Link Love

OxyContin, the Special Olympics, Charity, and Taxes

What can you do about Ritas So White?

Forgiveness is for people who apologize.  Not for people who still watch Fox News.

Abigail Disney talks about being rich

Declutter without creating trash

Jagged Little Pill

Yes, there are Brexit romance novels.  This is a weird cultural movement.  One of these days we are going to have to buy a Chuck Tingle book just to *know*.  What if it turns out that his books are really good?  Will we need to read all of them?

Pretty sure we linked to this when it came out 3 years ago.

The baby sitter’s club

YOU CAN TURN OFF THAT ANNOYING REVERSE BEEP in a Prius.  (The Clarity, btw, has a very cute single squeak instead.)

New Gail Carriger

Thread.  “really? because you don’t actually look much like a bat, so”

Ask the grumpies: What non-fiction books do you read?

Leah asks:

You post a lot about books you read for fun/stress relief. What are some non-fiction reads you enjoy? I really liked both Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and Becoming by Michelle Obama

Those are great books.  We’ll always talk about books.  Here are some of my recent nonfiction reads:

This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jenkins – relatively new and quite a ride.  Pass it around your friend group.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – I like this better than her first book, although I wouldn’t want to live with the author.  I recently re-read this.

Get Your Shit Together – you know, like ya do.  One of Sarah Knight’s books, which are often swearily helpful.

Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson – hilarious and great.  Get it.

I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi – extremely worth reading and sharing.

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart – this and the one above are memoirs, which I like.

I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel – by the author of the Modern Mrs. Darcy blog

Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski (I might have talked about this one)

Can’t Help Myself by Meredith Goldstein – surprisingly moving.  Written by an advice columnist about her own life.

Wild Things by Bruce Handy – a trip down memory lane.  Reading as a child is great.

The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit – read it and pass it around.  Another of her books is Hope in the Dark.

Never Caught by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

The Chick and the Dead by Carla Valentine – a weird area of my reading interest is what happens to bodies after we die. [#2 read Stiff many years ago.  It was ok.]

Hunger by Roxane Gay – more people should read this!

House of Cards by David Ellis Dickerson – an interesting memoir about stuff I hadn’t read much about before.

Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired by Literature – just lovely to look at all the time.

These are all pretty good-to-excellent. I regularly trawl the library’s “new non-fiction” section and just pick up whatever looks good.

#2 reads a lot of non-fiction for work.  Not including the work stuff, she tends to go for pop-psychology research summaries (sometimes written by economists).  The last book she read in this vein was Practice Perfect.  She is looking forward to reading Defining Marriage by Matt Baume which she got for her birthday this year, which is closer to the kind of book she sometimes reads for work, but she hasn’t done a project on gay marriage.  She is not a fan of advice books that are based on neither quantitative empirical research nor qualitative research (forums count).  She hates books that are all about the “one true way” that come with no evidence other than the author says people should do it.  She also reads a lot of cookbooks.  She used to read humor, but that was a couple of kids ago.

Do y’all have more book recommendation questions?  What kind of non-fiction do you like?

Which box is the oxygen mask in?

In January I declared that 2019 would by the year of putting on my own oxygen mask.  What have I done lately?  Well, I haven’t done the money stuff that I talked about in this post, because… MOVING!  Ugh!

Ok, let’s recap.  My February goal was to “Go on Patreon and sign up to support at least 2 creators whose work I appreciate.”  I did that!  It’s running automatically for the foreseeable future.

My March goal was: “Eat down the pantry and freezer.  Defrost those noms.”  I have sort of done that, but not on purpose.  See, our apartment complex needed to renovate our apartment.  They offered to let us move all our stuff out of our place for 2 weeks and then move back in, but that sounded like the worst thing ever.  Or, they were going to just not renew our lease when it ended this summer, which would mean we’d have to go searching all over the damn place for a new apartment.  OR, they said, if we could move right now, they’d let us have a new apartment in the same complex, same floor plan, just 2 doors down from us, already renovated, same rent.  That’s what we did!

It turns out to be a good deal.  But March is pretty much subsumed in moving.  We’re in the new place now and the cats are calming down.  We paid people to pack and move for us, but we’re still unpacking.  The new apartment is actually the mirror image of the floor plan in the old apartment, which is deeply discombobulating.  I keep banging into things; the bed is backwards, the shower is backwards; the kitchen is missing a shelf, where does our stuff go?  The sofa is backwards.

My new meds haven’t had bad side effects, but I’m not convinced they’re better than the old meds, either.  Gonna give it a little more time.

In April I should be able to get myself back on track with the appropriate goal of: “Clean up my damn room.  Put stuff away and keep it clean-ish.”  This will require unpacking those last 3 boxes in the middle of the floor.

How is project keep-yourself-sane going in 2019 for you, Grumpeteers? 

More thoughts on the adult allowance

Here’s a post from yetanotherpfblog that inspired this one.

Long-time readers of the blog may be aware that DH has a weekly allowance, and I don’t.  DH keeps track of this allowance himself.  I *think* it is currently set at $40/week and an additional $400 for Christmas and another $400 for his birthday (I think it got bumped up the last time he got a raise).  So… if my math is right, that’s $2,880 in discretionary spending each year that he does that we don’t talk about.  It covers everything he wants to buy that he doesn’t want to talk over first except things he buys at the grocery store and meals out with at least one other family member.  It does not cover clothing, and it wouldn’t cover the gym or medical stuff if he had it… but we talk about those things first.  (So coffee out by himself comes out of his allowance, but if he takes one of the kids with him to get a hot chocolate it doesn’t.)  Usually things like subscriptions to audible or blue bottle would also come out of it (but not Tea Runners because the herbal quarter of each delivery is mine).  He also uses it for most of his hobbies, fancy food things he doesn’t buy at the grocery store, presents for me, and the occasional paying for a mistake kind of thing to make me happy (ex. parking tickets).

The most recent change was me getting tired of him buying awful Starbucks beans from the grocery store (so they don’t count against his allowance) and telling him to put a blue bottle subscription on the family budget because gosh darn it we are rich and we do not need to be drinking burned coffee.  (He is fine with more robust coffee than I am.)   The bad beans are because he’s been saving up– he’s trying to decide between a 3D printer and an RC plane.  I am hoping for the printer because we already have at least two mostly unused RC flying objects in the house (3 if you count the one the kids have that can’t be controlled).  But it’s his money, so he gets to decide.

He likes his allowance because it lets him manage his own budget without affecting the general budget and I like it because there’s a predictable amount going out.

One thing we do sometimes is the cost of a low-end or average thing will come out of the joint account but if DH wants a really nice version the difference will come out of his allowance.  So if he wants an office chair, we’ll pick an amount that a reasonable office chair would cost (say $500), and if he wants a fancy $1K chair, the additional $500 would come out of his allowance.  We tend to do this with things like monitors or the one video projector replacement we’ve done.

I don’t have an allowance– I do all the money stuff so I don’t need to spend a predictable amount for me to do planning since it’s my spending and don’t have the need to spend all the money vs none of the money that DH has and I don’t get enjoyment out of the shopping process like he does. Generally this means we talk about every penny I spend that’s not on grocery/utilities/etc., although since we’ve gotten rich I’ve started making lots of $25 donations without telling DH about it right away.  I just don’t buy things frequently (my MIL is so generous with the kids that we rarely have to buy more than socks, underwear, and the occasional orchestra outfit).  I buy clothing in one fell swoop once every two years on a full day shopping trip and shoes every few years. The things we talk about are things we should talk about like what kind of stove to get or whether to replace the projector or what summer camp to send our kids to or to drive vs fly. Also I tend to put smaller things on my amazon wishlist throughout the year and people buy them for me at Christmas.

When we were younger and poorer we discussed more individual purchases, but these days we can afford to buy whatever can be bought at the grocery store out of the joint account. When I buy something I mention I’m going to do it and he says ok.  It’s not so much permission as discussion and informing. Money is a tool to provide happiness, and we want to balance what it can do in terms of present vs future consumption.

It really hasn’t been a big deal to discuss our spending beyond DH’s allowance, at least not once we instated the allowance.  Back when we couldn’t afford all our wants I’d have looked at our cash flow and emergency savings and I would have been able to say if it was going to put too much pressure on the joint account or if we could handle it.  There were some startup costs when we were first figuring things out and we were getting on the same page but it got easier.

How do you (and, if applicable, your partner) deal with discretionary spending?

Link love

Wandering scientist is starting to do postcards to voters again. We can too!

This is definitely affecting my parenting AND my savings rate.  Forget the Millionaire next door, my kids need a safety net.  Related:  why are parents so scared about college.  One thing with the college scandal is that it seems like a lot of them are nouveau riche… the truly rich don’t need to get scammed by cheaters.

An example of misreporting from the national review.  TW:  stalking.

I had heard Roland Fryer was a terrible boss, and I knew he misused economics to “prove” racist outcomes (usually by pretending selection bias isn’t a thing), but I didn’t know that he was a serial sexual harasser.  A lot of side comments I’d heard made a lot more sense after reading this article.

Women in economics report rampant sexual assault and bias.

Fantasy schedules

7 habits to reduce personal waste

We both did better than Scalzi on this vocabulary test

Nile shipwreck supports Herodotus account

Your pillows might be hurting your neck

Tween Wonder Woman comic

The replies on this one!

cat and two dogs

Welcome Elise!

Ask the grumpies: Recommendations for books with dragons (and other fantasy creatures) in them

Steph asks:

I found Marie Brennan’s “Natural History of Dragons” series through your recs, and I’m also 3 books into the Temeraire series – both of them are super fun! Do you have any other favorite or recommended books with dragons? Do either of you have a favorite fantasy creature?

We’re so glad you asked!

I’m partial to griffins myself.  And werewolves.

Herewith an incomplete list of dragon books I’ve read.  These are only the ones I definitely recommend (there are more, but not as good).

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.  The first in a series, and the best one.  (The second is fine too, but the third and fourth go into dumb tropes.)

The Lightning-Struck Heart by T.J. Klune

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton

Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series (my mom and I are both on book five!)

Dragons Love Tacos

Jhereg by Steven Brust (can be read as a standalone or as the first in the series)

The Book of Dragons by Edith Nesbit (so cute!)

The Lotus War trilogy by Jay Kristoff.  Starts with Stormdancer.  Strong female protagonist in a Japan-like dystopian steampunk setting.

I read Havemercy by Jaida Jones so long ago that I don’t remember it.  Ditto for Bitterwood by James Maxey.  Sorry not a lot of details here.

You should (re)read The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.

Readers, what else ya got for Steph’s question?

 

 

A dialogue on cephalophones

I realize these dialogues would be much more exciting if one of us could draw, or pretend to draw, on the computer.  But alas, we are lazy.

#1:  I didn’t realize there was a word for this, but it makes sense.

#2:  …and it has to be saints, not just anybody carrying their heads?

#1:  maybe it’s a term about saints that you could apply to other people?

#2:  but that might confuse people– how would they know you’re speaking metaphorically?

#1:  hmm

#2:  like you don’t want people to think that an *ordinary* group of people carrying their heads are actually saints

#1:  haha

#2:  Or worse!  It could be dangerous.  You might confuse a group of headless horsemen for saints.

#1:  only if they had horses

#2:  or British houseghosts!

#1:  (nearly)

#2:  They’re not always nearly headless!  What about the Canterbury Ghost?

#1:  What about him?

#2:  He’s not a saint.

#1:  Right.

#2:  Or what about Nearly Headless Nick’s Frenemies?  I bet they’re dangerous.  Can’t go mixing them up with saints.

#1:  hahahaha

[end]

 

 

Repair or replace?

The fan on my computer’s video card is dying loudly.   DH says my options are a $90 video card or a new computer for $1-2K.  My current computer is from 2012, but I have a more recent laptop.  There are some other problems with the desktop, which is still running the old version of windows.  Dropbox no longer plays with it, for example.

We often have the choice to repair an appliance or replace it entirely.  Long-time readers have seen plenty of discussions about whether or not I should just give up on repairs and buy a new car.  DH has also used his mad engineering skills and youtube videos to fix our clothes washer to replace the dishwasher and freezer motors.

I also recently got around to mending my pile of slightly torn clothing, mainly because I was running out of pants to wear.  Before doing this I (uncharacteristically) impulse bought a pair of pants online from Nordstrom.  Magenta.  Because… the magenta versions were on sale for $35 and the black pants were $60… and I did kind of need another pair of pants if I wasn’t going to mend.  (It turns out they’re polyester.  1940s style pants in a 1970s fabric.  So when I wear them, whenever I look down I get this disconcerting feeling that I’m attached to my grandma’s torso and legs.  I’m pretty sure she had a pair of pants in this exact color and fabric.  They’re very comfortable though!  So far I’ve worn them to work twice but only when I know the more fashion conscious of my colleagues will be out of town.)  Now that I’ve mended a couple of hems I no longer need to wonder whether to wear jeans or bright pink pants or dig out the least dirty pair of nice pants out of the laundry every couple of weeks, give or take.

Generally when we try to decide whether or not to repair or replace, we do a cost benefit analysis.  How much will it cost to repair?  How much will it cost to replace?  How guilty will we feel about the environment?  How difficult is it to figure out how to get rid of the broken thing?  How long will it take to figure out how to do the repair vs. how long will it take to actually pick out a replacement?

Generally in this household it’s that last item that is the deciding factor.  I hate shopping.  DH takes FOREVER when he picks something out (see:  slow kitchen renovation process).  If I need something sooner rather than later, ironically it generally takes less time to repair it than it does to get a new one.

So I decided to go for the video card option because picking a computer could take months and I need that noise to stop now.  (And DH satisficed and picked a video card without spending forever, but then the one he picked had a loud fan even when it wasn’t broken, so he sent it back (yay Newegg) and got one without a fan and now my computer is quiet and he wishes he’d made this switch ages ago.)  I’m thinking if we’d decided to pick out a new desktop he’d still be on the computer comparison shopping and my video card would be cachunking along if it hadn’t yet given up the ghost.

How do you decide to repair vs. replace?  Which are you more likely to choose?

Link Love

You can’t fight the patriarchy without fighting transphobia

Florida massage parlor owner has been selling Chinese execs access to Trump at Mar-a-Lago

How to address consent with third graders

I’m not sure how I feel about this article on how Inuits teach children to control anger

Love this article on Jane Austen’s transformation of the narrator

Why Johnny or Taylor must cheat

Jailors opposed to escapism

don’t drunkenly email your boss this St. Patrick’s Day

marriage problems for writers

a short story called clover that is lovely and has a happy ending with happy kitties (although the kitties are mad for a while)

Maybe she’s just not that into you

I find this more mind-boggling than pre-ripped jeans

“DARling, did you forGET to inVITE your MOTHER????”

Exploding Nazi appeaser pope

Take them kitty balls

Ask the grumpies: How to find a smart fee-only financial planner, or should we just give up and do it ourselves?

CG asks:

How to find a smart fee-for-service financial planner? We (especially DH) think we are pretty smart about investing (index funds!), but we have enough money saved now that we really would like another set of eyes on our choices. The people we’ve gone to so far are hearty retired-athlete types who are probably good at relationship building in general, but not with us. Basically we have to feel like the person is truly an expert and as smart as or smarter than we are or else we won’t be getting anything out of it. Do such people exist?

Here’s Walter Updegrave’s suggestion on the CNN Money Site and on his own website.

If you have a lot of money and are thinking about asset transfer/tax avoidance, then maybe a tax attorney or CPA.  I’m not sure how to find a good one of those as we’re not in that bracket.  If you have money in stocks there’s probably things that can be done with losses and conversions etc. to save money on your annual tax bill.

You are probably best off posting on the Bogleheads forum and asking your questions direclty. It is likely that the people who truly are experts and smarter than you are at this stuff are outside of what you’re willing to pay for their services.  If you are willing to spend a large sum, then you’d be best off asking rich friends to ask their rich friends, though many of them are probably also getting shafted by people who aren’t actually doing what’s best for them.

If what you want is just about balance of assets, then asking the Bogleheads forum is going to work well.  There are lots of smart and expert people on Bogleheads who are just giving financial advice to upper income folks away for free.

In addition, there’s a wide range of acceptable even given your personal risk tolerances.  There really isn’t one optimal mix given uncertainty and our uncertainty about how certain we are.  Because you are smart and have the basics down, if you do it yourself with the help of online calculators there won’t be much that a financial advisor can add.  If you’ve exhausted your annual retirement savings and have space for taxable, here’s our thoughts on what should go where when you’re investing.

To sum:  You are probably doing just fine.  But if you have doubts, check out the Bogleheads forum.  If you still want a financial planner, read through the Updegrave links above and you might get lucky, or be prepared to spend a lot and still have a chance of not getting much out of it.

Does anybody have better advice for CG?  Have you found a financial planner you love?  How?