APW Happy Hour


In a world of pure imagination... (and horror)

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

child swinging a stick at a pinata

Hey APW,

It’s been… a weird week, if we’re being totally honest. The week started with my five-year-old’s (FIVE YEARS OLD! How did this happen?) blowout birthday party in our studio. The child has the soul of a party planner and conceptualized a theme that included Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and Willy Wonka. In short, imagination verging on hallucination. And as it turns out, our whole office is basically set up to accommodate that theme. Which means that we made forty people (many of them quite small), very very happy.

But then also, last week I was also browbeaten into going on birth control to try to deal with my ongoing pelvic pain issues… even though I have a long history of hormones triggering depression and anxiety. And this week, the chickens came home to roost, in a spiraling depression and anxiety kind of way—a spiral that goes nowhere good. So I’m off the pills, and trying to pull myself back to health and solid ground.

And then there was the news. I’m not even sure where to start, but the graphic rape described in Matt Lauer’s office is something that I just can’t get out of my mind’s eye, and it feels like it’s re-traumatizing me again and again and again. Not to mention the horror of a president willing to publish evil propaganda targeting Muslims, spout slurs about indigenous people in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson, and question basic facts.

But hey. There were piñatas. And I’ll take all the joy I can get these days.

It’s your open thread.

xo,

Meg

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.

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  • Cleo

    So… I found out I’ve been made redundant come the end of this year. I was pretty sure I’d outgrown my position at this company anyway, and this is seemingly precipitating a lot of negative cultural changes at the office, so it’s definitely for the best.

    I’m getting severance, so I have time to find something, but I haven’t job searched in about 6 years, so… tips, tricks, advice? Thank you!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that.

      Ask A Manager has a ton of great resources, and I can’t recommend her e-book enough. If you have some time, start diving into her archives about updating your resume, writing cover letters, interviewing, etc.

      • Cleo

        Thank you for the recommendation! I’ve been looking at her website, but I was on the fence about the ebook, so purchasing now!

    • PAJane

      Damn. The advice I would have given to myself in a similar situation some years back: Be patient with yourself, emotionally, as you figure out the practical stuff. Even with severance, even with a heads up, this may be really stressful, and it’s totally ok to just own that.

      • Cleo

        Thank you. I will definitely need to remember that over the next few weeks as I navigate this.

    • CP2011

      Sorry to hear that! I’m sure you’ll find something better.

      • Cleo

        Thanks! I have faith in myself that I will!

    • Not Sarah

      I’m sorry to hear that. Even if you were considering leaving soon anyway, I would still give yourself the grace of patience as you could still have tricksy emotions about this. Good luck with your job hunt!

      • Cleo

        Thank you! And lots of tricksy emotions is right. This past week, as I’ve been processing, I’ve been thinking I’m fine, then find myself answering the phone with a more surly tone than usual (not rude, but answering in my “I have no time for nonsense” voice)

  • Hi friends – welcome to December? Where has the year gone??? Here are your links!

    *To All the People Who Have Spelled My Name Wrong – https://www.manrepeller.com/2017/11/correct-name-spelling.html

    *The reason American women over-medicalize childbirth has its roots in racial segregation – https://qz.com/1119699/how-racial-segregation-led-childbirth-in-america-to-be-over-medicalized/

    *“Ask for what you want and then zip it”: Advice for women returning to work after a career break – https://work.qz.com/1134011/advice-for-women-returning-to-work-after-a-career-break/

    * 7 Beauty Trends I Regret Trying – https://www.manrepeller.com/2017/11/beauty-fails.html

    *Jay-Z Discusses Rap, Marriage and Being a Black Man in Trump’s America – https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/29/t-magazine/jay-z-dean-baquet-interview.html

    *When ‘Miss’ Meant So Much More: How One Woman Fought Alabama — And Won – https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2017/11/30/567177501/when-miss-meant-so-much-more-how-one-woman-fought-alabama-and-won

    *23 Practical Gifts For People Who Are Hard To Shop For – https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelwmiller/gifts-for-practical-people-who-dont-love-stuff?utm_term=.tuRZor7aE#.mh3ymXPnr

    • Laura C

      That midwives article is really interesting to me because my mother was telling me how when I was born, she was looking for midwives in a hospital setting, and that led her to a hospital where the people in the birthing class for the midwives’ patients were virtually all low-income women of color — because that was the care provided for them in that place and time. So the birthing class was my mom and one other insured middle-class white woman who were there because they’d chosen midwife delivery for ideological reasons, and a whole bunch of women of color who had not themselves chosen to sign on for natural childbirth.

    • penguin

      Thank you so much for the links! I loved that NPR piece – Miss Hamilton is amazing and I hadn’t heard that story before.

    • SarahRose472

      As an American soon to give birth in one of these countries where midwives are more common than doctors (and really loving having a midwife as my primary prenatal care), I’ve been wondering aboutwhy/when our countries diverged — thanks for that article, super interesting (if also kind of depressing).

  • Angela’s Back

    I’ve missed the last couple of happy hours for various and sundry reasons, so update on the college sexual assault reporting saga: to date, not a saga but actually a pretty swiftly moving, seriously-taken thing, color me shocked. I sent in my email reporting my professor to what felt like half the important people in the school on a Monday, had an acknowledgment from the provost that night, and a Skype session with the independent investigator the school hired the following Tuesday. It turned out the same professor had been reported by two current female students a couple of weeks before I reported, so my email sent it from big problem to BIG PROBLEM. In some ways I’m really glad now that I waited as long as I did to report because it seems like completely coincidentally, the timing made it the most impactful and fire-lighting-under-the-ass that it could be for the powers that be. Said investigation continues and I’m hopeful I’ll be hearing updates soon, I know the goal was to have a report produced by the end of the year.

    • Jess

      I am so glad that you are seeing swift and serious action in response to reporting this!

      • Lisa

        Especially since universities have a track record of doing this badly, I’m really happy to hear how well things have gone for @angelasback:disqus, too!

    • Zoya

      Wow, go you! That is really heartening to hear, with all of the ugliness in the news. I hope your decision to speak out continues to light fires under asses.

    • MC

      Oh I’m so glad to hear that your college is taking it seriously, I hope the process continues to move swiftly and productively <3

    • Mrs H

      You should feel really proud for taking that step! I’m glad it’s moving forward-take care of yourself too xx

  • Mary Jo TC

    Did y’all see Amber Tamblyn in the NYT on how now is not the time to talk about male redemption? She dropped the mic.

  • Elizabeth

    Had to share a funny mom encounter from Thanksgiving weekend. If y’all have seen my post history, you know my mom is a card and has been the most interesting part of wedding planning.

    My mother wore a perfectly beautiful champagne colored dress when my brother got married a few years ago. I really liked it, and when we were talking about what she was going to wear to my wedding, I told her I loved it and she should wear it again. She got all in a snit about people might look at the pictures back to back and she can’t wear the same thing to both weddings and she needs a new dress, on and on.

    So I took her shopping, to the same store where she bought the first dress, and unbeknownst to me, the consultant pulled her original dress but in a different color. My mom didn’t recognize it at all (I did), and when she came out of the dressing room, she was over the moon with how it looked, but she wanted it in a lighter color to match my wedding (the sample was navy). The consultant checked the tag and said “It comes in Navy, Black, Plum, and Champagne” and my mom said “Champagne would be perfect.”

    Yep….

    • PAJane

      Ahhhhh, I needed that laugh. Thanks for that.

    • Cleo

      Hahahahaha! Did you tell her? Or did she order the same dress?

      • Elizabeth

        Haha we did, see comment to Emily above :D

    • Lisa

      Lol, I love it! How often are people going to compare the wedding photos side-by-side anyway? My mom made a beautiful, green, lace dress for my wedding, and she wasn’t about to get only wear out of it. She brought it out again for my sister’s wedding just six months later!

      • Elizabeth

        If she can’t even tell it was the same dress, how will a guest?!

    • Emily

      Have you told her yet? I can’t wait to hear how this goes

      • Elizabeth

        My SIL was with us, and she picked up on it too. The two of us were stifling laughs and finally when she asked the consultant for the dress in champagne, we lost it and told her it was the same dress. She looked completely baffled and said it absolutely was not. We pulled up pictures from my brother’s wedding and proved it was. She stood there for a few seconds looking flummoxed and then said “Well, I can’t wear the same dress twice!”

        We are back to square one.

        • Emily

          Bahahahaha

        • Lisa

          I think the best argument to be made is that if she didn’t even realize it was the same dress, who else would remember what she was wearing and recognize it as the same? But in general, that is hilarious.

        • Noelle

          Omg I love this whole story so much.

        • This story is so great, although I was hoping the ending would be the easier version for you: “I already have in Champagne! Done.”

          Looking fwd to hearing about the continued search. Good luck!

    • Laura C

      Ha. That’s perfect. Did you tell her?

      I recently had a very different argument with my mom about her mother-of-the-bride dress. For background, my mom doesn’t wear dresses (she has joint problems that make it painful to wear the kind of shoes you wear with dresses, even flats, for very long), and she tends to err on the side of being underdressed. So anyway, her MOB dress was navy lace, about knee-length. A lovely dress but definitely not on the dressy side for a MOB. Recently she says to me she’s almost thinking of wearing it to an upcoming wedding she’ll be a guest at, but it’s just too over the top. And I’m like “mom, no, it’s not. It’s a perfectly appropriate wedding guest dress.” “Are you saying it wasn’t good enough for your wedding?” “No, I’m saying it was a lovely dress that was not at the flashy end of what you could have worn at my wedding and therefore is entirely appropriate for a guest.” “Well, you always dress up more than I do.” “Yes, and I go to more weddings than you and I can tell you I have seen hundreds of guests wearing dresses at least that formal without standing out as overdressed.”

      • ssha

        this is such a mom conversation.

    • Ashlah

      This is amazing.

    • Zoya

      That is hilarious! I feel like there was an episode of Say Yes to the Dress with a similar plotline…

      • Elizabeth

        Now that you say that it sounds familiar! Like a bride tried on her already owned dress and didn’t recognize it? I watch so much of that show it all runs together…

    • emilyg25

      Ah, this gave me a good chuckle.

    • sofar

      Oh, Mom!

  • Amy March

    Thinking ahead to things to tackle in 2018, has anyone taken up ballroom dance as an adult? I’ve always wanted to learn and am having no luck finding a place to do that where it won’t be all couples and me, but surely those places exist! Any tips?

    • Lisa

      Community college, maybe? I took ballroom dance in undergrad, and it was a fun experience! No prior partner required.

      • PAJane

        Would be my suggestion as well! Our local CC has a bunch of dancing classes.

    • Maybe a Meetup group?

    • Mary Jo TC

      Check out National Dance Clubs. They give lessons for people who come with and without partners. The downside is that it’s pricey.

    • penguin

      We took some lessons at a dance studio, and they also have classes that you can sign up for with or without a partner. Some of them are pricey, but there was a bunch of variety.

    • Zoya

      The area where I live has a pretty active dance scene, centered around a local university. You could see if they do classes for the general public. Also, try a few different classes if you don’t click with the first teacher you find–I’ve had wildly varying experiences learning particular dances.

    • Lisa

      You could call and ask them if they typically have singles in class. My partner and I take salsa and half of the class is single people, plus we rotate partners the whole time to gain a variety of experience so we actually dance with each other very little. At the beginning of each class the instructor gets a general count of how many women and men are there so she can bring in advanced students to even out the genders.

      Edited to add: We initially found the class through GroupOn and Yelp.

    • Sarah E

      I’ve been a ballroom dance instructor, and while my place of work was a cluster, I can tell you a bit about about what you might find.

      If you’re taking group classes in a formal setting, yes, most people take those as couples, even though it’s not required to register in a pair. Likely those classes will be switching partners throughout the lesson (really helpful for learning), but it may be an odd number of people one way or another. The instructor shouldn’t be phased by this, but of course your level of comfort will vary.

      It’s more common– and more expensive– to take private lessons solo with an instructor in a formal ballroom studio. You’ll likely be paired with a male instructor so he can lead you, but any and every instructor will know both parts.

      If you’re looking to learn in a more casual group setting, you might check out whatever local swing dance (including lindy hop, east coast swing, west coast swing, or shag), salsa, or argentine tango scene there might be nearby for you. These dances tend to have large communities of people show up for weekly social dancing events, and often have a beginner’s lesson before each event. They’ll also likely have or know of instructors who teach group or solo classes during the week.

      I’ll echo that if you can find and take classes aimed at college kids, you won’t have a ton of pre-coupled people in the group, and might be able to find a more relaxed atmosphere. Because of the performative formality of some ballroom dances, there are many ballroom studios who double down on it, and it certainly can be tough to find a group that’s more casual.

    • Charley

      If you have a university nearby then that might be a good bet. When I was in grad school I went to a social ballroom dance class (for beginners) at our university that I think was open to the public. There were only a handful of couples, and most of the rest of the class were single folks ranging from early twenties up to seventies. Our class was also skewed very man-heavy so any partner dances involved lots of male couples. It was really fun, so I hope you can find one you like.

    • Jenny

      The only places I have ever taken partner dance classes (never done ballroom) and not had them be all couples was at a university (where it’s primarily 18-22 year olds, but often not couples and depending on the university you’ll have a few older graduate students and employees using their employee benefits or at a dance camp/workshop set up. Studio ball room classes are mostly engaged couples in my experience. Salsa and swing classes tend to be more non partner friendly and I know several people who do those single/without their partner.

  • Em

    My family’s much loved dog got hit by a car and died this morning, I am exhausted and I feel I’m getting steadily further and further behind with wedding planning. My desire to outsource all of this to a wedding planner is increasing steadily, but pretty sure it’s not in the budget…:(

    • Laura C

      I’m so sorry.

    • Angela’s Back

      :(

    • Em

      Thank you for the kind words – I am honestly too tired to be sad at this stage – it has been quite a week at work (and no sign of respite pre-Christmas). But it wasn’t what I was expecting to deal with at 7am this morning on 5 hours of sleep. My little brother’s taking it pretty hard. I don’t think it’ll sink in until I’m home for Christmas :(

    • Emily

      I’m so sorry about your dog. Could you find like a day of coordinator? Or someone to take on just a few projects to help lighten the load?

    • Jess

      I’m so sorry. Pets become such a huge part of our families.

    • Zoya

      I am so sorry. Grieving and planning a wedding at the same time is rough. Take good care of yourself, if you can.

    • Oh, no, I’m so sorry….

  • Ashlah

    First day back at work post-baby! I brought donuts! It feels…surprisingly normal? (Other than taking my tits out in my office, that feels pretty fucking weird). The anticipation was worse than reality, I think, although I’m only a few hours in. It certainly helps that baby is home with my husband for another month. My mom surprised me with a plant and chocolate. I am trying not to hate pumping again too much, even though it sucks, and trying not to worry about my supply until it’s actually an issue, but it’s hard. The mental load of it all never goes away. But here I am! I am officially a working mom. Here we go.

    • Lisa

      Congratulations, and welcome back to work! It’s great that your husband is still at home to ease the transition.

    • Violet

      Oh gosh, I want to go back to work. I am having dreams about being at the office with my colleagues, where I’m having real conversations and everything is shiny and bright. And it’s only been three-ish weeks home so far. Sigh…
      Hoping pumping again gets easier for you!

      • Ashlah

        Oh, I had so many mixed feelings about going back, some of them definitely very positive. Being home with a baby is exhausting! It definitely gets better as they get older and less potato-y, but constantly being on is so draining. If I liked my job more, I probably would have been more excited to return! I was definitely ready for a break from baby duty and for more adult interaction, I just wish it could be a shorter block of time each day.

        And the dreams I had about returning to work involved me bringing my baby with me to the office and doing a terrible job of caring for him and getting any work done, and expecting to be fired. So I guess at least your dreams are positive! :) How much longer will you be at home? If it doesn’t start to feel better, is it an option to shorten your leave?

        • Violet

          Haha, potato-y. Yes. You get it.
          I am one of those fortunate few who loves what I do and genuinely enjoys my colleagues. Hence my rosy-colored dream about being back at work. I could return earlier if I want (right now I plan on returning in March), but we’d have to figure out childcare since we can’t just start him in daycare early. I’m planning on returning part-time for a month to help me ease back in, because as you say, returning all at once full-time feels like it is pretty overwhelming.

    • Jess

      Welcome back to work! Woohoo donuts!

    • emilyg25

      Welcome back! So smart to start on a Friday!

      Re: pumping: Make sure to eat good meals and drink lots of water. I used to knit and listen to podcasts while I pumped. It sucked (literally, ha!) but at least I did something fun. I also watched the entire series of The Wire in 20-minute increments on my phone. Memories…

      • Ashlah

        Thanks! I downloaded the Plant Nanny app and that’s helped me to double my water intake! On my list this weekend is to figure out what healthy snacks I want to keep on hand at work. Because I probably can’t snack on donuts every day :)

  • CMT

    So the home buying process is for real happening to me now. I’ve signed a contract with the seller, I’ve signed a bunch of forms with the bank, and I’m actually moving in to the house next week (probably 2 or so weeks before we’ll close). I am VERY excited about the house and to live there, but I feel like I’m not nervous enough or something? Owning a home is a BFD and expensive and risky, but all I can think about is how I won’t have to hear my upstairs neighbors stomping around anymore and I’m going to have a bigger living room. But I’m sure the realness of the situation will come crashing down on me down the road when the first big thing breaks and I’m responsible for fixing it and paying for it.

    • Violet

      Wow, congrats! This is a very BFG, but also really cool!

    • sofar

      Big-things-breaking is my biggest home-owner fear, too. But that fear fuels my frugality and aggressive saving. My husband is more the, “Let’s spend money on all sorts of cool house stuff” type.

      • CMT

        I’m definitely more like your husband :P I’m trying very hard to be a Responsible Grown Up and not blow my money on, like, wallpaper.

    • Zoya

      When my husband and I started telling people we’d bought a condo, everyone immediately started telling us their big-things-breaking stories. (Electrical blowouts, carbon monoxide leaks, furnace breakdowns, the works.) I was like, uh, thanks, that’s exactly what I wanted to hear right now?

      • CMT

        That’s happened somewhat to me too, although people have also been really excited for me. It’s been kind of nice to have recognition of a Big Life Event, actually, since earlier this year I broke up with the guy I thought I’d marry and I’ve had all sorts of feelings about that.

  • Angela’s Back

    Anyone else watching Alias Grace on Netflix? I started it a couple of weeks ago and am loving it so far, it’s another Margaret Atwood adaptation but less… harrowing (?) than A Handmaid’s Tale.

    • ART

      Watched a few so far, but it makes me so nervous. I don’t know what about…but I know I can’t binge it! Can’t bring myself to watch Handmaid’s Tale.

      • Angela’s Back

        Ugh, I feel the same way about AHT, I think it would be too much and would just turn me into a rage-sorrow ball. If it makes you feel any better about progressing with Grace, though, I just watched the episode where she talks about the murder last night and much was left unsaid, I’m really looking forward to how this all gets wrapped up.

    • Cellistec

      I’m almost a full episode in and like it way more than I thought I would. But it’s hard to multitask to, on account of all the micro-flashbacks. So I guess it’s good practice just putting my dang phone down and paying attention to one thing at a time.

      • Angela’s Back

        I know, I can’t crochet with that show because I need to give it my undivided attention!

    • Jess

      It is on my list, but I think I’m going to have to space it out a bit.

  • AGCourtney

    Well, things have been both exciting and stressful for us lately. My husband was offered a job. And we’re considering it. Right now he works in a phone store; he’s been a business sales rep for a while now, trying to get to that full-time. He’s involved with the local networking organizations, etc., and he enjoys that aspect, but the job itself isn’t going so great. A new event center opened in a small town a half hour from us and they’re looking for a manager to help get the place going. They really like my husband and think he’d be great for it. In some ways, it’s right up his alley: he’s really good at people and sales and making connections. But also, he’s never done events before and I’m worried he’ll be way in over his head, though they’ve said they’ll train him. Anyway, I could probably write pages on this but I’ll leave it at that.

    I’m feeling very on top of my stuff for the holiday season this year. All presents have been planned and almost all ordered, the Christmas cards have been ordered, and decor is in progress. Still, the house is so disorganized and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m constantly behind and scrambling to catch up. Doesn’t help that I’ve been working day shifts over the college break.

    Funny little story: My daughter has been loving the Magic Tree House series. She can read an entire book in a day now – or, as we learned recently, in a night. She started one shortly before bedtime one night. She read two chapters and, to my relief, didn’t whine when it was bedtime. Unbeknownst to us, she slipped it into bed with her and finished it by the light of a tiny faux tealight candle. I wasn’t even mad – that’s a play straight out of my book, haha. I’ve taken to telling people that she learned to read this spring and hasn’t stopped since.

    • InTheBurbs

      Rock on with the reading Wee One!!!

    • Jessica

      Congrats to the husband! And yay having shit together for the holidays.

      Your child is rocking it–I can’t wait to hear how parents deal with a child who stays up all night to read, because I was that kid.

      • Zoya

        Same here! Flashlight under the covers and all.

      • Jess

        Same! I feel like it’s not something I could be mad at… I’ll probably let it slide the way my parents did.

        Oh, you’re tired? Must be because you were reading so late… too bad!

        • Sarah Jane

          Same here! Some mornings I go to wake my kid up and find about 10 books hidden under the covers (she hasn’t moved on to chapter books yet, but she has a TON of beginning to read books). She gets sent to bed around 8pm after ‘official’ bedtime stories, and we usually have to remind her around 930 to put the books away and go to sleep.

          • MC

            Before I could even read I would sleep with books in my bed, and according to my mom I would scream if one of them fell off the bed in the middle of the night! And I pretty much kept books on my bed until I started sharing a bed.

    • Angela’s Back

      High five, my husband was just offered (and took!) a job too! Nothing fancy, he’s on the front desk a couple of nights a week at the bowling alley next to our apartment complex but I wasn’t anticipating how happy/relieved I felt when he told me this out of the blue.

    • lex

      The story about your daughter is so cute! Brings me back to reading books by flashlight under the covers way past bedtime.

    • Lisa

      Congrats to your husband on the job offer! That sounds like a big career step.

      And the more I hear about your daughter, the more awesome she sounds. I was totally that kid, too. There was a crook in between the wall and my bed, and I would take my reading light down there at night so that my parents wouldn’t catch me by the light shining from under the door.

    • Zoya

      The image of your daughter reading in bed by tealight is delightlful.

    • Laura C

      My father’s move as a kid was a fish tank with a bulb so bright he could read by it, although it did the fish no favors.

    • Les

      I used to get grounded from books due to sneaky late-night reading. Grounded from books! Who ever heard of such a thing!

      • ssha

        I DID TOO! Ha!

      • MC

        I never got grounded but I would totally do some sneaky late-night reading back in my day. Now it’s not so sneaky :)

      • SarahRose472

        Same! Related: Also got in trouble at school for reading under my desk while I was bored in math. ;)

      • Eenie

        My parents never found my secret closet book stash. I would also pull out “decoy” books if I suspected they were going to take them away at bedtime.

    • Mrs H

      Your daughter just sounds like a dream-congratulations on doing such a great job of mom-ing!

      • AGCourtney

        She is a really cool kid. Aw, thank you!

    • Mary Jo TC

      TBH I think I’ll be disappointed if my kids never pull that reading-after-bedtime trick.

      • AGCourtney

        Right? It was almost a relief.

    • Kat

      I used to get busted reading after my bedtime almost every night when my dad would get home. My mom tells me she was conflicted because they needed me to actually sleep but there were way worse things I could be sneaking around about. Lol

      • ME TOO. My dad got home late from shift work and would check on us sleeping since sometimes he otherwise wouldn’t have seen us and I would always get caught!

  • lex

    Less than 4 months til the wedding and I hate to say that my procrastination has gotten the better of me! Now I’m in a frenzy of decision-making, and honestly? I don’t hate it. Working under pressure has been my thing for so long that it’s second nature by now ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    In other news, my fiance and I decided to make the 20-hour drive from Texas to Ohio this Christmas! We want to take our dog (it might be his first time seeing snow!), and we like road trips so we’re hoping it’ll be worth the drive. If anyone has any recommendations of things to do/places to stop between San Antonio and southwest Ohio, let me know!!

  • Jess

    I know there are a lot of people here who have dealt with this, so I’m coming in for all the advice.

    R lost his job yesterday.

    I have no idea what happens now. I have never seen a parent lose a job. I have only rarely seen friends lose jobs, and not any of those I was close to. I have never even changed jobs.

    I am putting all my at-home-energy into Being There for the next few days, and all my at-work-energy into Not Getting Fired (which… I have been really struggling at work). I have an appointment with my therapist on Monday, I am looking for a time when I can be alone and break-the-fuck-down after a long and emotional Thanksgiving w/ my family, I am taking my anti-depressants, and I am slowly reaching out to Team Me to be supportive.

    We have had a short conversation about this is something we will get through as a team.

    I have questions about what the practical steps are. Like, how does R handle insurance right now? How do we figure out budgets fast (we were going slowly because it was scary, but now it’s mandatory)? How does unemployment work? What practical questions do I need to ask him about packages?

    What…. happens now?

    • Cleo

      I’m so sorry! Solidarity with your husband!

      First – have him register for unemployment ASAP. The sooner the better (according to an attorney I consulted when the same happened to me).

      Also, if you’re a list maker like I am, the thing that has helped me this past week as I’ve been processing my own losing of my job is making a list of everything I feel I need to do to survive and then breaking all of those things down into tiny, manageable steps, and then committing to taking one step for one thing every day.

      Good luck and many hugs! I hope you have a relatively relaxing weekend and your therapist appointment on Monday is the respite you need!

    • Rose_C

      I am so so sorry. This sounds incredibly stressful. I hope that your self care keeps you strong and you find the emotional support (and outlets for anxiety you need). But the practical stuff:

      COBRA is an option for insurance, though it’s often so expensive it doesn’t make sense to the newly unemployed. His former employer should legally give him the option to enroll for two months, so it could actually work well as a stop-gap if he finds a new gig soon and there’s a waiting period for insurance enrollment.
      It’s also open enrollment time for exchange plans, so that’s probably worth looking at. As an unemployed person he may qualify for assistance and it can be a little arduous to figure out the system.
      Finally, if you have a plan through your employer, job loss is often a qualifying event for enrollment. But it’s also enrollment/plan renewal time for a lot of those and the pre-tax benefit of having your partner on your work plan can make them more affordable than the exchange.

      Otherwise unemployment can be filed for after a full week of unemployment, but it’s worth setting up the process immediately so there’s minimal lag in payments (usually your state’s Dept. of Labor will have a tab).

      Good luck.

      • Jess

        Thanks for the info on unemployment and the reminder about open enrollment!

    • Gertrude

      I’m sorry you and R are having to deal with this. Job loss sucks. It’s awesome of you to focus on being supportive right now. As far as next steps, based on our experience, I’d recommend: R deciding if he wants to stay in the same field/industry (vs is this the time for a shift? back to school?). If he does, fire up those networks, LinkedIn, all of it. Update his resume. RE: insurance, his previous employer might have a COBRA option, but those are often more expensive than plans on the marketplace, so you two can do some comparisons. I don’t *know* how to file for unemployment, but (not being snarky at all) I bet Google can be helpful. He can also reach out to HR at previous employer about those things, they should have some helpful information/handouts/websites. Oh, and definitely tighten up the budget as much as possible. It can help manage stress to be taking concrete steps like that. Best of luck to you both – you will get through this.

    • Not Sarah

      First, I am so, so sorry. I lost my job last fall and it has been a roller coaster. I can finally see my former employer’s buses without having a panic attack. I haven’t tried to go back near my old office in a long time and I don’t know if I could. Last time I tried, I had a panic attack.

      My package included my former employer covering the COBRA premiums for a certain number of months. I would double check that. If they are covering the COBRA premiums, that could be useful for some number of months. I assume that you have insurance through your own employer. R losing his job is a qualifying life event that would allow your employer to add him to your insurance, if you want. That’s what we did when my plan’s year ended. I can’t answer about unemployment because I was laid off while on a work visa and couldn’t apply for unemployment. Good job on agreeing that this is something you will get through as a team – that was really helpful :) Also – whenever I had to tell someone about my job loss, my husband was there too. It was great to not have to do it alone.

      Also, make sure you hug each other lots and give both of room for patience as you navigate this process. Our friends were really, really supportive when this happened to us and I hope your Social Circle is as well.

      • Jess

        Thanks for the recommendation about asking about the coverages from his package!

        I will definitely try to be present as we tell people, or tell mutual friends in advance – thank you that is super practical and helpful advice.

        I know my friend group I’ve told have already been really helpful and even offered up a few places they know are looking for people. I’m hopeful our joint and his friend-groups will be the same.

    • Essssss

      Hugssss. COBRA or getting added to your health insurance might be options if you have it. A job transition generally is considered a qualifying life event. And there is always the health insurance marketplace through the ACA, which contrary to popular belief, actually has some pretty excellent deals this year with tax credits. Good luck to you both!

      • Lisa

        Just echoing to check out COBRA, the ACA, and Medicaid (if R qualifies), as well as adding him to your own insurance. Some options will be more expensive than others, and some won’t be possibilities.

        We use YNAB for budgeting, but I don’t think it matters what you use as long as you have a budget in place. It helps to think through both everyday expenses (groceries, gas, utilities, rent/mortgage) and rainy day expenses (insurance, clothing, gifts) + savings and/or debt repayment. It’s helpful to give yourselves a little spending money so you don’t rebel against the budget. If it’s too restrictive it can backfire. It’s also okay to recognize that you won’t be contributing to savings for a while, and maybe using what savings you have to weather this – that’s what it is there for. And to come up with some cheap meals that fit into the rotation: tacos, homemade pizza, beans, etc.

        I think the hardest thing isn’t the budgeting or the administrative crap though. It’s just the funk that comes with job searching. No major advice there; just to be as supportive as you can.

        • flashphase

          oh, yeah, the funk. That is real. Maybe put up a sign on a mirror that says “my employment and financial contributions are not a measure of my worth as a person.” you can make the sign as anti-capitalist as suits you.

        • Jess

          Thank you for the bucket ideas for budgeting – that helps it feel manageable to approach.

          You’re right – the funk is going to be real. I’m glad that I have a support team that isn’t R right now for my emotional stuff, because it’s going to be a lot of Dump Out, Comfort In.

      • Jess

        Thank you! I know the open enrollment period is still happening til the 15th, which is really good.

        • Essssss

          Yes, and if it’s a qualifying life event, then you can apply any time, open enrollment or not.

          • Jess

            Inquiring about the life event w/ my HR on Monday!

          • Lisa

            It should definitely qualify. I was able to add my husband to my insurance, retroactive to the date his insurance expired, over the summer. I was also able to change my own insurance to a cheaper plan because of the qualifying event.

          • Eenie

            Confirming Lisa – definitely a life event. When he is employed again and has benefits, this will be another life event.

    • Jessica

      I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t have advice (I was unemployed for 3 months at the age of 22, so not quite the same thing as what you and R are going through), but sending you all the support thought waves and feelings possible.

      You can also outsource Team Jess information spreading to a friend. I had someone do that when spreading the word about my mom’s cancer, and it worked out well. Basically I only had to tell about 4 people, but then both my mom and I got cards from lots of my friends with all the love sent.

      • Jess

        Thank you for the support waves. They are much appreciated and felt deeply.

        The idea of information spreading is a good one – I will probably be activating it this weekend.

    • flashphase

      This is awful and so scary. I’m sorry. The good news is, you will be okay. Take a deep breath.

      Do you have health insurance? I believe job loss qualifies as an insurance event and you can have him added to your insurance.

      This may help:
      https://www.thebillfold.com/2013/09/a-very-practical-guide-to-filing-for-unemployment-benefits/

      • Jess

        That link is extremely helpful, thank you!

        I do have separate health insurance and will inquire about the life event policy.

        ::takes deep breath:: You’re right that we will be ok. It will be a hard time emotionally, but we will be ok.

        We have savings right now for this exact kind of event and have no major things we need to pay for right now.

    • Lisa

      I don’t have a ton of good advice on the situation that hasn’t already been said, but I’m really sorry you’re in this situation, and I hope R is able to find new employment soon.

      • Jess

        Thank you. I hope so too!

    • emilyg25

      It’s just the worst, tbh. It happened to my spouse in April. Looks like you got answers on the insurance thing below (change of employment is a qualifying life event). Yes to filing for unemployment ASAP—it takes a long time to go through. After getting those things squared away, I tried to give my husband a few weeks to grieve/wrap his mind around things before jumping to the next thing. He made a list of all his professional contacts and started reaching out to them, plus checking job boards, etc. Do take some time to think if he wants to go back to the same thing or take this as an opportunity to switch careers. Be kind to yourself and give each other grace. Hang in there.

      • Jess

        Thank you, truly.

        Giving him some time to figure things out emotionally is really important, and I will be taking time to remind myself of that because I tend to be a list-maker and problem-solver.

        • emilyg25

          Me too! And my husband is … not. It helped to have a friend outside my marriage that I could vent my frustrations to so I didn’t let them get between us. I think in some ways having a laid off spouse is worse than being laid off yourself because you’re so powerless. Oh, another thing. I was surprised by what an emotional hit my husband took. He felt really worthless. So that’s why it was extra important for me to restrain some of my criticism and support him.

          • Jess

            I can tell that emotional hit is coming – R had a hard time finding work for a few years before we met and I know it was a really tough time for him then.

            I have not had to be a big emotional support for R previously over an extended period of time, which is really nerve-wracking. I don’t know what the right things to do are! So I anticipate doing a lot of “I would like to offer you this action. Would that be ok?”

            Definitely thankful for my Team Jess friends and doctors – it’s gonna be key.

          • flashphase

            My therapist noted that since our culture harps on the idea that man = provider, unemployment can be extra hard on men’s self-worth issues. I think that can be a good fallacy for both partners to keep in mind (and challenge!) if things get tough.

            (edited bc I forgot I wasn’t replying to Jess)

    • Transnonymous

      We literally just got through this and have been through it twice in the past year, so first and foremost, solidarity and I’m sorry. I know that it sucks and it’s not going to be easy. Please use that time with your therapist to process your feelings and get out all of the thoughts you have that you feel like you can’t share with anyone else.

      R should file for unemployment as soon as he can and, as was mentioned below, you should look into the life event policy coverage, the ACA, and Medicaid. COBRA is possible, but may be more expensive than it’s worth depending on his previous benefits package. As for budgeting, take a look at your numbers now that you’re down to one income and be completely honest with what you can cut out. What worked for us was setting a max spending limit per week and prioritizing absolute needs first, such as medical bills and groceries (our monthly expenses like rent, utilities, loans were factored out first and we used what we had left to set the weekly budget).

      For job searching, what worked for my husband was setting two hard mornings a week where he did nothing but look for jobs. That way, he could avoid burnout on the job front, but a concrete schedule helped avoid the funk. If unemployment becomes long term, R can look into volunteering in an area that fits his interests. My husband volunteered at our local animal shelter during his last period of unemployment and it really improved his mood and overall outlook.

      Otherwise, best of luck and good thoughts to you!

      • Jess

        Thank you so much for the good thoughts.

        Being very honest is going to be good and there are definitely areas I think we can cut back on that we’ve luckily discussed already when we were doing our first financial planning talks. Thank you for making that sounds doable.

        Setting concrete days for job searches is a really good idea, both to keep moving and to keep from burning out, and volunteering to stay involved and get out of the house is a great tip!

    • AmandaBee

      I’m sorry about R’s job. My husband has struggled with unemployment and underemployment for awhile now and it’s really difficult emotionally, though we’ve gotten better at managing it over time (recently, he’s been unemployed due to moving for my work, so that’s come with less guilt on his end but it’s still challenging).

      In our case, it was a learning curve (and still is) figuring out how best to support him with job searching. He may need some time right now to sort out his feelings on the situation. I think some time/space is good. I’m an anxious planner, so i had to learn to back off a little. Eventually you may want to help him come up with a structure/plan for applying for jobs, but I’d ask him to figure out what’s most helpful. It might also be a good idea for him to seek some support from friends or family, so the burden is not entirely on you.

      I would not underestimate the value of him getting out of the house. For my husband, even just going to the local library to apply for jobs is really helpful emotionally vs. staying at home all day. I found he actually got more done on the job application front when he had a part-time job or was taking an online class, because it gave him some structure to his week and got him to interact with others.

      Budget-wise, what worked for us was looking at our spending (using YNAB or Mint to keep me honest) and then figuring out what our minimal possible monthly budget was just for housing, food, medication, etc. Then compare that with your income alone. Do you have money left over for inevitable additional expenses/emergencies? If not, he might want to look into short-term work or other gigs (Uber, etc.) to keep you afloat. Also lock your credit cards away if you can, to avoid going down that path to begin with. It sucks if it means you realize you don’t have much spending money, but it’s better to be honest with yourselves now than digging yourselves out of a hole later.

  • Lisa

    Long time, no see! Just thought I’d drop by to say hello. Crazy month of travel was crazy but fun. I enjoyed the Dominican Republic more than I thought I would (though I had a lot of ambivalent feelings about the all-inclusive resort and some of the people we met), and I’m scuba-certified now!

    Also, after three months in my “special assignment” position, I got a message from my boss on Monday that my permanent job finally posted!! I’m applying for it now and expect an interview sometime next week. Hopefully Santa will bring me a new title, promotion, and 45% raise for Christmas! ;)

    • Lawyerette510

      Congrats on the scuba-cert, so much fun and one of those things you can keep doing forever. Also big congratulations on the job posting!!!

      • Lisa

        Thank you! I was very nervous about the boat portion of the day since I tend to have bad motion sickness, but once we were in the water I was OK. I’m excited to hopefully do it again in the future! Are you certified? If so, what gear is your own, and what do you rent? We’re probably going to buy face masks and snorkels before we go again, but we were debating the utility of some of the other pieces of equipment.

        • Lawyerette510

          I am certified. I have been for 15 years. Sadly, I only dive on vacation (so about once a year) but I own my own mask, snorkel and a smaller set of fins. If you take care of them and only use them occasionally, they last forever (I have the same stuff as I got when I was certified) I really think as long as you have the mask and snorkel you are good. If you are only diving occasionally, you’re liking going to be on dive trips and all of those shops build the price of gear into what the quote you.

          I just like knowing that my mask is going to fit, and I like the “old school” snorkels because I find they are easier to clear when I’m actually snorkeling in between dives or on days when I’m not diving. I like my fins, but I really only have them for snorkeling and because I’m kind of picky and like smaller, firmer fins instead of the larger split fins that are really popular. I find it’s easier to make sure I’m not touching the reef when my fins are smaller and easier to keep track of. The big fins really only make a difference when you’re free diving or spear fishing, and that’s not my thing.

    • Les

      45% HEYO

      • Lisa

        I mean HELL YES, right?? I’m super excited about all of the money I’m going to be dumping into my 457.

        • Jessica

          Start your blog, lady.

          • Cellistec

            AMEN.

        • Lexipedia

          Yes, start that blog! I’ve been thinking about you advice all week. We are merging our money sooner than we expected to because of our big insurance settlement money and it is more and more clear FI is just bad at this stuff. He doesn’t spend money irresponsibly, but he leaves all of his spare cash in his checking account and isn’t contributing to retirement at the rate he totally should be. I’ve started with your recommendations on Barclays for joint savings and am trying to figure out a Vanguard IRA strategy for us as we won’t be eligible for a Roth. Any websites of advice would be much appreciated!

          • Not Sarah

            You could check out https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Backdoor_Roth_IRA if you are above the income cap for a normal Roth IRA contribution. Otherwise, you can invest outside of IRAs in a normal, non-retirement Vanguard account.

          • Lisa

            I’m so glad to hear that things are going well! As @not_sarah:disqus said, you can either sign up for a traditional IRA (pre-tax, up to $11,000 if you each have one) through Vanguard, see about making additional contributions to your 401k’s (you can contribute up to $18,000 each year), or sign up for Vanguard brokerage accounts in which you can simply invest any post-tax money you want! Here is JL Collins’s suggestions on investment strategies:

            1. Fund 401(k)-type plans to the full employer match, if any.
            2. Fully fund a Roth if your income is low enough that you are paying little or no income tax.
            3. Once your income tax rate rises, fully fund a deductible IRA rather than the Roth.
            4. Keep the Roth you started and just let it grow.
            5. Finish funding the 401(k)-type plan to the max.
            6. Consider funding a non-deductible IRA if your income is such that you cannot contribute to a deductible IRA or Roth IRA.
            7. Fund your taxable account with any money left.

          • Lexipedia

            Question I haven’t found an answer to yet – neither of us have employer match for our 403b plans, but both of us have quite substantial %-of-salary employer contributions to them. Should we keep funding those, or focus on an IRA instead?

          • Lisa

            So your employer will contribute a certain percent of salary whether you contribute or not? If that’s the case, for me it would depend on the types of funds offered in the employer 403b and what their expense ratios are. I pulled out from an optional 403b at my employer so I could concentrate those funds at Vanguard because the expense ratios through my TIAA options were higher than Vanguard’s. I still contribute to my employer 403b because I get a pretty good match for doing so and because there’s a required minimum contribution anyway now that I’m over 30. I was also able to find a decent approximation for VTSAX with that 403b’s Vanguard options. (I did some research on Bogleheads Wiki to find the exact percentages.) When I leave Badtown U though, I’ll gladly be rolling over my 403b to a traditional IRA at Vanguard.

  • flashphase

    Can we do a post-thanksgiving family subthread?

    I’ll start: MIL insisted we go Black Friday shopping. We were looking for home goods, she pointed out a couple things, some I said I liked, some not my style, and one I said I thought looked cheap. She took this as a personal attack and stopped speaking to me for the rest of the day. How were your families??

    • We hosted my mom, which turned out to be fantastic – she got lots of time with #BabyPi, she and I hung out, my husband and I got to have date night.

      • flashphase

        aw, that is great!

    • Noelle

      YES PLEASE.

      We had Thanskgiving at my parents’ home this year and I saw several of my aunts and uncles for the first time in over a year. The first thing one of my uncles asked me – not about my job, or anything else, mind you – was “are you pregnant yet?”. I lost it and immediately shut him down, telling everyone at the table it’s NOT ok to ask women that anymore. He pouted about it for the rest of the night (and my mom later told me over and over how right I was to call him out on it). Then literally 5 minutes later, one of my aunts starts talking about “that piece of crap Kaepernick” and I just about lost my sh*t.

      • Zoya

        Good on you for shutting your uncle down! That is so Not On.

      • Cellistec

        Is there a medal I can send you for this? Or like a stick pin even? There should be.

        • Ashlah

          I feel like a lot of these are appropriate: https://emilymcdowell.com/collections/enamel-pins

          Go Noelle!

          • Cellistec

            I know, I love those! And the adulting stickers too. So well-earned.

        • Noelle

          Hahaha, thanks :) I was SO NERVOUS for this Thanksgiving, because all my relatives are republicans (except my immediate family, thankfully) and I knew there was going to be plenty of stupid comments, so once he asked me that, my nervous energy sent me straight into “oh hell no” territory, despite husband’s and my original plan to avoid conflict. Oh well.

      • theteenygirl

        Good for you!!

        Re: my comment below about the football game… because it’s “parents vs kids” we started getting the “hey when’s the next generation coming to replace you guys” comments already. I just let them slide this year

        • Noelle

          Ugh.

      • sofar

        Oh god. You WON Thanksgiving! You won it for all of us!

    • Noelle

      Also I’m so sorry you had to deal with that…I’m very familiar with family members taking small comments like that super personally, and it’s incredibly un-fun.

    • theteenygirl

      I’m Canadian, so this was my second American thanksgiving with my husband’s American family. Last year we were dating. This year, we’re married.
      They play a football game that is “kids against adults” even though the “kids” are between 17 and 27. Their rule is that all “guests” to thanksgiving have to play on the adult team. Last year that was fine. I was a guest. This year I jokingly tried to get on the kids team to play with my husband and was told that I’m “a guest and as a guest will always play on the adults team”.

      Ouch. Guess I’m not part of the family after all…

      • Noelle

        Oof. Did your husband hear/respond to that?

        • theteenygirl

          It was said twice, I wasn’t sure if he heard either time. Once we were back in Canada and away from his ever-present family I told him how much it hurt me and he hadn’t heard it said. He’s the oldest of all the kids (it’s three brothers and their wives and kids) so I’m sure his family just doesn’t know how to include me yet.
          He said next year he’ll talk to his family about what team I play on but honestly I don’t know if I want to go. The football game is the worst part of attending Thanksgiving and that just really made it worse for me.

          • Noelle

            I was trying to come up with a reply to give his family the benefit of the doubt, but instead I’m just seething for you…if they’re still considering you a “guest” even after you got married, that’s really not ok. He should really say something to them if it’s bothersome enough that you don’t even want to do Thanksgiving with them next year.

          • Zoya

            Yeah, I wonder if waiting until next year is too late. That’s a big enough snub that clearing the air now, while it’s still recent, might be better. (That could open up other cans of worms, though…)

          • Jess

            I think it’s worth addressing now – the sooner something said, the sooner they can apologize.

            (I have my optimistic hat on)

          • theteenygirl

            I’m leaving it up to my husband to talk to them, which I expect he will do considering how upset I was. It’s not about the football game.. it’s about feeling like I’m not considered part of the family. And they’re a pretty cool family!

          • Jessica

            Why did that have to say “guest,” though? Why couldn’t they say anyone added to the family is on the “Adult” team?

      • Jess

        Ouch. I would sit out that game next year.

        • theteenygirl

          Unfortunately sitting out isn’t an option – one of the wives doesn’t play and it’s a huuge pain point in the family. As in, if you mention her name the first thing every says is how they hate that she doesn’t play the football game. I would rather not go at all than go and not play!

          • Jessica

            wtf?

          • Amy March

            Even more of a reason to refuse to play! They sound like horrible boring bullies who need to grow up.

          • Jess

            What. This is absurd. I think you and this wife should hang out and drink wine while everyone else engages in this hostage situation.

          • Zoya

            Cosigned.

          • theteenygirl

            Thank you all for validating that this is a super weird thing. I don’t have a big family and so I don’t really understand large family dynamics a lot of the time.. I thought this was normal..

          • Lisa

            I come from two big families, and I can co-sign this is Not Normal. We always do older generation vs. younger no matter how old we all get, and no one could care less who sits out.

          • Noelle

            Wow, that’s ridiculous. It’s just a game!!

          • Mrs H

            Whaaat? That is terrible.

          • Sarah

            This sounds like some weird 90’s movie family like from Meet the Fockers. Sympathies.

          • AP

            This is BAFFLING and I would hate it so much. I don’t have natural athletic ability, I hate being put on the spot to do things like catch balls or run some specific direction, I hate team sports, and this tradition would make me never want to attend that family’s holiday EVER again. Also chiming in to say this is totally NOT NORMAL.

        • Laura C

          Personally I’d think hard about bearing a succession of children and refusing to let the family ever meet them since after all, I’m a guest not a family member. But that’s me, petty.

    • PAJane

      We had two, and they both went well! I helped my mom cook the one for my family at her house, and we really enjoyed the time together. Then we came home and hosted a whole second dinner for PADude’s family. It was the first big family get-together of his family since his stepmother and sister in law both died over the summer, and it was good to see everyone, and everybody got along.

    • Lawyerette510

      Found out my dad who hasn’t come to visit me in 2.5 years because “he’s too busy” is going on a 2 week vacation with his girlfriend and her two (adult) kids. I found this out after he only spent a total of 6 hours with me the entire 4 days I was in my hometown over thanksgiving. Why only 6 hours? Because he left Thanksgiving at my sister’s early to go see his girlfriend and spent most of the long weekend with her. It’s not surprising, but it does make me sad.

      • GCDC

        I can relate to this. My divorced father generally chooses his wife’s family over my sisters and me. He’s even become a Republican like they are, even though he was an elected Democrat lawmaker for many years. It hurts. Hugs, lady.

        For what it’s worth, I think a lot of middle-aged men don’t know how to have emotional relationships, so they outsource that to their wives. This is definitely true in my father’s case, and since his wife is the one who does all the work, they spend most of their time and effort as a couple of her family. Doesn’t make it easier to stomach, not for me anyway.

        • Lawyerette510

          I think you make good points. What really sucks is I like his girlfriend and her kids a lot, and it’s really more about him making a bunch of other choices over me. This is his 4th significant other in 10 years, and he’s got a very defined cycle of behavior when it comes to his relationships, so my brain can understand it, but like you said, it doesn’t make it easier to stomach.

          Hugs back to you.

      • Lisa

        I’m so sorry. I have a similar situation where my father travels all of the time with his wife, and she regularly does things with her adult daughter, but I only really see him when I go to visit him (despite a lack of funds and vacation time on my part). He’s visited me twice in the past ten years. It helps to remind myself that we each can decide what to do with our time; I choose to see him twice a year, typically. If he chooses something different, that is his choice. It doesn’t mean we love each other less, although it might mean that we aren’t as close and he doesn’t really know what’s going on in my life.

      • Jess

        I’m really sorry. That is really disappointing.

    • Zoya

      I have to crow a little bit about my family. We’re pretty damn good at Thanksgiving food, but this year several of us had new dietary restrictions that ruled out some of our old favorite recipes. My mom, sister, and I came up with a delicious menu that hit all the usual buttons–stuffing, gravy, etc.–and could accommodate all of us. I’m particularly proud of the vegan, gluten-free, onion- and garlic-free gravy I made, which everyone went nuts over.

      Also, I mentioned this in the open thread earlier this week, but I had a long conversation about rape culture with my dad and my brother, and it wasn’t a disaster! They took my point. So, yay.

      • Cdn icecube

        If you’re comfortable sharing i would love to get these recipes. I’m the one with all the restrictions in my FI’s family and I know sometimes they really struggle with it. So having a deeper recipe bench is always a bonus.

        • Zoya

          Sure! For the stuffing, I riffed on this recipe (skipped the garlic and apple, and used the green parts from a leek instead of onions): https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015399-wild-rice-stuffing-with-apples-pecans-and-cranberries

          My gluten-free gravy secret is sweet rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour). I use Mochiko flour, the one that comes in the box with the blue star on it. You can use it one-for-one in place of wheat flour in a roux–it thickens beautifully and doesn’t clump. In terms of the rest of the gravy, what I did was:

          – heat 1/4 cup olive oil pretty hot in a skillet, and cook the heck out of a bunch of finely chopped mushrooms until they were super-browned
          – Added 1/4 cup sweet rice flour and cooked for a few minutes until the flour turned golden
          – Added 2 1/2 cups water, a large splash of tamari, lots of minced fresh rosemary and sage
          – Let the whole thing simmer until it thickened, then finished it off with a splash of sherry vinegar and a handful of chopped chives

          • Cdn icecube

            Thank you! Those both sound amazing!!

          • Anna

            Oh man that sounds amazing. I don’t have any of those dietary restrictions and I would still eat that over half the quote-unquote-normal gravies I’ve been presented with in my life.

          • Yael

            Just saved this recipe for next year/ whenever!

    • anonymous

      I … may need to vent about this. My husband’s mother is mentally ill, which is being treated, but not discussed openly. She has alienated every woman in my husband’s family to the point where her daughter is estranged and my husband’s brother’s wife refuses to be alone with her. Before this holiday, I had been able to roll with it to a certain extent, but no more. For four days, she cornered me alone to talk about one of two topics: (1) how I worked a lot and how that affected my ability to parent my child; and (2) when I was going to give her another grandkid. She did not say any of this stuff around my husband, only when it was just me., though she did often talk about his brother’s wife’s body and how sad it is that she’s gained weight after having kids (fuck you, lady).

      All of this is awful, and it was stressful and terrible and I felt belittled and disrespected, but I think I could handle that if i felt like my husband had my back. But he didn’t do anything. I told him what was happening and his response was to tell me that I was probably misinterpreting her and it couldn’t be as bad as my reaction was warranting. I’m still incredibly hurt by this. I realize my husband is the golden child to his mom, and she would never do or say anything to cause friction with him, but how can he not see how shittily she’s treated others? And how can he not believe me when I tell him how shittily she’s treating me?

      So we’ve started having the first of many, many discussions on this. He’s asking me what he can do in the future, and my response right now is he needs to figure that out himself because I’m done with the whole situation if it doesn’t change and I don’t want to waste any more mental energy trying to figure it out.

      • Lawyerette510

        I’m really sorry. It is so hurtful when our spouses don’t believe us about our experiences with their family members. I’ve been through similar things where ultimately I have to say “what’s more upsetting than how X treated me, is that you minimized my experience and didn’t believe that it was bad for me. I need you to have my back, even if you don’t understand why it’s not a good situation for me.”

        • Cellistec

          Well said.

      • Jess

        I’m really sorry your MIL is being so cruel to you and the other women in her life.

        I’m more sorry that your husband isn’t stepping up here. He needs to, and I want to give you all the applause for telling him so. I hope he does better and you can reach something that feels manageable.

    • Jess

      My family: where do I start? It was physically and emotionally exhausting.

      My mom was in a bad mood from the start, nearly constantly verbally attacking my dad. This did not stop. She also took the chance to feel mortally hurt by any of me or my brother’s choices throughout the weekend. There is no stopping her when she is like this, so we tried to ignore these comments as much as possible.

      My brother, his gf, R and I were able to get out for a little bit. We had some talks about how this is her choice and other things I’ve gained through therapy. I mentioned being on anti-depressants and how that’s helping, because gf was like, “Wow, this is really great perspective.”

      AND THEN.

      We went to see a show at the Steppenwolf, called The Minutes. It was very good but dealt in how we handle racist narratives in a very, very intense way. (FWIW, I really liked it and thought it made a very impactful statement about how privileged people respond to things that force them to face that privilege)

      My parents are not very good when it comes to facing privilege, especially when it comes to race. They are of the northern wasp-y sort who bootstrapped themselves into where they are today (this… is pretty true). So… there were very intense discussions over a dinner with me and my brother and gf on one side, my mom on another, and my dad listening quietly to learn (which is his thing).

      R was quiet mainly because he was still emotionally processing the play (it was difficult, people), but also because he is a quiet person. He held my hand, which was enough.

      I was not surprised at their response to the play, but I am disappointed and angry all the same.

      So… all in all, I’m exhausted and in need of breaking down, but per my post below, I need to be emotionally strong for R right now.

    • Not Sarah

      My mom started an argument Saturday night about Christmas 2018. Yeah. That was fun.

      • Amy March

        Ughhh too soon Mom.

      • Ashlah

        Noooooo

      • Whut why. Too dang early, yo.

      • Cellistec

        Overachiever.

      • Gertrude

        I see your Christmas 2018 and will raise you my MIL’s “I’m just sad that I will NEVER get to celebrate Christmas or her birthday [12/24] with my granddaughter.” Said granddaughter will be turning TWO this year. I can’t, my husband can’t, we just can’t. (and that side of the family is celebrating the following weekend!!! at her house!!! and we will be there!!!!)

        • Not Sarah

          Oh yeah, the argument was started with her sadly saying “I hope we will all be together for Christmas again soon. Maybe next year!” They live two hours from us driving and refuse to spend Christmas at home. We have limited vacation time and don’t want to spend every Christmas on a plane. So in 2016, we said we would spend Christmas at their house, but that was it and they told us they’d rather go somewhere, so we spent Christmas with my extended family without my parents and sibling. Mom is clearly already worried that will happen next year…

          • S

            Then just stay home Mom if you’re so worried! Gosh!

    • Sarah Jane

      we had two thanksgivings – one at my house, and one at my MIL’s house. The current drama is that I’m 5 months pregnant, and while this is my second baby, it’s my husband’s first. The weekend before thanksgiving, my mom and her friend threw me a lovely baby shower at her house, and invited all of my husband’s family. MIL got very drunk, shushed my mom during the gift opening thing (which my mom took personally) and then commandeered the living room to spend the next two hours loudly complaining about her husband, who she married a month ago, and who was sitting right next to her.
      So my mom’s really annoyed about all of that, and has decided that she wants nothing more to do with my MIL. My MIL, on the other hand, is all super excited about this new baby, and keeps saying ‘my first grandchild is going to be MY grandchild, and no-one else’s!’ which is super awesome and not possessive in the slightest *so much sarcasm*.
      So, no real drama, just two very tense dinners.

      • Ashlah

        Good lord, MIL. Apologies to your husband, but she sounds insufferable.

        • Sarah Jane

          Right?!? I mean, all the respect to her as the MIL, but good grief. Thankfully, husband recognizes the crazy and is totally on board for dealing with it.

      • Amy March

        No one said “hey quit it, he’s sitting right there”? Or just “ok well I think that’s enough of that thanks!” People actually just sit there and let her do this?

        • Sarah Jane

          Yeah, it’s a really weird dynamic between our families – they both come from very different cultures, so big events like this tend to create an ‘us’ and ‘them’ environment, where people don’t really mix. So mostly, my family/friends just avoided them/hung out in the kitchen, and her family are used to it and just ignored her/left early. I tried to jump in and change the subject a few times and got ignored, and my husband tried to jump in a few times and finally managed to change the subject. It’s just a super weird situation that his family seems to be content to ignore. Husband and I are having discussions about how to handle the next joint family event.

    • Ashlah

      Prior to this year, we always went our separate ways for holidays. Now that we have a baby, we’re having to re-configure everything. We ended up going to his family an hour away first, then back home to my family for (second) dessert. It worked pretty well, although it was a long day. And I’m not going to be okay with that for Christmas (it’s super important to me, and I don’t want my family holiday to always be second fiddle, always experienced at the tail end of the day), so we have another bridge to cross there.

      Husband has struggled for various reasons with holidays not feeling warm and special for a long time. We had a really sad conversation about it on our way to the first celebration. At the end of the night, he told me it was the best holiday he’d had in a while, and that he loved spending it with me. I’m really focusing on starting holiday traditions for our own little family, so that made me feel good and like it’s a valuable pursuit.

      • Jess

        While making holidays together work and figuring out how to split up time is hard… your husband’s response makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

        • Ashlah

          Me too <3

      • Angela’s Back

        We too had always split the holidays, and now that we’re married, my dad is being all shirty/sad about the fact that I now can’t come home every.single.year. It’s like come on Dad, I know you know how this goes, you have in-laws too and we for damn sure weren’t traveling to see either set of grandparents every year when I was a kid… kudos to you guys for working to start your own traditions in intentional ways, I want to do more of that and it’s hard!

        • Ashlah

          When we were still doing separate holidays, my family would give me a hard time every year, and it was like…Do you not want to see me every year? Because combining holidays does not mean he automatically joins us, sometimes I will be gone. Families, man.

      • penguin

        We celebrate holidays with both families, and just do them on entirely different days. So each family gets its own “day” with us for that holiday (sometimes one is as far as two weeks in advance). It took my MIL some time to adjust (my husband is an only child) but so far it’s working pretty well.

    • Lily

      YES TO THIS. We went to Fiance’s family house, and of course everyone had tons of wedding questions for us, although I genuinely tried to minimize the wedding talk because I know it can be annoying. Fiance’s brother was acting super weird and rude the whole night and clearly looked irritated with us. He then told the entire table that he was planning on proposing the month of our wedding next summer and that we were messing with his plans. He also made an offhand comment about how his gf (of less than a year) was not a bridesmaid and how we don’t respect him. There was so much more that I can’t even get into because I was so irritated. Can’t wait for Christmas with him…yayyyyyyy

      • Jessica
      • Jess

        uuuggggggghhhhhhh FBIL why are you weird.

      • sofar

        Ya know how everyone says women are so dramatic about weddings? Some of biggest drama queens during my wedding planning were MEN.

        • rebecca

          I literally would not have had a wedding were it not for men saying “but you haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave to”. My theory is bc they only get to pop in to the parts of planning that happen to strike their fancy they actually don’t understand how much work it all is.

    • Lisa

      It was my first Thanksgiving not with my family, and…it was kind of awesome in its own way. I missed my family and was thinking about all of the prep and food and fun that was happening without me, but I also enjoyed sitting on the beach all day and having sushi for dinner. (Did not so much enjoy the resort staff being dressed up as slutty pilgrims, Native Americans, and turkeys and badgering us to take part in the Thanksgiving Olympics.)

      We might do something similar though with my husband’s family next year. He hasn’t gone home for the holiday in over a decade, and it might be fun to spend some time with them. I do hope though that we go back to celebrating with my family at some point, too, because I definitely missed the food and traditions.

      • Angela’s Back

        slutty pilgrims, good grief…

        • Lisa

          Yes, I definitely made some comments about the irony of that.

      • PAJane

        Waaaaait, I want to make sure I’m imagining this right. Were the pilgrims the only slutty costumes, or were the Native Americans and turkeys also slutty?

        • Lisa

          It was hard to figure out how to order the qualifiers, but only the pilgrims and Native Americans were slutty. The turkey was a part of the Thanksgiving Olympics, and resort guests had to catch him.

          • PAJane

            English is super dumb about things like that. Also, I am just the teeeeeesiest bit disappointed that there weren’t sexy turkeys.

          • Lisa

            I would have gotten such a kick out of that.

          • Sarah

            I feel like a slutty turkey would have been the only redeeming quality to this scene.

    • Cellistec

      MIL made passive-aggressive comments all night along the lines of “I miss the good old days when family actually mattered.” When asked, during an icebreaker game, what TV show she would want to be in, she said Family Ties, because “they had real family values back then.” Context: she’s pissed at my husband for missing a couple of family events because he had to work. He apologized but she won’t forgive him. Or talk to him directly about it. Or make eye contact with him. Cool cool.

      • flashphase

        oh I am very familiar with the concept of family = togetherness rather than family = TREATING EVERYONE LIKE A GD INDEPENDENT ADULT whose opinions and decisions may vary from your own… sorry, head just exploded a bit. raging on your behalf!

        • Cellistec

          Dude thanks. My head exploded half a dozen times over the course of dinner. It’s still a little tender.

      • Jessica

        It sounds like a lot of moms are choosing to be really unhappy right now. Rather than just deal with their disappointment, they decide to ride out the passive aggressive BS and it’s dumb.

        Do better MILs! And Moms! And Dads!

        • Cellistec

          That’s a really good way to reframe it. Also Mr. Cellistec and I saved our Thanksgiving by telling ourselves that even if we don’t enjoy the time with our stressful family members, staying involved with family is one of our values, and we’re upholding that as best we can. It made it easier because going to the in-laws’ felt like more of a choice that way, rather than an obligation.

      • Jess

        Ugh… we got lots of “I didn’t see my children as much as I would have liked this year” comments.

        At one point I actually said (I was done) “Well, figure out why and address that”

        It was quiet and nobody acknowledged it, but I felt better.

        • Angela’s Back

          We saw my MIL the weekend before Thanksgiving and she was like, “This is my Christmas!” since we aren’t traveling to see her (or my parents) at the holidays this year. And I know she meant it in like a “yay I’m so happy to see you two kids in this festive season!” way, but it still kind of irked me.

          • Jess

            Yup. Autonomy is in the dictionary, under “A,” parents.

        • penguin

          I’d be sipping my tea and silently applauding you for that one.

          • Jess

            Thanks! I felt like all of APW would have my back when it tumbled out of my mouth, which helped my conviction immediately afterwards. :)

        • Cellistec

          Whoa. Ballsy. I bow down to your done-ness.

    • Alli

      Mom’s house was great, we could have spent the entire weekend there but we had to leave because MIL is hurt that we don’t spend enough time with her family.

      MIL’s house was weird. I overheard BIL’s gf and MIL complaining about how H doesn’t come around enough. Our nephew was being really cute and hugging us and MIL made some weird comment about how babies are so much better than our cats.

      #optedoutside for Black Friday and went on a nice hike.

      Went to an awful dinner with my dad, dad’s gf, dad’s gf’s daughter, and dad’s gf’s daughter’s bf (did you get all that?). Dad announced proudly that I’m not a feminist in some weird argument, I had to explain that I am one. At one point H said to daughter and bf “Look, I’m not trying to get into a crazy-measuring contest with you.”

      • Cellistec

        That hike must have felt amazing.

        • Alli

          It was everything I needed.

    • Eve

      I spent the entire week before Thanksgiving at my mom’s house, where she spent the week asking me wedding questions that I just dgaf about or don’t know the answer to, and I ended up in the role of secretary for my sister’s schedule for the entire weekend. Sister tried to skip out on Thanksgiving with our dad and tried to make me the messenger of that news, which I shut down (and inadvertently guilted her into coming). I’m so happy to be back home where I only have me to manage.

      Sister is skipping out on Friendsgiving this weekend, which I’m a little sad about but I’m also relieved that I won’t be asked to manage her schedule if she’s not coming. And on the major plus side, Friendsgiving is with friends who have a two-month-old baby I haven’t met yet!

      Also, Mom has decided her hill to die on for the wedding is insisting we have a head table. Our plan is to split up my divorced parents, his married parents, and the wedding party between three round tables and sit by ourselves at a sweetheart table, which Isn’t How Things Should Be according to her. But you know what? If nobody gets to sit with us, then either everyone can be upset or nobody will be upset, but it’s so not our problem because we’ll be off in newlywed land all by ourselves.

      • Cellistec

        Yes, and in newlywed land there are no fucks left to give. It’s a beautiful place.

      • penguin

        A sweetheart table was a GREAT decision for our wedding, highly recommend it! Your mom can deal.

      • Zoya

        A sweetheart table is a very elegant (pun intended) solution to that kind of family-seating drama. We did exactly the same kind of calculation for our wedding, and it worked nicely.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        A sweetheart table sounds perfect for your situation! We had one, and it was nice to have a couple minutes to just be together.

    • Anna

      Spent Thanksgiving with in-laws; it was in many ways lovely but GEEZ does Thanksgiving bring out the normative gender roles (which are already pretty deeply ingrained) in their household. FIL literally came downstairs Thanksgiving morning and the first thing he said to MIL was “start cooking!” (she’d already been cooking for an hour and a half). He then went outside to do yardwork until it was time for football. MIL and I did all the cooking (mostly MIL, honestly).

      I mentioned this on the “WTF men” thread, but obviously it’s still kinda bothering me. I love cooking (and the football was on a TV I could see from the kitchen) so I didn’t end up pushing back on this very much for my own part; and I feel weird about commenting on the fact that my MIL does allllllll the cooking and cleaning and so on in their house. Like, I don’t feel like it’s my place to tell my ILs how they should organize their relationship? I don’t think I should be trying to “liberate” my MIL or whatever just because their adherence to gender roles makes me uncomfortable.

      But like. When she and I are talking about how as the headmaster’s wife (FIL is the headmaster of the fancy private school Husband went to), she’s expected to Entertain all the time for various (mostly fundraising) purposes, and she’s always uncomfortable with this because she’s fairly introverted and likes to have her space to herself and so on… I don’t know what to say to her, because my impulse is to say “fuck this, he can’t just insist that you do this – unpaid – for HIS job, they can hire a goddamn party planner if they need to have school fundraisers.” And I don’t think that would be well-received.

      • Jess

        “they can hire a goddamn party planner if they need to have school fundraisers”

        It may not be well-received, but it is very true.

        My IL’s also have a very traditional gender role dynamic that makes me feel a bit queasy. It’s hard to sit back and let those things slide.

        • Anna

          My one failure to sit back and let it slide was after the “start cooking!” comment – I responded with “why don’t you start cooking?”

          Both FIL and MIL immediately pointed out that nobody would want to eat the food he cooked, unless we were grilling part of Thanksgiving dinner. I did manage to bite my tongue and not shoot back “okay, but how did it get this way?” I did, however, make that comment to Husband when relating this story later :-P

        • My in-laws do too, compared to my parents, which I think is especially contrasting to me because my mom has spent much more time at home (she stayed at home until we were all in school, then retired once she got through 2 of the 3 college tuitions) than my MIL (who is working 3 jobs right now)! My FIL is so useless when it comes to almost any chores/housework and it frustrates me so much.

          Luckily my husband (and his brothers) are pretty competent at home except the youngest who is still in high school (honestly, his 2 younger brother are better than he is because my husband has never lived alone and thus never really learned to cook–but he is at least willing to learn and when we had a kitchen big enough for 2 people to stand in, he would help chop and always washes dishes)

      • penguin

        Ooh solidarity here. I got pissed one Thanksgiving when I realized it was the women cooking and cleaning, and the men sitting at the table and hanging out. I said something and got my now-FIL and husband up and helping, and my husband helps without being asked now (FIL does with some things). My MIL still does the lion’s share of the cooking but that’s what she likes and it’s her house so I leave it alone.

        New things this year – my MIL asked me if I was going to keep working now that I’m married. I told her yes, and I also kept my name after marriage. She moved on to other topics after that but thankfully didn’t say anything at least.

        • Anna

          I should give Husband a little more credit here: he made the pumpkin pie, and deliberately chose to do so the night before so he could watch football day of. (I was responsible for the apple pie, and MIL wouldn’t let either of us help with anything else beyond just like opening the oven door for her. She’s very protective of “her” Thanksgiving, which is bizarre for me since Thanksgiving in my family is all about collaborative cooking.) Husband was also providing emotional support to his mother when FIL was an asshole about something unrelated later in the day. So he wasn’t being a complete layabout even if he wasn’t physically in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day.

          • penguin

            My MIL is the same way! It’s very much her holiday and she’s doing the vast majority of the cooking.

          • Jenny

            Interesting, I really love being the only cook because then I get to make everything just how I like it and also I don’t have to talk to people. And also, I rarely get to spend all day cooking any more, so it feels like a treat in a way that like making dinner on a monday night in a 45 min window doesn’t. But I’m definitely am done with my role with the food chicken/turkey comes out of the oven and I let my husband/mom/family plate/serve/carve and clean up.

        • Eenie

          When all the women are in the kitchen doing shit, and every man is sitting on his ass you bet I say something.

          I really pissed everyone off last year including my husband who got up and washed dishes while seething and sending me death stares. And then when we went to bed and he thanked me for saying something cause he didn’t want that to be the way holidays went.

      • anony-nony

        Oooh I hate hate hate that! I’ve always told my husband I’m not big on hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatnot and he thought it was because I was just introverted, but he’s beginning to see that it’s because I hate that particular dynamic, which always seems to play out at every holiday gathering I’ve been to. We hosted Thanksgiving for his family a few years ago – we’d already worked out that husband would put together this particular dish (just one!). Of course when his family showed all the women magically ended up in the kitchen and husband and his dad (the only men) magically disappeared. It pissed me off. I looked around for him, finally found he and his dad outside chatting away, and told him point blank to come inside and make the dish he’d said he’d make (his mom was on the verge of just doing it for him on top of everything else she was doing, and I wasn’t having that). He gave me a look – like I’d embarrassed him in front of his dad and how dare I – but I really didn’t give a crap. He realized later that that wasn’t cool of him and he did apologize.

        • Eenie

          I just posted the same thing up above! People apparently really hate being called on their bullshit.

    • penguin

      The day we were supposed to have Thanksgiving with my family my dad was in the hospital. So my husband and brother and I cooked everything between our two houses, finished it up at his house, ate, and then packed a lunchbox of cold and hot food to bring to my dad in the hospital. We let him know we were coming ahead of time, and arrived at a good dinnertime so I was happy. But he’d already eaten! I was kinda pissed at the time, because I felt like we’d gone through all this effort for nothing. He told me later that he was feeling anxious about eating in front of us, but that everything was great and he ate it that night/the next morning. Sometimes I forget that my dad has some social anxiety.

      Thanksgiving with the in-laws (on Thanksgiving day) actually went really well. I think MIL is making an effort to be nice to me, which is a pleasant change since she looked pissed as hell all day on our wedding day. The food was good, the company was pretty good, and we actually enjoyed ourselves. Looking forward to Christmas instead of dreading it!

      • Jess

        High five you and the brother teamwork!

        I’m glad that the MIL is cooling off a bit.

    • Yael

      My mother is visiting us. On the one hand, she’s the first family member to visit since I moved to Germany. On the other hand, she’s my mother and she is… difficult. Every day since she’s been here she’s told me a story about someone pissing her off – the French conductor on the train to Strasbourg, the Italian pretzel vendor who refused to sell her a pretzel because she didn’t speak adequate German (but somehow she understood his rant about her not speaking German?). She is soooo disappointed in all the American shops/chains in Germany, because to her everything American is terrible and she can’t understand that maybe the Germans want Fossil wallets and Starbucks coffee too. She knows I can’t eat gluten but refused to go to a gluten-free cafe (she relented on that one, but I wasn’t really going to not go get pastries in Strasbourg). I just spent an hour booking a bunch of train tickets and hotels for the rest of her trip. She wants me to go visit a cousin of mine (cool!) but told me that we’d be meeting in Frankfurt. Today she told me that we’re actually going to go an hour and a half north of Frankfurt, to the small town where my cousin lives, which means even more time away from the school work I need to do. She is exhausting and I have no patience and no pokerface. Oh, and I’ve been living in Germany for a year, so while my German is still terrible, I understand a decent amount. She took a German class this Fall and now keeps trying to translate German to/for me. Her French is still much better than mine, but my German is better, but it’s like she still used to me not being knowledgable about languages. Even A, who is incredibly patient (he teaches high school) finds her tiring (he says she lack the proper amount of self-awareness that an adult should have. He is correct). Everything is always in black and white and there is always a bad guy (she uses this term) and it is never her. My sisters and I think she has BPD. She’s always been sort of unreliable but this trip she seems to be acting like a child. And I feel guilty for putting any of this on the internet because what if somehow she finds out that I said any of this, even though she doesn’t even know this website exists and she wouldn’t be visiting it anyway because she hates computers (hence me booking all the travel for her). She is in my town for another day and a half and then she’s gone for a week and comes back for another weekend and I already just can’t.

      • flashphase

        it’s exhausting just reading about her! I’m sorry, and I hope the rest of your time with her is as easy as possible.

        • Yael

          Thanks. I know that she’s a lot, but it’s nice to have external validation about it too.

    • sofar

      My MIL once got pissed at me because she pointed out a dress to me while we were shopping, and I said, “I’m sure that dress would look good on someone … but not me.”

      My grandmother and I also had a similar shopping relationship. So much stress. “Let’s go shopping, it’ll be fun!” always turned into a silent, seething car ride home.

    • sofar

      We hosted, and my in-laws (plus some of their visiting relatives from India) made the four-hour drive to join us. So, 11 people sharing two bathrooms during a weekend I was working like crazy (I work in ecommerce so I worked part of Thanksgiving, Black Fri and all weekend).

      And guess what? They were supposed to stay the whole weekend, but they left EARLY! On Friday! My BIL (who drove) was being driven batty sharing the livingroom with a loudly snoring uncle, and everyone was being driven batty by a toddler waking at 5 a.m. everyday in a house that had no toys or childproofing. Our water heater isn’t equipped for that many hot showers. And, although they’ll never admit it, I think my in-laws aren’t thrilled with our small guest room and having to share a full-sized bed. So, early Friday my BIL was like, “OK how about we all get breakfast and hit the road,” and nobody protested.

      Thanksgiving itself was fun though. My husband’s family is a fun bunch, and we had an after-dinner dance party in our living room.

      • suchbrightlights

        YOU SURVIVED! Congratulations!

    • rebecca

      My husband has not spoken to his family since our wedding bc a lot of family things that he’s been dealing with his whole life kinda came to a head that night. He decided that this year we should spend Xmas w/my family and Thanksgiving by ourselves. At the last minute we volunteered to host 4 international students for dinner and it was super fun. We cooked all day, my husband even made mac & cheese and cranberry sauce from scratch which really impressed me bc 1) he grew up in a house where his mother just did everything and 2)cooking is my hobby, my family are farmers and I worked in nyc fine dining in my early 20s so I can be pretty intimidating in the kitchen. I told him I could take care of it and he said “No, I want to make something I can point to bc I don’t want our guests to think ‘oh she does all the cooking for him’ I don’t want them to think we run our house like that”.

      Then we had friends over for leftovers the rest of the weekend and ate a lot of the homemade maple ice cream bc our guests were *shocked* by the amount of dairy in American Thanksgiving food.

    • Eenie

      I had a lovely time with my family, but caught a wicked cold from my nephews that has been kicking my ass all week. This would be fine, but I travel to Mexico next week for a site audit and have no voice.

    • Hmm, this Thanksgiving was much nicer than last Thanksgiving (in Ireland post-election with my husband’s family trying to defend the election). Food was ok, but the most exciting thing to me was that one of my husband’s uncles who just moved back to town brought a side dish of green beans WHICH MEANS that Thanksgiving is becoming more potluck-y and I can FINALLY offer to bring side dishes next year! Sweet potato casserole! My husband’s family is also generally fun and we also bring my old roommate to these holidays, since she can’t go back home over Thanksgiving/Easter and my ILs have known her as long as they’ve known me. I’ll miss her next year when she’s graduated and moved on to a job somewhere.

      The day after Thanksgiving we went to my husband’s dad’s side of the family for their Thanksgiving. I was a little worried about this one because his cousin had died young a few months ago and this was the first holiday, but it was ok. Also my brother-in-laws girlfriend usually comes to these and she’s the best. They are still in college but I hope they never break up because she is awesome (like, she came in from out-of-town for this cousin’s funeral AND HELPED PLAN PART OF IT). I know my MIL would like a closer relationship, but I’m just a very reserved person so I’m glad that she has BIL’s girlfriend. They definitely like BIL’s gf more than they like me, but who could blame them because she really is the most amazing person (and she’s so lovely that you can’t even get upset by this).

      After holidays though, I always feel a little guilty about my plans to move back to California far away from them, because I really do like them, just not as much as I like my family. But also, they still don’t let me inside their house. Who knows if that will change if we have kids. I can’t imagine not being able to drop off my kids at their grandparents (and my MIL really really wants grandkids–to her credit, she has never mentioned this once to me. And because these 2 days exhaust me, but then I expect my husband to stay at my parents for a week (bc of 2000 mile trip and which he seems to be fine with). (But I’m also moving for other reasons, like I miss the outside-culture of California which really just doesn’t seem to be a thing here in the Midwest.)

      • Also though, the funniest thing from thanksgiving is that my husband’s uncle who moved back to town moved into an apartment. It’s a very nice apartment, super big, high ceilings, LAKE VIEW, but my husband’s grandmother thinks that because this uncle is living in an apartment, he must be having financial problems. Apparently, she keeps pushing food on his whenever he visits and last time he saw her, she gave him a roll of quarters to do laundry with, because she apparently can’t comprehend that some people (especially if it’s just you and your kids are out of the house) might want to live in a nice apartment in the city for reasons besides they can’t afford a house.

      • Out of curiosity…do they let other people inside their house? Other family? Other non-family? Was Thanksgiving at another family member’s home?

        • It’s at my husband’s grandparents and they don’t let other people in the house either (except their sons and I think the grandparents are allowed in too, but maybe not anymore since the oldest is 18, so they don’t need them to babysit and haven’t for a while).

    • Kat

      I went home to FL for Thanksgiving (alone, with no SO to make faces at when things got dicey) and I’d barely gotten into town when my mom called and asked me to go visit my grandmother (her MIL) because she had called my mom crying. My grandparents are in their 80’s, my grandfather has started to lose both his hearing and his short term memory recently, and my grandmother has terrible arthritis and is in pain almost all the time now. She can’t drive a car anymore and isn’t supposed to be standing for long periods of time or lifting heavy objects. Yet my aunt (52 y/o), my cousin (28 y/o), her husband, and her two kids (3 and 5) all live in my grandparents tiny two bedroom house RENT FREE. I understand that multi-generational living situations are the norm in many places, but in this case they are all blatantly taking advantage of my grandparents and their desire to spend time with their great-grandchildren. My grandmother had called my mother upset because she needed to go to the grocery store and had been waiting all day for my grandfather to get ready and take her, and now she couldn’t go because there was no one to watch the kids. She had called my cousin’s husband and asked him to come home from fishing and “BABYSIT HIS CHILDREN.” At which point my mom and I both lost our minds because, um hello, they are his kids so he isn’t a babysitter.
      It’s all a damn mess and I’m outraged over it, but pretty helpless in this situation because I don’t even live in the state.
      Actual Thanksgiving day was pretty pleasant. We did a fish fry instead of the traditional turkey, my bitchy aunt chose to stay home and sulk, and things were so calm without her around to rile up the kids and start arguments.

  • theteenygirl

    So my boss pulled aside myself and my coworker (we were hired within a month of each other so we’re jokingly referred to ourselves as a ‘package deal’) and told us that we’re both getting a promotion in January! I’ve never been promoted before so this is just, overwhelmingly exciting and it’s definitely a bright spot in this month of crazy deadlines for clients. I know it will come with a raise, but no word about extra vacation. As I only have two weeks right now.. I’m going to negotiate for a third week with my promotion. Fingers crossed!

    • Congratulations!

      • theteenygirl

        Thank you!!

    • MC

      Woohoooo congrats!!! And way to negotiate for extra vacation time – it’s so great for the employee and usually very easy for the employer so I hope you get it!

  • PAJane

    It’s been a sad, weird, exhausting week for me. We’ve moved my grandmother into hospice care, and I’ve spent a lot of time either at the home with her and my mom and other relatives, or trying to go about my normal routine but also jumping every time my phone buzzes. I just got word from my mom that for the first time in 8 days (!), she drank some water and ate a little ice cream.

    • Laura C

      My husband’s grandfather would have gone into hospice this week if that was really a thing in India, so we’re sort of having the same thing every time the phone rings, plus thinking about whether my husband will be able to go to the funeral (which since we’re talking minimum 4-5 days gone would mean me having help with childcare, him being able to manage it at work, etc).

      • PAJane

        Eesh, the added distance can’t make it any easier to deal with.

        • Laura C

          It’s been heart-breaking because we were there in late September but even that unexpectedly turned out to be too late for him to be able to communicate much, and his other grandson won’t be there until Christmas, and he might not make it that long at all. So the distance has meant people not really being able to be there with him as they would have liked, except for my MIL who has been there since mid September and had hoped to be home for Christmas with her grandson while her brother spelled her, but now she’s canceled that.

          But at the same time…losing someone is losing someone. The details can add stress, but the loss isn’t that different.

          • PAJane

            I feel you so, so hard right now.

    • sofar

      I’m so sorry. That’s such a tricky place to be, trying to live your normal life but knowing it could change in the blink of an eye.

      • PAJane

        Thanks. It’s a lot of emotional back and forth and hoping you’re making an ok decision.

    • suchbrightlights

      I wish your grandmother peace and dignity. I’m sorry to hear that she is at the time to need this type of care.

      • PAJane

        Thank you. <3

  • Karen

    Feeling pretty happy in post wedding bliss. Been married 2 months now :) We got the full set of edited photos from our photographer and they look amazing! My best friend is getting married next weekend and I can’t wait!

    Just wanted to share things are going well :)

    PS: It’s been a while since I last posted, i managed to make 20 paper flower bouquets for our centerpieces as well as finish the paper flower backdrop with time to spare :)

  • penguin

    I’m glad the staff got a week off, but I’m also glad there is a Happy Hour this week :)

    Updates on things – Thanksgiving with my in-laws went well, and MIL has gone back to normal. I’m choosing a forgive but don’t forget strategy and still keeping her a bit at arm’s length. Also, they finally gave us the money they’d promised us! Took them a month and a half but whatever, I’m just glad they finally paid it (this was the money to cover most of the cost of the wedding reception).

    My dad ended up back in the ER the week before Thanksgiving, and ended up taking a leave from work due to his health. He had a foot surgery this week and they didn’t have to amputate anything! He’s at home and healing, and I’m really happy.

    Other things – we got our wedding photos back! I’m a bit mad at myself for a few things, but overall I think the photos are good. I didn’t realize how often I was talking during things like walking down the aisle. My dad and I were talking the whole time and I was looking down at my feet, so there’s not really any good pics of us just smiling. I also didn’t realize that when I go to have a big smile, I tend to try and hide my teeth. This apparently means I squish my mouth down and make a weird face. Thankfully I sort of realized that on the wedding day, and made an effort to let go and just have the big stupid grin I wanted to have. I also didn’t realize that I almost always have my eyebrows up a bit, and when I don’t (like in ALL the family photos), I look a little cranky. Oh well though. I wish we’d had the photographer stay until the last song – we’d only contracted her until like 45 minutes before that and I didn’t think she’d be missing anything. We did a big final group dance thing though and I don’t think we got any pictures of it!

    Good things about wedding photos – having a full face of makeup + professional hair and a pro photographer means that I look fly as hell in a lot of our photos! I’m really glad we had a photo booth too, because that way we got more fun pictures with our friends.

    • theteenygirl

      Re: your dad – THAT’S SUCH GOOD NEWS!
      Re: your photos – Man I feel you here! After I got the wedding photos back I was kind of man at myself for the fact that I was either doubled over laughing in the photos or I looked terrified. There are no photos of us just smiling and looking lovingly at each other. Also I didn’t get a single good photo of me in my dress without my giant bouquet covering my torso. Whoops.

      • penguin

        I’m glad I’m not the only one! I guess a silver lining is that now I have a better idea of what I like in pictures of myself haha.

    • Lisa

      So many good things! I’m glad to hear your in-laws forked over the money they owed you and that your dad is doing well.

      I feel you on the wedding photos. I had a not-so-great hair day on the day of our wedding, and I chose not to stress over it too much the day of since there wasn’t a ton of time to re-do it, but it bothers me when I look at some of the wedding photos. I’m sure that and some of the issues you identified with your own photos will matter less with more time!

    • Zoya

      Great news about your in-laws making you whole, and your dad!

    • Not Sarah

      I totally had the same feeling about wishing we’d had the photographer stay the whole time when we got our photos back!

      • penguin

        I wish this was on those lists of tips for people getting married! Or if it already is, I wish I’d listened!

        • Amy March

          Yeah, but you only had so much money to spend, right?

          • penguin

            Yes, although in our case we could have afforded it since it was less than an extra hour.

    • Jess

      Oh my gosh! The money actually came!

      I’m so glad your dad is healing well and the amputation did not become a thing.

      Regarding photos… I have what I call an “Expressive Face” – this means that all candid photos of me are mid-sentence, mouth wide open, eyes closed, eyebrows emphasizing my point. It’s beautiful, truly.

      Cherish those fly-as-hell shots!

      • penguin

        I was surprised about the money too! I had pretty much convinced myself it was never going to happen haha.

    • suchbrightlights

      I’m so glad to read a good update about your dad. AND your in-laws not being petty as F.

    • I’m glad to hear the good update about your dad! (And also missed HH last week, but glad the staff got a break!)

  • Lawyerette510

    Well, I started my new job a month ago, and it has been great. After a year of descending into serious and ultimately debilitating depression and anxiety that caused me to leave what I thought was an awesome next step in my career, then bringing myself back to wellness, I was worried about being “broken” and what it would be like to be back at work.

    Ends up, returning to the company I left in mid-2016 (before the severe depression and anxiety started) but in a different role has been just the right thing. I’m feeling focused and energized and back to myself.

    I’m still seeing my therapist weekly to make sure I stay on the right track, and it’s great to have that time to dive into smaller things without it being so overwhelming.

    • AGCourtney

      So glad to hear you’re doing well!

    • Jess

      I’m really glad to hear that your return to work has been going well, and that your decision to take some time off was the right move.

    • Transnonymous

      Glad to hear that things are going well for you. I remember your post about leaving work and it makes me happy to hear about your progress and well-being.

  • Not Sarah

    We mailed the last of our thank you cards last weekend! I am really proud of us with our wedding being mid-September. I’m also really proud of us because we actually shared the labour of doing them, unlike most other people I’ve talked to. I drafted many of them, my husband drafted those to “his” people, we both edited them before writing and he wrote most of them out on the cards. We also included 4×5.25 prints if our photographer took any photos of the recipients, which people seem delighted by!

    • savannnah

      Ugh- we had great momentum on the thanks yous and then lost it after two back to back work trips! Putting it back at the top of to do list on Monday!

      • Not Sarah

        That’s why I found drafting them on my phone (in our Wedding OneNote notebook) to be really helpful. I wrote a lot of them while on the bus! I never would have written on a card on the bus, but this helped keep the momentum going. Our goal was one a day, but then we realized we could mail the Canada ones at half the cost in Canada last weekend, so we did the last 20 on Thursday haha.

    • Zoya

      Well done! Our wedding was in August and we still haven’t sent ours…

      • Alli

        Our wedding was in July and we just sent ours out last weekend… so embarrassing

        • Not Sarah

          That’s not embarrassing at all! So many people just don’t send them at all.

    • penguin

      We mailed the rest of ours this week! Mid-October wedding. I was going to print photos to include but I knew I’d put it off and never send out the thank you notes, so they went out without photos.

      • Not Sarah

        You were on the ball! We did photo thank you cards and got the photos back mid-October. We printed the photos at the same time as we ordered the thank you cards.

        • penguin

          I think I’m going to use it as an excuse for us to send out Christmas/holiday cards for the first time ever. There are some really cute “Merry and Married” ones on Minted that I’m eyeing.

          • Not Sarah

            We totally used a different wedding photo for Christmas cards and they were delightful! I was so excited with the gold foil :) We should keep a card for ourselves!

          • Eenie

            I keep a copy of every holiday card we send.

          • penguin

            Definitely keep one for yourselves! I stashed a copy of our program at our house before we left for the venue.

          • RNLindsay

            I kept a copy of our just married Christmas card and put it in a red frame. Now it comes out with Christmas decorations every year!

    • ssha

      Nice! Those sound like next-level TYs- edited and pictures? I love the idea of pictures in cards- I had forgotten I was going to do that… excuse me while I go to write more TYs from our May wedding…

      • Not Sarah

        The editing was mostly a way of both of us being on board with what the message said before sending them out :) Good luck with yours! We wanted to not be doing any more wedding to do items in 2018, so we made a push to finish them!

  • Alli

    So today’s the day I had planned, a little over a month ago, to put in my two weeks at my job regardless of whether I had an offer yet. I chickened out and will not be doing that, which is technically smart but I’m just feeling crappy.

    My job search has been slow, I turned down a second interview for a position because I realized halfway through the first one that I didn’t want the job at all. And now I’m waiting on a response from a job I REALLY want but was super awkward at the interview for.

    ¯(ツ)/¯ At least if I wait it out another month I’ll get another year of employer match on my 401(k)?

    • Transnonymous

      I’m sorry, I’ve been where you’ve been. Making adult decisions really sucks sometimes, even if you know it’s the right move. However, good for you for turning down that second interview. Also not an easy call, but going from being unhappy in one position to being unhappy in another isn’t a win for anyone.

      • Alli

        Thank you! It really does suck, but I’m holding out hope that it’ll all work out.

    • penguin

      Waiting is a smart decision if you can stick it out a bit longer! Yay for more of a 401k match too, free money is great. Good luck on finding a new job!!

      • Alli

        Thank you! Yeah it’s nice to have that extra padding in my emergency fund instead of digging into it right around Christmas

  • sage

    We are rapidly hurtling toward the wedding day in January (woo!), and while wedding planning is basically under control, everything else feels like it is spiraling into chaos. My dog senses the upcoming transition and has been on edge. She fell down the stairs at the new house and now refuses to go down them (but she still comes up them… not very smart). Cue me carrying dog down the stairs now, and she’s not small. We ordered stair treads and have hired a trainer so we are hoping this won’t be an issue for long, but still it’s just one more thing to deal with. Oh yeah, I’m also moving into the house (with dog) in a few weeks, work is busy and stressful right now, and holy shit the wedding still has to happen! Preparing to ride out the storm of the next two months, wish me luck!

  • Lo Squared

    Anyone want to help me out with actually cuteness return address stamps that accommodate 2 long last names? Neither of us changed our names after the wedding, and I have defaulted to using a stamp with just our first names (each last name is about 10 letters). But after many people incorrectly giving me his last name (not a big deal) to egregiously misspelling mine (like not one letter off, like changing halfway of it when they’ve known me for 11 years), I want to use both last names to shut. this. down.

    Anyone have a good one? Suggestions?

    • Cdn icecube

      I don’t know where they got them, but I’ve seen really cute larger circle style ones that people have used on the back of the envelope (near the pointy seal) that can accommodate long last names without taking up 100% of the front. Staples maybe?

    • ssha

      You might be able to custom design one through a designer on Etsy?

      • Emily

        I just did this- I used yellowfishpaperie on Etsy! Yay for two last names!

        • Lo Squared

          Thank you! I just looked at their stuff and it’s awesome to see two last names featured instead of having to imagine what it will look like!

  • Zoya

    Does anyone have recommendations for where to purchase good-quality plus-size blazers, tuxedo pants, menswear-inspired stuff? I’ve been meaning to refresh my work wardrobe a bit, and have also been curious about playing with a lady tux look for dressy events. However, I am plus-size and EXTREMELY curvy, and most of the easy-breezy menswear-y styles I see are for/on thinner women.

    • I love Eloquii and their quality has gotten so much better lately.

      Asos Curve has good stuff.

      I haven’t shopped it personally, but I’ve heard good things about Universal Standard as well.

      • Zoya

        Ooh, I just looked at Eloquii and their Viola-cut pants might be the answer to my pants woes. Thank you!!

        • MTM

          They often carry/add black and white jumpsuits which are AWESOME

  • #BabyPi update – she’s walking! She’s been taking steps while holding onto things, and when my mom came for Thanksgiving, she decreed that Phi needed some walking shoes. One trip to Stride Ride later, and my little person is walking like a pro! Also she’s only 10mos for those keeping track, and I feel some type of way that she’s walking already. Until recently she was the youngest in her daycare class, and she’s been trying to keep up with her friends, hence the walking early. Aside: daycare is awesome and my child has developed so much thanks to her teachers and friends.

    Video of said adorable walking – https://www.instagram.com/p/BcJAbhYgOcF/?taken-by=jubilance1922

    • Zoya

      OMG that little “ta-da” move she does at the end. I can’t.

    • Lisa

      Awwww, she is such a champ! What a cutie.

    • ART

      Wow, so cute and it looks like she’s really good at stabilizing herself when it gets a little shaky – I’m impressed!

    • Shawna

      Omigosh Phi is the actual cutest. And a champion walker!

      My sister and I both walked at 10 months, but neither of us got the crawling thing down (I skipped it entirely, my sister could only go backwards) so we just skipped to the more mobile option I guess? Seems like she has her priorities straight is what I’m saying. ;)

      • Ha, I love that!

      • Lisa

        Ha, I was a backwards-only crawler, too! My mom attributes my constant getting backed into corners as the reason I started walking at 9 months.

        • Shawna

          It makes sense! Babies learn quickly!

    • Ashlah

      Oh my gooood! I’ve been away, and she’s all grown up now!

    • She is the cutest baby and I am glad that you shared this with us. (Also glad to hear about daycare because my hypothetical future kids will definitely be in daycare and it’s always nice to hear good things about it–which APW in general is great for).

    • Wow, she is so cute! And I am super impressed about her walking!

  • louise danger

    we got our pro photos back and they’re amazing and I can’t recommend Shawnee Custalow enough y’all need to book her for your wedding ASAP (she usually has an ad running in the sidebar yonder –>) if you need a photographer

    A+++++

  • Cellistec

    Things I’m going to do once fall quarter classes wrap up next Wednesday:
    1. Watch ALL THE NETFLIX (Call The Midwife, Alias Grace, the new Brian Regan comedy special) and ALL THE DVDS (Doctor Who, Outlander)
    2. Cook real lunches for myself again instead of microwaving veggie burgers
    3. Bake ALL THE COOKIES
    4. Decorate for Christmas
    5. Read ALL THE BOOKS
    6. Run around in circles laughing maniacally about not having to do homework
    7. Repeat

    • ssha
      • Cellistec

        How did you get my self-portrait? ;)

    • Angela’s Back

      Alias Grace is awesome and you will not regret it!!

      • Sarah

        I still can’t figure out the ending. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I watched it before Thanksgiving.

    • InTheBurbs

      The Crown – the second season comes out next weekend.

      • Cellistec

        Oh! I forgot that! Adding to the list.

      • Essssss

        That is a very exciting reminder. Thank you!

      • JC

        I finished the first season last week and was all emotional about how Margaret didn’t get to marry her love because he was divorced and there was so much red tape and then HARRY PROPOSED TO MEGHAN AND THE WORLD RIGHTED ITSELF.

        • Cdn icecube

          Am I the only one who seriously wants APW to do some sort of article about royal weddings and/or Harry and meghan?

          • InTheBurbs

            I support that fully!

          • Amy March

            Trust. This is my calling in life, and it will be coming at some point.

          • Em

            Yessssss! SO keen.

          • emilyg25

            Amy is on the case, but in the meantime, get thee to Go Fug Yourself. Tons of royals coverage and an excellent commentariat.

          • Cdn icecube

            OMG thank you! I am a huge royal family fan. I legitimately have purchased shoes because Kate wore them (and then subsequently never wore them because they are so uncomfortable and apparently she (or I) have weird feet.

          • ART

            It was the first thing I thought when I saw the news, and honestly I have never cared one bit about the royal family but am for Reasons just really happy about this.

          • Katharine Parker

            Lainey Gossip is also really good at royal coverage.

            And I’m so excited for the royal wedding–Meghan and Harry seem so happy, and she seems really cool. I love the story about her objecting to a sexist dish washing liquid ad when she was 11!

      • Abs

        Has anyone watched “Godless”? Netflix is convinced that I’ll like it (probably because Mary from Downton Abbey is in it). Historical dramas are my happy place, but I’m fairly picky about them (loved Deadwood, loved Call the Midwife, hated Peaky Blinders). Is Godless worth a try?

        • Jess

          Netflix also seems convinced that I will like it. Report back?

        • Lisa

          My husband has been obsessed with Godless recently. I’m thinking I might give it a go.

        • Kels

          I binged it last weekend and can confirm that it is very good. It’s much better than the Netflix summary would have you think.

        • SS Express

          It’s great! But for all the “all the men are dead, town full of women” marketing, it’s really just a classic Western. Personally I kind of liked it better like that. Instead of Like A Western But With Women it’s just A Normal Western With People (turns out women are people!).

      • Eenie

        I did not know this!

    • Sara

      The Good Place and Mindhunters are both good. And Jane the Virgin!

      What kind of cookies? I love love love Spritz cookies and am very excited to make them next weekend at my mom’s

      • Angela’s Back

        The Good Place is so fun! Such a weird little show but I really enjoy it.

        • Sara

          I tried to show it to my cousin over Thanksgiving and the first episode is doing so much to establish the strange world but also sling a bunch of jokes, that she was like “well that was weird. But I see where it could get really good”.

          • Angela’s Back

            Yeah, it took a couple episodes but now I’m fully onboard. I think it was Jianyu that really sealed the deal for me :)

          • Sara

            Once the plot starts kicking in, it really gets good fast. The first few eps really establish the hell out of the world but that about it.

        • Jess

          So weird, but I love it a lot. I know season 2 is probably on NBC online, but I just haven’t managed to watch any of it yet. I’m so excited to.

        • Katelyn

          I watch The Good Place at the gym and cackle like a maniac while biking.

      • Cellistec

        Not sure about what kind of cookies yet…I got Dorie’s Cookies for Christmas last year and haven’t tried even one recipe, so basically anything from that!

    • Jessica

      The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is on Amazon and I am bingeing like a fiend.

      • Jess

        That show looks so delightful and I really wish I could justify adding prime to watch it.

      • CP2011

        I’m so glad the pilot was picked up! I watched it during the Amazon pilot week what seems like forever ago and I’m glad it’s back. Haven’t started the season yet but probably will this weekend!

      • Kat

        This is my one and only weekend plan

      • Sarah

        I was coming here to say that! Just finished season 1 last night.

    • CMT

      Number 6 is a particularly good one. I know from experience :)

    • penguin

      Is the Outlander show good? I’ve listened to a few of the audiobooks and the narrator is AMAZING (how does she do a British woman and a burly Scotsman so well??) but I’ve been reluctant to check out the show in case it’s not good. I stopped partway through one book because they are super long and I got tired of it, but I’m sure I’ll circle back at some point.

      And congrats on finishing classes soon!! Not having homework is THE BEST.

      • louise danger

        show good books lousy

      • Rose_C

        The show is good! And v. steamy. Somehow a lot less silly than the books.

      • Katelyn

        The show is GREAT! First season in particular. Second season suffers from some of the same pacing problems as the book – but it does improve on the source material. Third season picks up a bit and deviates a bit more, but in great, feminist, non-racist ways (there’s a Chinese character that is portrayed as a caricature in the books, very offensive).

        I still love the books despite their flaws – I’m a sucker for continuous series though, even if the quality is not up to par with the first book.

        Also – the show can sometimes put softcore porn to shame. So I don’t particularly recommend watching on trains/planes/etc :)

      • The pacing is all over the place in the TV show – the decision to do a book per season is a bad choice, but now there’s a few seasons out you can make the choice to “recut” it yourself. The voice over is irritating too, because it’s trying to capture the first person PoV of the book but comes across as failing to trust its actors,

      • Cellistec

        Thank you! I’ve read all the books and only seen half the first season of the show, but I think it’s really well done. (The costumes…omg.) It’s definitely weird seeing it on screen after having mental images of all the characters and settings, though. But hearing all the accents is the best! So the audiobooks may be just as good if that’s a selling point for you.

    • Ashlah

      There’s another season of the Great British Bake Off on Netflix, if you haven’t already seen!

      • Cellistec

        I keep meaning to start watching that. Now’s the time!

      • penguin

        I didn’t know that, thank you!!

    • L.

      I briefly scrolled through and didn’t see Stranger Things recommended – definitely a good one, if you haven’t seen it! I didn’t think I’d be that into it, but I agreed to watch Season 1 with BF to prepare for a viewing party of the first few episodes of Season 2 at a friend’s house, and by the last couple of episodes of Season 1, I was in love. By the end of Season 2, I was obsessed, lol. I actually re-watched both seasons immediately, and that actually helped me chill out about it a lot. Not so obsessed anymore, but still a big fan. :P

      • Cellistec

        Mr. Cellistec and I are about halfway through season one of Stranger Things, so I save it for our date nights instead of watching it by myself. We have to steel ourselves for it a little…it’s scarier than I expected!

        • L.

          Ah, gotcha! Yes, that was why I didn’t watch it for so long – my boyfriend told me he thought I might not like it because I’m not a fan of horror movies/shows and things like that. Most of the first season, I insisted we only watch one or two episodes at a time, haha. But as I got more into the show, I felt less scared/anxious by what scary things might happen. There are some jump-scare type things, but after I went back and watched it all over again and knew what was coming, it wasn’t bad. I hope you’re enjoying it otherwise! I’m continually amazed by the performances of EVERY actor on that cast, but especially the kids!

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      Call The Midwife is such a cozy show, perfect for this season! I also recommend cozy books. I can’t decide if I want to reread the Little House books or the Betsy-Tacy books next.
      Enjoy your free time! It sounds well-earned!!

      • RNLindsay

        I’ve been wanting to reread the Little House books for years now. Don’t know why I haven’t yet!

  • Secret Annonyomous

    We secretly got married a week ago today!! It was a rush job for a health insurance qualification which snuck up on us, but it felt very romantic and very sweet. Just went to City Hall and asked a friend to be a top secret witness. I feel so so happy to be married to my love. But also a little sad and stressed about the secret.
    We told just our immediate families and asked them to not share the news. We are planning a big and expensive (for us) bash in August and we really want people to feel like the ceremony is real and meaningful. We are planning to do a self-uniting thing and the legal part being done actually makes that easier. But I’m curious about how others have dealt with making a wedding seem “real” when the marriage has already happened.

    • ssha

      Congratulations! There are so many people who’ve done a legal ceremony first on here, I know they will have some advice for you. Enjoy being married! :D

    • Angela’s Back

      We got secret married too! My sister knew but that was it. And I will say that I was kind of worried about whether the wedding ceremony with the family would feel “real” and whatnot but I shouldn’t have been, they were two totally different experiences. We eloped in Colorado where you can do self-uniting marriage, so it was literally just me, Mr. Angela and the mountains saying our vows in jeans and boots and other hiking appurtenances, whereas the ceremony I had the dress and the wee veil and our families were there and my sister officiated and it was really nice, actually a lot more meaningful to me than I was expecting. I would focus on how your big ceremony and party is going to be and feel and look very different than what you’ve already done, and the fact that it’s going to be a big public celebration/declaration of your relationship rather than just the two of you with an officiant and witness.

    • Zoya

      Congratulations!! One piece of advice from Maddie that helped me a lot: having a ceremony of some kind at the wedding will go a long way towards making it feel “real.” People want to feel like they’ve witnessed a rite of passage, otherwise it’s just a party. It sounds like a self-uniting ceremony would fit that bill quite nicely.

      Also, don’t feel like you have to keep the legal part a secret if you don’t want to. I’d hazard that folks will feel more hurt and thrown off if they find out after the fact than if you tell them up front, “We got legalled because reasons, we’re doing a full wedding with a self-uniting ceremony, we want you there to celebrate with us.” We did a combined marriage announcement/save-the-date via Paperless Post, which went over really well.

    • SarahRose472

      We were legally married for three years before we had our wedding and everyone knew it. It didn’t actually occur to me to worry about the wedding seeming real; it matters to have a ceremony with your people in a different way than it matters to sign the legal documents (although the legal documents definitely mentally/emotionally affected us too).

      In our ceremony, our officiant (who is one of my best friends) actually explained that we had gotten married (even though most everyone I think knew this) and that we wanted this ceremony to “reaffirm” our love with our whole community. And then she concluded the ceremony by pronouncing us “super duper totally officially like for real this time married”. ;)

      No one made any comments/questions about its “realness” but YMMV, I have heard of other situations where people do feel free to comment/question this kind of setup.

    • suchbrightlights

      Congratulations! I think part of making a wedding still feel like a wedding comes down to the meaning the shindig has for you. A friend contemplated tying the knot for legal/insurance reasons in advance of their scheduled wedding, and she is very religious; she felt that she would not “feel married” until she was married within their faith, which was going to happen at the wedding. I don’t know if any of this applies to the reasons you are self-uniting.

      I can’t offer you any advice for making people feel like the ceremony is real and meaningful, because you can’t MAKE people feel any particular way, but think the best way to go about creating an event that is meaningful is to make it meaningful FOR YOU and let your feelings and emotions set the tone.

    • Eenie

      We got married four months before our wedding for insurance reasons. Not much changed after marriage for us, so the wedding was really the event that made it feel real since we got to celebrate with everyone.

    • Ella

      If I was a guest at a wedding, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if the couple was already legally married. In fact it might allow you to be even more genuine when you don’t need to say the legal bits. Personally, I would not keep it secret that you’ve already done the paperwork. It could be really nice to be able to say “[couple] has already completed the legal aspect of their marriage, today’s ceremony will be {whatever you want it to be – whatever makes it “real” for you}”.

    • K8314

      We did this, too, partly because we had our hearts set on self-uniting, which was legally feasible in our neck of the woods and not where we had the wedding ceremony itself. The legal marriage and the wedding were both special to us, and if it had been possible to include the legal marriage in our wedding ceremony, we would have loved to have done that.

      It sounds like you’re having a lot of similar thoughts to mine, so I’m including a whole bunch of details in case one of them resonates with you.

      We spent a lot of time talking about the different dimensions of marriage: religious, legal, and social. As two atheists, we did not have religious traditions to incorporate–although it’s something you might want to consider–and the legal marriage had already been performed. For the social/community aspect, our family and friends witnessing our commitment was very important to us, which really influenced how we structured things. (You might want your people to celebrate with you, or some other verb.)

      I’m the word-lover in our relationship, so I collected a lot of inspiration (poetry, words about life, pieces on relationships) for our self-uniting wedding ceremony, much of it found on APW, and collated it into a huge Google doc. My husband and I both went through it and highlighted our favorite sentences (separately), and then talked through it together. This helped us figure out what was most important to us and what we wanted to include in our vows (which were, hands-down, my favorite part), as well as other ideas to weave through the ceremony.

      To include our guests in the wedding, we passed around our rings during the ceremony for people to bless as they chose. This ring-warming allowed our religious family/friends to incorporate their own faith as they wished.

      We got a wedding certificate with our vows (from eDanae on Etsy–her work is gorgeous) to sign, including our immediate family as witnesses, during the ceremony. After the ceremony, we invited everyone in attendance to sign as well. This was an integral ceremony component that also functioned a guestbook and receiving line because my husband, our families, and I stood before the table and hugged all the people who were waiting to sign. We framed the certificate and have it hanging in our bedroom, and it is so lovely to have that reminder both of the vows that we made to each other and the support that our community showed us that day.

      In a nod to my family’s traditional inclusion of ivy in the wedding bouquet, we took cuttings from my grandparents’ wedding ivy plant to grow our own wedding ivy.

      We had several family members do readings, and he and I did a short retelling of how I asked him out.

      We also did our own pronouncement:
      K: You have witnessed our vows for marriage, so we may now pronounce ourselves wife…
      S: …and husband.
      [immediately followed by the kiss]

      Writing the ceremony over the course of our engagement also kept my focus on why we were getting married rather than what a wedding “should” be. Spending so much time thinking and talking about the most important parts of our relationship was uplifting and hopeful.

      On the day of, making promises to each other in front of so many of our favorite people was incredible. We had crafted a ceremony that felt important, significant, and appropriately solemn to us. It felt like a wedding. It felt real.

      You can do it, too. You may still feel some sadness that your legal marriage and your social/religious wedding couldn’t occur on the same day, but that in no way diminishes their validity.

      Congratulations on your legal marriage, and best wishes for your future together!

  • abused and anxious

    Feeling like I should go anonymous with this comment just to be safe. I’d like some advice and I trust this as a good place to ask.

    About 3-4 years ago I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship (although she never really wanted to call it a “relationship,” that’s the term I’ll be using, if only to indicate the relationship between two people). We are both women. At the time I knew it felt horrible but didn’t know if any of it counted as abuse, even the physical stuff. After all, she only hit or shoved me a few times, I didn’t get seriously hurt from it, there was no yelling… it wasn’t the image I had in my head of an abusive relationship. The emotional stuff was bad too, there was gaslighting, insecurity and confusion on my part, and she tried to pressure me into drinking and doing drugs many times (I don’t do either of those things, ever) including trying to trick me into eating an edible once. She also definitely tried to use being trans as a way to pressure me into sex before I was ready so it would seem like I was transphobic if I said no. (FWIW, my wife is a trans woman also, and we are in a very happy relationship that I’m so grateful for). And she’d use like, social justice language about/in our relationship to try to make me believe what she was doing was responsible and above board.

    Recently it kind of came over my how much I had minimized the abuse and been in denial about it, and I talked with some friends about it who were like, “no, no one would think you were overstating harm to call this abuse, it absolutely is abuse.” And now I’m on the process of trying to tell people about her abusive history, because the community we are in can be so small that it’s likely she will someday do this to someone I know, or that she has already and they’ve also minimized it. I want people to know about how unsafe she is, and I also think it’s preposterous that this abuser publicly does activist work for the community while deeply betraying the community in her personal life.

    I’ve talked to some people who might be able to help get me started, but I’m thinking about making a Facebook post that names her as my abuser. To me, this is the way to keep other people in my community safe. But I’m worried about retaliation. I’m worried about being punished for it. And there’s not much in the way of a primer, a template, or guidelines on how to make an abuser’s actions public this way.

    Does anyone have any advice for me? Or any time they’ve seen someone do this in a way they felt was effective?

    I’m reeeeaaaally empathizing with why women don’t come forward for years if at all about this sort of stuff right now.

    • Emily

      The realization that your shitty relationship was actually an abusive relationship is so so difficult but hopefully (it sounds like it is) will lead you to some perspective and healing on that time in your life. I don’t know much about the public outing of your ex’s behavior, though I think that you may want to discuss with someone more legal minded in case slander becomes an issue?

      • Jess

        Replying here because of the late-in-the-day-moderation jam.

        I’m so sorry that she did all of that to you. That realization process is really difficult, and I’m glad to hear your wife and friends are being supportive right now and you process it.

        I don’t know of any ways I’ve seen public outing work well in the past to warn people, but I have seen a few friends publicly post on FB about their abuse with names as a way of processing what happened and healing themselves.

        I think retaliation is definitely something to keep in mind, so if you go that route, make sure you keep yourself and your wife safe. I like Emily’s suggestion of consulting a lawyer to prepare for slander claims or other actions.

        • suchbrightlights

          I am sorry that this was part of your journey and am glad to hear you are in a safe and loving relationship now.

          In addition to the legal suggestions which I agree you should pursue, if you are not already speaking with a counselor, may I suggest you consider that? If you do go forward, there will almost certainly be backlash that may be difficult to deal with or bring up memories, and you may wish to have a neutral party in your corner to hash that out.

      • Cdn icecube

        I don’t know how much legal protection that you would have with this so please keep that in mind. But you could also post whatever you feel like posting while making it very clear who you are talking about without actually naming names. This might offer you a bit of protection and plausible deniability, but again that also depends on your risk/reward threshold. Either with I commend you for removing yourself from that relationship and finding one that makes you happy.

  • Cdn icecube

    My best friend passed her CPA!!!! I am so freaked proud of her and it is killing me that I can’t be with her in person to celebrate. Any suggestions (other than flowers) on things to send her? Her BF is giving her flowers from me but that doesn’t seem like enough.

    • Amy March

      Champagne! A whole cake! A beautifully bound book!

      • Angela’s Back

        Seconding a whole cake, I would be so fucking excited to get an entire cake mailed to me, you don’t even know…

        • Jessica

          Especially one of those really fancy bakery cakes with the gold leaf accents

        • Jess

          Seriously, now that this has been brought up, I think I’m getting numbers for local bakeries near all my long distance friends so I can deliver them whole cakes.

      • Cdn icecube

        Whole cake it is! God I would love a whole cake myself right now!

      • Jenny

        Seconding this! I once got sent a cheesecake (which is nice because they are mailed frozen). I was living by myself and I would defrost a piece or two once a week and it felt like really getting to lengthen the celebration!

  • JC

    We drove down to LA to see Hamilton!!! It was more than I could have hoped for. (Oh and I saw Lena Waithe in the audience and had to hold myself back from giving her a hug and telling her what an amazing writer she is.) Not only that, but road tripping with my boyfriend was really, really fun, and that feels so good to have a partner that I love talking to for hours at a time…Because we’re looking at rings next week!! We talked about stones last night, and we’re gathering ideas of what stores to go look at and what we can reasonably budget. The world is on fire, but our little corner of the universe is feeling pretty good right now.

    • Jess

      OMG LENA WAITHE IN REAL LIFE.

      That sounds like such a fun time, and I’m happy you’re able to stake your claim in your little corner.

      • JC

        When we got to the theatre, my friend told us that she always sees someone famous when she goes to a play. We quickly saw a movie director whose name I would never know in a million years, so I was disappointed that that was our “one sighting.” Then Lena stood up towards the front and I squealed with delight!

  • anonforpics

    Wedding pics! Ya’ll know who I am. Just because I’m excited about it, I’m gonna do one post of people (i.e. me) and one post with some details pics.

    Details!

    Our reception room – the only decorations were the centerpieces. The table numbers are from Minted. The only other stuff we had in there was the cake and escort cards (also from Minted).

    Bouquet – I just had to show you guys! The florist was AMAZING and crammed in literally every plant I like that was in season, and some others. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/43e8a431bd4f0e7f08276d0b605ab59d4b2d52a9ab4c11cdfec6fd91c8dcd257.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60177e9636e57c0103f4d7018325319d9d344d39e68a40aa2f0b0eb1adcfa302.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cd79466d2968d0873dc7480fd6ca3854f405b7be57eb2c0c0e0739c84d566f0f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/114f03b64bfe10f7778ef12bdfb358947a3ccd6412042e03737cca52915dd21f.jpg

    • Lisa

      Your bouquet is gorgeous!

    • Holy molyyyyy, I’m kind of flipping out over your your bouquet! So gorge!

    • Katharine Parker

      What a gorgeous venue! The centerpieces were the perfect amount of decor :)

      • Shawna

        Where is your venue?! It’s gorgeous! Love the fireplace and bookshelves! Also that blue ring is totally stunning.

        • penguin

          Thank you so much!! That’s my engagement ring. The venue was an inn, there were separate rooms for the dinner and the dancing, and we had the ceremony outside. It was great!

    • Ashlah

      I don’t usually pay that much attention to bouquets, but HOLY BALLS that is phenomenal.

      • PAJane

        Right? I want those swirly things.

        • penguin

          They’re fiddleheads! My husband and I both love them, and he had them in his boutonniere!

      • anonforpics

        This is the best compliment, thank you!! I normally feel that way about bouquets too, but I LOVED mine!!

      • Eenie

        Same! I didn’t even have any flowers at my wedding but dang. That bouquet!

    • ssha

      Your reception hall, and rings, are gorgeous! And everything is gorgeous!!

    • Cellistec

      That photo of your rings on the leaves is high art. Or at least belongs on a canvas print on your wall.

      • Shawna

        Yes please put that in your house somewhere!

        • Cellistec

          At first I thought you meant MY house and I was like, “well I thought that might be weird, but OK!”

    • Jess

      You keep posting pictures and I keep having my breath taken away. Your flowers and decor and jewelry are just so beautiful.

      • penguin

        Thank you so much!! I was getting kinda down while nitpicking how I looked in some pictures and things I regret, and I knew posting some on APW would help get me amped up again.

        • Jess

          I know those feels. Glad we’re here to help!

        • suchbrightlights

          The album you eventually put together will not include the pictures where you are making a derp face, or whatever, so basically they just don’t exist and the only pictures that were taken are the ones where you were looking fabulous. That means there were no pictures of you from a bad angle, and no pictures of me slouching with my chin forward like a chicken. And since there are no pictures, it didn’t happen.

          Your florist did a wonderful job. I am not usually a flower person, but I love all the different textures to your bouquet; there’s so much dimension and I’m glad that was captured on film for you to enjoy forever.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      These are all so lovely!

  • anonforpics

    Wedding pics! Ya’ll know who I am. Just because I’m excited about it, I’m gonna do one post of people (i.e. me) and one post with some details pics.

    Other wedding pics!

    Some of these are just because I’m proud of my makeup (look at that highlighter ya’ll). I also wanted to show off my undercut, and show proof that I wore the herb garden embroided Keds from Rifle Paper Co! The dancing pic is from the end of our first dance. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/720b48a5a4e92d65f8557399bce496ce5370eb9ae3df5997beab07d0d7ec6e95.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4c79cab4dd4609db26cc35e0ffa3d9ed4c902a085a824550a947d6ad0340e4f2.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c64a701a4703fd407ec755ed73848f17dcb4f289c285bff7ca4f97c2230761a6.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8a3f532082e9ad4b30a89b9646a887dac02a99304f9cbe42036d1d2664bc9698.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2cc72cb66d0fed88fc4a9545466152aee3c10ec48de90868c22c2740c90e079a.jpg

    • Jessica

      that crown! The last photo! Are those rifle paper keds????

      • penguin

        Yep!! The herb garden embroidered ones!

        • Jessica

          swoon!

    • flashphase

      GORGEOUS

    • Rose_C

      The platonic ideal of a flower crown. All look so lovely!

    • Shawna

      You look so happy yay! And like a queen of the forest. LOVE.

    • Zoya

      Waaaaait you had an undercut with a flower crown! I love that. Also, your lipstick is aces.

      • penguin

        It’s $10 at Ulta! Absolute best find makeup wise. It’s the Maybelline
        SuperStay 24 Hour Liquid Lipstick. Stays on through eating, drinking, everything. I love it.

        • That lipstick line is great! I use it too! I stay with colors close to my lip color because when they fade, they fade more discreetly. I have a few that differ significantly from my lip color and those don’t fade off well, unfortunately.

      • Jess

        I missed the undercut on the first round of photos and I am so impressed.

    • So much pretty on both sets of pics!! That last picture of y’all dancing is FIRE.

    • Lisa

      You look so beautiful!! I love your flower crown.

    • ssha

      That pic of you in the woods is the CUTEST!

    • lex

      The floral crown! The shoes! The dress!!! The woods! The dancing! You are stunning and the photos of you two are so sweet.

    • rebecca

      ❤️ your flowers! wrap! shoes! beautiful!

    • Transnonymous

      You are both just gorgeous!

      • anonforpics

        Thank you so much!

    • PAJane

      Ahhhh, those photos in the woods are magical.

    • suchbrightlights

      Those photos are GORGEOUS! I love the way the light diffused through the leaves to set off the metallic in the dress and bolero. Clearly, you had the whole wedding just for that.

      I love the joy in your last picture. MAZEL TOV!

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      Aaah! GORGEOUSNESS.

  • Shawna

    MY HUSBAND HAS A JOB! He started this week. And in a beautiful twist he got the job offer on his birthday. Words cannot express how relieved we are to end the unemployement chapter of our lives. It was a full year (plus a week). Ugh. And he’s loving the job so far. So YAY!

    And our wedding is on APW now! All the confetti canons emojis!

    • ssha

      so much job related news this week! I’m happy for you guys!

      • Shawna

        Thank you!!

    • StevenPortland

      I just saw your wedding post. Fantastic!!

    • Transnonymous

      Congratulations!!! My husband also found a job this week, so I know exactly what you’re going through. It is the best feeling.

      • Shawna

        Congrats to you too (and your husband)!! I hope you have had a chance to celebrate together! We went for a nice dinner to mark his birthday and the job offer. And I feel like every moment on the couch together in the evenings this week have been celebratory. Just holding hands and feeling more at peace.

        • Transnonymous

          Yes, echoing this feeling of peace. The atmosphere around the house has been much more joyful and relaxed. So glad you’re experiencing this as well.

        • Jess

          Aaaaand I’m now filing away the nice dinner out idea for when R gets an offer (which I am going to refer to as a definite thing).

          I’m glad you can have that exhale moment together after so long.

          • Shawna

            Highly highly recommend. We have a tradition of fancy dinner for no occasion at all, but it was harder to muster the enjoyment when we had no income for a year (well, some income from my new business, but not nearly enough to cover monthly expenses for us). He picked the restaurant early thinking it wouldn’t take that long to get a job and I’m glad we made it happen so soon after he got the offer AND it coincided with his birthday. I paid out of my savings too and I think that meant a lot to him since he really used his to cover household expenses all year (harder for me to do that after grad school). Thank god he’s such a planner and had set up several emergency funds.

      • Jess

        YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

        I’m so glad he found a new job.

        • Transnonymous

          Thank you!!

    • Lisa

      Your wedding is gorgeous!! You look breathtakingly beautiful.

    • Jess

      Congratulations to your husband!!!!!!!

      Your wedding looks so beautiful (Also, I’m still giggling over the Mehndi pun), all the confetti canon emojis indeed!

  • anon

    My SIL just got engaged… except it’s to a guy who broke up with her the day before, saying that he’d lost all attraction to her and only thought of her as a friend. This guy has caused her lots of heartache before and IMO, while he isn’t abusive, is not the guy for her. Their relationship is not equal and he does not seem to share her values or listen to her opinions (many, many examples of this). Also, kind of neither here nor there but also kind of !!!, he is a Trump supporter, still. They just got engaged a week ago and we are seeing her at a family event this weekend. What do I say? Or… do I say something? Or… ?!?!!???!!!?!!!?!?!

    • Ashlah

      Oh man. Dumping someone in that fashion and proposing the next day does seem kind of abusive? Like. Wtf.

      • Ashlah

        Oh, and my not-very-helpful way of dealing with engagements I’m not happy about is to try to ignore it. So hopefully someone else has better advice!

    • Amy March

      You say Congratulations! And that is all.

    • louise danger

      “Wow, congratulations! That’s such a surprise!” Any other opinions are irrelevant unless she asks for them :)

    • Kara

      From past experience, if you make a big deal about it, your SIL may “double down” :(. Offer your congratulations and let her know you welcome discussing her wedding and future. Be there for support. If you bash this guy, then she may shut you out.

      Good luck!

    • I think outside of abuse you really just have to let it go unless asked… Adults have the prerogative to make their own relationship mistakes.

      If you can’t bring yourself to say “congrayulations” you can always go with ‘what a surprise” and then shift into questions ;).

    • Zoya
    • Jess

      Have you brought this up to her previously, regarding the heartbreak and 45-ness?

      If so, “Oh, I’m so happy you’re happy” is pretty much your go-to line.

      If not, maybe call her and say something after the weekend? Like, show that you’re willing to tolerate him being around or whatever for the family event weekend, but then make sure she knows you’re there for her.

    • rg223

      I have a slightly different take – I think if you have never had a conversation expressing your concerns about the relationship, you’re allowed one talk where you say something like, “This is the one time I will ever bring this up, and I’m concerned because ____”, and then you listen and reflect back whatever she says to you. But if it’s common knowledge that you don’t like him, don’t say anything. And like others have said, pushing too hard might drive her closer to him, so listen and reflect more than talking about your own feelings.

  • InTheBurbs

    Puppy update: after tummy issues that seemed to last forever I feel like we’ve finally turned a corner. Girlfriend has been eating kibble for 2 weeks without any issues. She’s finally gaining weight. We’re going to Duluth for a quick get away next week without her and I’m so looking forward to it. I can’t wait to see the Bentleyville lights, and for both of us to sleep past 5 am. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/505d8db8de5c9722d0cc41fd96f3f30a6c3759a69f9ec6a4fb1ddd8841fa26ac.jpg

    • Alli

      *pupdate

  • Anyone got any go to inexpensive holiday gift DIY’s that have turned out rad? I’m both extra broke this year, and extra wanting to have least semi-nice gifts for my people.

    • Zoya

      Homemade baked goods or candy, if your folks do sugar. I made this one year using cashews instead of pine nuts, and it was a wild hit: https://food52.com/recipes/14863-pine-nut-brittle-with-rosemary

      Also, candied citrus peels are an easy and spectacular food gift (though they are a bit fiddly to make): https://food52.com/blog/12308-how-to-make-candied-citrus-peel

    • Amy March

      Used books, tailored to each person’s interests, covered nicely with pretty wrapping paper and a loving inscription.

    • Lisa

      I’ve done a curated selection of Thai ingredients from our local Asian grocery for my brother, who likes Thai food but lives in a small town. It only cost me the ingredients, and I included a few favorite recipes that used those particular ingredients and taught him while I was visiting.

      I also have taken Trader Joe’s dried cherries and dumped them in a mason jar filled with cheap clear whiskey. In a few weeks the cherries will have expanded and soaked up the whiskey and the liquid also will be delicious. They’re great in manhattans, etc.

      ETA: I’ve also made batches of savory nuts (rosemary cashews, curried peanuts, etc) since everyone is so tired of sweets by Christmas.

      • Zoya

        My friend does dried cherries in amaretto or bourbon as gifts. I added a handful of her amaretto cherries into a brownie recipe once, and it was ah-mazing.

      • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

        Yes to the savory nuts! I did that with almonds and cashews last year, and it seemed to go over well! It was a perfect thing for the “not sure what to gift my FIL” situation.

        • Angela’s Back

          I had a friend whose family recipe for savory nuts/Chex mix includes Cheetos, HIGHLY recommend incorporating that…

    • penguin

      We like to do baking mixes, there are lots of books/ideas online for specific recipes. All the dry ingredients go in a mason jar and we make up a tag that has the recipe, and sometimes put some ribbon or something on it too. Another hit was homemade vanilla extract – I made a TON two years ago and gave a bunch away, and we’re still working on it.

      • One year a friend made me a peppermint hot cocoa mix in a mason jar, and it’s still one of my fave gifts!

        • Alli

          Related, I had a friend make homemade hot chocolate and marshmallow sticks to give out as gifts one year. That was pretty rad.

        • Oo, def stealing this.

    • Another Meg

      My sister made me a Harry Potter wand and I love it. Pretty sure it was something like this with a chop stick in the center.
      http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-an-awesome-Harry-Potter-wand-from-a-sheet-of-/

    • Cdn icecube

      I have done this and other than time invested it’s pretty cheap to do and looks pretty cute. http://homemademodernblog.com/2015/08/10-sensational-string-art-projects.html
      Just don’t drop it. Mine got dropped while moving and I cried.

    • JC

      We’re going to make a really big batch of jam this year, and I’m pretty excited about it. Might be a good gift to think about!

    • Cellistec

      I printed color maps of places I’ve visited with my bestie, drew our routes in fancy pen, and framed them as mementoes for her.

    • PAJane

      Infused booze is always a winner. I also really like making hot cocoa blocks and marshmallows and packaging them in cute little baggies.

    • Katelyn

      If you have any kiddos that need gifts, I’m going to try my hand at a couple of knitted stuffed animals like this one for my niblings:

      http://www.lionbrand.com/loom-pattern-loom-knit-frog-2.html?r=1

      • Zomg, those are so cute… Sadly I don’t have any kids on my giftlist rn, but I’m going to file that away for the future.

  • Another Meg

    So my kid is six months old and my postpartum depression is not going anywhere. And I am EXHAUSTED.

    I have to keep reminding myself that this is temporary, and at some point I will feel better. Without a team of medical professionals and four doses of medication every day.

    • Snow

      Sending hugs and energy to you. I am in a different “one day maybe this will end” marathon and feel your exhaustion. Solidarity!

    • MC

      <3 <3 <3 My mom suffered from postpartum depression with both me and my younger brother and it DOES get better, but I know from her experience how hard it is. You're doing what you gotta do to get through it and you're hella strong.

    • Jocelyn Eileen

      The smartest thing someone ever told me about having babies/this stage in your life, is it takes 9 months to grow the person, its going to take at least as long as that for things to even out hormones/emotions/getting used to a whole new life. It really really does get better! Even when it feels like it won’t it truly does, for me it didn’t happen all at once it was gradual but one day I remember waking up and thinking, hey I feel like “me” again and I can stay up past 8pm. Giving birth/keeping a tiny human alive is a BIG DEAL and 150 years ago you had a whole literal village around you, nowadays you are supposed to do it on your own which is nuts.

      • Another Meg

        I started feeling better last month, so I went back to work full time and then Thanksgiving happened and my symptoms came back, which sucked. So now I’m trying to figure out what other balls I can drop to make sure I keep my health in check.

        I’m terrified of relapse. And I’m angry that it’s so much work just to keep myself here, on top of everything else now that I’m a mom.

        We’re leaning into the village model. The kid has all kinds of family, biological and chosen, who pitch in. I’m really looking forward to the day I feel like myself again.

        • Jocelyn Eileen

          Ugh that is so damn hard and there is no prize for pretending it isn’t. I used to (and sometimes still do) get mad at my husband because I felt like while adding a new baby to the mix obviously impacted him he wasn’t dealing with all the extra post-partum crap that I had on top of adjusting to adding a brand new person to the mix. Obviously it’s not his fault but damn biology can be a witch.

          • Another Meg

            OMG yes. I love my husband and he is trying so hard. But it just feels so unfair. Totally get the anger.

          • Violet

            No post partum here (yet; I’m keeping an eye on it and preventatively attending support groups because pregnancy really effed with my head) but having to physically recover from giving birth on top of breastfeeding discomforts and being home alone has me *very* unsympathetic when my husband complains about the one night feed we’ve got to do. I mean, really.

        • Jess

          I feel like with my depression, I have occasional waves of feeling better.

          Instead of a relapse, I like to think of those moments as offering me a glimpse into the future, when I may feel better all the time.

          Maybe that would be a helpful way to think about those “doing better” moments until you do get to the feeling good point?

          • Another Meg

            I love that, thank you!

  • Pingback: APW Happy Hour | Wedding Warriors TC | Wedding Planner | Kennewick, Richland, Pasco()

  • AnnaRhymesWithFauna

    Hey there folks! I’ve been low-key (high-key?) lurking for most of the year since getting engaged in February, but just wanted to pop in to say how much I **really** appreciate this sane, awesomely creative, and feminist community (especially right now). You all are starting to fill the The Toast-shaped hole in my heart, with the added bonus of wedding planning inspiration now that we start getting down to actually planning something.

    • Lagaviota

      Ditto. Also a hanging-out-in-the-background person until recently, and echo your sentiments about this space!

  • ssha

    So I’m working now, but as usual I have MANY FEELS about it. I’m in my field- sort of- but it’s not consistent work, it’s not always full time, and I’m still worried about money. After last year of actually being paid like a grownup, I was getting used to being able to buy things I want, and getting excited about saving money for travel (Not even like, Europe travel, just like, visit my friend in another state travel was exhilarating to think about!) But now, after 3 months of unemployment and this job, with husband’s job going well but not exactly making a ton, we’re back to the drawing board. I have a 4 year degree, but I’m working at a job someone who graduated high school could qualify for. This isn’t where I wanted to be.

    • Jess

      It would be really hard to go from consistent income to sporadic.

      I’m sorry that this is the situation you’re in. Hopefully the job you’re in now can morph into something more consistent in the future.

      • ssha

        Thank you. The positions I had earlier, before last year, were “scraping-by-doing-this-for-the-experience-and-getting-paid-peanuts” type things and trying to get me ahead in career and making connections, and they did somewhat. But not enough to find a full-time job. going back to that type of pay and not having money is tough after knowing what it’s like to actually get paid!

  • savannnah

    Today has been weird because I finally got my period after it was late for 2 weeks. I’m on BC (IUD, so pretty error free) and I’m obviously glad I got it because I want my body working wellish but I’m also irrational like 10% disappointed I’m not pregnant. We are not trying yet, being pregnant would mean something terrible happpen with my BC and with an IUD the pregnancy would 95% not be viable. But…I’m still like eh about it. So it’s been a weird day.

    • Zoya

      I see you. Internet fistbump for body/fertility weirdness.

    • RNLindsay

      Bodies are weird. I posted a couple weeks ago about my period being 6 days late when it’s always exactly on time. We are TTC so it was a disappointment. It’s due to come again today but so far nothing, so here’s to the waiting game again!

      • savannnah

        Good luck! My 2nd hand experience with fertility has been all or nothing- friends getting pregnant on the first go or not at all for years so I’m hoping to find some more middle of the road experiences, more in line with what the statistics books tell us (HA- but I can be optimistic)

    • Jess

      Feelings are weird. Bodies are weird. When they are weird together… oof.

      I personally would frame the 10% disappointment as just kind of a sign that “not trying yet” is the right phrasing, instead of “not trying ever,” if that helps navigate the situation.

    • Katelyn

      Totally understood. Not ready to have kids yet, but have a low-grade baby fever. I think all the little ones on the street, at church, in restaurants, etc… are super cute even when they’re throwing a tantrum. I would for sure feel the same as you!

      • savannnah

        Yes! I also didn’t realize how much I had internalized babies after marriage timelines until I got married and it was like ‘Ok now I *can* have a baby’ which is not at all how my concious mind thinks about creating families sans marriage.

  • Sara

    I have a question my brother posed to me – sorry this ended up long, but I wanted to see if anyone else had advice I can throw his way:

    J and his GF just moved in together in a house she bought. They’re not engaged yet, but clearly having some behind the scenes conversations about weddings based on things he’s asked me. This week, he asked ‘hypothetically’ if its assumed your brother (if you have one) will be your best man, or if asking a friend would be ok. We have a brother in-between us – not quite hypothetical. The thing is, they’re close. Not like best friends close and live about four hours away from each other, but they have a pretty good relationship (talk/text on the phone, go to concerts together in each other’s cities, play the same video game over and over again, etc) . I told him that yeah, it’d probably be assumed P would be it. And followed it up with that he can do whatever he wants with his wedding party, but P would probably be offended as he’s already made comments about J’s future bachelor party. He said his college roommate and him promised to be each other’s best men while drinking one night, and T seemed really excited. Which, I get, but T and him clearly both forgot he had a brother and also were drinking heavily. I don’t think T would be too shocked if he asked him to be ‘just’ a groomsman. I mentioned that I was in a wedding with two maids of honor (well, one Matron and one Maid) and he could just have two best men. He wasn’t keen on that, but also asked if I’d ever heard of a wedding with two best men (which I hadn’t, and we discussed all the things bridesmaids do that could require two people helming the title that groomsmen don’t). But unfortunately for him, I really don’t see a way of him not asking P without hurting his feelings, which he doesn’t want to do. I feel like I let him down.

    So TL:DR – have you ever heard of a wedding with two best men? Or alternately, is there a kind way to tell your brother he isn’t your best man?

    • ssha

      You can definitely have two best men, I’ve been to weddings that have them. It’s their wedding party, they can do what they want! Is the label of best man really important, or can they all be equal groomsmen and be okay?

      • Sara

        My brother is weirdly traditional about how things ‘should’ be. I asked him why I wasn’t an option and he just groaned lol. I keep pushing the ‘do what you want’ narrative though.

        • Jessica

          I had my bridesmaids rock-paper-scissors at the start of the aisle for who would be standing nearest to me (in the “maid of honor” spot). Your bro should probably just come clean to both and have them nerf gun battle or something.

          • Sara

            Oh I think they’d love a nerf gun battle

        • Lisa

          My husband was weirdly traditional about certain aspects of the wedding, too. He was debating between two friends to be his groomsmen, and when I suggested he have three people on his side while I had just my two sisters, he said that the bridal parties HAVE to match numbers. Whatever, dude.

    • Violet

      My husband and I each had two attendants. I had a MOH and bridesmaid, and he had two best men. Honestly, I don’t think it really mattered, either way.

    • penguin

      You’re not required to have your brother be your best man, and he shouldn’t feel obligated to make that happen. If he’s going to have groomsmen that’s always an alternative for one of them, but I don’t think this has to be a big deal. J should talk to his brother.

      • Sara

        I agree, but P is also very dramatic sometimes. So I think he’s trying to figure out if its a battle worth fighting at this point.

      • Katharine Parker

        It’s not required, but if you know your brother expects this, you should be prepared that he will be upset by it.

    • emilyg25

      Yes I’ve heard of a wedding with two best men–the groom’s best friend and his dad. I also think dispensing with titles altogether makes things easy!

    • Mary Jo TC

      One of my brothers had two best men, one of our other 3 brothers and his best friend from childhood. Both gave speeches. Actually, I think my other brother did the same thing too. Co-best men are totally a thing.

    • Amy March

      No, there is no good way to tell your brother you are close to he isn’t your best man because you promised someone else when you were drunk one time!

      There’s nothing wrong with two best men, I’ve seen it frequently, and he needs to live in adult reality, where if you really don’t want your brother to be your best man, that is fine, but there is no way to do that and have it not hurt your brother’s feelings.

      • Sara

        This is pretty much what I told him! I’m glad I’m not crazy here. I don’t think he’s thinking it out all the way – he hung out with T this weekend and probably got reminded of it.

    • Katharine Parker

      My husband had two best men because he had one best friend that he really wanted to ask and another friend who would have been upset not to be a best man, so he just avoided it and asked them both. (They’re kind of a trio, so it made sense.) I don’t see a problem with it–one can give a toast at the rehearsal dinner and the other at the wedding, if that is an issue, or they can both give short toasts. They can collaborate on the bachelor party. It doesn’t seem weird to me at all.

    • ART

      My husband is an only child, so this wasn’t an issue for us, but FWIW we did not have a best man or maid of honor, just groomsmen and bridesmaids. But in general I would say brother > night of drinking promise, barring other weirdness (which it sounds like there isn’t)?

    • Lisa

      My husband had two best men, and neither were his brothers (who were groomsmen). And I had one MOH. They both gave speeches and were great. Neither of his brothers were disappointed that they weren’t best men, despite being very close to my husband. In fact, his middle brother got married and didn’t include siblings in the wedding party at all. My husband gave a reading instead at his wedding. Lots of options.

    • Cdn icecube

      Mild thread hijack. What purpose do the two best man (or two maids of honour) actually have other than a title? I’m strongly considering having two maids of honour but am worried there will come a time where there will be something that one of them has to do and I’ll have to choose.

      • Amy March

        They are decorative roles, primarily. You may ask one of them to hold your bouquet during the ceremony. If they would like to, and toasts are a thing you are having, they should both have that options. One of them may sign as a witness, if that is a thing you need, or you could have someone else entirely do that. I don’t think there is any issue with having 2 or 3 or none.

      • Sara

        This is where I was lost on the two best men thing. With two MOH, I saw one do the bachelorette while the other handled bridal shower planning. The other tasks were based on availability and geographical proximity. I don’t know what groomsmen really do.

        • Lisa

          My husband had two best men: H & C. H did less because he lived far away so he couldn’t participate in pre-wedding stuff, but he held the rings, set out the glass we stomped on at the end, and gave a toast (as well as the normal stuff like walking down the aisle, getting ready, being in photos). C helped with the bachelor party, officiated part of the ceremony, and gave a toast. They both signed our ketubah.

      • RNLindsay

        I was a co-maid of honor once. We split up duties – I planned the shower and she planned the bachelorette (which made sense – she’s way more of a party girl than I am). Our bride also split up the toasts- the other woman gave a speech at the rehearsal and I did the wedding reception. Since that made me more “visible” at the reception, the other MOH got to hold the bouquet/stand next to the bride during the ceremony.

        • Going Splitsies

          I think the toast split (if you only want one groom’s side toast at the wedding) is the tricky part here and I think the bouquet holding thing seems like a good solution. If you don’t have a ring bearer, having the rehearsal dinner toaster hold and provide the rings during the ceremony could work as a bouquet-style “extra”.

          • Jess

            We each did a toast when I was MOH. We kept them shorter than usual, but it was really important to my friend that we both talk.

          • Going Splitsies

            Yeah, I think that’s a totally reasonable (and probably usually superior) way to do it. My husband had his brothers and co-best-men and wanted only one wedding toast, though I don’t really know why it mattered to him, so I mostly mean to say that I’m aware it’s a preference that people have, and if so, the auxiliary duties that have come up could be good ways to make sure both parties still feel included and valued.

      • MC

        I had only two people on my side of the wedding party and called them Ladies of Honor – they did exactly the same things at my wedding and it was 100% fine. I guess one question is who stands directly next to you? But our Day of Coordinator just arranged them based on height.

      • Jess

        Toasts, bouquet holding, ring holding, witnessing maybe.

        Party throwing and that sort of thing too, but they can decide amongst themselves how to handle that.

      • Lisa

        Mine were co-maids of honor, and it was really just a title-only thing. They planned the bridal shower together, and a friend put together my bachelorette. When we walked down the aisle, they decided which of them would stand closest to me to help with train-wrangling while the other held my bouquet. My youngest sister and I were maid and matron of honor at my other sister’s wedding and did pretty much the same thing (minus the bachelorette).

      • suchbrightlights

        I was one of two bridesmaids with no maid of honor, and I think the situation is the same. The officiant asked for “the best man and the maid of honor” to sign as witnesses to the marriage license (I was acknowledged to have better handwriting so I did this) and as the one who didn’t mind public speaking I gave a toast. We co-planned the bachelorette outing and assisted with the shower in equal degrees. Day-of, there’s also “the person who holds the bouquet” and “the person who helps with the train,” who is also typically “the person who is standing next to the people getting married” for spatial reasons. I can’t see a reason that you couldn’t pose the question to the two women about whether any of these things is something they particularly would, or would not, want to do (someone may have strong feelings about wanting, or not wanting, to give a toast) and take it from there.

    • RNLindsay

      He doesn’t have to have brother as his best man, but since they sound close it would probably hurt his feelings. My bro didn’t ask our younger brother to be a groomsman at all – but he’s 10 years younger than us and they’re really not close. I personally found it odd though that he wasn’t even a groomsman at all but I think the age difference made him not care so much. I’ve definitely seen 2 best men though. In the wedding I mention below were I was a co-MOH, there were also 2 best men.

    • LindseyM

      No need to have the brother be the best man, even if they are close. I’m close-ish with my sister (we live a block apart), but I chose my best college friend to be my maid of honor. My sister understood, but amazingly a few other people gave her shit for me not choosing her. Ridiculous. Either way, you will be hurting someones feelings. To me its seems better to hurt Ps feelings since (1) there is no right to be best man on blood alone; (2) he already promised it to T; and (3) T seemed excited. Also, if P said he was excited for the bachelor party, that doesn’t necessarily mean he expects to be best man—-everyone goes to the bachelor party. I would solve the problem by not having wedding parties :) That was my solution, but my husband just HAD to have a wedding party.

      • Sara

        He’s not just excited for the bachelor party, P was discussing his plan for it with my cousin. He’s got two ideas on what he wants to do. Both seem very ridiculous to me, but I mentioned it to J during this conversation and he already knew both ideas.
        But I agree with you on the first half. We’ll see what happens, I feel like its more likely to be a co-man if he really really wants T to be it. Though he should probably get engaged first.

    • Jess

      Yup, definitely seen 2. Heck, I’ve been a co-MOH. It’s fine.

      There are kinder ways to tell someone they aren’t your best man than others, but there is not a way where he won’t be hurt at all.

    • PAJane

      Is he planning on having additional attendants? If it’s just two people, he could just say, “These are my best dudes,” and leave it at that, no other titles.

      • Sara

        She’s got three sisters and has been in all of their weddings so I’d assume there’s at least 3 on each side.

    • SL

      I was actually just at a wedding a few weeks ago with two best men. It was totally fine.

    • suchbrightlights

      My husband’s brother was not his best man and their relationship is perfectly fine, but it sounds like it was different context in that my BIL is a super-introverted type and would have found the unwritten traditional responsibilities of best manning (planning bachelor party, toast) to be very stressful. My husband and his BIL talked this over to make sure everyone was cool with it, which they were, and NOBODY asked why BIL was not the best man. This is offered to you as a data point about the familial optics of “everyone assumes your brother will be your best man.”

      Two best men is TOTALLY a thing in my extended friend circle. (So are dual MOHs.)

      If the brother wants to be the best man, I don’t think that there is a way to let him down with no hurt feelings, but at the same time I do not think that your husband is obligated to ask him if he wants to have one best man and that person be his college roommate. The kindest way to let him down gently probably involves stressing how much he values his brother, acknowledging the promise, and not mentioning there was drink taken.

    • rebecca

      I had a wedding with just a bridal party and zero bests/honors?

    • SS Express

      When Uncle Jesse got married on Full House he couldn’t decide whether to have Danny or Joey as his best man, and I’m pretty sure he ended up just having them both because they were both his best friends. I mean, yeah it’s fictional, but also that show is 30 years old so if it was okay then it’s definitely okay now!

    • Jenny

      Was just at a wedding with 2 best men. and I’ve been to several who had maids/matrons of honor. I don’t usually think twice about it.

  • Anon to Vent

    I’ve been waiting for this HH to vent that this week my in-laws offered up unsolicited and unhelpful financial opinions and offers to loan us money (note: we are totally fine financially, never asked for and don’t need a loan or advice from people who don’t know our financial details). I know it came from a place of love, but it doesn’t make it any less condescending and judgmental. I am beyond insulted, my in-laws feel like they were doing us a favor, and my husband is in the middle (which also frustrates me). File this under: Not your business, keep your mouth shut.

    • RNLindsay

      My best friend gets these kinds of comments from her in-laws all the time! Best to ignore as much as possible, or shut down the offers as politely but sternly as possible (probably best if this comes from your husband). And all I can say is – don’t take the money if you really don’t need it! People like this usually only offer money with strings attached.

    • Eh

      My inlaws aren’t great with money and give us financial advice without knowing our financial situation. They did not talk about money with their sons or give their sons financial skills. As a result, both of their sons have been in a lot of financial troubles as young adults which my inlaws bailed them out of. I have taught my husband financial management skills and our finances are in a good place. When his parents give us advice we let them talk but don’t give them any information about our financial situation. We then don’t do what they suggest because it doesn’t make sense for us financially and then later they get mad at us for not taking their unsolicited advice. To that we respond that we did what was best for us and leave it at that.

  • Shawna

    Question time: We’re evaluating benefits packages and since we’re considering starting a family this year (oh god we’re facing actually being adults now) actually paying attention to the coverage during pregnancy/ prenatal care/ postpartum care, etc. Any advice on how to pick the best plan? And anyone in the SF Bay have Opinions about being pregnant and giving birth at Kaiser vs United Healthcare?

    • Take a look at things like your deductible, out of pocket max, etc. Most likely during your pregnancy you will reach your out of pocket maximum by the time you deliver. Also when does your plan year restart? At my company, our benefits restart 4/1, which means a friend wound up delivering in the next plan year, and they had to cover part of the cost of their birth.

      Also, my husband has United Healthcare & added our baby to his coverage. My daughter was born in January and UHC refused to pay to the bills related to her birth until JULY. The kicker? My husband works for UHC, and the claims only finally got paid when he walked into someone’s office and told them what was going on. So just a caution that you may need to scrutinize everything & stay on top of them if you go that route.

      • Shawna

        Oh wow, thanks that is super helpful!

    • ART

      Haven’t given birth yet, but I am with Kaiser (I’m on the peninsula) and so far have been really happy with the prenatal care and surprised at how…progressive it seems? Also this is probably specific to my coverage package but I haven’t had to pay for literally anything yet, which is amazing. They offer lots of prenatal/infant care classes with no charge (but they do fill up fast, I was one of the Most Pregnant ladies at my first installment of childbirth prep last night…and I’m due about a week after they end lol). The all-inclusiveness of their system is hugely convenient for me as well (because pregnancy brain is totally real). No basis for comparison to United, but I am glad to be with Kaiser right now!

    • emilyg25

      Yes, pay attention to deductibles. I’m in a group of moms who all gave birth in January and they had to use the whole deductible on prenatal care, and then got hit with it again for labor and delivery. Oof.

    • Lh

      I’m with Kaiser Mid-atlantic (DC area), so it may be slightly different but I think probably very similar – I’m 7 months pregnant. I’ve been extremely happy with my prenatal care with Kaiser and haven’t paid a cent so far. All has been covered, no copays for prenatal care, even many extra ultrasounds due to a risk factor I have. It looks like I’ll pay $500 one time fee for the hospital stay for delivery, but if I had the higher plan it would only be $250. From what I’ve read that’s about as affordable a birth as you’ll find.

      The only thing with Kaiser is you usually have certain hospitals you can choose from to deliver in and if you’re someone that wants ALL the OB/midwife options it might not be for you. My local kaiser office has 8 OBs and I was able to read reviews and find one I love (recommend establishing care with an OB you like BEFORE you start trying/become pregnant, that really helps!). I believe West coast kaiser even has some midwife options. That is the part I would look into though and make sure you’re comfortable with their offerings if you’re someone that really wants midwifery care.

      But yeah, I really can’t say enough good things to be honest. I’ve had a few scares and having the coordinated system where I can go to the urgent care and they actually know who I am, my history and can pick up the phone and call my OB if need be – awesome.

      Good luck!

      • Lh

        Sorry, just want to make sure I make one point I skimmed over clear – there will be specific hospitals you can deliver in. At least where I am, that included the hospital that I would choose either way, but I would recommend doing a tad bit of research and making sure you’re comfortable with the hospital options.

      • Shawna

        Thanks! I had heard rumors about not being able to know that your OB would be the one delivering with Kaiser and that scared me. Sounds like you’ve been able to build a strong relationship. We’re with Kaiser now and I like my OB (have only met her once, but still). That and cost would probably be the thing to make us switch. I am interested in the midwifery options too and would like a doula.

        • Lh

          You are correct that you won’t know what doctor will be delivering, and while I totally agree it’s hard to imagine, that is extremely standard in almost all OB practices now (how they stay sane and have work/life balance). Most OB and often even midwife practices are group practices and they basically work shifts. Different practices handle this different ways – I’ve heard of some practices that you see a different OB for each visit so that you at least know them all. Kaiser doesn’t do that and I don’t think it would really be my preference as I like having the relationship with my one OB, but might be someone elses! There are still some rare OBs who run their own practice and can promise you (for the most part) that they will be there, but I don’t think it’s very common. I could be wrong though! My sister is in med school, trying to go into OB and that is what she’s told me and what I’ve heard on the interwebs haha. I say that all to say, yes it’s true with Kaiser but also with most OB practices so I would just look into others to make sure there is one under United you like that the OB will be there before switching only on that.

          I would check into what the midwifery options are, I’ve heard they have them on the west coast, they don’t offer it anymore here in mid-atlantic. Doula usually is paid for out of pocket no matter what insurance you have from what I understand – but is great!

          • Shawna

            Thanks so much for the details here! I really appreciate it. Of course that makes sense from a work-life balance perspective. I feel mostly better about it now :) It’s not like it’s even real yet so I have lots of time to ask questions and get used to the way things are done.

          • Lh

            Totally! It’s really smart you’re thinking of it now so you know what your options are a little bit while you have the choice! I totally had the same “what the hell do you mean my doctor might not be at delivery” moment (and I still don’t love it! feels like this big unknown in my delivery), but like you said makes sense when you think about the randomness of delivery, late nights etc. They finally realized that wasn’t very sustainable for most docs! (or safe due to exhaustion). I’ve also heard that the reality is that when it comes to delivery, the doctor basically comes in at the very end to get the baby out – the rest of the time it is ALL about the nurses, so some people say that can be just as important! A hospital with good nurses and a good reputation for being women and baby centered as much as possible :)

          • ART

            Just wanted to add that at my Kaiser (which in the SF Bay Area), they did have me see a different midwife at each appointment, and I haven’t even met any of the OBs yet but will start seeing them next week (they kind of go…well the OBs are there for every birth, but it’s mainly a midwife thing as long as the pregnancy/birth is not high risk). They also have a “meet the midwives” session one evening every month or quarter so you can go in and try to meet any you haven’t yet.

        • Sarah

          Many practices have you meet with all the drs and or midwives cause they do shifts.

    • Sarah

      I advise against HMOs esp when preg. I had a bitch of a time gettting a PT referral to a special women’s health PT during preg. And had to get a referral from my primary care doc the 1st trimester screening even though CNM gave one which was a pain. Same with chiro care.

    • AP

      Know this post is a few days old now, but just wanted to share because I’m currently dealing with a not-so-great health plan during this pregnancy. I’ll echo everything Jubilance said, check into your deductible, out of pocket max, and also talk to your OB about how they handle billing.

      This has been my insurance experience (currently 7 months pregnant):

      I am covered by Cigna through my husband’s employer. We have a high-deductible ($3K), high out-of-pocket max ($8K) plan with an HSA. His company contributes $1K to the HSA every year, and it rolls over from year to year. This worked really well for us over the last few years because we’re both reasonably fit and hardly ever go to the doctor. Last year, when we knew we’d be trying to get pregnant soon, we started putting more money into the HSA to help cover future expenses. What we didn’t consider was the timing of the pregnancy crossing two coverage years (I am due in February, and our deductible and max reset Jan 1, no exceptions.) The other shocker was my OB does what’s called “global billing” which means they add up the cost of all your prenatal care, roll it into one big total, and then divide that total by the number of months you have until your delivery date and set you up on monthly payments to be paid in full by your delivery date. In our case, our total was $3500, which was divided up into monthly payments of around $500 up until the delivery. Most people hit their deductible pretty quickly and don’t pay more than that for everything. But the way the math worked out was that we wouldn’t ever actually meet our deductible until AFTER delivery, so we’d be paying for everything ourselves. We figured we’d end up paying around $10k out of pocket over the course of the pregnancy.

      But. We talked this through with our OB’s office (who had never really had a patient with such a high deductible before and didn’t have a plan for what to do to help us out) and set it up this way- for now, we’re paying $100/month for the 6 months I’ll receive prenatal care in 2017. Then in 2018, we’ll pay the balance on that $3500, getting us much closer to our 2018 deductible before delivery at the end of Feb. Hopefully this will set us up to pay absolutely no more than the out-of-pocket max…which is still a freaking lot of money, but thankfully we’ve got the resources to prepare, unlike so many others, so I’m not complaining (not about our situation anyway, but I’ll yell to high heavens about the inequities in our health system and how everyone deserves free/affordable care. But anyway.)

    • Jenny

      I know I’m late, but since you have time, I’d talk with the practice(s) you are thinking of going with and ask about what they bill and recommend for a normal pregancy, and then maybe about some common pregnancy complications (like a c-section delivery etc). Then I would ask each insurer about how they treat that. We didn’t have an option for health care, but I was amazed that like prenatal screening and ultra sounds weren’t considered standard prenatal care ( I don’t know if this was how my insurer handled it, or my provider billed it, or if it’s just standard), and so we were charged for those things. It also might make a difference based on when a plans deductible starts over and what you are thinking your birth timing might be.

  • A walking mess

    I applied to PhD programs! Today is the deadline for all of them, and I sent the last one off yesterday afternoon. I am exhausted and going to take a much needed nap after I finish work for the day.

    (P.S. it’s World AIDS Day, consider donating to an HIV-related NGO or charity if you have the means)

    • Cellistec

      Way to go! What kind of PhD?

      • A walking mess

        Public health! Psychiatric and genetic epidemiology programs

        • Cellistec

          Whoa, that’s awesome! I mean, all PhDs are impressive, but that’s some seriously fascinating stuff. Nicely done!

  • Snow

    Does anyone have remedies for itchy nipples during pregnancy? I’m about ready to scratch mine right off…

    • emilyg25

      Have you tried nipple cream? It’s usually for nursing but might help. My fave is Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter.

      • Snow

        Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll head to the drug store later to try to find it. I haven’t tried any except for my normal lotion, which isn’t helping (and maybe right now is making it worse). Also, gently rubbing my towel on them helps for 30 seconds haha.

    • Jessica
      • Snow

        Hahahahahah:)

    • Essssss

      Not pregnancy specific, but Sarna is an anti-itch lotion that has saved my sanity on many an occasion.

      • PAJane

        Also, in a pinch, ice.

    • Sarah

      I used coconut oil on mine while sore during nursing. Maybe you already have it in your kitchen?

      • Sarah

        Oh and I if tjem rubbing against your shirt or bra hurts try Medela soft shells to ‘air them out’. I know you’re not nursing now but thought I id share what I know.

  • MC

    So my grandma died a few weeks ago – we weren’t extremely close, but she was an important person to me and I loved her a lot. And she was my last living grandparent, so. I’m grieving and dealing with that in my own way, but I’m also struggling with want to be useful to my dad (grandma’s son) in some way. He’s in Florida right now with his siblings putting my grandma’s house on the market and taking care of other things, and her memorial will be at Arlington and hasn’t been scheduled yet, so in the meantime I feel like there’s nothing I can really do. I think the answer is just that I have to accept that, but my instinct is to DO something. Ugh, grief is weird.

    To share though, my grandma was a badass. She spoke 5 languages and loved to travel. She was either the first or one of the first female professors at Clemson University – my dad still has the offer letter they sent her where they had to cross out “Mr.” on the form and write “Miss” wherever her name appeared. And when I got engaged, she told me she was glad Husband and I both already had jobs because “A good job has to always come first before a decision to get married” (which I don’t necessarily agree with but made my feminist heart happy). I’ll miss her lots.

    • emilyg25

      I’m sorry, and I feel you on the wanting to DO something part.

    • PAJane

      I’m so sorry, it sounds like the was an awesome lady.

    • Cellistec

      She sounds like an amazing, inspiring person. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Katelyn

      Totally get the “do” response. Same exact way here. My condolences for your loss. She really does sound like a badass!

      I’ve always thought it was particularly sweet to have memorabilia and photos at memorials – could you help with that? That offer letter could be a fun thing to feature :)

    • Jess

      I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like such a badass!

      Thank you for sharing some stories about her – I laughed at the crossing out of “Mr.” in true appreciation.

    • suchbrightlights

      Your grandmother sounds like she had a wonderful character. I am sorry for your loss.

    • Mary Jo TC

      I lost my grandma 15 years ago this month and I still remember and miss her. So sorry for your loss. It’s raw now but it will ease. It sounds like she was amazing and inspiring and you learned a lot from her. I understand the feeling of wanting to do something. but maybe even though you can’t be with your family right now you can do something privately to remember her and feel like you’re kind of in touch with her spirit? Do something you used to do with her, or write down some of your favorite memories or stories or pray if that’s your thing?

    • I’m sorry about your grandma. She sounds amazing, and so neat she was the first (or one of the first) female professors at Clemson. Go Tigers! ETA: I hope that’s not inappropriate…I just got inspired by your grandma blazing the trail at Clemson….

  • Transnonymous

    My husband found a job! At a place with a fantastic company culture no less, which was the majority of the reason he quit his last job. He starts at part-time, but we found out yesterday that he earns PTO even as a part-time employee. Relieved that we’re going to make it through the holidays with both of us employed, but on that note, I want to send good thoughts to everyone who’s mentioned in the thread today that they or their partner has lost a job, and to everyone who hasn’t mentioned it.

  • Fance

    We’re 5 weeks out from the wedding, and I’m 2 weeks away from a HUGE deadline at work and was super stressed trying to keep it all together, but it was that fun, I’m killing it at work / getting married soon stress.

    Then our house caught fire Wednesday. Some a-hole passerby threw a lit cigarette butt into either our or our neighbor’s yard (we live in a Philly rowhouse) that caught some dry leaves on fire, that caught the wooden fence separating our properties on fire, that then caught our houses on fire – at least this is the fire marshal’s best guess. We are safe, our dogs are safe, and our house is livable (unfortunately the neighbor’s is not – seriously guys, stucco and brick vs. having vinyl siding saved our house). We’ve had 2 days of smoke damage cleaning, $11K of damages (including needing a new roof), our backyard is destroyed.

    We are SO thankful for the neighborhood kids that first saw smoke (this was at 1PM so everyone was at work) and that our community reacted quickly and that no humans or animals were injured, and that we can stay in our house during repairs. But – I now just can’t bring myself to care about work, or the wedding…my shower is tomorrow, we’re hosting my mom this weekend because of that, and I just want to curl up in bed with my dogs and fiancee and not deal with reality, or other people. Sigh.

    • emilyg25

      Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry. That sounds like a whole hell of a lot.

    • Jess

      I’m so sorry – house fires can be really emotionally devastating, so please take care of yourself.

      When your mom goes home, I vote you enact the curling-up-in-bed plan for a full 24 hours.

      • MC

        Yep – when I have to get through some sort of event I do not have the emotional energy for, I make a very specific plan of how I am going to pamper myself by doing nothing afterward and daydream about it until it is a reality. Maybe throw some ice cream or a face mask in there!

    • Katelyn

      So awful that happened to you. It absolutely is devastating to see the fragility of our lives. I hope you have the opportunity to do a bit of that self-care tonight – maybe you can express that need to your mom and you can both have some chill time separately? Not sure how your relationship is but I know my mom would understand (and be perfectly happy to relax solo before an event like a shower).

    • suchbrightlights

      I am so glad that you and your dogs are safe and grateful to the kids who had a weather eye out. I hope that you are finding time to take care of yourself in amongst all of this.

      At 5 weeks left, whatever wasn’t planned for my wedding was not that important and could be dropped. If the same is true for you, and you need to focus on being alive right now, you have my full permission to drop it.

    • Oh, my. I am so glad that you all are okay. To echo what suchbrightlights said, if you want to, it’s okay to alter your priorities and cut what you don’t feel like doing. Big, huge events change our perspective and it’s okay to let some things go and re-prioritize what feels important and essential to you now, in the light of all this.

  • Katharine Parker

    My Christmas cards arrived! I’m really excited about sending them out. I’ve never sent them before, but this feels like a good tradition for my husband and me as a family.

    • penguin

      This will be our first year doing Christmas cards!! Mostly as an excuse to send out more wedding photos to people haha.

  • Lagaviota

    Hi all! I have been very much enjoying mostly hanging out in the background here since getting engaged last year, but now that I’m getting married in 9 months, I realize I have more and more practical questions that would benefit from the wisdom of this crew!

    My question is actually not of any extreme urgency, but for those of you who have changed your last name, how did you handle your email address? I have been myname@university/myname@gmail for over ten years and am not sure if I want to deal with getting everyone I’ve ever known to switch over, or if I want to forward stuff, or if I just want to leave it. Thoughts? Pointers?

    • Alynae

      I changed my email address from first.last@gmail to first.last.marriedlast@gmail. so not a huge change. I also kept my old email and had everything forwarded to new email so that 1. I didn’t lose anything and 2. I could respond from my new email which made it a really easy gradual transition

    • Kara

      I changed my name legally, but didn’t change my email. To hell with it, people knew who I was before, and they know who I am after. :)

      • MC

        This is what my SIL did – she just changed her display name to First Last Marriedlast and kept her firstlast@gmail.com e-mail. Seems to work just fine!

        • RNLindsay

          Yep did the same thing. My new name appears in your inbox but the email handle it self is my old name. Do you know how many places our emails appear nowadays? No way was I going around changing it on every website I ever visited

    • ART

      Got a new email address and pretty aggressively switched over with everything I could, but also have stuff forwarding and that has been completely fine. Actually in gmail it can be helpful to see what’s still coming to my maiden name address (like, do I need to go update that account still?). The forwarding thing has been really seamless in gmail.

    • Ashlah

      I started using a new Gmail with my new last name. Sent out an email updating people who contact me via email (which wasn’t many). You can be logged into both at the same time, so it’s really easy to catch anything going to the old one and correct it. It was a nice way to reset all the newsletters I get, as I only re-signed up for the ones I wanted to continue getting!

      On the other hand, I did not change my work email, just changed the display name and signature. I hyphenated, so the address itself still has half my name in it. It just seemed easier for everyone for me to keep it the same.

      Husband also hyphenated, did the same thing as me with his work email, but did not change his personal email.

      • Yeah, I don’t even think I can change my work e-mail, so it’s stuck indefinitely (changed display name though).

        • Eh

          My work can have multiple aliases go to the same account so it’s not a big deal if you change your name. Even if you don’t change your name, everyone at my work has two aliases because my company has two domain names (one in English and one in French).

    • Amy March

      I think if you are changing your name, and you care about people getting it right, change your email. Yeah, its annoying for people to switch over, and it won’t be seamless, but they will figure it out and it will reinforce what your name is.

      • Ashlah

        Agreed. Changing also helped me fully embrace my new name.

    • Essssss

      If you make a new email address you can usually set up a filter so emails to your old address are forwarded automatically, and then reply from your new one, and people will get the hang of it after a while.

    • suchbrightlights

      I had two email accounts that I’d monitored- one personal (the email handle had nothing to do with my name) and the other professional (myname@gmail.com.) I have maintained my personal email and am shifting over to a new professional one (mynewname@gmail.com). I’m gradually shifting correspondence to the new one but still checking the old professional one. As Ashlah mentioned, this is also a good way to revisit the listservs and such to which I’m subscribed.

    • I registered a new gmail account before I was even sure if I was going to change my name (JUST IN CASE) and I have them all forwarded to the same account. I switched over my main gmail because it was getting to be difficult with the different google docs mostly. But all the old e-mails autoforward to my main gmail. (Actually, so many accounts do. My alumni e-mail, my spam e-mail and my current grad student e-mail all do, as does the family email I set up just in case for the future–we have a common last name, although combo name is less common, so I wanted to nab it!)

    • Mary Jo TC

      This is a weird thing I did/didn’t do, but I changed my name and did not change my email. Either my professional or personal one. It seemed like even more work than going to the social security office, and more likely to cause me to miss something important. It’s been 7 years, seems like it’s kind of late to change it now. Maybe i kind of like keeping that connection to my maiden name. I mostly changed it for aesthetic reasons, because I like the sound of my husband’s name better than the sound of my old one, which is frequently mispronounced. but maybe I don’t mind the look of the name written out? Or I don’t use/hear it as much as my spoken name, the same way you don’t call your own phone number? I don’t know why I did/didn’t do this. Maybe it was because I didn’t care what my email was. Anyway, if you’re going to do it, do it at wedding time.

    • Eh

      I know people who use email accounts with their maiden name and it can be confusing to people that didn’t know them by that name. As someone suggested below, you can be signed into multiple gmail accounts at the same time so it’s not too much work to check both accounts.

    • I changed my name but did not change my email address – I didn’t want the hassle of starting over. I also didn’t change my email at work either.

  • Kat

    November has been a total blur and I’m so ready to be home for longer than 5 days. We went to London & Munich at the beginning of the month and had the BEST time. I chose Munich knowing little to nothing about it and it turned out to be a great decision. I knew I wasn’t going to be getting engaged on this trip but my mother wasn’t convinced and texted me every SINGLE day “Any news?” regardless of me telling her it wasn’t happening. Apparently she also told all her friends that she was convinced we were getting engaged because they also all questioned me when I was home for Thanksgiving. :/

    I also got a raise at work, something I’ve been gunning for for a few months now. I’ve been working really hard to implement some new systems and bring our team up to date, and it’s so nice to be recognized for my efforts. This is the first job I’ve ever had where I felt confident and happy.

    • Alli

      just a heads up, you posted this twice on different accounts

    • Jess

      Congratulations on the raise!!

      Parents on engagement-watch is the worst…

  • nutbrownrose

    I’m committing to a weight loss plan! I did a Whole30 for October and lost 10 lbs without exercise, so I’m planning to do another in January, but this time I’ll be working out. And in the meantime, I’m working out now so I’m in the groove by January and not tempted to skip during the harder weeks. We have a gym in our complex, so I go down and do 45 mins-1 hour on the elliptical (turns out Hamilton Mixtape is perfect workout music, and is timed just right so I can walk down, do my workout, and walk back in one playthrough). And then when I have pasta or alcohol (my personal kryptonites), I feel less bad about eating less good things. Seriously considering signing up for the Big Climb Columbia Tower as a motivator. Have any of my Seattle peeps done it as adults? I did it all through high school, but I’m slightly overwhelmed at the prospect.

    • Amy March

      Ohhh Hamilton Mixtape is a good tip!

      • nutbrownrose

        It starts out powerful, goes up up up, drops a bit, goes up again, and then starts coming back down for the last 10 minutes. And the music is good too. I was using plain-old Hamilton (the first act is pretty good for it) but this is so much better.

    • Sarah

      I also started dieting last year between thanksgiving and Xmas honestly liked giving my food consumption some structure during holidays but did not really diet week between Xmas and New Years.

  • L.

    Oh, this week. Just a little while ago, I was scrolling through a post I’m in for my business’s niche, and I saw a comment from a woman I regularly avoid engaging with in the group that callously referenced the #metoo movement and minimized the suffering of victims of sexual assault. Her comment made absolutely no sense in the context of the post (which was about celebrating an achievement from last month), and it literally had me seeing red. I emailed the owner of the group with a screenshot of the comment, explained its relevance (glad I did, because she somehow didn’t know), and politely asked her to address the issue. Thankfully, she deleted the comment, but I’m not sure if she messaged the offender and addressed it with her directly.

    In happier news, my boyfriend emailed me three rendering images (from our jewelry designer) today of my engagement ring to make sure it’s looking like what I want! Stoked that the custom-ring-making process is moving along and loved seeing the renderings of my ring!

    • SS Express

      I thought you said REINDEER images. I was like wow, reindeer engagement ring, this woman is even more into Christmas than I am!

      • L.

        HAHAHA! That’s amazing. :D No, not a reindeer engagement ring…I like Christmas, but not nearly that much!

  • I have hit a weird point in wedding planning. It’s 50 days out and it’s so much easier to focus on our first christmas with just us (using the wedding as an excuse not to spend hundreds of pounds travelling up and down the country) but then we keep getting emails about things like chair covers. And apparently I’ve decided the run up to Christmas is the right time to start getting paranoid about my weight, which I’m trying to put out of my head, but we’re into the cosmetic stuff now as well (hair trial and dyeing my hair blue tomorrow!) which makes me more conscious. Also I ran out of my normal moisturiser and my face is all break outs.

    But, I also discovered that UK TV is two seasons behind netflix on Jane the Virgin, so that’s doing me a world of good. Also the giraffe I knitted for my nephew for xmas is so cute I wanna keep it for me. And I have a bottle of wine mostly to myself, so that’s a win (as long as I don’t start counting calories).

    • Cdn icecube

      It’s a proven fact that wine calories don’t count around the holidays or wedding planning. You’re burning so many calories dealing with chair cover/seating plan stress, not to mention the holiday shuffle that its a wash. Enjoy your wine!

    • CMT

      Blue hair!! Awesome!!

  • SnipSnip

    After a bit of hemming and hawing and back and forth, my husband and I have decided that kid-wise, we are “one and done.” We already have a child, which means he’s getting a vasectomy after the first of the year. Can anyone share their vasectomy stories, good, bad or otherwise? We’re quite sure this is the right decision for us, but I don’t know anyone our age-ish who’s had it done (my husband just turned 38).

    • Sarah

      curious to hear other thoughts too. My friends dr told them to wait until youngest was two before making the call but another friends husband did it like month after last kid was born. and very happy with decision. If one of you is more strongly no kids I personally think that person should have procedure. In case of divorce death etc and a new partner does want kids.

      • SnipSnip

        We’re both equally on board with no more kids. I’m 39 and husband is 38, so even if one of us did remarry, our ages pretty much make that an eh, no. My husband also sank into depression and anxiety after our child was born, so I don’t think he’d go for it again regardless. That’s a good point, though — best to not pretend the unthinkable (death, divorce) is impossible.

    • Rebecca

      There’s an early episode of the Death Sex Money podcast called ‘Alpha Dad Gets Snipped’ which I really recommend – the host interviews an Australian stay at home dad of four and blogger who filmed and wrote about his vasectomy and it’s really interesting.

  • Alexa

    Can anyone recommend a good app for coordinating tasks (both large and small) with my husband?

    • S

      ToDoist maybe? Depends what you’re after. I know others use Trello.

      • Alexa

        Thanks! Trello is exactly what I was looking for!

  • suchbrightlights

    On food, culture around food, dinner invitations, and being a good guest with eating restrictions-

    My husband has a fairly restricted list of foods that he can eat, as a result of medical issues as well as taste and texture sensitivities. I can cook chicken the same way on two different nights and he will detect differences in the texture of one of the pieces that make it completely unpalatable while the other is great. He also is one of those people who tends to do best with several small meals or snacks in a day and a “normal portion size” is double what he typically eats. Invitations to dinner at someone’s house are anxiety-provoking for him because he is never sure if there will be something he can eat, and he worries about giving offense when he inevitably takes a small serving or doesn’t finish what he takes because he finds he doesn’t care for it.

    My family and friends are very “I love you and I will show that by making you food,” and I was also raised that as a guest I should finish what I was given whether I liked it or not, so navigating this is a constant conversation coming from two very different viewpoints. I’m starting to feel a little frustrated as we’ve been trying to make arrangements to visit one of my colleagues and his wife for dinner. Originally, husband was fine with going over for dinner, as the meal suggested was one he can eat. But recently it’s felt like he’s completely backpedaled as he does not want to touch a meal hour at all, which has resulted in him suggesting 10 other times, none of which are convenient for our hosts. I want to protect his comfort, but on the other hand, navigating this is forcing me to be rude to my friends who have offered us hospitality, and I’m feeling that all of the discomfort here has been shifted to me and that he needs to suck it up a bit rather than cancel plans that were made around him.

    I have a cast-iron stomach so maybe I just don’t get it and need to learn to be the guest with dietary restrictions by proxy. I’d love some outside perspective, especially from people who have eating restrictions, about how to navigate situations like this. I want to ultimately make sure that my husband is comfortable, but I am coming up blank on scripts for “thank you for inviting us, but we need to do this at Not A Meal Time, thank you for offering to accommodate us, but it will be easier if we do not partake of your bread and salt” that make this an Us conversation and not a “my husband” conversation.

    • I think maybe say “due to our dietary restrictions” rather than “my husband’s” (do you both eat little and often, or do you keep different dietary schedules? If the former, it’s not a lie to suggest the restriction applies to both of you) and maybe “we don’t want to put you out, so can we get together for another activity?” Or just invite them over to yours for drinks and nibbles?

    • Amy March

      I think he’s being the problem here. He is being rude. A dinner invite isn’t a negotiation, it is a yes or no. He’s a grown up who said yes, so he needs to either decide he’s comfortable being rude to your coworker and change his mind or figure out a way to cope, and I think you should be insisting he do that out of respect to you and your relationships. He can eat lightly, he can decline things he doesn’t enjoy, he can not eat at all, but this is rude and disrespectful to you and your hosts and I don’t think focusing on his comfort is necessary or useful.

      And unlike mssolo I wouldn’t be willing to take any of the blame for this! He had a chance to decline; honestly I’d go without him, and also be asking that he prioritize figuring out a way to have this not happen again. You’re doing a ton of emotional work that he should be doing for himself.

      • suchbrightlights

        Honestly, I’m here for this situation- I do think he’s being flat out rude about mucking with the time, but there’s some family cultural stuff around invitation != negotiation that we are navigating here. I also get that food and dining out is a huge source of anxiety for him that isn’t going to go away overnight so I want to be able to meet him halfway on this now and keep reevaluating where halfway really is, rather than yelling “JUST SAVE SOME SPOONS FOR IT FOR MY SAKE AND LET’S GO.” But… under the circumstances, I need him to save the spoons he agreed to save and just go.

        It’s the continual navigation of this and effort to meet him halfway where I feel like I’m coming up short.

        • anon

          This might come off a little rude but I’m just gonna say it…every woman who has ever struggled with an eating disorder has had to handle this shit on her own. Yes, food can be extraordinarily stressful, it is also often part of participating in society. There are about 7,000 ways to avoid eating with other people, hiding behind timing is not one of them. “Hey, I have a pretty limited diet because of a medical condition–would you mind if we met up for a hike instead?” is.

      • SS Express

        Agreed. I have lots of sympathy for your husband, but given that these are his issues I think it’s primarily his responsibility to figure out a plan for dealing with them. In 2017 I think your colleague will be pretty understanding if you say “we’d love to come to dinner, but my husband has some pretty serious dietary restrictions so we’ll bring along a dish he knows he can eat”. For future occasions, can you host people for a meal at your own house instead so he can control the menu? Or do coffee and cake instead – he can always use the big breakfast excuse if he doesn’t want to eat anything at all? How about meeting for drinks at a bar? Of course there are also lots of ways to socialise that don’t involve food, like beach trips or movies or days at a fair or going dancing or playing sportsball, but realistically it sounds like food will play a role in your social life so he also needs some strategies for participating in events where food is served. Does he have a doctor or therapist who can help him develop some? If not, should he? Because I don’t think it’s solely your job.

    • Jenny

      Late the party, but I think you’ve accepted and should go. I think you can either say Partner has some serious food restrictions and so we would like to offer to bring xxx so we can make sure he has something he can eat, or he can eat a small snack before he goes and offer some excuse when he gets there like, due to my work schedule I had a very late lunch, this salad is amazing though, I sure wish I had room for more. I think as long as your husband is a nice guest, “what a lovely salad”, “I really enjoyed our conversation about xxyy”, “I love the artwork in your kitche etc.” people won’t notice. I also think this is mostly his to deal with. You can say what you want (I want to socialize with people, do you want me to prioritize events that aren’t food centric, or offer non food centric activities when that’s an option, or I want to attend dinner parties as a couple, what can we do to help make that doable for both of us, and then let him figure out the answers).

  • Not too much new here. The dryer is still broken, so we have just been ignoring it and air drying everything. (Good thing I have lots of towels and sheets.) My boyfriend and I both joined a gym. The last time I joined a gym was about ten years ago when I lived in Chicago. There was a good deal on a six-month membership, so we figured that would get us through the winter and we could see how we like it. And I’m doing three ballet classes again this next session. And I have an idea for a next creative project brewing so I might submit it in the next two weeks to see if it can get accepted. And Slinky, our cat, is hopping up into our laps more and more. We love it! Oh, and for those of you following the ring saga, my super belated anniversary ring (take 2), made by the local jeweler I trust, is supposed to be ready by Christmas. Woohoo!!!! Everything with my mom in October (and beyond) has made me really eager to wear a ring.

  • Louise

    I am WAY late to the party, but just in case anyone is still reading… My husband and I are a few months away from being licensed as foster parents, so we are going on one last big trip over the holidays. We’ll be in Rome and Florence and then I think we’ll rent a car in Florence and drive to some smaller towns. SO, any recommendations for Rome, Florence or Tuscany in general? We love to eat, wander in beautiful places (not scared of weather), and see old stuff and art. :-)

    • Em

      Definitely go to Pasta Chef and Bier et Fud in Rome, take a trip out to the big Eataly just to wander around and gawk at all the different pastas and cheeses etc (and ideally, stay in an apartment with a kitchen so you can buy some fresh pasta and take it home to cook), make sure you pre-book Colosseum and Roman Forum and Vatican tickets ahead of time (and try to go as early in the day as possible to avoid towns!) Wandering around Travastere was beautiful. Never eat near tourist-y places in Rome unless you’ve done your homework (there’s a lot of expensive and terrible food out there)! I loved this app: http://www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com/apps-rome-venice-florence/

    • Florence is my absolute favorite place in the world! I’m sure you’re doing the touristy stuff like the Academia & Uffizi Galleries, but if you’ve got time, go the Museo Galileo – it’s a museum dedicated to scientific instruments and the collection dates back to the Medicis. My husband and I are both science nerds and this was our favorite musuem to visit in Florence. Also eat all the gelato in Florence (I think it was better than the gelato in Rome).

      In Rome, make sure you devote an entire day to the Vatican Musuem – it’s so huge and there’s so much to see!

    • lamarsh

      Definitely visit Siena if you are planning on day trips in Tuscany. It’s my favorite city in Italy (other than Rome). And if you like art, architecture, and food you will absolutely fall in love.

      In Rome, the Vatican museums, St. Peter’s, and the Roman forum/Colosseum are definitely musts, but my favorite museum is the Galleria Borghese. You need to make reservations ahead of time (which is easy to do on their website) for a two hour block of time. You can see the whole museum in less than two hours and it is filled with some breathtaking Berninis and a handful of Caravaggios. One of the best parts about Rome is all the amazing art you can see for free in the churches. My favorites include San Luigi Dei Francesi near Piazza Navona for the Caravaggios, Il Gesu (near Piazza Venezia) for the unreal ceiling, Santa Maria del Popolo in Piazza del Popolo (which has work by Rafael, Caravaggio, and Bernini), and Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (near Termini, the train station) which was built by Michelangelo into an ancient roman bath ruin. If you want food recs, you can’t go wrong with Katie Parla: http://katieparla.com/katie-parla-city-guides/my-rome/

      • StevenPortland

        I agree with the Galleria Borghese museum. And at the Vatican, my favorite part was actually the “garden tour” where you are guided outside to learn about the different buildings that make up the Vatican site.