RBOC

  • PSA:  If you need to save space on your grant proposal, do not, I repeat, DO NOT mess around with the spacing between letters to buy yourself more space.  Cut things, play with your margins, get rid of adjectives, whatever, but playing with the spaces between letters just makes life difficult for your reviewers.  Leave Kerning Alone!
  • We hadn’t been shopping in the city for something like 3 months.  When we finally went, we spent almost $300 at TJ’s (DH says this is a new record) and $175 at WF.  And also we bought loose tea at the tea shop and ice cream at the ice cream place and poke (yay!) at one of the new poke bars and a lasagna at the fresh noodle place and… Our freezer is now full and our pantry is over-stocked.  Since we also have the CSA (which also provides eggs and a pound of ground beef each week) going right now I told DH we weren’t allowed to go grocery shopping except to get milk for a few weeks.
  • I really like the teapot DH got me for my birthday.
  • It’s a little depressing looking at stats for random posts and seeing that some quite excellent posts haven’t had a single view in aeons.  Do they get lonely?  Do they feel unloved?  Back when we had less of an archive, occasionally we’d have people read all the posts, but I think there’s too much now.  Which is a shame because there’s some really good stuff in there.
  • I found out that the Davis, California Whole Foods recently went out of business.  If a hippie university town near SF can’t support a WF, what hope does our nowhere have of getting one?
  • It’s creepy seeing that a college ex-boyfriend has checked out your LinkedIn profile.  (He’s a product manager at Google in case you’re wondering, so I can’t imagine that he’s got any professional reason to look.  Plus apparently we only have one connection so it’s unlikely he accidentally landed on my page.)  I probably wouldn’t have minded if this guy hadn’t turned out to be a jerk, but this is not a guy I think fondly of if I think of him at all.  (Whereas I was super happy for my sweet first boyfriend when I heard through the grapevine that he’d gotten married and later he’d had kids.  I think I’m happy leaving him with that Happily Ever After.)
  • I suspect that at this point in the season I am about 70% zucchini bread by weight.
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RBOC

  • I think I’m going through premature ovarian failure.  I had stopped showing symptoms for a while so my doctor wasn’t all that concerned at my annual check-up other than doing the usual thyroid check and a (less usual) prolactin check to rule out other stuff, but symptoms have returned.  I do not like them.
  • It’s more than a little depressing that when I ask my colleagues “Where would you move?” each one of them has an immediate answer because they’ve thought hard about which countries to go to if they had to flee.  We’re kind of in a bad situation for that given that the countries that do DH’s thing aren’t necessarily the best for me (especially since I am hopeless at German– Ich sprecke nicht!), but in an emergency, if we were able to get our savings out of the country, I think we’d be able to retire without working to Spain, which I think I could handle.  I don’t want to be an ex-pat though– I am too patriotic.  I want to save my country instead.
  • DH found my faculty ID when he was sorting stuff for taxes.  Putting off getting a replacement for >6 months for the win!
  • I want to buy a t-shirt that says, “Dismal Scientist” but I may have to make one.
  • We bought silverware at a discount kitchen place when we were grad students.  After having my spoon bend again while eating ice cream, I decided that maybe it’s time to get a grown-up set of flatware.  After reading a lot of reviews, I determined that silverware sets have gone down in price quite a bit since we last shopped for them, but mainly because they’re really bad quality.  Lots of complaints about rusting and not being dishwasher safe for things that are supposed to be made of the highest quality material.  Pieces in the same sets aren’t standardized.  Production is mainly in Vietnam, Indonesia, and China, which wouldn’t be a problem except that there’s no quality control on the finished products, even from name-brands like Oneida and Lenox.  So we’re trying out the one remaining US manufacturer which is more expensive but seems to be getting pretty rave reviews.  You can get a set of 3 factory-seconds to try out different patterns for $8 (including shipping and handling), so that’s what we’re doing.  I’ll write a full post if it works out.  (Lots of the online reviews about it are in exchange for a free place setting, ours won’t be– they don’t know we exist.)
  • DH didn’t get an oxford comma joke that I showed him.  I had to explain what the Oxford comma was.  He still didn’t get it.  Readers, it was the first time I have ever questioned our marriage.  But then he said he always puts the comma there in a list so I said we could stay together.  Whew.
  • DC1 is better at piano now than I ever was.
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RBO answering First Gen American’s questions about #1’s finances post-mortgage

The next near term unmet savings goal seems to be DC1 and Dc2 college fund. More posts on that would be interesting to me as I also have one about the same age. Although I am about a year behind you on payoff, that is my next savings goal.

We decided to up it to $750/mo/kid, basically splitting the difference between what we’d need for a super pricey school and what we were contributing already.  That also means that is eating $500/mo of the not-paying-the-mortgage-savings we were seeing.

I guess you can also ponder some more about when to get that next car

This is a constant pondering thing.  It was in the shop again for a week because it started doing the squealing thing that it had been doing two years ago, and even though it is a cheap fix (tighten things), it takes them forever to figure it out.  Partly because it only squeals when the engine is cold and it’s cold outside.  Only $70 for that + replacing the windshield wipers (because why not), but also there was a week of us having to deal with only having one car (indeed, they didn’t completely fix the squeal because DH had to drive to the city for a meeting and needed me to have the car to do dropoff).  And since they’ve tightened everything the shocks aren’t being as nice and shock absorbent as they usually are which means my ride is more bumpy.  But each time my car needs fixing, we don’t know if it’s going to be the last repair for a while or not.  If it is, then we’re happy, but if the car has to go in again, it’s a pain.  So I don’t know.  We’re still pondering.  Eventually there will be enough excess in savings that we won’t have to rebuild the emergency fund after buying a Prius or something similar.  (We’re not there yet.)  The other car seems fine for now, and the insurance company of the at-fault driver took care of our costs and our insurance company’s costs.

Do general posts on spending budgets (not the day to day expenses, But those emergency ones). I remember feeling a little overwhelmed when my TV, washer and water heater broke within months of each other, until I realized they were all old and due to be replaced… A lot does get fixed when you have a big emergency fund. You don’t really need to keep such close track of everything.

Yeah, we just have a big emergency fund that could cover a washer and water heater and heck, even a new roof (though maybe not solar panels to go on said roof, which we might do after getting a new roof).  We have two water heaters and I guess they’ll be due to be replaced in a few years– can’t remember if we got the 15 year or the 20 year kind.  (And actually, a few months after we moved into this house, shortly after we finally purchased a washer and dryer, the water heaters needed to be replaced, and our dishwasher broke and we ran through a series of broken microwaves… fortunately we’d had paychecks for a few months at that point.  But it did put off our ability to buy furniture.)

Maybe some posts on where you’d move in retirement. I guess if you earn a lot but don’t have a lot of house, a no state income tax place may be a good place to live. I think I generally prefer paying state income tax as there are limits to what low income folks are required to pay. Paying crazy property taxes with a fixed income in retirement is no fun.

We hope to maximize friends and fun things to do in retirement, so we’ll probably be moving to a high tax state!  Most people will retire in place or move closer to family.  But it is a good idea for some folks to think through the tax and cost of living implications of different geographical areas once they’re no longer tied to a job.

RBOC

  • Someday I will figure out the light switches in the house I’ve been living in for 10 years.
  • the best thing about dc1’s after school care at this public school is that they provide extra time on early dismissal days so we can pick hir up after a full days work.
  • hibiscus mint is my new favorite tea
  • I ate moose.  I like elk better, but it’s still pretty good.  I like elk better than venison and venison better than beef, but beef better than moose.
  • Over Christmas, the next oldest cousin (~2 years younger than DC1) was literally bouncing off of walls, so I started quizzing hir on hir multiplication tables.  It worked to calm hir down just like it does with my kids.  Hir father looked at me a little oddly though.  :/
  • Dear conference organizer, if you want me to pay attention to specific parts of your email and get back to you in a short time frame, WRITE SHORTER EMAILS.  I don’t actually have to do anything until the end of next month so I’m not going to read your multi-page email now.  If you have responses that you need before then, you need to put them and their deadlines at the top of the email in an itemized list, and, if there is information in your lengthy screed that I need to get you those responses, either tell me where to find it or repost it.
  • DC2 was getting hives on hir face at night and sometimes in the morning.  We think we’ve narrowed it down to hir toothpaste (it’s either that or the water or the towel she had been using).  We’ve switched from toothpastes with red dye to those without (and rewashed all the clean hand towels, just in case) and it seems to have gone away which suggests it’s not the water.  Zie was also a bit hyperactive and defiant the weekend that was the worst rash-wise, so I’m kind of wondering if zie has that red dye allergy that people talk about on mommy forums.  (Hives also happened in conjunction with hir deciding zie only wanted bubble-gum flavored toothpaste, not mint.  Now we’re using Tom’s of Maine strawberry and it seems to be ok though DC2 is upset that it is strawberry and not mango.)
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Thoughts on the children’s Xmas haul this year

  • Our brothers and sisters in law spent less on our kids this year than in previous years.  This is a good thing.  Maybe next year we’ll also spend less on them (we spent about $50/kid, mostly on books), but probably not because I love picking out and buying books.
  • We spent Christmas at the in-laws’ this year, which means we opened presents there.  MIL is going to end up spending a ton to send the presents home.  I don’t really know of any way to suggest just letting amazon send the bigger stuff directly to us so she doesn’t have to do that.  But also she probably likes watching everybody open gifts.  And presumably she doesn’t want cousins to feel like they’re being treated differently.  But there are so many gifts that I’m not sure anybody notices.
  • DC1 got a Nintendo DS.  And since DH had mentioned earlier that it was probably too expensive for hir to take to school given the number of times DC1 has lost hir cheap flip-phone (that thankfully nobody wants to steal, so it has been recovered each time thus far), DC1 also got a Kindle Fire.
  • The problem of DC2 getting the same gifts as hir slightly older same-gendered cousin is getting worse.  And we couldn’t just confiscate those gifts either (for the most part) because DC2 saw them at Christmas and MIL is planning on taking them out of the packaging before sending.  Putting on the wish list what DC2 was into in general terms didn’t help much.  Zie got some stuff related to that, but still got lots of stuff zie isn’t interested in that hir cousin likes.  Nor did it help to say explicitly on the amazon list that DC2 wants what DC1 gets (though my mom paid attention to that and got both of them rubix cubes!)  One of the items was so bad that I actually did take it to MIL and tell her we couldn’t accept it– it had crossed a line (I didn’t say it like that though, it was more like could you give this to hir cousin, we don’t really approve of this show).  I know it’s easier to keep things even across grandkids if she’s getting the same stuff for them, but maybe she could match hir up with the opposite-gendered kid who is about the same age instead of the older same-gendered kid?
  • So we’re still struggling with what to do about our in-laws bounty, particularly for DC2.  They still get DC1 really cool stuff even if they’re over-generous (mostly things that hir somewhat younger cousin already owns and loves).  They did get some of the things off the amazon list for the children, but in the end my mom ended up buying most of it just before Christmas.  And that stuff, along with the stuff we got hir, has gotten a lot more playtime out of it.  DC2 just really isn’t into the same things hir same-gender older cousin is into.
  • One thing that did happen that I’m embarrassed about… I was talking to BIL about presents, I can’t remember what about exactly, as we were going up the stairs, but I mentioned that DC2 seemed to get the same stuff as his kid, and he said, “that’s good because they like the same stuff” and I was all, “well, not really, DC2 is really into what DC1 is into.”  At which point we turned the corner and saw my MIL.  So, uh, maybe this will resolve itself?
  • Why can’t the cousin be as into Bubble Guppies (and other gender-neutral stuff) as DC2 is?
  • Sometimes getting the same gendered stuff for both cousins works… DH’s sister got them both a gendered-craft kit that they both loved and spent many hours working on.
  • DC1 may have gotten all the cousins addicted to Batman.

It’s been a bad week/month/year and some RBOC

Posting continues to be scattered and sparse.  On top of #2’s recent loss of her father-in-law, and red tape kinds of problems resulting from that for her mother-in-law (adding insult to injury), and everything else that is going on in the world, her cat is having some pretty major health problems.  He started out with some health problems when she got him last year, but they seem to be getting worse and more varied.  She’s having a rough time of it so the posts she was planning on books and on reviewing a vegetarian service that is like Blue Apron (called Purple Carrot– she likes it) are just going to have to wait until her world is no longer a dumpster fire.

My life right now is:

  • I’m way behind on research, like months behind.  Re-entry from leave has been harsh.  I am far too scattered and need to get back into a rhythm.  So far I have been trying to add structure and then completely ignoring it once push comes to shove.  This is also how I’ve been reacting to money things.  It’s like, most of my life I’ve been running scared and when there’s no reason to worry anymore I just give up because nothing is a big deal.  But I really don’t have that luxury even if it seems like it because DH could lose his job or I could have to leave this one, and I do care about my research reputation and my salary, and I would far rather argue for salary increases because of my scholarly reputation than because I’ve decided to go into administration.
  • My mind has been in political action.  I bumped the post I had scheduled for today on campus hate activities because it was too depressing on top of everything else #2 is going through.
  • I am at the point in the semester where a lot of my students are really getting it and realizing they’re getting it and that is lovely.
  • I’m doing an elective next semester that is going to be more difficult than usual because of current events.  Generally we hit Medicare in April.  By April Medicare may no longer exist as it does in my lecture notes.  I don’t like having uncertainty in my lecture notes.  I also have well over 2x the students that I normally have in that class, so I’m going to have to restructure teaching methods from a small seminar to a larger class.
  • On the day after the election, I took the ebook server from paradise that I still have access too, searched for “regency”, then sorted the 777 items therein by author’s last name.  I have been systematically reading all of them that have 4 or more stars on either goodreads or amazon (with a few exceptions for close to 4 but the synopsis looks interesting, or not reading those that are 4 that have rape or another one of the things that life is too short to read about).  The Bs and Cs had some really good stuff that I’ll be talking about in our next what are we reading post, but there have been a lot of duds since then.  I’m on the Ks now.  This was really helpful for getting me to get out of post-election depression and more focused on what I can do.
  • DH went to a local dems meeting (that from meetup didn’t look like the monthly meeting and had only 4 people signed up).  There were >30 people there and it was pretty disorganized, but not disorganized enough for him to try to take over, and not organized enough that it looks like it’s going to be easy to be a part of it.  The person in charge is someone who talks a lot and goes on lots of tangents and doesn’t stick to the agenda but kind of meanders around the agenda.  But at least there was an agenda.  DH left with no action items and had to look up some of the terms she’d used.  He has no interest in being a precinct leader.  We’re not sure what to do.  There’s people who want to do things and can be harnessed for power, but they have no direction, unless they want to do this time-consuming thing that is geared towards extroverts.  My sister reports similar levels of disorganization with the official democratic organization in her city.  The woman’s organization she joined, however, sounds just phenomenal.  Focused, brought in outside speakers about strategy, etc.  I will probably take my sister’s suggestion and call them to ask for advice.
  • I do think right now that political action is worth slowing my research down for.  But I can’t slow it as much as it has been.  That probably means cutting the regencies, not posting regularly on Tuesdays, and being more focused on work when I’m at work (even though some of our new hires are chatty).  Possibly also adding half a day or more of work back into weekends.

How are you all doing?

RBOC

  • DH and the kids have been making up fake tag-lines to Darkwing duck.  “I am the sludge at the bottom of your hot chocolate.” “I’m the one who is stuck to your hair when you can’t comb it”
  • All this calling I’ve been doing of my representatives has made me a lot less phone shy.  I had no problem calling my mom’s local bookstore to get her a gift certificate there (they don’t have online ordering).
  • The appropriate response at work when someone way down the hall from you and on the other side politely asks you to turn down your music is, “Sorry” and to turn it down.  It isn’t, “Seriously?” and “Where is your office?” and then to just turn it down a tiny bit so that the person still has to close hir door AND put on headphones to not hear your crappy ass music.  (Although before the combination wasn’t working.)  Nobody wants to hear your music!  This is why God made headphones.  Or you could close your own fricking door.
  • dear middle school, please stop with the random spirit days that happen about once every one and a half weeks that require dc1 to dress in different types of clothing (specific sports jerseys or hats, random colors, etc.) that zie often doesn’t have and that we are not going to remember even if zie did have them.  It was hard enough remembering spirit Fridays for things most kids have (like the school shirt, or a funny hair style) last year.  This random day element is just too much.  We have jobs.  Dc1 has homework.  Why are you doing this and why are you attaching it to a group prize so that kids who don’t or can’t participate are shamed?
  • I do not like mosquitoes.
  • dc1’s orchestra class requires hir to download an app and record a practice session.  They also required the purchase of a specific $20 t-shirt for performances.  I have to wonder if they have anything for kids who don’t have a tablet or smartphone at home or who can’t afford a $20 shirt.  And do those kids have to go up to the teachers and admit the lack of resources or does the school take kids who qualify for reduced price lunch aside?  For science class they asked for donations for students who couldn’t afford an $8 piece of equipment but nothing like that in orchestra where the demands are more expensive.  Last year in paradise things were provided to all students from the school, but a lot was paid for with $500 donations requested at the beginning of the year (half for extracurriculars, half for everything else).  No large donation requested here.
  • speaking of donations, there are so many junky school fundraisers here.  I so much prefer just cutting a check.
  • Dc2 goes to a for profit daycare but they want to expand so they’re asking us to do fundraising (they’ve also started asking us to bring in items for projects instead of providing them and they are now enforcing late fees).  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  If it were nonprofit I would happily donate, but with a for-profit I’m not so sure.
  • I bought Wonderwoman stamps.  They make me happy.  Wonder Woman!  Wonder Woman!

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