Preparing to leave the nest

by Finn

Like several other regulars, I have a kid that will be leaving the nest for college soon.

As that day approaches, I realize that there are some things I should do before he leaves. Some fall into the category of things to teach, while others are tasks to be done in the remaining time. Among them:

-Take him to open a checking account, and teach him how to use it and to safeguard his checks.
-Walk him through a credit card application, and teach him how it works, and how to use it (e.g., always pay the balance, and never use it to buy something that will lead to a balance you can’t pay).
-Get a new phone and plan. We want him to have unlimited talk and text, because we want to have those channels to him wide open.
-Teach him to drive, and make sure he gets his license.
-Take him bike riding, both to sharpen his skills, and to teach him how to ride in traffic.
-Have him sign a health care directive/proxy and a HIPAA form, and keep copies on his, DW’s, and my phones.
-Have him do laundry. I’ve already taught him how to use the washer, but give him practice.
-Teach him how to use a non-solar dryer.
-Teach him basic cooking, and have him prepare some meals for the family.

Of course, in a lot of cases, ‘teach him’ can mean, ‘direct him to learn.’ I’m reminded of a story from a dad who was looking forward to teaching his son how to shave, only to have the son learn how from a YouTube video.

What’s on your list? How do you plan to prepare your kids before they fly the nest?

211 thoughts on “Preparing to leave the nest

  1. This is a great topic, but only have time now for one comment:

    “Take him to open a checking account, and teach him how to use it and to safeguard his checks.”

    “What are checks?” Younger two could well ask that question, as they never use them, and never even bothered to order them when they opened their accounts.

  2. I mention this on the last thread, but I still don’t see the point of sending any medical proxy forms with your children. I cannot imagine A situation where he conscious child cannot give information themselves or hand the phone to a parent to get more information. And unconscious patient will not present any forms, and the medical personnel should really contact next of kin for further decision-making.

    Of course, some healthcare personnel are jerks and won’t do the right thing. But those same jerks will not look at some signed PDF on somebody’s phone and think that that is an adequate substitute for the hospital specific release of information form.

    Would you explain to your children that by giving their parents medical proxy, the parents could call the student health services and ask if the child had a pregnancy test? An STD test?, Counseling for alcohol use? I would not give my parents medical proxy, and most of us don’t even give her spouses that level of access to information.

    I think it’s important to teach your children about how to make an appointment at the doctor’s office, when to do that, when to go to urgent care, when to use the emergency department. This is part of a broader self-care conversation. They should also learn how to fill a prescription, and learn how to take responsibility for making sure that it is done in time so as not to interrupt chronic therapy. I know many people are unsure of exactly how to make these decisions, but most of the time most of us do it right. Anybody on this board is better at it than the average 18-year-old, and can impart some wisdom there.

  3. “Take him to open a checking account, and teach him how to use it and to safeguard his checks.”

    Under what circumstance would he need to write a check? Online bill pay of course but actual paper checks?

  4. Learn to navigate the health plan system. Learn how to find in network providers and in network pharmacies. Understand what out of network and balance billing means. Understand urgent care vs emergency. Know what your health plan says about ERs. Some will not pay a dime if it is not an emergency. Know what your health plan says about referrals and tests like CT scans.
    I cannot stress this enough.

  5. Teach him how to use a non-solar dryer.

    What’s a solar dryer – a clothesline?

  6. “Under what circumstance would he need to write a check? ”

    Security deposit and monthly rent for an apartment.

  7. I’ll be writing a paper check this afternoon. We sent a piece of furniture out to be restored, and they’re delivering it today. It’s a Mom & Pop operation, and she just emailed me the invoice. I told her I’d give her the check when they come. I’m sure they would accept a check sent from on-line bill pay, but that takes about 7 days to be received, and doesn’t feel like the right thing to do. They’ll bring me my furniture, I’ll hand them the check, and I’m sure they’ll deposit it on their way back to the shop.

  8. Will you be able to help your college-age child in a medical emergency?
    HIPAA Privacy Rule can get in your way

    I don’t want to know all the details of my kid’s ailments, but I want to be able to get information from medical personnel in cases that are urgent or emergencies.  I’ve experienced at least one situation where this was a problem.  Plus, sometimes communication between the kid and the parent can be difficult, like if a kid is traveling to a third-world country.

    The HIPAA authorization (is that the same as a proxy?) forms I’ve seen allow for customizing what type of information can be disclosed.

  9. There are periods when I do not write a single check, but I had to write three checks last week. Hebrew school trip, PTA fund raiser, and repair guy.

    I do most of my bill pay online or via credit card, but an adult should still know how to write a check and balance their account. One of my college housemates had no clue and she had huge overdraft charges every month.

  10. It’s a Mom & Pop operation, and she just emailed me the invoice.

    One would think they have a Cube or something to take a CC payment.

  11. I write checks to Mom & Pop enterprises too. It’s not like it’s hard to learn.

  12. My two adult kids have never written a check, except for the online payment types. However, they’re run into problems from some employers who insist on a void paper check to arrange for direct deposit. This was even though they gave the employers routing and account numbers. So they ordered personalized checks mainly for that purpose. I write about 3 paper checks a month.

  13. And I learned how when I opened my first checking account by myself my freshman year. The nice lady showed me how. And then a nice gentleman showed me how to use the gas pumps when I had to gas up my car. Many people take pity on scared-looking 18-year-olds.

  14. @ Rhett – no cc accepted. Actually, I find a lot of service type operations like this one (and our yard guys) don’t take credit cards due to the service fees.

    My own business doesn’t take credit card payments from clients because of the fees. So I receive paper checks from clients as well, some hand written (small clients), some clearly through on-line bill pay (larger clients).

  15. “Walk him through a credit card application, and teach him how it works, and how to use it (e.g., always pay the balance, and never use it to buy something that will lead to a balance you can’t pay).”

    Never say never. I would modify this to something like understand the hidden fees commonly associated with “convenience checks,” cash advances, and balance transfers. Understand that zero interest offers will often apply retroactive interest if not paid in full by a certain date, and that 0% on balance transfers but a much higher rate on regular purchases means that any payments will first applied solely to the balance transfer while the principal on regular purchases continues to accrue interest at 15% or 24%.

    Or, God forbid, he can realize this on his own at some point, and it won’t be the end of the world.

  16. Posted this on the wrong thread.

    There are a lot of people who still prefer to receive paper checks because they want them now. In addition to the usual residential contractors and repairmen, when the volunteer leaders at church or Scouts are collecting checks for something, it’d be kind of obnoxious to tell them that you’d rather send it through electronic check payment and to keep an eye on their mailboxes.

    Just write a damn check.

  17. Good points about healthcare and the ER. DD recently had a sports related injury at a college away game. Her friends wanted her to go to the ER. Fortunately, she called me and we decided (after speaking with my sister the nurse who lives near her college) that the ER would be unnecessary and expensive. My sister then set her up with the appropriate specialist.

    My older two opened checking accounts when they were 16. Both had summer and part-time employers that required (strongly encouraged?) direct deposit. 18 y/o DS recently got his first VISA card. DD, 19, with more $ saved and a higher annual income, was turned down for card after card but finally Discover offered her a card. I’ve set alerts up on both cards for purchases over $50, in addition to other alerts. I like that they use a credit card because it gives them a better record as to how they’re spending their $, as opposed to frequent withdrawals of $40, $60, etc. from the ATM.

  18. I’ve set alerts up on both cards for purchases over $50, in addition to other alerts

    You set up alerts on their credit card?

  19. I’ve had to write checks in the last week for passport fees, driver license renewal fees, school lunches, and church. Most of them would take credit cards, but there would be a processing fee involved.

  20. Mine are in college, and my oldest recently traveled on his own for the first time to a grad school interview. We talked him through how to get a cab from the airport, and what other options existed (e.g. Super Shuttle) and why you might choose one over the other.

    He writes monthly checks for the rent and utilities, and receives checks from his roommates for their portion of same. My other two kids, who both live on campus, have checkbooks but have written fewer than five checks ever.

    They all use their ATM cards almost exclusively, and we talked about why it might be a good idea to also have a savings account for the bulk of their money, and only keep a small amount in the checking account. If their ATM card is stolen/compromised, they could lose everything in their checking account, and while they would be likely to get it back eventually, it might take awhile. Better not to keep everything there.

    The oldest has a credit card on his own with a $2000 limit. One has a card of his own that we co-signed, and the youngest is an authorized user on one of ours (she was a few weeks shy of 18 when she left for college 8 hours away, and we wanted her to have access to a CC in case of emergency.)

    All have done their own laundry since starting high school, so that wasn’t an issue. They have each been doing doctor visits on their own since about age 13. The practice required me to be in the waiting room (I couldn’t just drop them off), but they spoke with the front desk and the doctor.

    The oldest has a vehicle, and while we usually have it serviced while he’s home, he has had to take it in to a shop in his college town a couple of times – once for a flat tire and once for brake work.

    I have almost always filled out all their income tax forms and financial aid forms, but this is primarily due to timing. Once or twice one of them has been home on break when this needed to be done, and I had them sit down and go through TurboTax to see how its done.

  21. There are a lot of people who still prefer to receive paper checks because they want them now. In addition to the usual residential contractors and repairmen

    Keeping in mind they prefer a check due to the lack of chargebacks. If you pay your contractor with a check and he never bothers to finish the job you’re SOL. If you paid with a CC you’d get your money back.

  22. I think they prefer checks due to the lack of a 2% or 3% fee.

    For large jobs, we’ve paid on a schedule of 10% deposit, several draws at specified completion points, and 10% after final completion. And it would be more of a pain, and again, kind of obnoxious, to tell them to wait 7 days for it to come in the mail. That nearly defeats the whole purpose of the deposit when they want to be purchasing materials and getting started.

  23. I think they prefer checks due to the lack of a 2% or 3% fee.

    And they don’t want you having the leverage of a chargeback.

  24. That’s fine. When the grandfather who fixed the refrigerator’s ice dispenser was able to do it for $176 rather than $225 last week because he took the extra time to find a single part to replace rather than the entire contraption, I’m OK with writing a check and giving up any chargeback leverage.

    When we spent $50k on the porch and deck addition, we used the draw method, so we had the final 10% until it was finished, anyway.

    For buying the boat, they requested a certified check at time of delivery. That’s something that really does need to be handed over at that particular moment, as his employee was trailering it from eight hours away.

    Speaking of handing it over, FIL was telling me about a time when he delivered a suitcase full of hundred dollar bills (authorized by the Justice Department) to some not-quite-above-board characters in exchange for testimony.

  25. For buying the boat, they requested a certified check at time of delivery.

    I had a friend who did that but thought that cash was as good as a certified check. The guy refused the cash.

  26. My DD doesn’t have checks on her account, but with both kids whenever they needed a check for an activity I had them write it and I just sign it. More difficult things to teach are just adapting to crap you don’t like, such as having a dorm room outside the communal bathroom and waking to the sound of people throwing up in weekend mornings, having a roommate who is a loud night owl when you have early classes, or for the more introverted, figuring out how to get quiet time when there are people around you 24/7, and how to deal with roommates who do annoying things like bring strangers home to sleep on your couch, eat all your food, and never rinse their food down the sink. Those are things that my child or children of friends have texted for help with, or just to vent I guess.

    Mine had done laundry at home, and learned most other things as needed, like how to file a request for a repair with your apartment complex, how to fight with said apartment complex when the problem has left you with an apartment reeking of mold, what to do when your car needs servicing in another city. Just like we figured stuff out, they’ll figure it out too, and will call when they don’t.

    Not mentioned here, but possibly important for some, is how to recognize when you’re getting overwhelmed, and how to get help when you need it. I have several friends/acquaintances whose child began having panic attacks, or got depressed, or developed anorexia and basically just holed up in their dorm room wishing it away. People on this blog have discussed how it kind of sneaks up on you and you may not recognize what’s happening. A lot of 18 year olds won’t recognize it, and alcohol probably makes it worse. Some school counseling departments are so overloaded it can take 3 weeks to talk to someone, during which time their school performance can spiral downward. I think a conversation about how to access help if they don’t want to bring you into it is important, and letting them know how to find a local in-network therapist if they can’t wait for a campus one.

  27. I write checks all the time, but they are always in circumstances that are less likely for a college student: violin teacher fee, therapist fee, plumber, money for class trip, monthly tuition for afterschool program.

  28. I don’t want to think about my kids going to college. Fingers in ears! Not happening!

  29. CoC and others- what would you think about another introductory thread sometime? Some of our situations have changed, our kids are older and I still get some of the name changes mixed up (and there are new posters since 2012)

  30. Yeah, I think it’s all basic life stuff, and you increase it over time. Both kids are now on the basic laundry train; DD knows how to read a cookbook and can generally fend for herself and not starve, while DS is interested in learning, but neither one has gotten to the point of figuring out what you need and how much to make a grocery list (tho both kids have heard the lectures on unit pricing). Both kids have bank accounts; I currently deposit DD’s checks, but should probably give her the BoA app and let her take over that too. One of these days I will increase her allowance to cover everything (like clothes, etc.), and she can learn to make and track a budget. With the car comes the “how to change a tire, what kind of service you need when (i.e. “read the manual”), and where to go. By college it will be a credit card and probably a debit card as well, along with the discussions mentioned above of how to use them and what to be careful for. And health insurance stuff, assuming they are away from home.

    The thing is, this is stuff that we all start from day 1 — all of childhood is a race to become more and more independent from mom and dad. I think it’s just that somewhere around HS you have an “oh crap” moment and realize how little time is left and how much more you want to impart, and it’s never going to be enough time or enough knowledge. But it’s also not like the opportunities stop — I was calling my mom for investment and IRA advice in my 20s when I got my first real job with a real salary.

  31. Back when I was still working in cube land, one of my cube-neighbors had just sent his son off to Rutgers. I remember listening to a long phone conversation he was having with his kid in which he was walking the kid through the steps for operating a coin washing machine. I said to myself, my kids (who were 7,5, and 1 at the time) are going to know how to run a washing machine. And by golly they do, as well as the dryer, AND they all know how to properly hang clothes to dry on the outside line too.

  32. Y’all understand if your spouse gets taken away in an ambulance with severe chest pain, you cant call the emergency department and get any information either, right? And if it happens while you’re traveling for work, You’re really sol.

  33. How to change a tire?

    I could no more change a tire than fly to the moon. Shouldn’t that be “When to call AAA”?

  34. I could no more change a tire than fly to the moon.

    The directions are in the manual. There is not a lot to it. I’m certain you could handle it.

  35. I’m certain I couldn’t without doing it previously with someone showing me what to do

  36. My DH can change a tire, but always struggles with it. The problem is that a lot of tire places put the bolts on so tightly that it is very hard to loosen them by hand, especially when you are parked barely out of traffic, the rain is pouring, and it is cold and dark (which always seems to be the case when a tire goes flat).

  37. I can’t loosen the bolts without a cheater bar, which I don’t carry. My last flat tire was when I was post-due with Baby WCE and when my portable inflater didn’t help, I called the local tire place who came and put on my spare for me and took the wheel back for a new tire.

    When I go somewhere rural that timely assistance isn’t available, I’m with Mr WCE.

  38. I like AAA for piece of mind. I think it is worth the fee to have them change a tire, or deal with any other emergency. The service paid for itself when I had a full time sitter because she got two flats.
    My battery died in my old Subaru, and it was just easy to have them come when I was stuck on a freezing cold night.

  39. I had to change a tire once. The spare was stored under the bed of the truck, and had to be lowered via wench. PITA. Scary experience for a teenager. My parents got AAA after that incident.

    All of these things I figured out on my own (except maybe washing clothes). Do kids really need this much handholding? OTOH I do recall having a panic attack my first year at college.

    Your kids are lucky they have you for support.

  40. “I could no more change a tire than fly to the moon. Shouldn’t that be “When to call AAA”?”

    Sure. And when the AAA guys tell you that someone will be there in four hours, I expect her to be able to get the jack and the spare and take care of it herself. Much safer for a young woman driving solo to be able to take care of some basic things on her own.

    Also always keep duct tape in the car — that held my hood down on one trip when the latch broke. Thanks, Macgyver.

  41. “‘and had to be lowered via wench’

    Was there one nearby who was willing?”

    [Snort]. If you were near a Rennaisance Festival, no problem.

  42. Milo – for the life of me I could not figure what the right word was! As I was typing, I knew it wasn’t quite right. Winch? I guess. So close.

    Who ever designed that system clearly never had to use it late at night on a country road.

    Two men (father and son) and a woman had to come help me. My dad was trying to give me directions on the phone. This was back when long distance was expensive and the poor guy who let me use his phone was really not pleased.

    The whole event was a fiasco.

  43. Nope, the bolts are on too tight for me to change them. I actually asked my father to show me how to change a tire, and he did, but I’ve never done it since that day. I have, however, sat there for four hours waiting for AAA. That’s why I always keep a couple of magazines in the back seat.

  44. “My DH can change a tire, but always struggles with it. The problem is that a lot of tire places put the bolts on so tightly that it is very hard to loosen them by hand”

    Technically, I think they’re supposed to be re-torqued after about 50 miles of driving, but nobody does that or returns to the station for that service. So the extra initial torque may be to compensate for that.

  45. Not a wrench. The spare tire was held to the undercarriage by chains. I had to somehow lower the tire (I don’t remember how), take the chains off and get the tire from under the cab and then, start changing the flat.

  46. We got a flat last year in a shady area and AAA said they couldn’t get there for two hours. My dad had taught me how to change a tire in high school but I hadn’t done it in about 20 years and I found out that day that DH had never changed a tire. I remembered the basics but those bolts are very hard to turn. A nice man who told us he had just gotten out of jail for being here illegally helped us change the tire and we gave him $20 as a thank you (we surprisingly and luckily had some cash on us). I was really glad I wasn’t with the kids by myself. My friends have had similar stories where AAA takes hours so I’m not sure it’s really worth it.

  47. Stuff like laundry I will probably teach as the kids get older to get it off my plate, but I’m not really too concerned about laundry or cooking. They will figure it out.

  48. We were out of pocket yesterday getting #1’s tooth fixed – she cracked her (front, ADULT!) tooth right off and we went to the dentist right away – they were able to bond it together! I was amazed. I thought for sure we’d have to have them build her a new tooth or get an implant.

    I have never changed a tire – the 3x I got a flat, (1) I was with my mom and we called AAA, (2) I was with DH and he changed it, and (3) I got 2 flats and called the Audi roadside people. One of those life things I don’t really want to have to learn! I have a feeling that our kids will never learn how to drive a stick – DH and I only learned in HS and then quickly forgot.

  49. Yeah, I’ve sort of lost my tire-changing cred. We had a flat in Scotland last summer, conveniently at the exit to whatever their version of Costco is, so at least I was able to get off the road and into the parking lot. Of course I had an hour before I was due to pick up DH and DS (and no cell service), and all of our bags were packed like a jigsaw into the back (including some on the little tray that covers the hatchback, so you sort of had to maneuver them out before you could even lift the hatch). And I decided to give DD an object lesson in How Girls Can Take Care of Themselves on the Road. So I got the stuff out and got the jack set up and going (after much spacial reasoning exercise), and I just wasn’t making much progress. Then this guy — whatever you call the Scots version of a Geordie — came over. I was a little trepidatious — bald head, tats, totally ripped, could have snapped my neck before I could say “boo,” and I’ve got my daughter there to protect. Then he offers to help, and in this almost indecipherable brogue starts explaining that he works in a motor shop and fixes cars in his spare time and it’s not a problem at all. He had the tire changed in under 5 minutes flat (you know the rod you use to turn the jack? Yes, I was using it the wrong way — he flipped it around and went wzzzzzzz in a circle for about 5 seconds and it was done). Refused to take any money or let me buy him a Coke or anything but a thank-you and was on his way. It seriously took me longer to repack the car than it took him to get the car jacked, the tire swapped, and the car back on the ground.

  50. L – I forgot they even made stick shifts! I learned to drive one in high school because my boyfriend had a stick but I definitely would not be able to drive one now.

  51. Both DH and I can drive standard transmission. I learned on a standard transmission car, in fact. Sadly, it is almost impossible to buy cars with stickshift these days, except maybe for sports cars, so we now own two automatics. For the longest time after getting the new Subaru, I couldn’t figure out what to do with my left foot

  52. “I have a feeling that our kids will never learn how to drive a stick”

    Another critical life skill that I need to figure out how to teach (given that our only current manual car also comes with 450 hp). Yes, I admit it’s a dying art in the US. But (a) for new drivers, I think it’s awesome, because you actually have to pay attention to your driving, and (b) it’s really helpful if you ever want to travel outside the US.

  53. DD is currently learning how to drive stick, but at sixteen still does not know how to ride a bike!

  54. Sadly, it is almost impossible to buy cars with stickshift these days, except maybe for sports cars,

    Honda still sells a 6-speed manual Accord.

  55. I’m also fairly certain that a Civic, Impreza, Corolla, Mazda 3 and Golf can all still be had with a manual transmission.

  56. ATM – Interesting. Winch indeed:

    What is a spare tire winch and where is it located?

    While most passenger cars have the spare tire concealed underneath the trunk mat, many trucks, SUVs, and vans keep the spare tire underneath the chassis of the vehicle. The tire is held in place there by a device called a spare tire winch, also referred to as a spare tire carrier, spare tire hoist, or spare tire mount. The spare tire is held on the end of a cable, which can be lowered to let down the spare tire.

    The driver lets down the spare tire by hand cranking a winch, which lets out the cable. The winch can usually be turned with a lug wrench, or with a special tool that comes with the vehicle. You can find the winch underneath your vehicle, near the back bumper—that’s under the bed, if we’re talking about a pickup truck.

  57. I twice tried to teach DW to drive a stick, but it didn’t really take. The first time was the morning that I was trading in my old stick shift car, and I figured there was nothing to lose. The second time was on our rental car in Spain, but we hadn’t seen each other for five months, plus we were still newlyweds, more or less, and the finer points of balancing the throttle with clutch engagement were not high on the priority list for either of us.

  58. “that’s it. Easy peasy, right?”


    I watched Rhett’s video during lunch, and looked under my car afterward for the correct spot to place the jack. That’s the hardest part, imo. I *think* I found it.

  59. on my older cars, one of the radio preset buttons has “clock” written in tiny letters just above it. Another button has “H” (hour) and a third has “M” (minutes). Hold down the clock one until it beeps and the time flashes. Press the H and M buttons to set the time. Press the clock button again.

  60. The cars you list are all too small for us. When we bought the current Subaru, it was under duress (DH had totalled the old one, slipping while driving in an ice storm). The model supposedly does come in a versiion with manual transmission, but there were none available anywhere in reasonable distance when we needed to buy.
    My DH drove a minivan with manual for years, but when it was time to replace it, none of the minivan models came in a manual version.

  61. Rhett, I was hoping you’d find it for me. But I forgot to add that for the Subaru Forester with navigation the procedure is different. I realize I could Google it myself, but . . .

  62. Mooshi – I didn’t answer your question about my thoughts on Apple vs. FBI because I don’t know enough to have an opinion (not that this precludes me in other areas), but I’m still curious what you think of it.

  63. CofC,

    Are you sure it’s different? What I’m seeing is that it’s the same for both nav and non nav equipped Foresters. But, I could be wrong.

  64. Thanks, Rhett! I’ll try that. Maybe it was the Eyesight package that was different. My manual informed me they were different for one of the packages I have, but now I can’t remember exactly.

  65. CofC,

    The thought of someone driving around with an improperly set car clock makes my skin crawl. So, anything I can do to reduce the problem is a pleasure.

  66. So my boat’s now stored on a lift in a nice covered slip alongside a ton of other boats. (You pull it into place, turn a switch, and a lift picks it up out of the water.)

    Its next-slip neighbor is a Ski Nautique that appears to be brand new. I can’t tell exactly what type it is, but it looks like this:

    Starting at $120,000.

    I worry that my boat will develop an inferiority complex.

  67. Wait, CoC, are you talking about setting the clock on a fully-loaded Forester? DH has a 2014 Forester and changing the clock is, in my opinion, simply a bug. It just doesn’t work and none of the videos showing how are correct. Between DH and me there is a reasonable amount of problem-solving skill, and neither of us can get it to work.

  68. “The thought of someone driving around with an improperly set car clock makes my skin crawl.”

    lol. Agreed. Although it’s not as bad as someone who has the wipers on unnecessarily.

  69. Meme or any one else who knows their tax stuff?

    we are selling our house we bought 5/2014. If it closes 4/30/16 will this be sufficient for the 2-year test? or are they so particular it needs to be owned through 5/19 if closing was 5/20/14 to avoid the tax on gain?

    I’ve never sold after only 2 years before so it was never confusing before

  70. I watched the Steve Jobs movie on the plane. I never want to give another penny to Apple after watching this movie. I know it’s a dramatization, but some of it has to be true.

    I finally had a chance to watch Spotlight too. I loved this movie, and I’m glad it win the award.

    Wine, congrats!!!

  71. RMS — oh no. A 2016 Forester. I thought the clock would have reset itself, tbh.

  72. DS called the other night to tell us that they were making an offer on a house. Without asking us for any advice. Which they should have, because their realtor is a friend of DIL’s family who told them the property had been on the market 7 days when zillow says 180. I had to explain to him what an escalation clause is, because the realtor never mentioned it. Trying to let them make their own mistakes is very hard.

  73. ” I had to explain to him what an escalation clause is”

    You said they’re in a small town, right? Are escalation clauses common in that market? We never bothered with anything like that.

  74. I know how to change a tire and have done so, but avoid it if at all possible. I’ve always been able to get AAA to come in a reasonable amount of time, but maybe I’ve just been lucky. The AAA driver has always changed it quickly and told me where to go to get the tire repaired (often for free) or replaced, which is handy if you’re not in familiar territory. Totally worth the small annual fee for AAA. I still think it’s important for kids to learn the basics of how a car works, what routine maintenance is required, and how to change a tire when they are learning to drive to prepare them for life. I learned to drive a stick shift back in the day, and could probably still do it if I had to do, but, like changing a tire, I’d rather avoid it.

  75. I thought the clock would have reset itself, tbh.

    A quick googling says the only car you can buy that sets itself automatically is a Tesla.

  76. this is the 4th property we’ve owned, I don’t know what an escalation clause is and we never asked our parents for real estate advice

  77. @ Rhett – my Honda minivan set its clock automatically for the time change. DH’s car also did.

  78. Lark,

    Oh, and I see it not only automatically adjusts for daylight savings it automatically adjusts for time zones. Very impressive.

  79. on gain on sale , I’m reading

    ” If you owned the home for at least 24 months (2 years) leading up to the date of sale (date of the closing), you meet the ownership requirement.”

    so I think we are okay

  80. “A quick googling says the only car you can buy that sets itself automatically is a Tesla.”

    that’s dumb, when you think about it. If the car Bluetooth syncs with your phone, why doesn’t it just ask the phone what time it is? Or if it has factory navigation, ask the satellites.

    Our parents and in-laws are all super reluctant to give advice on real estate or anything like that out of fear that it will be perceived as stepping on toes. Even with something as mild as interior decorating, which is something that my Mom loves and is very good at, it’s like pulling teeth to get an opinion from her, as she’s hyper-sensitive to not be telling her DILs what to do.

    When we were house shopping, MIL came with us to take care of my eldest during the day. The second time we went to look at the house we ended up buying, before we put in a contract we asked her to come with us just for a third opinion, and she basically just said “It looks nice. Go for it.”

  81. What does DS need to learn before he goes to college? To drive!! He’s 16.5 years old and still doesn’t care. “After the PSAT” “After the SAT” “After my AP exams” “Meh”

  82. He’s 16.5 years old and still doesn’t care

    Where I grew up you could get your learner’s permit on your 15th birthday. I was the first in line.

    My parents were a little miffed we didn’t ask them for real estate advice.

  83. Milo,

    I apparently didn’t do enough googling. As it turns out many cars, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes, etc. adjust their clocks automatically many apparently automatically adjusting for time zone as well.

  84. Lark: I know, right? I don’t want to force him to do it, but I might have to.

    I think he would have no problem going to college without knowing how to drive. Between Uber and public transportation, he might be ok. But still…

  85. “I don’t understand that at all, I couldn’t wait to drive!”

    I don’t even try to understand. From the age of six, I remember pondering at every birthday how much longer until I was 16 and could drive, and trying to rationalize the time away (it’s just five years away, it’s just three years away…). When I got closer, I had Page-A-Day calendars marked with both the dates I would be eligible for a learner’s, and my 16th birthday. I got both on the exact day I was eligible.

  86. “As it turns out many cars, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes, etc. adjust their clocks automatically ”

    Got it. Not mine, but you probably need the built-in navigation.

    We’ll just have to do without.

  87. After the PSAT” “After the SAT” “After my AP exams” “Meh”

    Makes sense. He doesn’t see it as freedom, he sees it as another test to be studied for. And, to make it even worse, his parents have to do most of the teaching. I can see what that doesn’t have a lot of appeal these days.

  88. I watched the Steve Jobs movie on the plane. I never want to give another penny to Apple after watching this movie

    I know several people who worked for Apple back in the day, and they all hated Jobs with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns. One guy would have wound up with over $100,000,000 today if he’d stuck it out, but his life and sanity were worth more.

  89. “CoC and others- what would you think about another introductory thread sometime?”

    I would like that. Some may not want to give updates, but they can just opt out.

  90. I have had 3 flat tires. In each case, people driving by stopped and offered to help. Unless you travel on deserted roads, I don’t think it is a skill that is super important. I have run flat tires now, but haven’t had the occasion to see how they work. My car clock must reset itself because I didn’t spring it forward and it is correct (and I don’t have a Tesla, although they are very cool).

    I think most college-aged kids can figure things out at school. I had never done a load of laundry until my freshman year and it took me approximately 16 seconds to figure out how to do it.

  91. Jobs was a jerk, self-promoter and relied on the genius of others while simultaneously screwing them out of what was promised. Plus he had that kid he mostly denied. At least that is what people say.

  92. I’ve been derelict in teaching housekeeping skills, but my kids seemed to have picked them up just fine. They learned how to wash their own clothes mainly on their own. One of my kids learned how to mop and wash dishes at her first job. Yeah, that’s embarrassing for me.

    I don’t think driving is a critical skill, but definitely nice to have, depending where they go to college.

    Interesting that some kids don’t know how to ride a bike, which I guess is a skill that is location dependent.

    My oldest kid’s college had a swimming test they had to pass or else take a class. But I think they’ve since dropped that requirement.

  93. I know several people who worked for Apple back in the day, and they all hated Jobs with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns.

    Aren’t they all like that? Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, etc. screaming at people and making them cry?

  94. One skill I think people should teach their kids (if they will be in a place where it snows), is how to drive in the snow. Most of the DC metro vicinity needs a remedial lesson in this.

  95. Tire changing…I know how and have done it, but only with one of those X lug removers. I can’t do it with the crowbar type, I can’t get the leverage or jump on it. I have an old X type in the garage. If we are going on a long or rural trip, I add it to the packing list. The last time I needed to change one, the issue was that I had 2 flats – likely due to construction down the block from where we lived and I picked up nails. So, my neighbor came over, brought his jack, we took off both wheels, took them in his car to the tire place and then put them on the car. Then I drove back to the tire place to get them balanced and checked.

    Kids –
    1. Laundry – mine started in 3rd grade, so we are good there.
    2. Cooking – DD#1 – won’t starve (microwavable dinners), but has no desire to cook. We are working on a few basics. DD#2 – likes to cook, so as an 8th Grader she sometimes cooks family meals.
    3. Financial – We opened a checking account for DD#1, the credit union advised against checks, unless she had a need for them regularly. Something to check out. A different credit union will print you out 5 free at a time. I write about 5 checks a year. Every time I am hunting for the checkbook. I often staple cash to school forms, if it isn’t something they put on your bill.
    4. Credit cards – DD#1 has a card in her name on our account, mainly for emergencies.
    5. Drive – Finished our last class at the school, now to do the parent hours…but like Houston…the kid really doesn’t want to drive…WHY????
    6. Phone – she understands her prepaid plan, has unlimited talk and text, but may switch her to a different plan, but it is 2 years away.
    7. Shopping – To her most stuff magically appears, she isn’t totally oblivious, but somewhat clueless about what things come from what stores. Other than a book store, she generally doesn’t care if she ever goes in a store.
    8. Know the rules and know them well enough to use them to your advantage – The university will give you accurate answers to the question you ask, but do not assume anyone will go above or beyond that to tell you what it is you really need to know. So, pay attention ask questions, ask variations of the same question, ask if X is the only way to do or get something, etc. Also, you need to seek out the right person/office to ask. The wrong person often won’t tell you they are the wrong person or that their answer may not be the most up to date. If two different people tell you the same thing, independently, it is likely correct.
    9. Taxes – No job for her yet, but something to think about.

  96. Rhett – I wonder. Not that I’m dismissing Cat’s and other’s claims, but maybe that’s one reason why they have to follow Rockefeller’s tradition of giving away enormous sums, in part to redeem their reputations. Maybe Jobs just never got the chance.

  97. “is how to drive in the snow. Most of the DC metro vicinity needs a remedial lesson in this”

    Everyone always says this, but is there anything to teach other than go a lot slower and leave more stopping distance?

  98. Turn in to the slide! A rear wheel drive car probably isn’t the best choice of you have never driven in snow before. Stay away from my car. If you are stuck and no one else is, please don’t abandon your car in the middle of the street. Lots of other things that I am forgetting, I am sure.

  99. “like Houston…the kid really doesn’t want to drive…WHY????”

    Well, speaking as the anti-Milo here: why would I want to?

    What would it get me? I could already walk and bike everywhere I wanted to go, and I already had plenty of freedom to run around on my own. So it would have saved me some walking. If I’d had my parents to chauffeur me around everywhere, it would have gotten me even less.

    What would it cost me? My mom was clear that she expected me to pay for insurance and gas. That meant a regular job, instead of just periodic babysitting. And that seemed like a zero-sum game: the more I wanted to drive around, the less time I’d have to do it, because I’d need to work to pay for the privilege.

    So, meh. A lot of work for not a lot of payback. My mom ended up basically forcing me to go to the DMV at 17 1/2, when she was tired of picking me up at play practices at midnight. By which point she was so desperate that she dropped the demand that I pay for insurance and nagged me only periodically about gas, so the math was more in my favor.

  100. When I was 16, I took driving lessons. Still, my Dad would not let me touch his car! I used to sneak out and take it out as quietly as possible! One day he heard the car starting and came running out to stop me! He kept the keys with him after that till I got my own car!

  101. Jobs was a jerk, self-promoter and relied on the genius of others while simultaneously screwing them out of what was promised. Plus he had that kid he mostly denied. At least that is what people say.

    Times a thousand.

    One of my many Silicon Valley friends was the 4th grade teacher of the aforementioned illegitimate child.

    No, he was worse than the other douches. He wasn’t satisfied until he’d made a genuine effort to destroy your soul. It wasn’t that you had a bad idea; you were retarded and a huge waste of carbon. He didn’t let go until he’d found every way to make you cry and hate life. There was no need for that. It wasn’t the same as Gates, for example (although Ellison doesn’t have a huge fan club either). He wasn’t just impatient and dismissive. He was mean and evil and cruel.

  102. My kid just turned 16 and shows zero interest in driving. None of his friends are driving either. None of them have any interest in “car stuff”. I think it is a trend in the current generation.

  103. One of my relatives had to deal with Steve Eisner in her job. She tolerated it for a couple of years and then walked. She took a huge pay cut, but she said it was totaly worth it.

  104. but is there anything to teach other than go a lot slower and leave more stopping distance?

    Don’t panic? If you were driving home in the snow and the car started to slide a little, you’d ease off the gas, reduce the radius of the turn, etc. I get the impression that when people who aren’t used to it encounter ice and snow they they panic when they start to slide and slam on the brakes and yank on the wheel sending them off the road.

  105. “is there anything to teach other than go a lot slower and leave more stopping distance?”

    “Four-wheel drive” means “four-wheel start,” NOT “four-wheel stop.” Inertia is a powerful force, and you will only skid when you are trying to change speed or direction, so make all changes slowly and gently. That means downshift instead of braking to keep your speed under control going downhill and coming to a stop. If your wheels are spinning, start in second gear. Know the difference between understeer and oversteer, because they require different responses (oversteer = turn into the skid; understeer = lift your foot off the gas). Never brake and turn at the same time if you can avoid it (inertia double whammy) — decrease your speed before you get to the turn (preferably by downshifting vs. braking) so you can then negotiate the turn without needing brakes. Use snow tires. Pay very close attention to overpasses and bridges, because you frequently can’t see the temperature difference. Turn off the radio, don’t talk to people, and use all your senses — sight, hearing, the feel of the car on the road (tho preferably not smell, because that means you’ve burned the clutch). Always keep the tank at least half full in case you get stuck, and keep a basic survival kit in the car. If you do get stuck, make sure the tailpipe stays clear so you don’t get CO poisoning.

    Plus, you know, just stay off the damn road when it’s bad unless you really really really have to. And unless you’re Ada, you probably don’t really really really have to.

  106. It wasn’t the same as Gates

    He’s mellowed considerable with age but my understanding was that young Bill would scream “you were retarded and a huge waste of carbon” at employees during profanity laced rages.

  107. “Are escalation clauses common in that market?”

    He told me that desirable first-time homebuyer properties are gone a week after being listed. The entity selling the foreclosure is accepting offers through the end of the month. Under those circumstances, it seemed that an escalation clause might be useful. When we sold our last Virginia house, the first two offers we received had escalation clauses.

  108. I was at the DMV on my 16th birthday.

    My mom hated driving and simply refused to do it. True fact about me: I swam with the Santa Clara Valley Aquamaids for about 10 minutes as a teenager. This was before synchronized swimming was part of the Olympics. I could have been at the national level in synchro. Oh shut UP. It’s not that funny. Anyway, after about 2 weeks Mom simply refused to drive me from Palo Alto to San Jose several times a week for the workouts. Just said, No, fuck this.

    Thus I am constantly amazed at what some parents will do to get their kid on the “travel team”.

  109. He told me that desirable first-time homebuyer properties are gone a week after being listed.

    Yet this place has been on the market for 170 days?

  110. We’ve provided DS with incentive to learn to drive, and get his license, by sometimes not driving him to meet up with his friends on weekends. E.g., to get to one popular meet-up location, he would need to:

    -Walk about 1 mile to the nearest bus stop. He could save himself one bus transfer by walking about 2.5 miles instead.

    -Catch one bus, ride it for about 45 minutes, then

    -get off, wait for another bus, ride it for about 20 minutes. Then it’s about a 10 minute walk.

    Driving takes about 25 minutes.

  111. That CO risk is so tragic. People have put their kids in the car with the engine running so they can warm up while the parent brushes and scrapes all the snow and ice, and then…

  112. “but is there anything to teach other than go a lot slower and leave more stopping distance?”

    I’ve explained to DS how traction is limited, and not to use it for multiple things at once. E.g., slow down before a curve; you’re much more likely to lose traction in a curve if you’re also braking.

    Learning how to put chains on before you have to do is also useful, but he can do that himself. When I bought my first set of chains, I practiced putting them on and taking them off in my garage first.

  113. Finn, the difference for my 16 year old is that he lives in easy walking distance to all his friends. He walks or bikes to cross country practice. He also walks to and from the music camp that he does in the summer. He also goes to a programming camp in the summer, but it is on the same campus as my other two kids camps, so I just drive them all together.
    I am expecting that he will start using the train into the city and the subway before he drives.

  114. I could not wait to drive when I was a teenager. I have a late birthday so was one of the last ones to get my license. Still remember when my best friend got her license and I no longer had to take the bus to school (which was terribly uncool) and when my boyfriend got his license and we could go out to dinner or just drive to each other’s houses w/o asking our parents. But then it doesn’t seem like kids today take the bus or have serious boyfriends or girlfriends in high school anymore. My neighbor was telling me she needs to continue to employ an after school nanny for her soon to be freshman and sixth grader because neither had ever taken the bus and they weren’t about to start now.

  115. Houston, you have to force him to learn to drive. It’s an important life skill, not so much for being away at school, but potentially for summer jobs and then definitely for adulthood. He will never have as much time to learn to drive as when he is in high school and his parents are theoretically available to teach him. Make him get the permit as soon as the law allows and then after you’ve done the drive around the parking lot thing, make him drive with you to school or practice or church or errands or wherever else he goes until you feel comfortable turning over the keys.

    Both DH and my brother were appalled that our kids showed little interest in getting their licenses. It’s no longer the rite of passage it used to be, but it’s still something they need to learn.

  116. I think Gates gets much more of a pass because he is perceived as a genius. Jobs is not.

  117. “Mom simply refused to drive me from Palo Alto to San Jose”

    Didn’t they train at the Santa Clara Swim Center, the same place Mark Spitz trained?

  118. “Yet this place has been on the market for 170 days?”

    Which is why some input from the cynical, suspicious set of parents would have been far more useful than the input from the nice local set of parents.

  119. their realtor is a friend of DIL’s family who told them the property had been on the market 7 days when zillow says 180.

    Not to raise them to be cynics, but how do you give them a healthy dose of skepticism? He’s lying to get into your pants, she’s lying about the career prospects of a music phd, the realtor is lying about how much demand their is for the house… etc?

  120. My oldest is thinking to do the required drivers’ ed class this summer — he’ll be old enough for a permit by the end of the school year, gack! — unless he gets the into the Yellowstone YCC in which case he may not be able to swing the schedule.

  121. “downshift instead of braking to keep your speed under control going downhill and coming to a stop”

    I disagree.

    I remember once, driving downhill on icy roads, I decided to slow down by downshifting. As soon as I let the clutch out, the rear end broke loose. I suppose I should’ve revved the engine so when I let out the clutch, the drive wheels would’ve been spinning at the same rate, but that’s not easy. I would’ve been better off just slowly getting off the gas, then gradually braking.

  122. the same place Mark Spitz trained

    I had a swim coach who trained with him. (She didn’t like him at. all.) Maybe RMS knew my former swim coach! Did you swim with anyone named Glee?

  123. I think Gates gets much more of a pass because he is perceived as a genius. Jobs is not.

    I think Gates spend more time and money rehabilitating his image. I also think Gates never held himself out as anything other than a ruthless business man. Jobs always tried to work that hippie angle while being a ruthless business man which strikes many as hypocritical.

  124. ” I suppose I should’ve revved the engine so when I let out the clutch, the drive wheels would’ve been spinning at the same rate”

    And that would defeat the whole purpose of downshifting. I kind of agree that the downshifting part is passé. There aren’t many clutches left, anyway. Downshifting provides braking force to only the two drive wheels; brakes provide force to all four wheels. Add in modern ABS systems, and the brakes are probably better suited to the task all around.

  125. And that would defeat the whole purpose of downshifting. I kind of agree that the downshifting part is passé. There aren’t many clutches left, anyway.

    Wouldn’t downshifting an automatic involve going from D to L?

  126. So…1975 was a long time ago, and I don’t remember exactly where the swim team trained. I’m bad with directions, and my memory is just Mom cursing the traffic for 45 minutes til we got there. And no, I don’t remember anyone named Glee. Sorry. Honestly, my main memory is how much of a drama llama my mother was about the driving.

  127. “I can’t even figure out how to change the clock on my car. ”

    Don’t feel bad. Just removing the dash is a major job.

    “my Honda minivan set its clock automatically for the time change. DH’s car also did.”

    The clocks on our cars are smart enough to know that in our time zone, we don’t do daylight savings.

  128. If you watch Inspector Morse or Inspector Lewis, Lewis is a Geordie.

  129. Houston – mine is 17 and is taking the driving test next week. He still doesn’t really have a desire to drive, but said it’s embarrassing to not have your license at 17.

  130. RMS, I remember the first time I drove by the Santa Clara Swim Center, and realized that it’s where Spitz trained, as well as so many other people I had seen on TV.

    I used to be able to ride my bike from Palo Alto to Santa Clara in less than 45 minutes; during commute hours, that was often faster than driving.

  131. “Not to raise them to be cynics, but how do you give them a healthy dose of skepticism?”

    DS was surrounded by it, but his DW is the most optimistic, good-hearted creature on the planet.

  132. Well, it wasn’t that likely you would . . . along the same lines as “You live in NYC? OMG, my roommate’s ex-boyfriend lives in NYC! Do you know a Jim?”

  133. Downshifting to control your speed, i.e., to keep from accelerating, especially on a downhill, makes sense. To slow down on icy roads, not so much, IMO, IME.

    BTW the traction theory also applies when accelerating. Don’t start accelerating while you’re still in a curve; wait until you’re going straight.

  134. I used to be able to ride my bike from Palo Alto to Santa Clara in less than 45 minutes; during commute hours, that was often faster than driving.

    Workouts were in the evening, and there was no way Mom would have let me ride my bike after dark from Palo Alto to Santa Clara, and I actually think she was right about that.

  135. Was just chatting with my next door neighbor — she recently returned from Pakistan after finalizing details of one son’s upcoming wedding, and is now looking for a wife for her other son. He just doesn’t seem to be all that interested in getting married yet, but he’s 35 and she thinks it’s time.

    Our DC nanny had an arranged marriage, and arranged a marriage for her daughter, but I still can’t wrap my head around the whole notion. Even though it does appeal to my control-freak tendencies.

  136. As a non-snow driver, what does “steer into the skid” even mean? If I’m driving, and the rear end breaks loose and starts coming around on the driver side, do I turn the wheel to the left or do I turn to the right?

  137. @MBT: To the left. You are trying to put the front of the car back ahead of the part that is breaking away.

    @Finn: good Lord, how long does it take you to shift? :-) Plus I downshift before the hill (same theory as braking before the turn). All I can say is that it’s kept me out of snow-related accidents for the past 30+ years. The only time I remember almost losing control was when we lived on top of our luge-ramp hill in CO and I had a loaner company Taurus — I just could NOT downshift the stupid automatic enough to slow the thing down, so I tapped the brakes and immediately skidded and almost ran it up the curb. Freaking beast.

  138. MBT – left. You car is spinning to the right by coming from the left, so you turn in to it. I think it is the natural thing to do, but my friend’s dad used to grab the wheel so that we would skid out so that we could practice.

  139. The kids in my town are not in a rush to drive unless they have to take the bus to the HS. The kids that can’t walk tend to get their licenses before everyone else. Some of my friends are using a private driving instructor that they swear is like a horse whisperer for teenagers. The reason is that some of the biggest fights in their families happened when their teenagers were learning to drive. It does seem hard to squash in driving lessons with PSAT, SAT prep, extracurriculars and APs.
    17 is the age for the test, so most kids are juniors or seniors.

    I was desperate to get my license, but NYC required the permit driver to be older than the burbs. My parents used to take me to Yonkers because I wanted my license as early as possible.

  140. ““You live in NYC? OMG, my roommate’s ex-boyfriend lives in NYC! Do you know a Jim?””

    Somehow, this brings this scene to mind:

  141. We had a flat on Sunday. It took me about 10 to 15 minutes to change it. My dad trained me well, letting me help him when he rotated the tires on our cars when I was a kid.

    “I can’t loosen the bolts without a cheater bar, which I don’t carry.”

    My dad taught me to use the bumper jack for this. Of course, that’s not much help these days.

  142. I am fascinated by this driving conversation. My entire work day is structured around needing to pick up afternoon carpool and get 4 different kids to their various afternoon places. No bus where we are. So kids driving themselves is a necessity for me when the time comes. We don’t live in an urban area, and while bikes can get you all over the neighborhood, they can’t get you to school. I had lunch with a colleague yesterday whose son just turned 15, and she was talking about how they will be requiring him to chip in for part of his gas and insurance. I was nodding along while listening but inside I’m thinking if driving does nothing but help me out I can’t imagine disincentivizing my kids to do it.

  143. wine, I suggest looking into the timing issue very carefully. If your home ends up being your residence for one day short of 24 months, I think you will lose your exclusion (but don’t take my word for it). So you might want to make sure not to close so early that you lose that.

    Of course, if there will be little or no CG, then it’s not a big deal. In calculating your potential CG, make sure to include in your cost basis all eligible expenses. E.g., check if your sales commission reduces your CG, and don’t forget to increase your cost basis if you made any improvements to the house.

  144. Scarlett: You are probably right about forcing him to learn to drive. I just want him to *want* to learn. Kind of like Jennifer Anniston in that movie that I can’t name right now.

  145. Wine – aren’t you moving more than 50 miles away for work or educational reasons? The excerpt below is a little long, but hits the high points.

    Prorated Maximum Exclusion
    If the taxpayer cannot satisfy the use and ownership tests to claim the full exclusion amount, then a partial exclusion equal to the amount of time that the taxpayer does satisfy the use and ownership test divided by 2 years can be claimed if the reason for the sale is because a change of employment, health problems, or some other unforeseen circumstances either to the taxpayer, a close family relative, or to other members of the house who have an ownership stake in the house.

    So if you sell your house at a gain of $140,000 because of a change in job location, but only lived in the house for 1 year as a principal residence, then you can claim 50% of the exclusion amount, or $125,000. Hence $125,000 would be tax-free but the remaining $15,000 gain would be taxable.

    Safe Harbor for a Prorated Exclusion

    Generally, to satisfy the requirements for a prorated exclusion, the IRS considers the facts and circumstances of the situation to decide whether the applicable rules apply. However, the IRS does provide a bright line to distinguish whether the rules allow the prorated exclusion. The change of employment rule is satisfied if the taxpayer’s new job location is at least 50 miles further than the old job location from the primary residence and the taxpayer was using the primary residence at the time of the job change. The change of employment includes working for the same employer but in a different location or a change in location for a self-employed worker. The safe harbor can also be satisfied if an unemployed taxpayer obtains a job that is more than 50 miles away from the sold residence.

    When the IRS considers facts and circumstances, the most important factor will be the primary reason for the home sale. Thus, the primary reason for the sale must have been because of the change of employment, deteriorating health, or other unforeseen circumstances.

    Unforeseen circumstances includes any factor that would make the house unaffordable, or a change in financial status that would make it difficult to maintain the home, such as the involuntary conversion of a home, or damage from disasters; or death, divorce, or legal separation or even a change in employment with a reduced income making it hard for the taxpayer to afford the house. The unforeseen circumstance must not have been anticipated before the house was bought and occupied. So, for instance if a unmarried couple buy a residence so that they can live together, but later they break up, then this would be considered an unforeseen circumstance, especially if the remaining taxpayer is unable to afford the housing by herself.

  146. I pay most tradesmen in cash. I dislike checks that much. As the treasurer for a volunteer organization, I have to write checks from time to time to older folks. They can take months to cash them.

    My kids found when they went to school that they were more competent at household tasks (cooking, cleaning, laundry, holding a job) than most of their friends, and certainly even the sloppier ones of my kids were better at cleaning up than the entitled twits they had as roommates. However, some lessons are learned best in the school of hard knocks by having the electricity cut off, bouncing a check, hitting the credit limit on a card, shrinking a favorite sweater. In the 90s and early 00s there were no electronic dining cards, online money transfer via national banks, no one had a cell phone and we didn’t use personal email until 2000).

    My privacy was non existent as a child and teenager – that is part of why I figured out how to leave home at 16. So I bent over backward to leave my kids alone.

  147. Wow, I’m sorry I missed so much of this discussion!

    DH taught both kids how to drive a stick shift (the “kids” car is an Jetta with manual transmission), and I think they are really happy that they know how to when so few people do these days. I never learned, and don’t really want him to teach me!

    I think getting a drivers license is a good idea because 1) it is a good piece of ID to have – what do you use otherwise – your passport? What will they show when they get carded? and 2) eventually they may have a job that is not easily reached with public transportation.

    RMS – I am impressed that you were a synchronized swimmer! Did you have to wear a bathing cap or just put your hair in a bun?

    Anothertwinmom – I am intrigued by your former assembly line work – what did you assemble?

    Winemama – congrats on selling your home!

    One thing that DS wasn’t sure how to do was change planes!! He had always gone nonstop except when he went to Sweden for the Scout Jamboree (and was in a group). It was so funny to have to explain to him that he shouldn’t go back through security – and it only came up because he had a very short window to make his second plane. He would normally have died rather than ask me for advice!

  148. 1) it is a good piece of ID to have – what do you use otherwise – your passport?

    Your passport card.

  149. Wrong link:

    U.S. law 22 U.S.C. 2671(b) (2) (A) requires that any departure assistance be provided “on a reimbursable basis to the maximum extent practicable.”

    Long story short, you show up at any US Embassy or Consulate with no money and they make you sign a form promising to pay them back and you’re on the next flight back home. There is nothing that can happen such that you won’t get home. So, just relax.

  150. I am amazed at how many kids don’t get licenses when they turn 18. Of course, it is a lot harder to get a license than when I was a kid. I had drivers Ed in school, complete with behind the wheel training. For DD, we had to find a driving school and learn the rules.

    She is leaving in four or five months. She knows how to do laundry, can manage to feed herself, can drive a car, navigated airports with plane changes without a working cell phone. I am more concerned with the big stuff….how to recognize a life partner? Does she know that there is always a plan B?

  151. As to changing a tire? I am over fifty, I’ve had many flat tires. Either AAA or some nice man has always changed my tire for me.

    One dark and stormy night, DH, our three little kids and I got a flat time on the freeway. DH asked me what I wanted to do, I told him I wanted to call AAA. They came within half an hour, and they knew how to get through the locking lug nuts some idiot had put on the car before we bought it.

  152. Locking lug nuts = the one on each wheel that requires the wrench adapter that’s in the glove compartment? My cars have always had those. I think they came about during the ’90s crime wave with the popularized stories about cars being ransacked and left on cinder blocks.

    When I was driving tonight, I thought that one way to make unassisted roadside maintenance safer would be for manufacturers to add a much more prominent set of emergency/hazard flashers. With modern LEDs, they could easily place them at the top of the rear window, just below the roofline. You could even make it so that they don’t work unless the car is stopped, since it would just be overkill for typical hazard use, like many do during snowstorms. So many modern police cars don’t even bother with rooftop light bars any more because tiny LEDs can be more cheaply installed inside windows; they could use the same design for this. Until then, one major advantage of AAA is that you get a big pickup truck with flashing orange lights as a barrier behind your car.

  153. We bought our first Subaru from a dealer in Queens. It wan’t a great neighborhood, but it was the only 2002 Legacy that we could find within 100 miles. We didn’t think about it until we got a flat, and the AAA guy asked for the special tool to get those locking lug nuts off. I took my car to the local dealer in the burbs to get all of my tires changed to non-locking, and he explained that the original dealer put those on as an “upgrade” due to theft of the hub caps in the city.

  154. Scarlett — My mother’s parents had an arranged marriage. My grandfather hopped on a ship from the Old Country and came to the U.S. as a single guy in 1914. About a decade later, he decided he was established enough in the U.S. to get married. So he sent word over to the clan in the Old Country to find him a bride. He took a boat over, married my grandmother (the bride who had been chosen for him) in her little village, and then they both got on a ship back to the U.S. I often wonder what it was like for my grandmother — to be a very young woman immigrating to a foreign country that she knew nothing about, with a man she barely knew. I guess it worked out for them; but then again, as traditional as my parents were in many ways, they never considered trying to arrange a marriage for me (thankfully!).

  155. If my DD#1 gets her license —
    (1) she can sleep 20-30 minutes later every morning, because driving directly to school leaving enough time for traffic is 30 minutes. The bus that picks up in our general area is 12 minutes the opposite direction of the school and leaves an hour before school starts.
    (2) every Monday that is math team, the bus gets her home late enough that all we do is turn around and go back…so, I pick her up just before the campus closes, we go to dinner, then I wait the 1.5 hours for her at the nearby coffee shop. If she drove, she could come home in between and/or take herself to dinner or the library or the mall.
    (3) it is cheaper for me for her to drive to school than to pay for the bus plus all the extra trips we make…therefore, the insurance and the amount of gas to/from school activities is on me! More gas for solely fun stuff…that is allowance material!

  156. Austin, does your DD’s school have parking for students? That would be our problem if/when our kids get their licenses– no parking on campus for students.

    I’m hoping DS will get his license by this summer, when he’ll be eligible for a parking pass on campus because of his job.

  157. Yesterday I waited in line behind a woman who paid in cash. It was a slow process. This was the same woman who had earlier asked me the price of some produce items even though there were signs clearly showing prices. She looked and spoke like a native English speaker. I suspect she was at least partially illiterate. This was in Scarsdale.

    I was feeling brave and thought I could intuitively change the clock on my car with only a brief glance at the video graciously provided by Rhett. Well, no, because I inadvertently switched the screen to one that I don’t want, and didn’t have time to fiddle with the controls to change it back. And the time is still wrong. This happens to me All The Time, and explains why I’m afraid to plunge ahead with any technology changes without carefully reading instructions. (But I admit part of the problem is my lack of patience.) I’m sure one of my kids could quickly fix the mess I made, but not sure about changing the time after what RMS wrote.

  158. We live so close to the high school and middle school that our block gets used for overflow parking when there is a big school event. Obviously my kids walk.

  159. Maybe another post could be about what our kids should teach us before they leave the nest. :)

  160. Going against the trend here, I actually think the fact that kids are waiting to get their licenses is a good thing. I have always thought that 16 is just too young to be driving, and now that I am a mom of a just turned 16 year old, I really think that. In many countries in Europe, kids have to wait until 18 to get a license.
    The fatal accident rate among teens has gone down quite a bit, and research seems to point to both the higher requirements for getting licenses that were put in place in many states, and the fact that kids are getting their licenses later. An 18 year old learning to drive is likely to be more mature than a 16 year old.
    So, I am OK with the fact my kid, and his friends, are waiting. If he has his license by the time he heads to college, he should be fine.

  161. CoC, I really hope that between the 2014 and 2016 models they fixed the clock issue and that your kids can set it for you in no time.

  162. MM,
    We have a German exchange student living with us and she was very surprised to learn that kids here can get their license when they turn 16. She told me that she has to wait until she is 18. DD was surprised to learn that Germans can legally drink at 16. It was funny listening to the two discussing which country they think has better laws concerning these two issues. DD decided driving at 16 is much more practical than being allowed to drink at that 16. ES said that 16 is too young to drive but not drink.

  163. Agreed. The book above I recommended makes some of the same points. Her larger point is stop worrying so much about college and worry a little more about raising good people.

  164. ATM, MBT and CoC, belated response to questions from Monday.

    Our system sounds like the opposite of MBT’s: the school reminds parents at open house and orientation that all they have to do is ask for services if they think the child needs them, and there are staff in the building who do OT, PT, etc. Much less pressure to remove services than you describe.

    Other parents say that if you want to be 100% certain the kid gets services, you should go to X, Y or Z private evaluators who are likely to work with you to reach a qualifying diagnosis before kindergarten entry.

  165. I thought that teen driving statistics were remarkably improved as long as there were not multiple other teens in the car. Peer pressure, distraction, all that stuff. A 16-year-old who doesn’t have other teens in the car is a perfectly safe driver.

  166. Based entirely on my own experience with three new drivers, I think that kids should have their license for at least a year before leaving for college. Practice makes better, if not perfect. And a year gives them a chance to experience driving during the winter months, if that’s a factor where you live. Many kids don’t get the chance to drive much during their freshman year, or even afterwards if they don’t have a car on campus.

    Another thing you might have to explain is where the stamp goes on a letter. Seriously.

  167. My experience with teen drivers in my town is that they are more dangerous than adult drivers. I spend a lot of time driving around when they’re driving and they just don’t always pay attention to the road. This is really a problem when they carpool with their friends to drive to school.

    I drove into the city today. I think the stress from that ride took years off my life. I don’t know how people do this everyday. It’s a sunny day, but There are accidents and construction on so many roads. The skill to anticipate a taxi driver’s next move is the reason that driving in vs. the train is like playing a video game IRL. I did score free parking today!

  168. “My experience with teen drivers in my town is that they are more dangerous than adult drivers.”

    I’m not so sure. Given the adult drivers I’ve seen weaving in and out of traffic, talking on their cell phones, and texting…. Or elderly drivers, who are even worse.

  169. “Only the fittest survive, rising to the top in a game to endure an application process that focuses on external perfection rather than internal depth.”

    This quote was from a Washington Post article linked in DD’s article. External perfection is a lot easier to assess than internal depth — wondering how the author and other critics of the current (elite college) admissions process propose to facilitate “internal depth” perception. It sounds like a great idea, but IMO it would result in a process even less fair than the existing one.

  170. “Another thing you might have to explain is where the stamp goes on a letter. Seriously.”

    Seriously! (Speaking from experience.)

  171. “Driving” is a word that has many different meanings depending on where you live. I suspect that age (14 vs. 16 vs. 18) is not the primary variable of importance for safe driving, given how many decades that 14 year olds have been safely driving themselves to school in rural Kansas, Idaho, Iowa and any other state that still offers school permits to rural 14 year olds. People who have been driving trucks/tractors on their parents property from a young age usually manage to keep their vehicles on the straight, empty road between their farm and school/athletic practice. I think I was a much better driver at 16 because I had a permit from the time I was 14, which allowed me two years of practice with a parent in the front seat. (Only truly rural kids qualify for a school permit.)

    I would be very stressed driving under the conditions Lauren describes and the availability of public transportation combined with the vehicle density means that not getting a license till you’re 18 makes more sense there.

    I firmly believe driver’s licensing requirements should be under state, not federal, control, with latitude for the states to allow looser permitting in rural areas.

    Our local vehicle deaths mostly come from cross-overs on 2 lane highways. Alcohol followed by drowsiness are the top two behavioral factors.

  172. I have always thought that 16 is just too young to be driving,

    I agree. It’s 17 in NJ and that seemed more reasonable to me. I think 17 is better than 18 because it gives them some time with supervision before they go off on their own.

  173. “I firmly believe driver’s licensing requirements should be under state, not federal, control, with latitude for the states to allow looser permitting in rural areas.”

    I agree for the same reasons you stated. This is one issue where the area of the country in which you live is a huge variable.

    DD – I read that last night, and I thought of this blog. So many good points in there.

  174. DD, one takeaway from that article is that a kid who wants to get into journalism should go to an elite, selective college.

  175. Very late to this thread but my DS definitely wants to drive and get his own car. Kids in our area tend to drive as soon as they are able to since there is some but not much public transportation. They also tend to stay within driving distance for college, so they drive themselves back and forth.

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