weekend open thread – July 8-9, 2023

Laurie with portrait of Laurie.

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: My Last Innocent Year, by Daisy Alpert Florin. A college student in the 90s has an affair with her professor, as the Clinton impeachment plays out in the background.

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

{ 910 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. Teapot Translator*

    Has anyone who’s read Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri Paiboun series tried the Jimm Juree series? I’ve read the first book in the series, Killed at the Whim of a Hat, and I’m ambivalent so I want to know if the series picks up in the next books.

    1. Cordelia*

      I love Dr Siri! but I only read the first book in the other series, it was ok but I didnt love it and haven’t gone any further. Probably because I love the Dr Siri series so much.
      My sister and I went to Laos in, I think, 2016 – pretty much because I had picked up one of the Dr Siri books in a charity shop. She actually wrote to Colin Cotterill to tell him this, and he wrote such a nice letter back.
      Maybe I will have another go at the Jimmy Juree series – I’d also like to know if it picks up

      1. Teapot Translator*

        GloryDetails below says their favourite is “Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach”. So I guess, I’ll try the second one.
        I also want to go to Laos because of the books! :) :) :)

    2. GoryDetails*

      I’ve read a couple of the Jimm Juree books; my favorite was “Grandad, There’s a Head on the Beach,” though in general I found the main character a bit too frenetic for my taste. (I was amused to note a cover-blurb comparing Jimm to Stephanie Plum, an apt comparison!)

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I think I tried a Stephanie Plum book and it wasn’t my style.
        And you’re right, she’s frenetic, and part of what I like about Dr Siri is how calm he is (because he’s lived a full life and he’s seen a lot of stuff).

  3. Dave the Trucker*

    I am a relatively new reader of the blog, and I really enjoy reading the comments. Saw this post https://www.askamanager.org/2013/05/an-employer-sent-me-rude-critical-emails-but-now-wants-to-interview-me.html earlier this week and was surprised by how critical many of the (still!) regular commenters we’re of the LW.

    A decade has passed, we’ve had three American presidents since then, there was a pandemic, and Canada is now on fire. Not only has work changed, but everything has changed. So I would love to read what y’all think about the reception the letter got back then versus what you would say if Alison had posted this letter now.

    1. Samwise*

      Wow-wee! Asking for FaceTime instead of Skype is presumptuous and pushy? It’s a reasonable ask. I personally found skype clunky and FaceTime easier to use, but even if I didn’t, there’s no great sin in asking for a different platform.

      I wouldn’t get all heated up about just responding “okay” either.

      TBH, the word “pushy” gave me a weird vibe, since that’s a stereotype about Jews and OP works for a Jewish nonprofit.

      Agree that OP should not have gone forward with the interview, but otherwise I agree with you, Dave the Trucker, that the comments are strangely critical.

      1. Dave the Trucker*

        The Skype versus FaceTime thing was what really threw me, too. Commenters made it sound like it was a huge faux pas, when I thought it was reasonable.

        The “okay” thing I thought was similarly overwrought, but that was because the grammar used didn’t make it clear that she literally just wrote, “okay.” Once she clarified that in the comments, she actually did just write “okay” in an email, I did think, “Oh! oh, no…”

        And I definitely agree I wouldn’t want to work with either of them.

        I found it all really interesting, because reading more recent posts, you can definitely see the change in the power balance. I was looking for jobs in 2013 and again in 2022, and when I was in the thick of it, I didn’t pay much attention to how it’s changed. Reading a letter from back then and seeing the difference was a lot of fun.

        1. PhilG*

          I went through a job search in mid-2020. I have six (6) different platforms on my phone that were used by various prospective employers to interview with. Whatever they wanted I loaded & practiced with before the interview. FWIW FaceTime was certainly a better option on my phone/iPad in the 2015-2017 timeframe, but Skype still worked.

        2. FashionablyEvil*

          It was a totally different ballgame in 2013. The first iPhone came out in 2007; the first iPad came out in 2010. Lots of people would not have had access to FaceTime.

          1. Dave the Trucker*

            You know, thinking back, when this letter was published, I had recently acquired my first smartphone—a Blackberry Torch.

          2. Samwise*

            Sure, I remember that. But that doesn’t make just asking some horrible rudeness or a thoughtless imposition. It’s a request, which can be answered yes or no.

            1. Just Another Cog*

              Maybe, but when our kid was elementary in school in the early nineties, a teacher’s assignment was a “use your video camera to capture nature”. Of course, she assumed every family had a camcorder. After our request to the teacher for a camcorder to borrow, she cancelled her assignment. We heard from other parents relieved it was canceled because they had been scrambling to find equipment to do the assignment. Her assignment wasn’t a horrible rudeness, but definitely thoughtless imposition. Very few families had video recorders then.

        3. The Shenanigans*

          Yes I love reading the archives for that reason! The letters now function as a sort of history of work through periods of huge changes in American work. It’s really kind of fascinating.

      2. Gyne*

        Is FaceTime on all platforms, or Apple-only? I think asking for a device-specific platform is definitely presumptuous.

          1. Gyne*

            It presumes the interviewer has a specific brand of device instead of using a technology available to all. I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable to request but it’d put me off very slightly as an interviewer because I’d think, “okay, this person thinks everyone owns an iPhone.” I certainly wouldn’t say anything (other than “No, I don’t have an iPhone so let’s stick with Skype”) but I’d then be wondering about this person’s proficiency with tech and why they made the assumption they did.

        1. David*

          It’s Apple-only.

          Though I did find that “FaceTime links” is a thing: a FaceTime user can send a link which will allow anyone else to join the video call using a web browser, specifically Google Chrome or MS Edge. But it seems like that feature was just implemented less than a year ago and wouldn’t have existed in 2013.

        2. The Shenanigans*

          Yes, you can use FaceTime on Android as of a couple years ago. But it’s weird because Apple is horribly proprietary. Basically, someone with an Apple device needs to invite someone on Android to a FaceTime call. That wouldn’t really work for an interview. That said, I think questions like that fall under the “it never hurts to ask” umbrella. It’s not presuming that the interviewer has Apple. It’s asking if they do. “Do you have FaceTime?” = “Do you have an Apple device?”.

          1. Gyne*

            I don’t know, it just seems so weird to me to even ask for a brand-specific method of communication. For an applicant (or a hiring manager, for that matter!) to request to communicate that way would signal to me that they do. not. get. technology. It reads as ignorant on either side to request that, in my (admittedly biased) opinion.

      3. Bob-White of the Glen*

        My first thought too. I doubt that would have been the language used if the person was not working someplace identified as Jewish. This may be reading too much into it, but that terminology in that scenario seems very striking to me. OP wasn’t perfect, but the interviewer had some serious baggage, and it would not surprise me if much of it was there due to harmful stereotypes.

        As for responding “okay.” The OP made a request for a different, easier to use (for them) software, agreed to the other software and suddenly the interview is canceled. I think “okay” is a perfectly fine response to “Actually, let’s put the interview on hold. I’ll let you know if I want to reschedule.” Not sure why posters are cringing at the use of “okay” or claiming how unprofessional the OP was and how they would never act this way if job searching. This woman is the poster child for gaslighting.

        Wish we had an update.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I wasn’t commenting back then, but I agree with the commenter who said they both sound like pains and wouldn’t want to work with either of them.

      They sound like they are cut from the same brusque and peremptory cloth. And the ironic part is that neither of them liked the other.

      1. Courageous cat*

        Yeah, I agree. I’m not sure what Dave the Trucker has found issue with (or what the American presidents etc have to do with it other than yes, time has passed) but all I can say is, I would not act like OP if I were trying to get a job, even in 2023.

        1. Dave the Trucker*

          I found no issue with anything. I think it is an interesting window into how the power balance in job hunting has changed and would create good discussion. 2023 Me was struck by how big a deal the request to do FaceTime versus Skype was. I think now, people would say, “meh, couldn’t hurt to ask. If they say no, like she did, that’s fine.”

          1. RagingADHD*

            I think that’s less about the power balance and more about the prevalence of video meetings and platforms.

            In 2023 I’d think asking for Facetime was an even weirder request, because it’s a personal platform, not a business one. And Skype wasn’t great back then either because you had to set up an account and connect to certain contacts, etc.

            Both would be odd requests, because the ones that are used for interviews now (Zoom, Teams, Webex) don’t require any particular type of tech or account. They just send you a hyperlink.

            I though the LW sounded curt and surly, and also the interviewer went off about it in a very unprofessional way.

          2. Courageous cat*

            I was referring to you saying you were surprised how critical people were being, so I meant I’m not sure which aspect of the comments you took issue with.

          3. fhqwhgads*

            For me, I tend to think of FaceTime as a personal communication platform and Skype as a personal-or-business communication platform. I don’t think asking for FaceTime is a huge faux pas, but it would be a little weird to me for a candidate to ask for it. I understand the candidate may be doing a call from their mobile phone or tablet, but I’d expect the employer side to be doing it from their work computer, and thus would expect them to offer a platform used in that context. Again, not wildly out of line, but a little weird to request FaceTime in this context, since it seems to assume both parties would A) have iPhones and B) be using them for this, or that the person at work has an iPad for work.
            All that aside, in that particular letter it really did strike me that both parties were jerks who both seemed to be quick to judge for must-be-a-mind-reader reasons, but then oddly transparent in announcing said reasons to each other after the fact. Those two would not have worked well together under any circumstances. So I don’t think what happened there has much to do with power balance, but is a perfect example of people being a poor fit for working together.

            1. Dave the Trucker*

              “both parties were jerks who both seemed to be quick to judge for must-be-a-mind-reader reasons, but then oddly transparent in announcing said reasons to each other after the fact.”

              Best summary I’ve read all week. =)

    3. Alex*

      I wasn’t aware of this blog then so I hadn’t read that one, but yeah I’d say that I’d be critical of that OP. Not in a “OMG you are the biggest ass ever” kind of way, but more like…yeah the interactions on the OP’s end did seem a bit unprofessional and a bit…cocky? maybe? There wasn’t a whole lot to go on, so it was hard to tell of the manager was correct in their assessment of the OP (and I for sure agree that the manager was way out of line and very unprofessional). A lot was made about the Facetime vs Skype request (which I agree was a bit of a red flag, as Facetime doesn’t have nearly the range of tools that an interviewer might use, such as a chat feature to send links and such, the ability to have multiple people on the call, to record it, not to mention that it requires a Mac, which maybe the interviewer didn’t have), but the mangager was actually focused on a lot more of the OP’s behavior, so I think the Facetime vs Skype thing was a moot point anyway.

    4. ecnaseener*

      I think some commenters on the original missed the mark (“the candidate should be overly deferential” etc) but not egregiously so. I agree with the general opinion that the LW’s directly quoted email wasn’t great. “…you are making quite an assumption about me without ever having met me” – is it really an assumption, or is it an assessment of your written communications, which are completely fair game to judge you on?

      The interviewer was super rude, so the advice is good – both the advice to pass on this job and the advice to consider whether there’s a grain of truth in her feedback.

      1. Dave the Trucker*

        Thanks for this response. To be clear, Alison was even-handed and correct as always. My surprise was from how strongly stated it was that LW was out of line for asking about FaceTime. I’m seeing above that people still think it’s weird, but I love that it seems like it’s for a different reason.

        In 2023, I would peg the “you are making quite an assumption about me…” quote as being rude, but not out of line after receiving the email she was responding to, and it did seem like commenters ten years ago thought it was an unnecessary escalation, whereas my first (albeit likely incorrect) thought was, “YEAH! You tell her!” And the one-word response to the previous email was just…really lacking in social awareness.

        And no matter what year it is, the idea that someone has that exchange with a potential boss and then turns around and has an interview with them later is just bizarre.

        1. Marny*

          I agree the one word “okay” response wasn’t great, but it seemed the manager had already decided before then that she didn’t want to interview the OP by pushing off the scheduled meeting (which manager had already changed once from in-person to virtual). I can see myself assuming that this manager was a flake and instinctively responding “okay” with the assumption that the job opportunity was already over. It was then that the manager chose to get rude and tried to put the OP in her place. The ask about FaceTime vs. Skype seems incredibly inconsequential for it to jeopardize a hiring possibility. The manager is bananas.

        2. Bob-White of the Glen*

          I don’t get the Facetime issue. It was easier to use than Skype, but most interviewers would not automatically assume people they are contacting would have an iPhone. Can’t hurt to ask because there was always the chance the interviewer would have one too and prefer it.

    5. ND person chilling out*

      I agree that the tone from (much) older posts is different. As a ND person, I went looking for some how-to-deal-with-disability-in-the-workplace things recently, and MAN there wasn’t a lot of tolerance for differing neurotypes even in this comment section ten years ago. We rag on the way the commentariat can fanfic their way through each letter — but what if this person has XYZ illness/disability/family situation/etc — but the fanfic is often an improvement, in that there’s a gut instinct to show more empathy and understanding, than there was a decade ago.

    6. Indolent Libertine*

      I went back to that letter, and read through some of the comments, and noticed that the OP had commented to clarify that one reason she had asked for FaceTime over Skype was that it would have enabled her to “run around multitasking” during the interview, rather than being tied to sitting at a desk looking at a laptop. I thought that betrayed a certain lack of understanding of interview norms, if nothing else.

  4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    Looking for personal experiences with DIY redoing laminate countertops with epoxy overlay. Reviews on the epoxy process/materials are all over the place. It’s easy, it’s super complicated, you can do it yourself in an afternoon, it takes two weeks, it looks like marble, it looks like cat barf… literally the full gamut of opinions. I’m about ready to give up on researching and just replace them with fairly basic new laminate instead for now and put a bigger project on the back burner for a couple years down the road, so y’all are my last query.

    1. Ali G*

      I did a faux granite process on my condo way back when these were just getting started. I do not remember the brand, but it was a process. First, you have to clean, sand, and clean again. Then I did a couple of base coats. Then there was a couple of sponge/speckle top coats. That all took a long weekend. But then you have to put the epoxy coats on they have to fully dry and cure, so it’s like a week before you can put stuff on the counter tops.
      But it actually looked good! There was a realtor that looked at it and I had to stop them from listing my condo with granite countertops. It was cheap, much cheaper than new counter tops. If I had planned to be there longer I would have eventually done the kitchen. So it was a good bridge since I ended up selling.

    2. RedinSC*

      I will say about epoxy, I’ve always needed way more than originally thought, and it’s more difficult than one would think. I find it difficult to get nice and smooth, but that could be the climate I live in as well (very humid).

      for me, having messed with epoxy, I’d get new laminate.

    3. Chaordic One*

      So I did this with a solid blue epoxy. I was afraid to go with a fake marble, because that seemed complicated and who knows what would have gone wrong if I attempted to do it. It took an afternoon. Make sure the room is well-ventilated because the fumes are a bit obnoxious. The only thing that bothers me about it is that the color ended up being a bit off from what I was expecting. The actual color turned out darker and duller than I was expecting. I applied it over a simulated marble finish that was mostly white, so I don’t know why it turned out so dark. While the color was kind of dead and dull, the finish itself turned out to be very smooth and shiny. (Maybe because I live in a dry climate.) I don’t know if I would do it again, but if I did I would definitely go for a lighter color, maybe something white or off-white.

    4. gsa*

      Since you didn’t post pictures, we don’t know how bad it is.

      If you were looking to reattach laminate to sub strate, go with Super 90.

      I will post a link shortly. Hopefully it gets through moderation.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        It’s not structurally bad, just showing a lot more wear and discoloration than it should be for its age, and it’s ugly and annoys me. So I’m debating between resurfacing it with epoxy or just replacing it with new laminate.

    5. Generic Name*

      I’ve seen those kits in the hardware store, and I’m not sure what to make of them. If you have the money to get new laminate countertops and wouldn’t mind doing so, maybe try the epoxy as a “Hail Mary” attempt. If the epoxy ends up looking like cat barf (which by the way, I found your summary of the reviews hilarious), you can replace the countertops. Of course the risk is you waste the money and the effort on the epoxy.

    6. Random Academic Cog*

      Not quite the answer to your question, but if you replace, at least take a look at solid surface. It doesn’t get mentioned often, but we just replaced laminate with solid surface (could not deal with natural stone upkeep) and I’m super happy with it.

    7. Chidiw*

      I have a handy partner who did our kitchen and bathrooms. It was easy enough but did take a bit of time. It looks great… enough the we did multiple rooms

    8. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I ended up opting for the “fairly basic new laminate for now” option (IKEA’s Ekbacken in concrete effect) and will lump “ponder higher-end countertop replacement” in with the “replacing the tile backsplash” project that’s probably four or five years out, because it will require removing all the cabinets to get to the tiles anyway. However, I will be keeping the old countertops as experiment material to try the epoxy process, as well as potentially attempt re-tiling, in the interim.

      1. Generic Name*

        Nice! I think that sounds like a reasonable compromise. Let us know how the epoxy experiment turns out!

  5. nnn*

    Does anyone just…hate having house guests? There are a small number of exceptions but in general I really don’t enjoy having people stay with my partner and me. It is partly the disruption to our routine, partly the way I feel obligated to entertain them, partly I am so tired after work that I really want to come home and relax, not have people here. But I feel like the odd one out. (This post is brought to you by my dread over the guests who are coming to stay for 4 days and my guilt over not wanting them to.)

    1. sswj*

      Yes. I do NOT enjoy entertaining, at all. There are one or two people who are easy, because they are totally happy being self-sufficient and basically using my place as a self-serve hotel of sorts. They don’t expect me to cook (which is great because I don’t like to cook, especially for others), and they are equally happy to sit up and chat over wine and store-bought cookies or go to bed early with a book. And even those easy souls wear me out!

      Frankly there are days when having my husband in the house is too much :p I really, really, REALLY like my solitude!

      1. Be kind, rewind*

        Ooooh I can relate to this! It’s so much harder when you don’t normally cook or keep a lot of snacks/quick food in the house. I also don’t eat breakfast, so I need to do extra to have things ready for people when they wake up or have brunch plans in place.

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      Yep. I like having people over for dinner and videos, say, but not overnight. It’s too hard to have to still have my game face on, worry about being seen in states of undress that aren’t for public consumption, and so on.

    3. Not for Me*

      There are VERY FEW people I would enjoy as house guests. Two of them were my (late) parents. They weren’t hard to host AND they did projects! My BFF is coming for a week this fall and I am alternately thrilled and terrified about it. We had a long chat/email chain about just BEING TRUTHFUL when we need time alone, etc. etc. I’ve become more persnickity about my schedule as I’ve aged (when I go to the gym, etc.) so that makes it harder. Good luck to you; I hope you have a great time and they pitch in and are just delightful guests.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        Yeah. My mom brings a toolbox with her and will pull weeds. My dad used to inspect my car and patrol the perimeter of the house looking for things that needed to be done.

        My husband’s parents slept in our room (they couldn’t take stairs), made a lot of noise first thing in the morning while we were still sleeping in the pullout bed in the basement (they were from one time zone earlier), expected a full meal every night, ate all our cheese, got drunk every day starting at 4:00 p.m., complained that I didn’t offer them oatmeal while they were already eating cornflakes, and expected to be entertained.

        1. Rainy*

          We always go to my folks because of the Hierarchy of Livestock (we have dogs and cats, parents have horses) and also my dad is getting up there and not supposed to spend time in the mountains, and my husband’s parents aren’t allowed to stay with us anymore because they are such terrible houseguests. Similar stuff to your in-laws, although of course every awful in-law is awful in their own way, to paraphrase Tolstoy.

          1. Texan In Exile*

            Bad enough like that, but also, they claimed to be lactose intolerant (I had to buy Lactaid, of which they drank about 1/2 cup in one week) and this was the Good Carr Valley $24/lb cheese that we savored.

            They ate it like it was store-brand Colby and then weren’t hungry for the suppers I hadn’t even wanted to make.

            1. Rainy*

              The one time my in-laws stayed with us they showed up expecting us to have a whole bunch of stuff in the house that’s aBsOlUtElY mAnDaToRy but didn’t give us a list or any indication that there even would be a list. MIL said that they need to eat breakfast, so I got what I think of as easy breakfast food and it turned out that what they expected was the precise brand and type of cereal my FIL eats every early afternoon when he wakes up (it’s basically sweetened soy granules) and a specific type of chocolate-flavour soy milk (has to be the MILK chocolate flavour of a specific brand or he won’t consume it).

              I’m allergic to soy. Like, REALLY allergic. So no, we didn’t have your soy granules and chocolate soy drink just kicking around the house, FIL.

            2. goddessoftransitory*

              Shame about that terrible accident that occurred midway through their stay (in my head.)

            3. Middle Aged Lady*

              My in-laws, particularly my MIL, were among the few we liked to have stay for a few days. My MIL was that rare woman who thought her DIL (me) did no wrong because I made her son happy. I miss her. FIL praised the meals and always did some needed repair. Your in-laws were amazingly bad! Loved reading about them in your blog over the years.
              There are a few people I am compatible with who make good houseguests. Most of my in-laws and close friends are great. My own family is a nightmare. Very critical and bossy and want the damn TV on from morning til bedtime.

    4. KR*

      I like hosting but I also hate it. I need large amounts of alone time and I frequently need to lock myself in my room if I have overnight guests. But I also love hosting and setting up the guest bedroom and trying to thoughtfully put towels and things out that they may need. I love cooking for people and feeling helpful. But I hate hate hate having to be “on” for several days straight.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Hate it. I have a few people I don’t mind hosting (my parents and my three closest friends, one of whom lived here for eight years), but I still require several weeks notice to psych myself up for it. The way I’ve explained it in the past is, my expectations of myself as a host require way more effort than I’m willing to expend for most folks. :-P but I also can’t host people and NOT meet my own expectations either. So generally I just don’t host people.

      The worst worst thing is when my husband wants to host people. It’s my house so my expectations of a host still kick in, but he will not do a good job of meeting them because he thinks they’re silly expectations and hosting his friends is his problem, and logically he’s partially right but brain weasels don’t do logic and I end up stressing for a week and it’s just miserable. (In my defense, they’re not all silly expectations. I put my foot down that no, he was putting clean sheets on the guest bed for his sister instead of leaving the old ones even if it meant he had to do laundry first because if you dislike someone enough to make them sleep in someone else’s night sweat, they don’t need to be staying at my house at all, and you’d have thought I insisted he sew a coverlet by hand out of the skins of puppies, he was so affronted. I don’t even know. But expecting he put on clean sheets is not unreasonable.)

      1. PhyllisB*

        Your comment about sewing a coverlet from the skins of puppies made me laugh, but it also reminded me of a book I read in the 60s. (Phyllis Diller’s Household Hints.She was a comedian who was wildly popular then.)
        One of her “hints” was, “If you want your husband to buy you a fur coat, start sewing mouse skins together at the kitchen table.” Yech!!

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Haha, I just saw a Dalmatian puppy at the vet yesterday so I totally had Cruella De Ville on my mind :)

        2. Generic Name*

          I think I need to read that book. I could really use a laugh right now. I had the privilege of seeing her as the stepmother in a play production of Cinderella at the Muny in St Louis in the 90s. I didn’t really know who she was at the time, but there was something special about her, and she gave an incredible performance. She totally stole the show (in a good way). Raucous applause at the end.

      2. abca*

        Awesome example. At the beginning of your comment I was expecting to fully side with husband, thinking you would insist on sparkly clean everything and he was more “clean bathroom, vacuumed floors, done”. But no, ew, clean sheets are so obvious I would not even think it needed mentioning. That would stress me out too!

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I did make him vacuum, and he thought that was egregious too :-P

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            I have been over to friends’ houses (preplanned TV watching night type things) and while I’m not Emily Post by any means, I have been genuinely shocked at the level of actual filth some people don’t mind living in and others walking into. I’m talking an inch wide scum ring in the toilet, a totally blackened tub, piles of moldy dishes, and a actively decaying spread of snacks on the table from a party a week before (they generously said “help yourself!” but we declined.)

        2. That wasn't me. . .*

          I like to have guests. It breaks the monotony of living alone. It forces me to clean up – and that’s stressful – and right before they arrive I am usually regretting deeply that I started the whole thing, but once they are there, it’s almost always enjoyable. Plus, after they leave I have a much cleaner-than-normal house to enjoy in quiet!

      3. Texan In Exile*

        I was so astonished at a friend’s house once when she put me in her teenage son’s bed (he was out of town OBVIOUSLY) without changing the sheets first. I should have just said, “Hey where are the sheets? I’ll change the bed!” but I was so shocked that I was speechless. And then I spent the night shuddering because even though I am not a super clean freak, sleeping on sheets that someone I don’t even really know has slept in (much less a sweaty teenage boy) grosses me out.

        (I also draw the line at taking a shower in a tub that has not been cleaned. I do not want to stand on someone else’s dirt. Or use their soap. So I always scrub the tub in the guest bath for visitors and give them new little soaps.)

    6. Just a Name*

      I dread it, but it usually works out, but mostly because I work my butt off getting the house ready and planning meals, and my husband works like crazy on the outside and cooking. He’s also great at people in general where I burn out faster. It takes at least a week to recover.

    7. Francie Foxglove*

      I would rather host someone in my own home for two weeks, than be a guest in someone else’s home for two days. Okay, not by a huge margin. But in my house, I know I’m a good hostess. In someone else’s house, I’m generally anxious about being a good enough guest.

      1. Clisby*

        I don’t want to do either. I would *way* rather rent a place to stay during a visit that be someone’s guest overnight.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        I find being a guest in someone’s home really really stressful, even when visiting close family like my sister. It’s like being an astronaut or something in a strange biosphere where you don’t know what’s okay and what’s going to puncture the dome.

    8. MEH Squared*

      I do. I have very few people I like being around for an extended period of time, and I really prefer being on my own (with my cat). In addition, I have a ton of allergies which makes it difficult for me to be around any scents–plus food sensitivities that make me have only certaain foods in the house. I don’t cook, either. I’m a terrible guest and a terrible host, so I prefer to do neither.

    9. Person from the Resume*

      Yes. I am an introvert who lives alone. I’m very used to my alone time; a guest in my house interiors that.

      Plus I do put high expectations on myself about being a good host so I don’t feel it’s proper to have them fend for themselves a lot of the time.

      I don’t mind guests for a party because in some ways I like being control of that, but then I have high expectations of the amount of cleaning and tidying that must be done before guests can visit. Right now my house is full of clutter so visits are a no go for everyone but close friends

    10. Not A Manager*

      Are they coming to *visit* you, or are they coming to *stay* with you? Most of my guests are in town for some other reason, and they are staying with me. I do not feel obligated to entertain them, or to do more than provide clean linens and a house key. Usually we try to plan a few meals or activities together, but that’s about the extent of it.

      People who are *visiting* me are usually people that I love, and I like hosting them and cooking for them and entertaining them. But even so, I get exhausted and will excuse myself to spend a quiet evening in my bedroom.

      Short answer, no, I don’t mind house guests, but I do mind people who I think are staying with me, but they think that they are visiting me. I have trouble with people who are not more-or-less self-sufficient.

    11. Jane*

      I don’t like having house guests either. It’s exhausting to be “on” all the time. When we do have guests, my husband will take them out for driving tours that last a couple of hours so I can be alone for a while. He loves to get out for a drive, the guests love the scenery, and I have the place to myself. Win, win, win! I also will go for an hour-long walk each day, which gives me some alone time as well. I offer to have guests join me, but most don’t. I do spend a lot of time with our guests, but I don’t feel the need to spend every minute nor do they expect us to. I need my downtime from socializing. I also don’t like being a guest for this reason. When my husband and I travel to visit family and friends, we stay in hotels. The only exception is when we visit our parents. We stay with them.

    12. Ally*

      Yes!! When I was a bit younger and had roommates I LOVED having guests, truly. But now I live with my partner, it somehow has become much more uncomfortable have people stay.

      I really can’t tease out why it’s different. I did wonder if it’s some horrible internalized patriarchal thing where I am the ‘woman of the house’ now, and therefore responsible for the guest, and the food, and the impressions for the house; whereas with roommates it’s clearly a shared thing.

      Contrary to some of the other replies here, I still really enjoy being a guest at most places though.

      1. That wasn't me. . .*

        Don’t all children love to have their friends “spend the night” as we used to say, or “sleep over” as the current term. goes? And isn’t it great to have you cousins around, or you grandparents? I thought everyone loved that!

    13. Rrrach*

      So pleased to see this thread, as I often feel in the minority for not loving having guests to stay. Our home just isn’t set up for guests any more and I don’t enjoy entertaining at home. With a very few exceptions.
      My partner and I have just enough space in our home – and with me now partly working from home a few days a week, we re-set our home up for having comfortable living space and a defined separate space where I can focus on work. So that has pushed out the space where guests would previously stay. And I say guests plural but actually we had a small ‘double’ sized sofa that we then replaced with a single futon. We just don’t have space for a guest bed, nor storage for a fold up bed.

    14. Turtle Dove*

      All of the comments I’ve read so far resonate with me. And I appreciate you posting this; I’m dealing with more houseguests than usual this year. Ugh.

      I loathe hosting, but sometimes I do it. One of my husband’s best friends visits annually. He’s low-key, and that helps. But hosting takes a lot out of me and triggers the perfectionism I otherwise manage fine. I feel driven by to-do lists while I get the house ready. Then judgment sets in: my own and what I perceive from guests. I don’t like to cook either. It all feels icky.

      Part of it is that we have an incontinent cat, and I worry about smells. Mostly it’s that I love my privacy and down time. It’s difficult to give that up.

      1. coffee*

        Yeah, I was going to say that people are so not fond of hosting that we have a little saying about it!

    15. AvonLady Barksdale*

      It depends on the guest. Right now we don’t really have room for overnight guests, so it’s a bit of a moot point, but when we lived in the south people would visit and stay for a couple of nights. My closest friends were much easier than either of our parents. My mother did stay here one night recently and I managed to get through it, but barely.

      My grandmother HATED having guests. She even hated entertaining. She never did it. Close family and friends could come over but she never threw parties or even invited people over for dinner. I was allowed to stay overnight but that was it. She made her home (they had a 2-br condo) rather inhospitable– she replaced the sofabed with a regular sofa and that’s where I slept, in their den (converted from the 2nd bedroom) every time I visited for about 15 years. They had two full bathrooms but she used the guest bathtub to store paper goods and hung a regular curtain rather than a shower curtain. It was REALLY annoying to have to use my grandparents’ shower all the time, but I did it. After my grandmother died and my grandfather finally got overnight help, I got a hotel room for my visits. The oddest part was that my grandparents had an absolutely beautiful home and plenty of the tools needed to entertain– gorgeous table settings and platters and glasses and whatnot. No one ever used them.

      So yeah, this isn’t that unusual. Not to me, anyway!

    16. PhyllisB*

      I love house guests, and I don’t really mind staying with other people, but my husband hates both.
      He will tolerate (barely) the kids and grandkids, because he can retreat to the bedroom when he’s had enough socializing, and he’s a huge help getting things ready and doing most of the cooking, but he refuses to stay in anyone else’s home. He doesn’t even like to visit for a meal.
      He wasn’t like that when he was younger. We hosted and visited a lot, but…if we go visit family he insists on staying in a hotel (which I admit is easier in some ways) and he wants to meet up at restaurants, or if we’re staying somewhere with a pool maybe having them come visit/swim there. It used to bother me when he first got that way, but now I’m used to it.

    17. RussianInTexas*

      No, it’s normal.
      In my 10 years living in this house we have never once had overnight guests. And get together in the house always happen during weekend, never after work.
      I’ve lived by myself in apartments for 13 years before that, and except friends coming from Russia once, I never had guests over. As in literally never. Most of my friends didn’t even have my address.

    18. FashionablyEvil*

      I’m an extrovert and I generally hate house guests (even people I normally like.) The worst is when my FIL is here because the man is constitutionally incapable of putting the toilet seat down. Makes me CRAZED.

      Also, there’s a reason “House guests are like fish. They both stink after three days,” is an aphorism.

    19. The OG Sleepless*

      Yes. I love having parties and dinner guests, but at the end of the evening I want everybody to go the hell home. It makes me jumpy to have anybody who doesn’t live there spending the night. Maaybe a couple of close family members. I didn’t even like when my kids were growing up and they had friends for sleepovers, even though I never said so.

    20. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

      I don’t hate it, but it’s certainly not my favorite thing. One side effect of this is that my wife and I strive to be great houseguests when we visit. We usually bring dinner for the first night, and groceries for other meals (which we prepare). We are prepared to do things on our own if our host needs it. We clean up after ourselves. And then there’s that saying about fish and company; both start to go bad after 3 days, so we keep it short.

    21. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      This thread makes me think of my parents who are now in their 80’s with serious health concerns. My mother’s younger brother and sister always stay with them when they visit. Still. Even with all their health problems so my mom needs to clean, do laundry, and cook. Which was fine when she was younger. Like why can’t they get a hotel? (My sister lives out of town and she now gets a hotel because she knows how hard it is for my mom to host.)

      1. acmx*

        I don’t think your mom should necessarily clean, do laundry and cook for her children to visit. 1. because they are family 2. your siblings are adults and can help their elderly parents keep house.

        1. Lexi Vipond*

          It’s the mother’s siblings, I think, which makes it that generation’s problem to sort out as far as I’m concerned!

    22. ReallyBadPerson*

      Right there with you on both the dread and the guilt about our expected houseguests next weekend. I like people. I like these people. But I also like solitude and not feeling like I must entertain people all day long. I especially like not having to speak until after my second coffee.

    23. Bored Kitty*

      I don’t love hosting or staying as a guest in people’s homes. I can’t help but wonder if the following scenario is common: You don’t really want to host, but when you find out they are visiting your area you offer to host because it’s the polite thing to do. They don’t really want to stay in your home and would prefer a hotel, but feel obliged to stay because you offered, and they don’t want to offend you by staying in a hotel. So neither you or your guests are happy but neither of you know it :D

    24. Double A*

      This thread makes me sad. As I’m far from a lot of friends, the best way for us to see each other is a more extended visit. The way to make it affordable is to host each other. I feel like a lot of people sense other people don’t like this so they don’t want to accept offers to stay. And since I know a lot of people don’t like hosting I don’t ask.

      I do genuinely like hosting people. Honestly having extra people is usually less work than usual because they help out. I know my husband doesn’t love it but frankly we live in the country which is probably not my ideal location as I’m more of a city person. I get lonely and isolated and logistics of the distance involved in everything makes me tired sometimes. But it’s beautiful here so I love getting to share it. I wish more people would take me up on my offer to visit.

      Anyway I’m just posting because I know AAM is often very supportive of being opposed to house guests, but I want people to know that some of us host with joy and open arms. So if someone invites you, I hope they’re being genuine because I know I am.

      1. Double A*

        Sorry and I know this thread was specifically for commiseration but I feel like hating guests is the default, I see it expressed frequently here! But maybe we just notice the opposite opinions of our own more. Maybe next week I’ll make a “Does anyone like hosting guests, I feel like I’m the only one?” thread lol.

        1. fed up with anecdote cited as data*

          Yep – it’s one thing to not want to host specific people or whatever, but they’ve got a plane layover and it’s the kind thing to do, so you do it. But I can’t ever imagine putting my alone time and other aspects of my routine aside temporarily on behalf of the people who I love as a hardship. If anything, I wish I found myself in that position more often. I just find such unwillingness for the people we supposedly love and have healthy relationships with incredibly self-absorbed.

          1. quicksilver*

            Completely agree. I’m a stereotypical introvert who lives alone and needs to have fastidious control over my own space — but when my best friends who live in a different city come to stay with me (multiple times a year, almost always for 3+ days at a time) it is my absolute favourite thing in the world. I love getting things ready for them before they arrive, I love having a different schedule in order to maximise our time together, and I always miss them when they leave. As far as they’ve told me, the feeling is mutual when I go to stay with them.

            I get the sense that a lot of adults past their mid-twenties just do not maintain the level of closeness/intimacy/compatibility/communication needed for this to work with people other than their partner. If I ever had to host relatives, or friends who were more like “acquaintances” rather than “chosen family”, I could imagine feeling the resentment that others are describing. But I just…don’t host anyone who I’m not actively excited about hosting, and that means hosting is only ever a really nice time.

          2. Lavender Menace*

            Notice that the person who began this thread is still hosting houseguests, so it’s not that people are unwilling to put their feelings aside for people and I’m. not sure where that assumption came from. They were just expressing a totally valid feeling. I’m glad that you like hosting people, but not everyone has to like it the same way you do.

    25. Don'tbeadork*

      Yep. I don’t mind one of my brothers because we all just sit in the same room and read at each other, with occasional snippets of conversation, but I know he will happily just go somewhere for a few hours so we have the house to ourselves briefly, but I do hate not being able to just wander around as I will.

    26. the cat's ass*

      This really resonates with me because my good friends from Germany came to visit recently and stayed in an Air B&B down the street because the husband is a terrible houseguest but we still want to be friends. So we were able to be candid about our differing houseguest/host expectations-he HAD to make guacamole every morning from scratch in my small kitchen which took about an hour, have a long leisurely breakfast and then get up and sit in the living room leaving the kitchen looking like a tornado blew through. His wife and i share a kitchen seamlessly and cook and clean together.
      I have other friends who are awesome houseguests and am hosting Japanese exchange students in a couple of weeks for 10 days. So i guess it depends!

        1. the cat's ass*

          he’s a good guy, but totally clueless domestically.And his wife has enabled that.

      1. coffee*

        I am fascinated how guacamole can take an hour, especially if he gets practice making it everyday?!

        1. the cat's ass*

          me too. everything had to be laid out just so and chopped very very very finely (eyeroll)

    27. Lavender Menace*

      Not just you. I also hate having house guests even if I want to see the people who are coming to stay.

    28. Victoria Everglot*

      My parents stopped having houseguests after I was old enough to have my own room (the only other bedroom). I can only remember one time someone stayed over after that, and it was only one night. And my family is SUPER close. After my grandparents moved down, everyone just stayed there, although even then it was almost always their own sons. I think it’s pretty normal to just not be a host kind of person. Now that I have my own house, I don’t really want anyone in it either besides my husband and baby lol

    29. That wasn't me. . .*

      I like to have guests. It breaks the monotony of living alone. It forces me to clean up – and that’s stressful – and right before they arrive I am usually regretting deeply that I started the whole thing, but once they are there, it’s almost always enjoyable. Plus, after they leave I have a much cleaner-than-normal house to enjoy in quiet!

    30. allathian*

      We’ve lived in our house for 11 years. The only house guest we’ve had was one of our son’s friends for a sleepover a few years ago.

      But we’re lucky in that both my parents and in-laws live in the same city with us, so overnight visits aren’t necessary to see our closest extended family. When we visit our cousins elsewhere, it’s hotels all the way.

    31. Quinalla*

      4 days is a LONG time, cut yourself some slack there. I generally like houseguests for a day or two and then I’m ready to have my house back and if it is when I am working and not a weekend/vacation – forget about it. No thank you!

  6. goddessoftransitory*

    So was thinking this was going to be a normal day, only to have the apartment manager knock and ask if we had power. This is never a good question.

    We actually were fine at the time; apparently a transformer had blown, and half the building’s units lost all power, others lost partial power, and we and a couple others had no problem. But naturally the light company had to shut the power off for repairs, so I had to grope my way downstairs with Husband lighting my way with a flashlight.

    If we get home tonight and the power’s on, no harm no foul, but if it isn’t we’ll be SOL for all the food in the fridge (and the weekend’s packed lunches,) hot water for showers, and in general doing anything but lying around on the bed.

    1. Rick T*

      Unless your refrigerator is junk a few hours without power shouldn’t affect your food quality, and as long as the ice is still fairly solid your frozen food is safe too.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        The odds are good that this is the case, but if it doesn’t come back on until tomorrow I don’t want to risk it.

        1. Rick T*

          The test I’ve heard is if the ice in your freezer isn’t melted you should still be OK. I freeze a paper cup half full of water and then drop a coin on the ice. As long as the coin is up my food should still be good.

        2. mreasy*

          Whenever this has happened to me (and as a renter it’s been a few times), I’ve just bought bags of ice and stacked them on the bottom fridge shelf. Kept everything to temp for nearly a week according to our fridge thermometer. Like you, I didn’t want to waste the food.

        3. fhqwhgads*

          Freezer should be good for 24 hours without power. Stuff in the fridge is toast after 4 hours.

          1. Imtheone*

            Not everything in the fridge. Most raw fruits and vegetables will be fine. Many condiments are full of preservatives and should be fine. Yogurt is surprisingly durable.

            Meat is an issue, also milk, maybe eggs and butter.

            I like the bags of ice in the fridge idea.

          2. JSPA*

            my freezer / fridge (small and well- insulated) claims to be good for 30 and 6, respectively. Depends what your default setting is, I suppose, and whether you put the most perishable stuff in the coldest part.

            But even some perishables will be fine if cooked to the equivalent of a rolling boil or higher, for 10+ minutes.

            Salmonella toxin isn’t heat stable, for example.

            I’d be extra careful with pre-prepared foods that could have E Coli or other (ahem) post-human contamination, especially from multiple sources. But if you cooked it (hot) yourself, transferred it still hot to a very clean sealed container, and got it into the fridge expediently, you might choose the “recook very well” route.

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

      I’m sorry — I hope your fridge food is okay! My fridge just started making unhappy noises, so I am bracing myself for food loss by the time I will be able to get someone from the property management company here.

      1. Tau*

        I feel you! My super super modern fancy new fridge decided to stop working after a month. Luckily my neighbour had a fridge I can borrow while the replacement is being organised (and the fact that it was super modern fancy new means that it was still under warranty)… but by the time I realised what had happened it was warmer in the fridge than outside, and then it took another day for the loaned fridge to make it to my place, so there was a lot of food loss :(

    3. Random Bystander*

      Hope you get the power issue resolved quickly and without harm to the food. I can really sympathize, as I just went through a period (last Friday night at 11:30pm it went out, did not get it back until Monday just before 7pm). Everything in my fridge *and* freezer was a complete loss, except for a few minor things like my ice tea, pickles, and vinaigrette dressing.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Luckily the power did come back on later last night with no apparent loss of foodstuffs (even the freezer stayed frozen-temps cold) and I am THRILLED, because earlier last year our fridge at the time got replaced by this terrible model that didn’t circulate the cold air. It produced it, but it had no fan, so all the cool air just sat at the bottom of the unit. We had so much food go bad!

        It took days to replace that fridge, and we tried the ice on the shelves thing but it also had terrible insulation so it promptly melted.

        1. Random Bystander*

          Hurrah. Glad that you did get it back without having to toss everything.

  7. Car Smells*

    Through a series of unfortunate events, I left a container with leftovers in my car for a day in 95+ degree heat. My car now smells HORRIFIC. I’ve tried to keep the windows down to air it out when I can, but I park outside in a public lot at home and it’s been raining a lot. I bought one of those Febreze things you clip into the fan, but those are so strong it’s giving me a headache. Any other solutions to rid my car of The Stench?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Oh noooooo. Detailing service maybe, might have a “get the funk out” package for exactly such a thing?

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Yeah, bring in the professionals for this one. Odors, like evil spirits, are loath to be banished once they are summoned.

      1. Car Smells*

        I may do this if the baking soda does not work – my car is quite old and I had been looking into detailing before this because I feel like he deserves a treat!

    2. RLC*

      There’s a product called “volcanic deodorizer”, essentially a sturdy plastic mesh bag of a pumice like volcanic rock which will absorb odors in enclosed spaces (same concept as baking soda but supercharged). Putting it in the sun recharges the odor absorbing ability. I’ve used them for decades in vintage cars, which often carry cigarette and musty odors.

      1. Lime green Pacer*

        Diatomaceous Earth (DE) works in the same way. Apparently it’s great for getting skunk doors out of pets’ fur.

    3. Ali G*

      Vinegar and water spritz on all the upholstery. You can also put vinegar in bowls to absorb stink.

    4. Jay*

      Ozium Spray can help.
      Steam clean the upholstery.
      Shampoo everything.
      Drive around with the windows down for a good long while.

    5. Clairey*

      Big, flat pans with baking soda. Flat area : surface absorbing area. Giant box of baking soda: $4.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Or sprinkle the baking soda directly on the upholstery, let it sit for a while, then vacuum it back out.

        1. Isabel Archer*

          I’m thirding this, as a person who works for Arm & Hammer (for realz). There’s a reason its most popular use is absorbing funky odors in the fridge.

      2. MaryLoo*

        Another vote for baking soda. Get a couple of giant boxes and sprinkle it thickly over everything. Leave it for at least 24 hours, more if you can. Go to a car wash and use the giant vacuum to vacuum up the baking soda.
        This worked for us when one of our teenagers barfed spectacularly all over the place (so not just baby spit-up). We applied it twice, once to absorb the -er- offending substance (sorry…) which we vacuumed out at the car wash. Then we put down another thick layer of baking soda and left it in place for several days with the windows closed. Then vacuumed again.
        BTW Febreze never worked for de-smelling anything (like sports equipment stink, etc. It just produced an overlay of Febreze smell combined with stinky cleats &shinguards.

    6. Elf*

      since it’s a biological smell, get M9 spray. It’s actually a product for colostomy patients. It has no scent but it absolutely eats biological odors. It was the only thing that helped after spilling compost in my car on the way to the dropoff.

    7. Hanani*

      I’d try all the baking soda and volcanic rock stuff first. If that doesn’t work, VitalOxide is what airlines use to clean and disinfect seats between passengers. It rescued a number of pillows that were on the other side of a house wall that a skunk sprayed. We sprayed them and left them outside in the sun. Two rounds, maybe?

    8. Unkempt Flatware*

      It’s very easy to change the cabin air filter. Usually behind the glove box. Just YouTube the process for your car and buy on Amazon.

    9. Aphrodite*

      Bowls of vinegar. (I once used this on feral male cat urine.) Place multiple bowls of plain white distilled vinegar inside and open all doors and windows if you can for as long and whenever you can. Unfortunately, the smell(s) will get worse before they get better–but they WILL get better. It might be a week, though.

    10. Adeline*

      Not to make light of your problem, but I was watching some Seinfeld episodes today, among them the one where the parking attendant stunk up Jerry’s car with BO, and not even expensive detailing could get rid of the smell! Hope you have better luck!

    11. SG*

      It took time, but I had some success with leaving open containers of ground coffee in the car to absorb the smell in a similar situation!

    12. Roy G. Biv*

      Strange thing but it worked in my car – get some McDonald’s french fries, and leave them in the car overnight. The car will smell like stale french fries, but that will cover/absorb any other odor, and then completely wear off in a few days.

  8. Amy*

    Oh em gee, how adorable! I went to read the reviews of the book Alison recommended and the author’s spouse left a review of her book.

    1. Maryn*

      The author’s spouse left a book review? That’s unusual.

      Typically you urge family and friends to refrain from commenting, since they can’t be unbiased, even if they genuinely loved your book.

      One of the ways I avoid books that weren’t ready for publication is seeing if all its five-star reviews are from people who appear to be friends or relatives and who have not reviewed any other books. Combine that with one- and two-star reviews from verified purchasers who review books regularly, no ratings in the middle, and you’ve got a No Thanks from me.

      1. Random Bystander*

        That is a useful metric–although if it’s a review on Amazon, that’s actually against the guidelines (friends, family), so they could actually be reported and probably taken down. Although, admittedly, I didn’t bother with one author’s reviews where half the five-stars were from people that she had thanked by name in her author’s note.

        I find the 2- to 4-star reviews to be most helpful in helping me decide.

      2. Lavender Menace*

        Honestly, I thought the review (which was short and also apparently done with her account – the name on the review was Daisy F) was cute but it also gave me the same feeling, that he probably shouldn’t have left it because he’s clearly biased. Most of the other reviews are strongly positive, though, so it doesn’t necessarily look like it falls in that category (I look out for those things too, lol).

    1. MEH Squared*

      I can’t believe I missed the pic! The picture of Laurie sitting in front of the picture of Laurie warms my heart and makes me smile.

    2. Cat Wrangler*

      My real name is Laurie and I just got a custom silhouette portrait from Cut Arts this past week. I feel unusually snazzy, keeping up with your lovely cat!

  9. Roughly chopped onions*

    A low-stakes question about food prep: What do recipe writers mean when they say some vegetable (often an onion, but could be anything) should be “roughly chopped”? I’ve never seen it explained.

    The only way I know to chop vegs is to dice or slice them very evenly. I make them bigger when it calls for roughly chopped. I don’t suppose it makes a whole lot of difference to the final dish if that’s not the right way, but I am curious about it. If you do it differently, just what you do?

    1. ThatGirl*

      Rough is just a bigger piece, usually – as opposed to fine. It can also mean the pieces being even doesn’t matter as much.

    2. Not A Manager*

      Usually I read the recipe to see what happens to the vegetable next. A lot of times it gets cooked until it dissolves into a sauce, or you puree it, or something like that. In that case, I just try to make it the right size for whatever experience it is supposed to have.

      When it’s going to stay mostly intact, then for “roughly chopping” something I will cut it into largish pieces and then pile them all up and chop the knife over them in all directions until they are more or less the same size. As opposed to carefully scoring the vegetable and cutting it into even dice.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I love this image of the vegetables as main characters in a video game.

    3. Madame Arcati*

      Yeah in this context roughly is just the opposite of finely. Coarsely chopped, bigger bits. So finely chopped brings to mind someone doing that whizzy fast chef style chopping for tiny bits for a smoother effect. Roughly chopped brings to mind my mum chopping an onion for spaghetti bolognese on a weeknight whilst simultaneously remindinf me to do my flute practice, listening to Radio 4 eyeing my brother’s used rugby kit left on the floor and trying not to step on the dog.

    4. mreasy*

      Usually a rough chop means it doesn’t really matter, as it will be processed/removed. A recipe shouldn’t really ask for a rough chop if the vegetable will exist in its finished form… in that case I’d choose the texture you prefer and dice. When in doubt, medium dice!

    5. goddessoftransitory*

      I interpret that as “make smaller but don’t worry about presentation,” as opposed to “chop fine” or mincing. It’s usually for things that are going to be mashed up in the food processor or cooked down in a sauce and the look isn’t important.

    6. Green Mug*

      I think about the Chef from The Muppet Show. Chop in a way that makes you happy because the shape won’t impact the recipe.

    7. Quinalla*

      I just want to say reading all the replies to this questions brought me so much joy :)

      And agreed roughly chopped is generally bigger pieces and doesn’t matter as much if they are all the same size.

  10. WWYD?*

    So I borrowed a DVD from a friend/TA in college (class related but owned by them). Somehow, twenty years later, it’s still in my possession (my fault!), but my efforts to return it the last couple years have failed because I can’t get in contact with them to get their address to mail it or otherwise get it to them. I found their school alumni email address (which doesn’t bounce), messaged on linked in, had another friend message them on Facebook… to no response. It’s kind of an oddball DVD and I’m not sure if I could replace it if I threw it away… What would you do if you were me?

    1. WWYD?*

      And I believe the lack of reply is just because of me not knowing the right channels they actually use/ they are busy with normal life things and don’t pay attention to all the random messages they get these places.

    2. ThatGirl*

      If it’s truly irreplaceable I’d try a little longer, but I tend to think if it was important to them, they’d be trying harder to get it back.

    3. Person from the Resume*

      20 years later, it’s yours. If you has been able to locate them, then, sure, return it. But you don’t have to hire a PI or do anything extraordinary.

      If it was THAT important they would/should have made an effort to get it returned before y’all lost touch.

    4. Courageous cat*

      It’s been 20 years. I’m kind of surprised you’re trying at this point! If they really cared about it, they would have reached back out for it probably about 19.5 years ago.

    5. AGD*

      Oh, I know this feeling! In the late 1990s, I found a broken necklace lying in a puddle at a local outdoor pool. The pool was semi-public: shared by a whole bunch of townhouses, without any management or lifeguards on duty. It wasn’t advertised as a public pool, but everyone was aware that a few random members of the public sometimes showed up to use the pool (I was there with a couple of friends who’d discovered this!). No lost and found, or even somewhere to put a poster. As a result, I ended up taking the necklace home. I probably should have just left it there, but was worried about it getting actually stolen.

      A few months later, still worrying about the necklace and how to reunite it with its owner, I discovered that the townhouses shared a photocopied/emailed monthly newsletter, so I subscribed to it, wrote a “found” ad for them, and sent it to their email address. Every month for several years I read the entire thing. Long story short, they never printed the ad and I still have the necklace and I’ve never gotten over feeling awkward about it.

      I know the darn thing is mine by default this many years later, but I feel guilty about having failed to reunite it with its owner given that this was always my intention. I could always try again and put up a “found” ad, but the turnover rate in those townhouse communities is high, and who’s to say the owner wasn’t a fellow random member of the public who didn’t even live in any of them? I did do a bit of research into the thing itself. The necklace is very pretty but not very valuable, which should reassure me. But it has been carefully converted from a small brooch to a pendant, which heightens the chances that it had considerable sentimental value to a person I will probably never identify.

      I don’t know if this is a good idea, but you and I have the option by this point of at least returning the awkward lost item to the institution – you could stick it in the mail to the department and ask them to contact your old friend. To be fair, this is without a doubt a way of merely transferring the problem to someone else. But it’s more psychologically reassuring than donating the thing to a thrift store. I’ve been considering doing the same – mailing the necklace to the newsletter people in case someone stops by many years later on the off chance. Or maybe one of the newsletter writers knows of a person with a distinct fondness for jewelry who was living there at the time?

      1. AGD*

        I read the other replies and they really caught me off guard. I’m now wondering if the problem is that I get too attached to my possessions and have been projecting. Not sure. Will think about it.

    6. Nancy*

      It’s been 20 years, keep it or get rid of it. If they wanted it they would have contacted you or replied to one of your several messages.

    7. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I just wanted to thank you for posting this, and for everyone’s replies. I think I can get rid of a book now.

      About 15-20 years ago, someone in my then-friends-group who I was already deliberately attempting to drift away from loaned me a book full of probably-fringe opinions about my profession. My plan was to hold onto it until the next time I saw him and hand it back with “thanks! All done with the book now!” without reading it. However, Other Events Intervened that did not involve me but led to the group as a whole dropping him like a hot brick (which he well deserved) before the next large group get-together I attended.

      Anyway, I still have his stupid book that I never intended to read, because I felt like he loaned it to me and so it’s my job to get it back to him, yet I have no interest whatsoever in ever contacting him again. His parents at least used to live in the area where I still live, so I guess I was hanging onto it in case he ever became a regular at some place I wasn’t willing to abandon hanging out at and recognized me? Always assuming he’s still alive and currently not in prison? (I did not have a “ceremony of officially not talking to you anymore” with him, so I suppose there’s a chance that he thinks that we’re still friends and just sadly lost touch during that time when he was getting arrested for doing terrible shit and I was leaving town for a while to go to grad school. In reality, when I moved back to town I told the people I thought might still be willing to take his calls that they were not to pass on my new address or phone number now that I was local again because I did not want to deal with the non-zero chance he’d show up on my doorstep with no other place to go, and once a fuller scope of the things he’d been up to became clear they stopped talking to him too.)

      I guess it’s time to decide if it goes in a donation bin or a recycle bin. (I’ll have to do a quick check to see how fringe the opinions are, to see if it’s a “not for me, but might be helpful for someone else” or a “keep away from unsuspecting early career [my profession] folks via recycling” – by that point I just assumed all of this dude’s advice and opinions were bad so had no intention of reading anything he recommended. This is also one of the reasons I’ve never read Dune.)

      Aside from that stupid book, the other lasting memory of him in what remains of that friends group is that we still use “Wait, that sounds like something [That Guy] would do!” as a reason to probably not do the thing, or at least do a lot more research first.

      1. HoundMom*

        Slightly different issue but I similar enough? I had a college boyfriend 30 years whose father passed suddenly and traumatically when the BF was a senior in HS. We dated for six or nine months and he gave me a book of poetry that autographed by the writer. It belonged to his Dad.I feel like I should return it and probably could track down a business address. I don’t even know if he remembers me but it feels like something I should return. Thoughts?

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          It would be a very nice gesture but not necessary unless you were going to throw the book out otherwise.

        2. pineapplepants crazy*

          I think you should, if he’s easy to find.
          I guess I hold grudges longer than the rest of you, but I’m still low-key pissed off at the guy I lent a book to in 1987 that I haven’t got back. He moved internationally, so I assume he lost it. but still, I’m somewhat annoyed. If someone had something of my dead parent’s, I’d love to have it back.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Dune is actually a good series (my husband adores it and has read the original books about a million times) so don’t let this choad taint them for you if you were interested in them. But that particular book sounds like it’s ready for a permanent home in the Hell’s Library Far Side cartoon.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          It is, though I personally think the author’s son’s Dune books are even better than the original series.

      3. JSPA*

        Dune was beloved by all sorts of people! It’s like holding a grudge against pie, because someone noxious in your friend group really liked pie. (Enjoy!)

    8. Firebird*

      My former son in law lent me a book before their divorce. I’ve been trying to return it for 4 years and finally gave it back to him at my mom’s funeral last month.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Are they still teaching? If yes I’d ask at the department for best way to mail it.

      But if nothing else please wait until the start if the school year in case he’s on a research trip or not checking anything work-related because it’s summer. Thankfully one DVD doesn’t take much space.

      1. bathing suit gown*

        “ Are they still teaching? If yes I’d ask at the department for best way to mail it. But if nothing else please wait until the start if the school year in case he’s on a research trip or not checking anything work-related because it’s summer. Thankfully one DVD doesn’t take much space.”

        No, no, no, no. I know your heart is (sort of) in the right place but no. OP will just have something new to obsess over (who at the college they should send the package to, did they receive it, do they know who it belongs to, etc). The underpaid, overworked admin who gets the mail will go, “huh weird” and pitch the DVD. so please keep it, donate it, or toss it.

        An overworked, underpaid academic admin who has already had to deal with pointless time wasting projects like this

        1. Courageous cat*

          Yeah and honestly they’ve tried multiple times with no response. At some point this is going to devolve into harrassment. If someone isn’t responding to you and you’ve tried moree than one venue, it sounds to me like they don’t want to talk to you, or deal with a freaking 20-year-old dvd.

          Do NOT go to their work about this.

    10. Esprit de l'escalier*

      Sounds like you have done about all you can do at this point to try to locate this person and it wasn’t possible, so from a practical standpoint I think you’re free to get rid of it, and try to shed the guilt along with the DVD. You could promise yourself that you won’t let this kind of thing happen in the future.

    11. yikes*

      “I found their school alumni email address (which doesn’t bounce), messaged on linked in, had another friend message them on Facebook… to no response.”

      So, I graduated college around 20 years ago, and did graduate work shortly thereafter. For context.

      Because ……if this were me?

      This would make me feel *frightened.* If someone I am no longer in touch with from *twenty years ago* was trying this hard to get in touch with me, I would be *scared of them * Please stop. Throw the DVD away. Leave this person alone.

      1. Courageous cat*

        I didn’t read this closely yesterday but now that I’m looking at it, I completely agree. This feels like virtue signaling to me at this point. OP is crossing a lot of lines in the name of “being a good person just trying to get them something back”. Especially having someone else (!!) message them too.

        You contact someone once, they don’t answer, you move on. Stop using other people to try to get through their gates, and definitely leave this person alone. It’s not appropriate to keep working at this anymore.

      2. Seashell*

        If they were just randomly trying to get in touch through multiple methods, maybe, but “I’m trying to reach you because I realize I had this old DVD and wanted to check if you wanted it back”? That shouldn’t be scary.

        1. NeutralJanet*

          The scary thing about something like this is when the effort to get in touch is disproportionate to the importance of why they want to get in touch. If it were something extremely important, then sure, getting a friend to reach out to try to make sure I get the message isn’t scary, it’s reasonable. If it were to just say hi, going to any more effort than a single message through one medium is a bit creepy. An old DVD from 20 years ago is much closer to the latter side of the spectrum.

          1. Lexi Vipond*

            Facebook does its best to make it impossible to read messages from anyone you’re not friends with, so if you want it to have even a 0.1% chance of reaching them, finding someone who is their friend on facebook is really the only practical way to go.

    12. Gemstones*

      Just throw it away. Twenty years ago is a lifetime ago. They’ve forgotten about it.

    13. Lavender Menace*

      I would just hold onto it but not attempt to return it any longer. It’s been twenty years Assuming they even remember the DVD, they probably have long thought it lost, and they may not even have anything to play it on anymore!

  11. Window tips*

    We’re looking to replace one window in our house – it’s developed a leak. Our windows are vinyl and older but the rest are still mainly functional. We’re open to doing more than one, but we got a quote from Renewal by Anderson and it was much much more than I anticipated. The quality seemed great though. I’m looking around at other options but starting to get overwhelmed. Energy efficiency and cost are my biggest priorities, we’re in the Midwest US, and probably will be in this house for about 5 more years. Appreciate any tips people have on brands, types of windows, etc. Thanks!

    1. ThatGirl*

      Is it the frame or the glass? You can often replace just the glass for much cheaper. (Source: my FIL owns a glass company, they replaced ours last year.)

    2. Pippa K*

      For what it’s worth, we decided to spend the extra for Renewal by Anderson a couple of years ago and it was definitely worth it. I love them – the quality is great, they were able to match the style of existing windows, and the design is really easy to open/close and clean. We need to replace all the windows in the house but have to do it one part at a time because it’s expensive. But still worth it!

    3. Ranon*

      Marvin, Pella, and Sierra Pacific have lines relatively aligned in quality with the Renewal by Andersen line. Sierra Pacific is the only one of the lot that will do a triple pane without a whole lot of nonsense if you’re really looking to push energy efficiency. Jeld Wen is another to look at.

      Vinyl brands I’m less familiar with but there are many pretty affordable options out there if you’re looking to go that route, many tend to be somewhat more regional so may be worth asking around locally.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      We have gradually replaced the old windows in our house with Renewal by Anderson, and the quality is great. Such a difference in keeping both cold and hot out, and the first ones have held up. (New England)

      Important caveat is that my spouse is able to do the replacements himself, so we’re just buying the window.

    5. Indolent Libertine*

      We replaced the windows and patio door on one side of our townhouse with vinyl, double pane, low-e products by Anlin, and we’ve been quite pleased with them. We do live in an area without extreme weather, though. We live in an HOA development and this company had already done several neighbors’ homes so we knew they’d be approved. Renewal by Andersen quoted literally 4x as much for the same job.

      1. Retired Accountant*

        I know someone who owns a window company, and he said he loves bidding against Andersen, because he can always beat them on price and still make money.

    6. Stephanie*

      We had to replace a single window several years ago (it got broken in the most random way: the wind picked up our outdoor umbrella and slammed it into the window), and we had it done through Lowe’s. It was a custom size, so it would have been super expensive if we got a brand name. It took a while for the window to come it because of the custom size, but otherwise, it was a good experience. And much cheaper than the name brand windows. (And it was the best window in the house after that, too.)

    7. FashionablyEvil*

      We just replaced a bunch of windows in our house and could not be happier.

      This Reddit post was invaluable in shopping: basically Anderson and Pella are going to be about twice the price of a better brand. Window sales are like the used cars of home repair—high pressure sales tactics, the whole nine yards. We used a company that was local to us (TriState in New York). A reasonable price point is $800-$1000 per window.


      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        Yikes. I would really like to replace the windows in our house – there are ten in the sunroom alone plus bay windows in the living room and dining room. All true divided light, single-pane, many nonfunctional due to broken sash cords. I think the house would be much more comfortable, plus I hate the look of triple-track storms. My husband doesn’t think it would make a difference and doesn’t mind the storms. If it’s that expensive, I think I’ll live with the storms.

        1. FashionablyEvil*

          Upgrading ours (which were original to the house/from the 1950s) made a big difference in terms of noise, light, and aesthetics. We had eight windows done (mix of sizes but some quite large) and paid $7300 for the whole thing (including labor). Took them from about 9:30-2:30 to do all eight windows. I was really impressed and pleased.

        2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I had ten windows and a sliding patio door replaced for $4800 a couple years ago.

    8. Generic Name*

      Those companies want you to do the whole house at once (because $$$), but you can replace just a single window. If they won’t do just 1 window, go with another company or hire an independent carpenter/contractor to replace the window.

    9. Imtheone*

      My estimates from Renewal by Anderson were very pricey. I would look for other companies. There are others: other window specialists, siding companies, etc.

  12. WoodswomanWrites, looking for Lexington recommendations*

    I’m heading to Lexington, Kentucky next week, arriving Thursday evening and departing on Monday afternoon. I’ve avoided hot, muggy, and buggy summers since I fled Michigan for the Coast decades ago, but I’m attending a multi-day event and this is when it is. I found an Airbnb that’s air conditioned so I’m set for where I’m staying. While some of the event’s activities are indoors, others are outdoors and in buildings/tents with no air conditioning. I know how to deal with the climate–sun protection, bug repellent, avoiding dehydration, raingear, etc.

    There are parts of this event I’m not interested in and I’m looking to find air-conditioned indoor places to check out. I already plan to visit the Kentucky Horse Park Museum. Also, I welcome recommendations for vegetarian restaurants. I’ll have a rental car and don’t mind driving within a half-hour distance.

    1. Blue wall*

      Are you a Wendell Berry fan? If so, I’d drive over to New Castle for the Berry Center & book store.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        I love Wendell Berry’s writing and didn’t know there was such a place. Sounds great!

    2. Southern Girl*

      Lexington is a modern city, and everyplace indoors will have air conditioning. It is actually going to be cooler than normal here this week. Horse park is definitely worth seeing.

    3. Victoria, Please*

      former Lexington resident here. good foods co-op is not to be missed for their hot lunch bar. Joseph Beth bookstore is pretty fun, although more kitschy than bookish these days.

    4. RagingADHD*

      I’m really astonished that any Air BnB or conference venue in Lexington wouldn’t have A/C. Are we talking about historic buildings, or some kind of campground outside the city? It just doesn’t compute.

      A/C has been a universal basic amenity in the South for fifty years.

      1. Courageous cat*

        Yeah, I cannot imagine someone specifically looking for air conditioned places in the south in 2023. I think you’re going to have a much harder time finding places that aren’t. It’s probably safe to assume they will all have A/C.

        1. RagingADHD*

          I wonder if the listings just don’t specify because it’s assumed. Like a lot of hotels don’t list AC in their online listings because it would be like listing running water and electricity.

      2. WoodswomanWrites*

        Arts Akimbo figured out I’m going to Breyerfest at the Kentucky Horse Park, like a fairgrounds setting. I added details in another comment in this thread. The event focuses on collecting model horses but that’s not really my thing. I’m going to geek out on the actual horses there.

        I’m especially sensitive to heat. If it were cooler, I’d be looking at exploring the trails and checking out birds. I don’t doubt that indoor places are air-conditioned, just wanting to go to interesting places. I’m especially sensitive to heat. I’m loving the suggestions here!

        1. Courageous cat*

          I’m sensitive to heat too! But it doesn’t change the fact that anywhere you go will be air-conditioned, so you don’t need to worry.

    5. Arts Akimbo*

      By chance, are you going to Breyerfest? If so, please allow me a squee of vicarious excitement!

      It has been a while since I’ve been to Lexington, but if you like cool, local bookstores, Joseph-Beth in The Mall is really enjoyable to browse. Large, well-appointed, and lots of signings and other events. I really enjoyed hanging out there.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Yes! Now you see why I’m trying to dodge the heat since so much of Bryerfest is outdoors or in uncooled buildings/tents. Their own communications talk about preparing for the heat and how they will have misters going inside to help people stay cool.

        I collected model horses as a kid and recently started investing in some as collectibles to sell in the future. The flight is free with credit card points, and I decided as a long-time fan of horses it would be fun to have a horse-themed vacation. Truth be told, I’m going to skip most of the model horse stuff–I just want to be around the live horses that will be there. The Airbnb I’m staying at is on a horse farm, and on the morning of the day I head home, I’m going to visit Old Friends that provides a retirement home for ex-racehorses.

        I’ve never taken a vacation like this where I’m just hanging out with horses (riding isn’t an interest). My trips have always been visiting family or centered around hiking/camping.

        I’ve been reading about Breyerfest’s auction where they sell one-of-a-kind models for charity. I couldn’t believe that people paid up to $62,000 for one model. Although I’m curious as a spectator, it’s outdoors and one of the events I might skip if it’s too hot.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          A friend introduced me to the world of resculpting. It’s fascinating to see the standard Breyer breed model turned into an exact 3D portrait of a specific horse!

          1. WoodswomanWrites*

            I think I was unclear in my post about the model part. I actually am looking forward to seeing the artistic creations people have made. I’m just not interested in participating in the how-to workshops myself.

        2. Arts Akimbo*

          Oh, wow, I am so thrilled for you! I hope you have fun hanging out with the horses!

          I also used to collect model horses as a kid, then had a “I have my own money now!!!” moment as a young adult, so I bought a few more. I still have them on display, and they bring me joy. But I have very picky taste in model horses, so I don’t buy a lot.

          Still, one day it would be so fun to go to Breyerfest!

    6. Tommmmmorrow*

      Crank and Boom for quite bizarre but amazing ice cream flavors. It’s an experience.

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Not sure how far from Lexington to Louisville, but there was a river paddler steamboat when I went.
      (I went for work and was disappointed I couldn’t manage to extend the trip to try the boat ride.)

      And of course Churchill Downs if you get that far.

    8. Retired Accountant*

      Distillery tours are fun; Woodford Reserve is close and quite pretty. Buffalo Trace is a little farther and has a cult-like following among bourbon aficionados. I don’t particularly like bourbon but enjoy the occasional tour.

  13. Person from the Resume*

    Book Recommendation thread! What are you reading?

    Finished the audiobook of Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan and loved it. A 18 yo boy is accused of murdering his 19 yo girlfriend (both high school seniors) in an act of domestics violence. The story is told in alternating points of views of his mother (a domestic abuse survivor herself and bee keeper) going forward for the aftermath and trial and from the POV of the girlfriend moving backwards in time from her murder. They also both flashback even further within the time frame given for that chapter.

    There was one shocking twist I didn’t see coming. And the two “obvious” suspects to me were not the cause of her death. And a couple of surprises regarding her cause of death. I was shocked at least twice.

    Very engaging. Going to recommend it for my book club.

    I did finish two other books for book club and both were pretty “meh” including Yerba Buena which got rave reviews. It seems like I just don’t care for what Nina LaCour writes because I’ve read two of her YA books too and didn’t really care for them either. Billed as a romance, it is not a romance. ( which isn’t really why I didn’t like it.) Very literary including some heavy handed symbolism. One of the characters is depressed for much of the book and making terrible choices and it’s not enjoyable to follow her story.

    1. the cat's pajamas*

      I just read My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh, it was disappointing. I have no idea what I was supposed to get out of the story or who the target audience is, definitely not me… It feels like it could use some more editing, too. Is it just me or do books seem less finished these days? This is the third time this has happened for me with more recently written books.

      I just started Everyone in this Room will Someday be Dead by Emily Austin. So far it’s better, and I hope it’s good. I need the Summer of Disappointing Books to end.

      1. Person from the Resume*

        I did quite enjoy Everyone in this Room will Someday be Dead by Emily Austin. I would say it’s not like what I normally read, but does it fit into a category of books like it at all?

        1. the cat's pajamas*

          I don’t know yet. I like that it seems quirky so far though. :)

          I can’t remember if I found it from a recommendation here or just browsing ebooks from my library.

        2. the cat's pajamas*

          Oh, I just realized maybe you meant the other book. I wanted to read the book The Big Door Prize since I liked most of the show and wanted to find out what changed. I picked it up because it’s on hold and thought I’d try his other book while I’m waiting. It’s also M.O.’s first book,so hoping the other one is better when my turn comes up. The show had a small town stories/romanticism plus twilight zone ish vibe, like more gentle? sci-fi ish but with more human interest.

      2. sagewhiz*

        Yesterday I finished Luis Alberto Urrea’s newest, _Good Night, Irene_, and all I can say is, “Damn, break my heart and then stuff all the shattered pieces back in, why don’tcha?”

        As much history as fiction, it’s a delve into the little known American Red Cross Clubmobile “donut dollies” who served in WWII, starting out in England and then following “the boys” across Europe. Urrea’s mother had served, but he knew almost nothing of that until long after her death, when he met her VBF from those years. And what he learned made him realize she had dealt with PTSD for the remainder of her life. For anyone who had a family member served, I’d say it’s a must read—oh lord, does it bring that war to life.

        (That said, there is one late chapter that is initially so puzzling his editor should have argued for a bit of earlier clarity. Also, there’s a long scene that I cannot believe any woman was allowed to have been part of, but Geo. S. Patton’s no longer around to confirm. Nor are the ARC records, as they were all destroyed in a fire during the 1970s.)

    2. Jackalope*

      I’m currently reading an anthology called Rogues, put together and edited by George R. R. Martin. So far I’m annoyed by it. I should have known; I haven’t read GRRM for specific reasons, and those are coming out here. My idea of a rogue is more of a trickster or a Robin Hood; someone you might not fully trust, but morally neutral rather than evil. NOT, to give some examples from the book, some N—-s (German soldiers from WWII) making fortunes off of the art they stole from the Jews they murdered. Or, say, multiple stories written from a male POV with wink wink nudge nudge interactions with women which are actually pretty akin to SA. Except of course at the end she ends up with him because women clearly LIKE men who act like that and don’t want to take no for an answer. (That was 100% the authors’ viewpoint and not mine, in case it isn’t clear.) I normally love fantasy anthologies but this one is NOT doing it for me. I’m going to read the stories by authors I’m already fond of (Connie Willis, Garth Nic) and then send it back to the library.

      1. This guy yells*

        If you’re looking for a good GRRM without so much of that stuff I’d recommend Windhaven which he co-wrote with Lisa Tuttle. It’s a sort of fantasy with a female lead taking on the patriarchal structures around flying and dealing with the aftermath of the changes she brings about.

      2. Bluebell*

        I didn’t read a lot this week but I did finish The Collective by Alison Gaylin, a pretty snappy thriller. Tried to get into The Woman in the Library, but I didn’t like the story within a story plot. I finally have Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian and plan to start it this weekend.

        1. Tiny clay insects*

          Oooooo yay for the Historian!! My favorite book for travel and for vampires.

        2. Hibiscus*

          I also have The Woman in the Library in hand and am trying to get through it. It is not going well. I’m reminded of The Magpie Murders, the author’s trying to go somewhere with that, but it’s boring with the Australian trying to write US set stuff and corresponding with a more successful writer, and one or the other is imaginary.

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        I ADORE Connie Willis and wish she wasn’t in this pile of garbage. I’m halfway through her latest, The Road to Roswell and loving it.

        And yeah, Nazis are not lovable little scamps. They were thieving pillaging mass murderers.

        1. Jackalope*

          Having read the Connie Willis story this morning, it was worth it. The name of the story is “Now Showing”, if I remember correctly (I’ve turned the book back in). It’s one of her screwball comedies and the “rogue” in this story was much more what I’d been expecting when I checked the book out; someone who plays fast and loose with the rules at times, but is generally a decent sort. If you can find it somewhere (check out this book, get one of her short story collections, whatever works), I’d recommend it.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            Yay, love that one! And yes, that’s the kind of “rogue” that should be presented as frustrating but fun!

            1. Jackalope*

              Totally agreed! The Garth Nix story was like that too; the main characters were using slightly unsavory methods (breaking and entering) to try to steal back some artifacts that were super dangerous before they could harm the world.

    3. Lemonwhirl*

      I went through a mini reading slump and nothing I downloaded from the library was interesting me, and then I landed on “I Kissed Shara Wheeler” by Casey McQuiston. I loved “Last Stop”, and this one is different but shares a similar sense of humor. Really enjoying it.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      Argh, the premise of Mad Honey sounds great but I can’t stand Jodi Picoult.

      I finished Emergency Contact and it was very cute. A rare book in which the texting sounds like actual texting! Mary HK Choi writes such relatable anxiety.

      Now I’m re-reading Cat’s Cradle, which I originally read over a decade ago.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Cat’s Cradle reminds me: I’ve never read any Vonnegut. Not out of dislike or anything, I just never have. It’s an odd gap, to me, to have in my reading history.

        What are strange-to-you lapses or gaps in the collective “you” personal reading?

        1. the cat's pajamas*

          I also have a Vonnegut gap. Thanks for reminding me of it. I did enjoy one of the short stories I stumbled upon a few months ago on NPR, it was a special for his birthday or milestone anniversary of one of his books or something like that, I enjoyed it and didn’t get back to picking up more of his work yet.

    5. WishIWasATimeTraveller*

      I was having trouble sleeping last night so I popped on Mrs Budley Falls From Grace by MC Beaton, audiobook. I was out like a light within 10 minutes thanks to the soothing voice of the narrator. I enjoyed it when I was awake, so going to listen to the rest

    6. My Brain is Exploding*

      I finished Orange is the New Black. I really liked it as an(educational experience for me and also the story and writing); it was not what I expected AT ALL. Also, I’ve never seen the TV series, but I read about it and it differs significantly from the book…as in, I don’t think I would have liked the TV series.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I read (and liked) the book and thought I’d try the series, and I think I got two episodes in before I just could not tolerate any more completely unlikeable characters.

        1. Person from the Resume*

          I don’t know since I didn’t make it through episode 1 myself. Many friends like it, but the character that start the series doesn’t stay at the center and my friends talk about it getting better when the focus is on the women of color rather than the entitled white lady.

          I never cared enough to turn it back on, though. And I have no desire to trudge through hours of something I don’t like waiting for it to get better.

          1. Quinalla*

            That’s good to know, I watched most of the 1st season, but yeah the main character is just ugh. I love Kate Mulgrew so kept watching longer than I should have for her appearances, but I may have to try it again now that I know that the focus shifts off Piper later on.

            I will have to try the book as well!

    7. Dovasary Balitang*

      I am coming down from an R.F. Kuang bender, let’s put it that way. I read the entire Poppy War series over the course of a month and a bit – I enjoyed them for the most part, although I know I won’t want to read them again so I dropped them off in the street’s book exchange. And then I picked up Babel. I finally became That Person Who Reads While Walking Down The Sidewalk as I desperately tried to finish the last couple of pages on the tail end of my journey home on Friday. It’s both a loving tribute to and a scathing indictment of English high academia, particularly with regard to its relationship to race, and I completely adored it.

      1. Rose is a rose is a rose*

        I stayed up all night reading Babel! I now have Yellowface on hold at the library, hoping it is more akin to Babel than The Poppy War, which was just too gruesome for my taste.

    8. GoryDetails*

      Audiobook: Angel of the Overpass by Seanan McGuire. It’s from her “Ghost Stories” series about Rose, the hitchhiking/phantom-prom-date ghost of myriad urban legends, and continues Rose’s quest to put an end to the narcissistic James-Dean-esque ghost who killed her in the first place. [I loved the first book, Sparrow Hill Road, which was more of a loosely-linked collection of stories; this one’s more of a novel, though with episodic bits here and there. But in this one there’s a LOT of explanation of the mythos, how things work in the various afterlife/supernatural realms – some of it necessary if readers are to understand the story without having read the previous books, but at times it seems that every sentence of plot has two or three sentences of info-dump.] That said, there are charming bits, including one where Rose meets a ghostly trucker whose bond with his truck means that the pair of them will become a “coachman” – bound together in their own ideal afterlife…

      1. GoryDetails*

        Re Angel of the Overpass: it occurs to me now that I should have just quit the audiobook and obtained a text copy, so I could skim the repetitive, I-already-know-that bits and get to the plot {wry grin}. Ah, well, I’m nearly at the end anyway!

    9. GoryDetails*

      Bedside books:

      I’d been wanting to read Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm for some time, under the impression that it was a sequel to Gibbons’ delightfully snarky Cold Comfort Farm; come to find out it’s a short story and a prequel, with the rest of the collection containing stand-alone stories. But I’m enjoying them, with some shading towards Shirley Jackson territory and others being charmingly light.

      And in non-fiction: Tsunami: The Newfoundland Tidal Wave Disaster by Maura Hanrahan, about the tsunami that hit Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula in 1929. I’d never heard of that disaster, and the book is both harrowing and impressive.

      Current carrying-around book: Fractured: Tales of the Canadian Post-apocalypse – it’s from the Canadian “Exile Book of Anthology” series of themed anthologies, of which I’ve enjoyed several in the past. This one has its post-apocalyptic theme, with some stories very dark indeed while others are more hopeful; so far it’s a very good anthology.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Shading towards Shirley is never bad, so I am definitely picking that one up! It sounds like a great addition to my Christmas reading (I have a lot of books I reread on Halloween and Christmas specifically every year, but am always on the lookout for new ones!)

        1. GoryDetails*

          Re Christmas at Cold Comfort – FWIW, so far the title story is the only one with a holiday theme. Still quite fun, but the book as a whole isn’t Christmas-y.

          That said, if you like unusual Christmas books, check out Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather,” a Discworld spin on all sorts of holiday traditions – very funny, and with some pretty touching aspects as well.

    10. beep beep*

      I’ve read them before, but this week I was in need of some seriously light reading, so I picked up The Shivadh Romances by Sam Starbuck again and they were just as nice as the first time. The concept of the first book was developed from “What if a Guy Fieri expy was half of a Hallmark romance?” and now there are four books and a fifth is coming along as well. They’re fairly short, plenty of queer representation, and you can get them as free PDFs from the author’s website, but the paperbacks are not super expensive. I very much recommend them for anyone who likes some low-conflict falling-in-love.

    11. Nervous Nellie*

      Just starting The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey. It’s a magical realist story about a mermaid caught by American tourists, but it’s no fairy tale. It’s an amazing story of a strong woman surviving. Already bowled over.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Read your comment and immediately grabbed it from the library, thank you!

        1. Nervous Nellie*

          Yay! Great! This was yet another one recommended to me by my favorite bookseller. At least twice a month she presses a book into my hands and says, “You gotta read this. Just – wow.” And she is never wrong.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I plowed through the whole thing last night and this morning. I don’t know what I expected, but wow is a good word.

    12. AGD*

      I also read Mad Honey! Loved it – absolutely gripping, fascinating characters, keeps you guessing.

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        I just heard of it, never read any Picoult but I enjoyed Boyle’s memoir.

    13. anonagain*

      My favorite book from this week was “Rebel with a Clause” by Ellen Jovin. It’s about a grammarian who traveled around the US and set up a grammar table where she answered people’s questions.

      I am terrible at describing books. The book’s really funny.

      1. word nerd*

        I enjoyed this too. She sounds like she’d be a delightful person to talk to–wish I’d run into her grammar table in person!

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

      Christine de Pisan’s 1405 advice book for the medieval woman, *The Treasure of the City of Ladies*. It’s interesting, as she basically grew up at the French court and has a lot of insight about how to navigate in such an environment. My dream assignment: Have students read that and *Bring Up the Bodies* and have them explain what advice Christine de Pisan would give to Anne Boleyn and her ladies.

      I also liked her advice to Baronesses, whose Baron husbands may often be off defending the king, to become skilled in all of the military and agricultural and legal arts themselves to defend the homefront while their husbands are away.

      Her advice to the poor to suck it up for the greater glory of God doesn’t land well, though.

    15. J.B.*

      I am listening to any book by Gail Carriger that is available in audio on Libby. I have found that audiobooks help me get through gym workouts and steampunk werewolves and vampires keep me going. The narrator is good. Also the Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce, available at just the right time. In book form I’m reading the Paper Magician series by Charlie Holmberg – Goodreads had mixed reviews but I find them entertaining.

      1. Jackalope*

        One warning: if you haven’t read the Beka Cooper books before, the last book in the series had an awful plot twist at the end that I hated so much I’ve never been able to go back and reread the other two (which I did enjoy). If you’ve read them already and are cool with it then of course carry on and ignore this.

    16. OtterB*

      Just finished Salvage Right, the newest in the Liaden universe by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. I have been having a problem in general with not finishing books, even books by authors I like, but this one held me all the way through. The primary characters were mostly new but some older characters from the series had major or minor roles to play. It is about the process of making the space station at Tinsori Light, formerly held by a dangerous entity, into a safe place for trade and travel in that section of space.

      Not sure what I’m reading next. I have several new eb00k purchases, several ebooks checked out of the library, and I’ve been decluttering the living room and have turned up several physical TBR books. Probably The First Bright Thing by J R Dawson. I’ve read good things about it and I’m a sucker for magical circuses.

    17. Pam Adams*

      Salvage Right, the new Liaden book. Enjoyable, but so many characters!

      Listening to the audiobooks of T. Kingfisher’s Clocktaur series.

    18. GingerNP*

      i used to be a voracious reader and hope to return to that practice after leaving the ER in two weeks – but I absolutely ripped through 3/4 of The Priory of the Orange Tree. I haven’t been able to pick it up again since, but it’s an 800 page book and i got to like page 580 in one day because I found it gripping. It’s like… culturally diverse dragon fantasy. Also gay. And glorious from start to… well at least 3/4 of the way.

  14. Jackalope*

    Gaming thread! Share what games you’ve been playing, and give or request recs. As always, all games are welcome, not just video games.

    I’m still obsessed with the time suck that is Stardew Valley. Just started fall of year 2, and I’m making a lot of progress on my goals. I’ve only got one or two things left on most of the community center bundles, and have some of them done already (the greenhouse being my favorite).

    Just wondering – what are your all’s experiences with obsessing over one game st a time? Do you tend to do that, or do you tend to play a variety at once? I personally have found that I tend to play just one game at a time, often a LOT at first, and have a hard time switching between games. My spouse on the other hand likes to go back and forth between a few different games, and different kinds of games, for the variety.

    1. Helvetica*

      I have basically only ever played one game in my life and that is The Sims. I go through periods of playing a lot and then months of not playing at all and while I don’t switch between games, this I would still qualify as an obsession.

      1. Micah*

        Yup. Same for me. Something about building really calms my brain and I need that right now. The trailer for the new horse pack has just been released and I am so excited to finally be able to breed horses – a gameplay I have only be able to find in kids game.

        On that note: Anyone have recommendations for “adult”/not cutesy horse games? I loved Mary King’s Riding Star as a tween/teen and have never been able to find anything else close to it.

        1. Micah*

          I especially loved how you were able to actually play through the show jumping, cross-country and dressage competitions.

          *my first paragraph in the reply above was about Sims 4.

          1. Jackalope*

            I’ve been thinking but I don’t know any other horse games like that. The closest I can come would be games like Skyrim where you can ride a horse but it’s no different than a bicycle; no personality or real interaction. Which I’m pretty sure is not what you’re looking for.

    2. Dovasary Balitang*

      Typically I only play one game at a time. If I pick up another game, my interest in the first will often temporarily fizzle.

      I’m slowly playing through Final Fantasy XVI. It doesn’t have a terrible amount in common with the typical FF openness; it feels much more like Devil May Cry 5 but sent in Westeros. So I’m enjoying it, but I also miss that moment where the world quietly opens up to you and you can sneak off the path and go hunting for obscure side quests. I kind of want to put it down and pick up XII or VI again.

    3. The Dude Abides*

      Just placed an order with my LGS for some pauper foils.

      I still like supporting my LGS, but hope that someday they’ll get away from TCGPlayer. They have an online storefront with TCG, so I can order singles from my phone and pay in-store when the order is picked.

      For those unaware – TCGPlayer is now owned by eBay, and in response to a unionization drive, is mimicking larger companies in retaliating.

    4. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

      I’m generally a “one game at a time” guy, or “main game + chill handheld game I play in bed until I fall asleep”.

      Right now my main game is Judgment. I just finished the first chapter and whew lads that is some GOOD Serious Crime Drama and it hasn’t even gotten started yet. And of course like any RGG Studio offering, it’s Serious Crime Drama in the front and Pants On Head Bananacrackers in the back.

      1. MEH Squared*

        I’m similar in that I usually have one big game (mostly FromSoft, currently Elden Ring (still), but sometimes a meaty rogue-like) and one cozy game going at the same time. Looking for a new cozy game to jump into, and FromSoft’s Armored Core VI Fires of Rubicon is dropping at the end of next month.

    5. Generic Name*

      I just downloaded Monkey Island on my iPad. I played the original pc version years ago. Navigating around is a bit tricky. There was a thing I was supposed to find, but I didn’t see it because it took a bit of work to get Guybrush facing the correct direction to interact with the object. We’ll see if it keeps my interest.

    6. Lucien Nova*

      Much older than most things people are playing but I’ve been really into Warriors Orochi 4 for the past little while – I never *intended* to get dragged back into the joyous hell that is the Warriors games, but WO4 went on sale, I hadn’t played 3 for so long I forgot what I was even doing and didn’t feel like starting over, and well…yeah.

      One of my closest friends is enjoying teasing me about being a masochist over this game (I am determined to complete every level with an S-rank (highest rank), even the DLC, on every difficulty, using every possible combination of attribute nullifications (your weapons have attributes attached; after clearing the main game you can then either restrict or nullify these attributes for more of a challenge.)) I, however, then tease him right back about masochistically wanting to complete every single achievement in the retro games he’s been playing, just because he can…

    7. SparklingBlue*

      It really depends on the game–some games I focus on trying to get 100%, other times I may hit a wall and go find another game while I try to unstuck myself from the first game, or I may not return to the first game at all and focus on game B (while looking up how game A ends)

    8. Lavender Menace*

      I play a lot of different games – I usually am in the middle of 3-4 games at a time, and sometimes I will abandon all of them to go start something new, then return to the old ones. So answering “what are you playing” is always a fraught question for me.

      I’ve been playing a lot of Switch: Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (not very far in at all), Hyrule Warriors, debating whether to go back to giving Breath of the Wild a try (I am a huge Legend of Zelda fan but didn’t like the game’s open-world nature; I wanted a classic game). I have a trip coming up so I know I’m going to get more gaming time in on the flight, lol.

    9. GythaOgden*

      Started Final Fantasy XVI yesterday. That prologue is too, too sad :(. It felt like I was watching a movie at times (or Game of Thrones II — They Keep Their Clothing On This Time; I’m using the Japanese soundtrack so it felt like something like Code Geass as well) and I was able to cross stitch through some of it, but the bits where you get to play as the phoenix reminded me why I like Japanese games so much — they mix in fun mini-game stuff and break up the ground action. I’m even contemplating going back to FFXIII now I know a bit more about how the series ticks — it was my first non-WoW 3D game ever, and it really confused me, but after almost three years of playing these sort of games, I have a better grasp on how to strategise and level up to gain the most advantage out of the battle system.

      Other than that, I’m ploughing through current Fortnite quests and just got Purradise Meowscles :))). I reached #2 twice yesterday but a Victory Royale eluded me. I have won a few times this season, but the way the storm shifts over the last couple of seasons (basically changing the next eye might not even be in the current one at all!) means you have to have a 360° awareness of where you are at the endgame and a quick-fire SMG on hand, so I’m trying hard to remember that as the game progresses. I’m much more proficient with sniper rifles — my best season was Chapter 4 Season 1 because the storm eye didn’t suddenly move at the last minute and I could build a fort and pick people off without suddenly having to run. (Also Forecast was an awesome augment and won me many, many games.)

      I’m still enjoying both it and Apex Legends. In the latter it takes a lot of will as jumpmaster to stop the others jumping out into the middle of combat and letting me finding a safer zone to gear up first (ranked players are better at thinking a bit more strategically, but I’m not good enough to hold my own in that section), but too long in the safe zones actually makes me a bit complacent and thus taken by surprise when we do make contact with other teams, so getting the balance right is tricky.

    10. Quinalla*

      Dave the Diver! OMG this game is perfect for me :) It is mostly chill, but has just enough franticness at times to keep me hooked. And there is a new wrinkle added pretty much every day in the game and it seems like it should be overwhelming, but it really is paced perfectly and it is easy to find stuff again, etc. Highly recommend and it is on sale a little bit on Steam right now – it’s a new release.

      And still having a great playthrough of DDO again with my husband. We’ve played and quit that game so many times, the last 3 or 4 times because of atrocious, game-breaking lag. There is still lag here and there, but much more in line from what you expect occasionally from any MMO. Our guild is even starting to raid again which they haven’t done ever since we joined the guild years ago after they did a major change to the way raids work.

      As far as obsessing on one game, I tend to have one single player game I’m obsessed with at a time and then have a couple casual single player I play for those quick 10-15 minutes times and a few multiplayer games with my husband/brothers/kids. So sort of :) definitely Dave the Diver right now for me!

  15. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    I’m thinking about maybe getting a small dog instead of the medium or large ones I’ve grown up with. (Not for a year or two yet, but I like to plan ahead.) Would one of the more active small dogs, like a Papillon, Miniature Pinscher, or one of the active small terriers, be good for a long hike? Or would I end up carrying it most of the way?

    Any other pros and cons of small dogs that I should know?

    1. CityMouse*

      I grew up with a cairn terrier and what you might not know about terriers is that they were bred to be ratting dogs and are consequently murder machines. Any rodent, small mammal, rabbits, one time a pigeon.

      They are extremely hardy little dogs, though. We would take her on hikes and long walks just fine until she was elderly.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Oh interesting-makes total sense they would be murder machines, but I wouldn’t have thought of that. Are they trustworthy with household animals? (I have cats and might someday get other creatures.)

        1. CityMouse*

          It depends on the dog, and the cat was grown when we got her as a puppy, but they were best friends. They would literally snuggle together.

        2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          When I was a kid our terrier mix knocked over an enclosure to get to my pet mouse. However, if you’ve already got a cat and are planning to get pet mice you would probably also have plans for a sturdy cat-resistant enclosure, and that would presumably also keep the dog out. I wouldn’t trust a terrier in a situation with any pet rodent on the loose or in a place where they could easily get at them.

          My childhood terrier mix was about a 25-30 pound dog, and he did fine on family hikes (leashed) until he got very old. He would have trouble in the snow because he probably also had some poodle in him and his longer hair would pick up chunks of snow as we walked, but that was an issue specific to his coat type.

          My cousin’s tiny terrier-chihuahua mix also couldn’t be taken to places like restaurants with outdoor patios, because she nipped at the server’s ankle once to try and defend her person while he was bringing us our order. Didn’t break the skin or anything, but we weren’t going to try that again (and we tipped very well while apologizing).

          I love terriers, and might get one again someday but they definitely want to be Your Dog rather than Everyone’s Dog. They’re not well-suited to how I’m living right now since I walk in a crowded urban area and like to take my dog with me to restaurant patios.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I also had a terrier mix about that size as a kid. She loved long hikes, & was very hardy & tough. Also extremely protective of my family.

            Terriers are loyal, stubborn, & brave. They love the people they love. The rest of the world can go to hell, as far as they care.

            1. Jackalope*

              One of my good friends got a terrier as a puppy, at a time when we were hanging out a lot. Said puppy got to know me and considered me part of the pack. I was SO glad of that a few years later when said friend started having children and I was one of the people that said dog allowed close to the children.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        They will slaughter, too. My friends C and R have a terrier and she’s sent so many bunbuns to their eternal reward.

    2. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      I’ve had Cairns and Westies. Great dogs, and all but one of them could handle hikes just fine (the one was a puppy mill rescue who spent the first 6 years of his life in a cage and was agoraphobic). As CityMouse says, terriers are bred to hunt and will go after squirrels & other small critters. They are also bred to hunt on their own (compared to hunting breeds like retrievers and pointers) and can be very independent.

    3. Hanani*

      I’ve always had terriers and love them. They’re sturdy creatures and could definitely go on a long hike with you. My current terrier will get too hot if we go on a walk at noon in July, but other than heat, she’s never been too tired for a walk/hike. Can’t speak to Papillions or Min Pins.

      Some terrier pros: often very healthy, long-lived (13-17 years, in my experience), tend to be sturdy, think they’re bigger than they are but can be easily picked up, active, no jowls, love to explore, lots of personality, independent, most don’t shed too much (and they’re just smaller, so less fur to shed)

      Some terrier cons: can be stubborn, I don’t trust them off-leash (as mentioned above, they were bred to hunt pests, and that will often take precedence over a recall command), will kill rodents and birds if possible, size blind (can get themselves into trouble because they don’t know they’re little)

      1. Not A Manager*

        Honestly, I think all small dogs are size-blind. The number of tiny dogs I see barking and lunging at giant, befuddled breeds is just amazing. And hilarious.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I took my (young but full-grown) Dane to a vet appointment yesterday and there was a Dalmatian puppy (about 15 pounds, so maybe 10-12 weeks?) who kept bouncing around her and wuffing. After a minute of snuffling each other, Abigail carefully reached out one (giant) paw and put it on the puppy’s head, all “Chill out please, tiny dog.” Puppy’s people and I were cracking up.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          Most Really Big Doggos I’ve met tend to be pretty mellow, since they don’t have much to prove, and watching them react to a tiny ball of furry fury trying to prove itself is so damn funny (mostly a “the Hell?” kind of head tilt)

      2. DannyG*

        Had a fox terrier growing up. Could walk for hours. Almost as good a mouser as my tomcat. Definitely strong willed. Was 16-17 years old when he was hit by a car, but he was still energetic at that age & didn’t take any guff from the cat or the much younger German Shepherd dog.

    4. Cat and dog fosterer*

      A rescue friend has a chi / papillon mix who goes on long hikes with her bigger dogs. I think most small dogs should do well although it depends on the dog. Another friend got a calm and quiet sheltie who would lay down and refuse to go further after walking a couple blocks, so ‘calm’ eventually meant ‘lazy’, whereas I had a neighbour who would take his sheltie running long distances.

    5. GingerSheep*

      So I have a two-year old papillon, and maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I am SO happy with the breed!
      He’s very smart, very easy to train, listens really well – I’ve read some people find small dogs difficult to potty-train but I had no issues at all, he was fully house-broken at four months. He’s extremely friendly with everyone and everything – loves kids, cats, and all other dogs. I love to see him play with our two cats, they take turns in pouncing and chasing each other around. And though the breed looks very dainty, he’s a very low-maintenance dog : I brush him every two weeks or so, and bathe him every two months, and that’s about it – the long hair seems to be self-cleaning and to keep tangle free, and he hardly smells of dog at all.
      He’s definitely high energy, though. I walk him about 3 km a day in two walks, and play fetch in the yard daily, but he’d definitely enjoy more exercice. I also take him with me on medium-length hikes – the longest we did was 15 km on flat ground, and 11 km on rough mountainous terrain, and he was fine both times. The mountain hikes I have to carry him if we cross a stream (scared of running water!) and on certain types of stony ground, when the rocks on the trail are just the wrong size for his tiny paws and he has to pick out every step very carefully. But apart from that, he’s a great hiking companion, still has energy when we reach the car, and doesn’t appear particularly sore or tired the next day.
      Two small downsides of the breed/my dog : he’s a little yappy (though I’ve known MUCH worse), and is not cuddly at all. He wants to play all the time and is definitely not a lap dog ; he’ll always follow me in the room I’m currently in, but will lie down a couple meters away from me.
      Nonetheless, I whole-heartedly recommend the breed : they’re way sturdier than they look, and their small size (mine’s only 3,5 kg) makes it easy to take them along almost everywhere.

      1. GingerSheep*

        Forgot to add : as the papillon is not a terrier, he has almost no prey drive at all, which I’m thankful for!
        He’s definitely size-blind, however, which got him in trouble a couple of times (got bitten and had to get a couple of stitches – it could have been much much worse).

      2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        That does sound a lot like what I’m looking for. The playing with the cats sounds particularly delightful-part of the reason I’m thinking about going small is so the dog can interact with my cats on their own level instead of being a giant who has to be careful about hurting them.

    6. Rara Avis*

      My kid has a gig walking an elderly min pin. He’s fast and takes two thirty-minute walks a day. Totally oblivious to the squirrels that cross his path. We only walk him on the flat, though, so I can’t speak to hilly/mountainous hikes.

    7. Stunt Apple Breeder*

      The only small dog we have owned was a Mini Schnoodle. He was about 18 pounds when he was fully grown. He was so smart, very friendly, LOVED children, and was always ready for a walk. He could keep up with me for 3 miles running at a 9:45-10:00 pace or up to 6 miles walking. He was a gentle, patient dog in every way. Once he brought me a baby duck, unhurt, that had wandered into our backyard. I would recommend anyone to get a Mini Schnoodle for all these reasons.

      The primary downside was it took 5 years to fully housetrain this dog. Crating didn’t make a difference, he just couldn’t wait more than 6 hours day or night. I took him to the vet, who said there was nothing physically wrong with him. We lived in a place with miserably cold winters, so he was only able to stay outside during the summer months. This dog had a thin, wooly coat and was nearly bald on his belly. We had to put a jacket on him before going out in the snow or rain to help him stay warm. Since he was so short, it seemed like he got very dirty very quickly. These things were probably specific to our dog, so maybe don’t put too much weight on the cons I listed here.

      1. HoundMom*

        Bassett hounds are smaller dogs with big fog attitudes. Some come as small as 30 lbs though they can be 50 or more. They love to hike and can go for miles but are not speedy. None of our bassets bothered the various rabbits, Guinea pigs or birds floating around and hung out with MIL’s cats.

        Also love beagles for similar reasons. There are a lot of rescue beagle mixes available. I just picked one up a few months ago and he is awesome.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I simply adore Bassets! Their ears and feet (and facial folds) do require special attention, though.

        2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          I don’t think of bassets as small dogs – all of ours have been more “full size dog with short legs” sized. Maybe it’s just the breeders in my area, though. My current rescue probably-a-basset is 65-70lbs, and our previous no-papers rescue bassets were also at least 50.

          I used to hike quite a bit with the first of the rescue bassets, and I agree with endurance rather than speed being her whole thing. We’d take multi-hour walks in the woods even when she was 10, but it was certainly at a slower pace than I’d walk alone. Also, fallen trees and other obstacles can be hard for them to get over, and I did not enjoy lifting 50+ pounds of dog over them, so that limited what kind of trails I’d take her on. She was also perfectly willing to go down steep slopes that I was not, because to a basset falling down onto your belly is a matter of inches and a perfectly good way to stop a slide. I couldn’t trust her to pick routes because of this.

          My current guy has more hunting instincts than either of the previous two. He treed a pair of raccoons in the (fenced) back yard and when I first got him he’d regularly attempt to chase squirrels on (leashed) walks. He is super gentle with people and dogs (he’s one of the dogs they use to socialize puppies with at dog daycare), but I suspect that if I tried to train him to hunt he’d be up for it.

    8. Ellen Ripley*

      I have a Chihuahua mix (rescue) that can hike for miles without issue. Small dogs have an underserved reputation of being lazy/weak but many can outhike their owners! Pros are easy to bathe, travel with and carry when necessary, cheaper food and meds cost, and easier to control on a leash if, say, they see a squirrel :)

    9. carcinization*

      I have a Schipperke who is 14 years old and weighs 15 pounds, this is a bit small for his breed. He’s not up to hikes these days as an elderly fellow (we still go on neighborhood walks though), but he was great on them up until the past couple of years. His breed is known for mischief but we went through an obedience class when he was a pup and he’s behaved for us since then, though he does misbehave slightly with grandma (runs off with her kleenex or reading glasses from time to time). When he was younger he would have loved to play with the two cats we had at the time in a respectful way, but they wanted to keep their distance from him.

      1. Stunt Apple Breeder*

        Lol, that is the opposite of my schnoodle and cat. The dog would bounce up to my cat, slap him in the head, and take off running with the irritated cat close behind. The cat was really depressed when the dog passed, so we suspect the cat secretly enjoyed the game.

  16. MozartBookNerd*

    Would much appreciate thoughts about TaskRabbit or similar services, especially hiring someone to design a mock CD cover with photos that I’d supply plus graphics. (It’ll be a humorous anniversary gift for my wife: a “live concert album” by our toy plush rabbit who ridiculously fancies himself a famous rock ‘n roller.) Personally I’m helpless even at simple Photoshop or Adobe, and I’m guessing this would be a couple of hours work, even including the revisions that I know from Alison the person would well deserve getting paid for. Is my idea likely to work, and/or are there caveats I’m not thinking of? Maybe I should try a different method entirely? Thank you everyone!

    1. AGD*

      This is utterly charming!

      I’m pretty sure TaskRabbit is primarily for humans doing physical odd-jobs in person, but the freelance graphic designers I know have worked through Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com. The one I’ve talked with the most about it is the happiest with Upwork.

    2. Nervous Nellie*

      Oooh! If you have the interest, I just googled ‘create mock CD cover’ and found that Adobe has a free option you could play with yourself. They have a simple tutorial on the sign up page. I use Adobe at work, and know that even the wariest, tech-averse colleagues have no trouble with it, as it’s super intuitive. Maybe that would be a fun option?

      I hope your wife gets huge kick out of whatever you do. My toy plush kitten is sitting beside me, whining, “How come you didn’t think of that for ME?”. Don’t worry, Vesuvius. I’ll get right on it. It’s a great idea!

    3. mreasy*

      Fiverr is great for this type of thing in my experience – you could also try your own hand using Canva, which has a free version.

    4. Ally*

      Also there are AI websites that could do this for you now, automatically! (And most of them
      Are free!)

    5. MozartBookNerd*

      Thank you for the great ideas and the encouragement! Yes I’m feeling hopeful about this gift, because LOL our rabbit definitely has “a personality and a half”!

    6. Shy Platypus*

      I would do a first draft with generative ai (few prompts of midjourney or dall-e or the like), and then ask somebody on fiverr to work out the kinks (extra paws or ears, weird eyes, messed up colours). Some AI tools support uploading a picture, I’ve never done it but perhaps it would help looking like your rabbit ? Otherwise you can describe them (“a black, fluffy stuffed rabbit with long ears doing a solo on an electric guitar, realistic style”)

      Used fiverr to cut out the background of a pic of our very chatty stuffed tiger brewing coffee and put it on a mug for my husband, he couldn’t be happier and uses it every day :) so I feel seen by your question hahaha. Hope your wife’s thrilled and your stuffed rabbit’s career takes off!

  17. Sassafras*

    Is there a website like the IMDb parents guide, but for books? I recently picked up a novel described as “delightful” and “joyful” but was surprised by a violent and graphic sexual assault in the first few chapters and would have appreciated some sort of content warning.

    1. Decidedly Me*

      Maybe Common Sense Media? I’ve had it pop up a few times for “is X ok for a Y year old?” searches

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        Yup. They have reviews, comments, and plot summaries plus notes about what content they’re responding to. That last was most helpful to me when my kid was 13-16 since I have sort of the opposite views of many parents. I didn’t much mind if she was exposed to R-rated sexual content and very much did not want her to see R-rated violence (or even some PG-13 violence, TBH). I used Common Sense Media all the time.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          Back when I had Comcast, I used to enjoy reading the integrated Common Sense Media summaries of wildly child-inappropriate shows (Orphan Black, for instance) just to see what specific things they’d point out in the sea of red flags.

      2. Callie*

        I like common sense media. I think it does a good job of giving general enough content warnings without spoiling. I think the age recommendations are a little conservative. Depending on the content warnings and things I know my kiddo is sensitive to, I’ll let my 8yo read or watch things they rate as older.

      3. Sassafras*

        Hmm…looks like Common sense media is focused on family content. I should have specified I would like content warning for adult books (I don’t have children but use the IMDb parent guide for my sensitive snowflake self!)

        1. Patty Mayonnaise*

          Common Sense reviews R rated movies, I think because they started with film reviews so they have more film reviews than anything else. But they don’t have adult books on the site, you’re right.

        2. The Shenanigans*

          Try Doesthedogdie dot com. It has more than whether animals die, it includes a lot of different potentially disturbing content in all kinds of media.

    2. Micah*

      I go through tvtropes. org but the movie and tv show selections are much wider than the literature. Always worth a shot if the book is somewhat known, though.

    3. Nervous Nellie*

      The Goodreads website has a section for children’s books. The reviewers often report these kinds of concerns. Truly, the Goodreads reviews of books of any subject for any age might give you some good warning before diving in.

    4. Can't Sit Still*

      I wish there were more content warnings on books, period. I’m still salty about the “cheerful” & “fun” Christmas romance that ended with the simultaneous death of both MCs in the very last sentence. Also the “sweet” Valentine’s romance that ended in a double suicide. Tbf, I’ve also read “dark” books that are about as grim as a litter of romping golden retriever puppies. Sometimes I wonder if people even know what words mean anymore.

      Maybe AI has been writing book reviews and blurbs for longer than we thought?

      1. Irish Teacher*

        You’ve reminded me of the book I read that ended with surprise graphic torture and murder at the end. I wouldn’t have even minded it if I’d been expecting it, but when the book was sort of a borderline young adult/adult novel (perhaps “new adult” except that category didn’t last long) that hinted the main teens had made some major mistake but I was assuming something like injuring somebody while drink-driving or something, not…graphic deliberate torture.

    5. CTT*

      Out of curiosity, was the book Lessons in Chemistry? Because I had the exact same issue with that book.

      1. Bluebell*

        I really loved lessons in chemistry, but when the OP was writing about that unspecified book, the first book to come to mind was lessons in chemistry.

        1. CTT*

          The tone of that book was so all-over-the-place. Not just the assault but the other Very Tragic Things that happen and then…inner monologue of a dog. I put it down halfway through and probably will not pick it up again.

      2. anonymath*

        Yes, thank you, I couldn’t go any further with the book, even though I’m a woman in science and got good reviews of it from others including someone else who was a survivor of sexual abuse. Perhaps it’s due to my own past, but that was a nope right away and I don’t want to go back, and I was ABSOLUTELY shocked because usually there’s a warning on romances in particular when this kind of things happen. (Romance people are generally pretty sophisticated on consent, in essence, on the part of the reader engaging with the book — if you check out the reviews on Smart B*t**es, Trashy Books, they consistently lay out flags for assault, rape, death of a child, death of a dog, as well as the fun stuff. I wonder if Lessons in Chemistry in particular didn’t get this because it’s marketed as Literary Fiction, which I don’t read in general because I find it full of depressing people I don’t like, hah! So literary fiction folks think that getting raped at the beginning of a book is part of a fun feminist charmer of a tale, while romance authors understand that it’s a traumatic event that some readers may rather not engage with in certain moods/emotional states.)

    6. Glazed Donut*

      CommonSenseMedia used to be this – it’s become a bit more politicized in recent years and may be missing newer titles. When it was a newer website, kids and parents alike would review books and flag for things like drug use, explicit language, etc.

    7. anonagain*

      I’m familiar with the database “does the dog die?” I don’t use it myself because the list of triggers is too gruesome for me. There’s another database called book trigger warnings, but the last several books I’ve tried to look up weren’t there.

      I sometimes search the name of the book and trigger warning with mixed success.

      I have had no luck picking books from lists of light, fluffy, non-stressful, etc. books or based off reviews using that language. So far as I can tell, that language just means the book has pink, yellow, or other candy colors on the cover.

    8. Ana Gram*

      I use StoryGraph and they do a good job with trigger warnings. And it’s a fun way to track your books!

  18. Jane*

    Corneal Inlays to correct reading vision. Has anyone had this surgery done? If so, how was it? Did it work? Would you do it again? I am strongly considering it and would appreciate some feedback. I don’t like wearing reading glasses but thought I had no choice until I recently heard about Corneal Inlays.

    1. MissCoco*

      I’m an optometry student, I’m very interested to see if anyone here has had inlays done! They are very uncommon, at least in the US.
      As far as I know there is only one inlay approved in the states currently, which is a dark ring that works like a smaller pupil (I think Kamra is the device name?), is that the type you are looking at?
      I know there are others that change the refractive error of the cornea, but we are really not exposed to those modalities in school.

      I’m curious if you’ve explored Vuity or contact lenses (either multifocal or monovision) as alternatives to reading glasses? My very limited understanding is that while most patients do have good outcomes, there are not a lot of people who can see without glasses at distance who are willing to risk ocular surgery to avoid reading glasses.

      1. Jane*

        I actually wear contact lenses and now reading glasses, too. I could get progressive lenses for my glasses, but I never liked wearing glasses. I’ve been wearing contact lenses for over 30 years. My goal would be to get all of my vision corrected through surgery, so I can do away with contacts and glasses. There are a couple of options that I’m considering like lens implants and laser eye surgery with Corneal Inlays. I know one person who had really bad eyesight and also needed reading glasses. They had the implant surgery and now have 20/20 vision.

  19. Deanna*

    I don’t like sunbathing because I’m a fainting goat when it’s even slightly warm. Last year when it was a heatwave in the UK I came up with a solution for me to enjoy the sun and still be safe. I bought a kids paddling pool, filled it up, got my tankini, suncream and hat on and read my book in the pool crosslegged like a big toad.

    Might do the same today because the weather is lovely!

    1. Just a Name*

      Love the fainting goat image. I too am a fainting goat in the heat. I bought a small handheld fan that was used a lot on the 4th. It was a three shower kind of day.

    2. Girasol*

      When I was a kid Mom would fill the inflatable wading pool and stretch out in it with a paperback while watching us kids bounce in and out. It was her answer to a California summer before air conditioning was common.

    3. Glazed Donut*

      I have recently discovered “tanning pools” which are very similar to this but for an adult size person to stretch out and add some water. Obviously a bit bigger than the footprint of a kiddie pool but may be a good solution for later. Glad you can enjoy the sun!

    4. Generic Name*

      Yeah, I can’t stand the heat either, and I don’t like a/c either. I bought a kiddie pool during Covid and I’ve done the same thing. I’m so glad the water is really cold out of the tap even in the summer (I’ve lived in places where the cold water is lukewarm, and it’s depressing).

    5. Madame Arcati*

      When I lived in a flat which I did for many years, and the weather was hot, sometimes I would pour a cold drink or g&t, get a book, and then run run a shallow cold bath and sit on the loo seat with my feet in the tub. Then I’d post a pic on social media declaring the [London suburb] lido open!
      PS love the toad simile :-D

    6. RLC*

      Love the big toad image, as during last summer’s heat dome one of the resident toads in our garden took to spending each day soaking in one of our birdbaths. Now I’m picturing our toad with a tiny sun hat and book to pass the time.

    7. goddessoftransitory*

      I want this, and the image is hysterical! I too do not do at all well in the heat.

    8. Bunny Girl*

      I love my kiddie pool! I bought it for my dog but I enjoy it too. I also have some very low lounge chairs that I can use and still have my legs and lower half be in the water and it’s very nice. I’ll sit out there with a book for an hour. I have some hip and lower back pain sometimes too and it’s helpful for that as well.

  20. Herniated Disc*

    Am dealing with a herniated disc that hasn’t resolved in going on 9 months (at month 8) and will be consulting with a surgeon this week. Would love to hear from others who went this route on recovery experience. From the little I know, the proposed procedure makes a small incision and just snips the protruding part of the disc off.

    I will be asking my doctor all my questions so not looking for medical advice but I’m struggling not to over Google in the meantime and figure this might be a better route to go to get a better sense of what to expect after. PT make it sound almost ridiculously short time to be back at work (specifically because I wfh at a desk job and have a sit/stand desk) and others are very skeptical of that. Curious to hear from those who have gone through it.

    1. Just a Name*

      I have a herniated disc. What helped me was a steroid shot in the back. They recommended a series of three but I only did 2. It knocked the inflammation down enough so I wasn’t in constant pain. I did want to avoid surgery so started with a spine and pain specialist and avoided surgery. Surgeons will want to do surgery in my experience. I’ve known a few people who had spinal surgery and their experiences did not greatly improve their pain and in one case made it worse.

    2. Nihil Scio*

      I lost 30 lbs last year through better eating. After 6 months of blobbing around, I decided to get into better shape so I went back to swimming.

      I’m a tortoise, not a hare and I refuse to put my face in the water so I do a combination of breaststroke, sidestroke, back flutter kicks/sculling and tie my glasses on. I go for distance not speed

      I went from gasping after 10 laps to 2 k recently. Yay!!!
      Benefits are showering after (with a good body cream to counteract the chlorine), nobody caring what you are wearing or look like, the lifeguards cheering you on at whatever accomplishments you have, and, though I’ve only lost about 10 lb more, my tummy is now smaller than my bosom and I’ve tightened up some of the saggy bits from the weight loss.

    3. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I had this done about ten years ago. I went back to work after two weeks (not a desk job, lots of walking and standing, no lifting). My back was fine – no pain or instability. I was soooo tired, though, and would have been much better off if I’d taken at least another week. Had the same thing happen with the next surgery I had – post-op pain resolved and I was off meds in a few days and was utterly exhausted for weeks. General anesthesia is a Big Deal.

      I would take as much time as you can afford to take and that the doc is willing to sign off on. Mine would have given me four weeks and I insisted on two. Do not recommend.

      1. Herniated Disc*

        Thanks for the feedback. I’m hoping to take a little time as possible to be honest, but will work from home and take it easy when I get back.

        I can literally drop into bed when I finish the workday thankfully. Commuting and getting dressed and being in the office Around people sounds much harder.

    4. Filosofickle*

      I had a positive experience with surgery. I don’t have time to type it out right now but I’ll come back later :)

      1. Filosofickle*

        I did what I could to solve the problem without surgery but after 6 months of no luck with PT and injections, I had a microdiscectomy (L4-L5). My surgeon carved out a little bit of bone and disc matter to clear space around my sciatic nerve. I felt immediate, significant improvement. My scar is about an inch long.

        Surgery went well, I was out the door and tucked in bed by noon to sleep it off. It’s amazing that you can have back surgery and walk (if slowly) out the door! I had a parent I could stay with, and it’s really good to have someone who can help take care of you if at all possible. I could not have managed food, meds, and life tasks all by myself for the first few days.

        I went back to the office after a week and a half for financial reasons, and it was too soon. I needed at least two weeks. However, if I’d worked from home, it would have been fine. I was functioning and mobile after the first week, just incredibly tired so full days in an office plus commuting was too much. I was able to drive, if I timed meds carefully.

        For months post surgery, I needed a LOT of standing, it was still hard to sit for long periods. Standing desk was critical. Ice is your friend. (It probably already is.) After a few weeks I started PT, did that twice a week for a couple/few months. Today, 10 years later, I still have sciatica but if I do some basic things — stand/walk a couple hours + 15 minutes of stretching every day, mostly for my hamstrings — it’s not more than an annoyance. If I let it get out of control, ice (a LOT of ice) will fix it.

        1. Herniated Disc*

          Thank you! I’m quite relieved that I can work from home and hopefully that would make it easier to go back sooner.

          I stood all day every day for months so I’m very familiar with that!

        2. Pippa K*

          Thank you for this description. I’m in a similar position and probably have to have this surgery this autumn and it’s been worrying me. This makes me feel more hopeful!

    5. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I had disc repair about 25 years ago. I was in such bad shape that the only thing that kept me from going self-destructive from pain was popping codeine like candy – it didn’t help the pain, but numbed my brain. I had to sleep in a pretzel shape with my feet on the back of a sofa. it was the most misersble I’ve ever been. After the surgery, in the recovery room, I woke up, said “I don’t hurt,” and burst into tears. Turns out, part of the disc had broken off and wandered several inches away, and was slammed against a major nerve. I’m so glad the neurosurgeon I went to didn’t give up – it took four hours to find that nasty little fragment. Recovery was a breeze, mostly getting my strength and mobility back after several weeks of barely walking. If I was tired, my foot on the affected side would start dragging. I didn’t really notice, but a work friend would let me know, and I’d either rest, or deliberately pick up my foot more.

      1. Herniated Disc*

        I’m so glad you got the relief from that awful pain. My experience has been different in that it isn’t extreme pain but it’s persistent and refuses to improve.

        May I ask how long you took off before going back to work?

        1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

          I had already been off a month because I was in such pain. I went back about 2 and a half weeks after surgery – I think part-time the first few weeks.

    6. Formerly Herniated*

      I had a discectomy and a spinal fusion in my neck about 10 years ago. I had the surgery on a Tuesday and was back to teaching the following Monday. I probably should taken it a bit more slowly, but for me the recovery was pretty quick. The relief from terrible pain was enormous, and I think that made me want to jump back into things. Good luck with the consult and the surgery/recovery, if you go that route.

      1. Herniated Disc*

        Thank you! This was more the timetable I was hoping for as I hadn’t planned on the surgery and would hate to give up planned time off. I’ll admit I’ve been cautioned against going back to work too soon when I have mentioned a similar timeline but I’m relieved to hear it was possible for you. I’m sure the doctor will be able discuss the concerns around that.

    7. HerniatedDiscsSuck*

      Those folks I know who had surgery, especially the less invasive kind you’re talking about, were typically up and about within a couple of days to a week. I know one guy who pretty much was probe mobile and pain free the next day. However, be aware that not everyone is a candidate for surgery. Also that it can get much, much worse and there may be a window in which surgery is possible, perhaps a short window. I went from “you should just keep doing PT because it’s too mild for surgery (despite pretty severe pain and mobility restrictions), but if you ever become a candidate for surgery please come back” to “it’s way too severe for surgery to help” in a NY minute without having any medical exam in between (just ongoing PT). Almost 14 years later my main goal is to slow down the rate of it getting worse, something that sometimes goes better than other times, and the doctors have basically told me there’s nothing else they can do. Also herniated disks can cause more herniated disks (I went from 1 to 9) and also arthritis, muscle spasms, and all sorts of other unpleasantness that surgery won’t help. Not trying to scare you, and hope you’re one of the lucky ones who is a candidate for surgery and who responds well to it.

    8. Qwertyuiop*

      Some things you want to go in being aware of – in terms of questions to ask :
      – if the surgery is minimally invasive, how often and under what circumstances would they switch to an open approach ? (minimally invasive is better for patient since its a smaller incision, but it does put restrictions on how/what the surgeon can see and operate.

      – how often patients will need to come back for another procedure at same or different levels. if you think of the spine as rungs on a ladder, working on one rung could potentially put stress on other levels and cause them to breakdown quicker. (a doc I worked with used to quip that only the first spine surgery was elective)

  21. Stuckinacrazyjob*

    How do you guys manage exercise ? it’s hard for me to drag myself out of bed for early morning, by 7:30 pm I’m exhausted and at lunch time I don’t want to shower again. The only thing I’m consistent in is yoga because I don’t have to shower but I also need cardio

    1. CityMouse*

      For me it’s finding a class I really like. I’m bad at working out solo, but great at making a regular class.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        can’t wait til I’m strong enough to take water aerobics or soul fusion ( what if yoga was hard and had weights) again

        1. Rae*

          If you like water aerobics but need something on the lighter end, try looking for classes aimed at seniors! I went to some with my mother for a while and they were great for accommodating different levels of fitness. Plus the grandparent squad that was most of the attendees were very kind as well. :)

    2. londonedit*

      I know it’s horrible, but I just get it done in the morning. I used to be an evening person but we had an insanely hot summer a few years ago and I had to switch to morning runs because it was 35C until about 11pm, and ever since then I’ve much preferred morning exercise. You get used to it, and then you’re done and you’ve got the rest of the day and evening to yourself without that ‘ugh I should go and do some exercise’ thought hanging over you.

    3. Seahorse*

      I’d like to learn this too! I enjoy my usual morning routine, and trying to force in unpleasant exercise just makes it difficult to get out of bed at all.

    4. Another Janet*

      I am with you in this struggle, but: got a haircut that would wash and dry faster so that showering wouldn’t suck so much, put exercise clothes in a quick grab and go spot, gave myself permission to do only 5-10 minutes of exercise if I want to stop for the day at that point (which I often do! But 5-10 minutes of movement actually feels better for me than none, so that’s okay).

    5. My Brain is Exploding*

      IDK how YOU define cardio, but how about just…doing what you can and will do regularly, to start. Like walking. Cardio has a place but MOVEMENT in general is more important. So if you can get a habit of walking at lunch for 10 minutes and walking after dinner for 10 minutes, that would be a great start. The HABIT of movement is what’s important!

    6. Person from the Resume*

      Gotta finds what works for you and be consistent.

      At one point I joined a once a day class (6am or maybe 5:30) 5 minutes from my house. It was 4 weeks on / one week off. It worked for me since you paid for a session at a time and you knew there was a week break coming up soon, I rarely missed. As it turns out, that kind of coach led, mostly body weight class is a kind of work out I like. And I liked the coach.

      When that class ended I tried something else – jazzercise – which was an absolute fail for me. Paid for a few months and NEVER went. I thought the variety of class times was the problem that I could procrastinate until i was hungry for dinner or too tired after work.

      Then I discovered crossfit. Way more hardcore than that first class, but an instructor led workout class. You can adjust all the exercises to your skill level. I never go in the mornings before work but I’m a regular at the class an hour after work. And I like the coaches, the other members (community), the workouts, and feeling stronger.

      That comes back to routine. I developed a routine for the ones that work. The ones that work for me are coach led, exercise/strength classes (HITT) with a bit of cardio and zero dancing. I’m not that graceful and even find done particular Olympic weightlifting moves require more coordinated movement than I prefer.

      TLDR: I thought it was timing and scheduling. It was really finding the right kind of class, coach, and gym.

      1. Trixie*

        The above plus the four-week window allows time to sample the class and see how the body adjust’s to newer schedule. The first couple times can be difficult but it’s hard to know if it’s the class or the body still adjusting to time slot.

    7. RagingADHD*

      I do the thing you don’t like: I get up at 5:30 am.

      But I also get off work at exactly 5pm and have a short commute, so when my kid wants to go to the gym in the evening, I am not too wiped out to go.

    8. Dovasary Balitang*

      I go to two gyms: a regular gym with weights and equipment, and a bouldering gym (which also has a small selection weights and equipment–but that’s not what I use it for). Both of them are on my route home – I can get off the train before what would be my usual stop, walk five minutes and reach either gym. That’s really what makes it work for me: sheer accessibility and streamlining. When the only gym I attended was half an hour out of my way, it was a bit more of a struggle.

      I also tell myself, ‘if I want to leave after 15 minutes, I can. But I have to get through 15 minutes of exercise.’ I think I’ve only actually left at the 15 minute mark once.

      On days when I give myself permission to not go to the gym, I go for an hour walk in the evening instead. It’s a great way to decompress and have true alone time.

    9. kina lillet*

      A couple things: finding something I actually really like to do, and figuring out what the various real blockers were.

      How about walking? It’s excellent cardio, it’s flexible so you can go out at lunchtime, and you often don’t need to shower afterward.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        I am walking as cardio. the blockers are I get sweaty and have to shower and I have to change clothes and I have to go to the gym. I think the summer is causing a lot of this issue. when it’s 95 degrees out even a ten minute walk needs a shower. I walked in 75 degrees today and needed a shower.

        1. kina lillet*

          Yeah, I feel that. Summer sucks for this. I have a similar thing with not wanting to shower multiple times in a day. My personal solution is that I wait to shower until after I work out, and I feel clean enough in the morning to last unto the afternoon post-workout. Another option is to use dry shampoo and wipes to make you feel clean enough, another option is to simply shower multiple times a day, another option is to take a quick rinse for one of your showers.

          That said if you don’t actually really want to go walking then it’s sort of a moot point. Do you like going to the pool? Taking a workout class? It sounds like you like yoga–that’s already physical activity and there are definitely cardio-er versions of yoga to do.

    10. Stephanie*

      Tbf, cardio includes things like walking — don’t feel pressured that cardio has to be like something exhausting.

      I had to try a bunch of different things to find something I could wake up for. If you force it a few times, it’ll just become habit.

    11. Nervous Nellie*

      I think the secret is to find something that makes you move. I listen to Bollywood greatest hits compilations while dusting, doing dishes, making beds. An hour of house cleaning is a workout, and then trying to learn one routine from one video is just a blast if there is nothing left to clean.

      I also found huge inspiration from the book Train Your Head and Your Body Will Follow by Sandy Joy Weston, which was a great pep talk about building gradual habits, and of counting even the shortest bursts of activity towards a daily goal. It made me relax and let my exercise be less structured. And it’s really fun!

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        And forgot to add, I also have a compact elliptical bike thingie under my desk (at work and at home) and use it when working, and in the evenings when watching movies.

        That and the Bollywood Laundry Workout give me lots of daily exercise (and LOTS of cardio if I dial the bike thingie to high tension and use hand weights at the same time), without having to chunk out time in my day JUST to exercise. I am always, always doing two things when I exercise – exercise, and sumthin’ else. It makes the motivation to do it and keep doing it much easier to find.

            1. Nervous Nellie*

              Hah! Yeah, my own invention. That said, there are surprisingly few Bollywood-style exercise videos or channels. Those that exist are slightly Bollywoody – the moves are more Britney Spears than Aamir Khan. There could be a strong market for exercise programs built off traditional Indian dance movements. I was at a municipal street fair recently where they were demonstrating fast-paced Indian dancing a la the best of Bollywood, and many spectators spontaneously jumped up and attempted to dance along. The presenters turned it into a dance lesson, and in the end, several hundred of us were bopping along. I had an edge on many of the guests because I do a lot of laundry. ;)

              1. kt*

                At one time I looked for Bollywood dance workout videos (it was during the height of covid) and I agree, surprisingly few. I ended up doing a lot of Kukuwa Dance (African music & dance, I like the music and the moves, really good for shoulder mobility and a great way to “get my steps in” while staying in my cool basement if needed).

    12. Girasol*

      I like a medicine ball routine (the Tarheels one – there are youtubes of it) plus a couple stretches that the physical therapist recommended and some pushups. I do that in the house first thing in thing morning. It takes about 10 minutes, so it’s not serious cardio, but it’s a good core routine for basic fitness and it’s short enough that it’s hard to find an excuse not to. If I turn on the radio it takes my mind off the “I don’t feel like it today!” and before I know it I’m done. It’s not all the exercise I’m supposed to get, so I try to fit in some hiking or biking during the week. But if that doesn’t work out, at least I’ve done some exercise. You might try that or one of the short bodyweight routines.

    13. Anthology*

      I despise exercise and the only thing that’s ever worked for me is keeping the equipment in my own basement. I trudge downstairs at night, begrudgingly use the elliptical in underwear and a sports bra to minimize laundry, distract myself during the workout with TV, then immediately trudge up to the shower.

      Mindset is a lot of my hurdle. Allowing myself to hate it and do it anyway is SO much better for my personality than is feeling guilty about not being a “workout person” and trying to brainwash myself into enjoying classes, sports, or lessons. The “you just have to find what you like” people are infuriating. What I “like” is sitting on my ass and not sweating.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        I like your attitude. lol. Yea, I don’t hate all exercise, but it’s a drag after dragging yourself around all day. Especially since you gotta be careful not to get into the exercise has exhausted me, Imma collapse zone. Maybe I should do more body weight stuff because you don’t have to drag yourself to the gym ( it’s 5 minutes away but at 7 pm it seems so long away)

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Exactly. What I like is being a lump that’s reading or watching TV.

    14. Exercise Struggles*

      I feel your frustration and have this conversation with myself basically daily. Over the years my routine has ended up being a yoga video in the morning, and a 3-mile walk in the evenings (3 miles because that’s how long the trail near my house is). Consistency varies, so I would love to flip it so I do the walk in the morning before work, but where I live is SO HUMID year-round. The morning air is absolutely stifling, plus I hate being out in the dark. Evenings are better, but there’s a lot of competition for my time in the evenings. Gyms are not financially feasible right now, and even if they were, driving all that way at 5:30 AM just to walk on a treadmill sounds so boring. It’s an eternal struggle.

    15. The Dude Abides*

      I go during my lunch break 3x/week, and work 1-on-1 with a trainer one of those days. There is a YMCA minutes from my office, and the areas I use (track and weights) are thankfully isolated from high-traffic areas.

      For me, working with a dedicated trainer has been the difference – I have specific goals (drop from 180 to 160, improve acceleration and top speed), and the trainer puts me through hell (at my request) and gives me homework to do on my other gym days.

    16. Retired Accountant*

      I used to go right after work. I run, so finding a place to run between work and home was simple, and I was in for the night after, so minimal or no additional changing/shower time. It seemed the most efficient way to do things.

      Trying to run in the morning made me both dread and hate it. I could have gone to the gym at lunch, but driving there and back and changing seemed like a waste of half an hour so I’d do that after work too. And my gym was on the way home.

    17. J.B.*

      I have gone from loving and prioritizing exercise to not. One thing for me is to connect it to other things I want to do, kid to gym childcare and listening to audiobooks.

      I see you mentioned water aerobics. I would go to a class and take down the intensity (talk to instructor for suggestions if you need it). I have found water aerobics intensity can go up and down a lot and movement is a huge start.

    18. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      I used to belong to a gym that was close to my office, and would leave work, exercise, shower, and then head home.

      My other mental trick was to decide “I just have to walk in the door.” Once I was there, I almost always did at least a little exercise, but once or twice I checked in, walked into the locker room, drank a little water, and left.

      The thing is, when I framed it as “I have to go work out,” I was less likely to even set foot in the gym, and more likely to criticize myself if I didn’t.

    19. goddessoftransitory*

      I make myself work out after breakfast and cat feeding, but I work in the afternoon/evenings so I have that time freed up. I do an hour fifteen-minute stationary bike ride 4 times a week and started calisthenics twice a week about two months ago. I work out at home so I can hop in the shower as soon as I’m done.

    20. Lucien Nova*

      As someone who physically *cannot* exercise normally without greatly paying for it later due to very hypermobile joints…

      Aquatic therapy. No, I’m not kidding. If you can find a pool/YMCA/what-have-you that will offer sessions with a trainer, this is amazing to get you started on a routine you can then self-lead.

      It’s basically a gentler-at-first version of water aerobics (which I have also seen mentioned further down) while also possessing the quality of being tailored to exactly what you *want* out of your exercise, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Personally I’m in this to strengthen my major joints and work on my core strength, and we’ve just started working in some cardio as well so that’s definitely something you can do in the pool! Bonus: no sweat to shower off afterward since you’ve already been in water anyway. (Of course if you’re sensitive to chlorine, you’d want a quick rinse-off after.) I actually find myself looking forward to this and am planning on continuing with self-led ones once my doctor-ordered PT sessions have ended.

    21. Sweet 'N Low*

      Find an activity or a sport that you really love and look forward to, and that post-work fatigue won’t feel like nearly as much of a barrier. Bonus if the activity/sport has an environment that makes it easy to befriend other people, who you can then look forward to seeing.

      I’m a fencing coach, and I have a ton of adult students (including folks up to their 70s) who pick up the sport to give them a fun way to exercise. Other adult-friendly ideas: tennis, rock climbing, hiking, boxing, martial arts, rollerskating, pole fitness, plus a ton more I’m not thinking of.

    22. Elizabeth West*

      I used to take massive walks, but the pandemic messed that up. Since moving, I’ve started to get a bit more exercise — I live in a third-floor walkup and there are lots of stairs to climb at the train stations, plus I have to walk a couple of blocks to the office. I’ve been trying to figure out a schedule that will allow me to add workouts into my daily routine but they’ll have to be in the evening after work. My commute is an hour one way and it really cuts into my personal time. For now, I’ve started getting off the bus a stop early and walking the rest of the way home while it’s still warm out.

    23. NeutralJanet*

      For me, just like for most people, actually getting started exercising is the hardest part, once I get going, it’s fairly easy to keep going (I am in my sports bra and bike shorts, lying on my couch as I type this). I know that fitness is good in and of itself, and that I always feel better after I exercise, and yet I have trouble getting myself to do it. My motivating factor is having certain TV shows that I am only allowed to watch while on the treadmill and certain podcasts that I am only allowed to listen to while on a walk, whether that walk is outside or literally just pacing around my apartment. Could you find some kind of little treat that you can start associating with doing cardio?

  22. CatMam*

    I have a cat-related question that I need help with!

    We have two gorgeous tabby cats and a mad ginger one. These are our first pets but adopted them over three years ago. I adore them so much and absolutely spoil them rotten. They are the best company when my partner travels for work and I enjoy hanging out with them than I do most people!

    But the amount of fur in the house is driving me mad! Does any one have any tips on how to reduce cat fur in the house or the best way to keep it clean and to a minimal? There just seems to be fur everywhere and I have a very minor dust/fur allergy so like to keep the house relatively clean.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. kina lillet*

      As far as I know there’s no big trick, unfortunately. You either have to care more (clean a ton) or care less.

      Small tricks: An air purifier will help to keep the floaties down! And brushing the cats will help them shed a little bit less.

      I like to use the furminator on sturdy velvet-y upholstery, and a static fur cleaner on other upholstery.

      1. Zephy*

        +1 to all of this. You either need to proactively always be cleaning and/or brushing the cats, or you need to let it go. It’s the price we pay for keeping furry animals in our homes.

        We have a Roomba that runs once a day and needs to be emptied about every other day, and we just picked up a refurbished Dyson stick vacuum to get what the Roomba misses. The Chom Chom pet fur roller that keeps popping up on Buzzfeed lists about aMaZiNg PrOdUcTs or whatever does actually work really well on upholstery, though, I can attest to that.

    2. Cat*

      – brush frequently ( furminators are great).
      – throw blankets on top of favorite sitting areas and soft furniture so you can toss them in the washer.
      – washable drapes rather than blinds.
      – pillow cases for throw pillows.
      – hard surface flooring.
      – vacuum such as Dyson pet.
      – sweep then vacuum.
      – vacuum soft furniture.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      I have formed a theory that when Destructobot (small orange cat) marches around the house yowling at night she is talking to an army of fluffy ghosts, who immediately shed all their hair. Because two cats and a dog, all short hair, should not be able to generate the amount of hair that appears between sweepings.

    4. Goose*

      Big fan of my robo vacuum for getting hair on the floor, but I still need to wipe down every other surface mine gets on

    5. RagingADHD*

      Do you brush them regularly? It helps get some of the day’s shedding done in a contained way. It doesn’t eliminate random hair, but it makes a visible difference.

    6. Glory B*

      Daily grooming of the cats, with the FURminator deShedding tool (the only one I’ve found effective at actually reducing the problem). Get the hair before it gets shed all over your home. And a good upholstery brush (I like the OXO ones) to remove the fur that still does get on everything.

    7. Trixie*

      Other regular brushing schedule, you might look at the tools you use. I’ve been with Girl With the Dogs on social media, and picked up the Equigroomer deshedding brush. I’m hoping that plus the grooming brush will help me deal with my cat’s fur bunnies and hairballs.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        It’s amazing how much undercoat for that Equigroomer takes out after the regular brush out of my orange floofs.

    8. Dovasary Balitang*

      A Roomba, especially if you program it to run through its paces every six hours or so.

    9. RussianInTexas*

      Get a carpet scraper (a triangle thingy with a handle). Vacuum often. Brush your cats, ever short hair ones.
      Admit defeat and realize the car hair is your life now.

      1. CatMam*

        Thanks for all the help folks!

        I have a Furminator and a Dyson Pet which are used regularly but could probably do with being used more. Just wanted to see if I had missed any obvious tricks!

        Guess I’ll just have to let it go and accept that I live in a furry house now :D

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I don’t know about cats but my friend with a large shedding dog found that he likes being vacuumed — basically scratch his back with the upholstery attachment. Worth a try if you have a gentle machine?

          1. allathian*

            My parents’ two short hairs loved being “brushed” with a sticky lint roller. It was sticky enough to remove any loose hairs but didn’t damage the rest of the fur at all. Both of them would come running to you if you took the roller out.

    10. mreasy*

      Vacuum, including upholstery. Get a good hand held (I like Bissell Pet Hair Eraser) and a cordless stick vacuum for floors, as you’ll be more likely to use it than an annoying canister. Brushing the cats helps but truly, there will always be cat hair.

    11. Don'tbeadork*

      You mention you have a furminator, but how often do you use it? Is that your sole grooming tool?

      I have 5 cats, ranging from short but dense coats to medium hair. Also two biggish dogs. I not only use the furminator but I also use a slicker brush and a regular hairbrush. We still have fur hippos, but they aren’t as bad as they get when I don’t do at least a quick groom on everyone daily. I don’t use all three tools on everyone every day, but kind of rotate through who gets what (except Eldest cat gets all three every day because he just adores them and will sit quietly on my desk to be groomed).

    12. goddessoftransitory*

      One quickie trick is dampening a paper towel and rubbing down fur covered furniture or clothing. Not perfect but fast and easy.

  23. Not A Dog Person*

    How to not be timid around dogs when they bark at you?

    The last time I visited a friend, they had adopted an adult dog. The dog doesn’t like strangers and kept barking and growling at me. My friend gave me some treats to offer, but she ate the treats and then resumed barking. They ended up keeping the dog locked up in a bedroom whenever we were in the house. (I was only visiting a few days and we mostly weren’t home.)

    My friend said the dog likes some people just fine, but the people she likes are “dog people” (i.e. they have dogs themselves). Apparently they are much more outgoing and affectionate around the dog, whereas I’m too timid. (I didn’t grow up around dogs, don’t own a dog, and the only dogs I’ve been around were older calm ones that loved everyone.)

    I don’t know how to be less timid, because I really hate loud noises and it’s unnerving to have a dog barking or growling at me. I’ll be visiting again soon. Does anyone have any advice on how to win over the dog?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      This is not a “you” issue, this is a “your friend isn’t being a very good dog owner” issue. A dog barking (and growling, which is worse to me) at guests needs more training long-term and to be put in a crate or another room short term. In addition to stressing you out inappropriately, it’s also a stressor on the dog. You can try giving the dog high-value treats, but ultimately the owner has to take some responsibility here.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I can cut some slack for “you’re being too timid” if the issue was something like, you were upset by the dog sniffing your bag calmly or just sitting in the same room. “My dog is barking and growling at you like you’d come to steal the Crown Jewels” is not a “you’re too timid” issue.

      2. Forgotten Username*

        Yes, this! I have a dog who can be reactive. When new people come over to my house, I leash the dog up, have a treat bag on me, and don’t let the dog off the leash until everyone seems comfortable, and even then, I still am watching the dog. I do this REGARDLESS of whether the person coming over likes dogs or not. I do find it helpful when the guest is not a dog person to have the guest completely ignore the dog and not engage at all. It is important for everyone to know that my dog does not have to like everyone and everyone doesn’t need to like my dog – if they simply are in the same space ignoring each other, I count that as a positive.

        I don’t think there is much you can do here, unfortunately, if the owners are not training the dog. Honestly, I’d just meet them somewhere like a coffee shop where they can’t bring the dog, if at all possible.

      3. Saddy Hour*

        The treats from guests part is weird to me, because it seems to be teaching the dog that “bark at guests” ==> “guests give me food!” ==> “bark at guests ALL THE TIME! FOR FOOD! :)”

        They should give treats to the dog when she’s being quiet and respectful, and guests should only give treats to the dog when the dog approaches them calmly. The way they’re handling this is just going to entrench her bad behaviors.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I agree–the owner seems to be training the dog to be assertive towards new people because it equals treats.

      4. Dragon Hoard*

        To be fair, if you adopt an adult dog with a behavior issue it’s not going to vanish instantly just because you’re a good dog owner. It takes time to work on and improve behaviors, especially ones that involve people from outside the household. They tried one tactic with the treats, which didn’t work, so they shut the dog separate from their guest for the rest of the visit just like you said. I’m not sure what else you’d expect them to do to “take responsibility” here, Not A Dog Person can correct me if I’m wrong but it didn’t sound like they were bring blamed for it. It just sounds like everyone was trying to puzzle out why the dog had that kind of reaction to this person.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I’d love to be wrong, but a response of “you’re too timid, he’s fine around other people who have dogs” doesn’t exactly suggest that the owner followed that up with “I’m working on him with a trainer because I recognize that this behavior is unsafe and until we have a lot of progress I understand that I will need to keep my dog away from guests for the safety and well-being of both guests and dog.”

          To me, it sounds more like “he’s fine around some other folks so suck it up,” which is absolutely not taking any responsibility for addressing the situation.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I’m going to third this is a dog problem, followed by a dog owner not sufficiently intervening with their dog’s problem behavior problem.

      If it were something like running (which can read as chase me) or explaining to the dog what you want with words (high pitched “no no no” and “yes yes yes” and “god save the queen” all sound like play!chase! to a dog; the same in a deep voice conveys “cut it out”) then modifying your behavior would be reasonable. “Don’t act like you’re afraid of the aggressive growling dog” is not reasonable.

      While dogs take cues from those around them, the prime packmate they should be responding to is their owner, re “This is not a thread, and you will cut out the snarling or leave.”

      1. CityMouse*

        Blaming someone for being timid when a dog is growling at them is just such bad dog ownership. I have been around dogs my whole life, and I’m timid around a growling dog specifically because I know dog behavior well and absolutely know this is a warning that the dog could do worse if you approach.

    3. MaxKitty*

      This is not a good situation. I think you should avoid staying with your friend if at all possible. With the dog so stressed and the owner so negligent, things could so easily escalate in a short time (seconds!) and that could be bad both for you and the dog.

    4. Hotdog not dog*

      Oh, this is 100% not on you for being timid. Your friend needs to provide their dog with better training and socialization, and/or keep the dog out of stressful situations. For some dogs, meeting new people is a stressor. It’s also possible that you remind the dog of someone who mistreated him.
      When we first adopted Best Good Dog, we were very cautious about introducing new people and situations until he had acclimated. He also got a lot of training. Now he likes almost everyone, but that’s largely because he feels safe that my husband and I are in charge. Even so, if he starts to look anxious, he goes into time out (sometimes on his own, sometimes we put him there.)

    5. Alex*

      My friend’s dog was sort of like this–new people=ALERT ALERT ALERT!. Her dog had been abused and she got her from a rescue, so that sort of explained her behavior. With some people it took longer than others, and I don’t actually really think it had anything to do with being a dog person. Large people were scary, people with hats were scary, who knows. She was not aggressive, just distressed.

      BUT that said, this is a dog and dog owner problem! Tell your friend that the dog makes you uncomfortable and ask if the dog can be kept in another room while you visit. That is best for you and the dog, until the dog gets trained out of this behavior. If your friend refuses or is offended, that says a lot about your friend, not you.

    6. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Growling is a warning sign. This dog might bite/attack you next. Your friend is a negligent dog owner and I would refuse to be in the same room as this dog as the situation stands.

    7. Ellis Bell*

      So the dog knows which strangers are dog people! No, that’s not a thing. Badly trained dogs will bark at any stranger and your friend is embarrassed by this and doesn’t know how/want to train it. So, they blamed you.

    8. Sloanicota*

      You’re fine, but to de-escalate with a dog, what I do is look away from the dog (eye contact can be weird for them) and toss a treat, don’t hand it over. Continue to not look directly at the dog. If you want to get to know the dog more, offer a hand – a closed fist is fine – and let them approach/sniff if they want – do not reach for the dog to pet unless they approach you for pets. If you don’t want to get to know the dog, that’s fine.

    9. Don'tbeadork*

      Can you stay in a hotel? Because I would absolutely not feel safe in that house, and I *have* large dogs.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        I think that’s a great idea, and I’d also use their own words against them to do it: “We tried, but like you said, I don’t seem to be enough of a dog person! I’ll stay in a hotel instead and we can meet up for brunch and adventures!” The only fly in the ointment with this kind of dog owner is they usually can’t leave the dog alone at all, or get dogsitters or dog walkers because no one but the owner feels safe around the dog.

  24. Falling Diphthong*

    To pivot off the first post, what is a story (book, TV, etc) that you feel ambivalent about? What led to that? (Interested in what made a story simultaneously work and not work for you, as that can be a weird no-man’s-land of reaction.)

    We just started Season 2 of Sweet Tooth, and I am being reminded of how off-balance I felt watching the first season. The sweetness comes across, but seems so out of place in the post-apocalypse landscape. I often feel like the director expects me to react “Awwww…..” when I am reacting “This is a bad idea given the danger.”

    I think that’s often at the heart of ambivalent reactions–that I feel like the director wants me to feel one way (sympathetic, shocked, sentimental, etc) and my reaction is quite different.

    1. RussianInTexas*

      For me is the “tugging on heartstrings” media, including movies, tv shows, etc. I very often feel manipulated, because I am supposed to feel sad for these fictional people I never met? I gave up on Call the Midwife, because I got tired of being basically told being sad all the time, because tragedies! Women had it terrible! Babies don’t survive! But there is hope and friendship! Kind of clubbing over the head with that one.
      I can take clubbing over the head if it doesn’t try to be meaningful and heartwarming and doesn’t takes itself seriously.

    2. costello music*

      I’m watching the anime Dr. Stone. The tl;dr is that a global phenomenon turned every person to stone. 3000 years have passed and there’s a conflict between science and strength with the main character and someone he woke up/brought out of stone.

      I really like it, it’s a different concept. The characters are fun and I kinda ship the main character with one other person from the old world. But I just feel like the creators are taking the easy route. There’s always this thing of “no bloodshed!” when the bad side is actually pretty evil (killing innocent people who are still in stone). There’s someone emotionally charged scenes that just get dropped.

      I love feel good stories but the story the creators want to tell isn’t this. They really need to stop pulling their punches and take a page from Gravity Falls or Last Airbender–you can balance the hard hitting stuff with ~kiddy stuff too.

    3. Helvetica*

      Last I can remember is Eternals. I thought it was too slow and too much world-building crammed into a movie that already felt too long and that it was very different from other Marvel. But, when I was talking about it to a friend later, I actually found myself liking a lot about it (the visuals, the story, the contemplative nature of it). So in the end I am still ambivalent about it as in it could’ve been done better but I didn’t dislike it as a total.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I think that sense that there is a really great story hiding inside this actual story may be key to things I see through, but ambivalently. That I can see where this would really compel me if some different story-telling choices were made.

      2. allathian*

        That’s interesting, because I really enjoyed it. It was a bit long, but I loved the story and the idea that you can be both disabled (deaf) and a superhero at the same time. Apparently most of the cast learned at least some ASL during the shooting beyond what their scenes required so they could chat a bit with Lauren Ridloff.

        I also really enjoyed the cinematography, and I want to see other movies directed by Chloé Zhao.

    4. goddessoftransitory*

      For me it’s mysteries where ten seconds of thought show obvious and gaping holes in the logic.

      I’m rewatching old Remington Steele episodes, and in the second season they did a takeoff of Bad Day at Black Rock, where the entire town is in on keeping a Terrible Secret. Which is fine as far as it goes, but the setup used just did not work.

      *Spoilers for 40 year old episode*

      Briefly, a plane had crashed near this small town with a lot of money on board, and rather than report it the town squirreled away the cash and buried the pilots, with the idea that after something like 10 years or something passed the townspeople would split the ill gotten gains. But there were SO many reasons it wouldn’t work–in the original film this is a thumbtack town in the middle of nowwhere with a three day trek in every direction towards any other humans, but in the show it was a basic tourist town on a main road.

      There were easily over a hundred people all told in on this–there simply wasn’t enough money to make such a long held secret worth it once divided. A nice windfall, sure, but even in 1980s dollars not life changing.

      NOBODY in this weird place ever told anyone? Tried to abscond with the loot? Moved away and wanted their cut early? Needed emergency funds? The cash was under a blanket in the local jail, not stashed in the bank or other super hard to get at spot.

      As you can see, I am obsessive, but unthought through plot holes in a plot dependent story are a huge pet peeve of mine.

    5. carcinization*

      American Gods had different folks running the show for the second season (memory is hazy here and I don’t feel like looking it up so it’s possible it may have been later on than that) and got rid of/changed some characters, and wasn’t as good after that, so I stopped watching that season after a couple of episodes, and I think it was cancelled when that season finished.

  25. CityMouse*

    I agree with this 100%. The dog is displaying some worrying behavior and your friend is being dismissive. That’s a recipe for someone getting hurt. This is not a you problem.

  26. Invisible fish*

    Teachers of AAM, please excuse my convoluted sentence structure! I’m currently too groggy to really streamline this question: what is something that you forget to do during your summers “off”? Things that when you head back to inservice in August, you think, “Oh!! I totally should have ____ when I had the chance/time!” I’m determined to make better use of July this year!

    1. TX Lizard*

      Dentist, closet clean out, make art, go hiking, any car service that’s due, cook interesting recipes.

    2. SeaCow*

      I’m taking it that you would like some ideas for occupying some time? :)
      Some of these are more fun than others but all are satisfying (for me anyways)

      *Get my school agenda ready in July (instead of during the first week back when all the good ones are gone)
      *Cleaned out/sorted/deleted email (personal and work)
      *Cleaned out/sorted/deleted my google drive (personal and work)
      *Fix the leaky toilet
      *Labeled all of the various cables, plugs and electronics that are tangled in the same box
      *Go to some of the shops, boutiques, parks in the area that have been on my list for years
      *Catch up on correspondence
      *Try some new drink recipes

      Have a great summer!

    3. Callie*

      A few things:
      1. I declutter my house. I do this with the goal of setting up systems that are easy to maintain during the school year.
      2. Try out new hobbies that I don’t have the brain space for during the academic year.
      3. As a parent, I get pretty permissive toward the end of the school year with my kids’ screen time use, so I use whatever extra emotional bandwidth I have to return to screen time limits.
      4. Enjoy sunshine and find new places to hike that may be a little out of the way.

    4. Ellis Bell*

      Life admin stuff: I go to the opticians, the dentists, I get my car’s MOT done this time of year, I clean out the wardrobe and get things mended, I often do a slightly bigger than usual house project and reorganise my pantry.
      Not life admin stuff: I spend time in the garden, either loafing around or planting or picking from the veggie garden, I cook more complex, multi step type things and make dinner an event, as well as doing some baking for the freezer, and pasta making to dry and save up. I usually hoard up some reading or movies to watch. I make a point to catch up with people, especially other school employees who are also usually busier; I have a beach day with my nieces and nephews. I also do a lot more writing.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        I also print my own teachers planner, so I like to geek out over that as well as new stationery.

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

      Deal with taxes (ugh)
      schedule and go to physical therapy
      clean out my office
      arrange to see my friends more
      re-arrange my apartment so it’s more comfortable
      weed out my closets and chests of drawers and organize them
      get my rug cleaned
      get my windows washed
      learn the new course management system
      do syllabi
      send out welcome e-mails to students early, letting them know the school’s procedure for having their pronouns and preferred names visible across their school records

      I’m usually pretty good at remembering to get my mammogram, have the yearly skin check and gyno appt, and go to the dentist.

    6. Double A*

      This summer I have a bunch of baby stuff that I’d like to sell. I used to be fine with this when Craigslist was the main way of selling but now it seems like people use FB marketplace which I hate so I’ve been putting it off, and I definitely won’t do it while juggling work.

      Paint a closet. But I need to arrange childcare to do this so I dunno.

    7. Don'tbeadork*

      Get the aluminum to the big recycler that pays money. It’s not much money, but it’s a lot of aluminum.

      Play. Whatever it is, take time to play. I’m so busy during the school year that I’m putting off dozens of projects which then absorb my summer and I didn’t take time to just freaking relax and play — tabletop games, board games, computer games, solitaire, with Lego or a doll house or whatever it is you love to do and don’t really get big blocks of time with. I always head back wishing I’d taken time to pull out that game and get my friends together for an afternoon.

  27. Paris Geller*

    For financial reasons, my husband and I have decided to renew the lease on our current apartment. It’s about 550 square feet one bedroom, and we have two cats. It’s a small space for two people but we’ve made it work, and I mostly don’t mind that we’re staying there longer. However, I hate how sterile it still feels and I would love some organization/decorating/general ideas on how to increase the hominess vibe without spending too much $$. If we’re staying here another year, I really want home to be a relaxing place for us, and right now it’s just kind of . . . meh. We have a lot of art on the walls that I love individually but doesn’t feel very cohesive, our furniture is all mismatched, and in general it just doesn’t have the vibe I want. I’d love any tips and tricks on how you’ve managed to make a rented place feel like your own.

    1. WellRed*

      Is painting an option? Do you have wood floors or generic carpeting that you could lay a colorful throw rug over? What do you have for window coverings? I also like a plush throw blanket in easy reach on the back of the couch.

    2. Nervous Nellie*

      Ooooh, Apartment Therapy! It’s a wonderful website and there are a couple of accompanying books you can get at a library – a little paperback that outlines the 8-week refresh on your home, and a couple of coffee table books with lots of pictures of homes for inspiration. Both website and book have features on small space living. They also have great ideas for reorganizing what you have to refresh your space without shopping for much of anything.

      I used these books to bring my 490sqft home to life. They really worked, and hardly spent much at all.

      Oh, and mismatched items that are presented as deliberate groupings can be quite stylish. My chairs don’t match, and my art is all wildly different, but my wee dining area looks chic and my gallery wall looks curated. All thanks to these books! I have no personal flair without inspiration from others! :)

    3. Stephanie*

      Almost none of my furniture matches. :)

      If you want to deal with houseplants, sometimes those can help a place feel more lived in and alive.

    4. Can't Sit Still*

      Thirding Apartment Therapy. They have lots of renter-friendly ideas for upgrades and organizing ideas.

      Small cardboard boxes, like iPhone and shoebox size and thickness boxes, work really well for organizing out of sight areas and fit an amazing amount of stuff in them.

      Yamazaki Home is good for organizing ideas, too. Their actual products are high quality and not cheap, but they are a good resource for ideas to maximize a small space, substituting their products with what you might already have on hand or be able to get cheaper elsewhere.

    5. hazelnutsoup*

      Alexandra Gater focuses on fabulous renter friendly designs and has some really great hacks for temporary decor changes that can be easily undone when you move out. You can find her channel on youtube:-)

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

      Maybe try to match the art on your walls to the colors of the room? Like, when I had a light blue and cherry red comforter on my bed and a red, yellow, and green striped chair near each other, I looked on all posters dot com and found a vintage travel poster that had all of those colors in it and hung it between the bed and the chairs. It kind of tied the room together.

      Maybe a neutral-colored area rug? I got a cream-colored one that also made the room feel more cozy (and which I’m sure my downstairs neighbors appreciated).

      You can also try moving some of your furniture to new places. I moved my cute (1940s?) little table that I had in the foyer into the kitchen, and now, I get to look at it a lot more.

    7. Turtle Dove*

      How about putting up some peel-and-stick, removable wallpaper? I did that on a boring white wall. Mine looks like the search results for “blue rustic boards peel and stick wallpaper.” I love how it looks — even after three years.

    8. Renter*

      Longtime renter in a small apartment here! There are definitely ways to make different styles feel cohesive. For the art, you may be limited in what you can do by the space, but if possible, try arranging it so the different styles are intermixed, not set apart in individual groups.

      Rugs can be a game changer in decorating. Especially with a smaller space, if you have wildly different wall colors or art pieces, having rugs coordinated from room to room can help tie everything together. The key is coordinating, not matching – so maybe pick a common accent color, or similar texture, etc. Something subtle that nevertheless makes the flow feel natural.

      For furniture, if you don’t like the pieces you currently have, try checking out thrift shops/facebook marketplace/craigslist, etc. Don’t focus on replacing everything at once – just whenever you see a piece in your price range that more closely matches the vision you have for your place, buy that, sell the piece it’s replacing, sit for a while with it, and then repeat the process until you’re happy with your collection. I once decided after painting my walls that none of my furniture worked anymore and used that method to replace almost everything over a span of two months for a net cost of probably around $50.

      Hope this helps! Also to second what Stephanie said, houseplants are fantastic for making a place feel homelike if you’re willing to deal with them.

    9. Mostly Managing*

      Renting is hard, because you want to make the space feel like yours but also be able to take all the things with you if/when you move!

      In our mis-matched furniture room I have the same colour throw on each sofa and on the armchair. That pulls those pieces together for a lot less than finding new sofas, and has the added benefit of being snuggly in winter.
      Throw cushions – same deal! there’s one on each sofa and one on the chair, and they are all the same. The cushions are patterned, and have all 3 colours in them (two sofas, one chair, three colours! but they were cheap!) and so it pulls it together.

      Then look at your art. Presumably you like it all, but is it all in the right places? Think about how it works together (or doesn’t) and move things around until it feels like the art in any given space “belongs together” or at least isn’t fighting with each other!

      A couple of people have mentioned plants.
      I kill plants. My kids say I don’t so much garden as “torture things in pots”. But I LOVE how they look. The solution is fake plants. I have a pot of tulips all year round. I have a few other green leafy things. They seem to thrive on neglect (on account of being fake).

    10. TPS reporter*

      if you’re able to put up shelving, it would be fun to make a cat super highway on the walls. you can cover the shelves with different types of materials in fun colors to please yourself and the cats.

  28. GoryDetails*

    Little Joys thread!

    Mine include the first lobster-quest of the season; a day-trip to the southern Maine coast to sample lobster rolls and a whole steamed lobster! (I recommend the Bite Into Maine locations around Portland for lobster rolls; not quite as awesome as those at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, but one doesn’t have to stand in line for ages either…)

    1. AGD*

      The weather here has been absolutely perfect, so I went for a long walk yesterday. It was already fulfilling, but then there was also a funny punch line. On the way back, crossing a driveway, I accidentally noticed a bumper sticker reading VACCINES CAUSE ADULTS.

    2. Hotdog not dog*

      I got to spend time with my family last week, and we visited a cute little yarn store that had SO MANY treasures! They also had a lot of finished pieces on display so we could see how the yarn would work up, and each piece had a little card saying what yarn, what pattern, and where the pattern was from. I can’t wait to start my new project!

    3. Girasol*

      I had to go to the DMV for a dreadful task, only to be met at the door with a sign saying “Due to being short staffed, wait times will be longer than usual.” Aw, rats. But then I noticed that all the empty seats had six foot tall stuffed sloths in them, and that made up for it.

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

      I’m putting contact paper in my cabinets, finally!

    5. Don'tbeadork*

      We are making gains in the great war against chaos. Have cleared a path through the spare room so we can reach all the stuff that needs sorting and finding their proper home, and have found some proper homes for a lot of stuff. At our current rate, should have all the hobby stuff put away by the end of summer, and everything else done by the end of the year, even accounting for two breaks to visit family.

    6. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      A new food cart pod opened near me, and it has covered seating, beer, and restrooms with INDOOR PLUMBING! Definitely an upgrade, and more places I can walk to are always welcome.

    7. GoryDetails*

      I just learned that “Fordite” is a thing: ornaments made from layers of dried automobile paint, as scraped from the assembly lines of Detroit.

      1. carcinization*

        I went down an etsy rabbit hole a few years back looking at that stuff; some of it is really nice!

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I went downtown today to have lunch with a friend and ended up going afterward to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. I found the nerd store (yeaaaaah! \0/) and got two t-shirts on sale — one was Hawkeye, and the other was a Black Butler shirt with Sebastian Michaelis on it. I was unreasonably excited about that BB shirt!

      It was a very good day even though my feet are killing me, lol. Oh, and it did NOT rain!

    9. WoodswomanWrites*

      I went on a hike today with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time and learned about a new trail. Afterwards he and his partner took me to dinner at a place that had what be the best eggplant parmesan I’ve ever had. My neighbor left town and took her untrained anxious and howling dog along, and I enjoyed having a week and a half of quiet.

    10. Pamela Adams*

      We finally closed our storage. Naturally, the next step will be finding out how much of this stuff we don’t need, but it wa nice to not see the money going out.

    11. carcinization*

      Going to a coffee shop the next town over today to have their special drink of the month, which is “Float the River Styx:” Espresso in a Chai Latte with Java Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream, topped with Whipped Cream, Chocolate Inner Tube, Almond Bark Skeleton & Dark Chocolate Marzipan Styx. (It’s kind of a gothy coffee shop in a town where people sometimes go to “float the river.”)

    12. Voluptuousfire*

      I recently started a retail gig at my favorite store and I ended up taking a shift for a sick coworker.

      I had been feeling awful earlier that day mentally—I had been up since 4:30 that morning and was just anxious AF and irritable.

      I went in and ended up having a great shift. I got to know my colleagues a bit and it was a very relaxed day. It was a tonic being around people, which I’m realizing after WFH from the last 4 years.

  29. Edinburgh Visitor*

    Hello, Scotland residents and experienced travellers! What do you like best about Edinburgh? What day trips are good with public transport? What food do you enjoy there? Would be happy to hear your recommendations! Planning a holiday there in the future and enjoying myself researching it currently.

        1. Claire*

          If August, be prepared to book your accommodation WAY in advance, and for everything to cost considerably more. And for tourist attractions to be very crowded, public transport to be very crowded, and the city to be very crowded. I live here, and I basically try to avoid being anywhere in town in August because it is too exhausting and too busy. If you actively want to do the Fringe, and can walk, queue, afford the tickets, and are willing to be on the go all day, it’s great. Otherwise, come another time ;)

          For places to visit: the castle, obviously. The Botanics (Royal Botanic Gardens). A walking tour of the Royal Mile is great if your mobility is up to it (not great for accessibility but if you can walk uphill, climb stairs etc it’s fascinating). If on the Royal Mile, try to find Dunbar’s Close Garden for a quiet, cool retreat from the city. Also the fudge shop near there – I recommend the Highland Cream fudge. If you like ghost tours there are tons, but I recommend the South Bridge Vaults over Mary King’s Close (typically less busy, more interesting, less overdone for the tourists). Spend an afternoon in Portobello – walk along the prom and the beach, have pizza at Civerino’s, get some ice cream at Oscar’s. The National Museum of Scotland is fantastic and has something for everyone, a great (but busy!) cafe, and is totally free. Go up to the roof terrace for a fantastic view of the city.

          For food, try Mimi’s for brunch or coffee and cake, Tapa for tapa, Alandas on Forrest Road for gelato, l’Alba d’Oro for fish and chips, ESF st Omni for street food options, and Makars Mash Bar on the Mound for traditional Scottish fare. If you want fancy, I love The Witchery by the Castle for more traditional Scottish cuisine, and Tattu for contemporary Chinese food.

          Day tours – companies like Rabbie’s do great options, in small groups with a guide. Stirling and the Trossachs is lovely, as is Loch Lomond. Stirling is definitely doable by public transport, the train takes about 50 mins from Edinburgh Waverley, but for seeing more of the country I do recommend the guided tours. A bit further afield, it’s possible to do Alnwick Castle as a day trip – it’s used in the Harry Potter films, Downton Abbey etc and is a wonderful place to visit with a delightful poison garden! Also recommend Barter Books if you do go to Alnwick – an absolute delight of a secondhand book shop.

          1. Edinburgh Visitor*

            Wow, thank you so much! There‘s lots of things that sound exciting to me.

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

      If you don’t mind going up to Inverness and maybe staying overnight there so that you don’t have to do too much train travel all at once, you can take the train from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh and then hop over to the Isle of Skye for a very pretty day trip. The rail trip to Inverness is very pretty, and the rail trip from Inverness to Kyle of Localsh is the most beautiful railway journey I have ever taken. Skye is lovely also. Maybe arrange to rent a car on Skye and drive around before the railway trip back.

    2. Chris in Scotland*

      If you enjoy walking you could take the train to join the Fife Coastal Path and walk to another station. Aberdour, Burntisland and Kinghorn stations are all fairly close to the path and this is a good region to see seals and sea birds.

    3. Not my usual name*

      The National Museum of Scotland is one of my favourite places. Go out on the roof terrace for amazing views. And it’s free!

      The castle (unless you are an Historic Scotland/English Heritage member and get free entry) is expensive, busy, café is meh, and the interpretation is very old fashioned. Get the train to Stirling and visit that one instead if you want a large castle fix.

    4. Bob Howard*

      The Royal Yacht Britannia is a bus ride from the city center, and well worth visiting.
      Edinburgh Castle
      Arthur’s Seat
      Calton Hill

      There is a book: Only In Edinburgh: A Guide to Unique Locations, Hidden Corners & Unusual Objects by Duncan J. D. Smith which has a lot of interesting ideas. Disclosure: It was written by someone on my street.

    5. One little comment*

      I was there a couple months ago and have two suggestions:
      I did a self-guided tour of the main sites around the Castle, and that was all very cool, but then at the suggestion of a friend I made along the way I walked to a neighborhood called Dean Village, and it’s just the wildest, most unexpected little place! The architecture – both there and as I wandered around on my way there – is crazy! You’ll think you’re someplace else entirely. I loved it!
      I last-minute booked an all-day bus tour up through the Scottish Highlands that went as far north as the southern tip of Loch Ness. (There was a Nessie boat tour but I went for a hike instead.) It was fascinating, and the scenery was AMAZING! There are many options but I chose a tour group called “The Hairy Coo” and our guide was both hilarious and SO informative.
      Edinburgh was wonderful – I hope you enjoy it!

  30. CityMouse*

    Bag recommendations?

    My purse is looking pretty worn out. I’m looking for a crossbody purse. I need a decent size (able to hold sunscreen and kid stuff) but not quite messenger bag size. Something durable but still professional? People here seem to be a faunt of knowledge on this kind of thing.

    1. curly sue*

      I love my 1990s Coach Willis – it’s big enough to hold all kinds of things (up to and including a book, but not quite big enough for a tablet), and looks professional. I got it used around ten years ago for about $50, dunked and washed it, refurbished it with leather conditioner, etc, and it’s held up very nicely.

      I haven’t looked at prices recently so I don’t know what they go for on ebay these days, but if you have any nice thrift stores near you it may be worth a look. Most Coach from the 1990s and earlier should be a nice solid leather that can be resuscitated with a little bit of work.

    2. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Depends, of course, on how much you want to spend. I have several Kate Spade crossbody bags in various materials and in various sizes. They look professional and the largest is big enough for sunscreen and snacks (not sure how much kid stuff you need to carry). They wear well and come in fun colors.

    3. CTT*

      Rothy’s has crossbody bags of various sizes, and I have been very happy with the tote bag I got from them. It’s been three+ years of taking it to work every day and it still looks as good as it did when I bought it. I think I’ve joked on here before that the qualities I don’t like in Rothy’s shoes (stiff and unyielding!) make for great purses for me.

    4. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      I love my Patricia Nash bag-it’s just so beautiful. I’d recommend going to a Dillards, if you have one, to find a base style/size that you like, then you can find it in the pattern you like online if necessary. I ended up getting mine off Ebay. My mom had a leather purse from them that lasted her a decade of daily use.

      Different brands/designers have different looks, so picking one you like is as much a matter of taste as anything else.

    5. Angstrom*

      I’ve had good luck at a local independent leather goods store that makes their own bags. Well made, reasonably priced, and they’ll do custom work. Might be worth seeing if there’s something like that near you.

    6. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      I have 2 Coach Chaise crossbody bags. They are 2-3 years old and the style has changed sine then but you can find them on PoshMark or other resale sites. Full leather so they hold up well. Just big enough for everyday essentials – plus a little extra to throw in a paperback, small tablet, etc when needed.

    7. Arts Akimbo*

      There’s a brand I like called Sherpani. They have great cross-body bags which are nicely professional while still standing up to the outdoors. They also have roomy waist bags that are convertible to cross-body.

      1. Imtheone*

        Second Sherpani. I have a cross body bag that has handles and that can convert to a backpack. Roomy but light, and doesn’t overwhelm me as a short person.

    8. BookMom*

      Love my Healthy Back bag. I got mine at a luggage store but they also sell online. Two relatives have purchased since seeing mine.

    9. Elle*

      I love Baggalini bags for this purpose. Very durable, lots of pockets, looks pretty good with a lot of styles and colors.

    10. Constance Lloyd*

      I really love Portland Leather. I have the toaster and the circle crossbody and they hold a ton for their size. They run sales pretty frequently, but I chose “almost perfect” bags which were already discounted due to incredibly minor imperfections.

      1. Courageous cat*

        Yup, this is what I use. I’ve had their leather tote backpack for years and it’s held up perfectly. I got the “almost perfect” one so it was much cheaper, and you can’t find any flaws anyway – seemed perfect to me

    11. goddessoftransitory*

      I use a tough, durable canvas bag that is supposed to be a laptop tote, but I use that section for books so they keep in one place and don’t get beat up. It’s got lots of little sections but is light for its size. I just looked and there’s no brand name on it, darn it.

    12. Anna Crusis*

      I bought my first Tom Bihn bag 15 years ago, got another one a year or so after that because I wanted a more “formal” black one (LOL), and they are my daily bags. They hold a surprising amount, still look good after all this time (the fabric is very durable!!), are made in the US, and they are hand washable. I have a couple of early 1990s coach cross body bags, but they are heavier and don’t hold as much. I save them for when I need to look a little more polished.

    13. carcinization*

      I buy used Fossil bags on Poshmark; they’re too expensive for me new but I’ve had good luck purchasing used ones there. I’ve been using the most recent one for a year already.

  31. Pianogirl*

    Hi all – I am in the process of finding a new PCP as my old doctor no longer accepts my insurance. I saw a doctor the other day who looked over my medication list and immediately wanted to start changing things around. This included one that has controlled a long-standing issue for over 30 years.
    I am not in a good mental place due to a rough couple of years (cancer battle, death in the family) and just want my life to stabilize. I did not make a follow up appointment but will be seeing someone else in the office next week. If it comes up, should I just say the other doctor was just not “a good fit”? Thanks.

    1. Hanani*

      I’m sorry you had that experience.

      The good news is that it’s unlikely anyone at the office is going to ask about it. They just don’t have the bandwidth to chase down something like that, usually. And if someone does ask, primary care folks above all should know how important it is for you to trust and click with your PCP – important in all areas of medicine, but especially that context. If anyone does happen to react badly or push you on it, know that’s their problem, not yours.

      Possible phrases if it comes up:
      “I’m seeing a couple of doctors to see who is a good fit.”
      “We just didn’t click.”
      Or your own “OtherDoc wasn’t a good fit for me.”

      Words like “just” and “for me” have a softening effect, if you’re feeling nervous about offending someone.

    2. Not A Manager*

      One thing you might consider, if you haven’t done it already, is telling the doctor clearly that unless there’s an immediate health threat from your current meds, you’d prefer not to change your meds at this time. “I’m absolutely open to revisiting this in the future, but right now I just want get stabilized in a good medical practice and establish ongoing care. These meds have worked for me so far and right now I’m not in a place to consider changing them.”

      Doctors can be obnoxious control freaks, and if the doc pushes back then absolutely move on. But I find that sometimes my diffidence with medical professionals in particular can get in the way of actually stating what I want. Even with ones who appear brusque, I’ve had reasonably good results by being polite but straightforward.

    3. Pianogirl*

      I actually explained to the doctor that I was happy with the status quo and felt that I needed time to get my mental self together before changing anything. Strangely enough, he complimented me on being so knowledgeable and prepared, but then basically said he knew better. Just a bad experience all around.
      Thank you for confirming my thoughts.

      1. Indolent Libertine*

        Ooh, yeah, I’d nope right on outta there. It’s your body and your life and your decisions. It would be one thing if you had gone in there with a list of complaints that were obvious red flags for “This is a known problem with long term use of this medication and it’s urgent to make a change,” but that’s not what you’ve described at all. And it’s not unreasonable for the doc to say “This is the current standard of care, and I really want to plan to transition you off these meds and onto those,” but he has to be willing to accept your “not right now” or he’s not the doc you need.

      2. Dragon Hoard*

        I think your gut was right and there is no need to see this particular doctor again.

        I’ve come to consider it a major red flag if a doctor comes in and gets an attitude with me about my current management plan and want to change things immediately in the first visit. If my medications need to be changed it needs to be because of a new consideration for how it impacts me, not just because this particular doctor likes to do things their own way. Every doctor I’ve ever had who started off that way ended up doing a terrible job of managing my condition because their ego is in the driver’s seat, not my wellbeing. A good doctor seeing a new patient with a concerning medication plan will work with them to figure out what to do next.

        The good news is that no future doctor is going to care why you’re not seeing that doctor again. They might ask just so they know if they’re your primary provider or not, so they know how to manage your case. You can be as vague or as specific as you like. If you want to, you can tell the new doctor exactly what you did not like about your visit with the last one, and they will more than likely know exactly what habits of that other doctor you are describing. The providers in an office are coworkers, not BFFs, so you don’t need to worry that the new doctor will be offended on the other one’s behalf.

    4. Lizy*

      I’m 100% in favor of honesty to the point of bluntness when it comes to medical providers. You want someone that you’re comfortable with- I mean, you’ll be talking to them about all kinds of intimate stuff. I’d just flat out say that you saw a doc and they immediately wanted to change a bunch of meds and that turned you off. How the potential new doc responds is going to tell you a lot about their methods and practices!

    5. Doctor is In*

      Did the doctor clearly explain why they wanted to make the change? Occasionally a new patient comes in who is taking a medication that is contraindicated in their case, and it would be dangerous to continue it. Best wishes to find someone compatible.

      1. Observer*

        This is a good point. It’s possible that your old doctor had gotten into a rut, and there are better medications for what you are dealing with.

        It’s worth telling the doctor your concerns and ask why they want to make these changes. Their response will be really important.

        You might find that they have a good point, and it’s worth working with them or that they actually listen to you and respectfully agree to back off, in which case that’s all to the good. You may find that their response is not really acceptable, but not terrible, in which case another doctor in the practice makes sense. But you may also find their response to be bad enough that it may be worth finding another practice altogether, as may not want to ever have to deal with this doctor again. And that’s hard to avoid completely if they are part of your practice.

  32. Peanut Hamper*

    I am confused by how shoes are supposed to work.

    I have extremely flat feet. (Seriously—a podiatrist once said I have the flattest feet he’s ever seen.) I’m basically a frog.

    My question is: what kind of arch support should I get? Medium? None? High? My cousin got orthotics for his flat feet when he was a kid and his arches came back (supposedly). I’ve given up hope of that.

    I like to walk (15-20k steps a day when the weather is cooperative) and it seems like my feet hurt no matter what shoes, insoles, or arch supports I wear. My feet basically hurt all day long and I really just want to go for a walk without it being a miserable experience. Any suggestions? Anything that’s worked for you?

    1. Can't Sit Still*

      If you can’t consult with a podiatrist or orthotist or can’t get an appointment for a while, go to a running shoe store that offers professional shoe fittings and have them fit you.

      1. Bluebell*

        Definitely this. There’s a running store near me and my PCP sent me there when my feet were a little troublesome but I wasn’t at needs a podiatrist level.

      2. Sweet 'N Low*

        I’m in the same boat as you: super flat feet, basically all shoes hurt my feet until I figured out what worked. No arch support. None, nada, absolutely flat. You don’t have an arch to support, so any arch support in your shoes is just going to dig into the soles of your feet and make them hurt like crazy. For me, shoes with arch support feel like I’m standing with a PVC pipe in the middle of my feet.

        As far as shoe recommendations, I LOVE barefoot shoes. Not the weird shoes with toes, but shoes that are designed completely flat and with a 0-drop heel (i.e. the heel and toe sit at the same level). Xero is a great brand that makes nothing but barefoot/minimalist shoes. Merrell has some nice barefoot running shoes, but my feet don’t get along with all of their shoes. Other shoes that cooperate well with my feet: Asics Gel Resolution 8, Danner Trail 2650, and any kind of flat canvas shoes (Converse, Vans, Merrell actually had some canvas shoes I really like, etc).

        (Disclaimer that I’m not an expert and this is my personal experience)

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          Thank you! I think this is what I am looking for. I have some Converse I bought but never wore that I need to dig out and give a try.

        2. Mostly Managing*

          Another zero drop no support shoe fan here!
          It’s been about 15 years since I changed, and other than a couple pairs of winter boots none of my shoes have any support. (Winter boots with zero drop and no arch support are just crazy expensive and hard to find!)
          Softstar shoes are another brand, not on your list. Not cheap, but the sandals I got from there are on their 6th summer and still look nearly new!

      3. PTShoeEval*

        or you can get a full shoe evaluation from a physical therapist- in my experience they’re much more comprehensive than even the running shops and they give you shoe characteristics you can apply to any shoe/brand whereas the running shops tend to focus only on what they sell.

      1. Clisby*

        This made a big difference for my son. He had the opposite problem – really high arches that ordinary shoes don’t support properly. I hadn’t even thought of that until he got a soft tissue injury playing soccer and the physical therapy people recommended it.

    2. Loreli*

      I was told by a doctor years ago there’s a difference between “flat feet” and “very low arches”. I have very low arches. My all-time favorite and most comfortable footwear are Birkenstocks. For “regular” shoes I use Dr Scholl’s inserts. Sneakers are challenging to purchase.

      Try a podiatrist.

    3. FlatFeeterUnite*

      *waves* I have completely flat feet. Ditto on the comments from doctors. But I’ve also been told that’s just the way my feet are – is there a specific reason you think you need artificial arches? I was told they can do more harm than good if your feet don’t already have some arch to them? I’d definitely talk to an orthopedist, podiatrist, or PT about it before buying stuff that may cause harm.

    4. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      The site barking dog shoes dot com is pretty useful, it has a specific section on flat feet too. I learned a lot about why I was choosing the wrong sort of shoes, for sure. I think I first heard about the site from someone on AAM several years ago.

    5. Kabocha Mocha*

      Have you tried wearing flat shoes with no arch support? Arch support has always made my feet hurt. The more supportive the show claimed to be, the worse I felt. So I just stopped. Now I wear barefoot shoes which are probably not right for everyone but might be worth looking into if you feel like most shoes make your feet hurt.

  33. Hard drive restoration*

    Part of my decluttering involves getting a few failed PCs/loose hard drives restored. (I finally got my household on board with a RAID array, but before that, mistakes were made…) It’s all sentimental digital photos, so nothing crucial for daily living, but I’d hate to lose them.

    Only, now that I’m motivated and searching, drive restoration doesn’t seem to be a thing anymore. There were a few little independent shops nearby, but they’re all out of business. We no longer have a Best Buy/Geek Squad in this area. Is this something I can find on a chore/handyman app? It feels a little oogy to trust a rando with my computers… even though they’re outdated, I’d bet there is at least some financial info in there.

    1. Don'tbeadork*

      Hmm. If you’re uncomfortable trusting someone else (and I get that, really) I wonder if it’s a thing you can learn to do yourself. Have you tried looking to see if there’s some sort of step-by-step or a tutorial somewhere?

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        I’ve used Acronis software to revitalize a failed hard drive in the past. In my case, it was a laptop that stopped booting. I had to buy a hard drive enclosure, but it worked. This was still the era of laptops you can open relatively easily and the enclosure was $30 ish from newgg IIRC. Good luck!

    2. David*

      By “restored”, are you talking about getting back files that were deleted? You might know this, but in case you (or any interested readers) don’t, when a file is deleted, the only thing that really gets deleted (at least right away) is the metadata indicating that a certain part of the hard drive is being used to store that file. The actual content of the file stays there until something overwrites it. In that situation – files were deleted but the hard drive hasn’t been used much afterwards and was not physically damaged – yeah, this is something you could do yourself, or get a tech-y friend to do for you, or as you said you could probably find someone on an app who could do it (but I agree with your reluctance to hand it over to a stranger when financial info is involved). As another commenter said, there’s software that can help you out here.

      On the other hand, if you’re talking about restoring the data from a hard drive that has been fully overwritten or physically damaged in a way that gives errors when you just pop it into a computer… then no, I absolutely would not trust that task to a random person. It’s a delicate operation that requires specialized equipment: they have to disassemble the drive in a clean room and run a very sensitive magnetic probe over the platters. It’s also going to be expensive; I found some random internet comments suggesting two to three thousand dollars per drive. If you’re really motivated and have the money to spend on professional data recovery (which is the term I’ve usually heard for this sort of thing), then I’d suggest doing some research on your own to identify which companies do this kind of work and have a good reputation. You’d probably wind up shipping the drive to them, or dropping it off if you happen to live near their processing facility, and having them examine the drive and give you a quote before doing the actual recovery. Then they would probably put any recovered data they get up on a website for you to download and then they can securely dispose of the drive for you (or I guess they could send it back if you want it for some reason). From my own brief research I found some companies like Drive Savers, CBL, OnTrack, and SalvageData, but I can’t vouch for them or anything, those are just some of the names that seemed to frequently show up on the review sites I looked at.

    3. Nervous Nellie*

      If you put ‘restore hard drive’ into the search at YouTube, it will give a drop down list of finer permutations. Watching a few of these videos might empower you to DIY and keep whatever is on them from other’s eyes. Worth a shot!

  34. costello music*

    I’m looking for books that heavily feature dragons. I’m talking like they either are the characters or work with the human-adjacent ones.

    Some examples that I’ve read:
    Eragon, really love.
    Wings of Fire, hated
    Fire Within, liked it when I was a kid
    Fourth Wing, am reading, is okay so far.

    I have the Anne Mcaffrey book on hold and Robin mmckinley too. Any suggestions? Preferably adult but open to all ages. Many thanks!!

      1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

        Came here to say this! One of the best books I’ve ever read.

        1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          That book was prompted by Jo thinking someone had said “the problem with Trollope is that he doesn’t understand dragons,” and deciding that the Trollope novel in question would make more sense if the reader didn’t have to believe it was about humans.

      1. Hanani*

        Seconding Temeraire!

        A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan is too human-centered for your criteria, but is very good.

        Enchanted Forest Chronicles is for younger readers, but a delight.

        Rebecca Kim Wells’ Shatter the Sky series wasn’t my favorite, but fits your criteria. YA, and leans into YA love triangles a bit much for my taste.

        1. Ella Kate (UK)*

          The “A Natural History of Dragons” series is EXCELLENT. But yeah I’d agree too human-focused.

          I cannot second hard enough Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C Wrede. I still re-read them now, they’re just *that good*.

      2. costello music*

        I’ve tried that one like 3 times and can never get more than a chapter. I don’t know why! I liked Uprooted. But it’s been a couple years since my last attempt, maybe now is the time lol

        1. Roland*

          It’s written in a very specific style – I absolutely loved it from page 1 ine of my fave series, but if it doesn’t do it for you, it doesn’t do it for you. Many books in the sea :)

        2. GraceC*

          It is deliberately written as a sort of pastiche of real regency novels – it’s a style I enjoy (one of my favourites is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which is also a fantasy regency pastiche) but other people can’t stand it

          If you do manage to get past the style, it definitely fits the “dragons are more of the main characters than most of the humans are” request, and Temeraire himself is delightful

        3. Seahorse*

          I had that trouble too! I loved all of Naomi Novik’s other books, and the plot summary seemed like something I should really get into, but it just wasn’t clicking. Eventually I tried the audiobook version, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole series that way.

    1. Jen Erik*

      Jo Walton’s ‘Tooth and Claw’ is fun. (Trollope-ish but all the characters are dragons.) Also Novik’s ‘Temeraire’ series – alternative history of the Napoleonic Wars where there are fighting dragons – though I stopped reading them after one had a bit of a meh ending.

    2. You had me at dragons*

      They’re for young readers but Susan Fletcher’s The Dragon Chronicles were my favorite books growing up. Not sure how they’ve aged but I remember them being beautiful and would reread them as an adult

    3. Llellayena*

      Song in the Silence by Elizabeth Kerner (first of a trilogy)
      Anne McCaffrey’s books are great, but which one do you have on hold? She’s got dozens. I’d recommend starting with Dragonflight before branching out because it won’t rely on you already knowing things from other books.

      1. allathian*

        Seconding Song in the Silence and sequels. Great books.

        I’ve been an Anne McCaffrey fan since I was about 14, but the Pern books especially have aged rather badly. AMC was hailed for writing gay characters in the first place, but as they only ride the lower-status green and blue dragons, she’s essentially saying that gays don’t have what it takes to be a leader. Absolutely no mention of lesbians, either. Arranged or even forced marriages are common, as is non-consensual sex. There’s also some slut shaming (Kylara’s fate comes to mind).

        The older I get, the more objectionable I find the world as she wrote it. I’ve read some great Pern fanfic, though, and some of it avoids the worst excesses while preserving the charm of AMC’s world.

    4. Fellow Traveller*

      Definitely more kids’s lit, but I loved reading the How To Train Your Dragon series with my kids. The audiobooks with David Tennant are fabulous too.

    5. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      Zen Cho has a marvelous collection of short stories called Spirits Abroad that has at least 2 dragon-focused stories (they’re all about supernatural creatures of various ilks): “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” and “Prudence and the Dragon”.

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t know if this is quite what you’re after, but I do love an excuse to recommend it – Matthew Reilly’s “The Great Zoo of China” is sort of a Jurassic Park homage, only with dragons instead of dinosaurs. (It is an homage, not a ripoff, I promise.) Most of them are on their own “side” of the conflict, but some do team up with the humans :)

      1. KatEnigma*

        Don Callander has a Dragon Companion series

        Mercedes Lackey has two series in the same world, the first beginning with Joust.

        And I particularly like One Good Knight from her Five Hundred Kingdoms series for Harlequin, if you can skip over the obligatory poorly written sex scenes. Those are legitimately terrible, not the content but the writing. They stopped making her include sex scenes in book 3-6, but this is book 2. But otherwise it’s a great book with a sarcastic dragon. It’s my favorite dragon book, even including Pern.

        I also like Gordon R Dickson’s Dragon Knight series.

    7. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill has women breaking out of their 1950s boxes by turning into dragons. Definitely a feminist vibe, if that’s a plus or minus for you.

    8. The OG Sleepless*

      There was a YA series by Jane Yolen about dragons that I think was called Heart’s Blood. I read a couple of them in high school, but back then I was never able to chase down the rest of the series.

    9. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      E. E. Knight’s series that starts with Novice Dragoneer. The main character is human, but dragons are important characters too. Very well written book-its got that fantasy feel, but also has very realistic character and plot.

    10. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Check out Rachel Hartman – She has a whole series involving dragons turning into humans, etc

      1. AGD*

        Seconding! They’re fascinating.

        Also, Stephanie Burgiss’s middle grade books about dragons are hard to find, but charming and sophisticated.

    11. Nicki Name*

      The Earthsea series has a bigger and bigger role for dragons as it progresses. Ultimately they turn out to be a crucial part of why that world is the way it is.

    12. acmx*

      This is my favorite type of book lol :)

      E.E.Knight (mentioned by Elspeth) first wrote Age of Fire series starting with Dragon Champion. The characters are all dragons and I don’t think the first 3 even have humans.

      A Book Dragon by Dunn Kushner (old book)
      Burn Patrick Ness
      Fire & Heist Sarah Beth Durst
      Guards, Guards Terry Pratchett
      Hearthstone series Elle Katherine White (billed as Pride and Prejudice which I’ve never read!)
      Joust Mercedes Lackey (decent)

      The series that got me started as a teen were the Dragonlance chronicles by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman (specifically first series). Tor.com has a readalong on the site. Not sure if the dragons will feature heavily enough for you.

      If you want more, I probably can fins more in my Goodreads later; my phone is dying and will need to come back when I can get it charged.

      1. DarcyRidesDragons*

        Elle Katherine White is a trilogy – the first book is very much Pride & Prejudice with dragons, but the other two diverge. They’re delightful.

    13. AlabamaAnonymous*

      The Dragonback series by Timothy Zahn is one of my favorites! It’s scifi, not fantasy, and the dragon is actually an alien, but thoroughly enjoyable.

    14. Part time lab tech*

      Robin Hobb – set of of 4? trilogies with one or two trilogies being more dragon centric. Epic world building.

      1. Maryn*

        I second the Robin Hobb suggestion. You want the Rain Wild Chronicles trilogy, which starts with The Dragon Keeper. This is not my favorite genre, but I loved these and read several of her other trilogies set in the same world because of it.

    15. Random Academic Cog*

      Naomi Novik’s Temeraire books
      Lindsay Buroker’s Dragon Blood and Heritage of Power series
      Robin Hobbs’ Farseer arc (the dragons don’t come heavily into the picture until the second trilogy, but they’re central to the overall storyline).
      Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea

    16. DragonsGalore*

      Tooth and Claw is one of my favorite books of all time, full stop. It’s fantasy of manners with dragons.

      Temaire was okay, but it got a bit one note as it went on (and on) IMO.

      The Rachel Hartman series noted above starts with Seraphina and it’s fabulous.

      The Elle Katherine White book noted above is actually a trilogy. The first book is very specifically Pride and Prejudice with dragons but it diverges after that. It’s great.

      I haven’t seen any of the following mentioned (sorry if I missed them):

      Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe by James Ward (YA with live dragon ships sailing the sea, pays homage to Horatio Hornblower) is great. I didn’t like the sequel as much.

      A Tale of Two Castles/Stolen Magic by Gail Carson Levine – mysteries featuring a dragon detective and his human assistant (the protagonist). Definitely an older juvie or younger YA but they’re awesome.

      Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is sort of dragon-adjacent (I don’t think of it as a dragon book but it appears in lists of dragon books) but is fantastic alternate magical Regency.

      If you’re looking for straight romance, look for GA Aiken (Shelley Laurenston) – she has a long series starting with Dragon Actually.

      I know I’m forgetting a ton more. I’m never good at these off the top of my head lists.

    17. Silence*

      Aj sherwood has a series with dragons starting with origin.
      Honor raconteur has the dragons Mage but may be more human focused then you want

    18. Jay (no, the other one)*

      For a slightly bent (OK, very bent) and highly amusing take on dragons, check out John Scalzi’s Kaiju Preservation Society.

  35. Storage Unit?*

    I asked on Tuesday for advice on cleaning out my storage unit and I’ve made some progress. I’ve decided I’m spending way too much to store what is mostly junk. I found less expensive storage locker nearby, where I can store the things I truly want to keep. It does require climbing a ladder to get to it, so it’s definitely for long-term storage! The bonus is this storage facility has much better climate control, so I can move safely move some seasonal stuff out of my condo into this storage unit. It only costs $23/month, which is totally reasonable compared to the $132/month I’m spending now.

    For great-grandma’s table, I went and took detailed pictures for a restoration quote. It will cost between $1,500 – $2,000 for restoration. Ouch! So I’ve given myself until the end of the month to decide if I want to have it restored, bring it home un-restored and toss a huge tablecloth over it, or just get rid of it. I was trying to remember how I inherited it, because I had forgotten, and now, getting rid of it seems like a valid option. It has some really negative associations for me and now that I’ve remembered them, I’m not likely to forget again. OTOH, it’s solid wood and not something I’d be able to replace for the cost of restoring this one. It’s that mid-century modern orangey tan wood color that was so common then. Maybe if I have it stained darker, it will change the look enough to remove the bad associations? I’ll accept any advice on this you care to offer.

    1. Not A Manager*

      I’d ditch the table. The reason people keep heirlooms is usually for sentimental reasons, not financial ones. In this case, you’d actively have to spend money just to erase the bad associations. In the end, you’d have a table that was no longer authentic mid-century, and at best you’d feel neutral about it. (Unless you think changing it would be freeing and cathartic in a way that ditching it would not be.)

      Before you decide that you couldn’t get a different wood table, take a look online. I’m not sure what you’re looking for, but Room & Board has some solid wood extension tables in that price range. Design Within Reach is spendy, but they’ve changed ownership structure recently and now they’re constantly having sales up to 20% off. I’d google “mid century style solid wood table” and just get a sense of what’s out there. You can always wait to place an order until there’s a good sale on.

      Also, if you spend all this money to restore the table, you’ll still have a used table. Have you checked out what you could purchase at antique and resale stores near you?

    2. Callie*

      I’m sure you can find another solid wood table that someone else inherited from their grandmother and will fit in your budget but without the weight of the negative associations.
      I’m all for restoring and keeping heirlooms in most cases, but a dining room table is for the joy of gathering. Don’t give the negative memories a seat at the table.

    3. WellRed*

      Get rid of it. It sounds like don’t even care for it and if has any value to someone, staining it will devalue it. I’m confident if you need a wooden table you can find one for far less money.

    4. Generic Name*

      I give you full permission to get rid of a large object that has negative associations and costs money to keep (either in storage or to use). I see literally no benefit to having it.

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

        Yup, I’m team dump-the-bad-associations-table too! The money you save from not having to store this large item that is wearing you down (and the other stuff you don’t really want or need anymore) will eventually add up, and you can use part of that savings to buy a table (or anything else that you want) that you love and that has no bad vibes.

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

          P.S. Great job making progress on clearing your storage! That’s huge!

    5. Don'tbeadork*

      If it has huge negative associations and it’s not a piece that really fits in your life, just off-load it. It’d be different if it was the bearer of incredibly happy memories, but that doesn’t sound like the case.

    6. Samwise*

      You can sell the table on Facebook marketplace. Price it cheap, especially if you want be delivering it, and it will sell quickly. Use the $ to pay for the storage unit! Or treat yourself to a nice meal, or a fancy tablecloth!

    7. goddessoftransitory*

      Honestly, I’d ditch it. It would take so much work and cash to turn it into something you really want and it sounds like it’s got a lot of invisible baggage piled on it.

      Now if you specifically want/need a solid wood table, that’s one thing. But if it’s a combination of “heirloom guilt” and “but someday I may want…” it’s okay to stop paying its rent.

      1. Observer*

        Even if they really want a solid wood table of that size, they can do better by getting rid of it and buying something.

    8. The teapots are on fire*

      Ditch it and later you can buy someone else’s emotional baggage table on Craigslist that won’t make you sad.

    9. Morning reader*

      I agree with others who say restoration or even keeping the table is not worth it. However I think it could be useful if you can change the look of it with a tablecloth, and use it until you find a good home for it (donation or selling.)

      I am confused on one point though. You say mid-century modern but it was your great-grandmother’s. Are you young or your family has short generations? My parents’ furniture was mid-century modern, purchased when they married in the 1950s. Even if you’re a generation younger than me, your great-grandmother would likely have had furniture from the 1920s or 30s. Or maybe she bought it when she was older already?
      Anyway, I am curious if you have had this table appraised. based on an estimated value of about $1000 for a solid oak, early 20th century table in my family, I’d be very surprised if it was worth the quoted cost of restoration. Mid-century modern is a more popular style right now than the older darker styles so you might be able to get a good price for it. Sell it and get something new with the money. Sit at new table and toast your ancestors, if you are so inclined. You can honor them by moving on, and living your life, rather than keeping their stuff.

      1. Samwise*

        People buy furniture from different eras. I’m a boomer. I have a dining set from the 1930s, which I bought at a flea market

        1. Morning reader*

          Oh, just a bit of curiosity on my part. I am aware people can buy furniture later in life. As described, the impression is that the table is a family heirloom. We boomers could be considered “mid-century modern” ourselves so I wondered how furniture around 70 years old acquired “heirloom” status. A detail not important to the outcome, perhaps, but I would give more weight to keeping furniture that was built by an ancestor over 100 years ago, or came over with one of them from the old country, wherever that was. A 1960 table bought by grandma at a 1985 flea market? Not so much.

      2. Storage Unit?*

        The table is actually colonial style, although it would be post-WWII vintage. That side of the family lives in the mountains, in a very rural location, and from the 30s through the 60s, there were several house fires that weren’t discovered until the house had burned down to the foundation, resulting in a total loss each time. I believe this table was from an addition to the house built a decade or so before my great-grandfather’s death in the 60s. The rest of my great-grandparent’s belongings were destroyed in a wildfire a few years ago when basically, that entire side of the family ended up losing their homes. Between house fires, wildfires, floods, and an earthquake, my family doesn’t really have much left in the way of heirlooms.

        I’m mostly attached to it because it belonged to my great-grandmother. We had a great relationship but the family wouldn’t let me have anything of hers after she died, because I was “too young” to take good care of it (I was 23 at the time.) That is, I’m not supposed to have the table, either. So, I would like to have the table as a good memory of my great-grandmother, but, while she would want me to keep it if I liked it, she was also a practical soul who wouldn’t want me to hang onto it if it made me feel bad. I’m a tactile person, and I’ve tried to memorialize her in less tangible ways, but this table is one of the last remaining objects on earth that she also touched and cared about, which gives it a deeper meaning to me. I think I’m going to need therapy over this table, ffs.

        1. Morning reader*

          Oh that’s a lovely story! (other than the frequent disasters, of course.) Based on all that, I would lean toward keeping the table, if it fits your space and uses for a table. Change up the look of it with table clothes or new fixtures, if it has hardware anywhere. If you decide not to sell and you’re not concerned with resale value, you could paint the legs. The trick would be to change it enough to make it useful and get rid of negative associations, but unchanged enough to give you good g-gma vibes.
          Thanks again for the back story! I can be sentimental about old stuff.

    10. Observer*

      OTOH, it’s solid wood and not something I’d be able to replace for the cost of restoring this one.

      I’m pretty sure you are wrong about that. I just did a gut check via Google, and I’m seeing more than one nice sized wood table in your price range.

      And on the other hand, if you can’t actually use the thing, then it doesn’t matter what a “good buy” it is – it’s still something you will pay for that you can’t use.

      Based on what you say, see if you can sell it. If a table that size if of use to you, that that money + the $1,500-2,00o you would have spent on it and get something that you actually LIKE and that doesn’t have the negative associations. If it’s not useful now, but you expect to need / want one in the next couple of years, put the money aside. There isn’t any really good reason, based on what you say, to hang on to this thing.

  36. Arts Akimbo*

    There’s a brand I like called Sherpani. They have great cross-body bags which are nicely professional while still standing up to the outdoors. They also have roomy waist bags that are convertible to cross-body.

  37. Rara Avis*

    We have termites in the garage of our rented house. (It’s not super-old — built in the 60’s or 70’s.). Our landlord knows, but doesn’t seem interested in doing anything about it. The droppings are annoying, but having to leave to have the house tented would be a pain too. Our landlord is a good guy, but clearly wants this rental thing to be low-maintenance. Would you push him on the termite issue, or let it ride? I’m kind of “his house/his choice”, but should I be worrying about the garage roof collapsing?

    1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Tenting isn’t the only option. An exterminator can bury termite baits around the house.

      1. sagewhiz*

        Sometimes it is, like here in Floriduh. Dry wood termites will not be eliminated by bait.

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      Uh, no, a person doesn’t get to rent a termite riddled property and then try to be The Dude Abides when it comes to maintenance. You are paying him money to live here and deserve (and legally can demand) a safe and pest free space. Push him on this!

    3. juneybug*

      There is some risk to humans as folks can be allergic or can aggravate asthma. Plus, they occasionally bite.
      In many states, the landlord has to pay for equivalent hotel compared to your rental. High end rental = nice hotel. Lower end rental = lower end hotel.
      Some landlords will try to pro-rate your rent for the costs of you moving out for few days. Do the math and research local hotels to ensure that would cover temporary lodging.
      Research tenant rights for your state to see what is covered (pun intended) and reimbursement for the costs you occur while they are being responsible for their property. Good luck!

    1. Double A*

      What if all the AAM “hypothetical” llama questions are actually real questions, it’s just this llama business is extremely dysfunctional and generates like 40% of the content here?

    2. Roland*

      I went to a wedding with a llama ringbearer once! I mean yes someone was walking him, but he (the llama) officially had the job.

  38. Annie Edison*

    Does anyone have a habit tracking app they love?

    I’m trying to get more consistent with my morning routine, and it turns out I’m very motivated by checklists and being able to see a sense of progress. Wordle is one of the few things I’ve been able to stick with long term- I get a little dopamine hit for completing it, it doesn’t take very long, and most importantly, there’s no negative consequence if I miss a day.

    I’m hoping to apply something similar to other small habits I’m trying to develop, like drinking a glass of water and doing a brief sun salutation in the mornings. I’d like something where I can check it off when I complete it and celebrate wins like “I did yoga 80% of the days this month” or “I did yoga for 10 days in a row.” But I don’t want something that is going to make me feel bad if I miss a day here and there, take a bunch of time to track, or overload my brain with a million notifications that I will then end up ignoring in a growing spiral of guilt.

    Suggestions? What’s worked for you?

    1. pineapplepants crazy*

      I use a paper calendar and different fun stickers. A penguin for thing A, a star for thing B. And that way, there’s a visual reminder every time I go in the kitchen. And, I can see that I did 5 of 7 days this week. Or I pick the colour of star to make stripes or diagonals or whatever.

    2. Double A*

      I like Way of Life. It’s very simple and visually clear and makes graphs like you’re mentioning.

      I think you can only do 3 habits for free but if you like it it’s probably worth buying.

    3. Still*

      I use Loop Habit Tracker. It’s very simple, you just add a task and how often you want to do it. All the tasks show up on the main screen where you can tick them off. That’s it, you don’t need to do more than that.

      If you want to, you can colour-code them and add reminders but it’s optional. There are stats available if you’re into that, plus you can export your info if you ever change phones or something like that. Very functional, a simple interface, not stressful or overwhelming at all, no notifications unless you intentionally turn them on.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        I also use Loop. Basically the app version of a sticker chart with good custom options and visualizations of each habit (streaks, frequency, etc). I especially like that it does a “ghost check” on things that aren’t daily… so like if you have a twice-weekly task, once you’ve checked 2 days it checks the remaining days in a 7-day period to give you credit for meeting the goal.

    4. Options*

      The free version of Finch is cutesy and has good privacy settings. Daylio seems to have more tracking features and similarly good privacy settings. Bearable is good at analysis but their user terms are super opaque.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      App “Streaks” – you can set goals to do the thing (eat veg, take vitamins, work out, etc) or to not do the thing (didn’t drink the soda, smoke the cigarette, google the ex, whatever), and you can set your do-the-thing type goals for x times a day, week, month. You can have it remind you if a particular goal isn’t done by a certain time of day. It’ll track your current streak and your best/longest streak.

    6. Formerly in HR*

      I have a free one called Habits, on an Android phone. I can set up/ define the things I want to track and the frequency and then can just mark them checked. Can see the completions in a calendar view, or graph/ percentage and also export data.

      1. cat socks*

        I have the same one! I like that it’s very simple. You just check the box of the habit you completed.

    7. Not my usual name*

      I like TickTick which I use for habits and for more general to-dos. I also use it for logging stuff like books read and vegi intake.

    8. Pocket Mouse*

      Check out Habitica! It’s gamified- you defeat bosses and obtain gold and pets and ultimately achievements for checking off your to-dos. It tracks streaks and is flexible enough for the 80%-type goals, since by putting a checklist within an item, you can track things like “five times in a week”. Similarly, I have a “drink a bunch if water” to-do and a checkbox for each 8oz so I can track the amount throughout the day. If you need a break from it (say, due to travel or illness) there are mechanisms for that as well.

  39. Shipper*

    I need to leave the country I’ve lived in for two decades and ship my things back to my home country. This is mostly personal belongings like clothes and books, no furniture and few household goods or kitchenware. It does not need to be fast.

    I’ve never done this before and would really appreciate any advice. Also any companies to recommend or avoid – I’m shipping from a European country to a North American country, and there is a place to store it and family to help collect it when it arrives.

    1. pineapplepants crazy*

      I’ve shipped stuff from Europe to Canada when I moved here. I called around, and went with a company that I don’t recall the name of. Expect it to take months. The container my stuff was on got put on the wrong boat, and instead of taking one month it took … 4. Don’t put anything in the container that you can’t lose, as containers do go overboard ships. But otherwise, the process was relatively painless.

      1. Shipper*

        Oh what a delay! I wonder if I can put an Apple AirTag in my box so I can see where it is in the world. Out of interest as much as peace of mind.

        Thanks for relating your experience! That’s reassuring and helpful.

        1. pineapplepants crazy*

          If you try the airtag, I’d be interested to see what happens. Airtags connect to other iphones which then relay the signals to iCloud. so, I’d expect this not to work (signal reduced through the metal box, and lots of other metal boxes around), but it wouldn’t hurt to try & now I’m curious!

          1. Shipper*

            Oh is that how they work! I didn’t realise. But if I do end up doing it I’ll report back here on a future weekend post!

    2. janesfriend*

      I shipped a whole lot of stuff home from the UK when I left a few years ago. It wasn’t dramatic. I rang a couple of companies for quotes, and insurance), bought some large boxes, packed the stuff keeping a list of what was in which numbered box (necessary for customs at home to release it and also for my own piece of mind). They came and collected it. Took months as came by sea. Bit of drama with customs this end wanting to destroy some vegetation adjacent items, but worked out ok. Can’t remember who I used, sorry, and it was a while ago, but I’d think reviews on line will point you in the right direction. Hope that’s helpful!

      1. Shipper*

        Thank you, that is very helpful!

        What sort of items did you have that are vegetation adjacent, if you don’t mind me asking?

        1. Janesfriend*

          Not at all – from memory, a straw hat and a wheat bag teddy bear (those things you heat up in the microwave and they work as a hottie). NZ is pretty strict on plant material coming in.

    3. International move*

      There are movers that specialize in international moving: they are familiar with the customs requirements and, especially for small moves, combine things so that they have the whole container. We called around a bit and had a good experience with our choice. It took forever, but that was to be expected. We didn’t pick the cheapest.

      1. Shipper*

        Oh thanks! Weirdly it never occurred to me to just look into actual moving companies. I’ll certainly do that.

        1. Mostly Managing*

          Seconding the moving company idea.
          When we moved from the UK to Canada we used a moving company even though there was (nearly) no furniture involved.
          The process wasn’t fast – because we didn’t fill a container, the shipping company held our things until they had another client in the same boat (yup, intentional pun!) and we “shared” the container.
          Everything had to be VERY clearly labeled.
          Because I chose to do the packing myself, the shipping company would only cover breakages if the box was clearly damaged on the outside (fair).

  40. Elle*

    What non fiction books are your middle schoolers reading for summer reading? My kid can’t make up their mind and I could use suggestions.

    1. OyHiOh*

      March (3 vol graphic novel by Sen. John Lewis) might work. It’s presented in a story-like way, but is autobiographical. My son read it as a young middle school student and I catch him rereading it occasionally now.

    2. The Dude Abides*

      Would primary sources for mythology work? Stuff like the Prose Edda would be a good read IMO

    3. Glazed Donut*

      Former middle school teacher! Depends on what topics your kid likes but here are some my students enjoyed:
      Nine, Ten; Brown Girl Dreaming; The 57 Bus; El Deafo; Hey, Kiddo; Just Mercy (Young Adults edition)

    4. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      I don’t have middle schoolers, but I’ve heard great things about this:

      An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

      I’ve read the adult version, which was excellent.

    5. curly sue*

      My 11 year old really enjoyed the Maze Runner series this year,and is currently reading Iron Widow. He’s very big into robots and monsters, though, so your kid’s milage may vary. At this age, my older one was getting heavily into the Wings of Fire series.

    6. Llellayena*

      Can’t guarantee middle school reading level (I read this much later than that) but if he likes building stuff “Why Buildings Fall Down” is an interesting read.

    7. RagingADHD*

      My youngest just finished middle school. Last summer she read the young reader’s edition of I Am Malala

    8. Elle*

      Thanks for the suggestions! She’s read Anne Frank and Hidden Figures. We have Malala but she doesn’t want to read it. She doesn’t know what she’s interested in which is frustrating. Fiction is a lot easier to figure out.

      1. Observer*

        What did she like / dislike about those two books? That could give you some ideas as to what next.

        What subjects did she really enjoy in school? What activities does she enjoy? Books related to those things are a reasonable choice as well. And you can find books about almost any subject under the sun.

      2. Cheshire Cat*

        Does your local library have a subscription to the database NoveList Plus?If so, you could look up Hidden Figures and see what they recommend to read after that. As a librarian in a public library, this is one of my go-to sites for finding recommendations for patrons.

        There is a nice list at the bottom of each title record for each subject heading, where you can check which ones you’d like to see in other books. When you click “Search” you get a list of other books that have those same headings—like “Women’s role” and “Moving”.

        And finally, there are premade lists of books that have a similar topic, and you can go down a rabbit hole looking at those!

    9. Mostly Managing*

      “What If? 2” by Randall Munroe.

      Basically, people write in with “what if” questions, and he answers them – and does the research to find out if he doesn’t know. Things like
      What if the moon was the same size as the Earth?
      What if you tried to ride on a helicopter blade?
      What if you tried to fill every public building with bananas?

      Hilarious, easy to dip in and out of… the whole family are enjoying it (kids 13-22!)

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

    Maybe try the graphic novel version of Ibram X. Kendi’s *Stamped from the Beginning: A History of Racist Ideas in America* (Adapted by Joel Christian Gill)?

  42. Bluebell*

    Suggestions for comfy and cool outfits to wear around the house in summer, maybe w specific brands? I have a bad habit of wearing my nightgown way too late on weekends, and I wish I had something informal that I’d love to change into. I’m petite, am always trying ti stay cool in the summer, and prefer higher necklines and soft fabrics. Thanks!

    1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I don’t have any specific brand suggestions, but I bought some long t-shirt dresses at Target a few years back that I wear as nightgowns because I wanted nightgowns that I’d also feel comfortable answering the door in if I slept in. Looking at t-shirt dresses as a search category might find some things that work for you.

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      I like the long bodied light tees from Old Navy. They’re not cotton but a very very thin (not see through) fabric that’s very cool but enough of a shirt that I can run errands in it without thinking “I am in my PJs in public.”

    3. RussianInTexas*

      I got a few cotton beach dress cover-ups from Lands End. they are almost knee length, thicker cotton than you expect from a cover up, I love them as summer house dresses. I’ll link it below.

    4. noncommittal pseudonym*

      I like what are called “Patio Dresses” that I get from one of the remaining department stores. They’re sufficiently comfy to sleep in, but look enough like dresses and cover enough that I can go get the mail from the mailbox in one. Plus, they tend to be light and gauzy. (Though, TBH, I lost a couple to exuberant puppy toenails this past year. Being gauzy, they tear easily.)

      1. noncommittal pseudonym*

        Had to go look up the details! The brand is Go Softly, and the dept. store is Dillards (though, I’m sure you can find them other places, too.)

    5. Alex*

      I like Old Navy for this kind of thing. I have simple sleeveless jersey dresses, plain Ts and sleeveless shirts, and shorts’ answer to sweatpants, all from there.

    6. Generic Name*

      I have a couple of long maxi length dresses from Amazon basics. They’re not super sturdy, but they are comfy soft knit and very cool on hot summer days.

      1. Bluebell*

        Thanks. Given that I’m already super short, ordering anything maxi usually ends up floor length on me!

    7. MissCoco*

      Loft has great swing dresses, you can often find options on Thredup. They are soft jersey/stretchy cotton. Super comfy and look put together if you just throw on a pair of cute shoes.

  43. Pam Adams*

    i have some tank-style t-shirt dresses that I bought on Amazon after leg surgery. Very soft and easily washable.

  44. 14 hour direct flight*

    So its happening and I haven’t travelled anywhere in three years.
    Road warriors and vacationers, what is your best travel hack?
    Comfort items?
    I think I am ready but anxious.
    I have planned 5 days in Tokyo for just me-no obligations.
    I can go anywhere, eat anything, see anything with no one to answer to.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My must haves for long flights are a comfortable sleep mask, something to be a pillow, and slippers. I can NOT keep shoes on while I sleep.

      A lot of downloaded books, and a rereadable paperback in case you can’t recharge midair.

    2. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      I always take a few snacks (like granola bars or small packets of crackers) on flights, even if they are supposed to be short. It’s really annoying when your short hop is delayed or diverted and there is limited food, or you don’t care for whatever the dinner offer is.

      I always take a zip lock bag or two because they are very light and can be handy for all kinds of things from packing a lunch to holding shells you find on a beach.

      I also always take some kind of lightweight bag (anything from a bum bag to a plastic shopping bag) for keeping track of any items I will want to use during the flight. Usually I repack my carry on a little bit when I am waiting at the gate so that I can just pull this bag out and put it in the seat pocket so that my headphones, book, lip balm, etc are all handy and I don’t have to mess around with getting into the overhead compartment.

    3. Not A Manager*

      My best travel hack is I bring a Melita pour-over cone and filters, and some ground coffee. Being able to make my own coffee the way I like it is super important to me.

      I wear OTC compression socks on the plane, with some thick hiking socks over them like slippers. I bring a light shawl that I can use as a blanket. Some people really like noise-canceling headphones; I can take them or leave them. I also always bring some easy snacks for the plane.

      Tokyo can feel really overwhelming, especially if you’re jet-lagged. Try to pick something green and peaceful for your first day, like maybe walking through the park outside the imperial palace.

      1. Alex*

        Seconding the socks! My feet always freeze on long flights. Also, if you are a person who wears a bra, I recommend a wire-free option if you have one. Not only can a bra start poking after that many hours when you are trying to get comfortable to take a nap in an airplane seat, I find it sometimes sets off the metal detectors! Lol.

        I also always pack my “for on board” stuff in a small bag that fits under the seat, so I don’t have to get anything from overhead during the flight. Headphones, a book, phone and charger, a few snacks, gum, sweater, pen for customs forms, hand sanitizer for after the restroom. I also like to bring one of those travel packs of Clorox/Lysol wipes to wipe down the tray and even bring into the bathroom.

    4. WellRed*

      Nothing exciting but I noticed a pair robins yesterday hanging out on the pole wire s yesterday morning and an hour later they were still there. I like to think of it as their morning coffee.

    5. Veterinary Betrayal*

      Maybe this isn’t thrilling but because I like to have breakfast with my room coffee shortly after my feet hit the floor, I tend to hit a corner or grocery store and buy a small thing of cheese, a small milk (for coffee) and some crackers. Even if there is no fridge in your hotel room, you can keep the cheese fresh in the ice bucket (or any other container with ice in it, assuming hotels outside the US always have ice the way hotels do here). This gives me a more relaxed morning without the drone of need-coffee-and-breakfast-now-now-now

    6. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      Only bring clothes you actually like. If you bring the cute shoes that pinch a little or the top that you never wear because you don’t actually like it that much, you won’t wear them on the trip either and you will have wasted the packing space. Better to bring two or three tops you really, really like than 6 you are iffy on.

      1. Bluebell*

        plus packing less means you might buy clothes on the trip, and that can be a nice gift for yourself to remember the trip in the future!

      2. Not A Manager*

        I do the opposite! I bring clothes that are at the end of their useful life. Good enough to wear as a tourist, bad enough that I’m happy to ditch them at the end of the trip to make room for the stuff I’ve inevitably purchased on the way. I will literally do a quick closet/dresser clean-out before a trip and take the things I would have donated anyway. I also abandon bar soap, small toiletries etc. to make room for interesting souvenirs.

        Also, I have a suitcase swap that I do, too. On the outbound flight, my carryon is a hard-sided wheelie that fits in the overhead bin. A lot of times I don’t check a bag at all, but sometimes I also have a checked bag. I pack a foldable duffle in my bag. On the inbound flight, I pack the duffle as my carryon and send my hardshell as checked luggage.

      3. Ali + Nino*

        One way to decide which clothes to pack: Choose your shoes first! If you’re planning on walking a lot, you’ll probably want a specific pair(s), and those might look better with some clothes than others.
        Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste in your carry-on, so you can brush your teeth either right before you land or at the airport even before you get to the hotel.

    7. The Dude Abides*

      Neck pillow – turn to where the “open” part is to the side.

      Picked up that trick from a YT travel video featuring a WWE wrestler – if there is any subset of people to get travel tips from, it’s WWE people.

    8. 14 hour direct flight*

      thank you everyone. I just pulled my pour over travel Vietnamese coffee out of the cupboard. for the trip. good advice about the clothing.
      Hey- I was thinking of changing into PJs on the plane and changing into a fresh set of clothes after landing.
      That’s okay right?

      1. IGoOnAnonAnonAnon*

        It’s what they do in First Class, so I vote yes. I second the compression socks, noise-cancelling headphones and/or earplugs, and light shawl for travel.

        Have a great trip!

      2. Roland*

        I don’t know how you’d physically change. Bathrooms are tiny, seats are tiny.

      3. Pippa K*

        I avoid the changing-into-pjs hassle by wearing yoga pants, a long cardigan, and a T-shirt on long flights. I can change my shirt (and underthings) on arrival but feel more presentable in-flight than if I were wearing pajamas. (And I’ve done a fair number of really long-haul flights where people are serious about getting comfortable, but pajamas don’t seem very common)

        My other tip is a rectangular silk scarf – maybe a cheap second hand one. They scrunch down to nothing, they’re warm in cold cabins, they can be used to wrap or tie other things, they dress up a plain outfit, and silk scarves are easily hand washable and quite durable. I always travel with one now.

      4. Cordelia*

        hmm I wouldn’t like to change in those tiny bathrooms, you’d have to put your clean clothes down somewhere and the surfaces are limited and unsanitary. I wear comfy clothes onto the flight (loose t-shirt, sweatpants), take my bra off on the flight (in the bathroom!) and put it back on before landing, and just sleep like that. I don’t change into fresh clothes until I get to my hotel and can have a shower first.
        Keep a photo of your passport and any travel documents on your phone in case they get lost, share your travel insurance details and copy of your passport with someone back home. Take a battery pack for your phone for charging on the move, and work out how you will access internet while away – does your provider allow this, are the costs exorbitant, etc. I don’t know about Tokyo, but when we went to South Africa last year it was cheapest to buy a temporary SIM at the airport than to use our own data, there was a store set up to do just this.
        Don’t stress too much about what you might forget to bring. Just make sure you have everything that can’t be bought, such as medications, glasses/contact lenses if needed, passport, credit cards, phone – everything else you can buy when you are there if you forget it.
        Have a great trip!

    9. Travel stuff*

      If you’re checking luggage bring an extra set of clothes including under things in your personal item/carry on. I also bring an airplane amenities kit with tissues, earplugs, AirPods, wired headphones because sometimes AirPods don’t work with airplane entertainment systems, sanitizing wipes for the tray table, hand sanitizer, water, a very small first aid kit. I put this in a small bag that fits in the seat pocket so it’s easy to grab.

    10. Tokyo Travel*

      We are currently visiting Tokyo and so recently did the 14 hour flight from the U.S. During the flight, the one thing I was very grateful for was my noise cancelling headphones. Whenever I took them off, it became so obvious how noisy the airplane was. The one thing I wish I had during the flight were slim/light weight slippers. My feet swelled a lot during the flight, so I removed my shoes but anytime I needed to use the bathroom, I wished I had slippers to wear so that I didn’t need to jam my feet back into my shoes.

      I’m not sure about wearing pjs on the flight – I guess it depends on how much they look like pjs? Comfy clothes are a must though (yoga pants or comfy light weight cargo pants, etc). If you are sitting in economy, the bathrooms are very narrow, and at times the lines to use them are long (like around mealtimes and right before landing). I, as a fellow passenger, would not appreciate someone taking time to change in one of the bathrooms if there is a long line. If you want to change into fresh clothes, maybe in the airport after you have arrived?

      Some tips on Tokyo:
      – Due to chip production issues/delays, JR and Tokyo Metro are not issuing temporary transit cards right now, except to tourists at specific locations. We were able to get a “Pasmo Passport” transit card at Haneda Airport (a cute one with Hello Kitty). Or you can load one onto your smartphone. We had trouble loading it on our phone when we first arrived, so having the pasmo passport that we could load money onto was helpful at the beginning.
      – Electronic payment is more popular than it used to be here, but we have found that ApplyPay has not been accepted at most places. However, we’ve been able to pay with money loaded onto our Pasmo Passport or Pasmo phone app instead. Or a credit card of course.
      – an off the beaten path adventure we’ve really enjoyed so far has been an exhibit at the Hyakudan Kaidan at the Hotel Gajoen in Meguro, Tokyo. Beautiful hotel, beautiful old rooms, cool exhibit. Afterwards we explored the first floor of the hotel, had afternoon tea in the tea room overlooking a beautiful garden. Also suggest you check out the bathrooms. The hotel and Hyakudan Kaidan are not great for anyone with mobility issues however – the hotel is down a steep hill from the station, and Hyakudan Kaidan literally means the 100 stair staircase. I will include links in a reply.

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      My brother-in-law did a ton of international travel, and his advice was half the stuff and twice the money. Which I’ve found to hold pretty true.

      Half the stuff: How likely are you to need it, how heavy/bulky is it, and do they sell versions where you’re going?

      On long trips I will often toss an old pair of glasses into the bottom of my suitcase, because I am extremely nearsighted and if my glasses were lost or damaged I would be in deep trouble. I have never needed them, but peace of mind. Same with any prescription drugs–a few days’ extra just in case something goes sideways with the return. Both are light.

      Basic first aid kit with large waterproof bandages was really useful in Costa Rica, where athletic activities meant a high chance of scrapes, and back beyond location meant finding a pharmacy would eat into time we wanted to be doing other stuff. However, Tokyo should have plenty of pharmacies and less waterfall rappelling.

      Twice the money: Have a buffer in the budget so that if you see a cool experience you can add it in. You will remember that $200 special tour for a long time.

      1. Not A Manager*

        I always bring spare glasses and emergency meds. Not just current prescriptions, but some old prescriptions and OTC for conditions that might or might not pop up, and are easy for me to self-treat but hard to present to a foreign doctor/pharmacist.

    12. Falling Diphthong*

      My other advice is to leave some free time in your last day or two, so if you discover something you’d like to do there’s space for that. Sometimes that’s going back to the most peaceful place you encountered and relaxing. Sometimes that’s a cool thing that someone you met on the trip suggested.

    13. acmx*

      “Hack” Global Entry but I think your trip is too soon to get that in time
      For my carry-on that goes under the seat in front of me:
      power bank (and cord) to charge electronics (even there is in-seat power, I have it for the airport and in my hotel)
      cloth napkin
      water bottle
      snacks in a ziptop bag (to corral them and to collect crumbs when it’s crackers or granola bars)
      earbuds (I prefer wired)
      entertainment eg books, magazine, word puzzles
      medication (whether prescribed or OTC) personally: something for an upset stomach, headache, melatonin

      Packing: I bring a gallon ziptop bag to hold dirty socks and underwear and my workout clothes. I both roll and fold clothes. I have a desktop fan I bring for sleeping. Tangentially, buy a handfan in Tokyo; comes in handy! And it’s a nice souvenir.


      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I discovered special packing bags, which mean I can put different types of clothes together when packing.


        I also bought some cheap nylon gym bags from the euro shop which are good for keeping things together. (Shoes, dirty laundry etc.)

        But my tip is always to have at least one more change of clothes than you think you will need. Sometimes I have been caught in the rain, or spilt something, so it’s good to have something to change into.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      The biggest thrill– a red-shouldered hawk has been hunting in our yard. We should have a smaller chipmunk population soon.

      The hummingbirds have returned — I love them so much I just started a third location of bee balm for them.

      And for the first time in this house the blue jays have found us. They’re brassy bullies but I enjoy their antics.

    2. Veterinary Betrayal*

      There is a roseate spoonbill here in DC and I am tickled by the enthusiasm of all my birder buddies for it.

    3. GoryDetails*

      All the usual suspects are around in abundance – I’m always happy to see the catbirds and mockingbirds, cardinals and titmice, nuthatches and various woodpeckers, plus the hummingbirds and orioles. But I was out and about on a rail-trail near a bird sanctuary, and fired up the Merlin phone app to identify the many birds I could hear all around me – and it popped up with (among the ones I *did* recognize) a warbling vireo. It’s one of those little nondescript birds that can be hard to spot, and I can’t say I’ve seen one even now, but it’s cool to have heard one!

    4. Lucien Nova*

      The accompanist at my church has a nest of baby robins…inside the “nest” on a bird-themed summer wreath she has hung out front of her house. Absolutely charming. :D

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

      Not in the wild, but the zoo I went to last week had a red-billed magpie. I had never seen a magpie before, and I thought the long tail was really cool!

    6. Generic Name*

      We went camping last weekend, and the abundance of species was delightful. At least 3 times as many species as in my backyard.

    7. Rose is a rose is a rose*

      There have been western tanagers flashing around my yard the past few days!

    8. GingerSheep*

      I have a small urban garden in Europe (ca. 120 m2), so bird diversity isn’t amazing, and I get excited with sightings that are very common elsewhere – but I saw a sparrowhawk in my garden twice last week! The first sighting was definitely a male ; I only got a glimpse the second time but my 9-year old insists it was a female, so we might even have a pair in the neighbourhood. (Not entirely convinced on the reliability of kid’s ID however…) I know they are really common, but’s it’s our first ever raptor visit in ten years in this house!

    9. Jay (no, the other one)*

      A red-tailed hawk settled onto a stone wall in my garden abut ten feet from where I was sitting – I was in the screened porch. He was not. He sat there for a solid ten minutes (not kidding – I was taking pictures the whole time and looked at the time stamps) enjoying a feast of rabbit. Then he flew up and perched on our pergola for a bit. I’m used to seeing redtails in the sky or on the top of street lights, not thisclose to me, and that is one big bird.

    10. Bluebell*

      I finally downloaded the Merlin bird app and am really enjoying it. my house is robin central, with a few blue jays, sparrows and occasional cardinals but on a walk this week there was also a red eyed vireo. I’m waiting until my heliopsis starts blooming and the goldfinches come to hang out there.

  45. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

    A while back someone mentioned a podcast episode that went into the mysterious origins of some popular song. I listened to it and thought it was very interesting but of course now I can’t remember the song it was about to listen to it again. I’m pretty sure the popular version in the US was a hip hop style song and I think the origin might have been traced back to an obscure record from somewhere like Jamaica.

    Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

    1. Vanessa*

      I don’t know if this is it, but song exploder is really fun. I haven’t listened in a while and now I want to!

    2. Sitting Pretty*

      I think it was Who Let the Dogs Out. But I don’t remember which podcast!

      1. Sitting Pretty*

        oh wait, 99% Invisible. The episode was Whomst Among Us Let the Dogs Out. If that’s the one you’re thinking of, it was fascinating!

    3. Forensic13*

      It’s not the same thing, but if you haven’t heard of it, I also love the Reply All episode “The Case of the Missing Hit.” A man has an encyclopedic memory of a specific pop song from his teen/college years. . . but the song doesn’t seem to actually exist anyone. It’s one of my favorite pieces of media ever.

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        I saw that when I was searching but even though I listen to that podcast sometimes I hadn’t heard that one, so it’s on my list now.

      2. Past Lurker*

        I’ll have to check that out because there’s a song I’d like to find (at least the lyrics if nothing else) and it doesn’t seem to exist. It was back in the 70s, so maybe it’s gone forever. Would help if I remembered the name of the group that sang it, but I don’t.

    4. mreasy*

      Not the answer but I also HIGHLY recommend the Decoder Ring podcast episode about The Macarena. It’s a fantastic story.

    5. goddessoftransitory*

      Can’t help with this one but it immediately made me think of the movie Eddie and the Cruisers.

  46. Veterinary Betrayal*

    Question: my dog is a nightmare at the vet, and given his size, it’s just not working out. The vet we go to is close, but I feel they’re (understandably, perhaps) impatient with us, and they have to fully sedate the dog for anything they want to do. I want to try a “fear free vet” some 30 minutes from my house to see if things go any better. When I call the old vet and ask for the dog’s records to send over, do I explain that I’m just trying this other place but it may not work out and I will want to come back? Is there no coming back if you cheat on your vet?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Could you ask the fear free vet what they actually need in order to see him? If they can check him out with just a vaccination certificate, they might not need the whole file.

      Alternately – my dogs are participating in a scientific study on dog aging so every year I ask my vet’s office for an updated copy of their medical records that gets uploaded to the study. I also asked for such a thing when I signed them up for pet insurance as part of the signup process. My vet doesn’t bat an eyelash about it, so if you’d rather give an excuse and carry the records to the other vet yourself, there’s a couple of excuse options for you :)

    2. KatEnigma*

      I need my dogs’ records for everything from boarding to grooming to daycare. Just ask for them- it’s not a sign of anything.

    3. Ellen Ripley*

      You’ll probably talk to reception and not the vet, and they’re used to sending records out, so don’t be worried about needing to give a reason.

      I have had 2 vets at the same time (one for when I need an appointment for my dog quickly, and one for his annual check ups and long term health). It really isn’t a big deal, your vet won’t care unless they are a total ass.

      Also check reviews on the fear-free vet if possible. We went to one that was… not good. Not saying that all fear free vets are bad!! Not at all. Just saying the fear free certification isn’t a guarantee of a perfect vet either.

      But if your relationship with your first vet isn’t great you should continue to look around! There is no need to stick with one that isn’t a good fit if you have other options!

      1. Veterinary Betrayal*

        This is actually what I would love to do – keep seeing both vets, if the new one is an improvement – because it’s really hard to get appointments, and some things it wouldn’t matter if the vet was “fear free” or not – but, how do you get them to share records with each other? Won’t one vet always think his vaccines are due, or that he needs this test or that one? (despite my username I suspect my old vet would be perfectly happy to get rid of us, to be honest, but I don’t want to lose patient status when I need appointments).

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          At visits, do they print out a basic sheet with the dates of vaccinations and when they are due? That’s all you need, and you can take it or send it to the new vet yourself.

        2. Ellen Ripley*

          You can ask reception to send the records to vet B after each appointment with vet A (and vis versa) to keep them both up to date! Or request the appointment notes/records at the end of each appointment and bring it with you to the other vet.

    4. Courageous cat*

      They do not know or care what you’re doing with the records. You do not need to explain.

  47. Dagmar*

    In the book’s summary it says it’s about the daughter of an “appetizing store” owner. I’ve never heard of that. Is it like a deli?

    1. Esprit de l'escalier*

      There’s some overlap, but for the full story, wikipedia has a page about it. Don’t read it when you’re hungry!

  48. Prospect gone bad*

    What are the “politics” of an Airbnb? Staying somewhere that’s nicely furnished but has some flaws such as being advertised to sleep for people when it can barely sleep too. Also see too many holes that mice could come in and would never stay here in cool weather because of that.

    Door doesn’t lock and I sort of don’t care because I have no valuables but I emailed the owner through the app and they didn’t respond but I’ve gotten canned emails that must be automated from them since then

    So many details in the emails. Like they’re so worried someone might break something meanwhile they don’t fix basic stuff that is obviously wrong but they’re responsibility to deal with. Maybe I just care too much lol

    I wanted to give a high rating due to location and how nice the main room with fireplace is done but the rest is getting on my nerves. I mean, if I came here with four people and realized there is barely room for two…isn’t that a big deal?

    1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      You’re paying for a service and should be just as honest in your review as you would be for a hotel. It might feel more personal because the places are usually owned by individuals but you don’t do future guests any favours and you don’t owe it to the hosts to ignore problems like you would with a friend. Be polite and all, but it’s perfectly fine to point out issues.

    2. Just a Name*

      How were the ratings before you booked? In any event, do future renters a favor and honestly review the place. If there is something the owner can do to fix the place (minor stuff) let them know while you are there or in the private comments afterwards. However I’df there are misrepresentations in the listing, or if the owner isn’t great at communicating, please put that in the review. There are a lot of places out there, and consumers should be able to read the reviews and know what they are getting.

      1. Prospect Gone Bad*

        Very few ratings. I am wondering if people had same experiences as me, but thought twice about reviewing because the location and general ambience and a few details are indeed awesome. One person did complain about the “rules” but TBH the rules make sense for the most part. But then they have a bit of a strawman quality. Like “don’t speed” but forget to tell you you literally can’t speed because the gravel road is in bad condition. THAT is what should be in the “rules” not telling us not to speed!

    3. Morning reader*

      At the end, you leave a public review and you can also message the owners. I usually try to praise and give adequate stars for the good stuff, and tactfully mention the not so great. In a message to the owners, I’m more blunt and will mention things that need to be corrected.
      In the ratings, there are lists of specifics you can check off, like “description did not match.” And “owner unresponsive.”
      In your place, with a door that doesn’t lock and inadequate accommodations for your group, I would leave, find another place to stay, and contact the owner and Airbnb customer service to get a refund. These are dealbreaker problems. You should not stay in a room with no lock.
      I’ve used Airbnb many times over the last few years. Mostly good experiences. But no lock? No way.

    4. Maggie*

      If the door didn’t lock I wouldn’t spend the night there and would expect a full refund, that’s a huge deal. I would leave and find a place to stay that’s safe to stay in. I wouldn’t downgrade a review for a few knicks and scratches or anything , but yeah if the front door didn’t lock then to me that’s not even like, inhabitable?

    5. RagingADHD*

      Good grief. You’re sleeping somewhere with no lock on the door, holes in the walls, and not enough beds. And paying for it. And you’re thinking twice about giving them a bad rating?

      For goodness sake, why? This isn’t some beleaguered gig worker. A property owner is ripping you off.

      Never kind the rating, how about a refund so you can stay somewhere with solid walls and a door that actually keeps people out while you’re unconscious?

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        And many Air BnBs are not even being run by one person, period, but by corporations.

    6. Daily Fan*

      As an Airbnb host I want guests to leave honest ratings. I work very hard for my current 4.98 rating (over 270 reviews) and I want future guests to know they can count on the rating meaning they will get what they paid for and have excellent responses from the host.

      Personally as a frequent Airbnb guest as well as a host, I would deduct an overall star for these conditions – so the overall would be a 4*.
      You get the opportunity to rate different catagories so the location can be a 5* while other catagories can be marked lower. However, in the end the overall rating is the most important, not the catagories. I’d give a 5* on location, 4* on communication, value, and accuracy, 5* (?) on clean.

      That said, be aware that Airbnb tells guests something different than it tells hosts. This explaination was written on the Airbnb Community Forum and explains the rating systen best:
      Airbnb sees 5 stars (overall) as “acceptable” and 4 stars as “not good enough”.

      Although Airbnb will query you on any 3* or lower in the subcatagories, in the overall rating of a unit stars the catagories are not averaged- Airbnb just looks mainly at the overall rating.

      If a host falls below a 4.7 overall rating they will be in danger of being deleted from the platform. Dropping below a 4.8 loses Superhost status.

      As a guest, I have stayed in places that have had a lower rating on individual catagories if the basics that are important to me are high and what is important depends on where I am going and how long I will stay.

      For the review, remember the first few lines will show up when someone is scrolling. They have to click “more” to read longer comments. Perhaps:

      “The location and main room (esp. the fireplace) were great however the size of the rental was a disappointment. This ______(studio, house, apartment) is much more suitable for a couple rather than the advertised “sleeps 4.” There were some maintainance issues (door locks and unpatched holes) that have been brought to the attention of the owner need to be addressed. If these issues are addressed I would recommend this place.

      1. Bluebell*

        Thanks for this explanation from the point of view of a host. I wonder how the star system evolved. I mean why even have five stars, if no one ever uses anything under three?
        I have stayed at many airbnbs over the years. I’m probably too lenient on ratings, but if a place is really great I write a detailed review. If it’s just fine I write a line and move on. There was one time where a gas sensor alarm went off in the middle of the night. The host woke up too, and said everything was fine but I chose to go to a nearby motel. He was really nice and promised a future stay but then it was covid. I really should have contacted Airbnb but never did. There was also another place that had a lot of dust but it was in NYC and in a great neighborhood and the host had several nasty review replies so I just didn’t leave a review. But overall I love Airbnb. I do read reviews really closely before I book.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        5 stars = acceptable is so frustrating to me. For AirBnB (where I must rate and review) I usually give 5 stars if it was really delightful and would top my list if I returned to this location, and 4 stars if it was fine but on a return I would look at other places, hoping to hit delight.

        Humans are different, and the things that delight me might be eh to someone else. Or vice versa.

        I filled in the survey at my grocery store the last time I went, and was so annoyed. I gave it a 3 for “meets expectations” because they had the things I wanted, at the prices I expected. Literally it met my expectations, which are well-honed because I shop here about once-twice per week. It would be weird if my expectations of my local stores were so wildly off the actual experience when I was, in fact, in this same store Thursday, and last Monday, and the previous week, and last month, etc.

        It’s like the people who design the surveys think that up until now I’ve been in a food desert where even the Cheez Whiz cost $20/can. But I haven’t: I’ve been right here, picking up milk and chia seeds and fresh lemons right in this store.

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      You can give a low-mid rating, and in the review say that the main room and location are great, but it doesn’t sleep four and the owner was unresponsive. Or just say “location good, but tons of confusing rules.”

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        My own abb experience:

        1 negative, where the owner hadn’t given me check-in instructions and I couldn’t get in touch with them by email or text. In that case, I contacted AirBnB and they cancelled the reservation and fully refunded me.

        The rest have all been fine to great. Specifically, the hosts understood that the key to a great review was to meet/exceed expectations, not dump unwelcome surprises on us after it was too late to back out. I read reviews, and rule out most of the offerings in a given geographic location as not fitting what I’m looking for.

        We’ve stayed in some perfectly fine spots (e.g. main criteria was proximity to relative’s assisted living facility, price okay) and really lovely spots I would leap to book again. An apartment in host’s home in Germany that looked out on their beautiful garden. A family home on the ocean in the Outer Banks. A cabin on a river in Oregon. An apartment in a beautiful antique house near my parents. An apartment in an old palace in Florence.

    8. ND person chilling out*

      I typically travel alone (unpartnered woman), often with items that are semi-valuable to me (phone, computer if I’m going for work, etc), and “the door doesn’t lock” and “the owner doesn’t respond” are HUGE deals to me. Please leave an honest review.

    9. Rick T*

      If I were in a hotel and the door to you room wouldn’t lock I would expect them to put me in a new room, or pay for me to stay and a different hotel if they were full.

      I’m also strict enough a non-locking door AND no response from the owner on top of misrepresenting the capacity of the unit and evidence of vermin would get a zero star rating and an immediate call to the App operator to get recommendations for a new unit.

    10. goddessoftransitory*

      NO LOCK???
      No no no no no no. That is beyond a basic requirement into actively endangering you. It is not caring too much to not want to be robbed or murdered.

      That, plus saying “four people” when they mean “if they know each other REAL well” and the misleading stuff doesn’t merit a good review. Location is great but certainly not more important then enough space and a locking door.

  49. KatEnigma*

    The last house we rented, over Spring Break, we couldn’t get the door unlocked because the lock kept shorting out, and the owner didn’t answer her messages for 3 hours… saying she was traveling because it was spring break, and couldn’t be expected to answer me… for real. In the meantime, my husband had found a way in. And for the rest of the trip, if we left, we left a back door unlocked. The thing is, one of the reviews from 3 months earlier had mentioned that exact problem and that it was from the salt air and electronics, and silly me expected it would have been fixed…. So I gave an honest review, mentioning her lack of cares in her response, along with the good things. And I privately mentioned the previous review to the host, and how she was getting negative reviews for the lack of wanting to spend $100 to replace an obviously bad keypad that multiple people had reported. (We tried changing the batteries- still shorted out. ) I wouldn’t care about airtight, but only sleeping 2 instead of advertised 4 and a door wouldn’t lock? Both of those are things that Airbnb wants you to report to them, frankly. That’s fraud and a safety issue.

    1. Bob Howard*

      Look for Lockpickinglaywer on Youtube. SO MANY of these products can easily be bypassed. In many cases electronic kepad types can be defeated with a correctly placed strong magnet to operate an internal relay.

      1. KatEnigma*

        Or Airbnb hosts can maintain their equipment so I don’t have to literally break in?

    2. Anthology*

      AirBnB had its day, but investors ruined it. We’ve returned to hotels exclusively.

      1. KatEnigma*

        I travel with a small child that goes to bed early. We need 2 bedrooms and those are hard to find in hotels. Or in 2 weeks, we are spending a week on the beach (3 houses from beach) with my parents for my son’s birthday and my in-laws are coming down for a day to join us. That would be prohibitively expensive in a hotel. Airbnb has its uses and there have been corporations running vacation rentals for decades.

    3. Prospect Gone Bad*

      I feel like this is a nesting fail and was meant for me:-). Thanks for your perspective. One of the points of posting here is to get a gauge for how normal this type of stuff is so your comment helps

  50. Downsizing*

    Does anyone actually use their bathtub? I am downsizing homes, and the house I’m buying has a huge soaker tub (staged elegantly like a spa) and a tiny shower for the primary bath: I’m thinking of a remodel to eliminate the tub and put in a big shower, but I don’t want to decrease the value of my house… I know I will never use the lovely tub.

    1. anon24*

      I am (sadly) an apartment dweller and a huge perk for me is having a bathtub. I love being able to soak with a book and a beverage if it’s a cold day or if I’m sore or ill. My husband also loves soaking in the bathtub.

      But how long are you going to be in your home? If you are planning on being there long term, I would try to determine the annoyance of dealing with a small shower over any monetary gain you’d get by keeping the tub. If it’s only a couple of years it may not be worth it, but I wouldn’t want to he annoyed in a home I own for 5-10+ years solely for the sake of the next owners possibly paying more money.

      1. Downsizing*

        Great question— I am looking at 6-10 years in this home— not sure exactly.

    2. Generic Name*

      I use my bathtub. Not a ton, but I’m glad I have it. Is it the only tub in the whole house? I would hesitate to remove a house’s only tub because buyers who have or hope to have children are going to want a tub for baths. If there’s a tub and separate (dinky) shower, you could replace the two with a combo tub/shower. Maybe not as luxe as the separate fixtures, but if the shower really is tiny it might not reduce the value.

      1. Downsizing*

        There is one other bath/shower combo down the hall, so there would be another bath, although not much a spa like the current one.

        1. Bob-White of the Glen*

          Can you move the spa tub to the other bath, so the next people would still have use of it?

          If you didn’t have another tub I would say don’t remove it, but since you do it won’t keep people with young children from buying it in the future, but would hate to lose a nice tub.

    3. Not A Manager*

      I have a shower/bath combo and I didn’t even bother to hang a shower curtain because I never use the shower.

    4. pineapplepants crazy*

      Yup, use the tub. My teenager takes 1 to 2 baths a day. Hubby & I take 1-2 per week, depending on relaxation desires and migraine state.

    5. Esprit de l'escalier*

      When I was a kid my family moved to an older house whose bathroom had both a tub and a built-in shower stall. I fell in love with the shower stall concept and never fell out of love. In my house now, I only use my shower stall and am happy to have it. But my adult son and DIL love a big soaking tub and are getting one in their bathroom remodel. There’s no accounting for tastes!

      In your case I’d advise going for a shower stall big enough that you don’t feel claustrophobic in it, plus a standard-size tub — it sounds like there’s room for both. Future tub-loving buyers won’t know that the bathroom once had a luxurious big tub in it, they’ll just see a normal-sized tub and it shouldn’t be an issue. And future shower-stall-loving buyers will be thrilled to see that!

    6. really*

      If there are 2 bathrooms and the other has a tub getting rid of the tub in the main is definitely okay. Even if it’s the only tub/shower a shower only works as a future owner can always replace it.

    7. Bibliovore*

      I use my tub every morning. Sometimes twice a day. Just got out of it. I LOVE my tub! I did renovate my bathroom to get the huge Japanese soaking tub.
      That said- this is your house! I was told that no one would want a bathroom like this. I am going to be here at least 10 years God willing and I want to live with what I love.

      I was going to downsize to another place and there were was no tub so that was why I decided to stay. that said, my brother bought a new house that was a ranch. Ripped out the tubs in both bathrooms and put in great showers. His house is accessible and would appeal to anyone with mobility issues. In the comments I will put up a link to Omnitubs. My bathroom is featured on their front page today.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Just page down past all the tubs to the pictures of bathrooms. https://www.omnitub.co.uk/ Mine is the one that shows a Japanese cedar bucket. A little further down is a picture pf my contractor working on the tub and my dog visiting him.

        1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

          Omg, thank you for sharing that link! I’m gonna start saving up for one of those TODAY!

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          What a good dog!

          That tub/shower design would be a major selling point for me, someone with leg muscle problems that are helped by soaking in epsom salts.

          For both your and your brother’s approaches, I think if you’re planning to stay put for a long while it makes sense to set it up the way you like it. For a small group of hypothetical home buyers that deep soaking tub will be a big positive, and for a much larger group it will be fine. Same for the nice showers.

          When we get over into the open concept bathrooms, that’s going to be off-putting. (Also we looked at one house that had large bathrooms with plenty of open floor space, with very small tubs and showers. This perplexed me, and running out of money when picking the fixtures is the only explanation I’ve come up with.)

    8. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      Not to bathe in, no. Well, I think I did once when I first moved in. Occasionally to soak stuff in or do messy projects. (Apartment combo tub with shower head here.)

      I would still hesitate to rip one out though. I think people read a big tub as “classy” and they look great in real estate photos, even if they don’t get used as much in reality as the new owners planned.

    9. Jay*

      I’ve got a laundry list of old injuries that flare up from time to time. A nice soak with hot water and Epsom salts can take out a lot of stubborn aches and pains.

    10. Deuce of Gears*

      We have a jacuzzi of all things (and it wasn’t why we bought the house! weird extra thing!) and I was convinced I would never use it. For the first year I didn’t use it!

      Then I developed some health problems and discovered that soaking in the tub and in hot water has been a godsend for pain relief. I hope your health stays better than mine! But I am glad we kept the ridiculous jacuzzi, because I would never have expected it to be a huge bonus for this house, and yet here we are.

      (Also, our cat is fascinated by it, which is a bonus?)

    11. IGoOnAnonAnonAnon*

      I do! I had a 20″ deep hourglass tub installed during a 2004 remodel and I use it at least once a week. I love a decadent soak in hot water with Epsom salts, music, and a beverage. It’s a shower over tub, because I HATE separate giant tubs that never get used and a separate shower — to me, it’s a massive waste of space, and my house is only 1600-ish sq ft. We have a second, shallower tub (with shower over) in the hallway/kid bathroom

      I would vote for big luxurious shower in primary bath, with a regular tub/shower over bath in a shared/family bath, if I was remodeling today for possible future resale, though.

    12. Decidedly Me*

      I love having a bathtub, but never use it, lol! I think I would avoid buying a house without one, but it’s your home! Do what you want with it.

    13. The Prettiest Curse*

      I have eczema, so baths are totally out for me. I chose a house which only has a shower in the master bathroom because a bath would be a total waste of space from my perspective. I also live in an area with very hard water, so even though we have a water conditioner installed, baths mean nasty soap scum to me, not relaxing bubbles!

      A lot of older people prefer walk-in showers over baths for safety reasons as well. But any future potential house buyers who wants a bath really badly can presumably have one installed so I wouldn’t worry too much about that aspect.

    14. Morning reader*

      My vote (if you’re counting) is to keep the tub or replace it with a standard size, but don’t eliminate it. It can be useful to have a large water-holding area for things other than bathing. (Filling tub with water in an emergency, an alternative safe space in a tornado, a place for kittens to play soccer with their toys, etc.) If you have another place to put a shower you like, you don’t really need to get rid of it. It may come in handy and some future buyers may appreciate it. Unless it’s significantly in your way, or it’s a cheap model that will deteriorate and won’t look good in 10 or 20 years when you sell.

    15. Claire*

      I use mine once or twice a week, and I couldn’t live somewhere without a tub. If you plan on selling the place again soon, I’d try to keep the tub. If not, remodel to suit yourself and then buyers can consider reinstalling a tub if they care about it.

    16. Veterinary Betrayal*

      I have a friend who just replaced the only bathtub in his house with a big spa shower, and we had this discussion. Part of the question is, how focused on resale even are you – because I bought my house as at least partly investment, so I would want there to be one bathtub because I believe potential buyers with kids want them. And I’m probably biased towards them, because I like to soak myself. But he isn’t so concerned about resale (claims he wants to die in his home, haha) and was sure nobody would use the tub nearly as much as this fancy shower, so he was happy with his decision.

    17. Person from the Resume*

      Yes, lots and lots of people do.

      I am a single middle aged woman. I rent and my masterbath has a shower I use regularly. I use the guest bathroom normal tub 1-2 a week. I usually shave in tub. I soak after sports that tired out my muscles. In winter, I soak in a hot bath to warm up or just to create a hot cocoon for a while.

      Resale value wise, people expect a tub. Parents need a tub in the house for kids. If you never use it, but there’s room best investment for future home sale would be to get rid of the big tub, get a standard one and get a fancy shower for enjoyment.

      Or just focus on your enjoyment (get rid of the tub) being aware that you could have a bit of a harder time selling your house without a tub (in the master bathroom).

    18. Just a Name*

      We haven’t used our tub in the 20+ years since we bought the house. I want to replace it with a walk in shower because I’m worried about mobility issues in the future. It’s a tiny bathroom with no room to expand unless we do a major renovation and give up part of our bedroom. I did worry about not having a tub for resale, because some day we may downsize, but I doubt that my 1970’s tub would add much value. We hope to be here another 20 years. Besides, our neighborhood is mostly kid free as most owners have been in their houses for decades.

    19. Alex*

      I have an old iron clawfoot tub in my bathroom and I looooooooovvvvvve it. I’m moving and am sad to leave it! I also use the tub for other things—hand washing large items, etc.

      That said, you should make your house the way you like it! Unless you plan to flip it in a couple of years, I wouldn’t worry too much about making it so that other people will like it. While plenty of people want a bathtub, plenty of other people love a big spa shower.

    20. Falling Diphthong*

      People who never use the tub are a thing.

      That said, I soak in the tub to help with muscle pain and stiffness, and a bathtub is on our absolutely-must-have list for a new house. (Standard tub; a deeper tub would be a plus; a wider one a mild negative; a master bath with shower and second bath with standard tub is fine.)

    21. RagingADHD*

      I don’t take tub baths often, but I wouldn’t want to be without one entirely. It comes in handy for all kinds of household things, and others in my family like tub baths.

      That said, I do not like tiny showers, because they feel cramped. I like a standard tub and shower combo, and if I had the setup you describe I would probably change it.

    22. Shipper*

      I was recently house-hunting and places that had taken out the tub were a non-starter for me. A lot of people do use bath tubs and if I own my own place I need a tub!

    23. Ampersand*

      My primary bathroom has a giant shower because the prior owners opted for all shower, no tub, and I really really wish I had a bathtub. I use the one in my daughter’s bathroom every so often. If I had one in my own bathroom I’d take baths more frequently. I think they’re nice!

    24. SofiaDeo*

      Any way you can install a larger shower stall? Even if you have to spend some money repositioning the tub drain? Or (probably less costly than drain repositioning) get a smaller tub to make space for a larger shower? The larger tub can be a tax writeoff to a local ReStore or similar (if you’re in the US) if you don’t want the hassle of selling it, or give it away if you don’t want the hassle of having the contractor installing the new shower take the tub to ReStore.

      This recent fad of replacing tubs with showers hasn’t yet stood the test of time. I would not easily/willingly purchase a house that didn’t have at least 1 bathtub. We like our baths so much, we are now calling ahead at hotels when traveling, to verify whether or not they have any rooms with tubs. You may not use a tub much now, but if/when you need it, it’s there.

    25. Breaking Dishes*

      Never use a tub. Not for years. Took the tub/shower combination out when renovating that bathroom over twenty years ago. Redid the shower about a year ago. In my opinion, make it work for you first. Let any buyers make changes they want.

    26. Prospect Gone Bad*

      YES. Showers don’t always feel like they are enough if I come back from a hiking trip or something. And then I hurt my lower back, and being able to soak somewhere in the winter when there wasn’t the option of a pool? God Send

    27. Clara Bowe*

      I have the shortest cast iron tub ever (have not stretched out in a bath for over a decade) and I use it weekly. My vote is that a spa tub like that would be a big draw for Bath People and if you have another tub/combo that you could shower in if the main shower is too small, don’t waste your $$ remodeling. Especially if you plan to move in 6-10 years.

    28. allathian*

      I loved having a tub when I was a kid, but I’m dealing with enough mobility issues that I never use the one we have in our big bathroom. I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to climb out of it again. I’m in Finland, though, and we have our own sauna. The heat does wonders for my stiff muscles.

    29. londonedit*

      Maybe it’s a British thing, but I love my bath. I live in a studio flat and it’s rare here for small flats to have a bath – but mine does, and it’s amazing. I lived in a flat with just a shower for a few years and while it was OK, I really did miss being able to have a bath. Particularly in the winter after a long run on a Sunday morning! I try to limit my baths to two or three a week because of water use and the cost of gas to heat the water, but I love an evening soak before bed. I shower and wash my hair in the morning (my bath has a shower over it, very common set-up here) so my evening bath is about relaxing before bed. I do find it helps me sleep better! I wouldn’t need a huge fancy spa bath, but I’d definitely be disappointed if my next flat didn’t have a bath at all.

  51. Skirts with pockets*

    I need new skirts and can’t seem to find what I want. I’m looking for summer or fall weight, midi length, can be pull-on or buttoned, and must have side-seam pockets big enough for a phone. That last one is the hard part, finding garments with functional pockets. Any suggestions for brands or websites? I’ll be shopping online so they need to have a reasonable return policy.

    1. OyHiOh*

      You might try Eshakti. I haven’t looked at seasonal styles recently but they often carry the fabric weights and lengths you’re looking for, and all of their bottoms always come with generous pockets. They can be pretty hit or miss – some people love, some people hate – but I’ve had really good luck with their pieces. I’ve seen comments here and elsewhere that altering a piece from how it’s shown changes the fit – this has not been my experience at all. I’ve changed necklines, hemlines, sleeves, and fabrics and had everything fit exactly as desired when it arrived.

      I wear a 16 in pants and their straight sizes fit me perfectly for separates (I use custom fit for dresses).

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        Yeah, everything I’ve ordered with custom options has looked awful, and my last order was delayed over a month (like, production+packing, not a shipping issue) with no updates or acknowledgement of the delay. And then they just straight up didn’t refund the stuff I returned for over 3 months after confirming the items had been returned (I had to demand my money back or I would still be waiting). The stuff I did keep was pretty, but comparable to Target in quality.

      2. Observer*

        My experience with them has been mixed. And outside of denim, I haven’t been able to find anything mid-weight. The lined stuff is a bit better, because the lining gives it heft. But even so, you can’t really wear it in winter weather.

        1. Observer*

          OK, I see that you were asking about summer / fall, midi-length. I misread.

          But I would still say that my experience is mixed.

    2. league**

      Woman Within’s 7-day knit A-line skirt might work. You can also go to bottoms–>skirts on their website and then limit your search to items with pockets, and glance through the pics for midi.

      1. ShinyPenny*

        Woman Within also has 100% cotton jeans (no lycra!) with wonderfully big, functional pockets. (Elastic waist, which is perfect for working in the barn or the garden.)

    3. Roland*

      Pockets are a pretty standard alteration – I love buying skirts and dresses with pockets but at the end of the day, if you can pay a little less and just have pockets put in, it could be worth the hassle.

    4. Blue wall*

      Lands end occasionally have skirts that fit these reqs, as does JJill. You may need to wait for the new season.

      1. Observer*

        Yes, I’ve had mostly good experience with LandsEnd. One thing to note is that a lot of their skirts are dry clean only, at least the woven fabrics. (Knits are a total no go for me, for skirts.)

    5. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      I haven’t purchased from modcloth in a while, but I think they generally have skirts-with-pockets and I remember the fabrics they used being high quality and holding up to wear pretty well.

  52. Cookies For Breakfast*