Coffee Break: Puzzle Bag

This architectural puzzle bag is something I’ve been drooling over for about a year now — and I actually suggested to one of my girlfriends that she buy it for her 4oth birthday. It’s such an interesting little square bag — it’s really clever and witty but not in a, say, Marc Jacobs kind of way. It’s a very fashionista kind of bag, and the Sartorialist did a guide on how to wear it different ways, like a clutch, backpack, and more. Now, these are not inexpensive bags — this is $2,350, and right now Nordstrom has it in six colors. I love the electric blue, but they’re all really nice — navy, stone blue, black, and I even like the tan. Loewe Puzzle Bag

Here are some more options from Loewe (including a less expensive bag): small puzzle bag (solid, multicolor, and python from $1,990 to $4,650), large puzzle bagwhipstitched, cloud-print, Loewe/Paula’s tropical-birds. There’s a wallet, too — this one’s final sale at Bluefly for $499 from $750.

A few lower-priced bags are here, here, here, here, and here, and here’s a wallet.

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!


  1. What are your tricks for dealing with irritating relatives?

    My mother has broken her leg and is coming to stay with me for a month. We love each other, but we’re polar opposites — early to bed vs. night owl, healthy eater vs. junk food, up and at ’em vs. pajamas all day, Clinton vs. Trump — and she gets on my nerves in about 72 hours. My 900 sq ft condo is a small place to be with her for a month haha.

    Any and all tips for zen-like survival are appreciated :)

    • Anonymous :

      Will she have her own room, or will she be sleeping on a couch/in the main area (or are you giving up your room)? Assuming she has her own space, I think that goes a long way to helping. And since she’s recovering from something physically, I might expect some deviation from her normal patterns. And I would probably try and be a little more understanding of her preferences. That said, I think it’s reasonable to tell her at the beginning of her stay – “let’s not talk politics and avoid the news.”

    • Anonymous :

      Some of these you just need to get over. She broke her leg so pajamas all day are reasonable. She wants junk food? Give her junk food!

    • Anonymous :

      Make sure to keep your distance, to be honest. Retreat into your own room to read at night, or go out to a coffee shop for a couple hours to read or work or wherever, assuming she doesn’t need you to physically help her during those times.

    • Yay Kat! This is a great bag, and not all that expensive. It may be a little to clunky for me but Im sure many in the HIVE will love it!

      As for the OP, give her a chance, she’s your MOTHER and she needs you while she recuperates. She took care of you when you were growing up and changed your diapers for years! Now it is your turn, and mabye only for a month, so grin and bare it. I know that when Grandma Trudy was not well, she came and stayed in MY room, and mom took care of her. Even Grandma Leyeh needs attention from time to time, and Dad and Rosa are there for her, even tho she is in the Bronx! So this will be an easy fix for you. Do NOT fight with mom, either, as she is in a weakened state. This is what is called playing it forward, Dad says!!! YAY!!!!

    • Sassyfras :

      Treat yourself for making it a week (or day if necessary) without negatively responding to the things that annoy you. Remind yourself that it’s only a month, create a little countdown calendar where only you can see it. Schedule your regular activities throughout the week if you can leave her alone for a bit to get a break from each other.

    • Anonymous :

      Some of this stuff is better left ignored. Don’t try to police what she eats or nag at her for wearing pajamas all day. She’s a grown up and can do what she wants. Don’t talk politics and change the subject if she tries to. The early to bed vs. early to wake is really the only thing that’s an actual incompatibility in terms of living together. Assuming you’re the night owl, I second the advice to retreat into your room to read/watch TV with headphones at her preferred bedtime. That’s what we do when my parents visit, since they go to bed between 8 and 9 pm and we go to bed more like 11 pm-midnight.

    • Put your friends on standby an dtext them any choice quotes. Get to knkow any and all reaction emojis.
      Also, imagine yourself as an anthropologist studying an unknown, new culture…. put some objectivity in there.
      Come up with a mantra or 2 for her criticisms… some of mine are “like water off a duck’s back” and “Oh, ok.” “That’s interesting”
      Do something for YOU every day or night – for me, it is a bath at 9 pm. Hmmmmmm…. just thinking about that makes me so relaxed….
      Also, embrace the stereotypes. Assuming she is old, and not going to change, just buy her her kind of food. Laugh at her shows. Whatever. It’s only a month. Eyes on the prize.

    • Anonymous :

      Work long hours for that month.

    • Coach Laura :

      A lot of this advice would have to be tweaked if you only have one bedroom but since you have to work hopefully you can get to bed early and leave her to her own devices. I’d get her an iPad or small laptop and a good set of headphones if you have to share a one bedroom apartment. Then get Netflix and Hulu subscriptions. Show her how to get her channels of cable news only on iPad not your tv. Stock up on her fav junk food and ignore the PJs cause she’s an invalid. Get lots of take out. Maybe play the “crazy family bingo” that we’ve talked about here before.

    • FIgure out now when you’re going to have time for yourself (whether you spend that alone or with friends) and make sure it happens. Your mom will need your help for a lot of things, but she doesn’t need you there all the time. You can set her up on the couch with food, beverage, and entertainment and leave your house for 4 hours to do something you want to do. I’d suggest you start doing these things immediately—don’t wait until you’re worn down to start taking care of yourself. This will be easier if you pace yourself and take breaks from Day 1. If your mom has friends where you live, sign them up to come get her one or two afternoons a week to go to lunch, a movie, etc. Even if you have to volunteer to pay for their outting, it will be completely worth it so you can have some time alone at home.

    • Idk if you’re still reading this, but three major things have helped me deal with my mother better in recent years:

      Letting her have her opinions about me, my life, what I’m doing, and letting her say them without really considering whether it really is like that. She can say what she wants–I don’t have to agree or be hurt by it. This includes political opinions. That one was hard, but honestly, my mother is in her 70s and has never had a huge amount of power and influence. She isn’t going to start now, so who cares if she hoping for a Goldwater/LBJ combo?

      Laughing (to myself or with my son) when she breaks out some of her “old reliables”, from things that could be hurtful, if we let them, to the way she says my dad’s name when she’s irritated. It’s like a bingo game I’ve seen for getting along with relatives. You put their annoying habits into a grid before you see them, then mark that square when they do them. Their annoyances turn into your win.

      Making it all about her. When she sighs that she needs Bobby pins that match her new hair color, I find some for her. When I realize that there’s a way her computer/phone could be set up to be easier for her, I do it & then explain.

      What prompted this for me was my son buying me a little teddy bear when he was about ten, because I’d been crying over something she said for several days. He needs to have a parent, not be one!

    • Anonymous :

      Oh, and schedule “time in” with her, as well as “time out” for herself. It will be easier for her to deal with your absences, physical or emotional/social, if she knows she’ll have half an hour with you later. That can be watching a show you’re both amused by, eating dinner together, or whatever.

      If you really are that different, she probably won’t be able to intuit what you want, even when it seems obvious to you. After work, do you want to be left alone or to vent? If you vent, do you want her to problem solve or listen and agree with you? Tell her those kinds of things flat out asap.

  2. I once read somewhere about someone who used the channel blocking feature on their tv to block their father’s (opposing view) cable news channel of choice prior to a visit. The person told dad they just didn’t get that station. Lol.

    • My husband has threatened to use parental controls to block his dad’s favorite news channel when he starts getting too far out there with some of his political stuff.

    • I think Slate had a guide for how to do that on various cable systems. I think it was last summer during the runup to the election.

  3. I want to buy a “smart” thermostat for DH’s birthday (he’s wanted one for a couple of years). I’m thinking of the Nest and have talked to at least one friend who really likes his. Does anyone have any strong feelings for or against the Nest or other brands they recommend?

    • JuniorMinion :

      I have the Nest – it works for us. I especially like the ability to turn the AC on from the app when I am on the way home from somewhere so I don’t have to sweat it out until my house is to temp.

    • Anonymous :

      Really? I kind of hate it. I want to move it as I see fit. Otherwise, you have to go in and ‘cancel’ the projected temperature and cancel the pattern.

      • Ours somehow “learned” to crank the heat up to 87 degrees every afternoon, so we had to delete its history and start over. (We hypothesized that it was trying to kill us but didn’t know humans’ heat tolerance. Either that, or it was the cat!). Once we figured it out, including how to use the app, it’s been pretty handy.

    • I love the Ecobee3 that we have. It has a second remote sensor (maybe 2″x2″) you can put anywhere in your house. We put our remote sensor in the master bedroom so during the day the temperature will adjust to the thermostat’s sensor downstairs (where we spend our daytime) and at night we set it to adjust to the bedroom where we sleep. The app is great, too. Our utility company provided HEAVY rebates and free installation as well! Very happy with it.

    • Anonymous :

      I HATE my nest. I plan to swap it out. I much preferred the Honeywell in our previous home. It wasn’t ‘smart’, but it was easy to program – including more complex things like temporary holds – and the dang thermostat worked. Our nest seems to use ~2 deg +/- to the scheduled temperature, which is so annoying to me.

      I think Honeywell has one that can be controlled by an app. I really don’t care about that feature since I’m more of a schedule person, which in talking with people who love their nest seems to be the disconnect. They want to sit on the couch and change the temperature to whatever feels comfortable in the moment; I want to set a temperature and have the house be that temperature.

    • Love it. I use the app to change the temp from upstairs – the thermostat is downstairs.

  4. Anonymous :

    Tips for getting through a long work day? I’m bored yet I still have a lot of work to do…I suppose that makes me lazy, but I guess I need to just take small steps for getting through it.

  5. Way too spendy for me, but fun. And Loewe is a Spanish brand (how on earth do you pronounce it in Spanish? To me, I would just say “Low.”). But I love that you can style it as a man bag! Finally, something I could say to DH: look — it’s so practical — we could *both* use it!


    Honestly, now that I need a bigger clutch for sunnies AND reading glasses, the smaller one (with a winning lottery ticket in it) would be perfect.

    • I have a small clutch from Loewe- I believe it’s pronounced Lay-vay or Leh-veh.

    • I would just get confused with where the opening is. I envision being in a rush to answer my phone, fumbling to figure out how to open said bag and then ultimately dropping purse and missing the phone call. This is my life and why I just carry a $100 j crew tote.

    • Lo-ee-vay

  6. I Have a Pre-Existing Condition :

    217 members of the House of Representatives just told me and thousands others like me that our health, our lives, don’t matter to them. High-risk pools aren’t protection for pre-existing conditions, they’re a way for Republicans to convince their uneducated constituents that they’re protecting people with pre-existing conditions. I’m angry. I’m scared. I’m heartbroken. And I’m crossing my fingers that the Senate has more empathy for people with pre-existing conditions than the House showed today.

    But I did LOVE the video of the Democratic representatives singing (unplanned!) “Na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” as the bill passed in reference to the Republicans in 2018.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      It’s so upsetting, I agree. We can hold out hope that reason will prevail in the Senate.

      How do GOP’ers sleep at night? Honestly! Between this and Trump’s Executive Orders, the cruelty and sheer lack of compassion coming out of Washington is astounding.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, I have so many mixed feelings about all of this. I actually don’t love the carve outs made under the ACA for pre-existing conditions, because I think it’s so hard to mandate on what is still a very privatized industry. I wish we would just go single payer (I know, I know, it’s a pipedream, but I think it would solve so much).

      • Anonymous :

        What. Literally what. You have mixed feelings about reality because of a fantasy?

        • Anonymous :

          Mixed feelings about the idea of dismantling some of the ACA. I don’t like how it’s being done, don’t get me wrong, but I think the ACA isn’t the solution either. I think health insurance is broken and tinkering with it is stupid. We should chuck it all. We should be single payer. But, the capitalist part of me hates the exception for pre-existing conditions. I don’t think it’s right to mandate how health insurers handle this anymore than I would think it’s right to tell a car insurer that they have to insure someone with 8 DUIs. Which is why, again, health insurance shouldn’t be private. How is my comment so hard to understand?

          • Anonymous :

            Um please tell me you didn’t equate 8 DUIs to pre existing conditions? Drinking is a CHOICE. Driving after drinking – also a choice. So if insurers don’t want to cover you – it’s bc of your own bad judgment. Having any kind of health condition – NOT a choice. I’m fairly sure no one’s judgment problem ever caused some of the millions of conditions out there that just happen bc they happen.

          • Anonymous :

            Because it’s not based in reality at all? Because having had a kidney transplant is not the same as 8 DUIs? Because private industry is regulated all the time? Because unchecked capitalism means people die? Because this isn’t a hypothetical?

            Take your pick.

          • Anonymous :

            Um, WOAH. Yea, nope. Are you drunk right now anon @ 3:26 ?

          • Anonymous :

            And when the insurers start leaving the marketplace, what then? Or doctors won’t take the insurance you have?

            Why can’t we do something for catastrophic coverage and something else for the high-risk people and just try let the rest of the market try to work? B/c the ACA is just not going to be sustainable — you can’t let everyone in at the same rates if you can join just when you get sick or need coverage. That risk pool won’t work and if it’s not in a death spiral, it will be eventually.

          • Anonymous :

            Um literally that is the entire point of the ACA. They can afford it because of the individual mandate.

          • Anonymous :

            4:28 – you’re wrong. ACA is absolutely going to be sustainable bc you make the risk pool big enough — i.e. eventually incorporating the entire population on a national basis and dis associating insurance with employment. Look at the post below at 3:27– you want as many 23 yr olds in the risk pool as possible to offset everyone with a higher risk. And that’s accomplished by fining people for not carrying insurance (i.e. individual mandate). Frankly if they make the fines a bit higher, they’ll get more young people in. This admin doesn’t get it or doesn’t care and is doing the opposite of how you create insurance pools – by creating small ones driving up the price to untouchable levels for everyone esp those in pre existing pools.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I’ll bite. I understand what you are saying. I am someone with a pre-existing condition and I called my congresspeople today to say please vote no on this new plan. That’s because ACA is the best we have right now and the only way to make sure everyone has access to health care.

        That said, I’d rather see single payer.

        While I still 100% support ACA, I do not think for-profit private companies should be in the health care business. Just like I don’t think the Catholic Church should be in the health care business.

        It is odd to have the govt telling citizens they have to purchase something from private for-profit companies. It’s also odd to have the govt telling private for-profit companies that they have to do business with everyone. I also agree that it could be unsustainable for these private for-profit businesses to insure everyone.

        That doesn’t make me anti-ACA. That makes me okay with the consequences of that system going down the tubes and single payer replacing it.


      • I am so upset about this, specifically. I guess I should be glad I didn’t report mine.

        • Ugh. I hate that you had to write this. My heart breaks for you and so many other Americans today.

        • Anon for This :

          Same. Though my record reflects my emergency C section and the fact that I sought treatment for PPD, so screw me anyway, I guess.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Mine is in my medical record. So is my DV. So, I’m screwed three ways into Sunday. Well. More like a dozen ways.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I feel like this can be read two ways, neither of which are good. (1) They can deny to cover you at all if you have these “pre-existing conditions.” (2) They would still have to cover you but they can deny treatment for those conditions. Which is it? Like I said, both bad.

    • Asthmatic here :

      We have to make sure each and every one of those Rs who voted “yes” pays in 2018.

    • How they voted

      • Interesting. I was heartened to see 20 republicans vote against it. Obviously, that’s not enough, but I think it shows how it’s not just one or two Republicans who are having major doubts about this oncoming debacle. What a cluster[bleep] this whole thing is.

    • Anonymous :

      To one of you who is following closely — how many votes does this need to pass the Senate? 51? How many seats do the Dems have in Senate? Is there any chance this passes??

      And how can anyone not understand this. I went to the same school as our “esteemed” Prez – where there is a mandatory insurance class to each you risk spreading. You want insurance pools to be as big as possible — for every high risk person with pre existing conditions, you want dozens of 23 yr olds who go to the doctor once in a decade for strep throat. That spreads the risk across a huge population and drives down everyone’s premiums. How could his voters believe that putting folks with pre existing conditions into their own pools is the same thing? It is MUCH MUCH MUCH worse – bc you are separating them from the youngest, healthiest folks driving down premiums and putting them with others with pre existing conditions — so the premiums of that entire pool will be out of reach. It really isn’t a complicated concept.

      • Add to that the end of the individual mandate, so those 23 year olds aren’t in any risk pool. The AHCA will be a disaster.

      • It really depends on how they try to pass it.

        The Senate Parliamentarian will decide if the AHCA can be voted on via reconciliation, if so, then the senate only needs 51 votes (and hold 52 seats) to pass something. If the senate introduces any amendments to the bill that are passed, that would send the bill back to the House, where they would either vote on that bill or send it to conference. If the bill went to conference, then whatever passes in the senate and what passed in the house will be combined/modified to be the exact same bill, Then that modified bill goes back to both the House and the Senate to be voted on.

        If the Senate Parliamentarian decides it can not be voted on via reconciliation, then the Senate needs 60 votes to beat a filibuster and pass something, which would require 8 democrat supporters.

        The Senate Parliamentarian can not make this decision without the CBO score, which will be released (I think) next week.

    • Anonymous :

      I have several pre-existing conditions (asthma, c-section, migraines). I can hardly think of anyone I know who doesn’t have one under the expansive definition insurance companies use. I’m utterly disgusted by everyone who voted for this.

      • How is a c-section a preexisting condition?? I had one years ago and it hasn’t impacted me at all except the first few weeks after delivery when I was recovering from the stitches.

        • Also on the pre-existing condition list: rape, postpartum depression, and being a victim of domestic violence.

          Paul Ryan can seriously rot in hell.

        • a millenial :

          ive never had a baby but is it because after having a c-section it is more likely you need subsequent csections?

          • But that’s not always or even usually true. I had a normal delivery the second time around, after my c-section. I’d love for someone to enlighten me, I just don’t understand.

          • Anonymous :

            It is statistically true that if you have had a c-section you are more likely to have one with a subsequent pregnancy (compared to a first time mom and certainly compared to a woman who has had a successful v*ginal delivery). And yes that is the rationale for making them a pre-existing condition.

      • I have a really dumb question, maybe someone here can help me understand better.

        So is it a condition that existed before I had health insurance at all, or is it a condition that existed before I had this particular policy? So if I change jobs and get a different health insurance plan, will new things become pre-existing conditions?

        • Anonymous :

          I’m thinking back to the 90s/00s when this was a HUGE issue (pre Obama care) — I believe pre existing conditions always follow you around — i.e. Blue Cross only cares about a pre existing condition that you have before they sign you up for BC insurance; they don’t care that Aetna insured it before. So I don’t think you can say – oh it’s always been pre existing so therefore it doesn’t count as pre existing. Every insurer you ever deal with makes its own determination.

        • The condition pre-exists the policy. I believe that the new bill allows higher premiums for those who have a pre-existing conditions only if they go more than 63 days without coverage, but since the full text of the bill was not published, that may be wrong.

          • Anonymous :

            Right. But I don’t see how the 62 day thing protects anyone. Does this administration realize that people lose jobs, can’t afford COBRA and before O-care became uninsured?? They’d basically go without insurance until they got a new job. That can take more than 62 days. And then BAM you’re insured again but at a higher rate bc now you are paying a pre existing condition rate that you didn’t have to pay earlier bc you were “grand fathered” into an old plan.

          • Anonymous :

            Don’t confuse doesn’t realize with doesn’t care, because clearly they don’t.

          • Anonymous :

            4:17 – very good point. I am giving benefits of the doubt that I shouldn’t.

          • Anonymous :

            It used to be that you could get short-term gap coverage (individual plans thru the insurance companies) to help cover the gaps of employment, but maintain coverage.

        • Anonymous :

          I had severe childhood asthma so this was a big concern for my parents (in the 1990s and early 2000s). My understanding from them was that as long as I always had insurance it wouldn’t be a problem. I believe I was transferred between insurance companies a couple of times without incident.
          But there’s a related issue of lifetime limits. Before Obamacare, many insurers set a $1 million lifetime limit. You can hit that in a matter of days or weeks with a hospital stay or treatment for cancer or many other things. Then you’re “uninsured” because you’ve hit your max with Blue Cross Blue Shield or whatever and then when you try to get new insurance the pre-existing condition prevents you from doing so. I believe the pre-existing condition thing is less of an issue without lifetime limits. But Trumpcare also weakens the lifetime limits rules.

          • Anonymous :

            It’s not less of an issue. Sure you can transfer insurance to insurance – what happens if you lose your job, can’t afford COBRA and thus have to go without insurance for a little while – and then you have the 62 day gap allowing insurers to bump you up to the pre existing condition premium?

            Life time caps used to be a HUGE problem back in the day.

          • Anonymous :

            I said LESS of an issue, not no longer an issue. I’m appalled by this vote and pre-existing conditions are obviously still an issue for poorer people who can’t afford Cobra or self-employed people who can’t get insurance through an employer, but for most of the people on this s!te who get insurance through an employer and can afford Cobra, having a pre-existing condition isn’t going to render them uninsurable if they decide to change jobs. Someone was asking, “If I switch jobs and have to get a plan with a different insurance company, am I no longer going to be able to get insurance because of my pre-existing condition?” and the answer to that question is basically “no, you’ll be fine.”

          • Anonymous :

            I’m pretty sure nothing about being on this board prevents anyone from losing a job. And not everyone is wealthy enough to afford Cobra. And I assume we have small business owners/self employed here.

          • Anonymous :

            Fear-mongering doesn’t do anyone any good. Yes, there are lots of poorer Americans and self-employed people who have good reason to be worried. But I was replying to a poster asking if they would lose their insurance when they change jobs, because they have a pre-existing condition, and the answer is no, it will be fine as long as you don’t have a gap in coverage. There are lots of problems with the AHCA, we don’t need to invent stuff.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Yup, we can go back to getting married for health care. That’s the only reason I was able to go to law school. I happened to get married at 23 and could get on my husband’s insurance. The school plan wouldn’t cover medications or my pre-existing conditions.

          • Anonymous :

            Yep. Got married to provide health care to my now-husband when he lost his job due to his health. He was uninsurable due to an autoimmune disease Dx at age 21.

    • Wasn’t it the republicans singing goodbye to ACA?

      • Nope – sorry, I was wrong, it was democrats singing. Nevermind!

      • Anonymous :

        I heard Republicans too. Maybe both? Honestly it makes a lot more sense for Rs to be singing “goodbye” since it’s goodbye to Obamacare. The “goodbye… because you’re going to lose in 2018” connection is pretty tenuous if you ask me.

    • Anonymous :

      Lol. They’re good at singing (Dems). What they’re not good at — winning elections; showing some leadership etc. Take your pick.

      • What is wrong with you??

        • Anonymous :

          Eh, I am liberal and don’t really disagree with Anon at 3:38. It’s incredibly frustrating to me how much better Republicans are than Democrats at getting on board with things they disagree with, for the sake of the party (see: Trump, AHCA).

        • Anonymous :

          Nothing. I’m merely commenting on how ineffective the Dems are – bc they are. Why is that wrong?

      • Yeah, that singing thing is really stupid. Arrogance is not a way to win over reluctant middle-of-the-road or unsatisfied right wing voters. Dems should be reaching out to those who are disenfranchised, not taunting the people they currently think represent them.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I just want to tell all my American friends on this board that I am just so sorry that you are living through this nightmare. Throughout my life, people from other countries have told me how the US and Canada are just exactly the same and how we should just merge…but we are so different and this is the perfect example.

      Tommy Douglas, the architect of our healthcare system said that “We are all in this world together, and the only test of our character that matters is how we look after the least fortunate among us. How we look after each other, not how we look after ourselves. That’s all that really matters, I think.” The GOP’s approach appears to be instead “Screw all y’all, I got mine.”

      My heart hurts for all of you today.

      • Anonymous :

        Lol ok. Still wouldn’t want to be in Canada though.

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you for sharing. I hope one day we will live those values too.

      • Let me tell you about a U.S. vs Canada health system anecdote that happened this week.

        My hubs and I were in Florida, we are Canadians, on vacation. He had chest pain when he took a deep breath, we thought beginning of pneumonia or bronchitis. I called my travel insurance they directed us to walkin medicalcentre, then full blown emergency department of a near by hospital Every single step of the way, every test, Ekg, blood test, I had to call and get authorization while arguing with the Canadian office who was trying to limit the cost of the U.S. tests, and understand what was wrong. Very stressful, no real result but cleared to fly home.

        At the same time, my teenage son was being tested for meningitis, had catheter, feeding tube, breathing tube, pic line in his jugular, 2 MRI, spinal tap and a whack load of other tests. Result: encephalitis as a result of the flu. At no time in the Canadian hospital were we asked to choose what test to complete based on our ability to pay. That’s the beauty of the Canadian system. I have never been so happy to be at home, in Ontario. Ps: son fine, at home, little weak; hubs to follow up with own doc.

  7. Anonymous :

    I recently interviewed with a company that has many perks that I’ve never experienced – free lunch, gym with trainers and classes, etc.
    One thing bothers me though – apparently once a year they do a physical on everyone, since they cover health insurance. They check blood sugar, pressure, cholesterol, etc., measure you for BMI even. The alternative is that you can present these numbers from your own doctor.
    However, you have to meet 3 out of 5 benchmarks each year. So by the following year, your cholesterol would have to be down, OR you show you are on medication for it. If you don’t, you are charged toward your premium.
    Like I said, I have only been with smaller companies, but this seems very invasive and also maybe violates HIPAA? Maybe not.
    Am I getting too riled up?

    • This sounds like what my company used to offer as part of the wellness plan benefit. None of that was required, it just got you gift cards at the end of the year for meeting a bunch of the metrics or whatever and then a discount on your premium if you did a physical. Are you sure it’s required and not just a wellness program benefit?

    • Anonymous :

      This is a standard corporate wellness program. I hate them, but it’s legal.

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      I would be really bothered by this too. Just because your employer covers your premiums doesn’t mean they should have access to any of your health information. I don’t understand how this is legal!

      • Anonymous :

        But it 100% is! Usually a third party manages it so your employer just knows if you meet the criteria not your stats

      • Anonymous :

        Generally there’s a method to opt-out of the wellness plan, but you will pay higher premiums as a result. And generally they employ a third-party company who is the keeper of the information, so it’s not like it’s your employer looking at your numbers, but obviously they are still out there.

        • Anonymous :

          Some companies (like mine) don’t adjust the premium based on whether you participate, but basically pay you (with gift cards) if you do participate in an annual physical. You get paid based on whether you do the wellness check, not on the results though.

      • Anonymous :

        If you pay for everything on your own, no one else sees your stuff.

        But with employer-sponsored healthcare, they have an interest in controlling costs. And even with a third party administrator, they will know if they have high/unusual claims (like if we hear that so-and-so had a micro-preemie, then we know our costs just went up by $1M or so)(which is not unexpected, as are the hearth attachs and routine childbirths and car crashes). Which is why you kind of want a workforce of healthy 22-year-old nonsmokers with no dangerous hobbies, but life’s not like that.

        I have an office of desk workers (average age may be 40ish, so not to the old and really sick stage yet), and our premiums are shockingly high (like a family pays more than my first job for employee + spouse + children; only the employee is free (and then only if you make below a certain amount) (oddly, each extra child is free after the first, even if that kid is a drunk driving smoking 25-year-old). We are not a small business with a bad claims history either.

        I just think that whoever really foots the bill really cares about trying to control costs, which are not really within our control at all.

        I did read in the WSJ that something like a tiny percentage of health care users uses a very high % of the benefits. But I wouldn’t want to render those people unemployable b/c they are too expensive individually to cover.

        • These programs are not about controlling costs for the company – they’re about making employees shoulder more of their insurance costs. The people who don’t participate pay more. At least in my case, the requirements to get a $50/month ‘discount’ on my health insurance keep increasing and are (almost) not worth my time at this point.

          • another anon :

            For some companies, this does control their future expenses. I worked for a company that self insured so the wellness program appealed to them because they could enocourage employees to take control of unknown to them health issues early (like pre-diabetes and high blood pressure). Proper preventative management of these conditions would hopefully stave off more expensive complications.

    • HIPAA covers health plans, so they can’t share your health information with other people, but that doesn’t mean they can’t ask for it or require it. HIPAA isn’t some magical entity that means nobody can ever know your health info.

    • Are the perks you describe contingent on the physical? If so, can you opt out?

  8. The recent discussion about the poster who had allergies and the husband who accidentally opened all the windows and made them worse is similar to my own situation.
    I am in my late 30s, grew up outside the US and never had allergies of any kind ever. I was like the husband in your story. Sneezing or runny nose in my mind = cold. Other than that, I’m somewhat familiar with peanut allergy which some of my kids’ daycare friends had.
    These last three weeks I have had a constant, annoying runny nose when I wake up in the morning and in certain points in my house (kitchen, bedroom) and it waxes and wanes during the day (it’s almost gone at work). It also doesn’t feel terrible like a cold does (scratchy throat and other symptoms). Is this spring or pollen related? Do I need to go to an allergist or do those pinprick tests? Please tell me this will go away and I can go back to my old allergy-free and tissue-box irrelevant life.

    • Anonymous :

      Try Claritin and see if it helps.

    • Anonymous :

      Welcome to spring and having allergies. This is your life now. Experiment with different meds, see your doctor. But yes, this is what daily life as an allergy sufferer is like.

      • Anonymous :

        It might go away, eventually, but it’s nothing you can plan on or control. Unless you move to somewhere with different pollen/mold (whatever you’re allergic to) and so doesn’t trigger your allergies.

      • I live in one of the ragweed capitals of the world, but never had a problem until I was in my late 20’s, when it hit me very suddenly that I couldn’t stop sneezing and became a daily Claritin and Zyrtec user. Then, a few years later, I got pregnant and it went away and has yet to come back. (Not endorsing getting pregnant as a cure, unless you’re otherwise in the babymaking mood.) I’m still allergic to chapstick, though, which is another allergy that did not hit me until late in life.

        Allergies are weird.

    • Given the timing, probably allergies. Definitely keep your windows closed and try to avoid getting pollen in your bed. Like the poster above says, try Claritin and see if it helps. However, also be aware that a significant number of people with rhinitis have NON-allergic rhinitis, which has the same symptoms and many of the same triggers, but can’t be treated by allergy medications. This is somewhat more likely to develop in your 20s and 30s, whereas allergies more commonly (but not always) start as a kid. I don’t think there’s been a single day in my adult life that I’ve not had to have kleenex at hand at all times and can’t even fathom how wonderful it would be to not have to think about this stuff.

    • Claritin does nothing for me; if it likewise does nothing for you after a few days try Allegra. Allegra is magic.

      I developed allergies in my late 20’s, and now have asthma to boot. Yey getting older.

    • Off-key Valkyrie :

      When you say it waxes and wanes throughout the day, that may be caused by your endocrine system’s natural cycle as well as your environment. Getting a little adrenaline pumping, even just the normal amount associated with getting up and going to work, sometimes helps.
      But YMMV. Sometimes it works, other times I would throw the bottle of benadryl at anyone who told me that, and then go back to bed.

    • Meg March :

      Allergies are weird. Last spring, my husband decided he was allergic to something in our apartment because he woke up every morning for about a month with a stuffy nose and sneezing, which both went away at work and came back when he got home. He decided it was our (my) cat, since this monthlong period synced up with her heaviest shedding period. I decided it was dust. Either way, we got a Rumba and he has not had the issue since (and the cat is currently in heavy-shedding mode).

  9. What do you do when you turn 50?

    Honestly, I don’t want any more things. I’d like to hold a big tented backyard party with live music and get caterers.

    Can I just say “I’m having a party, y’all come” or do I need to ‘fess up that it’s for a bday party (people may make more of an effort)(but it may look gift-grabby).

    • Anonymous :

      Party sounds awesome! I’d mention it’s for your 50th.

    • Anonymous :

      Sounds like a fun shindig. I’d say it’s a 50th bday party. Doesn’t look gift-grabby at all, and people will be annoyed with you if they didn’t realize it was a bday party and feel silly for not knowing to say happy bday :). As a mom of preschoolers, in my crowd at least, it is totally normal to just write “Please, no gifts!” in the invite. People respect that we all need or want more stuff. Those close to you will get you something special anyway, if it’s their thing.

      • Anonymous :

        oops – we *don’t* all need or want more stuff.

      • Anonymous :

        My husband threw a surprise party for my 50th. People got me books and wrinkle creme. One group went in on a massage. It was as if everyone wanted to give a little something but no one broke the bank. It was perfect. Not that I expected or wanted or needed gifts, but no one felt obligated to go overboard either.

    • Anonymous :

      Have a party! That sounds awesome. If you’re worried about being gift-grabby you can say “no gifts please” but honestly 50 is a milestone and I can’t imagine people being offended by an invitation to a 50th birthdy party, even if it didn’t come with a “no gifts” disclaimer. It’s not like you’re trying to get people to buy you gifts for you sixth month wedding anniversary, like one couple I know.

    • SF in House :

      Definitely say it is your birthday! In my recent experience, you will get wine, but not much else.

    • I Have a Pre-Existing Condition :

      My parents held a 50th party for my dad in 2003 (lol my dad is old) and it was GREAT. It was at a local restaurant where we knew the owners and they just shut it down for the day and hosted it as their gift to my dad, they rented a bouncy castle for the kids and put it behind the restaurant, there was food, and it went until probably 1 or 2 AM.) I fell asleep in the lounge part of the restaurant around 10 or 11 after giving a toast to my dad. Great party. Highly recommend.

    • Tell people it is for your birthday — you’ll get a higher turnout for a milestone birthday than for what people think is just a regular ol barbecue.

  10. Anonymous :

    I need to rant. I work in indigent defense in an area that is not well-funded. We beg for fancy BIG LAW firms to help and they act like prima donnas when they finally agree to take a case. Dude. This is indigent defense. Get in the dirt.

    • Anonymous :

      Sorry but why should they have to? They’re in business to make money. Your non profit or whatever is in business to provide the services it provides.

      • Anonymous :

        In some states, pro bono service is an ethical requirement for lawyers so it’s not like it’s JUST about making money, even for lawyers in private practice.

      • I hate capitalism. And selfish people.

        • Anonymous :

          Right. But that work is boring – and there are people in biglaw who genuinely don’t care about it and don’t want to do it – or else they would have gone down that road. So why should they be forced to? Bc you deem it important?

          • nasty woman :

            “Right. But that work is boring”

            Lol. And being an associate in biglaw is a thrilling intellectual playground- just talking about SCOTUS opinions or whatever with your coworkers all day! Over salsa you purchased from seamless because you were too busy to make it yourself, of COURSE.

            Also READING COMPREHENSION. She didn’t say they should be forced or obligated to take cases. She said they act like prima donnas when they do. (Are.. you one of them?)

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            That work is boring? How much of it have you done to say that?

          • Anonymous :

            Why are you people soooo sensitive to the idea that some people actually want to do corporate work and nothing else? They WANT the trappings of corporate life – seamless web or fancy offices or whatever.

            There was NO part of being a biglaw associate that I find boring. I’m not saying it was an intellectual playground but there was NO case where I’ve thought – an insurance company or I-banking client ugh. As for being forced -yeah sometimes pro bono is forced on juniors. Typically a bleeding heart senior takes it on and then gets pulled off when actually paying work is forced on them or said bleeding heart senior gets their dream non profit job. The firm is then forced to keep the dumb case they never wanted in the first place but had to allow bc all firms must allow pro bono if their competitors do; so they re staff as cheaply as possible – i.e. junior associates. The one asylum case forced on me bored me to tears despite the guy’s story. So this stuff isn’t for everyone.

          • nasty woman :

            Calm it down. I have been a biglaw associate. I like representing corporations just fine. What I’m mocking is this blatant generalization based on nothing that work with indigent populations is “boring.” I’m mocking your blatant disdain, and I’m also pointing out your apparent inability to read. That’s what I reacted to- not to the idea that some people actually want corporate work. Holy misrepresentation, batman!

            “There was NO part of being a biglaw associate that I find boring.”

            Oh come on. This is patently ridiculous.

            You sound really butthurt/defensive about this. Grow up and be thankful you’re a biglaw associate instead of Poor that you’ve deigned to spend 3 hours of your precious billable time on.

        • Anonymous :

          And what would your alternative be?

          • Anonymous :

            Keep it the problem of the people who went into those fields. Not every lawyers problem if those lawyers are stretched thin or whatever. You can’t expect every other lawyer out there to care and want to step in – if we wanted to do that kind of work, we would have pursued it. We didn’t – you did.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I believe that those who have a law degree (or a medical degree) have an ethical duty, a moral duty, to use their education to benefit others who can’t afford it. The access to justice (access to healthcare) gap is HUGE in the US, and we can’t afford enough attorneys to just “make it our problem,” and we are “stretched thin or whatever,” to the point that the New Orleans PDs literally cannot take more cases and provide competent, ethical representation. If you don’t want to help, get your firm to sponsor Fellows, donate $ to legal aid and public defense, and otherwise provide monetary support, and make a big f-ing donation to legal aid once a year. You can afford it. Those of us who work with low-income people do it because we believe in the work, but we also need to be able to survive, feed ourselves and our families, and have a home life, too. We can’t work 24/7, and we need help from those who can help. If you’re so high and mighty that you can’t get in the dirt and help us with your time, donate your $.

          • Anonymous :

            I meant what would her alternative to capitalism be?

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Ah, sorry, misread the threading.

          • Anonymous 3:51 – Yes, that is generally the case, but it was a cruel irony as a public-interest oriented graduate to have to compete against the free labor provided to legal nonprofits by deferred associates in 2008-2009ish.

      • Anonymous :

        Don’t agree to take a case of an indigent client if you don’t want to go to the prison.

        • Anonymous :

          There’s PLENTY of people who would be ok doing the work involved substantively but don’t want to step foot in a prison. Beggars can’t be choosers – if your non profits and govt offices are so overwhelmed then you need to let big firm associates take the cases on their terms; or otherwise don’t and keep working 24-7.

          • Prosecutor Anon :

            You can’t represent someone who is incarcerated if you’re not willing to actually go to the place where they’re incarcerated. It doesn’t work like that.

          • Anonymous :

            That is pretty funny. Don’t act like you are doing someone a favor if you can’t represent your client and representing your client means going to see him. Period.

      • Anonymous :

        I think most of you did not read my post. If you take a case, you agree to take the client. IF you don’t want it, don’t take it.

    • Anonymous :

      Is it really that easy?

      Do you want appellate briefs written? Or someone to go to court / field calls / etc.?

      I don’t do my own dental work or fix my car and I didn’t write my own will. If I needed an attorney for criminal defense, I’m not sure that I’d want a random BigLaw person winging it on my behalf. That seems like ineffective assistance of counsel.

      Me, I write a check. I do transactional work for small nonprofits who need someone to review a lease or talk to them about 1099-W2 issues. Or stuff I can actually help with.

      • Anonymous :

        I only ever sign up for transactional-related pro bono, in part because of exactly the thing OP complains about — I don’t think I’d be good at getting in the dirt of litigation for indigent clients or that I would have too much trouble carving out time from my paying matters. But if folks sign up for it, they need to treat her clients like clients. There’s not really a median point.

      • Prosecutor Anon :

        I’m in criminal law, and I can say with total confidence that I’d never ever want a biglaw associate (regardless of how smart or talented) representing me in a routine criminal matter in state court. Those types of cases are won/lost based on a nuanced understanding of arcane local rules, discovery procedures, and rules of evidence. There’s a reason why criminal defense work is hyper-local and that a handful of attorneys tend to dominate in a given jurisdiction. I’d take the average overworked public defender in my county over a biglaw associate any day of the week.

    • Coco Chanel :

      OP: Can you help me understand this a little more? Are you feeling this dynamic from the pro bono liaisons, or from the attorneys who actually take on and handle matters? Any examples? I am in a firm that does a lot of pro bono, and I am very interested to hear more about this issue.

      • Anonymous :

        Come on you know what she means. Big firms take this work/force associates to take it/accede when associates insist on taking it when things are slow. Suddenly the department picks up and regardless of what the firm’s stated policy is, partners – often very senior ones – are giving the associates the side eye bc they are doing pro bono instead of spending 99% of their time billing out; and they directly/subtly tell them to finish up/do it quick so they can move on to the more important work.

        • Coco Chanel :

          Sure, I know that happens. But I can think of a lot of other variations on this problem – like law firms refusing to take matters unless they are trial ready, for one – and I’m interested in all of the variations here.

      • Anonymous :

        One suggestion – an org that is handing off a case needs to make sure that it is handing off the case to the person who will actually do the work on it. I’ve seen it happen all too often that some senior partner (often in a totally different department) has a pet cause, so they want the firm to take on such cases. Bc they are “important” senior partners, they just take the case with 100% confidence that some junior litigator will run it and run it well. Firm gets to the case – the juniors are too busy/don’t volunteer; so the case goes to the litigation assigning system if there is one and whoever is deemed to have time is required to take it – bc litigation assigning partner isn’t going to tell super senior partner that he couldn’t find him an associate. But the problem is – now you have an associate who DOES NOT CARE and realizes that quality work isn’t required on these cases in the same way and puts in a half hearted effort, makes demands like not going this hearing or that prison visit etc. At my firm this also happens bc you aren’t reviewed on your pro bono work – so there isn’t that risk of a bad review and being pushed out – so people really feel like – if I’m stuck doing this, I’ll do it my way.

        • Anonymous :

          Anon, at 6:04. Thank you for explaining this and more. I am fairly new in this role and it seems like a game to them. I would rather just have the overworked govt office keep the case but, again, there is pressure to work with these fancy pants firms. I guess we also want funding from them so we kiss their asses.

      • Anonymous :

        Coco, I am the OP. I am not in the position of saying no to pro bono lawyers – it is part of the dynamic and I am not the boss. We do have pro bono lawyers partner with local criminal lawyers and I have seen great success with corporate lawyers using all their skill AND resources to fight for their clients. My rant today is about a fancy lawyer who agreed to take a case and I consult because it is my speciality. But this fancy lawyer seems to look down on local lawyer and wants me to set up a phone call with the client. Fancy lawyer also did not even read the major case that is the name of our project. I really want to tell him that if he isn’t willing to do the trivial work (or have his firm do it) then no thank you. But I can’t so I ranted here.

        • Coco Chanel :

          Thanks for the further detail. I agree with you entirely – fancy lawyer sounds super annoying. I personally do a lot of pro bono, as does my firm – and it’s always helpful to hear what our partner organizations are thinking. I’d buy you a glass of wine if we were in real life!

  11. Stella Link :

    Reposting from the morning thread in the hopes of getting some more responses. Has anyone here either had a baby on their own (sperm bank) without a partner or considered it? I am 39 and single. Occasionally dating but no serious relationship for several years. I moved to my current city 3 years ago after finishing my residency/fellowship. My job is stable although demanding. I have a great relationship with my family but they live about 6 hours away. I never thought I would have kids and I was ok with that until the last 6 months. Now I find myself really wanting a baby. The clock is ticking. I don’t see myself in a serious relationship any time soon, and frankly, I’ve never been very good at romance anyway. I’m thinking of having a baby on my own via a sperm donor. I just keep wondering if this is fair to the kid. I know there are so many great single moms out there who make this work. Often the kids have some relationship with their fathers. Those people I know who didn’t have a relationship with their dads have struggled with that to varying extents. Thoughts?

    • Anonymous :

      Do it!!! You’ll do great.

    • Not personally but I know two women who did this (sperm donors) and they are blissfully happy with their beautiful kids. One has a lot of family support (parents live in the same city), other friend does not have any parental support close by but makes it work through friends, babysitters, etc. It’s definitely hard but I know they don’t regret their decision for a second.

    • Anonymous :

      Not saying no, but my annecdata is small. I have seen the kids have issues with the “no dad” thing b/c everyone else has one or at least a story to tell (one friend’s husband died in a wreck when she was pregnant — that little girl has a different story than an old classmate who has 2 kids with a not-yet-shared-yet story (but all of the grownups know that Susie didn’t have a BF and was pregnant twice and there’s never been a dad at school events or “second parent” listed on the contact forms)(we have kids in the same school).

      • Anonymous :

        Meh. Every kid has issues. If there’s anything that being on this board for several years has taught me it’s that way more people than I ever thought hate their parents or actively work to avoid them. I’m pretty much convinced constantly that I’m screwing up my kid. This is not a reason not to have a child. (Or maybe it’s a reason for no one to have a child ever…)

        • Anonymous :

          I’d see if you can find any reputable child psychologists and maybe pediatricians to talk with to see if there are things you maybe should think through or be aware of. Every kid is different. And every kid becomes an adult who may appreciate being alive more than that his/her family story is different.

          People had an article in it recently about a guy who was open to meeting his 40+ kids. They all seemed to be great. Also something to think about — what if dad comes onto the scene anyway b/c the kid wants him there?

          • You are actually required by many fertility clinics to see a psychologist for an evaluation before going down this road. It’s super-helpful, both in terms of exploring your own feelings and learning about how to support your future child and explain his/her birth story.

        • Anonymous :

          +1 million. You can find endless stories here about how you’ll screw up your kids by giving them a sibling, not giving them a sibling, having too much money, not having enough money, being very young parents, being very old parents, etc. etc. One of my biggest takeaways from almost a decade (!) of reading here is that many people think everyone else had a better childhood than they did and many people think their childhood was absolutely perfect and there is no way to raise good children except to exactly recreate what their parents did. But statistically a large majority of us had pretty average childhoods that weren’t terrible or perfect. If you want this child and love your child and can provide for your child in a basic way, your child will most likely be fine and if they aren’t fine it probably has nothing to do with your parenting decisions.

      • Anonymous :

        Adding in though:

        My SSM married couple friends who have had children this way or through a surrogate all seem OK b/c the kid gets what happened for them to be born and there’s no lingering “where’s dad” when kiddo has two mommies.

        • This sounds like an argument for being thoughtful about how you explain things to your children starting at a young age. There’s not inherently a different story for single moms by choice then for SSM parents. How about something like “I/we desperately wanted you, but needed a special gift from someone to make it happen.”

          • Anonymous :

            I’m not really sure how “Unlike a lot of other people, I didn’t find a life partner by the right age but I really, really wanted you so I got some help” is all that different from “Unlike a lot of other people, Mommy and I fell in love with another woman, not a man, and women can’t make babies alone so we got some help to make you.”

        • Anonymous :

          Possibly relevant anecdata: I’m a child of a same sex couple (adopted) and there was plenty of “where’s dad” from others that nagged me throughout my elementary school years. Then I went to high school and nobody knew who my parents were and I think everyone just assumed I didn’t talk about my dad/I had a single mom. It was massively easier and people just accepted it in a way that they didn’t when everyone knew about my two moms.

          Then again things may have changed since I was in elementary school.

        • Anonymous :

          This may be red state bias, but in my area, two mommies or two daddies would lead to much, much more teasing than just mommy and no daddy in the picture. The latter is extremely common, the former is very rare. There are several kids in my daughter’s class who don’t know or have any relationship with their fathers and I’m fairly sure they were all conceived naturally.

      • Anonymous :

        Eh – that stuff matters in elementary school when you’re expected to draw stick figure family pics and yours looks different than everyone else’s or there’s father-daughter day and you have no one to bring and someone makes a comment, and then it never matters again. You really think 11th graders are thinking about – wow Susie ONLY has a mom and never met her dad?? No they’re not. Besides kids these days (depending on where you live) are a LOT more open than they used to be when I was a kid (in the 90s) and a lot more accepting of every family situation; yours won’t be the only kid ever to have a single parent and no contact with a dad. In terms of the kid’s own well being – well it matters how you explain it to them and let them know how much you wanted them; but apart from that – I’d ignore the issue of elementary school classmates. They don’t stay in elementary forever.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m anon from 4pm above with same-sex parents and my school, however hippie and granola it was, still had a million family tree projects. And it drove me crazy because I didn’t feel like I could tell my parents why I was embarrassed. I hope they’ve stopped doing them…

          But yeah, I only had one after elementary school and it for a class where they told us explicitly we could make up a fake family. The point is, at most your kid will have a very light complex about it (and can write a killer college application about it) so it’s not worth not pursuing over that.

    • Anonymous :

      My perspective is that it is “fair” to the kid if you and the kid have a good support system. Support system can be family, but it can also be paid help that you have a great relationship with or a good set of friends, or some mix of the above. FWIW, I am a biglaw associate and wouldn’t dream of bringing a kid into the world without a partner at this stage in my life, but if I weren’t married, I’d definitely make an effort to set up my life to make sure I had such a support system (and probably step into a less demanding job) in order to make single parenthood work. I wouldn’t worry about how the kid would be viewed by others (unless perhaps you live in a super conservative community) — whether they turn out to be happy and well adjusted depends a lot more on the support and guidance they get from their parents and close network, IMO. As anecdotal evidence, I have a cousin conceived from a sperm donation and raised by two moms who is a super-duper athletic and academic allstar and ridiculously well adjusted, whereas I have cousins raised in a very traditional family who are, well… not.

      • Anonymous :

        I know a single woman who is a parent through an open adoption and she has to travel for work a lot. We try to help her (taking kid to parties / picking kid up), but she has to pre-clear about 20 people at every school / afterschool program / camp. If you could get a nanny, get a nanny.

      • Not sure if you’re still looking at the responses, but to the OP, I was raised by a single mother who wanted a kid and hadn’t found anyone yet, and so used a sperm bank. To echo other posters above, throughout my childhood, she emphasized how much she wanted me, and had a great support system of her family and friends, and I never felt like I was missing a parent. Between all of them, I felt more like I had three mothers and two fathers, and was showered with love.

    • What you’re thinking of is a very difficult path, both physically and mentally. Pregnancy takes a massive toll on your body, especially in your late 30s. I am 37 now, having my second child, and I really wish I had done it earlier. I was very sick both times and extremely grateful for the support of my husband, which allowed me to crawl into bed and have him make me food and take care of household things. Ditto having a very young baby: I was so thankful that I didn’t have to get up EVERY time the baby cried in the night, or look after baby when I was feeling ill, or take baby everywhere with me, or all the other responsibilities that you take on 100% when you have a child on your own.

      That’s not to say that you can’t do it- some women sail through pregnancy and feel great, and maybe you have great friends who are happy to give you breaks, and maybe you are a totally mentally tough person who can do all this stuff and not bat an eyelid. But I do know that I, personally, would be a constant sobbing ball of despair if I had to do this alone…. my point being, just, be aware it’s super tough.

      • I’ve read before, and it rings true to me, that this is truly one of those things where making the choice to do it matters hugely. Not to say there won’t be hard times, but choosing to do something by yourself is very, very different than having to do something by yourself.

    • Anon for this :

      I’m a single parent, but not by choice (husband left during my 1st trimester and we quickly got divorced). My child is the light of my life. But never, ever, ever, would I have made the choice to do it on my own. The early years are exhausting physically, emotionally, mentally, etc. It gets easier, but the pressure of every single decision at home, at work, for me, for my child, for the house, all falls on me and it’s a lot to handle without a support system.

      I’m not saying don’t do it, just keep in mind if you have a personality that can’t handle the pressure and isolation that solo parenting can bring, you’re in for a tough ride.

      • I have posted about this before but I am a single mother by choice (donor insemination). My beautiful child is now an older teen and the absolute joy and light of my life. She is also healthy, happy and by all appearances well-adjusted (except for the anxiety issues endemic to her high-performing high school). Having spoken to many mothers with partners and many without, either route has its benefits and its challenges. I get to make the decisions myself without needing to compromise my parenting beliefs and do not have the frustration of their being another person who SHOULD be doing equal lifting and is not. I would do the same thing over again without hesitation. Having said that, my retirement savings are thin and I definitely took a career hit. I also moved closer to my wonderful and supportive family, which made things much easier.

        Only you can decide what is best for you. There is an organization called “Single Mothers By Choice” that I recommend. Even if there is not a local chapter near you, its online resources can be very useful for thinkers.

        If you would like to email me directly, just create an email address and post it.

    • No but I have been single parenting for about a month because DH is out of town. Single parenting is HARD.

      • A lot of hard things are worth doing.

      • Without in any way discounting that it is really hard to be a coupled parent and suddenly be on your own, it is not really the same thing. When you do not have a partner, your life, routines and expectations are set for that reality. It is what you and your child are used to. It also seems to be different to go into parenting expecting to be on your own vs. finding yourself on your own and having to deal with that loss.

        I have friends whose spouses are military with long deployments. The hardest time for them is not when their spouse has been gone for months or been home for months, it is when they FIRST leave or come home and everyone has to re-set.

      • Anonymous :

        This is not single parenting. I’m not saying it’s not tough taking care of you child(ren) for an extended time with DH out of town, but you have the emotional and financial support of a partner and the knowledge that at some fixed date in the future you will have the physical presence of a partner again too. Saying you are a single parent (even temporarily) is an insult to real single parents.

        • Get over yourself. Even with financial support, taking care of a child by yourself 24/7 is hard. I’m not saying it’s not worth it but there should be some thought given to support networks.

    • OP, this part of your post gives me pause:

      “I never thought I would have kids and I was ok with that until the last 6 months.”

      I would respond differently if you always wanted kids and were ready to go it alone now. But if you didn’t want kids before, my gentle suggestion is to evaluate if this is a hormonal twinge you’re feeling, or if you could substitute it by getting a new “project” for yourself, or finding opportunities to work with or mentor kids in other ways. Much less time and emotional commitment and may fulfill the need you’re feeling right now.

      Many people (myself included) have periods where they desperately feel a pang for a baby, maybe at the turn of a decade, or due to other changes within their body. It sometimes also goes away. You don’t want to regret acting on it later.

    • Yes, I did it and have 3.5 year old. I’m a lawyer who switched to legal marketing. Save $$$ – kids are expensive. I’m older too so all my friends have bigger kids. It has been great but also tough.

  12. Off-key Valkyrie :

    Between unseasonably hot weather and shaking off a lifestyle fog, I’m ready to chop my very long hair. I’m willing to go anywhere from shoulder-length to earlobe. What cuts seem “in” this year?

    I have blonde hair with a little bit of body, but it has started to go coarse and grey at the temples since the last time I had a bob. As for what styles would be flattering on me, Scar Jo is probably my celebrity look-alike (aspirationally!), but I hate her hair.

  13. It's not you, it's me. :

    I posted this morning, in response to the question about going from a high-stress job to a boring job and hating it, about how I was in a boring contract position that I was basically going to wait out the end of. I just got back from a lunch where my current supervisor on the contract encouraged me to apply for a permanent position with the organization. They’re really happy with the work I’ve done so far, and want to bring me on as a direct employee. I would have to apply for the job and be evaluated against other candidates, but I definitely have an inside track.

    So, I’m in a dilemma on several levels:
    – I decided a few months ago that not only is my job boring, but I don’t like the team I’m working with, who would become my colleagues and direct reports. They’re ok people, but there’s a lot of dysfunction and backstabbing going on. Lots of fearfulness and inappropriate competitiveness. They don’t seem happy or engaged. I can’t see myself being happy as part of this team, knowing what I know now. That being said, I haven’t been here that long and maybe things are better than what they seem from my outsider’s perspective?

    – The organization is going through a major transition right now (think merger or acquisition) and there’s indication that big changes, possibly including layoffs, are on the horizon. This may be irrational, but I’d rather have a contract end early than get laid off three or six months into a new job. I feel like the optics are different when you’re a contractor. There is absolutely no assurance that this permanent job will last, that the work will last, that my current manager will stay my manager, etc.

    – At the same time, my survival-focused lizard brain is screaming at me that I’m an idiot. And that jobs aren’t easy to come by and if I don’t take this now, and then I can’t get an equivalent job later, I’ll be kicking myself, in a big way. And I’m also worried that if I decline to apply for the permanent job, the people I work for and with will get offended and that will make it difficult for me to finish out the contract I’m currently on.

    This has seriously thrown me for a loop. This is so much like sitting across the table from someone while they profess their undying love for you, and meanwhile you’ve been secretly plotting how to dump them because you’re over it, already. I wish I could get some kind of skywritten message from the universe about what the right move is here.

    • Anonymous :

      Apply for the job at the current place. Apply hard for jobs in other places. Take whatever comes first. If you don’t get your preferred job — you’ll be happy to have this job as a fall back — and you keep looking and get out whenever your preferred job comes through. If you get your preferred job asap, then leave asap and don’t worry about who will be mad at you.

    • The right move is to figure out how to dump them and move on. If you’re already over a place where you have a contract, becoming a permanent employee is going to magnify, not solve, the problems in that situation.

    • Anonymous :

      Are you me? Do you work in my office? I am going through the exact same thing. A lot of people in my office are actually jumping ship, which has me nervous and antsy.

      • It's not you, it's me. :

        LOL. It’s good, though sad to know someone else is having the same issue. My empathies.

        People are leaving this organization in droves, so far mostly the people who are retirement age and don’t have to find a new job before quitting. No one else seems to have much hope that things will get better instead of worse. The merger was precipitated on making things “efficient” which is always, always about cost cutting. I’m not sure that even if I liked this job and the people, I’d have the stomach to watch the bloodbath that’s probably going to ensue shortly.

    • GirlFriday :

      Yeah second the are you me/do we work for the same company, only I took the job. I needed the insurance benefits and a pay bump, but otherwise I pretty much regret it. Super bored (hello, Corporette board!) and my team sucks, is dysfunctional, everyone is backstabby and worried about getting laid off. Also my boss is crazy, and there’s nowhere for me to go on the corporate ladder. Make a pros and cons list and go from there. If I had it to do over again…I dunno, I’d probably take the job, but I have a husband and kid who benefit too. If I were on my own I would have taken another contract job. Hugs! At least you have options?

  14. “There is absolutely no assurance that this permanent job will last, that the work will last, that my current manager will stay my manager, etc.”

    This is true of literally every job.

  15. Anonymous :

    Cool purse.

  16. GirlFriday :

    Y’all have helped me find dupes before so: any tips on a dupe for the Lululemon Festival bag? (not the festival II and I already checked ThredUP – no dice) I recently got rid of one only to discover they are selling for 3x their original value on eBAY now. Ugh. This is why you never get rid of a bag! Dupe criteria include: under $100, wipes clean, pocket for everything (really love the hidden zipper pocket), prefer cross-body. Shoud I just look at Nordstrom? I’m kinda rolling my eyes at myself now.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      There is a mauve one on e bay for $102 for “buy it now”, so maybe do a bit more digging if that is the bag that you want.

    • Anonymous :

      I actually got the black one there from Thred Up a few months ago, so it could be worth checking. Their inventory changes constantly. And I only paid like $35.

      Along the same lines, I have a Kavu sling bag that I like. It doesn’t wipe clean, but is otherwise great.

    • I have the Go Lightly bag from Lululemon and I love it. One small inside zip pocket, two outside water bottle pockets, a bottom zip shoe storage area, nylon, easy to clean, cross body, $78.

    • Poshmark?

  17. I just need to complain. My best friend is supposed to get married this weekend, but has been in the hospital for a week. Her fiance is the freaking worst.

    She didn’t like the food she was getting, and he just twiddled his thumbs. I had to call from my office to the hospital, get the food services people on the line and tell them what she wanted to eat. She wants to have the wedding in the hospital if she isn’t released, and he wants the same. Guess who had to call the hospital and talk to the administration and figure out what we could and could not do? Me. Her yoga pants were too tight on her abdomen and she kept complaining about it causing her pain. He sat there 5 minutes from a shopping mall while I waited to get off work, go to Target, buy pjs, drive an hour and a half to her hospital. And it isn’t as if he isn’t leaving to go home. He left her alone the first night in the hospital and then slept in so he missed her going off for surgery and wasn’t there to hear the doctor’s report of how it went.

    I understand he is under a lot of stress, but SO IS SHE. She is the one in the hospital in pain and he couldn’t be bothered to make her more comfortable! He isn’t keeping up with medications she is on, if her doctors have seen her, and he let a nurse who had given her a bad IV and who refused to accept it was a bad IV give her yet another bad IV.

    • Anonymous :


      • Anonymous :

        Oh man I LOLed at this. I hope to never have cause to say this in real life, but I would kind of love to say this. Sorry, OP, no particular advice. This sucks.

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe you should un-arrange that hospital wedding…

      • + 1

        what does your BFF think about his actions (or inaction)?

        • Oh she keeps saying, “isn’t he the best for being here” and “hasn’t he been so great”. She seems to think it is amazing that he is going out of his way to be with her at the hospital, whereas I would not be in a relationship where that is not the exceptions (jobs aside, I would understand if he was in the middle of a court case, but he has a super flexible job).

          Meanwhile I’m sitting in the corner, having taken a day off work so I can make sure she is actually getting the care she needs and spent the next couple of days feilding problems from the office.

          Believe me. I want to unplan this wedding so badly. But we’ve had that argument several times before and now isn’t the greatest time to start it again. I am not a fan, she doesn’t see it, I would rather be friends with her than not.

          • I can’t tell from your description if he’s inconsiderate, clueless, or if you’re being a bit overbearing… or a combination of the three. But you should stop overextending yourself to do things that your BFF’s soon to be husband should be taking care of. You should not be missing work to make Target runs to get her comfy PJs assuming he has the job flexibility to do it. Tell him to do it. Give him a to-do list if you have to. He needs to learn how to step up at a time like this. It’s kind of his job now and you are not always going to be there.

    • What a doosh.

      Can you pull him aside and tell him to step up to the plate?

      But, honestly, this does not bode well. Years ago, one of my sisters got hairspray in her eyes (with contacts in) while getting dressed for her wedding. As the afternoon and evening went on she was in worse and worse discomfort and then outright pain and really needed to see a doctor. But her dooshy new H was too wrapped up in the reception and after-party and the plans to go to their fancy hotel suite that he refused to take her. I thought my sweet and mild-manner mother was actually going to hurt him. It took my sister 10 years before she divorced him, but we all saw it coming on the wedding night.

    • Anonymous :

      He sounds like a load, but is complaining about the food you’re getting to get better food really a thing when you’re in the hospital? It’s a cliche how terrible hospital food is and everyone I know who’s been hospitalized has just kind of rolled their eyes about it. Plus the doctor might have her on a specific diet. It seems a little diva-y to demand new food.

      • She wanted the gravy on the side instead of smothering her vegetables, bread, meet and jello (why for the love of god did they put white gravy on the jello). The hospital she is at lets them pick from a couple of different menu options for every meal, he just couldn’t be bothered to call down and order her options while she was out of the room for tests. Yes hospital food is terrible, but there were options she was fine with that both met her dietary restrictions and her taste buds.

  18. New Tampanian :

    I feel so ragey right now. Like nothing I do makes a difference in this effed up political climate. No matter how many calls, emails, letters. UGH.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      i’m heartbroken

    • Keep your chin up and hang in there. We’re in this for the long run, and have won some battles already. This won’t be the last loss – our only option is grit and persistence.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, this. We held off this for months longer than anyone expected. We have to stay in the fight. We may lose some battles. Doesn’t mean we’ll lose the war. The midterms get closer every day.

        • Anonymous :

          Dems are going to get murdered in the midterms. We’re defending way more seats than the Rs are, and Democratic voters historically do a really terrible job at showing up in midterm years. Even if it Dem turnout is significantly better than normal, we’re going to get slaughtered in 2018.

          • Normally I’d agree with you, but this time I think it’s different.

            I think social media and the internet is going to make it a lot easier for people to be outraged.

            I think the Senate is unwinnable, but I do think Dems can pick up a seat in NV/AZ. The House is def. winnable. Stirred up dems + depressed repubs + independents voting against trump is not the worst combo.

          • Anonymous :

            With that kind of attitude, absolutely we will lose. Thanks for doing your part to fight and contribute to positive morale. Myself, I prefer to go down fighting rather than laying down in the street and allowing myself to get run over, but I guess to each their own.

    • Donate and organize! Run for something!

      You’re in Florida which actually counts. Not sure if you’ve followed swing left, but they have a fundraising page dedicated specifically to districts with vulnerable republicans.

      • Whoops, wrong page!

  19. Anonymous :

    I hate patents. And I am an IP litigator. That is all.

    • Anonymous :

      I hate patents too. They are useless pieces of trash that destroyed my dreams. At least I made a f$ck ton of money in the process.

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