RBOC

  • DH and I have decided that if we ever have someone ask for permission to marry a daughter, the answer will be no.  (Because nobody should be asking a parent permission for an adult to get married.)
  • One of my colleagues said she just wouldn’t vote if Bernie was the nominee.  I told her that not voting is half a vote for Trump.  She said she couldn’t bring herself to.  I said I would vote for road-kill over Trump.  Because there are children in concentration camps in our country and children’s lives are at stake.
  • One of my RAs got hir entire school account suspended because one of the datasets zie was working with was called sex_and_gender
  • One of our relatives just named her new son Pnykolass.  The P is silent.  [Actual name may have been changed to protect the innocent and to prevent googling!]
  • Remember how we got a whole house water filter?  It turns out that unfiltered water has chlorine in it and filtered water doesn’t.  Which means that that pink/orange bacterial slime that loves to eat soap has infiltrated the master bathroom.  We are debating the pros and cons of getting a bleach tablet for the toilet (which will corrode the toilet innards) or hiring a cleaning service just to do the kitchen and bathrooms (since I hate putting stuff away before a full clean).  Spending every weekend cleaning the bathroom sounds not fun to me, but I also am squicked out by pink slime.
  • update: a single intensive cleaning session with bleach is buying us time.
  • DC1 went to two different programming camps and got two Raspberry Pi.  I said zie didn’t have an r so zie didn’t have a circle, just two pi.  DC1 pointed out that Raspberry starts with an R.  DC2 chimed in that no, DC1 has two pi Remainder asberry.  I’m so proud!
  • Every time I see a headline or tweet for 90 day fiancé I get really excited until I realize (again) it doesn’t say finances.
  • The new countertop in the kitchen settled, taking the shiny new caulk down with it, so we had to recaulk.
  • When I was starting college halfway across the country, I was the only kid I met there whose parents didn’t go with them on move-in day.  I thought that was weird.  Plane fare was so expensive.  And why pay for crowded hotels?  (My parents did move-in my sister but she went to school in-state so it was just a lengthy drive.)  And yet… when it is our kids’ turn we will probably go because it won’t be a big chunk out of our budget and it is one of those milestones.  And I guess DC1 will be younger than I was, depending on what zie decides to do 4 years from now.
  • OMG, can you believe [bachelorette spoilers].  I sure hope she doesn’t [more spoilers] because I want him to be the next bachelor.  But they never pick the guy I want, so…
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RBOC

  • The price of cheetos in the vending machine went up.  My colleague counted over 60 individual cheetos in her bag (the claim on the bag was 42) and has decided she thinks they are worth three cents per cheeto.
  • Home Depot wanted us to get our water turned off on Friday so as to get the countertop installed the NEXT Friday, 7 days later.  Because they only do plumbing stuff on Fridays.  So we asked if we could get a refund on the plumbing install and pay our own plumber instead because I do not want to live without a dishwasher for seven days if that can be avoided.  Especially on less than a day’s notice when there’s a salmon dish in the refrigerator I have no interest in cleaning by hand in either the laundry room or the bathroom.
  • Turns out that the Home Depot person who said plumbing was only done on Fridays was incorrect.  We’re getting the water shut off on Thursday and turned back on on Saturday [update:  turned out to be very late on Saturday but they didn’t tell us they weren’t going to make the 9am to 2pm window so we were stuck at home all day, but by 8:30pm the plumber had finished].  Whew.
  • I don’t understand why it takes the car dealership so long to actually cash the check we give them.  You’d think they’d want to lock that $20K+ down ASAP.
  • I have to share this with somebody.  I was at the gas station making sure that my Accent’s tank could fill after the replacement EV and I was next to a young guy in a business suit with a new Insight, so I asked him how he liked it, and he told me that the dealership had given him a deal in which he pays his financing bills for 9 months on the LX model (that’s the low trim) Insight and in 9 months if all his payments were on time, etc., they would trade him for a new Touring model (that’s the leather trim with all the little things my car is missing like a built-in garage door opener and a place to put your glasses) for no additional cost.  He was super excited about this and I did not want to dampen his enthusiasm, but I had to wonder how much they’re charging him both for the cost of the car and financing that such a deal makes it worthwhile for them to give a new car in exchange for a used car (though I suspect it will be a 2019 Touring model, not a 2020, so maybe that will be part of it).  They did not suggest any such shenanigans to us.  I think they are very good at this dealership in reading the customer.  We want a quick sale at low price (usually a price that we provide them after bargaining with other dealerships) and that’s what they give us.  This gentleman wanted to feel like he was getting a steal, so they offered him something unusual.  I bet in the end they make more off of him.  But we don’t take much time and we get one of their cars off the lot and driving around town for more people to see it.  (I have to say, the Insight is a really nice looking car– similar to some of the higher trim Accords in terms of exterior features.)
  • … another problem with buying a fancy car is that repairs are a LOT more expensive than for a generic low-level car that isn’t a new model.  I am too embarrassed about how I know this to say more.  Especially not about right-side mirrors with cameras on them and garages that are just a little too narrow.  (DH says that at least my stupidity costs less than unnecessary rabies shots and is a lot less stressful.  I say that I don’t have the excuse that I was being heroic.  Also he didn’t use the word stupidity because he’s a nice person.)
  • Turns out water pressure is a bit high on our new drinking water spigot.  One can create a shower for someone in the breakfast nook by attempting to fill up a water glass.
  • Also the gas hookup is taking up a little bit too much space so we can no longer close one of our drawers– we will have to get that drawer shortened or a new one made.
  • I am starting to get hooked on SiriusXM — the ability to listen to classical music during my commute is pretty amazing (our local station does NPR in the morning and doesn’t switch over to classical until 10am and is back to news by 4).  But… probably not $15/month amazing, especially when I could pay a kid to rip all of our classical cds onto a flash drive or load up some podcasts now that I have a USB drive instead of a cassette player…  So I will let it lapse when the free trial runs out.

RBOC

  • Did I mention that one of my colleagues bought the house next to hers and uses it as a meeting space and office?
  • Near her houses there’s a street with a huge dip in it.  I took it at like 5 mph and still managed to scrape the bottom of my car, which turned out to be too much for my poor abused under cover which decided to finally separate from the car and drag on the road on my way home that day after a much smaller bump.  We ordered a new one along with the assembly package and put it in, $43.55, but it took a week to get the parts.
  • One of my other colleagues said that if I can’t decide what kind of car to get then maybe I should just go with the cheapest.  Which makes a lot of sense.  Another colleague impressed upon me the importance of safety ratings (her Prius got totaled last month).  And I’m really big on reliability these days.  So that leads me to the Honda Fit (slightly safer, slightly more expensive) vs. the Hyundai Accent (more reliable, worse mileage).  I may test-drive them!  Though while I’m there I might also try the Ioniq.  Update:  Tried to go to the Hyundai dealership to test-drive an accent and he JUST WANTED TO TALK, so we left when it became clear he wouldn’t let us test drive one without him doing his sales pitch and finding out about our lives first.  On the way home we stopped at the Honda place and quickly test-drove a Fit (from a very non-pushy salesperson which may be why we’ve bought two cars from this place), which… is not 14 years nicer than my current accent.  So I tried a low model Civic and liked it.  The Civic has better mileage than the Accent but is about 10 inches longer and has worse reliability.   The problem with DH having a Clarity is that I have discovered that I kind of like nice things.  So just being better than my 2005 Accent may not cut it.  Do I want to go with being spoiled or do I want to fight it?  ARGH.  I don’t know what to do!  And I hate pushy salespeople.
  • I think I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot.  I wish I trusted doctors around here more.  My GP is great for OB/GYN stuff but not so good at anything else (generally her answer to anything non-reproductive-system-related is: it will go away on its own and if it doesn’t then put lotion on it).
  • Now my car shuts off the pump right away instead of letting me pump gas.  I just barely got the new drip pad put back on!  Hadn’t even gotten gas since it happened.  That means that either something needs to be cleaned (for the cost of compressed air, which DH already has, but DH decided there were too many cables to try this on his own) or something needs to be replaced (which could cost as much as $600, though probably will be more like $300).   Part of me wants to just exchange it now, but one of my (not t-t) colleagues wants to buy it as a backup car for when his elderly truck is in the shop, which means it should be in working condition even if I give it to him super cheap (probably for $300….).  Deciding things is hard.
  • According to the hospital billing, they will send us a bill after DH’s health insurance sends them the remaining $2K for the second emergency room trip.  So the most that we could still be billed would be $2K.  So the costs for DH’s four rabies shots to us are:  $250 (first emergency room visit), $250 (second emergency room visit), $350 (first Walgreens shot), $350 (second Walgreens shot).  So… going to the emergency room for the third and fourth shots would have saved us $200, but cost his health insurance company quite a bit (I have no regrets– Walgreens seems so much more efficient).  Unless we get that bill for $2000, that means the total cost of his rabies shots is $1200 that has already been paid, so it won’t be dipping into my car fund.  (Still, I’m kind of used to the idea of getting a cheaper rather than more expensive car.)  DH’s elite coastal health insurance is so much better than my Southern university plan (with its 20% copay…).  It also has a better bargain with our hospital– they got the cost per ER visit down to 7K instead of 10K, which seems odd to me since you’d think my plan would have more bargaining power being the one everyone at the university has, but maybe the power goes both ways.  We’re thinking that when he called about whether or not they cover the rabies shot, the person on the phone must have looked at whether they cover the pre-travel rabies shot rather than the post-bite rabies shot?

RBOC

  • Another unexpected death this year… Werner Troesken passed away last September and I just found out. I feel like I was just talking to him about being interviewed by reporters about Flint.  (He’s an economic historian with an amazing book on the effects of lead solder in water pipes.  Other fantastic books about segregation etc. as well.)  People are dying too young.  I had never met Devah Pager or Alan Krueger (though I have read so many articles by both and had seen Krueger give talks), but Werner I knew and liked as a person.
  • It’s a little weird seeing old “faces” on the internet and remembering when everyone was saying, “NOooooo do not do that stupid thing with your money”… and then they did anyway, and now the thing that everyone said could happen did happen and the person is in bad shape because of it.  I think it’s more sad than schadenfreude, but also, do not do stupid things with your money.  And don’t be a jerk when you ask people for their advice and don’t like what they say.
  • DC2 fractured hir wrist in two places falling off the monkey bars.  :(
  • One of the things I hate about being a woman is how journal editors and occasionally referees will use any even marginally related previously done paper as evidence that the paper I’ve submitted is not novel.  Even if all it does is use a related novel technique looking at a completely different question.  Or uses the same dataset for a completely different literature.  When I’m refereeing guys papers that never ever gets said by the other referees (or me).  It’s like the initial assumption is let’s find any reason to reject, even a flimsy one.  It’s such a hard bar to pass.  Women’s papers have to be more than perfect.  I see this in refereeing all the time and it’s so unfair.  I hate it when it happens to me.  And big name guys can submit stuff that does the most minimal of lit reviews and provide no spec checks and somehow their stuff gets sent out and negative referee reports often get overruled.  It is just unfair.  And I’m not good enough to get over that hurdle.  I can’t get the line just right.  I put so many checks in footnotes.  And it takes me forever to do all the checks I need to put in in order to get the paper not rejected by an editor and to get the writing so it is concise but also contains enough material while also not having so much people overlook things (I have not managed this balance yet for all reviewers), and by the time I’ve done that, someone else has published something marginally related, and that’s enough of a reason not to accept what I’ve done.  So why did I bother in the first place?  And when the paper is finally accepted, there’s enough cut out to publish a second paper in another journal.  Though it has to be a lower quality journal because, of course, I already used that dataset or looked at a different subset or whatever.  FML.
  • our local library’s opening has been delayed until September.  Apparently the city counsel delayed ordering furniture and are now at the end of the furniture buying queue behind all the school districts.

RBOC

  • Can I say again how much I hate it when people mess with kerning on grant applications?
  • My (recently retired) FIL called DH to tell him to be sure to put money in IRA Roths.  DH told him we’ve got that covered.
  • DH helped break up a dog fight that happened across the street from our house (intact pitbull being walked by a ~10 year old girl slipped its halter going after a Labrador) and got bitten.  :(  He had to get a tetanus booster and 3 days worth of topical antibiotics. The dog was super friendly to humans, but accidentally got DH’s finger as DH was trying to help the laborador’s owner separate them.  The woman who owns the Labrador stopped by our house to say her dog had to undergo ear surgery and that the pitbull’s owner (the grandfather in this scenario) was a total jerk and wanted to know if we’d seen how the fight had started, which we hadn’t.
  • My January conference reimbursement for doing job interviews for a position in our department was audited because I bought $21 of folding chairs and left them there instead of flying them back to the university.  (The chairs were because the hotel ran out and we didn’t want the job candidate sitting on a bed with the interviewers(!))  Fortunately I didn’t believe the hotel when they said that getting extra chairs wouldn’t be a problem (hence neither reservation nor wait list) and got advance permission from both the department head and the dean in case of emergency.
  • We got a big tax refund this year, even after paying next year’s estimated taxes, not unexpected given we had a $7,500 credit from buying the Honda Clarity last year.  In terms of how the Republican tax bill affected us:  we’re paying slightly less tax but not a huge difference.  This is mainly because we live in a Red State with low state income etc. taxes (high property taxes, but low property values) and we’ve finished paying our mortgage so we weren’t getting big federal deductions anyway (some of the self-employment tax changes also helped, I think, and we weren’t deducting business expenses which would have hurt).  People in blue states with high income taxes and high property values are going to be hurt much more.  We didn’t bother adding up our charitable donations this year for the first time because there was no way we were going to hit the limit, so I guess it was a bit less paperwork.
  • Strongly considering using a slightly different specification in this graph because it currently looks like a condom.
  • My car is gradually succumbing to plastic fatigue.  Another door handle broke this week, this time the part that you open from the inside rather than the part from the outside.  $45 to replace ($35 part plus $10 s/h), and easier to replace than the other part (in that it doesn’t require as much strength to unscrew all the necessary bolts).  I really should just get a new car.  Maybe this summer.  I will miss it.
  • My mom is retiring!  At age 72 it will cost her retirement money to keep working based on how her public pension is structured.  (They don’t structure them like that much anymore.)  They’re planning on staying put for a while.  Part of me is surprised because they are West-Coasters at heart, not midwesterners (despite having lived there, as my mother has pointed out, for 34 years).  Part of me is not surprised because their inertia is very strong and anything that takes planning can take a decade to actually happen if they’re not given an external deadline.  My mom hopes to devote her time to politics and research, which are both good things.
  • In case you’re wondering what’s happening with the kitchen renovation… we’ve paid for most of it so far (months ago), our dining room is full of appliances in boxes, and we are stuck on the step in which someone removes our ice maker and replaces it with cabinets.  Home Depot is like, we can do drawers there but we can’t do cabinets that look like your current cabinets.  The place the cabinets came from is like, yeah, we don’t make those anymore but you can get them custom-copied from this other local business.  But the other local business is only open M-F, 9-5 and has been playing a lot of phone tag with DH.  And so we wait…
  • My BIL is getting a full back and shoulders tattoo.  It’s a reminder of the generation gap between X and millennial about how normal that is for someone just a little bit younger than us and how unusual for us.  (How daring and hidden most Gen X tattoos are/were.  How expressive they are for younger folks.  I don’t think I know a single millennial other than my sister who doesn’t have at least an ankle tattoo.)

RBOC

  • Nice Kitty suddenly decided zie is a lap kitty.
  • Before Christmas, my windshield wiper fluid started leaking and the tank and lines had to be replaced.  $150
  • After Christmas, my car battery died and we had to replace it.  $150 (DH and DC1 did the replacement themselves, saving on repair costs and time without car).
  • DC2 read Charlotte’s Web for the first time and cried and cried and cried.  But zie was excited to meet Charlotte’s daughters.  Does anybody not have that reaction when reading CW for the first time?  DH and I both did the same so many decades ago.
  • DC2’s school is doing Scholastic again this year.  We just got the second flyer and I dropped $300+.  Some of that was for DC1!  But we are rapidly expanding our selection of books en espanol.
  • We’d planned to get DC1 a bike for hir birthday because zie is too big for hir current bike.  But… turns out zie is still too small for the next size up and we didn’t want to just buy a bike without trying it out first.  So we had to have a family conference about what to get hir instead after the fact.  Zie picked a bunch of Pokemon manga.
  • I continue to be worn out from work.  I definitely do not want to be promoted to full any time soon because it is already just too much service.  Not for a 10% raise anyway.  Now, if it were a 40K raise, then I might decide it was worth it.
  • I was looking at our electric bill going, man, we’re using a lot more electricity than we did this time last year. What has changed? Then I remembered we bought an electric car
  • neither of my kids knows what a tater tot is.  I feel oddly uncomfortable about them not having this piece of cultural knowledge… but not enough to buy tater tots.
  • Got asked to be an associate editor for a third tier journal… one I wouldn’t ever publish in myself, while not being embarrassing, per se.  But it’s like 1/12 of the work I had as an associate editor on a top journal (although finding people willing to review will be much harder)… so should I just say yes?  Or do I just say no?  [update:  I said yes.]
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RBOC

  • One of DC2’s extracurricular activities got bought by a creepy 20-something mega-Christian.  We didn’t find out until one of their events in which the new owner started by talking about how Jesus was more important than [extracurricular activity] and how they incorporate Jesus in every class and then we were asked to pray.  We asked DC2 and zie confirmed that zie had been asked to pray in class.  The place’s website has also been modernized since we signed DC2 up and talks about Jesus on a little text thing that comes and goes.  I was already pretty pissed off at this place because of the unannounced mommy participation day.  And it was fairly obvious from the older kids’ that this studio really isn’t focused on [extra-curricular activity] at all– I have been to so many of these events in my life and this one was easily the worst.  As soon as we got back home from said event we withdrew DC2 and looked for a studio that focuses on [extracurricular activity].  I really hate stealth proselytizing.  (I am also not a fan of [extracurricular activity] but DC2 is, so what can you do?)
  • The kids’ piano teacher also starts recitals with some musings about Christian religion, particularly the Christmas recital, but for some reason that doesn’t bother us as much.  It could be that since she was DC1’s music teacher when zie was at a religious school we were forewarned, but we think it’s more that she makes it clear that she’s talking about her personal faith and she doesn’t make everybody pray.  (The quote on the program this time was Isiah, “The people who walk in darkness shall see a great light,” and she talked about how every morning there is a sunrise and it seems like we’re living in dark times, but there will be light again, and the Christmas season reminds us of that… which I dunno, seems pretty accurate and not something that the person in the previous bullet is even aware of.) It is a Christmas recital, but non-Christians also play non-Christmas music (both of the holiday and non-holiday varieties).  So it seems more inclusive.
  • Some academic self-proclaimed feminists sound really transphobic on their twitter accounts these days.  I strongly suspect that this “problem” they talk about of people forcing kids to change their gender is not really a thing, but acting like it is probably does actual harm.  I don’t see how the existence of trans women who are attracted to women hurts other lesbians in any way. (And definitely not in any way that wouldn’t disappear if the patriarchy were dismantled!) These “feminists” seem to think that being trans is an act or a lie or something that people are tricking other people into doing. I will admit that I do not “get” gender identity at all– with respect to me, I only see gender as a way that the rest of the world categorizes and interacts with me, not the way I see myself (except as is reflected by the rest of the world). It is really easy for me to take the path of least resistance. Sure I’d rather be a guy just because the patriarchy means that guys have it easier, but being a trans guy, and being a trans guy who is attracted to my husband, that seems really hard. But I also understand that many people do have strong gender identities, and that gender identity doesn’t always match up with the sex they were assigned at birth and those people don’t need people like [insert “feminist” tweeter here] telling them that they’re being duped by society and hurting other LGB people… as if someone can be convinced by society to become trans in this culture. Really? Trans people are real people who are fully dimensional and have life stories and opinions and thoughts and histories and feelings just like everybody else. Excluding them, telling them they’re wrong… that is not what feminism should be about. That’s a pretty piss-poor feminism.
  • Speaking of the above bullet– I think it is easier to imagine people complexly (to paraphrase John Green) if you know a lot of different people and read/watch a lot of media in which people tell their stories and fictional people are drawn complexly.  Deirdre McCloskey was the first trans person that I ever really listened to on the topic (there were some trans folks at my high school, but they weren’t really in my social circle, though they may have been in #2’s)– I’d spent two semesters reading and loving her work published under the Donald name (economic history) and had heard stories about how horribly she’d been treated by her family from other professors whose own advisors had been involved in the march to get her out of the mental institution her relatives had committed her to (in IL you only needed 2 people to commit you!).  Then she gave a talk about being a woman in economics, “notes from a novice” and answered any and all questions we had (my question was, “should we cite your pre-transition work as Donald or Deirdre?”– she said Deirdre and that she hoped to get it all changed).  Deirdre McCloskey is a trans lesbian and a truly wonderful person.  Well loved and known to be a fantastic mentor.  She’s not harming anybody.  I also love the contrast of Claire in Questionable Content compared to Carla on Dumbing of Age.  (Claire is neurotic and wonderful and so much with the terrible puns, while Carla is kind of a jerk, but a jerk who generally does the right thing.  Completely different people.)  The trans students I’ve had in class have been, to my knowledge, trans men or trans gender neutral.  I don’t know much about their lives other than the standard student stuff because they’re also just people trying to learn statistics and economics like everybody else.  But they’re the reason I’ve spent so much time on the phone with legislative aides pleading and arguing about various bathroom bills over the past several years.  Bathroom bills are a genuine threat to people’s lives.  Not this fake garbage that creates some kind of LGBTQ hierarchy.  That’s BS.
  • Ok, maybe I do know a little bit more about my students than their statistics knowledge:  I recently learned a valuable lesson from one: never impulse buy flying squirrels on a road trip in an overcrowded car, even if they’re for sale at an open market you stop at.  One of my colleagues and I agree that they should sell the story to National Lampoon as a Christmas family road trip.
  • You can create new regency romance titles by switching out “Squirrel” with “Earl” in Squirrel Girl volume titles.  “Earl, You Really Got Me Now”
  • … thank you, Mint, I guess, for sending me an email the other week telling me I’d lost $30K in the previous week’s stock market crash.  I’m not sure how to feel about that.  Good, I guess?  I mean, that’s a lot of money.  (I didn’t check to see if that was actually accurate– sometimes Mint double counts one or more of my retirement accounts.)
  • I’m seeing a lot of New Years posts with people talking about how they’re going to ignore the news in 2019.  I hope that you all don’t do that– I know I’ve been feeling a lot of political fatigue especially since the last election, but we can’t give up now.  I don’t have time right now to do a super long pep-talk, but we have to keep pushing forward with activism.  We have to keep fighting.  Children’s lives are at stake… the environment, women’s rights, minority rights… so many things.  Rest and relax, but don’t stop moving forward.