Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Today we have an open thread to discuss any subject of your choosing.

August marks the end of summer for many of us.  I am trying to enjoy every minute of the warm weather, and I’ve decided summer is my favorite season.  What’s your favorite time of year?

Here’s another thought.  Did you ever watch Wife Swap?

Wife Swap is an American reality television program that was first broadcast on the ABC network in 2004. In the program, two families, usually from different social classes and lifestyles, swap wives/mothers – and sometimes husbands – for two weeks. The program will usually deliberately swap wives with dramatically different lifestyles, such as a messy wife swapping with a fastidiously neat one, or a wife who only cooks vegan swapped with a non vegan wife, documenting the cultural and social differences that the two families discover with the new family member….

Which Totebagger would you switch with to make for an entertaining episode of Wife Swap because of your “dramatically different lifestyles”.  Or which other Totebag family is so similar to your own that you would blend in seamlessly?  Can you imagine swapping with a famous family, like the Kardashians, the Duggars, the Mr. Money Moustaches, or others?


212 thoughts on “Open thread

  1. “I am trying to enjoy every minute of the warm weather, and I’ve decided summer is my favorite season. What’s your favorite time of year?”

    Summer has the worst weather of the year, in my part of the country. I do love Fall and Spring, though. Winter isn’t bad, either.

  2. Fall is definitely my favorite season. Love the changing leaves, the crisp air, pumpkin everything, Halloween, fall festivals

  3. Spring is a close second, everything coming back to life, getting greener, days getting longer, more sunshine

    winter can be so dreary, but I enjoy snow and xmas
    summer is the worst, too hot and humid

  4. I like fall here. Our spring generally is pretty non-existent. Summer and winter are equally miserable.

    I could pretty easily switch with L or Atlanta. Similar circus, different tent. RMS and Meme lead very different lives from me, so it would be fun to drop in on them.

  5. Summer is usually my favorite, but this one has been the longest and hottest in recent memory. It got truly hot in May, and hasn’t let up since. So we’re all a bit ready for a season shift.

  6. Fall is my favorite season by far. Then winter, and I guess spring and summer are a tie. It has been WAY too hot this summer and I don’t like going outside when it is over 85. Blech. I will have to move to Canada at this rate!

  7. The family most similar to us is probably the Milos, though if Meme were willing to time travel, she could easily fill in for me.

    RMS is probably the most different. She’d probably fulfill my boys’ wildest fantasies by taking them to the frozen yogurt shop with 50 toppings and telling them to go at it.

  8. RMS is probably the most different. She’d probably fulfill my boys’ wildest fantasies by taking them to the frozen yogurt shop with 50 toppings and telling them to go at it.

    Hey man, you’re only young once. Have all the toppings.

  9. Scarlett is another member who could time travel back into my life, but she’d have to add in a baby girl.

  10. Fall is my favorite (although it’s a little too warm down here for my tastes as I want to start wearing sweaters and long sleeves in September). Summer is misery here. Was so thankful to be able to spend a month up north this summer where we only really had one super hot and humid day.

    Agree w/Kate – could seamlessly switch with her/L/Lark.

  11. WCE, if we swapped houses you could turn all my kids into geniuses and I would take your kids out for sushi and then let them rot their brains with totally inappropriate TV (like Guardians of the Galaxy or similar). :)

  12. “I don’t like going outside when it is over 85”

    Oh gosh, I like going outside the best when it’s over 85! However, I do get that many of you live in warm humid climates, so summer is not so pleasant. Plus I just like the heat, maybe having to do with growing up in the desert. OTOH, my niece who moved up to Seattle will not travel back to her southwestern hometown during the summer months because she hates the heat.

  13. Summer is already over here, kids went back to school last Wednesday. I do have to say that even in the hot and humid south I can sit outside on the front porch with the fans on (it’s not totally pleasant but not totally awful either).

  14. If I could switch with a fellow totebagger, my first choice would be withe either Finn or HM. I have never been to Hawaii and would love to go. My second choice would be Mooshi or anyone else who lives close to New York City. I could never live up there permanently (what would I do with my pet donkey?) but would like to live there for a month or so to see and do everything and have the opportunity to eat at really great restaurants. This is assuming that I had unlimited funds. I don’t want to swap spouses, just houses.

  15. Agree that I could switch with WCE, but the venison would have to rot un-butchered.

    I wouldn’t mind filling in for Mr. SoFL, making sure the boats get their regular shakedown cruises.

  16. L, we could definitely swap husbands and kids, but I would be the disorganized wife to your (and Sky’s) organization. And didn’t someone (Sky?) mention a child learning to read around 24 months? My children learn to read at ~5 1/2-6 so far, which I consider in the normal range.

    Geographically, I would love to swap with someone by NYC, DC or of course Hawaii. I’ve never been to NYC or Hawaii and I was in DC for a few days ~30 years ago.

  17. I’d switch with Rocky, I could spend some time near the mountains in peace and quiet and she could do take my son all the places she wants when she needs a kid to borrow

  18. HM’s house/kids from what I gather seem the most similar – so that would be my choice.
    In retirement I would like to travel and volunteer so my retirement would be a mix of RMS and Meme’s lives.

  19. I hate being hot, so given that the heat index here is in the high 90’s today, I am going to say summer is not my favorite. There are a few lovely summer nights around here, but there are too many days like today. I could never live in the South in the summer. I complain about visiting DC or St Louis!

    I do like all the late summer foods though like fresh sweet corn, peaches/cherries, peppers, squash, (dessert) tomatoes, etc. September & October are ideal – perfect temperature to be outside as much as humanly possible, still some fresh foods left. Winter past the holidays and early spring get pretty dismal here in the Great Lakes area all around.

    Maybe similar would be switching with Wine as she has an only son around the same age as me, isn’t too far away, and actually a pretty similar line of work as well. It would be kind of fun to be in charge of a big brood of kids for a short time too though. See what we’ve been missing out on and then collapse in exhaustion when I get back to my small, sane household!

  20. “I’d also happily swap with anyone who needs all their crap thrown away.”

    If you came to our house that would be the greatest episode ever. Kind of a combination of Wife Swap and Hoarders. My family would need major psychological counseling afterwards, though.

  21. Can I swap with someone who is comfortably retired but keep me and the kids at our same ages? I am not looking forward to an empty nest, but am looking forward to being done with work.

  22. Rhett, me too. I have volunteered my services to friends in need of major detachment, but so far no takers.
    I would need time travel for a seamless switch with WCE or Milo. The days of being surrounded by little needy people are fast receding from memory. Could swap out flat Midwest for Hawaii. I love summer so wouldn’t endless summer be perfect?

  23. Sheep Farmer – I think a month long switch between our families would be awesome! My boys would love to take care of your donkey. I think you’d get a kick out of Brooklyn.

  24. “I’d also happily swap with anyone who needs all their crap thrown away.”

    Yeah. Please come here. The reveal scenes would be awesome — I’d be overjoyed with the crap cleared out, while you’d spend the next week horrified because the dishes in the cupboard were unevenly spaced and I failed to align the books at the same depth on the shelf. Just don’t paint the woodwork. :-)

  25. align the books at the same depth on the shelf.

    I’ll get you a kindle and the books go in the dumpster.

  26. I will volunteer my throw it out service too. My end results are more a clean up not perfection so there will be no need for counseling services after.

  27. “If I could switch with a fellow totebagger, my first choice would be with either Finn…”

    Not so fast. What are the optimal ages and schedules for a student to take the SAT if
    1) he will complete Algebra II in 10th Grade and attend summer school for the first semester of Trigonometry between 10th and 11th
    2) he scored greater than 600 but less than 700 on the Math portion of the PSAT during the Spring of 9th Grade, but only earned an A- in Geometry?

  28. Rhett, please tell me you have some “real” books at your house

    I do, with the ends all properly aligned as LfB mentioned.

  29. ATM-sounds like a plan to me! Donkey would love your boys making a big fuss over him.

    Milo-DD is a rising senior who will be taking Calculus AP, so no problem there! SAT and ACT tests are done-DD did well enough (at least for where she wants to go) first time around.

  30. off topic question:

    has anyone ever needed an EEG for your child and it came back abnormal? if so, was it epilepsy?

  31. Rhett or Scarlett – I’d gladly let both of you come to RI. No need to swap, just come and get some people in my house off their a$$ to purge purge purge.

    Oh Mama Dugger would have a field day swapping with me. She’d have to work as a scientist who believes in evolution! Que horor! I would get a vacation because Jana runs the house anyway.

    Louise and I seem to have similar multi-generational houses, though I’m sure hers is larger! :)

  32. We had to take DD for EEG and other tests when she was about 4. She fell and hit her head. Something showed up on her brain on the scan. We never would have known if she didn’t fall.

    Anyway, went to children’s hospital in NYC for tests including EEG. We chose this hospital because one test required full sedation and we wanted all pediatric specialists. We are fortunate that we live less than 1/2 hour from a great pediatric hospital in NYC. All tests were normal.

    I’m not sure if this is an option for you as you start the test process, but try to find pediatric specialists and/or hospitals because the whole experience can be so overwhelming, but the staff can make all of the difference.

    BTW, a very close family member has epilepsy and he leads a completely normal life with medication. No seizures, drives, totally fine with medication.

  33. we are fortunate to live close to a good childrens hospital

    they want to do a 24!hr EEG next

  34. Wine – I had to have one as a kid (was passing out occasionally). It was vasovagal something or other and a migraine disorder (although I didn’t get headaches).

  35. I don’t know that you would want my life this week. My LA daughter has relocated back to the home area and is trying to fix up the basement walkout area to accommodate her 8 large boxes of clothes, many pairs of shoes. The grand piano takes up a large corner of the space, tho. She has a rented workspace for her consulting business, but has already started whining about public transit. Today we exchanged a few “words” about the car and schedule switching we had done for her benefit today and her inability to get butt in car seat until two hours after the appointed time. She simply must get to IKEA today with DH’s larger car to buy a wardrobe and a tall bathroom cabinet and proper hangars (Daughter Dearest), but she has a networking appt downtown later followed by drinks. I was very firm about her bringing the car back – I’ll drop her at the subway. If she is late that is not my problem. After all, her nighttime plans meant that she declined my request to pick up her brother at Logan who is flying in from California at 11pm.

    I know that she is trying to adjust to a difficult situation while she firms up contracts or gets a full time job that allows her to move into her own place. Her sole job is to feed the cats when we travel – she is welcome to anything in the fridge, but we don’t eat on the same schedule so no requirement to be home for dinner, and she has reasonable use of the cars until she brings her own car East.

  36. “maybe I could switch with Rhode to relive some of the younger DS days”

    Any time. Bring your running shoes and recognize your sole role will be to chase him and then open the cheerio container.

  37. “your sole role will be to chase him ”

    doesn’t sound too different than my 5 year old :)

  38. maybe I could travel with Rhett and stay at fine hotels and dine at nice restaurants every day

  39. I, too, would love to be in a house with younger kids again. Though some with young kids might want my teens who are generally quiet, need minimal supervision and will fold the laundry.

  40. I am mortified that nobody wants to swap with me. With high school starting Monday, I want to be anywhere but here.

  41. PTM: I would love to swap with you, but NFW am I going to trade Houston for Miami in August. Maybe in the winter…

  42. PTM – I wouldn’t even trade Miami for NYC in August either. It is practically tropical here as well.

    The kids were recently there and loved it. You need some 8 year olds?

  43. I kind of like Miami in the summer. It’s quieter in many respects. Our temperature almost never gets above 93, and I’d rather be here than, say, the northeast where it can get hotter and stinkier. As I remember, summers in NYC could be lethal.

  44. Milo – My DD#1 is taking a practice PSAT today and a practice ACT tomorrow through her school.

    In contrast to your student – DD#1 took Algebra 2 in 9th grade, Pre-Calc in 10th and going into AP-Calc AB this year. Math is ALWAYS her lowest grade, but usually a low A, except when she got a high B in Geometry in 8th Grade. Same range of PSAT math score last year.

    Her school recommends focusing on PSAT, especially if you are close to National Merit cutoffs to maximize that first and which also prepares you for the SAT. Then take SAT after taking your Junior Year PSAT.

  45. PTM – I have been in Miami in January. That was pleasant! I think otherwise it is too hot. ;)

  46. This week in NYC is the reason that I made a promise to never go to DC in July or August. I spent one summer there 30 years ago, and I’ve never returned to DC during the summer.

    NYC gets some breaks each summer from the humid weather. It was beautiful for a couple of days last week, but this week reminds me of DC summer. Big thunderstorm last night, and no relief. Just steamy and wet instead of a breeze. PTM is right about the smell. I was in city last night and the superintendents had garbage out for next day pick up. Smelled so gross.

    My neighborhood is so quiet this week. Town camp was six weeks, and lots of families are now away on vacation. The full summer sleep away kids will all return this weekend, and then it will get crazy again. I’m really hoping for no lice this year.

  47. Heat index lately in the 110 plus range and we are outside – for scouts, for marching band, etc. PTM – My DD#2 starts high school too this year, but not until Aug. 22.

  48. Winemama- a friend’s son had to do a 24 hr EEG about 12 years ago. They set up all the wires on his head down at Texas Children’s but let him spend the night at home. I think they put something like a helmet over it so he wouldn’t mess with the wires. His was not epilepsy, but it did reveal small seizures. I am not sure what, if anything, they did to treat it, but it didn’t keep him from doing anything, and he has graduated high school now.

  49. Our heat and humidity have killed me this summer. The air is just so thick I can’t breathe. Sorry, PTM, I’ll come visit and decorate a Palm Tree for Christmas.

    I am thankful for my air conditioned office this week, but not the walk to my car…

  50. This summer day is not my favorite…hot and very humid on the Jersey Shore.

    It was pretty wonderful in Manhattan on Tuesday, mid-80s, not too humid, and I snagged street parking on Madison near the Met where I was going to see a baseball card exhibit.

    Generally, though, I like summer / hot days as long as there is a breeze.

    Summer all the time…be careful what you wish for. Undergrad was pretty much like that in SoCal and it was often (too) tempting to do other things outside rather than the stuff I should have been doing.

  51. just got the abnormal results end of day yesterday, I was completely freaking out when I heard “abnormal”

  52. Lots of healthy egos around here! Most people are choosing to swap with someone they see as similar to themselves. ;)

    Wine and Rhode, I can’t tell you how many times someone saw little ‘saacy and said to me “I wish I had his energy!” to which I could only think “I wish I did too”, as I tried to keep up with him. I would love to see Wine’s son again. We really enjoyed him. And I’d love to meet Rhode’s as well. There are other kids here I’d love to meet or see again, but I can’t list them all.

    If anyone wants to swap in a babysitter, I know one who is available. He is taking a child development class in high school this year. Starting Oct 1, there will be a preschool at the school 3 days per week. He absolutely loves little ones and I think it will be good for him to be in charge, more or less. I had expected the hs class to be mostly girls from the low income part of his school, as it leads to child care certification if they stick with it for four years, but he says not. And, he told me with a grin, he is the only boy with 11 girls.

    WCE/RMS, by the time my kid was 5, we had shared a banana split for dinner before, and what WCE described is exactly how we approach Yogurt Mountain or the frozen ice cream bar at Planet Smoothie. Is there another way?

    Rhett, why does my son take after you? Several years ago, he announced he wanted to get rid of all his books, because digital readers. I saved a box of his favorites for memories’ sake. We got it out recently. He was nostalgic, yes, but not enough to want to keep the books.

    Meme, 8 of those big wardrobe boxes? Wow

    Weather-wise, we have been fortunate lately, with low temps around 76 and highs in the upper 80s. That’s good for summer, but I wish we had fall here.

  53. Wine, this may help you figure out troubling behavior issues. I’m hoping for good resolution of it all!

  54. Is anybody following the story of people attacking Gabby Douglas for not putting her hand on her heart during the national anthem? So heartless! She may have been just a little excited.

  55. Louise, and for you the best thing about that trade would be that my in-laws live 2000+ miles away! Plus, yours might appreciate you more after spending a couple of weeks with me doing everything wrong.

    If I wanted to do a real culture-clash episode I would trade with one of the more religious Totebaggers. Mine have had some exposure to church services (chorus engagements, visit to Grandma, that sort of thing), but the idea of spending every Sunday in church would be a change for them. Although then again, the brevity of the swap would probably prevent them from getting the real every-Sunday experience.

  56. CS when we watched Phelps getting a medal, my DH remarked on how he did not need to put his hand over his heart – it’s not the pledge. I have since learned, because of Gabby, that you should put your hand over your heart. I don’t know why people are so fast to decide it’s not just cluelessness in the moment, but rather must be some deep-seated hatred of the US.

    And along with my thoughts of good thing my DH is not an Olympic champion, have you seen the Facebook meme that all events should have a regular person competing as a point of reference? My mental images of regular people in the gymnastics events with the US team made me laugh.

  57. Finn has me a little scared of the road to calculus/SAT Prep etc. I wish I could ship them off to Finn and once they are get college acceptances, ship them back.

  58. MBT, when my kid was doing gymnastics, his gym offered a gymnastics for grownups class. I went a couple times, but honestly could not even do the warm-up exercises! Most of the others couldn’t either, so I didn’t feel so bad. It was the first time I could really see clearly that my kid, who was only in about third grade then, could do something I couldn’t.

  59. all events should have a regular person competing as a point of reference

    My husband had the idea that to mix things up and increase the entertainment value, every athlete should be assigned a random event in addition to the event trained for. So a fencer might end up diving, a diver might have to lift weights, a weight-lifter might have to do balance beam, a gymnast might be shot-putting.

    I have to admit, I’d definitely watch that.

  60. MBT – FWIW I agree with your husband re the national anthem…those were my exact thoughts…but I looked it up:
    “The Independence Hall Association says the Flag Code, adopted first in 1923, requires those who are not members of the Armed Forces or veterans to face the flag and stand with a hand over their heart. “

  61. I don’t think I would dare swap with Rhett. There are books unavailable in electronic form, you know.

  62. MBT – There’s a Facebook post of a regular guy going for a swim in his pool, except he does it Olympic style – with all the warm-up stuff the athletes do before the race – arm flapping, shoulder stretching, etc. It is hilarious.

  63. Didn’t know that “regular person lane” was a FB meme, but have definitely thought that would be very easy to do as a computer graphic during the swim events. Also agree that it would be hilarious to see the athletes mix it up in random events. Extra excitement in the platform diving and gymnastics events as we watch to see who makes it out alive.

  64. “the Facebook meme that all events should have a regular person competing as a point of reference”

    I haven’t seen these, but during the 10m diving the other night, I was cracking myself up at the thought of going up there in my place among the real competitors, striking a serious pose at the end of the board like they all do, and then just doing a regular jump off the top, whooping all the way down and maybe windmilling my arms or doing running-man legs or something.

    Well, Lemon and I sure can’t switch, especially so close to football season. Neither of us would make it through the week alive. ;) I would like to send DD to Sheep, to hang out with the donkey. She’d also love working in any capacity on the farm. I’d ship DS to Fred, to have the week of hockey-playing brothers he’s always felt deprived of. DH and I, meanwhile, will go to Finn, until he kicks me out for my lack of math skills (or caring) (even DH can’t make up for my deficit on both counts) and forwards us to HM. But I’ll delay that last bit until winter, as I quite like the summer here (the 876% humidity today notwithstanding).

    Similar or different, you have all always seemed so interesting to me, and I’d be very happy to meet any of you, and your spouses and kids.

  65. I’ll delay that last bit until winter

    I was about to say, “I am NOT switching with you during winter,” but then I thought, hmmm, I guess it would be quite the lifestyle switch!

  66. HM – I’d stock the place fully, or leave one of the driver-aged kids here to do grocery runs, so you wouldn’t have to venture out at all. :)

  67. “My husband had the idea that to mix things up and increase the entertainment value, every athlete should be assigned a random event in addition to the event trained for. So a fencer might end up diving, a diver might have to lift weights, a weight-lifter might have to do balance beam, a gymnast might be shot-putting.”

    HM – kinda like the Lindsey Vonn Reese’s commercial? Because I am highly entertained by her getting on a horse or getting tangled in the ribbon.

  68. I’d like to see one of the 4’8″ gymnasts on the rugby pitch. Those girls are pretty badass – I bet they could hold their own.

  69. I don’t know who I’d want to switch with. I suck at adapting to other people’s ways and would surely screw all your children up.

    I’m going to go home for the afternoon and sleep off whatever is making me ill today.

    I do have some news to share now that it’s an open thread. DH and I are expecting Baby Rhode #2 in February. We have no idea if Baby Rhode #2 will have the same trajectory as DS, but the 2 tests (one genetic, and the other to look for neural tube defects) we’ve had so far say everything is A-OK.

    So, any tips on cars (DH needs a new one), and life with 2 anywhere from 23-25 months apart is greatly appreciated.

    Betting pool on sex, birthday, and birth weight to open shortly. DH already knows the sex because he couldn’t help himself and looked at the genetics report, so if you want the inside scoop find him. I am blissfully in the dark.

  70. Congrats Rhode!! And I’m so happy for you that so far, so good. Really fantastic news!

  71. CS, put that boy on a plane and send him here. I have three more weeks of unscheduled time before school starts and if one more child complains of boredom I am making him or her clean the house :)

    You should both come and I will go sleep at your place. We have a beach and great pizza.

    Actually I will gladly trade with anyone who is not woken 10 times a night by irascible children and a dog. RMS? PTM? Lagirl? Meme, I love cats! Please?

    Tomorrow he goes to doggy boarding school and we go to the Cape. Hooray!

    WCE, I want to trade with you so I can go camping and try elk. But I will probably freak when your boys climb a tree. How will they react when I tell them that the CPSC recommends staying less than 6 feet off the ground to avoid potentially fatal head injuries?

  72. Ris, read your latest and loved it – already plotting how many people I can give it to for Christmas :)

  73. “There are books unavailable in electronic form, you know.”

    Yes. A lot of SAT prep books and college guide books are not available in electronic form.

  74. “all events should have a regular person competing as a point of reference”

    Like the SNL skit about synchronized swimming?

  75. Rhode – my younger two are 25 months apart. It was tough the first year but after that it was awesome (they’re the best of friends). And now my “baby” is turning 3 tomorrow (sniff, sniff).

  76. Rhode, congratulations!

    It’s Winter Olympics, not summer, but this is a fun Olympics movie:

  77. “I haven’t seen these, but during the 10m diving the other night, I was cracking myself up at the thought of going up there in my place among the real competitors”

    The first time I dove off a 3m springboard was scary. I’ve never been on a 10m platform, but I think just looking down from it would be scary. That’s like jumping off a 3rd or 4th floor balcony.

  78. Atlanta, we are going to South Dennis.

    I went as a kid but haven’t been in more years than I care to publicly admit, so if you have any good tips on activities that would be awesome. My youngest and your youngest are within a month of each other, and I think our oldest are about the same age too.

    So far I have the Woods Hole Aquarium, a day trip to Thomas Land, Nickerson state park, the Salt Pond Center, and maybe the potato chip factory, because I *love* factory tours.

    We’re renting a house with a swing set and a fence. Based on that alone it will be better than our vacation last year, which featured all five of us in a tiny hotel room for several nights.

  79. And congratulations Rhode! If you tell CoC your mailing address and she is willing to send it along, I will knit you a baby hat :)

  80. “Tomorrow he goes to doggy boarding school and we go to the Cape.”

    South Africa? Florida perhaps? Fortress of Soltitude?

  81. Congrats to Rhode and family!

    “any tips on cars (DH needs a new one)”

    What are your requirements/parameters?

    When our kids were very young, one of our cars was a two-door coupe. The big advantage of that was that we were absolutely sure our kids would never open the door and fall out of that car.

  82. Sky – my mom grew up in Dennis but I know more about Brewster/Orleans/Eastham/Welfleet. My kids loved doing a whale watch last year (they still talk about it and we just didn’t get to it this year). The new pirate museum in Yarmouth is cool but much better for older kids (my younger ones just tore through it and it was expensive). Scargo Tower in Dennis is fun for kids. Other than that just beach, mini golf, and ice cream. We went to the Welfleet Drive In twice but that may be a bit of a haul from Dennis. We also had a great time at the Ocean Terrace at Ocean Edge in Brewster if you get to have a night out (did not take the kids and just had drinks with some friends but saw kids there).

  83. Sky, I want to come on that vacation with you! DA would like it too. So I’ll bring him to play with the kids while we grown-ups go adulting together :). We aren’t exactly short of pizza or beaches in Tampa, so you can bring/send them down here in November when it’s nice out.

  84. And I love the idea of making athletes do an extra random event. I imagine a number of athletes would be hoping to get something like table tennis or the 100 yard dash – but dreading platform diving (that platform is 30 – 35 feet up – yikes), gymnastics, – and this year, the open water swim.

  85. Sky – almost forgot – DH’s favorite thing was the new brewery in Orleans. Hog Island Brewing Co. The beer is not bad and they have ping pong, corn hole, air hockey etc. so kids have things to do too. I think there is another brewery in Hyannis that does tours. It was really a lot of fun.

  86. Rhode, congratulations! Not having two kids, I can say that it sounds so fun! The one teeny bit of advice I have for you is that ‘saac was in the middle of potty training the first time we moved, and lost it for six months, so if you can get your big boy through that now, do it! When mine finally did it, it was with the help of a preschool teacher who gave them an m&m every time they went in the toilet. Directly opposed to my parenting in several ways. Sigh. The first try, which I think would have been successful if not for the huge change in his life, was during summer. I let him run around naked outside. I think that helps boys. The neighbor’s didn’t mind, but my mother was horrified.

  87. Congrats Rhode!!

    The open water swimmers should have gotten together and refused to set foot in that water. No way to avoid getting seriously ill.

  88. Imagine if instead of huge stadiums and parking lots, the Olympics left behind good sewage systems and a few thousand units of livable housing!

  89. Congratulations Rhode!!!

    I hope everything turns out alright, Wine. It must be very nerve wracking.

  90. Congrats to you and your family Rhode. Our oldest two are 25 mos apart and they’re fine after our parenting…yours will be fine too no matter what advice you get.
    I’ve jumped from a 10 meter board; there was one in the park pool at the end of our street when i was <13. We got to do it as part of swimming lessons. Great fun.

  91. Rhode – many congratulations!

    Sky – I’m not too familiar with South Dennis, but you could head over to Harwich and go on the trampolines (on 28 just west of where 39 comes in from the north). There is a cute bookstore in Brewster where they often have authors come to read from and sign their books (I think the Yellow Umbrella in Chatham does this as well). Have a great time!

  92. I would take over L’s, HM’s or WCEs kids (people I have met FTF) for a week, because I am sure that they wouldn’t mind anything I would do. I am not sure whether I would be allowed free rein with anyone else’s kids, although I think I would get some grandma tolerance.

  93. Rhode, Congrats!!!!! very happy for you.

    I love the Cape, and we usually stay in Brewster. It is not far from South Dennis. We like to visit Chatham. We spent a long time at a great playground, Castle in the Clouds Playground. It is near S. Dennis in Harwich at the Harwich Elementary School

    Woolfies Bakery in Dennisport is closer to you, but we love Cottage St bakery in Orleans and Hopkins House in Brewster.

    For ice cream, we try a different place each night – Sundae School, Cape Cod Creamery, Ice Cream Smuggler etc.

  94. We used to jump off this on a particular school field trip:

    The higher the jump, the shallower the water you were jumping into, so it was an act of daring to jump from the highest end.

  95. SSK – I have never taken my kids to the trampolines (which I can’t believe, I loved them as a kid). There’s also a new Cape Cod inflatable park which I think is in Yarmouth.

  96. Finn, I want to go to the Fortress of Solitude!

    Every so often I see a notice about a silent retreat in the church bulletin at mass and I envy the participants :)

    Around here it’s The City, The Island and The Cape.

    It’s a local shibboleth, like people who emphasize the “New” in “New Haven” instead of correctly saying New HAY-ven, or who can’t find Pikipsy or Wooster on a map.

  97. “The higher the jump, the shallower the water you were jumping into, so it was an act of daring to jump from the highest end.”
    So you didn’t attend the type of school that has removed the teeter totters because they are too dangerous, HM?

  98. Sky, so sign up for a silent retreat!
    But be aware that SOME such retreats allow women to bring nursing infants….

    As kids, we went to an enormous public pool (50 meters by 100 meters) with a high diving board. It’s long gone of course, as are most other high dives accessible to regular people, but it was such a rite of passage. And every time, some kid would wait in the long line, climb up to the top, and then chicken out and make the descent of shame back to the deck.

  99. True, HfN. But of course I was a kid back when kids could still be semi-feral.

  100. Thanks all!

    Sky- I will send CoC my address! I love knit hats!

    Cars (Finn??) – can be a sedan or hatch that can fit 2 car seats and a small adult in the back. The adult will only be traveling for short trips back there so doesn’t need to be huge. We are also looking at minivans.

    We know we need a minivan eventually but DH isn’t a fan of larger van or truck like vehicles. So we may wait on the van for when my SUV is at the end of her life.

    Now the fun comes of names. We still have girl names but we need to get a couple for boys. My cousin used one from our list so that name is out. Sigh.

    Thanks for the tips. I’m hoping that we’ll survive the first years and as they age will be more fun. Right now one is pretty fun.

  101. @Rhode – I am so curious how DH is going to be able to keep the gender a secret from you, especially while talking about names! Do you think he’ll slip? Do you mind if he does?

  102. Atlantamom – I also went on them as a older kid/teenager, and I was very excited when I could bring DD and DS. When he was little DS got tired out before his “time” was up, so I took over – it was so fun, even in my 30’s!!

  103. “I’ve jumped from a 10 meter board; there was one in the park pool at the end of our street when i was <13."

    A 10m board? Wow.

    The 3m board at the pool I frequented in my youth is long gone. Also gone for quite some time is the 1m board at the local pool near my current residence. I believe both were removed due to liability concerns.

  104. “Around here it’s The City”

    I think of The City as San Francisco. E.g., when the lights go down on The City, and the sun shines on The Bay….”

  105. Rhode, since you are (at least?) a two car family, I suggest you map out an overall car strategy that includes both cars.

    When DS was about 5, we were looking to replace our 2-door coupe, and he and I looked at cars and the Consumer Reports car issue and decided that what made sense for us was a minivan and a small car like a Prius.

    I agree that you probably don’t need a minivan yet.

    What kind of commutes do you and your DH have?

  106. Congrats Rhode ! My kids have that age gap. I liked it because there was a bit of a respite and the older one had grown up some but close enough for a parent to not forget the earlier stages and be on auto pilot the second time around. Lots of overlap in the things they can do, places they can be taken to etc.

    Good Luck Wine, I hope things check out fine.

  107. Ivy- I don’t know. So far so good. I think he thinks it’s a game- how far can Rhode question me and I won’t crack? Not that I’m trying to get him to crack.

    Anon- I saw it. None of the cars were on our list.

    Finn- that’s part of the discussion. That’s why we are steering away from minivans.

  108. Our commutes are true city. My little SUV isn’t bad on gas but DH’s sedan is far better.

    We’d like to not increase fuel expenses too much. Formula and new baby costs and daycare/learning center costs for DS are far more important to us.

  109. Rhode, as discussed here before, I suggest you include safety features among your decision criteria. A lot of advanced safety features are making their way down to less than flagship models.

    E.g., the Honda Civic can be had with a package of advanced safety features for around $20k.

  110. Rhode, has your state gone to rear facing until age two (or will you do it anyway)?

    The main constraint in our car buying at the two kid phase was that not all sedans had enough room behind a seat for the car seat when it was rear facing, and we didn’t want our kids to have to be immediately next to each other (of course once we had three in DH’s sedan we had no choice).

    We found that only large sedans, minivans and SUVs let the kid be rear facing behind a tall driver or passenger. Luckily we are not tall, but since you have your mom with you I would bite the bullet and go bigger rather than a compact, unless you usually take yr car everywhere on weekends.

  111. Today’s post made me realize think about father/son church camp this weekend, which included shooting .22 rifles and “shop games”. Shop games consisted of jacking a truck up and down with a hydraulic jack, another open truck with the hood open and the alternator, distributor cap, timing belt, etc. labeled, dry wall patching, replacing a switch/outlet on a working electrical setup with fuse box and multimeter for ensuring it is off, replacing a toilet float, and hand tool identification, where you learn what lots of tools are called. (second hand knowledge, so I may be missing some)

    For a non-Totebaggy camp experience, come to my house!

  112. multimeter for ensuring it is off

    I’ll bet you end up with a lot of blown out multimeters after the event.

  113. Rhode, following up on Sky’s point, you might want to take a car seat with you when you go car shopping.

  114. Congrats Rhode!!!

    We’re on the Cape this week with my extended family. We’ve biked the Cape Cod Canal and the new Shining Sea Trail. We went on a whale watch cruise yesterday – the whales were very active, lots of breaching. My kids liked Boardwalk Beach in Sandwich, especially jumping off the bridge at high tide. We went to the Cape Cod brewery today in the morning and some of us went fishing on a party boat this afternoon. The fish were biting and we have several pounds of porgies and sea bass. Earlier in the week we were at Coast Guard beach where the water was a bracing 57 degrees. There were seals in the water, too. We have another beach day planned for tomorrow. My kids loved mini golf and the mudflats at the Brewster/Orleans beaches when they were younger.

  115. Following up on Finn’s point, you might want to take two car seats with you when you go car shopping, so you can see what the middle looks like with both of them in. I ended up buying three narrow car seats when the twins came to avoid buying a new vehicle.

  116. I need to go to WCE’s church camp myself. Especially the drywall and car/distributor portions.

    Rhode – My advice, if you subscribe to Finn’s belief of mapping out your lifetime car ownership strategy (and I’m not saying that you have to) since you’ll already have two children, in at least 5-point car seats for a while, both probably using Pack’N’Plays for a little while, you’re going to want a double stroller, AND you have Grandma in residence…just get your minivan now.

    And if you don’t want to drop a ton of money now, you can just buy used. It doesn’t need to be a great deal (Rhett will show you why used is not) but you can do that simply to avoid making a $28k+ commitment at this point in time.

    My Pilates instructor just bought a used Odyssey in anticipation of their second child. It looks new. It replaced her CR-V.

  117. Hi from Canada! We had been camping and biking in the Laurentians, and I didn’t have good Internet access (international data on a phone with nowhere but the car to charge it). But now we are in the resort viillage of Mont Tremblant, in a lovely Residence Inn, really one of the nicest I have stayed in. So I am catching up on email and mailing lists. It has been really hot, but we were camping on a river – one of those lovely mountain rivers – on a stretch that was lazy and shallow so the kids spent a lot of time wading and splashing. There were also plenty of ice cream stops on the bike path – funny how the Canadians can build a 200k bike path through the sparsely inhabited north woods and still provide amenities along it.

  118. Congrats Rhode!

    Winemama, hoping for the best outcome. One of my kids had EEG testing that ruled out epilepsy but was ultimately used in diagnosing ADHD.

    Today and tomorrow we expect real feel temps of 107 and 109, so my love for warm weather will be tested. Thank goodness for AC! Last week I had one of those experiences that many public transit users have had. I stepped into a subway car that was relatively empty, and once I was inside (trapped) I realized why. The AC was not working and it was like an oven. It was a mini sauna experience.

    The last time I was in Cape Cod was many years ago for my honeymoon, but this discussion is making me want to return. I haven’t been on a beach vacation in a long time, and I’m not sure if I would enjoy it as much as I used to.

  119. “Today and tomorrow we expect real feel temps of 107 and 109, so my love for warm weather will be tested. ”

    Teehee. I remember when I advised one of our New Yorkers not to visit Charleston during August. Mistake. High yesterday 84. High today 86.

  120. I was considering Charleston, and I will have the pleasure of being in Manhattan today. I have to leave soon, and I am thinking about driving in because I just can’t deal with the beyond hot metro north and subway platforms today.

    According to the national weather service, the dew point in Charleston is still higher vs NYC.
    79 for Charleston and “only” 75 for New York.

    I went running outside earlier in the week, but I couldn’t deal today. too gross.

  121. I’m going running outside in 5 minutes when the sitter gets here, but the dog won’t budge from the floor.

    Proving once again that the dog is no fool….

  122. We still have comparatively high temperatures touching 90 but we are had quite a bit of rain and we are slowly coming down from our summer temperatures. What I like about here is that each season is not too long or too extreme.

  123. Clear and 83 here today.

    The other day I took the bus downtown and reflected on how odd it is that there is this freakishly complicated system of car seat rules for kids now — face forward, face backward, back seat only, whatever — but you can sling your kid under your arm and ride the bus without so much as a seatbelt.

  124. I don’t even watch the weather during the summer. It’s going to be ridiculously hot and humid. Why quantify?

  125. Houston I feel the same but I am getting a little amusement that it is cooler in Atlanta than the Northeast right now.:)

    Lauren – I’m from Brewster and have never been to that Hopkins House bakery – next time. Brewster has a new bakery/pastry shop on Underpass Road that is actually really good (although the name is sort of cheesy -Eat Cake 4 Breakfast). Hangar B in Chatham is fun for breakfast – the food is good and it’s right next to the Chatham airport so you can watch the little planes take off and land while you eat. Sky – I’ve heard Grumpy’s in Dennis is a great breakfast place but have not been myself. And now I will stop talking about Cape Cod, but y’all are making me want to head back there right now. My friends and I that have moved away were all trying to scheme about how we can move back there while we were up this summer.:)

  126. Houston, that’s my motto too! But lately we’ve been surprised by unusually cool temps–highs in the upper 90s, down to 76 some nights.

    WCE, do you think familiarity with the kind of car & tool stuff at that camp makes it easier for kids to think of themselves becoming engineers?

  127. Highs in the upper 80s here! Not 90s

    Atlanta, nice that you and friends who also moved away see each other summers.

  128. Congrats Rhode — awesome! I was going to say what WCE did about the carseats, but she beat me to it.

    @Wine — best of luck. That’s got to be a scary, scary thing to go through.

    @WCE: forget swapping, can I send my kids to you so they can go to that camp? :-) DD may even be helpful as a mother’s helper (she does love to boss people around — how she earned her “Commander” nickname at all of 2.5).

    Although she’s a little less mobile now. Had foot surgery yesterday, first time under general anesthesia — apparently she is a crier, which the nurses all said is a known response to anesthesia (I am a giggler), but it was definitely hard to see her in the recovery room, totally coherent one second, loopy the next, and then descending into sobs for no apparent reason. Last night was rough — no weight on the foot at all, first time using crutches (and we have steps), so even getting her into the house and settled post-anesthesia was more than she could handle (we had to pause on the sidewalk for another crying jag). I hate seeing my kid miserable and knowing I can’t do anything to fix it. Then add in the meds every four hours and it’s like having an infant again — wake her up, help her to bathroom, finagle food into her (so she doesn’t throw up the meds), give her meds, go back to sleep, repeat 3 hrs later. Feeling a little bleary-eyed this AM, but a nice reminder of exactly how happy I am to be out of that stage. :-) And she is way, way better this morning — woke at 6, wide awake and herself, made it downstairs and is now happily ensconced in my recliner watching the Olympics that I taped for her last night, nagging me to take her to her last camp potluck this afternoon (yeah, sorry, NO).

    I HATE summer here. Far and away least-favorite season. In order and strength of preference:


    Winter (CO)
    Summer (CO)


    Winter (MD)

    Summer (MD)

  129. Ah, dangit — the post ate all of my extra spaces. MD summer was supposed to be like 15 lines down.

  130. WCE,
    Oldest DS would benefit from that camp, now that he is a homeowner. DH and I both grew up in households with DIY dads — neither of us can remember a plumber or electrician ever visiting our homes, even in connection with major renovation projects. DH spent so many summers and weekends holding flashlights and ladders while his dad swore that he vowed to make enough money to outsource those projects. As a result, none of our kids learned any of those essential skills. DIL was stunned to discover that DS had never touched a non-plastic lawnmower and had to be coached by her dad.

  131. Scarlett – On DIY, it depends on the personalities involved. Some people have loved doing projects with their Dads while some hated not so much the doing but interacting with the parent while on a project. DH hates doing projects with his dad. FIL loves to DIY but he also likes to give instructions non stop, this makes it a not so fun experience.

  132. @Scarlett — “How one family is sending 13 kids to college” — a little bit of false advertising in that headline, eh, given that the kids are “sending” themselves? :-)

  133. It has been in the 90s here in the Laurentians. We are well north of Montreal. It is pretty rural, with lots of forest and small towns. The kids have spent lots of time wading in the river where we were camping. But the weather changed today – it is going to be cold and raining. I’ll take sunny and 90’s any day over cold and raining.

  134. ” Earlier in the week we were at Coast Guard beach where the water was a bracing 57 degrees. ”

    Brrr! I think our water is cold in the high 70’s this time of year. I forget just how ice cold it is at the Cape/Maine. I haven’t been there in so long.

    @COC – Usually when you step into an empty subway car, it is something worse than the A/C malfunctioning!

    @RMS – It’s a nice, dry 83 too, right? I might even bother to blowdry my hair if that were the case. And it gets pleasantly cool at night?

    This week is testing me. We had super hot, super humid, and today – more thunderstorms. The storms have been frequent and strong this summer. It has not been good for my garden. The neighborhood lost a lot of trees in the last one.

  135. Scarlett,

    The Fitzingers don’t seem nearly crazy enough for a reality show or a blog.

  136. Highs in the low 100s, lows in the high 50s, but it’s a dry heat, so it’s still pretty comfortable. Summer is far and away my favorite season followed by fall and spring. Winter is ok, but I would hate to deal with snow and all the clothes necessary for really cold weather.

  137. The weather sucks, but I like the summer because it’s more relaxed. Minimal academic responsibilities for the kids. Lighter traffic on the way to work. It just seems less stressful.

  138. “The Fitzingers don’t seem nearly crazy enough for a reality show or a blog.”

    Well, they do homeschool, but their religious beliefs seem pretty mainstream. I’m not sure buying 60 pounds of potatoes from Aldi qualifies as dramatic TV. One of them would have to be a yeller – like that Kate from the sextuplets show.

    The tone of the article rubbed me the wrong way. Nothing about the family themselves. The author acting as if being frugal is all a new idea because of blogs. And quoting George Washington on frugality! Washington! He was extremely wealthy and ostentatious (and had plenty of debt too). But okay. The country was always “frugal” until the 1990’s, and now bloggers are bringing us back to our “roots”.

  139. Scarlett – loved the article. Thanks for sharing.

    RMS – that’s funny about the buses. I live in a place where it seems like everyone is arguing about whether kids should stay rear facing until two or nine years old. However, the same people put their kids in bike trailers and on bike seats. While I think it’s totally reasonable to take your kids out biking, we have to acknowledge that it is a far risky behavior than putting a three-year-old and a five point forward facing car seat.

  140. Mooshi, but how cool does it get at night? Being able to sleep is key.

    Louise, you are spot on that DIY with dad =/= DIY with dad!

    “neither of us can remember a plumber or electrician ever visiting our homes” I know the first and last names of the ones that came to our homes, as well as the wallpaper guy/painter and the landscaper. It’s a small town, so the main changes are Jim Jr taking over when Jim retired.

    Ada, the danger level would depend on where they were riding. Wouldn’t impacts from a fall/collision of a fast bike with another bike or with a jogger would bring less trauma than with a car traveling at moderate car speed?

    Ivy–blowdry your hair? What’s that? True story: when I was married and in grad school, there was a deep freeze and even the supply line to a faucet we had left dripping froze. Landlord said to warm it up with a blow dryer. We didn’t have one, so he sent his girlfriend over with hers.

    I went to Aldi yesterday for the first time in ages, because I’d heard they were switching to organic produce. No sign of it in our store, so I spent a long time picking through labels of parallels to things I’d usually toss in the cart at our regular grocery. I have an idea of nutrition content, but don’t have prices in my head–need to compare receipts.

  141. CS, the camp skills are considered ordinary male skills in my set. The idea is that to care for people (your family, widows, orphans), you need some skill to do so. My boys saw Mr WCE help someone with a totally flat tire in Mt Rainier National Park. He was standing near the ranger station in the visitor’s center when he heard the ranger tell someone the nearest air station was in a town ~10+ miles away, I think. He also helped someone with a stuck bike lock by figuring out that a tumbler was only in the right orientation at a particular angle.

    Yesterday I heard someone telling someone else that he had helped his son replace the top on his Miata. That’s the sort of higher level skill that some (but certainly not all) engineers have.

  142. I know several large families of traditional Catholics (although most of them use Catholic schools rather than homeschool – that choice for the large family is interesting to me – perhaps it has something to do with local demographics or dissatisfaction with the archdiocese or Catholic school system, or too much family income for institutional support free schooling). They are actively supported by the wider community via sharing of goods and general helping out. The conservative members of the church community want to endorse tangibly these families’ very visible choice to follow strict teaching on contraception (I know that strict Catholics can limit family size by restraint and planning, but having all you can handle is also valued in some circles as an expression of faith), And there is absolutely nothing wrong with any family saying, financing college is on you to the kids, but you can live at home as long as you need to. It is just not common in our circles.

  143. WCE, yes. My question was whether you thought the tendency for boys, but not girls, to be told to fiddle around and that they canfix stuff, even big stuff, influences their ideas about what routes are open to them later in life. Obviously engineers don’t build the thing themselves, but can’t the “fiddling around” lead to thinking about things close to questions engineers ask?

  144. @Meme — well, to be clear, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with their approach at all. I think they did their kids a huge favor by making sure they all knew what to expect (no parental $) and by helping their kids learn the skills that would allow them to make it through on their own (get jobs, save your $, etc.). My complaint was with the headline writer — this was not a story about how to “send” your kids to college (which sounds like the parents are actively managing the process — helping find scholarships, taking advantage of tax deductions, working the AP system, squirreling away what they can, etc.). This was a story about how to raise kids who are prepared to send themselves to college.

  145. CS, I think girls definitely think engineering is open to them now. I just read a long Facebook post yesterday from an acquaintance who had a scholarship in engineering and turned it down and didn’t go through college because she wanted to be a SAHM. She even interned in a city engineer’s office (?) and realized reviewing sewage treatment system drawings for accuracy (or whatever she did) wasn’t her cup of tea.

    I think women prefer teaching/nursing because of the relational aspect. As I’ve observed before, there are also structural issues when a field is male and well-paid where it isn’t necessary to offer flexibility. Nursing, teacher and other medical fields rarely require travel on short notice, for example. I talked yesterday with a colleague whose neighbors are nuclear engineers, and he commented on how rare women in nuclear engineering are compared to, say, software engineering.

  146. Do nuke engineers travel on short notice often? I would hope miles were more securely stored than anything requiring an emergency flight.

    “women prefer teaching/nursing because of the relational aspect.”. Not me, at all!

    As far as girls thinking engineering could be for them: my niece is going to an Catholic girls school and says she wants to be an engineer. It is unfortunate that the girl you mentioned did t have anyone to tell her that there are many other things an engineer can do besides that! Do you think she’ll regret her decision later?

  147. CS, if her life goes well and she doesn’t need to support herself financially, being a SAHM is a great choice. If her life doesn’t go well, then she might regret it. She’s an adult- it’s her decision.

    Nuclear engineers often travel on short notice because most of the “engineering” work is in design/construction and you have to travel to review the part when it’s constructed/ready for travel to the site/potentially has a problem. Working nuclear plants have mostly technicians.

  148. Depends on the field of engineering, doesn’t it? Or does it? My dad was a civil engineer for Caltrans and he had overnight travel maybe 10 times total in the years I was growing up. But maybe that was the olden days, or maybe Caltrans, or maybe something else.

  149. RMS, it definitely depends on the field, but travel requirements have become far more demanding as more companies have outsourced to other countries. My sister is a process engineer for a chemical plant in South America. Apple process engineers have to travel frequently to Asia. My missile defense brother travels to various testing sites. My artificial hip brother travels to the merger sites in Europe. Mr. WCE travels to installations in Europe and potentially Asia.

    Globalization has upped the travel requirements even since 24 years ago, when I settled on my major.

    If you don’t want to travel, be a software engineer.

  150. “Depends on the field of engineering, doesn’t it? Or does it? My dad was a civil engineer for Caltrans and he had overnight travel maybe 10 times total in the years I was growing up. But maybe that was the olden days, or maybe Caltrans, or maybe something else.”

    Our neighbor is a civil engineer focused on our regional transit systems. She works for a contracted company, not directly for the RTA or suborgs She never travels except to sites around the local area or occasionally to conferences, etc. She does work construction hours (out early, home early, sometimes on weekends when a project is behind). Doesn’t sound that different from what you describe.

  151. “had a scholarship in engineering and turned it down and didn’t go through college because she wanted to be a SAHM.”

    As has been discussed here in the past, becoming an engineer is one path to SAHMhood. I’ve known a number of engineers who became SAHM, often moving to low COL areas, e.g.,near WCE or RMS. Going this route has the additional benefit, especially if she gains work experience as an engineer prior to SAHM conversion, of having a fallback in case something happens to the H or the marriage.

    Or more generally, marrying an engineer is a not unusual path to SAHMhood.

  152. “Nuclear engineers often travel on short notice because most of the “engineering” work is in design/construction and you have to travel to review the part when it’s constructed/ready for travel to the site/potentially has a problem. Working nuclear plants have mostly technicians.”

    Not for the nuke engineers here. The plants come to them.

  153. Ivy had a good example. My SIL works a part-time contract job like mine in regulatory compliance, where you never have an emergency requiring travel. Regulatory compliance is heavily female.

  154. DW has a good friend who’s a civil engineer with a job similar to what Ivy described, and doesn’t travel much for her job.

    A good friend of mine works for an EE consulting company and similarly has very little travel for his job.

    There are jobs out there for engineers that do not involve extensive and/or last-minute travel, but they are not as easy to find as they were. E.g., back when there were a lot of fabs in the US, there were a lot of process engineering jobs that didn’t require a lot of travel.

  155. WCE, I think we’ve discussed this before, but most of the female process engineers I’ve worked with worked in masking. Any ideas why that might be, or is that not consistent with what you’ve seen?

  156. Finn, I have been so isolated for so long that I have no idea of industry demographics. I know that masking, because it’s so technically challenging, usually has the most openings and most companies are welcoming to women engineering hires, so probably that’s why women are disproportionately in masking, if that’s true.

    Women are ~20% of engineering graduates and ~10% of engineers and that’s been roughly true for a decade or so. The women I know who stay in engineering tend to be breadwinners or single. But the sample I know may be skewed.

  157. “marrying an engineer is a not unusual path to SAHMhood.” I would never have thought of an engineering degree as an MRS degree!

    WCE, on the brute skills, I was very glad, when out with my just-over-one-year old boy and AAA was predicting 2 hrs to come to the shopping center and change the flat, that I knew how to do it myself. In the end, they pulled up much faster than that and I was happy to let them finish the job. More recently, I came across two women in a parking garage. One of them had a dead battery and a set of jumper cables. The other had pulled her car over, but neither of them knew how to put the cables on and jump the car! I set them up and then intentionally took off before the battery was charged. I gave them brief instructions on taking the cables off, but think that in something like that, fear is often the biggest factor, so I wanted to make them do it.

  158. “I would never have thought of an engineering degree as an MRS degree!”

    That’s not quite what I was saying.

    We’ve discussed here before, although perhaps while you were on hiatus, how IME many of the women who worked in tech companies, most of whom were not engineers, viewed the male engineers as prize marriage material for a number of reasons not unlike the reasons WCE married Mr. WCE, including being good providers potentially capable of supporting SAHM.

    OTOH, we’ve also discussed how the M/F ratio tends to make female engineers subject to a lot of male attention. Most of the female engineering students I remember from college married engineers, as did most of the female engineers I’ve worked with. I know a few female engineers who’ve married non-engineers, but within my circle of acquaintance, they constitute a small %age.

    But yeah, for many of the girls WCE might know who aim to get married to stable providers who can support SAHM, majoring in engineering is worth consideration.

    OTOH, I don’t know of any female engineering majors who went into engineering for that reason. As we’ve discussed before (likely when you were on hiatus), most of the female engineering majors I’ve known were pushed there because of excellence in math and science; thus, female students tended to be near to top of their classes academically.

    I can only remember one female engineering major from my undergrad days who really wanted to be an engineer, but struggled with the academics. I ran into her a while a while back at a college fair; she didn’t end up getting an engineering degree, but was working for an engineering company in HR.

  159. DH is a structural engineer. He generally doesn’t have to do a lot of travel (other than local). He did have to unexpectedly travel and miss our first Valentine’s Day date due to the Northridge Earthquake. His office was sending engineers down weekly for quite some time to inspect all the buildings that were damaged in the quake.

  160. Thanks Finn! I may have missed that specific conversation, but I recall plenty of talk on here about engineers being good husbands for the reasons you mention.

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