Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

I’m obsessed with any top that has this thumbhole kind of sleeve because it’s a cool look. This rayon-blend shirt is very low cut, but it comes in a zillion colors and looks great for the weekend. It’s available at Nordstrom for $68 in sizes XS-L. Free People ‘Malibu’ Thermal Top

Here’s a plus-size option in the same rayon/spandex blend.

Update: the top is now marked down to $41 in the big winter sale at Nordstrom.

(L-all)

Comments

  1. Looking for recommendations – does anyone have a jeweler in NYC that they would trust with potentially fussy repair of antique jewelry? My engagement ring needs some TLC (stone is loose; resizing the band might not be a bad idea) and Yelp is kind of overwhelming me.

    • AY Jewelry at 20 West 47th St. I went there to get my ring cleaned based on the rave Yelp reviews, and he was quick, professional, and in demand. In the 10 minutes I was there, two people dropped by with several pieces for repair.

    • Anonymous :

      Eddie Cantor (cantorjewelry (dot) com) – I’ve known his family for years. My mother worked with his wife, and my family has gotten jewelry from him as long as I can remember. He’s great with antiques – for my wedding, I had him turn my grandmother’s old pearl drop earrings into super cool crawlers. It’s a booth in one of those indoor jewelry markets, but you can tell him the rec comes via Great Neck South!

    • Sash Jewelry Repair! I brought my engagement ring to him a few weeks ago to be resized and he did it on the spot in ~20 minutes so you can watch the entire process (if you’re paranoid).

      He was also very very reasonably priced and i called half a dozen top rated places to get quotes.

  2. Groceries :

    How much of your income would you estimate that you spend on groceries? I’ve been tracking our spending with Mint more diligently lately, and I’m pretty shocked. It’s just me and my husband, we live in a HCOL area with comfortable salaries, and we’re spending about 10%. Is that normal?

    • You can only eat so much food, so I don’t think percentage of income is a good marker for something like this. We spend $600-$700 on groceries for two adults and a toddler in a MCOL city, which is about 11% of our takehome. But if our salaries doubled, we might buy slightly more expensive foods, but nowhere near double. The USDA puts out a chart of four spending levels and how many people in your household, so you might check that out to see how it compares. But as long as you’re not throwing away a lot of uneaten food? I don’t see this as a big deal.

      • Thanks for the tip! I’ve also been thinking about trying to save money on fancy groceries and this chart gives me a nice objective idea of what a reasonable target should be.

        OP I found it here: https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CostofFoodNov2016.pdf

      • Here’s a link to the most recent chart – https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/CostofFoodNov2016.pdf.

      • Groceries :

        Helpful link, thanks! I guess I am still getting out of a frugal mindset; before we got married, I was super broke (student loans and low paying job at the time), and I averaged $20/week for groceries. So now when I go to the grocery store and buy food for both of us for the week, it totally freaks me out to regularly see totals above $100 . And it’s not like we’re buying steak — we mostly eat beans, eggs, and veggies, with the occasional salmon thrown in. but we do buy organic.

        • For me there are two killers on my grocery bills: fancy cheese and booze. I’ve switched to boxed wine, and I’m trying to cut back on the fancy cheese, but we’ll see. Whereas I actually think boxed wine tastes perfectly fine, cheap cheese is not worth eating.

          • Groceries :

            Totally agree. We stopped drinking during the workweek for both health and cost reasons. One reason I asked this question is because we try to prioritize buying local produce, which tends to be more expensive. I just hadn’t realized how much more expensive it was until I saw the numbers every month, and it made me wonder whether our grocery budget is ludicrous.

          • Pro tip to make cheap wine taste fancy: whirl it in the blender for 30-60 seconds. And I agree, I’d rather have no cheese than bad cheese.

        • Anonymous :

          I feel like food has gone up sharply in recent years, but I’ve also started saying (way too much) that it’s okay to be five $4 Amy’s frozen dinners because I work hard and it’s cheaper than takeout. But those five dinners are what I (and you) used to spend for a week. It’s hard going back to such a frugal mindset though, and I’m not sure we really have to assuming other financial goals are being met.

    • How much of that includes things you don’t eat? Paper products, pet food, toiletries? Also alcohol. Ultimately it all comes out of the same pot, but it’s hard to itemize to get an accurate picture for just food.

      • This is a good point – I generally count all of those things as part of the grocery budget.

      • Groceries :

        Very little. We don’t drink much, don’t have a pet, and order all of our household items via Amazon Pantry.

        • HCOL groceries :

          If you’re in HCOL and generally buy organic, it doesn’t surprise me that it takes $100/week to buy groceries for the two of you. Are you eating all three meals from home nearly every day? Again, that wouldn’t surprise me. I’m in the Bay Area, and I’ve seen our staples like eggs and milk fluctuate a TON over the last year. We buy the 5 dozen egg crates, and that has ranged from $9.99 to $15.99 in the last 12 months. If you lived in a LCOL or even HCOL but relatively stable market in college, that could also account for the increase. Also, my husband consumes way more than me, so my “single” grocery budget didn’t scale linearly when we got married, it increased by 2.5x – 3x, which might also account for the feeling that it’s way more than normal to you. We spend between $60-$100/week on groceries for the two of us, depending on whether there’s a sale on meat and we stock up, which helps average out our costs for the month.

          • Anonymous :

            Also not surprised – my three-person family growing up always bought organic from Whole Foods or a local co-op, and $100+ was routine. I was happily shocked when I started shopping for myself at how much I could get for $30.

          • Anonymous :

            You should check out Costco for your cage free organic eggs. 5 dozen for less than half what you are paying.

          • HCOL groceries :

            Attempting to reply to the anon suggesting Costco: is the membership worth it? The comment about the price of eggs makes me consider it even more. We don’t have a ton of storage space, so I haven’t looked into the membership very much. But if they have meat for cheap and eggs for cheap, it just might be worth it!

          • They also have organic milk (although not every fat content, so depends on what you want). We’ve found that they generally tend to have more organic/upscale things. Currently have their own label organic peanut butter, organic canned tomatoes, and other things.

          • We have a costco membership and the membership price gets paid with the cash back and then some.

          • We have zero storage space but it’s worth it for big packages of Dubliner cheddar, berries, slabs of salmon, and $12 for 50 lbs of flour.

          • Anonymous :

            Just the gas alone makes it worth it.

          • HCOL groceries :

            Ohh, these are all great points, I’ll have to go check it out again. It’s been years since I’ve looked into it, so maybe now is the time to buy a membership.

          • I’m also in the Bay Area, and one dozen pastured eggs costs $8.39 at our closest Whole Foods

          • WorkingMom :

            We were spending $7.99 – $8.99 per gallon to get organic milk when my son was old enough to introduce cows milk. It was something that was very important to me – but it was SO painful to spend that much money on milk. We later discovered other brands that are not officially organic, but are hormone & antibiotic FREE. These brands are more like $2.99/gallon. So still more expensive that conventional milk but not nearly what I was paying for that organic seal. And when I balanced my desire for organic milk for my son vs our budget – a non-organic but still hormone & antibiotic free version that was significantly cheaper was our answer!

          • Anonymous :

            How do you manage $60 a week? Do you mean you’re supplementing food you already have from previous purchases?
            I live in OKC, which has one of the lowest COL in the country, am mostly vegetarian, buy regular rather than organic produce, eat out maybe 4 times a month, and waste almost nothing (a habit from years of being almost broke). Even so, the grocery bill for my husband and myself still averages around $80. I can’t really think of how I could lower the cost, except for maybe buying canned vegetables rather than fresh, or getting everything at Walmart instead of Sprouts, Trader Joes and Aldi.

    • I think there was a discussion about this a while ago, too if you feel like searching (I can never find anything with the search function here). I know I spend a lot on food, but I love cooking. Two people, $200-300/week if I include alcohol and random cheese/dessert splurges.

    • I spend about $800-850 per month on groceries for a family of 2 adults and one toddler. That includes things like soda, coffee, and paper products but does not include alcohol, pet food, or diapers. We eat dinner at home (cook, leftovers, prepared food picked up at the grocery store, or something from the freezer) 5-6 times per week. I make my lunches, but DH eats lunch out, and daycare provides toddler’s lunch and snacks. We eat local or organic when it’s affordable–for instance, I try to stick to in-season, local produce and not buy the $8/lb cherries from South America. From what I can tell, our grocery bill is high because we eat a lot of meat, have guests over once or twice a week and buy extras like cheese and dessert then, and throw away more food than we should.

    • We (me plus husband) spend approximately $600 per month on groceries. We live in the Boston area, and this includes all of my meals (since I work from home); it typically either includes either breakfast OR lunch for him, plus dinner.

      On top of this, we probably eat out once a week (sometimes twice), and he typically has breakfast OR lunch out M-F.

      This is just food, since I tend to grocery shop at places that don’t carry the pet food, toiletries, paper goods etc. that we buy (Trader Joes, Whole Foods, etc).

      I cook almost everything we eat from scratch and prioritize quality meat/seafood, organics, etc. Hence the cost.

    • Including pet food, cat litter, and other household items (but not booze) mine is also at 10%. If it were strictly human food items, I think it would it would be closer to 6%.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t break it out that cleanly, but we have a budget of $1,000/mo for groceries + takeout (we plan on 2 nights of takeout per week) for 2 adults and a toddler in NYC, which is about 10% of our take home pay. That does not include paper products, cleaning supplies, or dog food. We shop at a coop with lower prices and buy a mix of organic and non-organic produce (emphasis on organic), and all of our meat is organic/ethically raised, etc. Our average weekly grocery bill is about $150. That is enough for about 3-4 dinners per week, plus leftovers for lunches for me, plus toddler meal staples.

    • I know that we are on the high end. We budget $1600 per month on groceries for 3 adults (includes au pair) and two children. Husband and son have Celiac’s, so all food must be gluten free. This includes paper and cleaning products.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      We spend about 1500 a month (works out to about 9% of net income) on groceries for two adults, a teenager, a tween, and two grade-schoolers. I think this is high, but I buy a lot of high quality meat and produce. And we are a super tall group of people, and everyone is male except me. :/

    • My husband and I spend 600 or more per month on groceries. I would like to reduce it a bit and waste less food, but I won’t compromise on buying organic meats, dairy, and veggies. We live in the extremely HCOL Bay Area and everything is expensive anyway (it’s not like we’d be saving a ton by switching to non-organic – just a middling amount).

      • Sydney Bristow :

        My husband and I spend between $600-800 per month on groceries in NYC. That includes paper and cleaning products but not pet supplies. It also doesn’t include a fairly substantial eating out budget. We get our groceries delivered though and could probably save some by shopping in person but the groceries stores in our neighborhood are really lacking in fresh produce and I’m not willing to give up the convenience at this point.

    • I give my cleaning lady $250 every week to keep my refrigerator stocked with virtually EVERYTHING I consume for the week, ranging from liquids (juices/coffee) to veggies to cold cuts and cheeze, as well as prepared foods. She is VERY good about getting good deal’s from Whole Foods, Fairway’s and 3 or 4 other places. She also goes up to Eli’s when I want food for Myrna. I also give her $100 for deli from the Second Avenue Deli (a pound or 2 of corn beef and pastrami. Yummy!!!!!!

    • If you want to prioritize buying organic produce but want to reduce spending, see if there’s an “ugly fruit” delivery service in your area. I use Hungry Harvest in the DC area: http://www.hungryharvest.net/#how-it-works.

      • Groceries :

        Oh interesting, I’m in DC! I’ll check that out. We’ve belonged to several CSAs and they were a good value, but we got tired of trying to find ways to eat kohlrabi and celery root all winter long. We go to the farmers market year round.

      • Not the OP :

        I just subscribed to this – I’d never heard of it, thanks so much for the rec!

      • Triangle Pose :

        Thank you! I just signed up for this.

    • Time to discover Aldi. You can find much of your organic, gluten free stuff there and the produce is great. Grass fed beef too.

  3. What do you think of this – at a job where I don’t feel like I fit — I was a litigator at a big firm for 8 yrs, switched jobs to one where we don’t litigate but do take testimony and do witness interviews (so off the record). They were looking to hire someone from a litigation background so the skills are relevant. But I just don’t feel like I fit – I’m old (35) and have other experience, while all of my colleagues (we’re all the same level) are 1-4 yrs out of school and this is their first job. And it’s a “kind and gentle” kind of workplace which I obviously didn’t have before.

    So we had to take testimony yesterday and bc it was a few discrete issues – it was split between me and an attorney who graduated school in May. The director had reviewed all outlines/approved all questions. We go in there and do it and afterwards the director says – well she was the good cop, you were the bad cop. I usually don’t read into comments and all I could think was – um would you be saying a 35 yr old male attorney who was tough was a “bad cop”? Or do you just think all females should be sweet?

    Just to give an example – all of my junior colleagues cannot ask precise questions, and the directors don’t do anything to correct them. So if we were asking an exec about a certain program – my colleagues question would be “so tell me about X program.” My questions would be: when was the program implemented; who was involved in developing the program; discuss the reason you thought this program was necessary. Basically – I ask short precise questions so it doesn’t give the witness the chance to skip over stuff, and while I’m nice in my delivery – I don’t take the approach of “so . . . let’s talk . . . .”

    Thoughts? (If it matters – I had my review this week and had spent all of last yr working with 2 female directors and the number 1 comment that came up and was discussed was that they like my poise, articulate manner etc. with outsiders. Haven’t worked for this male director before.)

    • Senior Attorney :

      Honestly, I would laugh and say “well, if it takes being the bad cop to get the information, I’m completely okay with that!” or something similar. Maybe “well, somebody has to pin down the details!” Or just “Thanks!” ;)

      And I’m laughing my head off at 35 being old…

      • Agreed, it sounds like a good system. Two good cops would be near useless.

      • SoCalAtty :

        Right! 35 is old now, especially in a legal career?

      • The OP sounds a tad like Ellen (with about 50 extra IQ points)!

        What has become of her? I guess she finally found a man who’s keeping her fingers off her keyboard and better occupied in a way that’s keeping him happy.

    • I’m not sure I understand what your question is, to be honest. It sounds like you got a good review. The good cop/bad cop thing doesn’t seem s*xist to me (since both you and the other interviewer were women), and frankly, I hear that term used all the time to describe the two-on-one dynamic (when another partner and I tag-team in e negotiation, for example). Are you asking if it sounds like you’re being treated unfairly? It doesn’t, to me. Are you asking if this job is a bad fit for you? Only you can answer that. It does sound like you’re different than your colleagues but it also sounds like the firm values that (since you were well-reviewed).

      My question to you would really be whether *you* like this job and want to stay. It sounds like you don’t, and that’s totally fine!

      • Anonymous :

        +1

      • +1.

        Also, I have a litigation background, and I would ask the question both ways. I like to start with “Tell me about X program…” because sometimes people start talking and you get really unexpected answers. If that happens, it’s a goldmine of information. “When was the program implemented?” usually gets, at best, “2004.” You need that information, but I find the dual approach works great, and a good cop/bad cop dynamic can help.

      • I agree. I don’t think “good cop/bad cop” was a bad review (it could have been extremely effective to have this dynamic) nor would I have thought it was s3xist, but if you did you could be picking up on something you didn’t explain here. I also agree that you might be having a hard time adjusting not because of your workplace but because of your mindset. Biglaw does that to you; I’m still adjusting and I was only there for 3 years. Biglaw is viewed as a zero sum game, if both of you were doing the interview as a biglaw associate, you would think it was because you couldn’t be trusted to do it yourself or someone was better than you. But here, it may be more effective to get someone to ask open questions, so the witness blabs on and then to have someone ask more direct, pointed questions. This combination and dynamic could be extremely effective and just because you got “bad” in front of your ‘review’ doesn’t mean you are bad. But we aren’t there, so we don’t know. Maybe worth thinking about, though, before you throw in the towel!

    • I am called “bad cop” and sometimes it’s a compliment (like “high five you really got them where we wanted them!”) and sometimes it’s moderately insulting (like “who knew you could be tough?”) — but I still like being the bad cop (because at mid-30s I look young, and I speak softly, and people underestimate me).

    • Anonymous :

      I think working in Biglaw really changes a person and their expectations, so that a normal or even regular high-achieving office seems uncomfortably informal and laid back. How long have you been at this job? Can you give it some more time to get adjusted to the culture? Maybe it’s a GOOD change, but you’re just wound super tight from your previous job. It’s like moving to a pretty little town from NYC- even if the pretty little town is better for you in every way, you’ll probably be very frustrated as you adjust.

      I also think you come across as pretty defensive, maybe because you feel like you don’t fit in, or maybe because you feel like you took a big step back in terms of prestige by switching from biglaw?

      • Wanderlust :

        As someone who made this move a year ago, Anonymous at 3:16pm really hits the nail on the head.

  4. Anonymous :

    Wait, I can wear thumbhole sleeves as an adult? It won’t make me look like I saved all my high school clothes from Hot Topic? Between this, the pastel hair trend and chokers, my inner goth teenager is set for a comeback…

    • I like them for utility reasons, but only on sportswear.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Same. My city is very hiking-gear-chic, though, so I could probably wear them regularly if I wanted.

        I’d say away from the chokers, though. That still screams The Craft and Clueless to me.

        • Anonymous :

          Oh, how I wish I could take my style inspiration from The Craft and not be utterly ridiculous.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Yes! So bada$$. This summer going out at night a few times I wore Doc Martens and all-black clothes with heavy eyeliner. I felt great but I got a few looks.

  5. Anonymous :

    Honestly, even asking this question, you come across as a little bad cop about your colleagues…you seem to suggest that the are incompetent due to their experience level and/or lack of big law experience. Also, this probably won’t change your views, but asking open-ended questions can be a great strategy for uncovering all sorts of facts– it is actually very easy to miss information using your approach.

    • Anonymous :

      This. Sounds like neither you or your colleagues are getting the most out of your interviews. Sure, they’re not getting to the bottom of the funnel, but you’re starting about half way down and are probably missing good stuff. It also sounds like you think people who are conversational in witness interviews/depos are just “being nice.” In truth, some of the best interviewers/deposers are conversational. Obviously, it’s not a strategy you have to use, but it doesn’t mean there is a problem with it.

      Honestly, it sounds like you think you’re as good at this job as one could be and you look down on your co-workers. It might re-invigorate you to grow your own skillset. Have you thought about doing a NITA program?

      • Anonymous :

        She’s probably rolling her eyes at this suggestion, with a heavy sigh, because BIG LAW. But it’s a good rec.

  6. Shopaholic :

    Podcast Recommendation: I recently stumbled across a podcast called Twice Removed and it is amazing. The host has a guest per show and they trace back their family history to find a mystery relative. It is so fascinating and tear-jerking in some instances.

    As a sidenote, the new Gimlet podcasts are amazing. I definitely recommend them if you’re looking for something new to listen to!

  7. Bluing Question F/U :

    I bought some Mrs Stewarts, but I’m not quite sure how to use it in my top load HE machine. It has compartments to add bleach, detergent, fabric softener and oxiclean if that matters. The website isn’t super clear.

  8. Bluing Question F/U :

    I bought some Mrs Stewarts, but I’m not quite sure how to use it in my top load HE machine. It has compartments to add bleach, detergent, fabric softener and oxiclean if that matters. The website isn’t super clear.

    • Anonymous :

      Pick the dispenser that correlates to when you’re supposed to add it — so if it goes in during the rinse, put it in the fabric softener dispenser because that is when that is added.

  9. Anonymous :

    I’ve seen a lot of people on here and other places praise the ACA for requiring coverage for br**st pumps. I’m probably going to be flamed for this, but I feel like that’s a total waste of money.

    First of all, if it’s free, everyone will get one, regardless of whether they plan to use it. Stay at home moms, for example, who might only use it once a month. People who aren’t really committed to BF at all. If you aren’t committed to it, getting a free pump is not going to make you do it. It’ll just sit on the shelf. Second, it’s crazy you can get one regardless of whether you got one for your last baby, and regardless of how long ago that was. My kids were 18 months apart, and I could have gotten a second brand new pump for the second one. That’s soooo wasteful. I know people who were like, well, that way I can have one at work and one at home. Okay, but is that really worth it? Your slight convenience? And also, I know people who would have borrowed a sister’s but instead got a new one because it was free.

    The point is, the more stuff insurance has to cover, the more expensive it will be. We can’t have it both ways. A la carte seems like the better option. People could pay more for the better insurance that covers a pump, but not everyone should have to pay for insurance that covers one. Does that make sense?

    • Baconpancakes :

      That’s what you’re worried about? New moms who aren’t “committed” getting breast pumps they don’t need? Really?

    • If it makes you feel better (?) my insurance only covers a new one every three years regardless of number of pregnancies.

      • I also think “total waste of money” is quite a stretch as I’m sure many, if not the vast majority, of the pumps are used as intended. I write this while pumping…

      • Anonymous :

        And mine is a pain to request. You have to go through a medical equipment provider, etc. etc., and I didn’t end up getting one because of the hassle. They don’t just hand them out with your first ultrasound.

    • Anonymous :

      I thought the breast pumps through the ACA were rented, so you had to return them X months after you give birth, but maybe I’m wrong about that.

      Anyway, I think the bigger point is that there are SO many ways in which being a woman is more expensive than being a man in terms of healthcare. Mammograms cost way more than prostate exams, but obviously pregnancy and post-partum care is a big part of why being a woman is so much more expensive. I see the free breast pump thing as a way to equalize costs between men and women and I’m all for it even if not all women will take advantage of the breast pump. And I really don’t believe that breast pumps are so desirable that a woman will get one if she intends never to use it. It’s not a hot new designer handbag. Presumably most people who get them at least attempt to use them – and so what if they only use them a few times? It still provides a benefit.

      • Anonymous :

        And then there’s the fact that most of the drug data for healthcare being based on men, not women, since the for the last 50 years or have excluded women of child-bearing age (regardless of pregnancy status) from participating in most clinical drug trials.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m all for moms being encouraged to provide breastmilk, which is optimal nutrition for babies, which (in theory) makes for healthier people who have lower healthcare costs in the long run.

    • Anonymous :

      “First of all, if it’s free, everyone will get one, regardless of whether they plan to use it.”

      I don’t think this is true. Hormonal birth control is free under the ACA but I don’t get it because I don’t use it. I regularly get coupons for free things at the grocery store that I don’t use because I don’t eat that thing. People aren’t just like “OMG FREE GIMME” especially with something as boring as a breast pump. If women are getting a second one for free so that they can have one at work and one at home, I think that’s fantastic. It makes life more convenient and keeps more women in the workplace. Same with SAHMs who might not use it as much. If someone is going to use it at all, I think they’re entitled to it. It would only bother me if huge numbers of women were getting them with no intent to ever use them, and I really don’t think that’s happening because…it’s a breast pump. Why you would want if you have no plans whatsoever to pump?

      • I’ll admit that I did this – I got one just in case I wanted it, because hey, it was free, but I never opened the box. I thought I’d sell it or something (is that legal? I’m not even sure), but it’s a year and a half since I last nursed (and I’m done having kids), and it’s still in my laundry room somewhere.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, that’s exactly my point. Or there’s a peer pressure to getting one and pretending you’ll use it. Or you just think, sure, maybe I will.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, I don’t believe in birth control, so I don’t get it. Of course, my taxes are going towards something I don’t believe in that my religion forbids. So.

        • ….what?

        • anonymous :

          Being against something and not “believing in it” are two different things. If you don’t believe in it, that means you don’t think it exists, and I’m sure you acknowledge that birth control exists?

          I normally wouldn’t nit-pick over semantics but something about your comment just really made me want to.

    • Anonymous :

      No, it doesn’t make sense. I think maybe you’re a little naive about the real world – there is no way at all to have a perfectly efficient solution where every person who receives one of these devices will use it exactly in the way that *you* feel is appropriate because that is not how the world works. Your scenarios don’t really even make sense – what if you got rid of your pump because you were done having kids and then have a surprise baby? What if you’re a stay at home mom who gets a great job opportunity six months in and decides to go back to work? etc. You want insurance companies to have some mean girl jury that will judge mothers to decide if they’re worthy of a free one? Maybe they can have a psychic on staff that will determine if those new moms will be committed to using it before providing one?

      • Anonymous :

        Oh…how do I get that job? And how do I explain it on my resume?

        “Mean Girl Jury Member” ABC Insurance: January 2017 to present

        Work with a team of mean girls to judge new mothers upon release from the hospital for how they plan to use their Obamacare-provided breast pumps as an insurance benefit. Success metrics include: number of subsequent mastitis admissions, making babies cry, making new moms cry, making new moms feel a threshold level of guilt for deciding to not breastfeed after repeated unsuccessful lactation consulting.

      • This. Perfect efficiency is a myth. People get prescriptions that they don’t use all the time. That doesn’t mean that insurance shouldn’t cover those prescriptions.

        Also, the retail price for my breast pump was $130 (I know, because I bought myself a spare). My unmedicated, complication-free, midwife-attended vaginal delivery was $12,000. Breast pumps are not the problem with our health care system.

    • “First of all, if it’s free, everyone will get one, regardless of whether they plan to use it.”

      That is completely false. Do you take every free thing that you can possibly get ever? No, of course not. I didn’t plan to pump and so I didn’t get my insurance to give me one. I don’t want a random piece of medical equipment sitting around in my house gathering dust. And out of all the random crap to be worried about in this world, the access to a breast pump is one of the most absurd.

      The majority of people who b-feed their kids are rich, well educated, white women who have access to medical care, education, and cushy office jobs that allow them the flexibility and privacy to pump. SHOCKINGLY their kids do better than the kids of poor women with none of the same life benefits.

      Maybe we should focus on fixing the massive societal inequalities that lead to b-fed kids having a better life outcome rather that complaining about how giving women free pumps is a waste of money. Not that you have anything to worry about anyway. Pretty sure all that’s going to go away soon, so then you’ll be able to be happy.

    • Anonymous :

      You’re getting jumped on here b/c this is an example that affects people here, but I don’t disagree with your premise, that the more insurance has to cover, the more we all pay.

      • +1

      • Anonymous :

        counter: the more preventative health things that are covered, the less everyone pays in the long run

        Breastfeeding also reduces risk of woman getting breast cancer. Cancer treatment is expensive. Pumps help moms continue to BF after return to work while increases cancer prevention effect when – longer you BF, the better the cancer prevention benefit.

        • Anonymous :

          This.

        • That’s not accurate. The cost of doing preventative care on everyone is more expensive than treating the people who become sick without preventative care, because very few of the people receiving preventative care would have developed the illness or disease without the preventative care. And some people receiving preventative care will develop the illness regardless. There are certainly other reasons to provide preventative care, but economics is not one of them.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I would have thought the opposite. Do you know something that I could read about the economics of that?

          • Anonymous :

            This is a bit broadsweeping, as is the reverse. The reality is a mix depending on the intervention. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0708558#t=article

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Thanks Anonymous at 5:58.

    • Anonymous :

      They wear out, too, hence providing additional pumps even for close in time pregnancies. I bought one and had one provided by insurance with my first (so I had one at home and one at work). That was 3 years ago. I just had another baby recently and got another pump and it is so.much.more.efficient. even though it’s the same pump (Medela pump in style). Like so many other electronic appliances, they just lose some efficiency after hard use. And I exclusively br–st fed my first for 13 months, so it got some hard usage. I would be seriously upset if insurance didn’t provide me another one this time on the theory that I got one before so I never need a new one again.

    • SoCalAtty :

      Really? First, my insurance provided pump burned out after 13 months. Right after the warranty! How nice. I’m also renting a hospital pump, so I’m just using that now, but it isn’t very portable so it is a good thing I just finished pumping.

      Next, even if you are a stay at home mom, you need a pump. You know, in case you ever want to be separated from that baby for more than an hour or two for the first 6 months to a year. But I guess they don’t deserve any self care time or breaks since they decided to have a baby and stay at home rather than go back to work.

      As for borrowing a pump – most pumps provided by insurance are open systems, which can’t (or shouldn’t be) shared due to risk of contamination. That is changing with the Spectra gaining traction, but before Spectra, only the $2000+ hospital grade pumps could be shared, and insurance sure won’t provide that.

      Most pumps insurance provides are $200 or less. Now let’s think about all of the things insurance provides that I don’t think is necessary. How about chiropractic care? Chiros are totally not evidence based, and you’d be better off seeing a PT in most states. Some insurance plans even cover acupuncture or other “alternative” medical “treatments.” I’m sure we could all come up with a HUGE list of things that insurance covers that maybe it shouldn’t. How about treatments for acne? That is, after all, cosmetic so you should just pay for it yourself, right? How about maternal choice elective c-sections? That’s a choice, should we cover those?

      I think you are getting jumped on because you are targeting something that is a pretty small expense in the grand scheme of covered expenses.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m currently stressed that insurance tends to cover things that happen as a result of obesity but don’t cover (or rarely cover) things to help prevent or reverse obesity. This can wind up costing so much more in the long run! Not all obesity is a result of personal failures/laziness, but I imagine that is what most people think of as justification for not covering weight loss help.

      I take a medication that is to assist people with insulin resistance issues to lose weight. The exact same medication in a different dosage is also used for people with diabetes. I do not have diabetes or even pre-diabetes. I have had a lot of difficulty losing weight even with the help of a doctor and dieticians. Luckily my insurance decided to cover the medication for me after jumping through a bunch of hoops but many (most?) insurance plans don’t cover it. The majority of them will cover the diabetes version of the exact same drug. Losing the weight can help me to avoid developing diabetes in the first place, in addition to all sorts of other expensive conditions including heart disease.

      My dad is a doctor and we had a long discussion one day about how most insurance is used for only when an incident occurs, like car insurance is only used when there is an accident or flood insurance when there is a flood. We’ve decided that in our nation our health insurance will cover medication too, which is very often used on a regular basis (and often necessary for survival) instead of just in a one-off situation. The problem with trying to change a system like that is that if prescriptions weren’t covered then a large percentage of our population would be unable to afford them, so you can’t take things like that out of the equation without also making changes to the pricing of medications to make them more affordable at the same time.

      I guess I have a long list of issues with the health insurance system in our country. Potential abuse of the breast pump benefit isn’t one of them, for me at least.

      • If you’re talking about metformin (which I take for insulin resistance as a side effect of PCOS, but didn’t really see great results from until I also started taking spironolactone…) – just FYI, it’s part of the generics programs at some pharmacies. I pay $3.99 a month for my XR at Harris Teeter; I’ve talked to the pharmacist and they don’t run my insurance for this. :-) (if not metformin – disregard!)

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I’m not, but thank you. I take that as well and it’s totally covered by my insurance.

      • No longer knocking on heaven's door :

        I have a chronic and frequently deadly disease. I take a cocktail of 3 medications, all developed in the past 15 years, all used by only a few patients due to the rarity of the disease, and all of which run at over $100,000 a year. My insurance makes them affordable (I pay $750 a month out of pocket for the 3). They allow me to be a productive member of society, to pay property and personal income taxes, which fund social insurance for others.

        I am grateful that prescriptions are covered.

    • This is an issue that hits working moms, especially those who are not well-paid, very hard. A good pump is $200 (what I paid for mine before ACA), at a time when most women are financially strapped due to unpaid maternity leave and the large expense of childcare. Women who do not have paid maternity leave frequently need to go back to work for financial reasons at 6-8 weeks post partum. Those same women likely do not have much paid sick leave, and the best thing they can do to keep a young infant well is to BF. And those pumps take a beating. If you are pumping for a young infant, that is 3-4 times per day, for potentially 10 months. So, yes it is a big deal. It also behooves the insurance company because that same infant is less likely to become ill.

    • Anonymous, you are so judgmental and petty. Why not offer a tool that can GREATLY help families of all socioeconomic brackets?? For everyone from the working class mother who needs to get back to work because she has no paid leave to the stay at home mother who doesn’t need to work but has other responsibilities or you know her husband wants to bond with their child or you know because she gets flack for b-feeding in public and doesn’t want to be confined to a dark corner of the home for 6+ months.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m actually not judgmental and petty, thanks. I’m saying that the more stuff is covered, the more everyone has to pay — including families of all socioeconomic brackets. Honestly, I think it’s crazy that they paid for my pump given what my husband and I make.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m not sure insurance companies lose money in this scenario though. It’s like giving everyone free colonoscopies. Yes, in the short term they spend a not insignificant amount of money. But if that results in even – I don’t know the numbers but maybe 1 out of every 1,000? – people having their colon cancer diagnosed in the early stages, the insurance company probably saves a lot of money – especially with the ACA preventing them from enforcing a lifetime max or denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. That means they have to cover every Stage IV colon cancer patient that comes along, even if it’s going to cost them $3 million.

        • Read Sydney Bristow’s comment. Focusing on this one tool that does an immense amount of public good over other inadequacies in insurance coverage IS petty.

          And yes of course the more stuff insurance covers, the more the pay is, but that is a front-end cost, which is likely outweighed by back-end benefits, like the colonoscopy example here ^.

        • Anonymous :

          If you think they shouldn’t have paid for your pump, then why did you submit the claim? No one forces you to buy a pump through your insurance.

          Be grateful that you + your husband make enough money that $200 is not a big deal for you. Congrats. You are better off than the 50%+ of the people in the U.S. who don’t have $500 to cover an emergency expense.

          I’d rather have insurance cover breast pumps, elective abortions, and contraception care instead of cancer treatments for terminal cases or everything except palliative care for anyone over the age of 85. But, in our country, mothers get screwed and old folks get to see their doctor for social calls.

          • If you object to the fact that insurance covers breast pumps for women who could pay for themselves, then the answer is not to take away the coverage but to means-test it.

          • Anonymous :

            Well…the people without $500 in the bank maybe, just maybe, shouldn’t take on a $250K lifetime commitment. Just a thought.

          • Anonymama :

            Wouldn’t this actually be fairly terrible for the economy in the long run, if our birth rate dropped precipitously?

          • Bumblebee :

            Well, there’s nothing the rich like so much as demanding the poor make every decision totally logically, while continuing to live their own wealthy lives however they please. It’s only a few short logical leaps to mandatory sterilization! Christ, the next four years scare the crap out of me.

          • It is elitist…. and clueless…. To believe it takes 250K to raise a child. And your implication that only the rich should have children.

            What a bubble….

        • Bewitched :

          I think it’s crazy that my in laws go to the doctor every time they have a sniffle and Medicare pays for it. There is a ton of more concerning wasteful healthcare spending-pumps should be the least of our worries!

        • Then why didn’t you just refuse the free one and buy one yourself if you make so much money. I hope you are a troll . . .

    • Anonymous :

      You are 100%. Those who disagree don’t understand economics.

    • I think breast pumps aren’t a great example since they could theoretically be preventative and cost-saving down the road, but agree with you generally that a la carte is better (and why I’m on a HDHP). No one LOVES going to the doctor so much they would go like crazy under an HMO, but I think it makes sense to have skin in the game (pun acknoweged) when you’re ordering tests, going in for checkups, etc. For example, I go to my local clinic for certain routine things now and save my fancy main hospital doctors for more complex matters since they’re so expensive (and that’s how it should work!)

      • What? This makes no sense. No one WANTS to go to the doctor. I live in a place with *gasp* socialized medicine. You know what, I’ve never thought, oh I should go to the doctor today just because I can. I go once a year for my physical and then if I get sick which thankfully hasn’t happened for 5 years or so. For simplicity’s sake let’s say in ten years I’ve gone to the doctors 12 times and had 15 tests done. I could have gone 100 times but that would have been a waste of my time

  10. Tips for combatting burnout when you really need to be able to grind for the next three weeks? Planning to take tomorrow off, but generally feeling the crunch. Law, so I do need to be able to get everything done.

    I’m looking for things like “do your small tasks first to get them off your list,” or “carve out two days to grind through your biggest task with no distractions.” In other words, I think I’m looking for those little psychological strategies you all use to help feel more in control.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Snacks. Insulin helps reduce decision fatigue.
      Switch tasks up often enough that it won’t feel like drudgery–when you’ve been blankly staring at something forever, time to switch. Also switch media i.e. print out a draft to make changes, even if it’s too rough for final proofreading, etc.
      Don’t neglect walks, showers, etc. It may not be the week for your three barre classes, but remind yourself that movement, etc really does serve as thinking time. As a faculty member about to start the semester, I need to take my own advice!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I powered through the end of the year to hit my billables and one thing that really worked was coming in super early when it was quiet and then allowing myself a break in the middle of the day to recharge…like come in at 6:30 am but then a manicure at 2 pm kind of thing. A longer break doing something that made me feel good recharged me to then work on afterwards.

  11. Depression or just blah? :

    I’ve been on anti-depressants for over a year and will probably stay on them for another year, unless there is a huge change in my life, which I don’t foresee. I know that depression can lie to you and there have been times when I’ve realized that what I was just thinking is ridiculous, so of course that was the depression. But for the last couple days I’ve been feeling like I might have a flu coming on. I’m tired, washed out, teeny bit of a sore throat, am not getting anything done. I can’t even sleep well. I’m having a hard time figuring out if this is just a January kind of mood and maybe a physical ailment, or if it the depression finding a new way to get me down.

    How have you figured out which is what?

    • If you’ve got a sore throat, you’re likely coming down with a cold or something like that. I don’t know how sleepy or rundown you feel normally, so it’s hard to say whether that’s depression or just winter. For what it’s worth, I’ve been feeling sleepy and rundown lately, too, and I’ve been on a low dose of the same antidepressant for a while now.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Been experiencing some similar things, down to the sore throat. I think my general “blah” is due to winter and the sore throat is a virus, unfortunately. I’m going to take it easy this weekend and see if things improve. Maybe you could track your moods via a journal to see if things go up and down or more steady in one direction.

    • It could be that your bedroom is too dry and that is why your throat hurts a bit. Add a humidifier and see if the problem doesn’t resolve itself. Your symptoms may also be a signal of general dehydration, which happens this type of year.

      For me, depression = sluggishness, but a sore throat = physical prob.

    • Wanderlust :

      Check your Vitamin D levels. I always forget to do this until mid-winter when I realize I feel like [email protected]

    • Anonymous :

      In my experience it all feeds into each other. When I’m depressed, I don’t take very good care of myself (including keeping a consistent sleep schedule, eating well and working out) and I’m consistently anxious, so I’m more prone to getting sick or remaining on the cusp of being sick (sore throat and exhausted). Take care of yourself mentally, and your physical health will improve. Take care of yourself physically, your mental health will improve.

      Are you in therapy? Are you sleeping? Are you eating well? Are you going to the gym?

  12. Baconpancakes :

    Sensitive, prone-to-breakouts skin night moisturizer recommendations, particularly for winter? Willing to go up in cost for effectiveness.

    • Anonymous :

      Cerave

      • Anonymous :

        +1. When I went to the derm because my skin was freaking out, she switched me to Cerave and I love it. It feels like silk.

      • +1

        This was also recommended by my derm. Hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic. I put it on right after I apply Retin-A every night, as my skin is sespnsitive and will peel without it.

    • My favorite night moisturizer is the Nivea Soft (in a tub, not a bottle). I prefer a fancier (oil-reducing) moisturizer for day wear, but the Nivea stuff is great at night for my super acne-prone skin.

    • Anonymous :

      I find glycolic acid to be really helpful. My skin used to get really dry and I guess the dead skin would flake off and clog my pores. I use Cosrx glycolic acid ( I think it’s called whitehead lotion) and their snail all in one cream and add in some of my non-spf day mosturizer if the heat is blasting. So far I haven’t gotten that gross winter skin this year, so I think it’s working.

  13. Health insurance companies? :

    For the last couple years, I’ve been getting BC/BS insurance through ACA. Last year my payments were incorrectly applied to the previous year’s policy, so the new one was canceled for non-payment. The state’s insurance commissioner said they couldn’t force the company to fix it, so we went self-pay for the last half of the year and I just hoped we wouldn’t have any major mishaps. We didn’t My child and I are both on medication we will continue to take long-term, both get allergy shots regularly (serum is ~$2k each year) and I need either glasses or eye surgery. I have always assumed that meant insurance premiums would be lower than self pay. Turns out I was very wrong. I still want to get insurance because what if…. I’m a single parent; kiddo really doesn’t have anyone else, and kids can get themselves into trouble.

    The ACA policies–even the PPO are way above what I’ve been paying, with premiums above 2x our average monthly expenses. BC/BS policies (without ACA) are nearly as expensive. What other health insurance companies are out there? I’m looking for something like catastrophic coverage and to continue paying our regular expenses out of pocket.

    • Anonymous :

      The insurance available to you under ACA depends on where you live. The best place to comparison shop is on your state’s ACA website or on the federal website.

      Do you qualify for a subsidy?

      Yes, insurance will cost more than your anticipated monthly OOP healthcare expense. It’s insurance.

      Obamacare did away with the catastrophic plans for good reason–they were scams that rescinded coverage if you actually had a catastrophic health issue.

      If you are looking for lowest-cost premiums, narrow your search to bronze plans. Although, with your regular health needs, a gold or platinum plan might be cheaper in the long run.

    • Anonymous :

      This can vary by states, but at least in MN, you don’t have to go thru ACA in order to get individual coverage. Go to website for the health insurance provider in your state and see what they have. My understanding is that often the direct offer plans (outside of ACA) have more flexibility so you can get what makes sense for you.

      Blue Cross, HealthPartners, Cigna, etc.

      • So why did you take it? No one forced you to, right? They were still available for sale last time I checked.

        I was very, very happy to stumble into a free breast pump. I was in my first FT professor job, which means I was making under $50k. A couple I knew (the husband recruited me into my position) had just decided they were done having kids, and the wife gave me hers. So lucky!

      • Health insurance companies? :

        Maybe a better question is how to tell which companies are reputable? I’ve heard of the ones you mention and a couple others (Anthem, United), but this seems to be a different animal. Lots of things I’ve never heard of come up in a search.

        • No easy way to tell which are reputable. Every state is different. United might have a good rep in one state, and a bad rep in another. You need to search online for articles about the company in your state, reviews/complaints etc… And you talk to people you know. It is very hard, actually.

          I have had 3 different Obamacare plans in the past year, due to high turnover, big companies backing out or cancelling plans, and even one company going out of business. Blue cross used to be the high quality customer service company in n my state, but they became overwhelmed after ACA started and now it can take up to 1 hour to get a rep on the phone! They also cancelled all of their Obamacare plans that had my doctors in their network, and now I can not go to the bette hospitals.

      • I would ONLY go to the state’s website, if only for the comparisons between policies. My state (Washington) also offers extra subsidies in the guise of an incredibly low deductible and out of pocket maximum, several thousand dollars LESS than the SAME policy shown on the insurance company’s own website.

    • If you are in California, I highly recommend Kaiser.

    • You’re making a very good case for only buying catastrophic coverage and putting most of your dollars into a pre-tax health savings account. That is probably going to be a much better deal for you, since the vast majority of your healthcare expenses are predictable – your medications, well-checks, etc

      • Health insurance companies? :

        Now I “just” have to figure out which are good companies in Florida. I worry that some will be scams. I hope to never need it, but if we do, I won’t be in any situation to fight with a fly by night company or fraudsters.
        I’ll start with looking at the ones anon at 4:18 mentioned.

      • Per Anon @ 6:05 comment – you need to be covered by an HSA eligible High Deductible health plan in order to make contributions to an HSA. HSA-eligible HDHPs are different from the catastrophic plans that used to be available.

        OP – does your state attorney general’s office have any sort of listing of reputable (or not) businesses that might include health insurance companies? Otherwise consider calling local clinics you would consider using and ask what insurance they accept and start by looking at those companies.

    • Anonymous :

      If this was BC/BS’a fault, I would encourage you to continue up the chain of command to have this addressed. You were canceled for non-payment but it was not your fault. First, I would be relentlessly, kindly, persistent with BC/BS to see if they can help you.

      • Health insurance companies? :

        Who would be above the state regulatory body that already told me “no”?

        • Health insurance companies? :

          BTW, the reason for turning me down was apparently pretty much that it’s too complicated. BC/BS and ACA BC/BS are two completely separate companies. Also, the person handling my case told me that they had a lot of similar situations coming in.

          • Wildkitten :

            This is not true: BC/BS and ACA BC/BS are two completely separate companies

        • other Anon :

          Your state representatives, your federal representatives. Because “too complicated” is a bullsh!t reason. You paid in good faith for something that is federally mandated.

  14. really really anon :

    Just found out today that my best friend needs a very early-term abortion. I support her 100% and this is absolutely the right choice (not into debating that here/now). Wrinkle is, she currently doesn’t have health insurance and had been planning to buy one on the ACA exchange before the 1/31 deadline.

    Can she even get a plan with that coverage, and would potentially higher premiums even be worth having that one procedure covered? How do you figure out if a particular plan covers abortions? My attitude is, just go down to PP and talk to a health provider there ASAP. It might be less expensive than she thinks and it’s probably best not to wait. FWIW she wants me to go with her and was asking me these questions herself, so if I can take any of the decision-making load away from her during an incredibly difficult time, I know she trusts me to do that.

    • Anonymous :

      I have an ACA question in moderation. Policy for my child & me is around $700. I think that’s less than her procedure.

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      I agree that she should make an appointment with PP ASAP. I have never needed their services but it is my understanding that they provide care regardless of insurance and your ability to pay. Isn’t that the whole point of PP? Why don’t you call the local PP to find out how they charge for services and then inform your friend.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        The last time that I used PP they offered a sliding scale payment option. I’m not 100% sure that would cover abortion services, but it is worth asking.

    • I think there are limited circumstances for coverage for pregnancy terminations and even more limited insurance options for really early elective procedures. I don’t think many states or the exchanges require plans to provide coverage here. What I’d do is call around to the clinic(s) in your area and ask them what the cost is, what payment options there are, and whether they have any suggestions for an insurance plan that might cover this. This early on, she may have a couple of less expensive options.

    • really really anon :

      Okay, calling around is probably exactly the kind of thing she doesn’t want to have to deal with, but I can do for her. Obviously researching her insurance options is more in-depth and she probably needs to do herself, but I will call PP.

      Anon– that’s what I thought re termination coverage. I don’t know that it’s worth her waiting to get insurance because the procedure may not be covered anyway. She’s REALLY early– hasn’t even missed a period yet– so hopefully it won’t be that expensive.

      • Anonymous :

        I would call your local PP directly and ask. There are low cost/free options for women making a certain amount over the poverty line, but your friend would have to qualify. I imagine the cost would be under $500 at that point in the pregnancy, but I could be wrong. She could be early enough for a medication abortion, though, which might cost the same but could be an option she personally prefers. I think that typically has to be within the first 9 weeks.

    • What state is she in?

      • really really anon :

        New Jersey but with easy access to NYC.

        • Call the Margaret Sanger Center in NYC. There is financial assistance available for uninsured patients. Also, the National Network of Abortion Access Funds provides financial assistance; the funds are state-level and the New York one serves both NY residents and women who travel to NY for abortion services. There is also a New Jersey fund.

          • really really anon :

            Called them, thanks! I think she’s going there. They were super friendly and helpful on the phone.

          • This is not the advice you asked for, but I feel compelled to give it anyway. I am grateful that medication abortions are an option, and I think that in some cases they definitely are the best option (lacking personnel or equipment for a surgical abortion, or a need for extreme privacy).

            That said, I strongly strongly recommend a surgical abortion instead if that option is available to your friend. I had a medication abortion at 7 weeks (they time it from the 1st day of your last period). I chose it because I am very uncomfortable in doctors offices, I am a very private person, and I have a high tolerance for pain. I regret not having the procedure done in the doctors office. It was excruciatingly painful (the worst pain I have ever felt, and I have had a compound fracture of my femer). It hurt so much that I panicked — I thought I was dying and just screamed and vomited laying on the bathroom floor.

            If your friend chooses this route, please help her prepare. 800 mg ibuprofen, in addition to the prescription pain meds they will give her. See if they will give her anti-nausea pills (I took them, and if they helped, I’m glad for it). She should have the pain meds fully on board before taking the second pill. Stay with her while it is happening (at least, outside of an unlocked bathroom door). Warn her that 3 days later, the pain often returns very briefly but intensely. You’re a great friend; wishing you both all the best.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            If she has been to PP in NJ then she may have already dealt with this, but just a head’s up that she will have to go through metal detector security when she arrives. I had only been to PP offices in my PNW hometown and never experienced that and it caught me by surprise when I moved to NY. I’m someone who likes to know as many practical details as possible when going somewhere new, especially for something that I’m already nervous or stressed about, so on the chance your friend is similar I thought I’d pass this info along.

          • Margaret Sanger cared for a friend of mine who found herself pregnant after a rape…she found them to be really sensitive and supportive and believes that they, essentially, saved her life given how horrifying it was to find herself to be pregnant after that experience and her degree of emotional distress. I’ve not been there myself, but hopefully they will be able to help her.

    • It’s unlikely that her insurance will cover it anyway.

      I volunteer with an abortion assistance group and would encourage you/her to make an appt, and they will be able to tell her the cost and refer her to assistance organizations if need be. FWIW, PP may or may not be the cheapest provider, depending on your area. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) has a hotline that can refer you to a provider and a second one where she can get financial assistance. There are also local funds in many places so if you google [city] abortion fund, you’ll likely have luck there. NAF doesn’t work with PP clinics, but they have their own “Justice Fund,” which can provide discounts depending on her income. The procedure is more expensive as time goes on, so would encourage you to get moving!

      Good luck to you both!

      • Anonymous :

        It’s actually a bit complicated, but Justice Funds go through both NAF and PP clinics so definitely ask for assistance if your friend needs it.

      • really really anon :

        Thanks for your volunteer work, and this very helpful response!

      • Anon for this :

        Want to second the margaret sanger center in NYC – that is where I went. One caution to your friend, the medication form of abortion is much cheaper / easier than a D&C, however, medication is only an option < 8/9 weeks. When I called PP there was a week or two wait, so you / your friend may want to work this into your calculus.

    • PP is definitely the place to go. Also, if it’s early in the pregnancy, it’s likely that she will qualify for a medical abortion, which costs less than a surgical one.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes. Early on it can be done via one-time either pill or injection? I forget which, but I had it done.
        I remember the name of the abortifacient medication but won’t post it here.

    • FWIW, my sister had one a year or two ago in central PA and it was between $400-450.

  15. Health insurance companies? :

    Longer post is in moderation. I’m looking for suggestions of health insurance companies to buy my own policy

    • Anonymous :

      Pretty much, Obamacare plans will be cheaper than any private plan you try to purchase outside of the marketplace. I looked carefully into this in my state, as my state has had very poor luck with Obamacare plans and all the major health insurance companies are leaving the marketplace and costs are getting very high and the available plans are no longer being accepted at the better hospitals.

      I pay close to $500 per month for the cheapest bronze PPO plan in my state and I am in my 40’s with no medical problems. My deductible is over $6000. It’s brutal. No subsidy. Is is catastrophic insurance, but with some good protections in case the worst happens. And at least your yearly physical, mammogram, flu shot, PAp are free.

      This is insurance. This means you will pay a lot more in premiums than the cost of your care since you are young and healthy…. unless you are hit by a car etc… But sometimes we forget at we are incredible lucky and should be grateful we don’t need to use health care often.

      Basically, Obamacare is pricey for those you don’t qualify for a subsidy. There are no great alternatives in most states. Every state is different so we can’t make specific suggestions.

      • LOL, I’m old enough to remember when the cost of insurance was based on the risk involved, and health insurance for a young healthy person was cheap, because the risk was low. That is “insurance.” Obamacare is something else entirely.

        • Anonymous :

          Well, I have no problem with the idea that the risk should be balanced throughout society.

          But it’s a mess now. Too expensive.

          What I predict….

          Coverage will start getting limited for very expensive/cutting edge treatments. So the wealthy will start accessing care via a 3rd rail, paying out of pocket for it or via a different vehicle.

          There will be more emphasis and financial rewards for preventative care, and palliative care that keep patients out of the hospital.

          Reimbursements to doctors and hospitals will continue to fall. Dramatically. From private insurers. Medicare/Medicaid now reimburse for less then cost for many (most?) things.

          Doctor salaries will fall (and more doctors will be women).

          Patient responsibility costs will continue to rise and only once the people revolt…. which will only succeed once very fortunate workers who have insurance via their employers ALSO have to pay a larger part of their health insurance costs (because they have no incentive to change things now!) …. will a different system likely be put in place.

          • I will never admit to understanding the full economics of how health care works. My employer switched to HSA or HRA only plans this year. I can assure you that the only preventative care that I will be doing this year is what is covered under the ACA at no cost to me. I will likely drop one of my very expensive daily meds and I will not go to the doctor for things I might have when all I had was a copay. I am fortunate that I am in pretty good health, but last year I had to have a biopsy on a lump near my thyroid and B12 injections due to a deficiency. I would have had some issues paying for all of that out of pocket and I’m not sure what I would have done. That’s disappointing and frustrating to me, but it’s what I have to deal with. I’m not sure it’s the best way to keep people who are middle class or lower healthy, despite my employer saying they made the switch to encourage wellness (let’s be real, it’s entirely for their cost savings).

    • Anonymous :

      Which health insurance companies operate in your state? I bet that is something you can search for.

      Go to their websites and see what they offer for individual coverage. Compare to what is available in the state exchanges. The availability and costs is going to vary by state. ACA will not always be cheaper or better coverage, since the ACA coverage often limits the coverage network in order to keep costs down.

  16. tailor in DC/MD :

    Can anyone recommend a good tailor in the DC/Montgomery county area? My husband has a very nice suit where just the pants need to be hemmed. I’m a good seamstress so I usually do his but this is Italian and i’m intimidated. So, I expect it to be good and not done on a machine, if that makes sense. Willing to spend the money for it done absolutely right. Thanks!

  17. Should I ask our HR manager to address a front desk staff member who liberally sprays (her favorite, very expensive) perfume on herself multiple times throughout the day? Should I just ask her myself? I’m very allergic to fragrance and today it gave me a real allergy attack – I’m still suffering an hour later and my headache will stick around all day. I’ve made not-so-subtle comments, like today when an intern said “ooh someone smells good”, I replied “yep I can actually taste it” in between my violent sneezes. I don’t want to embarrass her, but it’s miserable.

    • Anonymous :

      Absolutely tell HR! Health & safety is part of their job. Your office might already have a scent-free policy that this coworker is not complying with. HR can address it in a way that’s not embarrassing, like sending an email to the whole staff reminding them to be considerate with scents.

    • If you have a problem with her fragrance, you start by going to her. You have an allergy. How is that embarrassing?

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        Agreed. Going to HR before simply trying to let her know it is a problem for you is passive aggressive, unless you have some reason to believe she is going to retaliate against you for mentioning it to her. But if she doesn’t change her ways after you speak with her, definitely go to HR.

    • I don’t think “yep, I can actually taste it” is a particularly clear expression of “I am allergic to fragrance and your perfume gives me allergy attacks. Would you mind not wearing it at the office?” In fact the former is pretty rude, and the latter is a reasonable request.

      I have asthma and probably half the time the instructors at my yoga studio burn incense. I simply walk up to them and ask them to put it out because I have asthma. They always do. Big deal is what?

    • Senior Attorney :

      Just talk to her. Your passive-aggressive comments don’t convey the message at all.

  18. Tax Questiom :

    I am an attorney at a small firm and I do work that results in attorney’s fee from a federal agency. At the beginning of the year, I received a 1099 in my name with the total in fees received. However, the fees go into the firm’s operating account (and not to me personally) and then I collect my regular salary and receive a W2. I’m not sure what to do with the 1099 when I file my tax returns, because I did not personally receive the money, even though it came in my name and the firm pays the taxes on that income. Does anyone else have a similar work situation or advice?

    • Who handles the finances/taxes for your firm? I’d start there.

      • It is the agency that made an error, not the firm. The firm accountant may be able to help facilitate a resolution by contacting the agency on your behalf, but this shouldn’t be too hard to fix if you don’t have one on staff (and therefore would be paying someone hourly rates to make calls).

        • I agree that someone is going to have to talk to the agency, and it may end up being the OP. But, I’d also want to talk to someone at my firm to get a handle on exactly what the arrangement is supposed to be. Are payments being made in the name of the OP or the firm? Is this merely a mistake and the wrong name got entered? Or is the OP really the one listed to be paid on the contract in which case the discussion will be between the OP and the firm as to how the income gets credited and who is responsible for the income tax.

    • Notify the agency that the 1099 was issued in error. They will need to issue a corrected one showing nothing going to you, and one going to the firm. Then you can filed your return as normal. If for some reason they balk, have a pro do your return – there are ways to show the income and back it out again that won’t raise major red flags, but actually solving the problem is a much better choice.

      • I agree with AZCPA. Tell them to do this, but they will NOT waste time ammending the 1099 Dad says. What Dad recomends you do is to go to the Stationary Form Store, buy and fill out two copies of an IRS Schedule C, put the error money from the 1099 in the INCOME section there, and then deduct that same amount from deduction section of the Schedule C (just label it a BUSINESS Loss), with that all leaving you with ZERO income to report in the Schedule C. This way, you have reported all of it, but you will NOT have to have to pay any INCOME or TAX on it. Dad is very smart (MENSA eligibel) and alot like AZCPA. YAY!!

      • I would start first by contacting the agency about getting a corrected 1099 issued. If that doesn’t work, here is what I have personally done:
        Claim the 1099 income on a Schedule C but then also claim the exact same amount as an expense and in the memo of the “Other Expenses” section description, put something along the lines of “Income reported by W-2 employer”. For the current year this will save you from actually claiming any income. However the ultimate solution is getting the agency to remove your name entirely!

    • SSA, by chance? They f up my 1099 every year. I’ve asked them to issue a corrected one, but they never do. Here’s the gist of what I submit along with my taxes and a corrected 1099 –

      Dear IRS
      During tax year 2015 I was issued a 1099-MISC forms indicating $__ in non-employee compensation. This is an error, as it misrepresents the recipient of that income. That amount was not income to me personally, but rather went to the law firm of ___, who employed me during the time that I appeared at Social Security hearings on their behalf, as their employee. I was never paid any fees directly from the Social Security Administration – all fees went to my employer, and I was paid wages on a W-2 for my work at the law firm.

      The Social Security Administration frequently makes errors in attributing nominee recipient fees to individuals rather than to their employer. I have been unable to secure a corrected 1099-MISC from the Social Security Administration.

      I am submitting a corrected 1099-MISC to reflect that all income from the Social Security Administration was actually “gross proceeds paid to an attorney” and not “non employee compensation.”

      • Tax Question :

        Yes, this is exactly the problem that I’m having! Glad I’m not the only one, but sorry it’s a pain for you, too. Thank you for the advice, this is super helpful!

  19. Baby Shower Dress Help :

    Anyone want to help me find a dress to wear to my baby shower? I’m having trouble finding something I like and a trip to Motherhood proved to be fruitless. The shower is in February and it will be cold here, so I would prefer long sleeves. I am also tall (5’11”), which makes a lot of maternity dresses too short on me. Generally I prefer something a little more on the fitted side. Anyone seen anything cute?

    • Anonymous :

      Something Isabella Oliver? N-stroms carries that line. They’re all so beautiful! Love this one, although it’s sold out in most sizes: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/isabella-oliver-ivybridge-jersey-maternity-dress/3793183

    • Rent the Runway has a ‘bump-friendly’ option under body type.
      Maybe this with a cardigan or long-sleeved t underneath?
      https://www.renttherunway.com/shop/designers/nicole_miller/gathered_stripes_sheath

    • I really have liked the ruched dresses from Ingrid & Isabel. They aren’t as affordable as Motherhood but I love how they look! They also have a great return policy, so you can buy up a bunch of things you’d like so you can try them on at home, and you can ship them back for free within 30 days for any reason.

    • I had good luck at Asos for maternity dresses, including one for my shower. Note that the sizing is all over the place – but I took advantage of the free shipping/free returns to order several dresses in several sizes, and sent back the ones that didn’t work.

    • I had good luck with Seraphine maternity dresses.

  20. LOL, if I wore this top people would throw paper clips at me to see how many they could lodge. Isn’t that neckline down to the bottom of where a bra would be?

    • I’m flat chested so there’s no cleavage to aim for. Instead this shirt would just show my entire bra. They must’ve glued it in place for the model.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I think this is one of those fantasy-life tops where you’d wear it with a lacy bralette while you take photos of your artfully lit organic quinoa salad.

  21. Veronica Mars :

    What’s the best wet mop? I saw several at target that were different spray versions? Or is an old fashioned one still best?

    • Senior Attorney :

      I like my Swiffer Wet.

    • I use a spray one with a washable pad and a refillable liquid reservoir you can fill with whatever you like. Bought it at Target ages ago. Whether or not it’s as good as a regular mop probably depends on what you want it for. I use to clean up muddy dog foot prints and it works fine. Regular mops gross me out because you can’t wash the yarn. It wouldn’t be at all useful to mop up a spilled liquid though. For that I just use a towel.

    • Anonymous :

      O’Cedar, maybe (can’t recall brand) makes one where you can use your own cleaning product in the reservoir (or just water). I switched to this one because the Swiffer is a bit overly fragranced for me. I usually use Mrs. Myers or even Murphy’s Oil Soap. But I did get it at Target. You can buy extra covers for it (just Velcro ones) you switch out.

    • I have a Bissel steam mop that I love. Its super easy to use and the pad is easily washable. I feel like it gets my floors cleaner than my Swiffer.

    • Seriously, for cleaning, an old fashioned sponge mop with a handle you can use to squeeze the sponge, and a bucket full of steamy, soapy water.

  22. O'Cedar anon from above :

    Oh yes, also a Shark steam mop; allegedly kills 99% of germs!

  23. Given how many questions there have been and the discussion earlier today, I hope people are calling their representatives to show your support for the ACA. I called mine (even where they already voted against repeal) to say thanks and to share WHY it’s important. (I have a story as simple as “without ACA, I wouldn’t have been able to…”

    It was easy, it was less than 2 minutes/call, and it was important. Even though I wasn’t changing minds, they were so appreciative that I shared my support.

    And if you think there are problems (everyone does, even President Obama), don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. We already have a system in place that people rely upon. Replacing it could cause a lapse in coverage for so many and given that the replacement hasn’t even been identified I have zero confidence an appropriate replacement will be in place.

    I just don’t understand how some politicans don’t feel immense SHAME when that man at the town hall last night stood up and said “I was against Obamacare and as a small business owner said I would close our doors before implementing it. And then I was diagnosed with cancer and it is because of Obama I am alive today.” (paraphrased)

    I just don’t get it. These are human lives.

    • Anonymous :

      To be fair, Ryan said to that guy “We’re going to replace it with something better and any repeal is not going to be effective until we have a replacement.” It’s not like he said “hahahaha f*ck you.” I think Republicans genuinely believe they are helping people with the ACA repeal. I think that belief is misguided, but I don’t think (most of) them are evil.

      • No, that’s not fair. What items specifically are staying that people are relying on? If there are certain areas that people are calling about he needs to be able to say if it’s a priority or not. I could care less about the “replacement” until we have details. They are only focused on removing – not helping. If they were focused on helping they would already have a general idea of things that should stay, be amended or included in a new plan.

      • Republican :

        Thank you. The tone of political discourse today is so bad that I often feel that each side is calling the other evil. We have very different ideas of how to solve our common problems but ill-intentions are still rare.

      • Agree — I don’t think they’re evil. They believe that ACA costs are increasing out of control and that something has to be done to stop that. Premiums have increased. That’s a fact.

        I agree with everything you said in your third paragraph, but I disagree that the fact that they’re attempting to repeal and replace must mean they don’t care about people’s lives.

        • I don’t think they are evil, either. I don’t think they don’t care about people, either. I don’t know Speaker Ryan personally, but he seems to be a nice enough person with a heart.

          What I don’t understand is… why the urgency to repeal it when there isn’t a replacement? It’s not like something new and better came along. Nothing has been proposed yet despite 7 years to do so. So why not keep it in place because it is inarguably doing good and work on fixing issues? Is it an ego problem – that Obamacare was successful, so let’s repeal it but replace it… eventually with something that has all the good of Obamacare but none of the bad? I don’t know. But I want ACA but better, too – but now! And I think there are a lot of people that can’t wait for “eventually.”

          At the end of the day, I disagree with the sentiment that it is “collapsing” because “healthy people won’t buy insurance.” To the contrary, it has been 7 years and insurance coverage has never ever been so robust in history. And I don’t like spending more money than I have to, either, but if the extra $15 that my premiums cost means that my cousin with lupus can now finally get covered, that was something I was happy to pay. (After all, she didn’t give herself lupus. There but for the grace of god go I.) I would be ashamed if the only argument standing in the way of someone’s life was an extra (but not exorbitant) cost.

          • I’m not sure I understand the urgency either, but I wonder if they fear that Trump’s administration is going to go down in flames, and they think they have to do something before it does or they’ll lose all political capital/will.

          • Hill staffer :

            The reason that they’re scrambling to repeal it is that they have literally been running on this issue for years now, and they would look like weak sauce to many of their supporters if they said “actually, let’s chill out and have a discussion about this.” Many elected republicans believe that their mandate is derived partially from voters’ opposition to ACA, since it was such a big part of the Republican platform.

          • Not a hill staffer, so I don’t have the inside knowledge you do, but it saddens me. There really should be a calm discussion about it. Sometimes we as voters are short-sighted and sometimes our public officials do things for the good of the country and the future as opposed to voters’ demands, i.e. integration in schools, ending Jim Crow, etc.

            It saddens me that so many voters don’t realize how much they/we have all benefited from these safeguards. I think of so many families I knew growing up (in a rich suburban area) that were only able to support and care for their children with Down’s Syndrome, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, lupus, and MS because they were so rich or had rich grandparents contributing or relied on a local charity. It is not the parents’ or child’s fault they suffer from these illnesses and yet, we expect the parents to just have millions of dollars to support their child because obviously this pre-existing condition could not be covered.

            And I think about the man my mother worked with. He and his wife each worked full-time jobs and a part-time job in the evenings, with a grandmother at home watching the children. Their third child was born with significant physical development issues and there was simply not enough money in their 4 jobs to cover his care because he could never be covered. They lived over the state line and he commuted over an hour so that they paid less property tax and he got to the office at 5:30 am. Every season, my mother would make us go through our clothes, books, shoes, and toys to give to the family as they were just a couple years younger than us. I remember thinking how bad it must have been for them to accept our used socks and underwear but they did.

            I was a student when ACA passed and I knew it was important but didn’t really think much of it. The next day my mom called me to tell me about the family and how he cried at work. As they aged, they worried increasingly on how they could care for their son and finally, they could do the simple act of buying insurance for him.

          • Pregnancy & ACA :

            I wrote in this morning about my experience with ACA. The striking thing is that I am probably like many woman on this board – studied, always worked, exercise, eat well, have a high-achieving job but it just happened to be a small firm. This very much impacts poor, disabled, and other less privileged populations but it also impacts YOU.
            I’m all in favor of finding ways to improve the program – it’s very expensive, networks are limited – but repealing it without a credible replacement is reprehensible. People will die. People will go bankrupt.
            At the moment, I am back on an employer plan via my husband and not planning any more kids, so I’ll probably be fine in the short term. But others aren’t as lucky. And don’t have the resources to fight back.
            Please take the time to make a simple phone call.

    • Here’s my issue with ACA: my husband and I live in a LCOL area and I am the primary income earner. Husband started business last year and income from that business flows to us last…as it does for most small business owners. So he has taken a very, very small wage and obviously has no employer provided health insurance. The insurance provided by my work is a “Family” plan available for employee + spouse + any children. However, this plan costs over 10% of my monthly GROSS income. I can’t change it so we have my husband on his own single health plan which is still 8% of our combined GROSS income. Isn’t there something wrong with that? We don’t qualify for any subsidy and frankly, we don’t spend as much on ‘frivolous’ things just to make this work. I am very solidly in the middle class. We are in the middle of the 15% tax bracket, we have student loans, we have a mortgage and we sacrifice ‘fun things’ so that my husband has health insurance…all because we are risk averse and trying to ‘get ahead’.

      I am totally for allowing EVERYONE to have adequate healthcare, getting contraceptives for free and preventing illness, but maybe something should be done with the health insurance companies and the billions of dollars presumably made there before we worry about totally repealing ACA???

      • This may not be true in your case, but frequently, LCOL area = red state. The out-of-control premiums for ACA plans which were trotted out in Trump tweets were in states which did not expand Medicaid. The governors and legislatures in these states wanted the ACA to fail, so they refused to implement an important portion of it. In doing so, they denied an improved quality of life to their most vulnerable citizens. I’m perfectly comfortable saying that in this instance, yes, Reoublicans are evil.

        • This this this!! They turned down free money from the federal govt that would have helped some of their state’s citizens at no cost to any other citizens. That is indefensible. But it worked and Obamacare failed.

        • Years ago in Tennessee we expanded our Medicaid to cover the uninsured, and we nearly went broke and had to repeal it. Government aid only covered a portion of the costs to the state. We had to shut down our state parks and cut other nonessential services until we could get it straightened out. An LCOL state doesn’t have enough high wage earners to tax to pay for all this. It’s not evil, it’s math.

          • Calling BS on “it’s not evil, it’s math.” Tennessee never expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA. The state has proposed alternative plans (which cannot be implemented without CMS approval) to use Medicaid expansion funds to subsidize premiums on employer-sponsored plans and expand Medicaid, but it hasn’t gotten through the very Republican state legislature.

            Here’s a solid summary of ACA Medicaid expansion state by state from a healthcare industry s1te:

            https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/resources/primers/medicaidmap

          • We didn’t expand it under ACA because we tried it years before ACA was implemented. Look up the original Tenncare plan in 1994

          • Kim, your agenda is showing.

            https://www.tnjustice.org/tenncare/tenncare-vs-affordable-care-act/

            The original TennCare was succcessful until the program took over the risk while the insurance companies continued to adjudicate. The issue is not federal funding, it’s political malpractice.

  24. Too late? :

    I’m turning 40 soon. The good news is that I’ve made some leaps in personal growth the last two years. The bad news is that I can’t help beating myself up for how delayed this is…how sad it is that I am just figuring out who I am and what I like at this age, and I regret all of those years I missed because I was focused on the future and things that never came to pass. I look in the mirror and I know I’m still attractive but I regret all of that youth I wasted on worrying…when I could have been out there living. And most of all, I am sad (or just wistful?) that on a Friday night, I am turning to a website to voice my feelings and fears, and that I don’t have a partner to turn to.

    I don’t know what I’m looking for…best case scenario, maybe someone to tell me how they still found happiness as a 40+ late bloomer?

    • 90's bride :

      Just FYI I am sitting across the living room from my wonderful husband of 20 years, next to a fab teenager and two dogs, and I’m reading this site for pieces of wisdom.

      I say – way to go, you! All of your “mistakes” and “regrets” have led to the fabulous person you are today. We ALL have the feelings you articulate so well! I am happy in my own life most of the time but I must say I am slightly envious of the freedom and opportunities that are yours and will never be mine.

      I hope you keep your handle and update us on all the adventures that await you!

    • Life is ahead of you, not behind.

    • My mom met my dad and got married in her early 40s. She got pregnant with me at 44. It’s never too late.

      • I needed to hear this. Thank you. :) I’m turning 37 in a few months, single and no children.

    • I’m 52. I remember sitting next to my best friend 10+ years ago who was weeping because she had spent the last half of her thirties with a commitment phobic partner who went on to immediately marry the woman he cheated on her with. She was turning 40 and thought she’d wasted her life.

      A couple of years later I attended her wedding to the sweetest, most devoted guy ever, who she met in one of the social clubs she forced herself to join.

      They’re still the cutest couple I know. They adore each other and have an enviable life together.

      He’s a blue collar guy. Some women would say she lowered her standards. I would say she just opened her eyes wider.

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      I completely understand how you feel and honestly, I appreciate hearing that others feel the same way. I wasted 6 years with someone who was terrible for me. I spent years focusing on him and our relationship rather than myself, my goals, my career, etc. Even though 4 years later I’m finally seeing someone who I can see myself with long term, my career is going nowhere. My grades weren’t outstanding because I was so consumed by my relationship with my ex so it will be difficult to make changes now. All I can do is be positive and slowly work towards my own goals. As far as dating, one of my good friends met her now husband at 39, had a baby with him at 40 and married him at 41! It can happen! Try to keep dating and be positive, but I know that is easier said than done.

  25. Should I stay or should I go now? :

    helping a friend decide about a move option… She works from home, single, no kids, mid 30s, hates cold weather (anything under 40*)

    Currently lives in city A: HCOL, moved there to be with a partner but they’re no longer together, her friends are mostly his friends, coastal city full of single people, has a great apartment, amazing weather yr round, almost never too cold for her

    City B: LCOL, old college friends there but most are married/kids so she worries they won’t have much time for her, midwest city where it might be weird to many that she’s this age and unmarried/never having kids, 4 seasons occur which means 6ish mos of colder weather than she wants

    How do I help her to decide? What would you decide and why?

    • Why would she move from City A, unless there’s drama in her social circle with the ex, or she’s really looking for a new start? Moving is the worst.

    • Anonymous :

      She can work from wherever she wants? How about Option C: move to the tropics. LCOL, warm all year round, totally new social circle probably with plenty of single expats. I hear great things about Panama and Vietnam.

  26. City A. I was in a very similar situation (except I only had two friends in City B), and chose to move. I do not regret it at all, probably because I wanted to get away from the temperate weather and move to a place with seasons, and I moved for a fantastic job opportunity. But it is not easy being mid-30s and unmarried/childless in the midwest. It is hard to date and make friends. Add into that that the weather will make her miserable, and I don’t see much upside other than savings. Unless savings/early retirement is her life’s goal, I would stay put.

    • Agree. If she has a great apartment and probably rent control, City A sounds much better. Maybe she can afford a little weekend place in the country to buy eventually as lots of rent-control city dwellers do. In City A she has a much better chance of meeting new friends and potentially a new partner, and if she ever loses her job, better prospects for finding a new one.

      I think as her friend you should nudge her toward volunteering/running groups/church etc so she can meet new friends who aren’t her ex’s.

  27. Ugh, we are away for the weekend at a rental house in the mountains and I woke up with the beginnings of what feels like a bad cold. Razor blade throat and head and body aches. I don’t have my full medicine cabinet here and the store is 30 minutes drive away.

    What do you take or do to make yourself feel better quickly on the first day of a virus? I can rest all day, but even reading is difficult because my head hurts.

    What should I send my husband to the store to buy?

    • Tea, brandy, honey, lemon, & cinnamon sticks.

      The honey will really help the throat.

    • Airborne! It might be too late if you are already feeling terrible, but it always works for me if I take it as soon as I feel something coming on – the throat tickle, pain behind the eyes, etc. Otherwise, I would say extra-strength Tylenol or something else that will relax your muscles and let you sleep. When I am really sick, sleeping is the only thing that makes me feel better (because I can check out). I also like Throat Coat tea by Yogi Tea – helps soothe the sore throat.

  28. Amalfi Coast :

    If you had to go to one town on the Amalfi Coast for 4 nights for a honeymoon, which would you go to and why? Thanks!

    • we went there on our honeymoon stayed in amalfi and visited the other towns (sorernto, capri etc) for day trips. Much cheaper!

  29. Pet lovers - what would you do? :

    Hi hive,

    Two weeks ago, I brought home a rescue cat. She’s ten years old. The rescue organization did not advise me of any medical conditions when I asked. I brought her for a wellness check today and learned that all of her teeth are so badly decayed that they should be removed at a cost of $1,200-$1,400. I suspected there would be tooth problems because her breath is so bad I can tell if she’s yawning from the other side of the room. She has also been really reluctant to have me check out her mouth.

    I contacted the rescue to let them know and they went on the defensive, saying that the vet must be exaggerating and that if the cat is eating it can’t be so bad. I completely disagree with their reasoning – my cat eats mostly wet food with some kibble which she doesn’t chew, so it’s reasonable to be that she’d still eat. This vet I brought her to is also the founder and operator of a local cat rescue and is probably not in the business of ripping off fellow charities.

    I can’t justify $1,200-$1,400 for this cat that I’ve had for two weeks. I know the problem is just going to get worse and any response from the rescue besides their willingness to remove the teeth is not going to be acceptable to me. They are already trying to make the case that it doesn’t need to be done immediately – but I also don’t think it’s getting any better so I am hesitant to let them off the hook. Has anyone been in a situation like this?

    • Hmmm. I can pretty much guarantee you will not get any money from the rescue. If you return the cat to the rescue, you run the risk of being put on a do-not adopt list. What does the adoption contract say?

      Personally, I am not a fan of putting older animals under anesthesia unless it’s super duper necessary. If she can eat enough to maintain her weight, I might hold off. My vet told me two years ago my 14 yr old cat needed some teeth pulled (she already has had about 6 pulled). She has no problem eating enough, she doesn’t appear to be in discomfort, and she is otherwise totally healthy. Perhaps I am a jerk, but I’m not having them pulled unless she is suffering or she can’t eat. It does sound like your cat is in some discomfort though. :( $1200-1400 seems high, but what do I know.

      Ugh, I’m sorry you are in this situation.

      • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

        Hey MB and thanks for your response. The contract says that within two weeks of adoption I should notify the rescue of any medical issues – but does not specify what happens after that. I asked my vet if I should brush her teeth and was told that given their condition and the gum inflammation that would be FAR too intense. She said at best I could try to gently clean them using gauze or a-tips, but when she tried to demonstrate even that seemed intolerable for my cat. She does seem to be in pain and because even the most gentle home care isn’t tolerable I can only anticipate this getting worse. At this point she could probably wait for the removals but in six months or a year it could be excruciating (who knows?) so I think it’s best to bite the bullet now. It’s so sad but if the rescue will not help with the cost I think I will have to return her :-(. My vet foubdef a rescue a few cities over from the one that I got the cat from and even she understands that this is absolutely something that should not be my issue. Ugh it’s hard :-(.

        • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

          **founded – Sorry, typing on my phone and out and about! Apologies for any incoherence.

        • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

          Also, in my willingness to adopt a 10 year old cat I am in a position of being able to afford and happily pay for any conditions that develop in future. But this is a very expensive one that would’ve been evident even before they gave her to me. So I don’t think I can really play ball on this one.

    • What an awful situation. In your case, I might be tempted to use social media (twitter/facebook/yelp) to your advantage here – maybe if you shame the rescue for their terrible behavior they will be motivated to do something?

      • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

        I’m really discouraged by the whole thing. I honestly could not believe the outright hostility of the rescue group. Her teeth ARE really bad – they are not even distinguishable from one another and are more like a series of yellow-orange lumps attached to bright red, swollen gums. She’s already lost ALL of her little front ones (they’ve all broken off or come out). I can smell her mouth from across a room. The vet I took her to seems to me the least likely person to exaggerate or be a Scrooge to another rescue. She’s reputable and my friends have used her services for years. I believe the $1,200-$1,400 (**CAD) is probably reasonable because it includes pre-op bloodwork, X-rays, anesthesia, a full mouth extraction (minus whats already fallen out), antibiotics, painkillers, and a follow-up appointment. My feeling is her teeth are probably not excruciating every minute of everyday but will get there within the year if they’re not dealt with now. The rescue is trying to have me wait til that point to treat … um, no because then this $1,200 cost for a pre-existing condition is just deferred to me. Their “second opinion” is the vet who saw her six months ago (last time she was seen) and, without seeing her now, is reiterating to them there’s no need for dental. I told them that vet’s opinion (without exam and with an obvious bias) means nothing.

    • Can you share where you are? I live in a HCOL area and paid a small fraction of the price you were quoted.

      • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

        Toronto.

        • Talk to the Toronto humane society or SPCA, they might be able to help. If you had posted in advance I could have told you that private rescues in Ontario are bad news.

          • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

            What makes you say this? Interested to hear your perspective on private rescues.

          • There was a study recent published linking upwards of 60% of animal hording to private rescues and mental health issues. The lady at the SPCA mentioned they often skimp on medial services (some not at all, and a ‘vet’ will sign a health check never seeing the animal) but since the SPCA/humane society have vets on staff every animal gets a full work up. Plus private rescues have dismal placement rates and often very stringent requirements. I got my pets as a student and the SPCA was the only place that considered my five figure grants “real income”. Five years later as a degree holding professional the SPCA gets my donation money.

        • Also the quote is very accurate for Ontario considering the high level of education vets here require.

      • Check out this place: http://www.weldrickanimalhospital.com/low-cost-vet-dental-cleaning/

    • I understand your anger at the rescue, but it’s not the cat’s fault! I’d get the dental work done and happily accept the great karma from doing something for this animal in need, since you say that this is something you can afford.

      • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

        I know it’s not the cat’s fault and that’s what makes it so sad for me. At the same time though (and maybe this makes me terrible) I really don’t think I can choke up over $1,200-$1,400 for a pre -existing condition for a cat I’ve known for two weeks. Yes, I can afford it, but that is still a lot of money to me when I was assured this cat was in good health. The fact that the rescue is being so terrible makes me even less likely to pay out of pocket.

        • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

          The other is that I don’t think I’d be doing future adopters or cats of the rescue any favours by just being quiet and sucking this up. If I reinforce that they can get away without treating these expensive and painful conditions until a cat is in a new home and someone else’s problem, this cycle of prolonging care to an inhumaine extent will likely continue. My budget includes cat care but not get out of jail money for their negligence.

          • Dude, you just said it yourself – it’s inhumane. Just get the work done yourself, and think about the next 10+ years you’ll have with a much happier cat.

            Once it’s done, sue the rescue in small claims if you must. But don’t make the cat suffer!

          • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

            Who has the time to go around suing organizations in small claims court? Seriously, not me. And it’s not something that’s common in Canada either. I regret posting here. I have gotten some thoughtful responses, but ones like this show just how out of touch with privilege many commenters are. I don’t have $1,400 and days of my own time (for court!) to throw at an animal I’ve had for two weeks. I care about her pain but it’s not of my causing and I can’t realistically be expected to fix it. $1,400 is an entire paycheque for me. More than I pay in monthly rent. Enough for seven months of groceries. A large portion of my current emergency fund. I was looking for other suggestions of ways to communicate with the rescue (etc.). If I had $1,400 without strings attached that I felt I could reasonably throw at this, I wouldn’t be asking the question.

    • Would the initial cost take care of the problem or would it likely recur? I know that gum disease in cats can be extremely tricky. I would potentially take the rescue to small claims court or maybe even file a real lawsuit. It sounds harsh, but how many other poor animals are they doing this to? Sometimes a lawsuit is the only way to make people realize you can’t screw people and defenseless animals over to save a buck.

      • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

        I suppose there’s no guarantee that the removal operation would completely solve the problem – the vet said that it can be hard to completely remove the roots of the teeth and so infection can continue. It’s a lot of work to remove a whole mouth of teeth and there is always concern about keeping the animal under euthanasia for too long. I don’t think I have the time or energy at this point in my life to take them to court. The cat would have to be returned to them if they will not pay for this condition that has been existant since she was in their care, because I’m not comfortable putting off the operation but also cannot pay this on their behalf. That’s my position as much as I love the cat. I’m disgusted by what seems to be their standard of veterinary care and may report that to the SPCA…but I’m not letting it go and sucking up the $1,200-$1,400.

        • You keep ignoring that there are cheaper options. The link I sent you provides the service for $360.

          • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

            Bonnie, that is just for cleaning. A full mouth of surgery to extract every tooth and root is not done for less than $1,000 at any of the reputable places I called yesterday.

          • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

            Does $360 for a half day worth of surgery and a full removal of all teeth sound even remotely reasonable? Come on Bonnie. That’s ridiculous. That link is not relevant to the services my pet needs.

          • I paid $400 with extractions in DC recently so yes. The initial vet quoted $1000 and I found a cheaper option.

          • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

            I suppose the prices are much more steep in Canada then, unfortunately. $1,000+ is in line with the best prices my friends with senior cats have found and is the going rate for all of the clinic that I/the rescue/my friends have relationships with and trust.

        • Anon in US :

          This will likely out me, but I fostered and then adopted a 10-year old cat last winter. She only had four teeth when we first got her and maybe a month after that the rescue, PAWS in Chicago, took her back for a week to take out her remaining teeth and do an ultrasound. She was eventually cleared for adoption and we kept her, and were informed she would need ultrasounds and bloodwork every 6 months. These are $600 and $200, respectively!!!! I have no idea the rescue was doing such expensive procedures, but at this point we loved the cat so that ship had sailed. She does surprisingly well without teeth, and it is pretty adorable when she yawns. If I were you, I would pay for the extraction and then raise hell on social media about this private rescue’s practices. We had teeth cleaned for a younger cat when his breath got really nasty but I don’t even remember how much it was so it couldn’t have been that much for anesthesia, bloodwork in advance, etc (maybe 200-300).

          • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

            Thanks for your perspective! I think the high cost is due to the removal process. My understanding is that cat teeth are very fragile so when you go to remove them, they splinter, then you need to go looking for the shards (including X-rays during the procedure to ensure you’ve got them all). This is just my layperson understanding from friends who have had this done. Apparently there is a steep increase in price from cleaning to extractions, especially for full mouth.

          • I’d do exactly this. Pay the money, give the cat a loving and safe home, and raise hell on social media.

    • Just get it done.

      • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

        LOL

        • You’re making yourself look like a giant POS

          • Money to burn? :

            Thanks. I may do that. But right now I need to figure out this year’s plan
            Some people on this blog have top 1% incomes. Some do not. There is no way I could afford $1400 at the spur of the moment, unless I took it out of the $7.5 I have saved for emergencies, as money to live on for a couple months if necessary.

          • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

            I didn’t write the response above but it’s exactly my feeling. I’m in my late twenties and have a respectable government job and am well compensated for what I do. $1,400 is still almost an entire paycheque for me once taxes and union dues and other deductions have been considered. It’s more than my monthly rent. It’s 7 months of groceries. Is there more than $1,400 of savings to my name? Yes. Is it really reasonable for me to spend that on a cat I’ve had for two weeks given my life situation? No. Please get out of your bubble.

          • Anonymous :

            I’m actually in your bubble. Almost exactly, we might even work for this same agency. I’ll keep my ear to the ground for coworkers adopting cats

    • Anonymous :

      In my fairly limited experience, rescues organizations can be pretty disfunctional and sometimes sacrifice quality of life for saving more animals. They’re also sometimes bizarrely controlling about who can adopt their animals, preferring to keep them in a cage rather than sending them to a home that uses a brand of food they dislike. Anyway, my point is give up on them paying for this or responding in some reasonable way. If you really can’t do this find a new owner who can or take it to a different rescue that can deal with the problem – maybe some have pro Bono relationships with vets? FWIW, I’m in NYC and we had all our of one of cat’s teeth removed a couple years ago. I don’t remember exactly what we paid but it was way less than 1K (that I would remember). (I am so conditioned to thinking that everything is saner in Canada that I can’t wrap my head around vet bills being so much higher there, so ignore this if unhelpful). I will say it made an obvious difference in our cat’s quality of life. She came home and just started eating like there was no tomorrow, even the same day of the surgery when she must have been sore. That’s when we realized how much pain she’d been in before, as she had been eating less and less leading up to this. I totally understand not feeling that commitment right away, but it was worth it for us. She died a year or 2 later.

      • Pet lovers - what would you do? :

        Thanks for your perspective. It’s surprising from an outside perspective, but most goods and services are more expensive here. Even when our dollars were on par, Canadians were still getting charged more than Americans for the same items (clothes, books, etc.). This appears to carry over into veterinary care, because I’m not exaggerating when I say the cheapest quote I got after calling around all day on Saturday was “starting at $1,000.” That includes calls to clinics in the suburbs and ones with reputations for being more affordable. If there are readers from the GTA who have had a full mouth extraction done for less than $1,000, I’d of course want to hear about it. But as the other poster mentioned above that seems to be a reasonable starting price here.

    • Oh so anon :

      Just return the cat! That is too much money to spend on a pet, especially if it would be such a huge chunk of your income.

  30. Beautiful article, I think people are adopting new fashion as new generation is always trying or looking for new fashion tips as I think wearing new cloths or the fashion that we adopt makes our personality resemble and I really love when my friends see me and adopt my fashion, I appreciate you for sharing as this article is very interesting

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Really glad comments that include the word “exce**ent” don’t get through and this does under the spam filter. 😐

  31. Sloan Sabbith :

    What’s your go to first date outfit? Coffee date on Monday afternoon. It’s cold but no snow in my city, and my outfits are put-together casual. I dress a lot like Putting Me Together. I have some options but I could use some other ideas.
    1: Off white cords (kind of a white sand color), wine-colored booties, and a black crew neck short sleeve tee with a statement necklace. Pros: simple, casual, cords make my legs look awesome. Cons: Tee is pretty loose and I don’t have anything to wear over it, so I’ll be cold.
    Second option is a blue shirt dress with black tights and wine or black booties. Pros: super easy, casual but automatically looks like I dressed up because DRESS. Cons: looks like I dressed up and not very warm.
    Last option is brick-red cords, grey v-neck sweater, black booties. Pros: cords make my legs look awesome, sweater is loose but the cut of the neckline is super flattering on me, warm. Cons: really casual and there are not many ways to dress it up.
    Which would you choose or, alternatively, what’s your go to outfit? Not coming from work, obviously.

    • I like your last option. You’ll feel warm and you’ll look awesome. A coffee date doesn’t need to be dressy. Have fun!

    • Agree with option 3. Not dressing warmly enough on a first date could be read all kinds of ways: you didn’t plan, might not be responsible, could be needy… Looking pulled-together sounds better than looking like you tried too hard for a coffee date anyway.

      Have fun!

  32. PS I’m not saying those things about you, just that on a first date, you don’t know each other very well, and everyone’s looking for clues about the other person.

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