Update on missing check

Yeah, I know this should probably wait for a Monday, but we’re a bit light on posts (in fact, if there isn’t one tomorrow, we’re ok, we’re just busy)…

Anyhow, emailed the landlord and zie said that yeah, zie had gotten the missing February check but had then lost it.  So I guess we’re going to write a new check and subtract out the $15 check cancellation fee (as the landlord suggested).  I wonder what would have happened if we’d never said anything.  (Though to be completely fair, this person is probably still coping with hir partner’s death.)

Who treats whom when family comes to visit?


When DH’s parents (who are comfortably middle class with excess income that they funnel into 6 grandkids) come to visit, we’ve settled into a habit of mostly going places where we order at the counter and buy our own stuff, they pick up a meal or two that’s sit-down or take-out, and we pick up a meal or two especially if we go someplace expensive.  It used to be that they paid for everything.  For a while it was awkward with DH having to be aggressive about taking the check (and me having to remind him to be aggressive because he didn’t think about money), but we’re now at a place where the money is trivial for all of us so it’s no big deal who pays.

With my parents, we just buy everything because by myself I make 2x what my mom makes.  My mom occasionally treats for coffee or hot chocolate.  Again, it used to be that she’d pay or we’d take turns.

My sister and I tend to take turns treating (with 1 time for her for every 3-4 times for us), or we’ll buy her dinner and she’ll buy coffee or ice cream after.  She makes about my salary.

I just noticed a weird gendered thing– with DH’s family DH is the one who needs to whip out the credit card.  With my family it doesn’t matter if it is me or DH.  Generally I let DH pay for everything because I’m lazy but I feel especially awkward whipping out my card for DH’s parents.  When DH doesn’t get his card out quickly enough, I’m happy to get mine out.  (Our finances are 100% joint, so it doesn’t actually matter who gets the card out.)


Usually whoever has more money pays.  So my partner will take us all out to dinner if it’s me and my siblings and my mom.  My dad will take us all out to dinner if he’s with us/my siblings.

I usually won’t let my mom pay for dinner. I will occasionally let my sis & her husband pay for ONE of my meals, or infinite coffee, but I won’t let them pay for all of my meals.  Usually I might pay for them or we might all pitch in.  Sometimes one of us would pay for everyone’s lunch and the other would pay for everyone’s dinner.

What about you?  Who pays and why?

Link Love

When you’re having a great day then #wellactually arrives

I don’t get this one, but #2 sent it.

She also thinks this is the best thing.


It’s so great not to be teaching.

So sick of this trope

From someone who saw Trump’s tax returns.

free cat toy with every purchase!




Why people are angry

Why we thought trump would lose

Why Bernie lost and what to do about it

Ugh comments

Texas again



Ask the grumpies: Is a single house a good investment for retirement?

Amin asks:

My husband and I own a house in a city with a very high cost of living and expensive real estate. We bought the house at a very good price because while it was structurally sound it needed (still does) some aesthetic renovations. We currently have a lot of money saved up, and we’re debating what to do with it. My question is basically: are we naive to think that putting in new windows, finishing our basement, and upgrading some insulation would be good investments? We put money into TIAA-CREF every month and our universities match our contributions, but we’re hoping that in 20 years we could sell our home, buy something smaller or outside the city, and use our profit for retirement. Do you think real estate is a reliable investment? Homes in our neighborhood are currently in high demand and often sell within a few weeks (sometimes with cash offers!), but I worry that the real estate market is too fickle and unreliable for retirement plans. Any advice?

Investing in a single property is a high risk potentially high reward proposition.  No, it is not a reliable investment. Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t.  In addition, everywhere outside of California, increasing home value leads to increasing property taxes which make the cost of ownership more expensive.  So no, don’t rely on a single house in a single real estate market as a big part of your retirement (most people who have retirement wealth have that from their house, but that’s because they don’t have any other wealth).  It might work out but it might not.  It is far more risky than a diversified portfolio of index stock and index bond funds.

If you’re talking 20 years time, then most of the renovations you’re talking about will be out of date and not worth as much in the market at that point anyway.  Possible exceptions for things that tend to have a high return, like adding a second bathroom.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t renovate if you can afford to do so and want to.  Insulation and new windows can cut your energy costs (which is a form of investment depending on the break-even point).  Finishing your basement can increase the usefulness of your house.  But you shouldn’t consider them investments in the same way that your 403b portfolio is invested.  For the most part, these renovations will be consumption.

In terms of how much should you save for retirement, you should aim for at least 15% of your income, and more if you have catch-up savings to do.

A village parenting story

The other weekend I was standing in a long long line for a bouncy slide with DC2.

There was a woman behind me.  After letting someone cut in line behind her, her daughters kept running in front and trying to get to the slide.  And she kept ineffectually calling her daughters’ names and making grabs for one of them.

When I got right at the front of the line, I stuck my arm out as one of the daughters made a break for it to run up the slide in front of DC2 who was waiting patiently until it the teenager in charge said it was safe to go up. The daughter ran into my arm instead of up the slide.

This is the kind of thing that parents around here do all the time, catch other people’s kids when they’re making a break for it, because the parents tend to be upper class and the streets are close by and dangerous so parents (right or wrong) tend to have more fear of their kid getting away than of other parents. (I don’t know if I mentioned that DH literally saved a kid’s life earlier this year.  A toddler had wandered from the playground into the parking lot to get something from his parent’s van and was about to get backed over by an SUV.  DH ran his bike in front of the SUV to stop it from backing up, which made the SUV driver upset until she realized what had almost happened.  DH returned the kid to a frantic parent who had been looking all over the playground for the kid.)

In any case, this horrible woman then chewed me out for touching her daughter and she had everything under control etc., but of course she didn’t.

Later that day I recounted this story to our friends out here, and they individually said, “were the daughters names Olivia and Isabella?”  And was the older one Isabella and the younger one Olivia and Olivia a year or two older than DC2?  Did the woman have brown hair?  And the answer is yes.  Apparently this woman has a reputation and it wasn’t me at all.  I imagine she thought my arm was some kind of comment on her parenting (which it wasn’t until she chewed me out about it!)

(After DC2 went down the slide I said no more fair activities because the horrible woman was going to the last thing DC2 hadn’t done, so I was like, let’s go to the library instead.  And so we did.  And I witnessed lots of village parenting and parents thanking other parents for helping out instead of chewing them out and it was nice.  And then we went to another event at DC2’s daycare and I was even more hands on with keeping other people’s preschoolers out of trouble since parents were busy volunteering and I ended up on kid duty somehow.  People seemed grateful.)

I think where we normally live there’s much less of an atmosphere of village parenting, but there’s usually hardly anyone at the park or playground because everyone has a play structure in their back-yard.  And disgruntled women like the one at the park are more likely to be carrying a concealed weapon.  I’m not sure I would have automatically prevented a kid from going up a slide back where we usually live, no matter how dangerous.  But the teenagers in charge of the event would also probably have been better at keeping things safe.

What’s it like where you live in terms of village parenting vs. minding your own business?  How do you feel about other people stopping your child when he or she is making a break for it?


How to cast Muppet Hamilton

After my post on How to cast Muppet Sweeney Todd, my partner, who is obsessed with Hamilton like everyone else, figured out how to cast Muppet Hamilton, with a little help from me.

Alexander Hamilton – Kermit the Frog

Aaron Burr – Gonzo the Great

Elizabeth Schuyler – Miss Piggy

Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson – Dr. Teeth
George Washington – Rowlf the Dog
Hercules Mulligan / John Madison – Fozzy Bear
John Laurens / Phillip Hamilton – Scooter

Peggy Schuyler / Maria Reynolds – Denise (the other female pig muppet)

King George – Sam the Eagle [hahaha]

Angelica Schuyler – ???

Now the problem we’re running into here is that there’s really a dearth of female Muppets, especially ones who are smart and not children.  We talked about Janice, but Angelica is smart and my partner didn’t think Janice would fit.  Prairie Dawn is too young.  Camilla is too much a chicken, I guess?
The best I could come up with, which I think is a good solution, is Bert in a wig.  Lin Manuel Miranda has already said he wouldn’t mind gender-bending some of the casting.  Bert is smart and angsty and old enough to be a love interest.  The other solution is to include some human beings in the cast, but that’s no fun.
Moar female Muppets!  Who’s with me?
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 6 Comments »

What do you do when someone doesn’t cash a check?

So, our landlord cashed Jan’s rent check (and all the checks prior), and March’s rent, but not February or April’s or May’s…

Would you check in with him to ask what’s up?


update:  he has cashed April and May, so now only feb is missing.  Also there is a $15 check cancellation fee from our credit union if we cancel the check.

Sunday afternoon link love

Yeah, so caffeine withdrawal isn’t pretty.  Related to that, updates may not be regular for the next couple months (there’s no post scheduled as of this typing for Tuesday, for example) because deadlines.  We’re fine, just busy.

PSA:  That frozen veggies recall has been way expanded from before.

The minecraft generation

note to self: check out reader comments on these

Astounding is right.  He does not understand interest rates.  Trump is gonna run this country like he runs his businesses:  into the ground.

This is so true.

Cinco de Mayo PSA from Gatos de Noticias

Oooh, snakes!

This is kinda NSFW

Your Free Trump Score (TM) is:  570

xykademiqz calling advance readers

Can you not pac

He really should have

Love IT

Misty Copeland Barbie

Larry Wilmore breaking it down for the confused

Georgia governor actually vetoes campus carry bill.   It is so weird to see a Republican actually interested in preserving individual freedoms these days.

Check out these new bios of early American women.

This is depressing

Math + cooking

Hot take

We still don’t get this.

This industry and living life on the lowest difficulty setting

Fluent cat

on homeowners insurance

Ask the grumpies: Who is #1?

Meaghan asks:

Who is #1 and who is #2?

#1 is the person who started the post (or comment).  #2 is the other person.  We thought about doing “This one” and “That one” instead but decided that was too pretentious.


  • DH says:  the shower epiphany fairy says to use piano wire
  • TFW the day before you are about to give a talk you check your presentation and your external harddrive has an error that has caused said presentation to disappear.
  • And the silence while you desperately check your automatic backup for a copy.
  • TFW you realize the corrections you made didn’t show up on your harddrive’s backup because it only syncs when you plug in, not when you are working.
  • But thank goodness you at least have a copy you can make changes to and you don’t have to start over from scratch.  I sure hope I caught them all and hope I didn’t make any new slides that are now gone…
  • Before we got our new clothes washer, DH had to buy another pack of underpants because apparently he was the only person in the family who didn’t have enough clothing to last until Tuesday.
  • Latest piece of ridiculousness:  the “room mother” has asked each elementary school student to bring in a single flower on Tuesday morning for Teacher Appreciation Week (to be gathered into a bouquet for the teacher).  At the end of the email was a little passive aggressive note about not letting your child feel left out because of not participating.  She did not translate the email into any of the common non-English languages spoken by school families.  She did not think about the fact that a majority of kids live in apartments and do not have gardens and that Tuesday is not a great day for people who shop on the weekends.  I predict that the school will lose some of its foliage as a result.
  • DH says there is no point in filing a magnet (it doesn’t get smaller).
  • DH says, it took two weeks and $3000, but now when I pull this lever, this magnet spins.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 14 Comments »