Marriage In The Real World

by Moxiemom

The Wedding Toast I’ll Never Give

Saw this in this week’s Modern Love column and felt like it really spoke to my 19 years of marriage and would be good required reading for all people considering marriage. I also found the positivity of the comments section to be a big surprise. How about you, do you think this is a realistic portrayal? Do you wish someone had told you something like this before you got married? Unmarried toters – does this make marriage more or less appealing? Discuss.

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207 thoughts on “Marriage In The Real World

  1. “Do you wish someone had told you something like this before you got married?”

    No and I wouldn’t tell any new bride or groom this either. That excitement of starting your lives together is priceless.

  2. Me either.

    On the other hand, it is probably good to tell all the starry-eyed newlyweds that disenchantment does not mean you need to run out to see the divorce lawyer, in the same way that not liking your first boss does not mean that you should never work in corporate America again :) But most newlyweds I know are old enough to realize that….

    Re: the Frugalwoods from yesterday, we have friends who have saved like that. They paid off a few hundred thousand in student loans and put about half a million aside in 5 years. It was going very well until the children arrived, and the resulting change in the wife’s career path and the cost of child care meant that there was very little saving for a few years. They have no plans to move to a rural idyll, though.

  3. Sky – we have friends like that too. They’ve been living off her husband’s teacher’s income and saving her attorney income for years (although he does come from significant wealth and used a good chunk of family money to pay off her student loans). They just had their first kid and bought a new house. They put $350K down in order to have a conventional loan (although I’m still not clear as to why, as the rates for jumbo were the same).

    OT – I’ve been married a little longer than the author and although I will cop to getting far more annoyed with DH (and he with me) than we probably did the first few years, neither of us feels like marriage has been hard thus far. We still like to hang out with each other.

  4. I am feeling a bit of a mid life crisis coming on, sometimes at least. It’s a combination of feeling really old and really ordinary, which is, of course, ordinary, I’m just in disbelief that it happened to me. One night it gave me the worst insomnia–I was watching HGTV re-runs until 3am.

    So there’s something of a reality check there, but my marriage has never felt like that sort of let-down.

  5. “the resulting change in the wife’s career path and the cost of child care meant that there was very little saving for a few years”

    But, obviously, the effects of the debt that they did pay off, and the money that they had set aside, were still compounding in the background.

  6. I liked this essay. I would never tell newlyweds about reality because they would never believe you.

    Among our peers, we are the old married couple. We have had our fair share of problems requiring marriage counseling and soul searching. At the end of the day we came back to each other. We’ve watched friends divorce, fight like cats and dogs (not bickering downright fights), and we’ve still been together. Sometimes I wonder what we are doing that’s different- why are we together and others aren’t?

    I think the answer is that we have 2 halves of a whole. We compliment each other well. Plus we “grew up” together. We know each other and that enables us to cut each other slack when life sucks. Or celebrate the little things and find the silver lining.

  7. we’ve been married 11 years. operate a business together, have a child with high needs and throw in some medical issues… marriage is damn hard

  8. I read the essay and I enjoyed it, but my marriage is different. We were older when we met and got married. It’s very different to meet your partner in mid 30s vs. College or 20s. We do argue right now, but it is related to our renovation. I know there are stats about home renovations and the impact on relationships.

    I can’t wait to have our old life back.

  9. I don’t really like this column. Why would you want to rain on people’s parades on their wedding day, of all days? Also, the idea of getting super mad at your spouse just does not compute for me.

  10. I didn’t see this as a “rain on your parade” at all. It is an amazingly positive, hopeful look at marriage. The husband screwed up plane tickets, costing them a lot of money, and then managed to sleep through the flight, probably costing them more (it wasn’t clear at the end). And she didn’t kill him. She was happy they were coming.
    The way this would have played on in reality is that the kid would be crying, the mom would be screaming because itis probably the 150th time the husband has slept through something important, and the husband would decide it wasn’t worth the cost and phone-hold agony to fix it. So they wouldn’t have come. The mom would be alone, pissed and lonely. The kid would be furious. And the dad would be pissy for days because he knew everyone was blaming him, and why did his wife have to yell anyway? That is real life marriage. The successful marriages are the ones in which people manage to come back from several days of being pissed and disappointed in each other.

  11. I liked the article a lot. Not something I would say to a couple on their wedding day, but certainly something I would want my kids to think about before getting married, even if they don’t really believe it. My husband is awesome, but I do get mad at him sometimes and I have a bit of wanderlust, so while my marriage is solid (I think), I can see the appeal of being single with only myself to worry about.

  12. Rhett – it’s been a few years, but the pay is good, and, more significantly, the benefits and flexibility are what allow DW and me to manage things together. If I took on something with more travel, which I could do, it would make her quit working. So I’m going to stick around for now.

  13. Mooshi – I saw it as more “I want to tell all my newlywed friends that marriage isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, kids! So STOP SMILING!”

  14. The essay was a light read. The part that rang most true for me was the “and yet.” As in: I really don’t get why you insist on _____________ and it kinda bothers me that you’re that way about that, AND YET I still love being with you.

    We met in grad school (threw that in for Rhett) and were married for almost 9 years before our oldest was born, so we had lots of DINK time. I am now getting eager for that time again, a little to my chagrin. Just tired of the teenage/HS routine, maybe.

  15. Lauren, it is funny, but my DH and I are more likely to argue when there aren’t big stressors going on. We were very solid with each during the renovation, the lengthy adoption process (which happened at the same time), and my kid’s lengthy illness. We are more likely to argue over whether the dishwasher was loaded correctly or the clothes sorted.

    However, I know a lot of marriages get rocky during big stress periods. When my son was diagnosed, the hospital social worker (who I hated beyond belief and this story kind of illustrates why) found us in the main waiting room, trying to figure out what was going on. She sat down, and the very first thing she said was “I am glad you are older, because most of the younger parent’s marriages fall apart during the treatment process”. Um, thank you?

  16. We also had many years of child free couple time before having kids. But I don’t really look forwards to that again. I am actually sad at the idea of the kids moving out. It was fun when we were just a twosome, but it was fun in ways we probably wouldn’t do again. We used to go out all the time, and one of the reasons we had kids was that we were already kind of tired of that lifestyle. It was fun as a couple, but more fun with the kids underfoot. Who else will tell you 10 pickle jokes in a row but kids, and teach you how to play Magic the Gathering?

  17. Mooshi – we are the same. During my oldest’s 3 month hospital stay, my month long one, bedrest for entire seasons, other health issues, etc, we were a TEAM. But, I get really annoyed that he hasn’t emptied the dishwasher one time in the last month. 😃

  18. I think this advice applies more to my unhappily single friends. Does anyone here have unhappily single friends who ask for advice? All I do is listen because I don’t think they would find any of my suggestions helpful.

  19. MM – ita re the downside of having no kids around. It is true, at least for me since we have all boys, that there’s always a (sports) conversation to be had. When DS3 moves out, it will be an adjustment for DW and me I have no doubt. Another life passage. No one knows what the new equilibrium will be. While I stay with my desire to be beyond the teen/HS b.s., I’m probably also anxious of what life will be without.

  20. “When my son was diagnosed…”

    I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but I just can’t imagine how anyone can successfully navigate that.

    “I am actually sad at the idea of the kids moving out.”

    I kind of feel the same way, and I’m sure it will be more pronounced when we get there. My eldest is around the halfway point now. And we won’t be all that old when my youngest is gone. What the Hell are we going to do with ourselves?

  21. “Does anyone here have unhappily single friends who ask for advice?”

    I have a couple friends still single. I don’t know if they’re all that unhappy about it. If yours are unhappy, why are they still single? The ones I know have long relationship histories with many attractive prospects, and then she’s gone and on to the next one. I think they just haven’t been interested in settling down yet. It’s like watching Seinfeld in real life.

  22. The only single girl friends I have are the ones that are recently divorced. My other friends are either married or in long term relationships.

  23. I really liked the column, and I didn’t interpret it as being negative toward marriage, or implying that the author feels let down by her marriage. On the contrary, I thought the author’s message was that although marriage is not all flowers and rainbows, as some newlyweds think it is going to be, the fact that it isn’t ultimately makes it a deeper, richer, and more satisfying experience than it would be if it were all easy. DH annoys the heck out of me from time to time, as do my kids (and lord knows I annoy the heck out of them too sometimes) — living with other people day-to-day, and building a life with them, is not always easy, no matter how much you love them. But it is so worth it to stick it out, get past (or simply deal with) the not-so-good parts, and enjoy the many great parts.

    Years ago, I was attending a church service with an excellent preacher. The theme of the sermon was “friendship.” The minister said that he had done pre-marital counseling with hundreds of couples through the years, and that he always asked them the following question: “What are you going to do when the sex becomes routine, and the routine becomes a chore?” He said that each couple would stare at him incredulously, because they were certain — certain! — that this would never happen to them. He said that he would always tell them that well, even for you, passionate love will wax and wane over time; but what will get you through the periods of annoyance, or boredom, or challenge, or whatever, is your friendship. I think about that message often.

  24. My sib is still single, very unhappily so. No, she doesn’t complain about her lack of relationships, but she just generally hates the world.

  25. It’s interesting to read different perspectives. Although it’s trite and controversial, I generally agree with “The way to stay married ..is not to get divorced” bit of wisdom.

    “If yours are unhappy, why are they still single? ”

    This is so foreign to me. It’s as if you simply date enough you’ll find the right person to marry. Maybe you think it’s simply changing your mindset, but I think it’s much more than that.

  26. If yours are unhappy, why are they still single?

    Well, in one case, she likes hot triathlete fiance douches but she’s big and loud and not really the type that hot triathlete fiance douches usually go for. In another case he called off the engagement because he…he didn’t feel the way he thought he should about her. He was only (in my opinion) 98% in love with her vs. the 110% he expected. The trend seems to be their expectations are too high given what they bring to the table.

  27. Fred MacMurray – Life will be good when it is only the two of you. When children have moved out of the house you don’t worry as much because you don’t know what time they are getting in and where they are and what they are doing. No more not really sleeping because you are waiting to hear the door open and the dog bark. Establish some new ways to keep in touch. We have Sunday breakfast – any and all children invited and any friends – just let me know so I can have plenty. My son and husband (and anyone else who wants to go) go trap shooting in the afternoon if my son has time.

    My husband and I have always had a strong bond. When our business was going south it actually brought us closer together. We tend to bicker over stupid things. He can’t stand that my memory is much better than his for the mundane and I remember and bring up transgressions from different periods of our married life.

    I think what I really like about a long term marriage is that we knowknew all the players in our spouse’s life – parents, aunts, uncles, close friends, neighbors. It was sad when I thought back to our wedding and realized how few people are alive today that attended our wedding 40+ years ago.

  28. CoC – I only asked that under the assumption that Rhett’s friends are male, reasonably successful, and late-30s, early 40s by now.

  29. “The trend seems to be their expectations are too high given what they bring to the table.”

    Ouch!

  30. I didn’t mind the column, but I think until you experience marriage (much like having children) it’s sort of useless to hear about what it’s going to be like 5, 10 or 20 years into the future. No amount of advice is going to hit home until much, much later. And why tell two people getting married that marriage isn’t going to always be awesome? They probably will believe you intellectually but won’t be able to really imagine it.

  31. Milo — I’m curious. You have said in the past that your wife was intending to be a SAHM, and that she sometimes feels conflicted about working for pay (because she is missing out on some things she could do if she were full-time SAH). If you feel like you’re in a rut, and Mrs. Milo has mixed feelings about working, might the two of you consider having her stay home so that you can take a job with new challenges? (Feel free to not answer if this is too personal.)

    DH and I started our family late, so by the time our youngest is in college, we’ll be ready to retire. I sometimes envy people who started early — A couple of people in my high school class are now empty-nesters (at age 48). It seems like there would be so many exciting opportunities for an empty-nester who is still relatively young and healthy — ramp up at work, ramp down at work, start a new line of work, take up hobbies, travel, visit your kids in college, get ready for the grandkids who might not be too far away… Maybe this is a “grass is greener” viewpoint, though. I understand that being a young empty-nester might feel totally different if you are actually living through the experience.

  32. I only asked that under the assumption that Rhett’s friends are male, reasonably successful, and late-30s, early 40s by now.

    About half and half male and female none below middle – middle class.

  33. I can relate to this article and would also apply it to having kids. What they don’t tell new parents! The most relatable point is the “and yet”. We drive each other crazy and yet complement each other well. He’s the only person with whom I can simply be the unfiltered me. We don’t actually fight very often, it is more the slow burn of aggravating things, and then something happens and we remember why we got married in the first place.

  34. Old Mom, things like regular Sunday breakfasts and outings with the grown kids only work if the grown kids stay in the same area. Sadly, that is so rarely the case nowdays. And flying cross country for 3 days twice a year is not the same as doing dinner prep all together, listening to pickle jokes.

  35. “I think what I really like about a long term marriage is that we know knew all the players in our spouse’s life – parents, aunts, uncles, close friends, neighbors. It was sad when I thought back to our wedding and realized how few people are alive today that attended our wedding 40+ years ago.”

    You are a witness to each other lives. Same for old friends.

  36. “If you feel like you’re in a rut, and Mrs. Milo has mixed feelings about working, might the two of you consider having her stay home so that you can take a job with new challenges?”

    As our youngest gets older and older, she complains about working less and less these days. I might even go so far to say that she actually likes and appreciates the opportunity? :)

    And I could take a job with new challenges, but any increase in compensation would not make up for her income/401k matching/profit sharing, at least not any time soon.

    “empty-nesters (at age 48”

    This was my parents. In-laws were even younger.

    “empty-nester who is still relatively young and healthy — ramp up at work”

    That’s what FIL did. Only as an empty nester did he trade in all the family-friendly flexibility and start making serious money.

  37. MooshiMooshi – My children do seem to be settled in the area right now; however, I do worry that one or all three will move for a better position. But right now I enjoy the way things are going though it would be nice to move out of this high cost area but my husband and I are not ready to leave our kids (except for winter – then we hope to head south after he retires).

  38. “I am actually sad at the idea of the kids moving out. ”

    I feel the same way. DS1 is leaving in two years, and I’m already getting melancholy.

  39. Re the article, to me it’s all about accepting a person’s bad and annoying stuff along with the good, because no one is perfect. BUT, the good has to FAR out weigh the bad and annoying $hit for a marriage to work. As annoyed has I get with DH at times (and last night was one of those times), net-net, he’s the guy I want to be with.

  40. My nest emptied at 48. I did a not so little jig, took the job with overseas travel, and started to make real dough. I have no idea why anyone would think life gets really dull when the kids leave home. And I get along really well with my adult children, although I would that say that contact in the years 20 to 30 was less frequent and sometimes more fraught. I’ll report back after 12 days with DD1 in her mid 30s. Leaving in a few hours. I packed yesterday.

    RMS – have a great time on your hiking trip. We can compare notes. I am thinking of that Alaska wildlife safari next summer solo without DH.

    Since I’ll likely miss the pet post, I just wanted to say that adopting our kitties (now two years old) has been fabulous for our marriage. They completed our household. The townhouse that we bought together after marriage just doesn’t give off the same shared life vibe since I do pretty much everything and make 95% of the decisions and purchases. They are truly “ours”, although it is true that cats don’t have masters, just staff. Plus there is nothing like a purring cat to reduce stress.

  41. Mr WCE met young and married three years later so our adult lives are intertwined. Our lives are crazy busy right now and I’m trying to embrace it because, as my Dad said, “The young child years are busy but in many ways, they’re also the best.” We obviously like having children, because having four children is an expensive hobby.

    I am becoming ready to go back to work (Baby WCE finally downed her first 2 ounces out of a bottle, after considerable effort and different bottles) and realize that for me, “A change of work is play.” We would not be as happy if Mr. WCE traveled more and I had 100% child duty more. Ideally, I can work more as Baby WCE ages and perhaps be the breadwinner if Mr. WCE wants/needs to retire. Our family history is not motivating me to consider a long period of empty nest right now.

    A few years ago, when the boys were all little, Mr. WCE was often down about his Dad’s death, layoffs were ongoing and Mr. WCE’s brothers were going through their divorces, I made myself a T-shirt with Velazquez’ “Old Woman Frying Eggs” on it and the caption “Kissin’ Wears Out- Cookin’ Don’t” on it. I think that was my midlife crisis.

  42. Mooshi – what is it with hospital social workers? Ours still say things that are backward compliments. Like “You’ve done so well caring for your son despite not having our guidance” (from Early Intervention’s social workers).

    Milo – I agree with everyone else. See what you can change up and try something new. If DW likes working more now than last year because the kiddos are growing, can you take on more travel for work? If not, could you do something out of the ordinary to mix it up? Go sky-diving? Get a tattoo? Try a new hobby?

    OT – I agree. The “and yet” is the key. I also think that maintaining separate identities is key. He does his stuff, I do mine. We do plenty together, but that time apart keeps us grounded. It also gives us stuff to talk about when we are together. I guess it’s making sure that all aspects of our identities are fostered the best they can be.

  43. “although it is true that cats don’t have masters, just staff. Plus there is nothing like a purring cat to reduce stress.”

    both very true

  44. Rhode – It’s not that bad. I just brought it up to compare/contrast it to the marriage thing.

    No tattoos. Maybe a boat next Spring. :)

  45. I read the article as just a way of bringing it up. No one would ever actually give such advice to newlyweds, but the way we think about our marriage now v. when we married is just really different. I really liked the message that it’s unlikely we’d be one another’s best friends every single moment forever, and yet that doesn’t mean doom and gloom, it just means we’re human. Part of it is just deciding to get back into what works about your friendship/marriage and keep moving forward/together. We’re coming up on anniversary #15, and at this point we’re seeing friends (many who married after us, so under 10 years?) divorce. We married young and grew up together, and along the way it’s been a constant set of decision points to grow parallel, grow separate, or grow together. We’ve done all those things at different times, and had to course correct along the way, but what matters, I think, is that so far we’ve both decided to course correct together.

  46. Milo – That’s a positive thing. But you do bring up an interesting aspect of marriage that most forget – people change. We get bored. We need to change it up. Our partners cannot expect us to be the same people we were way back when.

    In all honesty, I think that piece is what we learned from marriage counseling. Once we got that down, the rest became easy. We recognized that if we remained flexible with each other we’d get through. Rhett’s adage comes in here – you have to live in the world you have. You have to love the partner you have at that moment.

    I figured that if DH and I survived grad school, we’d be good. Now, after “surviving” DS and his needs, we’re very good. Not sure if we’ll ever be golden, but every challenge makes me very thankful I have DH.

  47. “This is so foreign to me.
    How do you mean?”

    The idea that it’s relatively straightforward to fix being unhappily single seems unrealistic. Obviously people can take steps to get themselves married, but I view it as being much more complicated than tackling many of life’s other challenges. Perhaps I have this view because I’ve never set marriage as an objective.

  48. “I have no idea why anyone would think life gets really dull when the kids leave home.”

    Usually I think people like that are dull themselves, or too attached to their children, or simply too needy. But I don’t think totebaggers here fit those descriptions.

  49. I’m feeling ready for my oldest to leave home this morning, after he responded to my “Have an A day!” while dropping him off with a snarled “Stop saying that!” and kicked the car door shut. And my kids have been reminding me of the parody of Kipling’s Tommy — “It’s Mommy this and Mommy that . . .”

    After great effort, I found a copy of that parody online at http://www.kiplingjournal.com/textfiles/KJ276.txt:

    I went into the kitchen, to get a cup o’ tea,
    The boys they stopped their talking, and their eyes all said to me,
    “Look, can’t you see we’ve friends in?” and they ‘eaved a pointed sigh.
    I climbed the staircase back to bed, an’ to myself sez I:

    Oh it’s Mummy this, an’ Mummy that, an’ “Mummy, do you mind!”
    But it’s “Mummy, can you help me?” when your boots are hard to find.
    “I’ve left my football kit at home, so could you bring it round?”
    “Oh thanks, that’s grand – and by the way – you haven’t got a pound… ?”

    When kids start on their schooling, those darn teachers know it all –
    “Could try harder… Must write neater… keep your eye upon the ball.”
    If you should try and teach your kids – “That’s not the way it’s done.”
    But you bet they’ll blame his background if the boy goes on the run.

    Oh it’s “Mums keep out!” and “Mums don’t fuss!” from teachers that we ‘ve paid,
    But it’s “Thank you, Mrs Atkins,” when they want the lemonade,
    The biscuits and the costumes for the fourth form pantomime.
    They’re dead keen on us mothers when they want our overtime.

    We’re Mums, so we’re the cleaners too, the washers and the cooks;
    And they think that’s all we’re good for once we’ve lost our dolly looks.
    My ‘usband doesn’t mind to say I’m just a silly moo,
    But he sees it all quite different when he wants my wages too.

    Oh it’s “Mum’s too slow,” and “Mum’s too fat,” and “Mum’s a bleeding fool,”
    But it’s “Mum could make some money,” once the kids are off to school.
    They want us scrubbing saucepans, and they think that’s all we do,
    But they call us “Superwoman” when they want our wages too.

    We ain’t no superwomen, nor we ain’t no numbskulls too,
    But common thinking people, most remarkable like you;
    And if sometimes our tempers isn’t all your fancy paints,
    Well, women stuck with ‘ousework don’t grow into plaster saints.
    The “Mum, come ‘ere!” and “Mum, get lost!” would make you go beserk,
    But it’s “Motherhood is precious,” when it’s men that want the work.

    It’s washing, and it’s ironing, and it’s food to feed their gobs,
    But it’s “sacred task of Motherhood” when men want all the jobs.
    You talk o’ better terms for us, playgroups an’ nursery schools,
    And think such things will settle it; you must think we’re all fools.
    It’s a job without a let-up, an’ just when we think we’re through
    We find that we’re expected to “mother” Uncle too.

    Oh it’s Mummy this, and Mummy that, and Mummy up and down,
    But sailors all call “Mother” when they know they’re goin’ to drown.
    We love our kids and lump it, but all we get for pay
    Is the thin red bunch o’ roses that you bring on Mothers’ Day!

  50. “Usually I think people like that are dull themselves, or too attached to their children, or simply too needy.”

    It’s more like it’s such a huge part of your life for a while, that it’s hard to believe you’re going to be free of those obligations. That’s all. It doesn’t mean you can’t move on to other things.

    I’m reminded of DW’s recently engaged cousin who can’t have a conversation without telling everyone how “crazy busy” they’ve been. (It bothers DW far more than it bothers me.) Her reaction is “Get the fu(k out of here. You have no kids, you don’t even have a dog. You work 40 hours a week at a hospital, and not a minute more. You have a two-bedroom rental apartment to maintain. Because looking at reception venues and going to cake tastings is SOOOO hard.”

    And she’s a bridesmaid. :)

  51. “But I don’t think totebaggers here fit those descriptions.”

    But Totebaggers do in general. I know this is anecdata (or maybe not…), but we all know those people who are too attached to their children. We talk about helicopter parenting. I was told by a friend that I shouldn’t be a parent because I wanted to maintain my life outside my children. This is also the same woman who called my hospital a “baby factory and horrible” even though she never delivered there. The second she heard about my issues, she qualified it as “a horrible place to birth a child, but great for someone like Rhode”. In the privacy of my own head, I sometimes wonder if she was given a pregnancy/child like mine would she still be such an “expert.”

  52. Milo – I would love to meet Mrs. Milo.

    In fairness to the cousin – if you’re used to more free time, planning a wedding does make you “crazy” busy relatively speaking. Relative to the Milo family, maybe not.

  53. Rhode, good point.

    “a horrible place to birth a child, but great for someone like Rhode”

    Boy, I’ve had similar things said about me. And it is kinda meant as a compliment, like it’s so wonderful that you have such low standards.

  54. Man, I *loved* that article, even started to tear up at the “and yet” part. To me, the best part of marriage isn’t the promise of roses and unicorns; it’s having a partner when the roses and unicorns go away and life gets boring and hard and dreary, or YOU get boring and miserable and your unlovable worst, or crappy things happen and you feel completely alone — and then somehow there’s this guy who, for some unfathomable reason, actually chooses to go through all that crap with you and even insists on taking on as much of the load as you’ll allow. Because life gets crappy for everyone at times, and then crazy giddy happy, and it’s awesome to have someone sharing both of those things with you, to know you don’t have to manage this big overwhelming thing on your own. And then, when life is good and things are happy and smiley, you have someone there to share the joy and the story with, knowing that somehow, in your naiveté and cluelessness and enthusiasm, you nevertheless managed to build a whole that was greater than the sum of its parts.

  55. “I would love to meet Mrs. Milo.”

    Yeah, I think it would be mutual.

    “In fairness to the cousin – if you’re used to more free time, planning a wedding does make you “crazy” busy relatively speaking. Relative to the Milo family, maybe not.”

    Two things.

    1) Cousin’s ALWAYS been like this–in college, out of college, etc. I think she just feels like it’s something you have to say, because her Mom (WOHM-turned-SAHM when one kid went to middle school) always says that. Even today.

    2) When DW was planning a wedding, she was also covertly planning a job change, a relocation, and preparing to sell a house. And I was absent for all of it.

  56. “That doesn’t mean they are doomed to divorce, just that it’s unlikely they will be each other’s best friend every single minute forever. And that while it’s good to aim high, it’s quite probable they will let each other down many times in ways both petty and profound that in this blissful moment they can’t even fathom.”

    Married almost 10 years, together over 13, and I definitely agree with this part. I can’t think of too many profound ways that my DH has let me down, but he sure as hell isn’t my best friend every single moment ever. And we have both let each other down in petty ways over the years.

    But I would also say that at the moment we got married, I could never have known the depth of how much we would grow into an inseparable unit over time, and how comforting and wonderful marriage can be beyond the warm & fuzzy moments and into the ordinary ones.

  57. Rhode quietly drop that friend. I say quietly becasue it is no use trying to get her to understand that she is most likey an insecure judgemental person who will never acknowldege her own flaws. You are the friend she puts down to make her feel better about her own choices. Today she is comparing you and her but soon it will be her making digs at your child so she can feel better about her own special snowflake! You seem to be the type who can let it roll off your shoulders but most of us are less tolerant when it involves our kids. And if you end up calling her on it you’ll have to listen to her tell you that she meant no offense and you’re just too sensitive and then she will do it again some point down the road.

  58. HM – you know, as I was writing that story, I asked myself the same question. But it’s a quirk I think I tolerate. I chalk most of it up to her age and maturity level. I just don’t let it get to me. She has her perfect life and that’s great. It bugged me during my pregnancy, but I think it was my pregnancy which made her think twice about her expertise. After my son was born, I caught her saying YMMV or equivalents. She changed her tune on maintaining an outside life. I’d like to think I had something to do with it, but I doubt it – I think being a SAHM/WAHM did it to her. I’d also like to think I showed her how to not talk about motherhood 24/7. I probably overestimate my influence.

  59. “Boy, I’ve had similar things said about me. And it is kinda meant as a compliment, like it’s so wonderful that you have such low standards.”

    Yup. My low standards include “is everyone still alive? Great!” And, that “low” standard hospital has the best NICU in the region. It just doesn’t have the staff to give every mom the 1-on-1 care that my friend desired. I don’t need so much oversight for me, but I need it for my kid. He got it.

    Anon – you are right. And if she starts on the digs, then I’ll definitely be walking out the door. On the other hand, if my life can be the wake up call for her, then I’m fine with that. On any given day, she’s a fantastic woman who will be at my side at the drop of a hat. That’s why I can let this go – for now.

  60. @Rhode — if you can manage that sort of mental distance and not let it get to you, it can be fun to stay in touch for when the “oh” moment hits, when she is faced with something she never expected and is forced to realize that everything is not black and white and she doesn’t have all of the answers. Of course, she will likely not have the self-awareness to see that in herself, and will therefore see herself as having always held her “new” beliefs — but it’s funny to watch from the outside.

  61. Mrs. Milo is my hero. Her wedding-planning juggling just beat my wedding-planning juggling. I call that time the most complex time of my life with the number of balls in the air.

    I feel like saying “I do not think that word means what you think that word means” to the cousin… but I’m sure the Princess Bride reference would go over her head…

  62. “When DW was planning a wedding, she was also covertly planning a job change, a relocation, and preparing to sell a house. And I was absent for all of it.”

    Me too!!! Like Mr. and Mrs. Milo, I always cringe when people say they are crazy busy. I’ve noticed that several of my friends will talk about how busy their weekend was because they had one birthday party on Saturday, church on Sunday, and went out to dinner on Sunday night. When I hear stuff like that I say to myself ‘wait until you have another one, or your kids are older, and throw in an ongoing medical condition, then you’ll be busy”.

  63. Am on vacation. With lousy wifi that I paid too much for. As usual LaurafromBaltimore captured my feelings perfectly. Laura you are my Lorax!

  64. “Me too!!! Like Mr. and Mrs. Milo, I always cringe when people say they are crazy busy.”

    I try to say that it’s not a competition, and nobody cares or thinks about us, anyway. But DW is far more competitive than I am. FAR MORE. She gets mad if I beat her at cribbage, which is 95% luck for two reasonably skilled players.

    The fiancé to this cousin–nice guy–is even better. Before he was the fiancé, he’s canceled on weekend plans because he had “so much laundry to do, and had to get ready for the week.”

    I also try to remind DW of her own story about complaining about being too busy as a recent, working college grad and having her Dad say “you have no idea. Just wait” (although probably in more delicate terms, considering his personality.)

  65. lfb ‘s post made me think of this song

    “The Story”

    All of these lines across my face
    Tell you the story of who I am
    So many stories of where I’ve been
    And how I got to where I am
    But these stories don’t mean anything
    When you’ve got no one to tell them to
    It’s true… I was made for you

    I climbed across the mountain tops
    Swam all across the ocean blue
    I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
    But baby I broke them all for you
    Because even when I was flat broke
    You made me feel like a million bucks
    You do and I was made for you

    You see the smile that’s on my mouth
    It’s hiding the words that don’t come out
    And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed
    They don’t know my head is a mess
    No, they don’t know who I really am
    And they don’t know what I’ve been through like you do
    And I was made for you…

    All of these lines across my face
    Tell you the story of who I am
    So many stories of where I’ve been
    And how I got to where I am
    But these stories don’t mean anything
    When you’ve got no one to tell them to
    It’s true… I was made for you

    Oh yeah, well it’s true… that
    I was made for you…

  66. I hate when people say that I must be busy while eyeing my children and giving me the once over. Hate it! I don’t know where this idea that busy = productivity, but it seems like it is a dig that I can’t handle my shit. Busyness just seems like a bunch of chickens who get nothing done except flapping their wings around. I have no idea why people like to claim they are so busy or want to win that contest.

  67. Both LfB’s post on yesterday’s topic and today’s resonated with me.

    For me, “crazy busy” is probably mental interaction and the difficulty of moving pieces. It isn’t the focus of PTM’s corporate law friend or incredibly long hours. It’s figuring out clothing for everyone for the family portrait session, which had to fit with Mr WCE’s trips to Europe, the photographer’s schedule, Baby WCE’s “good” time of day, the previously scheduled triple dentist appointment that day and (fortunately, not deliberately) annual soccer registration which hit that day later. A day that busy also means we need some “down” time before/after or my kids will be melty.

    The last triple dentist appointment was right after Baby WCE was born and I asked my OB if I could get out early to avoid rescheduling it. She asked about my recovery and I said I would be fine if people would stop waking me up to take my temperature and blood pressure- if I can get 4 hours of sleep, I’m good. As a high risk OB practicing with one other doctor and the mother of a toddler, she got my point and let me be discharged. :) I considerately entered the hospital around 7 AM, told her a check on her lunch hour should be fine, and delivered Baby WCE at 12:52 PM.

  68. Cat, I think it’s one of those generic things people always say to a mother with several young children. I used to get that all.the.time. when I’d be somewhere with a kid strapped to either hip and the third one orbiting me. “You’ve got your hands full!” I really don’t think that one’s usually implying that you can’t handle it, just that the speaker, accustomed to a more sedate existence, is stunned by the realization that some people live at the center of an applesauce tornado.

  69. LfB – A college classmate had a souped-up Cobra. Why a Cobra needs to be souped-up even further, or what he actually did to make that happen, I don’t know, but it was. I drove it with him. The torque was out of control; the engine noise gave me a headache (not hyperbole). The Beach Boys lyrics “I’m gettin’ rubber in all four gears” was absolutely true (except five gears). It had a special shifter that had like all-metal shift gates, so you could slam it into whatever gear you wanted.

    About two weeks after I drove it, he totaled it and nearly killed himself on Rte 50. (he fully recovered, though.)

    I’ll pass on the Mustang, but this…Oh yeah:

    http://www.avalonpontoons.com/pontoon-boat/ambassador-entertainer/

  70. Cat – I was just at the doctor’s office (new doctor – I was paranoid that my vocal fatigue was something bad, but it turns out no, just paranoia) today and she said to me, “when I heard you have 3 kids and you’re a lawyer and you’re a singer, I thought to myself, my gosh, how does she do it?” and that remark immediately makes me think, OK, do I look like a mess or what? ;) I think it’s supposed to be complimentary but it never feels like it!

    Milo – I wonder if Mrs. Milo’s work has to do with her competitiveness? Every time I think about stepping back at work, I feel like to do that would be giving up the possibility of achieving peak prestige.

  71. It’s as if you simply date enough you’ll find the right person to marry.

    Isn’t that how it works?

    My unhappily single friend is also desperately in need of a new job. So, he asked for advice. We did some looking and I came up with a list of openings he’d be a good fit for. He said he really didn’t think he could apply as he wasn’t a 100% perfect fit. I’m like, “It would be highly unusual for anyone to be a 100% perfect fit. What’s the worst that can happen if you apply?” But, no.

    You want a job you send out 100 resumes, you get 20 phone screens, 7 in person interviews, and maybe 2 offers. Same with dating.

  72. But DW is far more competitive than I am. FAR MORE.

    Along with L, maybe it’s best that she has a professional outlet for her competitiveness?

  73. “The last triple dentist appointment ”

    This actually really resonates. A month or so ago, DW did the triple dentist appt. DW told me afterward that DD had a cavity, so she would get a filling in a couple weeks. Baby tooth, no big deal, mental note to be more diligent about brushing/checking and enforcing flossing/mouthwash. I chalk a lot of it to genetics, and we moved on. DW took DD back for the filling, also with kids in tow. That night, DD is complaining about it hurting a little bit, and so DW looks, it’s all the way in the back of DD’s mouth, and the ENTIRE TOOTH is a silver crown. DW is like “What the hell is that? Did he do the wrong procedure on the wrong patient?”

    So DW is nearly in tears, I call the dentist’s emergency number, he answers the second time, and I’m trying to be polite, but he’s kind of hard to understand, and he’s saying “Oh yes, well there were cavities on both sides of the tooth, so to do a filling from both sides risks losing the tooth, and I thought I was clear about that…”

    but he’s difficult to understand, and obviously he wasn’t very clear, and DW was dealing with two other kids in the waiting room when he was probably telling her about this…

    So, the good news is that it’s only a baby tooth, and (obviously, since it took us well into the evening to notice it) you don’t see it back there unless she opens really wide and you really look.

    But still? How did that happen? We might change dentists. And if a crown is needed in the future, if it will either be more visible, or if it’s on an adult tooth, we might 1) get a second opinion; and 2) if it’s still needed, pay for the white crown.

    That whole thing made us feel like we’d lost control.

  74. You have a good point WCE about mental interaction. I think as your life gets fuller and more complicated you are able to take on more and be more busy. It shouldn’t be a competition, but when I have a mother tell me that they couldn’t make the schedule play date with my DD 5 minutes after the scheduled time because they went to the store and have to get the house ready for dinner guests I just want to scream that is a time management issue, not because you are busy.

    Back to the article. I really enjoyed it and agree that it isn’t something to share with newlyweds.

  75. “maybe it’s best that she has a professional outlet for her competitiveness?”

    Maybe. She doesn’t have coworkers that she competes with, though. In her current situation, she’s a sole contributor. So I don’t know.

  76. Rhett, probably! As a contrast/cautionary tale, a college friend of mine is LDS and quit her lawyer job to be a SAHM to their three kids. She has a blog in which she showcases her exhausting (IMO) perfectionism as she decorates their custom-built home: stenciled walls that took her several weeks to paint, DIY spray-painted chandelier in one kid’s room, etc. AND she dresses her kids in matching clothes most of the time!

  77. ITA on the “busy” thing. It seems like a constant game of one-upmanship, who is busier than whom — but no one actually pays attention to whether it’s a competition anyone actually wants to win. I have learned to view it more from the Rhett perspective now: if it’s all about getting the most you can from the least amount of effort, then if you’re busy-busy-busy all the time, you must be doing something wrong.

    Or maybe that’s just an excellent rationalization for my Type B personality. . . . :-)

    This summer really has been the total fail for me on this score, though; between both of us being a lot busier with some high-pressure stuff at work, plus DD’s cogmed training, plus the various camps and trips with different schedules each week, plus my mom being gone more than she is here, I have *felt* just bat-shit crazy overwhelmed this summer. And yet when I look at the reality, it’s mostly all in my head. The worst day was when I realized we had forgotten about a post-camp birthday party, so at the last minute I needed to run out to Target before the camp bus. But the reality was that I spent 7 hours *worrying* about whether I could manage an extra 30 minutes — which turned out to be not a problem at all. So I felt crazy and stressed, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. And even the work has turned out more manageable than expected — a few late evenings at home, but not many, and knock on wood, no missed deadlines/missed camp buses/major screwups yet. The real problem is that I just panic when there are too many things on the calendar, because keeping track of stuff is my kryptonite, and missing things is my worst-nightmare-because-it’s-so-likely. I just need to do a better job letting the evils of one day be sufficient unto themselves, and not waste mental space/energy fretting about how I’m going to get through the next week or month.

  78. Milo – that is terrible. I might even switch dentists right away if there is another one that’s close.

  79. We had quite a few years with just DH and myself. We added kids. That was a major change. The parents deciding they liked our house best was another major change. At some point I hope kids will be successfully launched. About the parents, who knows what the future years will bring. I just try to live in the moment and do what I can. The kids were foreseen, the parents moving in was not. Our marriage has had to expand to include other people.

  80. “Along with L, maybe it’s best that she has a professional outlet for her competitiveness?”

    The other thing I’ve noticed over the years, not that anyone cares, is that DW is really more like her father, and her brother is more like their mother. The genders got reversed.

  81. Yeah, so WCE posted the triple dentist appointment incident while I was figuring out my last post, and, basically, that’s it right there — change the names and circumstances to protect the innocent, but just too damn many moving parts, and somehow you are the only one who manages them all.

    The birthday party and change in the school start date were sort of my canary in a coal mine — when I go full-on freak-out over something that in reality is completely manageable, it’s a good sign that I need to change something up. We are in the homestretch now, hallelujah, but if next summer is like this, screw it, I’m either going half-time or finding a college kid who wants to make some extra $$.

    @Milo — that one looks pretty swank, but I’d prefer something like this –http://www.classicboat.com/chris-craft-25-sportsman-1948-39n-classic.htm — classic, gorgeous, room for the family, what more could you want?? (one of the guys in the boat house article last week had some gorgeous ones, too). Man, I love that old wood look.

  82. I’ve seen more and more of those on the lake. They are beautiful to look at, and certainly nice for cruising. They seem a little less practical for skiing, just in terms of moving around, and getting in and out–where’s the ladder and swim platform?

    Also, I suspect I wouldn’t like the seating position as much. I like to sit up high and see what’s around me. I love the pontoon for this, and its incredible spaciousness and openness. In many aspects, it’s kind of like the difference between a 1963 Lincoln Continental, and a 2016 Sienna Limited.

    Last summer, I saw one of those retro Chris Crafts on a trailer being towed by a Jaguar convertible. That was quite a sight. That person values style.

    If you like the look of the wood, my Dad has a double kayak of the same look. Probably 50 coats of varnish, with an inlaid compass rose on the top. It’s very nice.

  83. Milo & LfB,

    I assume the maintenance required is vastly higher than a fiberglass hull?

  84. Milo– Happens a lot, I imagine– the switch thing. Think of families where one kid most closely resembles the opposite sex parent and vice versa.

    And I’d switch dentists asap too. Busy or not, no one should put a crown on a kid without a full discussion and some awareness. I’ve done triple dentist visits (and I hate them, but that’s neither here nor there) and I’d be upset about how that went down.

    Honolulu– Applesauce tornado! Perfect.

  85. “If you like the look of the wood, my Dad has a double kayak of the same look.”

    Can you stick an outboard on the back of it?

  86. Tulip – thanks. maybe we’ll keep going, but the very next time there’s a filling suggestion, we’ll get a second opinion and see what happens. Or maybe we’ll switch. We have six months to decide.

    Rhett – I think so. He’s not the most diligent at sun protection, but it fades and will probably need to be re-polished soon.

    “Can you stick an outboard on the back of it?”

    Certainly not! It’s nearly as long as that Chris Craft, though.

    He has a skiff that used to have that same wood look, but it was peeling and he ended up painting it. You can row that, with oar locks, or there’s a 2.5 hp Honda outboard in the shed that you can attach to it. Any more horsepower would just be too unTotebaggy.

  87. On the theory that only dull people will have problems when the kids move out… not true at all. I have several friends whose kids are about 10 to 15 years older than mine. These are all people with really interesting jobs, very career focused, and good marriages. And yet when the kids were gone, they were so sad. They all really had trouble. One of my close friends is at one of the reseach funding agencies, very well known in her field, has lots of cool hobbies and loves to travel. Her husband is well known in the maker world as an evangelist and guru. They do fun things like collecting video game consoles from the 80’s. And yet, she tells me, she would give it up in a moment to go back to having her kids at home.

  88. Milo– I think I’m just lazy. By the time I doubt a dentist or doctor much, if I’m going to have to get a 2nd opinion anyway, I might be more tempted to switch. Then again, if the switch is going to be someone you don’t necessarily trust, waiting and seeing someone new as a 2nd opinion might be the way to go…..

  89. “Check out photo 21.”

    Nice. I’ve got a family member selling a house for a little over $2M in that general area that you would like VERY much. And he’s not getting a lot of bites on it. It also has a pool.

  90. You know, we tried to set up a fishing trip for the guys in NC, and for some reason my dad and bro thought the only option was a freaking sea kayaking version (DH spent five minutes online and found many, many people with boats with, you know, actual engines on them, but whatever). And the best part was that DH basically wanted to do the trip because he knew DS would love it (DS ADORES fishing — IDK, must be one of those “skip a generation” things) — but the sea kayak trip was adults-only! Not surprisingly, he passed.

    More OT, my midlife-crisis-ing/dissaffection-with-chosen-partner mostly manifests around those same “roads not taken” thing Rhett mentioned. Like, every time we go to the beach, I think, damn, I would really like a beach house. (yes, I do still hate sand and burn easily. But there’s nothing like sitting overlooking the ocean with a nice glass of Dr. Loosen). And where we were this trip was more close-to-achievable than just about anywhere else I’ve been (e.g., first-row townhouse next to golf course for $500K; good-sized first-row homes for @$1.2). But DH just really has no desire for that — even if we won the Powerball, it wouldn’t be on his list. Which makes me a little sad/resentful that I won’t ever get that dream. But the reality is that there’s never enough time/money to do everything anyway, and we have some pretty awesome plans that we couldn’t achieve if we threw all our money into a beach house.

    So in the end I think happiness is where you choose to focus — if you spend too much time focusing on the cool stuff you can’t have because your partner doesn’t want it, you’re not going to be happy, in your marriage or your life; but if you focus on all the good things that you do and will have, you will be happy, even if in the end you don’t get there. The thing that I appreciate about MMM and the guys in the Forbes articles is that they just have such a clear joint vision about what they want and are focused on getting the most enjoyment out of what they have.

  91. @L — that boat is *awesome.* And, I would guess, proves the adage “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” :-)

  92. How much is the Hinkley? My parents would love it (not that they could afford it or would buy it). Perfect for one or two nights away for two people.

    My Dad has a buddy who, last year, asked him to help move his trawler from our area, out to the ocean, up to NYC, and up the Hudson River. He loved that trip.

  93. “I think the answer is that we have 2 halves of a whole. We compliment each other well.”

    Yes, I find saying nice things helps my marriage.

  94. ““a horrible place to birth a child, but great for someone like Rhode”

    Boy, I’ve had similar things said about me. And it is kinda meant as a compliment, like it’s so wonderful that you have such low standards.

    COC – A DC friend of mine told me I could take the DC Metro instead of some alternative because I’m used to taking the subway. Now, that is completely true and yet it came off as “you have such low standards, the Metro is OK for you, but we would never use it”. Grrr.

  95. “I feel the same way. DS1 is leaving in two years, and I’m already getting melancholy.”

    I’m in that exact same boat. It started a few months ago, when we realized this winter might be our last chance in a while to take a ski trip as a family, since DS needs to keep his winter break during his senior year open for completing college applications.

    DD is the one who talks about it the most, how she’ll miss DS when he’s gone. I think that realization has made her appreciate DS more, especially how he’s already been through most of what she’s going through and how he’s always been around to help her.

  96. “I have a couple friends still single. I don’t know if they’re all that unhappy about it. If yours are unhappy, why are they still single?”

    Maybe because being unhappy makes them no fun to be with?

  97. Finn – What will stop him from going on a family ski trip during winter break of his college freshman year?

  98. “things like regular Sunday breakfasts and outings with the grown kids only work if the grown kids stay in the same area.”

    Or if the parents move to be near the grown kids.

  99. “What will stop him from going on a family ski trip during winter break of his college freshman year?”

    Most kids we know want to come home for winter break, especially their first break. I’m pretty sure DS will want to do that, and see as many of his classmate friends as he can.

  100. “since DS needs to keep his winter break during his senior year open for completing college applications.”

    Finn, winter break should be free and clear. Strategically speaking, your DS, and mine too for that matter, should apply early action (the one where it demonstrates he’s clearly interested in the school, but not certain enough to go early decision…where if admitted he commits to cancelling all other applications and going there no matter what). Statistically better odds, sometimes hugely better odds, than being in the regular admission pool. IIRC early action applications are usually due by November 30, some by November 1.

  101. Speaking of boats, and specifically outboards, does anyone who is familiar here have a strong preference between Honda, Mercury, Yamaha, or Evinrude?

  102. Moxie, if you’re still around, I had emailed Saac after the tiny house post, and she asked me to tell you hello.

  103. We have a 135 Mercury on an 18.5 foot Sea Ray. Had it for 10 years with no issues, but don’t have other experiences to compare it with. I would like more power for getting up on one ski.

  104. Taking stock of this summer, I realized that the kids will need to go to a different set of camps/camp. They have aged out many of the current camp offerings. It was so convienient and didn’t cost too much but it is time to move on.

  105. Rhett – boat and motor often seem to come as a package deal. So I’m not sure you always have a choice.

    Up North – that is great to hear about the mercury. I was narrowing in on the 115 hp range. I have never tried getting up on one ski, I only have dropped one after getting up on two. Do you think that 115 hp would be sufficient for that on a 22 foot pontoon boat?

  106. Fred, DS and I have discussed applying early action.

    In the beginning of summer, I told him that during this summer through the early part of his junior year, he needs to start his college search and narrow it down so we can plan campus visits for next summer (our geography, and existing plans for spring break, means that’s pretty much the only time for that). By the end of next summer, he needs to have narrowed his choices down, and I want him to have picked his top choice so he can apply early decision. Getting accepted early decision would save us a grand or so in application costs, as well as free up his winter break.

    However, even if he follows this schedule and is accepted early decision, we likely won’t be able to plan a winter trip, because by the time we find out if he’s accepted, the availability of affordable plane tickets and accommodations is likely to be between slim and none.

    It’s also looking like his first choice will be a reach school, so it’s likely he’ll need to be working on applications during winter break.

  107. @ Milo. I think it’s most important to get the right amount of hp for the kind of boat you’re looking at. We have a Yamaha. I think 115 hp for a 22 ft boat seems a little light.

    Houston: we booked Alaska – some of those companies I told you about were starting to fill up already (!) so we went ahead and booked. Feels ridiculously far out to me, as we generally book trips 3-6 months ahead at the most – but apparently they are incredibly popular trips.

  108. Lark, DW and I were looking at travel for this winter, and I just took a peek at next summer. If we were to book now, we could get flights using a lot fewer FF miles than what we normally see.

  109. Congrats Lark! You will have a blast. Don’t forget to go salmon fishing! If you go in July, they will be running.

    We have to wait until January to book, as we are considering Europe and Asia, as well, for possible summer vacation destinations. This is what happens when you only have 2 years left before kid goes to college–you take big trips because you only have x number of summer vacations left as a family.

  110. Hmmm, I’ll have to insist on a test run. I was hoping that 115 would be enough for skiing, based on the idea that during initial startup, it doesn’t have that same transition period that a V-hull does, when the V-hull is going from displacement to planing, plowing through the water. That sucks up a lot of the torque at the exact moment the skier is trying to get out of the water. Essentially, both boat and skier are trying to climb out of the water at the same time.

    If I weren’t interested in skiing, based on my experiences, I know a 90 would be plenty just for cruising. And better fuel efficiency.

  111. And, through the magic of the interwebs, my NYT is now showing me ads for Hinckley. Sigh. They are gorgeous.

  112. Milo – we have an inboard not an outboard (didn’t read your question closely enough). My engineer husband estimates a 135 inboard is similar to a 90 outboard. I’ve never skied behind a pontoon, so I’m not sure about getting up on one ski. You need quite a bit of power to get up on 1.

  113. YouTube is worth a 1,000 words. Here’s just a 90.

    To be critical, the backs of his skis seem like they’re dragging a little low. OTOH, he’s making good turns, and he doesn’t seem to have trouble waving with one hand.

  114. ” You need quite a bit of power to get up on 1.”

    Yeah, power I’m not buying and fueling.

    I’ll rent that power once a year. We had 220 a couple weeks ago, and my brother had to work very hard to get up on one.

    My Dad and I just drop.

  115. I hope the salmon will be running in July. The drought in CA and the warming of the streams and rivers is apparently having a negative impact on salmon populations.

  116. Up – can you ask your DH if he agrees with my 6:18 theory, that because a pontoon boat does not have such a dramatic transition from displacement to planing, more of that startup power is available as acceleration to the skier? Or am I out to lunch?

  117. Milo, would it be feasible to get two engines? A 90 for cruising, and an additional engine, HP TBD, to accelerate the boat to skiing speed?

  118. Speaking of marriage, I just spent 15 min of my wait in the lounge at Logan talking DH through how to recover and watch his Mets game when somehow he screwed up the universal remote. I was successful. There are advantages to going off grid for a week.

  119. Finn – not really. I’m thinking that the 22′ with a 115 will cost about $23k new.

    A 150 hp outboard, by itself, probably costs about $13k. You can check the websites, but it’s that ballpark.

    And you don’t just clip them on easily, unless you’re Bam-Bam Rubble. They need some kind of lift, in a shop or something. You don’t lift a 150 hp engine out of your Civic, either.

  120. Milo- at work we have a 150 hp Yamaha on our 20′ boat. Overpowered for the bay underpowered for the sound. 10 years little maintenance. Always started. Even in the dead of winter.

    Busyness- ya this is a weird one. In grad school friends asked how I has time for dance and gardening. I just did. But I never went to grad school to be a rock star. It’s just another thing. I try not to day ‘you must be busy’ but ‘you have a full life’. Says the same but sounds a but better IMO.

  121. Quickly checking in because I’ve been “crazy busy” this evening. ;)

    I’m sure you all are much more efficient, but for me having a certain type of teenage daughter seems to create a certain amount of “mental” busyness. “Can I hang with my friends?” … “We’re just going to get pizza.” … “Oh, he’s just a friend of x that I met last week.” … “Please.” … “Yup, I got all that paperwork done.” … “We’ll be home by 11.” … “Don’t worry, I’ll text you.” And so it goes. Always pushing the boundaries.

  122. Reliability reports from Up North, Lark, and Rhode have been very encouraging. I was steeling myself for worse. When we had a bow rider with a 200 hp Volvo Penta I/O, and it had more than its share of issues. But that was kind of a shady deal in which we acquired it. My brother found it in the paper. The guy wanted cash. Not a check from my Dad, not a certified check. Cash.

  123. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you watch the video around 2:29, look at the girl in the crowd just next to, and then behind the front passenger headrest. Is she topless?

  124. I didn’t know pontoon boats could be used to tow skiers. I remember reading about pontoon boats as a kid, in Popular Mechanics or some other magazine, and they looked like platforms mounted on rows of 55 gallon drums.

  125. I couldn’t get back here because I had some serious problems in my bathrooms today. My GC came from his home tonight to help, and he just left so I am catching up.

    We are alone every summer for seven weeks, and it has been fun for us as a couple. I think it might be a little different where we live because so many of our friends have no kids for seven weeks so there are almost too many plans to choose from for each weekend/evening. Our friends are split about 50/50 for sleep away camp for the summer. It makes it easier to have the separation when I know how much DD loves it in camp.

  126. “having a certain type of teenage daughter seems to create a certain amount of “mental” busyness.”

    Yeah. That.

    I could also extrapolate to, umm, certain other family members who seem incapable of making a decision without first evaluating every conceivable option.

    This is my family, whom I love dearly with all my heart:

    Me: let’s go to the beach.

    Others: which beach; do we want to bring the tent; boogie board or not; when are we going, should we pack food for lunch; well, I have a call at 3 and that one is too far away so I’ll just stay home; no, he wants to go to the pool instead; maybe you can take him to the pool before your call while we go to the beach; or maybe we can all go to this closer one. Wait, crap, I forgot the sunscreen; DD forgot a towel; etc. etc. ad infinitum.

    Two hours later, we get to beach.

    And usually two hours after that, the rest of my family shows up. As we are leaving.

    This is DH’s family:

    Me: let’s go to the beach.

    DH: ok.

  127. DD, I suppose that’s an option, but based on his first two years of HS, he’ll be pretty busy when school is in session. I don’t want him to rush through the apps, so winter break looks like the best time to do them, or preferably, to finish them.

    It’s also a pretty tight window between hearing from the early action college and the application deadline.

    For those of you who’ve been through it before, is there a lot more stuff to be done to send off more apps after the first one has been submitted (the early decision app)? If the common app does make it easy, then perhaps we can still go skiing.

    OTOH, there is at least one college currently on his radar screen that doesn’t use the common app.

  128. Finn – they were, and to some degree, still are, a deck mounted on drums. But the drums have evolved into hollow, canoe-like hulls of aluminum sheets welded into shape.

    What’s disconcerting about the deck, when you swim under it, you see that the underside is nothing but exposed marine plywood. Like an unfinished house.

    Otoh, if it were a gel coat over fiberglass, like so many other boats, you’re always fighting the possibility of water penetrating the gel coat, getting inside, swelling the fiberglass, further breaking the gel coat, rotting, etc.

    This way, it gets wet, it breathes, it dries again. Genius, if you think about it.

  129. Great article, except.:

    “That’s why it’s better to think about the question of who’s rich in terms of accumulated wealth instead of annual income (which in turn is a good argument for a wealth tax). ”

    Yeah, I don’t see that as the logical conclusion. They tax the income when it’s earned, tax the profits of the business, tax the dividends when they’re paid out. Now they want to tax even the investments that are not earning any money.

    You’ll see me on the news waving the “Don’t Tread on Me” Tea Party flag if that idea ever gets traction.

    Oh, Slate.

  130. Finn, we didn’t find that the common app made it easy. Every college also had a supplement, with one to ten essays, all of which were different. My kids only applied to three or four schools each, but it was still a lot of essays. YMMV. Honors colleges typically have deadlines in early November, so we just made that the target for all applications.

  131. Finn, many schools have their own specific essay questions, so once he has finished the application for his Early Decision school he will still have more to write! Unless he gets in, of course!

    Sometimes you can massage an essay to fit another question, sometimes not.

    Of course no work can be done on any of the essays for the other schools until after he hears from the ED school, so if he doesn’t get in there will be a mad rush before January!

  132. “Finn, why can’t he have all the apps done by the break?”

    I’ll agree with what Finn and the others have said. In theory, everything could be done by the break. In practice, similar to the OP theme, reality is that school work, teen procrastination, and other factors (like waiting on some award or activity, for example) make it difficult to get it all done early. And yeah, who wants to write more essays if you won’t need them but don’t know that until later.

    WCE, Yup, many people seem to think that the top x% is a static group. Last night I caught a bit of a show called Blue Collar Millionaires, which seemed to show how most people treat their wealth and good fortune. One guy was raking in the dough (not exactly sure how high his income was) with a tree treatment business and had a net worth of $1.4 million. Several kids. Yet their lifestyle seemed more extravagant than warranted, with the wife spending $25k on designer purses. I could see this guy dropping off the top x% income group. Certainly it keeps happening in the oil business, and other similar areas.

  133. “Yet their lifestyle seemed more extravagant than warranted, with the wife spending $25k on designer purses.”

    I didn’t see the show. Was it your impression that the producers had the same reaction as you, like a NYT-style wink to the viewer that says “Can you believe these idiots?”

    I wonder what percent of the viewers thought that, with $1.4M, $25k purses are par for the course.

  134. Finn–there may be a lot to be done, maybe not. In addition to the individual school essays, he may decide to tweak the common app essay and responses as well. I’d strongly suggest working on the other apps before he hears back from his ED school, preferably even next summer if he has time.
    DS just finished a week of application “camp”–the school holds it for kids in fall sports so they get their apps going before practice starts. It was 9-11:30 each day, and he got a lot done.

  135. Good advice regarding college apps. In Texas, the state flagships have some sort of rolling admissions system, so you are really advised to get your application in early. DS will have 3 colleges done by mid-September.

    Regarding dentists, today is our dentist day. One kid at 9:00am, one kid at 9:15am.

  136. Is it actually important to do early decision? Man, this sounds like a boatload of work, more than I see DS1 being able to manage. I am assuming he will end up studying CS or computer engineering at one of the SUNYs, which is fine because two of the campuses are very strong in those fields.

    We have an interesting situation to finesse with regards to colleges. I get tuition exchange and there are a number of decent schools on the list. But there is a restriction – only one kid at a time. DS1 and DS2 are two years apart. So only one of them can take advantage. I think DS2 is far more likely to get accepted at a top school, if he stays on his current trajectory, and he may want to major in architecture, a field where quality of program is very important. DS1 will do fine with a CS degree from say SUNY Buffalo, and we can swing the costs pretty easily. We don’t have this problem with DD because there is a 4 year gap there. So what to do?

  137. “Yet their lifestyle seemed more extravagant than warranted, with the wife spending $25k on designer purses.”

    What would the correct totebag use of that money be? A vast Westchester manse in the right micro district (for the schools) so you can spend $25k a year in property taxes?

  138. @Mooshi – It depends on what each of them wants to do and whether they want to go to the colleges on the exchange list. I recall reading a while back on College Confidential where the parents could get free tuition at a number of schools but the issue was that their kids didn’t want to go to those schools….

  139. off topic- watched the end of jeopardy last night, none of the contestants knew what the HE of HELOC stood for , thought you guys would get a kick out of that

  140. Well, my kids only get to choose what we can pay for. Schools on the exchange list, my own employer, SUNY, and possibly other public universities if they can get enough merit money to get the cost down to SUNY level – and it is a quality school (my usual take on schools that hand out lots of merit aid is that they tend to be lesser schools trying to get better students). DS2 is also interested in Cooper Union, which although it now has tuition, is still pretty cheap, and it is very prestigious in architecture.

  141. At the state flagship where my father worked, many of the faculty offspring just went to that school for the free tuition. It didn’t seem to harm the ones I knew. One faculty daugher who I know pretty well actually ended up taking a course from her dad! She just recently completed her PhD in economics from either Berkeley or Stanford, can’t remember which – so going to the dad school worked out well for her.

  142. From WCE’s article “That’s why it’s better to think about the question of who’s rich in terms of accumulated wealth instead of annual income”

    Yes.

    Rich = lots of accumulated wealth, not simply high earning.

  143. Mooshi – would you stop the kids from taking out loans to go to a school of which you didn’t approve? Will they be compliant? I am curious – not sure we’ll be willing/able to pony up $300K per kid for full freight someplace when the time comes, so wondering what the alternatives are.

  144. MM – if, as you say, DS1 will do fine with a CS degree from UBuffalo, then definitely have him apply there…and anywhere else on the condition that the net tuition budget is X (e.g. 150% of in-state SUNY). So if he gets scholarships that get the amount you have to pay down into that range, those schools make the cut.

    I think it’s on collegeboard.org, maybe somewhere else, the statistics of (a) how many and (b) the % admitted for a school’s early decision/action and the ‘regular’ pool/decision. For some I remember seeing dramatic differences (higher #s for early than for regular), so that could make a difference when our kid(s)…that’s all of us in that game…apply. For some, especially state schools, not that big a deal IIRC

  145. Be careful when looking at the higher admission rates for EA/ED. If you look beneath the numbers, you’ll often find the pool of early applicants is stronger. Most recruited athletes apply early, so they will bump up the rates.

    We have a paying for college post coming up within an hour!

  146. “Was it your impression that the producers had the same reaction as you, like a NYT-style wink to the viewer that says “Can you believe these idiots?””

    No, not from what I saw. It was a “see how you can live if you pull yourself up from your bootstraps” type of vibe.

    “What would the correct totebag use of that money be? ”

    Saving, “educational” trips and other “experiences” maybe.

  147. CoC – agree with what you say. But also, I use the stats to light a fire under procrastinating teenage boys to get a move on. Plus there’s really no downside to applying early…if a kid doesn’t get an early admission offer, s/he gets put in the regular pool. I haven’t seen outright rejections from schools when kids apply early. And if something great happens after the application is submitted and before the decision is received, supplemental information can always be submitted to note the award, etc.

  148. ” But there is a restriction – only one kid at a time. DS1 and DS2 are two years apart.”

    DS1 gets a fire lit under his a$$ to finish as soon as possible, in three years, ideally. Split the difference and give him $10k as compensation for squeezing courses into the summer and winter break “mini-mesters,” if I have my terminology right.

    DS2 can take a gap year. Split the difference and give him $10k to go hang out in Brussels for 9 nine months until DS1 graduates.

  149. Milo,

    That’s a great idea if they agree. Is I was DS1 I’d be pissed. DS2 gets a free year long vacation and $10k and I bust my ass and get $10k? F- that.

  150. DS1 wants to major in engineering or CS. It is almost impossible to finish those programs in 4 years, let alone 3. There are too many requirements and too many prerequisites. Many engineers take 5 years

  151. “DS2 gets a free year long vacation and $10k and I bust my ass and get $10k? F- that.”
    Plus their personalities are all wrong for this. DS2 would actually hate a gap year in Brussels. He is too driven for that, and would feel he was wasting his time. DS1 on the other hand simply cannot be rushed at anything.

  152. “only 24.5% and 32% of them had received a degree in the sciences or engineering in four years”

    Well, as Finn would be happy to point out, many of the others will never earn an engineering degree. So (I didn’t read the article), how many did not finish in four but did finish it eventually?

  153. The article sort of answers it, not entirely clearly:

    “Within five years, 33% of whites and 42% of Asian Americans had graduated.”

    So, looking at it another way, of those who ultimately earned engineering or science degrees, three-quarters–the vast majority (24.5/33 and 32/42)–did it in four years, and only 25% needed five years.

  154. 25% of kids still seems a pretty high number to me. My dh finished his degree in four years, but he also did additional quarters, along with some co-op quarters (thus, some job experience). He was really busy those four years and didn’t have much time off. Which is ok, but is a choice that doesn’t work out well for everyone.

  155. Yeah, I’m kinda more with Milo on this one. DH’s dad gave him a choice of graduating in 3 years, double-majoring in 4, or getting a BS/MS in 4; he did the double-major route (EE and I forget what) at RPI in 4.
    I think the gap between white and Asian students also suggests that it is doable when the expectations and preparation are there.

    Maybe that’s also reason to look at smaller schools, too – I hear tons of horror stories of people going to the Big State U and just not even being able to sign up for the classes they need to graduate, in any major.

    But in any event, it all comes down to “know your kid.” Both of my SIlLs would have buckled under/rebelled against the kind of pressure DH faced (and my FIL was smart enough to treat them differently). If you have a kid that doesn’t respond well to being rushed, then it would be totally foot-shooting to put that kind of pressure on him.

  156. “Yeah, I’m kinda more with Milo on this one”

    For the record, I didn’t mean any of that against MM. I was just wondering if the idea that no engineers graduate in four years was a little overhyped.

    It’s not my area of familiarity, because something has to go pretty seriously wrong at an Academy to not graduate within four years. The school is definitely better at getting you the classes you need, and, I suppose, campus life is much less welcoming and comfortable, so you have that added motivation.

    But there are typically a handful who graduate later in the summer each year.

    This is not a joke article:

    A graduation speaker at the Air Force Academy had an odd message for three cadets who joined the ranks of the class of 2015 after wrapping up summer work last week.

    “You’re idiots,” retired Brig. Gen. Robert Giffen said during a ceremony at the academy’s visitor’s center.

    :) That’s not really what he meant. I just thought it might easily be misinterpreted given that he was speaking to the three who needed summer school for their final credits.

    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/08/03/general-to-air-force-academy-graduates-youre-idiots.html

  157. We had a tour at WPI earlier this summer and one of the things that the admissions counselor pointed out was that over 90% of WPI students graduate in four years. They said that it is because their students are not required to take a language, etc. that most liberal arts colleges require.. The WPI students focus all their time and energy on learning engineering. Looking at the UVA website for comparison, I see that all students are required to take a couple of semesters of a language, a history class, a humanities class, etc. And of course, as Milo can attest to, all students of military academies are required to graduate in four years.

  158. I don’t think it’s fair to consider engineering students who take a year off to coop as “not graduating in 4 years.” To me, it’s how many years you have to pay for college, not how long you actually take.

    Asian students at land grant schools are more likely to want to go to grad school and white students are more likely to want to get a job with a BS. Doing a coop (which takes an extra year, typically) helps you get a better job with a BS. So in my opinion, it is not “better” to graduate in 4 years, just a preference about grad school vs. straight into the workforce.

  159. @Milo – yeah, ditto – not targeted at Mooshi; that data just raises interesting questions.

  160. “Is it actually important to do early decision? Man, this sounds like a boatload of work”

    One of the potential benefits of early decision is to reduce the amount of application work if the kid is accepted.

    From the parental perspective, it also saves a lot of money on applications. Kids at my kids’ school apply to an average of about 8.5 schools each; at about $100 or so per school, that’s a good amount to save. Maybe enough to buy books for a semester or two.

  161. “Well, my kids only get to choose what we can pay for. Schools on the exchange list, my own employer, SUNY, and possibly other public universities if they can get enough merit money to get the cost down to SUNY level”

    Don’t rule out private schools. I’ve heard of many kids who got generous merit aid from privates that got their net cost to comparable or less than state universities.

  162. “For some I remember seeing dramatic differences (higher #s for early than for regular), so that could make a difference when our kid(s)…that’s all of us in that game…apply. For some, especially state schools, not that big a deal IIRC”

    I believe many state schools have rolling admissions. I’m pretty sure our flagship U does, based on some pretty clear criteria. DS plans for that to be his ultimate safety school, since he projects to easily exceed the entry requirements.

  163. Finn, hope your kids don’t major in engineering.
    FUNDAMENTALS OF HEAT & MASS TRANSFER
    AUTHOR: BERGMAN
    ISBN: 9780470501979
    STATUS: REQUIRED
    $186.00
    USED
    $265.50
    NEW

  164. “if a kid doesn’t get an early admission offer, s/he gets put in the regular pool. ”

    This is not always the case; I suggest this be checked prior to applying. I believe Caltech, for example, only considers applicants once (per year), either early or regular.

  165. “That’s why it’s better to think about the question of who’s rich in terms of accumulated wealth instead of annual income (which in turn is a good argument for a wealth tax). ”

    As my dad would say, punish those who are financially responsible.

    I suppose now that the Millionaire Next Door types have been exposed, it’s time to tax them for their accumulation of wealth.

  166. Oh Finn, it was only by pure luck that your reckless real estate speculation didn’t ruin you.

  167. Thanks to DD for bringing up the possibility of having apps done before winter break. I discussed this with DS this morning, and he thought he could get them done by then, especially if he started working on them during the summer, with the T-day break to finish up any still incomplete.

    He pointed out to me that he needs to identify the schools he wants to apply at by the end of his junior year, because the kids are supposed to ask teachers for letters of recommendation by then. That does seem at odds with my plan to go on campus visits next summer. It also could mean extra work for the teachers if some kids get into their preferred school via early decision.

    I think he really wants to go skiing again.

  168. “As my dad would say, punish those who are financially responsible.”

    Upon his capture in 1934, the legendary bank robber Willie Sutton was asked by FBI agents, “Why do you rob banks, Willie?” Sutton, who believed the question to be rhetorical, replied, dryly, “Because that’s where the money is.”

  169. Finn, hope your kids don’t major in engineering.
    FUNDAMENTALS OF HEAT & MASS TRANSFER
    AUTHOR: BERGMAN
    ISBN: 9780470501979
    STATUS: REQUIRED
    $186.00
    USED
    $265.50
    NEW

    WCE, with Amazon, you can sell your books for pretty much what you paid for them, less the Amazaon fees.

  170. DD, I think there are some cheaper rental options, too, for that course. When I was in grad school, though, books were crazy expensive because they were so specialized and rapidly outdated. Finn knows why my books got so rapidly outdated.

    Finn, my friend whose sons got full rides to a good public school out-of-state told me that essays showing long term interest in your proposed major are very important for departmental scholarships/merit aid. I don’t know if that will be true where your son is applying, but outside of top tier schools, the application is less about admission and more about how much it will cost you once you’re admitted.

  171. “He pointed out to me that he needs to identify the schools he wants to apply at by the end of his junior year, because the kids are supposed to ask teachers for letters of recommendation by then.”

    Their teachers mention specific colleges in the recommendation letters? If so, that’s nice but rare, at least at public schools. The general app is set up where one letter is used for all colleges. Even at relatively well-staffed schools, a teacher will write only one letter per student.

  172. “Their teachers mention specific colleges in the recommendation letters?”

    I lucked out, because I had an AP Calc teacher who was also my coach, who was also an alumnus of my first-choice school, who had also been an instructor at my school in the 1970s.

  173. CoC, good point. I know part of what they need to do is ID the teachers they will ask for letters before the summer after their junior years, so I guess (and hope) the kids can still change their minds about which schools they’ll apply to, and the teachers don’t get bogged down with more than one letter per kid.

    I’ll need to get that clarified.

    I’ve read in many places that kids should ask teachers from the junior or senior years for recommendations, but it doesn’t seem to make sense to ask senior year teachers, especially for early action applications. Apparently my kids’ school realizes this.

    DS will have no problem getting a math/science teacher, especially since he’s worked for the science department as a TA this past year, and plans to continue. He’s not sure about the humanities teacher rec; the most likely teacher so far was teaching during her law school application year, so she’ll be in Yale when DS is applying.

  174. WCE, I was fortunate to be insulated from book prices in grad school, because my employer at the time was picking up the tab.

    My employer benefited from many of my profs not bothering with textbooks in classes that dealt with subjects that were rapidly changing. Several of them created notes for the class that were provided at no charge.

  175. Finn, our local state university (and others) seem to be working hard to offer options to minimize textbook costs. Modern digital presses have also brought down the cost for small runs, when a hard copy is desirable. I, too, was insulated from the textbook costs, thanks to employer support. I not only had all my costs covered, I had 75% of my salary paid while in grad school. Thanks to this financial support, I can use my background in device physics to be a SAHM of four. :)

  176. Well, I had 100% of my salary paid while I was in grad school.

    OTOH, I was working full time.

  177. I was being a smart*ss. I had to do a semester of prereqs (to switch fields) plus the first year of grad school while working full-time. I did not pull off an MS in a year.

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