APW Happy Hour


#APWPlanner, made possible by you

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

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Hey APW,

This week marks me being back from maternity leave for exactly one month and our second APW newsletter. (They each contain a secret bonus post! Sign up for yours here.) It also was another traumatic week for my family (WHYWHYWHY), and David and I celebrated eleven years together yesterday… which is just crazy!

BUT! In the midst of all this insanity, the book that I slaved over for nine months during a wildly difficult pregnancy is finally getting close to coming out! It seems impossible, but soon I’ll get to hold it in my hands. And even better, soon you guys will get to hold it in your hands. We’ll talk more about it in coming weeks and give you more glimpses at what’s in it, but for now I just wanted to let you know that you can now pre-order your copy on Amazon, and books will start arriving on your doorsteps on December 15th or so. If you’re planning a wedding (or love someone planning a wedding) I worked my hardest to put every possible piece of information that I desperately wanted to get my hands on six years ago, in one clearly organized volume. It explains everything from the hidden costs of taco truck weddings, to how not to kill your DIY flowers (um, the fridge, whoopsy), to how far apart you want your tables to be so people can walk between them. It’ll help you get clear on what you and your partner want, set up a budget, and talk to your mama. Plus, it has a really pretty cover… amiright? (I have very little control over my covers, but thanks to my amazing editor, I profoundly love this one.)

But mostly, I just wanted to take a moment to say how grateful I am to all of you guys. Books with detailed, helpful, non-salesy, non-gendered, not gross wedding planning information didn’t, by and large, exist when I was getting married. Why? Because publishers were absolutely convinced that women didn’t want them. They thought we wanted pink puffy planners where we could swoon over figuring out the maximum amount of cash we could spend prettying our lady selves up for our big, big day. And it’s not me that convinced them otherwise; it’s you guys. If I hadn’t been able to point to the readers of APW and say, “LOOK AT THESE WONDERFUL WOMEN WHO ARE READING MY TINY LITTLE BLOGSPOT WEDDING SITE BECAUSE THEY DESPERATELY WANT SOMETHING LESS AWFUL,” none of this ever would have happened. I owe this book to y’all, and I’m so grateful. I hope I can pay it forward by making your wedding planning a little less sucky than mine was.

And now, on to the bubbly and the open thread. Here is to each of you, who have made a difference in my life, and soon the wedding bookshelf (again).

xo

Meg

TL;DR: Pre order the #APWplanner here, sign up for the APW Newsletter here. We’ll work very hard to make you glad you did both.

HIGHLIGHTS OF APW THIS WEEK

If there’s one kind of weight you should try to lose for your wedding, it’s this one.

The four relationship conversations you can’t afford to ignore.

Atlanta AND Seattle wedding photographer Bri McDaniel wants you to be seen as exactly who you are.

Riding off into the night with DIY wedding jackets was the perfect ending to this $6,000 vintage-inspired Austin wedding.

What do you do when you’re embarrassed by your sister’s personal hygiene… and she’s in your wedding party?

We’re stoked to introduce a brand-new photographer with a classic eye. NOLA, NYC, and California, he’s all yours for no extra fee.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

Staff Picks

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  • sassypants

    OK APW, I’ve been waiting all week for Happy Hour. I have a little girl – she’s 14 months old – and I’m suddenly experiencing this weird dichotomy in relation to risk. On the one hand, I’m extremely cautious about taking risks, because every decision I make can directly or indirectly affect her. On the other hand, I’m inspired to take risks in order to be the best role model I can be to her. Having her has brought a lot of clarity into my life – something either matters to me, or it doesn’t. I no longer have time for things that don’t bring me joy, that don’t fulfill me in some way, and this has brought into sharp relief the fact that I’m pretty
    darn miserable in my job. I did some soul-searching recently, and long story short, I realized my calling is, and probably has always been, working in childcare/early childhood education.

    It just so happens my daughter’s childcare center is hiring. I inquired, then applied, and I’m expecting an official offer sometime next week – they’ve made it pretty clear they’d love to have me, and we’re just waiting on my references to check out, which they will. Here’s the thing: I’m going from making $24/hour and 32 paid days off a year (with an increase to 37 as of January 2017) to $10/hour with 20 paid days off a year. The blow to my paycheck is marginally alleviated by the fact that we’ll also get a 50% discount on my daughter’s tuition, but it by no means covers the difference. I’ve mock-budgeted out through June 2016,
    and if we pinch pennies, and are really mindful of our spending, we can make this pay cut work. My fear is that we have no real wiggle room in our (cash on hand) budget for incidentals like car issues, house issues, doctor appointments, etc. We do have plenty of credit in case of an emergency, so we can always charge something if we’re desperate, but that isn’t exactly a sustainable solution. I will be going back to school to obtain necessary early childhood education credentials, and with that will come incremental pay raises. I have the option to take out student loans (the childcare center does some tuition reimbursement, but not all) and as long as I’m in school at least halftime, my existing student loan payments qualify for deferral.

    I should add there’s also a LOT of guilt surrounding leaving my current position. I’ve been with the company for four years, but transferred departments this past August, so have only been in my current role for a little over 3 months. I support 3 individuals, and it’s taken me 2.5 months to really feel comfortable and up to speed on the day to day activities, and they rely on me heavily (as they should) and I just feel like I’m abandoning them/letting them down/a total failure…but I can’t help feeling that this just isn’t for me.

    All this is to say: do I take the leap of faith? What would you do?

    • Ashlah

      It sounds scary, but it also sounds doable and like something that will improve you quality of life long term. If you’re truly unhappy in your current job, and truly believe you will enjoy this new job significantly more, then I say go for it. Like you said, you won’t be at $10/hr forever, and I expect your partner will get raises too. And it sounds like you can already make the budget work even at the starting wage, so (barring the unexpected, which is scary, but can be dealt with) your plan doesn’t involve going into significant debt. I think you should take the leap.

      • sassypants

        This is an excellent point – he will get raises, and regularly gets at least 5%. I, too, will get annual raises of 3-5%, in addition to credential-based raises. Thank you for the encouragement! This is kind of exactly what I needed to hear (which isn’t to say all the other advice and opinions were unwelcome – just that I didn’t know this was the response I was looking for/hoping for until I saw it).

    • Katy

      Having no wiggle room in your budget seems like a disaster waiting to happen… What about continue working your current job and live for 6 months like you are working the new job? Put all that extra into savings. It will be a test to see if you can live on the smaller budget and a way to build an emergency fund. Also it will give you time to see if quitting is the best choice for you.

      • Eenie

        I think this kind of depends on the job at the childcare center. Can you go to part time at both to start (potentially)? Do you have an emergency fund? Can you flex your start date to give you 2+ months? Can you use a leave of absence from your current job in case you hate it/don’t feel right with the risk?

        • sassypants

          Hmmm. This is an interesting option, the leave of absence…I’ll have to think about it. I’m not sure how viable it would be, because they don’t really hire temps here, and so I know I would come back into an equivalent position but probably with a completely different department, and would be worse off for it…but it’s definitely something to consider!

      • sassypants

        Funny enough, this put a lot into perspective for me…we’re kind of already used to living without a lot of wiggle room, it’s just we tend to adjust accordingly when something does happen…and actually, now that I think about it…the cash on hand we’ll be carrying is about the same across the next 6 months as it has been…it’s just our spending is getting substantially adjusted…

    • LJ

      Do you enjoy your current job? You talk about the guilt of leaving, but not whether or not this is a job you love/hate. If it was a place you felt you weren’t happy… that seems like an easier leap to take. If it’s a job you really enjoy, then I’d be inclined to stick it out, BUT that’s only me. Financial security is very important to my mental well-being, and if I have to constantly think about pinching pennies and whether or not we’re going to have enough to cover xyz bill, I am an anxious wreck. I know I have a low tolerance for that though. It’s a more comfortable state for some people. Is that something that is going to take up a lot of mental space for you on a day-to-day basis?

      My other question would be: will you find the work (at a childcare center) less satisfying once your daughter is no longer there daily? How much of that is part of the appeal of this job?

      Not that those are a questions you have to answer for me, but answering for yourself might help you a little.

      • sassypants

        I’m apathetic towards it. There are good moments, and there are bad moments, but honestly most moments are forgettable. I would not describe this job as something I enjoy. It’s a way to pass the time and pay the bills. And that’s kind of a depressing thought.

        Financial well-being is very stressful for me – I’m the keeper of the budget, the one who is responsible for making sure all of our bills are paid, and there’s enough cash in our accounts to cover expenses, so I’m acutely aware of our spending habits. I’m not so much worried about the recurring expenses being covered (because I’ve mapped out that we can, indeed, carry on), it’s the unexpected expenses that always pop up that worry me. But I think that would always be a concern for us, and it seems kind of silly to let that hold me back…

        As for the work being less satisfying once my daughter is in school, I wouldn’t be in her classroom to begin with. I basically won’t even know she’s there (and vice versa). I worked parttime in ECE from the time I was 15-23. It’s the longest stretch I’ve ever been employed in one area. It just never occurred to me at the time that it was a viable career path, probably because my parents ingrained in me that it was not.

        But looking back, I didn’t do any better for myself straight out of college than I would have, if I had just started as a childcare provider, so…

        Kids fascinate me. Originally, it was the older kids, the fourth and fifth graders I found amazing. They’re just at the age where they’re still children but are forming their own opinions and learning to articulate them, and it’s just amazing to see. I used to think babies were completely boring, but since having my daughter, my eyes have been opened to just how crucial the early years are for learning. Their brains are little sponges and they’re constantly learning about the world around them, and I just find them totally fascinating.

        So…yes. It would definitely continue to be fulfilling :)

        • Mary Jo TC

          You said above you’re miserable, now you’re just apathetic. Which is it? If you’re miserable, absolutely GTFO ASAP. But if you’re just ‘meh’ then that is a huge pay cut to take. For me personally, the trade-off in security and financial well-being wouldn’t be worth it unless I was just dying in my job every second. Childcare workers don’t get paid what they deserve. Have you considered actual K-12 teaching? You might have to go back for a Masters degree to make that switch, but the pay would be better. It might still be a pay cut, but probably not one that would leave you without a safety net.

          • sassypants

            Honestly, it depends on the day. Overall, I try to remain positive, and look on the bright side, yadda yadda yadda. When it comes down to it, though, the “good days” are really the apathetic days, and the “bad days” are the miserable ones. Like…the good days are good days because I was successfully able to convince myself things aren’t so bad, I’m lucky to have a job, it’s just a means to an end…and I think it would be bearable if this other opportunity hadn’t basically fallen in my lap and just…made everything sort of make sense for me?

          • Mary Jo TC

            What do you think about being a kindergarten teacher instead of working at a daycare? Would that be equally fulfilling? The financial tradeoff would be way less severe.

          • emmers

            Since you’re not loving your job, what about looking around for another, keeping your options open? You’re not bound to your current company, and it doesn’t have to be so black and white where you either stick it out in this OK paying but job that you don’t link or go to a ill-paying but fun potential job. There could be a good paying job that you like that’s not either of these two.
            In the past sometimes I’ve also made extreme leaps when I’ve felt unhappy at a job, when it would have been better to look around more.

        • emmers

          This jumps out at me from your comment: “Financial well-being is very stressful for me.” It sounds like the childcare job may be enjoyable, but the salary cut sounds terrifying, particularly if you’re already in a sensitive financial place. As you mentioned, unexpected expenses will always pop up. It’s not silly to consider them, since they happen a lot!
          What about making a long term plan to work with kids, like as a kindergarten teacher like others have suggested?

    • Alison O

      Some thoughts/questions that come up for me…

      – That’s a substantial financial difference. Since you asked–I would keep your current job on that basis, depending on other factors of course. If you could make your job part-time or find a part-time job paid similar to your current rate, you could work half the time and still make more than in the childcare job full time. The other half of the time you could spend doing child-care (either paid, or with your own daughter and then not have to pay for those hours of childcare, to boot).

      – I wonder about how long you’ve thought about doing childcare professionally. If it’s just since your daughter was born, I’d be cautious about switching over. I do not have children, but I was a teacher, and my sense is caring for your own child is not much like caring for multiple other children (and getting paid basically minimum wage for it).

      – As for the guilt about leaving your current job, meh. People change jobs; it happens. I know how this feels, but it’s just how it goes with jobs and employers should expect the unexpected when it comes to personnel.

      – “On the other hand, I’m inspired to take risks in order to be the best role model I can be to her.” It seems like you’re thinking of this only in terms of following one’s heart, which I would agree is admirable. However, your daughter could also see you as a role model as someone who worked a more financially secure job and didn’t live on the edge of crisis due to normal unexpected expenses like car problems. I really admire my mom for working a job for 31 (and counting) years that helped make a lot of things possible for my family financially, including a lot of things I was able to do as a kid that were enriching and would no doubt have been more difficult had she been a stay at home mom, as she would have preferred. Oh, also, her job always covered our health care because my dad changed jobs a lot more given the nature of his work.

      In short, I’d take it slow in making this decision. Good luck!

    • Amy March

      I absolutely would not. I’d be concerned that I was wrong about my calling, and that I was just having those feelings because of my daughter’s age. I also would never chose to quit a good job to make $10/hour- I’ve worked too hard to make money to go back to what I made for babysitting in high school. I also think the best gift we can give kids is a sable home life, and to me that means being able to pay for car issues, house issues, and doctor appointments without racking up credit card debt if we can. I’d think I was being irresponsible and selfish to deliberately put my family into that position for a dream that may or may not be real.

      I would definitely be looking into whether I could get the college credit I need part time, at community college, without out going into debt or quitting my job. I wouldn’t worry at all about abandoning my coworkers, but I would worry about giving up on myself and my ability to provide for my family.

      All that being said, I have no idea if that’s what you should do! Maybe this is your calling! Maybe you’re fine with a financially precarious life because you will have more love and joy! And that’s okay, but I do think you should think very seriously about what it will do to you, and your family, and your marriage to step back so significantly from financially contributing.

    • MABie

      I don’t know if this helps, but as I was reading your post, I kept thinking of a phrase I heard a couple of years ago: “Leap, and the net will appear.”

      It sounds like the new job would be a great fit for you. I find my job to be profoundly meaningful, and I feel very lucky to get paid to do the work I do (I am a public defender). I could make a lot more money. We could have a lot of things that all of our lawyer friends have. We don’t. And I love our little life.

      I grew up very poor. My mom worked a low-level medical assistant job (which she still has), and she was a miserable alcoholic. It was hard to be poor, but it was — and is — a lot harder to have a parent constantly in such severe distress. (Though it doesn’t sound like you are in distress, as much as just not super happy?)

      I think it is awesome that you are trying to show your daughter that some things are more important than money. If you really can make it work as a family and it will not be debilitatingly [not a word] stressful, I say go for it.

      Also, if yall just could NOT make it work and/or you ended up being unhappy at the new job, could you easily return to your old field? If the answer is yes, then that could tip the scales a little more in favor of trying out the new path.

    • Kayjayoh

      I absolutely would not. Aside from the pay difference, the paid time off is a huge deal. I think there are ways that you can satisfy your calling without more than halving your income. Volunteering, for one.

      I say this as someone who used to be a teacher and also spent a couple of years working for NPOs. It was great, but I really struggled to get by in my outside life. I now have a non-exiting life as an admin, but I make living comfortable enough to do the things I am passionate about *outside of work*, instead of coming home exhausted and broke. Sure I loved the work I was doing, but work is still work and broke is still broke.

      • Jenny

        Yeah, my husband and I have this conversation all the time. I mean it’s great if your hobby/ passion/ calling can be your job, but it’s also fine and good if you job is just your job. My best friend describes her job as a good fit for her skills and personality. I think that’s about the ideal. Like my talents get used well and I get paid well. Then in her spare time and with her spare money she gets to do all the stuff she loves (and she still gets to love them, because guess what even in a field you love, work is still work is still work and sometimes it’s a grind).

        • Kayjayoh

          Exactly. We often get taught to think that we need to find fulfillment in our jobs. Define ourselves by them. But these days, I define myself and find fulfillment in all the non-work areas of my life: my hobbies, my friends, my family. $$ makes that easier. Pays for my hobbies, lets me do things with my friends, supports my family.

  • Eenie

    Kind of related to @sassypants:disqus’s post, but how do you quit a job? I’ve never worked a job that didn’t have an end date set at the start (internship/co-op, part time work during school, rotations on a set schedule, etc.). I’m mostly quitting because of the current location and future potential locations (none ideal). I like all the people I work with, and I think it will/won’t come as a shock (my fiance is states away). I’m partially filling in for a role that they’ve been having difficulty filling due to headcount, but it looks like they’re finally getting someone hired, but probably not until after I quit (I’m supposed to on board them). I know I’m doing what’s right for us, but what are the actual logical steps? Tell HR first? Tell my manager? How many people do you tell? I’m not required to give notice, but I feel like I will give two weeks. To complicate this, I took relocation and may have to pay some of it back (6 months is Dec 15th – pay half back after that, last day is Dec. 18th, but I’d let them know before that deadline).

    • CMT

      I would say tell your manager first, and in person! If they want some kind of resignation letter, do that later (and keep it very brief). And definitely give two weeks notice, that can affect what kind of reference you get in all your future job searches. Good luck!

      • Eenie

        He’s at a different location :( Do I make up an excuse to be at his site that day? And I have two managers, one for my assignment and one for the program I’m in, I’ll have to tell the program manager over the phone.

        • CMT

          If he’s in a different location, than a phone call would probably be your best bet.

        • StevenPortland

          Does your manager usually schedule meetings with you to discuss projects? If yes, then go ahead and schedule a short meeting with your manager. At my company, anytime there is a meeting scheduled for 15 minutes everyone recognizes that it is going to be some sort of big update (leaving the company, going on leave, etc.). If your manager typically has meetings with you over the phone, then in my opinion you can certainly have this type of conversation on the phone. I’ve worked remotely now since 2008 and that’s how I handle issues like this.

        • Not Sarah

          Can you video chat? I’d do that. How do you normally do your 1:1s with your managers?

          • Eenie

            Phone or when stuff hits the fan at my site he makes a stop over. No video chat. I think I’m going to go with a phone call.

    • I always start with my manager, and do it in a 1-on-1 setting. My normal script is “Jane, I just wanted to let you know that I’m resigning and my last day will be X. I really appreciate the opportunity to work with you and the team”. You dont have to tell other people, or tell them where you’re going, if you don’t want to. If you absolutely can’t do it in person, then call. Email is a last resort. Depending on the size of the company and/or HR rules, they may ask for a written letter of resignation, where you write what I wrote about. Hope that helps!

    • Lisa

      I would always tell your manager first. She needs to be aware of the situation and able to set out a game plan for your departure. It would be awful if you told HR first and it got back to your manager before you had a chance to have that conversation with her.

      As for how many people to tell, that’s up to you and depends on your company’s climate. My previous organization usually announced a staff person’s departure through HR so I didn’t tell anyone except my immediate teammates that I was leaving prior to the announcement. Your manager might also have some ideas about whether she would like your team to get the news from her or you, which makes talking to her first that much more important.

      Best of luck! Most of the managers I’ve had have been extremely understanding and awesome about these changes, and I hope yours are as well.

    • Yeah, definitely tell your manager first. It’s a nerve wracking thing, but it has to be done, and they will have been in that position before! It’s business.

      Last time I did it, it was for a boss I cared for a lot, and I just said to him that I had some bad news and had decided to tender my resignation. I had a letter with me, that I left with him. It said it formally and gave my notice period. I had to give a month’s notice, but I worked part time. I asked if I could work full time and only give three weeks notice, and they were happy to agree.

      I then emailed the team. It was awkward, but watcha gonna do in an open plan office?

      Then, I skipped the hell out of there that evening and felt the weight of the fucking world lift from my shoulders. Best thing I ever did, bar marry my delicious husband.

      • Eenie

        So what if I’m planning on quitting right before the holidays? If I quit the 18th of December, I’ll still have three vacation days left then holiday the rest of the year until January. I have a feeling I won’t be paid for holiday, but how do I find out what happens with my other benefits?

        • Not Sarah

          Read the internal documentation. That’s what I did. It told me that at my last company, if I left on the 1st of the month, I would have health insurance through the end of the month and that cost would come out of my paycheck for that month. My current company, however, my health insurance is gone effective my last day at the company.

          I also got a letter in the mail after leaving that confirmed my health insurance was good until the 31st.

          • Eenie

            I’ve looked and looked at all the papers I have and the stuff available on the company website! My health insurance friend thinks that I’ll be covered through the end of the month since that’s typical with most larger corporations.

          • Not Sarah

            That does seem typical! It depends. Both of my examples are large companies. I think it might depend on when your coverage started. If your coverage started on the 1st of the month, then it’ll probably go until the end. If it started the day you started, it might end the day you leave. Worst case, your fiance could add you to his health insurance for December as a possible double coverage?

        • Ah see it’s hard for me to help you there because I’m in the UK so I suspect things would be different. Are you owed any holiday pay? It often happens here that instead of people getting paid out their holiday pay, they take their notice period as holiday, and get the wages for it. Not sure how it works in the US (assuming that’s where you’re based!) but there might be something similar.

          Is there a staff handbook you can sneakily have a look at?

          • Eenie

            I’ve scoured it already. I don’t actually have to give any notice, I’m at will AKA I can be told I’m no longer employed and vice versa without giving any formal notice period.

          • In that case I would find out what would work best for your circumstances and then give notice then!

            Someone told me once ‘it’s just business’ and that is the mantra I’ve held on to for a long time. It’s not personal, it’s just business.

    • Kate

      Do you know anyone else that has left the company that you can ask? This depends on the industry you’re in, but you may want to prepare for the possibility that they don’t want two weeks notice and once you give notice they’ll ask you to leave. But I’ve heard of companies being super paranoid about employees taking information with them that they just ask them to leave that day.

      • Eenie

        Unfortunately I don’t, and I’m in a weird program. I’m mostly worried about paying back relocation money (I only HAVE to pay back 1/2 if I work past the 15th). If they tell me to leave ASAP, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to pay back any of it, because they are laying me off without cause and I’m not quitting (how it’s worded in the agreement I’ve signed). But I also don’t know how much exactly I have to pay back for relocation. I kept most of the money separate, but if there’s fees for the apartment finding company vs just the money they outright gave me. UGH Just so nervous since I’m not leaving for a job either – unemployed!

        • Kate

          I recently left a job a few days shy of my relocation requirement and…it worked out in my favor :) Super not trying to be negative, but remember that they may expect you to pay the amount before taxes, which is more than you’ll have received. I totally feel your pain though, it gave me nights of stress thinking about whether or not I’d have to pay the money back.

          And if you’re at will and you terminate the contract, I don’t think that would the same as them laying you off. At least that’s not my experience with contractors, i.e. they don’t need to accept/pay you for your final two weeks. But you obviously know your specific situation! Best of luck in whatever your new endeavour ends up being!

    • Amanda

      Yup. Manager first, behind a closed door if possible. Notice is very, very nice, especially when it isn’t required. They will remember you fondly if a future employer calls as a reference. Then your manager will be able to tell you all the next steps that are appropriate for your company. Go in peace.

  • Laura

    Seeking some advice for Thanksgiving. A few weeks ago, we visited my in-laws. I have a pretty decent relationship with my FIL, and we often debate about politics. This time when we visited, an argument about politics/religion got really heated. I tried twice to calmly shut down the conversation, because it was becoming unproductive (“I just don’t think we’re going to agree about this issue, so I think we should talk about something else.”). Then, my FIL flat out yelled at me about how wrong my views are. I find yelling incredibly belittling and rude, so I walked out of the room. He never apologized.

    We’re planning to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws at their small cottage in Canada (for three whole days!!). My husband agrees that his dad was out of line and had a conversation with his dad about how I really don’t respond well to yelling. Husband has asked me that for the sake of family harmony, we avoid talking about politics over Thanksgiving. I suppose this is fine in theory, but I know my FIL will bring things up continually. I feel like this is playing into a broader family dynamic in which his dad yells and dominates conversations, and everyone else avoids avoids avoids. Avoidance does not come naturally to me, and I feel like this is going to be me pretending to be a meek and submissive woman who doesn’t have any opinions of her own.

    So: is it fair for me to deflect and avoid this line of conversation for the sake of family harmony, even if I feel like that’s pushing me into tacit agreement with noxious political views? Or should I stand my ground and potentially further damage my relationship with my in-laws? My husband is already stressed out about this, as he has been working really hard to repair his own relationship with his parents. I’m tempted to just take the passive aggressive route and bring a nice, tall stack of VERY inflammatory reading material :)

    • AP

      There is some really really good advice on Captain Awkward about dealing with Highly Difficult People and people who take over/derail conversations or family gatherings.

      • p.

        I think someone at a previous APW Happy Hour linked to this Captain Awkward about dealing with difficult family members. It helped me and I think it could help you, too:
        http://captainawkward.com/2012/05/14/247-marrying-into-a-family-with-awful-boundary-issues-or-secrets-of-dealing-with-highly-difficult-people/

        It might help to think of this holiday as a time to start set some boundaries with your FIL (and ideally you’d have your husband help enforce this). So if you’re concerned FIL will bring up politics, then every time he does, you respond with: “I don’t want to get into politics again. Let’s change the subject” (it might also help to think of some different topics ahead of time).

        If it continues, maybe your husband jumps in: “Dad, we just said we don’t want to talk politics. Can we move on to something else?”

        And if FIL persists, you might say, “please excuse me” and you can go into a different room and read. If you get attitude for it (I did in my family situation), you can remind them that you already said you didn’t want to talk politics, so when politics kept coming up, you split.

        • AP

          Thanks for the link, that’s exactly the advice I was thinking of. Three strikes and I’m out.

    • raccooncity

      Ugh, this sucks for you. I feel stressed even reading it.

      One thought: if your husband is working to repair his relationship with his parents, that goes both ways. His parents have to repair their relationship with him, and by extension you. If your husband felt that his dad was out of line and told him, and disrespects that at the cottage, then what is he really working to repair and why?

      • Laura

        I mean, a few days after this occurred, my husband took his parents out to dinner for his dad’s birthday. I couldn’t go. His parents apparently asked him point blank what they could do to repair their relationship with my husband and me. I think they truly are trying to make an effort to have a better relationship with us. The overarching problem (which I didn’t get into because it would be a novel) is that they, particularly his mom, did some hurtful things during our engagement/wedding. I’m not sure they have any insight into how their behavior during that time was alienating.

        My family takes an “argue it out” approach to things that hurt our feelings, but his family dynamic seems to be to avoid. I find it really hard to forgive past wrongs if the other person seems blind to the fact that they were hurtful. In my mind, this creates simmering resentment that lasts years.

        And despite the original anecdote, my relationship with his dad is generally much better than my relationship with his mom, so it’s going to be a veeerrry interesting Thanksgiving.

    • Alison O

      It sounds like your views have been made clear and that nobody will mistake you for being in agreement whether you reiterate your views or not when these discussions come up, if that’s a concern for you.

      I’m sort of floored that you’re willing to go stay with your in-laws, actually, if this is a known pattern of his dad! (I’m saying this in a “wow, you are wiling to tolerate a lot for the sake of your partner’s family connection” rather than an “are you insane?” way.) I would probably be unwilling to engage with his father in anything more than the most minimal of ways given the sense I have from your (of course, short) description. It sounds like the family could benefit from family therapy. Unfortunately, I know how hard it is to navigate a partner’s unpleasant family situation.

    • Jess

      It’s very fair to say, “I’m not talking about this. [Insert abrupt topic change with another family member here]” This is how I mostly get through holidays with my opinionated, rather offensive family.

    • MK

      I walk this line all the time with my own father, on a variety of issues. You have to decide what is best for you, but for me I’ve found that avoidance is better. I don’t think of it as giving up my views or being pushed into something I don’t believe, I think of it as hanging on to my own sanity. If trying to shut down the conversation doesn’t work, you can always-
      1) Say nothing. I have diffused many an argument by just looking uncomfortably at the floor for a few awkward moments.
      2) Walk away! Sometimes getting physical space is what’s needed to finally shut it down.
      If you continue to engage, it escalates. If there is nothing to respond to, the argument can’t continue. I don’t see this as passive aggressive at all. You can simply choose to not engage because it’s not good for you and it’s not doing your family any favors.
      I feel for you. I myself am DREADING the moment my dad says anything re: Hillary Clinton. If we were able to have civilized debate about it, I would welcome the chance to talk politics, but I know from past experience it just doesn’t go well for me.

  • AGCourtney

    Sending good thoughts your way, Meg. <3

    Well, I mentioned last week that I had signed up for a freelancing website. I've applied for quite a few jobs on there, but nothing has panned out yet, and I'm not feeling too confident anything will. It's so hard to know what rates to propose and then I see the other profiles of the other people who have made proposals and they charge $5 an hour…yeah. But, someone on here (Rachel, I think) mentioned the transformative power of applying for stuff, and there definitely is something to that- it really gave me a new way to think about how to package my skills and experiences, which is good. I'll keep giving it a bit of time every few days, and we'll see.

    My grace period ended on my student loans last week (which means I've been graduated for 6 months, hey~) and my position has a leave of absence while the college students have their winter break from Thanksgiving to January, thus making that push for extra money. My husband continually reassures me I'm fine when I worry about not contributing- he's much better about Marriage as Mini Socialism than I am, haha. So hopefully this will be a pleasant period of enjoying time with my daughter without being exhausted (I work 7pm-1am) and finally getting the house fully unpacked.

    I still have to figure out what i want to do with my life though. This is technically a 1-year position, and I was planning in going to grad school, but now I'm not sure what I want.

    On the whole, life is good, though. I loved the Hunger Games post today. I've only seen the first movie, but yesterday I saw the clip with Hanging Tree, and at dinner last night my dad and sister and I were talking about how powerful that scene is, and how people know they will get shot, etc, etc, and my 4-year-old daughter was clearly patiently waiting to say something. (we've worked on that). So we nodded at her, and she said, "Grandpa, I got shots too!". she was so proud to contribute to the conversation. (she went to the doctor and got shots 2 weeks ago.). Oh, it still makes me laugh.

  • CMT

    It has been the longest week ever and it’s so dark and cold and rainy and all I want to do is sit on my couch with my cat and cross stitch and listen to Christmas music. And probably drink some hot toddies.

    • Ashlah

      That sounds wonderful tbh. I’m asking for cross stitch supplies for Christmas, and I’m so excited to learn!

      • CMT

        It’s so easy to pick up! I started around this time last year to deal with the depressing weather, and I just looked at a couple of tutorials online and then was off to the races. It’s such a good bad weather activity!

        • cityfolks

          How did you two learn? I’ve tried some online videos but I keep stabbing myself with the needle while trying to pause to see what they’re doing … :-/ Maybe the ones you found are better?

          • CMT

            What kind of fabric have you used? It might help to use Aida cloth with a higher thread count — the squares will be bigger and it might be easier to see where to put the needle. This is the tutorial I used: It’s not actually a video, so that might help. http://ladyada.net/make/xstitch/

      • MC

        Me too! I have some friends that have convinced me to start. I need a hobby to do in the winter, and knitting and crocheting did not stick with me because I just made a million scarves that I didn’t need.

    • Right??? For whatever reason this year post time change I’ve hard a really hard time with the weather/darkness. Drinks all around.

      • C_Gold

        Yes. I feel like I’m being sealed up in a tomb every night.

    • YES. I don’t want to talk to anyone, just leave me alone with my crafts and netflix. lol

  • Laura

    General holiday question: my husband and I have gradually been getting rid of things we don’t want/need. Neither of us really gets much joy out of getting a pile of gifts for Christmas. Last year, I ended up donating/selling/regifting many of the (very nice) things my in-laws gave me. My family has agreed to keep things to perhaps 1-2 small gifts. My in-laws always shower us with gifts, spending several hundred dollars on each of us. Honestly, my husband and I strongly prefer that they get us nothing and/or we just went out to a nice dinner together.

    I’m really just not a gifts person, although I can respect that others find joy and express love through holiday gift giving. Would it be preferable to try to limit the gift-giving by my in-laws (they have initially been resistant to this), or should we just graciously accept and then donate everything (they would be offended if they found out)?

    • raccooncity

      I have this issue too – on both sides. I tried explaining this to both sides and here was the result: one side just likes spending a TON OF MONEY for whatever reason, so i asked that they limit gifts to experiences and that went over well. tickets to sport events, dinner gift vouchers, etc. they feel good about it.

      the other side just likes piling on stuff, although none of it is costly (think a thousand dollar store items), and it bugs all the kids, but it’s not going to stop. so we have to do the gracious thing at this point.

    • TeaforTwo

      I think you just have to be gracious. If they ask for gift ideas, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to suggest “experience” gifts i.e. restaurant gift cards, theatre tickets etc. but if they just love buying gifts…they’re going to do it anyway. Smile, say thank you, find someone who can use them.

      • Kate

        Definitely recommend this approach. My parents are big gift givers at Christmas and my husband finds it pretty wasteful and also feels we don’t need more things in our NY apartment. I’ve mentioned it to my parents and now they try really hard to get us experiences, which he prefers so much more anyway. I think it’s even fun for my Mom to think of new gift ideas (museum memberships, sports tickets, cooking classes, etc). Maybe it’s something your husband can talk to them about so you’re not the holiday party pooper?

    • Jenny

      I’ve found that bringing it up in the context of something you’ve been doing, so talking about your efforts to de clutter and focus on experiences not things. For me, I used to get tons of food/small snack items/ candy and when I was trying to lose weight and just eat better generally I would say, I’m really doing well avoiding candy and treat foods, so I’d love if you might consider (this gift I need) instead. But my family has always been pretty pro gift lists, so I think it’s a know your crowd thing. Also I find that if the message comes from someone else if can be less unappreciative (like can your siblings in-law bring up that Laura and Mr. Laura have been spending a lot of time and effort minimizing their possessions, we are trying to think of what they might want this year and are leaning towards, y.) My mom is often the one who does this with my aunt and uncles. My mom and I are pretty upfront about what we do and don’t want because we both want our gifts to be enjoyed by the recipient.

    • Keeks

      This has really been weighing on me lately too, except my husband loves giving & receiving gifts just like everyone in his family. I don’t come from a gift-giving family (we’re more “acts of service”) and it bugs me that I’m expected to give individual gifts to my sibs-in-law when I don’t even do that for my siblings!

      Just like you, I wish we could go out for a nice dinner or show our love another way – but I feel pretty powerless to change another family’s traditions. It causes me so much anxiety during this time of year.

    • CaliforniaPoppy

      This happens to us too. I’m always so floored by their generosity, but not sure what to do with the stuff. Any tips about where to donate things like simple jewelry that I won’t wear, bath products we won’t use? At this point, it’s all collecting dust in a box in our house and I would love for someone to get some enjoyment out of it.

      • Amy March

        Homeless shelters and shelters for domestic violence victims often accept donations of bath products. I regift jewelry I don’t like.

        • CaliforniaPoppy

          I was thinking that might be a good way to go, thanks!

    • Christina McPants

      I have friends who would pack two suitcases on the way home from Christmas, one with their clothing and one that was going to the thrift store on the way home from the airport. Can you tell them that you’ve got too much stuff in your house and are interested in investing in experiences with them, not physical things?

    • Amy March

      Think of other ideas- it sounds like they don’t want to just take you out to dinner or give you cash, which is fine. Have you perhaps been wanting a membership to your local botanical garden? Would you particularly enjoy one antique book instead of 12 bestsellers? If possible, I’d model this for them. Mom-in-law loves scarves and crafting? Ball of very nice wool and gift cert to knitting classes. Dad-in-law likes drinking expensive things and pontificating about golf? Tee-time at a fancy course, new gloves, and a bottle of something festive.

    • Laurel

      I totally get where you’re coming from. Not sure if this would work for you, but we’ve started a “mini-family” tradition of sponsoring a family-in-need’s Christmas & we plan to invite our relatives to participate in lieu of buying us gifts. Plus, I think buying gifts for little kids who really want a Christmas can be more fun than trying to find presents for adults who don’t really need anything.

  • Suggestions on a Christmas gift for my mother-in-law? She’s in her late 60’s, total Southern belle, and doesn’t wear any jewelry. Last year I got her a gift card but I’d like to get her an actual gift this year. So far the only thing I’ve come up with some type of home decoration with elephants on them, which she collects, but I’m not a fan of getting a gift for someone when it’s really for their home.

    • Eenie

      Soap/ spa stuff? Card deck, games to play with the family? Something local to you that’s consumable (honey, jam, spices)?

      • MC

        Yes! Especially if you live in a different place than someone, I think getting little local foods or art can be a really nice gift – it feels like a gesture of including them in where you live even if they’re not there. I got my brother a sampler of our favorite farmer’s market mustard for Christmas last year and he LOVED it.

    • AP

      My Southern belle relatives love food-based gifts (like dip mixes and gourmet jams or olive oils), pottery, Christmas ornaments, family photos, and celebrity tell-all books or celebrity cook books.

      • Eenie

        An elephant frame with a picture of you and the husband!

        • AP

          A photo of you and your husband riding an elephant?

          TGIF. Time for a drink:)

    • StevenPortland

      I like to give special food as gifts, especially from a vendor that the gift recipient has probably never tried. For example, my sister loves macarons and so I found someone on Etsy who specializes in them and sent my sister a box for her birthday.

    • gonzalesbeach

      Last year we went to a pottery class and made coffee mugs for all the parents – 1) we got a special date night with a fun, creative activity [nice to have a date just the two of us between all the holiday parties!]and 2) parents love the meaningful stuff. maybe something handmade with elephants? maybe combine with @StevenPortland:disqus ‘s and @AP:disqus ‘s ideas and could stuff the cups with local fancy coffee company beans or special foodie item… etc.

    • Alison O

      High quality candle(s)? One year my mom bought family friends a big creme brulee scented rectangle block candle with 3 wicks for $75, I think from Pottery Barn. They had it as a centerpiece on their dining table for years. It was really pretty and smelled great (not too strong/fake like a lot of cheaper candles–I get insta-headache with those).

    • Jenny

      My mom is a sucker for a frame picture of the two of us in the last year or so. Also I like to do the fancy food items. I make candied nuts, or this year I plan to make sachets of mulling spices and include a bottle of wine or cider (depending on the audience).

    • kate

      ditto the food idea – i usually end up getting my parents specialty food items of some kind.
      is she a scarf wearer? scarves can be a fun accessory to get for a lady that actually wears them (and if you know her style enough to feel comfortable picking something)
      or spa gift cards if she’s the type that gets her nails done or would enjoy a massage!

    • Kayjayoh

      Count me in on food-based gifts. Beautiful tea, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, etc., things they would love but not normally get for themselves, is such a great gift choice. You don’t have to worry if it will fit, or if they already have one or where they will store it.

  • Anybody else watching Master of None? I’m so in love, I want to hug Aziz Ansari and hang out with him all day :-) He’s my new friend in my head.

    • raccooncity

      YES. YES YES YES.

    • Danielle

      The episode with the parents. Omg, cry, laugh.

      • Lulu

        And his Facebook post about his dad and how appreciative he is of how the show has strengthened their relationship. Total weepfest.

        • Danielle

          I didn’t see that! I heard his interview on NPR about why he decided to cast his real parents as the TV parents (didn’t want to make people use fake Indian accents) and that was awesome.

      • Meg

        that episode was so great.

      • It gave me lots of feels about my own parents. Like literally that exact conversation of “I don’t have time to fix your ipad, Mom” (*forgets years of diaper changes and general love and care*)

      • Laura C

        We were enjoying the show and got to the first flashback with his father, and my husband practically jumps off the couch shouting “That’s Tamil! They’re Tamil! Wait, I need to rewind.” Which is, as it turns out, correct. (My husband doesn’t speak Tamil, he just recognizes it from his parents and grandparents speaking it around him all his life.) So I think he’s enjoying it that much more as a result.

    • AP

      The episode with his parents was the greatest! And so funny!

    • Carolyn S

      Watched the whole thing last weekend. Husband liked it too; always love a show we BOTH like. It made me cry multiple times, and made me so grateful to not be single…

    • C_Gold

      Have been dying to watch this, because I love Aziz Ansari, and I just keep hearing good things about the show. This might be what I need to push me into watching it.

      • Ashlah

        Same! It’s definitely on my list!

    • MC

      YESSSSSSSSSS. I also loved the piece he wrote for the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/arts/television/aziz-ansari-on-acting-race-and-hollywood.html?_r=0

      I loved this part: “Here’s a game to play: When you look at posters for movies or TV shows, see if it makes sense to switch the title to “What’s Gonna Happen to This White Guy?” (“Forrest Gump,” “The Martian,” “Black Mass”) or if there’s a woman in the poster, too, “Are These White People Gonna Have Sex With Each Other?” (“Casablanca,” “When Harry Met Sally,” “The Notebook”).”

    • A.

      YES. I actually didn’t really like Aziz’s standup until fairly recently [he always seemed too enamored of his own fame for my tastes], but HOLY EVOLUTION BATMAN. His last standup special was sharp, witty, *feminist*…and Master of None is simply a gorgeous masterpiece of modern comedy and storytelling (pun totally intended). And it makes him seem like such a good egg, in comparison to his previous, douchier bits and characters. He’s really moved toward openly striving towards decency, as well as very incisively pointing out extremely crucial issues in a way that never loses humor or momentum. Went from a “meh” feeling on him to a HUGE FAN in 0 to 60.

    • VKD_Vee

      Yes, we have been watching and LOVING it! One episode to go over here this evening….

    • Alanna Cartier

      I am love-love-loving it, and by that I mean the BF and I already binge-watched it all.

      Although I may have angry cried for an hour in the tub after one episode. Aziz gets so much right, but the off-hand gluten-joke was a little too much for me. As someone with celiac, my medicine being the butt of EVERY JOKE EVER gets old. Not only that, but in a show that is so smart and witty and well-done, it felt awfully lazy.

      • K.

        I’m celiac and don’t remember the gluten joke? I agree that GF jokes sort of stink and I’m especially sensitive after I have The Glutening (y’know, like The Sickening?–may already be a house joke now…), but I try to remember that generally we celiacs aren’t the intended butt of jokes like that. Not that anyone should care what anyone eats and I agree that making fun of people who give up gluten for trendy reasons is pretty tired, but they’re not exactly a protected class or anything.

        But if he was actually like, “fuck people with celiac disease” and I totally missed it, then…yeah, that’s pretty shitty (and weird) since we actually have a debilitating autoimmune disorder with sometimes very serious and severe consequences/symptoms for years after we give up gluten since most of us ravaged our systems so badly, pre-diagnosis.

        • Alanna Cartier

          Saying we aren’t the butt of the jokes as celiacs is wrong. We are the butt of the joke UNTIL WE PROVE WE ARE CELIAC. I’m sorry, I’m super sensitive about this. But when I go into a restaurant, and do everything right (disclose that I have celiac, question the waiters, confirm that they are protecting against cross-contamination) and I still get sick, it’s wearying. And it is often because the general public think that gluten-free is a joke. Because it’s a joke on TV, in commercials, in movies. I should not have to disclose very intimate details of my health to not be poisoned. The problem is that making gluten-free a joke puts the onus on me as the person with celiac to PROVE that I’m not one of those fad dieters. That on it’s own would be bad enough, but when you couple that with the fact that when people don’t take gluten-free seriously my health is at risk, but in the short and long-term, sigh. Agree to disagree I guess.

          • K.

            Those are good points. I also live in a city and state that has really stringent required allergy training for their servers. I take it for granted sometimes that even if the waiter rolls their eyes at me, they will ultimately still serve me a gluten free meal, 90-99% of the time (the 10-1% totally sooooooks though, when I end up sobbing in MY bathroom about how much I hate my body). But even then, It’s easy to forget that that’s not the case in the vast majority of the country and becomes easier for me to shrug off, I guess. Sorry–I do know how awful it can be.

          • Eenie

            Weber Grill in Chicago area is amazing. Makes you really appreciate when restaurants do it right.

          • Alanna Cartier

            Yeah, I live up in Canada, and I’ve quite literally gone to restaurants with Gluten-free menus where the staff had no idea what celiac was. I’ve also done my normal gluten-speil and had waiters bring me out plates of food with bread hidden in it… Knowledge of celiac and conditions that require a gluten-free diet are lacking in a lot of places. I do a lot of cooking at home, but there are so many people put at risk when gluten is a joke.

            And now I’m done, :P
            Thanks for listening.

            All that being said, when I went to London recently I found the offerings and awareness of celiac and gluten-free WONDERFUL. I ate like a king for the whole two weeks. Still trying to convince the BF we need to live there.

          • Eenie

            My future mother in law doesn’t under stand gluten! She put “whole wheat” bread crumbs in a dish one time. My future father in law has slowly become educated through a celiac coworker. It really just warms my heart when people take the time to educate themselves or ask questions. A friend dropped cookies off at my desk and I returned them reminding her that I’m gluten free and she said she made gluten free cookies for everyone this year (peanut butter ones!) so I could eat them <3

          • Alanna Cartier

            That’s lovely! I’ve only had my diagnosis for a year and a few months ago I was going to stay with my BFs family for nearly a week. I was so shocked at how lovely and attentive his mother was to my needs. She went out and got me a bunch of gluten free snacks and at every meal, she would go through the recipe with me to make sure I was safe. I made me feel wonderful and included.

          • Eenie

            Good luck! I’ve been eating gluten free for almost three years now after figuring out my constant heartburn and gastrointestinal issues! It really helps if you can feel safe eating at frequently visited family and friends. My entire family avoids grains for health reasons, and it is so nice to visit and eat food that doesn’t make me sick!

          • Eenie

            You’ll love the RSVP for my wedding. I have 15 different allergens/dietary preferences listed and any guest that checks a box will either be getting a small guide to what they can eat/should avoid or a separate plate of food.

          • Alanna Cartier

            I’m planning on doing this as well, although I’m going to make all the food gluten-free. I wanna eat ALL THE THINGS at my own wedding. :)

          • Eenie

            That was my one requirement, but I caved for the chicken and waffles that my fiance tried at our venue and loved. Everything else will be gluten free!

      • Laura C

        I’m not sure I got to that episode yet. Hmm. Will gird myself.

        People sometimes ask me if, as a celiac, I resent the GF faddists. Answer: when I’m at the grocery store and I have tons of decent options for things like bread and pizza, when 13 years ago I thought I’d never eat those things again, I love the faddists, because they mean more products being developed. When I’m at a restaurant and I tell a waiter I need to be GF and get the “but really?” side-eye, not so much.

        • Eenie

          I’m not celiac, but I’m gluten free because I feel sick when I eat it. I try not to make a bad name for myself thought as a GF ambassador!

          • Laura C

            I think in restaurants, the issue is people who claim to have celiac or a serious allergy and the restaurant makes a big effort to get them food that’s as safe as possible and then later in the meal the staff sees them eating their friend’s food that they’re supposedly super allergic to. I’ve seen a couple articles with stories like that. So I’m guessing as long as you don’t do that, you’re good. :)

          • K.

            I’ve noticed more and more restaurants have asked me if it’s an allergy or a preference. And some even ask about cross contamination now before I even say anything. So there’s more and more awareness, and if people who aren’t allergic (wrong terminology, but it helps people understand) don’t claim to be, then I think this frustration will be taken care of soon. Or at least, I’m hoping!

            (And obviously, if gluten makes you feel sick even if you’re not celiac, then you can say that it’s an allergy! But you can also *probably* have things that are fried in the same oil as gluten or prepped normally (i.e., not extensive allergy prep), so waiters appreciate if you let them know the severity.)

          • K.

            (ETA: And it helps US out, because they’re more likely to take our high maintenance celiac requests more seriously if they start to be aware of the nuance of GF requests :))

          • Eenie

            When I need to be taken seriously I say allergy. Like when I need a fridge from a hotel to store the food I brought (FYI most hotels have some available to put in your room upon request).

          • Amanda

            I had a dinner party and worked really hard to honor a friend’s plus 1’s reported gluten intolerance–changed up my entire kitchen, was really careful–and later I found her chatting to someone eating french bread. Then she said, “well, it’s not really an allergy…” It’s my home, and I always ask about dietary restrictions and take them very seriously (raised by chefs who taught me to take it seriously), and it’s just…strange…when someone takes advantage of that for no reason.

          • Eenie

            Oh gosh no. Figuring out my diet issues has made me feel 100% thankful that I don’t have and allergy/autoimmune reaction. It sucks, but not nearly as much as it could. I’m not sure I would ever trust eating out with an allergy knowing the number of times I’ve gotten sick and I’m not that sensitive (I can eat things that have shared a fryer with glutenous things).

          • Alanna Cartier

            I’m so jealous! Being able to eat things in a shared fryer… I miss that. On the plus side though, I’m getting super awesome at deep frying at home.

    • CaliforniaPoppy

      Great show!! I haven’t ever really seen anything quite like it before. Netflix is killing it with their content lately!

    • kate

      YES. it is so so good on so many levels. and i just LOVE that his real life dad is his dad on the show and how this came out of it: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/2015/11/11/aziz-ansari-instagram-dad-masters-of-none/75579042/
      man oh man i hope there’s a second season – he’s sharp as hell and doing such great things.

    • I turned on the 1st episode on during lunch break before a busy afternoon… Terrible choice, SO GOOD ALL THE BINGE.

      When is season 2 coming out? ;D

      • Alanna Cartier

        Aziz has said he’s going to do this thing like Curb. He’ll make a new season when he has new ideas. I’m hoping he has lots of ideas and soon.

    • Laura C

      Also, Aziz Ansari’s NYT piece about race and Hollywood was so good. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/15/arts/television/aziz-ansari-on-acting-race-and-hollywood.html?_r=0

      And so well timed, because my former-aspiring-actor Indian-American husband’s enjoyment of The Martian had really been diminished by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Vincent Kapoor. Every time anyone onscreen said that name, he twitched angrily, and came out going “Irrfan Khan would have been great in that role, but I get it, he’s not as famous as Chiwetel Ejiofor. But couldn’t they have just changed the last name when they cast a non-Indian guy?” And then we learned in the Ansari NYT piece that they actually talked to Irrfan Khan about the role, so that was nice.

      • Danielle

        “The Martian” really bugged me. It’s like there was all this diversity in the supporting roles in regards to race and gender, but the lead character was a white male. How come the hero always has to be a white man?

    • Really liking it so far!

    • OMG OMG I HAVE BEEN WATCHING IT, ITS MY LIFE STORY. I’m so mad about Aziz.

    • dawn

      Yes!t! My husband is Asian and loves comedies, and finally there is an “Asian ” comedy (because two Asian guys star in it– great episode) that I like too. Also, we have a one year old, and the first episode was awesome from that perspective too.

    • Elena

      Yes! I am LOVING it!!! So awesome!

    • Molly K.

      I’m obsessed! My husband and I watched 3 episodes today.I thought he would like it as a child of parents who brought him here as a kid. He gets a kick out of the parents!

  • Sara Clark

    No more links from around the web? I thought last week might have been just a blip, but now it seems real. I’ve been married for five years, and one of the main reasons that brought me back was that roundup — just amazing, progressive, feminist, interesting, inspiring, and funny stuff. I’d love it if you kept doing it!

    • Eenie

      Join the newsletter!

      • Meg Keene

        Indeed. You want the progressive funny feminist inspiring stuff, there is a lot getting put right there.

    • Danielle

      Actually, readers can add links ourselves!

      Here is a great/intense one about a guy whose dad died at an Airbnb, and how the company did not respond very well: https://medium.com/matter/living-and-dying-on-airbnb-6bff8d600c04

      • A.

        Ugh, I read this a few days ago. Such a gutting, senseless tragedy (that goes into fairly graphic detail re: the actual death, just in case anyone wouldn’t want to read something like that). And then a really detailed look into something I’d never thought about before…and will probably now be endlessly paranoid about. Harrowing and important.

    • Ashlah

      From Happy Hour two weeks ago :)

      On a similar note, from now till year’s end, you may notice a small scaling back of the sheer volume of content we’re providing on APW (though it’ll be exactly the same level of quality). For example, you won’t get your full link roundup in Happy Hour for the next few weeks, though you will get your open thread. November and December is our slow season, and after a crazy year (and a small passel of staff and intern babies and pregnancies), we’re going to focus some on catching up from now till we go on our holiday break.

  • Danielle

    Help/advice needed: I started taking a prenatal vitamin bc I want to start trying to get pregnant soon.

    It has been turning my teeth BROWN. This is not a good look for me.

    Has this happened to anyone else? Suggestions for vitamins that don’t turn your teeth brown? Thanks!

    • Mary Jo TC

      I’ve been using gummy vitamins and never had any teeth issues. I think Vitafusion brand. Check the labels, though. There might be a few vitamins or minerals that aren’t in the gummy form.

      • Kate

        Yup, that’s what I use too. They’re basically candy.

    • Lulu

      Based on Mindy Kaling’s 2011 Tumblr post (I know), I started taking the Trader Joe’s variety and have been happy with them.

      • Danielle

        Ha ha ha ha ha! I love Trader Joe’s (and Mindy Kaling), so this is a great excuse to go there! Thanks :)

      • Laura C

        OMG, the Trader Joe’s ones made my pee look like some kind of really foul lemon soda. Bright, bright yellow. I couldn’t deal with it.

        • Lulu

          Fascinating. Bodies are so weird!

          • Laura C

            I brought it up with my doctor and he said he’d heard that before, not specifically about Trader Joe’s but people had mentioned it. Then I looked at the info on the TJ’s bottle, and for certain ingredients it had like four times as much as the vitamins I subsequently bought at the grocery store. So I’m guessing one of the ones it has more of can have that effect on people.

          • TeaforTwo

            B-vitamins always make my pee a neon almost-green colour. Super disconcerting!

    • TeaforTwo

      Are they chewable?

      I take a Jameson prenatal multi, and haven’t had any issues with my teeth. (Although I do always need to take it on a pretty full stomach or else it comes back up.)

      Another option is just to take 1mg of folic acid – that’s the most important component of the prenatal multi for before you know you’re pregnant (the neural tube stuff happens super early on).

      • Danielle

        Thank you. I have not been taking chewable vitamins – I have been taking huge horse pills that need to be swallowed (and in all honestly, I end up chewing them a little bc they’re so damn big).

        It seems like chewables do less damage to your teeth?

        • TeaforTwo

          I don’t take chewables, either, it just seems like most people who report tooth staining are taking chewables. It also seems to be the iron.

          Depending on your diet, you may not actually need an iron supplement, in which case just taking folic acid might be a good option. You also might have fine iron now and need more iron when you get pregnant, which would at least buy you some time!

    • Jenny

      I was taking a prenatal I got from the campus pharmacy (so cheap there), but at like 7 weeks pregnant just the smell made me vomit. I tried 3 other brands with the same result. So I switched to gummies with a folic acid supplement. Now I just take a women’s daily and a folic (they are both tiny and don’t make me vom). Neither of mine have iron, but my blood work is coming back fine, so they said as long as my diet stays the same and the blood work looks ok, that should be fine.

      • cityfolks

        I am not pregnant but they do smell awful even without the extra hormones. Blech.

    • M.

      Oh no! I haven’t had that happen to me. Bummer. I take the Rainbow Light Prenatal One and I really like them. I have heard some people don’t like the way they smell/taste (they are food-based so they’re a little different than standard white pills), but I just take a big mouthful of water and pop one in. No stomach upset, digestion problems, or other side effects from them. I don’t know how the size of the pill compares to other brands.

      If you are having issues with the size of the pills, cutting them in half might solve the issue of trying to chew a non-chewable due to size.

      (And re @disqus_CJCJNUub43:disqus ‘s iron comment below, I just had to start supplementing iron at week 26 because I was fine when I started out and now am a tiiiiiny bit anemic. It happens, especially as the baby needs more from you and gets bigger. And because while there’s iron in many prenatals, if there’s also a lot of calcium, it can inhibit the iron absorption, from what I know.)

      If you have a way to communicate with your OB without going in (I can email mine, for instance), it might not be a bad idea to see what they recommend or if they have dealt with this with other patients. Good luck!

      • TeaforTwo

        Yes! This is a good point about iron absorption. The iron in the prenatal multis is blocked anyway, so it seems like its main function is to make pregnant women sick!

        If you have good insurance, you can get a prescription prenatal called PregVit that breaks up the iron and calcium into a morning pill and evening pill and is supposed to be much easier to tolerate. It’s more expensive than over the counter, but if you can get it covered then your out of pocket cost is lower.

      • Danielle

        I take Rainbow Light too! Guess I’m just having a bad reaction to it :/
        Yes, contacting my OB/GYN is a good idea. Unfortunately they don’t have email.

  • Ashlah

    You guys, something strange is happening to me. I…I think I’m becoming a runner.

    It started with the FitBit and treadmill I got in July. I just wanted to walk more, to be a little more active. And then I realized, hey I could get my steps in faster if I jog. And then I realized I could run for longer stretches as I kept doing it. And then I started waking up early to run on the treadmill. And then I ran a full mile for the first time in my life. And then I realized I was kind of enjoying it? And now I’m planning to run a 5k next Spring? What is this madness?

    • AP

      Ha, it happened the same way for me! Have you bought your first pair of running shoes yet?? That was a big day for me.

      • Ashlah

        I have some old ones from the one I time I tried to get into jogging years ago, but I’m planning to a local running store so they can tell me the best ones to buy for my feet/stride. I’m totally excited!

        • AP

          The machine that you run on and it tells you how your foot falls and how high your arches are is so much fun. Getting “fitted” for running shoes made it feel real. Yay!

    • Eenie

      Yay for running! I’d be careful about shin splints – common in new runners (and old runners…). Make sure you’re wearing the RIGHT shoes for you.

      • Christina McPants

        I HIGHLY recommend going to a running store and getting fit by a professional.

        • Eenie

          That’s the only way to buy the right running shoes! Also, if you get two pairs they can recover on off days and will actually last longer (not just twice as long, but a little bit longer). I personally have switched to the minimus type shoes and the fore foot striking run in the past three years and have had fewer injuries as a result.

          • I didn’t realize this! I bought two pairs of my last shoe because they put out a new release and I had a hard time hunting it down. I’ll have to put my second pair into circulation.

        • Ashlah

          That’s the plan! There’s one right by my work, so it’ll happen soon. The treadmill’s out in the middle of a few stores and a restaurant, so I’m a little nervous about doing it in front of The Public. But it must be done! And I’m excited to see what they suggest.

          • MC

            I was always really nervous about what The Public would think of me running, like people would judge me or be like, “Wow, she’s so slow, why is she even running?” But it turns out most people don’t care (minus cat-callers UGH), or will be totally awesome and give me a thumbs-up or a high-five as I run past. And 99.9% of all other runners are super awesome and encouraging!

          • Ashlah

            That’s good to hear!

          • Jess

            Cat callers = the worst.
            Runners who give you the little hand wave and smile? The best.

          • AP

            I run on a beach boardwalk next to a busy street and car honkers = the worst. Makes me simultaneously ragey *and* jump out of my skin.

          • Jess

            Oh god… car honkers. I just lump them in mentally with the cat callers, but you’re so right.

    • MC

      Yay! Also happened with me, and a couple months ago I ran my second half-marathon! I thought I would NEVER like running so it takes me by surprise sometimes even though many people think of me as a runner. I still remember the first time I ran 2.1 miles on a treadmill in college and texted all my runner friends to brag, haha.

    • Jenny

      Yay! So excited for there to be more runners out there!

    • Jess

      Yay!!!!!!!!!!! Running!!!

      I remember deciding that I would run to be more active and making it… a block. Not even a long block. And then a little later, I could run two blocks.

      Now I wake up at 5am in the freaking cold to run. It’s the best kind of madness.

    • Jenny

      Welcome, welcome. I had a very similar story. Started walking with my mom as a way to honor my dad’s memory, realized we could get our miles faster if we started running. 12 years later, about 16 marathons and 50+ half marathons between us, I’m still surprised that I get to call myself a runner.

    • Christina McPants

      Buy the Zombies, Run! app and man, you will be converted.

      • Ashlah

        I’ve been considering it! The thing holding me back is that I run inside on a treadmill, and I’ve found I need visual stimulation or I get bored. But I’ve also been wanting to run to music more, and Zombie’s Run! sounds awesome.

        • Christina McPants

          It’s really great. I just bought their 7 minute superhero workout app and need to give it a try. Explore running outside before the snow starts – I enjoy it way more, but you have to work to pace yourself. I will warn you that, at least for me, their “30 minute” run ends up being about 20-25, but they have after run programming that’s fun.

          • Ashlah

            I really want to run outside, I just don’t live in the best area for it. I’m going to look at Google Maps today and see if there’s a route that might work for me. But I definitely need to do that before the 5k I want to do, otherwise I’ll have no idea how to pace myself without the treadmill aiding me.

          • Christina McPants

            Can you run somewhere around work or the gym? Drive to your local park and take a trail? My neighborhood has terrible sidewalks for jogging (especially with the stroller these days), but it also has a bike path that is perfect.

          • Ashlah

            I really prefer running in the morning, don’t have access to a shower at work, and don’t want to pay for a gym membership. But there is a high school near-ish my house, so maybe I could run there, around the track some, and back home! I think there are some other nearby areas I could make work, I just need to scope them out some more.

    • I’m looking forward to the day, hopefully soon, when we can figure out when I can get back to running again. I absolutely love it! Yea you1

    • YES This happened to me! I started running because I wanted to see if I could a couple of years ago. Then I signed up for a half marathon to see if I could do that this summer and now I’m signed up for a full marathon in May.

      It’s super weird because I still don’t *really* feel like a runner. Even though I’ve been running for three years now. Hm.

  • raccooncity

    Any motivation suggestions for when you have a wedding in 1 week but four papers due in the next 2 weeks? I just want to jump into netflix and live there.

    • Eenie

      That sounds horrible. If you get them done before the wedding (HA) you can relax in your wedded bliss ;)

    • MC

      If I need to get motivated I listen to one or two of my go-to pump-up jams (Beyonce or Nicki Minaj currently) beore I dive in, and I also reward myself with chocolate for reaching smaller goals. And I imagine how proud my future self will be that I didn’t procrastinate and leave more work for her!

      • Jess

        In a similar theme, when I am struggling hard with motivation for whatever reason, I finish a task (say… fire off an e-mail, write a paragraph, etc.) and play a level on a puzzle game.

        Usually it takes me about 30 sec or so, where I don’t break off my thought stream entirely, but it gives me that little dopamine rush of reward to fuel my getting something else done.

    • Alison O

      Go to a nice (quiet) cafe and buy yourself nice treats and drinks and BUST IT OUT.

      • raccooncity

        Realistically, I’ll probably do this now because the perception that people are judging me being on facebook too much keeps me productive. Great call, Alison.

        • Eenie

          Oooh, I used to use a productivity app for chrome (and uninstalled other web browsers) that limited my ability to be on time wasting sites during super busy school times.

        • Violet

          Yup. Judgment. Ack! And I’m paranoid about public WiFi security, so it keeps me in WRITING Mode (and then I go back later for refs and the like) rather than Writing-But-REALLY-I’m-on-the-Internet Mode.

    • Alanna Cartier

      When I have way too much to do, I make a to do list that breaks task down into really small parts. That way you get to check off lots of stuff. I also add things like showering and eating to the list so I always feel productive!

      • Violet

        Breaking things down is so key. I will set a timer and write for one minute. Then take a one minute break. One minute off, one minute on. Then eventually something takes over and then you’re just… writing.

        • Alanna Cartier

          I do this too! And then when my brain gets tired I listen to audiobooks while I do dishes and then back to work! I work from home and it’s the only way I’m able to get work done.

    • Jenny

      I downloaded the 30/30 app and set a timer for 50 min writing, 10 min break. I did that every wed/Friday this semester and last week I turned in the first full draft of my dissertation proposal, and I’ve had two articles go out for review at journals. It’s been a super helpful technique for me.

    • M.

      I use SelfControl on my laptop, which lets you “blacklist” websites that you waste time on and set a timer. You cannot turn it off, edit the list, or anything until time’s up, and it blocks the sites on all your browsers — even restarting doesn’t let you use it. Life changing for me when I need to focus! (And if you’re using your computer for Netflix, there’s your answer. If you have Netflix on your TV like we do, the only thing I can do is leave the house, although I have definitely put blankets over the TV and sent the remote to work with my husband before…..)

  • Lisa

    I’m so excited because in two hours husband and I will be heading on our last camping trip of the season! Here’s hoping we don’t freeze our butts off tonight and tomorrow.

    • Ashlah

      Have fun! Stay warm :)

  • Sosuli

    Just wanted to drop by Happy Hour and say thanks to everyone who gave me pep talks about a month ago when I was stressing out about going to a US conference. My presentation went well, and I got a couple cards from academic publishers (so I guess that’s a good sign!), but the conference was intimidating as hell. I do not envy you guys looking to get on the tenure track job market – that whole process sounds so intense I think I’m going to stay in Europe forever and ever!

    Also to any Oregonians out there – you have the most beautiful state. I traveled around a bit and got to see Crater Lake and that was just amazing.

    • Ashlah

      I’m glad the presentation went well, and I’m glad you got to spend some time in Oregon! I’ve lived here my whole 25 years and just saw Crater Lake for the first time last year. It is stunning.

    • Poppy

      Congrats on the successful conference! I don’t know what discipline you’re in, but in mine it’s a victory just to get an interested audience at your panel if you aren’t a big name in the field. Sounds like you knocked it out of the park!

      Crater Lake is incredible. I was born and raised in Oregon, left to go to college on the east coast and have been trying to make my way back ever since. I thought I appreciated how beautiful the state was when I was growing up, but I think I appreciate it even more now that I’ve seen a bit of the world.

  • Carolyn S

    In absence of the link round-up, excuse me while I push the last two books I finished on all of you because I think they are really interesting books that aren’t about marriage, but actually kind of are too. The first is Stir – my broken brain and the meals that brought me home, which was so beautiful and lovely that I plan to go out an buy it for anyone I know who even slightly loves cooking. The second was a bit sillier but still made me cry “What Alice Forgot” about a woman who wakes up and has completely forgotten a decade of her life. Really I just need to start a book club because I am dying to talk about how much I enjoyed these books so please read them okay? THANKS!

    • Jessica

      If we’re sharing book recommendations I have a couple. I read ‘Modern Romance’ a while back and LOVED IT. There is a discussion thread up further about Master of None, and Aziz Ansari definitely brings a lot of what he learned in researching Modern Romance into the show. It was a funny, insightful read.

      All the Light We Cannot See was a great book I just finished. It’s poetical, it’s amazing and it’s surprising. I highly recommend it!

      • Carolyn S

        I feel bad because I wasn’t sold on All the Light We Cannot See as I feel like I was supposed to be.. But after binge watching Masters of None, Modern Romance is definitely next on my list. If you are a podcast listener, I’ve just discovered “Reading Aloud” where they discuss a book a month, and has been a good place to expend some of my NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS book energy, even if I’m just passively listening. Plus it affirmed my opinion that Purity was pretty annoying.

    • Sparkles

      My book club just finished “The Poisonwood Bible” and I LOVED it. My book club isn’t super intellectual about discussing books, so I feel like I need to find someone else who has read it to chat about it, but anyways. Sooo good. Thanks for the rec of “Stir”. I’ll have to check it out.

      • eating words

        Totally late to the thread, but I finally got around to reading that book last year and LOVED it. I love all her writing (“Prodigal Summer” is another favorite), but that book is a level above the rest.

        • Sparkles

          I just got “Prodigal Summer” from the thrift store, I’m looking forward to reading it. I’ve also got “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” on my shelf, which I think should be a good one. And then I know Meg has quoted “High Tide in Tucson” before, which I’m keeping my eye out for at my favourite used book establishments.

  • Bsquillo

    You guys, I found out I’m a finalist for this big fancy academic admin job, and I’m doing my on-campus interview on MONDAY! Kind of surreal, especially since I’m an internal candidate and I already know all the folks I’ll be meeting with, but it will be such a great experience. It is seriously an all-day affair with interviews from the committee, the dean, and the director, and then also a presentation I have to give on recruiting strategies to ALL THE FACULTY AND STAFF. I’m freaking out a little, but I know it’s going to be a really valuable day, regardless of the outcome.

    • Rachel

      That’s so exciting!! Good luck with your interview! :)

    • MC

      Damn that is an intense interview situation – congrats and good luck!!

  • VKD_Vee

    I am dyyyyyying over here today. Was supposed to hear back about a job interview I had on Monday “by the end of the week” and now there’s just a couple of office hours left of Friday! I left the meeting feeling so confident and now I’m rethinking every stupid syllable of every word I uttered during my interview and picking it all apart! Argh!

    This was the only interview I’ve managed to get since we moved here last September so hopefully I’ve still got a shot!

    • Eenie

      This is the worst part of job searching. The waiting and sometimes never hearing back :(

      ETA: Not that that’s what I think will happen to you for this one! GL!

      • VKD_Vee

        Naw, I hear ya, Eenie! :) Fanks xx

    • sassypants

      Ugh, that is the worst feeling. Sending good vibes into the world for you!

    • AP

      Fingers crossed for you!! I’m waiting on a grant notice today too! The funder is a few time zones behind me so I’m hoping to hear something this evening, but it’s not looking likely….grrr! The waiting sucks!

    • Ashlah

      Eep, good luck! Sending good vibes!

    • Lisa

      I’ve got my fingers crossed for you!! Job searching is tough stuff, and I definitely understand the awful feelings here.

      • VKD_Vee

        WAHEY!! I literally JUST got another interview request (for a job I’d maybe even slightly prefer) ping through in my Email! Maybe it’s cos all you nice folk are finger-crossing all of the sudden!

        • Lisa

          Yaaaay! So many good thoughts focused in your direction materialized something!

    • emmers

      Hang in there, and try not to obsess over it. When I’ve been on hiring committees, a lot of times things don’t keep to schedule for various reasons (committee members being away/meetings getting postponed, references taking forever), so it doesn’t necessarily mean anything’s wrong. When you’re interviewing someone, you’re sooo much less invested than them, which soooo sucks as the interviewee, but can explain why they may not be keeping you as up to date. Hang in there, lady! And best wishes!

  • Lulu

    Not to be a total downer, but this week’s death planning post was perfectly timed to trigger my grief reflex (this is the last weekend I spent with my dad, many years ago). So I feel compelled to share one of my very favorite pieces of writing, which happens to mention “the numerological obsessions of the grief-stricken” and just perfectly encapsulates how I invariably feel at this time of year: http://openletters.net/2000/11/rick-moody-on-birds-and-memory/

  • VKD_Vee

    Ooft, Meg, just read that IG link. Here’s to a smoother road ahead… :)

  • FHM

    Does anyone know of an online platform that I can use to design a holiday card and then upload it to Shutterfly so I can utilize some coupon codes. For whatever reason it doesn’t seem like you can design a card from the ground up on Shutterfly even though they have all the bells and whistles.

    • Lisa

      Maybe something like Canva could be helpful?

    • sassypants

      Or, potentially, picmonkey?

  • Jess

    That “The weight you need to lose before your wedding” post hit me hard this week. We have been putting off making venue visits for lots of reasons, some simply surface “We don’t have a vision for this wedding that makes both of us happy” to “I don’t feel that people are going to show up and support us and love us” (not actually grounded in reality – nobody is objecting to us getting married).

    I have lots and lots of internal issues to work through, but we sat down, spoke super honestly about why we keep not doing anything, cried a little (a lot), and after that, worked.

    We contacted a bunch of sites all at once (I made a form e-mail so it was 100% copy-paste), have a bunch of visits set up for the next two weeks, and agreed that for most wedding related tasks we will fake enthusiasm until the enthusiasm is real.

    Guys, that weight is SO real, and so hard to talk about. So, thanks.

    • Danielle

      Hugs, girl. Hugs.

      I remember the difficulty of starting to visit venues. It’s like the first step to making this wedding sh*t REAL.

      Virtual tissues and glitter to you <3

      • Jess

        Thanks! I started threatening to just spray paint everything in gold glitter. I’m still not sure why R thinks I’m kidding.

        I’m hoping as this gets more real, it gets less scary. Because wedding-in-my-head is only full of the no-one-is-there feeling.

        • Danielle

          I remember the fear and anxiety sticking around for me til the last week or so. And then I was like, “F*ck it, I’m getting married no matter what!” And the wedding was great. Not perfect, but fun and great :)

    • sassypants

      “(I made a form e-mail so it was 100% copy-paste)”

      Honestly, if I could give any one piece of wedding advice, this would be it. Save yourself the trouble, make a set stationary for each vendor category, and abuse the shit out of it.

      Hugs to you!

      • Jess

        It got me over the hump! Before that it was like, “What do I say to this person….” over and over again.

  • Rachel

    We’re moving into our house today!! I’m so excited to get everything in order and decorate and make the place ours :) Happy Friday y’all!

  • Anon for this

    I need a quick in-law vent, so I’m going anon.

    After a year of fertility treatments, we are finally expecting our first baby. Unfortunately, my husband’s sister has ALSO gone through a year-plus of fertility treatments, and is not.

    We planned to tell my in-laws this weekend, and I wanted to give her a heads up because I knew it would be difficult news for her, and that she would need some time process it without pressure to act happy.

    I gave her the heads up and…she told her parents.

    I don’t want to confront her about it, because I know how she much is hurting right now, but I also feel like the only reason she told them was so that we wouldn’t get to. This is her way of taking control of the situation, and I understand that desire, but…I just feel like we tried our best to be courteous in an awkward situation, and she did not do the same.

    • C_Gold

      Ugh. That sucks. Yeah, I’d be pissed, too. Not sure what to advise you, just want to say that’s not cool.

    • kate

      yeah, that sucks. a lot.
      it seems like you are being gracious and keeping perspective in how you understand her motivations/intentions, but it’s still pretty shitty of her and it’s understandable to be upset. i would say it’s also not out of line to gently let her know that it upset you and further explain your reasoning for letting her know first (i.e. it wasn’t an invitation for her to begin telling everyone else) if you didn’t already do that.
      but yeah, that sucks. i’m sorry you had that moment spoiled a bit!

      • sassypants

        I would roll with it, I think…I can’t imagine how devastated she is, and while it was certainly not cool to tell your in-laws, I think you should consider it may have been from a place of despair. That being said, if you do feel you need to address it with her, I think kate’s got the right idea.

        • raccooncity

          Maybe go with the ol’ “everybody gets one’ rule when it comes to this. Give her a moment to be an asshole because she’s hurting so much – think of how you will HAVE A BABY SOON (squeeeeee!) – and then bring it up with SIL if anything happens in the future, which it might, because as you know, a year of fertility treatments is really hard. You’re staring down the barrel of a million exciting announcements for your in laws – when the baby is born, gender, first steps, first words, etc. Just keep focused on those for now.

          Obviously you know best if she’s like this all the time outside of fertility issues – if she’s often selfish like this then on a variety of topics, then by all means talk to her about it.

          • AP

            I agree with the ‘everybody gets one’ idea, but I definitely think this mishap has set an awkward tone for the rest of the pregnancy and how she deals with info sharing. You’re especially right about all the upcoming milestones, but I would use this experience to decide how/when to share that news and be on guard for more tricky SIL situations as the pregnancy progresses.

          • anon for this

            Well, the good news is that there probably aren’t more situations like this coming. It’s not like I will be confiding in her as the pregnancy goes on. (Not only because of the secret-keeping issue, but because I think it would be cruel when she’s having such a hard time.)

            This is just difficult for me because normally I WOULD say, “I wish you hadn’t done X when I asked you not to,” but here it just seems like it will make a difficult situation worse.

            Fortunately she is not someone I tend to lean on for support. I didn’t tell her for that reason; I only told her so that she would not be caught off-guard by the news in front of the rest of the family. I hope we won’t need to make an announcement like that again for several years.

          • another lady

            right – you know who not to tell secrets to first anymore! keep that in mind for the future!

    • Christina McPants

      Ugh, that is not cool.

    • Lulu

      Do you think there’s any possibility that a gentle stating of how her actions made you feel could help her see that she needs to channel her grief and disappointment in a better way going forward? Because it will really suck if this continues through your pregnancy or affects her relationship with your baby.

    • Amy March

      In general, I believe if a secret is important to you, you should be the one to keep it. I understand the impulse to tell her first, but I think it needed to be made with the understanding that people aren’t perfect secret keepers- especially people you know are feeling emotionally fragile about something.

      I’d let it go- you’ve learned some valuable information about her, and whether this type of courtesy is something you want to do in the future.

    • Laura C

      Mostly, ugh. You should definitely get to share the news how you want, and it’s unfortunate that your attempt to be considerate got turned on you. That said, I guess my question is, your feeling that the only reason she told them was so you wouldn’t get to … what’s the feeling based on? Because I have definitely known cases where that would be true, but I’m also thinking, if it was me in her situation, if I told my parents it would be because I tell my parents about things I’m struggling with, and I needed their support. I hope I’d still be able to keep someone else’s secret for a couple days, but I do wonder if there’s any chance she told not out as a way to lash out but because she needed the support.

      • anon for this

        That is a good way to think about it.

        This SIL is the family member I have the hardest time getting along with, because of a more general tendency to monopolize situations and need to be in control, and that’s how I read this: that she is telling my-inlaws so that she doesn’t have to be in a passive role when someone ELSE (like us) makes the same announcement.

        I know that there are lots of other places for her to get support and that her mom wouldn’t usually be her first stop, but you are right that I’ve unfairly characterized her motivations. Her telling the family was inappropriate, but wasn’t out of spite so much as self-protection.

        • Laura C

          That makes sense. And I definitely know how something that would be innocuous on its own can be intensely grating as part of a pattern.

        • CMT

          I just want to jump in and say you sound like a really thoughtful and generous person, and I want to commiserate with everybody else — this situation is pretty crappy :(

          • anon for this

            I really appreciate all of the supportive responses here this afternoon. Thank you.

            Really, the situation is anything but crappy: we wanted a baby, and we’re having one. Woohoo! And honestly, I do think that we did the right thing by giving her some forewarning, having seen her reaction to other women’s pregnancies in the past.

            But with all that said, it was just really comforting to have some sympathy about this. I love it here.

    • MK

      I’m pregnant right now, and I would be livid if this happened to me. That was not her news to share. Hard to say exactly why she behaved that way, but honestly, I would say something. Even if it’s just “We wanted to be the ones to tell your parents.” That’s pretty simple and straightforward, and it’s true. You might feel less ragey about the situation if she is able to offer some explanation. Because with the information you have, there is no knowing why she did that.

      • Jenny

        Agree. I get that she is in a rough spot. But in my opinion, you don’t get to tell someone else that another person in pregnant/engaged/biglifenews unless you have been given permission.

    • another lady

      I had a couple people do this (telling other family members we hadn’t told yet after we specifically said to keep the new quiet because we were still telling people). One person did it by accident, another person just did it on purpose. I did confront them in a 1/2 joking 1/2 ‘I’m annoyed’ way and they were sorry. One person said, ‘I hope it’s okay’… well, I guess it has to be now! Your relationship with that person can determine how you handle it, but I would probably say something in a way that makes you seem not too pissed, but still letting them know your feelings. Also, be sympathetic about their situation, too.

    • Alison O

      Is the issue that you wanted to have a big surprise moment with your in-laws? I’m just thinking, if I were in this situation, I know that my own parents would still be so over the moon thrilled, it wouldn’t matter if someone else told them first in terms of the amount of joy we could share talking about it for the first time together. (Mostly I’m sure they would just think it was inappropriate/weird that the other person told them prematurely.) Might not make for as good of a youtube moment, but still as exciting as befits the situation, I would think! Congrats!

  • Ashlah

    Suggestions for white elephant gifts appropriate for ages 1-60?

    I’m hoping my family comes to their senses this year and realizes how hard it is to find a gift that will appeal to children and adults alike, and will instead do separate exchanges. But if they don’t, does anyone have any great ideas? I was thinking something like candy and a movie theater gift card?

    • kate

      edibles of any kind are usually a pretty good bet for wide appeal! gift cards aren’t the most exciting, but, again, pretty safe bet and can be made cuter/more fun by doing a little combo pack like you mentioned. i think the candy/movie idea is just fine!

    • Lisa

      Gingerbread house kit?

    • CaliforniaPoppy

      A movie gift card is a great idea. Or maybe some kind of cool (not sharp, not breakable) kitchen tool? I brought measuring cups that were in the shape of matryoshka dolls to a while elephant once and they were a hit.

      On the cautionary tale spectrum, when I was seven I picked a super colorful, beautifully wrapped box to open at a white elephant gift exchange which turned out to contain…two jugs of car wax.

  • Emily

    I find ideas about confidence and uncertainty fascinating (in fact I’ve been writing an essay about it for over a year that I can’t figure out how to finish… occasionally I think about how ironic it is that I’m uncertain about my uncertainty essay). Here’s a link for our happy hour roundup that I found really interesting. It includes a link to a quiz you can take about how confident you are… my score was low confidence. Sigh. http://www.fastcompany.com/3053251/lessons-learned/the-untold-secret-of-great-leaders?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=colead-daily-newsletter&position=2&partner=newsletter&campaign_date=11132015

    • Ashlah

      Low confidence for me too, unsurprisingly. I wish there were just a switch you could flip to increase your confidence. If you ever find certainty in how to finish your essay, I’d love to read it :)

    • Amanda

      Interesting. I came up medium confidence, but I don’t know if anyone in the entire world would describe me that way–I think I’m very confident, and usually have to check my smarty-pants nature at the door. Mostly, I view self-doubt as a motivator for being better. Checking my blind spots, as it were, and I don’t think that registered on the quiz. Does knowing that better exists make someone less confident? Are these good questions to help you finish your essay?

  • You guys, I’m struggling with a situation that I feel like shouldn’t make such a big impact on me, but it. Is. Capital i. Our neighbours upstairs used to be really open and communicative with us, and now the relationship is awkward and strained. She moved her brother into the room above our bedroom, and it turns out he is a nocturnal person (working between 11pm and 6am), in a house with thin floors and no insulation between. His movement and typing (?!?!?!) creates this loud drumming sound, which is both repetitive and erratic, and we have trouble sleeping because of it. I can’t believe typing could translate into such a loud sound, but I think there’s some reverberation through table leg through thin floors kinda thing going on here. I wish the source of the sound wasn’t so innocuous, as it’s a lot harder to police than say, a party or loud music, but please believe me that it is loud.

    Anyway, we’ve made several polite inquiries over the last two months to ask this to stop. Assertiveness is not either of our biggest skills, but we are working on it all the time. I am proud that I work on this skill, but it doesn’t mean I don’t get that hot blooming feeling in my chest just before I firmly knock on their door. He is…not stopping. Or taking action. He’s polite, and sympathetic (not empathetic), but the same night we’ll hear “tap tap tap tap tap TAP TAP TAP TAP tap tap tap TAP.” He has no phone, avoids giving us his email, and is generally hard to get a hold of. We’ve left notes and talked to him face to face a few times. The last time, he said “Well I’m not a materials engineer so I don’t know what to put underneath my table to make it stop… do you have anything?”, so I called my dad and he unearthed a roll of foam that we gave to him.

    I’m so tired. And frustrated. And angry. There were a few nights I couldn’t take it anymore and slept on the couch. The foam stopped the issue for a week and a half, but the table has sunk through a bit and it’s no longer dampening the sound. We talked to our landlord last week, and he issued a formal notice of complaint that asks him to stop the sound. My main source of resentment though, comes from the other roomate, the sister, who has now taken this personally and texts me such things as “You guys are the worst neighbors ever”, “We’re barely living up here because of you”, “I can’t wait to never see your face again”. I think she’s upset that we exercised our right to talk to the landlord. I’ve just said something to the tune of ” This type of messaging isn’t productive, so I suggest we just communicate via landlord from now on”. It’s good that we took the bigger person route, but I feel this unsatisfied resentment that I’m not allowed to saying and acting out at her the way she has at us these past few weeks. Sometimes I wish I could tantrum right back.

    Part of me knows that if I change my thinking about this, I will have more peace and therefore be able to let this go.. but a very stubborn part of me is holding on because it feels so unjust to be criticized when we’ve tried so hard to not criticized their characters.

    Ugh. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh adulting. I need hug.

    • Ashlah

      Oh. Oh dear, that sounds terrible. I am a light sleeper, extremely aggravated by intermittent sounds. Just last night I had to kick our cat out of the room because the sound her licking herself was about to drive me up a wall. I can’t imagine how I would handle the situation you’re in, but I think you’re doing everything right. Despite his nice attitude, it doesn’t sound like the brother is actually willing to do anything to make it better for you. And it just doesn’t seem like it’d be that hard for him to find a solution. If I knew I were keeping my neighbors awake, I would be bending over backwards to fix it. And the sister! Wow! What exactly does she want from you? To just ignore the fact that you can’t sleep? Hugs. All the hugs.

    • Megan

      Rough! We live in a super loud neighborhood, so I sympathize. This may be a dumb question, but have you tried earplugs? They have done wonders for blocking out the loud truck noises from just outside our bedroom window (we live across from a 24 hr factory). I was initially worried about not hearing my alarm in the morning but I got a Fitbit activity tracker which has a vibrating alarm in the bracelet!

      • I should have said! We wear ear plugs and employ a white noise machine..cranked up! The type of noise the drumming creates cuts right through, unfortunately :(

        • Alison O

          good gracious that’s horrible. seems hard to believe this is from typing! frankly the sister’s texts are inappropriate and your going through the landlord at this point is entirely appropriate.

    • MK

      Neighbors can be the absolute WORST. I so feel you on this. Our downstairs neighbor is a chain smoker, and when I confronted him about it, he questioned whether I was really smelling HIS cigarette smoke, and then insisted there was no way his smoke was harming me, despite my being pregnant right now. Every time I smell it I fly into a rage. It’s so bad you can smell it when you approach his front door.
      But noise when you are trying to sleep is also so stressful! Our upstairs neighbor used to keep us up doing god knows what all night, and when we finally confronted her at 3am one night in our bathrobes, she denied it was her but the noises stopped, for the most part.
      Here’s hoping it gets better soon! I know how awful it is.

      • Alison O

        We could’ve gotten a nice apartment here in LA for substantially cheaper than what we pay and much closer to my partner’s job, but (luckily) the landlord told me the people downstairs smoke. It’s LA…windows are open a lot…it was a total no go for me.

    • Laura C

      HUGE sympathy. We got new upstairs neighbors over the summer and it was rough for a while. Luckily after we asked they toned things down a little, but it is amazing how disruptive it is. I felt like we were living inside a drum for a while.

    • macrain

      Just going to leave this here for you!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IRB0sxw-YU

      • Yes. Seen it. Love it!

      • kcaudad

        I was thinking of linking to that video, too! Oh, I’ve been there! time to get a ‘white noise’ machine and attempt to drowned out the bowling balls!

    • StevenPortland

      We see articles all the time about how it is important to compare renting to buying instead of just assuming that house buying is correct. But these articles never talk about how buying a house means you never have to deal with neighbors above your head again. I had so many experiences like the one you are having with the typewriter and paying that mortgage each month is entirely worth getting away from bad neighbors! Hope things work out for you.

      • Laurel

        Although buying a house and then realizing that your next door neighbors are crazy/ awful can be pretty terrible … and pretty permanent. We refer to man who lives next door as “Angry Neighbor” and had to plant a tree in front of a junk pile he constructed for our enjoyment.

      • EF

        but lots of people buy apartments/flats too. I don’t see myself ever buying a *house* because I’ve always lived in big cities. And scared to ever buy an apartment because of the neighbours issue!

    • Alison O

      I know that stubborn part…oh stubborn part, chill. (This is me telling my own stubborn part.) Just…solidarity.

      • Alison O

        and i’m pretty sure that stubborn part is aka ego :)

  • cityfolks

    Oh, man, has this week been a roller coaster. I spent twelve hours pretty sure I was pregnant (which would have been a surprise, but tests say no) and my husband’s response was not quite as supportive as I might have wished. Yes, it would have been a shock, but we’ve discussed having kids – him freaking out has got me on edge, which is not an A+ start to the weekend … Is it too blunt just to say, “Hey, I understand this could have been a Huge Deal, but I would have appreciated a little reassurance and support.” ??

    • Emily

      Not too blunt at all, in my book. Sounds like good open communication.

    • Amy March

      I think it is too much to expect that your partner will react perfectly to shocking news of an unplanned pregnancy. You’re both going through something pretty major, and he isn’t an automaton who can just be “quite as supportive as you might have wished” when you want, even if you do really really want it and he does really really love you. It’s a rough thing! It’s okay for reactions to be a bit rough too. 12 hours is a really speedy timeline to be getting reassurance and support that something it sounds like you’re actively trying not to have happen has in fact happened.

    • TeaforTwo

      That is huge! It doesn’t sound blunt to me at all – I think it’s always better to name your needs than to stew. It could open up a really productive and important (if difficult) conversation about how each of you were feeling for those twelve hours and since.

      • cityfolks

        Thanks! I’ve been working through more of my reaction and I think it would be good to check in with him about how he’s feeling. Hopefully the next time we go through this it will be more expected, but there’s always bumps in life, so I think knowing how to be there for each other is important in a lot of situations.

    • Jess

      I think it’s good to open up a conversation about it – especially in terms of a future action (ie, Hey, this scared me a lot, too. How can we be more supportive of each other if this happens again?).

      And, consider that you probably had time to get your freaking out of the way earlier, and were calmer by the time you told him. You saw his first HOLY SHIT reaction, but had already gotten yours out of the way without witnesses.

      Thanks for the reminder to have an update to the “how would we respond if I ended up unexpectedly pregnant” conversation.

      • cityfolks

        We did have an updated version of this conversation around when we got married, maybe right before. I think we’re generally on the same wavelength, and I guess I expected our reactions to “look” the same because of that. It’s almost like we’re not the same person? Interesting … ;-)

        • Jess

          What? Not the same person? Tell me more!!

          Yeah, it’s been a while since we had that conversation, and I know (like, capital letter Know) that R’s reaction would be to just get real quiet and try to sort through his emotions, which would be totally unsettling for me. So, I keep bringing it up to make it… maybe less unsettling in the event that it happened.

          • Anon4this

            Yup yup yup. Helped me to remember that while mother/motherhood is a loaded concept for me and other women, being a dad comes with a different set of societal bs that he needed to sort through

    • another lady

      if it makes you feel better, we had been doing things to plan to try, then actually started trying, then got pregnant pretty quickly, and my husband’s eyes about bugged out of his head when I told him it happened and it worked! And, he didn’t really believe me at first. but, after 20 minutes, he got used to the idea and we discussed it more and felt better about it. also, I about had a freak out when I saw the test results, too. So, you just don’t know how someone is going to react in that moment. don’t read too much into it, have some low key discussions, it will be fine.

    • ML

      My husband did not cry happy tears or say anything very supportive either at first, even though it was a planned pregnancy. He just spouted off things we need to think about, like money and stuff. It got me into panic mode for sure. But after a few hours he came back down to earth and was obviously happy. I’ve actually since heard from other women that this happened with their partners too. It is a big freaking deal and people will respond how they need to, maybe in ways they would have not predicted either. But of course it’s fair to talk about it! I just wouldn’t read too much into it or assume anything.

      • cityfolks

        Thanks. I just wanted reassurance that my own spiked emotions weren’t leading me down the proverbial garden path!

  • Anon today

    Support/advice/”it will all be okay”‘s needed: My partner was laid off last week, along with about 20% of the company’s workforce. While I’m the majority breadwinner in our household, this is a blow–we have a baby due in two months. I’m trying not to waste energy being ticked at the higher-ups (firing 20% in one day? Yeah, you should’ve started working on a solution months ago…there were signs), I don’t really know what to do. My partner is trying to process his feelings, while also being insanely productive around our house and reaching out to contacts, updating his resume, etc. I’m doing my best to be supportive, and we have a good dialogue going (i.e. “please tell me if you’re bummed, and I’m being too Pollyanna”), but I’m just at a loss some days. We’ve been saving for the baby and have a healthy emergency fund, but…there are jobs out there, right? Since the lay-offs were related to work volume, not employee productivity or anything more personal, does that help with finding something new? Should we look into filing for unemployment? We’ve never dealt with this situation before, and I’d love any advice or general wisdom.

    • Eenie

      Yes unemployment! There are jobs out there. Can you make changes to your child care plan in light of this layoff? Are you taking unpaid and paid time off? Can he provide childcare to save some money?

      • Anon today

        I’m taking 12 weeks off, at least 10 of which will be fully paid. We are definitely considering having him do full-time childcare for awhile, but GOOD LORD the cost of adding him to my employer’s health insurance is nuts. (at least the baby is inexpensive?) We’re looking into ACA plans for comparison, but I nearly panicked when I saw those numbers yesterday…

        • Eenie

          Look at the open market or getting a catastrophic insurance plan to hold you over (I think there’s only a penalty if you are uninsured for more than 4 months).

        • Lawyerette510

          Also be sure to compare the cost of his plan being continued via cobra to the mix as well. While generally it will be more, just good to check al your options.

    • Ashlah

      Absolutely apply for unemployment!! This is what it’s for! And if he finds a job right away, great! What horrible timing, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. But it sounds like you’re both handling as well as you can relationship-wise. Being laid off because of a company’s decisions is absolutely better than him being fired for his own work. Just the fact that he lost a job doesn’t mean people won’t want to hire him. He’ll find something, and hopefully it’ll be a better-run business than this one :)

    • Jenny

      Yes un employment, also see if you now qualify for SNAP or WIC benefits. This is what the social safety net is for!

    • Amanda

      You have all my empathy: I was laid off in a bizarre corporate game of chess about 5 months ago (though I got the news in March), and I’m only now starting to feel like I can get past the trauma. There are jobs. There are jobs. There are jobs. I lucked out in that I had no gap in employment (good reputation in a small industry), and I work in a field in which freelancing was always a back up plan. I’m just here to say that the emotional toll is real, and to honor it. I worked so hard to not feel the pain of what happened, but it caught up with me even after I landed on my feet. I’m so so sorry for the added stress to your family.

      • AP

        I second this. I was laid off during the recession from what I thought was a secure government job. The emotional toll is definitely real, and I went through all the stages of grief even when I thought I should be over it. YES to unemployment, that’s what it’s for! This sucks, internet hugs. It will be ok! One day at a time.

    • Lawyerette510

      Sorry you’re going through this. In the US, unemployment insurance works by the company paying into the fund as part of their normal business, so think of it as the money already set aside for this very thing. He should definitely apply (although what he receives and when may be influenced by whether he received separation pay in some states). In addition to UI, while looking for work is challenging, a mass layoff such as 20% is a good narrative when looking for a new job, and answering explicit or implied questions about why he is not currently employed. You’ll make it through this.

  • Help

    I’ve been waiting for days for this! I need some career advice. I’ve been approched by a company that does the same kind of work as the one I’m currently at. They have a full time managment position available that they have asked me to apply for. I currently am licensed to do the management position but because the company I work for is small, I”m still working at the front desk, but doing some of the managment tasks. Its been almost a year promising that they’d hire someone soon to replace me and I can move into full time managment but they haven’t grown as much as they anticipated so I’m stuck. The one couple who owns the company is lovely, however they’ve brought on a new partner who I feel doesn’t have sound business sense.
    The new company seems great, but I’m nervous to start somewhere new, as well as I feel like I owe some loyalty to this company as they paid for the courses that led to my license, however I don’t like the direction the company is heading in, potentially moving into a different town and one of the owners is very difficult to work with. I don’t know how to tell the old company if I do get a job offer and if I am expected to pay them back for the courses they put me through?

    • Amanda

      It sounds like you need to take the interview. And remember: You’re interviewing the new company as much as they’re interviewing you. I think the business lady at the-toast has some really good advice columns on this, especially about feeling loyalty in ways that hold us back, ultimately.

      • Lisa

        Amen to Amanda’s comment. I’ve been reading Ask a Manager based on some suggestions from people in this community, and that has to be one of the best pieces of advice I’ve learned from her. It won’t hurt to apply and go through the interview process to see if you like this new company as much as the current one.

        And if you didn’t have an agreement with your current company when they paid for the classes to work for them for a specific amount of time after the certification was completed, you don’t owe them anything for it. It was a business expense for them and a way they chose to invest in their company.

    • Violet

      If it was part of a benefits package, no, you don’t have to pay them back for those courses.

      You also don’t owe your employer really anything than what’s in your contract. Not to get all Marxian or whatever on you, but employers only hire employees because they use their labor to leverage up their bottom line. It’s either evil, or it’s capitalism, however you want to look at it. But someone employing you is not doing you a favor or giving you charity, thus, you don’t owe them anything. (I’m not even going to get into that they’ve been stringing you along for a year while this new company is ready to use your awesome skills NOW.)

  • Amanda

    I FINALLY paid the venue fee for my wedding!!! Once we picked the venue, we needed to become members of the club, since it’s private. So that took time. Then, when I showed up one day with the contract & my grandmother to pay the fee, it happened to be the day the coordinator was on vacation. And then, I went through this stressful job transition, and it just wasn’t our priority (though they were holding the date for us). So this week, I finally got around to getting my butt over and paying it! Ten months after our engagement became official. It feels so so so **real** now, that I’m just full of butterflies! I designed the save the dates, I found a photographer. Everything that had been on hold in case I lost the date in my procrastination, I put into action in two days. It’s just filling me with joy. And the best part: my procrastination paid off! The venue fees and catering costs have gone up since the initial quote, but they’re going to honor the first, lower number. So on top of it, it feels like a sale. And there’s little I love more in this world than a sale. I couldn’t wait to post this today, to a community that would just understand.

    • Jess

      I’m so looking forward to getting this feeling.

  • K2

    Suggestions for a fun, cheap, last-minute, at-home date night? We were thinking about going out tonight, for the first time in forever, but couldn’t get a babysitter.

    • Eenie

      Red box and movie theater candy.

    • A bottle of wine and ‘Heads Up’ game by Ellen Degeneres. We always have a whale of a time with that.

      Edit: it’s an iPhone app game so you can get it at home!

    • Ashlah

      We like to bring our mattress to the living room and have a slumber party! Usually we do champagne and snack night (cheese, crackers, meats, veggies, dips) and watch a movie. There’s something really fun about sleeping somewhere different! (Until the cat, or baby, wakes you up in the middle of the night.)

      • K.

        We’ve done Indoor Camping. Create a blanket fort, turn off all electronics except one lamp that we use as a “lantern” (covered in a pink scarf for ~campfire ambience~) and the oven, where we bake broil hot dogs and smores and drink out of flasks. Then we talk and play games all night, and look out our window at the stars.

        • Ashlah

          We’ve been wanting to built a fort forever, and I LOVE the idea of camping night! Definitely bringing this idea home.

        • Jenny

          Yes!! Growning up my mom would have winter picnics occasionally, it was THE BEST!

    • Carolyn S

      If we want to do a different something at home (because tv and movie is generally the default) we play Pandemic. It’s our favourite board game because you work together, which is helpful when two highly competitive people marry each other.

      • chrissyc

        Yes to Pandemic! Collaborative games have restored our love of Game Night.

      • E.

        Yes yes yes I love Pandemic! And Forbidden Desert. Cooperative games FTW!

    • KPM

      Love all these ideas. Another one- get takeout from somewhere other than chinese/pizza/thai. You mentioned ‘cheap’ so this can vary but even just a decent italian place with big servings that you can share, get an app and a big ol’ plate of pasta, buy wine from the grocery store, light candles and it’s like you are at a classy joint.

    • Alison O

      if you have a large tub, read in the bath together?

  • Megan

    HEY EVERYBODY! I AM READY TO CELEBRATE! I got engaged this week! Finally, all my lurking on APW and other wedding sites is much less weird!!!

    • Ashlah

      Hooray! Congratulations!

    • Lisa

      So many congratulations!!! That’s exciting!

    • Oh god I can relate to that! Congratulations!

    • Mary Jo TC

      We welcome pre-engaged lurkers and never think they’re weird. Congrats on making it official.

      • VKD_Vee

        It’s definitely weirder that I’m still here +1 year after getting married…. lol! Welcome, lurker-Megan!

        • Mary Jo TC

          Really? Then what does that say about me, when I just celebrated 5 years in July? Guess I’ll be a super weird (and maybe a little old) weirdo.

          • VKD_Vee

            You’re here to make me feel less weird! Seriously, though, I’ve been practicing saying to myself “you just LIKE weddings, and that’s okay!” Plus there’s been a growing amount of increasingly awesome content that’s more broadly relationship/marriage/politics/life-based which keeps me hanging around like a bad smell… :)

          • Not to mention the DIY ideas- a lot of them would work for any party.

            I’ve always been in the “I just LIKE weddings” camp, too :)

        • Megan

          I’m now “former-lurker” Megan :)

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          • Diana Mitchell


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        • Kara

          I’ve been married 6 years and have loved this community from the beginning. I’m not giving it up :). Welcome all!

          • clairekfromtheuk

            Me neither!!

      • emilyg25

        Hell, there’s a whole pre-engaged section! And a section for us old marrieds who just can’t quit APW. :)

    • sassypants

      YAY! //pops champagne

      I’m only a little jealous you get to take advantage of Meg’s new book ;)

      • Megan

        I preordered it already!

    • Alanna Cartier

      CONGRATULATIONS! I’m still pre-engaged, but I think I might get to join the ranks of engaged ladies this Christmas. The BF has been having some suspicious, we-need-to-talk-when-Alanna’s-not-here conversations with his parents lately, and I think it may be engagement related.

      • emmers

        But if you don’t, hang in there! I kept thinking I would get engaged months before I actually did. So try not to pin too much on Christmas, unless your partner has indicated you should. Cuz as someone who cried after many steak dinners whilst expecting a ring, sometimes expectations don’t pan out, and the conversations could be about something completely different, or about a different timeline.

        • E.

          Yeah I specifically told my partner NOT to surprise me to avoid that! It mostly keeps me sane :)

    • Jess

      Ha, I more-than-lurked APW for like 3 years as a pre-engaged person. Congratulations!!!

  • K.

    I’m sure APW has covered this in the past, but I’m trying to start saving for retirement. I work for myself, so I was planning on putting a couple hundred per month away. I just don’t want the burden of retirement saving to be entirely on my husband (and his company sponsored 401k).

    My husband said I can open my own 401k–has anyone done that on their own? Good experiences? Through what service? Husband is “meh” on Roth IRA but hasn’t really explained why (he’s a serious finance person, great with Excel, all MBA-ed up, etc., etc., but not a great teacher–I’m starting to look into it all myself, but it’s overwhelming for how my brain works. Or how I’ve convinced myself my brain works, at least.)

    Any thoughts or experiences or links to good places to put my money would be appreciated! I just *know* you’re all dying to talk about this on a Friday afternoon.

    • Not Sarah

      Meg talked about having SEP IRAs earlier: http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/10/personal-budgeting-youre-longer-broke/ I know there are also Solo 401(k)s. I don’t know the ins and outs of which one is better since I’m not self-employed. If you are self-employed, do you have an accountant? If so, that would be a great person to ask what you should use. Vanguard (low cost index funds! low fees!) offers these: https://investor.vanguard.com/what-we-offer/small-business/overview They have a phone number listed, so someone from Vanguard might be able to help you get started with that.

      Roth IRAs are also great. If you’re high income as a couple, you might not be eligible though, so I would check on that – maybe that’s why your husband is “meh” on them.

      • Eenie

        betterment ROTH IRA after I maxed out my company max.

    • cityfolks

      I don’t think you can set up your own 401k, my understanding is those are employer-controlled and if you work for yourself I’m not sure that qualifies. You can get an IRA – Roth or traditional. I have a Roth, which I contribute to from post-tax income, so the money I put in is mine and can be withdrawn pretty easily (though not so the interest). My understanding is that with a traditional IRA you’d pay the taxes when you withdraw the money (later in life). Your husband may feel that you (you K. or you as a couple) will be making more later in life and thus the tax deferral won’t be as beneficial as you’ll be in a higher tax bracket. (E.g. you might be taxed at a higher rate when you’re 60+ and will lose more of your money to income taxes.)

      • Not Sarah

        They are employer-controlled, but when you are self-employed, then you can set up an Individual 401(k)! They’re good in that they have higher contribution limits than Roth or Traditional IRAs.

        • K.

          Yes, this is what my husband was talking about. :) I’m actively trying to own my finances (and that of my tiny one-person company’s), but I get easily intimidated, which is ironic considering every other aspect of my personality. Like even here, I definitely thought it was a personal thing, not connected to my business even though that would make so much more sense. Looooooots to learn.

    • Lulu

      Though they are random strangers on the internet, the collective wisdom of the personal finance subreddit can be pretty helpful: https://www.reddit.com/r/personalfinance/wiki/iras

    • Mary Jo TC

      Ok, in the same vein, tell me if I’m dumb or not. The school district I work for is switching from 402b to 401k. I wasn’t signed up for the 403b and don’t think I’ll sign up for the 401k. Here’s why: 1) zero company match makes it seem pointless. 2) I have a Roth IRA that I contribute to instead. 3) I get more control over how much and how often I contribute this way. I don’t have to sign up for a set regular contribution, but I can contribute when I have the money and skip a month if things are tight. I know an automatic plan might force me to save more, but it might also put needed dollars out of reach in an emergency. What do you all think, am I dumb?

      • Amy March

        Not dumb, but I’m not sure its the best choice. The advantage I see for a 401k is getting to invest pre-tax dollars. That gives me more actual dollars to work with, and means that I get the value of that money over the years to grow instead of the government. There are definitely arguments pro and con, but it’s not pointless.

        • Mary Jo TC

          I guess the difference is in whether you pay taxes on it when you invest it vs when you take it out? So the gamble is whether you’re in a higher tax bracket now vs when you’re retired?

          • Not Sarah

            Bingo! If you really want Roth, you might have a Roth 401(k) option available too.

          • Yes, you’re right on. The additional layer is that the way income is taxed could change in the future. My personal opinion is that taxes are likely to go up in the long-term. So, the way things work is that the tax code is progressive – a certain tax up until X amount of income, then a higher tax from X to Y amount, etc. I think it’s very likely that either the tax rates will go up, or cutoffs for each increasing tax bracket will go down. Basically, taxes will go up (in my view).

            I don’t think it’s a bad choice to start with your IRA before using a 401(k) without a match. You probably have more options and lower fees there than in the 401(k). The general advice for saving for retirement, is to contribute to your 401(k) up to the match (because free money that essentially gives you an instant return), then max out your IRA (tax-advantaged account that you have full control over, lots of options and low fees if you choose correctly), and then max out the rest of your 401(k) (tax-advantaged account, but fewer options and likely more costly), then contribute to taxable investment accounts.

            I can speak more on this if you’re interested, but a general heuristic is that if you’re in the 15% marginal tax bracket or lower, you should contribute to a Roth IRA, because it’s unlikely that you’ll be in a higher tax bracket in retirement. If you’re in the 25% marginal tax bracket or higher, you should contribute to a traditional IRA, unless you expect to have a higher income (and higher tax bracket) in retirement. I have personally broken that rule in the past, though, because the Roth IRA provides tremendous flexibility, since you can withdraw principal (what you contributed) at any time. Plus my personal goals factored in. There is no 100% mathematically correct answer, because answering this question relies on assumptions about what your income will be like in retirement, but also on what the tax code will be like in the future. But the heuristic described above is a pretty decent one.

            There may come a time when you want to contribute more than the 5.5K (current) IRA yearly max to retirement, in which case the 401(k) is a great account to use due to its tax-advantaged structure. And if you are interested in saving more for retirement, research shows that people who automate investments often end up with more money. I’m simplifying this a lot, but I’m a huge fan of the topic and pursued a finance PhD for a while, so I could talk about this forever. Because the money comes out pre-tax, the hit to your take-home salary is less than the amount that gets added to your 401(k). You can always play around with contributing different percentages of your income. It’s common to be able to change your contribution % online very easily – so you can always change the amount. Just me 2 cents, good luck!

      • Jenny

        Unless you are maxing out your roth contributions, with no company match there isn’t much added incentive (you do get to invest pre tax dollars, but then you are taxed based on withdrawing, so only you can know if that is a good deal for you based on your current v predicted future tax paying bracket). If you do ever max out roth, you can also just open an investment portfolio (vangaurd is my preference) and then you don’t have to worry about hitting a certain age before you withdraw, so if you want to say retire at 60, or if you have a huge expense, you can.

        • Just FYI, you can take money you contributed out of a Roth at any point, and you can take out the money you’re earned from contributions to a Roth penalty-free starting at 59.5 (provided it’s been at least 5 years since the contribution). And, getting money out of retirement accounts if you plan to retire early is actually not too big of a problem – I’ve thought about this a lot since I want to retire rather early. You might be interested in this article – http://www.madfientist.com/traditional-ira-vs-roth-ira/

          I’m a huge fan of Vanguard too. Can’t beat the low-cost index funds & customer-owned structure that eliminates the conflict of interest other firms have. :)

      • emmers

        I’m pro-automatic retirement saving. In a true emergency, you can still withdraw from your retirement (though what you withdraw will be taxed pretty heavily). I’m also pro-automatic savings saving. You may want to consider doing both, so that you’ll have an emergency fund in a savings account, and then a retirement nestegg if the shit really hits the fan. If you’re really hesitant, could you do an experiment where you take 3 months and try saving for retirement on your own, without automatic deductions, and then try saving automatically for 3 months, and see how you feel and how much $$ you save?

    • emmers

      I’m a huge fan of the book “Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck” by Michael Rubin. It’s super hokey, but it’s a really good introduction on what the different types of IRAs and other retirement accounts are, and it’s like $3 on amazon. I read it when I was just out of college, and it literally changed my financial life. It’s got a lot of understandable, plain language definitions of things.

    • I’m also a serious finance person, and I love this topic. Here are the nuts and bolts of your options (straight from the IRS’s mouth) – https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-for-Self-Employed-People . You have a couple options – the solo 401(k), as you said, plus the SEP & SIMPLE IRA. I’m less familiar with this than the options employed-by-others people have (since I’m one of them), but I’ve done my research. The main differences are how much you can contribute, and the structure of how the max contribution is contributed. So this will depend a lot on how MUCH you want to contribute, as well as how much income you make. I second the suggestion about talking with your accountant, as I’m not super familiar with the cost of setting up each plan. I’m excited for you :)

      Oh, and my hunch is that your husband is ‘meh’ on the Roth IRA because you guys are in the 25% or higher tax bracket. A traditional IRA is a tax-advantaged account that lets you put in contributions pre-tax, and then you pay income tax when you withdraw money. So that means that the net negative impact on your paycheck of a contribution to a traditional account is less than the net positive impact on your account balance. A Roth IRA is a tax-advantaged account that lets you pay no income taxes on any withdrawals after 59.5, but the contributions are post-tax (so you’ve already paid taxes on the income). IRAs and 401(k)s are tax-advantaged accounts because they provide benefits you don’t get in basic taxable investment accounts. And they can both be either Roth or Traditional (though Roth 401(k)’s aren’t offered as often as traditional 401(k)s), that’s the component that determines whether the tax benefit occurs when you make a contribution, or when you take the contribution out.

    • Just Me

      Start here: http://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/

      I saw someone below posted a link to madfientist which I also love but he’s much more hard core. If you’re looking for an easy to understand introduction to all things money/investing/retirement….jlcollins is the best blog I’ve read. He starts of pretty general (philosophy) but there are several posts on retirement savings vehicles.

  • Ah Meg, so sorry about the little guy crashing and burning like that. Our little girl had to get stitches in her forehead twice this summer, 3 hours apart. She fell off the stroller and I took her to urgent care where she got two stitches. On the way home we got her french fries and cookies and my husband picked up doughnuts because stitches are not fun. After dinner she got up out of her chair and proceeded to slip on the kitchen floor, bonk her head again, and pop out both stitches. My husband took her back to the urgent care where she got two more stitches. The adventures of super clumsy toddlers are never ending.

    Tomorrow is our 6th anniversary. Every month we’ve taken a photo of our family (we get one of just the two of us on the 14th of every month as well) and have put them up in collages of six on the wall in our laundry room. We love watching our family progress. I put all 72 photos together on my blog today (http://www.missgiggles.com/blog/2015/11/the-only-true-adventure/). It’ll be fun to see what the pictures of the next 72 months bring.

    • Meg Keene

      OH MY GOD.

    • Lisa

      That is ADORABLE.

  • Christina McPants

    No, *you’re* obsessively watching a video of your child bouncing up and down in glee to a song about light switches from a fisher price house your mom bought her for her birthday. Totally you. I would never. Especially not at work.

    • Sparkles

      Videos of my baby are my fave. I worry about sending them out to people because they probably find them boring, but even the ones where he’s just sitting around staring at things I adore.

      • Eenie

        Not boring! As someone who lives kind of far away from my nephew, I really like videos ?

      • +1 on not boring! I live in a different city from some of my friends with babies, and in a different COUNTRY from all my cousins’ kids- without the videos, I wouldn’t know what the kids were like at all!

        It’s nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that I’m clucky and want kids, but for now I have to make do with clucking over other people’s kids. Nope. Nope. Not at all.

        • Sparkles

          I’ve never heard that expression, “clucky”, before. It’s a perfectly apt description.

  • Christina McPants

    Also, how has no one mentioned the new Missy Elliott video OMG!

    (Fellow So You Think You Can Dance nerds will notice Comfort as a backup dancer)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO_3Qgib6RQ&feature=youtu.be

    • Jess

      I am SO pumped about this.

    • YASSSSSSSSSSS. That video gets better every time I watch it. So glad Missy is back!

    • C_Gold

      Yes! She’s back! I’m so happy to see new Missy Elliott!

  • So…kind of exciting thing that’s not really a thing yet…but the husband and I have kinda almost sorta decided to start trying for a baby next year. I mean it’s almost a complete year away, but every time I think about it I feel so freaking excited and happy!

    I have no idea what this journey will look like. The husbo has tried for a baby with a previous partner, with no luck, so he’s got infertility as a worry in the back of his brain, but there we go. We’ll never never know if we never never go!

    Life, hey?

    • Carolyn S

      I’ve been talking with a few friends about how weird it was to go from “WE ABSOLUTELY CANNOT GET PREGNANT” to “I guess it’s okay if we did but I still don’t want to.” I still can’t quite wrap my head around how it will feel to go from that step to “lets try to make a baby.” SCARY YO.

      • Kate

        Ha. The mental shift from ‘dear lord please let me period come’ to ‘period is here sad face sad face’ is the weirdest and quickest 180 I’ve ever experienced.

        • M.

          Wanted to say exactly this. Having completely unprotected sex and…not being worried? And then being sad at a negative test? WEIRDEST. EVER. It takes time to undo effective sex ed I guess! ;-)

        • It’s making my head spin already and I haven’t even experienced it yet! :D

      • Yeah, for sure! It’s one of those “I definitely cannot take this back if I do this” decisions. But I guess the thing is, it feels definitely like the right decision. Like I’m so sure, the way I was when I realised I wanted to get married to my husband.

        I’m sure I’ll freak the fuck out though. I started a new job (teaching) this year, and I’ve freaked out pretty much non-stop for a year, so I suspect it will be the same with a non-takebackable baby.

        BUT OH WELL.

      • emilyg25

        My husband had to have surgery so we could get pregnant and then we tried with all the temping and such for almost a year. Still, when it happened, I was like “Oh. Fuck.” It’s such a big thing!

        • TeaforTwo

          HA YES. We tried for a long time, and spent more on IVF than on my husband’s law degree, and I STILL woke him up in the middle of the night around 7 weeks pregnant to announce that I’d just realized the baby was going to change things.

    • Ashlah

      That IS exciting! We’re going to start trying next year too, and I was *elated* after our discussion where it was decided. I was super anxious going into it because I was basically proposing a timeline to him, but after having the “we’re on the same page, this is happening soon” conversation, I felt SO GOOD. I’m also now feeling simultaneously super impatient for it to happen and freaked out that it’s going to come too soon.

      • Oh god me too – we got married in August so I guess it’s kind of quick, but I am definitely half impatient and half wanting to enjoy the honeymoon bliss we’ve got going on!

        But I am googling pregnancy blogs and looking at when to stop birth control regardless! Ah. Such conflicting emotions!!

      • M.

        In July 2014, at my birthday dinner, we both said concretely and NOT in generalizations, that we want kids, and we want to try in the new year. It was huge and exciting. I was also SO elated! I was impatient as well, but it’s a good time to take care of yourself, take some vitamins and do any health stuff you want to square away, enjoy your partner and your life, and just get used to the idea. By the time January came around (our agreed “start date”) we were both super ready, and by my July 2015 birthday dinner I was 12 weeks :) Your post takes me back!

        • Ashlah

          Aw, congratulations! This gives me ooey gooey happy feels. I hope your pregnancy is going smoothly!

          • M.

            Thank you! We were very lucky, as have I been with the pregnancy. All well, just damn sleepy ;-) Knock on wood! Good luck to you.

        • Oh I love this!

        • MK

          YES to enjoy your partner and your life. My husband and I took a trip together before we started trying, and it was the BEST. Once you get into the thick of it, it really is a mental shift. It was nice to just have a glass of wine and not worry at all about it.

          • M.

            Yes! We took a month off from trying because we had a trip booked to Italy. We split two bottles of wine a day and ate a bunch of weird cheese and I am so glad I had that experience before everything changed. Priceless!!!

          • Ashlah

            We’re planning to take a trip to (hopefully!) Costa Rica the month before we start trying, and I’m super stoked! We’re saving pretty aggressively to make it happen :)

          • another lady

            my sis did this – went on a cruise before ‘officially’ trying for a baby… they ‘stopped preventing’ a few months earlier. And, it turns out she was already preggers on the trip! oops! But, baby and sis were fine and it all worked out!

          • Ashlah

            Glad it worked out for them! I’ll be firmly On The Pill until we return from the trip :)

    • M.

      You never know! Best wishes to you, it’s a wild ride :)

    • emilyg25

      How exciting! Sending you good vibes.

      • Thank you! It IS exciting. :D
        Sorry to hear about your cat, that’s really tough. Good vibes straight back at you xx

    • TeaforTwo

      If infertility is an acute concern for your husband, you can get some preliminary testing done before you start trying. (He, especially, should be able to get a semen analysis done since he’s already tried with no luck.)

      The tests for you would be invasive and time-consuming, but there’s really only one initial test for him, which might put some fears to rest. I know a few couples who have tried for over a year before testing, and then found that because of azoospermia or blocked tubes, natural pregnancy just wasn’t possible. (Some other diagnoses like PCOS or endo are hindrances to fertility but not dealbreakers, and so trying for a year to see what they mean for your situation makes more sense.)

      I hope this doesn’t come off as fearmongering. I just want you to know that if he’s already worried, there’s no rule that says you have to just worry in the dark.

      • Thank you – that’s actually genuinely encouraging to hear. J is generally a doctor avoider, but with something like this it would be worth it to alleviate potentially months of worry, especially if we’re not planning on really trying for a while.

        I’m not particularly worried on my end, as no PCOS (have been checked out already) and no endo either. Plus I’m nearly 10 years younger than J so fingers crossed all is fine.

        Not fearmongering at all! Very useful – thank you!

      • Ashlah

        My friend got a semen analysis when they didn’t get pregnant the first month they tried. I thought it was a bit silly (and apparently so did his doctor), but it made them feel better, and they got pregnant shortly after. I guess I’m just pointing out that it should be relatively easy for him to get tested, if he wants to, whereas women are often told to try for a year before any testing is done.

    • Alison O

      Cool, huh? Similar thing for me this week. It’s at least a few years off, but my partner told me the other day he could dig being a foster and/or adoptive parent, which is something I’ve been getting serious about the past couple of years.

      • That really appeals to me to – I’m a teacher in a relatively deprived area and can so clearly see the need for stable, caring foster parents. Good for you, I hope it works out for you!

    • Sparkles

      Sooo exciting. I love babies, and the possibility of babies, and I get giddy just thinking about this choice. We’ve got to wait until March (stupid C-section) to start trying again and I get antsy every time I think about it.

      Because you’ve got a year’s head start, I would HIGHLY recommend checking out “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”. It’s a book about charting your cycles and fertility. It took me about a year to figure out the tracking, and I think it is very helpful to have a handle on this stuff when you start trying so you know what’s going on.

    • Aubry

      sorry I’m late to the party!
      OMG me too! I’m so glad you’re talking about it, cause I am bursting and it’s all I can think about but like one friend and my sister know. Should have known APW was my safe spot. We’re gonna start trying next September (aiming for a summer baby, hopefully I’ll get pregnant right away because it could cause a bit of difficulty with my job otherwise. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it). downside: I’ll maybe be preggo for one of ,my best friends wedding :( . HUGE upside my other best friend will start trying at the same time after her wedding and we could do it together!!

  • Also, this is for Keeks who had wanted to stalk this particular portion of our trip to europe this summer. Cortina, near the Dolomite mountains! (when I am angry about the neighbour situation, I just look at old pictures and try to remember when I used to sleep like a baby :*( )

    http://thebeejays.blogspot.ca/2015/11/travelogue-cortina-we-go.html

    • Keeks

      Ahhh thank you thank you @disqus_36q9czLSlz:disqus! It looks impossibly beautiful and perfect. Like Austria and Italy had a very cute, very delicious baby. I read your CPH post too, how smart to build in a little resting period – I always forget to do that and regret it.

  • emilyg25

    This was a bittersweet week. On Wednesday, my cat died after a sudden and rapid descent into kidney failure. She was only five. I got her when I moved out on my own for the first time, to a brand new city where I knew no one. For a few years, it was just me and her against the world. Then she begrudgingly accepted the man who became my husband and then our son. And then she was gone.

    And today, we closed on our dream home, our first (and hopefully only) house. It’s crazy to be homeowners. We walked through it after closing and I was thinking about the projects we want to do. I said, “If we owned this place—wait, we DO own this place!!” Craziness.

    • macrain

      Oh gosh, I am so sorry. I know losing a pet can be such a huge blow.
      Big hugs. <3

    • Eenie

      :'( It’s so hard losing a pet.

    • VKD_Vee

      Aw, Emily. Losing your companion animal and becoming a homeowner – HEAVY WEEK. Big hugs, and high fives respectively… x

    • AGCourtney

      I’m so sorry about your cat. :( that’s hard. But congratulations on closing on the house! That’s so big. <3 it is such a crazy feeling- I spun around in the living room if our house the day after closing and thought, wow, this is mine now. So liberating yet crazy.

    • M.

      Hugs <3

    • Big hugs.

    • Ashlah

      Oh wow, what a big week. I’m so sorry about your kitty. I lost one to rapid kidney failure a few years ago, and it’s so hard. But congratulations on closing on your home. It’s a wonderful feeling, and I imagine it must be amplified by knowing(/hoping) it’s your forever home.

    • Laura C

      I’m so sorry about your cat.

    • Sorry about your cat :(

    • MC

      Oh, so so sorry to hear about your cat. That is heartbreaking. Maybe hang a picture of her in your new home to honor her?

      • emilyg25

        I love this idea. Our vet made a paw print for us so we’ll definitely put that up.

    • EF

      I love cats, so so much, and they really are part of the family. really sorry to hear about yours. I hope she wasn’t in much pain, and it’s wonderful to hear she had such a happy life with you.

    • KA

      Sending much love and solidarity. My cat died in Aug after being diagnosed with the equivalent of emphysema/COPD. She was only 7 and we’d had her for 6 yrs. Getting her was a big milestone in our relationship, and it was strange to realize we’d been a family of three for far longer than not. Not gonna to lie, I envy the chance to start over somewhere where I don’t constantly feel like I see her shadow out of the corner of my eye. Many many congrats on the new home!! Enjoy those projects! <3 <3 <3

      • emilyg25

        Yes, I’m grateful for the fresh start. It’s so hard coming home to this house and waiting for her to run to greet me (she was like a dog).

    • Lawyerette510

      I’m so sorry about your cat, but huge congratulations on the house. I imagine it is hard to move to the next chapter without your cat, but also the sweet with the bitter can act as some balm.

  • Meg, your post about important conversations this week made me realize how much I’ve missed your writing! The APW staff has done so well in your absence/part-time-ness, but I just really love your voice. So I’m so
    sad to read what a tough time you’re having right now. Sometimes the waves just keep crashing without letting you catch your breath between. Anyway, if it helps for an internet stranger to say this, I’m going to carry this with you—hopefully your load will feel a little lighter!

  • Job help

    Disquis seems to have eaten my post so I will try again.
    I have a career dilemma I need some advice on. I’m currently employed in a real estate brokerage that does management of property, and have been asked to apply for a job at a competing brokerage.
    I am currently an admin assistant, but this firm has paid for me to take the courses to get two separate licenses; however they don’t have enough business to hire someone to replace me at the front desk so I can become a full time manager. The other job offering is a full time management position.
    Here’s my dilemma, I got hired by the owners when there was just two of them. They are lovely people, they have supported me and generally been a pleasure to work with, but have made promises that I would be promoted for a long time but I haven’t seen any follow through. Adding to that they’ve added a new partner who is awful to work for, however a nice person outside of work.
    I want to be loyal to them and see what happens, but the original owners are getting to retirement age and the newest owner would drive the business into the ground within a few years once they retire.
    I also have a major fear of offending people and avoid confrontation like the plague. Any tips?

    • Alanna Cartier

      As with any job question, I will always say- PUT YOU FIRST.
      As much as my instinct is always to remain loyal to the businesses that have hired me and done nice things for me- a business cannot be your friend. You cannot be loyal to a business. If it made sense for the business to fire you, the business would. In the same way, if it makes sense to the business to leave you in a role that is not commensurate with your skill and experience they won’t promote you. As exemplified by your experience. You’ve got to make decisions that put you first.

    • Agreed with Alanna – be loyal to YOURSELF. Moving to the next step in your career isn’t offensive or rude, it’s a natural part of career progression. It’s not personal, it’s business. Don’t feel any guilt for wanting a new/better work situation.

    • emmers

      Quietly apply for the other job! There’s no guarantee that you’ll get it, but if you do, then you’ll have options. If you decide that you’d like to stick it out with your current company, you can use your offer as leverage to get other things that you want (a promotion, a salary increase, whatever). Or, you can just take the shiny new offer!
      As Alanna says below, the company’s interest is always going to be themselves. It’s nice that you care about them, but you need to look after you. You can politely leave a job. Normal folks may be disappointed, but not offended. And if they do get offended, that’s really on them, if you’re doing it professionally. If they’ve made promises that they haven’t kept, you really shouldn’t feel bad about wanting to look elsewhere, as well meaning as they may be.

    • Amanda

      Dear Business Lady: Advice on Guilt and Job Loyalty:
      http://the-toast.net/2015/03/31/dear-businesslady-advice-on-guilt-and-job-loyalty/

      And remember, you’re debating beteween a hypothetical fear of your bosses possibly resenting you (though they probably won’t: If they’re nearing retirement, they’ve watched people come and go, as it is a fact of work life). Or, you could really resent them (& yourself) because you didn’t take a job you were qualified for while you’re still working the front desk with no real promotion coming. Go for growth. No one will fault you for it. That’s work life.

      • Carolyn S

        Thank you for the link to this article. I feel like the conversation around company loyalty has been bouncing around a lot within my circle in the past couple of months, and it’s refreshing to see a level headed perspective on it.

  • MK

    I just wanted to say thanks for all the kind comments last week re: the misery of early pregnancy! I was practically tearing up reading them all. First trimester can be so isolating, and it made me feel less alone. I am now in my 11th week and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We’ll see my family over Thanksgiving and get to share the news, plus I will have officially crossed over to 2nd trimester. And my second ultrasound is one week from today, so if everything looks good I know I’m just going to breathe a giant sigh of relief.
    I wouldn’t say I’m showing yet, but there is definitely a belly situation. It’s exciting! Things are happening!

    • another lady

      congrats! I can understand this all to well, I am 15 weeks! things are finally starting to settle down and I am getting back to felling 1/2 normal most of the time! read pregnantchicken.com, so much awesome great advice and a major sense of humor about the situation. (I also heard about it from another APW happy hour!)

    • another lady

      also, put a hair tie around the button of your pants, partially unzip the zipper, and wear long, flow-y shirts. That should get you through a couple more weeks!

  • moneybags_anon

    So, awkward money post.

    Last month I managed to finish paying off all of my student loans so I’m 100% debt free now. I was expecting to be super excited about it and then transition seamlessly into a person who just has more money and and savings etc, instead what’s happened is that I’ve become intensely aware of the difference between not having any money and having enough money to make some choices with and … it’s super weird. Like SUPER weird.

    I didn’t realize how much of my identity was wrapped up in being broke all the time. it’s been a really weird thing to talk to anyone about because it touches on all of these class issues that no one really likes talking about. AND I feel really uncomfortable talking about how it’s been weird coming to the realization that even though I view myself the way I always have (broke) that I’m actually probably closer to upper middle class. I feel kind of guilty? I have friends I used to bond with over money stuff and now I feel like the topic is totally off the table.

    I just wasn’t really expecting to feel such a shift and I feel like I shouldn’t even be talking about it because really… I am so lucky. Meh.

    • another lady

      I think you can still talk to your friends about it – you’ve been there, you understand what it’s like, and you’ve come out on the other side! It may be hard if you say ‘I have $$$$ now,’ but they are also trying for the goal that you have just achieved, and can look to you for guidance.

      • moneybags_anon

        I guess so, it just feels strange because the conversations use to be more of a commiseration. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing anything differently than people who haven’t achieved the same thing, just that I got lucky in a couple of instances.

    • Ashlah

      I can relate to it being difficult to talk to friends. I was lucky to get a decently well-paying job right out of college, including a 401k with a 10% match. Many of my high school friends are either still in school or working low-paying jobs. It’s hard when they’re commiserating about being broke or barely/not saving for retirement because what do I say? I tend to just keep my mouth shut, to be honest.

      And it’s definitely weird to realize that you’re in a higher class than you’ve traditionally identified with/grew up with. I’m not rich by any means, but I make more than probably most people in my family. I honestly worry sometimes about my child growing up in a completely different financial situation than I did–even though it’s objectively better (e.g. no stress about paying the utilities bill), and everyone wants their kid to have a better life than they did, right? But I feel like so much of who I am came from my upbringing that it’s hard to reconcile providing a different life to my kid (or even just myself having a better life now).

      • moneybags_anon

        YUP. I’m probably the highest wage earner in my family right now and I have a pretty decent pension. Previously I’ve been very open discussing money with my family. Now I don’t like talking about it at all. We are planning an expensive trip coming up and we can afford it but I feel almost weird telling anyone about our plans. I feel almost like I need to be ashamed? I really wasn’t expecting that at all.

        I’m really glad my kids will have a more financially stable upbringing than I did but it’s VERY weird thinking about how things will be different. I really hope I can teach them about money to help them avoid getting into some of the financial situations that I did as a younger adult because I didn’t know any better.

        • Ashlah

          Yes! I’m having the same feelings about a trip we’re planning! It’s probably not something most people in my family will ever be able to do. So it DOES feel shameful to talk about, like we’re boasting, even though I’m sure most people would be happy for us.

          …and then when I’m at work, I’m the poor one. I feel like our financial position is this weird in-between place where I don’t really know how to identify or how to talk to people about it.

          • moneybags_anon

            “…and then when I’m at work, I’m the poor one.” – We have some friends that have been upper middle class their whole lives and when I met them I was working in a retail job and EVERY conversation started with “so… what do you do” and I felt SO embarrassed and out of place at the time. I still have a hard time relating at gatherings even though now I’m “included”. There has been a lot of talk on here about being stuck in between two classes and I can relate to that a lot right now. I don’t know how one manages to bridge that gap or tbh, if I even want to? I think people who manage to move between classes have an easier time identifying their own privilege, which is great… sometimes I get really nervous about “forgetting where I come from”.

          • TeaforTwo

            UGH Whyyyyy are people still starting conversations with “what do you do?” It’s not just a tacky question, it’s a really dull opening line.

          • Rebekah

            I’ve started asking “How do you spend your time?” instead because it (I hope) lets people tell me about what they want, whether it’s school, a job, a hobby, or something else.

          • moneybags_anon

            Ugggggh I know! I can count on one hand the amount of people I know that are passionate about what they do, and to me that always seems like such a loaded question! I was talking to a guy at one of these parties and he asks me the dreaded “so, what do you do?” and I respond that I work at X shop and then we have to have this whole awkward conversation where he points out that he’s been in X shop several times and likes X shop and has had great service in X shop etc. And in my head I’m screaming “I am a well rounded person! I am educated! I have opinions about world events!”. Eventually the conversation trails off and I’m left there feeling like crap because I basically just had a conversation at a party with a dude about how much he likes the service in a place where I would be the one serving him if he came into X shop.

            A lot of that feeling was probably me just feeling really insecure and out of my depth, and that dude had know way of knowing that he’d end up talking to the one person that didn’t have a career at the party, but even now that I have a job that would be considered more of a career by a lot of people, the last thing I want to talk about at a party is work.

          • moneybags_anon

            AND I totally get the shame thing. Even bringing up these issues in this thread feels like I’m humble-bragging.

      • E.

        Yes! I don’t have kids yet, but I really want them to learn the same lessons about money that I did- I worked and had a budget and had to save, but I’m not sure if it will make sense if I as a parent am making more than my parents were? And things like I always worked service jobs in the summer, which meant I missed out on things like unpaid internships that set you up for jobs later in life, so is it worth that to have my kids work too if they don’t have to?

        • Ashlah

          Absolutely something I struggle with. I worked through college and started my adult life with student loan debt to pay off. It sucked, and I wonder what college/post-college would have been like had it been paid for, but I also feel like it helped me grow and be responsible and grateful. So do I help kiddo pay for college, and hope they get those lessons elsewhere (because obviously you don’t HAVE to struggle to be a decent person), or do I value those lessons strongly enough that I force them to do the same, even if maybe we’d have the funds for it? (I feel like an asshole parent for even thinking about it)

          • Just Me

            I think you can do both….my parents helped with some college tuition as they were able, but I still ended up with $13,000 in student loans. That’s a pretty small amount compared to what many people have upon graduation but to 21 y.o. me it still felt huge and looming and set me up to continue living frugally on my research stipend in grad school.

          • Ashlah

            That’s the way I’m leaning right now. Of course, who knows how the higher education system may have changed 20 years from now.

          • Jenny

            My parents help me pay for college so I could graduate debt free, but I feel like they were still able to instill excellent budget values in me. I had to save my allowance for things, I saved 2 years for a giant trampoline. All this to say, if you can help your kids, I’d say you should, you can still become a responsible and grateful adult even if you didn’t have to pay off student loans.

        • Alison O

          From my experience, I have found:
          1) you can still teach those values and lessons regardless of your financial situation (although if you’re truly floating on an ocean of money–for example, if the cost of private college tuition does not even cause you to bat an eye–there might be some unique challenges to teaching the value of a dollar)
          and
          2) it sort of depends on the kid what lessons they pick up or not regardless of your financial situation.

          I was not wanting for anything as a kid, had college paid for, etc., but I am still very frugal and good at managing money and hard-working. It’s just kind of who I am. I saved basically all money I was ever given as a kid for my birthday, etc. I worked one summer in high school babysitting. My brother was much more of a materialist even from when he was a kid. He’s pretty financially responsible now (at least, he has a good paying job that doesn’t force him to budget carefully), but he could have benefited from more focused skill-building in this area from my parents I think. I think it helped that when he transferred colleges, he took some time off and worked in retail–and realized he really didn’t want to do something like that long-term.

        • KH_Tas

          I will encourage my kids to have jobs as teenagers, as I did not and got sucked into the vortex of ‘can’t get a job without experience, can’t get experience without a job’ as a student.

      • Alison O

        I think it was on Fresh Air sometime in the last year that I heard Chris Rock talk about what it’s like to have children whose upbringing is WAY different from his own. I don’t remember anything in particular he said, but maybe you’d be interested to look it up.

        • Ashlah

          I will google it now, thanks!

    • E.

      Yep! I definitely went through this transition, though mine was my early childhood was working class, gradually moving to middle class as I got older, and now my combined income with my partner is over 100k. WHAT. He is from an upper/upper middle class background and so is not as shocked as me, but it’s hard to adjust my identity. I’m like you and had a lot of my identity in being broke, which is very not true anymore.

      • moneybags_anon

        We went from lower class, to working class and finally to lower middle class when I was a teen. As an adult, it’s only been the last 5 years or so that i’ve been out of retail jobs and on my own I make more than my parents did growing up and my partner makes a little less than twice what I do. I’ve been making an okay wage for the last couple of years, but I’ve been dumping all of that into debt payments and all of a sudden I have over $1000 free a month. I am doing VERY well and I’m still panicking about money and am trying to figure out what kind of person I am when I’m not struggling. Like, things are fine. Things are great! You don’t really hear about what it’s like to go through that transition, and the weird sort of guilt and disconnection that you feel from your roots.

    • TeaforTwo

      I really like the finance content on APW because @meg_keene:disqus deals with this issue a lot, and it felt real for me, too.

      I grew up in a house where money was fairly tight. Then I got a pretty well-paying job, then I used that salary to support my husband while he was in school and unemployed and then…BAM. He got a corporate law job and overnight we had more than twice as much money coming in as before.

      It took me awhile to figure out how to navigate this. For one thing, I knew we could afford to spend more money, but couldn’t figure out exactly how much more, so I would plan elaborate vacations in fancy hotels and then freak out about our grocery budget and eat rice and beans for a week. The YNAB software that has been discussed elsewhere on this site helped a lot with that by laying out exactly what we had, and forcing me to categorize all of our spending.

      The friendship thing is hard, too. It’s easy to talk about money when you’re all in the same boat (broke). It gets a lot more awkward as we get older and financial paths start to diverge a lot more.

      • moneybags_anon

        YNAB has been awesome for me to learn about how to manage money and take a lot of the emotional baggage out of it for me. I feel like having YNAB is the only thing that’s been keeping me from going off the deep end with spending now that I have some money to play with. YNAB has been a total lifesaver.

        The friend/family thing is SO tricky. I wish money wasn’t such a taboo topic but it feels like society tends to tie it to self worth so it makes it really personal to talk about and even just talking about your own situation sometimes feels like a judgement call on others, even if that isn’t where you are coming from at all.

  • Angela

    Am concerned I am being heartless/awful human being:

    We are having our engagement party in a fortnight in a cute little park, lots of flowers, playground, hall in case of rain, BBQ area. There was a terrible 24 hrs where it was there was a double booking situation but it got sorted and we are getting a small refund on the hall hire due to this.

    However, a few days ago a person who was homeless was assaulted in the park and sadly passed away as a result. We were planning on proceeding, with donating our refund from the council to our City Mission (provides support to ppl with no housing). We have security and the person responsible has been arrested so I do not think there is likely to be any safety issues, but is it horrible to celebrate in a spot so recently the place where someone lost their life?

    • Amanda

      1) That is so very sad! I’m sorry that grief has befallen your immediate area.
      2) You’ve donated your refund, you’ve not only displayed that you care, you’ve taken a step of action. The world goes on. If you want, honor the loss in a small toast. That will reverberate more remembrance for the life lost than time waited in silence to give people a chance to forget.

  • Maddy

    YOU GUYS LIKED MY PHOTO ON INSTA!!!!! Actually the highlight of my week, I even showed my mum!! Nearly died!

  • Melissa Shorter


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  • ColoradAHn

    What happened to all the great links to external articles about feminism and taking over the world? I look forward to digesting all that on my weekends and I’ve noticed they’re gone!

    • Libby

      A couple weeks ago they mentioned that links wouldn’t be included in happy hour for a few weeks as they catch up on things/get into slow season with the holidays. Not gone forever! :)

      • ColoradAHn

        Phew. I must have missed the announcement. Thank you :)

  • KLP

    I may have missed it, but….what happened to the link roundup? I miss the link roundup! The highlight of my Saturday morning is working my way through all the feminist goodness, after I catch up on any APW posts that I missed throughout the week!

    • They mentioned a couple weeks ago that it’s going away from the Happy Hour, but there are links in the newsletter. Also folks are dropping them in the comments section.

  • Maureen Walker


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  • Diana Mitchell


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