Expanded ramblings on extreme living

I like restaurants and fancy food and not biking in Southern heat.  That doesn’t make me a complainypants.  Also, there’s no way we’re jettisoning daycare or private school.

I’m ambitious and competitive, and a career is a safe place to be that.  However, if I wanted to super-size focus on that, I’d do more outsourcing.  We really don’t do much of that other than regular daycare and a meal or two a week.

I don’t want to make the sacrifices to be an extreme frugalista.  I don’t want to make the sacrifices to be at the tippity top of my field.  The end goal of either of those outcomes isn’t what I want either.

Sure, I’d love to be financially independent.  But not enough to go extreme with early retirement.  I like my career.   We couldn’t both quit and live off our savings now unless we wanted to move back to DH’s hometown (pop 3000 and falling) or someplace similar.  That is to say, we could totally early retirement extreme on what we have saved now, but we don’t WANT to.  Not if it means homesteading someplace with bad libraries.  I like fancy food and access to culture and so on.  Not to say that extreme retirement bloggers don’t have those, but they are potential trade-offs depending on where you settle and how much you have saved.

As much as we love our wonderful children, there’s no way on earth we could spend 24/7 alone with our non-sleeping incredibly active brilliant progeny.  Sure, once they’re both school-age, but not before they can both entertain themselves.  Outsourcing hours of childcare is a must.  Childcare and private school alone are 20K/year, and that’s non-negotiable.  (I always roll my eyes a bit at the “other people raising your children” garbage… I’d love to see them spend a 24 hour period alone with our well-behaved but energetic kids without getting completely worn out.  Even my super-fit little sister can’t handle it.)

I like being able to throw money at problems.  I would get bored without a career and I’d rather make money than, say, turn off the a/c when it is 100+ degrees outside.  I wouldn’t be happy with a lot of the things many retirement bloggers do to entertain themselves in their free time– without a career I would need more expensive things to keep me busy (or I would get into trouble).  Either books or the ability to live someplace with awesome libraries.  Travel (which I get enough of through work now) without slumming (camping:  not my idea of a good time).  Housework (other than cooking) just isn’t my idea of fun.   I grew up in an ERE-like household in many respects and I’m done with it.  I like having and spending money on things like a/c and a dishwasher.

We have made sacrifices in the past to get where we are today.  Fancy cheese eating didn’t come until we were debt free and had a nice lump of saving.  We took care of ourselves before getting luxuries, but luxuries are nice.

I’m not putting as much time and effort into my career as I could because I do spend some time taking care of family and house things.  I don’t plan all my free time to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of it.  Outsourcing everything is a pain because good help is hard to find.  Doing some chores like laundry together is a fun family activity in our house. I tend not to buy stuff.

It shouldn’t seem so odd to have to justify why you’re not going to extremes either way.  Most of us who are living below our means enjoy some of the nicer things in life while investing but not putting everything into our careers.  And yet, if you spend too much time on the internet, sometimes it feels brave and daring to say no, I’m not going to bike in this heat.  And no, I’m not going to hire someone to do my laundry.  And to say both of those at the same time, when they seemingly contradict themselves… horror.

But that’s kind the way things are for most of us.  Diminishing marginal returns set in at a certain point and we end up investing and saving and spending about where we want to be (given our budget constraints).  And that’s a good thing!  Even if it doesn’t pay the bills from our blog incomes.  Balance is harder to sell than extremes.

Do you practice and/or preach extreme living?  Where do you fall on the spectrum?  Are you a point or a range?

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52 Responses to “Expanded ramblings on extreme living”

  1. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    I can totally relate to how you feel about childcare. I work at home now and my kids still go to daycare and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, people are often shocked when they find out that I keep them home with me. I do other writing jobs aside from blogging and some of them take real concentration and the ability to focus for several hours (or even all day). I couldn’t possibly get anything done while getting milk, snacks, and answering 5 million questions! Then when I’m done working I can exercise or take a leisurely trip to the grocery store. Or whatever. I have no desire to be with my children all day and night.
    I have also gotten the impression that some people think I should hire someone to watch the kids at my house instead of carting them off….but I still think I would get interrupted all day.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We’ve done both the mother’s helper and the daycare thing. As I think I ranted at someone recently somewhere, my baby just got bored of home around 8 months and needed daycare. DH was just remarking that ze’s going to get tired of the baby room soon and it’s good ze’ll be moving up to toddler!

      ETA: Funny story, for some reason my grandparents took my mom to a child psychologist when she was little. They told her there was nothing wrong with her, but for God’s sake, send her to preschool. And they did. And she loved it.

  2. Leah Says:

    I’m not into extremes either. I was talking with a friend about what I’d do with the money if I won the lottery, and that friend was shocked to hear I wouldn’t quit my job. I like my job, and it brings me fulfillment.

    I love your attitude on money and the power of money. In my mind, money brings freedom — we trade money to give us various freedoms. Right now, I’m not willing to trade money for some things. But I am definitely willing to part with money to make my life easier in other ways. It just makes sense. There are trade-offs in everything. I respect the Tightwad Gazette lady — she understands this too — but recognize that I don’t want to make all the same sacrifices as her. In her book, she talks about how they wasted so much money in their younger years before they had kids. Once they had kids, their goals changed, and they switched their spending habits. Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids yet, but I am stoked that I just spent $400 for season tickets to the opera. My main goals are to make sure that I am content with the money that we do spend and that I save a significant portion of what we make.

    Complete side note: husband just paid off his student loans. We are completely debt free! Thank you, always, for your encouragement (both via comments and via the blog). We’re also going down to one car. I see even more savings in our future.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’d be stoked with season tickets to the opera too! Opera is awesome! (The Lyric sends me their flyer each year because I got a ticket for someone as a gift once and I bemoan what I’m missing out on.)

      Congratulations on paying off your loans! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      And that’s definitely a healthy attitude towards money, being content with what you spend and save.

      • Leah Says:

        The attitude has come over time :-) I made so little for so long that I was a total tightwad. I still have my moments, but I’m getting much better at reasonably saying things like “yes, I’d like something functional and to not have to do a workaround/make do for everything” when I have the money to spend. I don’t want to end up being 80 with $5 million and loads of regrets about the things I didn’t do. But, again, the saving is important so that I’m not 80 and eating rice and beans for every meal.

  3. Debbie M Says:

    I am extreme in some ways. For example, I like rationalizing; basically, I have almost no common sense, so thinking things out is my main coping strategy. Vibes, winging it, doing what feels right, using the Force–those are not for me. Another related example: I don’t like mind-altering drugs at all (except sugar–and ibuprofen). I understand that these are used by most people in my culture and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a culture that doesn’t use them, so mostly I just keep my trap shut, but my feelings about those are quite extreme. Another example is that I no longer want to be religious at all–when I hear or read things from religious perspectives, I translate those things into my own language. Another way to look at it is that I am determined on going to hell and there’s nothing anyone can do about it–that sounds pretty extreme.

    As for finances, I’m generally on the frugal, low-earning side of the scale. But I love reading extreme blogs because they are the most likely to give me new ideas. It’s especially fun to read the details of people doing things that on the surface sound unpleasant, but which clearly are not unpleasant to those people. Once I can see that some things might not be unpleasant, I might want to try them out. For example, dollar stores suck–they have loads of crappy, cheap ick. But they also have bags of real frozen fruit for only $1 and they do have ordinary greeting cards for cheap, too (which somehow make my family feel loved), so now I drop in sometimes when I’m passing by. (Heh, I just implied that Eco Cat Lady is extreme!) Okay, but I did also think that saving 10% of my income was good and never really knew that people could save 50% of their income, even if they don’t have a super-high income, just like I didn’t know until the fourth grade that people could make straight A’s. Knowledge is power!

    Also, reading about extreme people makes me feel less crazy and is a good booster shot against the everpresent extreme commercialism. I will walk to places less than two miles away instead of driving, even if it’s blistering hot (while wearing a hat and sunscreen). But that’s nothing compared to people who bike 10 or 20 miles and then have to be presentable at the other end (because they’ve just bicycled to work).

    As to whether I’m a point or a range, of course I am a range. I am super frugal in some areas (making my own chocolate syrup and laundry detergent) so I can be pretty spendy in other areas (I’ve been to Europe–more than once). I do work hard at my job, but only for 40 hours per week and only for low-stress jobs, so I make much less than the median income for people with my level of education. I do invest mostly in stocks (risky), but it’s because I have a pension. Also my stocks are mostly in index funds (high diversity = less risk, low fees = more money), though I do have some in specific dividend growth stocks and one speculative stock.

    As for preaching, I try not to do it at all. (Though, if I am at all like my brother, I fail miserably on a regular basis.) I will share extreme-living ideas, both in case the person might like the ideas and in case the ideas give perspective. But I’m pretty sure I know that I really have very little idea of what would be a good idea for another person. It’s all I can do to take charge of my own life.

  4. GMP Says:

    >>Balance is harder to sell than extremes.
    True. Extremes are easy to define, whereas “balance” is really a vast continuum of choices, so your balance is probably a little different than pretty much anyone else’s.

    I am with you — not extreme in terms of outsourcing, saving, or commitment to career. I am very ambitious, but think I am making my peace with being a second-rate scientist: I am at a very good, big public R1, I publish well, I am well-funded and well-regarded in my scientific community, but I don’t think there’s a Nobel Prize or a MacArthur Genius Fellowship in my future, and so there is definitely a level I am not at. Maybe I will be a candidate for a top-5 private school when the kids are grown, maybe not. But I think I am slowly learning to be OK with that, as working more is a necessary (albeit not sufficient) condition for getting to the tippity top in my field, but I have a family who need me and with whom I want to spend time, even though, like you, I would go absolutely ballistic at home with them all the time. My kids are the most important things in my life, but work is extremely important to me and absolutely necessary for my sanity. I have no guilt about working (perhaps because of where and I how I grew up, but that’s another story).

    For my husband and me, enjoying food is definitely non-negotiable. We are very particular about bread, cheese, chocolate, and coffee. We are not fancy in clothes or house or car, and we save for retirement and the kids’ college, we don’t splurge on vacations, but we eat what we want. We don’t pay for any help around the house, mostly because DH doesn’t want to, I would love to get someone to clean and would gladly pay for it.

    A bit tangential, since we are on the topic of extremely frugal living (or is it called early retirement?): I am totally clueless about the tenets of the movement, but I caught a glimpse of that community by following a link in one of your previous posts. I remember reading that a guy says his family with 3 kids, in Washington DC, spends $440 per month on food. How is that even possible? I spend $300 per week on groceries. I presume they don’t each (much? any?) meat or deli, or fine bread, or some of the more expensive fruit (darn $6/lb rainier cherries). But still, $440 per month for a family of 5 is like $1 per person per meal (no snacks), how is that even possible? Seriously, I am not trying to be obnoxious, just trying to understand. Thanks!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Having been to DC, I don’t know. If they were in other parts of the country where food costs are lower, I could give you an answer. My guess is they’re missing something or they don’t actually live in DC (maybe in VA or MD). I’d have to see that guy’s particular circumstances.

      We have some posts somewhere that talk about cooking when you’re really broke, and with judicious use of legumes, ultra-ripe reduced-price produce, and so on, you can get your costs down quite a bit. Also some folks have their own garden and don’t include the costs of gardening.

    • chacha1 Says:

      I’ll bet their staples are rice, lentils, dried beans, cornflakes, and reconstituted dry milk. With maybe the occasional $1 bag of frozen fruit. :-) Cheapest bread, bologna, peanut butter, and processed cheese. It can be done but it’s not the optimal nutrition.

      IMO, given the lifetime deficits that childhood poor nutrition can confer … if someone can afford to buy high-quality food for their kids and chooses not to, it’s a little irresponsible. Making an essentially political point about how cheaply you can live should not be at the expense of someone else’s health.

      And I’m not saying that guy, or others like him, are doing that. I don’t read extreme blogs because I don’t like extremes (in anything), so I don’t know even the part of the story that they put on the Internet. But five people, $440? $88/mo per person? That’s less than $3 a day, as you say. There’s no way that include fresh vegetables and fruits daily for everybody.

    • Jacq Says:

      GMP, here’s a good food recipe with cost breakdown website that I really like (a little less carb-y and more veg-y and meat-y than some):

      http://www.budgetbytes.com/

      Sort of gives you some idea of how people trim costs and is pretty much how we eat but a bit more on the vegetarian side than we like.
      Last year I spent $5,596 (CAD) for the 3 of us for the year, pets are about $80/mo of that (duck treats are expensive!) But cooking is one of my hobbies.
      That guy was saying what his budget was, not his actuals. Budgets are typically overly optimistic IME.

    • Astra Says:

      Not to go OT and everything but based on how you’ve described your career on your blog, GMP, I think “second rate” is much too pejorative. “Upper middle second tier”? “Lower top tier”? Or just “successful”? I just get frustrated with the emphasis in science on the supposed superstars and not the quality science being done by good, even great, scientists all over the place.

      Back on topic, I do not live frugally. We live within our means, save money, etc. but beyond that I am going to spend money to buy quality time or things I want. Plus, it’s clear that frugal living is a fun game for many while for me it is a tedious and unnecessary exercise.

  5. Jacq Says:

    I practice it I would guess more than preach it if my savings rate means anything. I tend to go to extremes on a lot of things (if some is good, more is better!) and have in the career at times as well. It’s like being a workaholic – the OCD that’s admired by society (eg. badass biking in a skiff of snow – but who was driving the car to take the picture???) I’m working on not being that way.

    That’s why you tend to see many of these people following quite rigid dietary schemes (paleo is common) as well. And many have doomsdayer tendencies (peak oil/single handedly killing the environment if you drive your car 2 miles)… Self-sufficiency is a huge thing too.

    Mine is related more to safety concerns and being in a vulnerable place with jobs and not being able financially to just walk out of a bad situation. And actually physically starving at one point in life didn’t help. Probably some genetic predisposition as well.

    Other than that, this article explains it better than I can:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201002/field-guide-the-tightwad-saving-spree

    Who wants to read about the person who lost 50 pounds over the course of 2 years with a moderate diet and exercise plan? Give us the one that did it in 12 days every time. That’s why the ER-ers often emphasize the short amount of time it took to get to FI and they have to demonize the other stuff to make their point. Just like carbz are the devilz… never let a single bite cross your lips or you’ll instantly gain 30 pounds overnight.

    As for camping, maybe I’m not doing it right in a pricy RV but it’s nice to be out in the middle of nowhere with no electronics or whatever except intermittently for weeks at a time. It’s a sort of artificial situation that I set up to enable better bonding with the kiddo (nobody else to talk to or do things with, although he usually finds playmates since he’s so extroverted), the dog can run free, the fish are outside the door… If I could afford the cost/acre and time cost of equivalent land around here and wanted to go to the same place all the time, that’s what I would be doing instead.

  6. Miser Mom Says:

    I’m with Debbie. I love reading about people who do something I admire *way* better than I do it — often even way better than I WANT to do it. Preachiness and even kookiness come with the territory, I figure. Joan of Arc, Ghandi, No Impact Man, and even the early-retirement-bicycle-zealot all make me a little more comfortable with trying something a little bit uncomfortable. And if I don’t like it, well, I can always pull back.

  7. oilandgarlic Says:

    I think you nailed it with your final sentence : Balance is harder to sell than extremes. After all, balance is different for each person, whereas extremes can be seen as an example to strive toward.

    Also agree with you on daycare. Kids usually get very bored at home. My SIL stayed home and pretty much built a mini playground at home to keep her kids entertained. Plus you have to go out a lot more on the weekdays to ensure kids get enough socialization and entertainment. Of course this is still probably cheaper than daycare but it can still be costly!

  8. rented life Says:

    We’re frugal on things because we have to be, but largely we’d prefer to live a life of balance. Other than each other and my mom, neither of us talks to much about finances with others because our choices make sense to us, but not to others. We’ve been accused by some of his family for being “rich” which we certainly aren’t, but I’m very strict with sticking to our budget because that’s what allows us to do other things. Food is one of the few things I’m least likely to compromise on, but I’ve found other ways to afford what I want to eat–buying meat from friends who raise cows/chickens, etc. I talk with my mom in sharing ideas about budgets, financial decisions, etc. but she’s one of the few who get that we have what we have and I don’t believe in spending more.

  9. First Gen American Says:

    Well communicated overall. Even with my own mom who many would still categorize in the extreme frugal category but she still splurges because she can afford it. She keeps her house crazy hot in the winter…but she grew up during ww2 half frozen as a kid. If you lecture her about keeping her house at 68, she would flip her lid.

  10. chacha1 Says:

    We’re having some balance issues at the moment :-) so I’m not sure how I would describe our financial arrangements. But we are certainly not on any extreme end of the spectrum. We make a lot, we spend a lot, we live within our means.

    First Gen: one thing I do [headdesk] about is older people (like my parents!) who retire to areas where they HAVE to use HVAC year-round. It’s not like the cost of energy is ever going to go down.

  11. J Says:

    This may be missing your existential point, but if the guy who does my laundry was available in your town, you WOULD outsource your laundry! I am with you about how sometimes, outsourcing everything seems so_exhausting. Doing your grocery shopping doesn’t require one to use any executive function– hiring somebody to do it does. I don’t outsource everything. But once my washer broke and I called a wash-dry-fold delivery guy and it was love at first sight. Got the washer fixed but I love putting my laundry on my front porch in laundry bags and having it returned to me all clean and folded and sorted by person! And not wrinkled, because unlike me, the laundry people take it out the moment it is done!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I dunno, laundry folding time is family time. Reminds me of quality time with my family as a child. I also have some weird hangups about other people seeing my underwear. Even anonymous delivery persons.

      At first I was totally on board with Betsey Stevenson about outsourcing everything, but then she was talking about all the mental load that goes into that, including having to put up employee notices because she reached some limit of employees… and just listening to that sounded kind of exhausting. I think normally they have a personal assistant to take care of that stuff, but they were having trouble with the one they hired. And good help is hard to find! Would I be as productive as they are with help… probably not, but maybe more than I am now. (Though if I had better RAs, I’d be a lot more productive!)

      Also we don’t make anywhere what they make, so it’s not quite as easy to outsource. With enough money you can hire very competent people who will stick with you. With our income we could hire services and undergraduates… and those change out every few years.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That sounds like an awesome service!

      • J Says:

        My old house has a basement where you could film a horror movie. The laundry is there. Laundry time is not family time. Grocery shopping is family time. Shredding the credit card statements is family time. As I said, I think one problem with the outsourced life is that my work day already uses the frontal lobe pretty intensely. Dealing with hiring help is just using that same part of the brain…..

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It really is. And I’d rather use that processing power managing RAs. Hired help really isn’t the same as “having a wife” unless you can afford very very good hired help. We’re just not set up to have housekeepers and butlers anymore! And that’s a good thing for society and equality and so on.

        Back when we lived in an apartment with basement laundry, laundry was much less pleasant (and was man’s work). We don’t have any stairs in the house or basements, and it’s very easy to transport the laundry from utility room to bedroom or living room for group processing.

  12. Jacq Says:

    What I’m curious about is why we get drawn to these websites that don’t reflect our core values? For example, I read ERE for about 2 years before I jettisoned the site thinking “holy shit, this is NOT how I want to be, obsessing over and calculating this optimization shit all the time. Sometimes I just want to go on a freaking cruise already without feeling like a stupid consumerist.” (My kids think cruises are totally awesome now.) And I don’t feel attracted to any other kind of cray cray “NOOOO you must do this or you will surely dine in hellllll…” rhetoric apart from financial crap on occasion. MMM fits into the financial crap category for me – not sure why since I don’t like his shtick: http://www.reddit.com/r/personalfinance/comments/w1wee/deconstructing_mrmoneymoustache_rejoinders_welcome/
    (“retired” at 30 on $400k outside of owned house with a working spouse – puhhhleaze)

    If I read a parenting blog (which I don’t read any), would I feel the same way? I don’t know since I have zero insecurities about my parenting skills. So I suspect that I still feel attracted to the financial extremists because of some kind of insecurity. Maybe they will tell me how to do things better or supply assurance?? I don’t really know? Or is it the devil I know since they sound like familiar parental influences? Or is it a Get off my internets hate read?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      For a while, I was enjoying reading blogs of happy religious homeschooling farm wives with tons of kids. Turns out that was also a guilty pleasure of one of my childless friends (who is also heavily career driven)! So there could be something there, I dunno.

      We at grumpy rumblings gave up insecurities sometime after getting our PhDs, and I guess we don’t really tend to read blogs that go against our core values. Heck, we’ve even stopped clicking on the MMM headlines in miser-mom’s blogroll because the last few times we did it was a waste of time (we have a post percolating on that as well, not that it probably matters). Time is so precious, only worthy blogs get read these days. :) Well, and the occasional tantalizing headline off someone’s blogroll.

      • Jacq Says:

        Well, that’s the thing. I’m down to like <10 blogs but I do like seeing how people live their lives in real time and the decisions they make. Mostly if I've connected with a person somehow, I want to know how they are doing and that all is well in their world. Mutant Supermodel is like that for me. I want to know she is ok. Male-written blogs aren't about their whole lives without sugar-coating, they're about concepts with hyperbolic "everything is grand". I like both because it's real. And sometimes life sucks.
        But for the rest, fiction is better.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We’re glad we made the cut!

  13. Leigh Says:

    I think I would probably be a terrible stay at home parent. I’m definitely a Type A go-getter and a career is a much better outlet for that than children.

    I realized while reading a post of Emily’s on Evolving PF a while back that I started using my finances as more of an outlet last year with how stressful everything was and that I should actually be trying to improve my enjoyment of my career rather than striving for FI earlier. I made a goal to not write ANY blog posts this month and I’m going to count that as a success at this point. I also haven’t made any money moves and oddly enough, my credit card spending may come in under $1,000 despite the fact that I was way overbudget on restaurants.

    I don’t really want to quit my job, but having the ability to do so would probably make me definitely not want to. In the last few months, I have bought 3 concert-type tickets that were $50-70 apiece. I can tell you that I enjoyed one of them (the other two haven’t happened yet) and it was totally worth the $50. $50 is definitely peanuts on my income if it’s something I want.

    If I was retired, my sports costs would probably go up. Instead of playing sport #1 once or twice a week, I’d probably play 3-4 times a week. That would also increase my gas costs. Electricity would go up for keeping the heat on during the day.

    I did optimize a bunch of stuff earlier this year, like chopping my cell phone bill down and trying to reduce my electricity usage, but I’m not going to cut spending to the point that I’m no longer enjoying stuff. That just doesn’t make sense when I’m saving $3k/month (plus bonuses!) after maxing out my 401(k) and HSA.

    People call me frugal, but I really don’t think that $3k/month of spending as a single person is all that frugal, until you throw my income in there and realize that I’m saving almost 80% of my total net income…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We’d kind of wondered if that’s why you hadn’t updated.

      Sounds like you are well on your way to finding your own balance. As for the saving 80% of your income… if that’s the residual and you’re not denying yourself and you’re happy with your spending, then one day you will no doubt be very happy that you saved all that money because you’ll have a reason to use it. Maybe you’ll stop working, maybe you’ll never stop working. Maybe you’ll have kids. Maybe you’ll find a charitable cause you’re passionate about. But I’ve never had cause to complain about having extra money in the bank. And it’s provided amazing amounts of freedom.

  14. Laura Vanderkam (@lvanderkam) Says:

    I sometimes wonder if different sleep needs are responsible for some people thinking you’d “never” see your kids if you work full time, vs. those of us who see our kids all the time no matter how much we work — because they just don’t sleep that much. With the first two we never had the 6:30-7:30 with a 2-hour regular nap thing going, and with the third, it lasted for like 2 months. There have been days I’ve had one kid up from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. (not the same kid). Even working 8 hours, that’s 9 hours around the kids. On a regular basis it’s more like 6:30-10. At least the 6-year-old can mostly entertain himself in his room after 9.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yes. Cloud had a post on that a while back, and we had a related one on gifted kids and sleep. Since intelligence is partly heritable, I imagine high-powered women also tend to have kids with low sleep needs, on average.

      Our 10 month old is still going strong right now.

      One nice thing about having our 6 year old being challenged at his abilities is that he does get more sleep than when he’s not being challenged. Skipping two grades means he needs an 8:30 bedtime and gets up at around 7. That’s two more hours of sleep than we used to get from him.

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  17. bogart Says:

    Ha. Don’t know if you’ll see this (how do these newfangled blog thingies work, again?), but we are just back from a 2-week camping trip and while it was quite lovely and I’d do it again in a heart beat, I’m with you. Our trip was consistent with neither the frugalists nor the environmentalists as it involved a half-ton pickup and a ~25 foot hard-sided camping trailer, dramatically simplifying everything from morning coffee to waiting out the several (3?) 2+ hour thunderstorms that rolled through, not to mention the 2 all-night rainstorms. And it was quite lovely. I guess if I maximize anything it’s simplicity, and I find that landing with the kid in the place we want to explore and staying put, with all our supplies stashed in our camping trailer (most live there) and easy on-site meal prep are achieving that for us now. Plus, I don’t like crowds, and am not huge on cities.

    The trip was also educational/a good reminder in terms of just how hard it might be to buy (decent) groceries in the rural US, especially if one did not have access to time and a car.

    That said, I do enjoy reading some of the extremists (or at least less middle-of-the-roadists) some of the time, not least because they remind me to push myself in assorted directions at assorted times. A current kick is trying to reduce my vehicular usage, a value I am environmentally sympathetic to, and I am doing more both by bike and bus. But I still drive places I “shouldn’t,” by their measures.

    (A number of the extremists I read seem either not to have large extended families or not to value spending time with them, and while I am not suggesting that either of those things — a large family or time with same — is necessarily something one should seek, neither am I willing to abandon my own).

  18. Weekend Link Time Says:

    […] Expanded ramblings on extreme living @ Grumpy Rumblings. […]

  19. 2013 in review: A summary from WordPress | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured Says:

    […] The busiest day of the year was June 24th with 1,209 views. The most popular post that day was Expanded ramblings on extreme living. […]


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