APW Happy Hour

... With baby Fozzie Bear (no drinks for him!)

Hey APW,

YAY IT’S NOVEMBER. OH FUCK IT’S NOVEMBER. Seriously, it’s November??? That means the baby had his first Halloween last night. (We went as Miss Piggy, Kermit, and baby Fozzie, thank you for asking. Yes, those are basically our alter egos.) It also means we’re a week out from the relaunch, and I can’t breathe.

But hey. Life decided to throw me a curveball on Tuesday. (It’s been curveball after curveball this fall, and that’s putting a nice spin on it. Yes that was a World Series tie-in joke.) And by curveball, I mean our house was broken into while I was out, and a bunch of stuff was stolen. And by “bunch of stuff” I mean my engagement ring, the subject of my very first post on APW. I’m sad, ya’ll. We’ll replace it, and I’m sure it will give me good fodder for writing, but right now, I’m sad. To paraphrase one of the nicest commenters on Facebook, “You better believe I’ll pour one out for that ring tonight.”

Cheers to what we’ve all got, right this second. It’s your Friday open thread, hop on it.


PS. Thanks for all your real-world fashion blog tips last week. I’m still sorting through, but the one that’s really stuck so far is Kendi Everyday. Turns out I need less information and food for thought (Already Pretty clearly does a knockout job in this department) and more real world examples of putting it all together…with $36 jeans. And speaking of, these black coated jeans from Old Navy are the sexist $36 I ever spent. I might go for the metallic jeans next. Because I’m missing a really important shiny thing, so I might as well heal my heart with… gold pants.

Highlights of APW This Week

Everything you need to know about tipping wedding vendors (or buying them a bottle of bourbon).

The ultimate guide to wedding dress shopping is here. This is one to send to your girlfriends. Bonus: pretty pretty pictures.

Fuck that white after Labor Day rule because, wedding or not, these dresses with sleeves are hot.

Glamming up a fake flower bouquet just got a whole lot easier.

Thanks to you, we have 220 comments with all the best local wedding resources you have to offer.

And end Halloween week with the cutest round of Halloween costumes you ever did see (plus what Halloween means to Rachel’s family, old and new).


Link Roundup

Just in time for Halloween, a defense of selfies at funerals. And even more insight on death from the delightfully macabre Order of the Good Death.

Best sexy costume of 2013? Definitely Edgar Allen Ho. And we hope you didn’t miss Kristen Schaal’s bit on The Daily Show about “Sexy Halloween.”

From GoldieBlox, a Kickstarted project by a female engineer who was fed-up with the lack of female role models (and employees) in the engineering world, comes an apology from her husband to their future daughter.

Terisa Siagatonu and Rudy Francisco perform for Hollywood’s Da Poetry Lounge during semifinals at the 2013 National Poetry Slam, and win first place in our books for their poem, “Sons.”

Going into Family Month, we liked this article on why it’s important to court your friends. Because sometimes, your friends become your family.

Beyond Lean In.

Parents in Germany will now be able to register their newborns with no gender.

In which the press asks Joss Whedon the same question in every interview, and he gives his many excellent responses.

Frito Pie! We love it! Meg hates it. Discuss.

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  • Laura C

    Jeans are possibly the one item of clothing where I won’t buy something that started out noticeably cheap. Which makes sales particularly important — one of my favorite buys of all time is a pair of jeans that started out in the $150 range and I got for $30. Then again, I also can’t wear skinny jeans without looking like a bowling pin.

    Also? The best ever way to avoid jeans shopping is Denim Therapy. I have a couple pairs though that are on their last legs even after a trip to DT, which is so so sad. However, the fact that Lucky has resumed making at least some of their jeans in the US gives me some hope, since their quality cratered when they moved manufacturing overseas.

    • Meg

      I love me some expensiveish jeans, but for whatever reason I’ve had great luck with the rockstar jeans (and for weird fun trendy stuff, it’s gotta be cheap. And they have allllll the trends.)

      • elle

        OMG Meg, last week I splurged on two pairs of their cords, which are possibly the most comfortable pants ever, two pairs of the rockstar printed pants, which give the cords a run for their money, and one pair of black skinny jeans. I haven’t shopped at Old Navy in YEARS and…now I think I have a problem >_>

        It’s a wonderful problem to have, though!

  • ohmygod MUPPETS.

    If I ever have the pleasure to get to know you in person, Meg, pictures of Muppet Family Halloween may have just overtaken wedding pictures in my ask-to-see list.


    • Meg


      • catherine

        Why aren’t you pink….I like you pink…

        • Meg

          On my phone :)

  • As someone who grew up in Texas and ate Frito Pie almost every Friday night at our high school football games, I’m a big fan. It’s even better with a good, homemade, hearty Texas-style chili. And Fritos are gluten free, which makes me a happy lady. :)

    • CoastalCreature

      In Michigan we always had walking tacos – the frito bag filled with the meat , shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. I loved it! They were always served at outdoor events like soccer tournaments or club gatherings. Still have to introduce them to my New England friends now that I’m in Boston…

      • Rachel

        Yes! I saw that and was like, “Oh, huh, we called that a walking taco and it was delicious!”

      • GCDC

        Walking tacos for us in Iowa were with doritos rather than fritos. And they were amazing.

  • YOQ

    Okay, this is why I almost never comment on blogs–it takes me about five tries just to get started. But look, now I’m started, so now I can ask all you wonderful people out there for some help on a planning issue we ran into this week. Here’s the background: my fiancee and I are the same gender. We’re both attached to the Portland (Oregon) area (I’m from there, she lives there), so we’re getting married in Portland next summer. Or at least, we’ll have the big ceremony in Portland. Same-sex marriage isn’t legal in Oregon (yet), so we’ll start the day in Vancouver, WA, for the official, legal ceremony, which will be attended by a very small group–basically just parents and siblings, plus officiant, BFF, and photographer. Twelve in all.

    Here’s the issue: The ceremony will be at 8:30 am, so we want to provide breakfast for everyone who’s coming. We had thought to make things easy on ourselves by staying at a bed and breakfast the night before, doing the ceremony right quick in the living room/parlor/garden/wherever of that establishment, then having breakfast there for everyone (for which we, of course, were more than willing to pay). But we talked with the owner of the only B&B we could find in Vancouver (Briar Rose Inn) and it just didn’t seem like a good fit. And although I find this baffling, I CANNOT find another bed and breakfast in Vancouver. (Every time I search, I end up with results in Portland.)

    Our next thought is to find a restaurant that serves breakfast and has a private room that could accommodate our party of twelve. We could do the ceremony and the breakfast in that room. Does anyone have recommendations? (My usual methods of searching, which involve a deep dependence on Yelp, keep sending me to Portland also.)

    So…I guess I’m looking for recommendations for places, or other ideas about how to make this piece work. Thoughts, anyone?

    • p.

      One idea is Tripadvisor. It has a list of some Vancouver, WA restaurants: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g60820-Vancouver_Washington.html

    • Might be a bit more difficult logistically, but what about a picnic breakfast at a park or forest preserve? Pick up some goodies from the local bakery (and mimosa supplies?) and go for it!

    • Rachel

      Check AirBNB or FlipKey! We had similar problems with finding a B & B for Eric and his groomsmen (I basically rented out the only one in town for myself/the ladies) but when we started looking at HOUSE rentals, it was a total lightbulb moment, especially when we realized we could potentially host a rehearsal dinner at a private home too. So that would be my recommendation! You could make food ahead of time, have it catered, or do a mix, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find a lot of beautiful places that would work really well!

      • YOQ

        Brilliant suggestions! (Why didn’t I think of AirBNB?? This is what Happy Hour is for, I guess…) Thanks, everyone!

  • Kelly

    Advice please.

    Our save-the-dates arrived yesterday. I know wedding etiquette says that an envelope to a married couple sharing a last name should be addressed to, for example, “Mr. and Mrs. HisFirstName LastName.” This gets under my skin. I would prefer to address the envelopes to “HisFirstName and HerFirstName LastName” or something along those lines.

    This may have been covered in an APW post that I missed. How have other APW’ers handled this situation?

    • Lacey
      • Kelly

        Thanks! I am getting some pushback from my mom and his mom, so I will happily forward these links and stick to my guns :)

        • Anne

          You can also point out that many people will be offended because you’re not using their real, actual names (i.e. women who do not share a last name with their husbands).

          • Alison O

            and even if i do share the last name, because…i have a first name, i exist, i was not made out of my husband’s rib or something

        • Sarah

          Alternatively, address your Mom and his Mom’s friends they way they want and address your friends they way you want. No one is going to compare notes!

    • We’re sending STD’s next week! Here’s how we’re tackling it:

      For my traditional relatives, we’re doing Mr and Mrs HisFirst HisLast. For pretty much everyone else we’re skipping titles and doing First and First TheirLastName or First Last and First Last

      I wish we had room for listing out children’s names too, but for STD’s we’re just doing “and family” and for invitations we’re going whole hog with inner envelopes.

      • We really need to come up with a better thing to call these, with a shorter name or a better set of initials.

    • Paranoid Libra

      It makes me cringe too. I’d just do it however makes you less cringey.

      Good luck with your mothers.

    • CeeBeeUK

      I agree, it just sounds weird. We’re having a pretty intimate shindig and I’m planning to send them to The Blossom Family. Kids are welcome so I’m not worried about invites and most of the people invited are baby families anyways. Non married couples will get Mr Awesome Guy and Ms Fantastic Girl.

    • Emmy

      We didn’t use formal salutations (Mr., Mrs., Ms.) at all, for a couple reasons. We had a casual wedding. I’m not big on formality. We had a Quaker wedding and my husband is Quaker; Quakers aren’t big on those titles. I didn’t want to both with knowing who prefers Ms. or Mrs. or Miss or whathaveyou.

      So we just addressed our invitations as John and Sarah Smith. Or Sarah and John Smith. Or John Smith and Sarah Jones. I swapped the order around according to who I knew better and whim. :) It was so much easier to just not give a crap!

      • Amanda

        In a similar vein… historically a man opens a door for a woman, allows her to walk first through a doorway, etc. etc. As such, in the politeness sense, we addressed all invites with the woman’s name first in the couple (we had no same-sex couple invites, in which case I would have put the name of the person I knew best). Weird? Perhaps. But it felt right to me. I am sure no one even noticed.

      • Rachel

        Yup I did the same thing- no titles. I think titles are becoming archaic, no one uses them anymore (who introduces themselves as “Mrs. Darren Stevens” anymore? ) I’m a teacher and my principal absolutely insisted that my students call me Mme.G. Other schools it wasn’t a problem for them to call me Rachel. But no where else do you call someone Mr./Ms./Mrs. anymore.

        Plus I refuse to use the title Mrs. on principle.

        I also put the woman’s name first. Because I’m sick of getting bank info, car loan info etc with his name first. Because then when they call, they ask for him and refuse to speak to me!!

    • Really, I’d say it’s a “know your audience” thing.

      For my parent’s friends (and my friend’s parents), and for my married friends who were introduced at their own weddings as “Mr. and Mrs. Guy Lastname!” with huge smiles, I addressed their stuff in that fashion.

      For married friends with a shared last name, who were less enamored with that tradition got “Guy and Girl Lastname”, no Mr./Mrs.

      For married friends who did not share a name, or unmarried couples it was Person ThisLast and Person ThatLast. And for coupled friends whose names were crazy long (like Elizabeth VonMcMilliganowski and Catherine DellaSwignoveston), they got invitations to “Elizabeth and Catherine”.

  • Lacey

    I just wanted to tell you all about this Twitter account: https://twitter.com/FeministHug

    It will make your day.

    @FeministHug (run by a man, apparently) is an account that was started recently in response to some really terrible, sexist things happening in the tech community. @FeministHug is just that… an account that sends twitter-hugs to feminists. The account will hug you or someone else by request, and will spontaneously hug people who tweet that they’re having a bad day or who are doing something awesome.

    It’s amazing how this little account just makes my whole day. Follow @FeministHug.

  • I absolutely love that Bell Hooks piece, it managed to sum up all of my problems with Lean In that I couldn’t quite place a finger on. All praise to Bell Hooks!

    • Yeah, I actually decided to read Lean In after reading bell hooks’s piece. Having done so, I was shocked that it was ever taken as a feminist text–it seemed like a woman-friendly, but pretty uncritical, self-help book for businesswomen along the lines of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or something (oh my god, the name-dropping…). I think hooks is totally right in pointing out what a sanitized, unthreatening, uncritical vision of feminism it gives and attributing its popularity to that fact…

    • Rachel

      I am curious if you are in a corporate job environment. While I definitely didn’t agree with everything in the book, overall I found it to be empowering and helpful. I don’t have a female mentor who could give me such frank advice on how to overcome sexism to succeed within my company.
      It felt to me, that Hooks critiqued Lean In as if it were a book on feminism. Its not, its a book about building a successful corporate career as a woman. Very little of the feminism discourse I encounter offers me practical advice on how to succeed NOW with the sexist men in my office. One of the other commenters expressed my reaction to the article better than I can:
      “This otherwise highly articulate and compelling article’s tone is one I see throughout academia – bitterness against mass media, against the popularization of “old” ideas and the reductionism this entails. I would have taken more from this if it hadn’t been abundantly clear from the start that hooks was grumpy and resentful. And as she says, though with very different emphasis, whether you agree with Sandberg or not, at least she has brought the discourse front and center.”

      • Judith

        But Sandberg says, and is being treated, not like she wrote a self-help book about succeeding in corporate life but like she wrote the feminist tone of our generation. I agree with you that many of her tips are logical and may be useful to women who are in similar top positions in a company . . . but she fails to acknowledge that the fact that she was able to talk back to people, demand a closer parking spot when she was pregnant, leave work to have dinner with her children, etc. are because she was at the top of facebook. It seems unlikely that low-level administrative assistants who read Lean In and follow its suggestions to dismantle their internal barriers to success will be able to “overcome sexism” at their companies so easily.

      • I don’t think Hook’s take on Lean In was whether it would help people, she was dissecting it from a purely feminist point of view and more-so dissecting the common perception that it is a feminist text.

        As a self help book about how to be a woman in a certain type of corporate environment it succeeds quite well, but that is not how the book has been marketed or received. That’s why I believe Hook’s take on it was prescient, as she broke it down clearly and concisely why it isn’t a feminist text. It can exist separately as a good different kind of text entirely though.

        And yes, I am in a corporate environment.


    I’ve returned home after getting married on the 12th and then spending two glorious weeks in Bali for our honeymoon!! I am currently going through the not-so-fun jolt back to reality of the house being a mess, thank you notes needing to be written, and returning to work, etc etc etc… I alternate between glowing from the amazing-ness that was the wedding and pangs of sadness at it all being over. I don’t know if I’ve ever gone through so many emotions in my whole life than I have in the past month!

    I also want to say a huge thank you to APW and all the readers and commenters for so much wisdom and guidance throughout the whole process, I feel like you kept my feet on the ground throughout the whole planning process. And on top of it I’m learning all this great stuff about feminism! Fist bumps, hugs, and <3 to all of you.

    • kate

      Realizing that you *just* got back from two weeks in BALI makes me utterly jealous that you honeymooned. We were October 12 to and went back to work on that Wednesday! What?! I didn’t really regret it, but two weeks in paradise sounds positively breathtaking right now. <3

      Congratulations, too.

  • Hooray Friday!

    I’m going “official” wedding dress shopping tomorrow with the whole crew in tow – mom, grandma, sister, a bridesmaid, and her mom (bc she’s awesome and is actually the one who hooked us up at this bridal boutique). I ordered a bustier that was a disappointingly horrible fit so I’m ditching work early and rushing over to the Nordstrom before departing for farm country. Please pray to the wedding gods that they have something for me!

    We printed out Save the Dates last night and it was super painless. I may have even enjoyed slicing up that luscious 100% cotton cardstock we printed it on. Anyone else have fond memories of the rare occasion in grade school when you could use the full-size long arm paper cutter on the teacher’s desk? I think part of my fun was because I felt like that again.

    • Emmers

      Good luck with your Nordstrom hunting! I hope you find something reasonably priced that works well!

      As far as your save the dates, super painless sounds awesome! Do you have any pro tips for printing your own (ie maybe you can even walk us through your process)? I’m so excited to do ours. So excited for picking fun paper!

      • The actual printing was fun, but getting there had its headaches. Design selection was fun/easy (full wedding suite through e.m. papers), but choosing paper and how to print was tough.

        The pro-tips I have from my journey: Go in person to choose paper (especially if you have a Paper Source nearby), trust your gut, and remember that the stationary you are creating does not need to be the biggest/best/awesome-est, Pinterest-worthy stationary you’ve ever seen. It’s just stationary! You need to communicate a message, a formality level, and a bit of pizzazz.

        My story:
        Based on a tip here at APW I checked out 100% cotton paper and fell in love. Suddenly my ideas for mats and folding pockets fell away and a clean, crisp vision came forward. It wasn’t quite an “aha!” moment, more of a sigh of relief that I found an elegant, uncomplicated form I was happy with. (By the way, if you *do* want to go the pockets route, I highly recommend the online retailer Cards and Pockets. Swatches are just 35c with free shipping!)

        I found a bulk online seller (Paper-papers.com) and ordered enough cotton 118-pound cover stock for all of our stationary plus plain white cotton envelopes. I’m buying purple inner envelopes for our invitations from Paper Source.

        After a cost-benefit analysis (I’m a math nerd, what can I say), we decided to skip Kinkos for printing and ordered a nice photo inkjet printer ($130), guillotine-style paper slicer ($30), and 4 sets of highly-rated off-brand ink refills ($35) on Amazon.

        Total cost for ALL wedding printed materials (STD’s, invitations, thank-yous, menus, programs, etc) is about $600, including postage.

        Based on 70 invitations and about the same number of attendees (destination wedding), that’s about $1 for each STD, $2.50 for each invitation, $4 for each set of wedding day-of printables (most paper intensive portion), and $1 for each thank-you.

        • Emmers

          So good! Thanks for sharing all this. Out of curiosity, what are your wedding day-of printables?

          I’ve been drooling over paper source online– especially things like their embossing machine, and fun labels.

    • Oh man, that noise/feeling of the long slicing through thick paper is so friggin’ satisfying.

  • So, which of you was Piggy and which was Kermit? (I’m not going to make any gender assumptions, here. It’s Halloween.)

    • kate

      Meg seems very Kermit to me!

      • INORITE?

      • Meg

        I’m not anywhere near calm and slightly melancholy enough to be Kermit. Plus I love a good tiara ;)

        • When I think of Kermit, “calm” is not the first word that comes to mind. When I think Kermit, I think flailing Muppet arms.

          • I dare anyone to picture Kermit with flailing Muppet arms and try not to break out in a huge smile. Hilarious.

          • Meg

            If you watch all the movies, he’s generally a pretty calm little dude. I think that clip isn’t even from a movie…

          • Since I can’t reply directly to Meg’s comment:

            “If you watch all the movies, he’s generally a pretty calm little dude. I think that clip isn’t even from a movie…”

            One clip is Sesame Street and one is the Muppet Show, which are more “original flavor” Kermit. This will probably sound kind of wack, but growing up I thought of Kermit on the Muppet Show and the Jim Henson hour as “actual” Kermit, Kermit on Sesame Street as Kermit making guest appearances, and Kermit in the movies as Kermit being an actor. I don’t know if that will make sense to anyone but me, but there it is.

    • lady brett

      i think that comment about gold pants kind of answers this question =)

  • anon for q’s

    1. I love making up anon email addresses. No questions there.

    2. I was having a discussion yesterday and I wanted some other perspectives. If a student is planning to enter a degree program that is basically a full time job and has already deferred entry once, knowing they only get one deferment without having to go to bottom of the waiting list (three years). If the student gets pregnant within that year of waiting should they be allowed to defer again? I say no, this should fall under basic planning of your life timeline.

    3. How do you respond appropriately to someone posting “Proud To Be White” other than “Hey, dummy-no that is racist and stupid and incorrectly sourced to boot” Someone who you would consider to be more intelligent than that.

    • Amy March

      People do full time jobs with babies and pregnant all the time, so I’m inclined to say no. On the other hand, I see no reason not to and the stubborn refusal of academia to give any flexibility to the crazy notion that women have babies is a huge part of the tenure gap, so on balance I come out as yes she should get to defer, especially since I doubt they’d be giving her maternity leave.

    • Emmers

      re: “proud to be white.” maybe “dislike” or something simple? yuck!!!!

    • BSharp

      So, I disagree about pregnancy and deferment.
      It isn’t only poor planning that causes pregnancy at an inconvenient time, y’know? Pregnancy isn’t always from consensual sex, for one thing. Plus, some of your would-be students may have religious reasons for not using contraception, even if they’re married.

      And for another, I feel very uncomfortable with the idea that you’d be essentially giving them the choice between termination and missing out on their dream degree program, unless they were willing and medically able to work throughout pregnancy, immediately postpartum, and during those crazy early months. (Which is an option, but a lousy one—and it’s not guaranteed even if they try to, if say they end up on bed rest or with mega-PPD.)

    • Emmy

      Ehh, this is tricky, because Amy March is right that the baby issue is a huge part of the tenure gap. But people go to school with babies all the time. People work full time and go to school AND have babies, which boggles my mind. And people have other major life events that make full-time education difficult.

      This hypothetical person already deferred once and at the end of the day, the school has to make room in the program for people who will be there.

  • InTheBurbs

    I used Vistaprint for the first time this week to order our thank you’s. It’s user friendly and inexpensive. And they have photo books. That are small enough to fit in grandma’s purse. Brilliant.

  • Hey nonny nonymous

    Further adventures in boundary-setting with my future mother-in-law. Or, I guess, adventures in needing to figure out how to set the boundaries.

    She stayed in our apartment with my fiance overnight while I was out of town. As I was on my way back home, I got a series of unhappy texts from him about how she was insisting on doing laundry (it was exactly halfway between our weekly laundry day), but I could tell laundry was not the only thing going on. Got home, and basically she’d done passive-aggressive cleaning of the things that involved touching and moving the largest amount of our stuff possible. Was the laundry she did the sheets she slept on? No, those were still on the bed. She washed my fiance’s clothes. Did she vacuum the rugs, which always need it since we have a long-haired cat? No. She cleaned the kitchen and days later I am still finding things in the wrong places. Also, she threw away various things that we were keeping for Reasons — I keep a stash of slightly used but still usable paper towels for cleaning up things like hairballs (which are not strewn around at random, but folded and tucked away at the back of a counter), my fiance keeps the box for his cologne so that when he travels the glass bottle has some protection.

    She was gone by the time I got home, so I didn’t have a chance to respond to any of this in person, and it would sound incredibly petty to call her and be like “um, you threw out my used paper towels.” I’m thinking that the next time she’s here (which isn’t often) if she starts making moves to clean I’ll just say “I appreciate the thought, but last time you were here you actually threw away some things we were keeping for a reason, so…” But it just really feels like she spent her time actively looking for ways to clean that would be disruptive, not helpful, even when my fiance was clearly very vocal that he didn’t want the laundry done at that time, and that’s obviously bigger than the paper towels.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      His mother, his talk to have with her.

      Your job is to express your feelings to him about her inappropriate behavior (and it does sound inappropriate), and get assurance from him he’ll address it. His job is to figure out how to phrase that talk with his mom. You can help with that, but each spouse deals directly with the bad behavior of his/her own parents.

      • Hey nonny nonymous

        I totally agree that’s how things should work, but we’re still working on getting to the point where he can do that. So far, not there (but making progress every day). I try to set boundaries without establishing a pattern of getting drawn into the kind of conversations that, in the long run, he should be the one to have. Like saying something if things come up in person, but not calling her to start a whole conversation about it. It’s a tricky balance. I think this visit helped push him toward the end goal of being able to be firm with her. My mantra is as long as he’s moving in the right direction, I will be patient. But sometimes it’s hard.

    • Eenie

      I’m not sure if you’re looking for advice, but maybe she was actually trying to be helpful. From her perspective she wants to take care of her son and do something special for him (like laundry). Maybe you could call her and tell her that you’re grateful that she was trying to be a good house guest, but next time she stays you’d love for her to relax and not do any cleaning. You and your partner like to share the domestic chores equally and have certain systems in place. While her intentions were great, it created some unnecessary confusion in your house. And then end with the fact that you were really happy to host her and can hopefully be there the next time. Then the next time she visits if the same thing happens have her son talk to her. I think her son could also be the one to call and talk to her about the above things.
      Sometimes people really do have the best of intentions. I always start by assuming that the reason someone does something to/for me is because they thought I would like it.

      • Hey nonny nonymous

        Unfortunately, she has way too much history with boundary violation and refusing to take no for an answer to get the benefit of the doubt.

      • KC

        I agree in general with assuming the best, but sometimes people do things in such a way that you can tell about 99% that they were basically looking for an excuse to poke around or make you feel weird/guilty.

        (hello, somewhat-gossipy-and-very-tidy-female-relative who visited and who was carefully never allowed into our [cluttered!] bedroom or to even catch a glimpse of our bedroom during her visit, but who was going to leave just after we were… and chose to enter our bedroom while we were gone to put a note on our pillow. Not on the clean dining room table, not on *her* pillow, but somewhere she had to open a very-firmly-closed door and go all the way inside the room to get to…)

    • Amy March

      Was he home during this? If so that’s a boundary you need to set with him – no allowing your guests to clean when I’m not home, and then leave it to him to enforce that with mom.

      If he wasn’t home, boundary looks crystal clear to me- next time she announces a visit, he says no, because she was rude and disrespectful of his privacy last time, or at the least, fine, but you can’t stay in the apt by yourself since you can’t seem to keep yourself from cleaning.

      • Hey nonny nonymous

        He was asleep for the kitchen part — she gets up earlier in the morning than him. Then he somehow lost the laundry fight, which sounds crazy except as someone who was not raised to listen to and respect her and has a more confrontational personality than he does, I have STILL lost similar fights to her before I realized how important it was to set boundaries soon and hard. It’s staggering how hard it is to say no and make it stick with someone who simply refuses to hear you or believe that you might have any reasonable basis for your views. But yes, we’ve discussed since she left that this is a particular set of boundaries we both have to work on.

    • Claire

      When it comes to picking my battles, I’d just walk away from this one. Especially since she doesn’t come over often anyway. It’s probably not worth the bad feelings that will result if you try to use this as an example for setting boundaries. I don’t see how that would lead to a better relationship for anyone, and you likely would be perceived as the passive-aggressive one. I know I would probably be highly offended if I tried to help someone with chores and got a lecture about how I picked the wrong stuff to clean and did it wrong anyway. Ouch.

      I try to assume positive intent, especially from the people who love us (easier said than done, sometimes). So maybe intead of assuming that she was actively trying to mess up you up, just chalk this one up to very different cleaning styles.

      If she does try to clean next time she’s over, I’d definitely would take a much more gentle approach with her rather than complain how she did it wrong last time she tried to help. Maybe more along the lines of, “Oh, no, MIL! Please don’t lift a finger. Seriously, I’d much rather enjoy your company, since we don’t get to see you that often. Trust me, the dishes can wait.”

    • Paranoid Libra

      I’d say he needs to tell her if she does not respect how you guys keep house then she will need to be staying at a hotel when she is in town. He needs to get a steel spine and when he says no to her, not cave if she whines. I have a feeling he might be a bit of a push over with her.

      • Alison O

        I agree, it sounds like you need to commit to treating her like a very young child or an addict if it is truly important to you that the behavior change, but you still want to invite her into your home. The “no” has to be loud and clear and firm. No matter how uncomfortable it is for you to resist her. She needs to un-learn that your will can be bent with manipulation and persistence.

        Lay ground rules before she comes, and follow through on the predetermined consequences if she refuses to respect your wishes. Set up a hotel, whatever it is. It’s harsh, but not necessarily disproportionate to the situation it sounds like.

        That is, unless part of the hesitation to set boundaries already is that you or your fiance are actually not willing to risk the desirable (or at least decent) parts of your relationship with FMIL in order to protect your privacy and control in your home. At the end of the day, maybe you would rather she be nosy and imposing rather than risk becoming estranged (worst case scenario, perhaps). I’m not making a judgment about that; just think it’s important to be honest with yourself about your/fiance’s understanding of the trade-offs and readiness for change before you can decide how it makes sense to move forward.

        • There are also some people for whom boundaries, no matter how firmly placed, will never be respected. With them it can definitely reach a point of estrangement OR just putting up with the bad behaviour on a limited basis.

          We have a relative who your FMIL strongly reminds me of, and it doesn’t matter how firmly we set boundaries they are trampled. We can be as clear as day and still not respected – for example “I don’t want to be touched right now” results in an attempted hug – but for a wide variety of reasons our best way to deal with this is to just try to limit time together and deal with the bad behaviour when she’s around.

  • Emily

    So this week, after about 2 months of wedding planning during which I had not considered having a wedding party, a 5-minute discussion with my man turned that on its head. Now, we’re going to ask all our sibs to be bridesmaids / groomsmen. WHAT!?

    I am alternately thrilled / nervous about this prospect. The girls / bridesmaids will be his sisters, who are both pretty much just out of high school. Do we define what their role is right off the bat when we ask them? Pretty much all we have in mind is to be part of the procession and stand there while we do the ceremony. What if they say no?? Yikes! & What about flaky people? One of the sibs is totally self-absorbed, to the point where I bluntly said I am not comfortable giving him any responsibilities. Do flakes tend to actually show up when it counts?

    • LM

      I would definitely tell them what you have in mind when you ask them. If they are younger they probably have not been to many weddings yet and it might seem overwhelming. Plus, it is nice to know what you are signing up for. As for flaky people — they may or may not come through, but given that you know that about them already, you can work around it (it sounds like you have already).

      • Emily

        The biggest thing I have a problem with, with one specific sibling, is he’s terminally late! Maybe he’ll pull his head out just this once & show up on time :)

        We just want to honor our siblings since they’ve all been a big part of our story at one stage or another, and want them standing beside us as we take this next step.

        We’re not shelling out big bucks on our personal wardrobes for the wedding, but it’d be good decorum to at least give the girls some money toward their dresses, right? Most of the guys already have suits. Like I’ll give you X amount towards your dress, if you find something more expensive then you’re on your own? I don’t have a particular cut or color in mind yet at all, but we’ve gotten pretty lucky on the thrift store finds so far, maybe that’ll continue!

    • Jessica B

      With the flakey person I would say play up the importance of them standing next to you, and how that is the one thing you would like them to do for your wedding.

      For the self absorbed, I would say they may enjoy being in the spotlight a bit more than they would as a guest.

      No matter what, tell them how much it means to you to have your family standing by both your sides during the biggest commitment of your life!

      My bridesmaids mainly played the role of keeping me sane, giving me someone to vent to, and one gave a speech while the other did some logistics stuff the day-of that we forgot to assign to someone. The nice part about weddings is that you do not need to follow the rules that are set forth by the WIC.

    • Violet

      I can only speak to my experience, but the only people who “flaked” out of attending our wedding were EXACTLY the people who we knew were gonna flake. Since we kinda knew that was going to happen, they were not given any type of responsibility.

      • Emily

        Since you were kind of expecting them to not follow-through, was it any less disappointing?

        • Violet

          Hmm, good question. For one, I’d say no disappointment. I knew “something” was going to happen and he wouldn’t make it. That wasn’t too bad. The other I knew was going to flake out, but I was still disappointed because instead of going with my gut and inviting people to fill his (inevitably) empty seats, I held 5 seats for that person and his family. In the context of our really small reception, those 5 seats hurt. A lot. In retrospect, I wish I’d invited a few more friends that I knew would come, knowing he’d no-show and his whole family would no-show along with him. I invited him out of respect for my grandmother (which I’d still do all over again, by the way), but in hindsight, I would have over-invited by 5. On the .2% chance he and his family actually showed, I would have just needed the venue to handle the overflow like the professionals they are. I wasn’t disappointed he didn’t come so much as disappointed I hadn’t gambled a bit more to have a few more friends I would’ve loved to have invited.
          So yeah, I say bet on the flakes flakin’!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      His groomsmen were older, and had been groomsmen before, so they didn’t have many questions about their “role.” My bridesmaids were my younger sisters, and they asked what they had to do when I asked them to be my bridesmaids.

      The groomsmen planned a bachelor dinner and stood with us during the ceremony in tuxes we picked out. (We tried to give them options, but they preferred for us to pick.) They, with their wives, also helped with tipping vendors and out-of-town guests. We had a rehearsal they attended, and a rehearsal dinner they opted out of when childcare plans fell through. It was a bit different with my sisters, but most of that had to do with our mom’s ideas, not mine.

      You could call my husband’s family “flaky.” APW says often that people won’t change because it’s your wedding. Flaky people will still be flaky, often. I agree, but I also recognize that weddings are very special events, and the way people usually are is not always the way they are for very special events.

      The other thing is you have your entire engagement period to figure out how to deal with the personalities. We dealt with my husband’s family by getting a rough timeline determined early, then drilling into them when they needed to be where. My husband repeated to them often, “This is really important to me and Elisabeth.” My husband tells me they were still late for photos on the wedding day, but we rolled with it, and I’m actually glad it worked out that way.

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Meg, so sorry about the break-in! Internet hug!

    I had an experience yesterday that brought together lots of the things we discussed during Feminist Month. I interviewed at a law firm where 9 of the 12 attorneys are women. I’d be replacing someone who had to leave the firm because her childcare arrangements fell apart. I thought it was a very interesting combination of feminist issues.

    [They’re interviewing other candidates next week, so if there’s going to be an offer, it’ll come about a week from today. I sure hope there is an offer.]

    • another attorney

      I hope you get the job!!

      • ElisabethJoanne

        Thanks. I do, too!

        Here’s a twist for me and a lesson for everyone: In pulling out the business card for my comment below, I found one from the firm where I interviewed. I must have had it for years, because I can’t remember how I got it. I should have taken the advice to write the date and a note on each business card I pick up.

  • Delightful moment earlier this week: on a whim, I decided to look up the dates for the big WIC bridal show in January. I’ve been before, and it is mostly not my thing, but it was fun to chat with photographers. Plus cake. I don’t really need anything, but I thought, “hey, why not.”

    Turns out, it will be the same weekend that I am out in Seattle enjoying the city and meeting the person who will likely be designing my crazy, circus-flamenco blue, totally non-WIC approved wedding dress. I think I’m getting the better deal.

    • Rebekah

      Well now you HAVE to do a Wedding Grad/Wordless Wedding post, because you can’t just drop something like “circus-flamenco blue” wedding dress and then never show us.

      And yes, you definitely got a better deal :)

  • lady brett

    “Parents in Germany will now be able to register their newborns with no gender.”

    so. cool. so cool.

    • Anon in Germany

      That line is a little misleading – if you read the article you’ll see that it only applies to babies born with indeterminate gender, not all babies

  • K.

    I’m starting to feel like planning a simple, beautiful wedding is a lot like the whole “no-makeup-makeup” look. It takes a helluva lot more time, effort and money than people think.

    I don’t really have anything productive or non-whiny to say. I’m just a little sad and frustrated finding out that everything I budgeted costs 2-3x more than I originally thought it would in order to have the wedding I want. I know that means I need to rethink my priorities and (as APW says) keep the real meaning of the day in mind. But it still just kinda sucks to realize that, oh, it’s not just ice sculptures and 8 piece bands and fancy hotels that make weddings cost a lot; it’s all the parts you thought were simple and easy and just…given. Sigh.

    I should probably stay away from Pinterest and wedding porn blogs for a little.

    • Oh, geez, ain’t it right? I got such sticker shock from looking at the prices of things like tents, and chairs, and sound systems.

      • C

        Oh man, I feel you. I assumed that if I didn’t want anything fancy, just a simple outside bbq, I could do this affordably. Turns out that is not possible with my numbers. I had no idea how much staffing would cost, and venues/caterers seem to have all kinds of extra charges that I didn’t know about when we initially budgeted. Sigh.

    • SW

      I agree with/identify with everything you’ve said so much (so much that I had to stop myself from writing this in all caps — I’m just very excited that someone else understands this)!

      I’ve wanted to cry All the Time lately because we’re trying to do our wedding on a “budget” (meaning around $20K, which is still an obscene amount of money) by Bay Area budget standards. A lot of it will be DIY: flowers, iPod DJ, officiant is a friend, I bought a dress on Etsy for about $600, online save-the-dates and invitations, keeping the guest list to about 120 with large families. We’re even serving paella for dinner.

      I just feel like I’ve made considerable sacrifices in all this (my Pinterest board be damned!), but we’ll STILL be very close to blowing our budget. I could rant about this for days. Why is everything so gosh darn expensive?

    • Kater

      Exactly. We are about three weeks out from our Oct 12th wedding and just did some final accounting. Could not BELIEVE how everything added up. And we did it all pretty low key: friends cooked a pizza dinner for us on Friday night, vegetarian buffet, serve yourself keg beer & box wine, friend rates for DJ & photographer, a friend officiated for free, borrowed sound system, borrowed coolers, no real decor, programs from Kinko’s, & minimal bulk flowers. (Granted we had 160 people on Sat & also hosted a Fri bonfire/pizza night, Sunday brunch, and a friend set up a breakfast buffet on Sat. Also: I have a very large family…and many people were staying on site with us, hence all the meals).

      Now that I am an old married lady I have come to the conclusion that wedding related stuff will either: take twice as long as you anticipated (if you DIT) or be twice as expensive as you thought. Maybe a bit dramatic but going into it with that mindset would’ve helped my planning process.

      That being said… the money is what it is now; it was a beautiful celebration, and I am starting to profoundly MISS our wedding weekend!

    • MEM

      YES! We are doing a simple ceremony at the church followed by dinner for 25 people. I got the dress off the rack and am not doing decorations or anything. we’ve gone as simple as we possibly can and it’s still over $4000! I don’t know how anyone does it for cheaper…

  • Rachel

    For those of you who were curious about how our final costumes looked, here ya go: The Nutcracker and the Sharknado

  • We put a white sleep sack on our baby and wrote “Test Tube” on it for her first Halloween costume. She was a “test tube baby” which is all kinds of warped funny to us since she’s here because of IVF.

    • Paranoid Libra

      That is FREAKING AWESOME!!!!

      I award you 10 internetz

    • elle

      That’s fantastic.

  • lady brett

    “Parents in Germany will now be able to register their newborns with no gender.”

    so. cool. so cool. that is truly important, good medical news.

    • Lauren

      This is so important! It makes me feel like somehow, somewhere the world is making progress, even when a lot of the news is so terrible all the time.

  • Meg, I’m so sorry to hear about the break in. That was probably really scary and made you all feel horribly vulnerable. To add on to it that they stole your engagement ring sucks. When I was in college, my apartment burned down, and those feelings of being vulnerable and not being in control were rough. I’m sending you good thoughts and virtual hugs!

    • Hugs to Meg for now and Sarah for college. That all sucks quite thoroughly.

  • Jessica B

    Guys, I was Wendy Davis for Halloween and the majority of people I encountered had NO IDEA who Wendy Davis was–even when I said “that filibustering badass state senator from Texas.” NO CLUE.

    It was very discouraging.

    • That’s so sad! Ugh. I had the same thing when my husband and I went as the old man and the sea…

      • Jessica B

        SHOW US!

        • Haha, here we are: http://goo.gl/SP49uw
          The main thing was sea creatures cut out of felt and sewn onto the dress, which aren’t very visible in the picture.

          • Jessica B

            love it!

        • Show us your Wendy!!

          I’m almost sort of kinda hoping my boyfriend gets placed in Houston for his next position (solid possibility!) so that I can campaign for her.

          • Jessica B

            It was a spur-of-the-moment costume and I didn’t get any photos, since it was my regular office-wear with sneakers I bought at Target yesterday morning. Kind of bummed I don’t have a party to go to this weekend to wear it again!

    • Heather

      One of my friends was Wendy Davis this year and it was one of my favorites (along with a River Song for Doctor Who lovers)! But I live in Texas and hang out with mostly scientists or people who date scientists, so we’re a pretty liberal bunch.

  • Paranoid Libra

    I had my resume’ forwarded on to hiring authorities for a promotion. I am on the edge of my seat getting antsy now wondering if I will get an interview.

    Also helping the husband get a new job as his team lead has gone bat shit crazy resentful towards him the past 3 months when for 6 months she seemed fine. Hopefully he can get something that actually appreciates that his has a college degree.

    Hopefully we both get more pay soon and can maybe get out of debt faster than we currently!

  • Caroline

    So after our meeting with our rabbi last night discussion shared property in marriage we decided we do not want the community property agreement of our state, so we’re looking for lawyers to sign a pre-nup. Any suggestions in the Bay Area for prenup lawyers who are fairly affordable? We don’t have any assets now and want to share assets acquired in marriage but want to keep future inheritances separate so I think it should be pretty straightforward.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I don’t know about rates, but I know the ladies at Lee-Messer Greenberg Wanderman, LLP through the San Mateo County Bar Association, and they’re great.


      [Elisabeth isn’t my real name. If you get to that point, just tell them someone they met years ago through the San Mateo County Bar Association recommended them here.]

    • I think inheritances are considered separate property unless you co-mingle them with community assets. But again, discuss with a lawyer to make sure.

      • Yep–anything considered a gift (like inheritance) is separate property.



        Still a good idea to speak with a lawyer, though! And then report back because I’ll need a Bay Area contact, too!

      • Agh, my comment got eaten, but from some brief Googling, it looks like inheritances (gifts) are exempt from community property. I still think it’s a smart idea to go speak with a lawyer about the ins and outs of the marriage contract because it can be really confusing. If you talk to someone you like, let me know–we’ll need a contact in the Bay Area, too!

      • Agh, I think my comment got eaten, but from some brief Googling, it looks like inheritances (gifts) are exempt from community property. I still think it’s a smart idea to go speak with a lawyer about the ins and outs of the marriage contract because it can be really confusing. If you talk to someone you like, let me know–we’ll need a contact in the Bay Area, too!

      • Caroline

        Breck, thanks. It does appear to be the case. But I’d like o talk to a lawyer to make sure. I was under the inpression that California’s community property laws said that all assets acquired during marriage are community property but it looks like inheritances are seperate. I’d like to talk to a lawyer to make sure that the way this is interpreted is the way we want, but it woul be great if it is. It would save us a good chunk of money since other than inheritances, we do want community property.

        • Agreed. The laws are so confusing, and there’s so much misinformation out there, I think the money spent on hearing that what the law says directly from the horse’s mouth is super valuable. Let me know if you talk to someone you like! We will be going the prenup route, so I’ll probs need a referral next year.

          • Caroline

            Sure, if we find someone we like, I’ll let you know!

  • elle

    GOLD. PANTS. *goes shopping*

  • This is where I am right now – halfway through the semester, medical crisis in the family (partly resolved, should be OK), swamped at work, BUT EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE. You know why? The wife and I dug in last weekend and we have nearly finished renovating our kitchen (which has stayed unfinished since April). And we didn’t even fight while doing so! It was a renovation miracle! Another 2 hours (argh, grout) and this thing is dunzo. Finally. Finally. Nothing like getting something accomplished to make you feel capable.

    I’m also still reveling in the badassery of fixing my clogged washer line / sink basin. Sure, the washer line had just spat a small sock into the sink, which then caused the drain, causing an alarming floor, but I stayed calm, got it out on my own and then cleaned up the rest with minimal fuss.

    Now… for the rest of the house. (yikes)

    • Paranoid Libra

      I feel home renovations is one of those things that pre-home ownership you are all but it’s fun and can turn out all nice and pretty. Then you buy a house start to renovate and go craaaaap why did I think this was all fun and pretties?!?!?!

      Then you finish and feel like a bad ass so fist bumps for finishing and doing handy work.

      • Wait, this shit involves measuring and finagling stuff into place? Why are my corners all crooked? My shoulders hurt! NO MOOOOOOOOORE!

        is about how it goes around here. Sometimes.

        • LondonSarah

          Ha! Yes, that’s our house too. We’re both architects and should know better…

    • lady brett


    • catherine

      What are you studying in school? If I may ask!

      • I’m getting an MPA with a focus in non-profit management. A year and a half into a 3 year, part time degree and enjoying it!

  • kate

    Our favorite Airstream traveling, based in Michigan through this out there a couple of months ago, but in wedding planning haze I was not able to respond, nor was she able to coordinate if I remember correctly. But you guys an APW-meet up in Michigan needs to happen. So later I’ll scour back through the Happy Hours to round up who was interested, and in the meantime if you are leave a comment here with your area/town/city and such and maybe where you’d like to meet up. Yup. <3

    I'll start. I'm in Essexville just northeast of Bay City, heading in to the thumb. Of course I'd love to have you all come experience Bay City, but I am open to your suggestion for somewhere more central and like minded conversation and APW gushing.

    • KINA

      I’m in Ann Arbor! I have a car so can go other places, but somewhere in A2 or Detroit (or in between) is good for me :)

      • Liz

        Ooo! Ann Arbor for me too! Fun!

        • Irene

          I am… near A2/mid-Michigan. That sounds fun!

    • Lizzy

      Hey! My wedding is happening in Saginaw, but I’m currently out of state for school. If I’m in town, I’m down for a meet up!

    • Crayfish Kate

      Hey! I’m on the West side of the state (Grand Rapids area), so I’d be game if anyone on this side wants to meet up. Emily Alt will be on the road w/the Airstream, but I’ll still be around ;-)

  • Stacie



    All productivity has vanished. I want to unzip the bag and gaze at it longingly for a few hours. :D

    • Laura C

      I feel you. I just this week mailed my dress to my parents’ house so I wouldn’t keep trying it on all the time.

  • Paranoid Libra

    Now I remember what I really wanted to post here today. IUD’s!!!

    I have had pelvic pain issues so I was just wondering if going the IUD route could just exacerbate those issues again?

    I went to phyiscal therapy for it and it worked wonders, but every now and then I still get a little pain/soreness going on. I am horrible at taking pills on time and also hated the nuva ring. I am not willing to get the shots or that implanon arm stick thing(I am so technical I know). I am not confidant in the patches. This leaves me possible IUD or condoms and paying attention to my ovulation which well I know isn’t 100%.

    • Anon

      I would just like to anonymously rant for a moment about a friend.

      This friend consistently makes choices in relationships that I find to be uncool (such as: dating men and not disclosing that she’s not attracted to men–she’s decided that she’s choosing to partner with a man because that’s the “lifestyle” she wants OR telling partners that she definitely wants kids but not mentioning that she has a medical condition that will likely make a pregnancy impossible). She also views dating relationships as a sort of game–she thinks that being upfront about who she is will “scare people off.”

      I want a kinda superficial friendship where we hang out and do cool things. Because she’s a blast.

      She wants me, the married person, to give her relationship advice. While not judging “the way she is.”

      I’m trying to navigate explaining that “we want different things from this relationship,” but like her dating relationships, she assumes that nothing that’s said in a friendship can be taken at face value. She took this to mean that I never wanted to see her ever, and then when I tried to say “no, I still want you as a friend” she heard “everything is cool, never mind my requests to not hear about your dating life.”

      My new strategy is to only hang out with her when we have cool activities planned, so I hear less about her plans to find a husband ASAP. But ugh, guys. She is playing into so many of the sexist narratives that have been on APW lately. It makes my brain hurt.

    • I don’t know how it may affect you personally, but with the Paragard IUD (the copper one), my cramps are much worse on the first day. They aren’t disruptive to my life (ibuprofen makes them manageable), but it sounds like that could be a trigger for your pain issues. Hopefully you can get better information about your particular situation. Good luck!

    • anonon

      It sounds like you are fine taking hormones, so I’d highly recommend the Mirena (hormones) over the Paraguard (copper), based on my experience (with the Paraguard, which I happily bid adieu to after a year and a half of bad crampy sick PMS and heavy long periods that led to anemia) and that of a few friends who’ve been very happy with the Mirena (very light or no period for some, no cramping). I have zero knowledge of pelvic pain issues, however. Don’t know if the process of getting the IUD in could itself be problematic, though of course once it’s in, it can be in for a long time, unless it wiggles itself into the wrong place, which also happened to me… Good luck.

    • Emily

      I have the Paragard, and have not had much for cramping issues beyond the first day. Periods were extra heavy and long for the first 6 months or so, but headed into the 1-year mark they are relatively back to what normal was before the IUD came along. Except for the part where there are 3 or 4 super-light days tacked onto either end of the period itself. That was frustrating in pad / tampon expenditures, until I picked up a diva cup. Then sewed a few cloth pads. Now I’m a happy camper who doesn’t need to worry about birth control until after 2020, and buying feminine products is a thing of the past. Sorry, that was a little tangential. All that to say, the Paragard was a good move for me! I am somewhat jealous of friends who report minimal period activity with the Mirena though.

      You can always take the dumb thing out if you find it’s not for you, but it just may be an expensive experiment without insurance!

    • anonIUD

      I have the Mirena IUD and LOVE it, but I didn’t have pelvis pain issues prior, just seriously sucktastic cramps. And those are gone and I love not having to think about it! It’s great and I wish we could all have one.

      But… if you do decide to get it, ignore what they tell you about it being easy and get someone to drive you there and back. And take a hefty OTC painkiller 30 minutes before your appointment. You’ll feel dreadful for a few days, with some icky cramps…and you might be the rather slim percentage of folks (like me!) who pass out as a result of the insertion process. Apparently they struck a nerve and my body decided to go for the “play dead” route. It was horrible and I was off my feet for an hour and woozy the rest of the day.

      That horror-story aside: I would still do it again. I love this thing so much, I can’t even explain it.

    • Sarabeth

      Just got my second Mirena yesterday. If you have pelvic pain issues, I would have a serious conversation with your ob/gyn before insertion about your pain relief options. I doubt it would be an issue once in, but the insertion can be pretty painful, especially assuming you haven’t given birth. My first time, I cramped so bad I couldn’t stand up for about 40 minutes. Second time, six weeks postpartum, I barely noticed it going in. I had taken ibuprofen beforehand, but nothing else. If your doctor knows about your pain issues, s/he might be able to prescribe a more serious painkiller, or Valium/similar. Again, I don’t think this would probably be a reason not to get an IUD, but it’s definitely a reason to have a serious plan for insertion.

      And agreeing with everyone else about the beauty of no cramps with the Mirena (in my case, no period at all). So overall, the pain tradeoff was totally a win for me.

  • LondonSarah

    I have an employment etiquette question, although I’m aware that practices may be different where you are (I’m in the UK) I’d appreciate your views: I’ve handed in my notice (7 weeks – too long to ask a new place to wait, I’ve got 3 weeks to go) and am starting to get interviews for places after sending my CV out. How does one deal with needing to attend interviews during working hours and therefore needing time off work for it?

    Either I appear to have f****d this one up this week, or my bosses are nutcases. I’m leaning towards the latter but I’m biased!

    • LondonSarah

      AND: for the various advices I’ve received over the past few months and general discussions around careers, thank you to everyone at APW – you played not a small part in me actually carrying out the deed and resigning. It’s the right decision, so very much, but seeing other people’s perspectives helped me to see it too.

    • Hm, I have only done this a handful of times, and never after already having given notice. I would just say I had an appointment and needed to be gone at x time, not specifying whether it was a doctor’s appointment or what-have-you.

      • LondonSarah

        Yep, I tried that, I thought for half a day that that would be enough, until they asked exactly what kind of ‘appointment’ it was for… at which point I decided truth was better than lying and they got very angry. This despite me already having made up the time and making sure those people working under me would have sufficient to do whilst I was out and the drawing issue scheduled for that day would be unaffected. One of them wasn’t even in the office at the time, so wouldn’t have known if I’d not said…

        • How bizarre! You’d think that since you’ve given notice, they wouldn’t be shocked to learn you were interviewing for other jobs. Sounds like it’s a good time for you to move on, perhaps.

          • LondonSarah

            Time to move on – oh yes, for so many reasons!

        • Agnes

          The answer is, very obviosuly: they are nutcases!

          I really love this blog when job searching: http://www.askamanager.com. It’s pretty us-focused, but I think anyone on the market will find her advice helpful.

          • LondonSarah

            He he!!! Glad to have someone agree that hasn’t even met them! Nearly 4 weeks after I handed in my notice and neither of them have even mentioned the fact that I’m leaving, not even obliquely (ie ‘make sure you hand X over to so-and-so before you go), which given I effectively run all the joining-up, dull stuff in the office that they don’t care to (like the IT, like making sure new people know what to do and where to go for stuff), could leave them stuck when I go if I wasn’t already handing things on myself.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Since you’ve given notice, I think you can just be honest. I haven’t given notice, so I’ve been making up excuses or arranging interviews for lunch breaks. I’m in an informal office where the other people in my position frequently take lunch at off times or leave to run errands.

      • LondonSarah

        I was hoping that honesty was the best policy, but they appear to run a ‘you’re either with us or you’re against us’ policy, which apparently I’m now the wrong side of. But. I’m leaving, so in the end, I win.

    • Not Sarah

      I’m really glad to hear that you finally made a decision! I remember you responding to one of my happy hour comments back in April about some of my issues with my job.

      I’m in the US, but I think that you usually use vacation/personal days for job interviews? Or you “have an appointment” and then work from home in the other portion of the day.

      I’ve been interviewing over the last few months, but internally within my company, so I was doing it 8-9 am and 4:30-6 pm and one person at a time. That’s harder to do if it’s not within your own company though.

      • LondonSarah

        Thank you!

        I think any more interviews are going to have to be at 8am, but that doesn’t seem fair on the person interviewing me. However, the aggravation just isn’t worth it.

        Working from home doesn’t happen in my office, and because there are only 8 of us it’s pretty obvious if you try sneaking out/in.

    • Paranoid Libra

      I have lied and said I was going to the doctors when I was doing an interview for my current job.

      • LondonSarah

        Yep, I’m thinking this may have actually been a better route. But, in the end perhaps I’ll have earned some honesty karma?!

        • Paranoid Libra

          After reading through others comments and your new ones I wonder if they are in denial.

          How it happened in my mind:

          Sarah: Hey I am resigning in 7 weeks.
          Bosses: Ok.

          :Sarah leaves room:

          Boss1: Do you really think she is leaving?
          Boss2: No I am sure she is just frustrated right now. In a month she’ll forget all about it.
          Boss1: Yea I am sure if we just ignore it and pretend she didn’t tell us, she won’t actually leave us.

  • lady brett

    this is not particularly happy hour related, but i’ve been thinking about it in all the reading here during feminism month (and i missed out on the discussion of lisa’s fantastic piece earlier this week!)

    in the way that you sometimes suddenly become able to pinpoint and articulate something you’ve known for years, i’ve started to *really* notice the way that in “official” situations, people always speak to my wife rather than myself. which is complicated, because that is generally how we both prefer it, but i also find it appalling: as it happens immediately upon meeting people, i can’t figure it is anything but respect for/assumptions about masculinity (perhaps there’s something i’m missing?). it is especially noticeable, as i am usually the one with the information about official things (i mean, we don’t have exact divisions of labor, but i’m the primary handler of finances, house things, handywork, etc.)

    as i said, though, this is something i’ve noticed for a long time elsewhere – that butch women (etc) are consistently given more space, voice and respect than straight and/or feminine-presenting women (notably, even by people who are not comfortable with their gayness or their gender).

    • That is fascinating! So, the authority of masculinity trumps discomfort about gender nonconformity? I would not have expected that. Is it equally true for both men and women, would you say?

      • lady brett

        i suppose it’s more complicated than that, because there are definitely people/places i have more *access* to – like there is a point on the “i think being gay is wrong” spectrum where people won’t even speak to someone who “looks gay.” (it is a fun and skeezy aspect of “femme invisibility”)

        but my experience with the super-progressive and the not-a-all-progressive, but very nice and non-rabid people that i work with on a regular basis has been the above. (also, equalizing for stuff like seniority and expertise and all, so it’s not like all masculinity trumps all femininity all the time or anything ridiculous like that)

    • Re: your “perhaps there’s something i’m missing?”

      Perhaps. Does your wife carry herself with more assurance? Since you tend to prefer her to take the lead in most things, that might be projecting itself in ALL things, unconsciously. Does she stand slightly in front of you, or do you tend to lean away from people when you’re together, or look to her before you say something? These are small gestures of acquiescence that most people don’t think about or even know they’re paying attention to, but really inform our interactions with each other.

      For example: when we go out to eat, servers always primarily address me and not my husband even though culturally it’s typically the reverse (and luckily he prefers it that way). I suspect it’s because I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for a decade and am just more confident and at-home in restaurants, and something about the way I make eye contact or something projects “I’m in charge! Look at me!”

      But if that’s not the case, then your observations are probably, sadly, right.

      • lady brett

        that is definitely a relevant point. i would certainly suspect it is a combination of the two things (and they have a lot of overlap, too, in that “traditional” femininity is expected to take up less space than masculinity).

  • Don’t hassle the Haf

    So we found out we are moving to Dayton, OH in 6 months… Not really sure how I feel… Any APWers have the low down?

    • april

      My husband has family there! It’s not a bad little town – the downtown area is surprisingly hip. Definitely check out the 2nd street market, an indoor farmer’s market with delicious food and some cool stuff made by local artisans (http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/SecondStreetMarket/ ). And if you need to do any remodelling, my husband’s aunt will set you up at Requarth Co ;) (http://requarth.com/supply-one/ ).

    • april

      Hmm. Thought I just replied to this, but it seems to have disappeared. Anyhow, we have some family in Dayton, and I actually quite like it. It definitely has a small-town feel, but there a lot of young people (because of the University) and the downtown area is getting to be pretty hip. Definitely check out 2nd Street Market – an indoor farmer’s market with great food and cool things made by local artisans.

    • Julie

      I grew up there! It’s a quiet city that is a bit past its prime, but experiencing some rejuvenation downtown like April said. The large Air Force presence allows for some interesting things like the museum and fireworks. Not especially progressive or diverse but you’ll find pockets of whoever you like. Lots of free outdoor festivals and music. Lots of colleges. No major sports teams but some fun minor league baseball and hockey. Good plays and concerts sometimes come through, but you’ll often drive an hour to Cincinnati or Columbus for bigger acts. Good metroparks system. Lots of allergens and pollen. Super affordable housing — as in a 4-bedroom 2-story house on a half acre in a nice 1970s suburb for $150k. Not a ton of wealth except in the southern suburbs. Overall it is what you make of it — you’ll have to try harder than in some fancier/trendier cities, but there’s a lot to love.

      • Don’t hassle the haf

        Ah it is indeed the Air Force that is dictating this move. Is it a decently walkable city? Any better parts of town than others?

        • Julie

          Makes sense! Well, there’s a strip of small walkable neighborhoods. Try the Oregon District, South Park, the UD area, and the Oakwood/Kettering border. If I moved back today it would be to a historic house in these neighborhoods. Most everything else is pretty car-bound and suburban (or urban but not in a dense/appealing way). Locals will tell you The Greene is awesome (an outdoor shopping and entertainment towne center in a fancy southeastern surburb). Honestly, lack of walkability is one reason I didn’t move back after college.

        • Suzy

          There are some excellent restaurants coming onto the scene these days… Lily’s Bistro downtown on 5th street is my favorite, with a seasonally-changing menu and excellent cocktails. Another place that’s not too well-known that you might like is the Century Bar – it’s a bourbon joint that looks very hipster but is actually really friendly. And late night, the Cousin Vinny’s pizza guy will just walk on in to the Century and sell you a slice.

          I’m originally from the Detroit area, and right now Dayton reminds me a lot of Detroit, but smaller. Similar issues with the downtown and slow revival from entrepreneurs & artists. I do agree with Julie that you’ll have to try a little harder than some larger cities to make it your home.

    • Lauren

      My dear friend just moved there with her husband for the AF. She has a blog, Dayton Grit, about their home renovations. She is super friendly and awesome, so I hope your paths cross!

      • Don’t hassle the Haf

        Your friends blog has just motivated me to start considering buying instead of renting!

  • elle

    To those of you who, like me, are embarking on another NaNoWriMo…good luck, and see you in December!!!

    (Thank goodness for work – if I can’t be noveling, at least I can enjoy a bit of Happy Hour guilt-free!)

    • CeeBeeUK

      I’m doing AcWriMo! Good luck!

  • Agnes

    Guys, I need some APW-career advice: How do you know when it’s time to look for a new job? What is the tipping point of normal-job-stress and this-is-a-bad-place-for-me stress?

    I love my co-workers, but I’m really not happy at work. I don’t want to jump ship too soon (been here about 1.5 yrs) but I also really want to enjoy the work that I’m doing and feel like I can be successful in my day-to-day. It’s not the worst job I’ve ever had, but it’s no longer a good job for a variety of reasons.

    What was the turning point for you, when it came to looking for a new job? What are reasons to stick it out?


    • If you’ve given a year and a half of time, and aren’t happy – start looking around. Really, what’s the worst that could happen? I’m not sure of your field, but in my experience, things often move slowly, and it could be 3 months or a year before you find the right fit for your next job. If you think this particular job with its connections/opportunities is a good stepping stone to be doing what you really want to be doing, then maybe stick it out a little while longer.

      • agnes

        I think it’s hard because, for the first year, I was pretty happy hear. But then a whole bunch of crazy changes happened and I kept hoping it would go back to the way it was before, but it’s very definitely not. But I think I’m realizing that I can’t stick around for what something was.

    • Not Sarah

      I’m sorry!! So I’m leaving my current job and I’ve been here for 11 months now. I was at my previous job for 3 years. This current job just never became a good fit and I’ve honestly spent all these 11 months wanting to leave, but not being sure if I’d been here long enough to like it yet.

      For me, the kicker here was realizing that my manager and I will probably never learn how to communicate in an effective way. I’ve never felt like he prioritizes me (many cancelled/rescheduled 1:1s) or that he appreciates my work or that he understands that some of this stuff is hard for me. He also uses tones I don’t appreciate, regularly. The second kicker was when he told me our roadmap for 2014, I realized I have no interest in working on any of the items on it.

      I’ve now left two jobs. The last one was partially because I had stagnated career-wise and mostly because I hated my manager (I left the office crying AT LEAST once a month). This one has been a lot less clear because there was no harassment involved in my decision to leave. I’m really tired of being in a male-dominated industry…

      If you want to stick it out, you need to find a way to re-motivate yourself. Get engaged in X project. Find more friends to eat lunch with or something.

      It is really hard. But it is clear pretty quickly if you made the right decision. One of the things I try to do is visualize myself in a new situation and see if that is better for a while, mull over the decision in the back of my mind.

      Good luck!!!

      • agnes

        ooo, this: “For me, the kicker here was realizing that my manager and I will probably never learn how to communicate in an effective way.” kind of hit me right in the gut. Neither of us are terrible people, but, yeah….effective communication.

        Also, this: “If you want to stick it out, you need to find a way to re-motivate yourself. “ is sooo smart. Because no matter what, I’m going to be here for at least a little bit. And I need to make the most of it in the meantime. I need to find something to latch onto, other than fear/anxiety/anger.

        Thank you for such wonderful advice!

    • Not Sarah

      Oh! One more piece – it doesn’t hurt to look around a bit every 12 months or so anyway. Sometimes I’ve looked around and thought “where I am seems far cooler” and stayed. No matter what, only move for something that is super exciting and you REALLY want to do!

      • agnes

        You know, that’s a good point! I’ve been keeping my feelers out for a while, and recenlty other jobs are actually looking really enticing, whereas before my reaction was “meh, that doesnt seem different/more exciting.” That’s a sign that there’s been an important internal shift.

    • Emmy

      I usually try to look around at the things I don’t like about my position and work to change them. I start looking seriously when I stop feeling that I can make improvement.

      Also, I always have my eye open for new job opportunities. Even if I’m not formally looking, I like to be aware of possibilities. And know that you might start looking for a new job now, but still be in your position for a while because the job market is terrible.

      • agnes

        That’s a really good point, Emmy! I have been trying really hard to make improvements, and part of my frustration is feeling that those efforts have fallen on deaf ears/been ineffective/not been effective enough. I think I need to really take stock of what I can control in the situation and focus on that, regardless of whether I’m looking or not.

    • LondonSarah

      When all the people who I had worked with here had left and kept telling me I needed to get out… that told me something… and when having said I prefer X type of work in my annual review and we discussed how we could go about achieving that, they then put me on the complete opposite type of job, which I had no interest at all in, but it was done ‘for the good of the company’, that was probably the final straw. I get that a small office requires flexibility, but when the good of the company always comes before the good of the staff? Nope. Not for me.

      You already know the answer – you just wrote it out; you’re not happy and you don’t enjoy the work you do. That’s enough reasons. Just take the leap. Look for something better. Even if you don’t find it exactly, you might find something that addresses the specific issues you have with this job and get some better experience in specific areas. Be strategic about what you want.

      • agnes

        That’s enough reasons. Just take the leap.

        Thank you! This is really spot on. When you’re asking the internet for permission (even when it’s the most awesome corner of the internet) it’s a sign to just, as you say, take the leap.

        • LondonSarah

          Sometimes you just need to hear someone play it back to you. This was me, on here, 6 months ago…!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Good questions, and something never talked about in my family, though it’s full of professionals.

      Career-wise, I waited too long to start looking for a new job (but I also couldn’t have fallen in love and planned a wedding while also job-hunting; I don’t have that much energy). Looking back, the signals were, in no particular order:

      1. I lost my faith in management. They would tell us about problems in the firm, but not have solutions, or not have workable solutions.
      2. I began to feel unappreciated. I’m paid below the market rate. I’m passed over for assignments. Just a lot of things, big and small.
      3. I can no longer envision staying long-term. I’ve been here 5 years, and the prospect of being here another 5, or even another 2, makes my stomach clench up.

      Depending on your field, there are also low-intensity job searches. If you submit 10 applications over the weekend, you may not get any interviews. If you get an interview, it’s just another couple hours you’re committing to.

      FWIW a recruiter once coached me to make it sound in interviews like I was only casually job-hunting, still really happy where I was. (It reminded me of silly dating advice, but she was an expert.) So maybe it’s best just to stick your toes in.

      • agnes

        FWIW a recruiter once coached me to make it sound in interviews like I was only casually job-hunting, still really happy where I was</i.

        This is good advice and makes sense to me! And you're right, I can casually job hunt and see how I feel/what kind of response I get. Nothing lost!

        • Emmers

          And if you do eventually get an offer, even if you decide to stay with your current company, it could be a good bargaining chip.

      • Stacie

        “1. I lost my faith in management. They would tell us about problems in the firm, but not have solutions, or not have workable solutions.
        2. I began to feel unappreciated. I’m paid below the market rate. I’m passed over for assignments. Just a lot of things, big and small.
        3. I can no longer envision staying long-term. I’ve been here 5 years, and the prospect of being here another 5, or even another 2, makes my stomach clench up.”

        Dear God, THIS.

    • Shauna

      I think a major indication is how you feel on Sunday nights. If there is a serious sense of dread (as opposed to just run-of-the-mill laziness, or sadness about the weekend ending), then that is important to notice. I left a truly hateful job two years ago, and one of the most obvious red flags was the increasingly early onset of pre-Monday dread. Before I mustered the wherewithal to quit, I was feeling anxiety and dread on *Saturday.* I quit that sh*t show, and it was hard, but it was absolutely the right move.

      On the flip side, I know I’m in a good place now because if everything imploded and the place ran out of money, I’d be tempted to work for free.

  • Not Sarah

    I am super happy it is November! The beginning (first quarter) of 2013 was terrible, but things have really turned around. I’m no longer counting time and I’m happy when months pass, in a good way.

    At the beginning of the year, I was in an unhappy relationship and my job was also stressing me out to no end. I ended the relationship in mid-March and tried to like my job more. My job continually got worse. When I came back from a two-week vacation in September, I decided I was leaving, started having conversations with my boss and his/her boss about that and then spent just over a month meeting with potential new managers and their groups. I talked to quite a few groups and finally settled on something! I’ve applied to the job and now there is some process stuff to happen, but I feel like the hard part (deciding) is done! Yesterday, I told my boss and his boss and applied to the job and that was super exhausting. But now I’m settled on what I’m doing and I can get excited about the new job!!!

    I started dating one of my closest guy friends 5 months ago today. Dating him and realizing that yes, I can have a relationship! Relationships aren’t always hard work! helped kick me into realizing that job satisfaction is also possible. He has been a huge help in this job hunting process and with my knee injury and everything. He is the best and I tell him that almost every day and so he does he :) Our relationship is so natural and such a great extension of our 5+ year friendship. We’ve talked about how we both want to stay together with no timelines and maybe live together some day and it’s just awesome. We have fun doing chores together and are good at talking about things like “Hey, I realized X change in our relationship has affected how often we’re having sex. I think we should work on that.” and the other person going “Oh yeah, it has!” and then we work on it. I’m also really proud of how we’ve worked through some timeline differences and how we’ve been able to talk about that and reassure the other person. That helps comfort me that maybe we’ll be okay when we have future timeline differences.

    I’ve started having dreams (while I’m sleeping) about him proposing and it doesn’t freak me out! (I’ve had “nightmares” of ex-boyfriends proposing.) I’m so excited to see where this goes!

  • It’s here: our wedding month! We’re officially 9 days out and I just got done creating an epic seating chart. I’m rapidly approaching that acceptance of whatever will be will be, and knowing it’s too late to order anything else from Etsy actually relaxes me. What we have is what we have, for the most part . . . and that will be enough.

    I’ve started unsubscribing from wedding newsletters and Pinterest boards, deleting bridal-related bookmarks. I will stick with APW forever and ever for its insights and the lovely, reassuring stories I’ve read here, but I am definitely ready to be married. I am exhausted but simultaneously totally amped to get this long-planned-for party started!

    As I don’t think I’ll be able to pop in here next Friday, my “real” happy hour before our wedding, I just want to thank everyone for all the advice and camaraderie you’ve offered over the last year. I think I might have gone crazy without the logistical insights from APW, but worse would have been the emotional issues I would have had to work through alone without this community.

    Thank y’all so much . . . and I’ll see you on the other side! :)

  • SW

    I need an unbiased, informed opinion (that’s you, APWers — you’re the best!) about some wedding day logistics, specifically about whether to provide shuttle transportation for guests between the ceremony and reception venues.

    Here’s the deal: Our ceremony and reception are at two different locations, approximately ten minutes from one another. We are having a destination wedding of sorts, which means the majority of the guests will have rental cars and will be staying near the reception venue.

    The problem: The ceremony site only has 26 parking spaces, and we’re expecting about 120 guests. This means that each car needs to fit (120/26 =) about 4.6 people for there to be enough parking.

    We plan to strongly recommend to everyone that they carpool, but I’m worried that won’t be enough.

    My question is: Is this a parking disaster waiting to happen, and should we simply rent a shuttle of some kind to drive everyone from the reception area (where they’re staying in hotels) to the ceremony site and back to the reception? In other words, if you were attending a wedding, and the bride kindly asked you to make sure you had 4-5 people in your car, would you oblige and not find it inconvenient?

    Also of note: I realize it would be /easier/ to book a shuttle bus, but I’m working with a budget here, so I only want to do it if it’s truly necessary. ;)


    • april

      I’d be a little annoyed, honestly – especially if I didn’t know many of the other people attending the wedding. Are there other parking options nearby? On the street or in a nearby lot? You’re probably OK if it’s not absolutely essential that everyone park in the lot.

      If you’re looking for a cheap-ish transportation option, consider hiring a school bus. It wsa probably the best $375 we spent for our wedding – it meant we didn’t have to worry about out of town guests getting lost, and they didn’t have to worry about designated drivers. Also, we rode the bus back to the hotel with everyone at the end of the night, and it was kind of awesome.

      • SW

        Yeah…you guys are probably right! Thanks a lot! The school bus idea seems viable. :)

    • Lauren

      If it is worth it to you to save money on the shuttle, maybe consider planning out the carpooling yourself. As in, choose 26 cars to be the cars that get spots at the ceremony and ask those people to be the drivers. Then assign people to different cars and make sure everyone knows the deal. Obviously, this could be a time consuming process, but might be worth it to avoid the cost of the shuttle. I think planning it out beforehand will avoid any of the danger of people not getting the message. One of my friends did this on a smaller scale and it worked well. A little OCD, maybe, but worth the effort, I think.

    • Emmers

      Yea, I’m with April, 4-5 people is a lot to expect people to cram in. If they’re related to you, maybe, but even then that’s a lot. It does seem like a disaster waiting to happen.

      But ditto, if there’s other nearby parking (so that you won’t have to have people cram), then it should be OK. Just make sure to give people a heads up ahead of time!

      Otherwise, you should probably find a way to get a bunch of them there. I know it sucks, because it’s more expensive, so I’m hoping there’s a lot of nearby parking options!

    • I agree a shuttle or school bus would be great if you can swing it. If you book something, check the cancellation policy. Maybe if you get fewer attendees (and therefore less people per car, per parking spot) than planned you can cancel it?

    • I echo what April said with regard to trouble rising up with guests who don’t know many other guests. I’ve been to weddings where I don’t know a single other person, aside from the couple, let alone four or five other people to carpool with. If you could make due with only some car-pooling (aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmas all traveling together, or groups of college friends who know each other) then it would be more manageable. But if you truly need every to have at least four to a car to make the situation viable, that’s tougher.

      That being said, your guests are adults. If you can’t provide transportation for them, then spread the word that parking will be extremely limited, encourage car-pooling, and maybe point out some other nearby spots where guest might be able to park.

    • Judith

      Seems like issues could come up at the end of the reception. If you drive 3 random people you don’t know, is it your job to find them and give them a ride home? What if they or you want to leave at different times?

  • KE

    I need advice…2 weeks ago, I was walking my dogs-in my neighborhood, on the sidewalk, like a good citizen- when we were attacked by a neighbors dog. Luckily the dog was relatively small, and I had my thick jeans on but still got a pretty nasty bite on my leg. I called the police and animal control and went to urgent care to get it cleaned, looked at, documented, and get a script for antibiotics. The problem is this: I was in between jobs at the time and thus was uninsured. I got the bill for urgent care today and it was a lot. A lot more than they initially told me. On top of the the antibiotics, which were pricey because I have a penicillin allergy. I think it’s fair to expect the owner of the dog to pay for it (especially since it was at the end of my period of unemployment when money was TIGHT) but they were pretty uncooperative and I’m not sure how to go about it. Knock on the door and say hey? Mail a copy without any personal info? Go straight to a lawyer? With such a diverse APW crowd, I was hoping someone out there had advice.

    • Ann

      I’d mail a letter certified mail with a copy of your bill (minus your personal information other than name) and the police report. Request that they mail you a check by X date.

      If they don’t, pursue it through small claims court (as long as it’s under the amount). Some googling should show you how to go about doing that in your area.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Situations like this are a multi-step process:

      1. Write a firm but direct letter stating what happened and your medical costs. Tell them they should forward it to their insurance company (homeowner’s or renter’s). Offer to provide proof of your medical costs if they need that.

      2. If you don’t get a response in a few weeks. Send a similar letter by certified mail. This time say you are exploring your options regarding taking them to court.

      3. If you still get no response, your court options are probably small claims court, where you won’t need a lawyer, and hiring a lawyer.

      Hiring a lawyer will be tough. In California, just filing with the court costs about $400 (small claims court is much less). That doesn’t include the attorney’s time. Usually for such situations, a lawyer will want about 1/3 of whatever money you get, but 1/3 of even a 5-figure medical bill is unlikely to cover the attorney’s time.

      There are also attorneys you can pay by the hour, self-help programs through courts and law libraries, and some legal assistance programs.

    • The suggestions below are good for getting the dog’s owner to pay up, but don’t forget to CALL the billing office, say you don’t have insurance, and ask if they can do anything about the bill. If you’re getting billed what insurance would be billed, they very well may be able to knock it down significantly if you just bother to ask.

  • jlseldon7

    Today my seven week old decided that the only place he would nap was on my chest. It’s really adorable but last night was a train wreck sleep-wise and I needed some personal space. Baby totally didn’t get the memo. Lots of missed naps over here. I gave in for the afternoon nap because I couldn’t stand it. whomp whomp.

    Today and last night have me really considering childcare. This makes me feel a little guilty, since I knew motherhood wasn’t going to be easy, but I’m not going to lie ya’ll, I’m jealous of my husband today because he -well got to leave the house. I think he might be jealous of me, but I don’t think he understands how not fun a sleep deprived baby is.

    Also in regards to Halloween the baby was a S’more because his first name is Graham.

    • If APW and Meg have taught me anything, it’s not to feel guilty about your feelings on weddings, life, and motherhood.

      My real advice is to drink your nap. AKA. coffee. Though I don’t think you’re supposed to do that if you’re breast feeding . . . ?

      • It depends on the baby somewhat, but yeah, caffeine could make it worse (i.e., kid could end up more sleep deprived).

    • A S’MORE NAMED GRAHAM? I love you!

    • Sarabeth

      A day late, but I hope you get this. My baby will be seven weeks on Sunday…and we are getting 10/hours per week of childcare starting on Tuesday. While my daughter will sleep other places than on me, she requires active bouncing for pretty much 100% of her awake time. I can’t go to the grocery store, I can’t go for a run…and it sucks. So, I say go for it on the childcare.

      In the meantime, I hope she’s sleeping on your husband and you are getting some rest this weekend! Good luck, mama.

  • Laura

    Anybody else really, really bad at being a caregiver to your partner? My husband had hip surgery yesterday, so he’s fairly immobile for the next few days. We’re only 30 hours in, and I’m losing my mind. I’m not much of a nurturer, and patience is definitely not my strong suit. It’s going to be loooong few days. He’s being such a delightful, non-complaining patient, which makes me feel even more guilty for being so bad at compassionate caregiving (it doesn’t help that his mom is an ultra-helper and a nurse who watched over him following several childhood surgeries…it’s a tough act to follow).

    Makes me wonder how I’ll deal with having a child someday. If I can’t handle a few days, 18 years is going to be a hell of a long time :)

    • LM

      Give yourself a little time! Caregiving is stressful and it takes time to find a working rhythm. Your nurse MIL had lots of training and practice. I’m sure she was great, but that doesn’t negate your efforts. Good luck for both of you!

    • lady brett

      yeah, hi, that sounds familiar! i spend pretty much all of my spouse’s illnesses feeling guilty. and she spends all of mine as some sort of magical nurse. no advice here, just some sort of fist-bump.

      also, though, there is a *lot* more to raising kids than caregiving (well, maybe not at first!). i mean, i think i’d need to be a damn sight more nurturing if i were doing it alone, but for me that’s part of the teamwork (ack! he’s crying, you need to deal with this! oh? he’s trying to do cartwheels in our lunch and eat your hair? i got this.)

    • Kristin

      OMG this is what I do for a living (research caregiving). TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. If you need to get out of the house, get out of the house…enlist friends to help….try to focus on the times when your role as a caregiver makes you feel good or smart or powerful (with a positive connotation). It’s only for a few days! Also, I’m pretty sure raising kids is different. There’s something about “oh the baby puked, I’ll just clean that up now” that is very different from “oh, my husband puked…what is happening?” Good luck! I’m sure you are doing a great job, even if it doesn’t feel that way yet!

  • peabody_bites

    Oh MEG I am so sorry that you were burgled and lost your engagement ring. We were burgled this week as well and I have some serious conflicting feelings – guilt for not protecting my little house better, invasion, but also gratitude that they were so professional (minimal mess, no pawing through drawers etc). Then anger. A mess. Anyway, I am sorry it happened to you as well.
    Also, everyone back up your photos into the cloud in case you lose 15 years of photos, your ancient computer and external harddrive to a marauding burglar who couldnt possibly get any value from them. Ah yes, anger again….

    • Meg

      Ours was exactly the same way. You’re not near me are you?

      • peabody_bites

        Nope – North London. Other side of the world.

        My only guess is that we are both careful enough to deter a semi-casual thief, but not obsessive enough to prevent a professional burglar.

        PS The baby (and you) might enjoy a book called Burglar Bil…

    • Jenny

      Ugggh! I’m so sorry for both you and Meg! That’s awful! The worst part of being robbed is all the stuff that I just want to yell and the burglar… really really that old cookbook with marginalia from my grandmother… that’s what you took. Or the round cardboard container that had magazine cutouts on it that my best friend gave me that I kept old bead jewelry in and has NO value to anyone but me…. seriously!

      The stuff is replaceable, it’s annoying and a pain, and all that, but the worst is the stuff that gets taken that has immense value to you, but you know will have no value to anyone else.

      Internet hugs everyone!

    • Jessica

      Oh Meg, I am sorry to hear about that! To lose something with such meaning; I am sorry.

  • Boy, it’s hard to get back to work after a weekend at home. I attended a friends wedding last weekend and I’ve been struggling all week to come to terms with my feelings. Her wedding dress looked just like mine, even down to the pockets, and it killed me. I knew going in that it was pretty similar, but it didn’t hit me until we were getting ready (I was a bridesmaid) that we had all but the same dress.

    I know it seems petty, but boy did it throw me through an emotional loop I just can’t get out of. Disclaimer, my wedding was five months ago. Does this make it better or worse?

    Someone help me cope with my crazy mix of feelings, please.

    • What kind of an emotional loop? Did the dress make you nostalgic for your own wedding, throwing you back into the post-wedding “nothing is special anymore :(” blues? Is the mean part of your brain telling you she looked better in the dress? Is the fact that there was such a similarity making your wedding day feel less special?

      Regardless, *hugs* if you want them. If you’re missing your wedding, maybe start working on some photobooks for your parents for holiday gifts so you can reminisce. If you’re mentally comparing yourself to your friend, tell your spouse so they can tell you how amazeballs you looked. If some of the glitter has shaken off from your day, think about your unique friends and family and experiences you had.

      And if it’s none of that, remember that weddings tend to stir up feelings for a lot of people in a lot of ways. Your feelings got stirred up in a way from this one wedding. It’s normal <3

  • anon

    In the spirit of the randomness of topics on Happy hour and my need to talk over things, but really shouldn’t in this scenario… Here’s the bomb my fiance just dropped on me: His bff from back home (3 hr plane ride away) just emailed to ask if he could move in with us since he’s financially unable to live on his own (disability), and it sounds like some crazy shtuff is going down with his parents right now. We currently live in a 1 bedroom apartment so there’s no way that he could move down and live with us until we moved to a bigger place, which probably wouldn’t happen for another couple of months. But…I don’t want to move. I love our relatively small little apartment, I love not living with a roommate, and even if we’re not having crazy sex on the couch all the time, I like knowing that it’s an option. There’s also a really good chance that we’ll be moving far away from our current city in a year/year and a half to a place with higher costs of living, but with us still not making a lot of money. If we could subsidize him living near us and hang out with him a lot, that would be better, I think, since I value privacy and having my own space over money, however we’re not in a position to really take care of three people without making serious lifestyle changes.

    My gut instinct to anyone moving in with us is a big fat no, and I know that it’s for selfish reasons, but I also know myself well enough that I know I’d have a hard time with it, and that it would probably change the dynamic between my fiance and I a lot. I also recognize that I’m a worrier, but I have deep reservations about besties moving in together, and don’t want to be responsible for damaging fiance’s relationship with his bff (although saying no this might do that as well). Aside from my selfishness and concerns about how I would cope with this change, I am also deeply, deeply concerned about the fact that bff has had a hard time keeping up connections with people other than fiance/making new connections since his injury- I totally get that people (esp college age people) have a hard time coping with bad things happening and have a tendency to drift away/be assholes, but I think he also has a tendency to drive people away, and it concerns me that he’s ending up putting all his egg-friends into one friend-basket. If it was a few weeks or a couple months, and all of us working together to get him independent, I could be okay with that, which is what I’d say to any of my close friends/relatives if they came to me with this request. But, this is the most important person in fiance’s life aside from me, and he needs our help…

    • Talk about tricky! Not knowing a lot about BFF’s personality, my instinct is with you: no.

      However, the circumstances of BFF’s disability are unknown to me. Is he the type of person who will benefit from living with you temporarily? Are you able to tell him, from the beginning, that you are perhaps re-locating soon? If you were not doing that, or if you were a three hour drive from his hometown I would be more inclined to say yes. But would it really be good for him, in the long run, to move to town where he doesn’t know anyone but you, only to leave or return home when the time comes for you to leave?

      An open, honest, possibly difficult discussion with your fiance is definitely needed.

    • Class of 1980

      When you mention subsidizing him, could his family help also?

      • anon

        Aww, I appreciate getting feedback- I mostly just needed to stress out anonymously. Fiance’s actually already told him that there’s a good chance that we’ll move soon (possible job offer at Stanford from someone really cool in his field, which yay! and also, if nothing else will help get fiance to start seriously thinking about life after defending). I think one of my big concerns is that it might not be a temporary thing and that I don’t know that he would benefit in the grand scheme of things, although it would be great for them to see each other more than one or two weeks of the year. I imagine fiance and I will talk this out a lot tonight and over the weekend. His family has been partly supporting him since his injury and he lives with them and contributes as much as he can, but I don’t think they’d be able to support him living independent of them, and its not clear what’s changed that makes this situation no longer the best case scenario (although I totally get not wanting to live with your family, I was so ready to go off to college and be “independent”)

        • Class of 1980

          Well, I answered because my business partner, whom I share a house with, is having to rescue a friend of his.

          This guy lost his job a couple of years ago and is trying to save his house from foreclosure. He’s been doing some work for us on the side, and we seem to have recently committed to hiring him full-time, though it’s questionable if we really need anyone full-time! That’s a big chunk of money to start parting with every month.

          It was either that, or him coming to live in our downstairs if he loses his house. I can only take so much of this guy, so we’re pretty much subsidizing him for the sake of sanity.

          And we’re all in our fifties! The economy sucks, is all I have to say. ;)

          But I know we’re blessed to be able to help.

    • I think a counter-offer might help you feel better, honestly. My brain sort of had a record-scratch moment when you said BFF was the one to make the proposal–not your fiance reaching out to BFF and offering.

      For me, personally, having control of a major situation like this would make a world of a difference in how I felt about it. If someone just point-blank asked if they could come live with me, I’d feel really imposed upon. It’s like they skipped several layers of friendship protocol–no “could I crash with you for a week or two until I figure something out”? no “do you know of any assistance programs in your area”? But if I were the one to offer assistance, then I would go into any planning/brainstorming happily and with optimism.

      So if this were me, I’d re-set the dynamics by offering something more realistic (like your idea to put him up for a couple weeks/months with a plan in place to get him independent) as the offer on the table. Not like a negotiation, where the weeks/month plan is the lowest bar, but as the absolute highest option–because you want to help him, and this is the way you’re able to.

      I just. Blugh. I want to validate your adverse reaction to the notion of him coming to permanently live with you. I’d react the same way if my sister (my sister! Whom I dream of owning two halves of a duplex with!) asked to live with my husband and I right now, in our small 1-bedroom apartment, indefinitely.

      • Emmers

        If it’s something that you all agree is for a limited duration, that’s a very different feel from “now you’re our forever roommate.” Maybe, like Cathi said, you could have a set amount of time he’s staying. And if set amount of time passes (2 months, 6 months, whatever), and you & your husband want him to continue to stay, you could invite that at that point. But if you don’t, you could go your separate ways.

        If I were in this situation, I’d mainly worry about being trapped long term, and the awkwardness of having to eventually ask someone to leave (& how damaging that would be for everyone) if we didn’t have a clearly defined plan from the outset.

        Good luck! We’re rooting for you!

    • Kirsten

      If you do end up deciding to let him live with you, I think you need to draw up a contract of some sort (even if not legal). Put in writing how long he is allowed to stay with you. Even if he is your fiance’s bff, his problems are not your problems. You can help him out, but you do not need to become responsible for his problems.

      • Emmers

        Yes to this! So much easier to nail these things down and talk about them before he’s actually living with you. And a “contract” (more like a roommate agreement– but not crazy like Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory) — shows that these are everyone’s expectations, and we all agree.

    • Rebekah

      My heart goes out to you, because I know a lot of the emotions you’re dealing with right now, down to the “just needing to stress out loud” part.

      My fiance and I don’t live together. He lives in grad housing on the campus of his medical school in a 2br. His roommate is great. His BFF “E” just lived on his couch for the summer between the end of his lease and moving out of state for grad school. He was delightful, kind, funny, helpful, and conscientious. However, E got their third friend, D, his old job, and now D is living on fiance’s couch. He did this 2 years ago too, and it did not go well. So now he’s here all the time, using things that aren’t his, mooching, being selfish and generally thoughtless about how he affects others.

      My advice for you out of this is that you need to talk to your fiancé. Let him know you have concerns about your privacy. You appreciate his heart for his friend and his generosity, but that you are not comfortable with the situation. Ask what boundaries you can agree upon, whether it’s financial help, a time limit for a visit, or other things. Not knowing your potential houseguest’s personality, I can’t speak directly to your situation, but based on my experiences I would shy away from letting this friend move in, especially without clearly articulated stipulations.

      Good luck! I hope your heart is able to be open and compassionate while still protecting itself.

  • ART

    Meg, I’m so sorry, what a terrible thing – not just your ring (although I clutched at mine when I read this) but the whole burglary…that’s just awful.

    I cut fabric for a muslin for my (maybe) dress this week. It was a huge pain to do it on my kitchen floor (the only open flat space in our tiny home at the moment) – so if I wind up actually trying to make a dress, I need find a better workspace to do it in! I have that mixture of “yeah this is doable, I think this might work” and “oh shit, this is a terrible idea” going on right now. But I realized that the dresses I drool over most are the homemade crazy ones. And I never get to wear crazy homemade stuff in real life so this feels like my one shot.

  • Granola

    I’ll have to come back another day to read all the comments, but my friend just sent this to me and it blew my damn mind.

    Enjoy ladies (and men) of APW. Happy Weekend.


    • Well, hey. That article just had an unexpectedly profound impact on me.

      • Jenny

        That was excellent. Thanks for sharing.

    • Just posted to Facebook. Thanks for sharing.

  • Joss Whedon! That was a great video. Slam dunk.

  • Ashley

    With apologies in advance for the length…

    I’ve been reading APW for over a year and have been a late commenter on occasion, but admittedly only rarely since I can’t read APW at work and am therefore often reading after it seems the comment activity has faded. Anyway, I wanted to chime in today for two reasons besides saying hi! (Hi!)

    One is to say thank you to all of you – Meg, the editors, contributors, commenters – everyone. Your insights, wisdom, humor, and perspectives were a huge help to me when I started reading APW while “pre-engaged” through wedding planning and getting married on Oct. 19th! After we got back from our honeymoon, I unsubscribed from every wedding blog but this one since I still look forward to reading your thoughts on feminism, “reclaiming wife”, parenting, and life in general. Which brings me to the other reason that I wanted to get involved today.

    The open thread on feminist co-parenting has been on my mind as we start looking at houses. We live in Houston and each work 20-25 miles outside of the city in opposite directions. We’re currently renting about halfway between our workplaces and each of us commutes against traffic which isn’t so bad. Our lease is up in a few months and we’re now debating where to buy a home in which we hope to raise a family and stay for at least 10 years.

    I’m curious if any of the parents out there have thoughts on some of the trades we’re considering in possible home locations as it relates to egalitarian parenting. Our main debate right now is whether to purchase close to where we currently are or move to the suburbs.

    The city is a higher cost (requiring me to keep working at least part-time after kids which I would likely want to do anyway) for less (but just enough) space with better access to the places where we like to spend our free time, and would provide a roughly equal and predictable ~30-35 min. commute for each of us at any time of day.

    The suburbs would allow for lower costs (such that we could live on just his income if we decided to go that route), more space (house and yard-wise), and would be closer to our small but strong support community. (Neither of us has family locally.) The catch is, the suburbs that make sense for us are the ones closer to my work. As a result, my husband’s work hours would be dictated by the need to avoid rush hour traffic so that he doesn’t spend 3 hours/day in the car. To do that, he would have to leave by 5:30am every day and come home at 4:00pm (still risking rush hour) or work until 6:00pm to avoid traffic. Though there are many other pros to the suburbs, the idea of that commute for him makes me worry that it would be impossible for us to be equally involved in parenting.

    I only have a few limited data points from friends so I’m hoping some of you might have other thoughts/anecdotes about how equal commutes vs. unequal commutes (or only one commuter) but having one parent close to the daycare/school has played into your parenting and housing choices?

    Is there any characteristic of your housing that you thought would be either valuable or unimportant when you chose it (ex: big vs. small/no yard) and then changed your mind after having kids? Given that neither of us has experience parenting, I’m not sure how to weigh the value of extra space for kids and lower costs vs. equal commuting/division of parenting time.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts from anyone still reading/commenting. And Meg, I am so sorry to hear about the invasion this week. Sending big hugs your way.

    • lady brett

      congrats on your marriage!

      that is a super-complicated question, basically because it comes down to weighing very personal priorities against each other. but i have a few thoughts:

      if y’all are seriously considering/planning for you to work part-time or not at all, then your parenting goal probably cannot be “equally involved.” maybe “both significantly involved” or “both good, involved parents in a functional family,” but you probably need to define in more detail what that means to you. (this goes both ways – taking care of a kid full-time is damn hard work, but on the other hand so is working, and it gets a bit more differentiated when the kid’s in school or daycare.)

      if this were us, we would never, ever be able to decide based on the big-picture questions – we rely heavily on a sort of mental role-play in big decisions (so, for me, it might be: i find driving in traffic as or more draining than work, and i don’t do well with early mornings, so with that schedule, i would not be able to contribute much at all to the house/kids on weeknights – is that okay, can i really dig in on weekends or is that simply going to be untenable? etc.)

      as for our house, we use exactly the parts of the house we did before kids plus the kids’ bedroom (admittedly, i can see this being different with older kids with a want of privacy, perhaps). youngish kids don’t need *all the things*, and they tend to want to be where you are (plus, they don’t take up that much space, literally!)

      good luck! it’s a pretty huge decision (and, you know, sometimes you buy a house you think you’ll stay in forever and then decide to move to a different state 5 years later. planning is good, but there are always curveballs, too).

      • Ashley

        Thank you, Lady Brett!!

        That’s a very good point on the wording regarding division of parenting responsibilities if I end up working less than full-time. I think you and I are on the same page though. Both “significantly involved” is probably a good way to put what we’re thinking of – or both significantly involved outside of working hours with the idea (which may/may not be quite true, but let’s say at a high level) that the work of work and the work of childcare during business hours balance each other in different ways and provide equal value to the family/household.

        Anyway, it is a complicated question I realize. :) Thanks for your inputs! I like your suggestion of mental role-playing on the trades. Going through it that way and talking about what our daily schedule would actually be like with one commute scenario vs. the other and how much flexibility we would expect to have to adjust to sick days, appointments, life in general as needed was a big help. Also good to think about the fact that younger kids don’t need as much space as older kids tend to want. We did get to see several suburban properties over the weekend and revisited a city property we had seen at an open house… and for which we decided to put in an offer tonight! A bit nerve-wracking in some ways being my first time through the offer process (and husband’s first time through in the U.S.), but we’ll see how this goes! =) And yes, you’re absolutely right that even though we love this house for the fact that we could see ourselves in it for at least 10 years – life may change that idea down the road!

  • Oakland Sarah

    ZOMG! I just sent an email in booking our venue!

    We have a venue! and a date! and it’s happening!

    • catherine

      Woohoo! Awesome, congrats!

  • Seshat

    Ugh… I am SO glad this week is over. We rolled out a new system at work that none of our customers understand (or just haven’t bothered to read the training yet Grrrrrr) so we’ve been beyond swamped. On top of that I started being trained on some new tasks since someone in the department left. I was so exhausted when I got home that I fell asleep immediately after dinner and just woke up again now.

    On top of work chaos I had a complete melt down over our cell phone service which I have been unhappy with for a while. After day 2 of crazy busy work I was trying to call my fiance so he could pick some stuff on his way home since I was beat. After trying for over 5 minutes to call him and only getting “call ended” messages immediately after hitting call I announced I was DONE WITH THIS EFFIN COMPANY and we switched plans the next day. So now I have a phone that makes calls and actually gets service at my home and work.

    The good parts of the week though: wedding venue/catering estimate came in at close to $1000 less than what we were expecting (yay!) and I have a job interview on Monday (woot!). I’m sort it of freaking out about the interview though. The hiring manager personally approached me and said she really wanted me to apply since we’ve worked on projects together before so I shouldn’t be worried right? But now I keep seeing posts on hiring disappointment so I’m waiting for something to go wrong (awesome pre-interview mentality, no?).

  • Nicole

    I have the hugest poetry crush on Rudy. I’ve seen him multiple times and it never gets old. Glad to see him getting recognized from a website I love. :)

  • We just got home from a month-long trip to SE Asia. Tonight I talked about our first stay in Singapore: http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/singapore-october-12-13/

    Also, I am still working on being comfortable in our house after a break-in we have over a month ago now. I definitely understand what you’re going through, Meg! I am so sorry that they got your engagement ring. Everyone keeps telling us it was a good thing for us that we were out because it could’ve been a personal endangerment issue. Not that comforting but I’m glad you and the baby are safe.

  • aly

    i sent out most of my invitations that i designed and assembled myself! and have already gotten this feedback from a great uncle “what a marvelous invitation — most elegant ever!” we get married in early january and we have our honeymoon paid for (YAY) and meet with our officiant on tuesday (YAY!) feeling good about progress but still have a lot to do before the wedding! all while my fiance goes to school more-than-full-time and i try to get promoted at work… i work in retail so the next two months of my life will be crazy even in the nonwedding related parts!

  • Frances

    Oh Meg, I’m so sorry about your burglary. I know that feeling too well. My late grandmother-in-law’s engagement ring that she left to me was stolen in September and I was devastated. It’s only stuff etc etc and I hope you enjoy finding a replacement, but it is a miserable experience to go through and I sympathise completely.

  • I have a GoldieBlox! I’m saving it for future children. Or for my best friend’s daughter maybe.

  • Maria

    A link for next week’s link roundup – a fascinating article about Lorde, who I knew nothing about besides the fact that she sang Royals, and who is actually really inspiring.

    Included this quote for the APW feminism discussion:

    Suffice to say, she’s a feminist.
    “Absolutely. Wholeheartedly,” she says. “I think women who say, ‘No, I’m not a feminist — I love men,’ I think that is just… You don’t know what it means. You think it means that, ‘I don’t shave under my arms, I burn my bras. Fuck men!’ How could you be so uneducated, and so unwilling to learn about something which is so important to you?”