, they’re just chilling.

      2. RussianInTexas*

        So you mean drive-thru by wait lines? I don’t think turning your car off and on every couple of minutes is any better for the environment, and 100% not better for your car.

        1. rr*

          I have done this when I’ve been waiting upwards of 10 minutes (and, admittedly, probably for shorter amounts of time too). I guess I’ll stop now that I know it isn’t helpful for the environment. It wasn’t so much the fumes that concerned me, but the awful waste of gas. I don’t like to let it just drip down at gas stations either when I’m done pumping. It makes me cringe, and not on the basis of expense either, since the meter has stopped running at that point.

          1. RussianInTexas*

            Well, I did specifically said drive-thru and “couple of minutes” and not “upwards of 10 minutes”, so be snarky, I suppose.

            1. rr*

              I wasn’t, actually. Perception of time is variable anyway – I doubt I’m actually waiting that long either.

        2. Dr. Doll*

          I meant waiting for your kid to come out of swimming practice or whatever, but yes, I hate drive thru idling too. In-N-Out Burger could singlehandedly reduce air pollution to the Kyoto Protocol limit if they didn’t have drive thru lanes (I exaggerate for comic effect of course).

    9. the cat's ass*

      I am deaf. I wear hearing aids and they are really great, but phone calls, esp on cell phones, can be a real problem, especially if i’m out in the world with all of its beautiful ambient noise. So i ask everyone to text me, and most folks are really great about it and i am very thankful. But of course there’s One Person who simply does NOT text, and insists on phoning me. Hey, thanks so much for accomodating my disability, not. I don’t bother even picking up her calls anymore.

    10. Ins mom*

      Our local grocery changed ownership and now the checkers usually have to bag, and carry out is mostly a thing of the past. One day on ‘senior citizens day’ I was behind a 90 year old and there was no one to carry for him I’m so annoyed I often drive a half hour to another just so I get carry out service

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Huh – I don’t think I’ve seen a grocery store that routinely (as opposed to a one-off for seniors or disabled folk who asked) did carry-out service in probably fifteen years or more.

        1. Double A*

          There are several stores in my area that offer. I think of you ask for assistance and most places they will help!

          I occasionally do this when my kids are handful.

        2. A Girl Named Fred*

          There’s a grocery chain where I live (midwest US) that touts its carry out service as a major selling point of why people should shop with them. I avoid it almost exclusively because the carry out service feels awkward as heck to me and I’d much rather take my own things. Totally get the appeal for folks who want or need that service though!

        3. ronda*

          most of the stores I go to have it, but sometimes a bagger is there and sometimes not. and sometimes they ask if you would like help to your car and sometimes they dont. but I think if you asked they would find someone to help you.
          and one of the stores only has cashiers for the busy hours, so if you go too early or too late, no cashier or bagger, just self checkout…. but you can probably still ask for help if needed.

        4. londonedit*

          When you say carry out, do you mean someone carrying your shopping to your car for you? I don’t think that’s ever been a thing here. I’ve never seen it. We also don’t really have people to bag your shopping – the cashier scans it all in but then you bag it yourself.

    11. SofiaDeo*

      I dislike being called a “guy” or “you guys”. After decades of “honey” and “sweetheart” and “hon” et al, this has been added to the “list of things random strangers call me that I wish they wouldn’t”. Ditto for “dear” from nurses/doctors, like I am their child instead of another adult.

      Extra dislike at the service staff that push back/argue with me when I politely ask not to be called “honey” or “you guys” or whatever random thing they use with their friends. Instead of simply saying “oh ok” or “sorry” or whatever, I get lectured about how “they didn’t mean anything” or “it’s just a saying” or other stuff. If you thought I was your neighbor Susan, and I pointed out I wasn’t, would you argue with me about it? Of course not. So why do you do it when I politely ask not to be called some kind of random name during a business transaction?

      1. NeutralJanet*

        It sounds like you might be taking “hon” as a personal thing when it isn’t? If I thought you were my neighbor Susan and you weren’t, you’d be factually correct in saying, “I’m not Susan.” If I call you “hon” because I’m in a service job and that’s what I call all customers and you say, “I’m not your hon,” then the whole interaction takes a weirdly aggressive tone. It’s fine for you to prefer not to be called by anything in particular, but if you act like it is a personal and specific name to you somehow, that’s odd and people are going to react oddly.

        1. allathian*

          If they say it to absolutely everyone, I’m fine with it, because then it means absolutely zero. But if they only say it to members of my demographic, then I’m not fine with it.

          Generally, I find terms of endearment overly familiar when it’s a business transaction, and I’m grateful that it doesn’t happen in my area. If I visit a place where this is the norm, I shrug my shoulders and live with it, but I’ll never enjoy it.

      2. ronda*

        when I first moved to the south from the midwest in the 70s……. when I said you guys, I did get the response from girls. “were not guys”
        but in my area of the midwest you guys was the term used…. after living in the south for a long time I do use y’all now.

        I also got a lot of confusion when I tried to order pop at a restaurant. apparently everything is called a coke in my new town!

    12. the cat's ass*

      Lots of driving issues here, which makes me both bummed and relieved that it’s not just my community that’s gotten a little feral behind the wheel. I’m in the right hand lane, it’s 5 am and im headed to work on an completely empty freeway, doing the speed limit, or even a little above the speed limit, and SHAZAM, there’s a car directly up my exhaust, blowing the horn, flashing the lights, like they want me to go faster, when there are three-THREE!-empty lands right next to me. I generally pull over but I’ve been really tempted to go slower, but then I’m contributing to the problem instead of just bitching about it.

      1. Expiring Cat Memes*

        Feral men in jacked-up vehicles who intimidate women through aggressive driving is something I’ve dealt with ever since I got my license (Australia). Recently-ish I had one of these jerkwads up my arse in a busy grocery store carpark while waiting to exit. Not sure exactly what he thought the bullbar of his ute would magically achieve at cardboard-sheet distance from my rear windscreen wiper, (other than allowing me to lip-read his real-time opinions about the *expletive, expletive* me), however he clearly thought his manhood entitled him to not be in the same traffic as everyone else.

        As it turned out, on that particular day I just had no f*cks left for intimidation by neanderthals and I suddenly found myself very civil and accommodating to anyone who needed space to turn in in front of me. Zipper merge? Sheesh, all three of you can go, please! no I insist, after you good sir and madam, and you as well! Hat tip and top of the morning to you all! I also decided that first gear was my gear, and somewhere between zero and gentle bunny hop was my speed. Looks like we could make that green light! Oh, but not if I slow right down and let more people in front of me. Oops!

        Obviously I would never recommend deliberately antagonising a wilderbeast at the wheel. But there were dozens of people around and wow did I enjoy calmly watching him lose his shit over something so utterly benign.

        1. The Cat’s Ass*

          I like the cut of your jib! Since it’s just me and jerk-o on the 580 at 500 tho, discretion is the better part of not getting killed by a lunatic with no witnesses.

    13. StellaBella*

      screaming toddler stomping on the floor above me… well screaming in general. people who are rude and self centred. people who leave messes for others to clean.

    14. Chaordic One*

      People who wait until the last minute before they use their turn signals. If you’re going to be making a turn, the turn signals should be activated BEFORE you use your brake pedal to slow down.

      People who aren’t paying attention at stop lights and when the light turns green, they just sit there (often because they’re looking at their phones and not the light). Surprisingly, the person not paying attention is often the 2nd, 3rd or 4th car in line waiting for the light. There’s a left-turn light near me that I often have to drive through where, on bad days an inattentive driver sits through the entire green light and no one gets through. OTOH, on good days when everyone is paying attention as many as 8 cars can get through before the light changes.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        I know people have gotten totally feral behind the wheel since the pandemic, but what is with people actually stopping at a green light?? I don’t mean not moving when it turns green (which drives me bananas), but actively stopping at a green light.
        So bizarre

    15. carcinization*

      I don’t like it when (usually female) people deliberately wear their shoes/socks/pants so that they have one inch of ankle area skin showing, especially when it’s really cold outside. Seeing a person’s socks is really not that embarrassing/that one inch of skin is not that important. Short pants are not the problem, I like and wear short pants sometimes, it’s insisting on showing that exact amount of skin in that exact area. Yes, I know this is a ridiculous thing to be annoyed by, that’s why I’m describing it in response to that prompt!

      1. NeutralJanet*

        I don’t think female people are insisting that you look at their ankles as a deliberate assault on your senses—what a strangely antagonistic way to interpret people’s clothing!

      2. Ellis Bell*

        I’ve done this and it doesn’t have anything to do with showing off your ankle skin; I think that’s an absurd takeaway. A lot of female presenting looks don’t involve socks, unless you’re a little girl, or unless you just like the look of socks, or you have a particular (usually sporty) look that involves socks. Sometimes you have shoes that usually you’d wear sockless or with tights, but they rub or it’s too warm for tights. So, you want to wear them without showing the socks that are kinda ugly because you don’t usually wear them for show without a high boot (honestly I think most socks are pretty ugly, especially the band that pinches) and it’s pretty easy to get a sockless look even when wearing them and that’s all that’s happening here.

      3. Amtelope*

        I’m confused by this. When I wear no-show socks or ankle socks with short jeans, I’m not trying to show a particular amount of ankle. I’m just putting on whatever socks come to hand to keep my feet warm because it’s cold.

    16. MeetMoot*

      I could write a book about this. My family says I have an “overdeveloped sense of justice” because most breaches of what I consider to be the right way to do things/common sense, however minor, make make my blood boil. Most of it’s really just about being considerate human beings.
      To list a few not already mentioned:
      – People who block footpaths/escalators/doors. Sometimes they’re walking three or four abreast of each other, sometimes they’re deciding where to go, sometimes they’re chatting, sometimes they’re just slow. All of them make me scream internally.
      – When people flush the toilet without closing the lid. So gross.
      – Street musicians. I hate being forced to listen to music while trying to shop.
      – When someone tells me something without checking I already know it. E.g. “I watched [film] which had [actor] in it. He was also in [lists other roles]” (Yes thank you, Kate, I do actually know who [actor] is without you taking an extra minute to list their films)
      – People putting their bag on the seat next to them. We all love our personal space but don’t be the a**hole that forces someone to ask if they can sit where your stuff is.

      1. MeetMoot*

        OMG and when you’re trying to buy pre-made food and it always has those 1-2 ingredients I can’t stand. For sandwiches it’s mayo, chutney, mustard, aioli or relish, and for salads it’s mayo or a very vinegar-rich dressing.

    17. SarahKay*

      Sales assistants who fold the receipt before handing it to me.
      a) I’m standing there holding my hand out to take it – why are you delaying handing it over?
      b) If I want it folded I will fold it, in the way that suits me.
      I know it’s just habit (and sometimes training) on their part, I know it’s an absolutely absurd thing to object to, and I would never say anything to them about it, but gosh I hate it.

    18. KR*

      When people refer to pregnant women or mothers as “mama” or “mom” but they aren’t that persons child. I don’t even have kids. I just find it weird and cringe and uncomfortable.

      1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

        I have kids and can’t STAND this. It’s often people in passing (like medical staff) who I’ll never see again, so I’m just endlessly saying “Call me [My Name] or nothing.” And it’s such a reflex that they’re likely to do it again in the same conversation. Ugh.

    19. Ellis Bell*

      I hate walking through clouds of smoke or vape when in crowds, particularly the highly scented noxious stuff. There seems to be a huge increase in vaping all over others lately, as though it’s nothing, and I don’t want anything in my lungs besides oxygen.

    20. MEH Squared*

      I have a ton of the driving ones, but my biggest, most irrational pet peeve is people who block the aisle of a grocery store and don’t even look up as I approach. Then, for an added bonus, the ones who get snarky when I ask them politely to move. I get disporportionately mad about this. Yes, it’s thoughtless, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not THAT big a deal.

    21. Firebird*

      Being called by a pet name by strangers. A sales clerk at Home Depot called me “young lady” and then in their parking lot someone called me “granny.” Both felt really condescending.

    22. Bluebell*

      Sheets with pilling. I hate the feel of them, so gravitate towards bamboo sheets and cotton. When an Airbnb has sheets with pills, it’s so annoying.

  27. 2023, You Are Not Nice*

    Last Sunday I was rear-ended and my car totalled, the subframe was bent. I have injuries. And no car, can’t replace for… months, maybe longer. I am trying every way I can think of to get rides to my medical appointments, but so far, nothing has popped. Seriously people SLOW THE f*** DOWN.

    1. fposte*

      Oh, no, I’m so sorry! I’ve been rear-ended twice but it wasn’t nearly as bad, and it still sucked.

    2. Not A Manager*

      Will either driver’s insurance cover a rental car? We’ve had some collisions (and by we I mean the teenage drivers in the family), and insurance always provided rentals at least for a while.

    3. Can't think of a funny name*

      Ugh, I feel ya…my bf was rear-ended 3 months ago…car totalled, he was slightly injured…we’re still trying to get $ from the insurance company but of course it will come nowhere close to covering what a replacement car will cost and prices are still high :( Since I WFH I let him use my car for the first month but we finally had to get a rental b/c I couldn’t be carless forever…I doubt we will get reimbursed for most of the rental. We avoided getting a lawyer but the other 3 vehicles involved got one…you may want to consider that if you don’t feel like you’re being treated fairly by the insurance companies…we’ve never hired a lawyer before but after all this, I understand why people do now. Hope it works out ok for you.

      1. 2023, You Are Not Nice*

        The whole thing is a giant pain! In every way. I do have a lawyer. I have to get my medical taken care of, and I need another car. I’ve worked as data entry in a property insurance company, I have seen the difference between claimants who had public adjusters and lawyers and those who did not. Believe me, I do not have sugar plum fantasies of huge payouts. I just need a freaking car. I miss my Fit so much. She deserved better.

    4. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      I don’t know where you are, but you might be able to arrange cab rides to/from those medical appointments: cab companies/drivers are often happy to have a pre-booked ride, though you might have to wait and call for the cab to take you home after you’re done at the doctor. I just learned that there are some local governments that subsidize those trips. If there’s a city/town Council on Aging, they might have useful information, even if you’re not old enough to qualify for their services.

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

      Oh, noooooo! I hope you feel better soon and that you figure out the transportation problem. May the rest of your 2023 be MUCH better.

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

          Oy vey — no wonder you used that username! I’m going to keep hoping you got all of the bad for this year out of the way early and that lots of good things start to roll in for you as the year goes on!

    6. Yet Another Unemployed Librarian*

      Oh no, that sounds awful. Can you ask your medical providers if they have any resources for ride services? In my area there are some with volunteer drivers. They are aimed at specific groups (elderly folks, cancer patients) but it might be worth asking about.

    7. Squidhead*

      If you are in the US you can try calling 211 to see if there are transportation resources they can connect you with so you can get to your appointments. 211 is sort of the human-services version of 911 (not for imminent health and safety emergencies, but a sometimes a way to avoid them escalating to emergency level.)

  28. Polyhymnia*

    Trip to Norway this summer! – my husband and teen daughter and I are planning to go to Norway this June, never been. It’s a long awaited several-times-replanned (thanks to Covid) big-birthday trip. We’ll be in Oslo and probably Bergen, with a side trip up to Svalbard. Svalbard is covered, but I would love to hear your hotel/food/sightseeing recommendations for the other areas. We are finally getting past the flight planning and where the dog will go conversations that we can think about what to actually do in country. Can’t wait.

    1. MaxKitty*

      Unfortunately the Viking Ship Museum appears to be in an extended renovation closure. But we found The Fram Museum also to be very interesting. It features Amundsen’s exploration ship.

      1. Polyhymnia*

        oh boy I love museums. And polar exploration is right up my husband’s alley. Adding this to the list for sure. My daughter will like the architecture. Too bad about the Viking Ship!

      2. DistantAudacity*

        Yes, they are finally building a new one. It includes the extremely risky move of transporting the fragile ships to their new location.

    2. Lifelong student*

      The Vigeland Sculpture Garden is not to be missed! It is wonderful. In Oslo. Train from the airport is easy and reasonable. You might want to plan to stay somewhere near the station if you will have lots of bags. City buses are great to use- but you have to buy bus tickets at shops. On the other hand- the ticket machines on the buses are on the honor system. We had difficulty finding ticket selling shops so ended up just getting on a planning of asking for forgiveness- but were never questioned. We were in Bergen as well but mostly to board a ship so not much time to see things- although there is a Grieg museum which was on our schedule before I badly sprained an ankle.

      1. Polyhymnia*

        Good to know about the buses. I looked up the Grieg museum and I’m intrigued for sure. I hope your ankle healed up fast. No fun, esp on a trip! Thank you!

      2. anxiousGrad*

        You can buy bus tickets on apps now. In Oslo the app is Ruter and in Bergen it’s Skyss. They don’t check tickets very often, but if you’re caught without one you can be fined around $100 (different policies in each city).

    3. Alex*

      I know this sounds weird, but when in Oslo, get yourself some Somali food! There’s a huge Somali refugee population there, and the Somali restaurants are sooooooooo good. I wish I could remember the name of the one we went to but it was so good we visited multiple times.

    4. Veronica Mars*

      My husband loved the Mini Bottle Gallery when he was in Norway–it sounds delightful, so I always pass on the suggestion!

    5. Reba*

      I second the Grieg museum (Troldhaugen)! Also enjoyed our tour of the Oslo opera house.
      Assuming you will have a car some of the time, there are so many beauty spots for hiking! I think it’s well worth getting inland a bit to Jotunheimen, jostedalsbreen, and Trollstigen. But you could also spend some lovely days around the fjords right near Bergen. Hope you have a blast and please watch Trollhunter (2010) if you have not already seen it :)

    6. anxiousGrad*

      I’m living in Trondheim, Norway right now! I second the suggestion to go to the Vigeland Sculpture Garden – it’s in a really beautiful park and the sculptures are kind of wild. The Munch Museum was my favorite thing that I did in Oslo. And right across you can walk on the roof of the opera house and get a good view of the city. The National Museum has recently been updated and it gives a really good overview of Norwegian art and culture. You also need to make sure to get a waffle with brown cheese and jam while you’re in Norway – Haralds Vaffel in Oslo has really good ones. In Bergen, I definitely recommend the KODE museums. Wherever you go, definitely make sure to go to a bakery or coffee shop and get some boller – they’re sweet buns with cardamom. My favorite is the skolebolle, which has vanilla custard surrounded by a ring of coconut.

    7. DistantAudacity*

      Oslo has a lot of brand new interesting museums and areas!

      The new National Gallery (Nasjonalgalleriet) and Munch Museum opened just last year, and the lovely Deichmann Library (2021) is great! The Bjørvika area, where the Opera (and Deichmann/Munch) is located is all new and interesting, and if the weather is good there will be lots of people on the city beaches. If you are interested, look up the city sauna/bathing houses where it’s possible to rent a small bathing house, to go for a swim from!

      In addition, there is the classic Vigelandsparken, and Norsk Folkemusem at Bygdøy.

      Do get the Oslo card! Rent a city bike! (Oslo bysykkel). Take metro up to Songsvann or Holmenkollen, and go for a hike :) Take the local ferries to the islands on Oslo card (covers public transportation). If you don’t have transport covered through the Oslo card, use the Ruter app.

      Norway is pretty much cash-free, we tap for everything. You may also see references to Vipps, which is the local equivalent of Venmo.

      For a bit more local flavour, head towards the Grunerløkka neighbourhood – locals think the central Karl Johans gate is for visitors and tourists :)

      Oslo has plent of great restaurants and places to eat, though pricy. Do not trust TripAdvisor or Yelp, they seem to like a strange selection of places. Bjørvika has lots of good places. Local chain Olivia is good italian-style in several locations; for super-trad Norwegian try Kaffistova, or Frognerseteren. Ekebergrestauranten if you want a view! For top-end check recommendations in Guide Michelin. My favourite Szechuan is Dinner, and best ramen is Ezo Ramen. Egon is very mid-level-where-you-bring-your-not-adventurous-relatives-from-out-of-town. Åpent Bakeri at Paleet Shopping (on Karl Johan) is a lovely way to start your day, or take a quick break. Generally, lots of nice local bakery chains.

      Hotel locations – depends very much on your price range :) City centre is best, around the train station is not dodgy. City centre is very walkable, and you can take the metro/tram/bus wherever you need from there.

      If you have time, Drøbak village is a nice visit about 40 mins from Oslo (if you go, take the short ferry out to Oscarsborg!), and Kistefos a nice halfday trip an hour’s drive away.

      1. DistantAudacity*

        Oslo’s 50 best restaurants, by the main newspaper Aftenposten. It’s in Norwegian, but you should be able to get the restaurant names (and pictures). Also, there is Google Translate :)

        https://vink.aftenposten.no/artikkel/3EE67L/guide-dette-er-oslos-50-beste-restauranter

        Also: best beer and food:
        https://vink.aftenposten.no/artikkel/8J50kQ/godt-oel-til-maten-sjekk-disse-stedene

        Vegetarian-friendly
        https://vink.aftenposten.no/artikkel/bgXBqe/guide-til-groenne-godsaker-her-er-ti-vegetarvennlige-restauranter

        Also ;)
        https://vink.aftenposten.no/artikkel/JQObwj/sterk-kylling-er-religion-hot-temper-er-et-pilegrimsmaal

    8. DistantAudacity*

      I was a student in Bergen, so my info is a bit outdated :)

      The Big Thing in Bergen is to take the funicular up to Fløyen (get up early – it can get busy), you can also go for an easy walk, if the weather is OK (sneakers-level). The other thing is wandering around Bryggen (Unesco site) and the old neigbhourhoods in the