It’s not you, it’s me: We really are busy!

A lot of folks on the interwebs have been talking about a need for socialization, and wanting new IRL friends.

I remember feeling like that when DC1 was a toddler, but I don’t feel that so much now.  Really I haven’t felt like that that since DC2 was born.  So some of that is that I’m just getting a lot of interaction at home, both overall and with people whose maturity/cuteness quotient is greater than 1– as DC1 grows up, interacting with hir is more like adult interaction, and there’s only so much personal contact this introvert can have before it’s too much.

Part of it, I think, is that I get a lot of interaction at work.  I consider a lot of my colleagues to be friends, and I get some socializing each day.  It helps a lot that even in this male-dominated field, my department has a lot of women!  And there’s junior guys at similar life-stages to my own, so we can talk about kid-related stuff, from, you know, an economist perspective.  I don’t do a ton of socializing at home other than the occasional kids’ party.

Right now, we’re living someplace super easy to socialize.  I have friends from high school and college within a 30 min drive (some are even in walking distance!).  DH has friends from high school and graduate school.  I’m working in the same building as professional friends.  It would be so cool if I were an extrovert or had lots and lots of free time.  (I mean, it is cool, but I’m really not taking advantage, you know?)

And it was really cool… back when we first moved here, when I was recovering from moving and didn’t realize that I had pressing deadlines about to attempt to suffocate me.  Friends from various parts of our lives used our moving here as an excuse to throw parties so we got to see a bunch of people (and often their new babies) all at once.   We had obligatory dinners or lunches with several other close friends from previous lives.

But now.  Now I am just so tired.  DH and/or I are out of town for seminars/conference/work/grants/#2’s wedding every week from the month after we got here until November.  Relatives from outside of paradise are setting up times to visit (even though we don’t have an extra bedroom).

I haven’t told my college roommate who lives a few towns over we’re in town.  I swear I will… once things settle down.  Once we have some time.  Which may be never.

It’s not that I don’t love my friends.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy hanging out with cool and amazing people, both new and old.  It’s just that it’s nice to grab some time to myself.  Or with just my family.  Where I don’t have to watch what I say.  I don’t have to perform.  I can’t feel foolish.  Or I can just quietly be.  Maybe with a cat or two.  And I do have close friends who accept me for who I am… but they’re still not close enough that they want me hanging around without pants.  That’s really an immediate family-only thing.

Do you want more social interaction? 

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Taking someone else’s goal

There are a lot of fads in the internet community.  For goal-oriented people, there are a lot of goals out there that people can latch on to.

Things like marathon training, whole30 (#2 doesn’t even know what that is.  No no, don’t tell me.*), early retirement, minimalism, and on and on and on.

Sometimes taking one of these outside goals leads to self-improvement and happy changes.  Often they seem to lead to unhappiness for those attempting things or guilt from those who don’t attempt them but are still part of the relevant communities.

Why do you think these things gain so much traction?

Is it because they’re great ideas and we just never thought about them before?  Is it because of peer pressure– everyone else is doing it?  Are we trying to fill up some void in our life?  Is it something about how human beings are social and like to follow Bellwethers?  A hope for quick cash from blog revenue?  (paypal to grumpyrumblings at gmail, in case you were wondering, though we are now BOTH gainfully employed and do not need it as much as your favorite charity does)

 

*too late–it’s kind of like a Paleo diet that you do for 30 days.  People who do it also tend to use the word “cleanse” a lot.**

**can you tell by the dated fads listed that this was another post pulled out of ancient drafts?  I think this one was from when minimalism was going through the PF community, not its most recent iteration through lifestyle blogs.***

***had to add this footnote because Whole30 is starting to make its way through the public finance internets!  They use words like “healing”.  Everything old is new again… with a different internet community.

 

 

October Mortgage Update: Fixing up the house = $$

Last month (September):
Balance:$20,210.15
Years left: 1.5
P =$1,129.93, I =$84.47, Escrow =$809.48

This month (October):
Balance:$19,075.74
Years left: 1.4166666666666667
P =$1,134.40, I =$80.00, Escrow =$809.48

One month’s prepayment savings: $0

On top of all the things we needed to do (get things painted) to get things into shape for new tenants, and optional things we didn’t do (replace carpets that are starting to look their age), we also got get hit up with home maintenance things.

While DH was gone on a business trip, I noticed that the mat surrounding the toilet in the guest bathroom was soaked through.  It didn’t smell like cat pee or effluent in any way.  So I removed the mat and waited a day.  The next day the carpet was soaked through.  Upon further examination there is a crack in the tank, so our option of getting the toilets replaced became a necessity for one of the toilets and it wasn’t even the rattier of the two remaining toilets.  That was $600+ for another two wonderful toto toilets plus $80 installation (since we had a bunch of plumbing stuff that needed to get done, we figured we might as well have the plumbers do the installation and not take our time).  Although we love the sani-gloss on the children’s toilet, we didn’t spring extra for the sanigloss on these two because one is the master toilet and the other the guest bedroom toilet, but we did buy an ADA compliant toilet for the guest bathroom.

DH put off having our deck repainted, even though it was rapidly becoming more wood than paint because he wanted to replace a board first and ask his dad for advice on that while he was visiting over Easter.  Well, over Easter his dad said the entire walk-way needed to be replaced and to hire someone to do that.  We tried, but it kept raining, and then when it stopped raining, all of the handymen and companies were booked solid.  So in the end DH had to do it himself while I watched the kids and took care of other moving issues.  He did a great job, even though there were concrete posts involved!  When it came time to paint the deck, DC1 helped which made it go a bit faster than it used to.  So that entire experience ended up being only ~$200 (for wood, paint, cement, and painting paraphernalia) when we had been expecting much more.  We thought we were going to have to pay to dispose of the concrete posts (after several weeks of the city not taking them with our trash), but fortunately they (barely) fit into DH’s trunk and the guy at the concrete disposal place just laughed at what a tiny amount we had brought compared to the industrial waste they normally handle and said no charge.

I suspect the refrigerator is on its last legs, but we didn’t have time to look into replacing that.  I hope it doesn’t die too horribly on our tenants, but if it does, they will get a much nicer refrigerator, since this was the cheapest model available at home depot back when we were grad students.

Oddly, in our rental, DH can’t seem to let go of the homeowners mentality and has been fixing their broken things rather than asking the landlord to say, send in a plumber.  So he’s taken care of a leaky shower and a broken toilet without even mentioning it to the landlord.

What kind of housing maintenance things have you been having to take care of?  What do you call a landlord in for?

Link Love

As a reminder, if you’re interested in guest posting to us sometime in the first two weeks of October, shoot us an email at grumpy rumblings at gmail.  (So far we have zero guest posts lined up though a couple of people have expressed interest, and one post of kitten pictures.  Our readers may be hopelessly bored for minutes a day without your help.)

And now for some links:

this is abhorrent

Double standards by the press. Kudos to Rahm Emanuel.

Why do so many incompetent men become leaders?

Stephen’s new lifestyle brand.

In case you wanted to see the real Tommy.

ZOMG, masculinity so fragile it must be marketed to

Did you see the eclipse?

Straight up burn.

More overly honest science.

#2 seems to have had a thing for otters this week.  Bonus wombat.  Also:  octopussy or cthulhu, you decide.

OMG, the adorbs.

Don’t read the comments.

Oklahoma not ok.

Cloud is offering another session of her project management class.

I had a whole bunch of commentary on an OMDG post (still cannot comment on her blog because BlogSpot and WordPress not playing well), but it has sadly disappeared.  Here’s my out of context comment though:   Maybe if we forced more doctors to take statistics during medical school they’d actually apply the research on sleep deprivation and learning to the medical profession.  Though I suppose it has nothing to do with science at all and everything to do with the brainwashing aspects of hazing– they make doctors go through hazing because they had to and that’s how to get into the club.

Making O’Reilly animals.

Dumbed down dissertations.  I can do mine in one line too.  :)

Ask the grumpies: How to stay friends with a new parent when childfree

Childfree Friend asks:

My best friend just had a baby.  I’m thrilled for her and (oddly, since I tend to avoid infants as much as humanly possibly) can’t wait to meet the kid.  It’s actually surprised me how much I actually want to hold and cuddle the kid (and would if I weren’t 1,000 miles away at the moment), since I have NEVER felt any inclination to do the same for any other infants ever in my life.  I guess that’s the biggest sign to me that I really truly am genuinely happy for her and love both her and the kid a ton.

The easy question (I think):
DH and I are childless, as are all of our siblings.  None of that is likely to change, ever.  So this tiny person is the closest thing we have to a niece/nephew and I’d like to treat the kid as such, but I don’t really know what that means, especially since we are long-distance.  Ideas?

The harder question (which I’m asking both of you since one of you has kids and the other doesn’t):
A part of me is also nervous about what the kid is going to mean in terms of our friendship, since it’s the first time in almost fifteen years of friendship that our paths are really starting to diverge.  The pregnancy has also marked the first times I’ve really had to take a backseat to family in her life and that didn’t feel great (but I’ve tried not to take it personally).

How did (or didn’t) your friendship change before/after the first kid entered the scene?  What do you think you did (or didn’t do) to maintain or even deepen the friendship given the obvious giant shift in priorities after the birth of a kid to one of you.

 

#1 (sans kids):

Re Question 1:  Send books.  talk to your friend about what she wants.  Send useful things — the relatives will send a thousand adorable outfits, but maybe you’re the only one sending them diapers or savings bonds or stuff like that. [#2 notes:  this definitely depends]  See what support your friend would like.

Re Question 2:  I bet #2 felt this more than I did. But I didn’t perceive a huge change in our relationship, as it’s always been conducted mainly by IM. Perhaps it was harder for #2 to type while holding a baby (sling FTW!) [#2:  I’m pretty good at typing one-handed, and slings were awesome with DC1 but not so much with DC2], but in general we kept talking. The topics of our conversation changed, as it does whenever one or both of us has stuff going on in our lives. We talk about what’s taking up a lot of brain space lately, whether that’s trying to get pregnant or grading papers. It also helps that I love babies and was excited when #2 had them, because BABIES! I would definitely listen to people talk about babies, and I will cuddle them, even though I don’t ever want to have my own.

It helps that IM is asynchronous and text-only; that means we didn’t have to ‘perform’ as much for each other. We didn’t have to put on pants to get together, we could do it at any time of day or night or tiredness level. There’s much less pressure on tone of voice. It’s perfect for blurting little thoughts, which the other person can respond to later if they want. We don’t necessarily have expectations that the other person will respond right away, although we often do respond pretty quickly. If we’re going to be out of email contact for a while (traveling, etc.) we usually let the other one know.

It’s my understanding that having a baby puts you in a brain state where hitting refresh on the internet and blurting random thoughts is much more appealing than getting up the energy to have an actual visit — therefore, IM was great for us. Sometimes we have deep meaningful conversations about feelings and decisions and problems on IM… but often we just send each other links to cat videos.

I think what I’m saying here is that our friendship kept chugging along through all our various life changes, including babies, because of how it has been structured throughout. #2, do you think this is true? The secret is low expectations, maybe? Also, we are both introverts who like to stay home with our families and enjoy interacting without seeing people in person, so we’re a good friendship fit that way.

[#2 notes:  we wrote our answer paragraphs separately and it looks like we hit pretty much the same main points, see below… Though whenever we do see each other I think it is awesome, like when one of us has conference in a nearby city and the other drives in.  I guess it is that and weddings.]

Also on IM it’s easier to take a second and think of a polite or helpful response. When you’re really tired and brain-dead and at risk of blurting out some crankiness, IM allows you to re-word it before you send it. This probably has helped our friendship many times.  [#2 does not do this and wonders how much #1 has been biting her tongue.  Whoops!] [Nah, don’t worry.  I’m not editing out ‘you’re such a jerk’, I’m editing out that sounded ruder than I meant.]

#2 (with kids):

I actually spent more time rather than less time online after having babies.  This was especially true during nursing and pumping times.

It is difficult to say how the friendship changed with the arrival of DC1 because so many other things were happening at the same time– DH and I got new jobs, bought a house, moved, started on the tenure track, while #1 was graduating, moving, job seeking, working as a visiting professor, and applying for tenure track jobs.  We had a lot of different stuff going on!

I dunno, I’m a bit odd in that most of my close friends aren’t in the same parenting part of life that I am.  Either they’re single, or childfree, or have much older children or are just having their first child now.  Or maybe that’s normal.

Ways to keep the friendship alive:  I think the important thing is to be ok with ebbs and flows of personal contact.  Time moves differently when you’re sleep deprived or sick or crazy busy or faced with repetitive days at home.  Don’t take things personally if you stop hearing from someone for a while.  Be happy to see them when they re-emerge.  New parents often don’t have time for demanding friends, but they do tend to have “time confetti” for internet conversations with long pauses between sentences.

Our friendship kept connected via ICQ early on (during college and grad school) and now GChat.  It’s just so easy to say things a sentence at a time whenever you have a moment at the computer.  Sort of like tweeting without the audience.

Also (re Question 1), ask to be on the baby picture mailing list.  Normally I would just send pics to relatives, but #2 loves baby pics so she’s on the list too [#2 says: and I always write back and say how cute they are, and how #1 has clearly produced superior babies, which she has].  Your friend may just post pics on facebook, but many new parents have more adorable pictures than they feel people want to see on facebook, so they may send emails or have separate groups or keep baby pictures in a different place (like a baby-specific blog).  There are a lot of people out there who complain about seeing too many pics of kids, but family don’t, so if you want to be like family, let it be known you would prefer more rather than fewer baby pics.  Similarly, aunts and uncles request child artwork that only a relative could want for posting.  [#2 says, I love when I get artwork from friends’ kids!  It hangs in my office or on the refrigerator.]

Grumpy Nation, what advice do you have for Childfree Friend?

Do you request passwords to pw protected blogs?

Over the years, a number of the blogs we used to enjoy have become password protected.  Usually because some horrible troll has threatened to “out” the woman who has been talking pseudonymously about her job, sometimes because there’s a vicious anonymous troll stalking or harassing the woman, and sometimes because the blogger (of either gender)’s children are growing up and password protecting allows for more privacy while journaling.

Often before going behind the veil, the blogger will invite the audience to email for a password to the blog.  Or sometimes there will be an email invitation when you get to the “This blog is password protected” stage.

And we have never asked for a password.  Even for blogs we really enjoyed, even for commenters who used to be regulars (who we miss and think of fondly when perusing the comments in our archives).

Why not?  A combination of laziness and feeling as if we’re not enough value added to be worthwhile to the blogger.  Sure, I want to know what happened and how their stories are going moving forward.  I’m interested in the professional situation or debt repayment or even just pretty crafts.  But there’s too many passwords to remember.  Too many blogs to read.  And a faint belief that our voice is either uninteresting (“Nice!”) or vaguely irritating to the blogger who is seeking the password protection.

Heck we never even asked Dr. Crazy for her new digs– we figure she’ll either start showing up on blogrolls or she won’t.  In the mean time, we’ll imagine she’s found Mr. Right and is having a great time as a tenured full professor, living life to the fullest outside of the virtual community.

What about you?  Do you read any password protected blogs?  What would it take for you to request a password?

On Root Beer

DH has long been a connoisseur of fancy sodas.  Back in graduate school the dentist told him he had to cut out his soda habit (wrote “coke habit” but realized that might be misinterpreted, but it was mostly coca cola), so he picked up tea (and later coffee) for the caffeine and decided that if he was going to drink the occasional soda it would have to really count.

Paradise sells Bundaberg.  Imported from like Australia or something. DH recently gave me a taste of his, because he loves me and is willing to share (and knows I don’t want a whole bottle of my own).

Me:  This root beer tastes like your love for me.  Delicious.  Complex.

DH:  My love for you is complex and carbonated?

Me:  Effervescent!

When Bundaberg isn’t around, he favors Virgil’s which even our local supermarket started carrying in the fru-fru section.  Another good one available at specialty/wine shops all over the South is Abita, which I have been told comes from New Orleans.  (DH still prefers Virgil’s.)

Ah rootbeer.  Licorice and vanilla and sassafrass and wintergreen.

Do you like rootbeer?  What’s your favorite kind?