weekend open thread — June 8-9, 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: Within Arm’s Reach, by Ann Napolitano. Told from alternating perspectives, it’s the story of three generations of a large Irish-Catholic family that is forever changed when the matriarch becomes ill and one granddaughter unexpectedly gets pregnant.

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

{ 1,367 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. Jackalope*

    What have you been reading this week? Share what you’ve been reading and give or request recs.

    I’m reading Divine Might by Natalie Haynes. Following up on her book about women in Greek myth (recommended many times here), this is her book about goddesses in Greek myth. I’m really enjoying it; she writes with her usual snarky style but clearly loves the classic authors she’s quoting and is fond of the goddesses she discusses even if she knows they can be dangerous. Would definitely recommend.

    1. Dovasary Balitang*

      I am reading The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo. It’s fun! I like that the reader knows as little as the character does regarding all the politicking and the machinations of the side characters, it creates some solid intrigue. And I think this is a subtle redo of many of the tropes that were poorly executed in the author’s flagship trilogy (IYKYK): a young woman is unexpectedly vaulted into the social, religious, and martial limelight due to magical abilities she’s long suppressed. I find this point of view and narration much less tiresome.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I thought Six of Crows indicated that she recognized where that first trilogy went astray.

      2. Andromeda*

        I have never been able to get into Leigh Bardugo — Ninth House should have been right up my alley, but their protagonists felt very fanficcy in the “world revolves around them while they snark irritatingly at a distance” sense. Maybe this is a sign to give it another go! I like VE Schwab, after all :p

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I quite liked The Language of Thorns, her book of original fairy tales.

      3. MoMac*

        I just finished To Be Loved, a memoir by trauma therapist Frank Anderson. I have mixed feelings about it. Although many of the themes resonated with me, there was an emotional connection missing from the material. Nevertheless, I know a great deal of effort went into writing it so I appreciate the effort.

    2. MP*

      I just finished Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah and was underwhelmed. Working on A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena. Within Arm’s Reach is on my TBR so glad to see it recommended by Alison!

      1. PhyllisB*

        Haven’t read Angel Falls yet, but I just finished Between Sisters this week and really liked it.
        If you’re used to reading her historical fiction novels, her earlier books may not appeal to you. They have ISSUES, but they’re more romance type books. I like both styles, depends on what I’m in the mood for.

        1. MP*

          Good to know thank you! The only other non historical fiction of hers that I’ve read was Night Road and I really enjoyed it. I’ll put Between Sisters on my list.

    3. word nerd*

      Just read Pandora’s Jar this week and very much enjoyed it! And speaking of recs from here, I’m in the middle of Rust in the Root and having fun. Y’all, I am *such* a giant sucker for the trope of hey, I’m just nobody, but oh wow, I have amazing powers! That probably also ties into my love of fairy tales and fairy tale retellings.

      In last week’s thread, someone asked about reading books during certain seasons. I usually don’t time my books that way, but I did read the novella Last Night at the Lobster (about the last day at a closing Red Lobster location told from the manager’s POV) as a toast to my nostalgic feelings about The Red Lobster going bankrupt because of my childhood memories there, even though I’ve been a vegetarian for years now. The story wasn’t anything spectacular, but it perfectly fit what I was looking for.

    4. Jay*

      I’m more or less reading “The Worst Ship In The Fleet” by Skyler Ram.
      It’s not a classic, it’s not really art, but it WAS free with my Amazon Prime membership, so it’s got that going for it. It’s a light, kinda funny, kinda cringy (but, so far in a sort of amusing way) syfy book. It’s short and breezy, no real thinking involved. Which actually makes it perfect for little isolated moments where I have a couple of minutes, maybe a half hour, when nothing interesting is happening and I don’t have access to anything more entertaining. Lunch at my desk, long line at the grocery store. That kind of thing.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        An excellent book for that sort of reading was Rebel With a Clause, which explores what happens when you set off across the nation with a folding table and a sign offering to correct people’s grammar for free.

    5. GoryDetails*

      Continuing with the non-fiction “A Sting in the Tale” by Dave Goulson, an informative and surprisingly entertaining look at bumblebees, from the viewpoint of the author as a very curious child up through his career in international bumblebee conservation efforts. Dry British humor adds to the fascination – I have learned a LOT about bees in general and bumblees in particular.

      “Out of Left Field” by John Newman – a semi-autobiographical graphic novel in which a nerdy teen decides to join his high school baseball team, mainly because he thinks the shortstop is really cute. Looks to be a mix of finding-one’s-self/coming-of-age/friendship/romance.

      On the creepier side: “Harrow Lake” by Kat Ellis, a novel about a teen whose father, a famous director of horror movies, has disturbingly controlling tendencies that she doesn’t seem to realize (at first). When he winds up in the hospital for a while he sends her to her maternal grandmother’s – an odd move, as they’ve had no contact for most of her life. And as the grandmother lives in the little town that inspired (and was the shooting location for) one of her father’s greatest hits, with her mysteriously-disappeared mother playing the tragic lead… yeah, it’s a kind of meta-horror thing. Atmospheric and creepy, though from the outset I just wanted to get the poor kid into therapy.

    6. Peanut Hamper*

      I’ve been reading The He-Man Effect: How American Toymakers Sold You Your Childhood by Brian Brown, and it is…chilling. I’m kind of glad I grew up without the money for the vast majority of that stuff.

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        That looks fascinating! Ordered at the library, thanks! I always wanted Lite Brite and an Easy Bake Oven, and hope this book will convince me I dodged supporting a propaganda machine by not getting them.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          EZ Bake Oven! How I longed for one, and because it meant I had control over my own dessert!

          Seriously, the idea was dazzling. I could make, frost, and eat a cake whenever I wanted! (Obviously those “cakes” were probably gross and when you ran out of the packaged mixes you were up a creek, but that mattered not in my glorious imaginings.)

    7. A Girl Named Fred*

      I just started Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. It’s very sweet and cozy with plenty of nods to D&D/TTRPGs, so I’m looking forward to continuing it!

    8. Teapot Translator*

      Has anyone read Micaiah Johnson’s new book, Those Beyond the Wall? Is it as good as the first one? My library doesn’t have it yet, so I’m waiting.

    9. goddessoftransitory*

      I’ve just started Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, that was recommended here last week, and loving it. I knew I would when I read the introduction and Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard was mentioned–it and her other book, The Sherwood Ring, are two of my most favorite YA novels. Both are historical but in crisp, tart ways that make the subject matter more magical, not less, because the characters are very much intelligent and aware.

      1. Blackstock*

        Ahhh yay so glad you picked it up!! I also adore Elizabeth Marie Pope, I found old library editions of those two years ago and I think The Sherwood Ring is such a well done “story within a story”, plus, ghosts!

        For the Firebird paperback of Tam Lin, Dean did a little note about how this book is one that instead of hanging around and begging for sequels, rushed off and belongs now to the people who love it, which I think is such a lovely image. I will say that while I’ve never gotten around to reading alllll the texts referenced, I did enjoy The Lady’s Not for Burning years ago, and have seen a great production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead (and later discovered Arcadia which is probably my favorite play ever). But it would be fun to have a Tam Lin book club someday where we read the books and poems referenced. In her Secret Country trilogy she uses bits of poetry as spells and I love that so much.

    10. Pieforbreakfast*

      Finished The Librarianist by Patrick deWhitt. It was excellent, funny and engaging. Highly recommend it.

    11. Rara Avis*

      The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon. Historical fiction based on the day book of a midwife in 1790’s Maine.

      1. Fellow Traveller*

        I just stayed up til 2am finishing this boom last night. It was fascinating and very well written.

    12. Donkey Hotey*

      I’ve been striking out lately. Last week, it was Shepard’s Cartographers. This week, it was Charlaine Harris’ Shakespeare’s Landlord.

    13. RedinSC*

      I started a charming cozy mystery series set in the 1920’s New Zealand. The Grace Design Mysteries by Tilly Wallace.

      She’s a seamstress, creating her own dress designs and solving murders along the way.

    14. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I started Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan. Enjoying the writing so far, and the prominence of a character who is a journalist for a predatory tabloid helps a lot with placing the story in ’90s London, I think.

    15. Not A Manager*

      Sipsworth, by Simon van Booy. It’s really a beautiful book. The language describing the inner life of the elderly main character is gorgeous and insightful. I’m lucky to be listening to it as an audiobook. Nearing the end, I think the plot has somewhat gone off the rails, but I loved the first three-quarters. @Alison, I think this is a book that you would enjoy also.

    16. Lemonwhirl*

      This week, I read “Instruments of Darkness” by John Connolly. It’s the 21st book in the Charlie Parker series. I love the characters so much, and Connolly is a great storyteller and also a great sentence writer. The series is dark with a lot of supernatural elements, and yet, I always feel like climbing into one of the books is like putting on my most comfortable sweater.

      Not sure what I’m going to read next – I have several library holds that came in at the same time.

      In audiobooks, I got and started Stephen King’s latest “You Like It Darker”. I don’t enjoy reading short stories, but I do enjoy listening to them.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I’m thinking of picking up the King for Husband–he likes his short stuff.

    17. BadMitten*

      I just finished part 1 of Cahokia Jazz by Francis Spufford, an alternate history murder mystery. In this world it’s 1922 and Native Americans control certain territories, the story takes place in one of those areas, “the Republic of Deseret” in the city of Cahokia. It follows one of the detectives assigned to the homicide case. It’s very well-written and so far quite good. I’ll probably check out some of Spufford’s other works after I finish it.

      1. fallingleavesofnovember*

        I’m waiting for this to come from the library and quite excited about it! Glad to hear you are enjoying it!

    18. AGD*

      Plundered the sci-fi/fantasy section of the nearest public library branch. Raced through Starter Villain by John Scalzi, which was a ton of fun (I needed a quick, entertaining, funny read, and romance is not my thing).

      Now reading Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, which is somewhere between horror and fantasy and really well developed with a fascinating take on morality amid relentless high-stakes danger.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        It’s worth reading the whole trilogy – an excellent story and some really interesting themes.

        1. AGD*

          Good to hear, thanks! The library has both of those too and I’m very likely to go on.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I greatly enjoyed Starter Villain. And I do return to it whenever I’m wondering if a “billionaire” sure does seem to be acting like someone who can’t scrape together enough money for lunch.

        The Scholomance is one of my favorite series. Both my spouse and I found it so high stress to read the first time around–she perfectly captures the feeling of being always on edge poised to be attacked as an unpopular kid in high school. Except the monsters really eat you here.

      3. karriegrace*

        I like that trilogy but absolutely LOVED her fairy tale setting books “Spinning Silver” and “Uprooted”.

        1. AGD*

          I liked Uprooted and adored Spinning Silver! Enthusiastically seconding the recommendation.

    19. 248_Ballerinas*

      Just finished Suspect by Scott Turow. The main character is the granddaughter of Sandy Stern, Turow’s renowned defense lawyer character. Sadly, the novel is not as good as Turow’s earlier novels. There are also some details given about a minor character that differ from what was originally written. That kind of thing bothers me, especially with such a good writer.

    20. Trixie Belden was my hero*

      You Like it Darker by Stephen King.
      A collection of 12 short stories that was released this week.
      I’ve always thought his short stories were vastly superior to his other horror novels (I like them too). His ability to create characters that are so compelling and facing real world circumstances (It’s not all about killing the monsters, regular people are the monsters) is amazing. Growing up in a small backward town like the ones he writes about, I can relate to his characters and the life issues they face.
      I’ve been reading him all my life, since I was a young teen, I think I started with the Shining. I was an advanced reader and quickly went thru the children’s sections (as you can tell by my name) My mother was an avid reader and we visited the library every week during the summer. I’m so lucky that we didn’t have the book banning jerks we have today back in the 70’s. Mom was usually strict but I was allowed to check out whatever I wanted and the librarians were encouraging.
      The only difference is that today I will not be reading in the pool and getting a weird sunburn.
      This will also be my small (BIG) Joy this week.

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        I read the first 10 pages of You Like it Darker online and can’t wait for it to arrive. I never read him until now – too cautious about frightening books. But then I saw & followed his remarkable Twitter posts and the read the book Fairy Tale, which turned me around. I am just starting Lisey’s Story, which a friend described as the biggest love story I will ever read, and the darkest. Okay, helmet ready.

        1. Trixie Belden was my hero*

          Besides his short stories, some books that weren’t too “monstery” and better than the movies are The Green Mile, Misery, Carrie, The Shining and The Stand.

          The movie Shawshank Redemption is great and the novella it is based on is in the collection called Different Seasons.
          You may want to avoid Pet Cemetery, It, Gerald’s Game and Cujo until you get used to him.

          1. Clisby*

            OMG, the movie version of Carrie is one of the very few cases where I think the movie eclipsed the novel. Stephen King had a great story, which he told in a terribly written book, and Brian de Palma got it to where it should be.

          2. Nervous Nellie*

            Yeah, I saw Green Mile and Shawshank, and they both helped cement the idea that he’s not just a horror writer. And the PEN award, and National Medal of Arts, they helped me see him more clearly. He’s a national treasure, even if may need to keep this book in the freezer, and read only in daytime.

            1. word nerd*

              As a non-horror fan, one of my favorite King books is On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. For some reason, I enjoy books about writing even though I don’t write myself–I enjoy the insights into an author’s writing process and how books are written more generally.

              1. goddessoftransitory*

                If you like that one, also check out Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. It’s a terrific book about writing that makes you want to do it yourself while being hilariously funny–she tells a story about trying to overcome jealousy about a friend who was doing really well and getting a lot of attention, and not getting over it until another friend sent her a poem entitled “The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered.”

            2. Trixie Belden was my hero*

              Well, I’m almost finished. Haven’t had a book binge like that in a long time. It was spectacular.

              Love the idea of keeping the book in the freezer. I used to have a rule not to read his books at night. That’s why I used to read him in the pool. I broke that rule last night, it was after midnight when I stopped. I still have the 2 longest stories to finish.

              Other great movies, Stand By Me and the Mist. Both from short stories/novellas.

              I really enjoyed On Writing too.

          3. UKDancer*

            I definitely prefer his short stories. I think he writes better when he has a word limit and his long books have never engaged me and I have tried.

            He wrote some brilliant short stories though.

    21. chocolate muffins*

      The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. I am really enjoying how romance lets me turn my brain off for a bit and this was an excellent book for that (a thing I mean sincerely to be a positive thing about it, not a passive aggressive critique of this book specifically or romance in general). Though, given some of the writing earlier in the book, I was surprised at the fade-to-black parts later on that made it less steamy than I was expecting.

    22. RussianInTexas*

      I am alternating.
      The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 – the VERY detailed, VERY long book about, well, what’s in the title. I read one section and then switch to something lighter, because this book is borderline too academic for me.
      However, I learned a new word from this book! Irredentism.
      The current distraction is The Angsana Tree Mystery (Su Lin Series Book 8) by Ovidia Yu. The series of mysteries set in Singapore during it being the British colony. Someone here recommended the series and it’s really good.

    23. Nervous Nellie*

      I’m reading Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine. It’s a loopy, delightful story of a young woman, who while mired in a series of dead end jobs, reads Treasure Island (RL Stevenson) and decides it is cosmically intended for her, and that she must follow its lessons to improve her life. It’s fast & hilarious, and the suddenly dark & surprising. It’s one from the Europa Editions series that gave us the most perfect Cooking With Fernet Branca by David Hamilton-Paterson, which I will admit I felt the same self-improvement obsession/inspiration with. Highly recommended.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        This A) sounds great and B) is inspiring me to read the original novel.

        1. Nervous Nellie*

          Me too! I never read the Stevenson book as a kid. I’ve ordered it at the library. Levine’s main character mentions specific moments in the book that she feels have special lessons for her – it will be fun to pick them out!

      2. Autumn*

        Oh wow, I haven’t thought of Cooking With Fernet Branca in ages! What a hoot that book is. I love ol’ James H-P, wish he were a bit more prolific, but what he has given us is so perfect I feel guilty about complaining. I’ll give Treasure Island!!! a try!

    24. BikeWalkBarb*

      I’m reading Widowland by E. J. Carey, which I think was one of Allison’s recommendations. Alternate history in which England struck an alliance with Nazi Germany, the US didn’t enter the war, and women are assigned to castes with the beautiful ones expected to produce babies. It’s not The Handmaid’s Tale redone, although of course you’ll be reminded of that. The main character’s job is to edit all the spunk and independent female thinking out of classic literature so you might say it’s a horror story for us booklovers (although not written as horror). Definitely recommend this one.

      Next on my list: City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. I finished his Foundryside trilogy and wanted to read more of his writing. This is the first in another trilogy. I’m always happy when a writer creates a world I can live in for quite a while, although a brilliant standalone is satisfying too.

      Going back to books that have stayed with me in memory, if someone hasn’t read The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and its sequels by Meg Alison, these are *brilliant* and you must read them if post-apocalyptic feminist writing is your bag (and if it is, you’ve likely already read them).

      An author recommendation: Sarah Gailey. They’ve written horror, alternate history (River of Teeth with hippos raised as transportation and food animals, based on a real idea to import them into the southern US), and more. Wonderful.

      Every weekend I add to my library wish list thanks to all of you. I’m far from retirement but have no worries about what I’ll do with all that time!

    25. Samwise*

      Vivian Goldman, Revenge of the She-Punks:
      A Feminist Music History from Poly Styrene to Pussy Riot.

      Goldman’s style is a bit overwrought, but the book is interesting and enjoyable, and has great playlists. Easy to pick up and put down (good for when you don’t have all afternoon to sit and read). She is a musician, songwriter, journalist, and author. “Launderette” is her most anthologized song.

    26. Anon 5775*

      I enjoyed “the unmaking of June Farrow” by Adrienne Young. a bit of time travel, but rest of the world is our world, and great characters and a twisty plot.

    27. GoryDetails*

      Was pleasantly surprised by this one:

      The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh – a psychological thriller featuring a woman whose happy marriage may be threatened by secrets from her past. Lots of use of alternate viewpoints and late-revelations of back-stories – all rather typical of the genre, but this one not only has some interesting twists on the usual type of secrets (and the motives behind hiding things), but ends up considerably better than most such works tend to do. Kind of a cozy thriller?

    28. anxiousGrad*

      I’m reading If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. It’s really beautiful, but it’s depressing to see how little the criminal (in)justice system has changed in the last 50 years.

    29. Don’t make me come over there*

      Ann Patchett has always been kind of hit or miss for me, but I’m really enjoying Bel Canto.

    30. Ali + Nino*

      I just finished Wartime Lies by Louis Begley. I picked it up after hearing that Stanley Kubrick had begun working on a film based on the novel, to be called Aryan Papers, but died before he could complete it (maybe even start filming). A fast and compelling read, though I felt it ended somewhat abruptly, and of course the subject matter is sad and disturbing.

      Now I’ve started Everyone on This Train is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson. At first I didn’t like the narrator, and the whole meta prelude seemed like it was trying too hard to be clever, but now I’m enjoying it. I also noticed, just based on names, that except for one indigenous character, so far every character seems to be white. I don’t like when authors try to shove in diversity in an obvious and unnecessary way but I’m a little disappointed.

    31. Bluebell Brenham*

      I read Good material by Dolly Alderton this week and was underwhelmed despite all the praise that I heard from other folks. Paul Scheer’s Joyful Recollections of Trauma was a real mix of heartbreaking and funny. I wished there was a little bit more about the start of his podcast How Did This Get Made? Also, First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston was very twisty and fun.

    32. carcinization*

      I’m very slowly reading Holland’s Floating Worlds, not all that interested in it but don’t feel like starting a new book for whatever reason. Maybe it will “get good?”

    33. Nightengale*

      I just got this! I was sold on the fact that she used the spelling Athene on the back cover which is my preferred spelling. I read a lot of myths as a kid and then my college worshipped Athena so I am hoping to tickle that dormant special interest.

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

      I saw a Monarch butterfly for two days in a row! Apparently, they only eat milkweed (according to some public service announcement I heard, urging people to plant some), so there must be some milkweed around my work.

      1. RedinSC*

        This reminded me, I was out and about an there was an old German Sheppard dog chasing a monarch. It was just the most adorable thing.

      2. MCL*

        The caterpillars only eat milkweed. The butterflies will eat pretty much anything that has lots of nectar (which includes milkweed flowers but also lots of other flowers). So it’s important to have milkweed around to support the caterpillars and a variety of other plants that bloom throughout the season to support the adult butterflies. Variety is good!

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My mom has been looking for something special to do with her fancy laser engraving machine, like family special, and this week she found a handwritten recipe card given to her by my grandma, for HER mom’s (my great-grandma’s) “chocolate fudge picnic cake.” So my mom is going to scan the card and laser my great-grandma’s recipe in my grandma’s handwriting onto a decorative cutting board for me and my siblings.

      Plus she sent me a picture of the card, and I actually made the cake tonight and it is EXCELLENT. (I am sending most of it with my husband to his gaming group tomorrow.)

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I have seen this kind of thing done before and it is just the most amazing thing ever! What a wonderful idea!

        (Also, any chance you could post that recipe? You had me at “chocolate”. But I get it if you don’t.)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Happy to share!! It’s a literal one pan recipe, not counting your measuring utensils, and no turning out or need for extra frosting, you just take your whole pan full of cake to your picnic and let people scoop some out. I didn’t put the nuts on mine because of allergy issues among the group, but my mom says it’s really good with all kinds of different baking chips, mint or white chocolate or toffee or whatever, to give it different looks and flavor profiles.

          Preheat your oven to 350. Layer directly into a 8″ or 9″ cake pan:
          1/3 cup vegetable oil
          2 packets liquid chocolate*
          1 egg
          1 and 1/4 cup Wondra flour**
          1/2 tsp each baking soda and salt
          1/2 tsp vanilla
          3/4 cup water

          Scrape and stir together for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle across the top 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans). Bake for 30 minutes.

          *modern substitute: 6 tbsp cocoa powder and 2 tbsp oil
          **Substitutes for this particular flour are available online, mostly involving corn starch, but I didn’t have any corn starch either so I did just actually get the real Wondra brand stuff at my grocery store, and it’s somehow pre-cooked so that it thickens but doesn’t clump when you add it to liquid? And it really did mix into this particular recipe better than I think AP flour would’ve done as a result.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            to clarify the first footnote: 6T/2T is the sub for the whole 2 packets of liquid chocolate. It’s 3T/1T per packet. :)

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Yuuuum. I just made a Mexican chocolate cake for Husband’s birthday tomorrow–bring on the cakes!

      3. BikeWalkBarb*

        Oh my gosh, this is wonderful. I have my mom’s recipe box. I’d been planning to go through, select the favorites I remember, and scan them to create a Mom’s Cookbook for my siblings. This would be another option.

        And thanks for posting the recipe!

      4. allathian*

        That’s so cool! My son picked laser engraving as an elective next year, we’ll see what he comes up with next. He’s done woodworking this year and made a coffee table and a cutting board, the latter out of pine and mahogany. He got an A in that class. Well earned because he was the only person in the class who completed one project, let alone two.

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      My spider plant has gone from two babies a few months ago to over twelve! Yay!!!

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Pups! Has it blossomed as well? The one at our work is just starry with tiny flowers.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          Not yet! But if not this summer, maybe next year? It’s still kind of young. (I have a north-facing apartment, so it doesn’t get nearly as much light as it would like.)

    4. GoryDetails*

      Had a lovely fly-by from a great blue heron today; I always enjoy seeing them.

      Also spotted some baby bunnies in my yard – micro-rabbits, as I think of them. The yard’s overgrown rather badly, so it’s great habitat for the buns, and while I do have to fence off my vegetables-in-containers to keep them safe, I still rather like seeing the cute little fluffs hopping about.

    5. goddessoftransitory*

      It’s finally warming up here but not yet roasting hot! That only lasts about a week so I’m trying to enjoy it.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I visited Seattle in late June before I moved in August, and the foul temptress ensnared me with her tease of beautiful weather. Then I learned the truth of September to May. :) but oh, the summers made up for a lot for a long time. (I moved back to the Midwest in 2012, after almost 11 years in the Emerald City.)

        1. Reluctant Mezzo*

          I lived in the Willamette Valley for four years, and the four weeks every year when you never see the sun really got to me. Moved back to the eastern side of the Cascades where the sun actually shows up in the winter, too. Ok, we also got a late frost (23 F that night) which killed all the lilacs, but at 4200 feet frost is gonna happen whenever it feels like.

    6. Donkey Hotey*

      First day recording the script I wrote! If all goes well, I’ll launch an audio drama podcast this fall!

    7. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      This morning I saw two regal ibis strolling around in a leafy suburb; it seems strange to see living relatives of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs just walking about! Naturally as this is Australia, they are known as ‘bin chickens’ because of their foraging habits.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I used to see snowy egrets on the San Lorenzo River mud flats in Santa Cruz. They were so pretty. I never got close enough to see if they were assholes, though.

        “Bin chickens” is hilarious!

    8. BellaStella*

      Seeing friends made me happy and today will do a volunteer thing related to local farm animals!

    9. AGD*

      One of my students is about to win a major award. She does not know this and I’m not allowed to tell her in advance, but I’m definitely standing here waiting to release the metaphorical confetti as soon as the news is public. She’s so deserving of this honor!

    10. chocolate muffins*

      Looking forward to a European trip that my family and I are about to take! Leaving later today, getting back next weekend. Super necessary chance to recharge and get to hang out together.

    11. Choggy*

      I have finally figured out what flowers attract hummingbirds and it’s working! I purchased Cuphea and a specific type of (annual) Salvia and now see hummingbirds feed on them at least a few times a week. My condo complex does not allow feeders, so I’m glad to have found a natural way to feed them.

    12. Southern Girl*

      Our dog was hit by a truck a week ago ( gate left open), fractured her leg. Joyful that she is recovering very well after surgery.

    13. 248_Ballerinas*

      I went to a First Friday event last night and met a nationally known creator whose work I admire. I was thrilled.

    14. Dancing Otter*

      I graduated from physical therapy on Monday, exactly four months after knee replacement. I’m walking without a cane for the first time in over twenty years.

      1. Can't Sit Still*

        Woo hoo! Congratulations! I have heard the post-knee replacement PT is both painful and worth it when you stick it out.

    15. Can't Sit Still*

      My condo complex has pollinator friendly landscaping, so I’ve been seeing a LOT of butterflies lately. Yesterday, I saw a perfect Western tiger swallowtail (I had to look it up, we called them yellow butterflies when I was growing up.)

    16. Past Lurker*

      Numerous fireflies in the trees outside my bedroom window every night this time of year. The trees look like they have flickering stars on the leaves!

    17. Elizabeth West*

      This was last week, but I went out to the parking lot to look in the car for my lost debit card (that’s a saga in itself, lol) and saw a raven sitting on the top of a nearby utility pole! A RAVEN! I’ve never seen one except at the Tower of London, and those birds are not exactly wild, as they have a little house to live in and a Beefeater takes care of them.

      I knew there were crows around because I can hear them, but not ravens. I could tell it wasn’t a crow because it was bigger and it croaked instead of cawing. Too bad I didn’t have my phone with me. I’ll make sure to take it with me when I go outside so I can snap a pic if it comes back.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Awesome raven sighting! I’ve often spotted a particularly large crow and wondered if it might be a raven, but when I see an actual raven the difference is quite dramatic.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I know! The ones I saw at the Tower weren’t making any noise, and it was years and years ago. This one was huge. I wish I’d had my phone, drat it.

          Usually all I see are pigeons and seagulls. I’ve seen geese near Stop and Shop. Apparently, there are urban turkeys here too.

    18. Don’t make me come over there*

      There is a super friendly and affectionate calico cat a couple blocks away who runs up to meet me on my walks sometimes. Makes my day!

    19. Rrrach*

      Finally getting over to the garden centre after a busy few weeks, then spending a few happy hours listening to history podcasts while tidying up the garden and getting some lovely plants planted.

    20. carcinization*

      I made a coconut tres leches cake as we were going over to our friends’ house for dinner (multiple friends), and it turned out well. I’ve made it twice before but both times were probably over 10 years ago so I wasn’t sure how it’d turn out… our household is only two people and the cake doesn’t keep as long as most do so that’s why I don’t make it that often. My friend was impressed by the texture of the whipped cream topping and I was like, “yeah, whipped it myself from a carton of heavy cream, that’s why it’s like that!”

  3. MP*

    I’m getting a new next door neighbor, any recommendations on simple ways to introduce ourselves/welcome her?

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Don’t overthink it! I see people go down rabbit holes of “food but what if they’re allergic, flowers but what if they don’t like flowers” and people care much more about the friendliness. Any banana bread or plant is an embodiment of the friendliness.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Adding: There’s a big difference between the contexts “Person I don’t know at all offers me a gift of homemade rhubarb jam” and “Person I have known for years, during which I have consistently not liked rhubarb jam, always forgets that when it’s time to think of a birthday present.” In the first I focus mostly on the intent–you don’t know me, so it’s a dice roll whether the small offering is something I will love, something I will be mildly pleased by, or not something I actually like. In the second, your ignoring everything you know about me over and over becomes a much bigger part of my emotional response.

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

      I think someone recommended in a related thread (what to leave behind for the new people who just bought your house) giving the newbies a list of local businesses, restaurants, doctors, veterinarians, contractors, etc. that you have used and liked so that they have some resources to try out. Maybe that?

    3. Shutterdoula*

      Our neighbor just brought over an index card with their names & number and things like what day of the week garbage was picked up, best local grocery store, a favorite restaurant of theirs, and the non-emergency number for the local police. Probably a couple other things, too, but I don’t remember. And an invitation to reach out if we needed any other recommendations, which we did, multiple times.
      That was really helpful! Eight years later and it’s still on our corkboard in the kitchen.

    4. KKR*

      One of my closest friends introduced herself by making me a loaf of banana bread and a little note. It doesn’t have to be a lot.

    5. BikeWalkBarb*

      We moved into our neighborhood about 3-1/2 years ago. First place I’ve ever moved to that neighbors walked over, knocked on the door, and introduced themselves. VERY simple and yet had never happened before! It made us feel so, so welcome, and we’ve gotten to know the names of most of the neighbors since then.

      Another neighbor sent her daughter over with a couple of bags of Schwann’s frozen cookie dough and a half-size cookie sheet. That’s an incredibly handy cookie sheet size I didn’t already own and I could bake cookies before I had any of our stuff unpacked. (She sent her daughter because she herself isn’t mobile enough to walk over; the cookie package came with an invitation to come over and introduce ourselves, which we of course did.)

    6. Donkey Hotey*

      Most recent neighbors: a growler to the local small business brew pub and a gift card.

    7. Liminality*

      Maybe a couple extension cords, with a bow? And a note with your contact info and something like “Extending our warmest greetings”?
      I know I’ve always wished for more extension cords during a relocation.

    8. Maleficent2026*

      The card with your contact information and the information for local businesses is really helpful. Food is nice, but I’d go with store bought, until you get to know each other better. I’ve read/seen/heard way too many horror stories about people’s kitchens and/or cleaning habits to ever be comfortable eating something homemade from someone I don’t know.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        With my most recent new next door neighbor (the fourth in 16 years), I also asked him if he would be our shoveling partner. That is, we’ll shovel his sidewalk when he’s out of town and vice versa.

        And after checking his car for bumper stickers, I told him how to update his voter registration and where our polling place is.

  4. 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 just started Final Fantasy 9; I missed that one in my early gaming days and so am now coming back to it. I’ve been interested in playing something new but not a lot of new stuff for the Switch at the moment and I’m not crazy about playing on my laptop so I’m holding on for now.

    1. Dovasary Balitang*

      I am almost done the TTYD remake (really enjoyed it!) and am mostly just trying not to vibrate out of observable reality while I wait for full news on Dragon Age: Whatever It’s Called Now.

    2. Jay*

      I finally broke down and bought Rouge Trader.
      And I’m loving it!
      It connected with me in a way that Baldurs Gate III just…..didn’t.

    3. A Girl Named Fred*

      I “gave in” and bought V Rising to play with my boyfriend. I say “gave in” because I initially held off when our friend group was playing during the beta – I’m not typically a fan of games where I have to do a certain amount of relatively difficult combat in order to progress (especially to unlock aesthetic crafting recipes, aka base building, aka my favorite part of those types of games lol). But it turns out that unbeknownst to me our friends had set the game mode to “Brutal” so I was only seeing “difficulty turned up to 11” – BF and I are playing on Relaxed, which has been good so far. I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with it, but I’m enjoying it for now!

      I’m also doing a little FFXIV in the background – I don’t want to burn myself out right before Dawntrail releases later this month, but I also don’t want to be Completely Rusty when it releases lol. So we’ll see how that goes!

    4. Dittany*

      I’ve been playing the Hades 2 early access. Even incomplete, it’s pretty spectacular.

      1. JPalmer*

        Same, I started it last week and binged it all this week. I’ll prob step back and wait for more to come out before burning myself out on it before it’s done.

  5. Heartbroken*

    My sibling died unexpectedly today. No will, but has some assets such as a house and car. I’m next of kin and will need to handle everything. An additional complication is that I’m in another state. I would really appreciate advice from people who have been in this situation on how you were able to manage things long distance, what needs to be done in person, and anything ypu think would be helpful to know as far as next practical steps. Thank you.

    1. Dumpster Fire*

      I have no wisdom for you, but much sympathy. So very sorry for your loss, and hope you allow yourself time and space to grieve while you’re doing what needs to be done.

    2. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      I am sorry about your sibling. I haven’t dealt with this situation, but my sister is dealing with the estate of a person who also died intestate (without a will). I know she has to deal with the county to get death certificates that are needed for a lot of the cleanup stuff (notifying credit cards and bank accounts, etc.) Also, different states have different laws about how an intestate death is handled – they can define next of kin differently and divide the assets up among siblings, parents, nieces, nephews, etc. in different ways.

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

        Oh yeah, death certificates are super important. The funeral director for my dad told me to pay for 20 or 30 of them, and he was right — everyone wanted one. You’ll also need a whole bunch of copies of the form that names you executor once that happens. Those two documents will help you deal with things like insurance companies, banks, etc.

        1. Just a name*

          Some places only need copies of the death certificate. Others will want originals. Life insurance required an original. The bank only needed to see the original but did not keep it. In Ohio, original death certificates are $25 each, so the funeral director recommended 2 originals and 6 copies. I was lucky that my sister had transfer on death for her car and bank account.

        2. Clisby*

          Yes, my husband and I recently met with a lawyer to update our wills, and she said she always recommends getting at least 20 death certificates. (We have very simple wills, and most of our estate won’t be subject to probate anyway, but you still need death certificates for life insurance, retirement accounts, etc.)

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

      I am so very sorry for your loss and that you’re dealing with these difficulties on top of losing your sibling.

      Please make sure you take some time to breathe, eat, drink, bathe as well. Maybe call some close friends too? The tasks you’re worried about right now will still be there later, so it’s okay to take them slowly.

      My friend was dealing with something like this. She wound up hiring a lawyer who was local to where her dead sibling lived, someone who could tell her about the state laws that were in play as well as the federal laws. A local lawyer should be able to talk you through how you get yourself named executor in your sibling’s state and give you a roadmap about what may need to be done (like opening an estate bank account out of which to pay any bills that come in for your sibling and into which to put in any last payments that come in for your sibling, etc). You could also think about hiring a local accountant to deal with your sibling’s last tax returns.

      I lived in a neighboring state when my dad died, and I often found it useful to go to his state to deal with things in person, but I think it is possible to subcontract most things that need to be done if you’re willing to pay a fair bit for lawyers, accountants, realtors, estate auctioneers, etc. I arranged to sell my dad’s house almost 100% via phone/e-mail during covid, so it is indeed possible.

      In my case also found the funeral director to be a good source of advice.

      Sending you a big hug.

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

        Also, if you do go to your sibling’s state, see if you can bring a friend or family member whom you get along with well as moral support. It can feel really lonely doing all of this stuff yourself. I would have loved to have had a buddy with me, even if all they did was sit and chat with me while I was doing stuff.

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

        P.S. If your sibling was on Social Security, you will have to call the Social Security Administration to let them know to stop sending money. I believe when my dad died, they said it was okay to keep the check for the month he died in, but I’d double check that.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          If your sibling had any children under 18, they are eligible for those payments as well.

        2. ECHM*

          At least in Michigan, when the funeral home files the death certificate, it notifies Social Security electronically. You might want to follow up, but there’s no rush.

          1. Esprit de l'escalier*

            That was the case in my state too — the funeral director immediately notified Social Security.

            The lawyer said to contact any entities that were sending annuities or other payments as soon as possible, as the estate will have to pay back anything that comes in, I assume starting in July. Also, once you’re officially the executor, work with your sibling’s bank and/or credit card companies to track down autopays. Some will need to continue until the house is sold, but other services can be stopped as soon as you’re able to get hold of them.

            In my experience most entities were satisfied with either a photocopy or a scan of the death certificate, and you can always purchase additional ones later, so I wouldn’t go overboard unless they’re really inexpensive in your sibling’s locality.

            My condolences to you on losing your sibling. I hope there are some supportive people in your life who can help you cope.

    4. Jay*

      I’m sorry for your pain and loss.
      I’ve never lost a sibling, thank goodness, but I’ve witnessed what the older members of my family have gone through too many times in the last few years.
      -The biggest takeaway is not to let people get to you.
      You can run into relatives and old family friends who are blinded by their own pain and loss and just lash out. It can be horrible and I know a couple of people in my family who will never speak again.
      -There are terrible people out there who make their living taking advantage of grieving families. Funeral homes that will try to get devastated children and grand children to bankrupt themselves on ridiculously ornate funerals that their departed loved ones would never have wanted. Not all funeral homes are bad, but, understand this happens a lot.
      -Even worse than that are what I’ve always heard referred to as “Vulture Realtors”. Realtors who target exhausted, grieving families who just want it all to be over and will “offer” to take the loved one’s house, car, whatever is really valuable, off of your hands quickly, easily, with no fuss and very little paperwork. For what always turns out to be a tiny fraction of their value. This happened with the grandparents on both sides of my family. The biggest part of the inheritances they worked all their lives to leave their children ended up going to some shady company.

    5. Jean (just Jean)*

      Condolences! First find someone in your own local area to keep you company if you need that, or bring you some food, or just sit with you if you need moral support. Second, find people who were close to your sibling (neighbors, friends, coworkers, members of a club, congregation or other group…?) for moral and logistical support. Can you get into your sibling’s personal papers, or cell phone, or email records?

      I also wonder if the web site getyoursh*ttogether (dot) org would be helpful. The site was developed after its creator was suddenly widowed with two children and without any helpful, completed-in-advance-of-need paperwork. She has checklists for tasks to be done after someone dies. Spouses and siblings are not the same, but some of the post-death tasks are the same: close down accounts with vendors, service providers, utilities, and credit cards; tie up loose ends with checking, savings, and retirement or brokerage accounts (this may involve tracking down a designated beneficiary, or figuring out what to do if there’s no beneficiary listed); ditto with any long-term loan repayment plans.

      If there were people (individuals, a club, a congregation, coworkers) in your sibling’s life, would it help you to reach out to them? Did your sibling have a medical doctor, realtor, mechanic, or any other type of service provider? Can you contact a lawyer in your sibling’s state, or maybe a state department of ….aging, or the recorder of deeds office (I think that’s where wills get registered in my state) for guidance? Was your sibling a member of some sort of legal service or group that might help you with basic legal advice?

      I’m sorry for your loss and also sorry for the administrative challenge you’re now facing. As awful as it must feel, you’re not the first person suddenly obliged to settle someone else’s financial & legal affairs. Supportive agencies and organizations exist to help people when this happens. Maybe I’m just repeating Mr. Rogers’ advice to “look for the helpers.”

      Take care of yourself. Find ongoing moral support (or a therapist, if necessary). And please ignore any or all of my advice if it is not helpful.

    6. Jean (just Jean)*

      (Earlier reply may have disappeared. Summary is below.)
      I’m so sorry for your loss. Others have already echoed many of my suggestions. Take good care of yourself during this difficult time. Find helpful friends local to you and (if possible) local to your sibling. This feels overwhelming but most things can wait a few days or longer, you’re not the first person to have to resolve matters after someone dies suddenly, and there are people in businesses and state offices who have seen this situation before and will be able to help you.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        P.S. In response to Jay’s comments: It’s not mandatory to spend a fortune on a funeral, casket, etc., so don’t feel obliged to agree just because the funeral home makes suggestions. Plain, unvarnished pine coffins are available for Jewish funerals; I’m sure they can also be found for non-Jewish families. Cremation is another possibility. Honor your sibling however you feel is best, but please don’t let yourself be talked into having an elaborate funeral that nobody can afford.

        1. WellRed*

          I’d like to add my own in response to Jays comments: I’ve found the funeral homes and directors caring and sympathetic each time. Agree to do what’s best to honor sibling.

    7. ronda*

      you should hire a probate attorney in your brother’s state. They will know what needs to be done.
      you can also hire a professional executor. many people ask a family member to be the executor, but if you want someone else to do it, you can hire someone.

      I haven’t done these 2 but they sound like they might be helpful for you.

      I have been involved with getting my mothers financial accounts distributed (my sister was executor)
      Financial assets & life insurance often have beneficiaries listed. these do not need to go thru the estate, the financial institution will pay them out to the beneficiaries with a death certificate. If he was employed, his employer may have included life insurance and retirement accounts in his benefits. Their HR department can probably help with them. retirement accounts have special rules about how they are taxed, so look at that first before removing money from a retirement account. (the financial institution will be able to give you an overview of this, but won’t provide tax advice)

      I did read that the executor can get credit reports from all 3 credit agencies for the deceased, this will help with finding any credit cards to cancel and mortgage info. his estate will have to pay his debts, but you do not need to pay them.

      going thru any papers in his house may help you find financial info you need. The executor can also have his mail forwarded to them by going to the post office and filing for it.

      you may not find all needed financial information to get all his assets distributed. Eventually unclaimed assets are turned over to the state. So check the unclaimed property website for years after to see if any property shows up that you can claim. (check what info you will need to file the claim, so you know what to keep available after estate is settled)

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Double check papers for life insurance policies. When my dad passed we found six different ones, some decades old.

        1. Dancing Otter*

          Also check the unclaimed property site for your state.
          I had an insurance company cash out my (paid up) life insurance policy to the state because they didn’t process my change of address before the forwarding order expired. It was annoying, because I couldn’t reinstate the policy, or replace it at a remotely comparable rate, but “found money” at least.
          My cousin found several thousand in her deceased parents’ names a decade after they died. She had to get new copies of their death certificates, among other documentation to validate her claim as successor. Easier to claim now than after the estate is settled.

    8. Treeline*

      Condolences for your loss—you’re strong for stepping up. Good advice from others here. My suggestion isn’t a priority, but maybe stop utilities/recurring payment/newspapers. Any pets need boarding, arrange for that.

      1. Anon this minute*

        In line with the pet advice, if your sibling had any houseplants that need care, see if a neighbor or someone can get into the house and re-home them.

    9. RagingADHD*

      Oh, I’m so sorry.

      I have administered an estate from out of state. I had a local attorney to help with the initial paperwork, made a couple of trips to deal with the bank account, and sort through personal property, hired an estate sale company to clear the house and sell or dispose of the things that were not sentimental, and did the rest of the paperwork, bill payment, and taxes from home. My CPA is qualified in both states, so he was able to help me with the state tax as well as the IRS.

      I didn’t have to deal with selling a house. You should probably get someone local to keep an eye on it and get Ring cameras if it’s going to sit empty for a while.

      Again, my condolences. The administration process is fairly slow. Take your time.

    10. Undine Spragg*

      I agree hiring a local lawyer is valuable. Banks mostly can be dealt with remotely— they may want you to come in, but usually you can do that at the branch near to you. A lot of places now have portals where you can upload copies of the death certificate and so on.

      The important things to do immediately are secure his property and notify any banks or other institutions about his death. You can often notify verbally over the phone if you have his ssn or an account number, and they have a database to check against. It’s important to do this for loans and credit cards, because they stop accruing interest and they don’t send bills. Not quite sure how it works for a mortgage. You don’t need a death certificate or official standing to do this step.

      The house and car are trickier, making sure they will be safe.

      The third thing is to get the mail forwarded. This will help you see any other bills and so on.

      My father recently died about a month before I was going on an extended vacation, and I asked the lawyer if I could still go on vacation, and the things above were the three things he said I had to do: notify banks, secure his property, forward his mail.

      Getting death certificates may be tricky if you don’t order them through the funeral home or whoever is handling the body. Thst depends entirely on county rules, but in my case, my sister who was living locally and who signed the paperwork for the body had to go in in person,

    11. chocolate muffins*

      I have no wisdom on the actual question you asked but am so sorry to hear this. Sending good thoughts to you and your family.

    12. Warrant Officer Georgiana Breakspear-Goldfinch*

      No advice, but I’m very sorry for your loss. Ask for all the help you can get. If throwing money at a problem solves the problem, please do that. Be really gentle on your executive function: order food instead of dealing with groceries and cooking, for example.

    13. Healthcare Worker*

      I’m so very sorry for your loss. In selecting an attorney, remember you get what you pay for. When my father-in-law died, we used a basic attorney who assured us they could do everything. Later on we had to pay an attorney who specializes in estate planning to reopen the estate. We were penny wise and pound foolish, much to my chagrin.

    14. been there*

      I am so sorry for the loss of your sibling.

      My biggest piece of advice is to hire a probate or estate attorney in the state of your sibling’s residence. Most states have very specific laws when someone dies intestate (without a will or trust). Not knowing your family situation, doing this may also protect you. And your sibling’s estate assets would pay the legal fees, not you.

      You have gotten a lot of good advice so far. I personally think you can get away with 5-10 copies of the death certificate, but that will depend on the complexity of your sibling’s situation. I have dealt with the estates of two family members previously and I’m in the process of dealing with my husband’s, who passed away in February. So far, the only original I had to submit was for one of his life insurance policies. Everyone else I have dealt with so far has been okay with a scanned upload to a website or a faxed copy or, if I’m in person, I give them the original to scan and I get it back.

      Life insurance and pensions sometimes have time limits for beneficiary claims, so look at those. And for retirement accounts, the IRS has time limits for converting the account to the beneficiary/ies. I would probably also prioritize looking at non-essential recurring payments and stop those so you can stop the drain on estate assets- though in some cases, you may need a death certificate and possibly a court document showing that you are the executor- all good reasons to get in touch with an attorney.

    15. Pocket Mouse*

      The book The Executor’s Guide by NOLO is extremely helpful and thorough, I would recommend getting it ASAP. Almost everything can be done remotely, especially if you are able to hire an attorney in your brother’s state to assist. The main thing you’ll need to be in person for are securing/moving his belongings, and transferring the car (maybe also the house?) to your name as executor so you can sell or legally use it. Forward his mail to yourself right now, or at least several days before you arrive in his state to secure his property. My advice having assisted a loved one in a similar situation: get his phone and other devices, unlock them if you can, and do not cancel his phone service for another couple months at least. Insight into who is trying to contact him, as well as having the device for 2FA if you otherwise have access to some accounts, is really helpful. Similarly, don’t close his credit cards yet – you may be able to get rebates on some things (like turning a year-long subscription pro-rated). When you’re going through his things, take anything handwritten and all paperwork that looks remotely administrative with you, and later set aside time to make a list of all accounts/areas to address and potential passwords. Better yet, enlist a super-organized friend to join you to collect those papers and take on a chunk of that work.

      In general, line up some people to support you, hydrate, and take the full executor’s fee that you’re entitled to. It’s unlikely to be a short process, and takes a lot of mental and emotional resources as well as time and labor. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.

      1. Pocket Mouse*

        And I’m so sorry I read your post as mentioning a brother rather than sibling! That must have stuck in my mind from something I read earlier.

    16. Snooks*

      So sorry for your loss. I have dealt with an estate in a different state. You need to get death certificates ASAP either through the funeral home or the state. You will need a lawyer.

    17. StrayMom*

      I’m so very sorry for your loss-we lost my brother unexpectedly too. If your sibling died intestate, as mine did, in my State (NY) you’d have to be appointed administrator and so you’d be best served by hiring an attorney to file the paperwork work. You can contact the local bar association for recommendations. The house and assets can be transferred once you’ve been appointed. Good luck and take care of yourself.

    18. Just Here for the Llama Grooming*

      I am so very sorry for your loss. Siblings are a different level of loss than parents or friends — please be kind to yourself in the weeks and months to come. Grief is unpredictable and complicated, regardless of the exact nature of one’s relationship to the deceased.

      There are many excellent suggestions here. Co-sign on getting an attorney who deals routinely with estates in that state; you don’t need to go to BigLaw but you do need someone who knows the drill. The state bar association probably has a referral system.

      If your sibling belonged to a faith community of any kind, you might check with its head to see if the community has a volunteer group that offers assistance to relatives. It might be a way to find folks to keep an eye on the house and car, feed you when you have to be in town, arrange for an estate sale, and so forth.

      1. allathian*

        Absolutely. The sibling relationship is generally the longest we’ll ever have with anyone unless one sibling dies prematurely as happened here. In the expected order of things, our parents will predecease us and our children will survive us, but because siblings are typically in the same generation (generalizing, as there can be more than a generation between siblings, especially paternal half-siblings, like Mick Jagger’s youngest child is younger than at least one of his grandchildren).

        I’m so sorry for your loss, Heartbroken, and I second the advice of hiring a lawyer in your sibling’s state.

    19. Cloudy Sunday*

      I’m so sorry for your loss.

      I haven’t been in this situation, but I’ve been doing my own estate planning, and my family live really far away. I’m planning to get a professional executor to handle all the admin when I pass – the service will be paid out of my estate when it settles. When looking into this, these types of services can require there to be an estate worth way more money than I have, but I did find someone in my price range.

  6. Be the Change*

    I posted some months ago about how a very long-term (40 yrs) friend of mine suddenly vanished — stopped responding to texts, calls, emails, etc. The wisdom of the group was, leave him alone, he knows where I am and if he’s going through stuff and doesn’t want me around, that’s his deal.

    It’s been about six months. His birthday is coming up soon. I am planning a trip in the fall to his area of the planet to visit other family and friends who live around there. What’s the wisdom of the group regarding a birthday note and “Coming your direction in September, would love to see you if you’re up for it”?

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I think one message like you describe is fine–especially that you’re going to be nearby, and letting people you might visit know you’re coming is a normal thing.

    2. takeachip*

      I didn’t see the original thread but I think reaching out after a period of giving him space, when you have a specific reason to be reaching out, would be fine. Sometimes people feel guilty & awkward about resurfacing after a period of silence so this could be just the nonjudgmental icebreaker he needs.

    3. RagingADHD*

      There’s no harm in sending the note. Just don’t expect anything. If he does reply, let it be a pleasant surprise.

  7. Falling Diphthong*

    What are you watching and would you recommend it?

    Just finished up Silo, post-apocalyptic sci fi set in a silo of 10,000 people who don’t know why they’re there or why things are the way they are (this is codified in their rituals) but best not to ask any questions.

    Also Justified Season 4, which is so beautifully plotted I now want to go back and rewatch the whole series.

    And Mythic Quest. This was more solid middling for me, but Season 4 should feature the union of my three favorite characters, Jo, Brad, and Dana, so I’m optimistic.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Oh! I’ve read at least the first book of the series that Silo was based on, and I remember thinking it would make a good show or miniseries or something. Worthwhile?

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Quite well done. After episode 1 I did warn my spouse (this was a rewatch for me) that the season was about life in the titular silo, not about exploring the world outside it.

        It felt like a real society. Especially all the “this is the way things are, there must be some good reason for it.”

    2. heckofabecca*

      I finally finished Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix, and I am SO enamored with it! It’s queer, it’s campy, it’s horror, it’s heartfelt, it’s pretty… A+++++ Definitely recommend!

      1. Donkey Hotey*

        We’re enjoying DBD even though where they shot it is nowhere near Port Townsend.

    3. Peanut Hamper*

      I’ve talked before about Resident Alien and I definitely recommend both the show and the graphic novel/comic book they are based on. (Alan Tudyk is such a great physical actor, but honestly, everyone in this series is so great!)

      Prime has a couple of good documentaries for sci-fi fans. The Center Seat for Star Trek fans and Icons Unearthed which gets into the background of how the original Star Wars films were put together. Both are absolutely amazing.

      Also, just want to say that I will listen to anything Gates McFadden narrates. I loved her podcast, where she asked really good questions, not just fanboy questions. It’s such an amazingly intelligent podcast. She’s just so amazing!

      On the same topic, Prime also has a series called The Story of Film and if you are a movie junkie, this is pretty much required watching. It’s so well done! (And Mark Cousins has such an amazing voice for this!)

      1. BikeWalkBarb*

        Absolutely LOVE Resident Alien!

        Currently watching Grimm, which is older but I hadn’t watched it when it first started running. I read a lot of fantasy and live in Olympia, WA, not that far from Portland so this is fun.

        1. RC*

          This is like the third rec for Resident Alien I’ve gotten, maybe we should finally try it out.

          I started watching Grimm midway through the original run and have wondered at going back to the first season but the writing went so off the rails at the end it sort of soured me to it Although no complaints about the season after one character was shot in the chest and then had like ghost visions of it? so they used it as an excuse to have him rip open his shirt like once an episode rofl. it was so ridiculous… maybe it is worth another watch?

      2. RussianInTexas*

        I did not see your comment before recommending Resident Alien below, it’s such a fun show.

    4. GoryDetails*

      I did like “Silo”, though I still prefer the novels – er, linked-story-cycles; when I first stumbled across “Wool” I was blown away. Don’t want to say too much about it because that “wham” moment is part of the thrill…

    5. GoryDetails*

      Not sure if I’d recommend this or not, but I just watched “Under Paris” on Netflix – basically, “Jaws in the Seine”. I did find some of the characters appealing – though the body-count is very high, so several favorites didn’t make it past the halfway point. There are a lot of thoroughly ridiculous plot points, but if you like cheesy monster movies you might enjoy this one. (I don’t know if the Rifftrax folks are planning to do commentary on this one, but if they do I bet it’ll be hilarious.)

    6. Teapot Translator*

      I am watching Rosemary and Thyme on Britbox, a cozy murder mystery featuring two gardeners. I like it.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I remember watching Felicity Kendall on The Good Life way back when. She’s wonderful and both shows are really good.

        I don’t think anybody who’s not British can make a murder mystery cozy, btw. It really is!

        1. allathian*

          I don’t think Americans can do it, but they do a decent job in New Zealand. I can think of at least two examples, Brokenwood Mysteries and My Life Is Murder (starring the amazing Lucy Lawless).

    7. goddessoftransitory*

      Plowing happily through Murdoch Mysteries; up to season 12. Love Crabtree ranting about their manuscript: “This is the dullest thing I’ve ever read in my life! If I was in a pitched battle against a lion and this was read over a bullhorn, I might be able to keep it to a few yawns!”

      I’m especially enjoying playing Spot the Horses; with period shows that have lots of carriages and such, it gets really easy to see the same horses over and over pulling different things. I missed my favorite, a light roan with a fun blotched nose I called Pinky, but recently spotted him in the background in a field! I would guess he’s retired but still making cameos.

    8. allathian*

      We completed Shogun last week and it’s stayed with me, so I definitely recommend it if you can handle the violence.

      Just finished the most recent season of McDonald & Dodds. Very good and pretty cozy cop show set in Bath. The main characters are a WOC Detective Inspector and her older Sergeant who’s a bit socially awkward but very intelligent.

      Watched the first episode of the new SW show The Acolyte. Looks promising.

      Also watching a great documentary miniseries about the murder of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. Much of the material is based upon the research by Millennium author Stieg Larsson who was apparently obsessed with solving the murder and left a large archive.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I am really enjoying Shogun, in that there are a slew of characters all ruthlessly pursuing their own self-interest.

        I have become quite fond of Lady Fuji.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I really enjoyed Shogun and the characters because every single person has REASONS for what they’re doing; not just “I’m an a-hole” or a cackling villain.

    9. Helvetica*

      I found on Prime a French show called “Nicolas Le Floc” (Nicholas in English) about a French policeman/commissaire solving all kinds of mysteries and crimes in 18th century France. I am enjoying the historic elements, the stories, the dashing main character, and the very deep French-ness of it all. It’s also just a lot of swashbuckling fun that provides perfect entertainment.

    10. RussianInTexas*

      Renegade Jane on Disney plus, a fun swashbuckler one season. Just finished the season two of Resident Alien, which is hilarious and highly recommend.
      Also, new episodes of The Brokenwood Mysteries and McDonald and Dodd on Acorn.
      The latest season of Rick and Morty.

    11. Pharmgirl*

      I’m also rewatching Justified, after realizing I never watched the last two seasons! Just finished Season 3 and I’ve really been enjoying it. I forgot how much I loved the show. I’ve been listened to a rewatch podcast as well, which is adding to the fun.

      I’ve also finally started watching The Shield, which has been on my list for probably a decade. The first season is almost 20 years old but it is so so good! I’m just about finished with season 1 and I’m having a hard time not staying up late hitting “next episode”. Definitely recommend this one!

      1. allathian*

        Yes, I liked it too. The only American gritty cop show I like even more is The Wire.

      2. PX*

        ooh what’s the Justified rewatch podcast? I love Justified to an unhealthy degree and would love some associated media to go with it

        1. Pharmgirl*

          Next One’s Coming Faster – a guy who’s seen the show a bunch rewatching with two friends who haven’t. It’s a fun dynamic and they all have different perspectives.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        Justified is so great at having every character, even Second Henchman, feel like they are a fully realized person who is starring in their own show, which happens to have crossed over with Justified this week.

        Even small characters, the writers thought about the REASONS. (nod to goddessoftransitory)

    12. Anonymous Educator*

      Currently watching and would recommend The Acolyte and Doctor Who (new season). Just finished Star Trek: Discovery and would also recommend it.

    13. fposte*

      I just watched Alma’s Not Normal, a British comedy-esque about a woman dealing with her messed up childhood and addict mother while trying to break into acting. It definitely takes a humorous view but is poignant and humane about everyone. And it’s apparently based on writer/star Sophie Willian’s own life, so it makes me very happy she’s having some good success now.

    14. noncomitally anonymous*

      About halfway through Eric on Netflix, about a small child that goes missing in 80s New York. Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing, as usual. The plot is hinting heavily at the resolution, but it’s oddly fascinating.

      I tried watching The Staircase, but the incessant jumping backward and forward in the timeline made me give up, even though I know the basic outline of the story.

    15. Water Everywhere*

      We Are Lady Parts – a determinedly proper, drama-averse woman crosses paths with an all-woman punk band ‘Lady Parts’ and maybe the life she has planned out for herself isn’t actually what she wants? Season 1 came out in 2021 and is the most perfectly executed tiny (6 episodes) gem of a show; you’ll laugh, cry, cheer, sympathy cringe. Season 2 was recently released and is about to be available where I live and I CANNOT WAIT.

      1. PX*

        We Are Lady Parts is great! haven’t watched S2 yet but just waiting for the right weekend to binge it

    16. carcinization*

      I watched the 3-part Stax documentary that HBO recently released, I was really impressed. My husband and I went to the Stax museum in 2005 or 2006 and had had no idea that it had only opened in 2003 after the place being a vacant lot for decades!

  8. WellRed*

    Can any recommend laundry detergent sheets? They’ve caught my eye but all seem to be on a subscription model (which annoys me on principle) but I’d love to stop feeling guilty about huge plastic jugs.

    1. Emma*

      Apparently laundry sheets still contain plastic :(.

      I was also interested , and was disappointed to learn that. I recommend giving it a google. Powdered detergent is I think the only thing plastic free.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I have made my own laundry detergent for years using borax, washing soda, and Fels Naptha soap. I use vinegar in the rinse cycle and it works great. The recipe is easy to find on the internet, and requires some work, but a little goes a long way.

        In a pinch, I’ve sometimes grated some Zote soap into the washer. Seems to get things clean. I think most commercial laundry soap is highly over-rated. Gotta pay for all those ads!

        1. BellaStella*

          What is washing soda? I have not heard of this so I googled and I discovered details that it is sodium carbonate not bicarbonate and also how to make laundry soap too, all on the site The Spruce. Thank you for prompting me to look this up!

          1. Peanut Hamper*

            Yep, it’s sodium carbonate, not bicarbonate. It works by saponifying oils, which makes them soluble in water. It also helps to soften the water you are washing in, if hard water is a problem. It’s usually sold as a laundry booster. It’s great stuff.

    2. Seashell*

      I have used ones from Sheets Laundry club through Amazon. No subscription required. I like that there is an unscented option, because my husband always buys scented liquid detergent and I would rather not have the scent.

      Consumer Reports said the sheets don’t clean that well, but I am not rolling around in dirt, so they seem to do ok for me.

    3. lbd*

      I tried them and found that I needed about a 1/4 of a package for one load of my really grimy work clothes, so I used them for my hand wash only laundry just to use them up, and went back to powdered detergent in a cardboard package.

    4. office hobbit*

      I’ve been using either EcoNext or TruEarth (I’ll check tomorrow!), my local natural foods store had them. No subscription. They seem to work fine for mildly soiled clothes, but I still have a partial jug of liquid detergent I use for anything very dirty. Consumer Reports evaluated several brands and I believe they found the same. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll use when my current jug runs out.

      1. office hobbit*

        What I have is Ecos, so not either of my guesses! NYT’s Wirecutter has an informative article about laundry sheets and alternatives.

    5. Roland*

      Is powder detergent an option? It usually comes in paper boxes. Used it for years sith no issues.

    6. Grandma to three cats*

      I’ve used TruEarth for a while now and they work well for me. Auto mechanic son also uses them and is satisfied.

    7. the Viking Diva*

      I found that the sheets left residue on my clothes. My hypothesis is that my compact HE machine just doesn’t use enough water to rinse thoroughly.

      1. Rosyglasses*

        This happened to us as well. We use Nellie’s powdered laundry soap which is the best eco type we have found for us.

    8. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

      We’ve used sheets from HeySunday. They’re not bad. In terms of cleaning ability, they seem fine. But you’re supposed to toss them in while the washer is filling with water, so they can dissolve before you add clothes. And even though I have a top loader, it’s so computerized that you can’t just start the water flow without actually selecting and starting a wash cycle. For that reason, I tend to prefer laundry tablets instead.

  9. Shutterdoula*

    I’m looking for a new crossbody purse, medium size, budget about $100-150. Previous bag was Fossil and I loved it, it lasted about 7 years, but I don’t see any I like on their site. I’m not a trendy person, so I’m looking for something fairly classic and neutral. Crossbody is a must.

    1. Hatchet*

      If you’re okay with leather, take a look at Portland Leather – they’ve got several options in your price range & quality seems to be solid. (Many thanks to whomever recommended them on a weekend thread months ago!)

      1. Katie*

        I recommend this brand too!

        I got some of their Almost Perfect (which are their ‘defects’) purses and have seen no issues with them.

      2. carcinization*

        Bookmarking their site when I need a new crossbody bag! I also have a Fossil right now but am not completely impressed with the most recent iteration.

    2. Pippa K*

      It’s not my most beautiful bag, but I recently got a Baggalini “Original Everyday” bag and love it. It’s not big but so practical, with pockets in all the right places. Baggalini has a reputation for long lasting quality construction and so far that’s what I’m seeing. They’ve got a lot of other crossbody styles, too, but I can recommend the Original Everyday if you don’t need a large bag.

      1. Silent E*

        Seconding Baggalini! I have purchased 2 crossbody bags from them and have really enjoyed them. The bags are well-made and have lasted a long time.

      2. The Prettiest Curse*

        Baggalini bags are great – I had one as my everyday handbag while I was in the US and it lasted a long time. I’m trying to find a new crossbody bag now too, but unfortunately Baggalini don’t seem to be available in the UK.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        Fourthing the Baggalini. I bought one of their bags for a vacation years ago, and it has become my regular purse.

        It has the correct number of pockets (something I praise in Osprey luggage): Enough to organize my things, but not so many that I can’t remember where I would have put the band aids.

    3. DistantAudacity*

      Fjallreven might be for you! (Canvas/fabric-style)
      Their shoulder/crossbody bags have a strap that is wide enough to not dig into your shoulder, the quality is really good, and many of their models come in a very large variety of colours.

    4. Blue wall*

      I got a Baggu recently and used it on an international trip; it was great in terms of what it fit and being lightweight itself.

    5. Agnes Grey*

      Are you familiar with Tom Bihn? I had one of their Cafe Bags for a long time, very practical and durable. Definitely more bag-y than purse-y if that matters.

      1. Agnes Grey*

        Oh, and I got a crossbody purse from Sakroots a few years ago that I really like. Cute pattern, plenty of pockets.

      2. Anna Crusis*

        I’ve used a Cafe Bag since 2007-8 or so and another one that is a few years younger (different colors). They still look good, and I love that they are hand-washable. I’m thinking it’s time to add a 3rd color, and might go with a different style. Not sure yet, but I don’t always need to be able to carry a water bottle, book, or small knitting project everywhere.

    6. Nihil Scio*

      I’m in Canada, but the most amazing cross-body leather bags are from Roots. I’ve had mine 10 years and it only gets better

    7. Rosyglasses*

      I really like Michael Kors Jet Set crossbody bag – they have a tiny one but a medium size that is very roomy but not bulky and comes in a variety of colors. On their website it looks like the Saffiano leather ones are on major sale right now – 69 to 99 for some colors.

    8. H.Regalis*

      Duluth Trading Company. They only have a couple of crossbody options available, but it’s all leather and their stuff is high quality and lasts forever.

    9. Verily*

      I love my Lululemon crossbody. It’s nylon but it’s black with gold zipper and hardware, so it looks neutral and works with any outfit unless I am really dressing up, and in terms of size it is definitely bigger on the inside! I have been using it daily for a year and a half and it still looks brand new. I got it to replace a Roots canvas crossbody that I had been using on and off for 15 years, so I would say Roots is also a brand worth checking out if it’s available where you are.

  10. Sunset’s Light*

    I have some family drama going on right now. To make a very long story short, my sister has been living in another country for several years because she fell in love with a local. They had had plans to get engaged in the near future, when he was out of grad school but she has come to the revelation that he has been emotionally manipulative for a while; she is leaving him and is working on coming back to the USA. My parents are not taking it well, because the ex-boyfriend has been in our family for the last 6 or 7 years and they clearly saw him as part of the family.

    They are convinced that my sister is going through mental health struggles and that is the only reason for their break up. My sister acknowledges she has had some mental health issues recently and she’s getting help for it, but she says that this is not the core of her break up with her long-term boyfriend because the mental health issues were over the last couple months and she has realized his true self over the last year. My sister is currently not speaking to our parents because they just keep hounding her to get back with her boyfriend and are not being helpful to her trying to work on her mental health.

    She has spoken to me that she is seeking out a new therapist to deal with her struggles and is working on settling her stuff in the other country to come home. She allowed me to tell our parents that she is OK and is dealing with physical/mental stuff and she would like some space from them. I already had plans to visit our parents this weekend before all of this occurred. I have a feeling they’re going to ask me for details my sister gave me, but I wish to keep her confidence so that she always feels safe talking to me, and I would only tell them something if I was truly believe that she was in danger.

    My sister does have a tendency to exaggerate, but I believe her on the whole. There is a part of me that is dying to ask my parents their involvement, because she has gone no contact for the fact that they won’t let her ex go and they keep pampering him with gifts to try and get him to stay with my sister (dinners and a month of free rent). As much as I would love to probe my parents about what they are thinking and if their actions are true, not exaggerated about my sister, I do not want to put myself in the middle of this. I wish to be a safe space for my sister, no matter what our parents do, and I do believe that they have gone crazy over this break up because they have a tendency to hang onto the exes of me and my siblings.

    So what should I do for my visit this weekend if my parents pro me for more details from my sister? Just shut it down and tell them she asked for space and let her reach out to them? Do I let them talk to see if they corroborate the details my sister gave me?

    1. Alex*

      Definitely stay out of it as much as you can if you want to maintain relationships yourself with both your parents and your sister. I think stating a boring “Mmm hmm” when they complain about her to you or “I really don’t want to be involved,” if they ask you anything is the way to go. You may get lots more information by listening to what they say even without your participation or asking, so just let the chips fall where they may without intervening.

    2. BikeWalkBarb*

      Did you also send this to Carolyn Hax in a Friday chat? It feels really familiar.

      I’d definitely shut them down if you’re going to stay out of the middle of it. You’re not going to be able to probe any “truth” when people are telling you their version from their perspective. They’ll want to defend their actions and your sister isn’t even there. Do not engage on it.

      The only other thing you might say is “Mom, Dad, if I were in a bad situation I’d want you to believe and support me, not my boyfriend. I’m your daughter, I’ll always be your daughter, and I’d want you to give me a chance for you to understand what I’ve been through.” I say this after my mom thought she was being helpful staying in touch with my ex-husband “so he could take our granddaughters to the family lake cabin” instead of counting on me, their daughter, to be the one who could take them. My mom was awesome in many ways and meant well but hadn’t thought about maintaining the relationship with him as putting him before her own daughter.

      1. Sunset’s Light*

        Don’t even know who/what Carolyn Haxx is so that wasn’t me. Sorry you had to see with your mother keeping in touch with your ex for things that weren’t needed. She should have trusted you to arrange the trips with your kids.

        1. Heffalump*

          She’s an advice columnist in the Washington Post. In addition to her column, every Friday she has an online chat from 9 a.m. to noon Eastern time. She’s the gold standard of advice columnists IMO.

      2. Lexi Vipond*

        I think a different version of it was posted here a weekend or two ago, when the sister started talking about moving back, but before the parents were trying to hang on to the ex.

      3. WellRed*

        There was a commenter a few weeks ago whose sister was back from living on another country, but had visa problems and mental health issues. I think there was a boyfriend in that one too.

    3. Zweisatz*

      The best thing to have handy when you want to protect someone’s confidence is a statement that you can repeat in perpetuity when asked. “What’s up with sister’s weird behavior?” I think she is doing what she needs right now and we will see where the chips fall. “Do you know how we can contact her? she’s not answering.” I think she is doing what she needs right now and will reach out whenever she is ready. “Did she contact you?” I think she is doing what she needs right now. How about that topic change?

      Prepare a phrase or two in advance and don’t be afraid to use a non-sequitur. People are much less likely to point it out than one might think and the art of the topic pivot can end many a tense discussion. Just don’t say “Can we talk about something else”, but launch right in. Ideally into a topic that your parents love/can talk about forever.
      If all else fails, excuse yourself to the bathroom/some kitchen prep/announce that you need some fresh air.

    4. Andromeda*

      This has my hackles up on you and your sister’s behalf. Agree with grey rocking if your parents push you for details, and if you can muster it the subtle subject change (though this is harder than it looks especially when frustrated/nervous — don’t feel guilty about just removing yourself if you need to).

      In a broader sense, offering your sister’s ex *a month of free rent* (which in my city would be about a grand) as a bribe feels WILDLY not normal to me, especially given what your sister has said about him. You say they like to hang onto relationships with your exes — have they made you feel like their bonds with them are more important than their bonds with you? Do they disbelieve your sister about other things?

        1. Andromeda*

          Not even that, since sister has already said she wants nothing to do with that particular person. The fact that her parents are explicitly using her poor mental health as a reason to disregard her wishes is really upsetting, and actually reads a bit gaslighty. Do they seem otherwise concerned with her mental health, and/or are they using it to convince Sister that she doesn’t know what she actually wants?

          OP, you know your family situation best, but wanted to flag that the facts as they are laid out here make your parents seem like they are behaving really badly.

    5. Sloanicota*

      Honestly, even if your sister did exaggerate, and even if her mental health influenced her decision to leave this boyfriend – a woman still has the absolute right to leave her boyfriend for any reason at any time, and all the other adults in her life need to respect that. Your parents are so very much in the wrong here.

      1. Zweisatz*

        Yeah. Given how hard it is to leave a relationship generally it seems very unkind to me to second-guess that decision. Add to that the implication that women or people with mental health struggles don’t know what’s best for them? Just no.

      2. Shutterdoula*

        This is where I stand, too. My adult children are ADULTS more than they are children, and they get to make their own decisions. Even if I were to think they were making a big mistake, they still get to make their own decisions!
        If they asked me “Am I making a good choice?” or “Is this a mistake?” or something, I might (or might not) tell them my opinion. But if they come to me with “I am leaving Mike” or something, I would hear them out and then ask how I can support them with their new plans.

      3. AGD*

        This! Doesn’t matter what her reasons are or whether they seem ‘good enough’ to anyone else.

      4. goddessoftransitory*

        This, so much. I love Cheryl Strayed’s collection of Dear Sugar columns, and one of her themes is you are allowed to leave, because you want to.

        Even if the person loves you. Even if they aren’t abusive. Leaving isn’t something you have to earn through suffering. Obviously you want to do it as kindly as you can, but honestly–if I was the sister’s ex? I would NOT want her forcing herself to be with me. That’s far more hurtful and insulting in the long run.

        1. Heffalump*

          Someone once wrote Carolyn Hax asking if his reasons for wanting to break up with his GF were good enough. Carolyn led off with, “You can break up with her because you think she doesn’t look good in purple.”

      5. Observer*

        Honestly, even if your sister did exaggerate, and even if her mental health influenced her decision to leave this boyfriend – a woman still has the absolute right to leave her boyfriend for any reason at any time,

        This. 100%

        Even if she is making a mistake- it’s HER mistake to make. They’ve said their piece. They now need to stand back and let things take their course.

    6. Maggie*

      Wow, your parents are horrendously out of line, and I wouldn’t blame her if she never spoke to them again. Personally I wouldn’t want to visit people that were treating someone I love so abhorrently!! I would be a broken record. “I have nothing else to say.” “I’m not discussing it further.” And then just let the silence hang. I’d have a plan for transportation etc if you need to end the visit early because it sounds like they have no clue how to behave.

    7. H.Regalis*

      You probably already went to visit your folks, but this will also likely keep coming up, so:

      1. Stay out of it. As much as you are dying of curiosity (I get it!), do not get in the middle of this. Nothing good will come of that.

      2. If your parents keep pestering you about it and won’t let it go, leave. Yes, it will be awkward. Yes, it will feel like you are ruining the weekend. You’re not though and they’ll get over it. It’s going to be hard to stay out of the situation if they won’t stop talking to you about it.

      3. Even if your sister exaggerates, even if she has mental health issues, even if this guy isn’t abusive, even if everyone thinks she’s making a bad decision . . . she’s an adult with autonomy and she gets to leave this guy if she wants. It’s her life and this doesn’t need to be approved by a committee of her family.

    8. Observer*

      Just shut it down and tell them she asked for space and let her reach out to them? Do I let them talk to see if they corroborate the details my sister gave me?

      Yes, and no.

      Shut it down and don’t get into this discussion with them.

      It doesn’t really matter if your sister is exaggerating. She feels strongly enough about this that she’s taking some fairly major action, and they need to let go. They spoke their piece and now they need to accept her decision. I TOTALLY understand your parents, but they are not handling it well. Even if they are correct that Sis’s mental health struggles are at the heart of her breakup, they are STILL not handling things well.

      Offer to help her and support her in dealing with her mental health? Absolutely. The rest is way out of line, no matter what the issue is. So, getting into specific details does not help and could easily do a lot of harm.

  11. Heffalump*

    On this morning’s commute I saw a fairly new Porsche convertible with Washington state vanity plate: QUACK. I couldn’t help wondering if there’s a duck club at the driver’s workplace.

      1. Heffalump*

        That occurred to me. There’s no reason a UO grad couldn’t have settled in Seattle after college.

  12. Daisy*

    Deutsche Fernsehen thread! German-language TV or YouTube recommendations sought.

    I’m trying to bone up on my German (for obvious reasons) and I’ve been enjoying the crime drama Der Letzte Zeuge, which I watched some of back during the last time I was living in Germany, as well as Sisi (Astro-Hungarian costume drama) and She-Ra auf Deutsch, but would love to have more! Anything where you can easily infer the topic of conversation from context is good.

    Thanks!

    1. KeinName*

      There was a very gripping German Netflix show set at a university called Biohackers. Set in Freiburg. I enjoyed it though it’s very far from real life student and academic life in Germany (or I can only hope that for the Germans).
      The Austrian broadcaster ORF has a TVTHEK which has nice series, don’t know if that streams in your country. And ARTE is also online and has high quality stuff.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        DARK on Netflix is also in German. The sub is way better than the dub and I recommend it even for those not trying to learn German. It’s very convoluted horrorish sci-fi but it’s good. I have yet to finish the last season; it’s been so long I kinda feel like I’m gonna have to start over.

    2. Gretta Swathmore*

      Maxton hall on prime – the characters are supposed to be British, but the native language it’s shot in is German.

      Also, Babylon Berlin (high end German show about the Weimar Republic) is SO AWESOME. One of my favorite shows ever. It was on Netflix, now it’s on some weird streaming service called MHz choice (Amazon extra channel).

      I don’t speak German at all, but felt like I was starting to pick some up just from watching those shows.

    3. Helvetica*

      This is in German and English but I enjoyed on Netflix “The Defeated”, about 1946 Berlin, with a strong police and crime element. Not sure how easy the German is but the show is very good.

    4. Chris in Scotland*

      The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle has lots of resources for learning German, with two series based on short videos with good stories, Nicos Weg and Jojo sucht das Glueck. It easy to skip the exercises and just follow the story!

      1. Neurodivergent in Germany*

        Seconding.
        Deutsche Welle (inland public radio) should be accessible online. They have news in simplified German and good documentary stuff.
        Also check out the regional public broadcasters on YouTube: SWR, NDR, RBB, MDR, BR. They have great documentary stuff, e.g. BR has programming for the Deaf community, SWR has ancient crafts…

    5. Chaordic One*

      My local PBS station had broadcast a soapy, but entertaining, mini-series called “Our Miracle Years” about a once well-to-do industrialist family rebuilding their lives following World War II. It’s in German but has English subtitles.

    6. Grandma Mazur*

      Deutschland 83 was quite good! Didn’t watch the follow-up series (deutschland 89?) to the end I seem to recall – got a bit more unrealistic.

      Oh – Goodbye Lenin and Run Lola Run if you’re also looking for film recs, although they’re much better known.

        1. Heffalump*

          Good-bye Lenin was great all the way through, but the fake newscasts were the best laugh-out-loud moment for me. Other German films I’ve enjoyed:

          Maybe, Maybe Not
          Winter Sleepers
          Mostly Martha

    7. Meetmoot*

      Jo-Jo Sucht Das Glück and Nicos Weg through Deutsche Welle are good for early German learners.

      Türkisch Für Anfänger and Doctor‘s Diary are also at an okay German level and it’s easy enough to read what’s happening in the scene. Be aware that they‘re older shows (pre-2010) so contain some jokes or relationship styles that wouldn’t fly today.

      I also rate Babylon Berlin, Dark, and Das Boot.

      Once your German is at maybe a C1 level I’d also suggest Hubert und Staller. It’s a lighthearted, very funny murder-solving show but they speak in Bavarian dialect so it might be hard to understand. Could always try with subtitles though.

    8. hazel herds cats*

      MHz Choice (a prime channel) has a bunch of good German content. One favorite of mine is Homicide Hills. So funny, and excellent German.

    9. Heike Scheffer*

      My all-time favourite German show is “Mord mit Aussicht” (the original series, not the new one, which has almost none of the magnificent original cast and none of the writers, and is frankly terrible). It’s an extremely gentle police comedy in which a hot-shot city cop, Sophie Haas, is “promoted” by her sexist boss to head of a police station in a rural backwater, the village of Hängarsch, and the village itself is as much of a character as the three police officers. It’s very unusual for cop show in several respects: there’s very little violence but when it does happen, it’s frightening and shocking and even the police are shaken; the audience never gets to see the crimes being committed but, like the police, have to work back from the evidence as it is uncovered; it passes the Bechdel test so fast and hard it leaves it in the dust; and the primary focus is on the cast of wonderfully idiosyncratic inhabitants of the village, both recurring characters and main, all of whom are played by outstanding actors who are very good at comedy. It’s one of my favourite shows of all time – it ended when the actors got fed up with the network giving them less and less time to rehearse and quit rather than reduce the quality. It’s on Netflix in Germany, I’m afraid I don’t know about anywhere else.

  13. Peanut Hamper*

    Because of some other comments on this thread and also the Friday open thread from the past few months, I think I need to watch the movie 9 to 5 again because it’s 1) good, 2) hilarious, 3) filled with talented people, and 4) still relevant.

    Are there any old movies like this you’d recommend as a good weekend watch? (I recently watched the 1968 version of Planet of the Apes and now I have the itch to watch old, but still relevant, movies.)

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

      *10 Things I Hate About You *– free with ads on YouTube right now. It’s the 1999 teen rom-com that is reworking/updating *Taming of the Shrew*. I forgot how hilarious it is, and it has that charming scene with Heath Ledger flirting with Julia Stiles by singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” 10/10.

      *But I’m a Cheerleader* (I think you’ll have to pay to stream it). A hilarious takedown of anti-LGBTQ+ conversion therapy. I know the topic doesn’t sound funny, but the movie is great — it deals with a serious subject in a lighthearted way that is designed to point out how !@#$@#$ing ridiculous conversion therapy is and how !@#$@#$@#ed up people who promote it are. Spoiler: It has a happy ending for several characters. A good Pride month choice!

      1. RC*

        10 Things and also Romy and Michele are both on Hulu now (I think?). The latter is still enjoyable and I’ve been meaning to watch the former again too!

    2. Sunset’s Light*

      All five movies of original Planet of the Apes are so fun! Highly recommend them. The only other old movie that jumps to mind is the original La Belle et La Bete in French.

    3. Skates*

      I have always loved Rear Window but seeing it post-covid when we were all indoors for years was a whole new experience.

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        One of my faves and what a good point about lockdown! Will watch again.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Such a great movie–when I watched it with Husband I got to see him be dazzled by Grace Kelly in real time.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I’m having an urge lately to revisit some of the classic favorites from my childhood – Princess Bride, Labyrinth, but also possibly some Mel Brooks.

        1. Blueprint blues*

          I liked the remake 2000’s? version of the producers much better than the Mel Brooks one.

          if you like comparisons: old and new Sabrina (Bogart, Harrison Ford).

          1. Heffalump*

            The original is my all-time favorite movie. I’ve seen it 8 or 9x and could see it again. Granted, I haven’t seen the new one, but the original set a very high bar.

            I love the scene where the playwright’s landlady says, “Boids. Dirty, disgusting, filt’y, lice-ridden boids.” A former supervisor of mine said he grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and that was how he talked as a kid.

        2. Seashell*

          I loved Harold & Maude. I was thinking of trying to get my adult kid to watch it.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Reading this thread also made me think of Sneakers, which was way better than it had any business being.

        “I want peace on earth and good will toward men.”
        “We’re the United States government, we don’t DO that sort of thing.”

        1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

          It holds up! We watched it for family movie night with our 11-year-old last week. Way ahead of its time and an absolutely amazing cast.

        1. Jay (no, the other one)*

          Showed that to my kid about 12 years ago (she was 12) and had completely forgotten the liberal use of the n-word. Since we made that an absolutely no-go in our house, including in the music she listened to, she found it more than a little hypocritical of me….

          1. Clisby*

            It’s a no-go in our house, but that didn’t stop us from letting our kids watch The Wire.

    5. Nicki Name*

      I don’t know about relevant, but the original Italian Job seems like a good weekend watch.

      1. Filosofickle*

        I think the remake was miles better! That’s rarely true, but for me this is one of the exceptions.

    6. goddessoftransitory*

      Clueless, the first and best of the modern Austen adaptations. Comedy is so hard to do well and this film just nails it. (Dan Hayeda as the dad is a masterpiece.)

    7. Jay*

      I’m a fan of the comedies of the 70’s and 80’s.
      Monty Python And The Holy Grail, The Naked Gun, Airplane!, Spaceballs (This is also one of the best Star Wars movies ever made. No. Really. It is.), Blazing Saddles, Robinhood Men In Tights (This is also one of the best Robin Hood movies ever made. No. Really. It is.).

      Or maybe a Musical Mocumentary binge with This Is Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind, Fear Of A Black Hat, and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        Toss in Galaxy Quest – a bit later, but one of the best Star Trek movies ever made (No. Really. It is).

      2. sagewhiz*

        Pretty Woman
        Erasure — totally underrated! action/comedy with Arnold Schwarzenegger & Vanessa Williams
        RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous)

        And yup, seconding too many others to repeat ;-)

    8. *daha**

      The Conversation (1974). Gene Hackman is an independent surveillance expert, famous in his field. He is hired to record two people who will be walking out of doors, in a public park, in the middle of a crowd. There are complications. There’s a long slow build of suspense. Harrison Ford has an early, minor, role.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Such a great film! It can be hard for a modern viewer who’s used to cell phones recording everything they do to “get” why you would need an expert back in the day, but as you gradually hear more and more of the conversation you’re totally sucked in.

    9. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I watched Some Like It Hot last year, and loved it. I laughed a lot and was so not expecting the ending!

      Also, a comment mentioned Monty Python – my pick would be Life of Brian. I will never tire of the scene where he writes a mural in Latin (first watched it with my mother, who was a literature teacher; I was a teenager forced to study Latin in school; we both couldn’t stop laughing).

    10. Forensic13*

      Not sure if it counts as “old,” but I’ll never stop telling more people to watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It’s funny, actually a great noir, and one of the few “fantasy” stories that actually uses its race analogy well.

      1. AGD*

        Seconding! It’s well-written, hugely imaginative, both funny and moving, and astonishing in its technical achievement. I can’t get over the fact that they did this without computers, in spite of the constantly changing lighting and camera angles. The amount of forethought that must have been necessary boggles my mind. Having to ensure all the actors’ sight-lines were correct for so many characters who hadn’t been drawn in yet? Incredible. A lot of things converged to make the film possible and we may never see anything quite like it again – so it’s just as well that it was the one time when all those studios agreed to put their characters on the screen together.

    11. Helvetica*

      Oldness is subjective but recently I’ve seen two great 80s/90s movies:
      “A Fish Called Wanda” is supreme – the plot is fun and entertaining and Jamie Lee Curtis is so alluring that I have no problem believing her effect on all the men in the movie.
      I also enjoyed “French Kiss” recently with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline. Really made me miss the good old 90s romcoms with silly, yet substantial plots, realistic-looking main characters, intense chemistry and 90 minutes runtime.

        1. Clisby*

          Jamie Lee Curtis to Kevin Kline: “Every man for himself is NOT the fundamental tenet of Buddhism!” (or something like that).

      1. Angstrom*

        You can absolutely believe that the Cleese charater would melt for Curtis. In the scene where she first comes to see him she is radiant.

    12. Trixie Belden was my hero*

      Young Frankenstein
      The Poseidon Adventure (RIP Shelly Winters) all star cast
      The Towering Inferno

      1. Trixie Belden was my hero*

        Anything Swayze!

        Dirty Dancing
        Red Dawn
        Ghost
        City of Joy
        To Wong Foo, Thanks for everything Julie Newmar
        Roadhouse (Be nice! not the reboot, Gyllenhaal is NO Swayze!)

    13. BellaStella*

      I love Casablanca and Lawrence of Arabia as well as A Christmas Story. For not very old too I would say for me Breakfast Club, Lost Boys, and anything with Clooney in it. For foreign films anything with Jean Dujardin is good form funny to serious. Also a movie called Before the Rain (Macedonian)

      1. WellRed*

        I’ve been thinking about giving the breakfast club another watch, or maybe st Elmo’s fire.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I actually had a dream about Breakfast Club era Judd Nelson last night!

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Breakfast Club is slightly problematic to me — the whole Bender/Claire harassment thing is cringe now. But I rewatched The Lost Boys when I fixed my Blu-ray speakers and it holds up fairly well.

          Sixteen Candles contains some serious ick, but Marlene the Lumberjack (the “sexy girlfriend”) is my favorite character and always will be. She’s a total badass — does her own thing, goes for the man she wants with no hesitation, and is unapologetically herself.

    14. Chauncy Gardener*

      Harold and Maude
      Blazing Saddles
      Moscow on the Hudson
      A Midsummer’s Night Sex Comedy
      If It’s Tuesday It Must be Belgium
      Roman Holiday
      North by Northwest
      Charade

      1. Agnes Grey*

        I’m so glad to know there’s someone else out there who’s seen If It’s Tuesday This Must Be Belgium!

    15. Chaordic One*

      The Loved One (1965) Too bad it was filmed in black and white. It’s a hysterical and prescient comedy based on a 1948 Evelyn Waugh novel (with a strong influence from the 1963 nonfiction book, The American Way of Death) about the American funeral-industrial complex. It features an all-star cast headed by a pre-Mad Men Robert Morse and Jonathan Winters.

      Vertigo (1958) The actual movie was kind of meh, but Alfred Hitchcock was a master cinematographer with an uncanny ability to film aesthetically beautiful scenes. He was at his absolute best in this movie. I fall in love with the beautiful scenes of the San Francisco. I like to watch it with the sound turned off

      1. Clisby*

        The Loved One: “There’s got to be a way to get those stiffs off my property!”

    16. Also cute and fluffy!*

      Fandango (1985). College graduation set in 1971 with the leads having one last road trip before Vietnam & elsewhere. Starring very young Judd Nelson & Kevin Costner.

    17. The OG Sleepless*

      Amazingly, my family had a wonderful time watching The Sound of Music a few weeks ago. My kids are college age and their taste in movies tends to be really dark and sarcastic. The Sound of Music came up in conversation and I asked if either of them had ever actually seen it. They had not. I cringed a bit when I went to put it on, because I wasn’t sure if my goth/metal/snarky humor kids would go for Rodgers and Hammerstein in Technicolor. They loved it! I guess the story is so timeless and there was just so much talent there.

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        I loved that one! We rented it, I think more than once, at Blockbuster and watched it on the VCR in my friend’s dorm room. Ah, college in the late 80s.

      2. Mrs. Frisby*

        I was about to add this; so glad to see someone already had! One of my absolute favorites with lots of nostalgia as I used to watch it with my grandma and we would laugh and laugh.

      3. Peanut Hamper*

        “I’m a small black woman in a big silver box!” has stuck with me to this day. It’s hilarious! Thanks for the reminder. I’m adding this to my list.

    18. Water Everywhere*

      9 to 5 got me thinking about other favourite 80s movies so here’s my recs:
      – Dirty Dancing (absolutely holds up)
      – Moonstruck
      – Steel Magnolias
      – Bull Durham
      – Parenthood
      – already mentioned but worth repeating; The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A Fish Called Wanda
      Happy watching!

    19. Nicki Name*

      Arsenic and Old Lace, a fun comedy from the 1930s about murder and insanity! One of those movies that isn’t remembered as a Great Movie or anything, but which a surprising number of people will still get references to.

    20. Rocky*

      Tootsie holds up surprisingly well. Also Galaxy Quest and of course Some Like It Hot.

    21. carcinization*

      During the early part of the pandemic, my husband and I watched quite a few movies we’d missed along the way and such. I can’t remember all of them but one that sticks out is “The Phantom of the Paradise,” that was certainly an interesting one!

  14. Teapot Translator*

    Is there any way to say “But I am fat,” in a neutral, descriptive way?
    More context: I’m fat. Not as in “I wear medium size; I’m so fat”. I shop in the plus size section. I cannot take for granted that regular stores will carry my size.
    Sometimes in conversation, I will say I am fat to make a point, to describe myself objectively or to make other people realise that they are talking to a fat person so their fatphobic comments (about someone else) are not welcome, and they’ll reply, “You’re not fat.” And I don’t know how to reply to that?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have experienced that type of with other … descriptors, I guess? And it is really obnoxious. Depending on who it is and the context, my usual response is a raised eyebrow and “Really?” or “Let’s be realistic please.” Occasionally if I felt the effort might be worthwhile I’ve pointed out that “I am (descriptor). I am well aware that I am (descriptor). It’s a state of being that I am very familiar with. Trying to tell me that I’m not, when we both know better, is kind of insulting. Please don’t do it (optional: even if you mean well).”

    2. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      Several years ago, when a coworker was making snide comments about another fat person, I told her to knock it off around me because I was also fat, obviously. Her response was, “But you don’t ACT fat.” I’m still baffled by that after nearly 25 years. I guess it’s part of the whole “every fat person but you” mentality, when you know these people say the same things about you behind your back.

    3. Annie Edison*

      I’m not sure if this would actually communicate what you’re trying to say, and is maybe more pointed than you’re going for, but maybe just pause for a moment, glance down at your own body as if to imply “I can see myself as well as you can and I can plainly see that I am.” Then follow up with a calm “is there something wrong with being fat? I’m using it as a neutral statement of fact”

      1. StudentA*

        That sounds antagonistic. That’s unnecessary.

        I think the response depends on who the other party is. If it’s a close friend or family member, I’d say something like “I am literally a high BMI,” and go on with my story. If it’s, say, a coworker or neighbor, I would just continue with my story.

        There seems to be a tendency among this forum that there’s a need to put someone in their place whenever they say something annoying. Well, I’m here to say, there’s no law saying that you have to teach anyone a lesson.

        1. KeinName*

          I don’t read the suggestions above as antagonistic. Especially the second sentence, ‚I’m Using it as a neutral term‘ might bring across that there is no need for the other person to deny fatness for politeness reasons (as in ‚do I disturb you‘ ‚no not at all!‘ if someone is clearly disturbing you but you are moved to deny it to be polite)

        2. Observer*

          I’d say something like “I am literally a high BMI,”

          Not a really good idea in a lot of cases. It’s become a pretty well known fact that BMI is not a great indicator of healthy weight or not. So, if you are talking to anyone with some awareness it can lead to the kind of discussion that’s even more annoying than the original comment.

      2. Not A Manager*

        Well, I actually like this response, but if it seems too aggressive, just the first part is great and pretty subtle. Do a bit of a double take of your own body, raise an eyebrow, shrug, and continue with your story.

    4. Shutterdoula*

      “Oh, were you using ‘fat’ as an insult to (name)? Is that why it bothers you that I use it to describe myself? Because it’s just an adjective. Not an insult.”
      Optionally, add an “If you want to insult (name) you’ll have to be more creative.” at the end.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      Depends on the specific conversation and why you think they’re saying it but…

      “Yes I am.”
      “Why did/would you say that?”
      “Um, have you seen me?”
      “It’s not a bad thing.”
      “I’m just stating a fact.”
      “I wasn’t asking for reassurance.”
      (brief, confused stare then continue as if they didn’t say it)

    6. Double A*

      You could ask, “What do you mean by that?”

      Or if you want to open up a conversation, “I’m just using ‘fat’ as a neutral descriptor. How do you think I’m using it?”

      Or, “I don’t attach negativity to that descriptor.”

      1. BikeWalkBarb*

        Or “when you reject my statement about myself you’re rejecting a part of who I am. If you’re my friend you won’t do that.”

        1. Despachito*

          This is a bit tricky, because it assumes that the person saying it really means it as a description and is not saying it in a self-defamatory way, which is not always the case (and should be clarified as OP says).

          If my friend says for example “I am stupid” / “I am ugly” / “I am a cripple”, I would find it difficult to agree, and I would think “when you reject my statement about myself you’re rejecting a part of who I am. If you’re my friend you won’t do that” a bit grating.

          All the above are clearly derogatory but “fat” sort of sits on the fence. Some people use it neutrally, others don’t. So as I said, tricky, and I think OP is spot on when they want to clarify they mean it the neutral way.

    7. Liminality*

      Bahahaha!
      Reading this thread immediately after the ‘old movies’ thread made me immediately flash back to Princess Bride.
      “We are men (people) of action. Lies do not become us.”

    8. RagingADHD*

      I don’t think you have to reply at all. There’s a lot of power in just looking at someone without saying anything.

      Let their silly comment hang there.

    9. Sloanicota*

      A friend and I just worked through this, actually. I am used to her complaining about her weight and wanting to lose weight (I love her at any size). Lately she has shifted to using fat as a neutral descriptor / identity to explore and at first I interpreted it as a request for reassurance. I don’t know if I automatically said “you’re not fat!” but I might have. If these are people you love, it’s worth it to say something like, “being fat doesn’t have to be an insult or some terrible thing. I’m using it as an accurate neutral description. Don’t feel like you have to reassure me.” Because to me, at first it was like she was calling herself stupid or useless or any other insult – because she had been using it that way before – and as her friend I couldn’t just let it stand and agree that she is stupid (I say this as someone who is at least occasionally, objectively stupid). If they’re not people you care about or consider worth educating, you can use some of these other strategies or just say “plus sized” which I think is a more widely accepted neutral term so you can avoid the debate.

    10. AlexandrinaVictoria*

      I simply say “Fat is the descriptor I prefer for myself. Nothing wrong with being fat!” It usually gets the point across. See also “Don’t talk down about yourself….”

    11. Hyaline*

      I think you’re unfortunately up against decades of training in that people have grown used to others soliciting reassurance and encouragement by disparaging themselves—and a common self-disparagement is the fatphobic “I’m fat” fishing for a compliment statement. I think you might be best served heading it off at the pass by pairing what you need to say about your own body and experience with the disclaimer “I’m not using this as a negative term, but” or “keeping in mind that fat is a neutral description, as a fat person I…” or whatever fits. And if people insist on pushing back after that—well, maybe they’re still not getting it but maybe their definition of fat is different and you really don’t fit it but either way, I think a neutral/friendly “fat isn’t a bad word, and it’s how I describe myself/I identify with it” might drive it home. (I think whether this kind of thing sounds antagonistic is highly dependent on tone fwiw—if you’re frustrated and don’t think you can maintain Pleasant but are in a situation where you need to not tick people off you can also just pivot the conversation.)

      1. Despachito*

        But is “fat” really a neutral description (in general)?

        If it was, people would take it as if someone said “I have green eyes” or “I have short hair” – a mere statement with no negative or positive connotations.

        However, we would consider it acceptable to tell a friend “this top goes very well with your green eyes” but probably not “this top goes very well with your fatness”.

        Moreover, “fat” is rather a judgment than an objective statement (there is no strict definition of it and one person can easily see themselves (or others) as fat while another would consider it within the norm).

        I think that because of all the above, “fat” is not perceived as neutral but rather a judgment on a person’s body, and it is safer to leave it out of casual conversations altogether (either as commenting on other persons, or oneself). I would definitely avoid it if talking to strangers/coworkers/acquaintances.

        1. Sloanicota*

          It’s okay to want to reclaim “fat” but I think wanting to do that in a conversation in which you aren’t willing to educate the person you’re talking to is a bit tough, because it comes across like you’re just using something of a slur against yourself if you don’t first give a sign that you are owning it / using it in a different way. If you don’t have the patience to explain – totally understandable – I’d suggest using a neutral word so you can keep the conversation moving.

    12. unpleased*

      Sometimes the best way to get through to someone is just to say one thing and then leave it. People will return to conversations in their minds and get something new out of them over time. It depends, though, on whether the goal is make people reconsider in the immediate moment or to allow them space to do so on their own time. If the latter is acceptable, just keep making the point over consecutive conversations and then move on. Consistency can work.

    13. Despachito*

      I think the word “fat” is very loaded, and it is difficult to say what a person saying “I am fat” wants.

      Some people do want reassurance “you are not fat”, so it would perhaps help to be more specific and say “I mean it as a neutral statement, no bad feelings attached to it.”

      It is also likely to embarass the other person. What is the correct response? A lot of people would feel an answer “yes, you are” as fatphobic.

    14. Observer*

      and they’ll reply, “You’re not fat.” And I don’t know how to reply to that?

      Sometimes I’ll come back with “You’ve just proved my point.” Because so often, the underlying issue is not being seen; having one’s experience being invalidated; and or people hanging on to their notions by thinking of you as an “exception” and thus needing to pretend that you are not “fat” (or whatever it is).

      With “fat” it’s sometimes easy to come back with a dry “my Doctor would disagree with you.” or “Clothing Store X (~~choose a clothing vendor they use~~) would disagree with you.” Depending on the context, it can be surprisingly effective.

  15. kittyStuff*

    My kitty has an allergy to dust and a few other things. I’m working on getting rid of dust, but any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks!

    1. Jay*

      You can make a surprisingly powerful air purifier with furnace filters and a box fan. They can cut dust pretty drastically, if you don’t already have a powerful purifier. Look up a Cursi-Rosenthal Box for step by step instructions.

      1. Liminality*

        In the absence of a specialty filter, (or at least until you get one set up) replacing the furnace/air conditioner filter often really can help. Getting the air ducts / dryer vent professionally cleaned can help too.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      Make sure that your air purifier and vacuum cleaner have HEPA filters and clean and/or replace them regularly. I have a dust mite allergy and strongly recommend Sebo brand vacuum cleaners. Unfortunately, they are expensive, but they last forever.

      Also, wash bedding (and your cat’s bedding too, if this is feasible) in hot water weekly. You can get allergy covers for pillows and mattresses that will help to cut down on dust mites. Finally, it’s a lot easier to remove dust from hard floors than carpets, so that’s something to consider if you move or re-do your floors at any point.

    3. Gretta*

      Air purifiers help a lot. I like the Honeywell ones – not ugly, very efficient. Taking off your shoes at the door helps a ton too. I have a really powerful Hepa Miele vacuum – it’s an investment, but it will last me 20-30 years. So much better than brands like Dyson. You can use it to vacuum your upholstery which is helpful for the kitty. Also, wash all your and his bedding in hot once a week to kill the dust mites! Encase your mattress and pillows in dust proof things (this is very key). Get higher level furnace filters. I know it seems like a lot, but as someone with a bad dust mite allergy, this is really effective. It’s some work up front, but now I just have to vacuum and wash my sheets once a week, and change out my air filters every 3 months or so.

  16. Deeply Anon For This One*

    I’m trepidatious about posting this at all, but it’s really bothering me, so here goes:

    I was greatly shocked by the responses to the woman who wrote in about her husband with vertigo, who was frustrated that his less-than-stellar boss Tina did not call her with an update on his whereabouts after an episode. Many people were making some huge assumptions, which the OP addressed in detail. It ended up an enormous pile-on. Not one person seemed to be at all sympathetic to the OP, who, as I see it, was just venting about a stupid boss who made it clear that she didn’t give a single damn about her employee’s health.

    I admit I am biased. I have a hereditary chronic illness, covered by the ADA, that was never a problem at work until my last job, where there were coworkers who literally HATED me for “not being healthy enough”. Now, that was an abnormal workplace. I had had enough work experience to know that what I was dealing with was not normal. At the same time, though, I had never in my fifty-odd years on this planet come across such naked, spitting anger over my effrontery at having a disease that I could not help having; and the accompanying assumption that, by having the condition, I was too stupid to cope with it properly. It was deeply disturbing.

    I found that same sense of bewilderment come over me as I was reading the responses. I do NOT want to rehash everything here – in other words, please don’t start screaming at me that he shouldn’t be driving and his boss can’t make him do anything, etc.. Those points were made ad nauseam and the OP responded to them. But I have to ask: do you really think that those of us with certain conditions need to be screamed at, or pontificated to, about what we can and cannot do?

    Those of us with conditions, and those of us like the OP who live with and care for people with conditions, are not stupid children. I’m really sorry that your kid was killed by some guy who had a stroke while driving, I really am. That’s tragic and cannot be glossed over. And yes there are a few people with conditions who are dumb enough to flout the law, as there are people who will willfully drive drunk, high, on their phone. I am not justifying any of this. Irresponsibility that can lead to actual death is not justifiable.

    But I also feel very strongly that at least SOME kind of sympathy can coexist with that same knowledge. OP is married to a person with a frightening, but manageable, condition. The stress of living with that can be tough. I thought my experience at my last job was an anomaly, but then I read all these comments and think, holy Christ, there really are people who actually believe that she needs to be chastised and vilified into the ground for being frustrated with a bad boss who doesn’t give a damn about her employee’s welfare; and instructed like a kindergartner over what she and her husband can and cannot do, as if she couldn’t possibly know all of that already.

    I’m just stunned.

    1. Shutterdoula*

      Yes, it is a stressful situation. But her expectation was unrealistic, and she was, at no time, left out of the loop. Which was, in her initial letter, her primary complaint. That she wasn’t called by the boss. When she had ALREADY been called by her husband.
      Stressful situations do NOT mean you get to have unrealistic expectations and be angry about those not being met. I would 100% agree with you if something had happened and she wasn’t aware of the situation. I can sympathize with the stress and also say that her response was over the top and a problem. BOTH can be true. Chronic conditions do not excuse bad behavior.
      And she did know what was happening. Because her husband kept her informed. She didn’t need to be double informed.
      I think there’s room to understand that your own experiences and frustrations are deeply coloring your opinion of people’s responses. And not with any of the sympathy you claim to be advocating for.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I’m really sorry that happened to you.

      Most people in a comment section aren’t reading each other’s replies, or not until after they make a top level post. It is not actually an orchestrated effort to “chastise and vilify someone into the ground.”

      The LW of that post mentioned (several times, I think) that her husband wasn’t supposed to be driving the truck in the first place and it wasn’t part of his job. She didn’t want him being sent out on delivery runs.

      So at the time I read the post, the people *agreeing* that he shouldn’t be driving the truck didn’t strike me as chastising her or condescending to her. They were supporting her case with additional reasons.

      Maybe the overall tenor of the comments changed after I read it. Or maybe it’s one of those instances where everyone reads things through their own lens.

      1. londonedit*

        This is how I saw it. I’m going to go back and look, because I didn’t see a pile-on or anything vicious. It just seemed like the OP was focusing on the wrong thing – being annoyed with Tina for not calling (when I don’t think Tina would have had any real reason to call) instead of focusing on the fact that her husband is putting himself and others in danger driving a large truck when he has a medical condition that affects his ability to drive. Or that her husband’s job is making him do that.

        1. Andromeda*

          From the way I read the letter, though (didn’t read the comments), this is a bit speculatey. Was it apparent in the comments that this chronic condition definitely did impair Husband’s ability to drive? I don’t drive myself but know lots of people with fluctuating chronic pain, for example, who do (even though being in severe pain could also harm your ability to focus on the road).

          1. londonedit*

            The OP said it was episodes of vertigo, and that the husband had to ‘sleep it off’ before he could continue driving. I wouldn’t want someone with that sort of condition driving an HGV lorry (and where I live there are very strict conditions on holding an HGV licence, and you have to have passed a stringent specific HGV driving course in order to have a licence. I can’t believe someone with any medical condition that could impair their driving would be allowed to keep an HGV licence where I am).

            1. RussianInTexas*

              One thing – I do not think it was a semi (18 wheeler), or the HGV lorry. If it was, he probably was driving it without the appropriate license, because you don’t get it just because.
              I work for a smaller family owned company that sells products wholesale out of the warehouse and also delivers. No small customer of mine, not even larger distributors, own their own semi. They are very expensive to own, insure, they require loading docks, and they are really an overkill in size. You usually hire semi for deliveries if needed via trucking companies. Otherwise you have smaller trucks, vans, etc.
              The vehicle he drove was probably what in the US we call a “box truck”. The CDL requirements for them get confusing, because on one hand, there are weight limits, after which you will need the commercial license, but on the other hand, anyone with just the regular Class C license can rent the big moving truck.

          2. Irish Teacher.*

            Yes, the LW very strongly implied that he shouldn’t be driving and said “would you want somebody with extreme vertigo on the road?”

            The comments really changed the way one would read the letter. The LW engaged a lot and gave a lot of background and detail that put a whole different spin on things.

            1. Andromeda*

              Oh, shit. Yes, in that case, the boss absolutely needed to be notified of the condition if she wasn’t already (holy buried lede, Batman)

          3. Hyaline*

            I did not comment about not driving until the LW herself said she felt the situation was dangerous—but at that point, yes, we were all in agreement, LW included, that long hauls in a box truck shouldn’t have been part of this guys job, period. I don’t know if his condition means he should have his license revoked and won’t speculate there, but everyone but the crummy boss seems in agreement that these trucking gigs should be off the table for the husband.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          My take was very much overwhelming problems out of control, focusing in on one small thing that is not actually wrong. (If my husband could call me about being ill, I would not expect his work to call me.) And I thought that was pretty reflected in the comments.

    3. allathian*

      I’m wondering if we read the same post. I think your interpretation is heavily colored by your own experiences. I’m sorry your former coworkers bullied you for “not being healthy enough.”

    4. ViaductTape*

      I think your perspective is deeply and unavoidably coloured by your personal experience and strongly felt emotions. I read that entire post and I do not recognise your characterisation of it here.

      I’m sorry you have had such bad experiences. But this is a workplace advice blog. People were giving workplace advice on norms and reasonable expectations. No one was “screaming” at the person with the medical condition, not least because they were not the one writing to Alison, and your interpretation of their comments in that way is uncharitable at best.

      Sometime the best thing you can do is recognise that you are not the right audience for something, and remove yourself from the experience.

    5. Morning Reading*

      I was one of the ones responding with the “danger!” reaction although that was not what the LW asked about. I’m sorry if we were too strident, and I’m sorry you had that experience in your workplace. It sounds awful.
      However, driving a large vehicle is a specific work duty which requires a certain degree of health and there are specific regulations about who can do it. It is not ableism (imho if that needs to be stated) to insist that a truck driver not have a medical condition that might make them pass out. They should not be drunk or high or sleepy. They should not be on medication that says “do not operate machinery” on the label. They should do an inspection before driving to ensure the vehicle is in good condition. They should have a CDL (not obtained by bribery in Illinois in the 90s.)
      None of that seemed to be the case in LW’s story and it was alarming to any of us who have driven a truck responsibly or been in an accident with one.
      We hear many accounts here of people being asked to do unreasonable things, even illegal things, by their unreasonable bosses. I think this seemed like one of those situations and LW and the spouse forced to drive seemed to be in this situation. Way beyond office full of bees. Possibly fatal or business-ending lawsuits level of consequences. So often people get used to their weird workplace, it’s normalized for them, and ask a question that reveals the weirdness but it’s the not question being asked.
      Again, it’s terrible that you’ve been bullied for your health condition. That shouldn’t happen to anyone.

    6. WellRed*

      Well the OP didn’t have a chronic disease, she was unrealistic in her expectations of how her husband’s boss communicated with her, so no one was yelling at OP for being ill. I did find myself irritated by one comment kind of ragging on a person with diabetes driving, so I can see where you feel stunned overall but again, the bigger picture was not the illness. It was her expectations, her obvious dislike of the boss and, to me, a really dysfunctional dynamic among the three of them.

    7. Doctor is In*

      I am certified to do CDL physicals for commercial drivers. Any condition that could lead a driver to be unable to safely control his 10,000 pound truck is disqualifying. Sure sounds like this could have been the case. One moment of sleepiness or dizziness could result in disaster.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        I doubt he was driving a semi or he has a CDL. I imagine it was a box truck, and it gets murky with licensing for driving those.
        Small family owned companies won’t own a semi for deliveries, for multiple reasons.

        1. Kt*

          semis have a capacity of 45,000 lbs, ballpark. some are at 53,000. so 10k is still a box truck.

        2. Observer*

          The LW (OP1) says (in the comments) that it’s a “large dangerous truck”. And she implies that it’s a semi.

          The fact that he almost certainly does not have a CDL doesn’t make this less likely. Let’s face it, Tina doesn’t give a flip about safety. And she is apparently stupid enough to not realize that if he gets into an accident, that truck is gone, and probably so is the business.

          Why would you think that someone like that would care if he has the proper licensing.

          I imagine it was a box truck, and it gets murky with licensing for driving those.

          To be honest, it’s not even relevant. The whole situation is an accident waiting to happen. Even “small” box trucks are far more dangerous in an accident than a car. And, at this point he should absolutely not be driving one. Even if it were in perfect condition – which it’s NOT.

          Tina is acting monstrously, and the LW’s husband needs to be ready to be fired, while looking for a new job. Given the situation, he’d be eligible for UI,if he can document the situation.

      2. allathian*

        Yes, this. And that’s the main reason why I’m upset with the boss, the husband shouldn’t have been required to drive at all. That said, a truck can be anything from a pickup to an 18-wheeler. You don’t need a professional license for a small pickup even in my area, although you would for a large one, a longbed van or something like a U-haul truck. The limit is based on the fully loaded weight of a vehicle that mustn’t exceed 3.5 metric tons for a standard driving license.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          I can rent a U-Haul box truck without a commercial license, in fact, I have done it.

        2. Samwise*

          Perhaps I missed this in the original thread, but has OPs husband told the boss why he should not be driving / making deliveries?

          If it’s unsafe for him to drive (as the OP states), then he has a responsibility not to drive. The boss told him to do it (again, maybe the boss knows why he shouldn’t or maybe she doesn’t ), but he didn’t refuse. He got in the truck and drove it.

          As the caregiver for a spouse with serious illnesses, even people who know about that and who care about my spouse, do not understand what he can and can’t do unless they’re told explicitly. It is not clear to me that the boss in this situation has been told explicitly that due to the husband’s medical condition, it is too dangerous for the husband to be driving a truck.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            According to the OP’s responses, Tina did know; she just sent him out anyway.

            There’s a whole heap of problems making a nasty spaghetti here:

            Tina as a boss and the business as a whole are terrible and toxic.
            Tina over communicates with both the husband and the OP and tries to create a personal relationship with them which is very, very boundary violating.

            Husband has a known medical condition, but does not refuse to drive even though he should, because he feels a misguided “loyalty” to the company.
            Husband was ill and had to pull over. He called the OP but Tina did not.

            The OP has all this sitting on her head and is channeling her frustration and fear into a combination of “Tina is terrible” and “Husband keeps doing dangerous stuff” that comes out as “Tina should have called me.”

            But Tina not calling isn’t the problem–it’s everything else.

            1. Irish Teacher.*

              Yes, this! My impression is that between the whole “Tina is made of bees” and “being really worried about her husband who has a medical condition, may not be handling it very well (I’m not sure about this; she does say he is stubborn, which indicates she has some concerns about how he is handling it) and a boss who is pushing him to do things that are not safe for his health,” the LW has gotten into the habit of compensating where possible and is now angry at Tina for not giving her the opportunity to compensate (by calling her) when in reality, the real problem was earlier. The fact there was a problem that the LW would have to compensate for is an issue.

          2. Observer*

            but has OPs husband told the boss why he should not be driving / making deliveries?

            Yes. As the OP put it “she just doesn’t care.”

            The Boss knows exactly what is going on and seems to have decided that if they refuse to accept reality, reality will bend to her wishes.

    8. Grandma to three cats*

      Yeah, I didn’t like the comments either. I have a chronic illness too and have also walked the walk with family members. I agree that it’s stunning how callous people can be. I’m so sorry you were treated terribly at your job. I don’t think the AAM commenters meant to be hurtful. That said, it did hurt to read some of the comments speculating this, that, and the other about the husband’s health and making judgements on what he “should” do or not do. It felt like the narrative ppl with chronic illness hear so often that we’re nothing more than our illness. I hope people commenting will think more about the biases around disability that are deeply entrenched in our society and in our workplaces and be more thoughtful next time. Sending good thoughts your way, Deeply Anon.

      1. Despachito*

        I am sorry but this (a person drives when their health condition is poor in a way that may influence their driving) is not a question of feelings, this can be question of life and death and has to be stopped.

        There is a huge difference between a bias around a disability which does not influence your work, and a disability that directly affects it. The first one should be fought but I cannot wrap my head around the fact someone would actually defend the second one.

        1. allathian*

          There’s a huge difference between providing easy access to the office for wheelchair users, or allowing a neurodivergent person to use headphones at work as a medical accommodation, and requiring someone who for health reasons shouldn’t be driving to drive for work.

    9. Seashell*

      You can be frustrated with someone, but still know that they’re really not required to do anything differently. Maybe it would have been nice if the boss went above and beyond to make sure everything was OK and OP was informed every step of the way, but it’s not like the OP was held completely out of the loop. It seems like the boss sucks overall, and this is a tiny symptom of it.

      I really didn’t get the impression that the comments (at least the ones I read) were yelling at or chastising anyone. They seemed pretty matter-of-fact from what I recall. Sometimes, it can be helpful to get another point of view from people who don’t have any personal involvement, so hopefully at least some of the comments or suggestions were helpful for OP.

    10. Irish Teacher.*

      I can’t speak for anybody else but I was certainly sympathetic to the LW and it sounded like she had definitely valid reasons to be frustrated with Tina. I do think she was focussing on the wrong thing, that the real issue was Tina expecting him to drive in the first place rather than not contacting the LW. Tina sounded wildly unreasonable and it sounds like the LW had really gotten to BEC status with her, understandably, and like this was just the last straw.

      However, it was a long thread and I think a lot of people just read the post and then post their response, which is reasonable as many, probably most, LWs never engage with us at all, so people assume the letter tells all the information we are going to get and going on the letter alone, it sounded like the LW might be overreacting. It sounded as if the husband had the situation under control and his wife was just worried. The LW’s replies really put a very different spin on things and yeah, I think there were a couple of people who just had already made up their mind by the time they read them and weren’t willing to change it, but I think a lot of people were simply trying to point out to the LW that she was focussing on the wrong thing, that she needed to worry more about her husband being on the road at all and less about whether or not Tina should have contacted her (which there was nothing that could be done about at this point anyway)

    11. Hyaline*

      Sometimes when we’re really close to a situation we know something is wrong about it but focus on the wrong thing. I think that happened here. OP knew Tina was a shitty boss but focused on ways she had personally pushed her over the edge (but really weren’t egregious on their own) instead of the big picture—which outsiders saw more clearly. The business seemed like it’s failing plus Tina put her employee in an unsafe position. I don’t think there was a pile on as much as a lot of people simultaneously reading the situation and seeing the same things.

      1. Observer*

        I don’t think there was a pile on as much as a lot of people simultaneously reading the situation and seeing the same things.

        Yes. This.

        And what people were seeing is “Tina is a terrible boss.”, “Husband is literally putting his life and the lives of others in danger.” and “The only non-crazy part of this whole situation is the one thing you are complaining about.”

    12. TX_Trucker*

      If the husband had posted, I might of been sympathetic.
      But the OP was upset the boss didn’t call when it wasn’t obvious there was a need for it. Without making some fanfic background it’s not apparent that Tina did anything wrong. I think your own experience is clouding your interpretation of the comments.

    13. Unkempt Flatware*

      Wow. With respect, it sounds like you may need help from a therapist. I’m not sure you’re viewing this through a healthy lens.

      1. Deeply Anon For This One*

        Proves my point. Way ahead of you, honey. Don’t need the instruction.

        1. Rebecca*

          I’m not sure what I am hearing. Are you saying that you already know you are not viewing this through a healthy lens and that you already know that you could benefit from help from a therapist? If you know these things, why are you writing what you write instead of talking to a therapist to get a healthier lens?

          I can’t comment on what all people with certain conditions need. I haven’t met them all. I can comment that yesterday’s OP needed to hear that her husband should be saying no to driving, even if his boss schedules him to drive. Apparently she, and he, need to hear that a few more times bc nowhere did I see her acknowledge that he should stop.

          Both him with the driving and you with the unhealthy lens are showing a gap between what you say you know and the actions you choose to take. He knows (we presume) that he shouldn’t drive, yet he chooses instead to keep driving. You know you should talk a therapist about the lens through which you interpret events, yet you choose instead cling strongly enough to your interpretations that you share them on the internet. It’s less that anyone thinks people with certain conditions are children who need instruction and more that when there is a gap between what would be helpful someone to do and what someone actually does that the advice gets pointedly emphatic.

        2. AGD*

          Yeah, I think the suggestion was well-intended but exemplifies some of the very things you were talking about.

    14. Saturday*

      I did think that it would have been better for people to peruse the comments to see if their point had already been made before adding another comment.

      I think people didn’t appear supportive of the OP’s perspective because it was difficult to understand why the boss would be expected to contact her when her husband was in contact with her himself. That was the question she wrote in with – if she really just wanted to vent, that’s more what the open thread is for (although not for only venting).

      But I did see many people validate the OP’s beliefs that the boss sounds terrible! Nightly swims? Calling the OP for minor things? There is a lot not to like about this boss, and I think people were sympathetic to that!

      I’m sorry about your past experiences though – that sounds terrible.

    15. Anongyn*

      having been immolated here after asking a travel question, I know not to post again with a streamlined question. I understand your concern. when there’s a presumption of facts not in evidence it does not go well.

    16. anxiousGrad*

      I think issues of who should be allowed to drive are really touchy. Because public transportation is so insufficient in the US, being able to drive is a major factor in many people’s independence here, so a lot of people don’t want to give up driving even if it’s unsafe for them to do so. Meanwhile, it’s scary to think that you could be out on the road with someone who has a health condition that makes it unsafe for them to drive. Hence people feeling the need to drive home that this guy shouldn’t be driving a truck, especially given that the letter writer made it sound like they didn’t think it was safe for him to drive.

      I also have a chronic health condition that sometimes causes symptoms that would make it unsafe for me to drive. The symptoms come on slowly enough that I would know before getting into my car that it’s not safe to drive right now, so yeah, I would be annoyed if someone told me that I just shouldn’t be driving at all. I get where you’re coming from. But I don’t think that was the situation here. The letter writer made it sound like neither they nor their husband thought it was safe for husband to drive this truck, but that husband was doing it anyway due to pressure from Tina.

    17. Observer*

      OP is married to a person with a frightening, but manageable, condition. The stress of living with that can be tough

      Understood. And a lot of sympathy.

      But displacing that on her (terrible) boss is not a good answer. And refusing to take any responsibility makes her husband a far less sympathetic character.

      but then I read all these comments and think, holy Christ, there really are people who actually believe that she needs to be chastised and vilified into the ground for being frustrated with a bad boss who doesn’t give a damn about her employee’s welfare

      Except that is not an accurate description of most of the posts. Pretty much everyone agreed that the boss is terrible. But that simply does not negate that, as most people said, the LW’s husband’s behavior was simply not excusable. Both things can be true – and in this case they ARE. I think we all have sympathy for her *general* frustration, but pointed out that the particular issue was a nothing-burger and that whet the LW *really* needs to deal with is Husband and his behavior.

      and instructed like a kindergartner over what she and her husband can and cannot do, as if she couldn’t possibly know all of that already.

      No one was talking to her like a child. But she WAS expressing that she apparently does not realize or is unable / unwilling to accept what the limits of her and her husband’s options are. So, does she know? I have no idea. Based on her question and answers, it’s really not clear.

  17. RMNPgirl*

    Potentially looking at relocating to Fresno, CA. Anyone from there or have good knowledge of it?
    I have family and friends in other parts of CA and I’ve travelled there quite a bit but mainly just to SoCal.
    Just wanting some honest opinions of what it’s like. So far from what I can tell, it seems to be a pretty normal western city. I know it can get very hot and that doesn’t bother since I will make sure to have AC and budget for that. I am a bit concerned about the tule fog I’ve read up on so if anyone has experience with that, would love to hear about it. Thanks!

    1. Distractable Golem*

      It’s in the Central Valley, which is more agricultural and more politically conservative than either Northern or Southern California. Air quality is really poor, so if you have any health issues, be aware. Good access to Yosemite.

    2. Molybdenum*

      Oh! Something I can help with!

      I grew up in Clovis, which is a suburb of Fresno. It does get very hot, but we always say “it’s a dry heat”. It does make a difference as it’s still usually comfortable in the shade with a breeze. I think the fog concerns that a lot of people have are overblown. It’s not usually so thick that you can’t see, it just reduces visibility. Drive slow and give plenty of room in front of you.

      Because it’s so close to the Sierra Nevada mountains, there are lots of outdoorsy activities within an hour or so. Beyond Yosemite it’s even closer to two other National Parks – Kings Canyon and Sequoia (the giant trees). When I was in Clovis I could be at the gate of Kings Canyon in 45 minutes.

      Distractable Golem is right about the air quality. With it being in the Central Valley, the particulate matter can just settle in with no where to go. It’s definitely more conservative than the rest of the state, with pockets of more liberal areas. Overall, I think it’s moderate, leaning right.

      The agriculture is interesting… in some ways it’s a nuisance to living, but you access to cheap, plentiful produce all through the summer months. There are lots of fruit stands that sell anything you can think of for fruits and vegetables.

      Reply back if you have any other specific questions!

      1. RMNPgirl*

        Thank you for the information! I’m originally from CO so I know about “dry heat” (currently in the midwest so I get humidity now).
        One thing I heard was that the fog can make it pretty overcast during the winter months, are there still lots of sunny days though?
        I don’t have any existing health issues so is the air quality something I would notice even without that?

        1. Molybdenum*

          It tends to be periods of gray weather, like a week or so, followed by sunny days. Many times the overcast will “burn off” from the morning leading to sunny skies.

          Some people complain about developing allergies that they didn’t have before moving to the area, but not everyone. I’ve lived in the Central Valley all my life and I don’t have any. But lots of people do.

        2. WoodswomanWrites*

          I’m confirming how poor the air quality is. Even if you don’t have existing health issues, bad air can cause them. There are lots of studies linking long-term exposure to bad air in California’s Central Valley leading to health problems. We’re not talking about mild smog. Fresno has some of the worst air quality in the entire US.

          A website called IQ Air summarizes an evaluation by the American Lung Association of the Fresno region in 202.

          – Ozone: #4 worst of 229 metropolitan areas in the United States
          – Annual Particle Pollution: #2 worst of 216 metropolitan areas in the United States
          – Short-Term Particle Pollution: #1 worst of 204 metropolitan areas in the United States

    3. unsafe water*

      Fresno has some of the worst water quality in the country. Because of a combination of over-pumping their groundwater and agricultural contamination of the surface water sources, a quarter of community water systems in the area do not meet safety standards.

      1. Molybdenum*

        This is true in the rural areas of the Central Valley. The large population centers have sophisticated water treatment facilities, just like most cities.

  18. Bibliovore*

    Going to ALA in San Diego. I am going a few days early and will have time on my own without the “roar of crowd”
    Anything I shouldn’t miss? A nice restaurant or farmers market? I am looking forward to seafood and perhaps some good sushi.
    Staying at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. Any place/restaurant walkable?
    I will have a scooter for mobility issues.

    1. Hazelthyme*

      Seaport Village is a stone’s throw from your hotel and easily walkable/scooterable — lots of restaurants and shops, if a little touristy, and fun to be by the water.

      Little Italy is a longish walk or a short, inexpensive Uber ride. There’s a farmers market there on Saturday mornings.

      Balboa Park is a longer walk but still not too far for an Uber, and the southern part where all the museums are is fun for a little stroll or just taking in the glorious weather and people watching. The Prado restaurant in the park is actually really nice, and Cucina Urbana just outside it is one of my favorites.

      BTW, if you’re flying into SAN and have the option — try to get a window seat on the right side of the plane. It’s a fun approach and the views of Balboa Park & the Cabrillo Bridge always make me feel like I’m coming home. (Did I mention I live in NY?)

      Have a wonderful trip! San Diego is one of my favorite cities.

    2. Jay (no, the other one)*

      My kid has lived in San Diego for the past six years and we love visiting. We were just there a couple of weeks ago! The C Level lounge should be right near the Marquis – delicious and gorgeous water views. We also love The Henry on Coronado. If you can take your scooter in a cab/Uber/Lyft, you might want to spend some time on Coronado. There’s a paved walkway along the beach that runs for a couple of miles and has amazing views of the ocean and some lovely houses if you like looking at house (I do). Orange Avenue, the main drag, is pretty flat with wide sidewalks and fun window shopping. The Hotel Del Coronado is a landmark with ice cream shops and sand sculptures and a taco stand. You can hang out near their beach even if you don’t stay there.

      The zoo is amazing but very hilly and I don’t know how navigable it would be by scooter. The art museum in Balboa Park is accessible and fun to visit. I love La Jolla – again, not sure how scooter-friendly it would be. If you do go, there’s amazing sushi at Blue Ocean.

      Other restaurants we love: Provisional Kitchen at the Pendry Hotel in the Gaslamp District and Herb & Wood in Little Italy. Herb & Wood can get dark and noisy – we try to go early in the evening.

    3. BikeWalkBarb*

      You’ll be close to a great paved waterfront trail I remember biking on when I was there for a conference. You’d be able to use it with the mobility device. Very popular, very crowded.

      I think I went to Breakfast Republic one day; I’m a vegetarian and they have a great menu (plenty of options for meat-eaters too). This was pre-COVID so someone who has been there or lived there more recently would have more current information.

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        We love Breakfast Republic! These days we usually stay someplace where we can cook our own breakfasts so I forgot about it.

  19. Msd*

    I feel kind of dumb asking this question but what are all these non profits that the majority of ama people seem to work for? I’m just not that aware of so many small non profits.

    1. KeinName*

      I wondered that exactly yesterday. Very funny. When someone wrote ‚I now work for a nonprofit with much more salary‘, I tried to imagine what that might be.
      Similarly I’m also impressed by the ease of changing jobs, because everyone is always writing ‚i got a new job‘. I guess that’s normal on a job advice site though :)

      1. dark purple blues*

        Yeah, the “I got a new job” posts are definitely a bias. It would make a very dreary site if the posts were full of “still looking”, “just got laid off for the 3rd time in 2 years”, and “there are 0 jobs for my skills in my city” posts.

      2. 248_Ballerinas*

        I suspect that AAM’s readership has a higher proportion of nonprofit employees than are in the general workforce. Lots of posts from library staff, for example.

        Also, there are a lot of nonprofits out there. When I browse the Charitable Advisors job board, I see organizations that are new to me.

    2. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I worked at a few not-for-profits in the humanities world (museum, research library). The first was small and after four years, there were layoffs due to losing ling-time funding. I was able to get a position at a larger local institution within a few months, and stayed there for the rest of my working life. I live in a decent-size city, and there is a certain amount of playing musical chairs among the staff at a handful of similar
      institutions. Board members overlap, and they’re usually happy to hire or be a reference once you’re on their radar. When I was laid off from the first place, one of the board members physically took copies of my resume to places he thought would be a good fit for me (this was just before applications were done online), and one of those was where I was hired. It’s a very inbred world once you’re in it.

    3. Scientist*

      I work in a large urban area in the USA, and there are definitely hundreds, if not thousands, of small-large nonprofits across the metro area here – arts organizations, foundations, humanitarian aid groups, activism groups with a few paid employees, environmental causes, educational groups, groups to support folks experiencing homelessness, neighborhood orgs, etc. etc. Do you live in a small city or rural area?

    4. Sloanicota*

      That’s strange. There’s a LOT of tiny nonprofits and they are in some ways businesses and employers just like any other. If you really want to see, go to idealist dot org, the job site for nonprofits, and filter to your location. Many of these are small (if you haven’t heard of them, they’re probably small). When you don’t have a revenue stream and are dependent on grants and donations, it makes for smaller budgets.

    5. Volunteer*

      A regional foundation sponsors an annual fundraising day for local non-profits and there were over 800 that participated this year. Charity Navigator rates over 225,000 charities.

      It doesn’t take much to start a 501(c)3. I know a lot of small groups that are entirely volunteer-run.

    6. Generic Name*

      I agree with what others have said, and I think it seems notable because people will say they work for a nonprofit. When I comment about my job, I don’t say I work for a for profit company. I think it’s most people don’t say anything about working for a for profit company and the ones who don’t speak up, so they seem “louder”.

    7. Weekend At AAM*

      Speed Queen is the absolute best, hands-down. They last forever. They’re more expensive than Whirlpool or Maytag, but my Speed Queen washer is the best money I’ve ever spent.

    8. Peanut Hamper*

      I wouldn’t feel dumb about it. The fact that so many sectors of our society rely on non-profits to take care of things is an abject failure of capitalism.

    9. Observer*

      I’m just not that aware of so many small non profits.

      There are apparently over 1.7 million non-profits in the US. More than half are really small (less than $50K in annual revenue), but that still leaves a lot of organizations with multiple employees.

    10. VariedNonProfits*

      almost every industry has all sorts of non-profits. they’re not just direct service organizations – they can work solely with companies or other non-profits or facilitating government programs or all sorts of other things.

  20. Washer Dryer Recs?*

    Do you like your washer and dryer? What kind do you have? My ancient washer is finally giving out, and reviews are getting me down.
    I think I’d like to stick with a top loader. My main concerns are durability and, well, getting stuff clean. I don’t have kids or pets, so it shouldn’t have to work too hard.

    1. Liminality*

      The one I currently have access to is a brand called Speed Queen which, I have been told, is commercial grade. The baseline models are well over a thousand bucks a piece so they are not a small investment, but apparently they are durable and functional.

    2. Jay*

      The side loaders are pricier and maybe a bit less convenient, but they have the potential to be much more durable, last much longer, use much less water and power, and are less likely to unbalance when washing things like sheets/blankets/large towels. There is a reason that most high volume laundromats use them.
      You just need to do a good bit of research into what you want.

    3. RagingADHD*

      I got a Samsung front loader & gas dryer with my 2020 stimulus check, and I am not impressed with the washer. It already leaks, and the front panel has died so we can only use the main wheel for settings – no fine tuning.

      I haven’t called for repair yet, but I suspect it might cost as much as a new one.

    4. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      We just had our ancient dryer repaired. The washer and dryer came with the house, purchased by one of the previous owners, and we’ve been here almost 25 years. The repair was $150, a heck of a lot cheaper than replacing it. I don’t think the washer’s ever had to be repaired in all that time. Good old uncomplicated basic Maytags!

    5. Anima*

      I got a Bosch (front loader though). I think Bosch, if available where you are, is a good company for laundry machines in general. No experience with dryers, but maybe an avenue for you to look into?
      I don’t recommend my specific one (Series 6 with a lot of eco programs), but that’s more because the programs don’t match my washing needs, not that it is a bad machine. I don’t need lengthy eco programs, I need fast programs for really delicate laundry more. But that’s what I learned afterwards and will keep in mind when I buy my next Bosch.

    6. Manders*

      I have an LG high efficiency top loader and I love it. Uses less water than traditional top loaders.

      1. Girasol*

        I have a Whirlpool high efficiency. HE washers are the cat’s meow. I’ve used traditional washers and briefly had a front loader. The front loader made the clothes so much softer! But it was spendy and its door mold issues left permanent pencil streaks on my clothes if I wasn’t careful. The high efficiency washer that replaced it was relatively cheap. It’s a top loader but it has a little impeller at the bottom instead of a tall agitator. Everything comes out as clean and soft as with the front loader – much better than a traditional agitator washer – and there are no mold issues. It’s easy to load and unload, uses relatively little water, and it fits whole bed quilts and sleeping bags easily. It does take a little longer to run a cycle though.

    7. Golden*

      I have LG front loaders and they get the job done. It came with the house and I have no major complaints. I do like that the washer and dryer are stacked which saves a lot of space.

      I know frontloaders are supposed to be better for the environment, but there are some drawbacks. They can really stink – my parents have a frontloader but absolutely have to use scent beads if they don’t want their clothes and house to reek. They’ve tried to fix it both by themselves and professionally but I think it’s just the way it is.

      1. allathian*

        We have a front loader and run the cleaning program about once a month (hot water, no spin, no detergent but sometimes bicarbonate of soda).

        The one essential thing to avoid stink is to always, without exception, keep the door open when it’s not in use. So many people don’t do that. If you have small children or cats, keeping it closed is a safety issue, especially if your washing machine is in the kitchen. But many people never unlearn the habit once their kids are old enough for the issue to go away.

        1. Esprit de l'escalier*

          I second leaving the washing machine door a bit ajar whenever it isn’t running. My 21yo stacked (and therefore front-loader) Maytag washer is still doing a good job, knock on wood, and likewise its dryer stack-mate.

        2. Golden*

          My mom did tell me about the door trick! I have cats and a toddler, and my parents have a cat, so that’s unfortunately not an option. I’m really militant about draining the filter and doing a tub wash every month and it’s mostly working for me. My parents don’t have the same luck despite taking care of their’s similarly though.

        3. Observer*

          The one essential thing to avoid stink is to always, without exception, keep the door open when it’s not in use.

          For people with kids or pets, this is one of the most impractical requirements I’ve seen in a LONG time. Not only impractical, also potentially dangerous, if you don’t have a laundry are that is locked away.

    8. Llellayena*

      Highly recommend LG. They take more than half the top spots in the Consumer Reports ratings and I’ve been quite happy with the washer and dryer I bought. I didn’t get the compete bottom of the line, but I still stayed under $1000 each, especially shopping sale weekends.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Back during the pandemic, my Zanussi conked out a couple of weeks during the lockdown and all the non-essential shops were closed. When researching online, I was quite surprised to discover top-loading washing machines are more common in the US than Europe.

        The trick with avoiding smells in front loading washing machines is to leave the door open enough when not using the machine so that the fresh air can circulate. It’s also recommended to run the machine on a very hot wash using a washing machine cleaner every so often.

        1. the Viking Diva*

          For a front-loader, leaving the door open is essential so that you don’t get mildew in the door seal. That means it has to be in a place where you can do this – e.g. a large laundry room or basement, not a hallway or utility closet such as in many smaller homes.

          1. Reba*

            IME you have to leave the door ajar, not like standing wide open, so in a closet works as long as there is a little bit of clearance! Some models also have a latch-magnet-thing that will hold the door slightly ajar.

    9. My Brain is Exploding*

      You can get HE top loaders which are as efficient as front loaders. Speed Queen commercial grade and Maytag commercial grade are both great coices.

    10. office hobbit*

      I’ve had an LG front loader for eight years now and I’m happy with it, it’s never had problems. At the time I chose a mid-range model that was well reviewed by Consumer Reports and that Costco also carried (I’m in the US). If you strongly prefer the traditional top loader, Speed Queen is an option I’ve heard good things about (my friend has had one for 10+ years now). I would avoid Samsung due to their reportedly terrible customer service.

    11. Maryn*

      We just replaced our washer and dryer, so I have some research that’s recent. Due to a problem with the gas line in this house, we don’t yet have the dryer installed, but the washer is less than a week old and I already love it.

      Our choice was The Electrolux ELFW7637AT, which is a front loader and highly water-efficient. Different review sites noted it handles both protein and oil-based stains well. (That’s apparently how they test them.) True! I forgot to spot-treat spilled red wine, and it came out.

      The washer has an internal water heater, meaning you won’t run out of hot water during your shower or whatever because you’re also doing a load of wash. The drum lights up when you open it (but automatically goes dark when you leave it for more than a few minutes), which means I’m not going to miss a sock.

      Like all front-loaders, it should not be left closed, but this one has a little stay-open thing that makes sure you don’t leave it latched when not in use. I’m not a tech person, but its controls are pretty intuitive, and the design of the drawer for detergent, bleach, fabric softener, etc. is very good.

      Finally, a quote from one of the review sites that made it their number one pick: “…this Electrolux just has a great fit and finish. You can tell that the manufacturing is well done by the clean text on the control panel and the satisfying click on the dial.”

    12. Reba*

      I’ve had a Bosch stack and now a Miele stack and really liked them both! Both also used non-vented, condensing dryers which yes, are slower, but I’m satisfied with them. There is a bit of a learning curve with detergent dosing and additives (I have hard water) but I am super happy with the Miele.

      I recommend front loaders and against the newer impeller models of top loaders. (Obviously I am generalizing) The impeller models make a lot of claims on their efficiency, but people seem to need to use extra water, extra this and that to actually get loads cleaned well, meaning the posted efficiency is not realistic.

      One thing to ask dealers about is the service availability in your area, this should influence what brands you consider.

    13. ronda*

      I have been in apartments lately that have washers.

      right now I have a combined washer / dryer unit. I dont like it cause it is difficult to reach the clothes in the washer to remove them because the dryer kind of blocks the washer opening ( top loading washer). And it is a little smaller than I would like, which is fine for most things…. but I dont want to wash big things in there. It also gets unbalanced easily.

      I had front loader and they were fine except the washer gasket thingy getting yucky. I did like that the dryer was higher up, but not too high. (dryer was stacked on washer)

      My favorite was a top loading without and center agitator. That thing seemed huge and I could wash anything in it.

      If only the washer is failing and you like your dryer, I would just get the washer.

    14. MissB*

      I bought a new Speed Queen washer and dryer about two months ago. Seriously sturdy, good warranty on them.

    15. Observer*

      My current washer is a Samsung. It replaced a Whirlpool which was about 10 years old. I wanted a HE and the Samsung was the best buy – and had the largest capacity. It’s pretty decent.

      I still have the Whirlpoo dryer. It works fine. It’s not fancy and does not have a ton of features, but it does have the basics and does a reasonably good job.

  21. Cookies For Breakfast*

    Is anyone else here an early bird despite themselves?

    I wake up around 6am every day. I have no desire to get out of bed and Do Stuff until it’s time to have breakfast with my partner (2-3 hours later!), but my brain is completely switched on.

    Part of it, I think, is the fact that our supposedly blackout blinds let light in from the sides (probably because of the shape of our windows, long story, assume we can’t change the blinds). Some days, I manage to sleep a bit more after reading or listening to podcasts in bed for an hour or so, but really, I’d love to just sleep through to breakfast time.

    I also tend to feel sleepy on the sofa around 1 hour before I get myself to bed. I wish I could stay awake and read or write for that hour! But I wake up at the same time even on days I manage to do it, or go to bed late, so it feels like yet another lifelong thing my body works against my instructions on.

    So, long story short…has anyone trained themselves to sleep until the time they actually want to get out of bed? Any tips? All I can think of is trying a sleeping mask for the light issue, which feels flimsy given I’ve been like this all my life.

    1. office hobbit*

      Changing your circadian rhythm is really hard. Many of us night owls successfully drag ourselves onto an early bird schedule for work/school, but the studies I’ve heard of show that true night owls are consistently less healthy and more tired when they do this. I haven’t heard of people trying to switch the opposite direction like you are, but I imagine it’d be the same. You might have success, but you might be happier and feel better if you just embrace waking up a bit early and find something to fill the time. Sorry to give a disappointing answer!

      1. Gretta Swathmore*

        Was just going to say the same thing – changing your circadian rhythm is hard. I’m a night owl, and it’s honestly made life pretty miserable since I was about 10. I’m 45 years old and still can not figure out how to get myself to bed at a reasonable hour. It’s just late night is my absolute favorite part of the day, it’s when I feel most alive, and have the best thoughts! It sounds like you’re making use of that time well – podcasts and reading. Can you just think of that time as your personal reflection time every day? A mask and earplugs might help. You could also try getting out of bed for 5-10 minutes, then getting back in when (hopefully) you feel sleepy again.

    2. allathian*

      I’m an early bird too, and this time of year I’m up by 6 regardless. We have blackout curtains but they don’t help enough and I don’t like the idea of a mask. I’m a restless sleeper and I doubt it’d stay on.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Exactly my thought. If I put it on at night, it won’t stay on, and besides I can fall asleep just fine in the dark. If I wait until I need it, then by that point I’m awake, not much to be done about that.

    3. Badger*

      as someone who’s trying really hard to get a regular sleep schedule this sounds like a good problem to have (assuming you get enough and good quality sleep!), but I don’t mean to dismiss the frustration.

      I don’t like sleeping masks, but light wakes me up as well so I just use a soft shawl for my eyes.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        That’s ok, I have experience of bad sleep problems so I do appreciate it’s a good problem to have :) I think the number of hours I sleep most nights is borderline ok, but I don’t love how early I get tired in the evening. I’d rather swap more energy then (and more quality time with my partner / hanging out with friends / doing hobbies after work) with the early hours awake in bed. Wishing you success with your sleep schedule!

    4. I didn't say banana*

      If you consistently go to bed later, you will eventually sleep later, but you’ll be tired and miserable for a while. The adjustment is possible though, like adjusting to a time difference.

      Also, just flagging that waking earlier than you want to can be a sign of depression, if there’s anything else you need to pay attention to there.

      I love the manta sleep mask, if you’re looking for one.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Thanks! I appreciate the reminder. Very much paying attention, and sleep is, funnily, the one thing my mental health has no sway on. I think it’s a legacy of being programmed to be ready at the crack of dawn: from pre-school to the end of high school, I had to be at up 6 to drive to school with my mother or get there with public transport, and I think it stuck in my brain. It’s frustrating because, in my adult life, I haven’t had to be awake that early even when my commute to work was 2 hours. But yes, going to bed later is one thing I keep telling myself I’ll try, and fail at spectacularly every time :)

    5. Sloanicota*

      A sleep mask became more and more important to me as I got older, plus a white noise machine. I think I became a more sensitive sleeper over time. I used to be a huge night owl as a teenager (which I think is very common) and as a consequence often slept in until 10am, even 11 or noon on weekends – which drove my mother berserk. Now I naturally wake up around 7, with a half-hour deviation either way. I could stay up later but I try not to, as I will probably still be up at that time regardless of when I go to bed, and I have needy pets now who want to do morning things. I agree with you that I’m not really good for much for the first 20 minutes or so. Just sipping coffee and skimming the news.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Yep, sounds like me alright. Only I never had the late sleeper phase, and I envy it so much in other people. My partner and most of my friends are like that, and their well-meaning “just get yourself back to sleep” advice sometimes makes those early hours feel quite lonely (luckily, realising I can take headphones to bed and put on long podcasts has been a game changer in that sense).

        1. allathian*

          Are you an extrovert? Because as much as I love my family, I absolutely relish the time to myself I get by waking and getting up early. Try to do something you enjoy in the morning and you’ll resent it less.

    6. Pharmgirl*

      A sleep mask really helps with this. I recommend the MZoo brand on Amazon, it’s super comfortable.

    7. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Me. Always, including in high school and college, which did not make me popular in the dorm. Now I’m retired and two years in I can more reliably sleep until 7:00, especially if I stay up late, which only happens if I’m doing something that involves people and stimulation (concert, party, something like that). If it’s just the two of us reading or watching TV I fall asleep despite myself.

      For a few years we had real blackout shades, which helped a little. Hubs is more of a night owl than I am and finds that having filtered daylight in the room helps him feel human when he wakes up, and since I usually had to get up anyway it didn’t matter that much to me.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Your first sentence made me laugh – I can understand the “unpopular early riser” all too well! Making plans whe travelling with friends in my university years was a special kind of hell. Recently, I’ve been to a hen do (bachelorette for US people) weekend, and by the time everyone woke up the day after the party I’d already made my coffee and cleaned up the entire kitchen of our Airbnb by myself. I was the earliest to go to bed, at 2am, and still woke up at 7. It was Sunday, come on, why am I like this!

    8. Adrina*

      I am not sure of the English word for it but I’ve bought a sort of “heavy” weight duvet for my eyes. Its name was something with yoga but its purpose is to make you relax and it truly does help with my active head that gets too frustrated to sleep even though my body is exhausted. Maybe something like that could at least make you rest until you want to get up?

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        I’ve considered it! If you remember the brand, please let me know, I’m curious. I think it’s called a weighted blanket? My only concern is whether it would make me feel too hot / trapped if the weight makes it harder to move.

        1. Adrina*

          Weighted blanket, yes! Just in this case, a weighted eye pillow.
          I found the site but it is all in Danish. I have the Calm Eye Pillow. Perhaps there is an equivalent in your country?
          https://goyogi.dk/collections/ojenpuder

          After trying this I really want a weighted blanket, too. The weight is surprisingly comforting. The eye pillow is great for when I feel I need a nap during the day. It forces me to lie on my back to avoid it slipping off. At night I sleep on my stomach so can’t use it then.

        2. Esprit de l'escalier*

          I read an article recently in the Wall St Journal about exactly this kind of item — weighted blankets, but also weighted eye masks. I skimmed it and don’t recall details or brand names, but it’s definitely a thing.

    9. Dancing Otter*

      The light also wakes me too early this time of year. My bedroom window doesn’t even face east; I close the blinds; every sleep mask I’ve tried gets too warm for summer temperatures, and interferes with sleeping that way. I’ve given up, and just do quiet stuff until it’s really time to get up.

      I do /try/ to go to sleep earlier than my normal 1 a.m. or later, because 4 hours sleep is just not enough. Absent an afternoon nap, it seems like the best solution, I just have trouble turning myself off. I even override the time limit on my devices, so that doesn’t help.

      If you’re actually getting sleepy earlier, it might be worth going to bed then and reading in the morning. Would that be an issue with your partner?

    10. don'tbeadork*

      I’d kill to be able to sleep until 6 AM. I’m usually awake and moving by 4:30 or 5 no matter how late I go to bed the night before. I can’t make myself lie in bed and maybe drift back off to sleep (I’ve tried) because my brain is also up and ready to go that early. So I can’t help you, but I do sympathize with you!

    11. MeepMeep123*

      Light exposure is a huge thing for sleep. My wife had that problem too, except worse – she would wake up at 1am or 2am and be unable to get back to sleep. She now wears dark red laser-safety glasses for about a half hour before bed (this helps the body generate enough melatonin to keep you sleepy), and at any time she wakes up at night to go to the bathroom or something. Then she wears a sleep mask that blocks all the light from reaching her eyes while actually sleeping. The first day she did that, she slept a normal 8 hours, and she has continued to do so ever since.

      I used the same kind of red laser-safety glasses to train myself to become a morning person – I just put them on about an hour before my desired bedtime, and then wear a sleep mask while sleeping. I used to be a night owl and now I happily wake up at 6am with no issues.

    12. JPalmer*

      I am mostly a night owl, but have been an early bird at some points in my life.

      1. Tackling things and getting stuff out of the way for the next day. Like picking out your outfit, having a clean bathroom and clean space. That way it isn’t like there’s a bunch of work to do.

      2. Ensuring you’re getting enough sleep. If you go to bed early enough, getting up isn’t hard. If I go to sleep at 9 PM, I can be up real early and easily.

      3. Having things you’re excited to do before the drudgery tasks. Like watching a thing you like while you eat breakfast, or going for a relaxing run (once you get hooked on the runner’s high), or taking some time for a walk with your favorite animal (be it a dog or a 5 year old).

      4. Find the ways that early mornings are convenient. I really enjoyed being an early bird in another country because it meant we dodged traffic, lunch rushes, the heat of the midday, the party culture of the location.

      5. Consistency. Do not sleep in on weekends. If you want to make a sustained change, sleeping in will disrupt that. Avoid napping as well if you can.

      6. Make it a habit to have wind-down activities before bed, things with less stress and urgency and a bit more slow tedium. Meditation, painting, reading. My brain will stay on and active until I collapse from exhaustion. I have to let myself say the day is done and let myself sleep. Dimming the lights in the house so it feels darker, which also means less screen time before bedtime.

      7. Get some good blackout curtains if you’re a light sensitive sleeper. I have several different eyemasks if one isnt feeling the right fit.

      8. Make sure the temperature works for you. If my feet are warm I can sleep easier, and my circulation doesn’t warm up the bed quickly. So a heat pad can help me knock out quicker. But in the late night I can overheat on my torso and end up too hot with nightmares. If I don’t control my circumstances I’ll just stay up until my sleepiness overrides that discomfort, which isn’t good for going to bed early.

      Some food for thought, discard which ones don’t fit you!

  22. Itchy*

    Not seeking medical advice so much as comfort suggestions. For months now, I’ve had chronic itching which seems to be connected with my cycle. Never had any allergies before. No doctor has figured it out yet. I’m trying a low histamine diet. Running makes it worse. Anyone out there with chronic itching have quality of life suggestions? Any food tips? What do you do for exercise? Do you advise giving up sweetened applesauce or buttered (home air-popped) popcorn, my remaining regular treats? (I’ve given up so many foods). Have you had side effects from taking antihistamines too long?

    1. tangerineRose*

      When I’ve been itchy, using Aquaphor or Gold Bond or Aveeno on the itchy area has helped a lot (not always immediately, sometimes takes while).

    2. Gretta Swathmore*

      Oh no! I really feel for you. I was on a low histamine diet for about 9 months to get over some long covid allergy nonsense. My allergist retested my allergies and redid my allergy shots and I’m in month 4 of them and feeling MUCH better. I started winding down my low histamine diet two months ago annd introducing new foods every week and it’s been wonderful. If you suspect your itching is food related, don’t forget about Pepcid (it’s an anti histsmine) and probiotics to help heal your gut. There are some good Reddit forums on low histamine diets that will steer you to good probiotics for people with histamine issues. Also, I can’t emphasize enough how much sleep helps with keeping your body from overreacting to things. Sometimes blood sugar swings can cause weird histamine dumps, so maybe making sure you have enough carbs in you before running? Also, check out the b vitamin rabbit holes if you have a lot of free time (methylation issues with folate and B12, pluses and minuses of b3/b6). I think zinc and vitamin c were helpful with my issues – vitamin c is actually an antihistamine! Lots of foods have antihistamine properties, like blueberries for example.

      Sorry this post turned all to advice. I thought I was never going to be normal again a year ago, and now I’m feeling so much better and eating so many wonderful foods. So there is hope! My doctors told me it would probably take a year for me to get back to normal and they were right. I did work really hard on boosting my immune system this last year though (cutting out processed food, eating I think an actual ton of kale, brocoli, and blueberries, allergy shots, prioritizing sleep, elimination diet, probiotics, the works).

      Good luck! I learned so much about nutrition this last year, lost a fair bit of weight, figured out what specific foods annoy my body, and am pretty much eating all unprocessed food now. And I’m actually well rested most of the time now! So even though it was a miserable year, in the end I’m much healthier? I hope you too can find your way there. Sometimes something going haywire in your body can be a wake up call. You too will eat bananas and spinach again! (Low histamine diet people will know what I’m referring to :-)

      Super Immunity by Joel Furhman is a great book, FYI.

      My only real issue with long term antihistamines has been dryer eyes. Just being dried out in general. Eye drops and this microwaved eye heating pad my eye doc suggested have helped. Plus a hot steam humidifier in the winter. And drinking lots of water.

    3. RagingADHD*

      If treating it like an allergy isn’t helping, it might not be an allergy at all.

      Have you had bloodwork done to check your liver function? When I got horribly itchy, turned out that one of my medications was screwing up my liver. Fortunately I stopped taking it before there was permanent damage.

      But lots of things can affect it.

    4. Two cents*

      Oh no, that sounds awful, I’m sorry!! Hormones are so weird.

      I had an itchy head as a side effect of some medication and it took a while to figure that out. So my first suggestion is to double check that–a doctor friend made the connection and I never would have! The itchiness persisted for a long while after I switched, so it wasn’t immediately obvious that it worked. I didn’t have any side effects from the antihistamines, but I probably wasn’t on long enough.

      My biggest suggestion is to up your skincare game because all the scratching will have effects. For me, it aggravated my existing skin problems. So I had to switch shampoos and up my care game, otherwise I was bleeding all the time. Maybe go to a dermatologist to get a handle on the effects? They have tricks up their sleeves to help with lacerated or aggravated skin.

      Good luck and I hope you feel better soon! Itchiness is so crazy making…

    5. mreasy*

      I am also very itchy, and always have been.
      I also have terrible seasonal allergies, and I am on one prescription (nasal spray) antihistamine and one OTC during allergy season. They help with the itchiness a lot, even though that’s not their primary function. My ENT and GP have both said there’s no reason to worry about long term antihistamine use, so I am deciding to believe them given I can’t really function without. Low histamine diet did nothing for me, which I was honestly thankful for because so many of my favorite fermented foods are proscribed by it. That said, some supplements (ironically turmeric) and OTC meds (NasalCrom and similar) I have taken have exacerbated the itching. I have also tried CeraVe, Aveeno, and other anti-itch body lotions to no avail. While it’s possible I’ve gained a little weight (10 lbs?) as a result of taking antihistamines, I’m also 44 so everything is changing anyway. I wouldn’t suffer if you can avoid it!

    6. Badger*

      if the itching is on your skin, you could try expanding on foods high in vitamin B12, potentially also B6 and iron.
      My chronic itching was caused by B12 deficiency primarily, which I only found out by treating that and noticing how my arms and legs didn’t drive me crazy anymore.

      From experience I recommend restricting as little as possible/adding foods back in if removing them didn’t make a noticeable difference. It’s so hard getting things back on track once the microbiome or energy levels are out of whack due to removing foods/food groups for a while.

    7. MissCoco*

      My quality of life dramatically improved with allergy shots. My allergens are not food related, and my allergist is pretty comfortable prescribing a steroid when I had flares, so I have never tried any type of diets to control my symptoms. My allergist recommended Zyrtec as his first line OTC for people with skin reactions, but I found I am more comfortable using a different OTC med.

      I’ve been using a daily OTC antihistamine since my teen years, for me they do contribute to dry skin, but that is managed easily for me with basics like shower oil and lotion, and it’s way more comfortable than constant itching! Second generation antihistamines (not Benadryl) are safe for long term use according to my doctors.

      As far as non-medical strategies, using an air purifier and strict low-dust household habits (frequent vacuuming, an air purifier, showering at the end of the day and keeping windows closed in pollen season) are key for me.

      When I am really allergic I just cannot run, because the skin reaction/itching is too uncomfortable for me. Mast cells can release histamine in response to mechanical disruption, which can include pounding exercise like running (and of course, also the action of itching your skin). When I am in a really allergic period I swim or use a stationary bike for cardio, I find I can typically do weight lifting and pilates without a major histamine response. I try to stick indoor exercise to keep cooler and reduce allergen exposure.

    8. Morning Reading*

      My best hack is run hot water, hot as you can stand it, over the itchy part. It doesn’t resolve what is causing the itch and may make it worse, but it’s temporary relief.
      Calamine lotion, oatmeal baths, if your skin responds to soothers.
      Keep your nails so short you can’t injure yourself. Sleep with gloves on if necessary.
      I don’t know what food has to do with it, if anything, so I wouldn’t advise giving anything up unless some test has revealed an allergy to it.

      1. Two cents*

        Oh interesting. For me, itchy skin was temporarily relieved by cold, not hot. So cold showers were great but hot water made me itch like crazy. It is so interesting how different people can be from each other! I’m glad you found the thing that worked for you.

      2. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Honestly, any water. Spray yourself with a water bottle, go for a swim, take a shower. It only works while you are wet, but it does help. I think the extra sensation gives your nerves something else to to tell you about instead of just “Itchy!”.

    9. Piano girl*

      I am a cancer patient. One of the side effects of my meds is itchy skin, which has led into other issues. I am a big fan of the CereVe itch relief cream (not lotion). I’ve been through many jars of the stuff. I’ve also used DerMend cream and LaRoche-Posay Cicaplast Balm B5. I use Aveeno body wash, and have seen it my Dermatologist for prescription creams. Thankfully, it is mostly under control. Good luck!

      1. Filosofickle*

        I had the same question, as itchiness can be a symptom. (For me it’s itchy ears!) A friend swears by sea buckthorn supplements but I haven’t tried yet.

    10. An Anonymous Comment for Today*

      For me, the thing that finally worked was getting tested for allergies, finding out what I was specifically allergic to (it sometimes seems like I’m allergic to everything), undergoing desensitization shots for the environmental allergies, and then avoiding the foods that I am allergic to. I recommend doing this sooner rather than later and regret the time wasted as for years I suffered from my allergies before seeing a competent ENT with experience in allergies. The side effects that I suffered from taking antihistamines included dry eye, dry mouth and um, constipation. I believe that the years of dry mouth contributed to later dental and gum problems, although I can’t really prove this. (I have always been diligent about brushing and flossing.)

    11. Msd*

      Have them check your thyroid levels (THS T3 and T4). Thyroid causes itching especially itchy eyes as well as many other symptoms often associated with other conditions. . It’s a simple blood test but for some bizarre reason is not routinely checked.

    12. fhqwhgads*

      Ice. or heat.
      Ice because the numbness helps.
      Heat because some itch-causing-things are heat sensitive and the heat will actually resolve it.

    13. Kay*

      I don’t have any great solutions, only to say solidarity with the weird cycle stuff. I did start getting weird itchy nonsense for seemingly unknown reasons, but thankfully it isn’t long lasting.

      For me I’ve done best on eliminating just about everything from my diet, eating lots of clean salads with tons of veggies, keeping processed foods out. You may benefit from going through sensitivity/allergy testing and an elimination diet. For skin issues – does humidity help? For the first time in a while I was in a climate with extremely high humidity and within 24 hours it was like I had new skin. Short of an international relocation, sadly, I haven’t figured out how to replicate this. Taking hyluronic supplements and using the most hydrating products I can sometimes helps. I still run, but I do weights/pilates/yoga/kickboxing, etc.

    14. Ochre*

      I also have cycle-related itching, so you’re not alone in that. But mine is pretty manageable and localized so I just live with it.

      A couple of thoughts: 1) not all itching is histamine-related. It’s possible that a chronic pain specialist or a neurologist might have different ideas than a GP or a dermatologist. 2) do you have any implants? I knew someone who turned out to be allergic to her implanted birth control. In her case it was the Essure coil and I think those have been recalled by the FDA (the inner zinc became exposed) but it’s worth considering if you have any implanted devices.

    15. Qwerty*

      hm, you listed my favorite snacks that I eat frequently, never heard those connected to allergies before! I thought apples were actually a natural antihistimine but I haven’t looked that stuff up in a while.

      For me, antihistamine side effects were more about dosage than length of time. I have run into issues where they dry everything out for me (skin, nose, eyes, etc), at which point I switch to half doses or every-other-day. It can also become a cycle where things are itchy because they are dried out not because of allergies.

      Being hydrated has been helpful – helps prevent drying out + flushes bad stuff out. Too much plain water can flush out nutrients, so I swap some of it out for electrolyte water like Smart Water. Oatmeal based lotions like Aveeno have also been super helpful.

      Hormone balancing foods like Quinoa have also been helpful whenever I’m trying to get something balanced in my life. No idea if it is related to hormones or because they are usually just healthy foods in general

    16. Itchy*

      Thank you very much to all of you who have replied so far! There are many suggestions here I haven’t seen anywhere else. I was running dry on next steps and now with your advice I have a number of ideas I can try.

      1. Msd*

        I said it earlier but I’ll say it again (not to be a jerk) but if you haven’t already please first have your thyroid levels checked. .

  23. Morrigan Crow*

    I’m going to be in Milwaukee at the end of July for a week (luckily not during the convention). Any recommendations for a neighborhood to stay in with nearby cafes and walks (along the water or enjoyable shopping/neighborhoods)? Also things to do like historical walking tours, museums & bakeries? (I’m not into sports, nightlife or alcohol – though I do enjoy factory tours). Thanks for any Milwaukee advice! (I’ll probably be sticking to the city – may or may not have a car, and Chicago is a different trip).

    1. Morning Reading*

      I think Harley Davidson is there, if you like motorcycles. Fabulous art museum on the lakefront, watch it at closing as the wings fold up.
      Get fresh cheese curds somewhere too.

    2. LNLN*

      If you are an architecture fan, check out Frank Lloyd Wright’s Burnham Block. You can tour a restored single family home and a unit in a duplex. I think the buildings were designed around 1915 or so.

    3. Texan In Exile*

      Yes!!!

      HistoricMilwaukee dot org offers walking tours.
      LakefrontBrewery dot com has a fun factory tour. I don’t like beer but I still liked the tour. The guy who gave ours was getting a master’s degree in history and his thesis was on beer.
      Friendslsp dot org (Lakeshore Park) has tours. We went on the fossil tour and it was fun. (And free)
      Clock Shadow Creamery used to have a cheese tour, but I don’t know if they do it anymore.
      MilwaukeeKayak dot com has some fun excursions, including some joint events with the historic society.
      SculptureMilwaukee dot com sometimes has tours, but even if they don’t, you can get the map of the sculptures and walk the route yourself. There are permanent and temporary sculptures scattered all over the city. One of my favorites – this one is permanent – is a huge iron thing in front of the MKE Art Museum. It was made by Betty Gold, a sculptor who was also a Miss Texas. (I think she’s still alive, with a studio in Santa Fe.)

      Villa Terrace is an interesting little museum.

      The Milwaukee Public Museum is going to be rebuilt and is worth a visit before it disappears. The decades-old dioramas are super cool (although somewhat dated in their language), as is the butterfly room, where you can be surrounded by living butterflies. The jungle room replicates a jungle in Costa Rica and has bird sounds, which really confused Merlin, which was looking at my location data and saying, “Resplendent quetzal????????” And the Streets of Old Milwaukee are fun.

      Visit Uzinger’s Sausage on 3rd St. They have a bargain counter. :) You used to have to know about it and ask for the clerk to look on the table in the back (“Do you have any – Canadian bacon?”), but now it’s not a big secret – they display it up front.

      If you had a car, I would send you up to the Kohler Design Center, where there are amazing mockups of perfect bathrooms and kitchens. They also used to have a tour of their factory, where you could watch the molten iron being poured into the bathtub mold and see artists painting custom sinks.

      1. Mobie's Mom Now*

        Lakefront Brewery has/had a good maple root beer, since you’re not into alcohol. And I agree that the tour is worth it anyway!

    4. Vanessa*

      Even if you don’t drink check out the lakefront brewery tour. It’s hilarious. Sprecher is my second choice and they have yummy sodas.
      There is so much good food. I read somewhere that it’s one of the top restaurant cities. Glorioso’s on Brady has the best Italian beef. The bartolotta restaurant chain is higher end and worth it.
      The oriental theater is really cool if you are up for a movie.
      The third ward has great wandering and food.
      There is always a fest or street festival.
      Have a really fun trip.

    5. H.Regalis*

      -MKE art museum people already mentioned, but it’s awesome
      -Walking around near the lakeshore is fun
      -Indulgence Chocolates in Walker’s Point
      -If there are any cultural festivals or block parties near where you’re staying, those are usually fun to check out

    6. EngineerGal*

      Get a selfie with the “Bronze Fonz”- yes I am dating myself:-) If you don’t know who Fonzie is, Henry Winkler was in a show before Barry.

  24. Gretta Swathmore*

    How do I get a friend to stop wanting to schedule phone calls with me? I love talking on the phone with her, but I absolutely HATE this new trend of scheduling personal chat phone calls. I’m so scheduled in my work life, I just don’t want to have to commit to talking on the phone at a specific time in my non-work life. I don’t mind making real plans with people in advance, not one bit. But phone calls? I like to have some spontaneity in life! Just call me! Or I’ll call you! Neither of us is overly busy or pretentious, quite the opposite. I think she has people in her life who ARE overly scheduled and pretentious, so she thinks she’s being polite. Any thoughts? I’ve noticed this trend with my friends in DC. My friends and family in the Midwest are still in the “just call” school of thought. I’m a fan of synchronicity and spontaneity so will always be in the just call camp. I don’t want to run my personal life like I’m a project manager for heavens sake.

    1. Itchy*

      It’s annoying, I agree, but it may be one of those things one has to put up with. I don’t like it either, but I’ve gone with friends’ preference on this, because I’m even more uncomfortable with forcing someone to agree to unplanned developments they’ve specifically said they don’t like (a mutually arranged time is, to my mind, more compatible with mutual consent). I also have a friend who is of my mind, but has a knack for calling at the wrong time—just before a big deadline or when I’m rushing to get to work, so I can relate to the other side, too.

      1. Gretta Swathmore*

        Mutual consent? It’s just a phone call. I think that may the rub – I don’t think a phone call is a big deal at all. I talk to friends and family a lot every day on the phone, it’s no big deal to me. I get that other people think phone calls are a some deal/imposition. To me, the imposition is having to schedule something and go back and forth on text and be all formal about it, not the actual call! I just need to talk to her. Thank you!!

        1. GoryDetails*

          Heh! As a person who really, really hates phone calls, especially unscheduled ones, I find the idea of “just call anytime” as something akin to walking into a spiderweb, complete with feeling all jumpy and get-it-off-of-me. When e-mail came in, my social life changed immensely for the better; I adore asynchronous, deal-with-it-when-you-want, text-based communication! (Also, the little ping of incoming email or text does not make me jump the way an incoming voice-call does. I’ve always said I have phone-o-phobia.)

          1. Gretta*

            When emails/text came in, my social life change immensely for the worse. I loved having a family phone number growing up and chatting with my friends for hours after school. I can’t believe I live in a world where we have fun phone calls so rarely. Guess you nervous introverts won out. Makes sense – folks like you were the probably more heavily represented in the tech industry. For me, it’s such a huge negative life experience. I live alone, and my life would be SO MUCH BETTER if it was normal for friends to talk on the phone. Instead, it’s just dreary texts which don’t do much for me at all.

            1. Filosofickle*

              I miss phone calls too, but don’t like surprise calls so much — I like scheduling, or at least checking in by text first to confirm it’s a good time. It’s not all one side or the other.

    2. talos*

      I don’t have a smartwatch, and I keep my phone on silent to not be distracted by spam calls. If I am not expecting your call, I will not pick it up, because I won’t know it’s happening. So you have to schedule phone calls if you want to actually reach me.

      …and then I treat other people like I want to be treated.

      This is not to say that either of us is right or wrong, just to present what your friend’s perspective might be.

    3. Forensic13*

      Just to check—have you stayed this to her bluntly, no hinting? If not, I would suggest it. Or alternatively, could you give her some mild parameters so she might feel more comfortable? Like: I’m always free after 5PM or never before noon, please?

      1. Gretta Swathmore*

        I think I just need to talk to her about it like you said. Thanks! I just have to be brave.

        1. allathian*

          You do. People have different preferences on this and they won’t know yours unless you tell them.

          I’m not overly scheduled because I need a lot of downtime for my mental health, but most of my friends are very busy. If we didn’t schedule calls, I’d never get to talk to them or we’d end up playing phone tag.

        2. AGD*

          I prefer scheduled phone calls but one friend breezily went, “You can just surprise me – I like that better!” and I laughed out loud because I’d unwittingly assumed that everyone would prefer things to at least be set up at particular times.

    4. Amey*

      The only unscheduled phone calls we have are with my husband’s family (who are local) and people who are trying to sell us things (that kitchen company we got a quote from 6 months ago that calls us every month!) My family are in another country so we have to schedule calls in order to get time zones to work.

      I don’t really have short phone calls! And I have a very busy life that is filled more with bad times to talk than good. If you’re a good friend of mine, I’d rather know that when we talk we’ll get to talk properly. I also, to be honest, spend a lot of time talking to people and have points where I would prefer to spend my free time just focusing on one quiet thing by myself, like knitting! I don’t get to do that very often, so would be annoyed to be called out of the blue and would feel obligated to take it.

      I completely understand your position and honestly also rebel against the over scheduled nature of my life in other ways – but unscheduled phone calls just wouldn’t work for my life at all.

      Not invalidating your experience just giving an alternative perspective as to what might be going on here. But just talk to her – it sounds as though she might feel the same as you but have lots of friends like me! I’m just pushing back gently on the idea of a one true way here, people are different, different preferences are valid.

    5. Mighty K*

      I don’t really like “out of the blue” calls because there’s a really high chance they happen when I’m half way through doigg something, or travelling, or I’m just not settled and able to give you my attention and enjoy the call. But for me, scheduled doesn’t need to be a week in advance – the ideal would be getting a message like “hey, are you free this eve? Wanna catch up?” and I can reply to say “that’d be fab, give me 15 mins to wrap up and make a cup of tea – will call you then!”

      1. RussianInTexas*

        My stepmom calls me during the day with “are you working?” which is always “yes, it’s 3pm on a Tuesday”, and then “this is the latest terrible thing that happened to your dad’s health (he has dementia)”, so no, I do not live spontaneous phone calls.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, this. I have a scheduled weekly phone call with my mom on Fridays when I get home from work or stop working for the day. At other times we text with no schedule. If my mom calls me out of the blue it’s bad news.

      2. Anonymous Educator*

        Yeah, I wonder how much of this is a matter of age/time, as opposed to generation.

        I’m Gen X, and I used to make and receive random phone calls with friends all the time when I was in high school and college. In adulthood, partly because people just get busy with life (work, kids, etc.) and partly because of how technology has evolved (how would you coordinate a phone call pre-email and pre–cell phone?), most friends I talk with the phone usually involve some kind of text message checking on whether it’s a good time to catch up or not.

        1. Gretta*

          Fellow GenXer. If you would have told 12 year old me that when I was an adult I would almost never talk to my friends on the phone, I would have cried in misery for days. I sometimes can’t believe how shitty and lonely our current tech world is. I would give anything to go back to the 90s.

          1. Anonymous Educator*

            Same! Loved the hours-long phone calls, mix tapes, and handwritten letters and postcards.

    6. londonedit*

      This is something that’s definitely changed in my lifetime, thanks to the advent of mobile phones. Phone calls used to be the only spontaneous way of contacting someone, and the way a phone call worked was that you’d just pick up the phone and dial and hope the person you wanted to speak to was there. There wasn’t really a way to schedule a phone call unless you did it in person or on another phone call (or I suppose by letter!)

      Now, with smartphones and instant messaging, things like text and WhatsApp are the ways we speak to people spontaneously. And they’re not intrusive – you send a message and the person can reply at their leisure. So now a phone call seems very intrusive, because you have to drop everything and take the call. What used to be completely normal now feels like an intrusion into someone’s day. So I can see why your friend feels they want to schedule a call – they might not want to feel like they’re interrupting by calling with no notice, or they might want to make sure you’re free to chat (or indeed that they’re free to chat). But I can also see your point of view – a phone call with a friend is meant to be a casual conversation, not an appointment.

      I think you do just need to explain to her that you’d love to chat, but you feel that scheduling calls is too restrictive for you and you’d rather she just rang whenever she felt like it and not worry if you don’t pick up.

      1. Lurker*

        But a phone call doesn’t have to be intrusive. If a friend spontaneously calls you, you can choose not answer it; you don’t have to “drop everything.”

        1. londonedit*

          I’m not saying it is necessarily intrusive – I’m saying the way we view phone calls has changed, and it now feels to many people like an unscheduled call is less polite than sending a WhatsApp message.

        2. Ginni*

          I can and I do – but the need to make that decision and worry about how it will be received it, in itself, an intrusion. An unwelcome and unnecessary one, easily avoided by a quick text to say “hey, you free for a chat?”

    7. Miss Buttons*

      I also do not like the trend towards scheduling phone calls. One friend in particular seems to expect a very long call (sometimes an hour or more) if it’s scheduled. I feel like a hostage, and she’ll get annoyed if I try to hang up at 30 minutes (“but you said this was a good time for you!”) My lifestyle doesn’t allow for hour-long calls, period. So with her I get around it by texting mostly, and in the middle of a text conversation, if I feel up to phone-chatting, I’ll ask “can you take a short call now?”
      But I so agree with not wanting to schedule my free time when I’m off work.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Ha! The reason I want to schedule with my one friend is that once she gets yakking, she’s going to be on the phone all night and my entire evening is gone, so I need to be prepared!

        1. allathian*

          Yes, this. I can talk for literal hours with my best friend, so we schedule our calls.

          But for shorter calls, scheduling usually means texting to ask f the person’s available. If not, we schedule a call for later.

    8. chocolate muffins*

      I don’t think it’s within your power to get anyone to stop wanting anything, but for sure you don’t have to schedule phone calls if you don’t want to. I schedule with some friends and do spontaneous calls with others, depending on what works for them. A friend of mine once asked me if I wanted to schedule a regular call (like, the first Saturday of every month or something like that) during a time when my life was very busy and more unpredictable than usual. I said something like, “Friend, I love you and I love talking with you, and also my life cannot handle a scheduled commitment like that right now. It would be great to catch up as we’re able, though!” And now we talk on the phone about once a month, but not always at the same time, and it’s lovely. So one thing that might help is expressing enthusiasm for your friend and your conversations while also explaining what works for you and what doesn’t.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Aw I did the same thing with my friend and I could tell she was really bummed and hurt. But I just couldn’t do it anymore. She started it during covid but wanted it to keep going after the lockdowns ended.

    9. Morning Reading*

      Have you asked her outright? That might be the best way. “I’ve noticed we have different communication styles, can you just call me when you like and not schedule?”
      A compromise might be to give her a window or two when you’re usually available. “Im usuallyhome Saturday afternoons and Tuesday evenings but I don’t answer the phone after 9.”
      Friend of mine, who had been a PM inhis career, always used to end his calls by trying to set up our next appointment. “In closing, I’ll be in touch next Sunday morning at 10, does that work for you?” LOL. I’d say “dude, we’re not at work, just call me when you want, I’ll pick up if I can.”
      Never did really resolve that.
      Downside of my preferred spontaneous method is that I don’t answer at least half the time. But I always call back later.

      1. Still*

        Ha, I love scheduling the next phone call at the end of the current one, especially for my long-distance friends. It’s a great way to make sure we’ll actually talk soon.

    10. MissCoco*

      I think you have to just say it. I have a dear friend who prefers scheduled calls (and honestly I don’t mind because she is so busy that it’s hard to reach her otherwise). We talked about this once and she said she is happy to receive unscheduled calls, so every once in a while we have a nice spontaneous chat, and in the meantime we will schedule calls.
      I love the script AGD’s friend used, to focus on enjoying the surprise rather than disliking the effort of scheduling.

    11. Sloanicota*

      Hahah I JUST had this issue. I have an (older, male) friend who thinks it’s “cheeky” to call without warning just to chat once in a blue moon – he is aware it annoys me because he jokes that he’s “doing a boomer.” And I just had an issue this week where I was getting ready to go on a work trip, saw the phone was ringing as I was putting it in my bag, and picked it up thinking it might be my boss. He “needed to talk” and I – stupidly – let myself be persuaded by my people-pleaser side. I ended up making several stupid packing mistakes because I was distracted by the conversation and went from being on-time to the meeting to being 40 minutes late when all’s said and done. Afterwards I kept thinking, “why on earth didn’t I tell him it wasn’t a good time and I had to go??”

    12. RussianInTexas*

      I am not overscheduled or pretentious, but if I get an unexpected spontaneous phone call from anyone, my first thought will be “did something bad happen?” In fairness, no one in my circle of friends and family calls without A Reason.
      In addition, DND kicks in at 10pm until 7 am on school nights, and 10pm until 10am on weekends on my phone, and I won’t answer an unscheduled call from anyone except two people who are exception.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        Just want to clarify I am not a young person who are perceived of terrified of phones and I talk to people on the phone at work and have no issues calling places like a doctor’s office. I grew up taking on the phone with friends.
        But I loath personal phone calls now. I don’t ever know what to talk about.

    13. BikeWalkBarb*

      Suggest that she schedule for herself the task of texting you to find out if you’re available for a quick chat and give her some day/time blocks that are the ones when you’re most likely (although not guaranteed!) to be available. She gets 100% of the scheduling burden and she can leave you a voice mail if you’re not available.

      I do and don’t understand the scheduling need. My best friend in another town and I call each other all the time just because we have a few minutes. I love her messages that say “I got nothin’, just going out for a walk and thought I’d see if you were available.” With my daughters I do some scheduling because we’re in different time zones.

    14. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I see both sides and I do it both ways. I have one friend who doesn’t work outside the home and was often available when I was driving long distances for work, so I’d call and if she was available we’d chat and if not, no harm no foul. I have another friend who never – and I mean *never* – picks up the phone if he’s not expecting a call, so he and I text to arrange a time. With many of my friends it’s somewhere in between – sometimes one of us calls spontaneously and sometimes we text and say “hey, would love to catch up, are you free sometime?”

      Neither approach strikes me as pretentious and I can completely understand why it’s annoying to have to schedule your free time. I also know that I if I told my must-schedule friend to call me whenever he was free, I would never – and I mean never – hear from him. I’d rather talk to him than not talk to him so we schedule.

      Over the years I’ve realized I’m often the one who picks up the phone or sends the Email or arranges the gathering. It’s not that my friends don’t like me. It’s just how it is. I’ve tried waiting for them to reach out and – crickets. So I do the scheduling. I’m OK with that. The second or third time someone is busy/tied up/whatever, I stop asking.

    15. Chaordic One*

      I’m sure you are correct in your assumption that your friend is trying to be considerate of your time in attempting to schedule her calls with you, so that she doesn’t call during an inconvenient time when you are busy with other things or when you aren’t there. You can certainly tell her things like, “You can call me anytime” and “You don’t have to schedule a call with me” if that is the case. And you can also reach out to her and give her a call, instead of just waiting for her to always call you.

      1. Sloanicota*

        If a friend told me they really wanted to talk to me on the phone more but didn’t want to pre-schedule it (I’m a scheduler) it would be a kindness to tell me, “I’d love to talk to you Tuesdays any time, just give me a call whenever it works for you” or “I’m always available in the afternoons” – they could also text me and say, “if you can talk today, give me a call!” and that would be meeting me halfway. In theory, this is someone you like and are willing to be a bit more flexible with, even though you have different communication styles and neither one of you is wrong – just like “texts about minutiae all day” guy, or the “group thread that will go off 200 times an hour” family. Giving me a no-warning phone call isn’t really the halfway option, but if you don’t mind me not picking up if I’m not available, it’s a choice.

    16. Hyaline*

      Are you sure it’s not helpful for her? Because if it is—I’d accept the scheduling as the price paid to keep in touch. Like it’s not pretentious to have a hard time finding a half hour free all in one block if you have work, kids, kids’ extracurriculars, family demands, all lobbing off weird chunks of time. I’m not oh so special or anything—I just have a lot of awkwardly paced time commitments. You could try just telling her “I’m always free after six on weekdays, call anytime!” but only if you really will drop what you’re doing to chat if she’s doing her best to carve out time for you.

    17. Lives in a Shoe*

      I didn’t see anyone suggesting the quick “is this a good time to call?” text; that’s what me and mine do. Kind of a hybrid.

  25. NotABuffaloGal*

    I’ve read about a few different encounters people have had with wildlife lately, usually at Yellowstone, and it puzzles me how some people seem to think that these large wild animals are safe or something? A ranger had to stop a couple from having their young kids pose in front of (and very close to) some elk.

    And what are people thinking of when it comes to buffalo? (American Bison). They’re huge and massive. But there are videos showing people acting like these are friendly pets.

    I’m honestly curious about why people do that kind of thing. These are adults, they probably know better than to walk right in front of a moving car, or else they probably wouldn’t have lived long enough to get to Yellowstone. It sounds like there are warning signs up to remind people not to mess with the wild animals.

    It just makes me wonder what people are thinking when they do something like this. Especially with a buffalo. Any ideas? I guess maybe they aren’t thinking, but I would think most people would have enough fear to realize it wasn’t a good idea.

    1. City kid*

      Are they from countries with large wild animals? I mean, probably. For them, I have no idea. But I’m living in a country at the moment where there is literally nothing enormous and some of the people here are astoundingly ignorant of what to keep in mind.

      Come to think of it, maybe they’re all city kids. I am a city kid and know what not to do, but maybe that’s not universal. I certainly didn’t have ANY experience with something larger than a dog “out in the wild”. And you do get to pose in front of large animals at a zoo.

      Probably a lot of it is “not thinking” rather than “what were they thinking”.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yeah, even if you were raised in the suburbs or exerbs – which are huge – you may have only encountered large, friendly-ish animals at the zoo. Everything else is a golden retriever to you. If you’re not familiar with national parks you may subliminally assume it’s like a zoo or Disney or whatever and the animals are somewhat trained or docile (not that zoo animals are docile, but you are prevented from getting close to them if you’re not – in fact, in such places, there’s a lot of effort that goes into preventing you from doing anything dangerous – which is not the risk profile of a national park). It also may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get that photo, and as far as you can tell the animal seems to be calmly grazing …

        1. Sloanicota*

          Not that it’s at all the same, but I’m equally astonished by all the people here in the city who either approach my very large dog “for a hug” (?), or seemingly allow their tiny children to run directly up to my extremely large dog and get right in his face. My dog has more in common with a bison than a golden retriever, but I assume they just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that a dog out in the world on a leash could be a threat. They’re also terrible at reading his body language in any way and just assume he must be extremely friendly.

          1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

            Counterpoint- large dogs that are threats to humans because of their dispositions should not be allowed in areas where humans are. I’m not saying people should run up to strange dogs but if a small children accidentally getting near your dog poses a threat to that child, then YOU are failing to contain your dog. Children have a right to live in human society, dogs don’t.

            1. Sloanicota*

              My take is that almost no dog is safe to let a small child run up to. But, that’s my two cents. Other people are certainly more sure of their dogs’ perfection.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        That could be it! Non-locals tend to have a really hard time processing how absolutely enormous elk, bears, sea lions and such really, truly are. They see pictures taken at a distance and so on, but I find quite a few people tend to think of these creatures as between “big dog” and “deer” in size.

    2. Undine Spragg*

      They have no experience with wild animals but have seen them on tv and the internet, and just sort of visualize them as large pets that somebody owns. They don’t really realize they are in the outdoors and think it’s like a large petting zoo. Like, they wouldn’t put the animals out where you could approach them if it wasn’t safe, right? And the animals must be there for these people’s convenience or they wouldn’t be there at all.

      1. Angstrom*

        Yup. I think some people see “……Park” and assume that *everything* is managed. Why would those animals be roaming around loose if they weren’t safe?
        We see similar assumptions in our rural area. People whose only experience of a “hiking trail” is a city park arrive at mountain trailheads expecting a groomed path.

        1. londonedit*

          We had similar issues between lockdowns when people couldn’t travel abroad. Package holidays to places like Spain have been so cheap and so available over the last 20 years or so that many people had never holidayed in the UK and had never really experienced the countryside – they’d go on an all-inclusive holiday every year and everything would be laid on and they wouldn’t really have any need to leave the hotel or do anything for themselves. So they didn’t really know how to behave in the countryside. It’s not an excuse because any reasonable person should know to take their litter with them and not damage things etc, but some people do just have a sense of being entitled to a holiday and being entitled to do what they want to enjoy themselves, and they didn’t really think about the fact that no one’s there to clear up after them.

        2. GoryDetails*

          Yeah, I think the “park” concept may have something to do with it. I’ve read several books that consolidate the dangers of various national parks (Death in Yellowstone, Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon, to name two), and many of the more tragic – yet absolutely avoidable – instances involve people hopping over guardrails or strolling past “do not go beyond this point” signs to get better views, sometimes encouraging children to do the same for photo opportunities… It’s wrenching to read about.

        3. o_gal*

          Agree with the statement on “hiking” trails. At the visitor’s center on Mt Washington in NH, there is a wall that you do not want your name on (assuming it’s still there, we were last there in 2003.) All the people who have died while hiking the mountain. The problem is that there are multiple trails, some rated fairly easy, a road you can drive to the summit, and a cog railway you can ride to the summit. How hard could it be? Why, I should just be able to grab a map and a water bottle, head up the trail with dozens of other people, and I won’t ever get in any trouble! It’s just like my local metro park! Who cares if it’s noted as having the world’s worst weather? It’s summer and I’ve got my cell phone with me!

          1. GoryDetails*

            Oh, yes, Mt. Washington! The book Not Without Peril by Nicholas Howe covers a lot of the tragedies on that and other mountains in the Presidential range, many of them due to people failing to believe just how quickly conditions can and do change between the bottom of the mountain and the top. (I live in NH and have yet to go to the top of Mt. Washington; I’m not a hiker so I wouldn’t do it on foot, have a fear of driving narrow, winding trails so I won’t drive up, and haven’t made up my mind to schedule a cog-railway trip – though I’d love to do that at some point. I do often see the local weather maps showing the DRASTIC difference in temperature, wind speed, and precipitation atop the mountain; often it seems it could be a portal to the Arctic.)

          2. WellRed*

            I live in Maine. I think cell phones have made hikers stupidly overconfident and unprepared.

          3. Angstrom*

            Mt. Washington would get a lot more respect if you had to go on an expedition to get there. Reality is that you can get on I-93 in Boston and be at the trailhead three hours later. How bad could it be?
            The one piece of advice I give anyone heading into those mountains is to read the Higher Summits Forecast and disregard the conditions in the valley. It’s a different world above treeline.

        4. goddessoftransitory*

          “Hiking” and “swimming” claim multiple lives in my area every year, because inexperienced walkers and swimmers subliminally seem to think they’re in a park or swimming pool at all times, fatally miscalculate, and end up dying of exposure/ hypothermia, or drowning.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Entitled. They’re entitled. “I want to do this, therefore I have a right to do so. I love the animal; therefore it must of course be inclined to return that love, and I simply do not believe that this is in any way a threat to me.”

        Also, they really don’t get that it’s a huge threat to the animal. If something happens, that animal is going to be euthanized.

        *cough* Timothy Treadwell *cough*

    3. strawberry lemonade*

      Probably one aspect is that they’re herbivores. That goes pretty far. Not “they’re not wild” but “they’re herbivores so they don’t hurt other creatures.” This is incorrect but it FEELS correct.

      Another is likely that people think, “yeah I’ll be careful” and just don’t have a particularly good idea of how fast something could go wrong.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Which is funny because the first time I hiked through a field with cows in it, and got at all close to the cow, my spidey sense was immediately kicking in – danger! danger! that cow is really freaking large up close!! And these were gently dairy cows, obviously herbivores, placidly munching away.

        1. londonedit*

          Cows can be dangerous, though! Especially if you have a dog with you, and especially if there are calves with them. They can and do trample people if they feel threatened.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Hell yeah. I almost got trampled in this exact situation by one of our cows when my ex and I went out to check on a new calf. Luckily all she did was knock me aside in her rush to go after the dog, who had followed us without our realizing it.

            Also, deer will mess you up. And y’all know how big a moose actually is? It’s practically prehistoric!

      2. RussianInTexas*

        Once of deadliest animal is a hippo, which are herbivores. They will just drown you for the fun of it.

    4. londonedit*

      I would assume it’s just a complete lack of experience with these animals (or maybe with any animals at all). If people have only seen large animals in a zoo or on TV then they might not have a clue how they actually behave in the wild (and if they’re somewhere like Yellowstone they might view it as some sort of extended theme park rather than the actual wild with actual wild animals).

      There are kids living in London who have never seen cows in real life. One of my sister’s university friends genuinely thought badgers were mythical creatures like unicorns. I grew up in the countryside so I’ve always had a good knowledge of and familiarity with British wildlife, but even so we don’t have any big scary wild animals here, and the only time people would see them would be if they visit a safari park like Longleat. Combined with the fact that some people are just stunningly unaware of their surroundings in general, I bet that’s what’s going on.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        When my daughter was a toddler we discovered a local farm run by the Audubon society, where I could take her around to see actual cows, pigs, etc. It really brought home how much children’s literature emphasized learning the sounds made by common farm animals, long after it was common for small children to be around farm animals.

          1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

            Natick Community Organic Farm is pretty great too. No cows but usually pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and rabbits.

      2. Narwhals are real*

        I have encountered quite a few people who didn’t realise narwhals were real. Not quite as incredible as not realising badgers are real, but my first thought in both cases was ‘how wonderful to find out in adulthood that a creature you thought was mythical is real’. Lucky them!

        1. Catherine*

          I am one of those people! In my defense, the narwhal figurine I owned was sold in a set with a unicorn and iirc a gryphon? So it seemed very sensible to little me to assume that the unifying theme here was mythical creatures.

          1. Narwhals are real*

            Maybe whoever packaged the toys also didn’t know narwhals were real!

          2. NotABuffaloGal*

            I saw some commercials or something on a kids’ show where they had a platypus and a jackalope together. Since platypuses are real, and jackalopes are basically not (apparently some jackrabbits grew some stuff on their heads that could look just a bit like horns), this seemed to me like it would confuse kids.

            1. UKDancer*

              Jackalopes aren’t real! I didn’t know what they were until I read a short story by Ursula Vernon called “Jackalope Wives” so I kind of assumed it was another word for a deer and that they really existed.

              We live and learn!

          3. goddessoftransitory*

            Narwhal tusks were actually presented as unicorn horns as “proof” that the latter existed, so I can see the reasoning behind that bundling.

    5. AGD*

      Maybe some appeal-to-nature stuff going on here? It’s really easy to think that nature is all benign/beneficial if you’re from a background where you don’t ever have to contend with natural dangers. Same reason why you can convince so many people at Whole Foods to eat cherry pits or bitter almonds even though they tend to contain a lot of cyanide. And why some preventative treatments for contagious diseases have been so effective that people end up more afraid of the treatments than of the diseases.

    6. mreasy*

      If you’re talking about the US, I don’t think the impact of radically defunded public education can be minimized here. Especially for folks who aren’t from a place with much wildlife.

    7. Scientist*

      I was a national park ranger for five seasons across the US, and definitely saw or heard of people getting very close to black bears, grizzly bears, moose, etc. I definitely feel like it’s people thinking, “I’m in a park run by our overly cautious government having a touristy Experience! Anything goes!” They’ve come from the branded coffee shop and gift shop, picked up a lil junior ranger booklet, hopped into their rental RV, and when they see a cute moose on a short hike, it all feels like part of it. Like, if it was going to hurt them, it would have been shooed off already.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I do think there is a sense of entitlement with some people. “I paid good money for this vacation and I AM going to get a selfie with a moose.” And it’s usually something they want to post on social media so they can humble-brag about having this experience.

        Said people are highly annoying.

      2. NotABuffaloGal*

        Even when I look at black bears, grizzly bears, moose in the zoo, I’m still very impressed and very, very grateful for the barriers between us. Then again, I grew up mostly in the country. We didn’t have a lot of big animals there, but we at least knew not to mess with the deer or the cows.

        1. yeep*

          I live in the country and there is a herd of deer that live in the small wooded area across the road from my house. We have a trail through it and in the back part of the woods, I startle the deer every time I walk that far. I am 100% convinced that one day I am going to be broadsided by a doe trying to get away.

    8. Falling Diphthong*

      I wonder if rates would be lower in England (where you have public footpaths taking you through fields of cows, with warnings not to antagonize the cows) than in the US (where large livestock are not near the public pathway)?

      People have done this for a long time–Bill Bryson wrote about it in his book about hiking the Appalachian Trail. (Someone put honey on a toddler’s hand for the bear to lick off.) It’s akin to the need for signs at the Grand Canyon about how the natural wonder was not made by a team of imagineers and lawyers and so it’s not safe to mess around at the edge.

      While I recommend The Magic Treehouse series for early readers, I was quite annoyed when they went to dinosaur times and recognized stegosaurs as vegetarians, and therefore safe to walk up to and pat and hand feed some flora. The most dangerous (not insect or microbe) animals in Africa are water buffalo and hippos. They don’t eat you after they trample you to death, but they are tetchy and easy to annoy.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Yep. The YouTube presenter of Casual Geographic dub moose “The Moosiah” and rates them 10/10 for Bad Endings should you run into one.

      1. Jackalope*

        I was once on a drive with a group I worked with, including a coworker/friend who hadn’t spent much time in the forest. We drove by a bear who had wandered onto the road and stopped to take pictures (from our van). She was super excited by the bear and I had to physically hold her in the car so she didn’t run across the road and pet it. She was mad at me too, and I didn’t care one bit.

      2. The Prettiest Curse*

        In the UK, we tend to have less wildlife that can kill you than many other countries. Which may well make British folk over-confident about interacting with the local wildlife when they go on holiday elsewhere. (Did the opposite for me when I took trips to Lake Tahoe, though – I was very careful not to do anything to potentially attract bears.)

        1. Cordelia*

          British people can also be over-confident when they go on holiday here, I’m afraid. The New Forest in the south of England has ponies roaming free, they do belong to people but graze in the forest, and they are wild animals. People are always trying to get up close to them for photos, particularly to the foals, and most years someone gets injured. My mother, who lives there, has previously stopped someone from trying to put their baby on the back of a pony.

          1. londonedit*

            Yeah, people see the ponies in the New Forest, Exmoor etc and they cannot compute the idea that they’re to all intents and purposes wild animals. Ponies are cute, right? You can ride them! Nope.

            We also have a lot of trouble here with people not understanding that places like the Lake District can be dangerous – they set off up a mountain or a high fell wearing shorts and a t-shirt and Converse trainers, assume they can use their phone as a sat nav (or assume there will be a proper signed footpath) and have no idea that a) it’s a challenging hike and b) the weather conditions at the top can be completely different from at the bottom, and inclement weather can come in very quickly. Mountain rescue have to rescue several people every year. I think people just think ‘it’s Britain, how dangerous can it be’ and they assume they wouldn’t ‘let people go up there’ if it wasn’t safe.

            1. goddessoftransitory*

              Anyone who’s been around even a domesticated Shetland pony knows the falsity of that statement.

        2. Anonymous cat*

          Now I’m wondering—does Australia have this problem? Or are they more cautious around animals?

          I’ve seen memes—and read the Bill Bryson book!—about how many things in Australia want to kill you, but was never sure how serious they were and how much was exaggeration for effect.

          But if nature is seriously that dangerous, would Australians grow up knowing not to FAFO when traveling?

          1. Sara K*

            I can’t speak for all Australians but generally that meme about everything trying to kill you in Oz is pretty over-hyped. That said generally most Aussies grow up being careful in nature because the things that can kill you are usually smallish and quiet (snakes, spiders, jellyfish) and you can’t always see them coming :). The thing that visitors to Australia usually don’t get warned about that can actually kill them is swimming at the beach. Lots of Aussie beaches are beautiful but can have deadly rips especially if you are not a strong swimmer. Swimming is taught in primary school here. Anyway, if you do come here, always swim between the flags (means that part of the beach is being patrolled by life guards)

          2. Six Feldspar*

            As Sarah K has said, a lot of our species are small and quiet and don’t want much to do with us anyway. I did get Don’t Touch That drilled into me as a kid, but generally our wildlife isn’t as easy to reach as North American animals. You’ve got:
            – animals that most people wouldn’t want to pick up or get close to anyway (spiders, ants, scorpions)
            – animals that are easily spooked or hard to find (most Australian snakes are shy and will avoid humans, kangaroos and emus can easily outrun a human)
            – animals that are only in a specific part of nature (sharks are only a problem if you swim in the ocean and some river systems close to the ocean, crocs are dangerous in/around the water but you’re not generally going to see them anywhere else)

            I believe that of all our wildlife, kangaroos are actually the most deadly because they cause so many car crashes. Most of our animals are not aggressive or dangerous as long as you don’t bother them and/or don’t go into their habitat.

            I do wonder how many stories about people getting too close to large and furry animals is Australian tourists seeing a bear/cougar/bison/etc and going “well it’s fluffy, too big to fit in a shoe and not venomous, how dangerous could it be?”

          3. NotABuffaloGal*

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binky_(polar_bear)
            According to that link, not everyone in Australia is careful. It includes “On July 29, 1994, 29-year-old Australian tourist Kathryn Warburton jumped over two safety rails to get a close-up photograph of Binky in his enclosure. When Binky stuck his head through the bars and grabbed her,[16][17][18] she suffered a broken leg and bite wounds”

            Maybe American bears seemed safer?

      3. Elizabeth West*

        (Someone put honey on a toddler’s hand for the bear to lick off.)

        *sputters incoherently*

        1. Clisby*

          I don’t think my husband has ever gotten over his shock at seeing a fisherman who had just pulled in a little shark on a SC beach hold it right up to what seemed to be his grandchild’s face. Granted, this was a small shark (like 2 feet long) but it still had a mouth full of teeth.

          We’re living in Charleston now, and every year we roll our eyes and wait for accounts of humans approaching alligators (during breeding/nesting season, no less); people feeding alligators in their neighborhood pond and then being totally SHOCKED when an alligator attacks a dog. You’d think it would be a fairly simple concept: Do not train alligators to associate humans with food. No good will come of that. And then when an alligator does attack a pet (or, not nearly so often, a person), the cry goes up to kill them. We moved into their territory, and all we need to do is have the common sense to leave them the fuck alone, but apparently common sense is not so common these days.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            My dad worked for a company in Florida where some engineers would go throw marshmallows to the alligators at lunchtime, leading the alligators to assume that all humans would disgorge marshmallows with the right prodding.

          2. goddessoftransitory*

            Augh, alligators. People seem to think they’re props or toys–they hold still so well it’s hard to realize that when they want to they can move like the Flash. And climb things like fences.

            1. Clisby*

              And unlike some reptiles, female alligators guard their nests and look after the babies when they’re born. STAY AWAY, or you’ll be sorry.

    9. Shutterdoula*

      Because most of the time, bison move slowly, just chewing and eating grass. So it seems like you could approach them and they would ignore you. They think “I’ll just be quiet and calm and careful. It’ll be a great photo!”
      But bison can – and absolutely will! – can flip into self-defense mode real quick and they have horns and can run fast.

      1. NotABuffaloGal*

        There’s a drive thru place (takes about an hour on a gravel road) where lots and lots of animals run fairly free (lots of room, but they need some fencing somewhere to keep them away from the highway), and one of the buffalo feeding places is near the road. Sometimes one or two of them are only a few feet from the road. They don’t do much when they’re there, mostly just standing around. Still, I’m always deeply impressed and deeply grateful they don’t hurt my car.

        1. londonedit*

          I mentioned Longleat further up – it’s a safari and wildlife park in Wiltshire that’s famous for its animals. One of the most notorious bits is the area where you can drive through the park, through where animals like the monkeys and lions live. It’s full of signs saying DO NOT STOP, DO NOT OPEN WINDOWS, the monkeys WILL destroy your car if you give them a chance and they are NOT cute and fluffy, they will DAMAGE YOU if they get near you. Still people think it’s hilarious when the monkeys rip off their windscreen wipers (or, conversely, they’re super angry because yeah there were signs but they didn’t actually think the monkeys would actually cause actual damage).

          1. GoryDetails*

            I visited Longleat many years ago with friends, and enjoyed the safari park (though as it was a rather chilly, damp-ish day, the lions were all huddled together in a heap rather than putting on a show for the visitors). The awesome hedge-maze was a high point of the visit. But we did obey the warning signs and weren’t pestered too much by the monkeys. (I don’t know if that animal-park scene in “The Omen” was filmed at Longleat or not, but the scene of monkeys gone increasingly furious still sticks with me!)

            1. goddessoftransitory*

              It apparently stuck with the actress, too–they had no idea those baboons would get that aggressive and her fear was real.

    10. Girasol*

      I was listening to some national park rangers telling stories one night. One said he was training in a southern park under a senior ranger when they came upon a woman holding a polaroid camera and screaming incoherently. The senior ranger took a look at the photo she was holding and showed it to his trainee: a portrait of a small dog taken next to a resting alligator.

      Another one said that he had helped rescue a toddler standing next to a rattlesnake in the park’s parking lot. Dad was trying to get a picture of the two of them together. Dad explained afterward he was sure that the snake wasn’t dangerous because why would the park service put a dangerous snake in a parking lot?

      Some people just haven’t had much exposure to wilderness and wild animals. And to be sure, a bison just standing around really doesn’t look much more ambitious or speedy than a furry sofa. By the time someone realizes that looks can be deceiving, it’s too late.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        Agreed. And I think everyone is so disconnected from nature, from where their food comes from, from real, natural life that they think everything is a virtual world (and I am just a virtual girl, snirk).

    11. goddessoftransitory*

      I have a cousin who works in a national park and he gets these types all the time. The signs have gone from “Please Do Not Approach Wildlife” to “THIS ANIMAL WILL RIP YOU TO SHREDS AND PICK ITS TEETH WITH YOUR SPLINTERED FEMUR” but with little effect.

      I think it’s a combination of “I spent money to see the bears and I want cool pictures,” the Instagram/influencer pernicious plague, and the Disney effect, where it seems people think a 2000 pound furry tank with daggers on its head and sabers for hooves is a chatty chum because that’s how they process “animal.”

      1. Don’t make me come over there*

        Scientific American just published an article titled “If Not Friend, Why Friend-Shaped? A Beary Scientific Investigation”. One of the factors they mentioned are that bears are part of the sub-order Caniformia (dog-shaped), and so remind us of the species that we domesticated to be companions.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          A different Scientific American (on Becoming Human) had a theory that humans and dogs both self-domesticated. Humans finally hit on mating with other humans who liked being around bigger groups of humans and could cooperate in those groups, which had some associated changes like face flattening. Wolves hit on hanging about humans as a food source, with the ones most tolerant of humans also pulling along those related domestication traits.

      2. Andromeda*

        I am 100% sure that my brain works this way; even my attitude towards bears is “cute friend! THAT WE LOOK AT FROM A VERY, VERY LONG DISTANCE WITH A BIG FENCE.” I have hope that this attitude is still trainable and can exist simultaneously with the “would like to pet *every* animal, please” instinct. The way I understand it, if you were really friends with a creature you would treat it with respect and communicate on its terms.

    12. fhqwhgads*

      Some people are dumb. It’s not really much more complex than that. It still only takes a very small number of dumb people making the news for doing the same dumb thing for it to seem like a lot.
      I mean, google the guy who thought it was a good idea to put his kid over the TWO fences between the elephant exhibit and the viewing area.

    13. H.Regalis*

      It’s just people being dumb. If you dig into past news reports enough, you can find older stories where people did the same stuff. I remember one from the early 2000s in Kakadu National Park where some tourists went swimming in a billabong because the guide told them it was okay, even though there are signs everywhere, in multiple languages and with pictures, saying, “Do not get in the water. The crocodiles will eat you.”

  26. Amey*

    Ridiculous question for the cat lovers! We’re undertaking a fairly significant house renovation (no changes to layout or extension however) and my kids and I decided this week that when we’ve completed the downstairs we’ll get a pair of kittens (I don’t think it would be safe for them beforehand and we wouldn’t be able to give them all the attention they need.) We have been thinking about this for YEARS. I think I am in reality a cat person, I grew up with many cats and dogs and really miss the cats in particular. My husband’s family hates cats (because cats catch birds and they love birds) and he grew up with that view, but he has come round after spending time with my mum’s cats and the four neighbour cats that play in our garden.

    Despite growing up with pets, we haven’t had one as adults since the dog we had 12 years ago. She was a rescue who turned out to bite (we got her informally online, we were young and foolish!) We worked intensively with a caring behaviourist but we could not resolve the behaviour and the three years or so we had her were very traumatic for me. Eventually, we gave her to a specialist rescue when we had a baby and it wasn’t safe but I think it’s unlikely that she stopped biting at that point and that she will have eventually been put down. I still deeply feel I failed her. I read a lot of things at the time that a pet is as much a part of the family as a child that reinforced that view.

    We also lost a childhood cat (hit by a car) at a particularly traumatic point when I was an older teenager and my father had recently died and I was alone for the weekend looking after my two younger siblings. I had to tell my little brother for whom the cat was his best friend and support them both on my own.

    So I’ve clearly got some stuff here! I do quite deeply want the cats, but I worry a few things a) they will destroy my newly decorated house right? The couple of minor antiques I have and the curtains I’m hoping to sew? Hair everywhere! My house is not a tidy sterile space at all but I have this vision that someday it will be nice at least. b) Pets die, and the main reason we haven’t got cats to date is the sadness for the children although they’re old enough now (7 & 9) that I feel they’re more emotionally able to handle it. The joy will outweigh the eventual sorrow right? c) Dead animals arriving at my door. How to deal with it? How to deal with my husband’s (otherwise lovely) family making comments/disliking the cats?

    I am catastrophising as you can see, reassure me! I’ve held off doing this because of the above reasons but I feel that my children and I are really starting to miss this bond now. Thanks, please be kind!

    1. Cordelia*

      well, you’re not catastrophising, all these things may well come to pass, and in my opinion it will still be totally worth it! I don’t know what your antiques are, but my cats have never damaged wood furniture, but yes they will probably scratch your soft furnishings. Your house won’t be a tidy sterile space – but you have kids, so that’s not a reasonable aspiration anyway! It will still be “nice” because cats make it nicer.
      Pets will die, and it’s sad. But you don’t avoid making relationships with people in case they die. Losing a pet is often children’s first experience of death, and it’s not necessary or helpful to protect them from these feelings.
      As for bringing in dead things – some cats do, some cats don’t. It’s grim, you find a way.
      And the in-laws – well, maybe they will come to love the cats if they get to know them. And if not, well, they are going to dislike things about the way you live, you don’t have to change to please them, and if they are rude you can point that out to them.
      Cat fan here, as you can tell!

    2. strawberry lemonade*

      Keep your cats indoors and they will be at much much much less risk of untimely death + bringing untimely death to other creatures at your door.

      That said, cats are animals and therefore are a little gross. For your “a” point, yeah there will be cat hair around, and sometimes they’ll have barf or bathroom accidents. A litter box is ultimately a box of poop you have in your house.

      Cats also love to play a game called Get Their Attention! and the way they win is by getting your attention. If you really really really don’t want the cat to touch a minor antique, the cat will identify that minor antique as a winning move in Get Their Attention!

      It’s also fairest and kindest to the cats to have a lot of cat apparatus around. Scratching posts, cat trees, toys, etc. Your house should look like a cat lives there.

      All that said, I love having cats, and love cats in general. I treasure the bonds I have with my kittens, and my recently-passed cat was my friend. That’s the answer to b I suppose; in Norwegian Wood, Murakami writes about the twin realizations that death is a part of life, not life’s opposite; and that although it’s a part of life it’s still dreadfully sad.

      1. JPalmer*

        Absolutely agree on the indoor part.
        There is no defensible argument for having outdoor cats.

        They destroy the local ecosystem even if the owner never witnesses it. They massacre birds which booms the insect populations.

        There are other ways to stimulate a cat than letting them roam free, like cat walks, viewing carriers, cat-fenced areas.
        They are hire risk for parasites themselves (so higher vet bills, less longevity) as well as being at risk of getting hit by a car or in a fight with another animal.
        Animalogic just did a good video on this whole topic.

        Tons of interior toys are good. How you interact with the toys matter as well. Toys are partially fun due to owner interaction of putting magic into the toys, which means spending time with the cat, enticing it to play.
        Hair will depend a bit on the cat itself and how much you groom it.

        A: Pets are messy. They will get hair everywhere. I have a robot vacuum and a lint roller for my dog which help keep the place neater. I wipe his paws coming and going which helps reduce that mess. The area around a litterbox is always going to be messy and a bit smelly.

        B: I think it is healthy and normal for children to gain a safe understanding of loss. Things in life aren’t permanent or entirely controllable. It is important to recognize that a promise of joy is that it will end sometime, that there will be a sadness when it is over. That enjoying that joy and experiencing that loss are healthy and normal.

      2. tangerineRose*

        If you keep your cats indoor-only that should help with your in-laws since these kitties won’t kill any birds. Also, it keeps cats so much safer! Where I live, some possible dangers are cars, dogs, coyotes, other cats, and humans.

        If possible, you might want to keep antiques somewhere the cats can’t get to.

        For curtains… yeah, sometimes they’re a target, especially with kittens.

    3. Grandma Mazur*

      You’ve clearly thought this through from multiple angles so I think you’re ready to go for it, but a couple of things occurred to me from your later paragraphs: can you put the antiques in a glass-fronted cabinet or are we talking desk/armoire/free-standing? How possible is it to have those in a room the kittens can’t access until they’re a bit older at least? Realistically, are they cat-scratcher-appealing or just furniture?

      Curtains is a trickier one – we have cheap IKEA ones and again, the kittens went up them (can still see a few claw-holes in the single-layer cotton) but after they’d grown out of kittenhood, they didn’t really show an interest. Is it the thought of all the effort you’ll have put into the curtains that get damaged, or the actual appearance of potentially slightly damaged curtains overall that would upset/bother you?

      Short-haired cats don’t shed that much IMO but YMMV.

      Our kids were 5 and 6 when one of our two 11yo cats died just before Christmas and they handled it better than we parents did! „The joy will outweigh the eventual sorrow right?“ 100% agree!

      >>> c) Dead animals arriving at my door. How to deal with it?

      IME it was the still-alive animals (occasionally mice, but worse, small birds) that were the hardest to deal with. My partner said his childhood cats used to bring in worms when it was raining. We dealt with dead animals by picking them up with a dog-poop bag and slinging them in the bin. Alive animals got taken to the vet to be dealt with humanely (birds) or they escaped again (mice) but that was only possible because the vet was three streets away. The radical option would be indoor-only cats or a cat garden that’s totally fenced in…

      >>> How to deal with my husband’s (otherwise lovely) family making comments/disliking the cats?

      How often do they visit? Will it just be the first time they meet them or ongoing? Can your partner talk to them if the comments get excessive? My personal approach would be to agree the downside of having cats is that they can kill birds and other wildlife, in the hope it takes the wind out of their sails, but I’ve never met a really committed cat-hater so I don’t have much experience here!

      1. Grandma Mazur*

        Oh and totally agree with strawberry lemonade re: lots of cat furniture in the house (even though they will probably just spend hours on the bed in the sunniest room)

    4. Schmitt*

      You might consider an older bonded pair of cats instead of kittens – much less likely to destroy everything.

      Have you considered that cats can be indoor cats? They have a much longer life expectation when indoors, and that solves the dead animal problem. I know people have very strong opinions on this. We adopted a deaf cat, who can never be an outdoor cat due to that anyway ;)

      And yes. It’s awful when they die. But for me, the joy far outweighs the sorrow.

    5. TPS reporter*

      you could consider a catio so they can enjoy the outside, be safe, and get some of that curtain climbing energy out. also try to train them to go on walks on a lead? it seems like many people have succeeded when the cats are really young

    6. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      Cat whisperer Jackson Galaxy has books and YouTube stuff and he will be a good source of everything you need to know.
      Cats like to be up high on things, so if you can facilitate them being able to get on top of furniture safely, they will like that. If you can arrange a table in front of a window, they will like watching things and enjoy sunbeams. Cardboard boxes of any size will be appreciated, and cardboard “scratchers” will get a workout. I have a bristle doormat inside the house which apparently feels great to roll around on.
      If you talk to your cats a lot, and greet them whenever you walk into the room, they will become responsive to your voice and more engaged with you. When you brush and stroke them, and they are relaxed, touch their paws too and gently squeeze them so their claws extend a little bit – if they are used to you touching their paws, they won’t mind you checking their feet and it will make your life easier if they ever need their front claws trimmed a little bit when they are older.
      And don’t get in the habit of carrying a kitten around on your shoulders unless you are willing to carry several kilos of adult cat eventually! I think you are in for a splendid time!

  27. AGD*

    I enjoy recommendations of things that have mysteriously flown under the radar, and I also like hearing the stories about how people found these things. So, do you have a favorite book or movie that seems to be really obscure for no apparent reason? How did you cross paths with it originally, and what made it clear that no one else seemed to notice it, and do you have any other interesting stories about being a fan of it?

    1. RussianInTexas*

      A book by Annemarie Selinko
      Désirée: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon’s First Love.
      Written in the style of a diary, and more historical than romantic. Some fascinating characters that are NOT Napoleon.
      I don’t even remember how I stumbled on it, but it’s been my favorite book for years.

      1. Nitpicker*

        Wasn’t that a bestseller when it first came out? And I think a movie with Marlon Brando.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          Maybe? But it’s been a whole who, and it’s been out of print for long time.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      One of the best books I’ve ever read seems to be also a book I never hear other people talking about: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo.

      Excellent TV series I rarely hear people recommend (unfortunately, only one season): City of Ghosts by Elizabeth Ito.

      A movie almost nobody saw, because Crazy Rich Asians was out at the same time, and I guess a lot of people in America at the time thought “We can watch only one movie featuring Asian diaspora actors this month”? Searching with John Cho, Michelle La, and Debra Messing.

      1. AGD*

        I absolutely loved Searching! I’m so happy this came up, as I don’t remember how I even heard of the movie; it reassures me to know that this thread would have given me another chance to discover it. Looking up the others now – thanks!

      2. DifferentExperience*

        Hmm. The Melinda Lo book was all over everything when it first came out, to the point where I almost decided not to read it because it seemed to be the latest fad rather than a book aimed at people who normally read in the genre.

    3. Weekend Warrior*

      I have a cherished copy of Writer’s Choice: A Library of Rediscoveries (1983) “an annotated listing of approximately one thousand books which 400 distinguished writers and a handful of other experts believe to be unjustly neglected, overlooked, or forgotten.” The choices are great but what’s really fascinating is that since the 1980’s, some of the books have been rediscovered in the wider culture – and then maybe “lost” again. Thinking of Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet novels which became the enormously popular television series The Jewel in the Crown in the 1980’s, and again now a bit forgotten. TV and movie adaptations (and re-adaptations) lead to a lot of “rediscoveries”!

    4. Aphrodite*

      Oh, do I and I highly recommend it! BUNION DERBY is a book published by a university press that didn’t get much attention. But I reviewed it and I loved it! It’s a fantastically interesting story about a foot race from the west coast to the east coast in 1928. Charles Kastner, the author, did amazing research and wrote the story with sympathy, respect and love. I have always been sorry this book and his others did not get the notice they deserve.

      https://charleskastner.com/books/bunion-derby/

      1. GoryDetails*

        Putting Bunion Derby on my want-list! (I enjoy a variety of non-fiction deep-dives into topics I wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. And I like unusual book-titles as well!)

    5. ronda*

      wonder falls is what came to mind for me. My sister had the dvd.

      wikipedia tells me 4 episodes were broadcast on fox, and there is the dvd.

      I dont think it is my favorite, but I did enjoy it and still remember it

    6. Mobie's Mom Now*

      She Spies was a TOTAL ripoff of Charlie’s Angels in the late 1990s, I think. Super cheesy, lots of fun, only one other person I’ve talked to seems to have heard of it!

    7. Writerling*

      I don’t know if you’re looking for recent, but I immediately thought of one of my favorite TV shows – ever. It was super popular in Europe (where I watched it as a kid, it aired in ’96) but not so known here. It’s called The Pretender, and yes I have all 4 seasons and the movie on DVD. Iirc the ending was disappointing, not sure if they had another season planned and got canceled and crammed things in a movie to tie up the plot but I remember hoping for better. Still, s1-4 are close to my heart to this day!

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        I remember that show! I had to look it up on IMDB because I couldn’t quite recall it, but I remember watching it a few times. It was really interesting and I don’t remember why I didn’t watch all of it.

        1. Writerling*

          !! So rare to meet someone who’s heard of it, much less watched it! If you can find it I’d definitely recommend a (re)watch. Might even join you…

      2. GeographyMatters*

        Curious where you live – it was a major show on a major network in the US, not obscure here.

        1. Writerling*

          Really? I’ve never met a single person in the US (where I currently live) who knows about it, much less watched it. Where are you all hiding?? :’)

    8. goddessoftransitory*

      A YA novel from the late sixties/early seventies called Amanda. I can’t recall the author off the top of my head, but it’s about a girl who moves in next to the main characters and has all sorts of magical adventures with them: everything from encountering a set of lost paper dolls in the sandbox to riding the horse from the Mobile gas sign. I originally found it at the library, read it to death, and tracked it down later as an adult so I could possess a copy.

      For more adult stuff, a little chapbook of poetry called A Murmuration of Purrs, full of cat poems and prints. My mom owned it, and again, I tracked down my own copy. I have no idea how many copies exist in total but it’s got to be pretty rare.

    9. LNLN*

      I love the movie Gregory’s Girl (1981). It’s about a boy who has a crush on a girl who joins his soccer team. It is sweet and funny and British (always a plus for me).

      1. Clisby*

        That is a lovely movie. It’s directed by the same guy (Bill Forsyth) who directed Local Hero, with Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert. Both highly recommended.

      2. Roy G. Biv*

        I love these movies, as well. Gregory’s Girl, Local Hero & The Dish.

        There is a lot of low key charm in all three.

      1. Angstrom*

        Movie ‘The Dish”(2000). Lovely gentle comedy about the Australian tracking station for the Apollo moon landing.

  28. International marriage*

    Would love your take on the best way forward in my international relationship. I would love a full-time live-in partner, but I don’t want to go the marriage-visa route.

    I‘m in my 40s and 2 years ago I met a person in what is now a third country to my country (ca 8h quickest route door-to-door, unless you’re afraid of flying, like my partner, then 28h).
    We see each other every two months or less, for 5 days to 6 weeks. We both live in desirable destinations, so it’s enjoyable to visit. Due to vacation day limits, the visited person is usually going to work while being visited.
    We‘re allowed only to spend 90 days within 160 in each other‘s country.
    I speak both languages but my partner doesn’t. I‘m in the highly-skilled bracket and have some disposable income, but I still would have a hard time getting a job there which comes with a work permit. I’d also make less than I do now and I’d have to quickly fly home if my chronic illness flares up to get care.
    My partner has a degree but there‘s rarely a job in my country that requires no local language skills; the sector he works in now is hiring here as well (hospitality), but these workers aren’t treated as well in my country.
    Getting married might work, but I‘m politically opposed to it and also just afraid of getting myself into a legal contract that I can’t get out of, with someone I’ve known only 2 years. It’s also quite complicated & expensive – my country requires interpreters and official translations of documents, my partner‘s a marriage visa and wait period after announcement.
    So the conclusion I’ve come to is we need a lot more money, to be able to take lots of unpaid leave, and uphold two family residences in two countries between which we switch every 90 days.
    I don’t know if one can have a relationship like we have now until retirement.
    Anything I might have missed?
    Thank you for reading this!!

    1. Kaleidoscope*

      usually getting married doesn’t do anything. I’m a Brit in New Zealand and if I got married, it is just another piece of paperwork. it is not a magic wand to get to stay here longer or quicker.

      I moved over having known my partner for less than 2 years. we started living together at 8 months in (visa requirement). if you know, you know and personally. I feel living in two countries a bit bonkers for the reason you suggest. plenty of Brits do it on retirement and spend their lives chasing summers (in the UK and then NZ).

      1. allathian*

        Depends on the location. When my friend met her now ex-husband, he got an assignment in Japan for a few years. She went with him on a tourist visa, but to be allowed to stay for more than 90 days they had to get married. So they married at the embassy and had a recommitment ceremony for friends and family. To be sure, he went to Japan on a work visa and she got a spousal visa.

      2. Two cents*

        Getting married absolutely does something in many countries! In Germany, it is the difference between a permanent residence card with the right to work (or not) and needing to scramble to get some other sort of visa (student, work visa that is Not trivial to get–many companies won’t bother or can’t hire you, something else expensive and time intensive).

        In the USA it makes getting a green card SO MUCH EASIER.

        I can’t speak to any other countries with the same level of personal experience, but in those countries it is literally night and day.

      3. Anon for this*

        I respectfully disagree that marriage doesn’t do anything. It is a legal contract with implications for your finances and property ownership. it may confer obligations to support each other financially. it may affect how your estate is treated when you die. it does all these things in my jurisdiction and probably in yours. in some countries cohabitation confers different (usually fewer) rights and obligations as well.

        I suggest you speak with a family law attorney and possibly an immigration attorney in your country and in any other country in which you and your partner might marry or cohabit.
        (yes, I am a family law attorney)
        that aside, if you want to live like you are doing now until you retire, you can..there aren’t any rules. equally I would not marry anyone unless I was sure the relationship would last and I understood and accepted the legal implications of this. it doesn’t sound like you are all that sold on marriage and that’s ok too. if you add up all the days you’ve spent together they’re probably less than a year. you could always carry on like this a bit longer and see how it plays out.

        also , what does he want to happen/is prepared to make an effort to make happen/thinks he can realistically make happen and by when?

        1. International marriage*

          You’re very right (and you for sure know better than me). I‘m not keen on getting into this kind of contract with someone. I was with my last partner for 14 years, unmarried, so I’m into stable relationships, I’m just not into legal commitments.
          My partner would happily marry, and move here, and learn the language, but I’m afraid I’d be the one project managing all of that :)

    2. Sloanicota*

      Is there an option to meet in a third neutral county also? Like, you go to his, he comes to yours, you both go to Bali (or wherever) and then reset the cycle again, so you can see each other more often? I agree I wouldn’t get married unless I was excited to get married.

      1. International marriage*

        Love the suggestion to go to Bali, that made me chuckle (Partner also agrees). Switzerland would be our version of that, in terms of geography. It’s definitely what I would do if I was a remote worker and had lots of money.

    3. ExpatTryingToBeHelpful*

      – Can you work remotely with your current job (with occasional visits back to the parent site)? This would allow you to keep your current salary.
      – Is there a country that you both can move to, where your partner will be treated well and you both can get working visas, and you can retain a similar income? There are some countries that are looking for immigrants (Japan, Australia), and working visas can be easily obtained depending on the industry.
      – Related to above, have you talked to your partner if and where they’d be willing to move to? Maybe they are willing to move to your country despite how they are treated?

      Is your partner discussing all of this with you? Because any international move needs both parties involved. Personally, I don’t believe 1 person should be making all the sacrifices with such a big decision, it can lead to resentment. I would like to have a back-up plan and exit strategy — in the back of your mind, if the relationship doesn’t work out, how would a move affect your career. Because you don’t want to uproot yourself to find no relationship and no career — it’s a path to “force” the relationship even when it has run the course, which then further feeds into a stale/not-great career.

      1. International marriage*

        There would actually be a country where we would both have legal right to stay. I’ve never been there.
        Question is if we want to uproot both of our lives.
        Thanks for all your suggestions!

    4. allathian*

      Why are you so opposed to marriage? It’s not an unbreakable contract in most places, and the cultures that don’t accept divorce also don’t tend to look favorably on cohabiting relationships.

      In most places, marriages help guarantee the financial security of the person with lower earnings, traditionally women who stayed at home with the kids.

      Would your partner be willing to learn your language so they could work in your country in the field they have a degree in?

      1. Double A*

        I agree with this. A marriage is a pre-created contract to the state that spell out rights and responsibilities you get when you enter it with a person. It also contains the default rules for divorce.

        If you don’t like the defaults, you can look into a prenup. Marriage has historically been a business and property arrangement; you can look at it a such if you want. Or just a tool that could help facilitate your relationship.

        Frankly an international move to be with someone is, in my eyes, a bigger commitment than marriage (and I’m married) because it’s harder to undo logistically. But marriage also means whatever you want it to mean, so I understand how it could be something that’s a hard no for you.

    5. dark purple blues*

      You say your partner doesn’t speak your language: are they making efforts? How involved are they in the process of finding a common place to live? I’d say if they are making minimal effort, then they do not share the goal of living together with you – at best they might want to live with you *where they are*, but you are not the priority.

      1. International marriage*

        Hm. I think both of us have some inertia, or we‘re adverse to risk. Me personally, I was also cautious after a brief spell of online dating, to see how this will turn out or not. And now suddenly I feel very middle aged and in a weird limbo with constraints on what I can go or not.

    6. Pam Adams*

      I’ve had a relationship like this in the US- neither of us wanted to live full time with the other or move across the country to ne nearer to each other. It worked fine for us. If we’d wanted more, there would have been a breakup.

      1. International Marriage*

        Thanks for this perspective.
        I think my partner does want to move; despite having no family or funds to fall back on if it doesn’t work out. I’d have less risk (because a job there would look great on my CV, even though less benefits/salary), but I‘m anxious about the malfunctioning health care system they have. But of the two of us I’d say I have gotten more things from idea to practice in the past so that’s not ideal…

  29. sagewhiz*

    Unpopular opinions! What’s yours?

    Tues’ update on miscarriage bereavement leave sparked a bit of convo on this. It so happens I have a client who is compiling unpopular opinions for a conversation-starter book (his publisher has already given the thumbs up). He’s collected about a third of his goal. Maybe y’all can help out?

    No names will be attached, it will be completely anonymous, so no worries about being outed. If you’re willing, please add yours, I’ll compile the responses to send him, and not ID AAM as the source. I won’t include your screen name, or everyone can simply be Anon4This.

    My unpopular opinion, which he is using: People should have to pass a civics test before being allowed to vote.

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      My unpopular opinion is that every single person in the US should be required to either serve in the military or the Peace Corps for a year when they turn 18.
      Also, that every US citizen should have to drive across the US and back, using the northern route and the a southern route. I would hope this would get rid of that awful “flyover states” condescending attitude.

      1. DevilInTheDetails*

        1. Well that would make things hard for people who can’t drive (like me)

        2. Who’s going to pay for these trips? They’re not exactly cheap…

        I am on board with a form of the service idea with lots of types of qualifying activities, but not specifically at 18 – whenever you finish schooling (at a minimum not in the middle of a school course). I was a junior in college when I turned 18 and it would have been the single worst time in my life to do this.

        1. BikeWalkBarb*

          I went straight to nondrivers too, along with the enormous use of resources this represents. We’re already lighting the planet on fire. This idea definitely would count as an unpopular opinion.

          Could be a train trip, Greyhound bus, or epic bike trip for those who could undertake that. Having everyone experience what it’s like to be a nondriver would be highly educational so make this “Everyone has to take a long journey without driving” and it would be very popular with me personally.

          1. Chauncy Gardener*

            Great ideas re-trains and buses. To me, as long as folks have to stop and experience the local areas, it’s all good.
            But like sagewhiz said, they’re unpopular opinions

        1. Chauncy Gardener*

          This is terrible. I’m also a female vet. Never raped, but I have PTSD from, among other things, the sexual harassment.

      2. BikeWalkBarb*

        I’ve believed in some kind of national service requirement for a long time. I’d add things like AmeriCorps, Teach for America, working in a public health clinic, etc., and I’d put it after college age, not before–give them some more development of the prefrontal cortex. But they have to be paid enough to really live. When I lived in Seattle and we had AmeriCorps positions at a nonprofit I came to recognize that these are really only an option for fairly privileged young people.

        1. Anon for this*

          And everyone who is physically capable of doing this should also be required to get around on bikes for at least a year. Anyone physically capable of riding who honks at bicyclists and yells at us to get off the road should have their cars taken away for at least 6 months and be required to ride their bikes everywhere they go (or bikes and public transit). Those who aren’t physically capable of this should be required to go through extensive training learning the rules of the road for bicycles and how cars should act around them.

          1. OaDC*

            And, bikes on the road should obey traffic laws. No blowing through stop signs or stop lights because you don’t want to unclip, no riding in a line of twenty nine preventing cars from turning, etc.

      3. Peanut Hamper*

        I’ve said this, but instead of military service, I’ve said either the Peace Corps, or work in retail for a year, or in a restaurant for a year. Especially on Sunday afternoons when the church crowd gets out.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      An unpopular opinion which may or may not be mine: education, testing and licensing should be required before taking responsibility for any living creature, human or animal. (That could probably also be split into pet licensing vs parent licensing.)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Since it’s never going to happen, does it matter?

          Besides, the question was “what are some unpopular opinions,” not a demand that people be subsequently able to explain, justify or defend them.

    3. Arial*

      Going anonymous for this but: parents are too lenient with their kids and let them get away with too much bad behaviour, which could be corrected without it being abusive.

      1. SoloKid*

        Agreed; my unpopular opinion is that “the village” should be allowed to show displeasure with other people’s kids through actually talking to them. Not this “don’t talk to them, talk to me, the parent” business.

      2. tangerineRose*

        Maybe some training should be added in high school. I worked in a daycare center around that age and learned about giving time outs for certain behaviors and also a lot about stuff that really didn’t matter so much.

      3. JPalmer*

        I don’t think this is unpopular at all.

        I think many parents and pet owners never learn how to actually correct behavior. So many people end up being toxic/hostile or entirely conflict avoidant, which boils into other problems.

        My opinion for this thread is that many people are not good at communicating (across many different ways), but the most common being they don’t put enough time into communicating which creates all sorts of problems. We want everything immediately and instantly when in actuality stuff takes time and repetition.

    4. BellaStella*

      Here are a few of mine:
      1. Bon Jovi is the best band ever.
      2. USA needs to get rid of the electoral college.
      3. Transparency in pay, always.
      4. Civics and world geography should be part of USA schools and also a year of service abroad should be mandatory for all to teach about the world and break down barriers and we host folks in USA too for exchanges. And if you are a jerk about it you get to go to a place where you will learn not to be like that and gain compassion.
      5. High heels should be banned.
      6. Narcissists should be sent to deserted islands, alone. Not enough islands, I know, but still.

      1. tangerineRose*

        1. I thought the fact that I find Bon Jovi’s lyrics incredibly repetitive (which frustrates me) would be an unpopular opinion. (The music’s pretty good other than sometimes it’s repetitive too.)
        6. Why not send a bunch of narcissists to the same island – they’ll have to deal with each other, but who cares?

      2. MissCoco*

        I have to say getting rid of the electoral college may border on a popular opinion (at least in the crowds I run in)

        1. Clisby*

          It’s up to the states to decide how their electoral votes are apportioned – so you could start at your state level. For example, two states (Maine and Nebraska) don’t use overall popular vote, but they do allocate electors based on the popular vote in each congressional district.

      3. WoodswomanWrites*

        Unpopular? That’s all popular with me except for #1, the band. :)

        Of course the Beatles are amazing but that’s hardly unpopular, so I have to go with the obscure band I love love love, We Banjo 3. I discovered them on YouTube when they’d been playing together for 10 years, found they were coming to my town, saw them live in one of best shows of my life, and then they said it was their last show because they were all pursuing individual careers. Boo!

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      I’ve gotta join Stella on getting rid of the electoral college. Everyone’s vote should matter.

      1. Busy Middle Manager*

        The issue is that many people don’t know what they are voting for. Not going to say what percent of people do that, but I literally have heard multiple in my life tell other people to vote along party line

        The scary part for me is not only that, but some of the local judge/town clerk type roles with have had > 1 person per party listed. So I guess they just pick whoever has the nicer name? Which makes me think, should all votes be equal weight if they don’t even know who they are voting for?

        1. tangerineRose*

          What gets me sometimes is how people say “Remember to vote” and so on to everyone. Maybe the message should be “Educate yourself enough to know what you’re voting for.”

    6. HannahS*

      People shouldn’t have to pay for basic shelter or enough food to live, and public transit should be free. These things should be organized by the state and paid for by taxpayers. Yes, even for people who [do bad things/use bad drugs/make bad choices.] No, that is not communism.

      1. HannahS*

        And healthcare including dental and pharmacy. Even in a socialized system I am sick of prescribing things for my patients that they cannot afford.

        1. Anon for this*

          I would also like to add that dental and vision care should just be considered health care and bundled together with other health care. Insurance companies shouldn’t be allowed not to cover it.

    7. RussianInTexas*

      Cooking and gardening are severely overrated.
      I like living in my suburbia and I like driving to places.
      Children are generally annoying, especially the toddler stage, and there are places they should not be present.

    8. Sloanicota*

      My extremely controversial take within my world of cat-fostering: you do not need to send two kittens home together!! It depends on the household. People in my cadre are obsessed with this and go through all sorts of loops to make it happen. Many, many adult cats prefer to be solitary so even though the kittens will roughhouse for six months, it doesn’t end up a lifelong necessity. (Ducks)

      1. Generic Name*

        The rescue I got my 2 cats from wouldn’t let me adopt 2 at once! I had to go back a week later and get a second kitten. Fortunately they (mostly) get along.

    9. WellRed*

      Romantic relationships that start/stay online or long distance aren’t really romantic relationships.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        I didn’t think that either, but I know at least three couples that started with talking on the same, online comment board, and one been married for 3 years now, with relocations of states, another been together without being married for almost 5, and the third got engaged few months ago.
        Might be that comment board is particularly fruitful.

      2. Rosyglasses*

        Interesting! My husband of 15 years and I met online – but like you said – it is an unpopular opinion! :)

        1. WellRed*

          Meeting online is one thing. Keeping the relationship online with limited or no in person is another thing. ; )

          1. Lexi Vipond*

            I read your slash as ‘or’ – if it was intended as ‘and’ then that does make more sense to me.

      3. Lana Kane*

        I’ve been married to my husband for 21 years and we met online. I like to say that we met online back when it was weird.

    10. Sitting Pretty*

      Sharing how much you earn should be common and unremarkable even in casual conversation.

    11. Porch Screens*

      People worry way too much about the personal views of internet personalities, celebrities, and other folks who produce content for entertainment.

      Most of the surrender-shaming I see done on social media by animal shelters and animal rescue groups (and their audiences) is uncalled for and, I suspect, counter-productive.

    12. Kathenus*

      Term limits for Supreme Court justices, and abolishing the electoral college which has already been mentioned. Congressional districts drawn in specific, consistent grids to eliminate insanely drawn gerrymandered ones.

    13. BikeWalkBarb*

      NOT my unpopular opinion–a former husband’s–somewhat similar to yours: Everyone should have contraceptives implanted at an early-teen age that can only be removed after you pass tests on parenting skills. I think he also had a minimum age for taking the test, set to get you through college or some other training so you’d have some chance of being able to afford a family.

      Of course, we now have states where they’re trying to limit access to contraception as the next step in the grand plan so this should be a pretty sparky conversation starter.

      1. Andromeda*

        Ack, I am not gonna do the whole “demand you explain yourself!!!!” thing with everyone who I disagree with, since it isn’t even your opinion, but this one alarmed me so much that I did feel the need to comment! “We will force you to be infertile unless you can pass this test the government creates” is *super* eugenics-y even if the test is scrupulously fair, and has so much Very Alarming room for exploitation and built-in unfairness. Just financially supporting new parents through at least the first year of a kid’s infancy, and offering free parenting classes (maybe with a non-strictly-cash incentive like some free childcare) could help to fix the same issues.

      2. HBJ*

        I also don’t want to be all “explain yourself” for an unpopular opinion, but this is literally impossible with our current medical technology even if we wanted to. The only type of birth control for men close to what you’re describing is a vasectomy. Vasectomies are not always reversible, and the likelihood of it being reversible decreases the longer time you’ve had it, and you’re talking about people having it for 15+ years (assuming it’s done at 13 or 14 and they don’t have kids until the American male average of 31).

        And for women, “implanted” forms of birth control can have a host of side effects. So you’re talking about forcing someone to have something that might make them very ill.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, this would only work if contraception for men and women were equally non-invasive and without side effects.

          But I could get behind the idea in an ideal world, but not in the one we currently live in.

          Support for new parents is key, though.

    14. NeonFireworks*

      Poverty is a horrendously awful experience, more than bad enough to be its own deterrent, so a society is only fair if it has none at all.

    15. anon for this*

      I have the right not to be exposed to any secondhand smoke. I do not want to shame smokers or treat addiction like an individual failing, but I have asthma and need to be able to breathe! I get that things are better than they were decades ago, especially for indoor spaces – but dodging tobacco clouds and changing my path and running to get in front of smokers/vapers almost every day is exhausting! I keep fantasizing about confining public smoking areas to, like, rooftop patios and enclosed courtyards.

      1. Anon, very anon*

        I’m a smoker and I would love this. I live in a city without my own outdoor space, and when I’m smoking I’m careful to avoid others as much as possible, but it’s tricky. A dedicated rooftop/courtyard where I know I’m not bothering anyone? Sign me up.

      2. ronda*

        My sister smokes, so when we went to the them parks, she would find the smoking areas.

        One time someone came to her and was upset that such a nice area was for smokers :)

      3. tangerineRose*

        “I have the right not to be exposed to any secondhand smoke.” Yes!!! I hate secondhand smoke. I’ve never smoked, I know it’s addictive, so I don’t want to be mean to smokers, but I do NOT want to breathe it. This includes cigarettes and marijuana.

      4. tangerineRose*

        Agreed. I hate secondhand smoke. I get that smoking is addictive, but why do smokers sometimes not understand that I don’t want stuff like that in my system, even a little bit?

    16. anon in uk*

      Any belief system can turn into fundamentalism. The most cultlike experience of my life was actually a progressive social-justice group that devolved over time into a parody of itself. It slowly detached from empathy, and then it slowly detached from an understanding of inequitable systems as well. By that point, people were skipping the deconstruction-of-belief stage entirely and were jumping straight to “your argument has made me angry therefore you are wrong and need to stop talking because you are harming people” and “THIS PERSON IS UNSAFE FOR EVERYBODY ELSE.” (I quit the group and it took several months before my brain shook it all off.)

      1. It's a Secret*

        Ugh, this mentality is frustrating and seems widespread. There’s this belief that if you feel bad after an encounter with someone, the other person did something wrong. But human interactions are complex – people shouldn’t expect to always feel good, calm, supported after every interaction.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I’ll add “Attacking the people who agree with you about 95% of things because you only care about their terrible 5% apostasy is counter productive and just shrinks your side.”

    17. BikeWalkBarb*

      We should have federal regulations stating that vehicles can’t be manufactured to go faster than the actual posted speed limits. All existing vehicles on the road would have speed limiters installed.

      Optional lower-level starting point: Third occurrence of speeding ticket triggers mandatory installation of a speed limiter on your vehicle.

      You shouldn’t be able to purchase a giant personal vehicle without passing a specific driver’s license exam (similar to a motorcycle endorsement) designed to test your ability to operate the vehicle, understand the limited sightlines, and so on.

      Mandatory retesting for all drivers should begin at age 65, with the time between retests reducing as you age.

      (Can you tell I work in transportation safety?)

      1. tangerineRose*

        I’d rather take a driving test then to have to take a written test. They usually have trick questions or the kind of questions most people would never know in a written test.

    18. FACS*

      There should be required classes in basic human anatomy and physiology in K-12 !nd college. Many folks have no idea how the body works.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        THIS.

        I remember taking a test in high school so I could skip taking a basic health class (think a GED, but only for this one class.)

        This thing had questions like “what organ pumps blood?” Keep in mind this wasn’t a test for little kids or ESL students or similar would-be stumbling blocks. It astounded me someone could reach their senior year in high school and not know what the heart does.

    19. WellRed*

      One more: the Olympics are overhyped, overdone and wasteful. Time to pull the plug. Or extinguish the torch.

      1. ThisOpinionCausedBostonToBowOut*

        They improve the infrastructure of the area hosting them, provide inspiration to many, allow individuals that excel at something that isn’t one of the 2-3 most popular sports in their area to continue doing something they love, they offer a nice way to learn about the world that folks who won’t pay attention in school with pay attention to, and provide discipline and other life skills to a myriad of folks who never make it to the Olympics but are inspired to try a sport because they saw it on TV the one time it’s ever shown.

        I was so angry when Boston decided to withdraw from hosting the 2024 Olympics for reasons similar to what you outline (which clearly are not as unpopular as you think, but that I think are misguided). We could have used the infrastructure improvements, tourist dollars, and many other benefits that come from hosting.

    20. Narwhals are real*

      Mine: people in rented accommodation shouldn’t have pets, unless they’re in a country with really excellent renters’ rights. I’ve seen far too many people have to give up their pets because their rental situation changed and now they can’t find a rental that allows pets.

      I don’t think it’s ok that the world is like this in many places, and I think renters’ rights should be like they are in a lot of European countries.

      1. Narwhals are real*

        Oh, and I suppose I also believe that everyone’s right to a home trumps personal property rights; not that I think there shouldn’t be landlords, but I do think renters should have rights that essentially make it possible for people to live comfortably and securely their entire lives in rented accommodation if they so choose, like in a lot of European countries.

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          There’s talk of having a referendum on putting the right to a home into the Irish constitution, but a) who knows when they will get around to this (it’s been discussed for over ten years, I think) and b) I don’t know whether it would actually have any impact beyond putting a line in the constitution about how people have a right to a home (yeah, I’m cynical).

        2. dark purple blues*

          I don’t disagree with you, I’m just curious how it would work. I guess I’m considering being a landlord for 6 years. (I like my home, I’ve been out of work for a year, and the only job I’ve found is in a different city, so I’m considering renting my place out until I can move back). I’m wondering how the logistics of that would work, if someone had the right to live in my place forever? (I mean, I’d just sell my place, of course)

          1. Narwhals are real*

            I’m not really sure of the logistics to be honest, except that essentially once you rent to someone in certain countries they have strong rights to the property because the thinking is that it’s their home, and because it’s their home they have a right to live without fear of being evicted, or without other restrictions typical in rented accommodation in many countries. So in most ways it’s essentially treated as if it’s their home, and there is very little interaction with the landlord. If it’s sold, it’s sold as a property with renters in it (ie the buyer would buy it as an investment, not to live in), there are rent controls, you can basically only evict in extreme cases, like longterm non-payment of rent or extreme anti-social behaviour. I believe the flip side is that the tenant mostly takes care of things like home repairs or the like themselves. It works because of expectations on both sides – a long-term tenant is never going to make the landlord rich but it’s a handy, steady source of money with less effort than what’s typical of landlords in mostly English-speaking countries.

            (This is from second-hand experience with people I know living in or owning apartments in one particular Western European country. I don’t know if it’s different with houses. If anyone else wanted to weigh in I’d be interested!)

            1. allathian*

              Generally non-payment of rent is a reason to call in the bailiffs/cops and evict the tenant and confiscate their property by force if necessary. But that’s an extreme case following years of non-payment.

              I’m in Finland where tenants’ rights are generally strong in the sense that a rented home is the renter’s home, and not even the landlord can come and demand to be let in without notice. If they enter with their own key without the tenant’s explicit permission, they can be accused of breaching the privacy of the home, a key principle in our legal system. You can get up to six months in jail for that.

              But if a tenant breaks the rules by not paying rent for a significant period of time, or by engaging in illegal activities in their home, such as running a brothel or growing cannabis, or by doing malicious damage to the property, they can certainly be evicted. Cannabis remains a controlled substance, sex work is legal but profiting from another’s sex work isn’t. Most leases also prohibit subletting the apartment for short-term leases. So you can sublet a room to a roommate, but you can’t use the apartment for Airbnb.

              When a landlord sells the dwelling they let to someone else, the new owner generally has to give at least six months notice to the tenant if they want to move in or change the terms of the lease.

      2. WellRed*

        I live in a HCOL area with a severe housing shortage. The number of renters I see looking for places that will take their pets, oy. I’m a renter with no pets.

      3. anon24*

        So you’re saying that I shouldn’t have my cat, who is my emotional support and the reason I haven’t committed suicide yet, simply because I’m not privileged enough to buy a house when houses in my area are all 200-300k starting and I’ve never made more than 36k myself in a year? I think more places should have to accept pets, but instead I just start looking for a new rental very early and accepting pets is the very first thing I look for.

      4. Anon for this*

        I would go the other direction: all rentals should be required to allow pets, or at least cats, dogs, and fish.

        (I can think of reasons this wouldn’t work for people with allergies and such, but since it’s an unpopular opinion rather than a policy I’m actually trying to enact I think I’ll leave it at that.)

        1. Narwhals are real*

          I agree. I think people should more or less have the same rights in a rental as they’d have when they own their homes.

        2. Andromeda*

          Yes — pets should be legally allowed in rental homes even if they are not currently pet-proof if a) renters cover the costs of pet-proofing the property* and b) larger pets, like dogs and cats, pass a test like the Canine Good Citizen test to confirm that they’re well trained. Also depending on the animal there should probably be minimum space requirements.

          If you (fairly) have to cover damage caused to the property when you leave it, including cleaning etc anyway, you shouldn’t have to pay extra on rent for a well-behaved animal companion.

          *and this should be tied to specific measures taken within the home — like covering wires, sealing off dangerous small spaces — rather than “you have a hamster, we want 300 more on your rent every month”

    21. They Don’t Make Sunday*

      Much of the time, single-use items are not necessarily more convenient. We have been trained by corporations that it’s easier to buy the same things over and over again and throw them away. When you factor in the time spent replenishing and disposing, disposables often waste more time as well as money. It’s all about process and habit. It’s possible to set up processes and habits that make reusables the convenient choice. (I’m excluding in this comment disposables necessary for disability accommodation or basic quality of life and access for people who must have disposables. I am glad we have disposables for people who rely on them.)

      Subtopic: single-use medical waste! I am not in the medical field and don’t have firsthand knowledge here, but I know many of you do.

      Subtopic:

      1. ExceptionsAreGreatBut...*

        The problem with excepting disabilities is:

        1) it makes it more obvious who has a disability

        2) it makes it more expensive for those who need it, and there are already too many disability taxes

        3) it forces people to justify why they need them

        4) it makes it difficult or impossible to use standard work kitchens unless they decide to accommodate folks who need disposables, which none have in my experience (instead I become the evil person who doesn’t wash dishes or put them in a dishwasher or do X that everyone else does but I can’t, or in extreme cases find I can’t eat while in the office)

        I am all for folks who are able and willing to remove disposables from their lives,

    22. The Prettiest Curse*

      – Simply being an introvert is not, in itself, a sign of innate moral superiority. (I say this as an introvert.)
      – Sometimes it’s useful to try stuff that’s outside your comfort zone, if only to confirm that you’re not good at it.
      – Olivia Rodrigo is vastly superior to Taylor Swift.
      – LinkedIn can sometimes be quite useful.
      – It’s fine and even useful to spend most of your twenties and thirties flailing around and wondering what on earth you’re going to do, career-wise. Not everyone is born knowing what they want to do!

    23. .*

      There are plenty of assholes to go around on both sides of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

    24. Definitely anonymous for this*

      These are options I rarely share because they would generate so much push back:

      Child free weddings are rude.

      Women shouldn’t change their last name when they marry; both people changing their name is okay.

      High school should be reworked so everything essential is covered by the end of 10th grade. After that students should have an option to either graduate and be able to work or have two tracks to continue high school: vocational training or continuing the academic track similar to how it is now.

      Cats shouldn’t be allowed to roam outdoors.

      1. Joey*

        Fun fact: the test to get a GED (high school equivalency diploma) only covers material through the 10th grade so a student could in fact take the test after 10th grade & presumably pass and move on to other things.

        1. Clisby*

          At least in SC, to take it before age 19 requires some special paperwork through the school system.

      2. allathian*

        I disagree with child free weddings being rude, but only because people should be allowed to host exactly the kind of wedding they want. But if you host a child free wedding, you don’t get to be mad if half your guest list declines the invitation. The same thing goes for destination weddings.

        Kids should be kept in school until they’ve learned at least the middle school curriculum, even if this means they’re 30 when they graduate. Obviously you can’t have older students with the kids because that could be physically dangerous to the younger ones. So pass the kid up the grades and put those who don’t pass the grades in remedial school for adults when they turn 18.

        An invitation is a polite request, not an order. You have the right to decline for any reason, including just not wanting to go. But the polite thing is to RSVP your no rather than say yes and simply not turning up.

        1. carcinization*

          You know that some people will never have the capacity to comprehend middle school curriculum no matter how old they are, right? Severe cognitive disabilities exist and while learning is possible regardless, getting to that level is unfortunately not realistic for the most disabled students.

    25. anon for this*

      Second (and subsequent) residences should be taxed up the wazoo.

      Corporations should not be allowed to own individual homes (i.e. can own a rental apartment building, but not go and buy every second house or condo in a town)

      Empty nesters should be encouraged to downsize from their massive houses

      Universities need to stop competing on dumb ranking systems, especially around essential programs like medicine and nursing. Just graduate some flipping health care workers!

      STOP SUBSIDIZING OIL AND GAS

    26. Texan In Exile*

      If it’s only 66 degrees, you shouldn’t be running your (extremely loud while I am trying to sleep