The appropriate response at work when someone way down the hall from you and on the other side politely asks you to turn down your music is, “Sorry” and to turn it down. It isn’t, “Seriously?” and “Where is your office?” and then to just turn it down a tiny bit so that the person still has to close hir door AND put on headphones to not hear your crappy ass music. (Although before the combination wasn’t working.) Nobody wants to hear your music! This is why God made headphones. Or you could close your own fricking door.
dear middle school, please stop with the random spirit days that happen about once every one and a half weeks that require dc1 to dress in different types of clothing (specific sports jerseys or hats, random colors, etc.) that zie often doesn’t have and that we are not going to remember even if zie did have them. It was hard enough remembering spirit Fridays for things most kids have (like the school shirt, or a funny hair style) last year. This random day element is just too much. We have jobs. Dc1 has homework. Why are you doing this and why are you attaching it to a group prize so that kids who don’t or can’t participate are shamed?
I do not like mosquitoes.
dc1’s orchestra class requires hir to download an app and record a practice session. They also required the purchase of a specific $20 t-shirt for performances. I have to wonder if they have anything for kids who don’t have a tablet or smartphone at home or who can’t afford a $20 shirt. And do those kids have to go up to the teachers and admit the lack of resources or does the school take kids who qualify for reduced price lunch aside? For science class they asked for donations for students who couldn’t afford an $8 piece of equipment but nothing like that in orchestra where the demands are more expensive. Last year in paradise things were provided to all students from the school, but a lot was paid for with $500 donations requested at the beginning of the year (half for extracurriculars, half for everything else). No large donation requested here.
speaking of donations, there are so many junky school fundraisers here. I so much prefer just cutting a check.
Dc2 goes to a for profit daycare but they want to expand so they’re asking us to do fundraising (they’ve also started asking us to bring in items for projects instead of providing them and they are now enforcing late fees). I’m not sure how I feel about this. If it were nonprofit I would happily donate, but with a for-profit I’m not so sure.
I bought Wonderwoman stamps. They make me happy. Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman!
If I really love a webcomic’s art and/or story, I will happily buy a book of it so that I don’t have to keep clicking and scrolling and clicking and scrolling and looking at the computer for hours on end. These ones are worth it:
Note: this post was written before the election results came out. Now there’s a lot more uncertainty than just DH’s job.
This month (November)
Years left: 0.333333333
P =$1,194.19, I =$20.22, Escrow =$812.79
This month (December)
Years left: 0.25
P =$1,198.91, I =$15.49, Escrow =$812.79
Whenever I start getting used to not worrying about money at all (seriously, I just paid $1.95 processing fee for DC1 to have hot school lunches for a month without trying to optimize not having to pay the processing fee again vs worrying about DC1 deciding zie wants to go back to cold lunch… not to mention not even thinking about the costs of paying for hot lunch!), something happens to add a bit of uncertainty to the mix.
For example, we get an opportunity for unpaid leave or DH decides he hates his job or etc. So I stop not worrying and start paying attention again.
This time DH’s company has asked him (and everybody else) to take a 10% paycut for the next two months. The boss and lead programmer are taking larger cuts.
The reason is a cash-flow problem with an underlying cause coming from employee turnover several years ago resulting in too many little starter grants and not enough longer-term big grants right now. Once this cash-flow problem is resolved, they’ll be ok until April. Which isn’t exactly a long time either.
We don’t need DH’s salary on top of mine for our regular expenses, but we do in order to not care about money at all. To eat out whenever, to max out retirement, to fly to see DH’s family over Christmas instead of spending two days driving (something we’ve already committed to), to just donate money where it’s needed, and so on.
So, once again, we’re back to being glad we’ve saved a lot and not increased our expenses to match our income. I’m not sure how this warning shock will change our spending going forward. It seems like the 30K emergency fund in cash is still what we will want to have, but I probably ought to start aiming for that now instead of in March when the mortgage is finished. [Update: see previous post about how we’re just going to stockpile cash until the US government is sane again. No 30K limit.]
Have you faced income uncertainty? How do you deal with it?
What can you do for people who have lost a loved one after the funeral.
Our Midwestern automatic answer is: Freezable casseroles, a card, and possibly flowers. Definitely the first two. Casserole in disposable containers they don’t have to give back to you.
Offer to walk the dog, babysit the children, hire a housecleaner. Let the grieving person pet your cat.
If you’re close, offer to send the form letters to the creditors that say “this person died, please write off the account”. Offer to clean the house. Buy them the really nice kind of Kleenex that is soft.
For my sister I got a lipstick-sized USB battery and universal USB cable. I’ve gotten these (but different brands) at two conferences and they are just so incredibly useful. I don’t know why they don’t come as a combined set on amazon, but after some poking around I was able to pick out a cable that looks decent, although it has a couple more connectors than she probably actually needs. The smaller sets of connectors got worse quality reviews with the iphone connector stopping working. Also per her request, I got her the Hamilton cd. DC1 made a glass sushi plate at camp this summer for her as well, and I assume DC2 will give her some art. DC2 has been doing a lot of art lately.
We got my mom a kindle last year so this year I sent her the brothers sinister box set, a steal at $10. Even though there’s very little murder mystery in it, I think everybody enjoys the series. Except the first novella (A governess affair) which, sadly, isn’t as good as the rest of the series. And a $75 gift certificate to the regional bookstore chain in her area.
My father we are getting a fancy black cherry balsamic vinegar.
FIL: $75 gift certificate to Cabela’s as per usual. I suspect DH gets his joy of the shopping process from his dad.
MIL: A picture frame engraved with the names of all six(!) grandchildren. The last time she had professional group pictures done, there were only 4, though the fifth was on the way. We will be getting a full family photo done when we visit this year.
BIL1: DH picked out a video game to play, Titanfall 2, and picked it up at a holiday sale for $35.
SIL1: SIL1 thankfully populates her amazon wishlist on a regular basis. She seems to want to become a fiction writer, so I’m torn with getting her books about writing from her list vs. novels from her list. Usually she’s got a bunch of novels on the list that I’ve already read and enjoyed so it’s easy to get her more, but this time around she seems to have gone heavy on Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs, so it’s not as tempting. I’m tempted by this adorable electric tea kettle. But I’m going to wait to see what other people buy and if she adds anything I find more interesting as the season progresses (update: She added the first Incryptid novel! So I got that and also Rat Queens Volume 1).
SIL2 and BIL2: They make the least amount of money of DH’s siblings and they just bought a house. We’re guessing that the lack of amazon wishlist updating is a hint that they’d be happy with money. (Even if they just spend the amount of the check on obligatory gift giving to us.) We did send them a house-warming check after they bought the house just as we did when BIL1 and SIL1 bought their first house, because there’s always unanticipated expenses right after purchasing and got a nice thank you card back.
The IL2’s kids are a little more difficult. I like getting them books, but there isn’t anything right now that my own DC2 is really into which is how we usually decide what to send their oldest (who is just a little younger). Maybe some easy readers like Hot Dog and Cat Traps and Too many dogs. These Tug the Pup books are pretty good for early readers too. For the younger child it’s a bit more difficult because we already gave them a lot of board books with the first child and we can’t quite remember what. So I think we already gave a bunch of Sandra Boyntons and Dear Zoo and Where is baby’s belly button. I’ll have to think harder on this. I wonder if we gave them chicka chicka boom boom…
Despite DH’s relative getting a new job right away, we will probably send him a check, but for $50 instead of, say, $500 [update: DH says $100].
Target gift-cards for all the daycare ladies at daycare, probably $20/each. And I think a gift card for $50 to half-price books for the school. Even if we’re retrenching otherwise, it’s still important to be generous to others.
DC1 is 9 and in 6th grade. There’s a lot of extracurricular activities and so on in 6th grade and we decided we’d be more comfortable if DC1 had a way of contacting us if something fell through or there was a miscommunication about pick-up etc.
When we finally decided to bite the bullet to add hir to our plan, we discovered that Ting had added the ability to add all four of our retired outdated dumb phones to the plan. Back last year when we switched to Ting we actually had to buy new phones which is both why it took us so long to switch and why I am now addicted to an iphone. But we were pleasantly surprised that we didn’t have to buy a new phone this time. Zie is using my 2 phones ago phone because it has the strongest battery (I had bought a replacement battery right before DH decided to get new free phones when we renewed our plan many years ago).
/start rant One thing that annoys me about DH’s current school (as opposed to paradise) is that they often have “bring your own devices” days. Kids are encouraged to play with their smartphones or to bring ipads or, to a lesser extent, hand-held game systems. DC1 doesn’t have anything like that and we made the conscious choice not to give hir a phone with such things. I have to say I’m really annoyed about something like that that makes kids whose parents can’t afford to get them iphones or kids whose parents are crazy hippies stick out in a negative way. Last year in paradise, each kid had an assigned notepad device (I don’t think there was one for each kid–they didn’t all use them at the same time since there were 3 classes of fifth graders), but our school district isn’t rich enough for that, I guess. But it is rich enough to do things that could hurt poor kids. I really appreciate how the Paradise school district made everything equal for everyone. It was a relatively rich district, but our school had a high population ELA and school lunch eligible and there was a lot of redistribution, which is how it should be, I think. So my bottom line is, if you’re going to allow kids to play games in class, you have to provide the games. /end rant
Anyhow, if DC1 behaves hirself and doesn’t lose anything, having an extra cell line should cost us an additional $6/mo, and possibly the cost of an external battery charger since if DC1 treats hir cellphone like I did (leaving it at home and letting the battery run out), it won’t be much use.
What age do you think people should get their first cell phone? If it depends, what does it depend on?
Not really a light link love, but shorter than usual for various reasons.
I’m not sure where/how to report our political action as time goes on, but, like my friend who IM’d me yesterday said, I do not want to get complacent or too dispirited and stop. This needs to keep going until I can, until we all can, trust our government officials to make decisions again. Until then I MUST stay active and pay attention. This past week was full of calling senators and congress people about trump’s racist cabinet picks, his conflicts of interest, and the other things mentioned in the previous days posts. I also got on the mailing list for our local democratic party even though they haven’t done anything. I think we’re still active enough as a nation that there will be plenty more to do in the coming weeks without me planning it out now. But eventually I will get organized and report back to the Grumpy Nation with posts about what I’m doing and why. Please keep telling us what you’re doing as well. It’s really scary when you talk to a former member of W’s administration and he tells you that his biggest fear going forward is the same as your biggest fear (and also explains how your second biggest fear can lead to the first). We must stay vigilant.
We’re still not ready to get back to regular posting– ask the grumpies will have to wait at least another week to get back on the schedule. Here’s a few life updates while you wait for our wisdom to return.
My friend with secondary infertility who has been trying to get and stay pregnant for more than 2 years and many many IVF cycles has a pregnancy that has been sticking so far.
DH’s relative got a new job pretty much right away (via networking!). It has better benefits and pays $1K more than his old job. There’s also a little less hard labor work and a little more desk work which is good given his arthritis. He’s disappointed because they decided the salary by asking him what he got paid and then adding 1K to it, and he is pretty sure he’s underpaid. BUT it’s a better job and he won’t have an employment gap. He did negotiate for another week of vacation and they didn’t blink.
#2’s father-in-law died recently of a stroke. Really really sad. :( I remember seeing him at #2’s wedding and he was so very proud of his son. Such a great family.
Went to the doctor and got lots of blood tests. I have high cholesterol. Doctor said to eat less fat and less dairy and to exercise more. I already don’t eat much fat other than dairy (and use things like olive oil when cooking). Last time I had my cholesterol tested my overall level was high but my good cholesterol was making up most of that– the bad cholesterol was normal. I didn’t ask about that this time. It is always true that I need to exercise more. :/ . Also my Vit D levels were low despite my daily supplement, so now I’m on 2000 instead of 1000. That seems to have gone a long way to reduce the almost constant fatigue I was feeling.
I was brought up knowing that I had God given gifts that a lot of people don’t have. Because of those gifts, it is my responsibility to use them to Make the World a Better Place. My parents are very politically active. My sister has been progressively increasing her activity. (Note: her local planned parenthood and women’s shelters were both full up on volunteers when she called– a lot of people are feeling that call to activism. There were still spots for driving women to get abortions, so she will be doing that.)
DH and I both have jobs that ultimately help other people. My research is policy-driven.
But I’ve been falling down on the political sphere. Much of this is because I hate politics. Even the best politicians cannot do things that are politically infeasible even while economically the best option. Some of this is fear– when I was younger I was brave but I’ve been beaten down too many times for speaking my piece. Intolerant bullies are especially scary these days and those we should be able to trust to protect us often ignore threats against women and minorities until the threat has materialized into actual hurt. Even speaking out anonymously carries the possibility of real danger. A lot of this is just laziness. I’m good at being dragged places, but not so good at going on my own.
I don’t know yet what to do. I mean, I’ve done some things already– donated money to various groups, written my senators about the possibility of introducing legislation to limit executive action, written Paul Ryan to praise him for taking stands against racism and xenophobia and to ask him to keep it up. But I don’t know what is best to do or what to do long-term.
Ideally I would pick one organization and get heavily involved in it such that I was making a strong difference there. My state’s disorganized democratic party would be a really good place to start. But… I have a job and I have a family. That’s not going to happen. My mom was on school board for many years and it kept her from doing research.
So I’m going to start small.
Every weekend until Trump is out of office DH and I are going to do *something* politically active. We may donate to a charity (easy). We may write or call a politician (somewhat harder). We may join protest rallies (even harder). We may do something more substantial if we can figure out what to do (campus democrats were extremely active 4 years ago, but they haven’t even updated their webpage in a year… maybe they need a new faculty sponsor?). There’s a lot of good out there that can be done, and it’s our responsibility to find it and start doing some of it. Even if we’re starting small.
Action item for today (fighting hate): Call your state senators/congressperson and ask where they stand on the Bannon appointment. Tell them he is unacceptable. Bannon is an “alt-right” racist, misogynist, anti-semite from Breitbart.com who Trump intends to appoint as chief strategist. White nationalists are delighted.