Link Love

As a reminder, if you’re interested in guest posting to us sometime in the first two weeks of October, shoot us an email at grumpy rumblings at gmail.  (So far we have zero guest posts lined up though a couple of people have expressed interest, and one post of kitten pictures.  Our readers may be hopelessly bored for minutes a day without your help.)

And now for some links:

this is abhorrent

Double standards by the press. Kudos to Rahm Emanuel.

Why do so many incompetent men become leaders?

Stephen’s new lifestyle brand.

In case you wanted to see the real Tommy.

ZOMG, masculinity so fragile it must be marketed to

Did you see the eclipse?

Straight up burn.

More overly honest science.

#2 seems to have had a thing for otters this week.  Bonus wombat.  Also:  octopussy or cthulhu, you decide.

OMG, the adorbs.

Don’t read the comments.

Oklahoma not ok.

Cloud is offering another session of her project management class.

I had a whole bunch of commentary on an OMDG post (still cannot comment on her blog because BlogSpot and WordPress not playing well), but it has sadly disappeared.  Here’s my out of context comment though:   Maybe if we forced more doctors to take statistics during medical school they’d actually apply the research on sleep deprivation and learning to the medical profession.  Though I suppose it has nothing to do with science at all and everything to do with the brainwashing aspects of hazing– they make doctors go through hazing because they had to and that’s how to get into the club.

Making O’Reilly animals.

Dumbed down dissertations.  I can do mine in one line too.  :)

Ask the grumpies: How to stay friends with a new parent when childfree

Childfree Friend asks:

My best friend just had a baby.  I’m thrilled for her and (oddly, since I tend to avoid infants as much as humanly possibly) can’t wait to meet the kid.  It’s actually surprised me how much I actually want to hold and cuddle the kid (and would if I weren’t 1,000 miles away at the moment), since I have NEVER felt any inclination to do the same for any other infants ever in my life.  I guess that’s the biggest sign to me that I really truly am genuinely happy for her and love both her and the kid a ton.

The easy question (I think):
DH and I are childless, as are all of our siblings.  None of that is likely to change, ever.  So this tiny person is the closest thing we have to a niece/nephew and I’d like to treat the kid as such, but I don’t really know what that means, especially since we are long-distance.  Ideas?

The harder question (which I’m asking both of you since one of you has kids and the other doesn’t):
A part of me is also nervous about what the kid is going to mean in terms of our friendship, since it’s the first time in almost fifteen years of friendship that our paths are really starting to diverge.  The pregnancy has also marked the first times I’ve really had to take a backseat to family in her life and that didn’t feel great (but I’ve tried not to take it personally).

How did (or didn’t) your friendship change before/after the first kid entered the scene?  What do you think you did (or didn’t do) to maintain or even deepen the friendship given the obvious giant shift in priorities after the birth of a kid to one of you.


#1 (sans kids):

Re Question 1:  Send books.  talk to your friend about what she wants.  Send useful things — the relatives will send a thousand adorable outfits, but maybe you’re the only one sending them diapers or savings bonds or stuff like that. [#2 notes:  this definitely depends]  See what support your friend would like.

Re Question 2:  I bet #2 felt this more than I did. But I didn’t perceive a huge change in our relationship, as it’s always been conducted mainly by IM. Perhaps it was harder for #2 to type while holding a baby (sling FTW!) [#2:  I’m pretty good at typing one-handed, and slings were awesome with DC1 but not so much with DC2], but in general we kept talking. The topics of our conversation changed, as it does whenever one or both of us has stuff going on in our lives. We talk about what’s taking up a lot of brain space lately, whether that’s trying to get pregnant or grading papers. It also helps that I love babies and was excited when #2 had them, because BABIES! I would definitely listen to people talk about babies, and I will cuddle them, even though I don’t ever want to have my own.

It helps that IM is asynchronous and text-only; that means we didn’t have to ‘perform’ as much for each other. We didn’t have to put on pants to get together, we could do it at any time of day or night or tiredness level. There’s much less pressure on tone of voice. It’s perfect for blurting little thoughts, which the other person can respond to later if they want. We don’t necessarily have expectations that the other person will respond right away, although we often do respond pretty quickly. If we’re going to be out of email contact for a while (traveling, etc.) we usually let the other one know.

It’s my understanding that having a baby puts you in a brain state where hitting refresh on the internet and blurting random thoughts is much more appealing than getting up the energy to have an actual visit — therefore, IM was great for us. Sometimes we have deep meaningful conversations about feelings and decisions and problems on IM… but often we just send each other links to cat videos.

I think what I’m saying here is that our friendship kept chugging along through all our various life changes, including babies, because of how it has been structured throughout. #2, do you think this is true? The secret is low expectations, maybe? Also, we are both introverts who like to stay home with our families and enjoy interacting without seeing people in person, so we’re a good friendship fit that way.

[#2 notes:  we wrote our answer paragraphs separately and it looks like we hit pretty much the same main points, see below… Though whenever we do see each other I think it is awesome, like when one of us has conference in a nearby city and the other drives in.  I guess it is that and weddings.]

Also on IM it’s easier to take a second and think of a polite or helpful response. When you’re really tired and brain-dead and at risk of blurting out some crankiness, IM allows you to re-word it before you send it. This probably has helped our friendship many times.  [#2 does not do this and wonders how much #1 has been biting her tongue.  Whoops!] [Nah, don’t worry.  I’m not editing out ‘you’re such a jerk’, I’m editing out that sounded ruder than I meant.]

#2 (with kids):

I actually spent more time rather than less time online after having babies.  This was especially true during nursing and pumping times.

It is difficult to say how the friendship changed with the arrival of DC1 because so many other things were happening at the same time– DH and I got new jobs, bought a house, moved, started on the tenure track, while #1 was graduating, moving, job seeking, working as a visiting professor, and applying for tenure track jobs.  We had a lot of different stuff going on!

I dunno, I’m a bit odd in that most of my close friends aren’t in the same parenting part of life that I am.  Either they’re single, or childfree, or have much older children or are just having their first child now.  Or maybe that’s normal.

Ways to keep the friendship alive:  I think the important thing is to be ok with ebbs and flows of personal contact.  Time moves differently when you’re sleep deprived or sick or crazy busy or faced with repetitive days at home.  Don’t take things personally if you stop hearing from someone for a while.  Be happy to see them when they re-emerge.  New parents often don’t have time for demanding friends, but they do tend to have “time confetti” for internet conversations with long pauses between sentences.

Our friendship kept connected via ICQ early on (during college and grad school) and now GChat.  It’s just so easy to say things a sentence at a time whenever you have a moment at the computer.  Sort of like tweeting without the audience.

Also (re Question 1), ask to be on the baby picture mailing list.  Normally I would just send pics to relatives, but #2 loves baby pics so she’s on the list too [#2 says: and I always write back and say how cute they are, and how #1 has clearly produced superior babies, which she has].  Your friend may just post pics on facebook, but many new parents have more adorable pictures than they feel people want to see on facebook, so they may send emails or have separate groups or keep baby pictures in a different place (like a baby-specific blog).  There are a lot of people out there who complain about seeing too many pics of kids, but family don’t, so if you want to be like family, let it be known you would prefer more rather than fewer baby pics.  Similarly, aunts and uncles request child artwork that only a relative could want for posting.  [#2 says, I love when I get artwork from friends’ kids!  It hangs in my office or on the refrigerator.]

Grumpy Nation, what advice do you have for Childfree Friend?

Do you request passwords to pw protected blogs?

Over the years, a number of the blogs we used to enjoy have become password protected.  Usually because some horrible troll has threatened to “out” the woman who has been talking pseudonymously about her job, sometimes because there’s a vicious anonymous troll stalking or harassing the woman, and sometimes because the blogger (of either gender)’s children are growing up and password protecting allows for more privacy while journaling.

Often before going behind the veil, the blogger will invite the audience to email for a password to the blog.  Or sometimes there will be an email invitation when you get to the “This blog is password protected” stage.

And we have never asked for a password.  Even for blogs we really enjoyed, even for commenters who used to be regulars (who we miss and think of fondly when perusing the comments in our archives).

Why not?  A combination of laziness and feeling as if we’re not enough value added to be worthwhile to the blogger.  Sure, I want to know what happened and how their stories are going moving forward.  I’m interested in the professional situation or debt repayment or even just pretty crafts.  But there’s too many passwords to remember.  Too many blogs to read.  And a faint belief that our voice is either uninteresting (“Nice!”) or vaguely irritating to the blogger who is seeking the password protection.

Heck we never even asked Dr. Crazy for her new digs– we figure she’ll either start showing up on blogrolls or she won’t.  In the mean time, we’ll imagine she’s found Mr. Right and is having a great time as a tenured full professor, living life to the fullest outside of the virtual community.

What about you?  Do you read any password protected blogs?  What would it take for you to request a password?

On Root Beer

DH has long been a connoisseur of fancy sodas.  Back in graduate school the dentist told him he had to cut out his soda habit (wrote “coke habit” but realized that might be misinterpreted, but it was mostly coca cola), so he picked up tea (and later coffee) for the caffeine and decided that if he was going to drink the occasional soda it would have to really count.

Paradise sells Bundaberg.  Imported from like Australia or something. DH recently gave me a taste of his, because he loves me and is willing to share (and knows I don’t want a whole bottle of my own).

Me:  This root beer tastes like your love for me.  Delicious.  Complex.

DH:  My love for you is complex and carbonated?

Me:  Effervescent!

When Bundaberg isn’t around, he favors Virgil’s which even our local supermarket started carrying in the fru-fru section.  Another good one available at specialty/wine shops all over the South is Abita, which I have been told comes from New Orleans.  (DH still prefers Virgil’s.)

Ah rootbeer.  Licorice and vanilla and sassafrass and wintergreen.

Do you like rootbeer?  What’s your favorite kind?


In which #1 carries a lot of cash to Las Vegas*

So, we moved for the sabbatical.  And in moving, Citicard somehow did not get my replacement card to me because one of the addresses they had on file didn’t have an apartment number listed.  (The bills came just fine, but the card got sent back to them.)  Nobody told me this, of course.  I contacted Citi once to find out they hadn’t sent out the card, then a second time to find out they’d just sent the card, then a third time to find out they’d just sent out a second card because the first one had been returned but this customer service person had the bright idea to check the address on file and caught the missing apartment number and thus sent out a third card.  Unfortunately when she asked if I needed it immediately I said no because I figured that I could use my other (Bank of America) card on my business trip the next week.

Fortunately for me then, that after a very stressful weekend full of work, I decided I needed an iced coffee to keep me productive on Monday morning.  Fortunately too I decided to try my second credit card even though I still had a day left on my preferred card.  My second card was declined.

DECLINED!  Even though it said it was not supposed to expire for another few months yet.  Fortunately I still had a day left on the first card or I would have had to leave the coffee.

So I called and they said I hadn’t used it in over a year.  I’m like sure, that may be true (I usually make sure to use it for gas every now and then, but it is entirely possible that I let a year slip), but shouldn’t you send me some kind of notice that you’ve closed the account or that you’re about to close it?  Apparently not.  Or maybe that notice, too, was lost during the move.  I asked them to reinstate my card.  They said they couldn’t.  I asked for a manager, they asked me lots of questions about my credit-worthiness and then told me the terms of the card had changed since I got it so I would have to reapply from scratch.  No thank you, I said, I will use a different company.

That evening I poked around the internet for credit card options and decided on a nice Capital One card with 0 annual fees, 0 international fees (wish I’d gotten it before the last two international trips I took since I’ve been paying exchange fees), unlimited 1.5% cashback, and $100 enticement fee should I charge $500 within the next 3 months.  I was, of course, instantly approved and they gave me a 30K line of credit.  Stupid B of A.

So yeah, I don’t even have an ATM card because I never use cash (DH handles such filthy lucre).  Except for this business trip– gotta get food at the airport.  Gotta get a taxi to and from the airport.  It was awful having to watch how much I spent and to be careful with the money and all that stuff I used to do but haven’t had to do in ages.  I love me plastic so much.  (I did take a check-book too, but not everyplace takes checks, and not everyplace that takes checks takes out of state checks.)

So, yay latte factor (even though I rarely indulge), otherwise I would have been stuck at the airport in Vegas with no way to get to the hotel (after skipping lunch because my card was declined on the plane).  Or worse, starving in front of the hotel with an angry cab driver, praying that he’ll somehow be able to take DH’s credit card over the phone.

Share your credit card (or cardless) experiences, grumpy nation!

*City may have been changed to protect identity.

Linkius Loveius

This week, one of us was sick and the other was busy.  Aren’t our lives fascinating???

This person is maliciously crazy in the head.

Lil Bub gives excellent advice.

Once again, Andrew Ti comes correct (esp. in naming Asshole of the Month)

I kind of want a new Visa (don’t love my current card)

This is fascinating.

Matt Damon: Jerk.

A handy chart for comparing babies.

Help renowned author Cat Valente design an award.

Working at a big corporation.

A day in the life of a dad working at Google.

If anybody wants to crowdsource a fund to send this to me in shades of dark purple and maybe some teal… drool…

Reminder:  Shoot us an email at grumpyrumblings at gmail if you want to do a guest post the first two weeks of October.

pretty doggie:

Ask the grumpies: Bucket list for the kids

First Gen American asks:

What is on your must have bucket list for your kids to do/experience before they are grown?

See the Redwood Forests!!!!  Also I think Yosemite.

Learn to swim.  Learn to play an instrument.  Learn to read (for DC2).  Calculus.  They have already watched The Princess Bride, so we’re good there.

Everything else we’ll play by ear.

Grumpy nation, did your parents have a bucket list for you?  Grumpy parents, do you have bucket lists for your kids? 


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