weekend open thread – May 4-5, 2024

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: A Love Song for Ricki Wilde, by Tia Williams. A florist trying to break free from her socialite family finds a strange connection with a musician. It’s romance, but it’s also about chosen family, magic, and the Harlem Renaissance, and Tia Williams writes so beautifully.

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

{ 996 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    The weekend posts are for relatively light discussion 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 what happened to me today” personal-blog-style posts are not. We also can’t do medical advice here.

    Please give the full rules a re-read if it’s been a while!

  2. Happily Retired*

    Queen Olive! We humble ourselves before you.

    (I also have had calicos and torties.)

    1. RLC*

      She is soooo beautiful! Calicos and torties are extra special (we had three at one point, probably a special kind of self-inflicted craziness and absolutely wonderful).

      1. Mornington Crescent*

        I am utterly charmed by baby!Olive. Look at her, she was so tiny and fuzzy!

    2. Shakti*

      Yes!! Also a member of the calico and torties club!! They’re such special creatures

    3. Zona the Great*

      Yep! I happily live in fear of mine (Zona) and gleefully accept her indifference to me.

    4. Arya Pary*

      My tortie is currently sat on my lap. She is lovely, but has a withering stare when she needs to make a point

    5. GoryDetails*

      Olive is lovely! My family had a couple of torties way back in the day; I remember we dubbed one of them “Melancholy” because she had a pattern of white-and-black around her eyes that gave her a perpetual sad-eye look (though she was a very cheerful cat).

    6. CatMintCat*

      Such a pretty cat. We have a calico, and she’s pretty special (aren’t they all).

    7. RMNPgirl*

      My current kitty is a tabitortico as my vet put it! She’s got the tabby stripes, but calico coloring on her body and tortie coloring on her tail (literally every color a cat could be, she has somewhere on her body). She doesn’t really have the attitude of a calico or tortie, I think because she has a lot of Maine Coon in her and it tempers the attitude :)

    8. Damn it, Hardison!*

      My tortico looks very similar to Olive, but with short fur. She is tortie on top, calico on the bottom, and 100% tortitude (IYKYK). She is currently demanding her third breakfast.

  3. Morning Dew*

    Trash can recommendations needed:

    I remember reading about “expensive” trash cans some commenters bought and recommended. I cannot find that thread. If you don’t mind, can you please repost what you bought so I can research them?

    I am looking for a 13-gallon trash can (or about that size) with a sensor for touchless opening if anyone has that. But any high-end trash cans you have and recommend, I would like to research them.

    Thank you!

    1. strawberry lemonade*

      I got a SimpleHuman trash can and really like it! It’s lasted a long time. I honestly couldn’t say much in general about quality trash can brands but I have had many friends tell me it looks like a fancy trash can.

      1. Mop*

        seconding Simple Human. I have multiple butterfly lid trash cans and they’re perfect for keeping nosy dogs out. they have motion and voice activated cans, though I can’t speak to those. I also have shower caddies from them and their products are so much more sturdy than other brands!

        1. Filosofickle*

          Big fan of Simplehuman cans! I used my last one for 15 years, it was developing a bit of rust one one side (where I tended to dribble) so at that point so while moving I took the opportunity to get a clean one — but it still worked great. And yes, their shower caddies are leagues above the others.

          1. Cathie from Canada*

            Second, or third, this – we have had a Simplehuman for two decades, works great. It wasn’t cheap (like, in Canada, they’re more than $100) but worth it.

    2. All Monkeys are French*

      I used to have a Joseph Joseph trash/recycling combo can that I loved (an earlier model of the Totem, I believe). No sensor, but it was sturdy and pet-proof yet easy to open and close, and it had good capacity in a small footprint.

    3. Wowzers*

      Last time I looked into this, sensor trash cans were not yet worth investing in. People were having issues with durability, not necessarily of the sensor mechanism itself but with the overall product design, if I remember correctly. Brabantia might be worth looking into. Not touchless at the time. I ended up getting one from another inexpensive brand that you step on the pedal to open the lid that also has the ability to manually open the lid so it stays open, which is a really nice feature that I wouldn’t want to give up now. Touchless sensor has a cool factor, but the pedal style has worked just fine for me that I don’t plan on upgrading to touchless any time soon.

    4. Caroline*

      I have an Eko Horizon touchless trash can. I’ve owned it for about three months. I don’t actually use the touchless feature yet…I probably can now, but we purchased it to stop our pup from invading the trash and we were concerned he’d figure out the touchless mechanism if it was on when it was first introduced.

      I like the way it looks. Even with the touchless feature turned off, it self-closes after a couple of minutes if you leave it open. It has a keyhole opening under the lip that lets all the air under the trash bag out. The only thing I don’t love about it vs my old analog plastic trash can is that it can be hard to get a full trash bag out of it. The stainless steel sides are inflexible and if you’re the type to smoosh your trash down hard and let it accumulate until the can is truly full, it sometimes takes an extra hand to hold the can still while someone hauls the bag out, and one time I ripped the drawstring clean off a bag and had to rebag it. It’s a minor, minor complaint that is mostly resolved with behavior changes on my end now. I am considering buying a second one for my recyclables because that container is next to the trash and I’d like them to match.

    5. Hyaline*

      I’ve had the Simple Human trash and recycle combo with the add on compost caddy for almost five years now and I love it. I know it’s weird to love a trash can. However.

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

    Small joys thread! What made you happy this week?

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        Do they have the big Viking ship that swings back and forth? I love that one. One of the few things that miss from the US.

      1. WorkNowPaintLater*

        Hurray for the local shops open Saturdays! Sometimes one needs a salted caramel cold brew for lunch.

    1. WoodswomanWrites*

      I went out with a guide on a trail I’d never been on despite it being close to where I live. Going on a weekday, it was just us and we saw only one other person the whole time. It’s the Bay Area’s green season, so many flowers are blooming, and the views from the hills are fantastic. We saw 27 bird species, including a bald eagle and a new one I’ve always wanted to see, a colorful Lazuli bunting! Now that I know where to look, I can go on this hike on my own.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        That’s amazing. I’m low-key jealous. (Do you play Wingspan? It’s one of my favourite games, and it’s all about birds.)

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      The swoopy, soaring gulls I can see outside the window. I just love watching them glide.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Also the farmer’s market opened today for the summer :)

      2. RedinSC*

        Oh, that’s so fun!

        I need to get back to spinning! I actually have some angora bunny fur to try to spin!

    3. Knighthope*

      Drove to Lancaster, PA to see “South Pacific” at the Fulton Theatre. Hadn’t been there in 50+ years! It was excellent!

    4. allathian*

      Spring has finally sprung in earnest. Two weeks ago a blizzard dropped nearly a foot of snow on us. Now the grass is green and the trees are full of tiny leaves, and the birds are singing like there’s no tomorrow.

    5. Lemonwhirl*

      The swifts reclaimed their nests this week and are busily tidying them up. I love watching them swoop down and race off.

      We’re getting new doors, and I asked could we get a lion head door knocker for the new front door, and he said no. But then he surprised me with a lion head door knocker for my home office door. It’s even better than one on the front door because I see it so many times a day, and it makes me laugh every time.

    6. Madame Arcati*

      Yesterday I got two curtain holdbacks (you know those big hook things you tuck the curtains behind when open?) on freecycle. I didn’t really need them but they looked like would match perfectly my bedstead and bedside tables (which were from a rather fancy company and something of an indulgence.
      I picked them up and am really pleased – bonus was, I checked fancy company website and I am sure they are the maker, and the pair would have cost me £56 plus delivery! That’s maybe 70 USD and I didn’t spend a penny – didn’t even have to factor in petrol as it was close enough to walk!
      And my bedroom will look soooo elegant

    7. The Other Sage*

      I begun my new job, and I felt incredibly calm on my first day. In the past I would feel very nervous.

    8. Six Feldspar*

      Raking up autumn leaves this afternoon with absolutely perfect weather!

    9. GoryDetails*

      So many birds! The hummingbirds have returned to my area, along with the catbirds – indeed, I saw an aerial battle among the catbirds, so apparently I have more than one male this year. Also spotted some wrens, and a flicker, along with the usual suspects that are here year-round.

      And I got to see a lovely fly-by from a great blue heron!

    10. Andromeda*

      My dance teacher reached out to me specifically to ask if I would mind joining their front of house team (signing people in, taking payment, being a friendly face) in exchange for one free lesson a week. And several people I knew from those classes were really happy to see me on the team :)

    11. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Lilies of the valley in bloom on the narrow trip between a sidewalk and a church. With no other foot traffic, so I could get down and inhale the delightful scent.

    12. PhyllisB*

      I paid off both credit cards yesterday!! Next is my car. Then I will be totally debtfree for the first time in forty years.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        That’s wonderful! Take a moment to sit still and be proud of yourself!

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        That is amazing! I still have the letter from the debt consolidation company confirming my final payment from over 20 years ago. Debt is such a miasma of a thing–just seeps into every corner of your life.

    13. GoryDetails*

      This historical tidbit pleased me very much: Excavations at the site of a Roman bathhouse in Carlisle, England turned up a chunk (“a soft purple lump about the size of a squashed golf ball”) of the rare and wildly expensive dye, Tyrian purple, made from the mucus of a specific variety of sea snail. Fragments of the pigment have been found on frescoes in Rome and Egypt, but an actual chunk of the raw pigment is a unique find!

    14. BikeWalkBarb*

      I successfully completed the #30DaysOfBiking challenge, which I attempt most years and succeed at some years. (Pretty simple: Ride your bike every day, even if it’s just a tiny circle in the street or you get on a trainer. Epic mileage not required.)

      We got the new dining room table I splurged on to take advantage of changed space in the house after a remodel (which still isn’t quite finished, so not a full joy there but soon).

    15. Trixie Belden was my hero*

      First time today at my new dentist.
      They use the water pic thingy instead of scraping with the sharp tool thingy to remove the tartar, so no pain, just a bit wet and also NO cavities!

    16. Flames on the Side of My Face*

      Waking up slowly on a dim, rainy Saturday. Love that vibe.

    17. MoMac*

      I’ve been at the 35th annual Trauma Conference this week, which has been amazing. This is the last afternoon, and I will miss both the intellectual stimulation and the chance to speak with colleagues from around the world. It has been a glorious 4 days.

    18. Kiki Is The Most*

      The stars aligned and a wee bit of my life fell into place as I am preparing to move to another country.

    19. Sparkly Librarian*

      My little one said “I love you” (“AhLAHvoo!”) for the first time. <3

    20. Elle Woods*

      A trip to the dentist, believe it or not. It was my second trip to this particular dentist. He, and all of his employees, are positively delightful people. Such a nice change from my former dentist’s office.

    21. Elizabeth West*

      Flowers! Flowers everywhere!

      My nose hates it, but my eyes love it! #spring

    22. Filosofickle*

      I got a stand-up weed puller and wow I wish I’d done that sooner! It’s very satisfying to yank out the monster stickers that have taken over my yard plus it has a very satisfying eject button.

    23. Dr. Doll*

      more like I know this is a good thing even if I’m not feeling it, I gave blood today.

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

      Heard a the best recording of “La Vie en Rose” I think I’ve ever heard — it was Erroll Garner.

    25. Dancing Otter*

      I finished and turned in two quilt tops to my charity quilting group today. The projects had been on my UFO list since the last decade. I am SO glad to be done with them!

    26. Don’t make me come over there*

      I saw a huge meteor with a long green tail streak across the sky as I was driving home from a friend’s on Friday night. Pretty spectacular!

    27. A Girl Named Fred*

      My boyfriend and I went to a show by the Improvised Shakespeare Company last night, and it was SO GOOD. I laughed for the entire 90 minutes, the tropes and language were such that it legitimately felt like Shakespeare, but they didn’t take themselves too seriously and still had a blast/made each other laugh/occasionally broke from Shakespeare and threw in some plain language rambling. I’m so glad I saw their ad on our performing arts center’s Facebook and got tickets immediately; it was 100% worth it for a lovely and hilarious date night.

    28. Tinamedte*

      I introduced my text devouring 8yo to Calvin and Hobbes today (the cartoon, by Bill Watterson, that is) and hearing him giggle while reading made me feel like A Very Good Parent :-)

  5. goddessoftransitory*

    Fun question for the masses: what non human/animal things have names in your house and/or workspace? Beyond, say, stuffed animals.

    For instance, we have three plants: Rapunzel, the 30 year old philodendron, her pup, now full on philo in his own right, Son-Punzel, and our newest addition, Charlotte the spider plant. We also have named our ring holder in the bathroom–it’s a chrome hedgehog, and is named King Ringy Dingy since he looks like he’s wearing a crown with our rings in place! Husband also has named his favorite wooden spoon for cooking–Sweet Mama Sweet Hips!

    How about everyone else?

    1. CatMintCat*

      Our robot vacuum is Bertie Bissell (Bissell is the brand). Prior to him, we had Robbie Roomba, but he had a misunderstanding with some feline diarrhoea and couldn’t be saved.

      1. The Other Sage*

        Mine is called Staubi (with the s pronounced as sh), which is a cute name for Staub (dust).

      2. Stunt Apple Breeder*

        Bruce was the name of our Shark robot vacuum. We made and taped a paper fin to his back.

      3. Amory Blaine*

        We had a robot vacuum named Earl Scrubbs, who has been replaced by Lester Flat.

    2. FanciestCat*

      In college one of my housemates ruined a white bath mat I had by washing it with new towels and then drying it, so it turned yellow and the backing started coming off. We didn’t throw it out tho, instead we left it in a corner and called it Cheeto like it was a pet.

    3. the cat's pajamas*

      My microwave is Mr. Burns, because it’s “nuclear”, and my dishwasher is “Mr. Sparkle”.

      I’ve named my computers and cars, too.

    4. Euphony*

      Musical instruments get names in our house – my first euphonium was called Fred and my current one is Arthur.

    5. Golden Girl*

      My cars have all had names! my current one is Josie (short for Josephine), and before that I had Lola.

      This is not quite a name, but I have taken to calling just about everything “-let” as a form of affection and endearment. It started when I had pet rats, who were so tiny and adorable as babies that I found myself referring to them as ratlets. The name stuck, and soon spread to other animals- cowlet, goatlet, llamalet, and piglet-let for instance. From there it evolved to less cute animals, ie lion-let, or t-rex-let, and eventually to objects as well- roomba-let, trucklet, etc.

    6. just swell*

      We have a huge wool blanket we call the woolly mammoth… as in, do you think it is cold enough tonight to put the woolly mammoth on the bed? Also, the coffee maker is the coffee robot. You might think we could give one of our most favorite appliances a more thoughtful name, but we do use this name to speak to / plead with it many a morning… Help me coffee robot — you’re my only hope! I feel like now I’m going to realize we have a bunch more of these weird household inside joke names.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I do have a kitchen device that has a name – it’s a three-uses-in-one type device, and I was joking it’s like the Millennium Falcon, three droids in one body, but way smaller. So we call it the Centennial Parrot.

      2. BikeWalkBarb*

        After watching “Spaceman” (Adam Sandler in a very different role for him, dark and depressed) we’ve taken to referring to coffee as “hot bean water–it’s a ritual” from a line in the movie.

    7. Green Goose*

      Years ago I was gifted a hand-me-down pillow from a friend who was leaving the city. I was broke at the time don’t judge!
      But every time I slept on that pillow I’d have a nightmare so I stopped using it, except for letting occasional guests use it and it was known as Nightmare Pillow. lol.

    8. L. Ron Jeremy*

      Fernando is the name my wife gave to our 2006 yamaha FJR1300 Motorcycle. She also gave the name Pepe to my 2004 Yamaha FZ1 motorcycle.

      And yes my wife identifies as a latina.

    9. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Almost everything that talks to my network has a name, so all the computers/phones/tablets etc. Mine are named after Babylon-5 characters, my husband names his stuff after scientists. My alarm sensors are all named after Disney characters, mostly thematically, as is my Roomba. (The alarm system base unit is Yen Sid, the keypads are Mickey and Oswald, smoke detectors are Hans, Tiana and Remy, water sensors are Scuttle Sebastian Flounder downstairs and Nemo upstairs, the cameras are Hugo, Victor, Laverne and Quasimodo, the door sensors are Harris Hubert and Hamish, the door locks are Fergus and Elinor, and the Roomba is Emile.)

      My smaller e-spinner named herself, like I just found myself addressing her as Giza without actually having thought about it, and as a result her big brother is Memphis. My car is Nux the Warboy, after I joked that his predecessor Sif went to ride the roads of Valhalla, and found myself adding “shiny and chrome.”

      My plants do not have names, though my mom named the spider plant baby I gave her Charlotte. :)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Actually, I should correct myself. My INDOOR plants do not have names. But outside, we have
        Newton the baby fig tree – he’s 6″ tall and has no leaves or branches, he’s actually fenced in to make sure the lawn kid doesn’t run over him with the lawnmower because otherwise he looks like a weed, so we’re not sure what’s in store for him long-term
        Frank the grafted apple tree – he’s a 5-in-1 graft I had planted last year and he’s doing SO WELL this spring, all his branches have leaves and at least three of them last I looked had blossoms
        Ash and Maple, eponymous, which are both spontaneous growth, Ash grew up from the stump of an ash tree we took down five years ago because it was dead at the top, and Maple grew from scratch but right next to my foundation, and I told my husband to take him out because I didn’t want a maple tree right next to the house and he was like “… can I move him?” I said sure, you can put him wherever you want as long as he isn’t right up next to the house. And he’s doing great!

        1. BikeWalkBarb*

          This reminded me we have Fig Twig. My husband got a start from Buy Nothing that was JUST a twig, no leaves at all. I do all our vegetable and herb gardening outside but he has cared for Fig Twig very tenderly. It’s gone through some leaf shedding but new leaves come in and it’s now about 8″ tall and just got a repotting.

        2. Sparkly Librarian*

          I’m not much for houseplants, but I name perennials in the garden.

          Meyer (the lemon tree) and Margarita (the lime) are long-time companions. Estrellita the star jasmine was planted nearby to climb a trellis. The dwarf apples were all named for princesses: Elsa (North Pole variety) has yet to fruit, but Aurora (the Pink Lady) has an abundant harvest and Anna (Dorsett Golden, not an Anna apple, bewilderingly) does all right. Her Royal Highness Mia of Thermopolis (grafted with 6 varietals, and therefore anticipated to be quite splendid) is a bit of a drama queen but is becoming more settled over time.

          The tomato plants tend to get names that help me remember their variety, too. We’ve had Cherry Garcia (Berkeley Tie-Dye), Soleil (Sungold), Hussey (Juliet), Chekhov (Large Red Cherry, although not a full orchard), and Mrs. Moskvich.

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

      If I have a roach running around, I usually call it Fred.

    11. Peanut Hamper*

      My Dieffenbachia is named George and my spider plant is named Charlie.

      Also, I refer to all squirrels as Charlie. If I see one crossing the street, I’ll always yell at it “hurry up, Charlie!”

      1. KeinName*

        Squirrels in one of the parks in my town are traditionally referred to as ‚main park tony‘ (I’ve anonymised this). So my boyfriend who doesn’t speak our native language calls every squirrel in my country a ‚main park tony‘, which won’t help him be understood if he needs to urgently communicate about squirrels.

        1. fposte*

          This tangentially reminds me of one of my favorite comedy lines, by a standup newly immigrated to Canada. He described seeing his first squirrel and thinking, “Is that rat going to prom?”

          1. Peanut Hamper*

            Lol! That reminds me of the 911 call where someone reported that there was a monster in the tree outside their child’s window that had very human-like hands.

            The caller was a newish immigrant to the United States, and where they came from, raccoons were not a thing.

    12. AnthropomorphicQueen*

      We name everything around here. Our vacuums are Rosie Roomba (like Rosie from the Jetsons) and Mike Dyson. The food processor is Hazel.

    13. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

      Our Roomba is named Mo after the little cleaner robot in “WALL-E”. Mo sports a “Murderbot for President” sticker.

      1. BikeWalkBarb*

        I need a Murderbot for President sticker! And we’ve wanted a Roomba for quite a while now. Putting the two together would be perfect.

    14. Dancing Otter*

      Phryne the Featherweight, Bette the Bernette and Jenny the Janome. And yes, I do so need all three sewing machines.

      1. RLC*

        I have Fran the Featherweight. Her original owner was Fran so it was a logical choice. My Chrysler 300 is Ms Hemi.

    15. Indolent Libertine*

      It’s not exactly a name, but when our kiddo was about 3 we were getting ready to go out, which included setting the alarm system, and they asked “are we going to do the beeps?” 30 years later and with kiddo long since out of the house on their own, we still call it “doing the beeps.”

      1. BikeWalkBarb*

        When my husband and I go for a walk he starts his exercise watch. If he forgets I prompt him by asking, “Did you do your beepity-beep?”

        My phone tallies my walking automatically and it has no name.

    16. Jessica*

      Long ago when my food processor was new, it came in a box that typically had ad copy all over it, and it was in both English and French. Apparently the French for what is called in English a “food processor” is “robot culinaire.” So that’s how it became forevermore the Culinary Robot.

    17. Kenny Baritone*

      We have a plant in the kitchen called Dave. We’re rubbish at keeping plants alive but now Dave’s a Dave we make the effort to keep the little dude healthy and happy.

    18. Madame Arcati*

      I have an agapanthus in the back garden called Agatha.
      My car has a name and title but i’d out myself to anyone who knows me irl!

    19. Janne*

      Our food processor is called Rasputin, 1) because nothing kills him (we once drowned his motor in dough, but when the dough dried up we just shook it out and he ran again) and 2) in our language “rasp” means grating, which he is very good at.

      The central ventilation unit is called Mr Upside Down Octopus, because his ducts come out of the top.

    20. Rage*

      My house is named Castle Andromeda. (I thought about naming it Castle Anthrax.)

      I’ve always named my cars. Since I bought my first Saturn back in 1999, all of my cars have been named after the moons of Saturn: Titan, Galileo, Calypso, and my current vehicle, a Honda Fit, is named Hyperion.

      I used to have a mini-laptop, and I called it Genie – because the joke was that it had ALL THE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE….itty bitty living space!

      But speaking of non-living things… Calypso was my first and only “female” car. She had quite the personality – I swear she was sentient. One thing she used to do would happen pretty consistently if we were at a stoplight, first in line. If there was a police car or some tricked-out street racer next to me, the engine would suddenly rev to 7-8K RPM. Of course, the dudes with the souped-up sports cars would just look over at me as if I was insane, shrug, and then rev their own engine.

      Cops would just get out their ticket books and wait.

      I had her checked out several times, thinking it must surely be something with the idle, or timing, or thermostat…nope. Everything checked out. Once place I took her, they called me and said they’d driven her all over and couldn’t replicate it. So I told them to humor me and drive around near a police substation; I suggested that they would likely see it happen at the stoplight, with a cop nearby. Sure enough, right on cue. The mechanics were freaked out, but ultimately thought it was hysterical. They also found nothing wrong. Hyperion, fortunately, doesn’t spike my blood pressure when we’re driving.

      Oh – one other thing: Allen wrenches are forever known as a$$hole wrenches, due to an conveniently-named ex-boyfriend.

    21. Six Feldspar*

      – Mark Botney is the name of my little robot vacuum because he gets stuck and needs rescuing so often
      – Edna is my singer treadle machine from 1948 that I impulse bought
      – if there’s ever a large spider in the house they get given old fashioned names like Gilbert, Wilfred, Gertrude, Dolores, etc

      1. Inkhorn*

        That just sparked a memory of my mum dubbing eight-legged invaders Harry (for alliteration, since “large spider” invariably meant “huntsman”).

        I’ve named my phones – Andromeda the Samsung Galaxy and Quincy the LG Q7 – and I habitually name my plants. Just from where I’m sitting I can see William and Tilda and Peri and Lilith and Domino and Jura and Tatsu and Jezebel and Nox and Mina and Ziggy and Morticia and Harlow and Rubens and Lord Palmerston…

        What do you mean, “too many plants”?

        1. Six Feldspar*

          Well done keeping that many plants alive! (I have killed two citrus trees and counting…)

          I will add Harold to the list of names for when the next huntsman visits!

    22. Andromeda*

      I have a sundew called Masha at my parents’ place. I want to get some flytraps for my flat in the summer and give them names too.

    23. Miss Buttons*

      Everything in our house is “ The Doodah”. Generic term used often, every time we cannot call to mind the name of something quickly.

      1. Dicey Tillerman*

        We had “The Hootie” at Old Job.

        Past and present plants have been:
        Phyllis the philodendron
        Spike the snake plant
        Snickett the lemon tree

        Bikes have been Rosie, Violet, and Maude

    24. Crookshanks*

      The cat toys! We have Phyllis (flamingo), Buzz (bee), Flo (fish), the Teddy Mouse, and Sid & Sal (spiders).

      1. BikeWalkBarb*

        All scratching posts in our house are “The Scritch-a-Scritch.” This follows from my efforts to use positive reinforcement to shift the sofa-shredding claws of Mr. Stripey Pants (real name Tiggs-short-for-Tigger) to the posts. Using a Scritch-a-Scritch gets a treat and attention with my special cat-baby voice to praise him for using it.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        We have Batty Bat, whom Peanut ignores, and dearly miss the late Ratty Rat, which he loved to a battered death. Now his favorite toy is The Nanner, a catnip-stuffed banana. The Nanner is a hereditary title as we have to replace it every month or so.

        1. RLC*

          We have Purple Shmoo, a fuzzy blob of a cat toy (was once a spider with leather legs and little googly eyes, one eye and all legs lost in 35 years of cat play) named for the blob-like Shmoo in the Lil Abner comic. Our little calico talks to Shmoo and carries him around as if he were a kitten.

    25. BikeWalkBarb*

      All my bicycles:
      Sweetie, a road bike given to me by my sweetheart when we were dating, and the model is a Specialized Dolce.
      Tessa, short for Tessaract, because it’s a folding bicycle.
      Mary Poppins, an upright city bike model.
      Zelda, my favorite but don’t tell the others, an e-bike made by Gazelle. Took a roundabout route to name her with help from my daughters. Paint color is Georgia Peach but I have no connection to Georgia. Talking about it with my daughters reminded me of a brief high school period in which I (over)used the phrase “peachy keen.” This led to her full name, Zelda Keen the Peach Machine.

      Not a name per se, but we refer to our various wind-catchers as windy-go-rounds.

    26. Stunt Apple Breeder*

      I have a 24 or 25-year old cactus (Echinopsis species?) about 2 feet tall with 1.5 – 2.0 inch spines. His name is Mr. Stabby.

      1. Rara Avis*

        There was an enormous specimen we passed on our neighborhood walks which the kid dubbed “The danger cactus” (don’t walk too close…). It had to be ritually greeted every time we went by. Sadly, the owners took it out, so the corner is safer. But boring. It had glorious blooms.

    27. Kiki Is The Most*

      Every one of my cars had a name. The last one was Fifi. Because she was french made.

    28. Mostly Managing*

      My office plants have names.
      Dave says DAVE on the pot, because it was an inside joke with the person who gave him to me.
      Fern is a fern.
      Charlotte is a spider plant.

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        I have only just now realized (after more than one comment!) why people call their spider plants “Charlotte”. I may have to relinquish my ALSC membership.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Any children’s book that starts with the line “Where is Papa going with that axe?” is destined to live forever.

    29. GermanGirl*

      I used to just do ponytails as a teen, but wanted to try something new at uni, so I got my first big hair accessorie together with my now-husband. It was around the same time as a cartoon movie with cute little animals who called the hedge they lived behind “Hugo” because they wanted to call it something and didn’t have a proper word for it … and that’s how all my bigger hair thingies are now called Hugo, because hair clip doesn’t even begin to describe the things, but I’m not aware of any better words in either German or English.

    30. Elizabeth West*

      My plants:
      Palmer (a ponytail palm, haha)
      Horace (pothos)
      Seymour and Audrey (purple heart plants — they had a baby but I’m trying to palm it off on someone at work)
      Klaus (small umbrella tree)
      Two cacti my neighbor gave me — a Christmas one and an Easter one — I sometimes call Bob and Judy, respectively

      I have a dying Chinese evergreen and a croton I haven’t named yet. My phone’s name is Marvin. My computer is Korg 2 (he succeeded Korg, who sadly died). My car is Oliver.

    31. Cedrus Libani*

      When I was a preteen, we moved to a house with a two-story entryway, and my mom decided that we were going to get a Christmas tree that suited the space. Well, it did fit vertically, but it was wider than she’d realized…it was such an imposing presence that it needed a name, and so she named it Henry. The next year, we had Henry the Second, and so on.

      I now have a house of my own, with a huge Douglas fir in the backyard. I call it Henry the Elder.

      1. AnotherLadyGrey*

        This reminds me of one of our favorite traditions, naming our Christmas trees each year. The first one was called David O. Selznick, for reasons I unfortunately do not recall. Last year we had Spruce Banner (it was an especially large tree). Mrs. Greenbaum was another one. First year of the pandemic we had Alexand-fir Hamiltree, and we made a Hamilton star for the tree topper, lol.

    32. Chauncy Gardener*

      Ha! Great question.
      Our clothes hamper is the hamster and the whole house fan is the ney ney. A linden tree in the yard is the boo boo tree.
      You would be right if you guessed that these were named by small humans long ago.

    33. carcinization*

      Well, we have a large decorative wooden cutting board, in the shape of a pheasant, with a brass head. His name is Witchbert. There’s no reason for this, and we don’t use him as a cutting board, just to sit other things on in the kichen.

      1. Sage*

        A friend got a new trash can and named it Phil. Took me a second to get it but then I loved it.

      1. NB*

        Ack! My first nesting fail! That was supposed to be under the robot vacuum names.

  6. Liz*

    I’m in a weird space. After over twenty years in public ed, mostly school admin, I’m in a calm government job. It’s so odd to go home and not do work, nothing during the weekend. Single, no kids, and mid forties. I feel semi retired. :)

    I don’t know what to do. What hobbies, interests, evening and weekend routine do others do in a similar situation. I love the new situation, better for health, but clueless. Thank you.

    1. WellRed*

      First of all, you don’t have to do anything! But seriously what have you previously wished you had time for? Friends? Exercise?

      1. Liz*

        This made me tear up- thank you. I was in public role and felt like I was in a fish bowl- everybody watching and critiquing everything. I love my new privacy and would love friends. I have been going out to social events and love it.

        1. Retirement Pending*

          Following this as I am retiring in less than 2 months and worry about filling the time!

          1. fposte*

            Bit of a derail but maybe relevant to Liz as well. What I did prior to retirement was make an actual spreadsheet of possibilities (I love spreadsheets, but YMMV). I broke down things that I felt I might want to do into several different categories, like social, volunteering, parks to explore, education I might want to pursue, short (day/overnight) trips, entertainment, house and garden plans, etc., and put in a bunch of suggestions within each.

            It helped tremendously not because it was a to-do list but it was an opportunity reminder and an emphasis on finding different kinds of rewarding experience. (I stopped looking at it after the first year and am excited by possibilities just looking at it again now.) I’m okay with vegging and have veg days on the regular, but I didn’t want to veg just because I couldn’t think of what else to do. I’ve also found that there are seasonal shifts and phases, so I may do more hobbies for a while, do more garden for a while, be more dovish for a while, etc.

            1. Anonymous cat*

              I do something similar for days off or holidays. I keep a running list of fun things or movies or books I want to try.

              So I don’t get to the holiday and can’t remember what that cool sounding movie/book/event was that I meant to try!

        2. WoodswomanWrites*

          Now that you’re not bringing work home anymore, you can give yourself permission to be spontaneous and unscheduled. You can decide in the moment what you’d like to do instead of having your evenings and weekends scheduled. Congratulations on your new freedom!

        3. ThatOtherClare*

          A lot of people are going to suggest crafts and hobbies for you to try. It sounds like you’re a people focused person. If so, you might find you get more fun out of any ‘making’ hobbies if you’re making stuff for people. Some people are happy to paint or knit or re-pot plants for the sake of the activity, but you might find you get more joy out of it if you’re using your down time to get ahead on your birthday present list, or making coasters for your friend’s house-warming, etc. Or maybe not, I’m extrapolating from a single comment here, but you know if what I just said rings true or not. Either way, enjoy your free time!

          1. Six Feldspar*

            Agreed, and it’s also great to combine the hobby with the socialising, e.g. joining a crafting group or a community garden

        4. Imprudence*

          I think it was Gretchen Rubin who suggested you should ask yourself what you liked to do as a child, and do that.

        5. BikeWalkBarb*

          Check out your local parks and rec or equivalent for interesting classes. I wanted to overcome an evening tendency to subside onto the sofa. Since the beginning of the year I’ve taken two 6-week improv classes (highly recommend!) and gone to a lecture on tree communication in which we got to listen to their electrical impulses translated into musical tones through a Plants Play device made in Italy. I missed the chance to sign up for the hula-hoop classes so I’m hoping that one comes back around (ahahahaha). My husband is taking a one-night Intro to Voice-over Work later this month. Tons of variety and a good way to meet people. My second improv class just finished and we’re having a potluck in a couple of weeks thanks to one of the participants saying “Let’s be improv friends!” and setting it up.

          1. Cathie from Canada*

            My brother audits university classes in subjects that always interested him – geology, art, philosophy, politics, etc. He does one class per term, and often talks about the interesting conversations he has had with other students and with the faculty.
            My husband and I “love to work at nothing all day” – we had stressful jobs with lots of meetings and demands, so we love it now when we don’t absolutely have to be anywhere at any particular time.

        6. DJ Abbott*

          I think the key is to find an activity you love. That’s what has worked for me. I love dancing to a specific style of music. I was fortunate to find a music scene and dance classes in the late 90s and get involved in it. I’ve been doing it ever since, just again last night. I live in a big city that can support such things.
          I’ve made some friends through this. Getting closer to my friends is a work in progress because I had abusive parents who made me socially inept and afraid to get close to people. There are some that I’m close enough that we love each other, but with most I don’t get to see them away from the activity. I watch for cues like if they say it’s so good to see me, I suggest we connect on social media and/or get together one on one. Also if I feel the need to see friends, or have a specific need, I’ll ask friends for help, and they usually step up. So for me at least the key is to ask when I need something, and speak up when I want to move forward with a friendship. If anyone has other suggestions, I would love them.
          I’ve tried volunteering and it hasn’t been good. The activist scene here is very toxic, and my 2020 experience was hurtful and triggering. I probably won’t try organized volunteering or activism again, at least not till I retire and have time to find a good environment. So don’t feel bad if volunteering doesn’t work out for you. There are other things you can do and other ways to help. I work in a job that helps people, and take every opportunity in daily life to help people.
          I’ve been feeling a need for more spirituality and I’m planning to check out a spiritual/religious group I’ve heard good things about. I googled “religious groups near me” and got some interesting options.
          I hope all of this helps, and also will be watching this thread for advice. :)

      2. Pennyworth*

        Volunteering in an activity you are interested in or would like to check out. I volunteer at our local art society (in the library, gardening, minding the gallery) and at a propagation nursery for local environmental groups. I am also the coordinator for a volunteer run adult education class. A friend takes her rescue dogs to the local cancer treatment center once a week.

    2. Wish me luck, I need it!*

      In my 40’s I took up ice-skating. With lessons, because I needed them. In my 50’s I took up aerials (silks/trapeze), and a foreign language. If I had extra time I’d take up pottery or sketching/watercolour and a musical instrument. I had a friend who joined a local cycling club in her late 40’s /early 50’s and met many many people to hang out with. Try a whole bunch of classes and activities, and see what suites your fancy.

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

      OMG — congratulations on not having to bring work home! That’s awesome!

      Are you musical or theatrical? You now have time for community choir/band/orchestra/theater rehearsal as many nights a week as you want!

      Are you sporty? Maybe there’s a league of something you can join.

      Arty? Art or crafting classes!

      Do you like gaming? Local game nights!

      It IS weird to be single, childless and middle aged, as many of our peers are busy with their kids and spouses right now, but I think once you find a group or two that you resonate with, you are going to have a ton of fun in your free time.

      Meanwhile, you can take yourself mini-golfing, to the movies, to the library, to a concert . . . . whatever floats your boat.

    4. Cat and dog fosterer*

      I fill my time with dog walking or cat fostering, crochet, watching forensics and crime videos, my garden, making big pots of food for the week, local market for veggies, and right now I’m spring cleaning.

    5. Professor Plum*

      I’ve been indoor gardening—growing herbs and greens in aerogardens. It doesn’t take a lot of time but I find it very satisfying to pick herbs and greens as I’m cooking.

    6. Future*

      Think about what change you want to see in the world and join an organisation or volunteer group and do your little bit to work towards the world you want to see.

    7. Six Feldspar*

      Apart from all the hobbies that have been suggested, you might find that your body needs more sleep and downtime now that there’s an opportunity for more. You don’t have to fill every second of your away from work time with socialising/hobbies/etc. if you’ve been in a job that makes people run on fumes for a long time it’s also important to make time for rest/health/etc, whatever that looks like for you.

      1. DJ Abbott*

        Seconding this. I love socializing, and went without enough sleep for at least 20 years from socializing on weeknights and staying up too late. I ended up getting sick from it and was sick on and off for two years. The shut down reminded me again that getting enough sleep is important. I got eight hours every night and felt great! So now I prioritize getting more sleep and rest, even though I can’t get a full eight hours on weeknights.

    8. Anonymous cat*

      For quiet at-home days, watch all the movies you missed because you had to work every weekend!

    9. miel*

      I have a seasonal every-Saturday-morning volunteer gig. I love the routine and the positive social vibes.

    10. Kiki Is The Most*

      Did the same thing a few years ago! My first year out of teaching I ….

      Took an advanced language class of the country I live in.
      Joined a meet up walking group that met once a week and would go for coffee after.
      Learned stand up paddle and joined a sunrise group to go once a week.
      Made one friend coffee/drink date every 1.5-2 weeks.
      Took long walks on my own.
      Organized the stuff on my to-do list that I never had time for as a teacher.
      Cleaned out closets, spice racks, beauty/med drawer.
      Pet sat for friends when it was convenient for me.
      Went to a community boardgame night every once in a while.

      I was surprised that I was as busy as I was and not overwhelmed because they were things I ENJOYED. I’m not much of a reader but I snuck in some books and podcasts, too. There were still plenty of days/evenings to loaf and have no plans.

      I hope you find the good things you’re looking for.

    11. RC*

      I love many of these suggestions, and will just say that tending my worm bin (when it’s compost-harvesting time) can be a whole day affair, and I find it very enjoyable. I really got attached to those lil guys even though they’re not fluffy mammals. I’ll put on a podcast or an audiobook (and incidentally now I want to get into birding) and just sit for a few hours. I’ve given the castings to the local community garden (another weekend activity) since after a certain point I have more compost than I have space for plants here.

      They’re both ghosting me at the moment (long story/s) but I also have been a court-appointed special advocate for foster youth for the last few years, so I’d find fun things to go to with them too, or just meet up for boba (teens; I have no kids, want no kids, but hanging out with teens is in my wheelhouse and makes me feel like I’m doing something that maybe matters, at least up until the current hiatus).

    12. Girasol*

      A little late here, but as a retiree I’d recommend making a point of exploring. Try out a new thing or go somewhere you’ve never been each week or two without committing that “This is my off time thing!” You’ll have all kinds of new experiences while searching for what clicks with you.

  7. Bee or Zee*

    How to fairly navigate a living situation when there is a different preference level around tidiness. One person, Bee grew up in a spotless house with a SAHM who deep cleaned the house on a daily basis. Not a crumb, or thing out of order. Bee likes the house to be tidy and gets frustrated with Zee, who they feel is a slob.
    Zee grew up in a cluttered, messy house and is a self proclaimed “messy person”. Their parents worked long hours and did not prioritize cleaning in their limited downtime. Zee does not want to live in a house as messy as their parents, but tends to be blind to leaving cups around, or articles of clothing in common areas. Zee and Bee both agree that the house should never get to a level of dirty. But Zee is fine with a level of clutter that Bee isn’t.
    They both work full-time, and Zee wants to relax at the end of the day but Bee feels that Zee should not relax until the house is fully cleaned.
    What are some good compromises?

    1. Wish me luck, I need it!*

      My first thought would be that they agree to a specified time limit to cleaning after work. So, instead of coming home and starting to relax, there’s 15 minutes of decluttering or cleaning, then relax. I personally wouldn’t agree to more than 15 minutes, but that’s me. There will have to be some navigation about what happens if someone doesn’t come directly home.
      My partner and I navigate this by: I do more cleaning, he does more decluttering. I don’t see clutter, and I am prone to taking my socks off and leaving them where-ever I am. He puts away my socks. However, in 20+ years together, he’s never once washed a floor, or dusted anything. But, roommates are different from partners.

      1. Maggie*

        Yeah it’s pretty much my husband cooks and I clean and do laundry. He makes really good food regularly so it’s a good compromise for me. I personally couldn’t deal with being told I had to clean for any amount of time after work. Like I’m an adult and I’ll clean when I want! And I’m a clean person. I cleaned for an hour today, toilets even! But I think that could work well for some couples so it’s a good idea

      2. Hyaline*

        If the problem is mostly Zee’s clutter overtaking common spaces, maybe this could work (but fair warning, it’s the solution I employed for my grade school age kids’ clutter, so YMMV): I decided I wasn’t putting away others’ junk anymore, so I got a decorative bin, and when I find clutter left in common spaces, it goes in the bin. They then put the items away (loose schedule there, but Zee could agree to daily, when it’s full, whatever). With my kids there’s an extra layer of “I will donate this if it’s not dealt with” but I imagine a grown adult wouldn’t need threats! Bee is bothered by the clutter so notices it; Zee can deal with actually putting away their own stuff.

        As for “not relaxing until the house is fully cleaned” I think they need to separate cleaning chores and each can handle their chores in their own time. It almost sounds like Bee expects to clean together and that’s not a fair expectation. Bee needs to unclench a little (or spend more time in their own, presumably clean, room to relax).

    2. Pidgeot*

      Bee should pick 3-5 things that are very important to them for cleanliness (like if dishes in the sink drives them up the wall or they hate laundry being outside the laundry baskets) and discuss with Zee if they can commit to those things. Negotiate and compromise because it sounds like Zee will have to break some deep habits. Then when Bee gets frustrated they have to make peace with letting it go if it isn’t one of the things on their list. Talk monthly about how things are going. Add/remove things from the list if needed. Then see about budgeting in for a cleaning service on some cadence for everything else.

    3. WellRed*

      I think it’s reasonable to not want to clean all the clutter every night before relaxing but I also don’t think it’s asking too much to put clothes in the hamper and cups in the sink. If Bee can’t deal with any clutter, though, they may have to clear it themselves every night while Zee makes some concessions. Fir example I’d clear my partner clutter if they cleaned the bathroom once a week or whatever.

    4. FanciestCat*

      I think Zee should try to not leave things out in the common areas. It shouldn’t take very long for Zee to look around an area when they leave, grab anything that shouldn’t be there, and chuck it in their room. That would probably make Bee feel less compelled to clean overall, since rooms automatically look cleaner when they are tidy, even if no one has sweep the floor in ages.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      Zee should do a quick daily sweep to pick up items in common areas, either before work or before relaxing after work (rather than leaving it for later). That way the clutter is gone during the evening and they can both enjoy the common space as much as possible. As someone with Bee preferences and Zee actions, I know if I sit down “just for a minute” after work nothing will get done, but also the mess will be hanging over me the whole time I’m “relaxing.”

    6. Indolent Libertine*

      The only solution that involves Bee and Zee still living together is a negotiated agreement in which neither of them gets everything they want, and both parties genuinely agree to accept that. Perhaps it involves Bee accepting some clutter, perhaps it involves negotiating some spaces in the home that will always be maintained at Bee level and others that can remain at Zee level, perhaps there are other options. And perhaps there is not a solution that will be acceptable to both. I personally could not live with a Bee, and it sounds like Bee is really not comfortable living with a Zee.

    7. Maggie*

      I’d probably find other living arrangements personally if someone was calling me a slob for not deep cleaning daily???

      1. Shakti*

        Same!! I think that situation would probably be my own personal bad place lol but if they’re committed to living together one of them needs to chill and the other needs to set a list or reminders to take care of some cleaning they wouldn’t remember

    8. allathian*

      The one who’s bothered by the clutter should do the cleaning, anything else is unfair on the person who’s genuinely blind to it.

      Zee can do the vacuuming and dusting once a week or whatever because they recognize it has to be done while Bee does the daily decluttering because they can’t relax until it’s done.

      1. Andromeda*

        I’m not sure I agree with that — I’m a genuinely mess-blind person but that means that more clutter than average follows me around. Realistically that means my Bee would have to do a vast amount of the cleaning that both of us should really be doing.

        I think a set chore rota makes the most sense — have Bee write out everything that needs to get done, and give Zee first pick of the chores they like/find easy until they’re at about 50/50 for effort.

        Also it might help Zee to have chores broken down even further than just eg “clean fridge” — like what does that actually entail? I don’t agree that Bee’s comfort level should dictate Zee’s, and Bee needs to have some patience for Zee’s long-ingrained habits, but now that Zee is sharing their space they will both benefit from it being cleaned and tidied more often imo

        1. fposte*

          Seconded, as another messy person. Part of living with somebody is that we each have to make an effort at things we’re not good at for the good of the household. And ITA that granularity is the key for somebody like me. “Clean kitchen” is meaningless. “Put away dishes on counter, wash hand wash dishes, put others in dishwasher, put dry dishes in cupboard, wipe down counters” I can do. But I think it shouldn’t be up to the clean person to create those steps—resources like UFYH have lists like this and Zee can take responsibility for adapting them.

        2. RagingADHD*

          I think, if Bee is already infantilizing Zee to the point of trying to dictate when and how they can unwind when they walk in the door, then having Bee generate a detailed list of steps for how cleaning is “supposed” to be done is only going to further exacerbate the parent/child dynamic.

          Unless Bee actually is the parent and Zee is a child living rent free in Bee’s house, then they need to compromise on the chore list, the timing, and Zee needs to manage their own cleaning methods. And honestly, even if Zee is living rent free with Mom, any sensible friend would advise them to move out ASAP rather than submit to that level of micromanagement long term.

          If they are partners or roommates, Bee does not have the right to assign a chore list to another adult. Most adults are able to work out livable compromises. If these two can’t, then it **isn’t about the chores.**

          They would either need relationship counseling or to find different roommates.

          1. Andromeda*

            To be clear: Zee’s got the right to have a plate in the sink overnight or a bit of a floordrobe in their own room, but a) in shared spaces there needs to be a compromise that *both* parties will accept (Bee is being a micromanager but we also don’t know how much mess Zee actually leaves around) and b) I am speaking from my own experience! I am not great at chores and having someone tell me “right, these are the Exact Things You Have To Do” is much easier than “you need to make sure everything is clean” which is confusing and overwhelming to the mess-blind. I do think Zee’s standards of clean need to come up as Bee’s standards lower though, if only because it’s not polite to actually encroach on others’ space with your stuff (as opposed to just having the odd bit of clutter here and there).

            1. RagingADHD*

              The comment I was replying to was about step by step procedures for detail cleaning the fridge.

              It isn’t healthy or fair for Bee to have to do that much mental labor, even if Zee is willing to comply. And it isn’t healthy or fair for Zee to be dictated to in their own home, even if Bee is willing to make a thousand lists.

              If they are at that level, I reiterate my belief that it isn’t about the chores anymore. It’s about Bee’s need for control, or Zee’s desire to abdicate responsibility, or some other toxic stew that would create a very bad dynamic long term. If two adults can’t treat each other as equals with equal respect, and find a compromise on that level, it is going to create more resentment in the long run than a cup on the counter or a sweater on the armchair ever could.

              1. Andromeda*

                Yeah, that’s fair (I think I was assuming that Bee would have a specific way they wanted a given chore to be done).

                I think I am assuming the “should not relax until the house is fully cleaned” as less dogmatic than you, though. Sometimes things sound worse on paper than in context, and in practice this could mean “hey can you get those dishes before you do anything else please”.

                I also assumed the two people were both women, I think because of the aliases — but if Bee is a man and Zee is not, that changes the dynamic imo.

            2. Green Goose*

              This reminded me of a time in college where my mess blindness got me in trouble and also left me confused. I worked as a tutor for one of our college community outreach programs. The director of the program offered more hours for people who would do data entry. I happily volunteered because I needed the money. I was sat in an empty office that had a chair, a pen holder with a few pens, and a computer. That was it. I did data entry for a few hours and then went to the tutor meeting. At the end of the tutor meeting the director stopped me and said “please go back into the office and leave it as it was when you went in”.

              Stressed and confused I went back to the bare office, the pens were in the pen holder and the chair wasn’t lying on its side , I hadn’t left any personal items there. I looked and truly could not understand what she wanted me to do. I tried to ask her about it but she kept giving vague answers about leaving something in the same state as you found it. This was paired with a smile and angry eyes.

              She ended up giving the remainder of the cushy data entry work to a different tutor without telling me and I was super bummed. Whatever I had done got me “fired” but even now, years later I can’t think of what “mess” I could have made in a bare office.

              1. Lexi Vipond*

                Left the chair at the wrong height? But the guessing game business is nonsense, and also it’s much easier for the next person to put the chair back to their right height than for you to figure out which of the many wrong heights for you it started at.

                1. Green Goose*

                  Oh maybe?? I’m probably about a foot taller than the director was, though she had her own office. That can be added to my theories of the mysterious office offense.

                  My leading theory is the pen holder wasn’t in the exact same spot as when I went in. Maybe a few inches off? But I don’t really notice things like that so I can’t say for sure.

      2. MeepMeep123*

        Unless Zee is genuinely blind, they can learn to recognize mess. And unless Zee lives alone, they should not just blithely ignore the fact that they person they live with has a higher cleanliness standard.

        Sticking Bee with the lovely chore of picking up after Zee is guaranteed to breed resentment.

    9. RagingADHD*

      Bee does not get to tell Zee, a grown adult, when they are “allowed” to relax. Bee is presumably not Zee’s employer or parent.

      Zee should pick up their belongings from common areas within generally negotiated time limits, such as not leaving things strewn around overnight.

      Bee and Zee should agree on some designated holding areas for Zee’s stray belongings that will keep them out of the way, but easy to corral things if Zee is in a hurry or forgetful (ie, unobtrusive baskets or bins). Then Zee can put things away properly at their leisure.

    10. Cordelia*

      Are they committed to continuing as roommates? Because it sounds pretty grim for both. I wouldn’t live somewhere where my roommate started nagging me about tidying the minute I got home.
      Houses do not need to be perfectly clean and tidy at all times, if Bee cannot tolerate this then it’s on them to deal with it. Could Bee and Zee agree to schedule an hour or two for cleaning together at the weekend? Or even pay for a cleaner, if that’s a possibility?
      Probably better to look for new roommates with similar levels of clutter tolerance though.

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      The specific examples (cups and such in common areas) are giving me pause, because I remember when my spouse went to visit some relatives, and came home and observed that they seemed to have lost the person who causes things to get done. Then they came to visit us for a few days, and So. Many. Cups. Every time I entered a room there were more dishes to pick up, and it was such a relief when they left and I spontaneously cleaned everything. Leaving stuff out can definitely create the impression that in your life you’ve noticed that if you wait patiently, the cups will move themselves to the kitchen, wash themselves, and put themselves away.

      Does “house fully cleaned” equal all counters scrubbed and all floors mopped, or does it equal dirty laundry removed to the hamper, dirty dishes to the dishwasher, and so on? Because it sounds like Bee’s standard is closer to the latter, and I think that’s a pretty reasonable baseline. Also one that can usually be met with a deliberate pass through each room.

    12. Six Feldspar*

      Agree with everyone recommending compromise and a frank discussion. Unless this house also has a stay at home parent living there, Bee’s standard of tidiness isn’t realistic or sustainable in the long term.

      Putting a container where the clutter is works for me, so maybe put a big plastic tub or a box in each shared room. Zee works on getting into the habit of putting their things in there as they remember, and Bee has less potential clutter to stress them out because it’s in the box. If Bee finds something of Zee’s they think should be put away, they can also put it in the box in that room.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          I disagree somewhat if you make it a nice basket vs an ugly plastic tub. It totally helps corralling some clutter.

        2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          What about a nice basket? “Put organizational items where the clutter accumulates” is a tip I have found useful. This isn’t so much for stuff that has a clear home like dirty cups or laundry (other than maybe keeping a laundry hamper in the bathroom, if that’s a point where it gets left) but for things like mail.

    13. Ellis Bell*

      If I’m understanding this right, the house isn’t dirty because both agree on cleanliness, but there may be cups on coffee tables and jackets on chairs left by Zee? Bee is not able to relax until these things are away but Zee wants to relax before doing the work of tidying away clutter? If that’s so, I think the best idea is to agree on whether they should be left out in the first place, and what kind of routines will be effortless for Zee without bugging Bee. I’ve been in similar Bee-Zee situations, where Bee wants to hand wash the mug as soon as it’s drained, dry it and put it away and Zee wants to leave it where it where it was being used, until a grand decluttering happens because they’re used to the need for them, but want to rest or psyche themselves into it because they consider them arduous. Whereas, if Zee just put the mug in the dishwasher when they got up, Bee wouldn’t see it, and the clutter would never amount to an arduous task you have to rest up for. I think it’s a reasonable rule for Zee to be able to flop for a while post-work, as long as they pick up after themselves shortly afterwards; i.e. take their mug and clothing away from the common areas when they do get up. (Really, though what clothes are being discarded post-work in common areas? Is there no more convenient place than the sitting area for jackets and shoes at the entry way? I have lived with people who think jackets and shoes go in wardrobes upstairs and I think that is a bit of a drag for some people when you’re tired after work). So, Zee should get in the habit of not leaving rooms empty handed, but Bee should ensure there are ultra convenient ways to put things away at the most convenient times since they are the one who wish this to happen.

    14. RussianInTexas*

      If not partners but roommates: don’t leave your personal clutter like clothes in the common areas, that’s a bare minimum, really. Talk to Bee what are the most annoying clutter things, and maybe concentrate on dealing with those and they lay off the deep cleaning, if there are few things triggering the instant annoyance.
      With a partner it’s a bit more complicated and easy at the same time because you can go more in depth. Mine does not see clutter, and produces the most clutter at the same time. So occasionally I ask him to deal with it. I will not touch the mountain of his mail or some such, he should do it. I mostly do the vacuuming and mopping, he does trash, litterbox, shower drain cleaning. We each do our own laundry. I made peace with his laundry living in the laundry baskets permanently in the bedroom.
      I do have a strict requirement that if you have a hobby, it’s up to you to fully clean up after yourself indulging in such hobby. His are smoking meat, making sausage, dehydrate things. There are a lot of mess after these, and he is expected to clean up fully.

    15. Monkeying Around The House*

      I was in a similar situation when I moved in with my two roommates. They both came from households that regularly deep cleaned every two weeks. I came from a house that wasn’t messy or cluttered, but we deep cleaned maybe every couple months, or only before company came over. With it being three of us, we were able to Cycle around that basically each of us was cleaning every month and a half. My biggest issue was my two roommates complaining about that I didn’t thorough with cleaning as well as they did. I told them to either show me how they wanted me to clean, or to not make any comments. Neither took the time to show me, so I just ignored their comments. It also helped that I would just clean when they weren’t home, so they couldn’t ask why it only took me half an hour to clean each bathroom when it took them two hours.

      The point is compromise. I was willing to clean more often, but I wasn’t going to be quite as detailed oriented about it as they were. It seemed to work well for us. It also helps that I do prefer the common living areas to be cleaned, but I can make my room as messy as I want. Basically, they need to talk it out and compromise in such a way that Bee needs to lighten up a bit with their requests, and Zee needs to step it up a bit with their assistance.

    16. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

      I also don’t see clutter very well unless I reframe something. I can clean the heck off a surface if I have decided that only x goes on this surface and everything else is a visitor that has to be cleared off every evening. So my kitchen island has a plant and candle in the center and a little tray off to one side where random things go and that’s it.

      The island accumulates stuff during the day and I don’t notice that until I look at it through an evaluative lens, overlaying the plant/candle/bowl image over what I see on it now, and all the clutter becomes illuminated as if a freaking magic spell was cast. And it becomes super easy to clear off because it’s obvious what doesn’t belong.

      Maybe they could choose the 3 most important surfaces that Zee can commit to keeping in some particular condition, and start there?

    17. Saturday*

      I think they can compromise by having certain areas of the house that Zee agrees to keep very clean – the kitchen, the area by the sofa, or whatever is the highest priority for Bee.

      But beyond that? Honestly, I think Bee should do more of the cleaning than Zee. It’s more important to Bee, and I don’t think it’s fair that Bee’s needs force that big of a lifestyle change on Zee. Plenty of people relax after work before the house is fully clean – that’s not an outrageous thing for Zee to want.

    18. Samwise*

      Hire someone to clean.

      And also:
      Daily, b and z walk around the house after they get back from work and tidy up (pick stuff off the floor, take dirty dishes to the kitchen etc). 15 minutes, tops.

      Zee agrees not to bitch about tidying up. Bee agrees not to bitch about stray crumbs.

      Btdt. Not bitching is key.

      1. Cathie from Canada*

        I was wondering if anyone had mentioned getting a cleaning service — I don’t think this works for the daily clutter (unless you have a “daily” like Mrs. Harris from Paris) but getting the deeper cleaning done every week or two gives you a fresh start (clean floors, tubs, dusted furniture, shining fixtures, smelling sweet, etc.) and its delightful to walk into a clean house that you didn’t have to work on.
        My other suggestion is to find an old copy of humorist Peg Bracken’s “I Hate To Housekeep Book”. Its funny, but with good ideas — she says people get neater as they get older, how to trick yourself to get stuff done (her tip: start on all your tasks at once; when something is already half done, we tend to finish it), and do a nightly sweep (a meandering 10 minute tidy through the house before going to bed, because then it will all look so much better in the morning)

    19. Anonymous cat*

      One detail—you mentioned not being allowed to relax until cleaning is done.
      I’d find that difficult because I need a “recovery” time between paid work and personal work.

      Sometimes I feel like I’m just struggling to get to my home and then literally collapse for a few minutes. If someone immediately started on me to start more work with no recovery time, I’d be furious.

      So while I’m definitely fine with mutually working out how clean to keep things, I’d need some space first.
      For me, it’s get home—feed any pets (and hopefully not but clean up any pet accidents)—and then rest from the world for a bit.
      Then deal with home stuff.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, this. When I lived with roommates, I was perfectly happy to clean up last thing before bed, but not all the time. That said, the only time I’ve lived with roommates who weren’t family was when I was an intern in Spain. Doing the dishes immediately after each meal was an absolute necessity because otherwise the kitchen would start to stink. But the climate is colder and the bacteria that break down food scraps seem to smell much less in Finland, so when I lived alone without a dishwasher, I only washed the dishes when I ran out of clean plates or if company was coming. So every 4 days to a week, maybe.

    20. Magdalena*

      A good compromise might be deciding together what’s okay and what’s not.
      Personally, I cannot relax in a dirty room or kitchen if there’s food left out on counters or spills/crumbs on the table or dirty laundry on the floor, especially if there’s a lot of things.
      I’ve stayed with people who just never pick anything after themselves and it was miserable.
      If there’s no common ground it’s going to be an unpleasant living situation.
      Honestly I’d spring for a cleaning service if at all possible.

    21. Generic Name*

      I’m the clean one and my husband is the messy one. When I lived alone before he moved in, the house was spotless. Here’s how we’ve worked keeping the house tolerably clean for each of us. I think the biggest thing for us is we agreed that we weren’t going to bother splitting each chore down the middle 50/50. There are areas of the house that he takes care of and stuff I take care of. I do the cat pans and pet care of the cats. He scoops the dog poop and takes care of the dog stuff (including most walks and vet trips), for example. I’ve learned to tolerate a bit more mess than is my preference, and he’ll do something (without complaining or being a jerk about it) when I ask. On balance, yes, I do more of the routine household cleaning but this is balanced out because he takes total care of the exterior (there are summer and winter chores) and he does stuff like re-do the bathroom, build a new deck, and remove a pine tree that fell over in the yard. But I know this isn’t for everyone.

    22. Bee or Zee*

      Thanks everyone! This is a lot of great, actionable advice. I think the 15 minutes of cleaning before relaxing is very doable and I think having Bee list the top important things is also reasonable. The biggest goal is to find a compromise that works for both so that resentment doesn’t build.

      1. office hobbit*

        I am a Zee-like person and I agree with anonymous cat, above, that doing 15 min of tidying between work and relaxing would really wear me down! tbh I’d probably collapse from work and neither tidy nor relax for at least 30 min, and then drag myself up to tidy. Resentment would definitely build. Maybe say 15 min tidying per evening, but let Zee choose a time that works well? If she tidies once a day, it seems like there won’t have been enough time for clutter to rebuild and bother Bee before that time again the following day.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          I completely agree. I would feel it’s better to have a short relaxing time before the cleaning time.

    23. Redbecca*

      This happened in a uni flat I lived in: one person was livid that no one else ever hoovered, but she did it twice a day so no one else ever felt like it needed doing. We resolved it (after a blow up) by deciding as a group how frequently everyone felt the various cleaning chores needed to be done and setting a rota. If the extra tidy one thought extra goes at some task were needed, that was on them: if others didn’t do their tasks on time, everyone knew it. And anyone could ask to revisit the timing if the place felt dirty. We also agreed that things left out in the common room (other than coursework) were fair game to be hidden by whoever found them sitting alone, which taught everyone not to do it pretty fast! in the end, the place was less cluttered and the tidy one realised that the extra hoovering hadn’t accomplished that much.

    24. MeepMeep123*

      I’m the “Bee” in this scenario. For me, what’s working is that my home office is a Zee-free zone and I get to maintain it at my preferred level of cleanliness – that way there’s at least one place in the house that doesn’t drive me mad. The other thing that we are currently trying is the Sweepy app – it distributes the chores fairly, so that I don’t feel like I’m spending all day picking up after an able-bodied grown adult.

  8. Cat training question*

    Cat training question: a couple of weeks ago on a thread where we posted what we were good at someone posted that they trained their dogs to use talk buttons. Inspired by that, I’ve trained my cat to ask (via behaviour, not talk buttons) for a certain treat she loves. How do I train “no” as an answer? She loves the treats and will ask for them all through the day, when I only want to give them to her a couple of times a day – once, consistently, before bed, and maybe one other time. But, now the cat knows she can ask for treats. How do I teach not now?

      1. Six Feldspar*

        1. Love the username, that movie has a very cat-inspired dragon!

        2. I agree, cats may (may) understand the concept of “no” but they don’t accept it

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          “No.” How quaint, food slave. Now break out those Tuna Treats posthaste.

    1. sswj*

      I would add another behavior in there.

      If she squeaks at you for a treat, now she has to sit on command to get it. eventually it will be: Squeak, “sit please!” and treat. If you don’t ask for sit, she doesn’t get her nibble.

      Or, since she now asks on her own and is rewarded, put a cue on that behavior (if you haven’t already). Once she understands that a certain word or sound or whatever = getting a treat, then you are in control of when she gets a handout.

      Or, if you can, just ignore about 1/2 of her requests.

    2. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      This is a very entertaining question! I think Gary Larson has a cartoon in which a scientist invents a machine to interpret animal speech, and discovers that dogs just say Hey!Hey!Hey! all the time, and seagulls say Mine!Mine!Mine!
      We could have guessed that cats would say Treat! And be quick about it!
      I think life as you knew it is over, now. Good luck!

    3. strawberry lemonade*

      She won’t understand! She connects that behavior to getting treats, but she’s not any more able to understand delayed gratification than before. I’d create a routine time where she gets treats—training time or learning time, maybe you get out a specific object out of a specific drawer at a specific time.

    4. Generic Name*

      This is amazing. I don’t think your cat conceptualizes it as “asking” for a treat. She’s realized “I do this thing and I get a treat”. You don’t have to comply every time. You could also train her to do tricks to get treats. I have a very dog-like cat, and I’ve trained him to sit, and he comes when called. Trying to train him to shake. That’s a bit harder.

    5. RagingADHD*

      The way behavioral conditioning usually works, an intermittent reward will cause the animal to perform the behavior more and more frequently, unless the interval between rewards becomes so long that the connection between behavior & reward is erased.

      You might try limiting both the time and place to something very specific, such as only in the kitchen first thing in the morning (or whatever). If the behavior cue is always rewarded in that context and nowhere else, then the time, place, action, and reward should get connected together.

      1. Rage*

        Yep, that’s the best way to do it. You can also try using the word “later” rather than “no”. Because, truthfully, there will always be a “later” for this reward, even if it’s the next time it’s scheduled to be given.

        I would also look at trying to condition for another behavior such as playing with a toy, so that your communication interactions are not limited solely to food. In fact, I would have initially suggested that you train something other than a food reward first – that’s the general recommendation for dogs and the speaker buttons, and your cat’s response indicates it might be a rule of thumb for them as well.

    6. Not A Manager*

      I agree that what you’re doing now is probably reinforcing the begging behavior by intermittent rewards. I wonder whether you can generally train her to understand “yes” and “no” by some combination of words, gestures, and tone? If you always say “yes!” immediately when she begs, and give her the treat, and say “no!” when you are not giving her the treat, will she learn to associate them?

      What if you combine that with the suggestion of only giving treats in a certain spot? It means you getting up, but unless you carry them with you, you’re probably getting up for the treats anyway. Then when she begs it would be “Yes! Kitchen!” combined with you going into the kitchen, or “no!” combined with you staying put. That would probably work well with a dog, IDK about a cat.

      1. nopetopus*

        This is what I am doing now with my cat who begs for leash time (the tone thing). If I’m not busy doing something else and we can do leash time, I say her name and “Yes!” in an upbeat tone. I repeat the “Yes!” a few times while I put on her harness. If it’s a “no”, I say it with a not-upbeat more authoritative tone of voice. Often she’ll still ask again, and I repeat “no” once or twice, but after that I ignore any and all whining. She’s gotten A LOT better about knowing when asking will get what she wants and when it won’t, and my house is a lot quieter now!

        Right now we’re working on the concept of later. If I’m in the middle of something, I say “outside later” and repeat “outside later” if she asks again within 5 minutes. (If she’s nonstop meowing or whining, I only say it once so as to not reward the constant meowing. If she doesn’t stop, I stop what I’m doing and go get my headphones, so she visually knows I can’t hear her and there’s no point in screaming her head off. The other thing I’m doing is after I said “later”, I do the thing she’s requesting as soon as I can. I don’t wait for her to ask again. It’s been a couple weeks of it and it seems like she’s starting to understand.

  9. CatMintCat*

    On Thursday, I had my second operation to remove cataracts. As surgeries go, this one is easy peasy. However, I have never had good eyesight (my mother used to say I must have been in the bathroom when the good Lord was handing out the vision) and have worn glasses full time since second grade.

    I am sitting here, 48 hours post surgery, reading and writing with no glasses. Last night, I was working on my patchwork and reading on my Kindle, with no glasses.

    A whole new world is opening up.

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        Congratulations! A family member recently had cataract surgery and I was impressed at how much easier it is now.

      2. CatMintCat*

        Thank you. I’m ridiculously happy for me, too! (And feeling a bit naked, but I’m sure that feeling will pass).

    1. Esprit de l'escalier*

      I was extremely myopic my whole life (got glasses at age 3 but had needed them at age 3 months) before having cataract surgery. As you have experienced, it felt extraordinary post-surgery to wake up every day and … see things. Congratulations on your new visual world!

    2. Southern Girl*

      Congrats! My husband had horrible vision all his life and cataract surgery at 62 corrected it! Glad you had good results.

    3. Happily Retired*

      I had LASIK (different surgery) at age 40 or so and ditched the glasses for near-sightedness. I had last seen the Big E at 15-16. So no more glasses for driving, etc. but now I need them for reading. And there’s the beginning of loss of long vision, now around 20/40 from the original post-surgical 20/10.

      I have very early stage cataracts, and the plan is when they are extracted, one eye will get the intra-ocular lens for reading, and the other will get an IOL with a slight correction for distance, and then no more glasses for anything.

      Supposedly your brain figures this out in a few days. We shall see. :-P

      1. Indolent Libertine*

        My dad had exactly that done. He’s 95 now and only wears glasses to read in very low light!

      2. Once too Often*

        This fascinates me, because my mom grew up with one eye for distance & one for near & opththamogists couldn’t wait to correct that. Now, it’s a common goal. La plus ca change & all that.

    4. Forrest Rhodes*

      Hooray for you, CatMintCat, and welcome to the club!
      The end of this month I’ll celebrate two years since having both eyes de-cataracted (if that’s a word, or even if it’s not), and I’m still enjoying that “whole new world” stage.
      All the times I automatically reach for the glasses, then remind myself, “Nope, don’t have to do that anymore!”
      And every morning when I open my eyes and look out at the tree next to the window, each little leaf is now so clear and distinct—I’m seriously considering giving them names.
      It’s absolutely terrific, and I’m happy for you!

    5. Clara Bowe*

      Yay!!! My mom had that surgery with the lens implants last year and I remain SO HAPPY for her (and you!) but absolutely green with envy. I am not a candidate, so,

    6. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      I remember that feeling after my cataract surgery – it is awesome, isn’t it! Enjoy the view!

    7. English Rose*

      This is so encouraging. I have cateract operations in the future – my optician reckons about two years – so I’m delighted to read this. I was also one of those in the bathroom for the vision hand-out.
      So happy for you!

    8. Nihil Scio*

      I’m six months post-surgery and LOVE it!

      Like you, I had horrible eyesight (-10 & -11 with astigmatism) and, when the optometrist told me I had to have surgery, I was buzzing with joy.

      1. I can paint and draw all the detailed work I do with my nose at a regular distance from my sketchbook rather than 6” away
      2. I can see the dirt on my floors and walls so my house has never been cleaner! (Family has teased me endlessly about the difference)

      1. Courageous cat*

        I’m -10 too! I def look forward to the day I need cataract surgery because I’m not a candidate for Lasik at this point, haha.

    9. BikeWalkBarb*

      Isn’t it amazing?? Same experience here. Wore glasses from age 5, had 20/400 vision at its worst, had radial keratotomy that didn’t last and left me the gift of astigmatism I hadn’t had before. Getting cataracts was world-changing in a good way because of the surgery.

      The one oddball element is that I sort of miss the very-close-up vision I had. I could bring things right up to my face and see them. That’s gone. I use my phone more to take pictures of things and enlarge them to get the same results on things like tiny lists of ingredients.

    10. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I had that surgery last year, and it is indeed amazing to see without glasses. I have astigmatism, which they’ll only correct for an enormous amount of money, so I need reading glasses for close work. it’s so strange, because I used to take my glasses off for things like threading needles, but now I have to put them on. What is great is being able to see distances, something I never thought would happen. I still get tickled being able to see a clock across the room when I wake up.

    11. Clisby*

      Cataract surgery was life-changing for me. I still have to have glasses for reading, and using the computer, but for the first time in my life I can just walk around, or drive, or go to a movie without glasses. (I know there are different kinds of lens implants, but I was *extremely* nearsighted and my ophthalmologist recommended getting the replacements optimized for distance-seeing.)

    12. Random Bystander*

      Congratulations! One of the first few things that I did after I had my cataract surgeries (and I used to be so blind that I barely saw a dark smudge where the “E” at the top of the chart is) was buy myself a pair of sunglasses that were picked for *style* instead of “these will fit over my glasses”.

    13. Un, Deux, Trois, Cat*

      I have a very strong distance prescription and even though I have progressive lenses, reading has become increasingly more difficult. My eye doctor once told me that I will be so happy when I need cataract surgery – I’m not so patiently waiting for the day that I can get rid of my glasses!

    14. Chauncy Gardener*

      Congrats! When I had mine done it was like light coming down with angels singing. lol
      It was fantastic. Plus driving at night was fine again.

    15. Sigrid says hey*

      10 years post surgery here. I still well up with wonder sometimes when I lie in bed looking out of the window at the stars. It is amazing how many beautiful things there are to see.

  10. costello music*

    We’re going to start some deep spring cleaning over the next month. I’m talking like, pulling out the oven, the baseboard, and like other things we don’t clean that often.

    What are your cleaning tips? Products to recommend? Something that’s not commonly cleaned that I should put on my list? (We live in a condo so no yard, but if you think someone else may need it, by all means share it.)

    1. Wish me luck, I need it!*

      If you fry splattery things a lot, there’s a layer of grease in your kitchen: top of cabinets, walls, etc.

      1. Bluebell Brenham*

        And don’t forget to clean the exhaust grates if you have a hood. Usually you can pull them out. The Kitchn has a guide to cleaning them in your sink with baking soda, boiling water and dish soap. I did it just this week.

      2. Clara Bowe*

        +1 I always put a layer of cling wrap on the top of the fridge once I degreased it. That way I just pull it off the next year, give a wipe-down, and re wrap it.

        Also, if you have any jars/containers out in the open, run them through the dishwasher or wash them.

      3. Dancing Otter*

        This happens with a gas stove whether you fry or not.
        I need to get out the china and glassware I seldom use, and wash the grease off it, now that you remind me. Even the stuff in the glass-fronted china cabinet isn’t entirely free of it.

      4. BikeWalkBarb*

        If you have cabinets that don’t go all the way to the ceiling, a tip I picked up from somewhere: After you’ve deep-cleaned them this time, cover the tops with plastic wrap. Then in future you can pull that, throw it away, replace it. You’ll never have to clean the tops again.

        Doesn’t work for ceilings, alas, and those are hard to clean.

      5. the cat's pajamas*

        What do you use to clean them? I use dawn dish soap for most grease but you can’t “rinse off” the cabinet tops etc.

    2. WellRed*

      It’s silly but my cleaning advice is clean from top to bottom! As for products it depends on what you are cleaning but my fave new product (recommended here) is Kaboom for mold, mildew and anything else tough to clean.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Speaking of mold–be sure to move any furniture against the walls away a couple of inches and check for any growing back there–this is especially prevalent in walls that have exposure to the outside.

      2. ampersand*

        Makes sense–it’s like when you shower you’re supposed to clean from top to bottom (wash/condition hair, then wash your body to get the shampoo and conditioner off your skin). I don’t actually follow this order of operations when showering, but the principle is the same! I can see wanting to get the dust off the high places in your home before, say, cleaning your floors.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      If you have some sort of heater (radiators etc) thoroughly remove dust. Baseboard heaters: take off cover and use extension on vacuum. Old time radiators: a damp rag poked through all the bends with a rod.

    4. Nooks & Crannies*

      Simple Green works really well on stubborn greasy stains or messes (dilute per directions). Also CLR combined with a magic eraser.

      1. English Rose*

        Also Pink Stuff is great. I did my cooker hood last week – never realised it could be that shiny!

    5. goddessoftransitory*

      Doorjams and doors in general. They get really grimy at the edges where people push them closed, and dusty at the top. Same for the tops of mirrors and medicine cabinets in the bathroom.

    6. Professor Plum*

      Get a handheld steam cleaner—great for cleaning the oven, air fryer, other appliances, tile, grout, around faucets, the grooves at the bottom of sliding glass doors, and much more.

    7. Generic Name*

      Light fixtures. If the shade is glass, you can hand wash (very carefully!) in the sink with dish soap.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I actually ran a couple of heavy glass light shades through my dishwasher last week!

    8. Falling Diphthong*

      When I deep cleaned last year I took all the art down and removed the dust that had built up on the back.

    9. Six Feldspar*

      Fridge/freezer clean and clean out is a big job sometimes but worth doing every few months.

      I clean my dishwasher monthly:
      – wipe down the outside and the seals
      – remove the food catcher/screen thingy, wash with soap and water
      – remove the arms if you can and check they’re not blocked
      – run an empty wash cycle without soap but with a bowl filled with 1-2 cups vinegar in the top rack
      – empty the bowl and run another wash cycle without soap but with a bit of baking soda in the bowl in the top rack

    10. Helvetica*

      Fridge shelving! Take it out, clean it and it will feel like a new fridge.
      Also my best cleaning tip is to use dishwashing liquid for anything greasy, so perfect for any surface around the stove in the kitchen. It is meant to dissolve grease anyways, and it works so much better than any special kitchen cleaners or whatnots, and it is much cheaper.

    11. Joanne’s Daughter*

      I also clean the light bulbs (especially in my kitchen and bathrooms) when I clean the fixtures. It is amazing how much better the light is.

    12. Nihil Scio*

      Take the cover off the air-intake at the bottom of the front of your fridge and vacuum it. It will work so much better afterwards

    13. BikeWalkBarb*

      Pull out your dryer and check the duct in the wall. It may be plugged with pet hair and a bunch of other things. My husband did that in the house we bought 3 years ago and it was pretty awful. Your dryer will work a lot better when it isn’t having to exhaust out through a wad of stuff.

      Someone else mentioned the dishwasher filter. We had one in a previous dishwasher in a non-obvious place, which I as a grown adult didn’t realize was something that had to be cleaned until my husband showed me. Ugh.

      Shower/bathtub drain and sink drains too–if plugs and drains are removable take them out and clean the parts you can see and reach. Pour baking soda down, follow it with vinegar, close the sink drain so the action goes downward. Very satisfying.

      Washing machine rubber seals around the doors! A family member was embarrassed when we visited and my husband (who’s the primary housecleaner of the two of us) found a bunch of black gunk built up within the seal of her high-efficiency washing machine. We later got a similar machine and now every time we use it we wipe out that catch space and leave the door open a while so it can dry thoroughly.

      When I was a kid my mom gave my sister and me chores, one of which was cleaning all the air registers with a damp rag and a little paring knife that we wrapped in the rag and poked through. As an adult I now know I can put all of those in the dishwasher. Yes it means taking them all up and putting them back in but I’d rather do that than crouch on hands and knees all around the house. I have no conveniently sized children to do it for me.

      Open or close things that are usually left in the opposite condition and check whatever is exposed.

      Look at the outside of your condo. Is the door clean? Overhead light? Doorbell button? Anything you might have sitting there for decoration? I realized at some point that if the house is clean inside but the exterior door is marked up and the porch is covered with leaves, first impression is of a messy place. (I like something simple that makes a place feel cleaner.)

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Shower/bathtub drain; buy one of those fine mesh drain thingies–the kind that fit into the drain and catch hair, soap slime and so on. Our apartment manager casually dropped one off a few months ago and it is a life changer–no more clogged drains that have to be snaked out!

    14. Busy Middle Manager*

      last year I pulled out the fridge and dusted off the fan on the back/bottom. Oh boy was it dirty and I didn’t realize that that was one reason the fridge was loud. I never knew this was a thing and my fridge was barely working before I did this BTW, then it was fine

    15. Elle Woods*

      I follow Clean That Up on Instagram. He has great series of spring cleaning videos–complete with checklist and product suggestions–that I really like. The cleaning products he recommends are easy to find or are things I already have on hand (dish detergent, white vinegar).

  11. NotAnInnie*

    Anyone seen the show Severance? My partner and I binged it and I couldn’t help but imagine the letters that the workers would write in… if only they could. I love the ethical questions about work, management, etc that it raises, and I was surprised it hadn’t come up here before (though my search might have just missed a previous discussion).

        1. Damn it, Hardison!*

          Hooray! I’m looking forward to the second season. What a cliffhanger!

    1. Reba*

      love the show, love the thoughtful production design and locations (Bell Labs, called “Industrial Versailles” — the visual philosophy of modernism is such a great added layer to the story for me). I am excited for the next season though I actually thought that the ending point of season 1 could have been a great place to leave it.

      1. SBT*

        WHAT?! No! That was a huge cliffhanger! I’d be so upset if that had been the ending and we never found out what happens next! This is one I’m so ready for season two and have been for so long.

        1. Reba*

          Haha yes it is such an interesting moment though when everything is getting blown open, we can’t predict but we can imagine possibilities.

          I don’t know if this makes sense, but it feels like the kind of place where a novel might end, but a TV show would never.

          1. SBT*

            That makes total sense, although I’d still be mad if it was a novel that did that to me, but definitely less mad. And given the huge gap between the first season finale and whenever they’ll have the second season premiere, I’ve had enough time to imagine the possibilities. lol

    2. SBT*

      The possibilities here are so fun to think about.

      “I’m worried I’m having an affair with a co-worker, but I don’t know if I’m married or not.”

      “I’m related to the owner of our company, but forget to mention it to my colleagues every day at work.”

      “Is it legal for my employer not to tell me what they do as a company?”

      “I don’t know if I’m doing a good job because I don’t have a clue what my job is.”

      1. Damn it, Hardison!*

        My manager forces me to participate in “fun” activities but they really aren’t fun, more like creepy, what can I do?

    3. Courageous cat*

      My favorite show on the planet. It’s only 1 season so far and I thought it was just absolute perfection from start to finish. When season 2 comes out, it is going to be an EVENT for me.

  12. Jackalope*

    Reading thread! Share what you’ve been reading, and give or request recs.

    I was disappointed by the book I finished last night. It was The Forest Bride by Jane Buehler, and the author described it as a “cozy fantasy romance”. I’ve been into cozy lately due to lousy stuff happening in my real life, so I was excited about that. But then the book basically went “cozy” by not having any negative consequences for bad stuff happening, not grappling with what that bad stuff might cause, etc. For example, there were some characters who were cruel and abusive at the beginning, and then when the characters they were abusive towards said, “Hey, stop it!”, they just…. stopped. And neither group seemed to care about the awful stuff that happened earlier in the story; they just sort of let it go and moved on without ever discussing it. Like that.

    Anyone had similar experiences recently? Read something that just didn’t work, or didn’t fit what you were looking for? And does anyone have any cozy fantasy books they can recommend? I’ve found some other options that might be good (and did recently read Magical Midlife Madness which was a lot of fun), but always open for more.

    1. Clara Bowe*

      I really recommend the Beware of Chicken series. It is silly and fun and a pretty good time.

      But yeah, I have been kinda flailing with reading lately. I have been reading Objectively Good books, but that is just… not where my brain is. I just finished “Bright Young Women” by Jessica Knoll and “Show Me The Bodies” by Peter Apps. Both were well written and compelling, but wooftah. I also have three books I need to read for various book clubs and man. They all feel like medicine to consume rn.

        1. Texan in exile on her phone*

          I read it as “uffda,” which means Wow or Sheesh or Can ya believe all dat snow? in Upper Midwest

          1. Clara Bowe*

            Yup! It is smashing woof and ooftah. Basically “that was a whole lot and yikes.” My Northern Iowa/Southern Minnesotan showing out.

    2. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      Have you read Legends & Lattes? And the prequel Bookshops and Bonedust? The romance is very, very slow burn, and the stories are very cozy. The first is about an orc who retires from adventuring and opens a coffee shop. The prequel is when she is forced into some downtime after getting injured.

      1. Jackalope*

        The “bad “ news is that yes I’ve already read both of those, so not a new rec. the good news is that I loved them, and that’s exactly the sort of thing I’m looking for. The other book I mentioned at the top of the thread, Magical Midlife Madness, is about a woman who inherits a magical house without knowing it (she thinks she’s just the caretaker), and gradually learns about her new magical abilities and learns to work with the other people living in the house and such. It has in some ways a similar feel to the Travis Baldree books.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          This reminds me a bit of Mary Stewart’s Thornyhold! I need to reread that.

      2. NeonFireworks*

        You’ve just reminded me that my library has Bookshops & Bonedust now! Going to go take it out.

    3. Camelid coordinator*

      I happened to read A Love Song for Ricki Wilde yesterday, it really was great and it is a thrill to see it as this week’s recommendation. I am in a bit of a cozy season also but can’t think of any fantasy recs for you.

    4. Lemonwhirl*

      I finished reading “The Husbands” by Holly Gramazio. Fantastic book – cannot recommend it highly enough.

      Started reading “What Happened to Nina” by Dervla McTiernan. I ordinarily love her books, but I am kind of hating this one, which seems like it was possibly inspired by the case of Gabby Petito. I’m also curious about her decision to set the book in Vermont. (She’s Irish and has lived in Australia for many years. Her other books are set in Co Galway, and the settings and characters in those books feel more developed.) I’m half-way through, so I’ll keep going, but I have some suspicions about where the book is going that make me think it’s going to make me even more annoyed.

      (Also – I think I’m learning that I hate Prologues, especially in mysteries when it seems like their only purpose is to fool you.)

      1. Hibiscus*

        Dervla McTiernan–whoever is telling her she has to set books in America is doing her SO wrong. She’s never lived here! She wrote another one that had to do with an Innocence Project-type organization and a student in NC, and not good. But her Irish police mysteries–fantastic.

    5. English Rose*

      I recently finished The Golem of Brooklyn by Adam Mansbach which I think Alison recommended a few weeks back. It is absolutely brilliant. Witty and frightening at the same time.
      I’m now on the 18th of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie King. Called The Lantern’s Dance. I’m half way through and it is excellent – set partly in France and partly in India.

      1. English Rose*

        Just to say finished The Lantern’s Dance in the early hours of this morning, couldn’t put it down. Magnificent!

      2. Rara Avis*

        I decided to reread the whole series before reading Lantern’sDance, but I keep going on side quests so I’m only up to Dreaming Spies.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      I’ve tried City of Brass twice now, and just cannot get into the characters and plot. It should work for me, but it just doesn’t. (I loved The Adventures of Amina al Sirafi by the same author, which is why I gave the Copper series a second shot.)

      Main Character Energy was one I picked up at the library, expecting a fluffy “downtrodden person gets an inheritance and decides to have an adventure” romp, where the questions raised in the first part put me off so much I skipped to the end. Why does the aunt only meet her for lunch once per year, rather than having contact any other day? Why doesn’t the heroine ask the aunt about her life at these lunches? Why doesn’t the aunt share about her life at these lunches? Why does neither realize that someone telling you that you are immensely talented at something, when they have never seen you do the thing, is creepy? Also the examples of great book reviews (for her rival at the beginning and herself at the end) were just embarrassing.

      1. Six Feldspar*

        It’s funny how a book by the same author can be so hit and miss. I love The City We Became by NK Jemisin but I could barely get through The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      I have been reading The Library Book by Susan Orleans, which is what happens when a gifted storyteller who doesn’t intend to write another book stumbles onto the story of the 1986 fire that burned the LA Central Library, largest library fire in US history, which she had never heard about before. The book is about the LA fire, about libraries in general and the LA library’s history specifically, about book burnings.

      This is the sort of book where I regularly drop library trivia on my husband as I read, such as that Mao Tse Tung started off as an assistant librarian, or that the rise of the internet caused an exponential surge in interlibrary loan requests and so libraries had to expand their shipping departments.

      1. Atheist Nun*

        I loved that book! The way Orleans described the progression of the fire was fascinating and terrifying.

      2. Lurker*

        I read that several years ago. By the end I felt like she really labored to make it book length — like there just wasn’t enough of a story.

        1. Snacattack*

          I second that. The book felt random and not very cohesive– too many storylines, not enough connection between them. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, but ultimately found it very disappointing.

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        That’s such a great book! Her in depth dive into library running and culture, as well as the arsonist’s family, was amazing.

    8. Six Feldspar*

      I don’t know how you can make “historically doomed Victorian arctic expedition with supernatural horror” boring, but I was very underwhelmed by The Terror (the book, I haven’t seen the show). So much potential but it didn’t work at all for me.

      On the other hand I’m currently reading We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix which I’m enjoying so far!

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I love Grady Hendrix. Check out his nonfiction Paperbacks From Hell–it’s a review of the covers/plots of the golden age of paperback horror (70s-80s.)

    9. Atheist Nun*

      I recently finished two wonderful books that I can recommend highly:
      – Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu. The writer offers a fresh take on the immigrant experience in the format of a TV show screenplay.

      – The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo. I usually do not like fantasies because I find it difficult to suspend disbelief, but I was so enchanted by the author’s writing style and the compelling plot that I found myself willingly going along with the central conceit of the story (fox spirits who take the form of humans…okey dokey). There is something for everyone here: mystery, action, romance, history, comedy, and insight into the human condition. I knew this book was good because I found myself forgoing my usual dumb phone game at bedtime to read an extra chapter because I was so curious about how the story was going.

      1. Filosofickle*

        I’ve done Interior Chinatown for two different book clubs! I rather liked it, though the consensus in my last discussion was that it’s not necessarily a fun or enjoyable read (the way the jacket makes it seems) but it is a quality read that’s thought-provoking. I really like how the narrative structure plays with stereotype and metaphor.

    10. Helvetica*

      I finished Natalie Haynes’ “Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths” a few weeks ago and inspired by her, bought Euripides’ classic plays collection as she recommends him as one of the best Greek playwrights regarding women. I read “Medea” and it was truly so good; I’ve seen the play in many iterations but the classic version really is so powerful and enjoyable.
      I also started “King Leopold’s Ghost” by Adam Hochschild about the history of the colonising of the Congo by Leopold II of Belgium. It is truly a terrible history that Belgians do not want to talk about – and I live in Belgium – and the book is so easily readable, despite being very source-dense.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Pandora’s Jar is the best! Be sure to check out her sequel, Divine Might.

    11. GoryDetails*

      My most recent disappointment was “The Redemption of Morgan Bright” by Chris Panatier – it’s a multi-viewpoint tale of the horrors that ensue when a woman gets herself admitted to a mental hospital to try and find out what happened to her sister there. Sounded like something I’d enjoy, but somehow the horrors were too much real-world cruelties and the writing less engaging, and it just didn’t click for me.

    12. GoryDetails*

      Re cozy fantasy: I’m not sure that these *quite* fit, but they’re both more “cozy” than I’d expected, and I enjoyed them very much.

      “A Letter to the Luminous Deep” by Sylvie Cathrall – epistolary, multi-viewpoint, set on a world that’s nearly all ocean; it centers on two people forming a friendship via correspondence over the fates of their missing siblings, and there are some tense scenes here and there, but overall the tone’s just so… congenial!

      “A Botanical Daughter” by Noah Medlock – this one’s a kind of cozy/horror/romance-of-sorts, with the titular daughter having two gay mad-scientist dads and a girlfriend: “Frankenstein” meets “Pinocchio” by way of “Little Shop of Horrors”. There are some gruesome bits, and yet the overall tone’s more of wonder and chosen-family. [Also, fungi.]

    13. Peanut Hamper*

      I finished Miniatures by John Scalzi, which was a lot of fun. It’s less short stories and more interviews, memos, etc. (Scalzi is not a poet, though, so feel free to skip the last item. You won’t be missing anything.)

      I also finally red Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, which is nothing short of amazing. I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to it. Her ability to remember large chunks of continues to astound me. I highly recommend this one.

      I’m also going to re-read The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson. My library shelved this in the science fiction section because I guess it gives off a vague Stranger Things vibe, but it is not anything close. It is a profoundly sad yet mesmerizing tale of loss and how the heart can sometimes break the mind in an attempt to heal. This book deserves more attention.

    14. word nerd*

      I mentioned last week that The Shadow of the Wind was a complete dud for me despite the premise seemingly being right up my alley. Just could not finish.

      The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope was mentioned a lot last month, but I have to recommend it again in the context of being a wonderful cozy fantasy. I loved it!

      I listened to an interesting virtual panel on comfort reads hosted by Loyalty Bookstores with KJ Charles, T. Kingfisher, Malka Older, and Martha Wells (someone recommended it here recently; I’ll post the link as a reply). I think those authors generally do a good job with “bad stuff happens but the characters overcome them in logical ways.”

      1. Clara Bowe*

        You are not alone with Shadow of the Wind. I just could not get into it and was deeply grumpy about it.

    15. Nervous Nellie*

      One for me this week:

      Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem: I chanced across this at a used bookshop. What an odd and riveting story! It’s a science fiction detective story with a gumshoe who assists clients who are rabbits and who repeatedly dodges a talking (and armed) kangaroo. It’s a delirious mix – an autocratic society where all are under surveillance, and where the masses clamor for mind-numbing drugs, and why wouldn’t they? I had never heard of the author. This is his first book. I will look for others – he’s quite good!

      1. Atheist Nun*

        Lethem has a lot of ups and downs, in my reading experience. I think his best book is Motherless Brooklyn, but I say that without having read Gun, with Occasional Music. Fortress of Solitude is also great, but it can be a slog.

        1. Nervous Nellie*

          Thanks! Yeah, he is new to me, and I am definitely enjoying it. I am avoiding reading any reviews or articles on or about him or his work, but I bet I’ll dig into those after this. I do get the sense that his work might be uneven. That’s ok – excellence is hard to keep up.

      2. GoryDetails*

        I’ll see your gumshoe and raise you one: “The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse” by Keith Hartman. It’s set in the not-too-distant (and all too foreseeable) future, and involves an assortment of characters trying to battle a plot to take over the world. There’s a gay detective who’s starting to see visions, a teenage kid who only wants to publish his graphic novel and find a girlfriend, a Wiccan family, an aged Cheyenne mystic, a televangelist, and more – quite fun!

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        Johnathan Lethem is a seriously underrated writer: try his terrific As She Climbed Across the Table. It’s about a man who loses his girlfriend to a physics experiment! Not as in she disintegrates; she falls in love with it.

    16. GoryDetails*

      Current reads include:

      “Princeless: Save Yourself” – the first volume of collected comic books about a young woman who, unhappy at the whole “princesses must be immured in towers for princes to find and rescue” thing, befriends her own guardian dragon, breaks out of her tower, and sets out to rescue her six sisters. Quite fun so far – including the bit where she meets the local blacksmith and finds her crafting armor for women warriors, of the chainmail-bikini type. [The artwork clearly shows outfits resembling Wonder Woman’s and Xena’s, as well as the aforementioned chainmail bikini. “Doesn’t it… bind?”]

      Just starting: “Guardian Angels and Other Monsters” by Daniel H. Wilson, SF/horror stories “at the intersection of artificial intelligence and human life”. I liked Wilson’s “Robopocalypse” and have hopes for this collection.

    17. JustForThis*

      Maybe not completely cozy as the main character at one point ends up in a dangerous situation but apart from that small caveat: I’ve really enjoyed Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faires. It’s sequel Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands is equally good but less cozy.

    18. Valancy Stirling*

      Shelved Under Murder by Victoria Gilbert. It’s a fun cozy mystery.

    19. BikeWalkBarb*

      Just finished Foundryside by Robert Jackson, first in a fantasy trilogy, and immediately borrowed book 2 Shorefall.

      Magic is industrialized through the use of “scrivings”–symbols that can be combined to convince a thing that it has different properties, like reinforcing pillars holding a building above encroaching waters to think that they’re stone, or convincing a sword it’s super heavy so it cleaves right through armor. Merchant houses control scrivings, people who live outside the walls of the merchant compounds live in absolute filth and misery and there’s no law.

      Main character Sancia Grado was enslaved at one time and subjected to an experiment to put scrivings into her brain, more or less. She can now listen in and a wall will tell her where the handholds are to make it easy to climb, as one example. She’s a thief and a loner who ends up fighting the powers of the merchant houses (which are definitely capitalism run amok).

      Really absorbing, world-making done well, non-hetero love interests, discussions of the implications of power without dropping chunks of lecture on the page. Some people meet pretty gory ends created by scrivings but it isn’t blood on every page.

    20. goddessoftransitory*

      Hmmm…. I admit, I’m not that into Fourteen Stories. It’s not bad, but the idea is each “story” is written by a different author and I don’t find it very conducive to tracking character development. It’s not bad, I’ll finish it for sure, but probably going in the donate pile.

      I’m going to tackle The Lacuna next; I bought it years ago and it’s just sitting there. I recently read a rave review of it, and it made me want to give it another try.

      1. Annie Edison*

        Ooh it’s been a while but I remember loving The Lacuna! If memory serves, it maybe had a bit of a slow start but got more engrossing

    21. the cat's pajamas*

      I just listened to the audiobook A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers which was very cozy, and the narrator made it extra cozy. It’s probably technically sci-fi but also feels fantasy ish given all the descriptions of the natural areas, etc.

      Not a book, but the podcast “Nothing Much Happens” is all cozy short stories meant to help you fall asleep.

    22. Filosofickle*

      Currently trying to get through How to Stop Time by Matt Haig…might be a DNF. I just don’t care!

    23. ElastiGirl*

      I am reading “My Name Is Barbra”. Half fascinating, half aggravating because of the sheer size of her ego.

    24. CityMouse*

      I read Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries. It was okay. I liked the world building but just didn’t buy the romance.

      1. JustForThis*

        I can see why — though I liked that it was very low-key. It gave me a Harriet Vine with Lord Peter Wimsey vibe (which transported me back to my teens).

        1. CityMouse*

          I like Harriet and Peter and this just wasn’t it for me. It just fell into the rescue trope which just doesn’t do it for me. Whereas Harriet specifically resisted the rescue trope.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            I loved how they both had to learn how to love each other and get over their bad patterns from past relationships.

          2. JustForThis*

            Interesting. I felt that at that point in the story Emily had proven herself to be self-reliant, courageous, disciplined, and very smart. I found touching that when she gets into serious trouble the villagers band together to help her, and for the first time in her life she realises and feels that others care about her.

            1. Ali*

              I agree. I think that Emily’s main point of growth was that she needed to learn to trust and rely on others.

    25. Hyaline*

      The Magician’s Daughter by HG Parry isn’t cozy as in low stakes, but it is cozy as in it feels like a hot cup of tea on a blustery day + fairy tale for grown ups.

      I’m also loving Nghi Vo’s Singing Hills novellas because they are the perfect amount of unexpected and strange and a little unreliable but still approachable and beautiful in bite-size packages.

    26. lilybeth*

      If the cozy stuff doesn’t *have* to be fantasy, I’d suggest Jane Smiley’s Perestroika in Paris. The main character is an escaped race horse who lives in a Paris park for a winter and explores the city and meets humans and animals alike. It shouldn’t work and yet it does? I loved it.

      If you did want something a little more fantasy-ish, Toshikazu Kawaguchi has a series called Before the Coffee Gets Cold (also the first book) where people can time travel if they sit in one specific seat in this Tokyo cafe, but they have to come back before their coffee gets cold. It’s pretty gentle, all in all, but has its moments of genuine melancholy and such.

  13. Jackalope*

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

    I went back to Fire Emblem Three Houses the week. I haven’t played in several months, but it was fun to slip back into the familiar characters and enjoy them.

    1. SparklingBlue*

      My Switch is packed away for now, but hopefully I can finish Princess Peach Showtime before the Paper Mario 2 remake later this month.

    2. tabloidtainted*

      I finished Kingdom Come: Deliverance in preparation for the upcoming sequel. I’ve been working on that game on-and-off for years!

    3. Lemonwhirl*

      I did a terrible thing and bought Ticket to Ride for my phone. Terrible, terrible thing. :D But I felt I had to do it because no one wants to play Ticket to Ride as much as I want to play Ticket to Ride. If the novelty doesn’t wear off soon, I am going to have to get one of those productivity apps that blocks access to certain things on your phone.

      We also had a great game of Wingspan last week. My kid and I continue to play Scythe on a semi-regular basis, and he continues to win all the time. (Being a gracious loser is definitely a growth opportunity for me.)

      1. A Girl Named Fred*

        Ticket to Ride and Wingspan are both such great games!! I feel you on being a gracious loser – I never get mad at anyone else but I DO get mad/disappointed with myself and it makes me a kind of pout-y person to be around depending on the game (for example, it’s waaay worse with our current run of Betrayal Legacy than most other games because I haven’t won a single dang round.) But I’m also working on it and my partner told me yesterday that he was proud of how I handled yesterday’s losses, so I’ll take that as a win lol

        1. Lemonwhirl*

          It’s hard not to be pout-y when you never win a single round. (I find Scythe particularly challenging in this department. I feel like I’m doing things ‘right’ and I still can’t seem to win. On the other hand, my kid is a real shark at it, and I love seeing his strategy and complex reasoning skills develop.

          1. Jackalope*

            I have a couple of games that I just took off my list of games that I play. I’m fine with losing sometimes but it turns out that it gets old losing ALL THE TIME. That’s especially true for longer games where I spend an hour or more trying my hardest and then still lose every time.

      2. Anonymous Demi ISFJ*

        Wingspan is such a cool game! I have only played it once, and my team won, I think solely because my team had consumed less alcoholic beverages than any other team. (We had teams since we had a lot of folks and most of us had never played before.)

        I’m trying to get another Wingspan gathering together with less folks and less alcohol – I think I will like it better that way…

        1. Lemonwhirl*

          I love the bird cards so much. I should probably keep them out so I can enjoy them any time, not just when we’re playing.

        1. Lemonwhirl*

          I have it. :). There might be some settings I have to tweak, but I found it hard to play on the phone.

    4. A Girl Named Fred*

      We’re still on our run of Betrayal Legacy – I think we finished game seven or eight (of 13) last night? I was so scared of the “permanent” aspects of the game (for those who don’t know, “legacy” games literally have you rip up different cards or pieces as you play because they are “not part of your story”) but it’s been SO fun to play and make these memories and have our own “custom” game when we’re done.

      I also started PlateUp! which is pretty dang hard as a solo player, but I’m actually enjoying losing repeatedly and learning/adapting. I can’t wait to play it with my best friend sometime!

  14. hasKitty*

    Has anyone had PAX Molecular Blood Allergen Testing done on their cat? I have a kitty who has an allergy (it makes her itch). She’s being treated with medication and hypoallergenic food, and the pet dermatologist has recommended this kind of test.

    Several years ago, I took a test for food allergens, and it had a lot of false positives, so I’m feeling a little skeptical about this. But if it can help my kitty, I want to do it. I just don’t want her to be unhappy (blood draw) if it’s not likely to help or if it might find a lot of false positives.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Hmm, I hope someone more knowledgeable weighs in – I asked the vet if we could do a blood test to determine the source of my dog’s allergy (the vet likes really difficult elimination diets, I suspect something like dust or pollen) and the vet said basically they don’t work very well.

    2. Zona the Great*

      My cat is 8 now and she had severe allergies when I adopted her at 8 weeks old from the shelter. They had her on some terrible crap food. The vet insisted on hypoallergenic food and she hated it and lost mad weight. I did a little research in veterinary journals (not online) and switched her to a raw diet from reputable sources. She now is allergy free and very healthy. Her litter box smells like nothing. She eats mostly raw venison with some rabbit kibble.

    3. MaxKitty*

      The cat dermatologist we went to said it could be done, but once we did it, we’d have to give the cat shots thereafter, which wasn’t going to be feasible, so we skipped it.

    4. Pucci*

      A quarter of a Zyrtec (vet prescribed) has done wonders for my cat who was pulling out her fur (an allergy sign in cats)

    5. Jackalope*

      We did what sounds like the same thing with one of our cats and got a list back of allergies for him. The options for treating it were a weekly shot or a squirt under the tongue and we went for option B. As to how he’s doing now…. He still does some of the fur pulling but he’s less raw and outside of the worst of allergy season actually lets some of it grow back, which he didn’t before. So I would say it was a success, if a mixed one. The hypoallergenic food did NOT work, though. And he did eat it, but everyone else in the house HATED it. It smelled awful and we didn’t even like dishing it out for him, and the other cats refused to eat it (which led to stressful feeding times for everyone, where we would give them the regular cat food and they’d snarf it down in one room while he was outside the door crying piteously, then they couldn’t graze all day like they were used to…. I was so glad to see the end of that food).

    6. PleaseNo*

      my cat is doing the immunotherapy treatment. we’re in month five. my vet was very good at describing the problems and efficacies of the test, as well as percentages of the whole thing helping or not. he left the decision to me. and to me, it was worth trying.
      the blood serum test is for certain
      proteins (in the environment so not for food) so any positives returned mean that there’s a response to that protein and whatever has that.
      after the test they generally pick the top 12 or so responses and make an injectable mix to give kitty for the desensitization process. it can take 6-9 months to see a change though sometimes it’s a year.
      it’s not cheap but not insane expensive and the results are interesting and provide insight into things you can do to mitigate exposure. let me know if you have more qs

  15. tangerineRose*

    Recommendations for a bed? I keep thinking how nice a foam mattress might be, but then again, I was younger when I had one.

    1. Indolent Libertine*

      We have a Novaform memory foam with cooling gel mattress that we got from Costco and like very much. It sits on a wood platform bed that’s designed for a mattress alone with no box spring.

    2. L. Ron Jeremy*

      My wife and I really love our Charles P Rogers mattress. It has held up extremely well and we’re going on 15 years at this point. US made since 1855.

      Expensive but worth it.

    3. Generic Name*

      I really like my hybrid mattress. It’s a traditional inner spring mattress with a built in foam topper. Its the right combo of softness and support.

      1. Sitting Pretty*

        Be careful. I thought I liked a soft bed. Went twice to the mattress store, spent long stretches on the mattress that seemed soft but still supportive. It really was dreamy and delicious. Bought it and then, within 2 days, realized I’d made a horrible mistake.

        All night long I felt like I was falling. The softness did not have nearly enough underlying support. And I learned too late that while it’s fairly easy to make a firm mattress softer (that’s what all those foam and latex toppers are for), it’s almost impossible to make a soft mattress firmer.

        Several hundred bucks in return and shipping later, I went back to my old much firmer mattress with a foam topper and will try mattress shopping again later when I’ve done more homework.

        The mattress sub on Reddit will make your head spin but there is a lot of great guidance from folks who’ve been at it a while. Make sure anything you buy has a generous return policy! You’ll want a few months to try out what you buy. Good luck, hope you find your luxurious night’s sleep!

    4. Clisby*

      I love my memory foam mattress now, but I was disappointed in it when we first got it, because we paired it with a box spring. Later, when we bought a new bed, we got a platform bed and just put the mattress on the solid wood base. That’s been heavenly.

    5. carcinization*

      My husband and I have had a Purple 2 for a few years now and continue to be enamored with it.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I know this is probably a nesting error, but this reminded me that I always refer to my friend’s cat as my “cat-niece”.

      (I love your username. Those are absolutely amazing books!)

      1. English Rose*

        It’s a brilliant nesting fail – such an enigmatic comment out of nowhere!

  16. Might Be Spam*

    How do you choose something when you are overwhelmed by too many choices? I want to get a robot vacuum/mop and there are so many! It is mostly for keeping the kitchen floor under control, but also for the livingroom and bedrooms. I’ve been looking at reviews which often seem more like advertising. Every time I look around, there are new models and they seem so much alike.

    1. tabloidtainted*

      For vacuums and mops, I go check what VacuumWars recommends on YouTube. He does excellent comparisons.

      1. Future*

        Oh my goodness. I’m not in the market for a vacuum but I’m going to go watch this just for fun

      2. HahaLala*

        I like to focus on one or two specific features and use that to make my decision. For a robot vacuum it could be battery life, reservoir size, noise, programmability, price, etc. I find comparisons much easier when you’re only looking at a few specific (and quantifiable) properties.

    2. Lemonwhirl*

      My newest life hack is that I tell my husband what I want and what my requirements are and then let him do the research and pick something. I have a look and if it seems to fit the bill, I buy it.

      I get absolutely paralysed by choice, and he enjoys research, so it’s an absolute privilege and delight to be able to accept his help to make a decision.

    3. Rage*

      Check out Consumer Reviews – but then set a deadline by which you will make a decision. Yes, there will always be new and improved models out there, which means you’ll never make your purchase if you’re always “let me see what comes out next week”.

      And then, just pick one and be done with it.

    4. And thanks for the coffee*

      I usually go to Amazon and look at reviews for different products. Sometimes that helps.

    5. Marceline the vampire queen*

      A colleague recommended wirecutter years ago for this exact issue. It’s saved me hours upon hours of internet product research!

      1. fposte*

        Seconding Wirecutter. I also find it helps to be a satisficer and not a maximizer. A good enough vacuum is all I need—it doesn’t have to be the Great Golden Vacuum. (I was going to say test it just needs to not suck but of course the point is that it does need to suck.)

        1. ampersand*

          Yes, this is the antidote to too many choices! Good enough is good enough—I also use Wire Cutter.

    6. Mighty K*

      Also remember that if they are *so alike* then it doesn’t matter which one you get!

      Chances are they’re made in the same factory with a different sticker put on anyway.

      Pick 3 that look OK, check the reviews aren’t bad and then flip a coin if you need to!

      Then, put the reviews AWAY because the chances are that you’ll see one that’s *even better* just after you’ve finally ordered one :)

  17. Tea and Sympathy*

    A long time ago, someone posted a simple (3 ingredient?) peanut butter cookie recipe. And before that someone posted a really simple short bread cookie recipe. They were both easy and really good. I made both of them several times, and then didn’t for awhile. Now I’ve lost both recipes. Does anyone remember them and have them? I can’t remember who originally posted them.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      One cup each peanut butter and sugar and an egg, mix into a dough and bake in cookie form at 350 for 9-10 min!

    2. Wireknitter*

      Unbelievable Peanut Butter cookies
      1C peanut butter
      1 egg
      1 C sugar
      1 tsp vanilla

      Bake for 15 minutes at 325. Cookies will be very crumby while hot. Be patient.

      The three ingredient version doesn’t have the vanilla.

    3. Llellayena*

      Shortbread: (all ingredients by weight)
      2oz sugar
      4oz (one stick) butter
      6oz flour
      Optional 1/4 teaspoon flavor extract of your choice (vanilla, almond, lemon…)

      1. Llellayena*

        Helps if I add the temp and timing: 325deg for 12-15 min, depending on your oven. I usually roll the dough into a log, cool for 20 min and slice to get the cookies, but hand forming works too

        1. Tea and Sympathy*

          I don’t think this is the one I had, because it didn’t go by weights, but I’ll try this. Thanks!

    4. just swell*

      I’m not sure if it’s the one you’re thinking of, but smitten kitchen has a great three ingredient pb cookie recipe on the website.

  18. And thanks for the coffee*

    I’d like to go to NYC to see the 9/11 museum. I have some difficulty walking and standing so I could use some help identifying the most convenient way to do this. I’ll be fine in the museum with my walker. I’ll need to use taxis or Uber/Lyft.
    Can folks who know the city suggest the closest airport and a hotel close to the museum location? Any other things it would be good to know. Thanks in advance for any assistance.

    1. Lila*

      the airports in NYC are all kind of equidistant. LaGuardia or JFK are slightly closer than Newark but depending on time of day, traffic might make the difference negligible.

      there are definitely hotels downtown near the museum, though I didn’t have any specific recs.

    2. New Yorker*

      If you want to stay close to the 9/11 museum, then JFK is probably the closer airport to downtown. But it’s very expensive to get there by Uber/cab. Like probably close to $100. Here’s a website with more info about cabs: https://www.nyc.gov/site/tlc/index.page

      Not sure about hotels down there — it’s in the Financial District so it’s not really a neighborhood where people stay when visiting.

    3. Sunflower*

      I would consider renting a mobility scooter for your trip to the NYC for a few reasons
      – In general, it can be hard to tell from google maps the walking distance required in some areas. The museum is located underneath the memorial which is a plaza. Some streets around the plaza are not open to traffic and of course you can’t drive in the plaza so Uber pick up locations can be hard to gauge. You may feel more confident knowing you don’t need to worry about exerting yourself if you make a wrong turn or need to unexpectedly walk further than you thought.
      – If your primary reason for visiting is to see the museum, I assume you’ll want to explore every part of it. The museum could easily take 6+ hours if you want to do every activity – add in the emotional weight of this specific experience – and it’s exhausting for someone without mobility issues. Definitely call the museum ahead of time to see if they have them for your tour if you opt to not use one for your entire stay.
      – There is so much to see and explore in NYC and I think not having to worry about exertion from standing/walking would open you up to endless opportunities. Many of the subway stations are accessible.
      – All the airports are pretty much the same time/distance to Manhattan.
      – The Millennium downtown is probably the closest hotel to the museum, however, I’m not sure if you can Uber there (or it might take quite long) because of the way that part of the city is set up. If you plan to Uber everywhere, don’t worry too much about distance away. The Conrad downtown, NY Marriott downtown and Courtyard WTC are all close by and very nice hotels. If you are planning on doing other things, that area can get a bit quiet on the weekends and definitely does not have as much to do as Midtown. If you are going to be Ubering anyway, it might be worth it to be more central for the rest of your stay vs close to the museum.

      1. WestSideStory*

        This is all very good advice – I’d just second staying away from financial district hotels, as everything really shuts down in the evening. If you would prefer something other than crowded streets, there are several good hotels in the West 70’s which are less busy neighborhoods.

    4. Zona the Great*

      Fly into JFK. Direct lines to Canal Street Station. Stay in Tribeca. Public transit and cabs to the financial district.

  19. Trudy’s Tantrum*

    Has anyone successfully made friends at a MeetUp website group? I feel like the events are not very well attended, and even if groups have hundreds of people in them, they’re not very active. It’s been a while since I’ve given the website a try but I was browsing through it again. Has anyone actually had luck with it in meeting new people and having fun at gatherings?

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I’ve really only had a great experience there once and I think it was mostly lucky timing – the group was fairly new and just getting established so there weren’t a lot of people, but the ones attending were all motivated to show up and make it work. It actually moved off Meetup after the one I attended and became just a small group where people would occasionally add a friend or coworker, and I was active in it for several years until I moved out of the area. I created my own group similar to that one in my new location and that also went pretty well but took a good six months or so to really feel comfortable.

      The other groups I’ve tried have been huge or not a good fit for me or not very active, but I’ve had the most success looking for groups that have less than 100 members because you’re more likely to actually see people regularly and build connections (assuming they host events regularly). My current area is ridiculous – a lot of groups either have a bunch of weird rules to join, or are so busy you have to get on a WAIT LIST for the event the day it gets posted. I’m kind of thinking of starting my own group again and hoping to snag some of the people like me who want friends but think a waitlist to go discuss a book at Panera is absurd lol

    2. AK_Blue*

      Yes, with the caveat it was pre-Covid. I joined a couple Meetup groups in 2015. One group which was centered around attending events and going out to eat had lots of people in the group but few attended. Another was a boardgame meetup group which was fairly well attended by 10-15 people weekly. The third was a women sci-fi book group, which was 4-10 people and met monthly. I found the smaller groups easier for my personality and fit my interests better. They also seemed to have the most cohesive group of attendees. Another friend has made great friends through a women only hiking group on FB. And yes, I had fun and made good friends but admittedly it took me 2 or 3 visits to settle in and enjoy myself.

    3. Owlette*

      I had good luck – rock climbing and board game groups. I was in a large city at the time which I’m sure helped and both activities need keen buddies to participate which might not be in your friend group.

    4. Jessica*

      Absolutely, with the caveat that it was a boardgaming meetup. So a hobby group for people who really wanted to do a specific thing, rather than just a “let’s meet people” group.
      The original meetup group I joined had literally hundreds of members but a much smaller core of active ones who ever came to anything; I think the rest were just people who had joined groups that seemed maybe interesting, but then never actually connected. I think that’s probably common (and is why some organizers regularly purge their group of inactive members). So judge a group by its frequency of events, not official number of members.

    5. Two cents*

      I’ve made friends from a boardgames group. My grandpa made friends at a hiking group for seniors ages ago and now they’re married. But I’ve also definitely attended duds. The worst one was spectacularly terrible and comically entertaining at the same time–it was advertised as a social chat group and was actually 80% single men searching for dates (not creepily! Just obviously. And I’m almost certain the meet up was run by the coffee shop it was hosted at, so definitely not planned or unsafe in that sense). I was there with my husband which caused most of the people to quickly and politely exit the conversation once they figured that out. I got a few good stories out of that dud, so I’m not even upset about going. I think success is a bit of a luck thing.

    6. FanciestCat*

      Attended and eventually organized meetups from 2017 to 2020. Luck is the operative word, I knew people who met romantic partners or close friends through Meetup. I made a bunch of casual friends I eventually started hanging out with outside of meetup, but none of those friendships survived the pandemic. Now I’ve moved to another state and haven’t found a good one yet. The best meetups are the ones that meet frequently enough that you can start building a relationship. Also, if you meet someone you want to get to know better, for romance or friendship, move quickly to get their contact info. I don’t know how many promising people I met only for them to stop coming after two meetings. Maybe they would have brushed me off if I’d asked for their deets. but I didn’t ask and now I’ll never know.

    7. WoodswomanWrites*

      I was looking to make more friends in my age group who live nearby with a similar interest in nature and hiking. I wasn’t having much luck finding the people I was looking for through the existing Meetup groups. So I started one myself figuring it might not go anywhere but was worth a try.

      That was five years ago and it’s been amazing. I made several good friends that I see now regularly. I stepped down as the organizer a few months ago and the group continues to grow with other leaders now.

    8. 248_Ballerinas*

      Absolutely. Meetup has changed my life for the better. I met kindred spirits and good friends through it. So, so nice to have conversations beyond “How are your kids/cats doing? How’s your health? Yeah, work sucks.” Not that I don’t ever want or need those supportive conversations, but Meetups let me stretch my mind and spirit. I feel understood in Meetups.

      I joined well before COVID, a variety of special-interest groups (meditation, film fandom) and general social dining groups.

      Maybe I’ve had such good luck because I live in a large city. Meetup zooms are available now, thankfully.

    9. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      Yes! But it took patience and perseverance. Moved to new city and joined. Liked it, but didn’t immediately click with anyone (it was a wine group). Started going to more with the group, started to see the same few people, eventually exchanged numbers, eventually hung out outside of meetup and now they are my actual friends. I went in with no expectations but I also went in with the mindset that I was going to devote time to go to meetups and really TRY to keep it up until I felt like it wasn’t talking myself into trying/going. Did go to a few duds and that’s OK (dinner meetups). Met a great friend at a dud one, though, and told her to come join the wine group. She did, we connected, and voila, another actual friend! We laugh now that we met at a terrible meetup dinner!

    10. Sloanicota*

      I have, but it was a small core group of people who met up repeatedly (every week) doing something I was very passionate about doing. We definitely became lifelong friends, and went off Meetup when the group got big enough that we didn’t need new members. It’s also decent for mixers in niche categories, like LGBTQ hikers.

    11. Tx_Trucker*

      I’m a meet up organizer. In my experience, if your are looking for “deep” friendships where you socialize outside of meetup, you have better luck with super niche groups, even if they have a small membership. Groups with large memberships are better suited for “event” outings and you may never see these folks again. But you are correct that attendance is low at many events. As an organizer, the high number of no-shows is very frustrating to me, especially since many of my events have an attendance cap, depending on the location.

      1. Anonymous cat*

        Not an organizer but I agree with this description. I look at meetups as a chance to hang out because of a topic but made few personal friends. Disappointing but at least a chance to socialize.

        One exception to this—a book club apparently had really enthusiastic readers because people who rsvped actually showed up! Precovid the organizer said they were told to expect about 50 percent attendance but we usually had almost 100 percent. The organizer was shocked!
        But that’s an outlier!
        (If you’re curious, it was a book club for mysteries.)

      2. Chocolate Teapot*

        I tried Meetup and a similar group Internations but it was difficult trying to meet people as I found existing members already had their own friend groups or I would meet somebody who seemed friendly and wanted to follow up, then never see/hear from them again.

    12. Anonymous cat*

      I think it really depends on where you are. Some places have a really active meetup presence and some just don’t.

      It’s disappointing, especially because “try Meetup” is such a standard answer to loneliness.

    13. Qwerty*

      Personally no – the only success stories I know are pre-pandemic. Most of the stuff seems to be virtual events now.

      I will say that I used to run a group that spawned many deep friendships and became the go-to group for people new in town or trying to make new friends. However as the organizer, I didn’t really get enough time with individuals to form something more because I was usually stuck making people feel welcome.

      My advice is to find a group that is aimed at people actively trying to meet people. Even if you have been in your city for 5yrs, its still ok to the go to the one for people new in town – those groups also tend to attract people who have gone through a life event and trying to rebuild a social life.

    14. Ilovecheese*

      I have, but it was pre-pandemic. The groups where I made friends I saw outside of Meetups were ones that had a regularly occurring, monthly meetup to do the same thing(Karaoke party, Museum Meetup, Dining Out). Many of them also charged a fee to attend the Meetup once you RSVP’d Yes(5-20 dollars), which limited the number of no shows. With events each month around a special interest, you started to see a lot of the same people. It did take time to make a connection outside of the group though.

    15. Jackalope*

      I’ve had mixed experiences. I had one meetup based on a specific type of discussion group (around a language we all knew that was not spoken in the area we lived). That went really well and I attended for several months; it helped that we have a native speaker attending who genuinely enjoyed talking with newbie speakers (she was a language professor at a local university), and so she would chat with the people who could barely string together sentences, and the rest of us could have actual discussions. I don’t remember why I stopped going – I think the day of the week changed or something like that – but I would go back if they still existed.

      My other experience involved a group of… hiking, I think was the specific focus? Getting outside, anyway. There were a decent number of people who would go on hikes regularly, and it was set up for most people in the group to be able to volunteer to coordinate a hike. I had two people in the group who often did hikes that I liked; one I could make pretty much every week (it was on a specific evening each week at the same trail near where I lived, and it was a short-ish trail so we could do it quickly), and the other I made it on his hikes when I could. The person who’d been in charge of the group handed the reins over to someone else, and a month or two later she kicked both of those two trail leaders out of the group. I will be up front that I don’t know who was in the wrong. Were they doing something they shouldn’t have? (Like not letting everyone come who was on the list, for example.) Was she just power-hungry and using her new position to be a jerk? I still have no idea. But it left a bad taste in my mouth, and I ended up dropping out. On the plus side, I had a lot of fun for several months, and I still go to the trail close to my house almost every week for a hike although now I do it alone most of the time.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        The other thing is that I live somewhere where people don’t necessarily stay for more than a few years, so friends leave and you never hear from them again, or worse still, they come back to visit, but not to see you.

    16. carcinization*

      Yes, my husband and I joined one when we moved back to a small town for a couple of years (right before COVID, as it turns out). Another couple in the small town had started a group in order to make friends, we met them at a local bar where we were the only ones to show up for the meetup, and hit it off. We went to the meetup they had the next month and were looking forward to meeting other folks too, but we were again the only people that showed up so after that we just started hanging out with them instead of doing a formal website thing. My husband and I ended up moving away from the small town again but we’re still friends with the couple on social media and have even seen them a couple of times since moving away.

  20. Monkeying Around The House*

    How do you all combat FOMO (fear of missing out)? It was something I didn’t think bothered me that much, but I’ve been realizing recently it is affecting me. Just this today, I was telling a coworker at work that I had no plans for the weekend but I was kind of glad about that because my next few weekends will be really busy and I don’t mind having a little quiet time. But then, when I came home, my roommate was telling me about all the fun plans she had, and then I was catching up with my parents and they are also very busy all weekend. So now I’m suddenly sitting here and feeling a bit glum that everyone else seems to have plans when I didn’t, even though a couple hours ago, I was looking forward to not having any plans. So clearly the FOMO is plaguing me more than I thought. Ideas on how to combat it?

    1. Pam Adams*

      plan your do-nothing days. “Today, I get to stay home and sleep in. I’m so excited!”

    2. Le le lemon*

      You can’t do everything. There will always be something you will miss out on. Just enjoy what you do do – be as present as you can be.

    3. allathian*

      Consciously embrace your do-nothing days. “I’m choosing to stay at home and relax/catch up on my chores/watch Netflix this weekend to charge my batteries before the business month ahead.”

    4. Six Feldspar*

      Agree with everyone, and you also absolutely need a do-nothing weekend every now and then because otherwise your body will enforce one on you…

    5. strawberry lemonade*

      This is so normal!

      Two suggestions. One, reach out to someone. FOMO has an edge of loneliness and the best way to sneak out of loneliness is to reach out a hand to someone. Just “hey wanna chat” or even making a last minute plan to get a drink.

      Second, I wonder if your do-nothing plans aren’t actually going to fill your cup. Doing nothing rules, but is there something that is both restful and brings you joy? Set up a nice bath or get a few books from the library.

    6. Busy Middle Manager*

      I don’t think there is some magic trick. I think this has been part of my midlife crisis/transition – realizing you can’t do it all, not in a grand and general way, but also not in specific situations, for example, some days it is a choice between socializing and self-learning for work.

      I think you need to mentally focus on doing a smaller number of things thoroughly and well. Not try to be everywhere and be everything to everyone. Look at the world’s most interesting people. They aren’t generalists. There are many things they have not done. But that let them focus on doing a few things very well. Case in point, Ana Wintour. She does fashion really well, but think about all she’s given up or NOT done in order to always be working.

      And come to terms with the fact that that feeling of sadness when coming home after a good trip is just part of life

    7. BikeWalkBarb*

      All those scheduled people are missing out on the spacious feeling of not having any time commitments they have to deal with.

      As others said, we’re all missing out many things all the time! The book Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman makes this point really well.

      A thing I do in my journal occasionally that may help: Heading into a weekend I’ll write a list of “possibilities.” This is very deliberately not a to-do list. It does include chore-like things I’ve been meaning to get around to. It will usually also include things like reading, taking a long hot bath (those two can go together), doing yoga, walking to the neighborhood bakery for a latte and a treat, taking a nap. I find I do more accomplishment-type actions in a weekend when I start with that list and I also feel absolutely great relaxing because that too was on The List.

      Important note for those of who then tend to “should” on yourself: I absolutely never go back to a previous week’s list and carry chores forward. If they’re important to me I’ll remember to write them again, or I’ll do them on a weeknight, or they aren’t actually worth my time investment. This is a list of the things I may feel like doing in that particular weekend. This weekend was the only May 4-5, 2024 I will ever have.

  21. Junebug*

    Inspired by a comment in the work weekend post — what do people using Facebook for nowadays? I use it for messsaging and Marketplace mostly. I also like looking back on Memories but only post every few months now.

    1. Ginger Cat Lady*

      I have a couple groups I’m still active in. That and messaging are pretty much all I do, though my IG posts also post to FB so my older relatives see them.

    2. Rara Avis*

      Keeping up with friends and relatives. Flower, cat, kid, travel pics. There are also 4 or 5 really active groups related to the place we don’t talk about here.

    3. Owlette*

      Sport team is run through it, only reason I still have it. And a bit of Marketplace

    4. RagingADHD*

      I check a couple of groups connected with school and some local clubs I’m in. Occasionally I scroll looking for any new wedding or baby announcements. I maybe check it once a week.

    5. Future*

      I haven’t used it for over a year but I have not deleted it just in case I need to use marketplace at some point in the future. I also was using it to get birthday alerts in my email but that seems to have stopped working.

    6. Two cents*

      I don’t. Best decision for me, but I understand that might not be for everyone.

    7. Amey*

      Ah, I wrote a long reply and managed to delete it! Here is a shorter version:

      1) Groups: These are craft/interest related and are usually best when they have strict rules and are tightly moderated. One example is a group for a specific type of knitting which has members from all over the world (and all generations!) which is so fabulous and inspirational. I don’t have many friends who share these interests so these groups really make a difference to me. I haven’t found an equivalent elsewhere.

      2) Keeping up with far-flung family and friends. I live in a different country from where I grew up, and Facebook helps me to have a sense of what’s going on in e.g. my cousins’ lives without me having to maintain an individual correspondence with each of them (which will never happen). I have acquaintances in a lot of different places and it helps me maintain a sort of relationship with them that then means we can pick up where we left off when we see each other again.

      I feel guilty about it because I think Facebook is objectively evil, but these things have a really positive impact in my life.

    8. CityMouse*

      I use it for a lot of school notifications and to hear about library events.

    9. CTT*

      Mostly to stay on top of community events since there isn’t really any other site that cleanly aggregates them. And also a female attorney group that is mostly questions unrelated to my practice but occasionally has train wreck-y arguments and one time a poster did a liveblog of a county courthouse that was being raided by the FBI (clerk was selling fake IDs, iirc)

    10. Pocket Mouse*

      I use it pretty much solely for Buy Nothing. But I did also do a one-time review of my friends’ birthdays and put the ones I wanted to remember in my calendar.

    11. RMNPgirl*

      I use it to keep up with college friends since we were all in college when Facebook started. Also my neighborhood has a Facebook group which is helpful.

    12. PhyllisB*

      I enjoy keeping up with friends and family and sharing things with individuals that I know they’ll enjoy. Ex: I have two friends who raise chickens so when I see something about chickens I know they will like I share it. I share trivia and dumb jokes/puns with my son (he regularly threatens to block me, but he admits they make him laugh.) I have a Facebook question but I’ll make it a separate comment.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Okay, here’s. my question. As I said in my previous comment I love to share things I see on Facebook with my friends. If it’s something I think only they will care about like the chicken example I used I will use the share with a friend option. If it’s something of general interest I think everyone will like I just share. HOWEVER, yesterday I got ready to share something with a friend and the only options were to share through messenger or other options I’m not familiar with. I don’t like to send things through messenger for a couple of reasons. One, not everyone has it. Second thing, a lot of people won’t look at things in messenger because of viruses or scams. I know I don’t.
        If I want to just share in general, it goes to “my story..” I don’t HAVE a story!! Does anyone know how to circumvent this?

    13. Mimmy*

      -Keeping up with family and friends
      -Memories feature
      -Following several groups of different types

      I’ve never really posted that much to begin with, but I’d say I post even less frequently now. I also comment sometimes to both friends and groups.

    14. Seashell*

      I post rarely and mostly look at friend’s posts or posts in groups. It’s helpful for getting info/recommendations from local groups. I have some hobby-related groups that I read regularly too. I message people occasionally.

      I once looked at a guinea pig video, and now they send me ALL the guinea pig videos and groups, which I don’t really need, but some videos are cute.

    15. Clisby*

      1. Keeping up with my large extended family – not just mine, but my husband’s.
      2. Talking to friends.
      3. Checking in on special-purpose groups I’m interested in – my neighborhood, education, historic preservation, new restaurants, politics, etc.

      I don’t do instagram, Twitter (X), or any of those others.

    16. California Dreamin’*

      Several important/useful groups related to my profession. Memories are key for me… I posted pretty regularly when Facebook was in its heyday and my kids were small, so I have great memories popping up nearly daily. I actually really miss what Facebook used to be. I enjoyed keeping up with friends from high school, parents I knew from my kids’ previous schools, old colleagues, people that I wouldn’t otherwise be in touch with. There are many fewer posting now. For me, it was great while it lasted, but I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for it as it is now.

      1. Junebug*

        Agreed on missing how it used to be! Facebook started right as I was ending/coming out of college and I posted pretty regularly in the 2000s-2010s, so I enjoy the time capsules. I have barely posted in the 2020s and hardly ever scroll anymore either. Too many ads, and I’ve had my fill of wedding/baby/kid pics. I miss the memes and fun posts.

    17. goddessoftransitory*

      Looking at pictures of my nieces/nephew. That’s it. My page is completely blank and I’ve never posted thing one on it; only occasional messages with my sister and Happy Birthday to a couple friends.

    18. Un, Deux, Trois, Cat*

      I use it for a lot of things – I live alone so it is my social network. I have a lot of friends who live all over the country, and world, and it is how I keep up with many of them. I use messenger to chat with my closer friends. I’m also in a lot of Facebook groups, mostly related to teaching because I am a teacher – it is my larger PLC (Professional Learning Group). I’m also in some groups that relate to my interests and hobbies.

    19. Bob-White of the Glen*

      Okay, I’ll admit it, even if no one else will…

      Food Porn!

      I am trying to eat healthier and am getting so many great ideas from a couple of regulars. (I think they post on Instagram or TikTok, etc., none of which I can bother to learn, but somehow they show up on FB.) Like tonight I’ll make another Mediterranean influenced salad – about six servings, so easy and so good. Lasts several days in the frig. (If I add avocado, I do that to each serving. That is not good after a couple of days!)

      Can of white beans, can of garbanzo beans, rinsed.
      Finely chop: 1/2 red cabbage, 4 cups cherry/grape tomatoes, 2 – 4 cucumbers, 1/2 red onion, other veggies you like.
      Add for flavor – feta cheese, pickled banana peppers, chopped olives.
      Some EVOO, favorite vinegar, spices, etc. So good! (I am forgetting stuff, but do have it written down at home.) Sometimes eat for breakfast and less than 300 calories AND 2+ cups of veggies/serving, it’s a great light meal.

      Also, if you like this search Texas Caviar, adds a Mexican twist. Again, you decide what to add, and can make it as healthy or less as you like. (But regardless, tastes great!)

  22. Grieving*

    Warning: Illness and death.

    I’m so dejected. A beloved relative died a few weeks ago after a long sickness. It’s not just her death but how unfair and debilitating her illness was, robbing a vital and dynamic person of one functionality after another. I know grief takes time and is not linear, so I’m trying to give myself grace, but man I’m depressed. My usual distractions (drawing, feel good movies) are not working. I know distractions will be temporary, but any ideas welcome. Thanks.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      It makes sense that you’re dejected. A good person, someone important in your life, has just died after a period of undeserved suffering and diminishment. Honor your grief. Sit still with it. Appreciate her vibrancy and the fact that you had this wonderful connection with her, even though you’re now justifiably upset that she’s no longer here. (It’s okay if you do this for only ten minutes, or five.) Then do something to extend her time in this world: Write a condolence note to her survivor(s); donate to a cause in which she believed, or a cause which evokes her memory; establish or continue a tradition in her honor and memory. If she loved herbal tea, make a cup for yourself. If she relished springtime, take a walk and admire all the plants with flowers. If she cared about history, read something or visit a museum and think about her.

      You’ll probably do this multiple times in the next weeks/months/years. Grief runs on its own schedule. It’s okay if you don’t settle everything immediately.

      I’m no grief counselor, just someone who lost a parent and my spouse in the past three years. It’s strange and sad and awkward to figure out who I am now, without these two important people, but it’s also necessary. I wish you well in your journey. Take care of yourself.

      1. Grieving*

        This is so beautiful and compassionate. Thank you.

        She loved gardens. I’ll go visit some in her honor. What a great idea.

        I’m sorry for your losses, too. It is kind of you to share.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          If possible, a longer term thing to do might be donating a plant or tree to a local park or botanical garden; I’ve seen many “In Memory Of” plaques.

    2. Two cents*

      Oh, I’m so sorry! The last time I had grief like that, I sometimes sort of leaned in to the grief, (because leaning out of the grief wasn’t possible) but made myself move while I was wallowing. So I’d take (slow) walks in nature and cry and think of the person with all the positive and negative details, unrestrained. I also had a friend who was really there for me–we’d sometimes go together and I’d try to describe the person or tell a story or say how I’m feeling in words. We didn’t do that so very often, but the few times really helped.

      I also went and found pictures of baby animals. Here’s a good blog for that: Google zooborns.

    3. Six Feldspar*

      I’m sorry for your loss.

      I’ve found that having a proper, full on, bawling cry can help make the general dejection/sadness coalesce into something intense that I can get through and then feel lighter afterwards. (Like vomiting after feeling nauseous for a while – it’s awful at that very moment but once it’s done I feel not great, but better than being nauseous)

      Otherwise i would try to find something that’s relatively mindless but wears out your body. Gardening is a big one for me, or long (2+ hour) walks, or deep cleaning if the weather’s rough. Hopefully that makes you tired enough to sleep well and gets you some endorphins from the physical work, and a little satisfaction at a job done.

    4. goddessoftransitory*

      Enormous virtual hugs!

      Honestly, I distract myself with TV. Mysteries like Murdoch Mysteries or Death in Paradise are fun to watch and very easy to pick up and put down; you can stream a few and just not focus on things for a while. A big blanket and some warm, sweet baked goods may provide a bit of respite.

  23. Personal Finance Question?*

    Low stakes financial question. I recently had my credit card declined at my local grocery store. I paid for my purchases with cash, came home and called my credit union. I discovered that they had frozen my credit card account after someone tried to make purchases using my credit card number at a craft store on the other side of the country. The credit union is assigning me me a new credit car number and issuing a new card that is supposed to arrive a couple of days. I’m not going to need to make any purchases for several days, so this is no great inconvenience. This made me realize that at this time in my life, I only have a single credit card. It is convenient having most of my accounts, savings, some CDs, checking and the credit card at the same institution. However, I’m now wondering if maybe I should get a second credit card, just in case I need it if a similar situation arises again.

    Any suggestions for a second credit card? I’ve been really good about paying off my card every month and not carrying a balance, but I have a comparatively low interest rate credit card, the lowest interest rate card that my credit union offers. I hate the thought of possibly having to carry a balance and paying a lot for privilege. I’m also kind of put off by various reward cards because the rewards seem complicated to use and just not all that rewarding. I’m probably most seriously considering either a Costco credit card, or maybe a Barnes & Noble credit card, where I have memberships. (I forget if they’re Visa or MasterCard or just what.) Maybe a Kroger credit card? (I shop there a lot.) Maybe something else. Any advice?

    1. Free Meerkats*

      I almost exclusively use my Amazon card. It’s paid off every month, so the rebates (in credit at Amazon) are just a bonus. IIRC (I don’t have the info in front of me) it’s 5% on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% at gas stations, restaurants, and transit (including rideshare), and 1% on everything else. There are other bonus things that rotate, but I don’t pay attention to them. You do have to have Amazon Prime though. I don’t know what the interest rate is.

      1. YNWA*

        And if you choose to get your stuff not as fast, you actually earn 6% on Amazon purchases.

    2. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      Look up nerdwallet or bankrate for good, basic secondary cards. I have a primary (Chase) and a backup (Capital One) because both of those have no foreign exchange fees for when I travel overseas. I never use the Capital One but maybe once every couple years to keep it active with a single transaction), but it’s good to have the backup. Both also do a decent job notifying the card holder nearly immediately when suspicious activity occurs.

      1. Grits McGee*

        Definitely agree about the fraud alerts for Capital One- someone in Mexico tried making an Amazon purchase using my Capital One reward points, and Capital One proactively stopped the transaction and alerted me within minutes. It was super easy and fast to close the credit card and get a new one.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Same for Gap Mastercard. Caught fraudsters right away and I got a new card in about four days.

      2. Chauncy Gardener*

        Chase has really good fraud protection and they let you know ASAP if there’s an issue

    3. Squidhead*

      If you pay the bill off every month I don’t think it matters a lot. Our “second” card is one that we use for larger lump-sum purchases so that we have a little more room on our main card. It’s a Mastercard what just gives 1% cash back. The cash doesn’t expire so it doesn’t matter if we only redeem it every few years. Our main card is for day to day purchases and we keep the Mastercard active by putting the lump of all the insurance on it every year. Plus our main card is Discover and it used to be more common that places didn’t take Discover so this way we had a different option at point of sale. That rarely seems to be a problem now, though.

      I do think it’s weird that your current card didn’t contact you. The couple of times over the last 10 years that there has been something suspicious on my card, they called/texted right away. One time I was doing something unusual and the other time our number had been skimmed. But I didn’t just find out with my card being declined.

    4. mreasy*

      I travel a lot and have earned myriad free trips with my JetBlue card – definitely worth it to me. If there’s somewhere you already shop, and you’re already using your credit card and paying it off every month, why not get, say, discounted gas or groceries or books?

      In general my spidey sense tells me not to have everything with one financial institution, not only because diversifying can mean better rates, but also I don’t trust any one bank not to make errors or even collapse one of these days.

    5. RussianInTexas*

      You can figure out where your spend the most money and see if there is a credit card that gives you the most rewards. Like a Costco card, for example!
      I have a Chase Amazon Visa that gives me 5% cashback on all Amazon purchases, and occasionally they kick it up to 6%. The points can be used directly when paying for things on Amazon.

    6. Anna Crusis*

      I’ve been thinking about getting a second card. My current card is one that I’ve had since college – it was through my bank and the account got sold a couple of times, and now it’s one of those cash back cards, so I like that (it’s easy). I have travel in mind, and want a second card that doesn’t charge foreign exchange fees, which current card does. I don’t think I’ll be traveling enough to justify one that charges an annual fee, so it’s really just a matter of signing up for one that will also be beneficial to use occasionally while local (like in your store membership scenario).

      If you don’t currently carry a balance, there’s no reason why you would have to on a secondary card. If you have a book budget and get a B & N card, just use it for that to keep it active. My mom had a few cards and only used them like cash (paid in full every month and never carried a balance).

    7. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I also have the Amazon Chase Visa, but it’s my backup card, except for Amazon purchases. My primary card is a Fidelity Rewards Visa because it offers 2% cash back on everything, and no foreign exchange fee! Because I agree with you about “points”, IMO they’re used in order to 1) obscure the actual value you’re getting for your card usage, and 2) influence what purchases you make (like with airline miles or hotel branded cards).

      But if you don’t carry a balance, I wouldn’t worry about the interest rate. I never look at it when considering a card because I also never carry a balance. If I ever needed to, I’d probably look at opening a new card just to transfer a balance for 0% for the first year or six months…or are those offers not used to push new cards any more?

    8. anon24*

      I have a Discover It that I got as a secondary card and I use it more than my Amazon card (except where my Amazon card gets better rewards) because Discover has way better customer service (real people!) and over the years both cards have had to be changed due to fraudulent charges. Both were fairly easy to deal with, but Discover was a phone call of “hey, I didn’t make these charges” and they froze the card and overnighted me a new one. Chase was a longer phone call and it took awhile for the new card to come.

    9. Rara Avis*

      I have a Bank of America travel rewards visa that I like. They are very proactive —I get texts saying “was this you?” When my husband and I make transactions in different areas in the same time frame. The rewards are easy — they produce a list of eligible transactions, you click on the ones you want, and your next bill is reduced by that amount.

    10. Forrest Rhodes*

      Related note: A quick “Thanks, and well done!” to your credit union for taking care of you.
      I’ve only had two such incidents in several decades (once, my debit card was skimmed; once, I accidentally left the card in a store), but both times my credit union was on top of it: they’d known about it and frozen my card before I was even aware that it happened.
      So happy to be one of their members.

    11. Dannie*

      My daily driver is a Discover, partially because the cashback is simple/straightforward and partially because I adore the site’s clean intuitive UI that basically works as a budgeting app. I frequent a lot of small businesses that still don’t accept Discover, though, so I needed a Mastercard or Visa to shop at those places.

      Highly, highly recommend the subreddit “CreditCards” for in-depth analysis of the options. They exhaustively research brands based on shopping patterns, churning, points/miles accumulation, everything. You can just read old posts, or you can post yourself asking for help with your own needs (just make sure to read and meet the strict guidelines to do so).

      I ended up settling on a Freedom Flex Chase Mastercard for my second card, which is very similar to the Discover (revolving points categories, no fee, etc.).

    12. Rick Tq*

      We have a Costco/Citibank Visa card, the 4% rebate on gasoline purchases added up quickly, along with the rebates for travel, restaurants, and Costco purchases. We earn enough to pay for our Executive membership each year.

      As other have said, if you pay off the balance each month focus on the rebates and service, the interest rate doesn’t really matter.

    13. old curmudgeon*

      Something similar happened to me right before a big overseas trip. That was enough to convince me to get a second credit card, but I just got a second one from my credit union; I didn’t go looking for the best/perfect deal.

      The whole point for me about having a second credit card is that it’s for either big one-time purchases (a new stove, or a season ticket subscription to the symphony), or it’s for purchases from companies I haven’t done business with before. I generally go several months without using it at all, in fact.

      I have all my routine bill-paying arrangements set up on my primary credit card, and I use the extra one for transactions that have the potential to be a little riskier. If I have to replace a credit card, it’ll be a lot less hassle to replace the one I use for occasional larger purchases than it would be to have to update all the bills I pay monthly on the other one.

      I should add that regardless of which card I use, the balance gets paid off in full every month, so it’s not like I’m carrying balances on two cards. I only buy what I can afford, regardless of whether I pay with cash or plastic.

    14. Jules the First*

      If you can set your credit card up in GooglePay or Apple Wallet, the issuer can usually pop the new card into that immediately, so you can use that until your new card arrives.

    15. Filosofickle*

      I have two, and that’s a strategic choice in case one becomes unavailable for any reason. They are intentionally different banks and networks — one Visa, one MasterCard — in case a whole institution or network is glitching or freezing me out. To see if I could benefit from a better cash back / reward situation, I recently did a quick look at low/no fee cards and wow APRs are much higher than I expected right now. I don’t carry any balances but who wants that? Most people I know have been happy with Costco cards, which come with cash back I believe.

  24. Everyone's a superhero sometimes*

    What’s your superpower? Like something random that you’re super good at?

    Mine’s gift baskets. I love hunting for a deal and giving gifts, so I’ve become the go to for friends who need a gift basket put together. You give me a budget and a rough idea or theme and I can run with it. Give me enough time and I can get you a Michelin star gift on a diner budget. I love to shop and find a good deal, so it’s the best way I’ve found to put my powers to good use. And spend other people’s money lol.

    1. Madame Arcati*

      I have inherited from my grandma the Yorkshire pudding superpower. This may not impress Americans but trust me over here it’s a great thing.

    2. Lemonwhirl*

      I can find public restrooms in any establishment. I’m very good at looking at a place, figuring out where the bathrooms are, and getting there without getting lost. (Which might seem like a dumb superpower, but I get lost all the time.) I also manage to keep in my head where all the best ones are in any city or town that I go to even occasionally.

    3. English Rose*

      One of my superpowers is finding typos in other people’s work. This does not always make me popular.
      Another of my superpowers is cooking the best, crispiest roast potatoes. This always makes me popular!

      1. Andromeda*

        I do this too. I notice them before I’ve even consciously read the page: like a siren screaming WRONG in my brain. I write professionally though so it’s a useful thing to have.

        My girlfriend is an absolute packing master (we call it Tetris.) She can fit half a studio flat inside the boot of a medium-sized (UK) car.

        1. Ginger Cat Lady*

          I’m like your girlfriend, my kids call me the “master of car tetris” and I’ve been enlisted to help them and their friends during many a college moving season. Put me outside the dorms on move out day and I can easily help a dozen people pack up their cars efficiently!

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        My cooking one is my spaghetti sauce. Husband said he wishes I’d make it every week.

      3. allathian*

        Yes to the typos thing, I have it, too. I can’t help but notice them but I do my best to ignore them when it isn’t my job to fix them.

        I’m a senior in-house translator and I will point out typos in the original text in a professional, matter of fact way. My internal clients seem to be grateful, some even say that they appreciate it because they’re blind to the errors I notice in passing, and having me proofread their writing means they don’t have to waste their time proofreading it.

        I’ve become a lot more tolerant of other people’s spelling and grammar errors as I’ve matured and realized that spelling is my strength and bad spellers are usually good at something I find challenging.

    4. Helvetica*

      I am very good at anticipating fashion trends.
      I will randomly think “I would like a dress with a paisley pattern” and they are nowhere to be found but unfailingly, 6 months later it is the trend everywhere. This has happened so many times and it is truly a thought that enters my head. I follow fashion at a regular level, do not work in the industry or have any style experience, so that is truly a superpower.

    5. Invisible fish*

      I am a brunch savant. You want brunch or breakfast, I’ll find us a brand new place that is divine.

    6. RussianInTexas*

      Getting doctor’s appointments fast and easy and for the near future. Does help I live in the area with a LOT of medical stuff around, but I haven’t had an issue with getting an appointment for good couple of years now. I can also find openings for friends.
      I probably just jinxed myself.

    7. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I will reference something that happened years ago in a non-Facebook conversation (either online or in person), and within a week, it or something related to it will pop up on my Facebook memories for the day. (recent example: I mentioned my dad having a weird love for Beverly, I don’t even KNOW, and three days later, a past Facebook post in which I documented a conversation about my dad being at Epcot and wanting to go get some Beverly was on my memories for the day.)

      1. Goldfeesh*

        I have never heard Beverly in a non-name context, so I’m just envisioning your dad being a fan of Beverly Crusher and running into her at Epcot.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Teeee. It’s a soda that Coca-Cola originally created in Italy as a sort of aperitif, I think? It’s no longer available anywhere worldwide except at the Coke museum in Atlanta, the Coke store on the Las Vegas Strip, and the Club Cool sample bar at Epcot. It’s, I believe, licorice-based but more aggressive – I think it tastes like liquified aspirin mixed with Jaegermeister and filtered through the kidneys of a diseased rhinoceros :P And I am not alone – the majority of people who try it think it’s disgusting. But my dad absolutely loves it, and he cannot go to Epcot without getting a couple little sample cups of the stuff.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Today’s example: Somewhere else in this weekend’s post that I read last night, someone commented that they were watching Buffy with a friend and discussing Joss Whedon’s “feminism” (real air quotes, 100% not mocking that poster). This morning, on my Facebook memories from 9 years ago, up pops a post I made snarling about a dude attempting to mansplain to me how Joss Whedon was the absolute pinnacle of feminism after I had the temerity to disagree.

    8. And thanks for the coffee*

      My superpower is being able to drive long distances. Since my husband died I’ve driven to visit relatives or to do bike touring. My sisters asked how I could drive for hours. I said it was my superpower and have thought of it that way since. Yesterday, for example, I drove 581 miles.

    9. PhyllisB*

      Mine is finding things for other people. If anyone in my family can’t find what they’re looking for I can usually find it in five minutes or less.
      Unfortunately, this power doesn’t extend to my own items. I’ve been looking for my Sam’s card for over two weeks now. Yes, I know I can go get a replacement but I just know as soon as I do the original will show up.

    10. fallingleavesofnovember*

      I find pretty much everything I lose. Like bracelets I lost in the lake last season, an earring I lost two weeks ago in the middle of a busy intersection, a mitt on a different street than I usually walk on a week later…it drives my husband crazy because whereas I am a bit careless with my stuff, he is very careful, but when he loses it, he really loses it.

    11. Mimmy*

      I have an almost savant-like memory for certain details. For example, I can tell you when a major celebrity died, and even where I was when I found out that person died. I can also tell you the year (and even roughly the time of year) a particular song was popular (mostly 80s songs).

      Similar to someone else above, another superpower is catching typos and other discrepancies.

    12. fposte*

      My superpower is eradication. I can get any consumable product discontinued merely by discovering I like it.

      1. Myrin*

        Ha! My mum is exactly like that and has been all her life; and recently I’ve found that I seem to have a little bit of this in me as well.

      2. Saturday*

        Oh my gosh, that’s me too! It happens all the time – just last week I thought, WHY did I have to say I liked that, of course it’s discontinued now.

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        This is Husband with beer. Whenever we go out for lunch, if there’s a beer he wants, they have just run out of it, every time. He always picks a backup automatically now.

    13. Myrin*

      I can hear two (or more) people talking past each other and immediately tell where the problem/misunderstanding/missed detail lies. I’ve managed to save countless conversations that way.

      I’m really good at estimating distances. Not in the sense that I can look at something and say “that’s 1.5 metres long” (although I’m quite good at that, too) but rather in that, for example, if I see two people walking towards each other I can tell exactly where they’re going to meet.

      And one thing I inherited from my mum (we call it “being good at Tetris”): I can fit anything anywhere as long as it’s physically possible. If you gave me and one other person the exact same things and the exact same box and told us to put the stuff in as tightly as possible, I would almost certainly have double the space left over as the other person.

    14. Grits McGee*

      I’m really good at thank you notes, to the point that my parents will volunteer me out to relatives for post-funeral assistance.

    15. Dannie*

      I’m an extremely reliable harbinger of failure (known phenomenon in economics). If I like a show/brand/product, it will be hated by the masses and will flop or be discontinued. Family and friends know to stock up if I love something, because it’s about to disappear.

      Just this week I drove myself nuts trying to replace a brand/cut of tee shirt, which I’d purchased in a variety pack from a wholesaler while helping a friend make screen-printed fundraiser tees. Of course the comfortable one that fit me best was already gone from the internet, permanently out of stock everywhere. And this was just a no-name utility brand, not something that would ever trend online or end up in a magazine.

      You’d think I could focus this into the ability to short stocks, but no luck.

    16. Flames on the Side of My Face*

      I can tear through a long to-do list like no one’s business. I’ll get stuff done in a month that has taken family or co-workers a year to get around to. Does it mean I do more than my fair share of work, yes, but for the most part it has paid off. (I hate the feeling of being in the limbo of unfinished plans!) I think this skill has made my career, more than anything else.

        1. Flames on the Side of My Face*

          Haha, because we’re like-minded or because you need someone to tackle your to-do list?

          1. Kiki Is The Most*

            The to-do list part. You could be my Yoda.
            (I’m sure I have skills to trade, and we could exchange Yoda knowledge)

            1. Flames on the Side of My Face*

              Start with the things that are the most urgent and the things that take the least amount of time to do. Take a few from each category so you’re tackling the backlog along with the day-to-day. Make the five minute phone call, take the ten minutes to sweep the back porch. For bigger, daunting projects, break them down into tiny parts. I cleaned our buried garage in two weeks by saying “I’m going to bring a single box inside each day and look through it while watching TV.” (Almost everything could be tossed or dropped off for donation during my commute the next day.) The series of incremental achievements add up. You can get momentum and wind up, for example, looking at three boxes while watching TV instead of one. And if you stick with only one box, so what? It’s progress!

            2. Flames on the Side of My Face*

              Another trick: look at the thing on the list you’ve been avoiding and declare “This is the week I finally do X.” Now you have a goal and a deadline, and those put-off tasks are usually the most satisfying ones to cross off.

              This means I need to finally recaulk my sinks, doesn’t it…

              1. Kiki Is The Most*

                Flames…thank you kindly. I will be trying all the tricks as I need all the help I can get!

    17. Chaordic One*

      Not to brag (and not always), but in general I’m awfully good at logistics, details and anticipating problems before they develop. Of course, this means that I’m something of a “Debbie Downer.” I rain on a lot of parades before they ever start and I get to say, “I told you so,” a lot.

    18. Kiki Is The Most*

      I’m excellent at rearranging friends and family to sit with each other on a flight without upsetting or inconveniencing anyone (most importantly the people I am asking to swap with)!

    19. Dr. Doll*

      I can do the most dirty, heavy yard work in office clothes and not mess them up. once cleaned gutters while wearing a white sweater, got down from the ladder, and went to work stopping only to wash my hands. the sweater was pristine.

      this is a totally useless superpower.

    20. goddessoftransitory*

      Back in the day I worked at an imports store and assembled a ton of random gift baskets–they really turned out well and sold fast!

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        As for my superpower, I mentioned it in the Must Not Be Named thread: I am very, very good at pronouncing names. I can accurately do Indian, Russian, Romanian, Japanese, Chinese, Greek.

    21. Brunch with Penguins*

      I will notice every time you miss a belt loop. Totally useless superpower until they put in metal detectors at work and people had to take remove their belts every time they came in (beginning, coffee, lunch, 2nd coffee….) and now useless again in WFH life!

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

      I’m great at smelling the tiniest leaks of natural gas that other people don’t smell.

      1. Flames on the Side of My Face*

        Oh man, my supersmell abilities turned on during my first pregnancy and never turned off again. I once sniffed out a single bad snap pea in a co-worker’s sealed plastic container from several cubes away.

    23. Filosofickle*

      I’m super good with color — distinguishing between colors, matching by memory, and putting together palettes. Also, synthesizing masses of info into bite-sized nuggets.

    24. FACS*

      I’m really good at peeling things. Hard boiled eggs come out perfectly. Crab or lobster intact. An apple or an orange all in one piece.

    25. Bluebell Brenham*

      I’m also a typo spotter, and once caught one on the front page of a final proof before a 100K print run. Oops! I think my second superpower is I can usually rummage through a kitchen and put together a surprisingly nice meal or snack when other people would just whine and say we need to get takeout. Very useful when it’s after midnight!

    26. ElastiGirl*

      I have a compass in my brain. It’s not infallible, but it’s awfully good. I can hold north in my head, I can know compass directions from inside a building, and combined with the ability to hold a map in my mind, I rarely get lost.

      When I come up out of a subway or get off a plane, I can feel the compass swiveling. I sometimes have to stand still for 20 seconds or so and wait for it to settle. And then I know where I am.

      A side effect is that I get grouchy when someone gestures in the wrong direction (e.g., says they’re heading west while pointing south).

      Does anyone else have this weird superpower? I’ve never met anyone else with it, and I’d love to know I’m not a complete freak!

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I’m the opposite: I couldn’t find north at the actual pole while a group of polar bears danced the fandango while holding signs saying “LOOK UP.”

    27. Chauncy Gardener*

      I can read a recipe and know instantly if it will be good or what needs to be tweaked.

      At the place we do not name on weekends, I can start a job and in two days know each and every employee who needs to be shown the exit. THAT is a very scary and usually unwelcome superpower.

    28. nicolaagricola*

      I can Google really well. I know that everyone can use a search engine, but I’m the one my friends and family come to when they have already searched and couldn’t find what they were looking for. I don’t know what it is that I do differently or I would teach them to do it. Occasionally someone (my Mother) will get very irate with me because they have already searched so therefore it definitely ‘wasn’t on Google’ and I must have done ‘something’ and I should let her know what I did. :-)

  25. Adelind*

    Has anyone spent a lot of money on one thing and it was absolutely worth it?

    I just bought a bed at a market yesterday to be made to my specific back measurements and the only thing I’ve ever spent more money on was buying my car. But it was a good sale/offer and it was manned by an ergonomist (who needed two years training) who used some sort of handheld scanner and my back (back muscles?) were very red a lot of places. I think he was a bit shocked. I had long thought I needed a better madras and I’m also in the middle of being diagnosed for ME/chronic fatigue syndrome so yeah I definitely need a good bed. It is just. A lot of money.

    1. English Rose*

      I bought a second-hand Hermes scarf a couple of years back. Even second hand it was £250 ($313), but the luminosity of the design and the heaviness and sheer quality of the silk make me feel gorgeous every time I wear it. (Plus a tiny bit concerned I’m going to spill food on it!)

    2. Angstrom*

      “A lot” is relative, but one thing that seemed extravagent at the time was getting a professional bike fit — several hours one-on-one with a fitter. Turned out to make a huge difference in how comfortable I was on a bike, which has meant many happy hours on roads and trails. Totally worth it.

    3. Lemonwhirl*

      I’ve spent money on positive psychology coaching. (I hesitate to call it “life coaching”.) I had some areas in my life that I was struggling with and thought it would be helpful to talk them through with a coach. The coaching was great – I learned so much about myself and about things like self-efficacy and self-confidence. It was like getting an instruction manual.

    4. Andromeda*

      My laptop!!! I didn’t have a computer just for me for years (my old one died and I have a work PC I can take home). Got a gaming laptop, so I can finally play the game I’ve been wanting to try also for years. And it’s been so good!!! The screen is So Big!!!

      Also, a really good A5 Moleskine or Leuchtturm notebook is worth the price imo. Not so much “a lot” but certainly “a lot for a small object”.

    5. Anna Crusis*

      I upgraded my primary musical instrument over 20 years ago. My first one I’d only had a couple of years, it was cheap, and I’d already outgrown it musically. I still love this one, and it sounds even better than it did new. Every time I play it makes me happy! And I think today is the anniversary of me buying it, so guess what I’m making some time for! I also upgraded my childhood violin about 10 years ago. I’m a less proficient fiddler, but this is a case where having a better, more responsive instrument really helps with playing. Music brings me so much joy and peace and community, and I don’t tend to spend much on myself, so both were totally worth it (and if you figure the cost of both per year of enjoyment, they really weren’t that expensive).

    6. anon24*

      My gaming PC that I designed and custom built. It’s worth more than my poor 25 year old car, but the amount of hours I’ve gotten happily playing games are priceless. It’s my mental health release and I’m so much happier when I have time to game and zone out the world for a bit.

    7. fposte*

      My PT turned trainer. A slight stretch, as it’s ongoing, but to have somebody to consult with on how to keep an aging, multiply surgeried body fit and active has been a literal life changer. And the comfort of knowing I can get a response within hours if I mess something up is incalculable.

    8. Miss Buttons*

      I spent $300 on a painting last week. Might sound like nothing to some, but seemed like a lot to me. It is bringing me joy every day now, and I was glad to support a local artist. Totally worth it.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Art has been my indulgence over the years, as I think about it.

        We’ve gotten a couple of prints (not originals, but nice and framed.) One’s a hilarious print of a pug dog in a luchador mask, tearing up a slipper; the second is a great drawing of a raven that hangs above our Cabinet of Horrors. Both were pricey but it was so great to finally be able to say “I want this because I like this” and buy it!

        Years ago, I went to England with my mom, and made a special trip to St. Paul’s Cathedral, both to see it and to buy a poster print of the famous “Light of the World” painting by William Holeman Hunt. I read about in Connie Willis’s Blackout/All Clear and desperately wanted a copy. It was the first time I had paid for professional framing. It hangs above my bookcase to this day.

    9. fhqwhgads*

      Replace old gas furnace and central air with an inverter heatpump. SO QUIET. Much more efficient than the old system both in terms of energy use and just actually cooling the space effectively. Could’ve gotten a less expensive system but so far this one is absolutely worth it.

    10. Dannie*

      I just spent 26 grand on my husband’s hip. It damned well better be worth it. I told him if he breaks it for a third time, I’m dropping him off at the pound.

      1. Zona the Great*

        Allow the threat of repo to be a silent companion to every bad decision he may every make ;-)

    11. Flames on the Side of My Face*

      New wood fence ($12K). It transformed how I feel looking out our windows. We could have spot-replaced the rotted-out sections instead of redoing the whole property and could have chosen a cheaper design, but ohhhh how I love it!

    12. MissB*

      Well, I’m currently spending a good deal of money on my backyard and so far it is worth it. Every night Dh and I walk through the project and marvel at the changes.

      It is worth it for me because I’ll be able to garden on level ground in a larger space. We will be able to put chairs on level ground, instead of trying to balance a chair on ground that sloped in two directions. It’s worth it because it makes our future backyard work much more simplified as we age in place.

      And best of all, we are able to use some fun unique material that was literally buried near our house that we couldn’t source (or afford) if it wasn’t already here.

    13. Clisby*

      1. Keeping up with my large extended family – not just mine, but my husband’s.
      2. Talking to friends.
      3. Checking in on special-purpose groups I’m interested in – my neighborhood, education, historic preservation, new restaurants, politics, etc.

      I don’t do instagram, Twitter (X), or any of those others.

    14. Katie*

      My husband and I got ourselves an expensive mattress for Christmas and we still loooove it 5 months later.

    15. Filosofickle*

      Therapy and art (particularly pottery)! Every time I’ve bought an expensive piece of art I’ve worried I was being impulsive and would regret it, and that has yet to come true so I’m learning to trust my instincts. Mattresses as well.

    16. ElastiGirl*

      Paying for really good (5th row) theater seats instead of settling for the balcony. We’ve had life-changing experiences as a result

  26. Cookies For Breakfast*

    I guess my two can be summed up with spatial awareness?

    The first is sense of direction. I have a good memory for places, street names and landmarks, and even after only a few hours of walking around somewhere, I can find my way back to the starting point without a map (hotel / apartment). To me it feels like second nature, but friends and family always marvel at it. I grew up pre-smartphones and Google Maps if that matters.

    The second is packing / fitting things into small spaces (bags, cupboards, etc). Come to me with an item you are certain won’t fit, and I’ll find a place for it. Limited luggage space, afraid that souvenir you really want won’t make it home? If I’m around to play suitcase Tetris, your worries are over.

    1. Cookies For Breakfast*

      Yay, nesting fail! This was in reply to Everyone’s a superhero sometimes.

    2. Filosofickle*

      I share the ability to Tetris the crap out of anything! Especially the dishwasher.

    1. Pam Adams*

      My local humane society has a special today- $4 dollar adoption fees. If my dogs didn’t hate all other animals, including each other, I would take $20 and fill the house.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I had an exchange this morning with a dog treat baker at the farmer’s market.

        Her: “Do you have a dog?”
        Me: “Two at home, a Dane and a boxer mix.”
        Her: “Oh, are they best friends?”
        Me: “Not even remotely. The boxer routinely reminds me that she did not want a baby sister and it’s not too late to take her back, even if she is two years old now.”

    2. Florence Reese*

      I was at a ren faire today and there were a bunch of Star Wars costumes! There are always a few but definitely more than usual because of the date, it was very cute :) May the Fourth be with you!

  27. The Prettiest Curse*

    Instant mood boosters – tell me yours! (This post brought to you courtesy of the wet, chilly and generally unpleasant spring that we’re currently having in the UK.)

    A few of my mood boosters:
    – I’m lucky enough to live in a neighbourhood with lots of trees, so sometimes I’ll just walk around and focus on the trees. And I often take a short detour on the way back from the supermarket to look at my favourite tree.

    – Eating a food item that you like but haven’t eaten in a long time. I kind of forgot about grilled cheese sandwiches – recently had my first one in years and it was so good!

    – I love saying hi to all my local cats. There are at least 5 cats on my small street and spotting one of them sitting in their window always makes my day.

    1. English Rose*

      Well it’s sunny here in my neck of the UK today, but yes it has not been pleasant!
      A walk (when it’s not raining!) is one of mine too, and I really enjoy smiling and saying hello to people I meet when I’m out. Those human mini-interactions are lovely.

    2. Six Feldspar*

      All of these are great! Especially cat photos, I feel so lucky to live in the internet age.

      I also love the tiny native birds (so small but so much rage, like flying chihuahuas), magpies for their beautiful song, and cockatoos for their mischief.

      I also love rain and the smell of it, but people in rainier parts of the world may have too much of a good thing :D

        1. Six Feldspar*

          It’s funny to watch different tiny birds negotiate the garden, they’re adorable to me but to them I assume it’s like game of thrones or the wire.

          I also love them swearing at me in bird language whenever I go outside and they have to hide in the bushes, they’re the size of my fist but they’re fully ready to fight me for daring to invade THEIR garden…

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            I love watching the pigeons on our work roof–when it gets warm, they settle down to bask, all flattened out with their wings outstretched. They look like Dutch Baby pancakes if said pancakes were made of feathers.

    3. Put the Blame on Edamame*

      Love this! I find if I put on a pop song and dance around (The Fitness Marshall’s YouTube channel is great for this) always helps; as does a spine twist if I’m feeling more like lying down.

      Had a good cry this morning which did wonders for my mood.

      Seconding smiling at people in the street, it’s lovely to make that tiny connection.

    4. Cookies For Breakfast*

      Yes to greeting local cats! I need to venture a little further away to meet mine, but there’s a street near me where 3 or 4 might pop up on a lucky day. They are all tuxedo cats and very friendly, so we joke there’s a tuxie secret society meeting in the neighbourhood.

      My mood booster doesn’t always work out, but when it does it feels glorious. I challenge myself to bake something (usually cookies) with only ingredients I have at home. Sometimes, that means finding new recipes that are very basic, or trying to use up the leftovers of something random that has been lying around a while. so I get to enjoy the time spent searching for recipes and the time spent baking, and at the end of it, I also have something nice to eat the next morning.

    5. Peanut Hamper*

      Going for a walk.

      I used to listen to podcasts when I walked, but I found out that I tended to focus on the podcast, and not the walk. I switched over to a 70s mostly yacht rock playlist and can focus mostly on the walk now, which is great. Whenever King Harvest comes on with “Dancing in the Moonlight” it’s a natural high.

    6. fposte*

      Paul Williams’ album Surf Music. It is a fiercely joyous bop that I have overplayed for several years now without getting tired of it.

    7. Kiki Is The Most*

      Smell of citrus.
      Dogs on my street.
      Pretty writing paper.
      When the house is tidy.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I love sitting down and admiring the tidiness after I’ve cleaned house.

    8. UKDancer*

      I like having a long luxurious bath with some nice bath oil and lighting a candle, it always relaxes me and puts me in a nice chilled mood.

      I also really enjoy doing dance classes and always feel better afterwards for doing ballet or zumba depending on the mood I’m in.

      Walking around a garden always helps. I like Kew very much as there’s a lovely Redwood grove with massive (by UK standards) redwood trees and I love walking there.

      A massage always helps also as it relaxes me and makes me feel good. It also works the stress out of my shoulders.

    9. goddessoftransitory*

      The gorgeous red-pink blossoms on the plum trees across the street, and all the trees in the neighborhood getting full and leafy in general.

      Husband making my very favorite meal, Patty Melt Casserole. Once for my birthday, and one other time during the rest of the year (this thing is stupid bad for you so it can’t be a regular meal, alas.)

      Petting friendly dogs that immediately adore me and sit on my feet.

    10. Filosofickle*

      I talk to flowers the way others talk to animals and babies. Sometimes it’s the only thing that gets me to take a walk, knowing there might be some lovely new bloom to greet. The details of the world — the tiniest wildflowers in a meadow, the miniature life of a moss colony, the unfolding geometry of a succulent, buzzing pollinators flitting to and fro — do more to lift my mood than any of the grand vistas.

    11. NeonFireworks*

      I lay in bed for an extra hour and a half yesterday morning because the combination of the blankets and the bedroom temperature hit the sweet spot for my temperature preferences and it set off a bit of euphoria.

      1. NeonFireworks*

        Nesting fail – this was supposed to go in the ‘small joys’ thread! Not sure how it wound up all the way over here!

  28. English Rose*

    Habit-tracking apps?
    A couple of weeks back someone recommended the Tody app for tracking housework. A real game-changer, I’m so grateful. Makes a game out of chores.
    Now I’m after a good habit-tracking app. I’m trying out Fabulous, but finding it a bit complicated and annoying although I like its core concept of starting small.
    Any habit-tracking app recommendations?

    1. Rage*

      Habit Rabbit is cute and a lot of fun – you customize your goals/habits, assign a priority, and then each day when you complete them, you mark them off. You earn “energy” for meeting your daily goals (or even weekly; you can set different frequencies for each goal), and then use that energy to “clean up” around the rabbit’s house. As you rank up, you’ll open up new areas of the house and earn a new decoration for each rank, which you can then place in the house. You also earn “carrots” which can be used to purchase skins for your rabbit and other custom items.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        Same! very simple with a decent amount of customization (frequency, notifications, etc)

    2. Jules the First*

      Fabulous was fun, but got expensive fast and then not so nice when I tried to cancel (watch your billing carefully if you cancel after your free trial, especially if you trial any of their connected apps). Greatness is just a super low rent knock off of Fabulous.

      I’m still looking for one that will do not-daily habits, or even one that will let me set a different habit pattern for weekdays and weekends.

    3. A Girl Named Fred*

      Habitica is a good gamifying one if you like gaming. If you don’t do so well with keeping up a streak (or more accurately, if breaking a streak bums you out and makes you want to stop tracking), then Polar Habits may be good for you!

    4. MeepMeep123*

      The one I use is called Smile Todo. It gives you an emoji that changes as you mark more and more of your habits done – starts out as a frowny face and when you get everything done, you get a smiley face. And you can assign different colors to the different habits.

  29. Hot Water Bottle*

    Anyone have any lingering impressions from the 1980s Luke & Laura plot on General Hospital, specifically all the events leading up to their wedding? I’d noticed how it can still be casually referenced among people I know, so I re-watched it on the internet and was quite impressed at how well it still holds up in terms of quality (and scandal). And I don’t even LIKE soap operas!

    1. Texan in exile on her phone*

      All I can think of now is that he raped her yet then married her

    2. fposte*

      I had one of the only televisions on my dorm floor during that period, so I’d come back from my class to find a bunch of people in my room watching it. I wasn’t super offended by the people wanting to watch, but I thought the plot was pretty loathsome then and still feel that now.

      1. Anono-me*

        “loathsome” is the perfect word to describe that story line.

        The fact that she had to wear a pink dress because she ‘couldn’t wear white anymore’ is just somehow both an irrelevant detail and illustrative of the whole situation.

    3. Zona the Great*

      Never heard of it until now and all I can say is that I’m quite disturbed.

    4. Chaordic One*

      Well, it was more than 40 years ago and my memories of it are a bit hazy. I can’t quite recall all of the details. I’m not really sure that it holds up all that well, but it was good for its time. I can’t really deal with the controversial plot where Luke raped and traumatized Laura (who was married to Scotty at the time), but she fell in love with him, dumped her husband, Scotty, and married Luke anyway. To my shame, more than 40 years ago, I bought it.

      I remember all of the love triangles leading up to their wedding. Laura and Scotty and David Hamilton. David Hamilton and Laura and Dr. Lesley Webber (Laura’s birth mother). Scotty and Laura and Bobbie Spencer (Luke’s sister). Luke and Laura and Scotty.

      Scotty and Laura ended being married and should have stayed together (and had a boring conventional life not suited for soap operas). Instead she dumped Scotty for the bad boy (Luke) and this resulted in a more adventuresome life (and years of high ratings) because of it. It would have been nice if Scotty and Bobbie had gotten back together, Bobbie would would have been a good second choice for Scotty.

      I also have memories of how, before they got married, the plot where they were on the run from the mob (in particular from a hit man named Max who was after them?). They posed as newlyweds Lloyd and Lucy Johnson while attempting to lie low in the small town of Beecher’s Corners where they ended up working at a restaurant run by an unusually tall (but pretty) blonde woman named Sally. (Luke and Laura really did look cute together at this time.) I did not see the plot twist coming when it was revealed that, not only was Sally working for the mob, but that she was actually Max (the hit man) in drag. Max/Sally and some other bad guy were trying to shoot Luke and Laura, but ended up accidentally shooting each other both of them (Max/Sally and the other bad guy) died. The cross-dressing/drag thing was shocking at the time, but now it just looks like exploiting the drag and cross-dressing communities (and possibly the trans community and LGBT communities, as well) for ratings.

    5. Esprit de l'escalier*

      This thread has been a real eye-opener for me! I never watched that show and yet somehow the names “Luke and Laura” were vaguely familiar, so that plotline must have totally infiltrated popular culture of the time. It sounds awfully sleazy and exploitative, so of course it would have drawn lots of viewers…. Which soap opera was this, btw?

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        General Hospital, one of the longest running soaps out there. The MST crew actually riffed a couple of the very earliest episodes as shorts on their show!

    6. goddessoftransitory*

      You might be interested in the sociology book Her Stories: Daytime Soap Opera and US Television History, issued by Duke University Press. The author, Elana Levine, goes deep into all aspects of the soap, with a ton of focus on this storyline specifically and how the use of “lurid” content like sexual assault both changed public perceptions of those crimes and how they were presented in popular entertainment.

    7. Hot Water Bottle*

      Great info in this thread! and yes the plotline would never fly today (thank goodness)… however in the early-80s I think it was actually considered a somewhat thoughtful and nuanced take on the subject matter. I mean, compare it to a romance novel (say Johanna Lindsey) from the same time period.

  30. Ellis Bell*

    Does anyone know any container plants that are quite happy to be neglected? My mother in law has six pots at the very bottom of her garden that have gone over entirely to weeds since her mobility has worsened. She can’t get to the bottom of the garden any more, which means they can’t be weeded or watered. I am happy to plant something for her but I can probably only do maintenance on it a few times a year, and she’s quite an anxious person so I know she’ll fret if they droop or go brown or look diseased. I’m also not really wanting to spend a lot since I know she simply wants them to look neat and pretty, it’s not like she’s a passionate gardener or would get an irrigation system installed. I was thinking bulbs, but most aren’t cat safe and she gets a lot of visitors from strays in the area which are pretty hungry sometimes. The area gets full sun, but this is Britain so I can’t see them going too long without rain, and the pots are about 40cm diameter and 35cm high, which is about 30litres/7 gallons. She likes pink and prefers things small and neat rather than anything too informal/natural or overgrown so I know she’d hate grasses. She likes begonias but I don’t think they would last without water.

    1. Clara Bowe*

      I vote alliums and/or chives. Those things are hard to kill, choke out weeds well, and flower nicely. My chives come back even over winter and are delicious as a food accent.

      1. Janne*

        Or mint! I have “pineapple mint” which has beautiful white and green leaves: useful and decorative. The only thing I have had to do was cut the dead branches off at the end of the season.

    2. Zona the Great*

      Look into Olla pots for her most beloved plants. They can be watered infrequently that way.

    3. WellRed*

      Either hire someone (neighborhood kid) to come by and water them or get fake plants.

    4. Time for Tea*

      That size pot will need watering once or twice a week spring to autumn, more if we get another blazing summer (hah! at this point in time…). Could they be moved closer to the house to make it easier? Remove them and put in a raised bed in the same area that would not dry out as fast (hardwood sleepers or some sort of block)?

      While there are plenty of plants that can survive general neglect in the ground, even drought tolerant ones can’t do totally dried out compost and will die if not watered sufficiently.

      I’d be tempted to put some pansies in and see how they get on if you want to put something in for now with the current set up as it is

    5. Clisby*

      Orchids are almost unkillable. I know, I know, they look so delicate, but they’re tough as nails.

    6. Anonymous Koala*

      It’s not pink, but I have some thyme in a container on my deck that I’ve neglected pretty badly (like, I planted it and forgot about it for two years) and it’s still going strong. It does start looking a bit sad in winter but you could probably take care of that with a seasonal prune? It perks right back up and flowers in spring. I think Sage and Rosemary and other hardy herbs might be similar set-and-forget plants.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Inspired! I definitely have seen some creeping thyme that is pink, and if it covered the pot it would help with water retention (though I like Zona’s Olla Pot suggestion). The root system might be small enough to coexist with some rosemary which would be evergreen in winter.

    7. Juneybug*

      I would layer bulbs/plants for there is something growing at all times. I’ll share a link below.

    8. WestsideStory*

      Not sure what you can find locally but these are summer-blooming perennials that don’t take much water:

      Lavender (all kinds) go well combined with pink Sea Thrift (Armeria) and Coral Bells (Heuchera, which are planted mainly for their leaf color – amazing assortments) are my mainstays for low maintenance gardens. English thyme has pink flowers and is good for a “spiller” although if you’d like something flashier the ornamental oreganos can be trimmed if get too coarse. If the area is shady, Japanese Anenome (fall blooming, glorious pinks) and taller-flowered hostas can get by with infrequent watering once they are well started. Echinacea take the middle ground and take both sun and shade but do better with sun (in my opinion) and there are delightful pink shades available. For next year, bleeding hearts are nearly indestructible and can usually be got from a gardening friend.

      Naked ladies (Amaryllis belladonna) can be planted now and are a delightful late season surprise.

      I can’t think of anything else that is pink at the moment!

      1. Ellis Bell*

        That’s an incredibly impressive list! I’ve set my sights on thyme so it’s good to know it can be a good spiller for containers.

  31. For the Tree Huggers*

    A comment by Prettiest Curse, referencing a favorite tree, inspires me to ask, what (or who) is your favorite tree? Also inspired by an Ologies podcast I listened to recently where the guest was asked this question, but in the context of favorite type, e.g. maple, oak.

    But I think many of us are fond of a particular tree.

    For me: a pair of trees at the corner of Illinois 21 and 22 I used to pass on my commute. They were close together, both leaning slightly away from each other, but appear to be in an embrace or dancing. They remind me of that Gibran poem one hears at weddings about growing together but not too close because one doesn’t grow in the other’s shadow. Their positions seem in response to the other but not impaired by it. So romantic. They looked particularly wonderful silhouetted at sunset.

    My other favorite tree grows along the banks of the Huron, in Ann Arbor, about a quarter mile down the path from the canoe livery. It is very old, has a crotch a child can sit in and branches that can be easily climbed. When my child was small we called it the Magic Tree and pretended fairies lived in it. I still visit it when I’m back there.

    There are other trees I’m fond of where I live currently, a maple across the street who is glorious in the fall, my little redbud who is blooming right now, but I haven’t found one specific favorite here yet.

    Want to share about your tree favorites?

    1. GoryDetails*

      I definitely had a favorite tree as a kid. We lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana then – the late 1950s – and had a big sycamore in the back yard. I’d climb up and perch on a nice big branch, and just stay there reading, sometimes for hours… I can still recall the feeling of the smooth under-bark, and the sound of the breeze in the leaves. When we moved away, that tree was what I missed the most!

    2. CtheRocker*

      The live oaks in our small South Louisiana town, the cypress trees and others on our land in Mississippi. They are gorgeous!!!

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      When I was very little (~maybe three years old) we lived in a tiny little house that had a line of Lombardy poplars along the back. We didn’t live there very long (we/I moved a lot) but the memory of waking up and looking out the window and seeing the early morning sun coming through those beautiful trees is a very strong one.

    4. Flower*

      There is a magnificent tulip magnolia I visit in a nearby town. All tulip magnolias are beautiful, but this one is old, huge, and has twisty boughs that are low enough to sit on. It’s not mine, so I don’t, but just looking at it makes me happy.

      Also jacarandas!

      1. ElastiGirl*

        These are my favorites, too. Every February, I keep my eyes peeled for tulip magnolias in bloom, and the same every May for jacarandas. Turning onto a street filled with jacarandas in full bloom makes me gasp every time.

        And I love banyan trees whenever I’m lucky enough to be in Hawaii. So happy the Lahaina banyan is coming back. Maybe my single favorite tree in the world

    5. Miss Buttons*

      I have so much awe for old trees. We’re lucky to have a huge, old maple in our yard. So majestic and a great shade giver on a hot summer day. I confess I talk to trees. I believe they are wise.

      1. Blueprint blues*

        you should totally read the book “the mother tree”, it’s about tree/forest ecology. trees are so much wiser, and have more agency, than you think.

    6. Dark Macadamia*

      There was a birch tree in my grandparents’ yard that I loved to climb with my cousins. When I was smaller I had trouble reaching the first branch so I would scramble up the chain link fence when Grandpa wasn’t looking, and when I was older I remember just sitting up as high as I could go and looking down at the house and neighborhood.

      My elementary school had a little wooded area next to the playground and there were a few specific trees that kids would hurry to claim during recess because they had really amazing exposed roots that made good playhouses. One had a funky shaped area that made a perfect little throne.

    7. Pippa K*

      I don’t know if it’s my favorite tree, but if there’s any more soothing sound than the wind through a stand of ponderosa pines, I don’t know what it is. Combine that with a sunny day, a bright blue sky, and the scent of warm pine needles, and it’s a kind of heaven.

    8. Trixie Belden was my hero*

      I’m not sure what type it is, it is in the field behind my parents house. Its still there, decades later. We used to play under it as kids and I used to dream about all the adventures I’d have as a “grown up”. Some came true and some were surprises I didn’t know I wanted. I have a picture of it that I used to keep on my desk at work to remind me of home when I was working in another state. I’m back in the same city and I can visit it whenever I want. Now I want to go see it next week when I’m at my mom’s house.

    9. WellRed*

      I love weeping willows, sadly, the huge one at the end of the street sustained a lot of damage during a recent ice storm. And pine trees with snow (and a red cardinal) are the most gorgeous trees in the winter.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        The back garden of a house where I spent a lot of time as a child had a massive weeping willow. As a result, I’ve always lived that type of tree.

        My current favourite (mentioned above) is a huge old oak tree. I live a fairly new neighbourhood that used to be all fields, but they built a pretty square of houses around that tree and made it the focal point of the square instead of cutting it down.

    10. Chicago Anon*

      Along a path around Christchurch Meadow, in Oxford, there is a tree of many trunks, so that it looks like a wooden pipe organ. I have heard that this was C. S. Lewis’s favorite tree, but I don’t have a reference for that. It is certainly a magnificent tree!

    11. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      My grandparents had an awesome weeping willow tree near their house. I have many fond memories of lying in a hammock reading a book under the tree, half-hidden from the world. I also have a great photograph of my cousin’s daughter age 3 reaching up trying to touch one of the drooping branches 20 years later.

    12. MissB*

      I have two favorite trees here on my current property.

      One is a Port Orford Cedar, which has wonderfully arching arms. Our kids climbed it when they were younger (they’re adults, we are empty nesters). We occasionally see an owl perched on one of the arms.

      The other is a madrone tree. It’s growing at the base of a huge fir tree, and so it’ll never be huge or majestic but the skin of the tree is simply magical. It brings me back to my favorite hike at my favorite camping spot, where I walked through a grove of madrone trees right before I reached a bunch of flat rocks in a sunny area on a cliff overlooking the forest. Sitting there on the rocks in the utter peaceful noises of the forest was a core memory for my life. With my knee, I probably couldn’t do the hike atm, but I can walk outside and touch the bark and remember.

    13. Falling Diphthong*

      A walking area near me is mostly woods, but one trail loops through fields of the neighboring farm, and there’s an old oak right in the middle with very low branches. Very easy for kids of all sizes to climb.

    14. goddessoftransitory*

      A magnolia tree in front of my grandparents’ old house in Michigan. When we’d visit I could climb it (until I got too big) and you could hear the mourning doves going “coooo…coo-coo” all evening.

    15. allathian*

      My maternal grandparents’ homestead had two enormous spruce trees next to the road, about 150 ft high. They were visible for miles, and when I was a kid, seeing those trees on the horizon meant that I’d soon be seeing my grandma.

      My grandma’s garden also had a birch that had been struck by lightning at some point so that it had one trunk at the bottom and two trunks at the top, and the join was a perfect U shape. Sadly, it was too high up for me to climb, especially because the single trunk had no branches.

      When I was a kid we lived on the south coast for a while, and there my favorite tree was a beech. They’re very rare here, to the point that they’d built an apartment block around it.

      My current favorite tree is an ancient pine that grows in a neigbor’s yard. It’s about 100 ft tall and only has branches in the last 20 or so feet. It looks so beautiful in all seasons.

    16. Ellis Bell*

      My mother bought a tiny Eucalyptus tree for 50p from the market and it grew until it was twice the size of our house. We all loved it. It gave a very light, dappled shade because the leaves are very frothy and the canopy is so open but it was the bark that was the show stopper. The bark was always peeling and showing different colours, of grays and khakis and browns, it reminded me of camouflage. It did need a lot of cutting back to keep it under control though. The wood was also really fun to burn in a fire pit. The eucalyptus resin in the wood would fizzle and release a scent.

  32. Put the Blame on Edamame*

    Any other If Books Could Kill fans here? I love crypto schadenfreude so the new episode is absolutely my cuppa tea.

    1. mreasy*

      I LOVE IT SO! I have never been disappointed by an episode. They’re just so funny but also smart and incisive. The bonus eps for Patreon subscribers are extremely worth it too imo! Michael Hobbes is incredible.

    2. RussianInTexas*

      I found them just recently (not a big podcast person), and I had so much fun listening to they l their episode on “The Game”, the pick-up artists. It’s so absurd.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        I found them recently too. Seeing they had episodes on Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The Secret sealed the deal for me. For the schadenfreude factor, I also listened to the Atomic Habits episode, which gave me endless pleasure (I loathe that oversimplifying “all you need is a routine for everything” self-help talk to no end).

        Also, I was travelling only a few days ago, and the podcast was my first thought upon seeing copies of some of those books at the airport!

        1. mreasy*

          Going to the airport really changes once you listen! That has happened to me… I look at the book display like, I’ve got your number. :D

        2. TakingNotes*

          Oooo they have one on Atomic Habits? Can’t wait to dig that episode up and cite it in my own recurrent spiel on that obnoxious and ableist self-help vibe!

    3. MirandaTempest*

      One of my favorite podcasts. I hope they keep making eps for a long time.

      1. Generic Name*

        Agreed. He’s just such a delight. I wish I could be friends with him in real life. And the banter with him and his cohost is so hilariously funny.

  33. The Other Dawn*

    Any recommendations for products for curly hair? Mainly for styling and a leave-in conditioner.

    Back in 1999 when I started allowing my naturally curly hair to take over, I used Dep styling gel, which was a standard drugstore brand. Nowadays it’s LA Looks since Dep is no longer around. Recently I’ve been buying things I’ve seen advertised on Instagram or Facebook (not sure why I’m on this current kick…). I bought several of the TreLuxe brand products: Untie The Knot Nourishing Leave-in Conditioner (smells so nice!), ReFlex Curl Styling Serum, and the Hi! Definition Curl Enhancer Styling Gel. I was hesitant about using a bunch of products all layered on top of each other. I figured my hair would feel really heavy and gross. But I’ve found I like them. They leave my hair looking curlier and shinier, and feeling softer. Not super crunchy like with the heap gel. I like the products, but don’t love the price or not being able to grab them in a local store when I run out.

    1. YNWA*

      I have corkscrew curly hair and I hate it (it wants to dread at the roots and is super dry at the ends if I don’t do a ton of upkeep) so I keep my head shaved but when I did grow it out during pandemic, I found Nutrisse Garnier had some really good curly hair products, including a leave-in conditioner that were reasonably priced.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I believe Garnier Nutrisse is a hair dye. Do you mean the Fructis products?

    2. Imtheone*

      Garner fructis for me. Soft curls, dry hair with that frizziness gray hair gets.
      I also like L’Oréal Elive dream-lengths curl, but it’s hard to find now.

      My goal is nice curls, no frizzies, no crunch, and still looking nice the second day. If it’s too heavy, the hair flattens out the second day.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Same! I can get my curls to look pretty nice if I shower in the morning and scrunch with gel and then let them air dry, but a) I don’t like the crunch of gel and b) it doesn’t hold up the second day, after sleeping on it. I can’t really comb it, even with my fingers, so it turns into a weird hard frizz. My hair is also too thin and fragile to take daily showering, and getting it wet to finger-comb without shampooing doesn’t work if I’ve scrunched it with gel. So I’m always on the hunt for a softer leave-in product that works as well as gel but has better longevity.

      2. Chaordic One*

        Although I don’t have curly hair, and maybe it is just me, but I found that Garnier Fructis did not rinse out of my hair completely. It left behind a residue and and left my hair feeling sticky.

      3. The Other Dawn*

        I was at the grocery store this morning and noticed they sell L’Oréal Elive dream-lengths curl, so next time I’m there I’ll grab some. Thanks!

    3. acmx*

      I use Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curl Magic (I get it at Target). I also mainly use InnerSense products (shampoo, conditioner and styling). They’re not cheap but you don’t need much product. You can get them at Ulta.

      If you want specifics, let me know.

      1. Curly Too*

        I’m all ears for specifics, acm, thanks! Also looking for any tips on fine curly hair in particular.

        1. acmx*

          I have fine, medium density hair that’s looser curls. It’s mid back length.

          I use the Pure Harmony hair bath (shampoo) and Color Radiance conditioner (because it’s more moisturizing not due to color – however, my hair now is also a dyed a fashion color).
          All of the products should be emulsified in your hands before applying, hair is soaking wet. I use the UFD CMand scrunch that into my hair, in sections then I use I Create Volume (which is redundant as they’re both gels. These are “fillers”). You can chose which one to use. You’re scrunching water and product into your hair. Your hair should be slippery. When you’re ready to dry your hair (when you leave the shower), use a flour sack towel (or T-shirt) to squeeze out excess water.
          Sometimes, I use I Create Lift foam (a “sealer”) before diffusing. (I may stop using the IC Volume and just use UFD and Lift). After, it is 90-95% dry , then I break the cast by gently scrunching my hair. (My hair usually doesn’t have a super great cast [where it’s crunchy] but the stylist of course does it. I’m not concerned with it because I am not trying to make my style last super long.)
          For refreshing (usually after 3 days), I will use Sweet Spiritleave in conditioner. Again, emulsifying first with damp hands. I usually wash my hair before then.

    4. biscuit*

      I use LUS brand “curly all in one” product. Put it on right after showering (hair has to be very wet), finger comb and scrunch, wrap my head in a T-shirt for 10 min so it starts drying scrunched up (I think this is called “plopping”?), and then air dry the rest of the way. Better than any other product I’ve tried for defined, soft curls (it doesn’t dry crunchy like gel). And since the product is activated by water, if I’m not showering the next morning I just use a small spray bottle with water to get my hair slightly wet and restyle it.

      1. ElastiGirl*

        A thumbs up for LUS products. Not cheap but the only curly hair products that I’ve loved. I use the Love Your Curls trio of shampoo, conditioner, and styling product, then I plop my hair in a t-shirt, and I don’t have to think about it for 3 days.

        I also recommend John Frieda Secret Weapon. It’s an anytime defrizzer that adds incredible definition (and a little bit of shine) to curls.

    5. Maestra*

      With the caveat that I have wavy and not curly hair, I really like JVN products, particularly the Air Dry Cream.

    6. The Other Dawn*

      Thank you, everyone! I forgot to say I bought their mousse, too. I’ve never quite figured out how it’s supposed to be used; however, thankfully the TreLuxe website explains the order to use their products.

    7. office hobbit*

      I like Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk (the basic kind in the clear/white bottle; I’ve tried some of the brand’s other products and found that they smelled too strong and didn’t really work either). For reference, I have 2c/3a curls iirc and coconut oil is usually too heavy for me.

  34. Oink*

    Removed – it’s a great question but impossible to discuss without violating the “no highly personal bodily topics” rule. – Alison

  35. sagewhiz*

    Eco-friendly household hacks?

    A couple of weeks ago someone posted about using Pure Citrus Air Freshener not for that purpose but to clean grease from above the stove and to get baked on stuff off pots, etc. That got me to wondering what other tips there are for household/yard hacks.

    I’ll start with two.
    KILLER Weed Killer:
    Dissolve ½ c. salt in 2 qts. 30% vinegar in a spray bottle, then add a splash of liquid dish soap. Spray on weeds and within a few hours they be not just merely dead but really most sincerely dead. ( 30% vinegar is NOT your normal kitchen stuff; it’s sold at Lowe’s and Home Depot in the Cleaning Department. Not sure where sold outside the US.)

    AlVinCo Glass Cleaner:
    In a spray bottle combine ¼ c. rubbing alcohol, ¼ c. white vinegar, 1 T. cornstarch and 2 c. warmish water. Shake well before and during use to keep the cornstarch from clogging the nozzle. (Cleans glass & mirrors virtually streak-free, better than any store bought stuff I’ve used. I also use it to clean the bathroom sink, as the alcohol is a disinfectant.)

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      I use hydrogen peroxide to clean mirrors and windows. It works pretty well and doesn’t leave streaks.

    2. Ellen Ripley*

      I clean my bathroom mirrors with water. Stick your hand under the running faucet and flick it onto your mirror, repeat this a few times. Then wipe the mirror completely dry with a dry, absorbent rag. Voila! Clean, shiny mirror with no streaks. I actually picked up this trick while I was a housekeeper.

      If the mirror is really dirty/dusty you may need something stronger then water, but for basic bathroom mirror maintenance this works really well.

      You get a feel for how much water to use with practice. Also if it’s a really big mirror or you used a lot of water such that your rag is getting damp, get another dry one to finish wiping with.

    3. Six Feldspar*

      If you can get or borrow a steam cleaner, it does a lot for getting rid of general grime and particularly gross spots like the top of the drain in the kitchen sink.

      I recently tried using a denture tablet to clean the grime out of a reusable coffee cup, let it sit overnight and washed it out with soap and it works well.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Denture tablets are also really great for cleaning vases! I also use them to clean the tops to my water bottles.

  36. Sloanicota*

    Ok, I badly need help remembering friends’ birthdays. I have a few blessed friends that we have mutually agreed to not remember each other’s, and that is my favorite way to operate, but that’s not everybody’s vibe. I do remember the five members of my immediately family without prompting (usually) – in that I at least remember the month, and do get my butt in gear the weeks before to select and mail all of them a present. I will never, ever remember random people’s from college, but I turned a Big Year this year, and so many kind and loving friends sent me a nice text, and it was nice. I have remembered zip, zippo of theirs. I used to be prompted by Facebook, but increasingly people my age have taken info off FB, and I don’t log on nearly as often as I used to. I have tried to put them all in my phone calendar, but somehow I continually miss them anyway. Do you actually have them as “events” in your phone with reminders?

    1. Sitting Pretty*

      I use my wall calendar! Every year around Christmas, I get a new wall calendar and sit down with it, adding everyone’s name onto their birthday. Using my phone calendar totally didn’t work for me, there are just too many other events and appts on it so bdays got lost. But the wall calendar pretty much only has the friends’ names so it’s much easier to see and be reminded (this calendar is in my kitchen where I see it every day).

      I did have to get into the habit of flipping up the page mid-month to see who’s coming up in the first few days of the upcoming month. That took a little while but now I do it automatically.

      1. Llellayena*

        My parents have a calendar that’s not year-specific for just this purpose. It has months and days but isn’t set up in weeks. I am ever so slowly getting birthdays into my phone and I think there’s a way to set them all to give reminders but I haven’t done it.

        1. Autumn*

          The no-year calendar is what I do. I have the cat one from Linnea Design, it just makes me smile. The only challenge is remembering to flip the month over, and no warning for people with birthdays very early in the month!

          1. Sloanicota*

            I suppose you could add a warning at the end of the previous month, haha – that’s what I have to for work tasks at least.

      2. Qwerty*

        I have a Google Calendar just for Birthdays and Anniversaries set up to repeat annually. For special ones, I add an email or push notification reminder

      1. Clara Bowe*

        +1 With a reminder the month before so I can find a card, and a second the week before so I can send it

    2. Mrs. Pommeroy*

      Yep, phone calendar – repeating annually, and with a number of reminders weeks to days before the date and on the date itself. The number and timing of the reminders depends on if I will want to organise – and have time to send – a present or a card or if I only need to remember to call or send a text on the day itself.

      1. Pocket Mouse*

        Same for me, but with the Reminders app. Some are in my calendar too, but I don’t look at my calendar daily, whereas I see my phone’s lock screen a million billion times per day.

        1. Mrs. Pommeroy*

          Oh, my calendar has push-notifications enabled! And I simply don’t swipe the notification away until I’ve done the thing or at least have the reminder quite firmly lodged in my brain. :)
          (wouldn’t really work for me if I had loads of apps with push notifications enabled but it’s only three or four, so they don’t tend to push eachother out if the way)

    3. Nihil Scio*

      I grew up with a Verjaardag (?) calendar in the bathroom.
      It’s a long, narrow calendar with lines for each day of the month instead of blocks. Works like a charm

      1. Janne*

        Yes, verjaardagskalender is the word! Verjaardag means birthday in Dutch.

        I also have one in my bathroom, but it doesn’t work perfectly because I’m away from home too often. It did help me remember my uncle’s birthday today though :)

        They sell all kinds of designs, with a line for each day indeed and then nice decorative pictures. I have one with birds and their baby birds and eggs, from the “Vogelstichting” (bird foundation?)

    4. Lil'*

      Yes, I set reminders in my calendar app for birthdays, anniversaries etc. I set them for a few days ahead, so that I remember to send cards/flowers/gifts as appropriate, and for the day of so I can text/message them.

    5. Anono-me*

      Menards carries this great calendar with every month doubling as a file folder. I use it to file things that I will need to keep for 3 years or less. (After 3 years discard the whole calendar.)

      Birthday cards get done for the year all in one go, signed, stamped and addressed, but not sealed. The cards then get sorted by month. At the very beginning of January, I pull out all the January folder pocket cards (If I have the spoons, I add a little handwritten note) seal and send. (I don’t tell people in my real life about this.)

    6. ampersand*

      Yep! All birthdays (and other important days) are a recurring, yearly event in my iPhone calendar with a reminder a week or so before the actual date (if I need to send a card or present) and another reminder on the day of.

      Friend/family birthdays, friends’ kids’ birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It’s the only way for me to keep it all straight.

      1. Ron McDon*

        And I add a note with the year the person was born/got married, so I can send special cards for ‘big’ birthdays/anniversaries.

    7. Happily Retired*

      So this is from the birthday person’s side :-), but among my multiple gmail accounts, my email address for my friends and family is my name + month and day of my birthdate. So happilyretired0214@gmail.com <-(none of that is me.) No one who emails me or gets emails from me can forget!

      – I don’t do this to force people to remember me, but instead because I’m abysmal at remembering other people’s birthdays. I feel your pain.

    8. Sloanicota*

      Update: I asked a friend who is very good at this … she said she saves the dates in her phone contacts, not her calendar. Apparently this triggers auto-reminders.

  37. Amey*

    Does anyone in the UK have a suggestion for where to get nice trousers for curvy petite women? Any kind – jeans, smart trousers for work, something nice for an evening out, I have none of these things at this stage and haven’t found anything I loved that fit in years! I’m about a UK size 14 – sometimes a 16, sometimes a 12 and 5’1

    1. Ron McDon*

      Fatface! They are more generously sized than other retailers, and do short, regular and long leg lengths for most of their trousers and dresses. I dress almost exclusively in Fatface clothes now!

    2. PX*

      Depends on what style of trouser you like but Lucy & Yak definitely caters to the curvier side. A lot of bold prints but their selection of basics is still solid.

  38. Peanut Hamper*

    Schitt’s Creek — what am I missing? ;

    I’ve had lots of friends recommend this to me, but I tried it and couldn’t get into it. My boss suggested that I watch more than the first few episodes because it takes a bit to get into these characters, and I’m half-way through the first season and while it’s entertaining, it’s not really living up to the hype. Everybody I know who has seen has really liked it, and for me it’s just meh. (And for the record, I love Eugene Levy and really thought I would love this show.) Is there some insight that I’m missing with this show, or is this show simply not to my liking?

    1. Nervous Nellie*

      It took me at least a dozen episodes to get into the show. The whining and sniping from the adult kids was so annoying! Grow up already! The reason to stay with it and the beauty of it is watching them do exactly that, and watching everyone else in the story grow and take risks and try new things. By the last episode you will feel your heart will burst from the warmth and love they all show each other. I envy you seeing it for the first time! It’s all heart – you just have to dig for it in the beginning.

    2. WellRed*

      Eh, not every show works for everyone. Case in point: another thread deals with the show Severance. Omg, it was so stultifyingly slow and tedious and just borrrrinnnng! To me, but other people are genuinely excited.

      1. Pharmgirl*

        Yeah I barely made it through 4 episodes of Severance. I looked up what happened and was glad I stopped. Definitely it for me either.

    3. RMNPgirl*

      I would say it definitely gets better in season 2 and then season 3 you get a wonderful new character and at that point was when I totally fell in love with the show.

    4. Pocket Mouse*

      For me, the trick was to stop trying to like the characters. Once I acknowledged I wouldn’t actually want to spend time with them—and didn’t have to spend time with them in real life!—I could observe them more as oddities to be amused by, and watch (some of) them grow.

    5. Dannie*

      I’ve also been told to stick with it, but refused to do so. I’m not interested in forcing myself to tolerate media until it gets good–life is short and entertainment options are vast.

    6. Dark Macadamia*

      You just don’t vibe with it and that’s okay. I strongly dislike when people say you have to wait a certain amount to get into a show – it CAN happen but I’ve almost never felt like my mind changes about a show over time like that.

      I’d only seen a couple jokes from Schitts Creek referenced a lot and was like “well if that’s the funniest this show has to offer it’s not that great” but during Covid I gave it a try and INSTANTLY loved it. I think the people who say the first season is bad are weird, it’s great from the start to me and it’s only the last season where I feel like the quality drops a bit. There are things and characters I don’t like but overall I find it really sweet and funny, although I get why it wouldn’t be for everyone.

    7. LGP*

      I love Schitt’s Creek, but yeah it took me some time to get into it. But it really is worth it! I know the characters seem so unlikeable at first, but that just makes their growth all the more touching, I think. I would recommend giving it until the end of season 2. The last episode of that season is what got my heart fully into it.

    8. Jay*

      As someone who tends to not “vibe” with a LOT of the “best” tv out there, I feel your pain.
      The thing with Schitts Creek is that I basically just ignored anything to do with the main cast.
      They aren’t really that interesting.
      Just do something else while they yammer on.
      When Chris Elliot shows up? Pay attention, because something that’s actually worth watching is about to happen.
      If you want something broadly similar, but way down market, and just so, so much better, try Corner Gas. I would describe it sort of as Schitts Creek meets Trailer Park Boys. It’s just delightful.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I have binged Corner Gas so many times! That show is absolutely amazing. (Also, that northern sunlight that comes in at such a dramatic angle! #nostalgia)

        Chris Elliot has always irked me because he’s so good at playing characters I absolutely detest. I must pay more attention now!

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        Meanwhile Chris Elliot is the only part of the show I actively dislike, to the point I sometimes skip scenes that feature him too heavily even if it means missing other character moments I enjoy. I love every single Rose and would watch a show that’s nothing but the four of them bickering.

      3. Mephyle*

        I was totally unimpressed with the first episode of Corner Gas. I don’t know why I even started the second episode.

        Suddenly the switch flipped and I got it. From that point on, I loved it.

        Corner Gas fans, remember the episode with the Littlest Hobo and the doubles of Karen and Davis? That episode nearly killed me, literally. There was a moment when I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe for rather too long.

    9. Anon Poster*

      I felt exactly the same way you did when I watched season 1. A friend whose taste in TV is basically identical to mine told me I would love it and listed all of its virtues. I wanted to stop during season 1, but I also recognized that what I was watching didn’t match the show that was described to me, so I just kept going, an episode here, an episode there. I was all in at season 2 episode 1, every scene involving the farm was hilarious to me.

      People compare it to Parks & Rec, where you power through season 1 while it finds itself, season 2 is better, and then season 3 intros the new character(s) that complete the puzzle and the show goes from good to great. I like Schitt’s Creek season 1 better than Parks & Rec season 1. I feel like Parks & Rec was trying to find itself in real time, while with Schitt’s Creek the cringe and awkwardness is more intentional. It’s a starting point so you can appreciate everyone’s growth. I used to think I would skip season 1 on re-watches, but I don’t. I appreciate seeing how all the characters evolved from that rough start.

    10. Double A*

      I’ve watched almost all of it and I think it’s good, not great. Like, I enjoy it enough but it didn’t really stick with me.to the point where I wasn’t compelled to finish it even though I got to the parts where it’s supposedly at its peak. Like, I was not compelled to keep watching through Patrick and David’s wedding even though I watched well into their relationship.

      But it does make for truly fantastic gif that I regularly use in my casual work chats.

      1. Pocket Mouse*

        The OP is very clearly not very far into the series- we could do without the spoilers here!

    11. Busy Middle Manager*

      What I like about it

      Just seeing Katherine Ohara on TV is nostalgic for people in their 40s IMO especially for people that like ridiculous or campy things.

      The kids are a bit younger than me, so its sort of “nostalgic” or interesting to see the next microgeneration figuring life out and thinking about what I’d do differently (even if it’s only fiction)

      Look at it within the context of other shows: so many shows are about crime or a bunch of people running around in suits in offices giving eachother dramatic faces and throwing eachother under the bus. Not my cup of tea, I’ve lived that, it’s not entertainment. The ridiculousness of S Creek is the little escape I need.

    12. Mrs. Frisby*

      It’s totally fair to decide it’s not for you and skip it, but for me, like others, it wasn’t until sometime in the second season that I personally fell in love with it. I persevered because so many people with such a wide variety of tastes that I know LOVED it, and somewhere around the middle of the second season I realized I loved it too. It was the oddest experience–I’ve never really had that experience with a show before.

    13. Pharmgirl*

      I hated the first few episodes and tried twice – the show really hits its stride in season 2, so I would recommend watching a few episodes of season 2 to decide before you give up. Season 1 is really hit or miss – a few good episodes but I also skip some on rewatch. Normally I would say if you watched a few episodes it may not be for you, but I’m so glad I powered through that first season because the rest of the series is really amazing and not what you expect after the first few episodes.

  39. Damn it, Hardison!*

    Echoing others who said it takes several episodes to get into it, maybe even all of season 1. I was pretty lukewarm on it but I was bored and kept watching, and then really liked it.

  40. Grits McGee*

    Looking for NYC recs- I have a 7 hour block of time in NYC between getting into Penn Station at 10am and seeing a play at the Lucille Lortel Theatre at 5. I was thinking of spending most of that time at the Met, but are there other places within walking distance that are worth visiting, especially places to eat?

    1. Bluebell Brenham*

      If the weathers nice, I’d recommend walking on the High Line, which isn’t too far from your theater. You could also visit the Whitney Museum, which is nearby, and Chelsea Market has a lot of food options for you. I love just walking around Greenwich Village, and there are lots of small restaurants for coffe, drinks, or dinner.

        1. Bluebell Brenham*

          In Chelsea, I really enjoyed Cookshop and Bathtub Gin is a gorgeous speakeasy. I’ve heard great things about the Mermaid Inn. I also forgot to mention Little Island as a cool new park. In the Village for dinner, a friend highly recommends Buvette.

    2. Harriet J*

      If you are coming in on a Wednesday or Saturday, you could see a matinee of another show! Tickets are usually half price or more at the TKTS booths (Times Square or Lincoln Center).

      1. Grits McGee*

        One show is probably going to be my limit for this trip, but I’ll remember it for the next time! Thank you!

    3. TPS reporter*

      oh Mary is amazing, have a great time! I had fun before and after just walking and people watching in parks.

      1. Grits McGee*

        I’m so excited! I’m surrounded by sweaty Lincoln stans at my job in DC, so I’m really looking forward to something a little less… reverent.

    4. Nitpicker*

      I wouldn’t go to the Met on this trip – it’s way up town and the travel would take up too much time. In addition to the Whitney (which was a great suggestion) there are a few small museums between Penn Station and the theater. The FIT Museum at 28th St is like a small Costume Institute. Poster House on 23 St has some amazing exhibits. And the Ruben Museum of Himalayan Art on 17th St is quiet and relatively empty (and has an amazing gift shop). The Ruben is closing in October so this would be the time to get it in. For all the museums, check the websites – they have varying closing days.
      Whatever you do, I hope you’ll enjoy it. Have a great time and give us an update!!

      1. Bluebell Brenham*

        Yes- the Rubin is beautiful and very different, plus their cafe is just a nice place to hang out. Plus about three blocks away is Chama Mama, which is a Georgian restaurant that I love. I’ve eaten at the bar alone several times there, and the service has always been so nice, plus it’s a unique cuisine.

  41. Dannie*

    Has anyone applied protective film to windows/skylights to block heat? Was it difficult to do? Assume moderate clumsiness and physical incompetence.

    My research is suggesting that this is incredibly difficult to DIY, because of cutting to fit perfectly (I suck at spatial skills, like way more than the average person) and avoiding bubbles or ripples which render the work ineffective.

    I’m trying to decide if it’s worth giving it a shot, or immediately hiring a professional. It’s a small job (only two skylights), but the room becomes so hot that we close it off and stop using it for 4-5 months per year.

    1. WellRed*

      This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. I also don’t see why reason you given why you want to try it yourself.

      1. Shiny Penny*

        Agree. If overhead work on a ladder wasn’t involved, it would be no big deal to fail. But all the details add up to a Big No in my view, too. Absolutely doesn’t seem worth the injury risk.

      2. Dannie*

        Fair, I’m just worried about finding a contractor willing to take on such a small job. It’s hard to get responses since Covid.

    2. Mrs. Pommeroy*

      We’ve applied protective film to our kid’s bedroom window because otherwise they’d be baked alive in there during summer. It was moderately easy and quite helpful.
      If you have enough spatial awareness to measure (the window pane) and then mark out and cut mostly straight lines (the protective film), you should be fine.
      It helped to be two people for the actual installation and to decide on who is where and does what before starting. Also: communication and ample time so as to not feel rushed.
      We did have one bigger and a number of smaller bubbles in the end but
      1) gently pressing them out toward the edges helped and
      2) poking through one or two of them helped, too, and
      3) we didn’t feel like the few bubbles rendered the work ineffective. It still worked well and to our level of expectation.

      We also had a blockout curtain that we used on especially hot days. The combination meant temperatures in the room stayed tolerable.
      (We do live in a temperate climate, though, so your mileage may vary)

    3. Rick Tq*

      I’d contact a local window tinting shop to get a quote. They have lots of material options and the skills to do the installation right the first time.

    4. Anono-me*

      Assuming that they won’t damage the type of windows you have and that you are okay working on a ladder for a bit: have you considered trying repositional or cling reflective window film? The price point is quite low and you can tweak the position until you aew happy.

      Alternatively, I have seen curtains with pockets at the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ with the rods held in place with either magnets or command hooks.

    5. Pam Adams*

      If it was a window that didn’t require ladders and reaching over your head, I would say to try it. Your situation sounds like it needs a professional or at least an agile, coordinated person.

    6. Dark Macadamia*

      I tried this once and did an absolutely terrible job, but I also didn’t try very hard to do it well lol.

    7. Double A*

      I did it and found it really pretty easy and I am not a craftsperson. Using dish soap was key. I cut very roughly to size first, then cut more precisely once it was up. It’s not the most perfect thing, but it really helps with the heat.

      I bought the cling film off Amazon and it came with everything I needed, including a squeegee thing for smoothing that worked well.

      Oh but then I saw it’s skylights. If you’re have a stable ladder, that would help. And a second person to hand things up. it might get a bit messier.

    8. MissB*

      We hired a company to put film on some windows, same sort of thing but our intent was privacy vs heat. It was a modest amount, and five years later the film is still in place on the windows we had it applied to.

    9. Squidhead*

      Here’s an idea you might not love but if you’re already not using the room: get a sheet of insulation foam (it’s usually pink or green and about 2 inches thick). Cut a piece big enough to fit into each opening…ideally it should be snug so you could just press it into the opening and then take it out at the end of the season. But it might be hard to get it perfect, so you could use a butterfly fastener on either side to hold it in place (these are the kind you turn 90 degrees to hold stuff into a frame; you’d need to screw them into the frame.) Positives: easier and probably cheaper than applying a coating. Your local freecycle might even have foam scraps. Negative: The foam will block almost all the light, but as you said you’re not able to use the room anyway. And you’ll need to get up there twice a year to take them/out and store them somewhere.

      1. Shiny Penny*

        My neighbor did this with 2” foam insulation board. It works amazingly well!
        In his house, the ceiling is flat at 8 feet with the skylights set in”tunnels” (instead of the ceiling following the roofline). So the ladder could be shorter, and the pressure fit was a simple rectangle. He used stuff without foil backing bc it’s what he had, but it might work even better with a foil side facing up.
        (If you accidentally cut it too small to pressurefit well, the round foam window/door gap filler “snakes” could wedge in and make it work, or just wedge in additional slices of the foam board.).
        But my neighbor is an experienced DIY person, and used to working on ladders.

  42. Is my laptop about to explode?*

    My laptop battery has swollen (it caused the laptop casing to open a crack). I know I have to deal with this, but I’m just not sure how urgent/dangerous it is. Is this a “stop reading this comment board and deal with it now” kind of thing or a “deal with it over the next week or two” kind of thing?

    I watched some videos about taking out the battery, and it was more complicated than I hoped because the laptop belongs to someone else, so I’d rather not mess around with it too much on my own until I can talk with them about it.

    1. WellRed*

      It’s pretty urgent. Also, even if you could take the battery out (please don’t attempt this), you risk burning yourself on the battery.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Um, yes, I would not mess around with that (I had a phone battery swell once, that was easy to remove and I did whatever the internet told me to with it – darn these new phones that you can’t open). I would power that laptop off, unplug it, and start looking for something else to use. And you’re talking to someone who will put up with a *lot* of crap from an old laptop – replacing fans, cracked screens, loose tops, etc etc.

    2. Anima/Aniimat*

      Save all your data externally now, like, right now, and power down – and take off any power cords. This is dangerous, you shouldn’t even use the thing any more – I had a phone catch fire not too long ago, it’s no fun.

    3. Forrest Rhodes*

      +1 to all the above, especially Anima/Aniimat’s suggestion to back up everything important immediately.
      Just last week my local e-wiz informed me that when laptop batteries get old they swell up; catch it early and it can just mess with trackpad function, but let it go and effects can be nasty.
      Add me to those who’ve said this is a “shut it down and talk to a pro about battery replacement” situation.

    4. Shiny Penny*

      And after you unplug it, think hard about where you should put it?
      I would put it outside. In a metal garbage can. In the middle of a gravel driveway with nothing burnable above it (tree branches).
      But I have a horror of house/forest fires.

    5. 653-CXK*

      Yes, this is a “back up, turn off, unplug” situation.

      This battery has a chance to vent, and when it does, it vents violently and can cause the laptop to burn and explode. It would not only cause a chemical fire, but a metal fire (thanks to the lithium inside the battery).

  43. Justin*

    So my wife and I bought a house, something I never expected but we were able to do. Salaries are solid, but that down payment was a bear (and with interest rates, our mortgage is a lot, but since we no longer need to save for that payment, it should be alright).

    The real thing is, I hate driving, and we got lucky enough to be walkable to the train to our offices (we live in Yonkers now, which is, officially, still a city, which I insisted on for my son not to grow up in the boondocks). Now that we have regular, short trips in the car, I’ve been better able to isolate what I hate about it (aside from the existential environmental issue, but we really don’t drive much and it’s not part of our commutes, as I said).

    I hate: merging, interstates (it freaks me out when people are going like 80), parallel parking, long distance without a break (over 2.5 hours, I guess) and unfamiliar traffic patterns. I actually have a pretty good sense of direction, but I can’t be pulling up to an intersection unsure if I can turn on red or which lane is left turn only or whatever.

    Isolating these things has made it less stressful overall (as I can mostly avoid those things in my regular life and steel myself for them if they are going to occur).

    So to turn this into a discussion, what are some fears/anxieties you’ve been able to pick apart into smaller obstacles?

      1. allathian*

        Me too. Added to that is the fear of driving what essentially is a lethal weapon.

    1. Anima/Aniima*

      Actually driving too – I do have super good spacial awareness on smaller vehicles, but if it’s a ton of metal around me that I have to steer I’m done. I hate merging, too, and I can’t parallel park for the life of me. But I’m from Germany, so going fast on the Autobahn is kinda build in. ;)

    2. Shiny Penny*

      For years I was always late for everything, and frequently stressed out and feeling like a failure at adulting. It was unpleasant enough and embarrassing enough that I finally started really trying to analyze why I was doing it.
      Eventually I realized I had a lot of dread about being early to things! My *feelings* told me that being early would be painfully awkward and unpleasant. I think that was a true fact when I was young, but it stopped being true at some point! I got more skilled at coping with people, and I got less self-conscious with age— and my subconscious had not gotten the updated memo.
      I also developed a competing dread of getting injured by having to hurry, since I have mobility issues and use crutches. Walking faster than comfortable is just a bad idea! Plus I really hate that mental stress feeling of “rush rush rush.” So now I consciously remind myself that being early is a *good* feeling.

      The other part turned out to be my tendency to lose track of how quickly time is passing. Now, the night before, I think through what the schedule will HAVE TO BE, in order for me to not be late. I put in a bunch of alarms on my phone, working backwards, like: Leave House, Leave in 15 minutes, Leave in 30 minutes, Leave in 60 minutes, Leave in 2 hours, Get in shower, Wake up. This has been amazingly helpful!!!
      I have become a person who is early or on time for everything, which I still find astonishing. It has been a great lesson to me about how many of my decisions are not very conscious, have many moving parts, and are often rooted in some outdated feeling.

      Another ongoing trouble area is going to bed at the time my rational brain thinks is the correct bedtime. Apparently my subconscious brain and/or my feelings brain are totally in the driver’s seat on this one. It’s not technically a difficult problem, soI’m pretty sure there must be Feelings involved :)
      I’m hoping someone will describe how they conquered this issue!

      1. Justin*

        I can’t help you with the bed thing. I go to sleep when my eyes can’t stay open because I hate tossing and turning.

        Yes, I used to be late a lot and now if early I just read or listen to podcasts and it’s fine.

      2. Esprit de l'escalier*

        I’m still working on the going to bed at the time my logical brain says I should, so I really sympathize about that one.

      3. Annie Edison*

        I’m not sure I’ve actually conquered bedtime yet, but I have been more consistent with it in the past month than I ever have been before.

        I realized I had to do something about my bedtime habits because my work usually starts at 10 or 11ish, with a lot of flexibility, so it was easy to stay in bed later and later in the mornings, and then also go to bed later and later at night. But this year I have two mornings a week where I have to be at work and fully functional by 7:30am. The drastic switches in start times were killing me, so I started trying to keep my wake up time consistent all week, including weekends, so those 6am Mondays aren’t quite so painful.

        I also know I don’t do well with less than 8 hours of rest time, which means if I’m getting up at 6 or 7am every day, I have to go to bed on time too. So I started framing bedtime as an act of love and kindness to myself, rather than something I have to do but don’t want to do. (it helps that the early morning commitment is something I genuinely enjoy doing)

        The only reason I’ve been able to be consistent this long is because I can see now how much better I feel when I’m consistent, and how much less overwhelmed and stressed I feel, and that makes me want to keep doing it.

        On nights where I find myself wanting to stay up, I honestly have little interior dialogues with myself as if I’m parenting a child (which sounds ridiculous typed out but I swear it helps me), and I’ll tell myself things like “I know you want to stay up scrolling on your phone, but it’s bedtime now” or “even though it doesn’t feel fun right now, it will help you feel better in the morning if you get some rest” and my favorite: “you don’t have to go to sleep but you still have to turn the lights off and rest”

        Other things that have helped: generally trying not to do screens for an hour before bed (although I’m flexible on this one), dimming all the lights and playing soothing music as I tidy up and brush my teeth, rewarding myself with 10-15 min of reading time once I’m in bed. I always give myself this small pleasure even if I’m a little late on getting into bed- I do better with rewards than punishment, so knowing I get to read no matter what helps me want to get into bed more.

  44. I'd like to see how the movie ends*

    Any tips on staying awake while watching movies? I never unintentionally fall asleep at other times, but movies always do me in. It doesn’t matter how much I’m enjoying the plot or how rested I am. I just get too comfortable and then I drop off. I’ve tried sitting in an uncomfortable chair, but that’s obviously a much less pleasant experience all around.

    1. GoryDetails*

      Hmm. If you’re watching the movies via streaming or DVD or other controllable source, maybe try inserting your own breaks? Like commercials, only for you: get up, get a drink of water, move around a bit… [Or just watch the movies in smaller chunks; break them up into half-hour “episodes” and treat them like a mini-series.]

      I have no idea if that would work, or if anyone you like to watch movies *with* would put up with it, but maybe give it a try?

    2. Anonymous cat*

      what about standing up for a few minutes? Long enough so your brain shifts from comfortable-let’s-sleep mode to awake-watch-this-interesting-movie mode, but not so long that you get uncomfortable standing.

    3. miel*

      My mom and I are both famous for falling asleep during movies! High five in solidarity.
      Sometimes I eat popcorn or drink fizzy water, which works for the duration of the snack :)

    4. Shutterdoula*

      I cannot watch TV just sitting there looking at it. I’m out cold very quickly. Honestly it’s why I haven’t seen a movie in the theater in over a decade. I can nap cheaper and more comfortably at home, thank you very much.
      I find it helps to do something with my hands. Crafting, that sort of thing. Or folding laundry.

      1. allathian*

        One of my friends is like this. When we go to the movies together, she brings a ball of yarn to crochet. She only crochets a chain and she can do that without looking at what she’sdoing, but it’s enough to stop her falling asleep.

  45. Anima/Aniimat*

    I’ve got a small problem – I can’t seem to make friends.
    I am rather introverted, but I do go outside and talk to people easily. I’m also rather interested in people, and I like to talk to them. BUT I can’t make friends if these people always only talk about work! At the place we rather not talk about on the weekends it’s all work, I’m often the only one who shares something private, and I keep it minor and agreeable, because I see the others not share stuff and don’t want to be annoying or overstepping. In school it’s also all work – I ofent have do to group work and even on the breaks everyone talks about the work ahead of us and nothing else. I rarely know people’s last names, because no one talks about themselves.
    I can’t make friends like this? I will forget your name if you don’t share at least a minor fact about you. I would love to have some smalltalk-y friends, but even that does not happen. What is going on? Am I being weird? Do I want to much?

    Disclaimer: I do have a hand full of close friends from a long time ago, those are the people I confine in, I am in search of normal, casual friendship, like going to lunch together or something. Nothing too deep.

    1. WellRed*

      It can help to be a “regular” somewhere where you can hang out. For me, it’s the restaurant bar near my house. I’ve met quite a few awesome people there and if I’m feeling in need if some low key socialization, I hit it up.

    2. GoryDetails*

      It sounds like your work and school cultures aren’t given to casual friendships – or if they are, it might take more time. [If you notice anyone else hanging around the periphery the way you are, perhaps try reaching out during a break?] If you have time – which you may not, at this point! – perhaps try a hobby completely unrelated to your current work/school situation?

      1. GoryDetails*

        Just to add: I’m a raging introvert myself, and most of my current friend-circle came from work (where I met lots of computer-geeks and D&D fans, so there’s that…) – but I also made some friends via a local book-group.

    3. David*

      I’m speculating a bit here, but I have had similar feelings and I think some of it comes down to me being reluctant to ask questions. Somewhere in my past I must have internalized the idea that you shouldn’t ask people questions about themselves because it’s so likely to offend them, but in reality… it’s really not. I mean, yeah some questions will be offensive to some people but it’s a lot more rare than I managed to make myself believe.

      In case that resonates with you, try asking people more questions about themselves, and I suspect it’ll lead into deeper conversations and more lasting attachments.

      That being said, you’re still playing a numbers game with low odds. Like, you might be able to raise your chances of making a friend from, say, one out of every thousand people you meet to one in a hundred, but it’s still the case that you’re not going to click with the majority of people you meet. So don’t forget to be okay with that. (Slightly off topic but a bit of life advice I’d recommend: don’t force friendships too hard. Any time you feel like you’re investing a lot more to maintain a friendship than the other person is, take a good hard look at what that friendship is doing for you, because it’s probably not worth the extra effort on your part. Better to prioritize the friends who prioritize you in return.)

    4. Washi*

      It sounds a little like you’re so focused on finding friends that you’re getting minorly annoyed at normal behavior from others because it’s not helping you with your goal. No shade, I’ve been there too!

      I might try to reframe it as stepping back and just noticing at work or school, who do you look forward to seeing? Who is making insightful comments about the work or subject matter in class? Who makes you feel good when you talk to them? Try sitting next to them, ask them about themselves, and if they’re giving off friendly vibes, ask if they want to grab coffee or go for a walk something.

      I don’t think you’re being weird but it does sound like you’re getting discouraged too quickly and seeing everyone through the same lens, when probably there’s a huge range of people who would not at all be a good friend match to folks who could easily end up in that category!

  46. Wowzers*

    Thank you to everyone who previously gave me fashion advice. It was really helpful. I inadvertently ended up “Disney bounding” Daria – oy vey, and also lol – but that’s on me for not being able to make the other options happen and it was otherwise a good and appropriate outfit.

  47. Peanut Hamper*

    I just finished watching the Duran Duran documentary (There’s Something You Should Know) on Netflix. If you like DD, I highly recommend it. What a trip down memory lane. And a lot of insight into the band’s early history.

    (That said, I do wish they had talked more about Andy and how he is doing now.)

    1. Atheist Nun*

      Poor Andy, he always received the short end of the stick. I say this as someone who has been passionately Team John since 1982.

  48. Wowzers*

    Does anyone know of a comfortable loafer for small feet that one can clock miles in without getting blisters? Looking for both comfort and style!

      1. The happy introvert*

        I also am looking for a comfortable loafer like the OP. Are Rothy’s “The Driver” worth the $190!

        1. Wowzers*

          No, I would say not. I tried Rothy’s in the Pointe, or whatever that flat is called, and I would have kept it if it had fit properly, but felt that they are overpriced for what they are. I felt like I’d be paying an upcharge for the very well considered shape of the shoe and the celebrite but not really getting good value in terms of actual materials used. I haven’t seen the loafer in person, but I looked at the product page. At that price point, I’d be looking at Margaux.

          Thank you for all the suggestions so far!

        2. Damn it, Hardison!*

          I love my Rothy’s drivers and their slip-on sneakers. No break in time for either, and I wear them without socks (I hate socks).

    1. NeonFireworks*

      I’ve had more luck with Clark’s than with anything else, especially when it comes to blisters. I bought a pair in 2017 that lasted through a lot of walking for more than four years and never gave me a single problem.

    2. Bluebell Brenham*

      JBU/Jambu shoes aren’t gorgeous but they definitely look better than sneakers, and they are great for walking. I used them as my nonsneaker option in Paris. Clark’s have never quite worked for me so I was glad to find an alternative.

  49. Pear Blossom*

    Are there older shows you’ve recently watched for the first time?

    There’s quite a few late 90s and 00s TV shows that I never watched, some due to age (too young) and some due to time and circumstance (college student with no tv). I’m in my mid 30s and I can’t rewatch Gilmore Girls for the 5th time, LOL. I mean, I could and would enjoy it, but should give other shows a chance.

    I tried watching Dawson’s Creek and The OC on two separate occasions and I couldn’t get into it. I think about The Sopranos, Lost, The Wire, etc. Would it still have the same effect as watching it when they first came out?

    1. WellRed*

      I recently watched several seasons of LA Kaw for the first time. I felt like overall it held up pretty well (sadly, same social issues). Have you watched Parenthood?

      1. Pear Blossom*

        Yes! I watched a bit of Parenthood solely for Lauren Graham, but I vaguely remember either Haddie or Amber so being obnoxious I didn’t continue watching past season 2 or 3?

        Buffy and Veronica Mars have also been on my list, so I’m glad to see the good reviews below!

    2. David*

      I recently started watching That Girl, from 1967 I believe, and I love it! The star, Marlo Thomas, is an excellent comic actor.

      Obviously tastes will vary, but I do think there’s a lot of underappreciated TV from the 70’s and earlier. It’s often slower-paced and a bit simpler, but that can be kind of nice.

    3. California Dreamin’*

      We rewatched all of The Sopranos with our now-adult son during the pandemic. It’s still a great show. He loved it.
      Another ‘90s show I really liked and would love to watch again was Six Feet Under. One of the best series endings ever.

      1. Double A*

        Everyone says this about Six Feet Under, but I don’t understand it. I hated all the characters by the end, though. Except Keith, who had the most unfair death so it just made me mad and meant I felt even less for everyone else. What did I miss that supposedly made the ending so good?

        1. California Dreamin’*

          Oh! I don’t remember disliking all the characters, so I guess that wasn’t an issue for me. I don’t want to say too much in case Pear Blossom decides to watch it, but I felt like it was very thematically appropriate for the series, and I remember feeling deeply satisfied in a way that some series finales don’t give you (ahem, Sopranos). Also, I’m the sort of person who loves those movie endings where they have a little epilogue showing what happened to everyone. I guess I just love everything tied up in a nice little bow for me!

          1. Double A*

            Ah okay, yes I think people must be attached to the characters. I liked the first season, but I felt like it devolved into a soap opera. Which is fine, except it was taking itself too seriously to be any fun, which is what a soap opera needs to be.

            I do, however, totally agree with enjoying when things are wrapped up in a neat bow!

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      LOST would be pretty different now, I think, but still worth a try if it interests you. A huge part of the joy of watching it was not knowing where it was headed and speculating about the twists from week to week – if you’ve avoided spoilers about some major developments it could still be a great watch, but if you know things (or even like, know a decent amount about how fans felt about the ending) you might not have as much fun with it.

      I’m also mid 30s and watched Buffy for the first time in the late 2010s and it mostly holds up. Some of it is VERY dated but in a fun, campy way (pagers! zig zag parts! what is this mysterious WEB the nerds are using?)

    5. Helvetica*

      Been making my way through “Cold Case” on prime. Interesting cases, fascinating if sometimes a bit jarring approach to handling sensitive issues.

      1. Andromeda*

        I discovered Cold Case when I was about 16, not long after I started watching the mothership Law and Order — I remember them being pretty good about the tough stuff for the most part, mainly because they focused so hard on the victims/families as people, but I didn’t see them all.

        It is, however, absolutely devastating sometimes and I cried quite often.

        1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

          A friend at work and I would always check with each other the day after Cold Case to see which one of us had cried the most.

    6. Double A*

      I’ve been making my way through Veronica Mars for the first time and it’s fully enjoyable even though I didn’t watch it at the time.

      I think Lost might be a disappointment because you know they don’t do a good job tying up mysteries; that said, I watched the first season only years after it came out and enjoyed it. I just decided not to keep going because of knowing it really didn’t resolve.

      I think The Sopranos and The Wire are timeless and if they’re up your alley and you can stomach the violence, they hold up (I had to stop watching the Sopranos at a certain point).

      The one I wonder about is Arrested Development. It’s so brilliant but there was also a lot of commentary on contemporary events so I wonder if that would hold up. I mean I can watch it over and over again forever.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        I was rewatching recently and forgot how much it references Bush and the Middle East! Very much a product of its time but still funny

      2. California Dreamin’*

        We watched Arrested Development during the pandemic with our kids (husband and I had loved it when it first aired.) We still thought it was hilarious. I’m not sure the kids loved it as much. It’s one of those shows that was groundbreaking (single camera! no laugh track!) at the time but my kids have all watched The Office a million times over, which is in a similar vein, so AD isn’t as exciting, maybe. (Ha, see what I did there.)

    7. TPS reporter*

      I watched Buddy a few years ago and was amazed by how good it is. I want to watch again.

      Veronica Mars was also super entertaining and some new episodes came out recently.

      I watched Better Call Saul when it first aired but had not seen Breaking Bad until recently. watching the series in that order was actually in chronological order. I was surprised by being disappointed in BB as compared to BCS. I also wonder if the shocking plot points in BB don’t hit as hard when you binge and can watch the next season right away.

    8. Florence Reese*

      I’m rewatching Buffy for the second or third time but I want to echo that suggestion, because my best friend is watching with me and it’s their first time. They really enjoy it. Part of that is probably the group setting so we can dunk on the anachronisms/Joss Whedon’s awful brand of feminism, but I really think it holds up overall! Watching Buffy actually made me start a recent Gilmore Girls rewatch too lol.

    9. CTT*

      It’s very low-stakes, but I’m watching Spin City. The number of Before They Were Famous guest stars makes it very fun (J Smith-Cameron, Jennifer Garner, AND Stephen Colbert in the same episode!)

    10. HannahS*

      Monk! Pretty good dramedy television. A pretty sensitive depiction of mental illness, especially for the time, punctuated with things that wouldn’t fly today. I get nightmares easily though, so I stopped after season 1. It was the episode with the murder in the clock tower that got me. Alas.

    11. Belle*

      Here is a list of older shows I have been working through and have enjoyed:
      Hart of Dixie
      Boy Meets World
      Full House
      Murder, She Wrote
      Rizzoli and Isles
      West Wing
      The X Files
      12 Monkeys (tv show)
      Gossip Girl (I know — but a lot like a crazy soap opera to me)

    12. allathian*

      My husband and I are currently watching the last season of The Wire. I think it’s quite timeless. It still works because the issues it depicts haven’t gone anywhere, there’s just the added layer of social media and access to more sophisticated surveillance tech.

    13. tabloidtainted*

      I watched The Leftovers recently, and The West Wing a few years back. Both excellent, but The Leftovers is officially one of my favorite series of all time. And I’d tried to watch it earlier, when it was airing, and hadn’t been able to get past the pilot. It’s never too late to get into a show!

    14. NeonFireworks*

      I’ve started watching MTV’s ‘The State’ sketch comedy show, at least in YouTube clips. There was no role for MTV in my childhood for multiple reasons (I was too young, and grew up outside the U.S., plus the household had only limited and intermittent TV access). I like surrealism and am planning on getting the DVD of the entire thing.

    15. Mimmy*

      It’s still on but last year, my husband and I binged the ENTIRE Grey’s Anatomy series on Netflix. It did get to a point where we had to watch at our own separate pace.

      I’ve started rewatching Little House on the Prairie, which I loved growing up.

    16. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I haven’t watched it recently but I watched M*A*S*H as an adult which was a good 30 years after it aired. Still very topical and enjoyable, especially later seasons when it became a bit more serious than slapstick and the early seasons’ somewhat misogynistic treatment of Margaret lessened.

    17. goddessoftransitory*

      Hmmm…I watched it on and off when it aired, but recently streamed Remington Steele on Amazon–such a great show and still the gold standard for “how to do sexual tension without ruining the show/characters.”

  50. Questions?*

    What is the risk of moving files between your computer and another computer with a USB, assuming the USB is new and the other computer is who knows? What is the risk of plugging a USB into a port you do not own?

    1. David*

      Kind of hard to say in general. I mean, the worst case is probably that the other computer puts a virus/ransomware/some malicious software (malware) on the USB drive and it gets transferred to yours (or maybe vice versa), and you can almost never rule that out entirely, but you have to make a judgment about how likely that is based on what you know about the other computer and the person or people who use it, as well as how damaging it would be to you if that happens. Like, if your computer goes kaput, do you have backups? Do you have sensitive info on your computer that a virus could upload to the internet or that would hurt for you to lose? etc. In a typical situation where you know whose computer it is, the malware scenario is probably not very likely but could be quite damaging to you, so you should take that into consideration. Personally, I would not use a USB drive to exchange files in this way without having a pretty solid level of trust in the owner of the other computer.

      Honestly, the bigger risk these days is from files transferred over the internet, through file sharing sites or email or so on. But again, it’s all a matter how how much you know and trust the source of the file, so it’s not like all files on the internet are bad… It’s just so much easier to spread malware over the internet that there’s much more internet-spreading malware than USB-spreading malware these days.

      I guess if you have any sensitive documents on the USB drive, there’s a risk that the other person will copy them, but that’s obviously not an issue if the drive is brand new.

    2. RagingADHD*

      Is it one-way from your computer to the unknown? Then you have zero risk.

      However, I would not advise reusing the USB in your own computer afterwards, in case of malware.

      1. Wowzers*

        Thank you both for the replies. Long story short, it was a job interview scenario where they asked me to transfer files from their computer to mine, and now I’m wondering if I should wipe my computer. The company was shady.

        1. Generic Name*

          Absolutely do a virus/malware scan. I don’t know if you need to delete your whole computer.

        2. SuprisinglyADHD*

          If your computer runs Windows, you can use the Task Manager to check all the background processes that are running. If there are any that look unfamiliar, you can search online to find out what they’re related to. You can also see if anything is hogging system resources, like memory or CPU. Startup programs are also a good place to check. If there’s nothing suspicious running in those places, and you’re not seeing unwanted behaviors or huge boot/loading times, you’re probably fine.
          If you are particularly concerned, you can check for recently installed programs, and recently created files, and manually delete anything you don’t want.

        3. anon_sighing*

          If you have a Windows, I’d do a safe mode scan (you won’t be able to use the computer during this time).

          In the future, they should definitely just transfer the files through OneDrive, GDocs, Dropbox, or another secure cloud service where they can share a link then restrict access. You wouldn’t be out of line in insisting on this or refusing outright.

  51. fhqwhgads*

    Last week MozartBookNerd asked about experiences with “lazy readers”, which are sometimes called “periscope glasses”. I had just received some as a gift and promised to come back this week.

    Context: I recently had surgery that makes it so lying flat on my back is often the only comfortable position to be in. So these were a thoughtful gift to allow me to be in that position but still watch TV or read, etc.

    I freakin’ love these things. The pair I was given are called Lazy Readers. I’ve worn them over my actual glasses and over contacts. Works fine both ways. A nice thing is the frames block out your peripheral vision at the edges, so it’s very easy to immediately be oriented to the mirrors. No competing brain-eye business where you can partly see normally and partly not. It’s just the view from the glasses. I’ve only used the one pair so I can’t comment on any other brands or if some are better than others or what to look out for, but at least the pair I got, they totally work.

    So to any folks last week who were wondering, those are my thoughts. If anyone else has any suggestions for handy gadgets that are extremely simple and surprisingly effective, shout ’em out.

    1. MozartBookNerd*

      Thank you fhqwhgads, very helpful info that a person can only get first-hand! Delighted to hear that they work so well and flexibly and I’ll order the Lazy Readers brand right away.

      The part about working with both contacts and regular glasses is great. Hard to quarrel with “freakin’ love these things”!

      All good wishes for your recovery from surgery in this and other ways – –