182 thoughts on “Advice Column Friday

  1. The first comment is also a good example:

    When it came time to split the bill, the other couple suggested 50/50. We were floored because we had ordered less expensive dishes and soft drinks, while the other couple ordered appetizers and several cocktails— neither of which we shared— in addition to pricey meals. We ended up agreeing, but only because we were put on the spot and didn’t want to come off as rude (like them!). We left the restaurant feeling robbed that day…and have never gone out with that couple since.

    I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Indeed I’m surprised neither the OP or the commenter ever picked up on the idea that it’s rude and unseemly to worry about small amounts of money. Unless you’re in the very most desperate financial circumstances. And if you are, you have no business being out in the first place.

  2. Given that you just paid $45 for a round of golf, $1.50 seems a bit much. However depending on the frequency, if one person is always reserving the time, paying the $3, and the other players are not even offering to compensate, the cost can add up, but more importantly the person reserving may feel taken advantage of. Not so much about the $3, but about always being the one doing the extra work.

    On other things, you just never know another person’s financial position or how similar situations have bitten them in the past. In college, my best friend and I took turns paying for things and kept a running who owes who how much in our heads. BITD $10 was a lot, so if we ever hit the point where one owed the other $10, we paid up and started over. Currently, my circle of friends tends to just Venmo. Friend 1 picked up an extra dozen eggs for me, I send the $3-4 using Venmo. It just keeps us from inadvertently building up a debt and helps out one friend who after losing her job is pinching pennies.

  3. At my age, I would think it was really odd for someone to ask for $1.50. Different story if everyone is a struggling student.

  4. Rhett – I disagree, because what is small amounts? Is a small amount $25, $50, or $100? If our meal was $25 per person and theirs was $50 per person, then I am paying another $25. I think it is polite for the 50/50 offer to come from those who spent less not more.

    In a new job fairly early in my career, I got caught in a situation that has made me sensitive to this ever since. It was going through a divorce and moving into my own place had drained my savings. My first week on the job was a birthday celebration for co-workers where everyone went. I ordered two appetizers and water because that with tip and tax was $10 and all I could afford. The table ordered more expensive meals, desserts and coffee, then split it evenly. My part came to $20 with no paycheck for 3 more weeks. A $10-20 differential today is no big deal, but that day, it meant Ramen for the last week of the month.

  5. I suspect AustinMom’s comment picks up on something that is changing as a result of technology: Venmo and other apps make it SO much easier to equalize payments that people who are used to that may not even think twice about asking for small amounts.

    If you think about it, 30+ years ago, you’d need to go to the bank in person to withdraw the right amount of cash or write a check, which the recipient would then have to go to the bank to deposit. You’re not going to go to that effort for, say $0.38, unless you (a) really really really need the $0.38, or (b) are an asshole.

    Give it another 10-ish years and with the beauty of ATMs, you no longer have to make it to the bank between say 10-5 M-F, but you still have to withdraw your $20s and get exact change, or again write a check. Again: more effort than $0.50 is worth.

    Now, though, it’s just as easy to transfer $0.17 as it is to transfer $200. And I suspect that greater ease is changing customs and expectations. I have access to DD’s bank account, and when I go in to make transfers or true up what she owes me for something, I see *tons* of small transfers that I am assuming are true-ups between her and her friends for her share of things like their dinner at Sonic. It just seems like the bar is so much lower, and immediate true-ups are now the standard approach, and so DD and her friends may grow up expecting that good manners *requires* an immediate true-up for everything. (Of course, pushing things to the extent the golf buddy did here is total overkill, so ITA that HITA here.)

    Personally, I’m still old-school. I try to be the anti-asshole — offering to split if I’ve spent less, offering to do equal shares when I’ve spent more, but generally going along with whatever people want. In large groups I will often volunteer to be the one to pu it on my card, both because I am often short of cash (too lazy to go to the ATM), and because that way I can make sure the waitstaff gets a reasonable tip. It’s my little pay-it-forward bit from being on the other side of the affordability equation when I was younger.

  6. My part came to $20 with no paycheck for 3 more weeks.

    You didn’t have a credit card?

  7. If our meal was $25 per person and theirs was $50 per person, then I am paying another $25.

    If $25 is going to break you then you have no business going out to eat in the first place.

  8. Rhett – I disagree, because what is small amounts? Is a small amount $25, $50, or $100? If our meal was $25 per person and theirs was $50 per person, then I am paying another $25. I think it is polite for the 50/50 offer to come from those who spent less not more.

    Yes, this. In the comment example, this could easily be a difference of $50 per couple. That’s a lot of money to a lot of people. IME, the people who want to split the check evenly are the ones who ordered more expensive food/drinks.

    As LfB said, with the ease of making small payments now, there’s an expectation of evening things up right away. And similarly, it’s easy to get separate checks now, so there’s nothing wrong with asking for that up front if that’s what you want.

  9. This is such an interesting topic. To me I guess it’s ok to be internally annoyed. But even then it’s almost unspeakably petty. But to verbalize to another human that $25 is going to break you is to announce to the world that you have failed as a man. It is an unutterable humiliation.

  10. If $25 is going to break you then you have no business going out to eat in the first place.

    Rhett, seriously? It’s not about it “breaking you”, it’s about basic budgeting. If I’ve budgeted $30 for going out to dinner and ordered according, why the hell should I have to pay an extra $25 to cover my companions’ more expensive meals?

  11. I’ve budgeted $30 for going out to dinner and ordered according, why the hell should I have to pay an extra $25 to cover my companions’ more expensive meals?

    Because you’re a generous human being who wants to make sure everyone has a good time and feels free to order what they want.

  12. “If $25 is going to break you then you have no business going out to eat in the first place.”

    What?! Everyone needs to have some fun every now and then. There was definitely a time in my life when having to pay $25 for someone else’s meal would have been difficult even though I had budgeted for mine. I am happy that I no longer have to worry about that kind of stuff, but lots of people cannot swing an extra $25 or $50. I think good manners means being sensitive to this and not screwing people out of money. But $1.50 is just too little in 2021 for this rule to apply when you spent $50 golfing.

  13. I think good manners means being sensitive to this and not screwing people out of money.

    It’s always far better to just pick up the check. No argument there. It’s always better to insist you pay more if you’ve ordered more. Or again, pick up the entire check. But to be the one who objects because someone else got a second G&T? Shudder.

  14. I agree with all that Austin has said. Don’t suggest 50/50 unless you know that yours was less. I’ve never gotten into details to the cents, but sometimes I’ll “true up” by saying that I’ll take care of the whole tip. And then leave the little book open if anyone needs to ensure that it’s really 20% of the whole thing.

    The golf buddy sounds really persnickety and cheap (and I still can’t figure out who paid what as a result of the reservation confusion) but I still wouldn’t drop the friendship over it. One, it can be really hard to make friends. Two, I often like eccentric people. And three, it’s just as cheap to be a pita about repaying $1.50 as it is to insist on it in the first place. (There’s a Seinfeld episode where Jerry owes George $10 but all he has is a $20 bill. George says “oh that’s fine, I’ll take it, and just owe you $10.” And Jerry’s like “or I could just keep my $20 and owe you $10. It’s the same thing.” And George tries to play it off, but of course has to keep insisting that he should hold the 20.)

    Finally, carry some damn cash. It makes a lot of things easier.

  15. I made very little at my first job and had overextended myself a bit on housing, so my entertainment budget was thin. I definitely remember carefully calculating what I could spend at dinner with friends, and was always a bit apprehensive about larger groups where it would be less easy to ask for separate checks.

    A great pleasure today is being able not to worry about splitting the check/being more generous about what I cover. I also look forward to having DD invite a friend to join us for dinner out and treating everyone.

  16. I think what makes this so petty is both the fact that $1.50 is not a lot of money but it’s really in the context of people GOLFING and spending $50 just for the green fees – not to mention the kind of financial position you have to be in to have all the gear, etc.

    I don’t think it’s really the same thing as having a 2x differential on a dinner out.

    That said, I tend to want to split things 50/50, but if there is a material differential (e.g., I had two drinks and friend had zero), I will definitely offer to pay more. I would not consider me buying a $16.50 entree while my friend bought a $15 entree a material differential.

  17. Finally, carry some damn cash. It makes a lot of things easier.

    Or just use venmo to even it up. It’s a generational thing – kids these days don’t like cash. A local radio show host was talking a few months ago about how his 18 year old stepdaughter asked him if she could give him $11 and have him venmo it to her because she doesn’t like to have cash. Then when we were visiting DS a couple of weeks later, he asked me to the same thing, although with $120.

  18. Rhett – my friend who’s the Boston real estate magnate (Tuck MBA)? When we would go out as a group, particularly on deployment or other ports, he was infamously the one who had to dissect the check down to the penny, in a group of maybe six or eight guys. It’s a little bit because he was cheap, and a little bit because he just likes math and maybe is a bit obsessive.

    But I remember being at a beautiful outdoor table in Sardinia overlooking the crystal blue Mediterranean, and he’s calculating who owes exactly what Euros. He caught a lot of shit for not being able to just enjoy the moment after two months of being underwater.

    I guess he’s cheap, but he’s definitely not ungenerous, if that makes sense.

  19. DD: I agree that the couple should have just said “we’d prefer separate checks” or discretely asked for this at the start of the meal. But then they wouldn’t get to feel morally superior. We abstained from alcohol! We didn’t overindulge (no apps, no luxury items)! We’re too polite to state our preferences! Our Puritanism wasn’t rewarded and instead we were robbed! (But it’s totally ok to ghost the other couple afterwards.)

  20. “It’s always far better to just pick up the check. No argument there. It’s always better to insist you pay more if you’ve ordered more. Or again, pick up the entire check. But to be the one who objects because someone else got a second G&T? Shudder.”

    @Rhett – I tend to agree within reason and within the friend group & financial situation we are in.

    One person in my friend group is notorious for this. We will be staying at someone’s family’s fabulous house FOR FREE for a girls’ weekend, go to the store to buy groceries, and she will want to go through the groceries we bought and nix things that she “won’t eat”. After one time where this became an issue years ago, we started heading this off by just having her buy her own stuff while the rest of us split (awkward for her but fine), or picking up checks to avoid conflict. Am I still friends with this person though? Absolutely – she has many, many other wonderful qualities. And it’s worth it to me to just go buy the snacks for the house out of my own pocket or buy extra rounds at the bar & treat my friends rather than worry about it. This person is not a moocher in general – she is generous in other ways, so it is just something to accept.

  21. “If $25 is going to break you then you have no business going out to eat in the first place.”

    You’re being awful. Maybe someone wants to go out with friends, and the friends don’t want to go to Burger King, so they go to the Italian place and the more-broke friend has an app and no wine. She shouldn’t have to pay for the people who had the apps and wine. And dessert. And coffee.

    If I’m going out with other affluent people, I ask for separate checks, which is pretty standard now at most places. When I’m going out with more-broke friends I just pay the whole thing and someone else usually leaves the tip. (If they don’t then obviously I leave it.)

  22. Minca, I didn’t get that from the comment at all. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on the short end too many times of having to pay more than my share. Another example of how we all see things through our own filters.

  23. Two, I often like eccentric people.

    Very true. People can be wonderful but have a few weird hang-ups, annoying habits, etc. .

  24. “It’s always far better to just pick up the check. No argument there. It’s always better to insist you pay more if you’ve ordered more. Or again, pick up the entire check. But to be the one who objects because someone else got a second G&T? Shudder.”

    Agree. But that is very different than saying you have no business going out to dinner if you aren’t willing and able to pay for my $25 bottle of wine you didn’t drink.

  25. Minca, I didn’t get that from the comment at all.

    I totally got the same impression as Minca.

  26. Venmo and Zelle are great for splitting costs. In before times the first to arrive at the bridge club would buy the entry. Sometimes we forget to pay or collect. Now no issue when you get home. Just text a reminder. Usually in an expensive restaurant we just split and they put on two credit cards, so we can be sure to tip adequately, and get the points.. Old people are cheap. I always carry cash in small bills for lots of reasons. But with covid people dont want to touch the money.

    Reimbursing 1.50 via venmo is definitely generational, not economic. Much like texting b4 calling. I prefer just to buy a round or take turns for cab or Uber fare, but if the other person wants to keep short accounts, and insists on venmo, well that is taken into account for my future convenience and enjoyment of their company.

  27. I have a client with whom I go out to dinner (in beforetimes) maybe 3x/year. I would pick up the check on my marketing budget, but he always asks for separate checks ahead of time and only ever orders an entree, no drink, no appetizer, no dessert. I guess that’s part of why he has $15M and I don’t! ;)

    Otherwise, our friends are similarly situated financially and we all always split equally, or take turns picking up the whole check. I think the last time I tallied up what everyone owed for cash was in law school.

    Ivy, I wish I had enough friends to have a girls’ weekend! I’ve never been to one.

  28. Typically when we go out to dinner with another couple (it’s almost always just two couples; I can’t remember the last time it was 3+ couples) we always just split the check evenly. Sometimes it’s in my favor, sometimes it’s in their favor. I’m not keeping score. Put two ccs in the black faux leather thing and they’re both charged the same. Someone has to be $0.01 more for odd amounts, right? I try to collude with the other guy on the tip so we’re both leaving $25 or whatever (which I try to do as cash and I really don’t care what he does, cash or card, as long as we’re leaving the same amount).

  29. We definitely do not socialize at restaurants with a few couples after having dinner out with them based on bill paying. I waitressed while in college, and I tip generously. I would rather pay for the whole bill, even if I had less, to make sure the servers were tipped well. If we ordered more than the other couple, we will pick up the tip.

    I recall going out with a group of friends when we were in our late 20s. The one guy only paid for his meal without covering tax or tip and left. We realized we were short so covered the gap and covered tip. I was annoyed because he had lots of money. He was just a cheapskate and inconsiderate to others. The lack of generosity, among other things, led us to stop socializing with him and his wife.

  30. She shouldn’t have to pay for the people who had the apps and wine.

    Of course not. The non broke friend should have offered to pay more or pick up the check.

  31. Milo. I went on that kayak trip and ate one cheap lunch with a group of 7 women all from old money WaSP enclaves. The figured each persons amount to the penny. I was horrified. I always throw in an extra bill if cash true up to cover the cheapskates or the broke. Afterwards I “chose” to interpret it that one woman in particular was significantly less well off than the rest and it was a courtesy to her. But I think it was cultural, too.

  32. I used to meet my girlfriends for lunch about once every ten days. We used to go to Panera, but then they didn’t liek it there because too busy if they wanted to sit for a while during lunch. We switched to our local diner and suddenly my price for a salad and iced tea jumped from $10 to over $20. The reason is that they are over orderers. For example, they start with a salad and then they add grilled chicken. Some people add grilled chicken and avocado. Some people want it chopped. Suddenly, a $12 salad becomes a $20 salad. By the time, you throw in coffees or iced teas etc and tip – it was nuts. I was still eating the basic salad so I was getting screwed. I never a word, but then a Chopt’d opened in the next town and everyone wanted to go there. I lucked out because I had to pay for my own food so suddenly my lunch check was cut in half again.

    I think venmo is really useful and I even persuaded my step mom to get Zelle. It is just so much easier than writing checks.

  33. “Didn’t you have a credit card?”

    Yes, but I had used it to put down the $250 deposit to get my electricity turned on, the $75 to get my gas turned on, the $150 deposit to get a phone (before cell phones), and the $200 for movers. Plus, I had to pay the deposit on my place, plus the pet deposit, plus the first month’s rent – about $1600. I had about a $2,500 balance, plus I’d put down a $1,200 retainer on the divorce attorney out of my savings. This was when I only took home about $2,500 a month. Whether I paid cash or put it on a credit card I was paying monthly on, Ramen at $0.10 a package was the end of the months meals. Yes, this was BITD when my $2500 take home was not a bad salary for where I lived.

    If it wouldn’t have been my first week and I had known how they split the bill, I would have had an excuse not to go.

    Side Note — I was STUNNED when I set up utilities for my daughter in NY. It cost me NOTHING to get them turned on. Here just to transfer utilities from one location to another with the same provider is a few hundred bucks. It’s more if you haven’t had service with that company because they require a deposit that they keep for a year and return only if you have no late payments.

  34. Suddenly, a $12 salad becomes a $20 salad. By the time, you throw in coffees or iced teas etc and tip – it was nuts.

    I guess if I had a choice between worrying that my friends were over ordering salads or ruminating about the ever present risk of a werewolf invasion – I’d go with the werewolves.

  35. When DH and myself were in our 20s, we would go out with another couple and our single guy friend. The unwritten rule was either us, the other couple or the single guy would pick up the tab in turns. Now, except for me all the others had extremely well paying jobs. All of us liked trying new restaurants and those meals were not that cheap. However, the other couple tried to get out of paying when it came to their turn. They definitely wanted to go out and have a good time but at someone else’s expense all the time. DH got fed up with them and gradually we stopped including them for non payment.
    $1.50 is a small amount and I would have let it go. But at the same time, I learnt that others expect their generous friends to be their personal ATMs.

  36. “ I went on that kayak trip and ate one cheap lunch with a group of 7 women all from old money WaSP enclaves”

    That makes sense then. It was probably his Barrington roots.

  37. I would assume that a guy collecting $1.50 will always true up a bill, and if paying $1.50 over venmo bothers you, you should find a new friend. Personally, I think that is extreme, but splitting bills amongst others is a learned skill.

    I’m thinking back to last summer when we met a couple outside a taproom for dinner. The burger foodtruck tends to sellout their burgers, so you have to order ahead. I placed an order for 4 burgers/fries – venmo requested 1/2 the cost. We got there and got our beers. They showed up a bit letter and got their beers. Waiting for our burgers, our friends suggested we should get an app or two – they paid for the apps. We covered round two of their beers.

    Last fall I was out with my friend at a cash only foodtruck (cash only does exist). I didn’t have cash, so she covered me. She told me I didn’t have to pay her back. A few days later I drove to her house and paid up ($12 or so). I’m glad I did because that was the last time I saw her husband. He died a few weeks later. I can’t think of many instances where you’d have have regrets paying back someone.

  38. However, the other couple tried to get out of paying when it came to their turn. They definitely wanted to go out and have a good time but at someone else’s expense all the time.

    That’s crazy! How did they try to get out of paying? Conveniently “forget” that it was there turn?

  39. “ That’s crazy!”

    Especially considering the single friend was paying for five people every third event.

  40. Conveniently “forget” that it was there turn?

    Yes ! Or one time they said they forgot their wallet.
    One time DH and the single guy wanted to force them to pick up the check, the check just sat there. Eventually, I had enough and though I was starving student I picked it up. When we got home, DH (I was not yet married to him) reimbursed me.
    Rhett – that’s why I am wary about being overly generous. Some people are sleazy.

  41. Yes ! Or one time they said they forgot their wallet.

    I’m trying to wrap my head around what their thought process was. And that these two fucks found each other?

  42. Rhett – they have settled in your area, so you better be aware they are out there ;-).

  43. Back to the OP about being rude, I think therein lies the answer. If you don’t know someone well, don’t assume they can afford what you can. Don’t offer to split bills evenly if your share is more than theirs. Over time you will learn their budget range and their quirks and fall into a routine with them.

    I was thinking of another situation. I volunteer with an older woman who does not drive. Most trips are not very far out of my way to pick her up or drop her off. But, she is very conscious of my extra cost in time and money. We often have a meal in the process and she always wants to pay for it, even though money is tighter for her than for me. As a result, I let her pick the restaurant or if she wants me to pick, I pick one she has suggested before. As in my early dating days, I always take her lead on the price range of the items I order and I leave the tip.

  44. Ah, the perfect forum to solve my social dilemma!

    DS1 is in a magnet program with another boy in our neighborhood, and the district does not provide a bus because it’s a program for gifted kids.

    Boy’s parents are healthcare workers and need to go to work in person, so I have been bringing him to school and back and keeping him at our house for an hour or two when his older brother is at school.

    When his parents can get out of work early, they bring DS1 home from school.

    The family is from Europe and the parents feel very obligated to me – unnecessarily IMO – and have been handing me $300/month as “gas money.”

    I’ve been arguing and trying to give it back, but with the cultural difference and their insistence I’m not making any headway. DH wants to give it back.

    How do I do that without being rude? Initially I thought we could just treat their family to a nice dinner out but now it’s too much ($900).

  45. @Sky – Honestly, if they have offered this up of their own accord when you’ve never discussed payment, made comments about how this is a burden for your, or complained about any major obstacles to you helping them out – just take it graciously and thank them profusely. Keep telling them that it really isn’t necessary – but at some point, drop it. Don’t try to force it back on them. They are giving you the money because they can and it makes THEM feel good – eases their guilt (even if the guilt AND the money are unnecessary).

    If you like these people socially, I also like the idea of you taking them out to a nice dinner, even if it isn’t “even”. If you want – use some of the funds to buy after school snacks, games for the kids to play together, sports equipment to kick around the yard, so it benefits their kids too, etc. Use it for actual car maintenance and gas as intended.

    “Or one time they said they forgot their wallet.”

    This is where you cross from being a little flighty or being a little bit of a mooch to trying to scam your friends.

  46. “I would assume that a guy collecting $1.50 will always true up a bill, and if paying $1.50 over venmo bothers you, you should find a new friend.”

    I think there will likely be other context clues as to if this person is quirky or cheap. Quirky is okay. Cheap is something else entirely. To me, I’m going to lean toward cheap in this story – in the context of golfing. If the context were that two people went to Dunkin – I’d offer to Venmo someone $2 to cover my drip coffee. (and I can’t think of very many people I know who would actually take me up on that)

  47. Sky – you could tell them what you think a reasonable amount for “gas + after school child care” money is and say that you are uncomfortable with $300/month but fine if they want to give you say $100/month. That would satisfy them of not being obligated and you from thinking it’s too much.
    I’ve felt obligated when DD’s friends parents drove her to dance during my busy stretch. They refused money and I couldn’t reciprocate so I sent their families gift baskets as a thank you.

  48. “If $25 is going to break you then you have no business going out to eat in the first place.”

    I find this comment classist. Why can’t people who are frugal or not rich go out to eat, too?

  49. Sky — if you want to tell a white lie, you can say that you’re worried that accepting money for taking care of their son might run you afoul of the state daycare licensing rules, and you wouldn’t want either you or them to be perceived as trying to circumvent that.

    Otherwise, then yeah, spend the money on stuff that their kid can eat/drink/play with at your place.

  50. Sky,

    Just keep it. Giving you the money makes them feel better. Imagine them fretting, which they did, about the situation. And the finally say, “How about “gas” money? Phew! Yes that’s what we’ll do.

    And then you don’t take the money and they are back to fretting about it.

    I would say take them out to dinner or maybe invite them over for dinner and serve a really nice bottle of wine. Something like that.

  51. Sky,

    Oh and when you take them out to dinner pretend to go to the bathroom and give the server your credit card. As they will probably try to pay. And you can just say, “I insist and it’s already paid for.”

  52. It’s probably too late in the day to share my sharing story, but I just got up, so I will anyway. Back in the US I had a few friends/acquaintances that were young and childless and gay and fabulous. I was invited out for dinner/drinks (on a school night!) to celebrate a birthday. Of course, the start time was 2 hours after I already ate with my family. I had a fancy drink ($20) and the group (maybe 20 people) decided to move onto another location. They had had 2 or 3 drinks each, appetizers for the table, many had entrees. My share was $80. Of course I could afford it, but I didnt feel like it was a good use of my money. It is unpleasant spending money that you don’t want to spend, regardless of your ability. And I (like to think that I) am a generous friend. I am happy to pick up a check when I am with a younger friend, or someone who I know has more difficulty.

  53. Oh and when you take them out to dinner pretend to go to the bathroom and give the server your credit card. As they will probably try to pay. And you can just say, “I insist and it’s already paid for.”

    I’ve done this many times and it works like a charm. Or pull the waiter over before you sit down and ask him/her to give the check directly to you.

  54. @Sky agree with all that’s been written. If you weren’t available, they might have to pay for the service. It would probably cost far more that $300/month. I would thank them, and do whatever you want with the money.

  55. When I was in my 20’s a group of us would always go out to dinner & treat the birthday girl. We were all young – living with roommates and in entry-level type positions. Most people would choose the same kind of restaurant – usually a place where dinner would be around $10-15/person. We often went to sports bars, Tex-Mex places, red sauce Italian, one of those Pan-Asian joints where you put everything in a bowl from a buffet & then they cook it all on a big flattop, etc. We had one friend who would always try to choose something two steps up when it was her BD and then plead ignorance “Oh, I didn’t know it was that expensive”. It was the early 00’s, not the 80’s. Menus were online! I can see that this is a place with $40 steaks and everything is a la carte! She was cheap in every way, and we parted ways before we all turned 30. I’m still friends with most of the rest of that group!

  56. @ Sky – Think about what they would pay for what you do to a non-neighbor – college student. Let’s say on average the boy is at your house (supervised however loosely) for 25 hours a month plus you are doing the bulk of the transportation. You didn’t say how far in distance or time, but let’s just say its 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week (in this estimate, the other family brings home DS 1 day a week) or 16 more hours a month of your time.

    We are at 39 hours, so let’s round to 40 for easy math. Around here a college student would make $15/hour to do that same work or $600 a month. Even at $10 an hour, it would be $400 a month. Paying you $300 a month may feel quite cheap to them.

    I understand how you feel though. DD#2 cat sat for neighbors when there was an unexpected glitch in their cat care when they went on vacation. It was 5 days of feedings over a 6 day period. She went over twice a day to feed and check on them, plus changed the litter box one time, and put out/took in their trash cans. They told her to set her rate in a hurry as they left. She arranged to give the key back and was going to ask for $50. They didn’t ask and handed her an envelope with $100. If they had boarded the cats as planned it would have been a minimum of $30/day (cats were in the same enclosure) for 6 days or $180. While DD#2 still felt overpaid, she could see the family was saving about half the cost.

  57. L – I haven’t been on a girls’ weekend either. They do look quite fun.

    Whenever I’m in a situation where the check/cost is split evenly, I always remind myself that I’ll overpay my share. I try to plan for it to at least soften the blow. On the whole, I am with people who either look at the check and do the quick mental math to split relatively evenly, or one person pays, then the next time someone else gets it. Or if I have a drink where another friend doesn’t and they want to split down the middle, I’ll offer to cover the tip.

    I do have a friend who ALWAYS pays. Drives me effing batty. He knows it too. He makes more money a year than I’ll ever see so I think he just likes to spoil me. I limit social engagements with him that require food/drink to ease my guilt. He probably sees right through that.

  58. He makes more money a year than I’ll ever see so I think he just likes to spoil me. I limit social engagements with him that require food/drink to ease my guilt.

    Why would you feel guilty? He gets joy out of picking up the check.

  59. I didn’t attend a destination bachelorette party because I was pretty sure the entire weekend would be a sequence of “splitting” the check and I would be too annoyed/stressed to enjoy it. Though not specifically stated, I sensed there would be a “the bride shouldn’t pay for anything” attitude throughout—compounded because the bride’s sister seriously struggled financially/in life and would be attending. The bride covered her airfare, but it was not clear on who would be covering the sister’s expenses throughout the weekend and I was not ready to partially bankroll two people for a weekend of spendy activities. (I did prepay for several bottles of champagne for everyone to toast the bride at the first night’s dinner.)

  60. We once went out for dinner with two couples and their teenage kids. We were without kids then.
    The couples ordered drinks and kids ordered milkshakes etc besides food. DH and I did not order drinks just food. They offered to equally split the bill three ways. We never went out with them again. Same with another group of acquaintances.

    At the end of the day, it is not about if you can afford it or not, it is about people who shamelessly want to take advantage of other peoples politeness. We would not want to be friends with people like that any way.

  61. Someone mentioned it’s the thought that counts, and I agree with that. When I lived in Chicago, I was the only one in my friend group with a car so I always drove. Because of traffic and such, this usually resulted in an extra half hour of my time on each end of an outing to pick people up and drop them off, not to mention the gas. After about a year of this, the lightbulb finally went on for one of them and he said “you’re always driving, can we give you some gas money?” I didn’t take it because I didn’t want the money, I just wanted the acknowledgement that I was always going out of my way for everyone.

  62. Moochers only get to do that to me once and then I’ve got their number and act accordingly. I never assume to split the check 50/50. I don’t know other peoples’ money situations and have seen them all. Work friends who go out and then ask the junior staff to pick up more then their share when it is known they make significantly less. I also had an extended family member who had to appear to be generous with friends and as a result would spent the mortgage money. It was always the spouse who worked extra hours to rectify that generosity. And I’ve had friends be very generous and cover well above what was needed or expected.

    For me, nothing made me angrier then being tight on money in my college/early works days and seeing the short stack not covering the bill or tip. Everyone at the table thought “I” put in “my share” but yet we’re short. That’s when I started just being assertive and saying the following if the bill could not be for each individual or couple:

    So everyone agrees that we will put in an additional $3 (or 4/5 depending on the local) for every ten spent to cover tax and tip and we always round up to the closest five right? This always made sure there was enough for tax and a generous tip. Those who had tight budgets could cover what they owed: I had the salad/water for $12 and I owe 4.50 for tax/tip. And the diner who had four cocktails and the steak had to cover accordingly as well. The more generous folks were like I had the salad/water for $12 and hand over a 20 and say “I’m all set” This method always gave us a great tip and if it was an overly generous group we passed back the extra. I plan on telling my kids to do the same, no matter the payment method.

    DH and I are glad we are in a place where we can be generous and cover if we want or if it is needed. But to point one, if you’re a mooch then you only get that pass once.

  63. At the end of the day, it is not about if you can afford it or not, it is about people who shamelessly want to take advantage of other peoples politeness.

    If you ordered a few cocktails and a bottle of wine and dessert and a side of X etc. do you think they would have been annoyed?

  64. Everyone at the table thought “I” put in “my share” but yet we’re short.

    Were these mostly women? With guys it’s often that the tip is huge because everyone wants to put in too much so as not to be “that guy.”

  65. If you’re out with a group, the bill usually gets split evenly and that’s the way it goes, for better or worse. My favorite group dinners are when someone makes arrangements ahead of time for the group to get a prix fixe menu. $40 covers apps, main course and dessert. Everyone is on their own for drinks. I usually have one drink that I’ll get and pay for at the bar on the way in. When the drink bill comes around, it’s for each individual or the group as a whole. Either way, I’m all set. Last year, I was in the restroom when the individual drink tabs were given out. One was at my place setting. No one would claim it. The waiter looked at it and gave it to the woman sitting next to me. It was her tab. That annoyed me, and I have not forgotten what she did.

    DH and I are friends with another couple that drinks us under the table. And, of course, we split the bill. That happened a couple of times and now we’ll have them over for dinner but we no longer go to restaurants with them.

  66. Rhett, who knows? Maybe not. But I do think that if the situation was reversed, they would have come up with a line about hey let’s pay for whatever we ordered etc.

  67. Rhett, who knows? Maybe not.

    If they are just mooches then there are just terrible people. It’s also possible that they think – you could have and should have ordered a few cocktails as the bill was going to be split 50/50. Or they didn’t really think of it at all and wouldn’t have thought twice if you’d ordered a bottle of wine.

    I also get the sense that there are glass of Champaign, cocktail, cocktail, bottle of wine, entre appetizer dessert maybe an after dinner port people and there are those who aren’t. And there is some awkwardness when those two groups go out with each other. In other cases of course you have mooches, misers, assholes, alcoholics, etc.

  68. Were these mostly women? With guys it’s often that the tip is huge because everyone wants to put in too much so as not to be “that guy.”

    Rhett, you move in different circles than I do because I’ve gone out with plenty of guys who who want to do separate checks or split the check proportionally.

  69. Some restaurants give separate bills and I love this.

    Almost every restaurant will do this if you ask. The software makes it very easy.

  70. I also get the sense that there are glass of Champaign, cocktail, cocktail, bottle of wine, entre appetizer dessert maybe an after dinner port people and there are those who aren’t.

    Yes, I think this is a lot of it. I think some (maybe a lot) of the inequitable check splitters are just big spenders, for lack of a better term. They want to have all the extras and don’t mind spending the money, and it just never occurs to them that other people don’t want to spend as much and ordered less. They are just oblivious.

    On another site years ago, someone posted about her parents taking her MIL out for dinner. She couldn’t believe that MIL had the nerve to order two drinks and dessert. How could she take advantage of her parents like that?

  71. Looong ago, the advice to women on first dates was to be careful to order inexpensive stuff from the menu. That was harder to do when the server gave the women menus with no prices. My friend’s mom was instructed by her father to always order beer instead of cocktails, because beer was less expensive.

  72. When we are on vacation we eat out almost every meal. Our restaurant tabs are pretty steep. When at home, we cook almost every meal and vacation is no cooking. It can be a bit awkward for others if they join us on vacation. I sensed this when I vacationed with my sibling’s family. My SIL would always suggest we pack sandwiches for lunch and take a break to eat while sightseeing. I preferred the nearest cafe. I picked up the tab frequently to get myself out of sandwich making.
    I have had to talk to my kids about why we do what we do and other people may not.

  73. Milo,

    When the SIL says to the old man, “Wanna go out on the boat?”

    And the old man’s head literally explodes.

  74. “Were these mostly women? With guys it’s often that the tip is huge because everyone wants to put in too much so as not to be “that guy.”

    Nope -this group included people of all genders, backgrounds, nationalities and economic status. Some folks came from countries that don’t tip as a norm or maybe some were just cheep or maybe just bad at figuring out tax and tip. The biggest lesson for me is that someone has to lay the ground rules and preferably prior to screwing over the waitstaff.

  75. I enjoyed reading the thread Milo posted. I get the sense that the dad would have had something to complain about at any restaurant. He may be someone that doesn’t find enjoyment in spending money on food, so if he doesn’t appreciate the value, he’ll find fault.

  76. Lt and Rhett – true on both counts.

    “ And the old man’s head literally explodes.” especially at the gas dock when the FIL expects him to chip in.

    Are any of you watching “Last Tango In Halifax”? It’s very addictive. Very human. Everyone is deeply flawed, and… basically good, so you still really like all these dysfunctional characters. And very British, which, as DW will point out, they never feel obligated to write happy endings. (She lived there three years.)

  77. People have been recommending Tango to me. I love UK tv, so I have it on my list to watch. I just started watching Murder Among Mormons. Very interesting.

  78. “Wanna go out on the boat?”

    Are the outer two outboards bigger than the inner 3?

  79. “If you’re out with a group, the bill usually gets split evenly and that’s the way it goes, for better or worse. “

    My experience has been different.

    Back in my SV days, when we went out to eat with coworkers we really liked, the norm was everyone would add the menu prices of what they ordered for themselves, add about 25% for tax and tip, and round up to the nearest dollar. Most of our friends were engineers, so calculating tax and tip was never an issue.

    The one exception, where the bills were typically split evenly, was when we had family style meals, which was pretty common at Chinese restaurants, and at those restaurants we typically didn’t order drinks; if people did, the norm was for each person to cover their own drinks.

    With my non-work friend group, people often guesstimated their share, then added an extra few bucks, or rounded up to the nearest $5, so we often ended up with a lot of extra money.

  80. On the Anon comment about the bachelorette parties, I think destination bachelorette parties shouldn’t require mandatory attendance. In the home country the bridal couple pay for all the attendants expenses, so being given a place of honor at a wedding, doesn’t mean any more expense other than a gift. It also prevents brides/grooms from demanding that their attendants wear expensive attire and automatically limits the number of attendants since they are paying for their wedding party.

  81. “ Are the outer two outboards bigger than the inner 3?”

    No, I think they’re just a little bit higher.

    However, on the topic of more interesting engineering, Aspen is building power catamarans with asymmetrical hulls. So, in this case, the larger side gets 200 hp, and the smaller side gets 70, and they work in sync.

    https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2022/aspen-c107-3642315/

  82. Milo,

    Watching the Haulover videos I noticed you never see anyone wearing a life jacket. I though to myself, it wouldn’t be that hard to get knocked overboard.

    And then at 4:05

    Could she have hit her head in the way out? Yes. Could she be dead by the time they got back to her? Sure. I could go pear shaped really fast.

  83. Even the three kids in the bow of the small boat at 0:30. In each trough, they’re planting the bow into the water and taking huge quantities over the front. And they’re entirely unconcerned.

    On on one of these videos, a boat like that with about 10 people nearly sinks for that reason. And it gets so much water in the front that it lifts the prop out of the water, so it’s disabled. The people were transferred to police boats.

  84. There are often no life jackets, even for kids, and the other problem is so many owners don’t warn their passengers that the inlet might be rough and they need to move aft and hold on. The passengers don’t know any better and they’ve been riding around the bay where it’s perfectly calm.

  85. RMS – DH and I were at a conference in NY a few years back and we went out with a couple of guys from a trust company at the Mandarin restaurant. My menu didn’t have prices and I was SO offended! ;)

  86. My menu didn’t have prices and I was SO offended! ;)

    Isn’t it somewhat common, if you’re hosting a dinner at a restaurant, to have menus without prices for all the guests? I think it’s a very classy old school touch.

  87. “if you’re hosting a dinner at a restaurant, to have menus without prices for all the guests?”

    Oh man, this brings back memories of my rehearsal dinner. We had it at a high end restaurant (my in-laws favorite). Maybe thirty guests, up in the private balcony. It’s the type of place that has menus printed daily. My MIL took great care to make sure everything was just perfect, including calling that morning to confirm the menus would not have the price on them. Naturally someone screwed up and all menus had the price. There was a hubbub and an announcement repeated many times to ignore the price. I didn’t care, and I’m sure some great apology and discount was made, but my in-laws never went back.

  88. MIlo, & Rhett, From all the boat shopping we have done I noticed that so many boats have a comfortable, secure, back supporting helmsman seat and everyone else is supposed to be “lounging” or perched somewhere. When you are going fast over waves or through an inlet or something – people’s backs and necks are just getting wrenched about. It’s like if a plane had a seat with a seat belt only for the pilot and the passengers were all sitting on stools in the back! For our HIncklley we insisted on a double Stidd seat so when we are underway at least 2 people (which is 99 % of the time for us on an actual passage) are secure.

  89. What restaurants do you go to, Rhett?

    In your vacation home neck of the woods?

    https://auberginecarmel.com/

    It’s directly across Monterey Bay. It’s soooooo good.

    And if you want really fancy:

    https://www.therestaurantatmeadowood.com/?_ga=2.186691304.1789544447.1615063333-1148895287.1615063333

    Now of course that burned down. But they have great fire and business interruption insurance so it should be open soon.

    Keeping in mind that no prices isn’t the default. You’d have to call ahead and say, “I’m hosting a dinner Friday night for 8* at 7pm and I’d like the menus to have no prices.” And they would be delighted to accommodate you.

    * Which with tax and tip and the wine paring would be $8,000. If no one ordered cocktails or supplements.

    And now that I think about it – and how is this for classy. The Inn at Meadowood required everything to be paid when you made the reservation. So there was no bill at the end. As if the experience was so refined that it would be sullied by anything so common and gauche as money.

  90. Actually never mind. Since it all has to be paid for up front I doubt the menus have prices as you’re getting the tasting menu and it’s already paid for. The menus are just informational. But maybe they have an ala carte option?

  91. I have never been to a restaurant that didn’t have prices on the menu. I had no idea such places even existed! I am constantly learning things on The Totebag.

    In other news, after a few days of braving the CVS website every morning at 6:00 a.m., teacher DH finally succeeded in snagging a vaccination appointment this morning. He’s scheduled for his first dose (Pfizer) on Thursday, with the second dose on a Saturday around the end of the month. The MA Powers That Be are saying that K-5 schools will have to go back to full in-person learning starting April 5, so the timing is good. (Whether or not the April 5 thing will actually happen remains to be seen, but at least DH will be fully vaccinated by then.)

  92. “pretend to go to the bathroom and give the server your credit card.”

    I’ve had several experiences where this didn’t work. There’s one friend in particular who’s very good at paying for everyone’s dinners.

  93. “ and everyone else is supposed to be “lounging” or perched somewhere”

    That’s a very interesting point. On the lake, of course, it’s never an issue.

    When DW was working in DC, she’d sometimes meet her dad for a Friday lunch at the Army Navy Club, where he was a member. DW’s menu never had prices listed.

  94. Yes, at private (country) clubs it is quite common to have menus for guests/non members with no prices

  95. When we were students we would occasionally go to a chain restaurant to eat. The restaurant was carefully chosen with the prices in mind but a “nicer” experience because it was sit down instead of our usual college cafeteria meals or fast food. It was fancy (to our young selves) and we got dressed up to go there.
    One of the girls who went with us always ordered a very sparse salad with water and that was it. Sometimes she would get a bowl of cereal and water. The rest of us were incredulous. Our main aim was the pleasure of going through a menu and being satisfied choosing something we didn’t get to eat often. I now suspect she had a eating disorder but we didn’t recognize it at the time.

  96. Rhett, your mention of Meadowood makes me verklempt. It was on our 2020 list, but alas…

    Based on your 1.0 experience, would you keep a close eye on 2.0? Asking for a friend.

  97. That paddleboard looks nice, complete with pump and backpack. I enjoyed paddleboarding the one time I tried it (with another totebagger!), but I have a medical issue that prevents me from getting back on after falling off. (I may need surgery to correct.) And, yes, I fell off! :D

    Although I usually have zero interest in the royal family, this drama has caught my attention. If it were submitted to AITA, I think the response would be ESH. In my ignorance I tend to side with the queen. What do you think?

  98. Meadowood is not on my list because we had to wait to go on our honeymoon because we planned a trip to Australia and NZ. We wanted to travel there when it was summer, so we spent a week in Napa/Sonoma at places like Meadowood. We also went to the Post Ranch. My new bucket list in the US is Blackberry Farm. I thought about Twin Farms in Vermont for my bucket list, but I would rather go to Blackberry. I am not sure if either one will happen because I am obsessed with my Italy trips(s), but the upcoming year is all about college visits. Finally!

  99. If I win Powerball I’m going to Ventana in Big Sur. If I don’t win Powerball then I’ll just drive down to Big Sur for the day, assuming that the highway hasn’t been washed out.

  100. “and everyone else is supposed to be “lounging” or perched somewhere”

    This is one reason I don’t like going sailing with DSS and the family or with friends. You’re sitting on a bench facing the center of the boat, on an insufficiently padded cushion, so you have to twist to see ahead or out to the water on your side.

    I also really dislike sailing because you always have to help. I don’t know anything about how sailboats work, and I’m not very interested in learning. But if you go out with family or friends, you’re forever having to scramble around the boat and figure out which rope they’re yelling at you to pull or let out or wrap around the little post thingy. That’s not relaxing. Why aren’t we at that lovely restaurant on the harbor having a drink and looking out at the scenery?

  101. Kim, I do find the royal family entertaining, and I’ve been following this. The only real complaint I’ve ever heard lodged against Meghan from the staff is that she texted them at 5:00 AM. Well, welcome to employment, palace staff! Bosses are always doing shit like that. Don’t respond til later if you don’t want to. Also, she apparently had ideas about things she’d like to do, and this reduced everyone to tears. Aww.

  102. In other news, the author of “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” wrote, “I love this recipe because I believe that cooking a bunch of vegetables is one of the most luxurious things you can do for someone.”

    Dear Samin Nosrat: You are not hired for my planned luxury resort.

  103. I think the Royal family is pretty gross with what they have done to Meghan while Prince Andrew is just living his life despite Epstein and related activities.

  104. I wonder if the monarchy will survive after QEII is gone. It doesn’t make tons of sense, but lots of people are used to and like the queen. Charles not so much. But I don’t know enough about monarchies to know if and how they ever dissolve peacefully.

  105. Milo — What a coincidence — just last night I was perusing inflatable paddleboards on the web. I’ll add that one to my list of “potentials” — thanks! Ideally I think I might want something a few pounds lighter (I’m petite with not-great upper body strength), but I’m definitely not ruling anything out at this point.

  106. @Reality +1. Although I could be convinced ESH as well. But I’ll start by siding with the American commoner over The Queen.

  107. Re. Meghan, I think one issue is that she had so much change in her life, so quickly. Within the course of a year, she quit her job, left her career, moved out of her home, moved to a different country, got engaged, got confirmed in a different religion (or at least a different branch of Christianity), got married, and got pregnant. And all of this was happening with the world’s press (and in particular the British tabloids) following her every move. Any one of those things, even done in private, would have been a major life change requiring adjustment, but all those things at once in the glare of the public eye — it would be too much for anyone. I wish she’d had more of an opportunity to sort of ease into the Royal Family, because I think she could have been a really cool addition to it.

    And now Harry must be going through sort of the same sort of total culture shock — suddenly removed from everything he’s ever known, and trying to adjust to a new country, a new role, a new family situation, new everything. I know that he and Meghan have enormous wealth and privilege, but I really do feel for both of them.

    AND I feel for The Queen. She was thrust into a role that she did not want at a very young age, and she has done her best with it, even though it has taken a toll on her family. I have mentioned before that I feel sort of guilty watching The Crown — can you imagine having every intimate detail of your life scripted and filmed by people who never consulted you, and then having all of those intimate details put on Netflix for the whole world to see? Sure, she’s a queen, but she’s also a human being, and I can’t imagine that she isn’t affected by all of that.

    That’s why I get my royal-family fix by following the Danish and Swedish royal families. They just seem much more normal and low-key.

  108. The biggest reason Harry’s ex girlfriends refused to walk down the aisle were the same reasons for Megxit.
    There is also historical precedent (that had far more repercussions for other members of the Royal family) with the marriage of Wallis Simpson to Edward and also the marriage of Charles and Diana.

  109. “AND I feel for The Queen. She was thrust into a role that she did not want at a very young age, and she has done her best with it, even though it has taken a toll on her family.”

    I don’t. She wasn’t forced. She could have abdicated. She seems like a fine person, but she has immense privilege based solely upon her birth. I think maybe I am just too-American in my thinking, but I find the idea of a monarchy really gross.

  110. RMS, we had dinner at Ventana. It is a beautiful resort and I also hope the road is still there. Ventana and Post Ranch were flying in guests by helicopter when the road collapsed a few years ago. The collapse this year doesn’t look good.

  111. @NoB –

    In “Am I the A-hole” (AITA) terms:

    NTA (Not the A-hole – meaning someone else in the story is the A-hole)
    YTA (You’re the A-hole)
    ESH (Everybody sucks here – everyone in the story is an A-hole)
    NAH (No A-holes here – everyone in the story is reasonable)

  112. YTA or “You’re the Asshole” is for scenarios where the OP is at fault in their situation.
    NTA or Not the Asshole is for scenarios where the OP is NOT to blame and the other party described in their scenario is to blame.
    ESH or Everyone Sucks here is for scenarios where both parties are to blame- both people involved in the scenario should be held responsible.
    NAH or No Assholes Here is for scenarios where neither party is to blame. All parties actions are justified. Nobody needs to be held accountable. Shit happens.
    INFO or Not Enough Info is for situations where the OP never clarifies details that would determine the true judgment.

    This is the official Reddit explanation.

  113. RMS – yes! My dad and siblings like sailing. I, OTOH, do not. All the heeling! The moving from one side of the boat to the other depending on which side is in the water! Having to avoid the boom crashing into your head! The pulling of the lines! And it always takes FOREVER for them to set up and take down the boat – it adds like 45 minutes to the excursion. Blerg. I think I *might* like a chartered boat where you don’t have to do any work and they have a special forward-facing seat for the guests. ;)

  114. It doesn’t make tons of sense

    Sure it does! The idea is that you want to separate the head of state role from the head of government role. If you do that with an appointed President like in Germany or Italy it doesn’t really work as well. It’s best if the head of government comes with 1000 years of history rather than being some appointed political hack.

  115. “ Keep in mind that Jackie is an engineer who used to work for IBM.”

    I wouldn’t have guessed it, but I’ve got nothing against them. They seem kind of fun. I was laughing at the idea that the house has been under construction for so long, it’s already being renovated.

  116. What do we think? Does she just continues to get older and older and smaller and smaller until she finally vanishes?

  117. Milo,

    Have you watched the movie Queen of Versailles? She seems fun. Her husband seems like a cranky brooding asshole.

  118. “ Have you watched the movie Queen of Versailles?”

    Yeah, like 10 years ago. I remember him better now that you say that.

    She actually reminds me of DW’s boss’ wife. They just bought their third house, and second on the water. This one’s in FL.

    It’s good job security for DW.

  119. “Does she just continues to get older and older and smaller and smaller until she finally vanishes?”

    The Crown is a worse outcome. You start out as Claire Foy (yay!), morph into Olivia Coleman (uh, okay) and finally end up as Imelda Staunton (OMG).

  120. RMS,

    At the rate she’s going they will have trouble casting the 3’11” 112 year old queen at 26 year old George’s wedding in 2040.

    Just think, if she lives to be as old as her mother Charles will be 80.

  121. You start out as Claire Foy (yay!), morph into Olivia Coleman (uh, okay) and finally end up as Imelda Staunton (OMG).

    It beats the alternative.

  122. “my sister has that paddle board and it’s awesome.”

    DW got one (or two?) inflatable paddleboards for Christmas, but they’re still in in-laws’ garage, because every cubic inch of our van was packed when we last left there.

  123. A lady in our neighborhood who celebrated her 100th birthday this past September passed away. We saw her at Christmas, she could still get around in her house with assistance. She served in the Navy in the Second World War. Small lady but as tough as they come.
    Given, that Charles comes from a line of long lived folks I won’t be surprised if he goes on as well.

  124. NoB, or anyone considering the inflatable paddleboard, don’t forget that they can also deflate, e.g., if they get chomped or speared.

    Don’t be like the people in shown on the Costco website; make sure you use a PFD.

  125. Oh, God, that picture’s awful.

    Another example is the photos that show Kate Middleton kind of turning out hard around the edges. Less youthful glow than she used to have.

    “You’d rather be a forever 36 year old Diana?”

    It’s a little late for me. But you’re the one who wants to kick off before you turn 70.

  126. LfB,

    And you figure if anyone was going to go to Jane Fonda’s guy it would be Diana. She’d be a remarkably well preserved 60.

  127. Another 80 ish lady in my townhouse complex is moving into a retirement village. The last three units to turn over were sold to families with young children. Shuri the former kitten is 11 mos old. My goal is to be well enough to be her human until she crosses the rainbow bridge (cat owner speak for “has to be put down”). So I have to beat the odds that it goes to hell in a handbasket about age 85. Which is a roundabout way of recommending another cat, RMS. Better than a facelift. A small one that can fit easily under the airplane seat when you shift between households.

  128. Definitely. Some facelifts, some peels, she’d look great.

    Speaking of women who have had a lot of work done, we’ve been watching Wheel of Fortune regularly.

  129. My great aunt just passed a month short of her 100th birthday. She was a real character. Served in the WACs in WWII – followed Patton around, went to Italy, Northern Africa, France and Germany in the heart of the war. Met the Pope while she was in Italy. She complained a few years ago that all the men on her honor flight were posers who never left the US during the war. She had so many stories. Her older sister was my grandma & she lived to 94. That side of my family has the longevity genes. Hopefully my mom & her sisters have them too.

  130. I didn’t realize that Imelda Staunton is 65. She looks pretty damn good for 65!

  131. I didn’t know that Imelda Staunton is married to Jim Carter (Carson) in Downton Abbey until she popped up in the Downton movie.

    I kept thinking about The Crown during the interview last night. IMHO, I bet that there is more truth to what is depicted on the series than I thought while I was watching The Crown. They did a good job of showing the sacrifice, but especially the loneliness and the sense of being trapped. The depiction of the stories of Margaret, Diana and even Charles definitely depicted this in the series.

  132. More fuel for the market:

    Young people looking to spend almost half of their stimulus checks on stocks, Deutsche survey finds

    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/08/how-the-young-plan-to-spend-stimulus-checks-deutsche-bank.html?__source=sharebar|twitter&par=sharebar

    “I didn’t realize that Imelda Staunton is 65. She looks pretty damn good for 65!”

    Hmm Maybe I’m used to seeing well preserved older actresses but she seems pretty average.

    Call me cynical, but after yesterday’s interview I’ll stand by my ESH opinion on the Sussex kerfuffle. I question why they continue to seek publicity. Maybe they feel they’re doing a public service. And frankly without proof, some of the allegations are a “he said she said” situation.

  133. I question why they continue to seek publicity.

    At this point they have to keep themselves in the news. That is till they deliver on their content contracts for the major entertainment companies. If those ventures are successful they will need publicity. The pandemic really put a spoke into their independent launch.

  134. I meant “till those ventures are successful, they will need publicity”. And they will have to branch out on the publicity, there are only so many interviews you can give on the same topic.

  135. “You got to wonder if we’re heading for a stock market crash when MMM and his lackeys start talking about investing with margin loans:”

    OMG! I’m going to put everything into gold and head for some little survivalist town in the Sierras.

  136. I find my work email box so funny – every email arrives between 0845 and 1630. It is rare to get an after hours missive from anyone about anything. Which is especially weird because so many of my co-workers are doing clinical work on the weekends or in the evenings. My American medical school has my work address and they send me things on weekends and holidays and middle of the night (which sometimes is related to time zone and sometimes is just so very American of them.)

    Anyway, I strongly suspect the palace staff do not feel good about starting their work day and seeing a to-do list and a bunch of emails that started at 5:00am. That is the most uncommonwealth thing ever, I think. If I started doing that at work, I might be accused of bullying, too. Much more of a sharp demarcation between work time and not work time.

    (Which is all an argument that Meghan might have benefited from some cultural training, not that she is a monster).

  137. My brokerage firm offers two types of loans secured by shares. Margin Loans (technical term) that can be used to acquire investment products (strictly regulated). and a similarly structured line of credit at a lower rate that is limited to purposes other than acquiring shares. Cash for Real estate a very common use. The max borrowing is a percentage of your holdings at the firm. Both loans can require partial repayment if the value of your shareholdings or other deposits at the firm fall and you exceed the percentage. In a classic margin loan, you keep purchasing shares or bonds or funds or etfs or LP interests or derivatives, on credit, and if the value of your holdings falls too much you get a margin call and have to sell depressed investments or infuse outside cash. The line of credit loan is where lots of affluent parents raise the cash to bid on a home for the kid who then gets a conventional mortgage at leisure.

  138. “The line of credit loan is where lots of affluent parents raise the cash to bid on a home for the kid who then gets a conventional mortgage at leisure.”

    Hmm.

    Because of my DIL’s disability, they’re going to have to find a new house sooner rather than later, although my stepson is working insane hours and my DIL is trying to be a mom and not fall down too much. So house-hunting isn’t getting the priority it needs. We were just going to give them some money to help with the new down payment, but maybe there are other ways we could help.

  139. I have a client who does a lot of margin trading – the scale is huge, 8 figure margin at any one time, but same idea – I agree we are in trouble if it’s trickling down to MMM!

  140. Reports from the vaccine front — so I got mine Sunday! I think the mass vac sites are just going for shots in arms, because no one asked for any documentation or even what category I was in. But let me say, just based on my reaction to the shot, I do NOT want to get this disease. Last night was basically the worst night since I got a horrible flu when I was 27 — total body aches (didn’t realize it was possible for my bones to ache), massive headache, flitting between hot and cold at regular intervals, no way to get comfortable, very unstable on my feet, very little sleep. Am on the uptick now, but, wow. On the plus side, at least it seems to be doing something. . . .

  141. RMS – LMK which towns? They should get a good agent and have the agent troll the market on their behalf (that’s how we got our first condo in a hot market, we saw it the day before it went on).

  142. Ada, interesting insight into the Commonwealth work/life balance. This morning when I logged in I have a ridiculous amount of red flagged emails that came in Friday after 6pm and Saturday (including 10pm Saturday). Since I’ve recently taken a hard stance on working on the weekends, my Monday’s are flooded with “urgent” demands. It is annoying but I’m used to it, and just shrug off everyone’s ridiculous demands.

  143. so it’s not like you can take your time and consider your options.

    You can rent and wait for the inevitable crash.

  144. L, Medford area, they seem to want to stay around there since they like the area and I guess it has decent schools. Their first house, bought 3 or 4 years ago, required basically running to the showing and then getting in a bidding war and paying over asking price, and that wasn’t just them being dumb. That was the situation. And their friends are still in that situation, foregoing inspections and paying over asking. And Rhett, that hot market has been going on for years. And they have a dog, which makes renting even more of an issue. And anyway, they want to own.

  145. More things I’m going to do when the plague ends:

    1. Get my makeup done professionally. I’ve never had this done. I wear very little because my makeup techniques were learned in the 80s and I look like I think I’m Shelley Hack if I do a “full face”.

    2. Go to one of those salons that will do a blow-out and get my hair styled. I have one year of hair length now; my hair reaches my shoulders. Never had it professionally styled. Gonna do that.

    3. Learn to paddleboard. MAYBE get scuba certified. I’m always worried about the bends, but come on, tons of people scuba without getting the bends. I’m a strong swimmer so this should work out for me, right?

    4. Try a bunch of new exercise classes, even though I’m going to look old, incompetent, and fat. It’ll be my little blessing to the others in the class. “At least I don’t look like that old broad.”

    5. Maybe get some professional photos of us and the kids and the baby. I certainly have gotten professional photos in the distant past, but it’s been forever and I’d like some new ones (maybe with new makeup and styled hair! I’ll be the hot ish grandma.)

  146. Rocky, you do NOT have to worry about getting the bends. Pretty much the whole scuba “training” process is about being safe — they used to make you learn the charts (which were conservative to ensure you came up before reaching a danger zone), but now everyone uses dive computers that automatically do the math for you. The only time I ever got anywhere close to a cautionary level was when we’d go down to 100-120′ — that uses up your time *fast*. But you can paddle around in 40′ looking at the pretty coral and fish for basically ever with zero problems.

  147. And Rhett, that hot market has been going on for years. And anyway, they want to own.

    They don’t consider it is a risk that, for example, WAH will end up being a big deal and as a result the premium paid to live in Medford, with it’s easy access to the city, will drop significantly? If they wait their mortgage could be 30 or 40% lower.

    I’m trying to get into the head of the average buyer.

  148. We took advantage of the nice weather and had a softball practice yesterday. The girls were so excited to be able to socialize it was hard to keep them focused. But it was all good.

  149. @ LfB – that was your first shot? That suggests you might have had Covid. Most people have a more mild reaction to the first shot, and the symptoms you describe with the second.

  150. Lark — it was J&J, so only one shot. As far as I know, I’ve had no contact with anyone who had it, and I’ve had zero symptoms consistent with what has been reported (well, I was sore-throat sick @8 mos. ago, but tests were negative). I hadn’t heard that a significant reaction was linked with prior Covid, though. The good news is I’m already at least 75% back to normal.

    I will say it was a big-ass shot. At first it was totally standard, the little pin prick feeling. And then he kept pushing the plunger down, and down, and by the end it felt like the liquid was going to spurt back out when he removed the needle. ;-)

  151. @LfB – You are the first person I “know” that’s gotten the J&J! Most of my friends who have been vaccinated with Moderna or Pfizer had the reaction after the second dose, but some people have had zero reaction to either shot (including both my parents). We’ll see. One of my friends was in bed for 12 hours after the booster, but she was the most extreme.

  152. I wonder if you did have Covid because I haven’t heard of that type of reaction from J & J, but I have heard of some allergic reactions. The allergic symptoms were very different than what you are describing. Knock on wood, but we just had sore arms from the first dose of the pfizer shot. We get our second doses in a couple of weeks, and I know that might have more significant side effects. My parents had almost no side effects, but they were told that the seniors seem to have very few side effects vs. the 18-30 year olds. My friends with kids that are residents or med students have reported that their kids were really sick afetr the second dose.

    The Pfizer needle was not as large as what you are describing for J & J. It was like the flu shot.

  153. Rhett, HE has to have access to the city because the guy who runs the whole company is over 60 and actually keeps track of who is in the office, and they’re ALL supposed to be in the office, because bosses like that are Boomer morons who need to die.

  154. HE has to have access to the city because the guy who runs the whole company is over 60 and actually keeps track of who is in the office, and they’re ALL supposed to be in the office,

    But even you admit the dinosaurs will die off. If a much larger percentage of people are going to end up working from home then the premium for living in Medford will decline significantly. I get the sense that the idea that prices could be 30% lower in 2 years and will be permanently lower going forward just isn’t on their radar. Is it something they’ve considered?

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