It takes a village

We were not meant to be one adult + children 24/7. Our babies ourselves has a good literature review on this topic.

People were not meant to be sole care-takers for their kids, that’s why we have families and play-groups and all those other support structures. It really does take a village. Some parents have family members as part of their village, some friends, and some paid help. As long as the folks looking after are loving and caring and responsible, it’s all good.

If you’re a SAHP, do not isolate yourself.  Get out and see adults.  Join regular playgroups, parent-and-me classes. (Or whatever floats your boat.) Make sure you get adult-only time each week as well.

If you’re a WOHP, stop feeling guilty!!!!  And stop telling people you should feel guilty.  WOHP are legion and our kids are doing great.  Kids are resilient and they get a lot out of spending time with different high quality care-takers.

That is all.  (Another post that was started 4-5 years ago…)

ETA (h/t Bogart):  Standard disclaimer:  Differing constraints and preferences may apply.  IOW, YMMV.

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Costs of sick kitties

Little Kitty needed to get her teeth cleaned.  So DH took her to the vet.

Before they could give her anesthesia, they had to do $600 worth of tests.

Unfortunately, one of the tests came back with elevated calcium levels.  So no anesthesia.  No teeth cleaning.

Instead, more tests.

First, a test for what kind of elevated calcium it was, since only the ionized kind is bad.   $214.70 and a few days time for the calcium test.

She has elevated ionized calcium.  :(

The next step is to see if she has parathyroid problems or stomach cancer.  Test for parathyroid:  $950.  Ultrasound for cancer:  $1000.  (Plus a few days to work up the estimates.)

That’s a lot of money.

So our next step is to ask what the treatment options are if either of these cost money, and what those treatments will do to Little Kitty.  If they’re things that can be fixed with minimal harm to her, then we’ll pay for the tests and the treatment.  But if they’re things where the treatment is as bad as the disease, then well, it might be best not to know.  Because kitties don’t understand what’s going on with them and they’re not gaining an additional 30 years with a successful cancer treatment, especially not older kitties.

Right now Little Kitty seems to be in high spirits.  Other than being a bit skinny and the occasional bout of IBS whenever she eats something she shouldn’t, she *seems* fine.

Still, the parathyroid thing would explain the IBS.  And elevated calcium levels do need to be treated so as not to cause problems with the kidneys.

If these $2000 turn up nothing, there will probably be more tests.  If they turn up something, then there will be more money for treatment (probably surgery, according to Dr. Google).  How much money is too much?  What is Little Kitty’s life worth?

Right now we’re fortunate to be able to say that Little Kitty is more important than a kitchen renovation.

It is going to be an expensive summer.

link love

Another week with one of us traveling and the other one swamped.

#2 is totally sick of discussing politics.  Every time politics comes up, she goes, “Kittens!”  Seems like she’s not the only one.

If you are still reading about politics, this new republic article comparing Goldwater’s campaign to Trump’s is well worth a read.  It is the only explanation of Trump’s popularity that makes any sense at all.

This country.  SMH.  This is what our parents must have felt like growing up going, WTF is happening.  And, again, of course, it is all about race.  I’m not really sure what can be done.  I mean obviously vote for Hillary Clinton in the general and donate to her campaign once the primary is over.  If something can be done, then it is too important to ignore, but if nothing can be done then we should probably just look at pictures of kittens.  Hopefully it will be more clear what we’re supposed to do when the primaries are finally over.  Maybe the convention will give us guidelines on how to move forward.

Of course, we can’t ignore that it’s also all about gender.  And violence.

How long until black future month?

Sexism and Academia.

Look, I know that our system of agricultural subsidies is messed up, but this article just makes me think, mmmmm cheeeeeese.

Con or bust is doing auctions to name characters in books by future authors.  Here’s one for Scalzi.  Here’s one for Courtney Milan.

More on Chuck Tingle.

Life lessons from Diffy Q.

How the rich got rich and the poor got poor.


Google questions

Q:  is working a minimum wage job as a teen a waste of time

A:  depends on the alternatives

Q:  can i be forced to do something i dont want to do

A:  Well, there’s death and taxes…

Q:  how to get a balanced check book when it doesn’t balance

A:  You could always burn it down and start over fresh, but I’m not sure we recommend that.  (We don’t)

Q:  how long i will wait furnished new build house

A:  If my friends are any indication, a long, looonnnnnnnnng time.

Q:  how to get pre k students to behave

A:  Tranq darts.  (Do not do this.)

Q:  why some people are miser and grumpy

A:  Too much time on early retirement forums?

Q:  is it right to make your children do things they don’t want

A:  It depends

Q:  when does the government stop taking social security

A:  Out of your paycheck, you mean?  When you no longer draw one.  (Or at the point where you have made more than $118,500 taxable income for the year in 2016.  Also SS benefits may be taxable depending on a bunch of stuff.)

Q:  is it just a privileged few that are home owners these days

A:  In most areas of the world, yes.

Q:  best gugli question

A:  Why did that movie ever get made?  Oh wait, that was Gigli.



Revenge of What-are-we-reading

… a partial list.

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older.  I like this kind of book, and I liked this one.  I’ll read more by him.

Kage Baker’s early The Hotel Under the Sand.  A delight!  #2 should read it.  #2 owns it, but it is an oversized paperback or maybe even hardback and is back at home.  Definitely when we get back!

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers.  The third in a trilogy something about girl assassins in the Middle Ages.  I liked the love interest in this one.

Taking a (possibly permanent) break from Ngaio Marsh, I reread Tommy and Tuppance (first one available free from Gutenberg).  The second and third were delightful as I remembered, but I did get a pricking of my thumbs when picking up By the Pricking of My Thumbs and had a bad feeling about it– and indeed, my subconscious correctly remembered that it was pretty sordid (also I had flashbacks to Miss Marple playing the Tuppence role in one of the video adaptations).  I’m feeling leery about the last one.  Though looking at wikipedia, that’s where I got the Gates of Damascus poem that I liked so much I memorized it.  “Pass not beneath oh caravan, or pass not singing.  Have you not heard the silence where the birds are dead, yet something pipeth like a bird?”

Romancing the Earl by Darcy Burke.  Fun in the style of The Toll-Gate but with sex.  :). To Seduce a Scoundrel was also good.  After that it kind of started going downhill.

Super You by Emily V. Gordon.  I heard about this nerdy self-esteem book and wanted to see if it’s good.  It’s pretty ok.  Give it a try if you’d like to be nicer to yourself.

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi.  A strange and interesting novel about a girl who is kind of haunted.  I think I have Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird on my to-read list, and I’ll get to it relatively soon.

What’s on your To-be-read list?

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Kitty IBS

About a year ago (before the move), our older kitty, Little Kitty started throwing up occasionally and having diarrhea.

We took her to the vet.

The vet recommended prescription high fiber food.  She refused to eat it (and so did all our other kitties).  We gave up.  I looked online and found that fancy feast had suddenly started to make many kitties sick, so we stopped giving fancy feast.  We bought high quality one dollar per can catfood.  We switched back to the Purina One sensitive systems catfood we’d kept primarily because it was the only thing that didn’t make our late Big Kitty throw up.

We moved.  Little Kitty started throwing up more and having constant super stinky diarrhea.

We took her to another vet.  The vet diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome.

Step 1:  Try single protein catfood for a week or two.   We went through a number of these.  They did not help.  Mackerel seemed to do better (not perfect), but it was only available at the whole foods several towns away and you’re not supposed to feed cats exclusively on fish.  We also tried human grade food available at the grocery (chicken, beef), but that didn’t help.  In fact, poultry seemed to bring out the worst symptoms.

Step 2:  Try exotic single protein catfood with different carbs (like peas!).  We tried venison.  No luck.  We tried Quail.  No luck.  I think we tried some other birds.  We tried really hard to find a pet shop willing to source rabbit (or kangaroo) in a smaller size than a flat, but although they could order rabbit they kept not ordering it (possibly because rabbits are pets and not catfood, but they didn’t want to you know, flat out refuse.  Or possibly incompetence.)

Nice kitty started losing weight.  We took her back to the vet.

Step 3:  Hydrolyzed prescription hard catfood.  For this they do something to chicken that is like what they do to cow milk in baby formula.  After a couple weeks it seemed to help.  She’s still not perfect, but she throws up less, her poo is more solid (though disturbingly singl-colored).  She’s still skinny, but not frighteningly so.

That, however, is not the end of this story.  More next Monday ($ is involved…)

Money => security => easier to save money

Buying in bulk is easier when you’re not poor — not just because of the credit constraints or space for storage, but because you won’t be wiped out if you get a bug infestation, your refrigerator goes out, or your pantry gets flooded.  You can take that (small) risk of things going bad and save money because if things do go bad, you’re insured.


I think something that both Mr. Money Moustache and Laura Vanderkam miss is the security you get by having a lot of money. It’s that security that allows people to do the things that they suggest. Like, you can technically afford to hire someone to drive your kids to and from school without sacrificing spending when your family income is a certain amount, but it cuts into your savings in a way that it doesn’t if your income is 2x or 3x that amount. That savings may not seem like a big deal in terms of day to day things, but it means a huge amount when it comes to being able to take risks. When you don’t have to worry about what happens if someone loses or leaves a job, and you know your retirement is secure, you can risk more. I’ve definitely seen this when my husband got his new job and we jumped two tax brackets– we’re not spending that much more (when we’re not on sabbatical), but it’s much much easier to just throw money at problems not because we’re now making or we were making stupid choices, but because even though DH’s industry is volatile, we’re at a point where we’re going to be ok in the event of an extended job loss. We would be even more secure if we were making what LV’s family makes.

I’m not explaining this well. But it is a lot easier to spend an extra 2K when your family is bringing in 300K/year (disclaimer: I assume– I wish I had personal knowledge) than when your family is bringing in 100K/year. Even if you can “afford” it on 100K/year.

It’s not stupid to not outsource. (It’s also not stupid to outsource!) It’s all about where your budget constraint hits your utility curves.

Or as sheldon put it:

In terms of Mr. Money Moustache, it’s easier to early retire when you have more than you need rather than the amount you’ll need and it’s easier to take career jumps that will potentially pay off when you’re not worried about saving for the future. Also it is easier to not pay money on insurance, etc. when you have enough money to self-insure.

Even though the two philosophies are exactly the opposite extremes, they both work a lot better when you have a huge amount saved (or a big steady income).

My tenure has allowed my husband to take risks with his profession.  Yes, those risks have paid off, but the thing about risks is you don’t know if they’re going to pay off.

Pre-paying the mortgage was more important when we had less money.  Having more money and more income means that it is easier to put money in the stock market and not pay off the mortgage because the mortgage won’t put you into catastrophic territory in an emergency (such as a job loss during a recession when the stock market is also falling).  You won’t need to short-sell or foreclose if you’re not underwater.  (Though if you do go bankrupt, most state laws benefit people who have paid off their homes.)


Let’s get this link love started

#1 is so over this week, and #2 is traveling.  Hopefully these links will amuse us all.


here, a kitty

Lessons from losing your iPhone

WTF!!  And also this.

Being rich runs in families.  Quelle surprise.



ok, the comments on this are pretty funny:

We got into a discussion about poop.  This stuff is fascinating.

Do you have any inappropriate habits?


Ask the grumpies: Can I really recommend accept with minor revisions in the first round?

Lucy asks:

I am trying to write a referee report on a paper and other than things I know are minutiae I have no comments!  Other than not showing anything causal (which the authors readily admit and isn’t really necessary for their question), I have no major criticism of anything they have done. The outlet is probably appropriate. So…do I seriously recommend publish as-is? Have you ever done that? It seems like such a cop out.

I think I have recommended some things be published with only minor revisions.  I know I’ve typed out under the Major section:  “I have no major concerns.”  And as an editor I’ve definitely gotten people making that recommendation, “Accept with only minor revisions”, even in the first round.  I just did one, in fact, that came back with “accept with minor revisions” from two reviewers in the first round.  And then I read it and was like, yeah, they should cut out that one section and see a copy-editor, but this is definitely an accept with minor revisions.

What you need to do so that the editor believes you (IMHO on the receiving end of these reports) is to explain in the cover letter why you think it doesn’t need revising.  So you say what you told me.  It exhaustively documents info, it doesn’t show anything causal but the authors are upfront about that and you don’t think it is necessary for them to show causation given the topic, the outlet is appropriate, etc.  The authors should be commended, etc.

It’s not enough to say, “accept with minor revisions” because then I’m all… should I trust you, or are you just lazy?  But if you can say why the paper is interesting and important/appropriate and anticipate problems that you don’t think are problems, then your letter is really helpful when I have to compare it to someone who, say, believes the paper should be rejected because it isn’t causal.  I had a situation like that once with two extremely enthusiastic reviewers and two who wanted to reject the paper outright and one of the rejects and one of the minor revisions were useless because they didn’t tell me anything useful.  If the second accept with minor revisions had told me why to accept, then the decision would have been a lot easier for me.  (Or if the other reject had said something other than, “this paper doesn’t cite [my papers]” even though it cited a literature review that contained said papers.)

What should we listen to during a long upcoming road trip?

So far our best listening experience has been To Say Nothing of the Dog.  It’s unlikely we’ll find something else as amazing as that.  We also enjoy Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and The Splendid Table, but in short doses.  DH listened to Lincoln: Team of Rivals during one trip, but I found it mildly annoying.  DC1 liked Alcatraz books by Brandon Sanderson, and they’re ok, but not that compelling.  The first Iron Druid was pretty interesting, but they’re getting too dark for me and also there’s way too much sex for comfortable listening with the kids in the back.


  1. It doesn’t have to be interesting to children, but it does have to be appropriate for children listening (age 4 and age 9).
  2. We don’t really want tragedy or senseless violence etc.  Something upbeat or uplifting or funny would be better.

Any recommendations?  What do you listen to on long drives?