For the family member ones, pick the person or people you would consider to fill that role (ignoring DNA unless you don’t want to ignore DNA).
Each one of these is a separate poll, so you’ll have to click the vote button for each one. Sorry!
Sandy L asks:
I still sometimes feel guilt that I haven’t forced my kids to learn an instrument or even the 2nd language I speak with my mommy. They know some but are not fluent. What are your feelings on that? Do you force your kids to do things they hate?
The Official Grumpy Rumblings Parenting Philosophy ™ is that people are going to want you to feel guilty whether you do or don’t have your kids do activity X (or indeed, any activities at all), so do what you feel is best, which may be whatever is easiest for you.
Do we force our kids to do things they hate? Sometimes! I suspect DC1 would never ever ever bathe or take a shower if we didn’t make hir. Certainly not as frequently as every other day. And there’s things we’ve made them do the initial not fun parts and they end up liking them more later after they’ve gotten better, like cooking for DC1 or the tough parts of Train Your Monster to Read for DC2.
What about the rest of you, Grumpy Nation? What are your thoughts?
My sister said she wanted a chef’s knife and a paring knife, so after some conversation, we got her a santoku (Shun), a paring knife, and an electric knife sharpener. This post of ours really helped me! I don’t know what DC1 is going to give her this year, but DC2 has been working really hard on a 4 plate pixel hobby with 8 ballet dancers on it (DC1 gave my sister a pixel hobby with a pair of ballet slippers on it at about the same age).
Sadly, the bookstore in my mom’s town just went out of business (as did the Barnes and Noble a few years back), so either I get her a giftcard to someplace half an hour or more away, or she gets an Amazon giftcard. Aha! I realized that she’ll be staying at my sister’s around Christmas, so I can get her a card she can use at the half price books near my sister’s place.
For everyone else it has been harder!
MIL: She started an amazon list this year! Woooo! When DH found that out (on the phone on Thanksgiving while trying to pump her for any hint of what she could possibly want) his stress level visibly dropped 75%. We popped through and got a bunch of “Nana” related merch (I guess replacing her previous Green Bay Packers theme?) as well as a number of hard-boiled mystery novels. (My mom runs more towards cozy mysteries, DH’s prefers the tougher stuff.)
FIL: Now that FIL is retired, he’s spending more time hunting. Plus he’s making sure there’s plenty of game on the plot of land he inherited from his parents. So in addition to the Cabela’s giftcard we usually send him, we’re also sending a highly rated game cookbook.
BIL1: DH is waiting for a game to go on sale so he can get a copy for his brother and his cousin both. (I assume we’ll also be sending a check to the cousin, but I don’t know for how much yet.)
SIL1: It is always a pleasure to shop for SIL1 because she has an up-to-date amazon wish list! And she puts cool things on it! And she has great taste in books! This year I’m adding the Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal and KJ Charles’ regency series.
Cousins 1 and 2: The younger has been learning braille, so we got her a subscription to the children’s braille book of the month club. (It is pretty heavily subsidized, so we added on a donation. What a great program.) This is the first time we’ve known what to get hir! For the older we’re getting the dragonbox complete math pack and big numbers which is too new to be in their complete math pack. (Usually we also buy books for their oldest, but he’s already got most of what our DC1 likes.)
BIL2 and SIL2: This one was hard this year. The past few years there’s been a good excuse to just write a check (a new house purchase, saving for a house, babies, paying off wedding debt, etc.) but this year none of that has been recent or immediate. When DH tried to pump SIL2 for information on the phone, she was non-committal and said she’d update her amazon wishlist, which she always says and rarely does. DH suggested not exchanging gifts among the adults with her nuclear family, but apparently she demurred. I wish he’d just asked her straight up about checks vs. giftcards, but he didn’t. We do have a bunch of $5 off amazon luxury beauty products and she does have a $20 foundation from 2014 on her list– we could get her that and the pair of $14 earrings from 2014 but that’s literally all that is on her list right now, other than a bunch of size 0-3 month onesies and diapers that will probably not fit either her rising 3 year old or her 5 year old. [Update: We got her the foundation and the earrings, and then a little over a week later she actually did update her list so we got her one of the books on teaching she wanted and now we are 100% done with holiday shopping other than that one game that DH is taking care of and stocking stuffers. Yay.]
Cousins 3 and 4: SIL did ok us buying books again for her kids (given how many toys everyone gets from the grandparents). For the older one (about the same age as our DC2), we got Magic Treehouse and Magic School Bus books and the Magic School Bus chemistry kit. For the younger one, ladybug girl, the Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, Elephant and Piggie books, and Beautiful Oops.
What are you getting for peeps this year?
Sandy L. asks
Summer homes. Do they ever make financial sense?
In the grand scheme of things, probably not. They’re really not something that I understand at all. Most people would be better off just renting a place for the small amount of time they use the summer home, especially if that home is not the only place they vacation in each summer. But people don’t do summer homes for the financial reasons.
HOWEVER, there are some scenarios that can make financial sense. If you can claim the summer home in another state as your main residence, you might be able to get a break on state income tax. If you rent out the summer home the 9 months of the year you’re not using it, you may be able to make some $ if it’s in a desirable area (particularly if it’s someplace in CA where property taxes are frozen and you bought years ago). If you turn it into a B&B/Air B&B place it might make $. And if you’re lucky enough to buy someplace that magically goes up in value after you’ve bought it, you might be able to sell for enough profit that it’s all worth while (particularly, again, if it is in California).
If you use it also as a weekend home, you might save money over staying in a similar place that you don’t own each weekend. If it keeps you from jaunting off to Europe on a regular basis, it might also save money. If your second choice would be extremely high priced rental lodging for you and all your servants, then sure, it might make financial sense.
Those of you contemplating summer homes, keep in mind that federal tax treatment of the mortgage deduction for these may be changing in the near future (getting rid of the mortgage deduction is a good thing economically in the long run), making second homes more expensive to own.
Any experience with summer homes, Grumpy Nation?