Link love for squirrelly April

April makes people in academia lose their brains for busyness.  In this week’s Fc*k the police…

black lives matter - stats

Black cyclists in trouble with the po-po.

Racism interacts with sexism!  Don’t forget the black women.  Black women’s lives matter.

wow (on point)

Myths about women in science.  @femfreq is pretty cool!

Adam Sandler is racist.

Scalzi being tasty-delicious.

Tiny elephant tries to find the rest of a human’s nose.

gamergate is still a thing (aka, what was that whole anne wheaton thing about)

Are you receiving a marriage penalty or bonus?

Dr. Cleveland carefully takes apart the argument that colleges no longer teach Shakespeare.

Skipping grades is ok!

History of artificial flavoring

anxiety and parenting a gifted child

wish I could have seen this

Vlogbrothers for infinite amusement:

Google questions for a very busy Friday

Q:  how can a civil engineer wife help with regarding the partner’s career?

A:  let’s back up to “why” before “how,” ok?

Q:  being a teacher what should she behave or follow

A:  probably not this:

Teachers' Contract 1923

Q:  what would authoritarian parent do if their child asked them if they can sleep over a friends house

A:  once again, do your own homework

Q:  who is accounting professor?

A:  Not us…

Q:  why are professors so grumpy

A:  Systematic undermining of our livelihood

Q:  what does it mean when someone challenges you to a brewsters millions

A:  we have No Idea.  Sorry.  That’s not true… we have a post on it, but it’s seriously unlikely that anybody is going to tell you that you get a ginormous amount of money if you’re able to spend a big amount of money in a short amount of time.  Most likely it’s a scam.

Q:  should adult kids always come first?

A:  it’s polite to help your partner out first.  Better to give than to receive and all that.

Q:  what do university lecturers do in the summer

A:  Teach summer classes.  Sleep.  Struggle to pay the bills.  Research.  Write all those papers.

Q:  why do narcissists love misery

A:  For the attention?  I dunno.

Q:  what is the average salary of a cpa with a doctorate

A:  You’re looking for this page , or else the side-bar on this one (Hint:  Pretty high)

School districts, housing, and having a grade-skipped kid

So, DC1 is grade-skipped by two grades.  Ze is in a private school.

That means that we have no idea what grade ze is going to be in next year when ze goes to public school in a new state.

Which means we’ve been calling around a lot.

And getting a bizarre range of answers about how schools would determine grade level for DC1 in our situation.  How big a range?

1.  DC1 starts in 3rd grade, period.  Then the teacher observes for 6 weeks.  Then a team including the principal discusses the situation and most likely keeps DC1 in 3rd grade, even though ze would be the oldest non-red-shirted kid in the grade.

2.  It’s up to the principal.

3.  The administration would assess DC1 to determine what would be appropriate.  If ze is ready for 5th grade, that is where ze would go.  In additional to educational components, they will assess emotional and social components.  Writing it out this way makes it sound a lot nicer than how they sounded over the phone, which hit both DH and me with a lot of bad memories about our childhood, with the emphasis on emotional/social.  (Because if you’re out of synch with your same-age peers, you’re failing at emotional/social which means they won’t let you skip… Catch-22.) (#2 is still mad about people not letting me skip a grade for social reasons… guess what, I didn’t have friends in school ANYWAY so at least I could have learned something… grumble.)  (#1 would have had friends if she’d been grade skipped.)

4.  Need to take educational documentation including letter from teacher/principal and report card.  The documentation will be reviewed by school administration.

5.  Based on age it would be 4th grade (different cut-off date?), but school records indicating completion of 4th grade would allow DC1 to be placed in 5th.

6.  Ze would be placed in 5th grade automatically.

7.  Ze would be placed in 5th grade and then given a placement test for homogeneous math grouping placement.  Bring materials to help teacher/administration work with DC1.  Would need special reasons to be placed in a grade below 5th.  (“Is it because you’re calling from the South [and worried that a blue state education would be too advanced]?” the confused administrator asked.)

8.  Skip approved with proof of why skipped for special reasons.

So we’re narrowing down our search to #4-8, mainly because #3 gave off such negative vibes.  #7 sounds great, but has very few, if any, houses, mostly apartments and the apartments are interspersed with undergraduate housing.  So we might look out there, but not until we get closer.  #6 is a substantial commute for me and very suburban… not unlike where we live now.  #5 has fifth grade in middle school, not elementary school like all the other districts in the area.  #4 is a pretty good bet in terms of houses, commute times, and walkability, but I’m a bit nervous about where they would really place DC1.  Still, they have some really nice (not cheap!) houses and the commute is great.

I guess the moral is that different places do things widely differently, sometimes even in a smallish geographic area?

RBOC

  • Speaking of male ponies… did you know that Weird Al played Cheese Sandwich?
  • My town has recently completely changed where it puts police officers to check for speeders.  They’re completely gone from the primarily minority neighborhood where I used to see them 3 times a week catching speeders in the school zone and they’re now at the entrance of my mostly white HOA and also on the main drag that half of the university people use to go home.  It’s like they want to change their statistics to make it clear they’re not just targeting minorities in case they get audited.  Or maybe this Ferguson stuff has stopped and made them actually think critically about how their practices negatively and unfairly impact minorities.  White privilege is real.
  • After 10 years, I now eat grits and like them.
  • Cute DC2 story:  Easter night,  DH insisted that DC2 needed to eat some real food for dinner instead of candy, and DC2 (age 2) maintained that marshmallow eggs are real food because they’re eggs, not candy.  Ze got so mad that ze took hir easter basket, marched into hir room, and slammed the door.  Ze had angrily consumed quite a bit more candy before we stopped laughing enough to be able to check on hir.  (At which point, I said one more piece, then no more and ze was ok with that.)
  • No, no, I haven’t found a place in Paradise yet.  We probably won’t until 1-2 weeks before we move out there!
  • The world would be a better place if people who hate math didn’t transmit their hatred to the next generation.
  • ARGH.  I hate the way no matter how many times I say, “I don’t know, my husband keeps the kids’ calendar” and “My husband is a better person to talk to about this” and “Call [husband] 1st,” it is irrelevant.  They always call me.  Even though the reception in my office is crappy and I often misplace my phone for days at a time.  (Caveat:  the new daycare is very good about folllowing the instructions on the card about who to call first.)
  • Related note:  Work colleague who has my cell number for work related reasons (coordinating meals with job candidates that one time), it was not ok to give it to your wife when she *already* has my husband’s number for play-date purposes.  And I’ve told him (somewhat impolitely) that she should call DH and I’ve asked her politely to call DH and not me many times.
  • I got my haircut right before a conference in a fancy city.  I suspect it makes me look younger and more approachable than my previous ‘do.  College boys and middle-aged ladies kept striking up random conversations with me at the airports on the way home.  It was weird.  Smalltalk, however, seems pretty easy at the airport (and it’s always easy at conferences), which leads me to conclude that I just hate making smalltalk with the parents of my kids’ friends.  I wonder what that says about me.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 15 Comments »

Are there any costs to fostering kittens?

If you foster a cat for a verified nonprofit shelter, you can claim it on your taxes.

We know that #2 had extensive experience with taking in stray cats & kittens and getting them to good homes.  Good on ya!  #2’s experience was very expensive and someday she’ll post pictures of the kitten-destroyed master-bathroom that cost ~$600 repair (on top of vet and food bills).

#1 has started a slightly lower-stakes fostering experience with a no-kill cat shelter that ultimately has responsibility for the kittens.  Yes… kittens!

They are mostly-black, which makes it hard to take good photos…. here they are in their crate…

a pile of kittens

and little faces…

4 little kitten faces

There is another one, but she is sick and so she is with the foster coordinator right now, getting extra meds and care.  These ones are on antibiotics, which are supplied by the shelter.  The shelter also supplied some chicken baby food to mix the antibiotics into, although I will have to buy some more.  They supplied me with several weeks’ worth of crunchy kibbles and about a week’s worth of kitten-safe litter (I have already bought more).  I have to bring them back to the shelter periodically for free check-ups and vet care.  They are actually 2 litters that were put together.  I think they may be around 6 weeks old.  Don’t know what happened to their mommies.  They weigh, on average, about 1 pound and 4 ounces each.

They come in this big crate (it folds up) where they sleep and play.  The shelter provided the bed, blankets, litter box, and water dish.  They also sent a scale to weigh them and a thermometer for taking kitten temps, along with an extra litter box and a handbook of what to do.  They also have a carrying cage.

I let them out to roam the bathroom and play, and they have supervised time in the living room when we can watch them.  We are getting lots of mileage out of a toilet paper tube, cardboard boxes, and a plastic Easter egg.  They also have a couple balls to chase, and each other to wrestle.  I bought them a cardboard scratching post for around $7, and I trim their claws for my own comfort when they climb on me.

We are doing a fair bit of laundry because they occasionally have potty accidents (they are just babies).  And running through quite a bit of hand sanitizer.  That’s it so far, though!

Your local shelter needs you.  Donate today.

It’s time to love the links

Apologies for not a lot of links this week.  One of us has been on a deadline for an overdue writing thing and the other is traveling.

Notes from my writing:  Hey PubMed, you’re awesome and all, but your “export citation” function is kinda broken.  Save me, ScienceDirect!  Also, young lovers over here whispering in the library: assholes, leave the quiet area. You would be less disruptive if you actually talked.  YOU KNOW I CAN HEAR YOU, RIGHT? Just go make out in private like the rest of us did.

How can you tell whether you’re being objectified or whether you’re an empowered woman?  This handy cartoon explanation is a start.  NPR doesn’t get it.  On Twitter, exhaustion with sniping.

Georgia Dunn, the artist who draws Breaking Cat News, had a baby!  Childcare conundrums. Babies better than tattoos?  One of us prefers babies, the other of us prefers tattoos.

Financial relief over at What Now.  Stiffer rules to protect retirement money.  (heheheh they said “stiffer”)  Republicans want handouts for millionaires, what a surprise.

Trying to convince skeptical parents to have their kids vaccinated…

 

Tough choices: mathematician just loves hitting people.

 

and now, this:

Ask the grumpies: How to say no to trips with crazy people

For those of you who missed this question and following commentary in the last Ask the grumpies solicitation:

CPP asks:

My parents are very toxic people: judgmental, intrusive, manipulative, and demeaning. They behave very poorly in public, especially when it comes to service workers in restaurants, hotels, airlines, stores, etc, whom they treat like absolute shitte–as if they aren’t even fellow human beings. Because of all of this, PhysioWife and I drastically limit the time we spend in their company. They have gotten used to the fact that we visit their home in a sunny place only once per year, staying for four nights. We see them on average about once per month when they are in their other home in our city, generally spending a couple of hours having dinner.

Here’s the question: They are pressing me about PhysioWife and I going on a trip with them to a foreign country to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary and one of their milestone birthdays. There is absolutely zero chance that we are going to do this, and I am trying to figure out how to tell them we aren’t going in a way that minimizes the hysterical shitshow they (mostly my mother) will perform.

Obviously, one extreme would be, “We’re not going on this trip with you, because you always behave terribly and it is misery to be around you, and thus we will never travel with you, especially to a foreign country.” Any creative ideas for scripts to make use of? Obviously, I can’t just say, “We aren’t available those dates”, because they’ll just propose other dates. One thing I thought of was, “Oh, it’s a nice suggestion, but we just really don’t like traveling with other people.” PhysioWife doesn’t think that sounds plausible, because we travel all the time with her family (who are totes awesome).

Anyway, any suggestions? I am sort of at a loss, and am feeling resigned to just having to say, “We don’t want to travel with you”, and dealing with the hysterical fallout.

We didn’t have any good advice, but folks in the comments did.  We bet more of our readers will as well!

Perpetua suggests:

There are a couple of other possibilities besides the ones you’ve mentioned. You could cite money as an issue (that is, you don’t have the money to travel, or to travel the way they’d want to travel), and if they’re offering to pay you could say this makes you and your wife feel very uncomfortable and you don’t want to go if you can’t pay for yourselves, which you can’t (either because you have no extra money or, if that’s not plausible, because you’re saving your money for X thing). If the milestone anniversary is one of yours (rather than theirs) you could simply say you’ve decided to celebrate another way – or if it’s theirs and you have a milestone of your own coming up in the next 2-5 years, you could say you’re saving for X special thing for that milestone. You could also develop a work or health related reason why travel in the timeframe they’re wanting to travel won’t work for you and you would be miserable if they postponed their trip because of you. (This kind of thing is one of the rare cases where having kids can be helpful – a handy excuse to get out of things you don’t want to do! Pets might work – my ILs excused themselves from visiting us for years because of their dog.)

to which Delagar adds:

I used a work-related reason when my toxic family wanted our entire family to go on a cruise together for my parents’ 50th anniversary. I was going up for full professor, said I had to work on that. It was even (sort of) true, and it worked like a charm. Don’t you have a paper or something? Could be very pressing!

Becca suggests:

Any chance of saying “Oh, we weren’t planning on traveling there this year, and we don’t want to ruin the romance of your *milestone wedding anniversary*. But we’d like to be part of the festivities by throwing you a small ‘bon voyage’/happy milestones party at our place right before you leave”. This would involve no more than the typical amount of contact with them, with the added bonus of you having the option to have the evening catered so you don’t actually have to go out in public with them if you don’t want to.

Similarly, from Rented life:

“Thanks but actually we had planned something special for you to mark the occasion” and then do nice night out with dinners and show (or whatever is appropriate–small party? Etc.). You’ve marked the occasion, met the family obligation and no one can say you ignored the big deal milestone.

Debbie M. with this advice:

I’m always a fan of true answers, but then I only rarely have to deal with unreasonable people. So the question is how to be tactful. I’m not so great with the tact. The truth you’ve mentioned is that you don’t like to see how they treat service workers, so watching that is something you don’t want to do on your vacations. The tactful route might be something about how y’all might ruin their trip by freaking out about how they treat service people, and you wouldn’t want to do that on their special trip. The best thing about true reasons is if they really do address them, it’s win-win! But they probably can’t treat service people with respect. And even if they suddenly could, I get the idea there are plenty of other good reasons not to accompany them.

I’ve also read many times that “No” is a complete sentence, though I prefer “No, thanks.” In this case, even, “No, but thanks so much for thinking of us. We wish you all the best on your exciting trip.” But don’t people always then ask why? “Oh, we’re not interested, but thanks.”

Bleh. Good luck.

Leigh notes:

One of the best excuses I’ve used is “I don’t have enough vacation days for that trip.”

And Steph points to Captain Awkward, which CPP should probably be reading on a regular basis, since they occasionally deal with questions about highly difficult people:

Captain Awkward might also be useful. The closest thing I could find quickly was this post about not wanting certain family to come visit:  http://captainawkward.com/2015/02/02/655-visits-with-highly-difficult-people/
but her archives are extensive and likely to have something http://captainawkward.com/archives/

Grumpy Nation, what would you suggest?

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