Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

Whoa. This is probably the oddest “must have that” feeling I’ve had in a while, but I really, really, really love these sexy sandals from Rupert Sanderson. Love the color. Love the “shooting star” detail. But: don’t love the price… the “tweed/leather upper”… or the 3.5” height. Hmmn. The pair is, er, $775 at Zappos (where the same brand has a similar blue tweed flat that’s far more practical for work/life). Rupert Sanderson Starfire

Looking for something more affordable? These dark green sandals are only $89 and are still pretty awesome.

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  1. I totally thought these were Betsey Johnson by the funky look. If you want a similar shoe with ridiculously fun elements but for like less than 10% of the price, Betsey is your gal on 6pm

  2. student loans :

    I’ve been listening to the “Death, Sex and Money” episodes about student loans lately. I can’t believe some of the stories from the callers. Our system is so messed up. How did you pay for college? If you could do it all over again, would you, or would you go somewhere cheaper — or would you not go to college at all?

    I went to a private college. I took out loans, worked on campus and every summer and holiday break, and still had loans when I graduated with no job prospects. So I lived at home for a year. By the end of that year, I had a decent job and some money saved, so I moved out and was able to start out a little bit ahead. But I fully recognize that most people wouldn’t have that option.

    What is the solution? I keep hearing about free college tuition programs in campaign speeches, but I don’t understand how it would work. Would this eliminate the for-profit schools that take advantage of the poor? Are we moving toward a model where only the rich go away to a four-year school and most people do community college or skip college altogether? Forgive my ignorance on this.

    • My parents paid for the college with a 529 plan. I started one for my infant and contribute $400 per month, with the expectation that I will contribute more as I earn more. As for law school, I paid for it with student loans. I went to an in-state school in the DC area, so I got reduced tuition, but no scholarships and had a relatively high cost of living. I did pay it off in 3.5 years through a combination of luck and being really cheap.

      Whatever the “solution” will be, it needs to be multifaceted. Colleges need to move away from adding luxuries and instead put that money towards reducing tuition. There also needs to be stronger community college programs that both train people for jobs and also have guaranteed admission programs with four year institutions.

    • My parents paid for my college (HYS), and i am extremely grateful to them.

      I took out full loans for law school (~200K), which I just finished paying off. It took me 10 years, one of which was I was largely unemployed and two I was underpaid. I am now very comfortable (great in-house job with rare nights or weekends, challenging work, ~ 300K total comp).

      I would do it all again, but I would prioritize paying down my loans faster.

      We plan to do the same for our future children (undergrad on us, post-grad on them).

    • I went to a private school where I received a generous academic scholarship that covered about 80% of my annual tuition costs. My parents covered the rest of my tuition costs and most living expenses, and I worked while in school to supplement the rest. My parents had saved enough to send me to public school, but I found that I preferred the smaller private schools, hence the need for a scholarship. My parents made too much money for me to qualify for any financial or need-based aid. I also graduated in 3.5 years, which helped as well.

      We’re having our first child later this year and I think we’re going to go the 529 plan route. We’ll also encourage our child to take advantage of scholarship opportunities (I went to my “second choice” school due to the generous scholarship offer and ended up loving it and having a great experience) or consider graduating a semester early (with high school AP classes, it’s really doable now).

    • Thisperson1 :

      I had a son young, worked full time, and took out student loans to get my Bachelors. Likely because of my own choices, my degree hasn’t done much as far as my career. I would not do it again from that point of view.

      From the point of view of a (very much former) teen mom who was told lots of doom and gloom and you’re never going to be anything now type of things, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

      (on a side note, really, really wish finances and budgeting were taught in school)

    • Cornellian :

      My mom raised me and passed away while I was a teenager, so I went to my elite private school for essentially free, need-based financial aid.

      I went to a very good public law school and graduate school, about 50% of tuition was merit aid, remainder I worked to pay and took out loans. I had low five-figure loans, which is amazing for eight years of elite education.

      I am opening a 529 for my son, but not prioritizing its funding until my husband’s retirement is a bit more on track. Aiming to pay for what they say a state school will cost in 18 years.

      • Anon in NYC :

        What source are you using for the state school cost estimates?

        • Cornellian :

          dr. google, ha. Essentially I’m looking at what vanguard and savingforcollege (the website) say and splitting the small difference.

      • Anonattorney :

        I’m doing the same – 529, not prioritizing funding until retirement is maxed. Goal is to save about $140,000 for state school.

        My parents paid for my college, and I wasted their money. I was spoiled, didn’t understand the importance and value of money, and wasn’t personally invested in my education. It wasn’t until my parents had enough and I was paying part of the cost (required me to take time off, then go back to school) that I got my act together and started taking advantage of school. I’m not saying this happens to every kid, and I take full responsibility for squandering the gift my parents gave me. But still, I want my kids to have some skin in the game, so I’m not planning to pay 100% of their tuition, room, and board for undergrad.

        • Anonymous :

          “My parents paid for my college, and I wasted their money.”
          Totally feel the same way and agree that I want my kids to have skin in the game in college. I think my husband and I will ask our kids to take on loans for at least half the cost of their college education, with the understanding if that they’re doing well after college (meaning employed or in a graduate program full-time, paying their own rent and other bills, and generally behaving like responsible adults) we’ll give them a lot of help paying off the loans.

          • Anonymous :

            This is a great idea, and essentially what we are planning.

            Our primary goal is to make sure our son will not have to take care of us in our old age. Beyond that, we’d like to pay for about half of his college education. He’s going to have to get jobs, get scholarships, and take out loans to cover the rest. I worked three jobs through most of college and my husband actually quit going for a couple of semesters so he could save money and then go back. We both have graduate degrees now (I’m paying off a small loan from my grad school still). I’ve seen way too many kids who had their college 100% paid-for drop out or flunk out. Kids need to have some skin in the game. Once he gets through school, hopefully we’ll be in a position with retirement where we can then help him pay off his student loans.

        • “My parents paid for my college, and I wasted their money.” Ditto. I was spoiled and had no concept of money or budgeting. Law school was 50% merit scholarship at a private university and I lived at home which drastically cut down on costs, but the rest was student loans (about $80k total). I paid it off in 3 1/2 years by living frugally and throwing every penny at it. I would do law school over again and do it the same way, but given the chance I would do undergrad SO SO SO differently and save my parents money.

    • Anonymous :

      We as consumers also play a role.

      If you’re a studio art major at a private college, loans are probably not a good idea. Hell, attending a private college for any major may not be a good idea with loans.

      Parents and schools need to stop selling the dream to kids – that you can be and do whatever you want and follow your dreams, and start being realistic. Few people get well paying jobs right out of school. Not everyone is above average. Your major is likely going to correlate with your future job, and if there’s no clear career path from that (like many liberal arts degrees), you may end up struggling.

      Once you’re done with college, not everyone gets to have the latest iPhone, fancy meals out, and a new BMW at 22. A lot of people are poor and these are luxuries. If you’ve chosen to take on a lot of student debt (any debt), you’re trading these luxuries for the commitment you made.

    • I was very fortunate – my parents paid for my out-of-state public university education. They told me what their budget was and said that I could pick something that fit into it and it would be covered or I could pick something more expensive and I would be on the hook for the difference. I stayed within the budget and graduated with a B.S. with no student loan debt. I would do it again because there was no detriment to me, although I would pick an in-state school and pocket the difference in savings (which was another option, but I wanted to go far far away from my parents and high school classmates). I also would have picked a different major.

      I took out loans for law school, which I would probably not do again. I would get an advanced degree, but it would be a masters of some sort and I would do it through a program where my employer covers part of the cost.

      • Oh, I have no idea what the solution is, but it has to include reducing tuition. I think that means getting rid of the fancy extras that are not really important to a good education, but it would have to be across the board or everyone would be clamoring for the few schools that offered them and a good number of them would end up unhappy, or at least start that way.

        • Private universities are one giant Keeping Up With The Joneses. If College A installs X, College B feels like they need to also to stay competitive. My university is so guilty of this and it’s horrible to watch.

      • Anonymous :

        Blerg, I also had a half tuition scholarship for 2L and 3L. I should have been more frugal and not taken out as many loans. I am on the 30 year repayment plan and am fine with it.

    • Anonymous :

      I think we sort of already have a model where only the rich go to private four-year college. My parents saved a ton for my college education (even though they had pretty modest incomes) and paid 100% of the tuition at my Ivy. More than 95% of my high school classmates went to community college or one of the four year state universities in our state. Many got some form of scholarship (athletic, academic, etc.) and many also took loans or worked in school to pay the tuition. But the loan burden from four years of public school is very different than from four years of private school.

      • Anonymous :

        Also worth noting that I do think many private colleges have made a lot more need-based aid available to middle class families in the last five to ten years. When I applied 15 years ago, my parents made <$100k combined, and I got $0 in need-based aid, so my parents paid over $200k out of pocket. At many elite private schools today, my parental contribution would be very minimal. My husband and I have incomes that are slightly higher than my parents', and while we are saving something for our infant daughters' college, we don't expect we'll be able to pay $350k (or whatever it is in 2040) out of pocket. We also don't expect with our incomes that the expected parental contribution at an elite private school would be anywhere close to $350k. And if our daughter can't get into or doesn't want to go to an elite private school, she'll be fine at one of the public schools in our state. I don't believe in paying for mediocre private colleges that aren't discernibly better academically than State U.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I would not make that assumption.

          My parents’ combined income was $130k when I applied to Barnard, where a four-year expected cost was approximately $200k at the time. I was offered $0 in need-based aid based on the expectation that my parents could afford to pay almost 40% of their annual income towards my education.

          Once you pass the $100k household income mark, the calculations seem to assume you do not qualify for need-based aid.

          (I ended up going to an excellent “small private”-esque state school, where my parents could actually pay the entire ride, thanks to savings.)

          • Anonymous :

            These are all VERY recent changes I’m talking about, like within the last 5 years. I was in the same boat as you, $0 need-based aid and my parents’ incomes were even lower than your parents’. Stanford is now completely free for families who earn under $125k and many other elite schools have a similar threshold. This is a dramatic change from when I applied to college, because my parents most certainly made less than $125k and I got into Stanford but got no aid. And it’s not like if you earn $124,000 you pay $0 and if you earn $126,000, you pay $50,000. It goes up very gradually even above the cutoff, otherwise people would just be quitting their jobs to get their kids free tuition. I’ve used calculators to find out what our contribution would be at a lot of these schools with an income of ~$150k (ours is lower now but will be that much in 20 years) and our expected contribution is very low. I think at most of the Ivies the calculator said it was something like $15-20k a year total family contribution (for both tuition and room and board) on a $150k income. Obviously that’s a far cry from free and it will go up with inflation, but it’s currently cheaper than our pretty decent state school.

            Anyway, by the time our daughter goes to college our expenses will be minimal (house paid off, etc.) and we probably could actually throw 30-50% of our annual income at college. I would still analyze it in terms of cost vs. value though, and I certainly wouldn’t pay $50k/year for a private school that’s not as good academically as our state school, even if we could easily afford it. I would contribute something, probably more than the cost of the state school, but she’ll also have to take on some loans.

          • Help for an aging momma :

            This is interesting. I had children later in life and my husband is older than me. When my children (particularly my younger child) is in college my husband will be 65+ and I will be 60+.

            I wonder if we retire then (I figure I will work until I can get medicare), if we will be penalized at all with college calculations (neither of us have pensions, just non-matching 401Ks, so our plan is to have our house paid off by the time we’re 60 and figure out how to make our cash last for 30 years).

            Right now, I’m about to quit BigLaw (PT in branch office, so not $$$, and regional law prior to that while struggling 15 years to pay off my law school loans) and am trying to think 10-15 years out. Will schools see my JD and just assume I can pay full freight? This is what keeps me up at night — will I really regret what I choose today in 10-15 years? I cannot last in BigLaw that much longer — it is killing me.

            Or will be it like: OMG retire b/c you’re old and exhausted and the math for your kids college will work out so much better?

          • Anonymous :

            Schools won’t “see your JD” and assume you can pay full freight. They will see your income and your assets. Same as anyone else.

    • I went to a private liberal arts college and my parents paid. I’m very grateful. I would not have qualified for financial aid because my parents made too much. I grew up in DC so in-state tuition for public university was not a thing yet available to DC residents.

      I took out loans for law school ($200k) and paid them back in 6 years. I had lived in a HCOL city prior to law school and although I had worked for a few years I didn’t have substantial savings to make a dent in law school tuition. (I funded a retirement account and had a reasonable emergency fund – I think $5k – instead).

      Initially, when I looking at college my dad encouraged me to pick a cheaper college or school where I might have been able to get an academic scholarship and save the money for grad school. If I had to do it over I might consider that more strongly. But at 17 I really didn’t know if I would go to grad school and so going to the best college seemed like a safer plan.

    • Anonymous :

      My parents paid for a small part of my undergrad (10%-ish), I paid the rest (a smaller part from working, part from loans — I was very lucky to be involved in a small start-up that I cashed out of that covered about 2 semesters of tuition) and I paid all of my master’s. I have about $130k in loans, mostly federal.

      I’m a fed now and just finished my first year working towards loan forgiveness. I love my job and could not have gotten it without my education and the network from my school, but man I went to a big state school and still feel like I got screwed.

      If I could do it again, I would do ROTC, hands-down. And I wouldn’t put the start-up money towards school, I’d save it for a down payment on a condo after I graduated and settled.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I am also very, very fortunate that my parents paid for my college. Their rule was that I had to pursue a degree that would get me a job. I ended up in a niche program in a foreign country. The tuition was a bit more than a public in-state school. I worked all through college in my field and worked before law school. Definitely would not take that back.

      Law school was on me and I graduated with about $150,000 of debt, which I’m on track to pay off in 7-8 years. I’m working at a mid-sized firm in the same field I was in before law school, which was my plan. At this point, yes, I would do it again, but I fully acknowledge that I am VERY fortunate. I have a job I genuinely find interesting that’s in my chosen field and pays well.

    • Anonymous :

      I went to private undergrad and private law school. I got some need-based aid for college and a work-study job and took out loans, with my mother, for the rest. I worked multiple jobs during the school year and in summers, but lived independently, so that money was used for living expenses. I’m sure I could have been more frugal, but not much, and it would have been isolating given the demographics at my college. My mother was to pay off my loans, and she did for about a year, and then I went to law school and the loans were put in deferment. I was encouraged by an influential family member to go to private law school rather than public and was given a token amount (in the scheme of law school costs) to encourage that decision. I paid the remainder, less a small one-time subsidy ($3000), with loans. Since graduating, I have paid the undergrad and law school loans through work as a lawyer. Some years that has been relatively easy, others it has been more difficult, and I certainly wish I had been more frugal at times, but I’ve always paid a bit more than the minimum, on time. I still have six figures left. It is distressing and has had a substantial effect on my life choices, both professional and personal.

    • Anonymous :

      aw man, those episodes frustrated me so much. The guy who called in and accused people of taking out loans at (allegedly) super low interest rates for the sole purpose of investing them instead of going to school? The hosts never even tried to rebut his premise! Then the poor veteran guy who asked if he should bother leaving his SO his inheritance or would the government just take it to satisfy the SO’s debt? They did some dance about garnishing wages but never actually answered his question. I know they meant well, but the whole series had me seeing red for different reasons.

      • Maddie Ross :

        I think if you only listened to the two call in ones, they were a bit frustrating. It was clear they were screening the calls to try and get an array of issues and POVs, but they weren’t prepared to actually answer some of the questions they got in the time allotted or on the fly. The two produced shows I thought were more interesting since they were, obviously, better researched.

    • Granted tuition has gone up over the past few decades but I mostly put myself through school. I started college at a pricy private school on full need-based scholarship and transferred to my state university when the scholarship no longer covered the costs. I worked for a few years after college to pay off the loans. I applied to a ton of law schools and went to the one that gave me the most money. I worked part-time during school and during the summers so I did not have to take any private loans. After law school, I lived like a miser, making extra payments whenever I could. Since I lived in a LCOL area, I did buy a house because the mortgage was lower than rent. When I moved to a HCOL area, I was able to make a small profit. It was a huge sacrifice to not live the lifestyle of my colleagues but I was able to pay off my loans in about 10 years.

    • I went to a public university for undergrad and borrowed roughly 12k for living expenses. The rest was covered by a scholarship. I borrowed 140k for a well regarded public law school and still owe quite a bit 6 years later. I had a small needs based scholarship, but the rest (including living expenses) was paid for with loans because I had no other options. During my time in law school, tuition skyrocketed unnecessarily, and this occurred during the recession.

    • anon for this :

      I was raised by my mom, who at the time was making $27K a year. So I got a huge Pell grant and went to Stanford with about 80% of my tuition covered. For the remaining amount, I worked on campus and then when I graduated, I got a cushy consulting job and paid it off within a few years. My understanding is that under Stanford’s new policy, I would not have had to pay any tuition at all.

    • Oh so anon :

      For undergrad, I had two academic scholarships plus two part-time jobs. My parents helped me out with things like groceries and gas. For grad school, I had a fellowship and a part-time job, and my parents still helped me out a bit. I selected the institutions I attended based on how much funding they would give me.

    • Anonymous :

      Am I the only one who thinks loans aren’t a big deal IF you go to the right type of school and right type of high paid profession? Undergrad – Wharton – combo of parent paid (~50%); loans; work study; some grants (like less than 10%). Ivy law school – more loans, less parent payment, a 12k “scholarship” (merit money I guess), and 2 summer associate gigs which offset a LOT of my 2L and 3L years. Went from there to a decade+ of biglaw in a HCOL city. Of course I wasn’t one of the ones who hated biglaw and wanted to get out asap – but I don’t view loans as THAT big of an issue and would do it again in a heartbeat and would advise anyone else to do the same if they want a similar path. I guarantee the jobs I’ve gotten are bc of the schools I’ve gone to – I know people don’t want to agree to that – but I’ve been on hiring committees where they won’t even look at candidates who are not at a top 10 school, not ivy — very common in finance and law.

      Now if you want to study communications and go do social media for a start up — then yeah ivy loans aren’t worth it bc you’ll be paid the same as a Rutgers communications grad, so may as well take a full ride to Rutgers.

      • anon a mouse :

        Your statement should be: loans aren’t a big deal if you go to the right type of school, right type of high-paid profession AND are lucky enough to land a high-paying job. Sure!

        But there were plenty of people who went to good schools when the legal market contracted, and all of a sudden they had good degrees, in the right profession… and no jobs to pay back those giant loans.

      • Oh god, you again?

        We’ve been over this, and the myriad logical flaws in your position. Please don’t derail this thread with that nonsense.

      • The economics of law school has changed a lot since you were in law school, I’m guessing. First, tuition went up a lot. Total cost of attendance at a Top 10 school including living expenses is $240k plus interest on loans while you are in school. Second, the interest rate used to be 2-3% on private loans and some federal loans. Now it is more in the range of 6.8-7.5%. Third, even going to a top 10 school does not guarantee a BigLaw job. To be guaranteed a BigLaw job you need to be top 50% or possibly top third. Fourth, BigLaw pushes people out more than it used to. There is a big push to get rid of dead weight 3rd years and then again again around 6th year. Fifth, firm work today requires more hours than it did 10 years ago. Most of my colleagues bill 2200 hours a year. (however bonuses are bigger and salaries are higher at the top firms). Sixth, it is rare to get more than 1 summer associate gig. And summer associate gigs are typically limited to 12 weeks now, whereas I did 16 weeks in my summer. Finally, you were lucky that you didn’t hate it. Its hard to know if you will hate it before you try it.

        • Anonymous :

          I’ve seen the same things at my v30 firm. When I was coming up the big cut was at yr 8 — they’d push out ppl so they wouldn’t have to make partners; bad but you still had 8 yrs of earning. Now there is a housecleaning at yr 4 (bc frankly they don’t need 50 4th yrs the way they needed 50 1st yrs for diligence/doc review) which eliminates 1/2 of the class and then another in yr 8 though my that time lots of people have left bc they know partnership situation at our firm is bad, they don’t want to be partner, they want to leave NYC etc. — so that push out may only be 2-4 people.

          And at my firm summer associate programs are way less than 12 weeks – it’s more like 8 weeks. I’m around OP’s age and when I summered 10 yrs ago, mine was 13 weeks.

        • Anonymous :

          Similar post stuck in mod. But adding to that – firm economics have changed since salaries have gone up a lot. When first yrs were starting at 125 or 135k pre recession, they were pretty much “guaranteed” 8 yrs – and then pushed out before partnership. Now the “guarantee” is more like 4 yrs at my firm as there’s a big push out then — bc mgmt. does is paying 180k to the first yrs and doesn’t want to carry enormous classes of associates for 1 more second beyond where they are needed.

        • Sorry about all the typos … oh well at least it is Friday.

      • Anonymous :

        But do you really want to doom your child to a high-paying profession when they’re 18? I don’t want to encourage my child to take a path that will effectively prevent her from ever becoming a teacher, a writer, a librarian, or any number of other valuable but low-paying careers.

        I agree loans for professional school are less of an issue, because the school is specifically to do that one high-paying profession and the person is also older when they’re making the decision to take on that debt. So few 18 year olds really know what they want to do in life. If you did, that’s great, but in my opinion one of the main purposes of college is for kids to figure that out, and you can’t effectively figure it out when your hands are already tied to banking/law/medicine by a decision you made when you were 17 or 18.

        • Anonymous :

          To each their own, but if my kid ended up in a high paying profession, I would not see that as doom. And if they ended up a teacher, librarian or “writer” — I would not be happy and I’m fairly sure I’d make that known to them. To me — you go to school to make money — to get a return on investment on the money you are spending/loans you’re taking. Something like medicine or law — great ROI; writer — um not even sure if there’s a positive ROI.

          • Anonymous :

            That’s such a sad attitude. There’s much more to life than earning money, and many people who don’t earn a lot of money contribute a lot to society and hold down a steady job that lets them pay their bills, which is my definition of being a successful adult. I’m not saying I would be sad if my child chose a high-paying profession, but I would be sad if she felt forced to choose one at the expense of doing something else that she had more interest in.
            Also do you think anyone with who learns to code in high school should skip college entirely? I think there’s a strong argument that the maximum ROI for a talented teenage coder would be to head straight to Silicon Valley and avoid the college debt entirely. But I still think college has a lot of value, from the benefits of a broad liberal arts and sciences education to social maturity and exposure to new people and ideas. Viewing college as solely a vehicle by which people make money is so short-sighted.

          • I think this is where a conversation about the difference between “education” and “training” would be helpful. At some point in the not-so-distant past, a college degree was for the most part education and one received training either on the job or at a professional school and then on the job. We’ve started to conflate the two and I think that could ultimately have really unfortunate consequences for people as they finish school and enter the workforce. I don’t have to recite Shakespeare in my current job, but I do use the skills gained while learning said Shakespeare every single day.

          • Anonymous :

            You’d be sad your kids became teachers?

          • Why would you be upset if your children became teachers? Sure, you don’t want them to take out six figures of debt to do it, but teaching is a fairly stable job that, in many states offers fantastic benefits and a defined pension. It is an excellent job to have with kids and, believe it or not, requires a lot of hard work. Not to mention, it’s pretty cool to not only literally change kids’ lives, but to be able to see it happen.

      • +1,000

        If you want the NE or DC, elite schools make a big difference in the jobs you can get and the salary you command. Your lifetime earnings are generally higher and a big part of that is the greater likelihood that you will be considered for and hired for better paying jobs.

    • For undergrad I went to large private university, on partial scholarship and took out loans (55k). I got a job a few months after graduation making 48k and paid the max I could every month in my HCOL city. Then I changed jobs and my employer had a grad school tuition program if you went part time at night which I did (considered taxable income so my take home was reduced by almost half for 3 years). My undergrad loans were paused then. I’m about 20k still in debt, 7 years out of undergrad and almost 4 out of grad.

      I’m very grateful for my employer program – and think trades especially could benefit from such programs, with tax incentives, as they lead to jobs. But the real problem is inflated costs at universities and how we value education now (that money is going to fancy buildings and new projects, not to salaries for quality faculty).

    • anon a mouse :

      My parents paid for my in-state undergrad degree in flyover country. I really wanted to go to a big coastal city but they couldn’t afford it and didn’t want me to take out loans. I ended up taking out small loans to help cover living expenses while I did summer internships in DC.

      For graduate school, I found a part-time program and paid for it as I went. I wish more schools would do this. Given my family obligations and financial constraints, I took no more than 2 classes at a time. It took several years, but I graduated without debt because I was working full-time. If the same model was available for law schools I would do it in a heartbeat, even if it would take like 6 years to finish.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I had my UG paid for by athletic scholarships and I worked as a tutor to pay for living expenses. I couldn’t get federal loans, so I kept a credit card for months when I had cash flow problems/couldn’t tutor as much because of sports obligations. I came to the United States alone and had no family to send me any money. I worked for about a decade as a software engineer before I went to law school, and paid for it with a combination of savings, scholarship, and private student loans (yeah, the kind with double-digit interest rates that accrue interest while you are in school). I refinanced my loans as soon as humanly possible with SoFi and paid them off in about 3 years after graduation.

      For our kids, I want to help them as much as possible, but want them to also choose paths where the cost of education makes sense.

    • My parents are divorced. When I was talking college, the understanding was that tuition would be split three ways: Dad would pay a third, Mom would pay a third, I’d pay the remaining third. Any scholarships would be credited towards my third. I attended a small, private school and took about $15,000 in the late 1990s. Worked throughout college, lived frugally, and paid that off within 5 years. Would NOT do that again. It was relatively painless, all things considered, but I could likely have gone to the good local public school at little to no cost.

      I was on my own for law school. Made the wrong choice to go to a higher ranked school
      (public, but out of state) with no financial aid. Better choice would have been to stay local with lower ranked school with good local reputation and a financial aid package. Ended up with around ~140K in loans. I lived frugally and paid amounts off aggressively right up to the moment that my son was born … pace of repayment has slowed considerably since then, but I’m making slow and steady progress – 9 years out, about $15k remaining.

      I graduated law school at a bad time and got stuck in some lower pay jobs for a couple years. It worked out for me in the end but I don’t recommend law school to anyone unless they can do it for far cheaper than I did.

    • Linda from HR :

      My father worked at a really good school close to where I grew up, and both my sister got free tuition there. Parents paid for room, board, books, bought me dorm stuff and gave me a food allowance, did the same for my sister but because she’s taking longer to graduate (changed majors a couple times) she moved back home to finish school as a commuter student. I graduated debt free, I presume she will as well.

      So work for a university, if you can.

      • Linda from HR :

        *my sister and I got free tuition there. sorry y’all, it’s been a long week.

      • Yay! Open thread’s! I love open thread’s but these pumps are just to pricey, even for me! FOOEY!

        As for the OP, my dad was a college professor when I went to college, but I wanted to go to DC, and did NOT want to stay in NY, so dad had to pay for me to go to DC, both to college and law school. He paid alot of money b/c we were NOT able to get any financial aid, and I did NOT get a sholarship. I tried to be an RA in the dorm, but the dorm director kept stareing at me, so I decided I did NOT want to have to deal with that, and his libido. FOOEY!

        So paying for college was not my issue, and now Dad is funding my apartement while I focus on the law, as an attorney, duly admitted and in good standing in the State of New York, First Departement.

        Myrna has a weekend open in the Hamton’s tomorrow, so I am goeing with her in her car. I am not goeing to be able to bill at all this weekend, so I say YAY to that! I hope all is well with the HIVE, and will report back on Monday if I am able to find any eligible guys in the Hamtons! DOUBEL YAY!!!!

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      I’m listening to those episodes now too. Didn’t they say there was something like $1.4 trillion of student debt out there now? I am guessing no one will be helping our generation but that there may be some changes in the future once we swing back to a more liberal president (unless 45 destroys us all…). Changes in the form of lower tuition at state schools, less accreditation of for-profits, lower interest rates on student loans and more emphasis on vocational schools and less on college being the choice for everyone.

      As for me, my parents paid for my tuition and all expenses for college at my state school. Best choice I ever made at age 18 was to only apply to state schools (and Stanford, but a girl can dream!). I then had about 60K in student loans coming out of law school, with my parents paying the rest. Very grateful to them for this.

      We’re saving in a 529 for our son and while I would like to pay for his college in full, I will likely promote state schools or community college first, and to really consider what his major will get him. I wish I had considered the job prospects more when picking my major. At least for now, in hot fields like engineering and computer science, the school matters less than your experience. My husband has an engineering degree from a state school (good school but not the best in the state) and he’s been really successful. I also hope financial education becomes a priority in middle schools and high schools. I hope to teach my son more than I learned as a teenager.

    • I went to a 4 year private school (NESCAC), full freight. I turned down several half-scholarships and the agreement I had with my parents was that I had to take 50% of the difference out in loans. So, at the time tuition was something like 40-45k/year, I took out 10k my first 2 semesters. My sophomore year my dad lost his job and we ended up getting a big need based grant my sophomore and junior year. In the end, the total cost of my attendance was about $120k (full cost would have been 160-170k). I left with just under 30k in loans, my parents paid 90k, about half was taken out as a loan.

      I graduated and had a June, making 27k/year for a major research U. I worked there (and 2 side hustles) for 4 years and got my MBA tuition free (had to pay taxes on it though).

      Looking back, the smart choice would have been to take the half tuition (the schools were basically equal in ranking etc). Or to take the full ride I got to state U. But…I met my husband in undergrad. I made some of my best friends there. I networked. I was a biochem/English double major. Today, I run product marketing for a financial tech company- so obviously my degree doesn’t matter.

      I make great money that more than pays for my education. I probably could have gotten to this place faster without all the debt, but…I had a great time in college.

    • edu costs :

      I was very fortunate that my parents paid for undergrad, and DH and I made enough money to pay for grad school. I started undergrad at a private university with academic and vocal scholarships that covered ~40% of expenses, and my parents picked up the rest. When I transferred to State U, the cost without scholarships was lower than the portion my parents were paying at Private U, so they just paid it outright. I worked part-time throughout college and full-time for a year in college, and paid my own living expenses during my full-time employment. I did my Master’s at another State U while working full-time, so tuition was reasonable enough for us to pay for it, and it was a 2-year program, so about half the cost of my undergraduate degree.

      I graduated into the recession and moved across the country, so I struggled to make decent money until the last ~5 years or so. I’m finally up to market rates for my skillset/industry, and now make more than my husband by just a bit, so I would definitely do it again. He “subsidized” my education and living costs for the first few years of our marriage (split on income was probably 70%/30%), so I probably would’ve had to do some loans for tuition if I wasn’t in a two-earner household.

      As for the solution, I think it’s unfortunate that trades are not prioritized anymore. There’s a skills shortage in necessities like mechanics, masonry/carpentry, operating heavy manufacturing machinery, etc., but no one pushes their kids to go for an Associate’s degree or trade certification. These professionals pay quite well, and a lot of people are just not interested in sitting behind a desk all day. I firmly believe that an educated populace is essential to a healthy, thriving civilization, so I can’t understand why we insist on making education into a scare resource. I don’t think free college is the right solution, but I do think that the tuition rates have skyrocketed beyond what is reasonable. There’s a graphic that goes around pretty frequently about our parents/grandparents saying, “In my day, I worked for the summer to pay for my college! Stop being entitled!” The reality is that for most schools, there are literally not enough hours in the day to work to pay for tuition. If the kids these days just needed to work a part- or full-time job for a summer to pay their annual tuition, or take <$5k loans for a 4-year degree, then sure, that would be reasonable, in my opinion. But that's not what's happening.

      Further, a lot of jobs that don't ACTUALLY require a college degree insist that all applicants have a college degree. So, they don't pay well, but you have to have a degree, resulting in lifelong student loan debt. If you can actually get a well-paid job within a couple of years after graduation, paying down $5k-$10k of debt is doable. But graduating with $20k-$200k of debt and being paid $30k-$50k is a tough sell (like, social work requires a graduate degree but they make terrible salaries! Teaching is starting to be very competitive and preferring graduate degrees, and they make terrible salaries!).

      • Anonymous :

        “As for the solution, I think it’s unfortunate that trades are not prioritized anymore. There’s a skills shortage in necessities like mechanics, masonry/carpentry, operating heavy manufacturing machinery, etc., but no one pushes their kids to go for an Associate’s degree or trade certification. These professionals pay quite well, and a lot of people are just not interested in sitting behind a desk all day. ”

        I beat this drum a lot, in my personal life and my professional life.

        My dad started out as an HVAC repair technician, then moved into teaching HVAC, then moved into community college administration, and then retired as the president of a community college. He routinely runs into the guys he trained back in the 80s who started their own HVAC firms, built the businesses, and retired as millionaires. If someone does not want a desk job pushing paper or code around, there are lots of options out there, many of which are very well-paying. We will always need people to keep our furnaces/air conditioners, medical equipment, heavy equipment and electrical grid running. And as our society gets more and more dependent and technology and machines – see the “Internet of Things” – we will need people who can fix *the machines,* not just write code to program the machines. And we will need people to build and maintain power plants and electrical lines that keep all our wonderful machines running. Our electrical utility is constantly advertising for journeymen line technicians with a starting salary of $60,000 and an excellent benefits package. They also are unionized, which means job protections. If my son decides to go that route, you can bet I won’t be dissuading him. Especially because, as it turns out, those jobs are no more dangerous than sitting on your kiester all day in a desk job.

    • Anonymous :

      I work in academic administration and was horrified to learn that many students with full scholarships, need-based grants or on other types of fellowship/training programs that pay full tuition are actually taking out student loans for the full amount of tuition which drive refund checks from their student accounts each semester. Meaning, these students have full rides yet will still have to deal with paying off the full amount of student loans. I was really surprised that the federal student loan program allowed students to borrow money beyond the amount of tuition and fees owed. Although I know the argument is that many students are paying for living expenses with the loans, it makes me very sad since they may find themselves with fewer dollars of disposable income post-graduation.

      • Anonymama :

        Huh, to me a “full ride” would include room and board, especially for undergrad. The reality is, otherwise there would be kids who have to turn down the “full ride” because it would be pretty difficult to go to school full time while also working enough to pay for living expenses. There are a lot of kids who don’t have the option of living off their parents while they go to school. I worked in the financial aid office as my work-study, So I saw both sides of it.

        • AnonInfinity :

          Yeah exactly. I was very lucky to have an actual full ride scholarship (that included room and board and books) for undergrad because my parents couldn’t afford to pay any amount of money for me to go to college. For law school, I had a scholarship that covered tuition and fees, but I had to take out a small loan for living expenses. I had enough financial literacy not to take out the full amount that was available to me each semester, but there are plenty of people out there who think, “This is the amount I was offered, so surely that’s the right amount for me to take out.”

      • Anonymous :

        How is that possible? I thought you could not take out student loans in excess of (cost of attendance – other aid).

    • Super poor family and I went to undergrad as a minor, so it was almost free through need-based scholarships and aid (though I had to do a ton of babysitting to pay for my used textbooks). My first graduate degree was free through a merit-based scholarship (which also covered room and board). Then I chose a T25 instead of a T14 law school because it also came with a merit-based scholarship, for the full amount of tuition. With tuition hikes (which the scholarship did not cover), living expenses, books, and bar exam, I graduated with $60,000 in debt, which I’ve paid down to about 5k (2012 grad).

    • I am 7 years out with over $200k. Just hit six figure salary last year and am on IBR but tried to pay a little more.

      I had a debt counseling meeting where she basically said stop. Pay the minimum and take the tax consequences in 18 years. I’ve paid maybe $1K in principal and I get zero tax deduction for the student loan interest because I make too much and have been in that zone for the last 4 years.

      So now, I bartend on the weekends to save the $60K for tax and pay $1200 a month minimum payments. We will see if it kills me.

    • Parents paid for undergrad for both us and we were on our own for grad school. I am forever grateful for how much they paid for because I know it meant making retirement even more of a pipe dream. It’s also why in addition to working to pay off my loans and save, I also accept that some day, I will be supporting them.

    • Anonymous :

      Although a lot of people are regretting their school financing choices, I do think that prestigious colleges, private or public (not a mid range private school), are good choices for some people, despite (reasonable) loans. Even though I come from a lower middle to middle class family, going to a brand name school (think Harvard of the south) as 1) someone who doesn’t come from wealth or connections, 2) a woman, and 3) a visible minority, has opened far more doors career wise than going to any mid-range school would have. The private prestigious colleges in particular prop up students from all backgrounds with so much support and resources, it’s kind of hard to fail career wise because you absorb so much knowledge of navigating upper middle to upper class work and social environments.

    • I was a full financial aid kid at a private college. The state U did not offer me full financial aid and my parents couldn’t pay anything so I went the private route and graduated with a ton of debt. My financial aid package was about 30% loans.

      My kids are getting to be college age (HS junior and HS freshman.) I have saved enough to pay for their tuition, room and board in-state here in California at either a UC or a CSU. If they want to go private they can but they have to understand they will be paying the difference between state tuition and private tuition through loans.

      I am currently trying to convince my junior that there is nothing wrong with a four year degree from a CSU.

      • edu costs :

        Anecdotally… but my DH went to State U, and ended up getting hired at Fancy Tech Company alongside a bunch of Ivy grads. He made the same salary, got two promotions in his first two years, and was on track to management before he left to go to Fancy Startup. He graduated with no debt because he chose the scholarship at State U, while many of his Ivy colleagues were drowning in six-figure debt. Unless your junior wants to do something like finance or consulting, the brand name schools are much less necessary.

        Also anecdotally, but someone in my field went to HYS, while I went to State U, and I’ve out-earned her for the full 10 years that we’ve been out of school (we are both very happy with our paths and choices, but we have different priorities). It really is a combination of credentials, skills, luck, and negotiation-savvy that makes a “successful” career, not just the school at the bottom of your resume (as noted above, plenty of people do valuable work and don’t make a lot of money, but I’m using salary as the benchmark, since this is about whether you should take on a ton of debt for college).

        • Thanks for this. My junior currently thinks she wants to be a high school history teacher (I know this can change) so I REALLY don’t see the point of expensive tuition and student loans for that field.

          • Tell your junior that the CSUs were actually founded and designed to train teachers. So if that is the goal, the CSU system is a fantastic option that is very well-regarded. (Also, tell the kiddo to do some looking–some programs require a year of student teaching, some just a semester. No need to be unpaid longer than necessary!)

            (Source: CA high school teacher, credential from a CSU.)

    • I went to private undergrad, received a 50% merit based scholarship. My parents, who worked for everything they had after leaving home at 18, and put my mother through undergrad and law school out of pocket, while raising four kids, said they’d contribute a fixed amount per year. I lived at home, worked full-time, and took out student loans, coming out of undergrad with about 6,500 in student loans.

      For law school I went to a small private university that gave me a 100% merit based scholarship plus a small living stipend each year that covered books and computer and other necessities. I lived at home. No student loans from law school.

      I deferred my undergrad loans and I wish I hadn’t, the payment was so tiny I could have afforded the small monthly payment easily.

      If I hadn’t gotten scholarships, I still would have gone, at that time I wasn’t worried about it. Now, I’m so thankful for those blessings.

      My children, my husband and I will contribute some, but my kids will have to contribute and keep their grades up or my pocket book will shut. I want them to understand the sacrifice it takes to get and education, so they appreciate it and don’t abuse it.

    • Parents contributed $10K per year towards my four-year private school. A college fund from my grandparents and loans covered the rest (plus a mere $3K in scholarships), but my parents paid off my loan balance after senior year (<20K) and now I am paying them back. My husband and I are paying for my master's degree at an in-state, public college with savings and with research positions (that include tuition remission) for me. I have inherited an amount in the low six figures that makes me a lot more comfortable with spending down our savings for me to get a graduate degree. I could use it to pay off my loan balance to my parents, but the interest rate I am paying them is so absurdly low that it makes more sense to keep the money in the bank and pay off the balance gradually. I plan to pay for our kids' college in full if we are able to, but they will need to work for spending money and I hope to instill a lot of good common sense about saving and investments.

    • I came from a lower middle class home. My parents were separated, one parent severely mentally ill, both dysfunctional, and life was hell. All I dreamed about was getting in to a good college, and escaping. As far away as possible. I worked like crazy, and my teachers were wonderful and supportive and encouraged me. When I got in to Stanford, they were thrilled for me and everyone said I deserved it. It was my dream school. And in California….. so far away…..

      Unfortunately, I also won a full ride + room and board + books + more to the best private University in ….. my home state. My parents of course, wanted me to go there. I flat out refused. They didn’t really know why…. but it was too close to them. They tell me now that I swore I would drop out and not go to college if they forced me to go to Home State University. Honestly, I don’t really remember what I said. It was a blur. I was so, so, so, so, so sad. I had to leave…

      Finally, they let me go to Stanford. I think my piano teacher talked them into it, actually.

      I got a huge amount of financial aid. My parents paid some (they were very frugal and had saved), I got a lot of grant, and I got the rest in modest loans. I worked during school and during every summer. In the end, my remaining loans were quite small (< $10k).

      I got a full ride to Harvard for graduate professional school, and to other excellent schools for more graduate study/fellowships. I would have never gotten those without my Stanford CV.

    • I went to community college and then earned a scholarship at a university. Graduated debt free. Paid for law school with loans, but I did not live frugally so I took more debt than was necessary. Still paying 400 a month 20 years later on loans. We prepaid for college for our son through Florida’s program and he earned a scholarships that allowed him to go away to college and stay in the dorms.

    • coffee queen :

      I paid for university with student loans and I worked all through out my schooling. However, I did live rent free with my parents and they paid for my car insurance (it was all they could afford).

      I did wind up with a loan of about $20,000 by the end of it. However, when I moved out, I moved to a small apartment, did not do the traditional grad trips, did not buy a new car etc. I paid more than the minimum payment and wound up having it paid off in 3 years. AFter that, is when I bought a house and new car.

      I found a lot of adults who graduated with me did not do the same, they bought the house, car and trips and 10 years later, are still paying the minimum on their loan.

      I am now back in school while working full time and would not wish that on my worst enemy (I am older and have way more stressful job and generally more busy). But my work is paying for part of my tutiton.

  3. These shoes are amazing.

    Can’t afford them, and couldn’t walk in them if I could, but they’re still amazing.

  4. I think I posted too late in the morning thread, so I’m trying again. Has anyone been to Scotland in April? I visited in July back in high school, and I remember it being cool and rainy, so I’m not sure if the weather would be too poor in April to really enjoy the country. (Also accepting any and all recs! Just starting to brainstorm.) TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      I would love to hear best times of year to visit — have a friend doing graduate work over there for the next 12-ish months and definitely planning to go!

    • I went to Scotland for spring break when I was studying in London. That was late-March and it was very windy, but not all that rainy. It looked like it was going to rain often, but I kept a rain jacket with me and rarely needed it. We stayed in Aberfoyle and enjoyed hiking around the lochs and visiting Edinburgh. I hope you enjoy it!

    • Anonymous :

      I love Scotland – what a lovely country.
      I went in March, 8 days, and would recommend it. First I spent a few days in Edinburgh and then took a 5-day tour of Isle of Ske. Check out MacBackpackers, I can’t recommend them enough. Edinburgh was great but we saw much better things and learned a ton of interesting history on our tour. We had certain jammed tourist destinations like the fairy place entirely to ourselves, just the 10 of us walking around exploring. It was quite affordable and we stayed in hostels.

      In terms of weather, it’s Scotland so you’ll get what you get. I had at least 5 days of sun altigether which I hear is lucky. My friend walked the West Highland Way for 10 days and had 10 days of rain and it was August.

      Other recommendations: all the Harry Potter you can handle. A tour by Sandemans (or two).

    • Went in mid March and loved it. a Little bit of rain is expected but it never stopped us from enjoying our activities. We loved the Isle of Skye, Quiraing is one of the most beautiful place I have visited. In some more remote areas, restaurants and distilleries don’t open until Easter but it’s April 1st in 2018 so you should be okay!

    • I replied to the a other thread but will post here too.

      Traditional summer months tend not to be too great for us. Often our best months are later April and May and then again in early September. July and August often tend to suck in Glasgow.

      Just be aware that snow flurries aren’t unheard of in April, but it doesn’t last long.

    • Min Donner :

      Went to Inverness/Highlands at the end of April a few years ago. It was not “warm” but not unbearably cold either. We were mostly there whisky tasting, but were also outdoors a fair bit (sightseeing and outdoor activities like archery/skeet shooting/off-road driving), but not hiking or trekking, and were lucky to not have much rain. I consistently wore jeans/sweaters/leather jackets w/ a scarf, or dresses/tights/knee-high boots with cardigans and a trench or leather jacket and was comfortable.

  5. Anonymous :

    Someone asked yesterday re keeping in touch with friends and the advice was CALL – don’t just email or text. I already call anyway but it’s frustrating that people don’t call me back — esp when I say it’s about x or y — so they don’t need to feel like I’m going to chat it up with them at work for 2 hrs bc I won’t (and they know I won’t do that; and I’m not the type of person calling 2x a week – it’s more like 2x/yr). It’s hard not to feel like you’re the only one doing the work in the friendship when you’re the one calling, you’re usually the one who initiates emails/texts. And the thing is there’s one particular friend who I really love – so I continue to do it even though I notice she doesn’t initiate bc when we do talk for 20 min 2x/yr or go out to a happy hr once a yr — we both enjoy it and don’t want it to end . . . . Trying not to take it personally and reminding myself again that she’s a senior exec with 2 young kids . . . .

    • Flats Only :

      This will sound mean, but perhaps these folks are not as close to you as you think they are. I have a few acquaintances who regularly call/text/email wanting to get together, but who I am just not interested in. I am happy if I run into them around town, but I don’t consider them to be close friends and don’t have any interest in getting closer to them. So their communications are more irritating than anything else. I try hard not to encourage them, but there seems to be no stopping these folks.

      • Anonymous :

        Ok. Guess she hates me. I’ll move on and never reach out again.

        • Anonymous :

          Eye roll. No. Not the point. You’re once a year friends! That’s something!

        • Anonymous :

          Some people are just not phone people, right? And if they are already stretched thin with life stuff, it may not be a priority to go outside their comfort zone right this instant. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t care about you, or that they don’t want to be friends or get together, it just means that at the moment, calling you back isn’t at the top of their priority list. We all have shifting priorities as we move through life, right, wrong, or in between, but they are our priorities. However, those who we have prioritized, get to determine how they react to that and we have to accept it. It sounds frustrating, and I understand why you feel the way you do, for sure, but if the friendship is valuable, you have to accept that right now, you are the one who is expending the time and energy for phone calls.

      • Senior Attorney :

        That does sound mean.

        OP, you say you and your friend both enjoy your meetups and I believe you! I think “being the one to call, at least for now” is a reasonable price of admission to this friendship and you shouldn’t feel bad about being willing to pay it.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah. I think jumping to “she doesn’t like you” is a bizarre response. I think she probably really likes you and really enjoys getting together, but as you said she’s a busy senior executive with two young kids and she just doesn’t have the time to reach out (possibly to anyone, possibly to anyone beyond a small inner circle that you’re not part of). Either way, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy getting together with you, it just means you have to accept that you’re going to be the one putting in most of the effort to initiate your get-togethers.

      • On the other hand (and I’ve made this post before on this s i t e), some people really just are bad at reaching out. I am that person. I love my friends and so want to spent time with them, I just suck at being the one to reach out. I have a demanding job, I get involved in work/projects and don’t realize weeks/months have passed since I’ve seen someone, I’m not good at finding all the fun events in my city and sending out calendar invites. I’m also coming off of years of being too scared to reach out to my own friends because I figured they hated me (thanks therapy, all my friends aren’t actually like Flats Only, thank god!) so I just let other people do it.

        There’s no reason to accept the narrative that she hates you when there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation otherwise.

        • Anonymous :

          This. I’m also just like your friend. I’m terrible at reaching out. I love my friends dearly, but I’m introverted and busy with work and family and I just don’t reach out to friends to plan activities. But I’m always thrilled to get together with my friends when they reach out to me.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I’m sympathetic, but I gotta say, I have a lot of friends who aren’t good at reaching out, and at a certain point, your friends who do reach out are just not going to do it any more. I’m the person who always reaches out and makes sure the friendship keeps going, and I have a lot of great, really old friends who are always thrilled to get together when I ask them to hang out. But as time passes, I am just exhausted by always pouring myself into the communications, and spend more and more time with the friends who also reach back out to me.

          I don’t have anything against the friends who are always the receivers, but I also just can’t afford to keep putting myself out and feeling like I’m doing all the work and thus, the one actually invested in the friendship. As a natural result, I’ve been falling away from the friends who are always receivers and never instigators. If you actually value your friendships, you have to prioritize them. Full stop. Even a text saying “Hey, any fun events coming up? Would love to see you!” will do the trick.

          • I’m a person who is also afraid to/bad at reaching out, and I try to reach out in exactly this way for this reason.

            I’ve started using little down time moments in my day to send a text to a friend I haven’t seen in a while (even if it’s not to get together, just “how are things going? Been thinking about you! How are the kids? Is Baby A walking yet?”).

            It’s a hard thing, but I also think your point that reaching out is a two-way street is also entirely fair.

          • You think I haven’t thought about that? I don’t think that any of us who are responding to try to give OP our perspective from the other side are saying we NEVER reach out- that’s certainly not true of me. It’s just that I recognize it may be imbalanced sometimes and that’s not a sign that I hate my friends, like Flats Only does.

            I’ll also say that just because someone doesn’t do the initial initiating, that doesn’t mean that they’re not putting in effort- sending a text to get together isn’t the only type of effort a friendship requires. A friend who always reaches out but spends all of dinner whining about her divorce isn’t exactly investing.

          • Baconpancakes :

            ELS, that’s exactly what my (introvert) best friend does, and since I do notice those efforts, even though I’m still doing 75% of the reaching out, that 25% makes me feel valued and loved.

            I have friends who are super busy and I get that, so I just expect I’ll do most of the work for a couple years, (ie my friends with a 2 and 6 year old, my friends in grad school, my friends overseas for a year, etc), but long-term, I do need that 25%.

          • Definitely agree. I am good at reaching out and usually end up doing most of the work to initiate group or individual meet-ups. I understand it’s never going to be a one-for-one with some/most friends, but if I see a pattern of a friend never reaching out, I will probably stop bothering after a few years and spend more of my energy on friends that make me feel loved back. It’s not that I don’t like those people or value those friendships, it just feels so one-sided and that makes me sad.

    • I think you need to take “call” with a grain of salt & know your audience. I have a couple of friends who are up for the chat & around during my commute & we chat during that time. But that’s it. Mostly I find the obligation to return a call absolutely exhausting & I won’t return personal calls (or I’ll text in response) because I am on the phone or talking to people all.day.long. I’m a big fan of texting. I also have a few group texts going as well as individual ones. They’re easy – no pressure to respond ASAP & you stay current that way.

      • I agree with this. I hate the phone. My friends all know this. I am an introvert in a contentious field of law and am on the phone at work all the time. The phone ringing in the evening almost feels assaultive it makes me so anxious. If a friend is upset about something they know I will talk but they also know to text first “hey this is going on, can I call you?”

    • lawsuited :

      Some friendships are low maintenance like that – you can not see each other or talk for months, but when you do it’s like no time has passed. That’s a really cool thing! I would choose to see that as a comment on the strength of the friendship, rather than a failing. I think the reality for many of us is that we have to put more of our time and energy into our day-to-day support system and long-distance friendships, even the fun ones, have to fall by the wayside. Reaching out every so often is a great practice, but don’t take it personally when life gets in the way.

      • Anonymous :

        Yep. This is how I read OP’s friendship too — it isn’t one of those — oh it’s been a month, we must check in somehow or we’ll never speak again. Rather it’s one of those — haven’t checked in in 6 months, let’s get drinks next week and then you spend 2 hrs at a HH and realize — OMG we’ve really been here talking for 2 hrs straight?? Those kinds of things are rare . . . it’s a good thing OP, don’t let little things like the lack of a return call etc. bother you.

    • Is she more introverted? It’s hard for me to reach out – not in a social anxiety kind of way, just in an “I’m tired and it would be nice to talk to this person but I don’t really have the energy for it and oh look another week has gone by and I still need to reach out to her…” I get how this could sound cold, like I don’t really like or value my friends, but I do! But I think my need for interaction is lower than some other people’s, so just because I’m not in contact doesn’t mean I don’t like you or you’re not in my thoughts.

      (Also, my preferred means of keeping in touch with longtime friends these days is to send them stuff I think is funny on Instagram).

    • Thisperson1 :

      I obviously can’t speak for your friend, but in my experience: I’m a really shy introvert. Get me around a small group of friends, I’m outgoing. But being social, even around these friends that I love, is difficult and draining, and I often find excuses not to go, not to reach out, etc.

      TL;DR: It may not be you, it may just be them.

    • Linda from HR :

      It might be a generational thing. I’m 28, most of my friends prefer to catch up on Facebook chat, although Skype calls are always good when you can agree on a time.

    • So you call your friend and she doesn’t like to call back? That to me would indicate that, despite how people recommend calling, she is not a phone person. I am that person. I have one friend who has been a good friend for 2 decades. When she emails, I email back. But if she calls…it will take me a long long time to call back. (Part of it is I hate the phone, and part is that she calls when she is walking around or doing errands or driving. So so awful to be on the other side of that conversation.)

      If calling hasn’t yielded a result you like, try other methods.

  6. Anonymous :

    Any quick tips/home remedies for a sore throat? Woke up with a crazy sore throat this morning that actually hurts. Figured it was just allergies/start of a cold and a warm beverage would help — had a huge cup of tea which didn’t TOUCH it. Later had a Halls cough drop which barely touched it. WWYD?? I’ll go to the dr. next week if I must – but for now, any way to get comfortable??

    • Anonymous :

      If it’s due to post-nasal drip, a neti pot works wonders.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I always just do my regular pain reliever like ibuprofen. There are also those numbing sprays like Chloraseptic but I feel like the taste is worse than the sore throat.

      • Jinx!

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yes, don’t forget that you can just take an OTC pain reliever for stuff like this! I always forget, but it makes it so much more bearable and really takes the edge off the pain.

    • If it’s really, really bad, you can get Chloraseptic spray from a drug store. It’s basically a numbing spray for your throat. Works great, but you will feel numb.

    • Anonymous :

      If it’s that bad, it’s probably strep or tonsillitis and I would really try to get to a doctor before next week. Strep can cause serious complications if left untreated. A sore throat from cold/allergies is usually more mild.

      • Anonymous :

        OP here – yes I know. As someone who already has valve issues it’s always been drilled into my head that you never chance it with strep (I was actually shocked that someone in my office had all the symptoms of strep as did her husband and both walked around for 1+ week telling themselves it was just a cold – when they finally went to the dr. she was shocked they waited so long — so maybe it’s only drilled into your head if you have underlying cardiology issues? Anyway that was a yr ago so I’m sure I didn’t catch it from them :-). Already scouting out my plan if I need a strep test – in the mean time I was trying to give myself a few hrs today to see if it eases up enough to be cold/allergy related.

    • In my experience, really severe sore throats that come on suddenly and are not helped by tea and cough drops are almost always strep. Get to the doctor ASAP or it will just get worse and you’re contagious in the mean time. You should be able to go to a minute clinic or something similar for a test and antibiotics.

      • Anonymous :

        OP here – ugh really? Didn’t realize that. Yes it was sudden — I’ve been feeling congested in the sinus area for days (very mild and it tends to always be there) but literally went to bed at midnight and woke up a few hrs later with this kind of throat pain. Last time I had strep was in high school – so 20ish yrs ago . . . .

        • Anonymous :

          i think its been going around in adults (at least in Boston). I got it three times this year!! it was a nightmare

    • Tea (not scalding hot or that will hurt more) with a big glob of honey mixed in. Honey will coat and soothe your throat and is also anti-bacterial. Plenty of liquids in general. Check your throat in the mirror with a light- if you see white spots, that is strep. Weirdly, both times I have had strep in my lifetime the rapid test came back negative. Both times I pointed out the white patch and then got the (PAINFULLY LARGE) antibiotics and felt better by the next day. Wash your hands as much as possible and lysol your workspace so that you aren’t making others sick or catching something from others. Sorry!

    • Grated ginger + tbsp of honey + tbsp of lemon juice + hot water. It won’t cure whatever is going on but it is very soothing, much more so than regular tea.

    • Anonymous :

      I have some kind of horrible throat/sinus/cold thing that’s going around — sipping on cool water helps me, popsicles, and because of the sinus component, sleeping a bit propped up. So did a strong antihistamine (claritin-D) which I only took after going to the doctor positive I had strep. And tylenol.

    • Throat Coat tea from wf is a nice in the moment fix.

    • Anonymous :

      French garlic soup: http://fxcuisine.com/Default.asp?language=2&Display=151&resolution=high

      • In that vein – ramen noodles, the kind that come in blocks. I’m partial to chicken flavor. The heat + saltiness is very soothing. When I was sick a few years ago, I ate chicken ramen for breakfast every morning because it was the only thing I could get past my sore throat.

        FTR, wasn’t strep. Hurt like the dickens, though.

    • Popsicles! The cold is very soothing on a sore throat. Also I second the recommendation for Throat Coat tea – it’s Traditional Medicines brand.

    • Anonymous :

      gargle with warm salt water.

    • Linda from HR :

      I’m a big believer in cough drops, just don’t take too many or your stomach will be angry.

      You can usually “see” strep throat. Get a flashlight, go to a mirror, and look at the back of your throat. If your tonsils are swollen and have bits of white on them, or worse, are all white, go to the doctor immediately. Especially if you also have a fever or body aches, or you can’t talk (or kind of can but you sound really weird, my doctor says strep has a distinctive voice). If it all looks normal, don’t worry.

    • honey

    • I read recently that eating marshmallows helps with a sore throat? Never tried it, but worth a try…

  7. Calibrachoa :

    If only they were green and silver, they’d be the perfect Slytherin sandals! :D

    I have been on my new job for 2 months now and I feel like… I know just enough to get by but not enough to not to feel like i know nothing and what am I doing here and like drowning. Anyone else familiar with this feeling?

    • I had a similar thought! They’d be great for an actress to wear to a sci-fi movie premiere or J.K. Rowling’s latest movie adaptation.

      They’re not for the faint of heart or people with classic style preferences, but for those who enjoy whimsy, it’s different. I still mourn the star design heels available at a Fornarina sample sale that were only in sample sizes.

  8. Lots to Learn :

    I gotta be honest – these are the ugliest shoes I’ve seen in a really, really long time. And the shooting star – WTF? I can’t believe that anyone would buy those – especially for $775 but really at any price. Is it just me?

  9. Anonymous :

    Less expensive version of MM Lafleur?

    • Only slightly less expensive but Of Mercer

    • I’ve gotten great stuff from Brooks Brothers and Reiss on sale – and cheaper than MM! MM Lafleur is totally overrated to me and their return shipping process is such a hassle (you have to email or text them to get a shipping label, which you print out yourself).

  10. TeamKathy :

    What Boden pant works for curvy figures? I just got my catalog in the mail and am anxious to place an order. Thanks!

    • I am ridiculously curvy and they all work well on me. I’m short with a short waist and a big butt with about a 10 inch differential between waist and tush. Their pants and shorts are magical on me. Size down.

  11. Clementine :

    Thoughts on adding a streamlined leather/leather-look jacket to my wardrobe? I don’t think I can go too moto because I tend towards a pretty classic style. I’m thinking I’d like a simple black (or grey, if that is a thing) fitted jacket with princess seaming and no collar.

    Any suggestions for a specific jacket? Am I somehow missing some trend and should actually be looking at something with floral embroidery or something?

    • If you tilt towards classic style I would go with a brown or black simple style. Check massimo dutti or All Saints.

  12. Attention vegans: any easy cookie recipes? Or a guide to foolproof substitutions? I want to say thank you to a couple girlfriends who happen to be vegan, and my usual way of doing so would be baking treats, but I’m at a loss for vegan baking that doesn’t involve me buying a ton of stuff my pantry doesn’t normally contain.

    • layered bob :

      Jello-brand (not store brand) vanilla pudding is vegan (read the label to be sure). Google a vegan cookie recipe that contains it – makes delicious vegan cookies. My recipe is on an index card at home or I’d type it up for you.

    • Calibrachoa :

      Something like these? https://minimalistbaker.com/coconut-no-bake-cookies/

    • I like the blog Chocolate Covered Katie for vegan desserts. She has recipes substitutions for vegan, dairy free, gluten free… all sorts of great stuff!

    • CRISCO!!! it’s the best for a butter substitute (1:1, make sure it’s room temp) and I use a combo of 1/2 tbsp ground chia, 1/2 tbsp ground flax and 3 tbsp water to replace one egg, let those sit for 5 minutes until they become a goo. I also always add cinnamon to any cookie recipe, but that’s a food thing not a vegan thing.

      • Also for the love of god don’t do some weird “healthy” coconut oil cookie. It’s gross and seems out of touch.

        • Honest question–Why would a coconut oil cookie seem out of touch? Because people have finally realized that coconut oil isn’t really healthy? Or because people don’t really like weird “healthy” cookies in general?

          Funny enough, DH has finally come around to liking and using coconut oil because it’s no longer seen as a health food. We’re not vegan; he just decided he likes the taste in certain recipes.

          • Because 1) it’s not actually health, and veganism isn’t really about health anyways 2) they don’t taste good 3) it’s a way of ostracizing vegans ‘oh look I made you this weird thing’ especially since there are lots of ‘normal’ things that are vegan. My grandmother had the most profound ‘aha’ moment when she realized her apple pie recipe was vegan and I could eat her ‘normal’ food.

    • Recovered Vegan :

      If you’re not opposed to cake, “Wacky Cake” is from the 40s when eggs/milk/butter were scarce, and uses baking soda & vinegar to rise. I usually double the amount of cocoa powder that the recipe calls for.

      Otherwise, consider no-bake cookies. You’ll have to pick up soymilk & vegan-friendly margarine, but you won’t have to deal with egg replacers.

    • The water from a can of chickpeas fluffs just like egg whites and I promise it does not taste like beans. Best egg substitute I’ve tried, by far. That said I love chickpeas and never have trouble finding a use for the beans if I want to use the brine for something. YMMV as far as whether that’s something your pantry would normally contain.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I was calling restaurants today about hosting a small party. I asked one if they had any vegan options because one attendee is vegan. The restaurant manager started telling, very apologetically, me how he couldn’t be sure there wasn’t any cross contamination, they do cut things with the same utensils… and I was like “I mean, the guy just doesn’t want to EAT meat or cheese?” He said, “Oh, yeah! We can totally make him a chicken sandwich, or like, a salad with chicken on it…” ahaha ok dude, never mind.

    • http://vegweb.com/recipes/chocolate-chip-cookies-they-should-be
      We’ve made those cookies a hundred times and they are so good we don’t make the non-vegan choc chip version anymore. Yum!

    • Betty Crocker vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe. Use higher quality ingredients, especially thedairy free chips. I also sub vanilla butter baking emulsion (vegan) for vanilla extract to give extra buttery like flavor.



      My favorite cookies come from Earth Fare stores. They are my work travel treats since there is not an Earth Fare near me.

      • I will just add to the comment I eat vegan-ish and I hate buying fussy ingredients too. That’s why I like this recipe.

  13. Anonymous :

    I’ve been in my current job for about 8 months now, it’s a 2 year contract. It’s in a small town and I feel really isolated and lonely–posted this in another thread this week. Well today, I saw a position for which I have alot of the required skills and in a city where I have some family that live nearby and a place where I would probabky not feel as lonely. I want to apply but somehow I feel guilty about it, feeling like I’ll have let down my current boss who has been good so far. I know that by applying it does not mean that I would get the job. FWIW I am in a postdoctoral position, and the other job I saw is also a postdoc position in a lab where I have met at least two of the Professors and worked with one of the technicians–who was in the research group I did my PhD in. For those in academia or have had similar experiences, should I just throw my hat in the ring and see what happens?

    • Apply and see what happens. I’ve lived somewhere where I was lonely and unhappy, and moving made such a difference in my life <3

    • Anonymous :

      You need to be REALLY careful here. If your professor finds out you’re trying to leave before the end of your postdoc term, s/he may be livid. Academia is so much more dependent on relationships than other fields, and especially your relationship with your PhD and postdoc advisors. If I recall, you have only ~1 year left in your current job? I don’t think leaving early is worth burning these bridges. I would explore the working remotely possibility you asked about the other day, but honestly lots of people (especially academics) don’t love where they live and I think it’s just something you kind of have to s*ck up, especially because your position is already so limited in duration.

      (I’m assuming this is for a position that would want you to start immediately. If this job would begin after your current job is already scheduled to end, then you can certainly apply, but I’d probably tell your advisor about it. Academia isn’t like law or consulting, where you job hunt without your bosses knowing – advisors are usually fairly involved in a postdoc’s job search or at least aware of where they’re looking, because they can help you out with getting the next position.)

      • Professor :

        I agree with this, you need to be very careful here, unless you’re willing to completely burn bridges with your current group. A lot depends on how many other people are working for your advisor and whether money is short or if there’s more work to be done than people to do it (especially if it’s time sensitive). If it’s a big group, losing one person might not be such a big deal. Likewise, if funding is running low, they might happy to be able to support someone else instead. But if your project is completely dependent on you and there isn’t anyone else who can do it, then you could be leaving your advisor in a lousy position (assuming you were pretty definite about the two year commitment- if that was left flexible, I think you can get away with more). It also depends on the timing of the new position- if they were willing to wait 6 months for you to wrap things up and find a replacement, that might be more reasonable.

        • Assistant Prof :

          I agree with the comments posted above. If you were an Assistant Professor, I would say to throw your hat in the ring (APs go on the market all the time), but since you are a postdoc and this is for another postdoc position, things are very very different. It is expected that you will stay for the full 2 year term (assuming your contract is for the next two years and not just a “maybe” we will hire you next year). You really do not want to burn these bridges at this stage in your career. Honestly, being an academic means that you have very little control over where you live. Lots of universities and colleges are in isolated places. It may very well be that some day you end up at a more rural institution or at a place with few young faculty. This can actually be good practice for learning how to find ways to make your life fulfilling even if you are in an isolated location (if that makes sense).

          One big caveat to this: If your group is toxic or your post-doc advisor is emotionally abusive (which happens more than you would think), then (and only then) would I recommend trying to move. Even then you need to reach out to your former PhD advisors and tell them about the situation and help them explain in their letters why you want to move in a tactful way.

    • No harm in applying.

      • Anonymous :

        There’s totally harm in applying. Boss will almost certainly find out (academia is an incredibly small community) and may be upset. It’s not like the business world where you can have one or two bosses who don’t like you and you’re fine as long as you have other positive references. In academia, you pretty much always need an excellent reference from any person who supervised your graduate or postdoctoral work. Any future job’s hiring committee will look askance at a candidate who can’t supply a positive reference from the major professor of her first postdoc.
        As others pointed out, it’s quite possible the professor wouldn’t be upset about OP looking to leave, depending on timing and the lab’s needs, but I think OP really has to approach her own professor about this first. You really don’t job search covertly in academia, and certainly not at the postdoc stage when you are employed in a limited term position in someone else’s lab.

    • Anonymous :

      I would be really careful with this. In almost every situation I have come across, it is considered very bad form to leave a limited term position early. And leaving after 8 months almost always leaves a bad taste. If you need you current boss as a reference or if they will have an impact on your future in the field, I would not risk it.

  14. Anonymous :

    Flying in business class to europe — worth it? I’m in a major east coast city and would be flying to Paris or Edinburgh (depending on how I plan this trip.) I’m thinking I would fly outbound in business so I could sleep, then return in economy.

    I’ve flown business class to Asia (Hong Kong) and found it totally worth it. On the other hand, I fly to California several times a year and have never had an issue sitting in economy.

    I would be doing this with miles, but would still prefer to use them for other trips if it’s not really worth it. Thoughts?

    • Anonymous :

      Worth it for the outbound redeye if you make sure the plane you’ll be flying in has lay-flat seats. Not all of them do, it depends on airline and route.

    • I think it depends on you and how much you think you’d be able to sleep on a particular overnight flight and what your plans are for the day you land. If you are looking at one of the flights that leaves at like 5 or 6 pm from US east coast and then lands in Europe at 7 or 8 am next day, the reality (at least for me) is that you probably won’t spend that much time sleeping. By the time they serve dinner, you watch a movie, etc. there are only maybe 2-3 hours left before they wake you up for breakfast and landing preparations. But then again I know people who skip the meal service and just take a sleeping pill and pass out as soon as they board the plane so for them a lay flat seat may be more worth it.

      • France in September :

        Agree with this. From the east coast, it’s maybe a 7 hour flight to Paris (longer coming home thanks to the jet stream) — if you’re lucky and it’s a 9pm flight, maybe worth it to get 6 hours of comfortable sleep before all the noise of breakfast. If it’s a 6pm flight, agree, you’ll maybe get 2-3 hours of real sleep unless you really knock yourself out with an Ambien –> less worth it.

      • Anonymous :

        I stay awake for the dinner service and wake up at least an hour before landing due to the pressure changes, but don’t watch movies or anything and I’m usually able to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep on an 8-9 hour flight from NYC to Europe, which is enough for me to be functional the next day.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Worth it for sure.

      Another alternative would be to do premium economy one or both ways — although that depends on the airline. The European carriers seem to be way nicer than the U.S.-based carriers. Air France premium economy is very nice.

    • Anonymous :

      Air Canada has all lay-flat seats in business class and the prices are typically better than domestic airlines (in my experience) even though I know you plan to use miles. I’ve really taken to flying on Air Canada through Toronto (despite living in a large hub city) because you go through US customs in Toronto. I found the entire process to be relatively hassle free and you can still use your Global Entry).

    • 100% worth it, provided the seats are fully lie-flat. While I love flying first class, I generally think it’s a waste of money/points for domestic flights. However, we’ll typically hoard our miles to purchase two first class seats when we go abroad and I’ve never regretted it.

      That being said, I am a terrible plane sleeper and generally struggle with it, even in the lie-flats. If I was good at sleeping on planes, Premium Economy may be enough.

  15. Where to Park Down Payment Money :

    Hi all, when you were saving for a down payment on your home, what type of account did you leave it in? High-yield savings? CDs? Money market? I’m in Bay Area, where down payments are around 150k-200k, so it will take time to save up that much and I’m trying to figure out where I want to park the money while I’m saving. I don’t have immediate need/plans to buy, but am roughly thinking maybe in the next 2-3 years. Would love to hear what you all did (or wish you did!)

    • Anonymous :

      We just stuck in a high-interest rate savings account. We could have gotten more money in long-term CDs for sure, but DH was a postdoc applying to permanent jobs every year and once he got one we wanted to buy immediately in our new location, and one-year CD rates weren’t any better than our savings rate.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Hi fellow HCOL future buyer! :) We’re saving in a high interest savings account as well. I don’t feel comfortable putting this in the market and potentially losing a bunch if the market drops. I am not too familiar with how CDs work, but can you add to these as you go along or do you put in a lump sum and wait the 3 or 5 years before you take it out? We save monthly, so a lump sum wouldn’t work for us.

  16. Check bags in NYC? :

    I’m probably posting too late, but does anyone here have experience leaving bags somewhere while walking around NYC? My boyfriend is coming in with a small suitcase tomorrow, and the Met doesn’t allow checked luggage. I’ve looked at using Vertoe and Short Term Stow but they strike me as sketchy. If anyone had a good experience there or elsewhere, I’d really appreciate hearing about it!

    • Anonymous :

      Is your apartment/hotel not an option?

    • https://www.fya.nyc/pages/frequently-asked-questions

      I haven’t used any but these seem like potential options

    • We used Schwartz back in May. The facility does not project trust/reliability (crappy older building, weird elevator, bad signage, old paint), BUT our actual experience was totally fine – the hours and pricing were fair, and our luggage was safe & sound. There were lots of other bags there too.

  17. Amelia Bedelia :

    okay, my husband and I have agreed that we can NOT keep up with life lately. We have cleaners come every other week and they do a few loads of laundry, but that’s not enough. Our house is always a disaster and I am always behind. So, we are going to pay the cleaner to come in on alternate weeks for 4-6 hours and do “tasks” that we leave for her. Here’s what I have so far: laundry, chops vegetable and maybe shred meats for quick dinners through the week, straighten rooms, pick up dry cleaning and/or drop off.
    but what else? I never, ever have time but now that it’s come down to it I can’t think of what other tasks I need done. suggestions?

    • Grocery shopping. You plan your meals for the week, and leave her a list of all the food you’ll need for the entire week. She buys the food and puts it away. This would mesh nicely with some of the meal prep work (chopping veggies, cooking & shredding meat, cooking rice to freeze, etc)

    • Other errands you need to run? Grocery shopping (or accepting delivery and putting things away if you use Instacart or other grocery delivery)? Cook meals (that you pick) in advance that can be frozen or refrigerated and then reheated quickly (this probably depends on if your cleaner can cook)? Any outdoor spaces that need attention?

      As part of the normal weekly cleaning do the cleaners do some of the deep cleaning projects like cleaning out the refrigerator (getting rid of expired items, etc.) and cupboards, cleaning the oven, cleaning out garbage cans, etc.? You could have them start working some of those projects into the rotation.

    • anon for this :

      On the laundry, we looked into this recently and found that it was much more economical to use one of those fold and wash services as opposed to asking our housecleaner to do it. They offer pick and drop off services right to our door, and it’s only about $60 a week (and everything is already folded). It’s been a lifesaver.

    • It sounds like maybe there are some simple changes you can make in your own life without having to outsource…but I don’t know where you live. I’m in NoVA and my dry cleaner picks up and delivers to my house. Also, nearly all veggies are available chopped in the produce cases (that’s nationwide by now, yes?). Batch cook on Sundays – make a big roast or a pot of soup, and make individual containers for later in the week – plus crock-pot meals plus one night of pizza. Many grocery stores sell pre-marinated uncooked chicken and fish in a case right by the door so you can grab and go (HEB in Texas had the best pre-marinated fish! Bake for 15 minutes and you were done.). I buy everything in the universe online except meat and produce, so reduce your trips to the store with online shopping if you can.

    • Thistledown :

      Changing the sheets and cleaning out the fridge. If she can run errands, restocking things like Kleenex, TP, and dishwasher detergent. If you do a lot of online shopping, opening boxes, putting stuff away, and getting rid of the packaging. Depends on your comfort level, but maybe sorting through mail and tossing the obvious junk? If you travel, unpacking.

  18. Garden Parties :

    Well, it is Friday, so. What time / day do you and your partner usually have s*x?

    Lately DH and I have been having timing issues. Of course more is going on than just timing, but that’s a different conversation. We don’t have kids yet, and we aren’t doing it often enough to satisfy me. This is relatively recent. Please no dramatic comments about divorce…

    Morning is always advertised as the best time. But whenever we try that, we’re both stressed and watching the clock because of work. And the dogs are always barking, it’s just stressful, and nobody finishes.

    Early evenings, we’re both hungry as soon as we get home. Then we’re full from dinner!

    My preferred time is bedtime. Because I have a longer going-to-bed routine than my spouse, he’s usually in bed about 5 minutes earlier than me. By the time I get there, he is already falling asleep. So I’ve tried just getting in bed when he does, and planning to get ready for bed after we do it. But then we don’t do it, I’m lying in bed without having washed my face and wondering at what point to just give up.

    Therapist says I need to reset expectations and find intimacy in other ways. But I just like it! Yes my husband and I have talked about it. He says it’s just less exciting to him anymore because I’m so familiar, that it’s different now that we’re married.

    Also…. he got an Rx for Viagra as that’s a sometimes issue. Am I just really naive – when we went to the pharmacy it was something like $800. Is there no way to get that covered by insurance?

    He’s 39 and I’m 27. We’re newlyweds. We’re doing it about once a week.

    • Sassyfras :

      I prefer morning sex and he prefers night. We compromise and sometimes we do it in the morning, sometimes at night. Sometimes it’s Sunday at 2pm because our daughter is napping. What happens when you get right into bed with him, are you expecting him to initiate or is he turning you down? My advice to you is to communicate about how often you would like to and he would like to, and find some level you can agree on if there’s a gap. Schedule sex, if necessary. Initiate first if you feel like you want to get it on. Good luck…

      • Sassyfras :

        Oh – and maybe find a way you can spice it up together? Toys, watching some videos, whatever makes it less ‘familiar’ to him?

    • Anonymous :

      Assuming this is a legit post … if you implemented your therapist’s advice, what would you be doing differently?

      • Garden Parties :

        I don’t know why it wouldn’t be real… maybe the 1/week thing, but we’re newlyweds sans kids.

        If I did as my therapist says, I’d accept the fact that we are never going to have s*x as much as I want and I’d find the same amount of satisfaction from things like a hug goodbye in the morning. I’d realize that lots of couples only have it a few times a year, so I have it lucky. She has this whole theory about s*x being wrapped up in self esteem, needing to feel desired/etc… but I honestly think I just feel h*rny. I feel great about my body and general appeal. sigh

        • Senior Attorney :

          I don’t have any specific advice, but you might want to take a look at “Passionate Marriage” or other books by the unfortunatley-named Dr. David Schnarch. He talks a lot about how every couple has a high-desire partner and a low-desire partner, and has ways to help couples reconcile differing libidos.

    • “So I’ve tried just getting in bed when he does, and planning to get ready for bed after we do it. But then we don’t do it, I’m lying in bed without having washed my face and wondering at what point to just give up.”

      Something about this phrasing makes me wonder if you’re actually attempting to initiate when you do this? Or if you’re maybe just getting in bed and hoping he will get the hint?

      • Anonymous :

        +1 Plan to be the initiator. Consider turning dinner/evening (when full from dinner) into an opportunity for fore play. So you have pre-partied before either of you actually gets into bed.

        • This was my thought too. Why does it not happen when you do this? Are you just expecting him to initiate? Is he actively turning you down?

          I do find his statements that it’s somehow less interesting to him bc you’re “familiar” and it is “different” now that you’re married to be concerning.

          Has he been married before?

    • Anonymous :

      My SO and I also have different schedules – he goes to sleep early, and I’m going to bed sometimes hours later. I find it works better on weekends because he’s willing to stay up later. I also do my bedtime routine earlier sometimes and lounge around in my pajamas until bedtime, since it also takes me a lot longer to get ready.

      When you’re in bed with yours, what happens when you initiate? Would bring more aggressive help?

    • This sounds so awful when I think about, but for us – we start between 9:15-9:30pm virtually every time. We do have kids, so during the day is not an option (also, I can’t imagine having morning s*x – I would just fall right back to sleep). 9:15ish is late enough that dinner is digested and the kids are asleepish/in bed, but early enough that I don’t just fall asleep (and gives me some time after to do a little work/prep for tomorrow if needed).

      But I would say that if s*x is initiated, it happens. We usually bring it up at some point in the evening, so we can set expectations – otherwise the night just gets away from us and it’s 10:30 and time for bed.

    • Anonymous :

      Not a fix for everything but a comment about the face washing. It sounds like your bedtime routine is getting in the way of your sss life. Maybe you could go wash your face earlier in the evening but really (as someone who only occasionally washes my face before bed) i’d try to not worry about that part. Just have sss, enjoy it! If you skip a few routines a few times a month, you’ll still be fine – maybe the spontenaity and not needing to follow a prescribed ‘getting ready for bed’ routine will legit get you two out of a sss routine and spice things up a bit. Jump him on the couch, flossing be d******.

    • Not that I’m great in this department but you’re approaching it wrong. It’s good that you don’t mind initiating. [email protected] doesn’t just happen in the bedroom. Initiate earlier and or while fully clothed not horizontal. Change up the routine. Ignore your bedtime routine or do it after when he’s asleep.

      Scenario 1: forget familiar. Set the stage by telling him you are planning a romantic night. Plan ahead getting some light food like premade tapas and cava. Key is not to overeat. Candles. change into something casual but flirty like silk camisole and flowy pants. Eat lightly then seduce him.

      Scenario 2: find Netflix DVD or pay per view movie that is flirty or suggestive. On weekend night get movie, fancy bar drinks and snacks. Watch movie. Cuddle. Suggest moving to bedroom.

      Scenario 3: Get to bedroom before him at bedtime, set mood lighting. Change into something revealing. Greet him at door and seduce him before he’s horizontal.

      Scenario 4: Plan to have date night like before you were married. Go to dinner or movie. Cuddle in car or taxi/uber. Then undress each other before getting into bed.

      Some of these may seem contrived but you’re just destined for blah non romantic box checking otherwise which is a bad pattern so early and so young.

      • Or to be entirely direct…
        Scenario 5: Walk around your house n*ked. Sit on his lap. Problems will be solved.

    • Anonymous :

      When is his preferred time? For right now I would try to initiate when he is most likely to want it, then later work on a better schedule. Also, try kind of revving him up during the day. Send little suggestive texts, tell him you can’t wait for tonight, etc. When I do this, my husband is ready to go right away!

      To more answer your questions, we usually have it 2-3 times a week and usually at night once the kids are asleep. Occasionally we do it in the morning, usually if one of us has woken up earlier (sometimes we set an alarm, which is not as romantic, but we have a morning routine to get through on time as well haha.) And sometimes we just sneak off into the closet on a random weekend afternoon or right after work and have a quickie. We are both always reaching for each other and randomly kissing throughout the evening, which kind of makes the transition to s3x pretty seamless. Good luck. This has to be really frustrating for you. I would also invest in a toy or two and just take care of yourself on the nights you really want it and your husband is tired or not interested or whatever. He might decide he wants to join in and if not, at least you get satisfied.

    • I really dislike mornings, even though I am generally a morning person. The combination of feeling groggy, needing my coffee, morning breath, and needing to be at work soon just totally kills any desire for me. I prefer lazy weekend afternoons or early evenings; what doesn’t work for me is us getting to the bedroom 5 minutes before I’d like to be passing out for the night. I’ve found it to be more intimate and romantic if we retire to the bedroom a full hour or more before bedtime so we can be together without being tired or grumpy or rushed. It really is all about timing, so keep trying to find whatever works for you and don’t feel like you “should” want to do it at certain times or that it’s “not normal” to mix it up. Also, my husband would generally do it any time of day or night but I’ve been trying to emphasize that I’ll be much more into it if we could (for the most part) avoid mornings or late nights.

    • I come at this from the opposite direction (your husband). My suggestion is not to wait until he’s in bed!

      When I go to bed, I am DONE. Not a night person and basically falling asleep watching Netflix – that’s when I drag myself off the couch and collapse into bed, and my DH comes into bed with me expecting some noogie and feels rejected if he doesn’t get it. Not a good time!

      The good time is before I am ready to go to bed (=go to sleep). While watching netflix, I’d like to be caressed. I like some hinting and double entrende and foreplay during dinner. Occasionally that got so far that we stopped dinner to go to the bedroom, and came back to finish our food. That’s fine! Even better is texts during the day hinting at what’s to come, and a quick check in and some kissing or other suggestive activity after getting home which slowly ramps up (but not so slowly that I’m dropping asleep first).

      • Thistledown :

        I know that scientifically speaking, you’re supposed to do something scary/exciting. So, Saturday morning sky diving followed by an afternoon of fun? More seriously, I think you need to work on having less of a routine in general- it sounds like your relationship is in a rut.

    • Anonymous :

      So…some folks (including you, OP) may not like this response, but – his age may be part of the issue. I have been with my husband since I was 25 and he was 31. Around his late 30s, I definitely noticed the frequency of our LGPs was changing, and now that he’s in his late 40s, it’s preetttyy different. A 39-year-old guy is not a 27-year-old guy (and just previewing, a 47-year-old guy is REALLY not a 27-year-old guy). This is very different and individual for everyone, but straight up: most late-30s guys I know and have heard about have ED issues, and most late-30s guys I know do not have smokin’ gardening lives where they’re going at it like rabbits all the time. I say this not just from the perspective of being married, but also from having guy friends that age, and also from my female friends talking about their husbands. My best friend married a guy who’s 10 years older than her, and we talk about this a lot. Now that he’s in his 50s, he is experiencing some things she did not feel ready to handle – like colonoscopies – but that are perfectly age-appropriate for him. People think age is just a number, until people start experiencing age-related issues and you realize – oh, right. Maybe there is a difference here. I think there’s a lot in the media that makes it seem like all guys of all ages are just raring to go all the time, but from my anecdata, that is not the truth.

      I think the other suggestions here are great in terms of making time, being more forward about initiating, etc. But if you’re expecting his 39-year-old drive to match your 27-year-old drive, you may be expecting too much, even with an ED aid involved. He may not seem older than you most of the time – I feel like that about my husband – but he is older than you, and not by a small number of years. This may be one adjustment you have to make, being married to an older guy.

      • Yeah I agree with this. My husband and I are the same age, but his drive has slowed down a LOT over the almost 20 years we’ve been together (mid-20s to mid-40s) while mine stayed the same or maybe even increased. Men in their 40s just don’t want to do it as much as men in their 20s.

    • Is he healthy? Falling asleep so quickly & needing ED medication sounds like he has some health issues. Is he sleeping well/enough? Exercising? Healthy weight? This does not sound just like an age thing.

  19. Tell Us A Secret! :

    What is something you’d never say out loud or tell anyone you know?

    Remember that anonymous usernames are probably different people and remember to add +1 or supportive comments for those who are brave enough to share! <3

    • I am glad to be single most of the time, but sometimes I wish I was married just to have someone help carry in the groceries or go to the store to pick up ginger ale when I’m sick. That feels stupid since I know I could hire help for big projects and I can make 2 trips with groceries and take myself to the store, but when those moments are happening, I really really wish I wasn’t single.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 — and all the yard work!

      • ANONYMOUS :

        Yep. If I’m feeling particularly run down in life, I always always get sad I’m single when I’m hauling groceries up 3 flights of stairs. There’s something about the constant-ness of it- I’ve been hauling my groceries every week by myself for half a decade.

        Despite all the therapy, I’m still really scared I’ll be single forever. And I’m so f’ing tired of being the nth wheel.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 The only reason I want to be married is for stuff like this. And someone to split the rent with.

        • I feel this so hard right now.

        • Thistledown :

          I’m pretty sure the main point of being married is having someone around who can reach the top shelf and carry suitcases for you. Bonus points is they’re traveling with you and can put your cart-on in the overhead bin.

    • anonymous :

      I work from home as a freelancer and everyone thinks I have this great life in pjs and no early mornings, but sometimes I want to scream about how stressful it is to always be client-seeking, but I feel bad venting to them since they think their work lives are all so much harder. I know wardrobe and sleeping in is great but stop assuming my work life is perfect!

      • Anonymous :

        +1. It’s worse when you’re a parent. You say ‘I work from home’ and people have this mental image of you selling essential oils online while the kid naps. NO, GO AWAY. I actually have to focus and call clients and write things and bring in more than half of household income.

    • anonymous for this one :

      I hate other people’s kids when I’m shopping. I don’t think your kid is adorable and want to chat, I want you to move the cart so I can get the cereal from the shelf you’re blocking. I know you can tune out your kid’s screams but the rest of us can’t so please at least try to stop it rather than continuing to shop and pretend you don’t notice your shrieking child. Also, your kid running between clothing racks isn’t a fun game while you shop, they’re running into people and knocking things off hangers that someone has to hang back up.


      • anonagrouch :

        YES THIS +10000000

      • I mean, if someone is blocking the shelf you can say “excuse me” and start to reach and she’ll move, right? If you’re talking to her, she might think you want to talk, not that you’re seething with resentment under your polite smile?

        And just a reminder: kids are actual human beings. Yes, they have different abilities and needs than adults, but they’re people too. Of course parents should try to teach kids to behave appropriately in different situations, and to guide them to have good manners and not disturb people, but know that it’s an ongoing thing that really does take time and developmental readiness.

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t buy “developmental readiness.” It would be anomalous for children to act out with bad behavior in many cultures. I think parents lower expectations when they don’t know what they are doing and when they are their own with no community support. It doesn’t help, however, when the little community that exists reacts with annoyance at any attempt to engage.

          • I guess I mean that everything I’ve read has talked about how hard it is for say a two year old to control their emotions. Like it really is devastating to be told no — not because you’re spoiled, but because your brain isn’t developed to give you the “eh, my life is otherwise great” perspective. But “bad behavior” is definitely a cultural thing, right? Like if I could leave my kid outside of the grocery store to scream and play with other kids or something and that was safe, I’d be all over it. But she’d get run over and I’d get arrested.

            I take my kid with me places because (1) otherwise how the f am I going to get groceries/whatever? and (2) otherwise how the f is she going to learn how to behave in those places?

            But now I feel awful and think that probably the person who appears to be enjoying making conversation with my kid (which again, I thought they were doing because they wanted to, not because I was blocking the cereal???) actually despises her and wishes I would keep her out of sight. So that’s cool.

          • Anonymous :

            +1 Plus, I don’t think most people expect a 2 yr old to be able to control their emotions and logically reason. But anyone who says they can’t teach their 5 yr old to control themselves publicly because of “developmental readiness” (obviously extenuating circumstances) is just lazy. A 5 yr old can be taught to act appropriately in public for as long as a grocery trip takes. If your kid has a tantrum, remove them from the store or situation like a responsible parent, don’t let them tear up a store just so you can get through your trip.

          • Aight my kid is 2 and mostly doesn’t cry in the store but sometimes has a hard time holding it together — even though I am the mean mom and I follow through on threats/consequences and she knows it. But still there’s no way she’ll have the self-discipline, reasoning skills, and judgment of an adult until she is, well, an adult.

            I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a five-year-old having a tantrum in a store. Is that a real problem you face a lot?

          • Anonymous :

            If a two-year old is crying in the grocery store, my only response is “word.”

            But yeah… I’ve seen five-year-olds having tantrums in stores. I don’t know if I’m making it up, but a genuinely upset child strikes me in much the way a genuinely upset adult would, except that I’m less surprised that they are showing their emotions openly.

            It’s the kids who are deliberately seeking negative attention through shouting, destructive behavior, threatening their parents, hitting each other, etc. I’m honestly not even that annoyed by kids who are just kind of doing whatever they want… they are usually chill, which is the opposite of escalating to a full-blown tantrum.

            I will say that portable screen entertainment has made a positive difference…

          • I see 5-7 year olds having sobbing screaming madfits pretty much every time I’m in Target. I live in a fairly affluent area and the kids are spoiled brats. They are usually screaming/crying because they want something.

          • Anonymous :

            I love interacting with little kids at the store. Mine are teenagers now and I have a lot of warm memories about that stage. When a kid screams I try to smile at the parent if I can catch their eye, or otherwise just go about my business.

        • Anonymous :

          And this is why people can’t say it out loud. As soon as you suggest that you don’t love every child every created, people jump all over you as a horrible person.

          • Dude you don’t have to love them, but they have a right to exist in public spaces just like all other humans. Imagine if you said, “I hate old people in grocery stores.” It would be mean, right?

          • Yeah but no one lets their Gramdma with dementia wander around a restaurant while tbey ignore it like it isn’t happening and expects other diners to entertain het/talk to her/keep her from grabbing sharp objects.
            This happens with someone’s toddler at least 1/3 of the time I try to eat out in my suburban area. No, I don’t want to play peek a boo with your 2 year old who needs his nose wiped while I’m eating my potstickers.

            I raised my kids (and no, they were not allowed to pull that shit in public) I’m not interested in minding yours because you want a night out but don’t want to get a sitter.

            We’ve gotten to the point we only go to places with a separate bar area so we know we can eat in peace. This is not an issue anytime we go into the city, but something about living in suburbia makes people feel entitled.

          • Ask me that after somebody decides to write a check in the 10 items or less lane….

      • Anonymama :

        Hah, I hate my own kids when I’m shopping! Sometimes they are great, usually they are fine, but sometimes they are hellions, but I still have to get food, so unfortunately must inflict them on others.

      • Anonymous :

        Also, your kid riding his scooter up and down the aisles of a crowded grocery store isn’t cute. It’s keeping everyone else from getting what they need as they tried to avoid crashes, since he sure isn’t looking where he’s going.

        And when your kid throws all the candy from the display on the floor while you chat on your cell, and the poor minimum-wage clerk asks him to stop, and you respond “I was going to make him clean it up but now I won’t because you’re trying to tell me I’m not a good parent,” that’s not cool either.

        P.S. I would also hate old people who behaved this way in grocery stores.

      • Grouchy shopper :

        +1. And the people blocking the grocery store food bar at lunchtime on a weekday with their cart stroller while people dressed in business clothes who have exactly 1 hour for lunch try to wait patiently behind them.

        Also, that family that goes grocery shopping as a group (2 adults with multiple small children), treating it like a sightseeing expedition and stands as a family pondering taco shells for way too long, shuffles around the store in a huge pack, letting their kids push the cart, and being in the way in EVERY SINGLE AISLE I’m trying to get down.

        I won’t say I “hate” them, but I sure do think, “ugggggggggghhhhhh not you again” when I see them in the store. And stop letting your 7 year old push the cart! Good grief.

      • My grandmother once told me that when my dad and his brother were around 3 and 4, they misbehaved in the grocery store one Saturday, the only day she could go grocery shopping. She warned them that if they didn’t start behaving, they would have to leave and just eat whatever was left in the house all week. They kept misbehaving, so she left the cart in the middle of the store, took them out to the car, spanked them (it was the 50s), and drove them home. They all ate from the pantry/stuff they didn’t like all week. Apparently, the kids’ grocery shopping behavior improved dramatically after that.

        But yeah, even that wouldn’t work for a 1-2 year old.

      • I despise toddler terrorists and the parents who negotiate with them. You don’t negotiate with toddlers!!! Don’t offer them a cookie or a juice or a choice in cereal or options. They don’t need options, the need boundaries and expectations. They need you to reinforce them and follow through – not negotiate with them because you feel bad for having a job/life.

      • My kid has freaked out at the grocery store and sometimes there is only so much you can do. I can’t stand when people want to involve their kids in the checkout process when there is a line.

    • I don’t have a trust fund!!!! I am poor! I know my relatives are rich, I know I have a fancy last name, but I don’t have a cent. I payed for my own education and I work to pay my rent.

      • Anonymous :

        Now I’m so curious what your last name is! And good for you for making it on your own.

        • Sorry, didn’t mean to cause mystery! It’s just difficult because there is no way to really tell people I’m SOL when it comes to the family money without either sounding bitter myself or like my family is full of a**holes. They are kind of a**holes, but I definitely don’t want the family money I love the freedom of being able to skip Christmas or charity things or supporting awful political candidates.

    • Secret for this :

      3 separate secrets.

      I’ve cheated. We were long distance and he never knew. I broke up with him a few months later. We were together for 5 years. I don’t have a great reason, I just fell out of love with him.

      I had sex with 2 different guys in the same day.

      I can’t read a traditional clock. Okay, I can, but it takes me way too long. I don’t know if there is such a thing as “clock-face-blindness,” but if there is, I have it.

      • I also have trouble reading analog clocks! Especially if someone asks me the time and I’m looking at the clock thinking “ok, its just past the 5, thats 25, now the big hand is between the 7 and 8.. omg I’m taking too long.. omg this person is gonna think I can’t read time… AHHHH”

        I’m otherwise an extremely highly educated professional so this is a deep dark secret for me.

    • I’m expecting my first baby soon and am absolutely terrified about the pain of labor and what labor and nursing are going to do to my body, both in terms of physical discomfort and vanity. I’m pretty sure most pregnant women have some anxiety about it, but mine is next level. If I hear or read one more story like “I tore from here to here” or “the doctor had to stick her arm in up to the elbow to scrape the placenta out,” I think I’m actually going to die from the fear and horror.

      I know I will love my son and I will almost certainly feel like it was all worth it once he’s here and I know adoption is not a simple thing and comes with huge challenges of its own, but the more I think about labor the more I regret not pushing my husband harder on my desire to adopt. It just feels so unfair that I’m the only one who has to destroy their body (and, lets be honest, risk their life) but we both get to enjoy all the good stuff about being parents.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I hear you. I was so, so, so scared. So scared. Just like, crippling, wanting to cry scared. Wanting some kind of way out of this scary scary thing. And combined with the intense love I felt for this kid who wasn’t born yet, how much I wanted her, and how fragile the whole thing felt, and how fragile I felt — it was not a glowing, miraculous time for me, to put it mildly.

        I would gently encourage you to talk to a therapist or someone about this. Not because you shouldn’t feel this way, but because you have to get through it, and it would be nice if you could get through it with fewer uncomfortable feelings. <3 <3 <3

        P.S. Maybe after the kid is born you make your husband do Saturday morning early rising to take care of the kid. Every Saturday you get to sleep in, from now until she's 18. Maybe?

        • Rainbow Hair :

          oops sorry, please read my masculine pronouns as feminine, now that i see it’s a son who’s coming :)

      • Senior Attorney :


        Will you please come back and report in on how it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be (I hope I hope I hope!) and how much you adore your sweet son?

      • Boston Legal Eagle :

        I feel you on the unfairness that is pregnancy, childbirth and nursing if you choose to do so. My husband is an equal parent all the way but these early parts certainly were not equal.

        I will recommend an epidural to you for the actual labor. Just my personal experience but I didn’t feel any of the pain of pushing or tearing after I got the epidural. No matter what, you are strong and you can do this!!

      • I give you 100% permission to formula feed from the start if you’re not totally jazzed about nursing. Fed is best and there are MAJOR efficiencies when using formula.

      • I hear you. But it could all be okay, too! Not everyone tears and you don’t have to breast feed if you don’t want to, and if you do, you may find you like it. I hope I’m not jinxing myself by saying this (pregnant again) but I had a relatively easy delivery: it was quick, I got an epidural so there was minimal pain only until that point, and I didn’t tear. I also liked nursing and ended up basically losing all my baby weight from it while eating all the croissants. I ended up a bit smaller than I started out (until I was exactly back to the same because I kept eating the same after I stopped nursing). And my boobs look more or less the same (I recommend reclining or lying down when you nurse and always wearing a soft bra of some kind).

        I think one of the reasons these things are so hard sometimes is that women are told over and over how this is so magical and nursing is so great and then the reality is not so easy. I actually think having anxiety can be a good thing in this scenario – I expected everything to be horrible and didn’t expect to nurse if it didn’t come easily and I think that helped me be pleasantly surprised by the whole thing. A few things I’d recommend – def., an epidural: it helped me relax about a lot of my anxieties. Also, talk to your doctor: I told mine that I was really nervous about tearing and she used so much mineral oil on me or whatever they use – I think having her share my goal really helped. If you decide to nurse, I can’t recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby whatever n-pple butter enough. Super helpful in the beginning and it didn’t feel like a ‘gross’ product to me, which the more mainstream stuff did and also it’s all natural so you don’t have to wonder if it’s wipe off before you feed baby.

        Seriously, it may all be terrible or it may not be. You will be okay either way. But try to remember bad isn’t the only option. I was always horrified to read about how you must but hemorrhoid pads and all this stuff because everyone needs it forever after but you know what? I didn’t. And maybe I will next time but I’m not going to drive myself crazy about it now.

      • I think that feeling is very normal. I was also so, so scared. The first thing I asked my doctor when confirming the pregnancy was: it’s in there, how’s it going to get out? His answer: oh, we’ll get it out… one way or the other. I’ve had 3 kids – 1 c-section and 2 VBACS. If I can do it, you can too! It will all be ok and yes, is all worth it. Congratulations!

      • Thank you all so, so much for the encouragement and practical advice! And thanks AIMS for sharing a positive story! I feel like when you’re pregnant people love to tell you horror stories so I appreciate hearing a much happier story. I hope everything goes just as smoothly for you this time around!

        • Anonymous :

          Anon, if you want to read positive labor stories look at Ina May Gaskin’s books. I suspect half of the women were high as a kite when they gave birth, but the way they describe labor you’d think it was the best thing ever. My experience was slightly less fun but I had an epidural and tearing was not a big deal. And my son and my body took to nursing really well. Other things were hard about becoming a parent, but not the ones I thought to worry about.

        • Thanks Anon! I hope everything goes smoothly for you, too. It’s a scary experience but you will get through.

    • Anonymous :

      I want to sell our house and buy a nice, brand-new little townhouse that is sparkling clean and not falling apart and has a nice kitchen.

    • Anonymous :

      My husband and I have sex about once a month and we’re perfectly happy and satisfied our sex lives.

      • We do it 1-2 times a week (together 10 years), a rate my best friend has deemed “way too little.” It works 100% for me, although my husband would like it a bit more.

      • Anonymous :

        It’s more like twice a month for us, but +1.

      • We’re more like once every six months. And again, perfectly happy and satisfied as evidenced by frequent communication about it, but this is not something you can say to anyone without them thinking your marriage is broken.

        Would it work for everyone? No. Does it work for us? Yes.

    • I think people who say they hate children are awful, and seem to forget that they were once children themselves.

      • I guess it’s not a secret that I agree (-: (Kids are hard! And loud! And no one should feel forced to have their own! But it’s just not fair to get mad at them for existing in public as kids!)

        • anonymous :

          I don’t think anyone thinks kids shouldn’t exist or they shouldn’t be in public. I think the bigger issue is that people don’t want to hear someone else’s screaming kid for 10+ minutes straight or to dodge someone else’s kid or to pick up after or feel badly watching employees pick up after someone’s kid.

          Me going to the store shouldn’t result in me having a migraine because an 8 yr old is screaming for a chocolate bar and the parent is just letting them scream. Me trying on clothes at a department store shouldn’t mean me smelling p00 because mom is swapping a dirty diaper for a clean room in a dressing room. Me saving up money to go to a nice restaurant for date night shouldn’t result in me not being able to talk with my honey because the kid at the next table is screaming and throwing their dinner. Employees making minimum wage at a store shouldn’t have to sweep up dumped bags of cheeri0s or rehang clothes torn down by kids playing between the racks.

          It’s not about kids not being allowed to breathe in public, it’s about other people having experiences in the same public space and not thinking everyone should have to listen to a child and employees paid to work shouldn’t be expected to clean up kids’ messes. Letting kids do this or expecting a toddler to sit still in a fancy restaurant for 3 hours or thinking that it’s someone else’s problem if a kid damages items or makes a mess is just crummy parenting and being a crummy entitled human being.

          • uh … does this really happen to you?

            Sometimes people have to move to avoid hitting my kid with a cart, but every time I push a cart I steer around all the other people in the store, regardless of age. Not hitting people with a cart is part of sharing the world with people.

            Again, maybe you’ve heard an 8 year old scream for 10 minutes straight, but I sort of don’t believe you. It seems like something you’d have to train and practice for, that amount of sustained screaming. Similarly, I’ve never been at a nice date night restaurant where a kid screams and throws things and you can’t hear your tablemate. Does this really happen? Or maybe your disdain for children makes just hearing them talk and interact in age appropriate ways offensive to you? I’ve been into my share of change rooms and never seen a mom changing a diaper in there. Maybe your disgust with children (who cannot use toilets because they are BABIES) makes you imagine that they smell offensively?

          • Yes, these things happen. I was out shopping today. At one store, a girl pushed a rack of clothes into me. Not intentionally, but why was she pushing the rack around in the first place? At another store, 3 kids were running through the store for several minutes and another was throwing a tantrum in the checkout line. All were between 5 and 8.

          • Baroness Bomburst :

            This stuff absolutely happens. I watched 2 adults let their small children jump up and down and at their booth, run around, and make a scene at a Smith & Wollensky at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night (which was a special and very splurge-y night for me and my husband, so I won’t forget how disappointed I was), and another guy walk his toddler up and down the very tight aisles of a teensy tiny white tablecloth restaurant and then stand her on the table, also at a later hour on a Saturday night. I’ve also watched a family hide their vomiting child under a restaurant table and then leave behind the plastic containers of puke for the servers to clean up. And it only takes a quick google search to find numerous stories about people changing diapers on restaurant tables. These aren’t high crimes, but for non-kid people it’s really intrusive (that includes parents who want to spend a kid-free night out).

            You may not believe it, and maybe you have better manners than others, but people absolutely do let their kids do this stuff, and it really sucks.

            And, I don’t bring vodka and cigars to your kid’s soccer game/play/birthday party and behave like I would in a bar because that would be inappropriate. I don’t see why it isn’t equally inappropriate for kids to be in fancy places at later weekend hours if they can’t behave appropriately.

          • Yes, this stuff seriously happens — fancy restaurant and kid allowed to scream for a prolonged period. Or my friend’s awful friend who changed her 4 month old on the restaurant table we were at (yeah…I left at that point).

            I love babies (my love for them peters out between when they are between 6 and 16), but I have seen all sorts of adults parenting poorly. I have a lot of sympathy for crying babies and screaming kids, because they are children and don’t know/can’t do better. But their terrible parents should, and when they fail to act, sometimes the annoyance transfers to the little screaming body when it should be with the dolt failing to do his or her job.

          • I was just a brunch at a fancy place and the family next to us decided it would be appropriate to play a cartoon really loudly on their ipad for their kids, disturbing the whole restaurant. People are really oblivious about how rude they are about some things.

      • Anonymous :

        Ha, I share your opinion and am not afraid to say it out loud. Not wanting your own children is fine (and people who say its selfish are awful), but I can’t stand people who say they “hate” kids. Replace the word “kids” with literally any other group of people and it would never be a socially acceptable thing to say.

        • Thistledown :

          I don’t hate kids, but I don’t like them either. I hated being a child and was extremelt difficult. I was actually much easier by the time I was 16-probably because I was so much happier when I was able to be independent.

    • I am afraid that I met the man who would be my best shot at a marriage partner but he’s already married. It’s one of those we met each other too late type things. He’s perfectly happy with his life. However there’s definitely a deeper emotion that we both feel for each other. We live in different states and it doesn’t hold me back from dating other people and being open to others. So… yeah….

    • Anonymous :

      I hate it when parents walk their knee-height, slow walking children through crowds. You’re typically moving quickly through the crowd and that kid is NOT at eye level and you can’t see them and you’re swerving at the last minute argh…

  20. Unhappy Friday :

    So, I’m in communications at a new company. I was hired as the head of the department, but have recently come to learn that the CEO doesn’t see that communications is a core function– I’ve found I’m being excluded from decisionmaking/a seat at the senior leadership table. I’ve also discovered that there will be a new Chief of Staff position coming in directly above me and few other folks, but not above the other department heads. Any advice on arguing my case, that communications is an essential part of a functioning organization? What a start to the weekend…

    • Anonymous :

      Oh boy. I’m sorry. (A lot of companies don’t – until they have a crisis. What is their plan for crisis communications? And that’s basic stuff…)
      If it helps you argue your case, Spencer Stuart and Weber Shandwick have a series of annual surveys called The Rising CCO – the latest edition is here: https://www.spencerstuart.com/research-and-insight/the-rising-cco-vi

    • Some leaders prefer to have small and actionable “senior leadership table”, so not all functions get to be there, since commercial roles get the priority. I myself am sitting at our leadership committee which comprises of 9 people – however, we would be fine with 5, since 4 rarely add any value to the discussions. I would not take it personally, but would have a lunch with the CEO and let him talk about his vision, strategy and plans. This will help you better understand where the company is heading and how you can add value.
      No org structure is forever and a Chief of Staff may be a better ear for you and your ideas.

  21. I’ve heard plenty on this forum about the benefits of using Retinol. I’m 24 and take pretty good care of my skin, but Retinol was never really on my radar before reading about it here. So if I want to give it a try, any suggestions for a first product? I’m not willing to splurge for a spendy brand. I guess I’m asking, is this something where the cheap option at Target isn’t good enough?

    • BabyAssociate :

      Yes, go to the dermatologist and get a Retin-A prescription. Only use it at night and use a good sunscreen during the day.

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t take Retinol at age 24. Skin turnover decreases with age. At 24, skin turnover rates are already great. At 24, I would rely on dietary vitamin A.

    • Depending on your insurance/if you see a primary care doctor or derm for other things, ask for a rX for retin-a. The generic, with my insurance, is $7, which is cheaper than the cheapest drugstore stuff, and actually really works.

      • Anonymous :

        Depending on your age your insurance may require the doctor to certify that the Retin-A is for acne and not wrinkles.

        A person with gray hair and acne

        • Should have said that…signed, a person with gray hair, wrinkles, and acne!

          • this is so funny, because I actually do have fine wrinkles, 4 grey hair and full-blown adult acne

    • The YouTube vlogger/dermatologist Dr. Dray has some great videos about this. Now that Differin (Adapalene) is over the counter, you no longer need a prescription for a retinoid, like you used to. Differin and Retinol are slightly different chemicals that target slightly different receptors, but they are both part of the same family and the general effect is the same. So if you want some of the mild exfoliation/collagen boosting/wrinkle preventing effects of Retinol, consider trying over-the-counter Differin first and seeing if you notice a difference in your skin. Just be sure to introduce it slowly to avoid over-irritating your skin.

    • Anonymous :

      You’re young. I’d start with ROC rather than getting a prescription.

  22. Winter pregnancy shoes? :

    So I just hit my third trimester. I’ve been living in Birkenstocks as much as I can. (Still wearing Cole Haan wedges on court days but for as little as I can get away with.) But winter is coming! I don’t live in a super cold climate but would love recommendations for easy shoes with the same support as Birks but that cover my toes. And aren’t hideous. And hopefully that involve zero bending over to put on (it’s really getting not cute when I drop something on the floor these days). Thanks!

  23. Re: checking bags in NYC

    I’m on the UWS 1.2 miles from the Met and wouldn’t mind keeping a bag for you for the day. I’ll be in and out tomorrow but have a doorman. Leave me a way to contact you if this is of interest. :)

    Another idea is to leave it at some restaurant where you plan to eat, maybe one that’s slightly nicer and has a coat check. Call ahead and ask if they’ll do it as you make a reservation.

  24. Rainbow Hair :

    I’m kissing my rainbow hairs goodbye tomorrow. They’re underneath… like if I did a half-up half-down thing, the bottom would be rainbow and the top would be my regular brown hair.

    I’m thinking of asking my hairdresser to put a color that’s slightly darker than my natural color on there, for depth/because it’s fall. Is that idea silly? Will it look silly? Is there a name for something like that, so I can search for pictures?

  25. Sloan Sabbith :

    Book club group has been created on Goodreads! The moderator of the prior group hasn’t been active on Goodreads for a long time and so I decided to create a new group.

    Group name: For Overachieving Chicks- ThisSiteName

    Poll is up for our October book, with four choices- What Happened, Sapiens, Notorious Life of RBG, and Four Tendencies. You can add other ideas. It’s open until the 25th so I have some time to set up the discussions.

    I’ll be adding and making it more engaging throughout the weekend, including an introduction topic.

    Note: Don’t feel pressure to out yourself as who you are on here if you don’t wish to, of course!

  26. Sloan Sabbith :

    Check back for a post about the book club group, in mod- it’s title is “last three words of the slogan of here- ThisSiteName.” Started a new one because the moderator of the other is no longer active on good reads.

    Poll for the first book is up!

  27. Sloan Sabbith :

    Oh for the love of g-d.

    I’m in jail with two posts. Look for the title of here on good reads for our new book club.

  28. Anonymous :

    Vent ahead.

    I’m now living within a couple of hours of my parents (divorced for most of my life, my mom is remarried) for the first time since I graduated high school 15 years ago. I have a toddler daughter and a husband and we wanted to be close to family and were thrilled when we were able to make the move to our home state.

    But my dad is driving me absolutely batty similar dynamics to those dynamics I thought I was escaping when I graduated from high school and college, became financially independent, lived in other countries and the opposite coast. And I don’t have the patience! Arrgghh.

    He is constantly comparing the time he spends with us/my daughter to the time my mom or my in-laws spend with her. Which is a lot less, honestly, because my mom and my in-laws are helpful and easy-going and my dad is…not. I’m doing my best to create and maintain healthy boundaries with this and not to engage. For example, I don’t detail exactly how we are always spending our time, but my dad happens to be friends with my in-laws so he knows when we spend time with them.

    And he is constantly guilt-tripping me for not spending enough time with him, trying to drop by unexpectedly, and taking invitations and expanding them (e.g., “I think I’ll crash at your place after dinner on Saturday since I’ll be driving back from the mountains and I’ll be pretty tired”). It’s exhausting. I can’t make him not be needy and all in all I’ve decided it’s worth it to have him in my life and my daughter’s life, but I wish he was capable of some perspective and generally happier in life.

    Vent over.

    • Wildkitten :

      That’s rough. Can you be more aggressive with the boundaries? Like, straight up tell him to cut it out. And if he wants to hang out and spend time with y’all, can you give him chores to do so he’s helpful? Or, can you ask your in-laws to be more discrete about how much time you’re spending with them?

    • Thistledown :

      My rule is that people who don’t accept soft no’s get increasingly hard no’s. So I would start being gradually more honest with him. “Dad, I like spending time with you, but it’s really exhausting when you keep tabs on how much we spend with different people, ” to “Yes, we do spend more time with mom. She always helps with the dishes and leaves when she’s supposed to, so it’s really easy to have her over for dinner.” If he doesn’t want to hear it, he can stop bringing it up.

    • anonymous :

      what if you assigned dad tasks when he visits, things that would be helpful to you? Then, dad would either come over less because of it, he’d do it (which makes him helpful), or he’d bring it up and you could explain that mom and in-laws do this which is why they’re over more often, you don’t have time to do all the tasks while entertaining him, so he can either come less often or help out, and let him decide.

  29. Post Irma :

    It’s been more than a week of dealing with the scary experience of Hurricane Irma. It’s so nice to just sit and read this. The simple things … like gas stations with gas, water, power and safe housing

  30. Horseback riding helmet? :

    I just started riding lessons about two months ago, and have been borrowing helmets from the stables. Dover Saddlery is having a sale this weekend, so it’s a perfect time to get my own. Obvs something basic, just for lessons once a week. Where do I start???? (It will have to be ordered, so trying them on beforehand isn’t an option. I know the Aegis helmets are uncomfortable on me.)

    • Wildkitten :

      When I rode I had a too-small helmet that my mama had paid way too much for so I wore it every week and was unhappy every week so – I FEEL YOU. Does your stable have helmets you can try on? Do you know your head size? What is the Dover return policy? Having had a bad helmet, I’d rather order a bunch and return what doesn’t fit, if that’s an option. Good luck!

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I think mine’s the Ovation deluxe schooler helmet. I like it. I just looked at dover and realized most helmets are apparently way more expensive than what I usually buy. I honestly have no idea if the more expensive ones are worth it, but so far my ovations have always protected my head just fine. Just make sure it’s certified, but i can’t imagine dover is selling any that aren’t. And thanks for the heads up on the sale-i need to finally get some new half chaps (ariat has discontinued my favorites :-( )

    • Prosecutor :

      Your helmet size is the same as your fitted hat size, so if you can figure out a way to measure yourself for a hat, you should be good on size.

      In terms of safety, price doesn’t matter. If you buy a fancy helmet, you’re paying for comfort (more vents, a more padded harness), branding, and popularity, not safety. A $35 helmet has to meet the same standards as a $600 helmet, and there’s very little hard evidence that the fancy helmets perform any better in terms of protecting your head. If I remember correctly, someone did a test on helmet performance a few years back and the absolute best was a $120 Charles Owen skullcap.

      I’ve had a Charles Owen GR8 for a while, which I love, but it’s a little pricey. I’ve been eyeing the fancy Samshield helmets for a while now…

      FYI — Smartpak is also having a sale on helmets, too.

      In the <$50 range, I like this: http://www.doversaddlery.com/ovation-protege-helmet-15/p/UB-NH36587/#ProductTabs

      In the <$100 range, I'd go with: http://www.doversaddlery.com/tipperary-sportage-8500-15/p/UB-NH36569/

      If you're comfortable spending a bit more, I love my GR8, and I really like the look of this one as well:

  31. frustrating neighbors :

    Neighbors just moved into the apt below mine 2 months ago. In that time, they smoke outside causing me not to be able to keep windows open (and thus using a/c at night rather than cool night air) and they have a pitbull they let run offleash in common areas. I went 2 months without saying anything but last night as I was coming home, they were smoking with the pitbull running free and I paused a phone call to say hello, to ask them to try to smoke further from the building since the smoke goes into other apartments, and to let them know that the complex has strict rules about any dog being off-leash and the fines are super high. I felt like it was quick and I was polite.

    This morning, the complex mgr. calls me, says these people filed a complaint against me that I’m urinating off the balcony onto their property. I chatted with the mgr., explained what I’d said to them last night, explained that I’d be more likely to end up with wet feet if I ever even tried to pee off of something, and I wonder if this was a complaint to retaliate against me talking to them or to make me look bad in case I ever complained. Mgr seems like he understood, said he’d let them know he talked with me and he didn’t think I was actually urinating, and that he’d look into the dog thing as they don’t have one registered to their unit.

    Now I’m feeling anxiety about whether they’ll retaliate or something. I get anxious easily and I can’t tell if this is a legit thing threatening the calm of my home or if I’m overreacting.

    • Sympathies! Smokers are so gross. My neighbor smokes and building mgmt put weather stripping on all her doors because we complained. Thankfully she doesn’t know it was me, but it’s so nice knowing the smell is sealed in and not bothering me.

    • Anonymous :

      It might help if you post on Monday for more responses. I am curious as to what the general consensus is from this group. I too live in a condo building, and struggle with issues relating to shared walls. I have a downstairs neighbor who smokes pot, outside in broad daylight (we live in a state where this is not legal for any reason). The smell seeps through my windows. I find it thoroughly disgusting, but have hesitated to complain to the property manager, for fear of retaliation. The only useful thing I can say is to try to build up a relationship with the property manager. I have done so, and in my case, the property manager knows that I am trustworthy, honest, and interested in protecting the investment that all of the owners have in their units. I have done a few favors for her when contractors and service people needed someone on property during the workday. So, when the time comes, I feel like she would back me.

    • bluefield :

      Wow! Your neighbors are bananas. I can’t believe they did that. It was totally to retaliate. I have no advice but I wanted to validate your concerns and send my sympathies. Difficult neighbors are the worst.

    • Ugh. Awful.

      Do not communicate with the neighbors anymore. All complaints re: dog straight to management.

      I’d get an air cleaner or two, and realize there are some times of day you may need to close your windows. That comes with apartment living, unfortunately. If there are rules about smoking where they are smoking, report that too.

      I HATE when things like that happen. I’m anxious too, and I can imagine how I would feel. You did the right thing. Try to let it go…

  32. Anonymous :

    Does anyone have a self-editing checklist that they could share? I have to self-edit the majority of my work (letters, pleadings, motions) and I find that no matter how careful I am I tend to miss some obvious errors… I think this is inherent in editing your own work. My plan to fix this is to create a checklist to use for every document I edit. TIA!

  33. Anonymous :

    Atlanta folks – pick a dinner place for me tonight? In staying at the Hyatt midtown. Would like to eat a great meal at a bar that’s busy but where I can get a seat.

    • Empire State South or Ecco.

      If you go to ESS, eat from the appetizer menu (it’s great, I don’t love the entrees). I recommend the jars.

      At Ecco, just eat all the things, because they’re all good.

      • thank you! I was thinking Italian wouldn’t be good in Atlanta. I was looking at the Lawrence but the menu at ecco looks great! I think that will be the one (empire state south looks closed tonight.) so glad you saw this!

    • Empire State South!

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