Merry Christmas!

For those who celebrate it.  Happy winter holidays otherwise!

Grumpy Rumblings will be taking a break this year between Christmas and New Year.  Why this year and not previous years?

One of us is traveling this entire period.  The other of us has a small, energetic, fearless, and destructive child with no daycare for two weeks (the current daycare doesn’t have back-up holiday childcare and we haven’t found anyone else who can help) and her spouse hasn’t been working long enough to have vacation time.  That means neither of us can do much on the internets.  (Not even on the ipad!)

Of course, we’ve been around for quite some time (2010 is a long time in blog years)– that means we’ve built up quite an interesting repository of posts for you to read on all sorts of topics.  Revisit some of your favorites or find some new-to-you posts to read while you await our return with the January mortgage update.

Here’s a link of links to get you started if you can’t think where to look.  Or click on any of the tags over to your right.  Or just pick a random date from the Archives and start reading.  Unless you’re a completest, in which case you should start from today’s post and work back or the first post and work forward.  There’s a lot of good stuff in there.

We’ll miss you!  But we’ll be back.  :)

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Some notes for book publishers and all types of writers

  • We really really need to stop titling novels “The [X]’s Daughter”.  Not only are they hard to tell apart, and way overdone, but must we continue to define girls and women this way?
  • Alternate titles:
    “The woman in relationship only to herself”
    “The woman defined as her own person rather than as her relationship to another”
  • Also, why does everything have “: A Novel” in the title?  For real, you think we can’t tell it’s a novel?  Stop with cutesy titles and just call things the names of novels!  I know it’s really hard to think of good new names, but start now.
  • Could we maybe have pop songs retire the phrase, “You’re a good girl”?  I get that they’re into the whole madonna – whore thing, but can’t we retire it?
  • Note:  it is ok to use the phrase, “You’re a good girl” if the song is about an actual canine.  But you can’t then put sexual euphemisms or overt sexual stuff in there because dogs can’t consent.
  • We are happy to see women’s heads back on covers.
  • Misogyny, I hate you.

Strategies for not maxing out

Recently Laura Vanderkam had a post discussing yet another book written about the meme that mothers who work full-time are all stress-cases over-doing everything all the time.  You know the one that’s part of the patriarchy’s plan to keep women out of the labor force?

Rather than quitting your day-job and becoming a free-lance writer who writes articles for the NYTimes on how hard it is to be a neurotic working mother, or a book-writer or life-coach telling other people how they can quit their jobs to work part-time telling people to quit their jobs to work part-time… there are less draconian (and less MLM) ways that people can control their stress levels and time use.  This is especially true for the upper-middle-class folks that LV’s blog seems to be mostly aimed at.

We make a lot of money, but my parents did not (and my mom’s dual working parents did not). Still, they were able to spend on things that were important, and one of those things that was important was hiring people to drive my sister and me to places we needed to be during regular working hours when my parents had to work. A college student can take kids to the dentist. Like my grandma always said, “Hire good help.”

Many schools now offer after school care and even before school care.  Most of my colleagues partake of this offering in the local publics, and the after school care at DC1’s private school is so popular that the SAHM complain that their kids want to go to after school care instead of going home with mom.  That extra two hours that you don’t have to worry and you can just pick your kid up when the work-day is done are well worth the $50-$200 we pay every month (depending on the month).

Meal planning can take more mental power than it should, especially when you’re tired and hungry and exhausted from a day at work and need to recharge with food before you can think about food.  Having quick healthy cheap food routines is important. I have a bunch of these standard meals memorized, and the microwave has made things even faster.

The reason I have these standard meals memorized is because from an early age I was taught to do chores, and I started cooking the occasional meal by myself at age 7. Kids can chip in and take off some of the burden. My six year old is in charge of things pertaining to hir. Sometimes ze forgets to bring hir homework or a jacket (or to wear dress clothes on full-dress day), but that just reminds hir next time.

I don’t have to be everything all the time. I can even delegate the mental load for things as my children get older. And they can handle that. Kids are more capable than many of us think.

What are your strategies for not “maxing out”?

A little link love

I would totally buy these Christmas cards.  So true!

Legally, you cannot be fired for infertility treatment.

When “life hacking” is really just white privilege and assholery.

Why people remain devoted to their home libraries.  Ooh.  (Pretty pretty.)

Good ole rich Percival Boner.

Delagar with Contrarians, not Conservatives.  Science backs this one up, yo.

And a reminder for those of you thinking about ever retiring… you might gotta work longer and/or save more!

g-g-g-google

Q:  what to do after tenure

A:  be awesome.

Q:  should i consolidate my ira from tiaa cref to vanguard

A:  I don’t think you need to, but it’s up to you.  Which is most convenient for you?

Q:  if you start college in january. do you have the summer off

A:  it depends on your choices.

Q:  how to help a gifted student who is slow at timed math tests

A:  practice, and alternate methods.

Q:  when did you realize you had a big one

A:  High school.  (When I got the chance to compare.)

Q:  do grades in social work school matter

A:  We doubt it.

Q:  what makes me have a bitch face

A:  My mother.  (Nature?  Nurture?  You decide!)

Q:  is it more sanitary to wash dishes in sink full of water or dish by dish

A:  get a dishwasher.

Q:  how to clean and organize a dusty messy miserable horrible kitchen

A:  hire someone.  Even your friend.  Pay them in beer and pizza, or cook them something nice in your wonderful new redesigned kitchen.  (Or money for a professional.)

Q:  questions to ask kindergarten admissions directors

A:  Those are a thing?  Must be one of those coastal things.  Heck if we know.

Feral kitties

So, as chill and amazing as we seem and under control etc.  Something is stressing one of us out.

Four somethings, in fact.  (And the occasional opossum.)

About 3 weeks ago, a tiny black kitten got stuck in our garage.  It was cold and awful that first night so we didn’t let it out until the next day, and we thought we’d gotten it out the next day but the extra food etc. ended up having been eaten so it took another day with the door open for it to actually escape.

We put food on our back porch with the hope of the kitten and the mom reuniting.  And after seeing a baby tiger kitty, a mama tiger, and a scared black kitten we thought they had.  Over the course of a week or two, mamacat went from dull and scrawny to a beautiful glossy kitty.  She’d been taking good care of her kittens, but definitely needed more food for herself.

Regular feeding left them hanging out on our porch during the sunny weather.  The kittens remained elusive and skittish, but mama cat would almost get into touching distance when I fed them.  They disappeared during cold and rainy weather.  And I worried.

I am a firm believer that it is wrong to feed feral kitties without getting them spayed and neutered.  So I did web searches and I called our vet and DH called animal control and our local humane society and some other vets.  After talking to enough people we got instructions and rented traps and made a vet appointment and set out the traps.

We caught a little tiger kitten right off.  We transferred him to a carrier and set the trap out again.  Around midnight DH transferred two(!) little black kittens out of the trap into a carrier and reset the trap.  In the morning we found we’d caught an opossum but not mamacat.  Opossums are freaky and I do not like them.  Fortunately they only seem to come out at night.

The kittens spent that day at the vet, we found out the tiger was a boy and the black kittens both girls.  No fleas or FIV or anything that could harm our resident cats.  They’re small but 14 weeks old.  The internet suggests they’re too old to domesticate.  But the vet said she thought we had a chance.  In any case, they needed to stay inside to heal for a day or two.  Two weeks to heal fully, if wanted to do that.

And then the weather turned absolutely awful.  Sleety-awful.  So we kept the kittens inside in the guest bedroom suite.

Mamacat was heart broken.  She wailed for her babies.  While they were still healing up in their carriers we brought them out to the patio and they cried at each other.  But we failed at catching mamacat in the patio or in a trap.  Then we let the kittens into the guest bedroom so we can’t use them as bait anymore.  She’s since stopped wailing for her babies.

We caught another opossum two nights later.  And another two nights after that.  But still no mamacat.

And she’s stopped coming by every night, more like every other night.  She no longer lets me near while she eats.  She’s gotten good at eating food out of the first third of the trap, but no more.  (We can tell when we have an opossum, because they leave no scraps.)  The vet and the humane society say to keep trying.  Maybe she’ll be back when the weather gets better.  I suspect we’re just going to keep catching possums.

So I worry.  I don’t want mama to have more babies.  I don’t want the kittens to be out there defenseless not knowing how to hunt.  I don’t really know what to do.  If we let the kittens out we will probably catch them in the trap again instead of mama.  We don’t ever see the kittens– they eat and poop in the litter box and make amazing messes, but only when nobody is in the room.  When someone is in the room, they hang out in the guest bed box springs.

Most of the advice for taming feral kittens seems a bit cruel, separating them and caging them and forcing them to be petted against their will.  And all those sites say these kittens are too old anyway.  This one is a bit more gentle and hopeful, but I think we’re not doing it right either, what with the box springs instead of a cave, and not actually being there for them to watch while they eat.

So I’ve destroyed a family bond.  Mamacat can still have more babies.  And we have three defenseless feral kittens in our guest bed boxsprings who are unlikely to be tamed.  Also our HOA says we’re only allowed 2 cats, and we already have those.  (The city has our back on the feral cat colony thing although the woman at animal control had no idea what we were talking about when we mentioned it.  Still, their webpage is really clear.)  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know if I’ve done the right thing.  I don’t know what the right thing to do going forward is.

And that’s the kind of thing that stresses me out.  Maybe not human lives at stake, but real lives nonetheless.

What are we getting for people?

Lessee…

MIL completely remodeled her kitchen and is removing the 1990s style country accents and replacing them with red things.  So we bought a whole lot of red things, including an ice cream scoop since theirs kept breaking on me last Christmas.

FIL dropped a hint that he wanted a specific expensive book by a hunter about bow hunting, so we did that.  (Not available on Amazon.)

BIL1 gets a game.  SIL1 gets colored pencils off her wish list.  Nephew1 gets sheet music to Mario Brothers.  Niece gets a box of books about a character who shares her first name.

SIL2 and BIL2 get a fancy crock-pot off their wishlist.  Nephew2 gets an assortment of books I would recommend for a 1-2 year old.  He also gets a contribution to his 529.  (Why none for the other sibs– It’s Nephew2’s first Christmas and we made the offer for BIL1’s kids, but BIL1 never got around to setting up an account, so we didn’t contribute.)

My sister requested a checked luggage.  So I got her that.

My mom I will get a B&N gift certificate, though I think I’ll up the amount from $50 to $60 this year.

My father we usually buy some hard liquor.  He tends to like high quality on-the-sweet-side stuff.  We’ve done fancy rum and fancy brandies the past few years.  Also some apple jack that I suspect he didn’t like as much.  I wonder if I can get Dumante delivered to their place…  No, scratch that.  This just in:  He doesn’t want any more alcohol and they’ve switched to a no-sugar diet.  Uh…

Are you getting anything fun for people on your list?