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  1. My ex-husband is Jewish, and while he didn’t observe all the dietary laws, he was adamant about not mixing dairy and meat. I can’t even begin to count the times he would order a burger, decline cheese when it was offered as an option, refuse to accept the cheeseburger that was served, and have to explain to wait staff that no, just scraping the cheese off wasn’t sufficient. Admittedly, this was more common in small towns. I haven’t spoken to him in a few years, so I have to wonder if the increased awareness of people having problems with dairy has made it easier for him to get a burger that hasn’t been contaminated with cheese. Overall, I wish wait staff and people in general would be less judgmental about food choices. For example, the fact that I won’t eat seafood doesn’t mean I distrust someone’s cooking or don’t think the restaurant has fresh enough seafood; it just means I hate seafood, and I shouldn’t have to justify my preference.
  2. I'm theoretically eligible to get the vaccine now (or at least to sign up for an appointment) but in my area they are designating hubs and then some pharmacies will apparently get some doses to administer as well. The hub, though, is a huge sports arena close to downtown, and they tell you that if you have trouble standing for long periods of time, to let them know when you register. For now, that's a hard pass for me; I have zero desire to go into a huge building and wait in line with who knows how many other people, possibly for hours. I'm hopeful that in another couple of weeks, some of the local pharmacies will have it available. I'm in the 1b group for TX, which is either 65+ (not there yet) or 16+ with certain underlying conditions (unfortunately, I have two underlying conditions that qualify me). I feel a little conflicted because on the one hand, it seems getting vaccinated asap is the way to go, but I just can't bring myself to go wait in line with a lot of other people, for an indefinite amount of time. You have to make an appointment so in theory if your appointment is at 3:00pm, you should be able to get there 20 minutes early and be through fairly soon after 3:00. But if the process were actually that fast and smooth, I don't think they'd be warning people to advise ahead of time if they have difficulty standing for long. I'm old enough to remember getting the sugar cube polio vaccine, and IIRC that was just going to the closest elementary school with the entire family, on a weekend day, being in line for a very short amount of time, getting handed the dose to consume, and then leaving, all within maybe 30 minutes or so. Of course, polio was not quite as common at that point, although a couple of my elementary school classmates had already had polio years earlier and wore leg braces as a result. I'm perfectly willing and eager to take the covid vaccine, but I hate crowds anyway, and the thought of being around a lot of people who might be carriers, in a confined space, even if everyone is wearing a mask as required, just makes my skin crawl.
  3. In this part of Texas, the default is sweetened tea and so I have to specify “unsweetened iced tea, no lemon,” and it’s as if the wait staff are so focused on getting the unsweetened part correct, they completely forget about not adding lemon. However, the lemon problem occurred regularly even back when I used to drink sweetened tea. I’m okay with raspberry-flavored tea, as long as I know ahead of time that’s what it is. Peach and other flavors of iced tea, hell no. And don’t get me started on iced tea that is so weak that it’s essentially colored water. All this is why I generally prefer to make my own tea at home, but when it’s necessary to go out, I try to order iced tea instead of soda unless I already know the iced tea at that specific restaurant is horrible. For hot tea, I’m a little more adventurous with flavors. English or Irish breakfast teas are my standard morning beverage, with decaf/herbal teas for the afternoon.
  4. In the giant scheme of things, this is especially petty, but it annoys me to no end: restaurants who serve iced tea with a slice of lemon already in the beverage. Not everyone likes lemon in their tea. For those who prefer coffee, imagine how you would feel if 95% of the time, your coffee was served with creamer already added even though you didn’t request any creamer. Yes, I can remove the slice of lemon but the flavor has already contaminated the tea. Yes, I can ask the wait staff not to add lemon but they’re so accustomed to dunking the lemon into the tea that most of the time, they forget my request and add it anyway, and when they serve it, are obviously not happy when I ask for a new glass without the lemon. A very small minority of restaurants or servers handle iced tea correctly by either asking up front if the customer wants lemon or by sticking the lemon in a separate small bowl or saucer. Yet almost all wait staff will ask customers who order coffee if they want cream and sugar, and they damn sure don’t deliver coffee with creamer and sugar already added into the coffee. Why is it so difficult to treat iced tea the same way, especially as many of the wait staff will ask if the customer wants sweetened or unsweetened tea? How hard is it to add one more question and find out if lemon is wanted?
  5. The mother of a third member of my friend group has tested positive. She is in her 90s and a resident in an assisted living retirement facility. I’d like to be hopeful that she’ll recover but am expecting the worst. I keep looking at the case and death totals, and thinking how foolish I was when the predictions for 400K US deaths by Inauguration Day came in, and I kept telling myself the death count surely wouldn’t rise that far, that fast. Fuck this shit. Several friends have family members (generally their own age or younger) who have recovered, and I’m thankful for that, but it’s fucking hard to tell friend after friend how sorry you are for the loss of their parent.
  6. When I moved my mother in with me a few years ago, the assisted living facility she had been in handled all the paperwork to give me a power of attorney for my mother, and it’s a good thing. She could make some decisions for herself, but would have been easy prey for some of the scams on the various home shopping networks. She wasn’t computer savvy enough to use one herself, so no online scams. I did order a few things for her from one of those networks (clothes of some sort) but had to explain that the $200 miracle wrinkle remover she wanted consisted essentially of liquid glue, and while it might give your skin a smoother appearance while you had it on, that effect would disappear as soon as the junk was removed from your face, and it was bad for the skin when used on an ongoing basis. The irony was that even at age 90, she had remarkably few wrinkles and people, including her doctors, would always initially think she was 20 years younger. My pet peeve would be outright scams or deceptive ads online or television that seem targeted for elderly people who may still have some control over their finances but can be very gullible. The existence of these scams can make it much more urgent to have that awkward conversation with a parent that it’s time to give up absolute control over their finances, which is just as or even more awkward than the conversation that it’s time to give up driving.
  7. Sorry if my comments implied criticism of yours; that wasn’t the intention. As you noted, it’s very common in the British upper class to use nannies and boarding schools. But as an American, I’m all too aware that many Americans these days react negatively to those approaches to raising children. I personally am horrified by the trend of helicopter parents, based on my own experiences teaching freshmen college classes. Parents who tell their kids what to do, and when and how to do it 24/7 until their kids go off to college are often in for a shock that their kids don’t magically wake up on their 18th birthday with fully adult sensibilities and instead can go wild at university. Boarding school allows kids a setting where they have some independence and can still make some mistakes without as much risk as getting drunk at a bar and driving drunk. For the royals, I think boarding school allows them to navigate adolescence in a relatively normal environment before they start living in the fishbowl environment of public royal life. Fundamentally, I think parents can approach raising children in a variety of ways depending on their circumstances, all of which are valid, but I am so very tired of the attitude in parts of society that unless you use approach ABC in raising children, you’re a failure as a parent. With the royals, it makes sense for them to use nannies and boarding schools, and ultimately it’s their choice to do so, whether the general public approves or not.
  8. From this and some of your other posts, it sounds as if your parents frequently try to impose their attitude on your decisions about your child. For the sake of your child and your own peace of mind, you need to establish some boundaries with your parents; otherwise, your parents are going to spend the next two decades telling you which pre-K, elementary through high school, and university your child should attend, along with which extracurricular activities he should participate in, who his friends should be, and so forth. Yes, there may be cultural factors involved, not in the sense of grandparents being pushy because that occurs across many cultures, but in the sense that you may have been culturally conditioned to defer to your parents’ opinions and wishes. But it is possible to be polite and respectful to your parents while still making it absolutely clear to them that you and your husband will be making the decisions about how to raise your child. As a grandparent myself, I understand the temptation to tell my son and DIL what they should be doing with their son. But generally, I wait until they ask me for input, and even then, frame my thoughts not as a directive but as “You may want to also consider ABC,” in a tone that shows respect for their role as parents. I have only once given completely unsolicited advice, and that was in a situation where I felt they were unaware of a critical failure of the charter school my grandson was attending. Long story short, the reading and writing homework he was given was almost always riddled with errors in the instructions, and despite my attempts to bring those errors to the teacher’s attention, there was zero response from the teacher. (I had been asked to oversee my grandson’s homework because at that time, both parents were working evenings and didn’t get home until after homework should have been completed.) So I eventually talked to them both and recommended a change from the charter school to the neighborhood elementary school, pointing out the advantages of doing so, but nevertheless reminding them it was their decision to make. They took my advice and I can’t help but feel part of their acceptance was that I don’t constantly tell them what they should be doing and that if I was disturbed enough to give them advice on the school, then they needed to listen. My point here is that if your parents are giving you unsolicited advice on every aspect of your child’s life, you may disregard actual good advice because you’re automatically tuning out what they say because it’s nonstop.
  9. Agreed. I’ve never understood the animosity and condescension toward the royals of any country for using nannies and boarding schools. I’ve known several parents here in the US who used nannies because both parents worked and could afford a nanny as opposed to day care. I certainly would have had that been financially possible for me at the applicable time. But even if the parents are not working traditional jobs, as is generally the case with the royals and the wealthy, not every parent is going to want to be hands on 24/7. As for boarding school, particularly with the royals, it gives the kids a chance to interact with their peers and be away from the royal bubble. It’s very possible to be a good parent who uses a nanny and opts to send a child to a boarding school, provided of course that the boarding school is academically sound and not a place where hazing and bullying are tolerated, or where the staff are cruel little tyrants.
  10. As long as we’re talking about dental issues, I got a mild shock a couple of days ago. I’d asked my daughter to pick up toothpaste at the store and she got a double pack, one for me and one for her. I didn’t really pay much attention to the packaging until I squirted a little toothpaste onto my toothbrush, and saw the toothpaste was a dark brown color. WTF? It’s a combo of charcoal and tea tree oil. Tastes fine but it’s still a shock to see the color. It’s Crest, so it’s not like some weird brand. I’ll continue to use it, but the aesthetic appeal of dark brown toothpaste is lost on me. I can only assume the charcoal is responsible for the color.
  11. I fail to comprehend why other employees delude themselves into thinking another employee’s work schedule is any of their damn business. That’s between the employee and his/her manager. It would be one thing if a colleague wasn’t there as promised for a meeting or project work, but to just randomly snark because another employee arrives or leaves earlier or later than one does oneself is complete and utter bullshit, not to mention it’s acting as if one has authority over the other employee to dictate work schedules.
  12. I recently got tired of the crappy service I was getting from Spectrum (internet going out a couple of times a day, cable working maybe one day in 10, etc.) and switched over to AT&T. Had some problems getting the new internet to work, so they sent out a tech who discovered their equipment outside my house was broken, so it was a relatively quick fix once the tech got there. What I hate about dealing with customer service with any cable/internet provider is their immediate assumption that the problem is your fault: you didn’t set things up correctly, you unplugged something you shouldn’t have, etc. Things I miss about customer service from a few years ago: a cable tech from a regional cable company who was honest enough to tell me that the service problems I was having were caused by crappy equipment that the company had bought a couple of years prior. He replaced the old model with a newer model from a different manufacturer, and problem solved. Then it also used to be that if I did an online chat with my cell phone provider, they would not only fix the issue, but proactively look at my plan and inform me that because of my longevity as a customer, they could offer me a cheaper rate for my existing plan. It wasn’t an offer to lower my rate if I added other services; it was a legit offer to just reduce my monthly bill, and sure enough, the next bill would be lower than the previous one. I’m not seeing that kind of customer service anymore. Sure, if I ask about other plans, they will review my usage and possibly recommend a different plan that better suits my situation, but they are no longer proactive about it.
  13. It’s been about 5 years since I worked onsite at an office, so my situation is a little different. I almost always get dressed for work, but in my very casual clothes that I would wear around the house on weekends if I had an office job. Maybe once a month or so, I stay in pajamas until noon. Putting on regular clothes is just part of my workday ritual, so that my mindset is more focused on work. I get up, brush my teeth and so forth, get dressed, make a cup of tea, and log in to work. I still have a more formal work wardrobe, which I use about once a year when I have to travel to an on-site event that lasts for roughly a week. Thank goodness my work doesn’t do video calls; we have the tech to do so, but use the audio function and screen sharing function instead. The focus is on the content we need to discuss, not on our personal appearances. For me, getting dressed for work helps me transition from “really wish I could sleep another hour” to “okay, I need to finish ABC project,” but my advice would be to do whatever works for you the best. I’ll freely admit to wearing the same clothes for a couple of days in a row, to cut down on laundry. With the WFH situation becoming so common because of covid, I wonder how this will affect work wardrobe choices going forward. Even our CEO, when doing video town halls, is wearing much more casual clothes rather than a suit or even a button down shirt. It wouldn’t surprise me to see more companies move to a relaxed business casual dress code, if those companies have had a lot of employees working from home for close to a year. Customer-facing employees may still have to wear regular business clothes, but other workers may be very resistant to returning to a business wardrobe, which tends to be more expensive and less comfortable.
  14. Three of my daughter’s friends, all mid-20s, have gotten the vaccine; two are nurses and one is an EMT. One reported some dizziness while driving home afterwards, but the other two only had soreness at the injection site. Her boyfriend’s brother, also a nurse, has tested positive for covid; not sure of all the details there, but he had been working in a covid ward and presumably got it before he could get vaccinated. Not sure how common dizziness is after this or any vaccine, but to me it would make sense to have a designated driver to take anyone getting the vaccine back home after the shot, just in case. That said, anyone can have a bad, even fatal, reaction to a vaccine, but it’s very rare. Some child in my hometown died decades ago from complications of getting a smallpox vaccine. While the covid vaccine may be contraindicated for some individuals, I will feel much safer when a much higher percentage of the population has received it.
  15. I have read in a few places that covid is having a serious effect on the appeal of completely open floor plans. That is, with so many people working from home, these people recognize the need for rooms with a defined space so they can shut the door to decrease noise and be able to work. Given the trend of many companies to make working from home a long term option, it will be interesting to see if new house designs move away from open floor plans. I was working from home well before the pandemic, and when I bought my current house a few years ago, one major selling point was that despite the open floor plan for most of downstairs, there was a dedicated office with doors. Inevitable pet peeve of New Year’s day: damn fireworks and the people who think they need to set them off not just at midnight but off and on for days before and after.
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