(Not?) seeing family

Since DH’s sister was expecting (and has since had) twins, DH’s mom has gotten an apartment in her town. Her plan is to spend most of each week there so she can help SIL out with the four kids, now so that SIL can drive to the hospital BIL’s town every other day to be with the babies and give them her breast milk, and in the future with the babies since SIL has very little maternity leave. and will have to go back to teach a limited number of special needs students in person in December.

DH’s mom is high risk for covid complications.  She has diabetes, she’s missing lymph nodes from metastasized breast cancer, manages with medication high cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. etc. etc.  Just a whole host of health problems.  DH’s dad is in pretty good shape (he’s a hunter with no major health scares in the past other than a bum knee and back problems), but they are both over 65.

Before the babies were born, MIL had said that we’d probably want to not visit at Christmas because it would be too high risk for the babies, but maybe we could do something after Christmas.

Since then, the babies have been born and MIL has noted that SIL’s family has been taking zero covid precautions.  They act as if there isn’t a pandemic going on (Update:  I don’t think this is entirely true because SIL sent pictures of nephew at a boy scouts meeting wearing a mask… though also she sent a picture in front of the elementary school first day with neither of the older kids in masks, so…).  And to be fair, they live in a small town with very few Covid cases, so this is probably rational.  Because of this MIL has said well, maybe we could all do Christmas together in SIL’s town.  But not at SIL’s house because it is too small.

DH countered that even though it’s pretty safe in SIL’s town, we’re still in a Redzone and he would feel terrible bringing Covid up from the South and infecting someone from the midwest.  The only way he could think to make it work would be to travel to BIL’s town and rent an Air BNB and then just quarantine there for a couple weeks before seeing his family and that didn’t sound great.

This weekend, BIL noted that they’d spent a lot of time this past week doing boyscout activities and their (legally blind) daughter was back in person school although their son is still doing virtual schooling.  Out of curiosity, I looked up their covid rates and… they’re pretty much the same as ours.  (They’re also in a town with a state university.)  On Sunday they drove over to MIL’s apartment and spent the day with her.  We would be no bigger risk to MIL than they are… possibly less so, assuming we manage to avoid picking up an infection while traveling to the midwest.

Drive between SIL’s town and MIL’s town:  4 hours
Drive between BIL’s town and MIL’s town: 3 hours
Drive between SIL’s town and BIL’s town:  1 hour
Drive between us and MIL’s town:  12 hours (flight + driving is generally 5-8 hours)
Drive between us and SIL’s town:  16 hours (5-7 hr flights + 3 hours driving)
Drive between us and BIL’s town:  15 hours (flights, 7-14 hours, very little driving)

I’m still concerned about toilet plumes.  There’s still, of course, risks to us.  It’s possible I shouldn’t be worried since DH is in good health (knock wood) and as far as we know kids aren’t that affected (though we still don’t know about long-term complications).  But if anything happened to DH I would be devastated.  I’m somewhat high risk with the PCOS, but not as much as MIL.

So I don’t know what to do.  I have no real need to see DH’s family (though also I don’t have any problem with it– they’re good people).  DH is very worried that he will inadvertently kill his mother.  Especially since when she’s gotten a regular cold or the flu over the holidays from the grandkids she’s gotten very sick from it.  I can’t think how to make the logistics work since it’s such a long drive, unless we stop in MIL’s town for the night, which adds 3-4 hours to the total drive.

How are you handling the holidays this year?

Link Love

WordPress continues to be irritating. I can’t save changes at all in Chrome. Sometimes I can in Safari and sometimes I can’t (but it pretends it did and then just doesn’t, unlike Chrome which gives me an error). WordPress works just fine, but I have it leechblocked during working hours which is generally a good thing but sometimes I really do want to add a bullet or figure out why something isn’t posting. Fortunately they’ve made it easier to use classic mode than it was a week ago. Still, I do not need the minor irritation of things just not working! Especially not for a hobby.

I found a notawastedword post *infuriating*. Agaishanlife explains why in a much more succinct way than any of my rantings could capture in this post and in her reply to me. She just nails it in a sentence or two.

Ask the grumpies: Computer educational programs that DC2 (grade 4) loves (and others zie’s ok with)

Parent to two virtual learners asks:

“Have you or your readers been using any computer programs to supplement virtual learning at home? I need to work full-time and my kids (elementary schoolers) seem to get done with their work in 2-3 hours each day. They don’t want to spend all their time reading books and I don’t want them to spend all their time playing video games or fighting with each other. Do you have any educational games and similar things to recommend? Anything non-electronic that doesn’t create too much of a mess?”

DC2 loves Prodigy to pieces. It’s basically an RPG-ish game where your choices don’t matter much, but in order to fight monsters you have to get a math problem correct. The math problems are very similar to going through Khan Academy– they get harder and you master a specific skill and then they give you a new skill. I think it’s free and they make their money with in-game purchases that DC2 would really like to have but we have not been doing.

DC2 loves Epic! though sadly we have to pay for it now because this year’s teacher didn’t sign up for it like last year’s did. (Technically zie can sign in as guest with hir class from last year, but that seems wrong somehow.) Epic has a lot of fun books, including a TON of comicbooks to read. All the Big Nates, even some that are so old or new that DC1 doesn’t own them. (There are Bill Clinton jokes(!))

DC2 likes DuoLingo just fine. Zie is doing Spanish with it, mostly on weekends. There isn’t much playing with it if it’s not required like there is with Prodigy.

We’ve recommended DragonBox before– DC2 did a spin through again before school started this past summer.

Similarly to DuoLingo, DC2 is fine with Khan Academy. Zie is mostly going through the math part.

DC2 is supposed to go through a math thing called xtramath, but finished last year, so after zooming through addition and subtraction, hir teacher asked hir to play Kakooma instead. DC2 is not a fan of the timed aspect of it, but did enjoy it at first.

Instead of Epic!, DC2’s teacher is doing Reading A-Z, which has more educational stuff than does Epic and has step readers in both English and Spanish. One not so great thing is that it tested DC2 in English and is now only allowing hir to read within a few levels of hir tested level in Spanish. Hir Spanish level is not as high as hir English level! There’s no Phoebe and Unicorn here, but there’s lots of non-fiction.

With all the additional laptop stuff, DC2’s computer class has a lot of typing. They use Typing Agent through Clever. This is not as much fun as typing of the dead, but it’s more focused for if you don’t know how to touch type (as opposed to just needing practice to get your speed up).

In terms of exercise, we have two games for the Switch right now that DC2 has been using. Ring Fit Adventure is a good exercise game, much like Prodigy except you do exercises to complete an attack. Zie has also been doing Just Dance 2020 and now I have Baby Shark stuck in my head for all eternity even though I’m fairly sure I’ve only heard it twice.

DC2 is also getting into Minecraft Coding Academy, though that occasionally requires assists from DH. Similarly DC1 (in high school) is working on USACO coding projects (zie isn’t actually signed up, just going through the problems)

I’m probably forgetting something, but these are the things that have been popular enough (or required enough by class) to come to mind.

In terms of non-electronic stuff:

DC2’s art teacher requires them to draw daily in a composition book. We’ve gotten some calligraphy pens and so on to make that a little more interesting. They’re both also into origami, but that makes a mess.

DC2 does a page of Singapore Math each day.

We’ve downloaded a bazillion children’s classics from Gutenberg to DC2’s kindle (Oz is very popular with both kids, also E. Nesbitt).

We’ve increased the chores they have to do– doing laundry has been added to their list which previously only had laundry folding and removing things from the dishwasher. Now there’s 15 min of cleaning their rooms each day, though sometimes we add an additional 15 min to DC2 because zie is so talented at making messes. DC1 cooks a meal a week (usually on Sundays) and DC2 helps. They also pick out one meal each week for menu planning (DC1 makes hirs).

DC2 also has regular minecraft playdates with friends which isn’t exactly educational but is social at least. DC2 and hir frenemy are actually much more mature playing on minecraft together than playing on the playground. Now that it’s cooler outside they’re getting kicked out for exercise again. Oh, and they’ve started teaching themselves contact juggling (using a weighted rubber ball, not one of DH’s actual clear contact juggling balls because there’s a lot of dropping). I’ve been trying to get DC1 to pick up pencil twirling because zie fidgets by worrying things until they break off and zie needs to stop doing that, but so far no luck (zie is also uninterested in fidget spinners). DC2 has been working on juggling one club, but that somehow morphs into all the juggling clubs being all over the floor of the living room.

Grumpy Nation: What educational stuff do you recommend for when you have to work but your kids are out of schoolwork?

More of DH’s stress baking

I can’t believe I haven’t done one of these posts since June! My uploading says there have been 64 items, though a few of those tell the story of DC2’s birthday cake or are different angles of the same item (I have deleted some of these). Still, there’s a lot of fry breads and other daily things I didn’t get pictures of.  When we’re eating these things I think I can’t possibly forget what they are, but then months pass and… I kind of do?

Buckwheat strawberry shortcakes from Pure Dessert. It was good, but no better than most strawberry shortcake recipes. We actually liked the buckwheat shortbreads better without the cream and strawberries. (They were good together, but better separately.)

Bagels from Bread by Treuille and Ferrigno. DH says, “nice standard bagels” and DC2 notes that zie “loves them.” These are genuine bagels complete with boiling water.

Some kind of meringue, but I’m not sure if it’s one from Pure Dessert or just one we made using the standard overnight kisses recipe to use up leftover egg-whites. I love meringues but they’re really too sweet for my metabolism to handle, so I either have to drink apple cider vinegar after or just not partake (or feel icky).

Some kind of bread… don’t remember what…

More bread!

More breads!

Yet another mystery bread.

This is a fry bread! Using leftover starter.

Scones from Pure Dessert.

I’m guessing bread?

A half recipe of Brownies from the Barefoot Countess. They are dense, rich, chocolatey brownies with a deep flavor enhanced by powdered espresso. Usually we only make them for company, but DH had a hankering and its been a long time since we have had company.

Strouds cinnamon rolls from Cooks Country magazine. These are incredibly sugary and buttery. You roll them in cinnamon sugar butter before baking and then you pour cinnamon sugar sludge over the top after they come out. I preferred without the sludge, but the kids love it. DH notes that these were more of a pain to make than expected.

Banana bran bread from an internet recipe. We had leftover bran from DHs bran muffin cravings. I liked it! It was not too branny and made the banana bread seem heartier than standard.

Pane de ramerino, aka rosemary raisin bread from Bread. I liked this a lot. DH says nice and the rosemary is interesting but to try the variation with figs and almonds.

DH had a day off and made this amazing brunch item from Simple by Ottonleigh. The bottom is brioche from Pure Dessert which we have decided is our favorite brioche by far, then it is baked with a seasoned butter. Then topped with seasoned roasted portobella slices, fresh basil, and a poached egg. These were to die for. I love him so much. DH, not Ottonleigh, though Ottonleigh does have a special place in my heart these days.

Brioche from Pure Simple. Our favorite of our … 5? brioche recipes. Probably because it has the most butter of all of them and is thus difficult to over bake.

Chickpea Spice Bread from Home Baking. This was really good with a complex flavor that includes bay and cinnamon. It was non-trivial to make, and took about 3 days with rough timing between rests.

A full picture of the Chickpea Spice Bread from home baking during its final rest– after all that work we had to wait to eat it!

Marie! The baguette! Actually: Pain Ordinaire from Bread. It was inoffensive and very good with jam.

I wanted to cry this one was so good. Those dark olive-like things are black grapes. This is schiacciata con l’uva from Bread. It tastes like a combination of Christmas and summer. Sweet but not too sweet, all around wonderful with raisins and grapes and fennel and brown sugar. So amazing.

DH had two grant proposal deadlines in short order. I think this is the only shot of those muffins to the left that are actually biscuits. He says it was just an online drop biscuit recipe.  (Usually we do drop biscuits from the old fashioned cookbook.)

Double chocolate chip cookies, but I’m not sure where the recipe came from.  He says it’s his standard recipe from when he was perfecting chocolate chip cookies back in grad school (but with some of the flour swapped out with cocoa powder).  Those were good times.

Overnight kisses with chocolate added. DH does not recommend putting chocolate powder in a meringue recipe, instead look for a meringue recipe that has cocoa powder in it.

Anise “bagel” from Home Baking (I think), but they’re really more like a cookie than a bagel. They’re a lot like the anise ring cookies you can get from some European bakeries, but with a bit more chew and a tiny bit less crunch.

This is a slice of cardamon cake from an online recipe. It is very one-note cardamon, but I really like cardamom, so…

I think this is a bran muffin.

Cornbread with cheddar and feta from Simple

Another shot of the Cornbread from Simple.

An irish soda muffin. (Not sure which irish soda bread he used– we have several that we like)

Herb fritters from simple

Some kind of misshapen bread that was still delicious.

DH accidentally made 10lb of rye bread. This is one five lb boule.

We made these in August… we think they were savory empanadas using pie dough and some kind of leftover stew.

smores cookies from cook’s country magazine

schiacciata con le cipolle rosse e formaggio: schiacciata with roasted red onions and cheese. This made two enormous schiacciatas. They were yummy and had great flavor and texture. Also I think they were beautiful.

DC2 requested a chocolate mint cheesecake for hir birthday. DH got this far with an online recipe and then I took over. (Really, he did all the hard work. But… this did not at all look like the picture online even without the green food coloring.)

Flattened out the “rosettes” then sprinkled andes mint bits and placed strategic andes mints and a single mint oreo (leftover from the crust) in the center.  Sometimes simpler is better. DC2 was very happy.

Another plum tart, but this variation has sour cream and sugar on it, so it’s a bit cheesecakey.

vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting (for DC2’s minecraft party– we dropped them off at houses)

Fig and thyme clafoutis from Simple

Cordon rose banana cake from The Cake Bible.  I really enjoyed the flavor contrasts– sweet and tangy.

Another version of the Cordon rose banana cake from The Cake Bible with a citrus glaze.  We liked the chocolate frosting better.

I’m guessing… bread?

More challah.  My notes say, “DH’s grant wasn’t even discussed so he made challah”

Because sometimes you just want challah. You know?

Mixed berry pie. (Made at the same time as the next bread.)

All my notes say for this bread is, “DH has been very stressed out.”

Pound cake from pure dessert, but I’m not sure which one.

I’m not sure what this is. Carrot cake? But surely I would remember carrot cake…

Grand marnier cake, I think from The Cake Bible.

Panforte nero from Pure Dessert, which is really more like a candy. It’s super chewy chocolate fig with nuts. Not actually that sweet. It lasts a long time and is very Christmassy.

Plum tart from Home Baking.

I’m pretty sure this is a raspberry rhubarb crumble from an online recipe.  The grocery store had rhubarb which I LOVE and is rarely available.

We’re blanking on this one, but we’re going to guess that it’s bread. DH’s guess is that this is a stromboli, possibly from Bread, but with WW or rye flour instead of all purpose.

I mean, this is an apple cake, but which apple cake? Some kind of apple upside down cake. Oh, June, you are so far away. Our memories are far away.

We’re thinking this is some kind of cinnamon bread. What kind? Who knows! Summer is but a fleeting memory.

This is beet bread from Simple. I LOVED it.

Have you been continuing quarantine baking?

Link love

I’m about to go out to drop off how to vote information on doors in a “democratic leaning” area. Yesterday we did a bunch of postcards, but I really need to start doing letters because I have so many stamps!  (Also the letters dropoff date is in a week and some change.)  Donated to some state representative campaigns.  Reminded students to register to vote (the deadline is very soon, so I will send another email that day).  It really is go-time. 

WordPress just switched me over to block editor and it has been a huge pain.  Ironically, it will not let me update posts in *chrome* which is also owned by google (it lets me write stuff but then it won’t let me save the changes which is super irritating).  But I can update them in Safari, which… trying to do a post in block editor on an iphone is … not fun.  Firefox seems to be working fine (but I couldn’t futz with the blog during working hours yesterday while I was at an online conference using firefox because I have it leechblocked during working hours!)

Links are really sparse because I’m very busy at work, but also because since RBG’s passing I’ve been off social media and reddit entirely.  That and the glorious weather we’ve been having (unlike most of the country) has been keeping me able to move forward.  Even though my students are starting to not take mask-wearing seriously in class because so many of them have recovered from Corona and are feeling better (because, you know, they’re under age 22) that it must not be a big deal. 

What We Knew, What We Know, and Why It Matters

American words British folk don’t know

OMG I LOVE AMBER RUFFIN’s NEW SHOW!!!!! (yes, I have to scream it)

Ask the grumpies: Could you revisit 529 plans?

Minnesotan asks:

Can you please discuss 529 plans again? Do you still have your kids in Utah’s plan? My state now has “parity” and will give some income tax deduction for donations to any state plan (still need to read more on this). Should I go with Utah, or is another state the best option now?

Disclaimer:  We are not financial professionals.  Please consult an actual financial professional and/or do your own research before making important financial decisions.

Ooh, great question, and great benefit.  Let’s take a look at this parity thing…

From savingforcollege.com:

Minnesota taxpayers now have the option of claiming either a tax credit or deduction for contributions to any state’s 529 plan…

Deduction:  Up to $3,000 for a married couple filing jointly or $1,500 for all other filers for contributions made to a qualified 529 account…

Credit:  Credit can be claimed on half of contributions up to $500, subject to phase-out starting at a federal adjusted gross income of $75,000…

Calculator for which is better In 99 percent of cases, however, they’re going to be better off using the credit if they’re under the $100,000 income threshold…it’s safe to assume above and below the $75,000 and $100,000 income levels that they should take the credit or deduction, respectively.

So that’s cool.  The question then becomes, what state’s 529 plan should you use.  It seems like the answer should be the same as for people who don’t get any state income tax deduction from being in a 529 plan.  And for that, you want places with (1) low fees, (2) reasonable investment options, (3) reasonable customer service… and probably in that order.

Let’s see what the big financial sites are saying now.

Forbes:  Rates Maine, Nevada, and Utah as best options.  (They also like Alaska, but note it has higher fees.)

Investopedia:  Ohio, Utah, Illinois, Virginia, New York

Morningstar:  Illinois, Virginia, Utah, California, though they intend to put out new numbers using a new methodology sometime in October that emphasize fees more.  You will probably want to check this out before making any major changes/investments.

Kiplinger:  Utah

So… to answer your question, yes our kids are still in the Utah plan.  Although some years another plan may match or even beat Utah’s fees, those plans don’t tend to consistently have the lowest fees.  Although Utah doesn’t always have the lowest fees every single year anymore, it has always been competitive for non-resident plans every time I’ve looked.  That consistency over time is why I don’t regret picking Utah and sticking with it given that we don’t get a tax break only from using our own state’s plan.  Past performance doesn’t predict future performance, but there is something to be said for having a steady track record with fees over time.  You’ll probably also want to take a look at Illinois and Virginia and maybe some of the other states listed above and see what you think.

Grumpy Nation, if applicable, what state is your 529 plan from?

RBOC-Racism

  • I am so sick of hearing white women talk about their journeys to wokeness.  Like… I just don’t care?  Like, get there, but I don’t need to hear about the journey and your feelings?  Especially not Ted talks and videos and Zoom “conversations about race” led by white women.  And I’ve only been having to deal with this for a few years… No wonder POC who have been having to hear these confessionals all their lives don’t want to hear them from strangers on twitter.
  • I suppose me listening is still a service to POC since it means the white woman gets to talk to someone… so I can probably handle listening to students and colleagues (So… Many… Colleagues… and so many white men who think they’re there but really aren’t anywhere near it yet)… but please not the Ted talks and required videos and definitely don’t give anyone a forum when you could be paying a POC with actual expertise to talk instead.
  • I do talk about race a lot.  But… it’s not about me.  I think it’s ridiculous to make it about me (ironically, because this bullet *is* about me).  I’m part of the systems of oppression so I have to help dismantle.  I have to check my biases.  I have to do things now and in the future because I still screw up a lot.  It’s hard not to, so I keep trying.  But I’m not the one being negatively affected.  I’m benefiting in many ways.  So most of what I talk about is the research base (Racism is REAL, and the older I get the more of a sociologist I become regarding its causes) and how it is our responsibility to fix things.  And here are some things we know don’t work…
  • What I really hate is that so many of our minority students have been treated so badly throughout their lives that just being a decent person can give a prof a reputation for being “one of the good ones.”  Like, we should all be good ones so it doesn’t seem worthy of extra gratitude.
  • Upon reflection (and watching two videos on white women’s journeys to wokeness directed at other white people), I think white women have been trained to talk about difficult things through the lens of ourselves… we use the “I” language and use ourselves to illustrate because that seems less threatening.  We’re able to say, of course, YMMV.  It’s like when we talk about childrearing stuff– it’s all, this worked for me.  (Though I also… don’t really talk about childrearing stuff unless someone asks*… and also I could have scooped Emily Oster with how much PubMed and books etc. on pregnancy and infant rearing I’d read with DC1, so much of my discussion is research-based rather than me-based.)  So basically, our stupid patriarchal society makes us do this, but we can stop doing it at minority people?
  • *I realize this statement is not actually true because I certainly have talked a lot about it on the blog and not just under the Ask the Grumpies Friday column.  But like, in person not so much.
  • If your department wants to do a racism training, I recommend Bedelia Richards.

It was nice being high income while it lasted

For a little while, DH and I were making joint more than what Obama/Biden’s campaigns considered “middle class” (we never did make it above what Biden/Harris consider their cutoff for tax increases, but that’s an insane number).  It was really nice.  Like… money just did not matter at all.

I was just about to start living like someone who makes a lot of money– sending DC1 to a fancy summer camp, going on a vacation that wasn’t family or wedding or work-related (what can I say, I dream small), and then the pandemic happened.  So we went back to spending like we were upper-middle-class meaning buying whatever we wanted at the grocery store and maybe a bit less comparison shopping.  And we’d hit that point a long long income ago.  Other than deferred maintenance and replacements we didn’t actually DO anything with the money, but boy did I dream.  Kids need more Spanish?  Maybe we should spend a month in a Spanish-speaking country one of these years.  Or the kids could go to Interlochen, which my cousin went to but my family could never come close to affording growing up.  (Are my dreams too small?) But.. pandemic.

So I don’t really know what it like to spend as if one is making more than 250K/year– we never got there with spending.  The money just kind of piled up and I put it in IRAs and donated some and finally got nice countertops for the kitchen, replaced our grad school and first-year-with-a-real-job cars, and did a bunch of home maintenance stuff that suddenly came up because we’ve been living in this house for well over a decade now.

And then the money ran out at DH’s company.  So they got furloughed.  And then it turns out there was less money than expected, so the layoff that was supposed to happen in December is happening in November and the grant that was supposed to happen in January got rejected on a paperwork issue and the other grant that could have happened in January wouldn’t actually happen until April if it gets accepted.  And the company owner is getting closer to 80 and really wanting to wind down and retire for real.  So… this might be the end of this job that DH really enjoyed.

Now, with just my income, after two hard-fought raises to get me closer to market value, we are still upper-middle-class.  We can still buy whatever we want at the grocery store.  With the money I’ve kept in cash once it became clear that DH’s company was having problems we probably don’t need to make any major changes to our lifestyle or purchases.  If DC1 goes to a fancy college with a big endowment, we may be eligible for some financial aid, whereas with DH working we would not be.  (And we might have to take out loans depending on where zie goes instead of cash flowing what the 529 doesn’t cover.)

DH probably doesn’t ever have to work again so long as I keep employed.  He can be FIRE, but without the money-making blog, just living as a house-husband.

He’ll probably want to work again eventually, and I admit, I do like it when he brings in money.  That paycheck was awfully nice while it lasted.  Being high income is really really nice and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  But it’s also nice having someone completely trustworthy and intelligent around to just take care of things with the house and family, so long as he doesn’t spend all his time pulling weeds.  (We’re keeping the lawn service this time so he will not have an excuse to mow.)

So, I don’t know what will happen.  This job is probably done– most of the other members of his company can’t wait until April for uncertain income.  They’re likely to find work elsewhere.  And then there will be nobody in the company.  The company owner has paid salaries out of pocket before and taken out loans etc. but seems disinclined to do so this time around.  And DH really doesn’t want to do another systems architecture project to tide things over like last time.  We don’t really live where DH can do things based on his PhD (other than being an adjunct or post-doc which are low-paid and he doesn’t want to do if we don’t need the money).  His best option is probably to do contract work from people in his network.  We’ll see if that is forthcoming, though he wants to take a longish break before sending out feelers.  Most of his friends at the big companies on the coasts have left said companies and gone to work for less money at start-ups.

I don’t have a moral– this is just an update.  I’m about to get a house-husband which is very nice in many ways.  And our family will now just be bringing in lots of money rather than unfathomable amounts, and we’ll no longer be saving up insane amounts.  This won’t become a travel blog since we tried to go to Portland for our 20th anniversary and ended up with a Pandemic instead.  Obviously we were not meant to go anywhere.  The possibilities are no longer endless.  I won’t have obnoxious posts about what to do with all this extra money.

Money goes to:

My 403(b)
My 457b
My backdoor roth IRA
DH’s spousal IRA (starting in 2021)
DC2’s 529 plan
General expenses (which will be going up since I’ll have to add DH to all my insurances).

I don’t yet know if we will be taking out of savings or if we’ll just be living off my salary (I haven’t gotten paid yet for the year, but preliminary estimates suggest I take-home a little more than we spend in most years so long as we don’t buy two new cars and remodel the kitchen again).  I don’t get paid in the summer unless I have a grant, and I don’t have plans for submissions any time soon, so I will have to draw down from savings in the summer.  But we’ve got enough in there that we’ll be fine and will probably still have next summer’s emergency fund left by the time I get paid in October.

So… a bittersweet update.  But far better to have been temporarily insanely high income and to have saved it than to have never gotten those savings at all.

Again don’t let anyone tell you that money doesn’t buy happiness.  Boy is it nice to have more income than you could ever need.  It is lovely even if you put that money away to buy future security and future happiness.  I bet it’s even lovelier to be confident enough in that income stream to bump up spending.  (And we still can’t afford to buy a house in Paradise…)  I wonder if it’s good that we didn’t get used to that high income since we won’t really have to be cutting, or if I regret not having had those experiences we could have had (could still have if we spend down savings…)  And I feel a little sad that we weren’t able to give our kids the benefits of expensive summer camps and fancy travel and so on.  But they’ve still gotten a lot of benefits from growing up upper-middle-class (and occasionally traveling with me to conferences), and they have a lot of life left to live.  We have a lot of life left to live.

Link love

Naked ballots in Pennsylvania won’t be accepted.

Our 2019 Tax Return Revealed: Total Income $522,662, Taxable Income $253,906

A transgender fairy tale.

A reminder that sometimes having 4 coffee cups is not too many coffee cups.