Ask the grumpies: Where to find hope

Leah asks:

How do you find hope in the world? In general, I suppose, and also specifically right now.

I am finding hope in the state of Texas, of all places.  Beto didn’t win, but his coattails caused enough of a change in the state legislature that the bathroom bill didn’t get discussed much less voted on (last legislature it almost passed), they didn’t vote on a draconian heartbeat bill punishing women unlike the rest of the south and much of the Midwest, and although an anti-voter bill (SB9) passed the senate it died in calendars in the house.  Activism– all those people campaigning for Beto– caused change.  That gives me hope that the more we do, the more we fight evil, the more terrible policies we will keep from happening.  In places that are already limiting the right to vote, those of us with privilege need to fight with and for those without.

I also find hope in how (relatively) quickly the perception of LGBTQ people is changing for the better, and how there are more and more LGBT rights are being legislated, and are being discussed as obvious.  Matt Baume is a source of joy and inspiration.  What he reports on is not always happy (see:  military bans), but he does a great job of providing historical context and hope for the future… along with a nice dose of humor.  (I am enjoying his book on the road to LGBTQ marriage, Defining Marriage.)

I find hope that the majority of people still believe that women should have the right do control their own bodies and that we should not treat minorities poorly because of the color of their skin of their ancestry.  (In fact, being “pro-life” aka forced birth right now is not something people want to admit in polite company.  They frown at us as we protest, but they don’t say anything.)  We still want to be good people.  We still want to do the right thing.  Even in the face of Bond villains.  And yes, in the short term it’s not been enough, but without the resistance things would have been far worse– they’ve tried to make things much worse and had to back-off.

I find hope and inspiration in Wandering Scientist’s weekly actions.  And in swingleft and indivisible and racies texas and the ACLU.  And the spirit of the resistance.  The ability to slog through even when things seem to be getting worse.

Doctors without borders recently sent me a totebag and a note that I should be finding hope in how much better the developing world is getting in terms of disease, which is true and is something that John Green finds hope in.  I still did not send them money because any nonprofit that wastes money sending me a totebag unasked for is not one I want to encourage. (John Green also finds hope in third tier English soccer, which… me not so much.)

So, although it is trite, I find hope in actions and in the actions of others.  Viva la resistance.  (*French —> Spanish intentional.)

Where do you find hope?

Advertisements

Ask the grumpies: what’s your computer setup like?

Leah asks:

Mouse or trackpad? Laptop or desktop?

#1:  Mouse, desktop.  I have a laptop but I mostly only use it for meetings that require I have computer access, which is pretty rare.  When I was on leave it was my main computer at work, but I had it hooked up to two big monitors.  I guess I do have a fancy mouse at home (Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3– not sponsored) to help combat RSI, though the only thing special about my work mouse is that it has a cord.  I carry a mouse with my laptop as well because it’s so much less of a hassle than the trackpad or nub.

#2:  laptop at home, desktop at work. Nothing fancy or special.

Ask the grumpies: How do you feel about poetry?

Leah asks:

How do you feel about poetry?

#1:  I am a big fan of doggerel.  Also patter.

#2:  I have no particular feelings about poetry. I’m not into it, myself…  I just… don’t really care about poetry.

#1:  Though you do know some of the more famous poems, at least enough to have written this lovely apology to Jenny Joseph .  And this link love of yours from 2014 was super impressive.  I have no doubt you will someday do your own take on This is Just to Say if you haven’t already.  Even though you’re not on twitter.

#2 says, YOU wrote all those things!!!

#1 I would have remembered writing when I am an old tenured woman.  I have never had any desire to dye my hair purple!  Or any color (other than getting highlights at the Vidal Sassoon school as a favor to a stranger in graduate school).

How do you feel about poetry, grumplings?

Ask the grumpies: Why Leah needs to get a will

Leah asks:

How essential is a will, and how do I get over the inertia and actually get one since I suspect it’s likely really important?

If you don’t have kids, a will probably isn’t that essential unless you’re wealthy and care what happens to your money after you’re gone.  You’ll be dead and may not care if your potential heirs end up giving all your money to lawyers trying to figure out who gets what.  If that’s the case, just let probate deal with stuff.  If you’re wealthy enough to be affected by the estate tax, dying without a will means that the government will probably end up with a greater share as well, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for people in that category.

If you have kids who are not yet adults, you need a will because you need to make it clear where your kids will go (and who will take care of their money) in the event that both parents die.  This alone is the reason we got wills.  If you have kids, providing for their future care is an important responsibility and should be done ASAP.  You don’t want them to end up in the foster care system even temporarily.  It’s also important to make sure that you have named the person who will be taking care of any assets you leave them, for example, the life insurance that you have also purchased because you have minor children.  We have named DH’s brother and his wife’s family as the first place our kids would go (with their permission), but my sister would be in charge of their inheritance.  Her values about paying for education and so on are more in line with ours and she would be better able to force DH’s brother and wife to take an annual stipend for their upkeep.

It is also useful to have advance directives about what happens if you are incapacitated, though depending on what state you live in, you can do this with your doctor or using an online form rather than with your lawyer.  This was part of the full package when we did our wills.  Here’s the info for MinnesotaMichigan allows you to file yours in a statewide registry, which is pretty cool.

How to get over the inertia?

Right now.  I mean, literally right now, contact a bunch of people in your area to ask them who they have used for a will.  Once you’ve got a name, MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.  Spring break is probably a good time to actually go in, but make that appointment now.

Now, they may send you a long form asking detailed minutia about your assets.  If your net worth is nowhere near the estate tax limit, do not let this form stop you from actually going in.  Let them know that you don’t need anything fancy because your wealth is lower than 2.7 million, the estate tax limit in Minnesota (or 11.4 million if you live in Michigan, since Michigan has no estate tax…), (actually, let them know it’s lower than 1 or 2 million if that is true), so that other stuff is irrelevant.  Then you might not need to fill out the form.

You, Leah, (and your DH) need a will because you have kids.  Having a will is the responsible thing to do.  It will be pricey (ours was ~$500, but that was a decade ago!  Though we get to update ours for free in perpetuity as part of that upfront cost), but it will be worth it for your kids if the worst possible thing happens.  It’s worth saving up for.  It’s worth taking out of your emergency fund.

Grumpeteers, how did you get your will done?  Anyone have success with online outfits like legalzoom?

Ask the grumpies: emojis vs. emoticons

Leah asks:

what is your stance on emoticons, and are there ones you favor? What about emojis? I prefer emoticons, for the record, but maybe it’s because I like to kick it old school.

#1:  Gchat used to have these super cool emoticons that would move and turn around after you made them.  So the less than 3 would rotate and fill into a pink heart.  The winky face would wink at you.  And so on. (Especially the secret hidden ones like the monkey and rock on and stuff.)  Those were the best.

#2: Emojis are silly and sometimes fun. I use them sometimes for ridiculousness. I prefer emoticons like you, as I am what you might call ancient school.

Ask the grumpies: how do you feel about facial hair

Leah asks:

What is your stance on facial hair? Are you ever sad that you can’t experiment with that? It seems both itchy and fascinating to me.

#1: … I actually could experiment with it if I wanted to.  PCOS allows me that possibility, so long as I’m ok with variations on the Fu Manchu.  I don’t find it itchy, but societal expectations being what they are, I am quite happy that this $450 home laser treatment thing has worked so well for the coarse dark beard hairs on my face.  So much less plucking and only occasional touch-ups.  It will be sad when my chin whiskers turn white and no longer respond to the laser.

In terms of my significant other, he either needs to be clean shaven or have facial fur that is long enough that it’s gotten soft.  The tiny knife stage is the WORST.

#2:  My feelings on facial hair are “generally against, but you do you.”

Ask the grumpies: Favorite piece of furniture and why

Leah asks:

What is your favorite piece of furniture and why?

#1 and #2 at the same time ready 1, 2, 3:  THE BED!

Here’s why: