In which #1 carries a lot of cash to Las Vegas*

So, we moved for the sabbatical.  And in moving, Citicard somehow did not get my replacement card to me because one of the addresses they had on file didn’t have an apartment number listed.  (The bills came just fine, but the card got sent back to them.)  Nobody told me this, of course.  I contacted Citi once to find out they hadn’t sent out the card, then a second time to find out they’d just sent the card, then a third time to find out they’d just sent out a second card because the first one had been returned but this customer service person had the bright idea to check the address on file and caught the missing apartment number and thus sent out a third card.  Unfortunately when she asked if I needed it immediately I said no because I figured that I could use my other (Bank of America) card on my business trip the next week.

Fortunately for me then, that after a very stressful weekend full of work, I decided I needed an iced coffee to keep me productive on Monday morning.  Fortunately too I decided to try my second credit card even though I still had a day left on my preferred card.  My second card was declined.

DECLINED!  Even though it said it was not supposed to expire for another few months yet.  Fortunately I still had a day left on the first card or I would have had to leave the coffee.

So I called and they said I hadn’t used it in over a year.  I’m like sure, that may be true (I usually make sure to use it for gas every now and then, but it is entirely possible that I let a year slip), but shouldn’t you send me some kind of notice that you’ve closed the account or that you’re about to close it?  Apparently not.  Or maybe that notice, too, was lost during the move.  I asked them to reinstate my card.  They said they couldn’t.  I asked for a manager, they asked me lots of questions about my credit-worthiness and then told me the terms of the card had changed since I got it so I would have to reapply from scratch.  No thank you, I said, I will use a different company.

That evening I poked around the internet for credit card options and decided on a nice Capital One card with 0 annual fees, 0 international fees (wish I’d gotten it before the last two international trips I took since I’ve been paying exchange fees), unlimited 1.5% cashback, and $100 enticement fee should I charge $500 within the next 3 months.  I was, of course, instantly approved and they gave me a 30K line of credit.  Stupid B of A.

So yeah, I don’t even have an ATM card because I never use cash (DH handles such filthy lucre).  Except for this business trip– gotta get food at the airport.  Gotta get a taxi to and from the airport.  It was awful having to watch how much I spent and to be careful with the money and all that stuff I used to do but haven’t had to do in ages.  I love me plastic so much.  (I did take a check-book too, but not everyplace takes checks, and not everyplace that takes checks takes out of state checks.)

So, yay latte factor (even though I rarely indulge), otherwise I would have been stuck at the airport in Vegas with no way to get to the hotel (after skipping lunch because my card was declined on the plane).  Or worse, starving in front of the hotel with an angry cab driver, praying that he’ll somehow be able to take DH’s credit card over the phone.

Share your credit card (or cardless) experiences, grumpy nation!

*City may have been changed to protect identity.


Linkius Loveius

This week, one of us was sick and the other was busy.  Aren’t our lives fascinating???

This person is maliciously crazy in the head.

Lil Bub gives excellent advice.

Once again, Andrew Ti comes correct (esp. in naming Asshole of the Month)

I kind of want a new Visa (don’t love my current card)

This is fascinating.

Matt Damon: Jerk.

A handy chart for comparing babies.

Help renowned author Cat Valente design an award.

Working at a big corporation.

A day in the life of a dad working at Google.

If anybody wants to crowdsource a fund to send this to me in shades of dark purple and maybe some teal… drool…

Reminder:  Shoot us an email at grumpyrumblings at gmail if you want to do a guest post the first two weeks of October.

pretty doggie:

Ask the grumpies: Bucket list for the kids

First Gen American asks:

What is on your must have bucket list for your kids to do/experience before they are grown?

See the Redwood Forests!!!!  Also I think Yosemite.

Learn to swim.  Learn to play an instrument.  Learn to read (for DC2).  Calculus.  They have already watched The Princess Bride, so we’re good there.

Everything else we’ll play by ear.

Grumpy nation, did your parents have a bucket list for you?  Grumpy parents, do you have bucket lists for your kids? 

Talking about ourselves vs general posts

A comment on our previous poll post sparked an interesting question.

Some blogs are compelling specifically because the bloggers are interesting.  The blogs are about them and the blog is a window into the blogger’s life or the blogger’s way of viewing the world.  Here we would be characters in a narrative and you’re curious to see how the story goes.

Other blogs are compelling because the provide information or different ways of thinking about issues.  It’s not so important who has written the post so much as the information imparted within the post.

(We’re not sure whether to feel complimented or dissed if it’s the reality show of our lives that is interesting rather than the information and arguments that we try to impart.  It has to be a compliment if our stated reason for starting the blog was to become Famous on the Internet.  And yet… there’s something about being associated with the Kardashians that is a bit unsettling.)

For us, it isn’t so much the former or the latter so much as the ensuing discussion that makes our posts interesting to us.

Do you prefer posts that are personality-driven or posts that are more informational?  If it depends, what does it depend on?

Would you rather


a dog that will not stop barking all night (whether inside or out, though if outside the neighbors will call the police ~10pm)


a cat that occasionally pees on things that are not hir litterbox (for example, your bedspread or the couch)?

Why?  (Answers do not need to be in Haiku.)

Should parents help out kids equally?

Occasionally one of us will flip to the Mr. Money Moustache Forum and poke around while procrastinating.  This thread on whether or not parents should help kids out equally was really thought provoking.

DH’s mom is excruciatingly fair when it comes to doling out presents.  This means that our kids get a TON of stuff from his parents even though we don’t really need it because DH’s siblings are in much worse financial shape than we are (and also live close to DH’s parents so they can see what the kids need).  It was especially bad the year DH’s then-unemployed brother and SAHM wife were living in his parents’ basement.  We don’t really have a choice in the matter, and, since they focus on the kids, we don’t really feel like it’s our place to suggest they cut back (or put the money towards a 529 etc.).  It is, after all, their money, and they’re giving it to the kids, not to us.

My father is much more like Jacob from ERE than like Mr. Money Moustache in terms of spending, infrequent cold showers and all.  That means over the years my parents’ small nest-egg has grown enormously.   I don’t know how much, but I do know my father is concerned about avoiding inheritance taxes and wants to give up to the gift limit every year.

With the exception of when DC1’s school was about to go under (and he donated a considerable sum to it on our behalf), I have told him no.  I do not want their money.  I want them to SPEND it, or failing that, give it to charity.  I want them to move some place nice after my mom stops working and just enjoy life, even if it costs more to live there than it does in my small college town home town in the Midwest.  They’ve taken me up on the giving to charity bit and have set up a number of local scholarships for graduating high schoolers to go to college or for the library to reward customer service or to keep the paper version of the stock books he loves to spend hours going through to do value added investing.  (He says he needs to consolidate everything to index funds, but he keeps not doing it.  If he ever dies, the estate is going to be a nightmare to unravel.)

My sister, on the other hand, does not mind accepting their money.  So she does.  Neither of us needs the money.  It just gets put away and saved (or rather, it stays in whatever complicated 1980s mutual fund or single stock it was originally invested in because having to deal with selling it is a pain in the rear, which may be part of the reason I’d rather they just give the money to charity(!)).

It doesn’t bother me.  It’s their money.  (Though to be honest, a little bit of me worries about the extreme cost of assisted living expenses and wonders if it might be a wise idea to accept that money and put it in a “for parents’ assisted living expenses” account in case they’ve underestimated their health costs in old age.  I know there’s Medicaid for nursing homes after the money runs out, but I also know that $ buys higher quality care.  They don’t have long-term care insurance and my father is too old to get a policy.)

In terms of fairness for college– they paid for both of us, room, board and supplies.  My sister’s college cost substantially more than mine did, but a portion of that is that I got a lot more need-based financial aid because they were wealthier when my sister went to school than when I did.  Should she be penalized or I be rewarded for the stock market doing well or my mom taking on a temporary administrative position?  (They did give my sister more spending money than they gave me– I had to work for my spending money, but that probably didn’t add up to much and she did take on a heavier class-load and more hard-core extra-curriculars than I did.)

We used the same ancient Oldsmobile to learn to drive on.  Then my parents gave me a no-frills (as in 2-door, manual, no a/c) new Hyundai Accent as a college graduation present that my sister drove the two years (and seriously dented) because I couldn’t afford to pay for car insurance while in graduate school.  They gave her her own no frills new Accent when she went away to college, but she also went to school in driving distance of home whereas I went half a country away.  She paid for her own new car post-graduation (one with a/c!), the same  year we moved to our real jobs and bought our own new cars for ourselves.

They paid for my wedding (~3K, though 1K of that was alcohol my father insisted on providing)– it was either that or there was not going to be a wedding because DH and I had no money just out of college.  My sister doesn’t have a boyfriend, and when/if she does get married it will likely be much fancier than mine was.  I do not know what my parents will do if she does settle down.  And I won’t mind whatever happens.

I suspect though, it might bother me if they hadn’t offered both of us the same deal.  We’ve both been offered stock transfers (though after I said no the second time, they stopped offering).  We were both told that college would be paid for us– not that we’d get the same amount of money, but that we could each go to whatever college we wanted (the reward my mother negotiated with my father for her to go along with his frugality-to-the-extreme ways).  We both got new cars, even the same type, though at different times in our lives.  So the offers seem fair, and we’ve been allowed to react to them in ways that seem fair.  That choice means that if there’s any favoritism going on, it isn’t going on through money channels.  And that seems like a good thing.

I suspect DH and I would not mind if his parents showered a little less on us, but in this case we are so much better off than his entire family that it really feels like the money should be flowing in the other direction.  And maybe it will, some day.  Until then, we accept their generosity and save the money we would have spent on clothing and toys.  We’re pretty sure his parents can afford what they’re doing, but at the cost of working longer than they might otherwise have.  Still, while I wouldn’t say they enjoy working, they do get value out of work, so perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.  If it turns out they miscalculated, we will have savings to spare.

What are your thoughts on financial assistance to individual kids when there are multiple children?  If you have siblings, do you think your parents treat(ed) you fairly?  If you have kids, do you have a philosophy for financial assistance?

Link love

Elvis has an advice column.

Serena Williams doesn’t have to smile for you.

Advice for taming social anxiety.

More gifted screening, not less.

What on earth is wrong with promoting your handicrafts on your blog?  It’s not like promoting a crappy MLM.


discussion of shopping bans

preschool, privilege, and parental flexibility

According to this, I am middle class.  It may need to be updated, however.

This one below makes me laugh so hard: