Emma of the barberry's Profile

Display Name: Emma of the barberry
Member Since: 8/21/13

Latest Comments...

@kimithy, That's not correct. Every cat is different and "getting a cat to hate" this or that is really not a tangible step, rather it's a process that may or may not work.

It is up to the cat owner to judge plant accessibility. Our cats would have to fly all the way across the kitchen to reach our hanging plants and would them be obstructed by a wide rack. Not physically possible.

My Cats Are Eating My Succulents! Help? Good Questions
7/28/14 03:23 PM

Some good tips, but sometimes no amount of chatting will protect you from jerks or criminals. When I was looking for a place and answered ads, I unwittingly ended up with drug dealers, partiers, thieves, slobs (to the extreme) and wanted criminals.

When I finally rented and had control interviewing, better but some of the same problems. At least then I had the power to throw them out.

The most charming potential roommate who I interviewed (he brought his mom to the interview and brought me cookies and wine) is now in jail for bookstore theft, voyerism and dating non-English speaking teens then stealing their money. He stole from me as well.

I wonder if I should have asked for landlord references or a background check.

10 Questions to Ask Your Next Roommate Before Moving In
7/28/14 12:31 PM

Cat behaviorist here. No amount if training (discipline, water spray etc) will ensure they understand that particular behavior is a no no. A huge percentage of "training" cats is simply altering their environment. Hanging plants is one if my favorite ways to cat proof the house.

My Cats Are Eating My Succulents! Help? Good Questions
7/28/14 12:18 PM

It's probably legal, and good for you for taking on self sufficiency. But please make sure you have enough space. It's not progressive when we revert to cramped, factory farm conditions. It's also not sanitary unless you're giving them vet care and possibly loading them with antibiotics.

Can I Keep Backyard Chickens in New York City? Good Questions
7/28/14 12:13 PM

Thank you so much for this article. My first clue that I wasn't the only low wage AT reader was when you guys asked what topics people wanted to see more of - and one overwhelming response was, good finds on a budget. It both made me feel relieved and heartbroken that so many are in the same boat.

I feel what perhaps needs to be on the list is dental and vision insurance or out of pocket payments. I don't know if Medicaid covers this but if not, that's a tremendous expense. I'm enduring braces and jaw pins as an adult because my mom (a single mother, teacher) could not afford them. It's not cosmetic - I have a severe open bite and I was beginning to suffer complications plus pain. Even with insurance (I have it seasonally) I'm paying $200 / mo.

Also want to add pets to the list. I waited until I was much more stable (and I worked at a shelter, very hard to wait 10 years to adopt a pet) but now my cat has immune / cancer issues and the cost to keep him thriving is extreme. It's worth it - he's in remission and very happy. But WOW. Medicine is about $150 per month.

I do love visiting AT because I'm allowed to fantasize about what I may some day be able to afford for the house. I love seeing beautiful, organized homes.

For those who say "just live with a roommate". Well that's way easier said than done. When I first moved to Massachusetts, the five college area has stiff competition with 5 college area students. I didn't know a soul in the state so I answered "roommate wanted" ads and lived with strangers.

First roommate: seemed perfectly normal, I moved all my stuff in then found out her ex boyfriend was a violent criminal who she never mentioned. He broke into the house in the middle of the night and threatened her with a knife. The landlord did not throw her out but demanded she keep him away. The police suggested I move. Onto place 2.

Place 2: Gulf War veteran, needed a roommate. Very nice guy but I found out after I moved in (quickly, to get away from the knife wielding criminal) that this guy was a hoarder and the place was extremely unsanitary. Onto place #3.

Place #3: after living there 2 weeks with seemingly normal people, I found out one of the guys was selling heroin and then invited a wanted criminal to live with him. No, I'm not kidding. The guy stole my guitar so I stormed out and told the landlord everything. Next thing I know everyone's being arrested and I'm told by the police to put everything in my car. In 20F weather in February. Just like that, I was homeless.

I had a full time job at just above minimum wage. Luckily some coworkers and friends put me up for a month until I could pay rent again, but I continued to have bad (although not catastrophic) luck with roomates. I rented an empty place so I could screen the roomates; many of them did not pay, some of them stole.

Budget Living: Living On Minimum Wage
7/26/14 04:02 PM

We saved a ton of fridge space by growing our own veggies and herbs in containers on the front porch. Always fresh because it's living! Tomatoes, greens, cilantro, mints and beets are easy to do.

Tips for Food-Loving Roommates Sharing Kitchen Space? Good Questions
7/23/14 12:20 PM

My sympathies. That said, I managed to brush up on my French and Spanish, and even learn a bit of Mandarin Chinese while our dishwasher was broken. Totally worth it. Podcasts!

How Can I Make Hand-Washing Dishes Faster & More Fun? Good Questions
7/21/14 11:49 AM

williamiii, is this it?


After the Garage Sale: What to Do With What Didn't Sell Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer
7/20/14 05:01 PM

**I mean it was torture to care for the cats and not be able to adopt any. :)

5 Problems You Only Face While Living Alone (and How to Deal with Them)
7/15/14 07:27 PM

Wish I had this post in college. I lived alone in a renovated attic-studio. Too small plus I was lonely and often nervous. I did love having the creative space. I'd say the one saving grace was having a neighbor (directly below my apartment) who was also a great friend. She was a blast and we'd hang out most nights, plus I knew she would be there if I needed help. If you get lonely, consider an apt building with lots of tenants. It's hard to find good neighbors who aren't loud but sometimes you can strike gold like I did.

Safety - don't rely on your dog, and be thoughtful about adopting. I worked at the Humane Society and while it was torture to care for (and euthanize) unwanted cats, I did not want to take one in since my landlord did not approve and my life was in flux. Really consider the animal's needs too. There are other ways to combat loneliness. :)

5 Problems You Only Face While Living Alone (and How to Deal with Them)
7/15/14 07:26 PM

I'm assuming we mean large flea markets. Interesting note: in Mass we call them tag sales, apparently even small "garage sales" are known as flea markets in NH. I've lived in both states. Anyway! I think many of these apply whether they're large or small. Our neighbors do the Brimfield flea market every year, they're very successful sellers and they run across this all the time. Great post!

I'd also say "don't park like a jerk". On small tag sales you'll see the most outrageous parking job. It's a small neighborhood, don't block driveways.

At one of my tag sales there was one guy who was questioning my price on everything. That's fine but he was being really aggressive about it, raising his voice in outrage as though I was trying to scam him. "WHY do you think this is worth this"? He was saying this about beloved books I was selling for under $2. I shrugged my shoulder and said "you can have it for less if you want" but he seemed more interested in playing games than buying anything.

5 Things Not to Say (or Do) at the Flea Market
7/15/14 07:20 PM

They went a bit nuts with their product line. That said, I love their bottles. I use them for everything. Instead of buying expensive juice from stores before work, I fill one the night before from juice in our fridge. Next morning I'm saving about $2 plus time it would have taken to get juice from a store / breakfast place.

Glass Food Storage from Lifefactory
7/15/14 07:13 PM

Carrie, I do this for the exact same reason you do! I rush around doing chores until 9:30 then make myself stop (sometimes). When I crawl into bed I think, I had no me time at all, this is so unfair! So I promise myself I'll only read or watch TV for "a few minutes", which turns into 2 hours.

Are You a Bedtime Procrastinator? Sleep More By Going to Bed Sooner!
7/14/14 06:47 PM

Tiffins - very light! They've been a staple in India since forever. Office workers order to go food and the restaurant delivers them in these cool no-waste containers. I bought one and everyone comments on it.

Plastic containers have all sorts of potentially leeching chemicals. It's your choice, I just don't think we'll ever know the full extent of what's in there. Cracks in plastic can also harbor bacteria that washing cannot access. And plastic can't be recycled, only downcycled. I'd go for something inert like glass or inert metals like food grade containers.

What's the Best Container for Bringing My Lunch to Work? Good Questions
7/13/14 02:51 PM

Summer flu is the worst! That said, you're so right about it being a (moderate) blessing in disguise. For some reason, I love summer soups. And no, I don't want them cold. I want hot soup, just like I still enjoy hot tea in the summer. Being sick gives me an excuse to make or order all different soups just for the fun of it. Chicken soup and Yogi tea are my standbys for colds.

Under the Weather Weekend Meditation
7/13/14 02:46 PM

I was inspired by a coworker who almost always had an empty trash can. She was so unwasteful. Since then if we print paper we always do so double sided and buy recycled paper. invested in a compost bin, travel mugs, Lifefactory glass travel bottles, tiffins and pyrex. We bring Chico produce bags to the store and buy in bulk as often as possible. The rest goes in recycling. We're almost plastic and paper free and we grow container vegetables. So we're getting closer than ever before and it feels great.

How Would You Look Lying in a Week's Worth of Your Trash? Gregg Segal's 7 Days of Garbage
7/12/14 11:30 AM

BPA free just means that one type of plastic is not contaminating the food. There are a whole list of other types which are worse. Pyrex / glass type containers with snap on lids may be the best.

What's the Best Container for Bringing My Lunch to Work? Good Questions
7/11/14 08:20 AM

My whisk. I use it for everything.

What's the Weirdest Kitchen Tool You've Ever Fallen in Love With? Reader Intelligence Request
7/11/14 08:18 AM

Great ideas! Mostly I prep stuff to bring to work.

- Tuna fish salad mix. Great to have with chips too.
- Fruit and cheese snacks
- Devilled eggs using (thanks AT) your yogurt recipe.

When I Eat Healthy, It's Because I Prepped These 5 Foods in Advance
7/11/14 08:17 AM

A short lesson in sanitary practices. You cannot "wash" vegetables. You can rinse the dirt and any pesticides off, and FDA recommends this. But the same agency just announced you should not rinse chicken, because it feeds the bacteria and makes it spread. Bacteria, once it hits biological material exponentially spreads to the deep layers and can only be killed by high temperatures. Are you planning to boil your strawberries?

5 Things Not to Say (or Do) at the Farmers Market Farmers Market Etiquette
7/9/14 08:31 PM