(Hopefully) the Conclusion of the Water Filter Saga

We have been trying to get a whole house water filter installed in our house since last summer.  Last week we finally achieved installation.  You can read about the saga from Summer to January here.

We finally got the plumbers to come out again after the shed misadventure.  This time the owner said he’d come out himself.  So he did.  And he said that there was no reason that the side filter stuff had to be spread out horizontally, with some high tech plumbing it could be stacked up vertically.  He’d get back to us to schedule in the next week.

He didn’t get back the next week, but a week or two after that either he got back or DH called again.  The new estimate was $1700, which is about $700 more than the original estimate, with a promise that it would cost less if it ended up taking less time.

The plumbers came.  It took a day and a half.  We also had them replace the guest bathroom faucet while they were here since we noticed the old one flaking when my in-laws were visiting and DH had tried and failed to install a new one himself.  There were many surprises, like the water line doing another split where it was not expected to, and so on.  In the end they had to cut holes in a couple of walls which they did as unobtrusively as possible and then taped back up.  And we got the final bill of $1570, including the $30 to replace the guest bathroom sink faucet (it would have been $80 for that if they’d done it in a separate visit).  So they must have been expecting even more surprises than the ones they got!

Of course, there was no difference from the filtered kitchen sink tap or my filtered shower tap.  But the flavor of the water from the main kitchen tap is now unnoticeable which is a pretty big deal given how awful the water tastes around here.  And my hands didn’t tingle after washing them in the sink faucets.  DC2 has taken a few baths and hasn’t broken out in rashes after.  So zie doesn’t need to use our shower anymore unless zie wants to.

So… do I still wish I hadn’t bothered buying this?  I don’t know.  I’m glad we have it now (and given our current financial health, I don’t mind the ~2.5K it cost), but I’m not sure I’m so glad that it was worth 9+ months of hassle (unlike the amount of glad I have for other 9 month projects, say, my children, though I guess this was really just intermittent hassle and we could have pushed harder to get this done quicker, unlike babies where pushing only works right near the end).  If we didn’t have the under the sink filter and the shower stall filter, then I might be feeling differently about this, but it would have been so much easier just to get $80 shower filters for the other two showers.  At least this one isn’t supposed to need to be replaced for another 10 years…

Next up:  Kitchen renovations.  We plan to dip our toes in that water this summer.  We’ll see what happens.

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(Mis-)Adventures in trying to get a whole house water filter.

I’m allergic to the water in our area.  If I take a bath or the shower filter wears out, I end up with super-flakey skin and sometimes it itches.  Generally we handle this with a shower filter in the master shower and a sink filter for drinking water in the kitchen.  But then I started getting an itchy spot on my back where one of my bra straps hits (sort of on the right side), and we thought maybe instead of a blemish (there’s no bumps) or some kind of neurological problem it might be me becoming allergic to cloth, specifically the water it’s washed in (we’ve already narrowed down laundry soaps I can use).  I’m not convinced that the itchy spot is from the water, but we figured this was something to try.  Add to that that DC2 seems to have inherited a lot of my skin allergies, and the praise one of my colleagues who is allergic to chlorine gives his whole house water filter, we decided this was worth trying.

In fact, we decided it was worth trying back this summer when DH started getting paid again.  (This was our celebratory purchase.)  We decided it so much that I ended up buying a whole house water filter on “60%” sale from aquasana off amazon (quotes because it’s always on at least a “40%” sale).  From online searching, we determined it would probably cost another $700 -$1K to get the thing installed, and we were fine with that.

We still don’t have whole house filtered water.

My colleague had told us it was so easy.  They just hook up to the waterline and put it in your garage, he said.

My colleague does not have a corner lot where the garage is on the other side of the house (with the pipes imbedded in the concrete slab under the house).  There is no real feasible way to put the filter in the garage.  It has to be attached where the waterline comes into the house.

So we had the plumbers out and they said first we’d have to find the water line, which they could do but they didn’t have the specialized equipment so that would mean digging up a good portion of the lawn searching for it.  So they recommended a service who doesn’t do plumbing but just finds leaks.  That guy found our water line… and a leak (a real leak– that part of the lawn was definitely much greener than the rest of the lawn, we just hadn’t noticed).

So we had the plumbers out again to fix the leak.  Our home water pressure improved noticeably.  They still needed to get back to us on the cost of installation of the water filter.

Then weather happened and the plumbers couldn’t do non-emergency stuff for a while.

Then school happened and we didn’t have time to contact the plumber.

Then our sprinkler system started leaking, so we had to have a new sprinkler repair person out.

Then some hose connections started leaking (at which point we began to suspect that the increased pressure was busting out wherever it could bust) and we had the plumbers out again and they were able to get us an estimate on the whole house filter while they were out.

Then we accepted the estimate and made an appointment.

Then the two plumbers who were supposed to come out couldn’t because one had a wife in the hospital and one had a baby in the hospital (both emergencies, though with the baby it was a preemie so not entirely unexpected and the prognosis and eventual outcome was good).

Then they rescheduled for the next week when I was out of town for a conference.  They came out and fixed another hose connection thingy.

Upon further inspection, they realized that the hot water closet didn’t have enough room for both the water heater already housed there and the whole house water filter and told DH to get a shed.  DH took the day off work and went out and purchased a $300 ugly grey plastic shed and spent $30 on truck rental to get it home.  Then he put it together.  Then he realized he’d need a concrete floor or something to use it for the filter.  Then he realized the plumbers wouldn’t be coming back that day.  Then he realized the shed violated our HOA agreement.  [Update:  he has since resold the shed on Cragislist and so is only out $130, not $330, and we no longer have the ugly thing in our backyard waiting for the HOA to notice it.]

After much discussion, we decided to contact the HOA architectural committee for advice.  They didn’t give advice (the helpful lady had stepped down and was replaced by a guy who spent a long time explaining to DH why rules are important) but they gave us a horrifically lengthy and detailed document we would have to fill out if we wanted to get a shed (only wood are allowed, and boy are they pricey and difficult to find as small as we would want).

Then Thanksgiving happened.  Then Christmas happened.  And today is New Year’s.

So now we have three options which may or may not work.

  1.  (The one we’re leaning towards):  Install the filter without the pro kit (looks something like this but is 10-year, not 6-year).  This cuts the width from ~44 in to ~22 in and might allow it to share the outdoor closet with our water heater.  We don’t know yet and would have to have the plumbers out again.
  2. Remove our tanked water heater (which is going to have to be replaced in a year or two anyway) and replace it with a tankless water heater.  Then install the entire filter.  This should be possible, but it may cost another $2K, one K for the tankless water heater, another $1K for installation.  We have to do more research on this.  If money were no option, we’d be in the ideal situation for tankless as this water heater services two bathrooms and nothing else (meaning if we all took showers and baths at the same time we’d only be using 8 gallons max) and we’re in a warm climate.   Apparently the installation of tankless water heaters could be difficult or could be easy depending on where the hookups are and how big the tubes are.  Some newer tankless heaters have more standard hookups than did older models.  But we have to figure out which is which.  (Our garage water heater replacement will be another tank because we like running the dishwasher and clothes washer at the same time.)
  3. We could keep trying to get a shed just for the water filter.

Am I wishing that I’d held off buying this filter?  YES.  Especially since my back hasn’t had that itchy spot for a while (it went away whenever I traveled, so right now my primary suspect is a different environmental allergen).  And the plumbers aren’t returning our calls.

We could cut our losses at this point and either try to return the filter at a loss or sell it on Craigslist at a loss.  But it would also be nice to take a bath from time to time without having to shower afterward (or regretting it later).

So I had hoped to have a happy post about how great whole house water filters are and how it’s changed my life etc…. but… instead I have this warning post about how corner lots and HOA suck and man, home improvement sure can suck away a lot of time and energy.

Have you ever gotten a whole house water filter?  How about a tankless water heater?  Any advice on getting a small (under 6 feet) wooden shed (and does it need a concrete bottom)?

Making a hole in the wall look pretty while still being accessible

Long-time readers may recall that a while back we got a whole-house water filter.  It was a saga.  One of the things they had to do was cut holes in the drywall, which they then taped back up.   Since one of the holes was in DH’s closet, he decided to make it prettier.  Then he wrote up this post and sent it to me.

Picture of a square hole in the wall and ugly tape marks

The hole

The plumbers had to cut into the closet to access the pipes when they installed the whole house water filter. When they were done, they just used duct tape to stick the drywall plug back in the hole. The duct tape looked pretty hacky, though luckily it is in a really out-of-the-way spot (the corner of a closet, right beside a built-in, right above the baseboard).

I like having access to pipes/manifolds, so I didn’t want to just seal/patch over the hole. I wanted a framed door, and could not figure out how to make one easily. So instead, I glued the frame (really baseboard I hand-cut to fit) to the drywall plug, added a knob (with a large washer in back to spread out the force on the drywall), and touched up the paint.

The resulting “door” looks much better, and it just pulls out. It could almost just stand up by itself, but was slightly tilting forward and would fall out, so I added a small square of velcro to the top of the frame to hold it to the wall.

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. If I were to do it again: 1) I found it hard to cut the 45 degree angles on the baseboard by hand since we don’t have a table saw, so I would see if I could get Home Depot to cut at least a couple of them nicely, and 2) I don’t like the way the velcro is visible from the top and it results in a gap between the frame and the wall, so I would probably try removing the velcro and instead placing some kind of foam around the drywall plug so that it would be held in the hole by the force of the foam around it. I should probably still go around that corner of the closet with putty to fill in the various little gaps.

So I (#1) think that’s pretty cool.  I don’t normally pay much attention to aesthetics, but this is a really nice example of form follows function.  We had long discussions about how to make this area look nicer while still allowing access, and, importantly, letting future home-owners/renters know that there’s something important back there should they need access (say there’s a leak or a plug).  Making an actual door would be too much effort and would probably allow drafts in (given hinges etc.), but this looks like a door so it signals that there’s something behind there, while still looking pretty.  We also discussed the merits of velcro vs. magnets, but magnets are potentially more dangerous (given kids and animals), and it’s not like this is going to be opened and closed frequently enough to make the velcro wear out.

Link Love: Protest on Monday, Call/Fax your MOC this weekend

President Trump went full Fascist this week, declaring a fake state of emergency to steal funding for his wall from other projects, and we need to protest this assault on democracy.  Yes, I know (hope, really, don’t know for sure because who knows anything these days) that the courts will probably put a stop to this eventually, but we still need to take action because if we don’t, he will keep pushing the limits, and the next thing may not be stoppable.  Congress needs to do their job to prevent him from destroying the country.  He is only able to do this because he is being enabled.  Mueller is not going to save us.  We have to save ourselves and future generations.  Bustle is providing an updated list of what to do.  Events for Monday are still being planned and posted, so if you don’t see one nearby on this website, check back later.   Here’s the 5calls script.  Because it is a 3 day weekend, it is likely that the voicemails will fill up.  You can send a fax for free from this website.

I can’t believe that it was only earlier this week that we found out about Bezos, the National Enquirer, the Saudi’s, Trump, and the Blackmailing of US Democracy.  If you missed it, the Enquirer, a huge supporter of Trump, tried to blackmail Bezos with dick picks.  Bezos, being a billionaire and well on his way to a divorce, wrote about the blackmail instead of succumbing to it.  But if they’re doing it to Bezos, can this also account for a lot of the Republicans who suddenly turned around to back whatever crazy fascist thing Trump wants to do?  It’s not paranoid to connect those dots.

Florida detention center expands, packing in migrant children “like sardines”

Contractors building Trump’s wall in TX are ALREADY DESTROYING a butterfly refuge.

Field notes from an ethnographic description of school shooter training.  It’s pretty awful.

23 black female scientists who changed the world

Books to check your white privilege

We have racist GOP ranked members and GOP members meeting with Holocaust deniers, but pundits and (d) leadership micropick at Illhan Omar even if they don’t know what she meant.

Harassment in the D&D development community.

The DIY divorce

If you inherit retirement accounts, you may be required to take minimum distributions while you’re still young.

Manage money anxiety

I thought she could have gone a little farther with this from the RE side (I don’t think the FI part is very MLM-y, but boy howdy does some of the Retire Early crowd exist this way):  Why the FI movement sounds like MLM

Financial blogs/forums for the Prius millionaire

Object oriented programming concepts

How to be alone by lane moore book review by captain awkward.

This thread on Vivienne Westwood’s 1994 line, or no officer, I don’t know how my wealthy husband died, is brilliant.

My family and WWII

Nazis suck.

My father was a child in one of the countries the Nazis trampled.  He doesn’t talk about it.  He still has an odd fascination with fire that shows itself with birthday cake candles.  And he’s 5’2″ because although he never went hungry, he didn’t get a lot of nutrition either.  His mother and siblings moved to the US after the war.

I found out recently that although my bonmama was Catholic (along with most of my family on both sides), her father was Jewish.  Her husband (I’m not clear if this would be my grandfather or my step-grandfather) moved to Argentina with his mistress after the war (taking all the money, and triggering Bonmama and her children’s migration), and it is thought that he was a Nazi sympathizer.  Funny what one learns when Nazis are in the news again.

My mother’s mother joined the war effort as a nurse.  At her (Catholic, military) funeral, this time period featured prominently as the most important time in her life.  She rose up the ranks in the air force to become a Captain.  When she taught me how to knit, she gifted me with the knitting needles she’d used to while away the time flying towards a battlefield.  On the way back, the needles would be put away while they tended the wounded.

She met my grandfather during the war.  He wasn’t an enlisted man.  I’m not sure why not– whether it was preference or a medical condition.  He was a counselor for the American Red Cross.  While my grandmother treated the physical consequences of war, he treated the mental and emotional consequences.

My maternal grandparents’ commitment to public service filtered down to most of their children (I guess technically my horrible Trump-loving uncle is a forest ranger).  My uncles are veterans, one aunt is a federal judge, the other is a nurse practitioner who ran a hospital system.  My mom, the professor, was elected to our local school board for several terms.

We can’t let Nazi values of hatred and fascism take hold in the US.  We need to honor the ideals of this country that fought against evil in the second WW.  It is true that our own history is full of horrors like slavery and internment and xenophobia.  But we can’t let those forces win.  We must keep fighting.  Concentration camps didn’t start killing people overnight.  Germany didn’t start out evil.  We cannot tolerate injustice.  Keep calling your representatives.  Keep protesting.  Keep recruiting people to vote and donating and encouraging campaigns.  It’s a long slog to freedom.  But the alternative is something our grandparents lived.  They fought with their lives.  We should fight with our time and money and words so that we don’t have to get to that point.

What did your family do in WWII?  How was your family changed by it?

RBOC

  • My car just starts now when I try to start it.  It’s amazing.
  • I made shrimp paste for the first time and it was surprisingly easy and surprisingly tasty.  I may need to try some more retro sandwich pastes now.
  • We’re starting to get into the dregs of completing my best of cooking light cookbook.  That sometimes leads to surprising discoveries, but more often there’s a reason we put off those recipes instead of doing them right away (usually because they look like effort, and they turn out to be effort).
  • Grrr.  Stupid Republican Tax Bill means that I now have to pay taxes on my already too-expensive work parking.  But there’s really no way to not have an annual permit given where my office is.  (Like, we could move our housing and live closer to a bus stop, but there’s no way to live in walking distance.)
  • We did back-to-school shopping later than usual this year and man was it picked over.  And what is up with schools wanting 12×18 papers of various kinds and neither Target nor Walmart stocking them?
  • DC1 has recently discovered that if you want to keep your new card deck from clumping, you have to wash and dry your hands before touching it.  (DC1 is really into card tricks these days.)
  • One of the daycamps (a programming camp!) we were sending DC1 to had a truly ridiculous waiver that they wanted us to sign off on– absolving them of all wrong and disallowing lawsuits even should they be criminally negligent and agreeing to pay their court fees should we sue anyway.  We refused to sign it.  They let us drop DC1 off anyway, but then called and said they couldn’t take hir so DH had to pick hir back up.  All of the camps we send our kids to have waivers and some are pretty silly (the university math camp last year listed “pencil injuries” in the form blank of example injuries), but this one seemed dangerously so.  Especially since it’s a small company and doesn’t have the reputational concerns that say, the university has (although they said the rule was a franchise rule).  Ugh, so that’s another $400 of DDA account money that isn’t getting spent, on top of the $295 for a camp that was cancelled.
  • On Sunday we didn’t have any posts queued and #2 suggested a summer vacation for the blog.  Except I’m sure there’s a question I need to ask you all but I cannot remember what it is.  Wouldn’t it be horrible to have no readership and no twitter account when I needed advice on a purchase?  So that’s why this RBOC is [ed:  was before I put in a couple more bullets Monday morning] shorter than usual– it was pulled from drafts without having time to truly marinate.
  • Remember that whole house water filter we bought that took forever to get installed?  This is a picture of the first filter after 3 months.  No wonder our unfiltered water was so gross.
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What should go where when you’re investing?

Disclaimer:  we are not professional financial planners.  See a certified planner with fiduciary responsibility or do your own research before making important money decisions.

Once/If we stop hemorrhaging money spending on things like new cars and water filtration systems, we may need to start filling up taxable accounts with what we don’t spend.  When you aren’t filling up all of your tax-advantaged accounts, it makes sense to put both stocks and bonds in there, adjusted for your risk preferences and how close you are to needing to withdraw money.  Once you start filling these up, however, and start putting excess money into taxable accounts, it makes sense to think about tax advantages when deciding what to put where.  In general, you’ll want to put things with high expected earnings in accounts (like Roth accounts) where the earnings come out tax free, while you’ll want things with less risk and lower earnings to be in accounts that aren’t tax-advantaged.  If you are not in this situation yet and don’t want to deal with the complications, it’s fine to just pick a target-date fund and set and forget.  Satisficing is better than doing nothing!

Tax advantaged Roth (including dual-advantage):

Roth accounts are taxed when the money goes in, but the earnings are not taxed.  Dual-advantage are things like HSAs in which the money that goes in is not taxed and the earnings are not taxed.  In both of these cases, you want to put your highest earning funds over the long term.  So this will be a good place to put your Nasdaq stock index funds/ETFs and then after that any other broad-based stock index fund that is going to go up over the long term.

Tax advantaged non-Roth (aka Traditional):

These have the earnings taxed when the money comes out, but provide a tax advantage when the money goes in.   If you are not close to retirement, these are long-term funds that you can’t take out without a penalty.  You probably don’t want to play any tax-loss harvesting games here because you don’t really get the benefits of the loss right away unless you’re converting the funds to Roth funds.  This is a good place for putting funds that are going to go up over the long term but aren’t going to go up as much as the stuff you put in your Roth accounts.

Taxable accounts:

Taxable accounts are good for shorter term investing (assuming you’re not close to age 55.whatever) because you don’t have to wait until you’re old enough to tap them without penalty.

If you own individual stocks that might take a loss, this is a good place for them because you can claim that loss against your taxes.

Municipal bonds are tax advantaged themselves, so there’s no point in putting them in a tax-protected fund.

Annuities?  I have no idea.

Bonds, while bonds will have taxable earnings, they’ll generally be lower than those of stocks, so if you’ve maxed out your tax-advantaged funds with stocks, putting some taxable money into bonds is not a terrible idea.  Plus, if you think you’re likely to lose your job during a recession and have to tap into your savings, bonds are better to tap during that time than are stocks.

Have we done any of this?  Nope.  In the past we first didn’t have much tax-preferred investing room, and then we weren’t able to fill up our tax-preferred investing so we didn’t add to any new taxable stocks.  Now that we have so much more invested and we’re maxing out our tax-preferred funds we should think more about what we put where.  It’s a mess.  Because of transaction costs and tax hassles (and the fact that I like that Target Date funds are set and forget so at least a portion of our savings has a reasonable stock/bond/etc. ratio even though they’re not optimal!), I’m probably not going to do much buying/selling of what we have already.  I don’t want to pay capital gains on our taxable stuff right now, especially if we’re just going to reinvest it in a different asset class.  But I will be a little bit more careful going forward.  I’ll continue to fill up our work fidelity accounts with Spartan stock indexes, my 457 with the Vanguard S&P 500 index (their lowest cost option).  If/when I decide we need more bond funds, those will go into taxable.

When we start withdrawing money 15-35 years from now, I will also try to do better when thinking about what we should sell and when.

Do you pay attention to which savings/investment vehicles you put in which type of account?

 

RBOC

  • Little kitty got another ear infection—this time two bacteria and a fungus.  :(
  • FINALLY got DC1 hooked on Diana Wynne Jones.  I was getting worried that it was never going to happen, and even worse, that there was something actually wrong with the Chrestomanci series (like the suck fairy visiting), even though I have definitely reread it as an adult.  But apparently zie just needed to grow into it.  The lives of Christopher Chant hooked hir so hard that zie chose to finish reading it instead of playing video games (or sleeping)!  And that was after Charmed Life, which I consider to be one of her creepiest novels.  (Granted, after I read it the first time I flipped straight to the beginning and read it again!)
  • I often wonder how DC1 can be so smart and so thoughtful, and yet be seemingly completely incapable of:  hanging up hir wet towel, putting away hir empty fizzy water can, or putting on a shirt right side out and not backwards.
  • DC1 grew three inches in three months.  In theory zie no longer needs a booster seat, though since most of that height is leg, in practice zie still needs a booster seat.
  • Posts that say you “need 300K to be middle class” in any specific part of the US confuse being middle class with being able to have everything.  You do NOT need 300K/year to live in a 2-3br place in good school district, eat yummy food, save for retirement, and have some luxuries anywhere in the US that’s commutable for work.  Even Manhattan.  Yes, you need that or more to have a McMansion in those places/send kids to private school/have elaborate lengthy vacations and so on, but when you have all of those things someplace where it’s also amazing to live (and expensive because it’s so amazing), you’re no longer middle class.  Last time I did a calculation, which was before the Trump tax hike for people who live in coastal states, we’d need 230K/year to move out there with no negative lifestyle changes other than downsizing and renting.  But we are NOT MIDDLE CLASS.  That’s a life without any sacrifice except the one imposed by reality.  And we’d be getting more of so many other wonderful things (eating out a lot more!).  (Alas, DH does not have a job offer for 230K and I have no job prospects.)  There’s a big difference between comfortable and upper.
  • It takes a while to refill an emergency/slush fund that you’ve just taken 33K out of.
  • The plumbing company owner came out finally and figured out a way to get our water filter to fit in our hot water heater closet where the main water line enters the house.  But then sort of ghosted again instead of scheduling an appointment.  Not a high priority, but man… I do wonder if this is ever going to happen.
  • The women’s history month thing turned out to be a huge waste of time.  Two terrible talks (including one that went double or triple time) and two decent talks.  Followed by 12 minutes remaining for the poster session which ended at 5pm, which meant that almost everybody (including the fourth speaker whose talk was really interesting, but sadly abbreviated) had to leave to get their kids before 5pm instead of looking at posters.  I left with 6 min remaining since nobody had looked at my poster other than the group of 6 students whose poster was next to mine (“This looks really… complicated… how do you know so much statistics?”) and they were crowding in my space trying to stand in front of their own poster.
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What we decided to do with “all that extra money”

In the end, DH was a voice of reason and noted that we really don’t know how long his job is going to last (they have funding for ~2 years, but it’s touch and go after that, and the company owner is in his 70s and keeps putting off succession plans), and he would much rather have 10K in the stock market than a 10K vacation to Hawaii (or anywhere else).

That said, we did make a few changes:

  1. DH increased his allowance from $35/week to $40/week, with a 10x lump sum of that at birthdays and Christmas.  It’s been $35/week for a long time and was $30/week before that and $25/week back in graduate school, so this isn’t that big an increase.  He is looking forward to buying a new super fancy monitor.  (Work will be upgrading his computer for him, but he wants a nice monitor for gaming!)
  2. I impulse bought a $75 pair of jeans online without knowing if they will fit based on this post from anabegins.  There was a woman in the reviews who sounds like she’s the same size and shape I am who gave her size which is what tipped me into purchasing.  [Update:  They fit and are as advertised.]
  3. After we get the water filter thing figured out, in theory we will move on to replacing the counters (I want quartz that looks like marble), the stovetop (DH really wants gas), and the sink (it’s cracked, showing the iron beneath it) in the kitchen.   [Update:  My sister’s car died recently and her car shopping got me looking at cars and there’s a lot of new stuff out there so we might replace DH’s car prior to remodeling the kitchen.  We will see.  Update:  We bought a base model Clarity for $35,500– it’ll be a while before we update the kitchen!  DH wanted a new car more than a gas stove.]

Other than that, all our plans are still puttering ahead back from when DH got back from layoff.  So that means we’ve been donating more.  We’ve funded backdoor Roth IRAs.  Our 529 saving was already bumped up to $750/kid/month (previously it was $500/kid/month).  The DCs will be going to various daycamps as expected (this will be the first year for DC1 who previously had daycare!)  I’m trying to keep 50K in the Capital One savings account (currently 40k), 30K + the month’s expenses in our Credit Union [currently down to one and a half month’s expenses with the car purchase], and ~20K give or take in Wells Fargo. (I don’t mind having less in Wells Fargo, mainly I put any reimbursements or side income that comes to us in checks in there and write most of our checks under $500 from it, so the amount varies.  We need at least 2.5K in there to keep the checking free.)  Additional lumps of money will go into a taxable Vanguard broad based stock, though I’m not sure how much to build up before making a transfer.  Back in graduate school I invested when it got to 6K over what I thought we needed (I think because that’s what it took to fully fund two IRAs!).  The last time I put money in taxable stocks it was 30K because we had excess leftover from living in Paradise.  Maybe I’ll do 10K now since that’s a nice round number.

Random comment on a small-penis-man #notallsmallpenismen from like 6 years ago

So about 6 years ago, this douche named Ed Rybicki wrote a really sexist short story that inexcusably and inexplicably got published in Nature, because the board of Nature was (is?) full of sexist asshats.  We talk about it some in this post from November of 2011.

In that post, we’re making note of the fact that tiny-penised* Rybicki kept harassing women who called him out, but completely shied away from giving men who called him out the same treatment.  We assumed he was going to wander into our comments as well because he seemed to enjoy googling himself and going into the comments of women (and only women) to generally be a clueless asshat.  Oddly, even though we dared him to, he didn’t show up in our junk mail filter (or it’s possible he did later and we didn’t notice, in any case, he didn’t do it right away).

We didn’t know if we’d scared him off or if he’d just missed our blog or if someone close to him had finally hit him with a clue stick and told him to get a life.

Well, the other day, for a completely unrelated post, I was wondering why we were getting so many hits from twitter.  Unlike my usual situation, I was on my cell rather than on the computer, and it turns out that searching twitter on the iphone gives a LOT more hits than does searching on the computer (which seems to just limit to major twitter feeds like @DLFreedman), and curious, I followed our twitter cites to nicoleandmaggie back to 2011.

In the middle of years of praise (thanks grumpy tweeters!), I found this little gem:

 

Well, we did get tenure.  And we’re still not on twitter.  And it took us 6 years to see your passive-aggressive whatever that was.  But thanks for playing.  Really hope in the intervening 6 years you’ve become less of a sexist asshat!  No, really!  (But it’s likely we’ll never know.)

*#notalltinypenisedmen — penis size actually isn’t that important, but misogynists tend to think it is