Fired

by Louise

This article caught my eye. One party was fired by their firm, the other was not fired by another firm and continues on.

On a radio show, I listen to callers describe situations and listeners and radio hosts guess whether they were fired or not. Many times, I have thought the callers must have gotten fired, but no – they carried on.

Have you been fired? Or know of situations where people should or should not have been fired?

Fifth Third Fired Counsel Over Relationship With Fannie CEO

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126 thoughts on “Fired

  1. At that level, as I understand it, being fired is a big deal. In most cases you’d be asked to resign and you’d issue a statement that you’re going to “spend more time with my family.” There must be more to the story.

  2. In my experience, these two companies have very different cultures. Several of my friends specifically took jobs with Fannie in DC in the late 80s/early 90s because of their liberal and accepting culture of different types of people and relationships. I still think it’s not the type of firm that would fire someone, male or female for a relationship unless there was a real conflict of interest.

    Fifth Third was a client, and I found the culture to be more conservative. All forms should be concerned about reputation, but they probably wouldn’t have a high tolerance for anything that might imply a conflict.

    This is just my experience, but I think this might be a specific situation.

    I’ve fired people, and I hate doing it. I think it’s one of the worst parts of managing people. I’ve had stomach aches even when I know the person really deserves to be fired.

  3. Being fired, being internally disciplined, or having no repercussions has always seemed fairly arbitrary in organizations I’ve worked for unless the issue is egregious. But, it is also hard to know if that is truly the case unless you were involved in the incident.

    I fully believe that employee’s should be given the opportunity to recover from mistakes in accuracy and judgment. I also believe when an organization’s policys are vague, the employee should be able to recover from a violation as well (and the policy should be more clear). If you allow employees to learn and recover, then it can look like unfair treatment because the other employees are (and likely shouldn’t be) in the know about whether this is a first time “offense” or a repeat.

  4. Rhett – agreed, especially if there is no lawsuit forthcoming it seems like something else was going on. (If she sues for wrongful termination, however, then it just might be firing according to the policies/culture)

    I have been fired twice. It totally sucked both times. These were both the big law firm-style firings, though, where they give you X number of months to leave. One of them was when I was pregnant (and for which I got a settlement for about 2.2X months instead of the X that they offered).

  5. Yes, I have been fired. I could have “resigned” if I wanted to but, given my situation at the time, being fired was my best option once it became clear they didn’t want me around anymore.

    The firm was a startup and I was hired as their Controller and I joined them about 5 months into my severance period from being downsized by my 20-year large employer. The hiring process focused on discussions of me doing budgeting, financial planning, A/P, A/R, banking/cash management, all things I had done before. When I got there it became clear they really wanted an accountant (I am not an accountant) and my performance in that role was not great. Nothing to get fired over, but just not that great. It lasted about 6 months, I was miserable every day, losing sleep, couldn’t eat. When I (finally, after too long) brought this — the change in duties/job requirements — up to the CFO, my boss, her position was that this is what the company needed and if I felt I was unable to do the work I should leave. Since I had no imminent options, I knew I needed to be able to get unemployment, hence the decision to get fired vs resign.

    (post script – quite literally the afternoon I took my small box of personal items out to my car I got a call from a recruiter asking if I was available for a temporary position doing what I actually know how to do and could I start meet the owners the next day and start on Monday? It was temporary, 6 months, but long enough to be able to chart a new path forward when that ended).

    The “firing” experience probably helped me in the long run. And the company had pretty much shut down operations 6 months after that anyway. That happens in start-up land.

  6. Yeah, I didn’t count the downsizing as firing, although practically, they were both really the same…my services were no longer needed. I guess I view them differently because the downsizing was across the company, I got caught in something like the 4th of 10 waves and I wasn’t being singled out. The firing was just me.

  7. This was not a conflict of interest in the official sense (unless their local Bar rules have very different provisions than the ones I am used to). The Bar rules are pretty specific that you can’t directly work on/be involved in matters where you have a personal interest, but as long as you are screened off of those matters, as it seems happened here, it’s not a conflict. Note that this is different than the regular conflict of interest rules: if two lawyers in the same firm represent parties who are adverse, the firm can’t just implement a screen to do the work. But when it is a personal matter that creates the conflict, the rules tend to make more allowances.

    OTOH, companies can follow more restrictive policies than the minimal compliance required by the rules. But that whole “appearance of a conflict” is bullhockey — there’s no appearance if everyone is walled off. So, yeah, they wanted to get rid of her — no way that happens if they think she’s their #1 superstar performer. Of if it’s a conservative culture, maybe the fact that they were both still married to other people rubbed them the wrong way. Etc. But I would be stunned if it is actually about the conflict.

  8. “I got caught in something like the 4th of 10 waves and I wasn’t being singled out.”

    @Fred — this was DH in ABQ. He was the Director of Operations and had already been forced to offer up folks in 6 rounds of layoffs. When they came asking for the 7th, he told them that he probably needed to be their next target, because otherwise they wouldn’t have enough worker bees to make the stuff any more.

    On the flip side, I will never forgive my first BigLaw employer for cutting @50 lawyers my first year — everyone knew it was the economy, but they denied any economic motives, which basically left a bunch of good, decent people hanging out there as if they had been fired for cause. Bastards.

  9. I have never been fired, but…
    1. I was moved to another department because of an incident that was out of my control, but still considered “my fault” by upper management. It was very public within the organization. After about 6 months I was recruited into another department and thrived there. While the first move was awful and I was miserable with the new work, the second move was a good one.

    2. My manager had set my team leader on her radar as a target to push out of the organization. In that process, the other 3 of us on that team were also targeted. It is amazing how what you did 6 months ago received glowing reviews, but then you are being written up for all sorts of “problems”. One of the identified problems was a no win – My team leader directed all of us to do the work a certain way. In a team meeting, we questioned that approach and were told, no to do it that way. Then the manager wrote us up for following the team leader’s directions. However, if we had not, we would have been written up for insubordination…no win. Same manager was trying to show that I couldn’t manage my workload when I was off due to FMLA, even though I was meeting my deadlines. This was super stressful as I was dealing with issues I was on FMLA for. I ended up changing jobs, but at a signficant pay cut.

    One of the other team members filed a hostile workplace complaint and won. The manager was terminated, allowed to resign, but that was 8 months after I left. I could not have made it through those 8 months.

  10. The closet I have come, is to be put on written warning. I felt like I had been discrimated against because I was on maternity leave for six weeks, came back to a total re-org, tried to catch up but fell short. I had a new manager when I came back and he wasn’t that great with people. I started looking for a new job right away.

  11. I was recently pushed out of a position. My boss (who I got along well with) left and the new boss wanted “his own person” in the position. I ended up making peace with the situation–the new boss and I did not get along. Like a similar poster, its surreal to see your ideas and expertise ignored because someone has already made up their mind against you.

  12. The manager was terminated, allowed to resign

    Does being allowed to resign vs. getting fired really matter? As far as I know most companies are just going to confirm dates of employment.

  13. Rhett – Give the EEO report that documented significant violations, I was surprised. The organizations in this area also can answer – Is the person eligible for rehire? If they were allowed to resign, then they left as their own choice and they must answer yes. But, if they laid-off and/or fired the answer can be yes or no depending on the situation.

  14. Fired, other than for cause, in most cases means the person can get unemployment which is designed to protect people for things beyond their control. Resign, well that’s your choice, so no unemployment.

  15. Fred – That may be why they let the manager resign….no unemployment to pay.

  16. Well, the unemployment doesn’t come directly from the employer to the ex-employee, it comes from the state fund into which the all* employers pay. The amount an employer pays into the fund might vary with how often their (ex)employees need to access the system. As I understand it.

    * there may be some instances of self-insurance

  17. Fred – Yes, the employers rate does vary on how much their employees need to access the system. So, the more your former employees can claim unemployment, the more you pay. I would think, like any other expense, employers would do their best to manage this cost, even including encouraging resignations in lieu of firing someone.

  18. I know it’s too early to hijack, but I just had the best phone experience with American Airlines. I booked the wrong tickets for my daughter’s trip home for Thanksgiving. I talked to an agent on the phone, he was able to change her flight, get everything fixed without an extra charge. Usually, phone customer service is enraging, but this guy was really helpful. And no, I don’t have a huge number of airlines points.

  19. even including encouraging resignations in lieu of firing someone.

    Certainly some do that. On the other hand, some have a healthy fear of generating unnecessary bad blood. I think the fear is more common than the desire to save money.

  20. Rhett – I think a lot of people still fear having to report being fired or how to handle the why you left your last job question if they were fired. Many would resign thinking it was in their best interest to avoid a black mark on their record. Though, I think that varies based on age, industry, part of the country, etc.

  21. Austin,

    I think most of the time when someone is fired for being a bad fit (vs. stealing or sexual harassment etc.) are listed as “laid off” or terminated without cause so they get UI but aren’t listed as being fired.

  22. I had a good experience with American when my child was rerouted off United and was too young to fly alone on American. United on the other hand….

  23. Rhett,

    It was not within 24 hours of booking. The mixup was completely my fault. I explained it to the nice disembodied voice on the phone and he fixed everything.

  24. I think Ryan Lochte is getting that “Fired” feeling today (Speedo, Ralph Lauren so far)

  25. It seems like she would sue if she had grounds to do so (unless she got a crazy big buy out package). I’ve never been fired and have only left jobs because of moving somewhere. You have to do something really awful to get fired from a university.

    DH has never gotten fired,but law firms have definitely gotten more cut throat as far as not giving partners years and years to be profitable anymore. A work friend of DH’s got the boot last year – though they did give him a years worth of severance. He got a new job but at a much lower salary. Other people we know say they feel like they have a target on their backs all of the time.

  26. I was laid off in one situation. In public accounting the last time, I was hired right when the economy tanked, the particular position was a bad fit to my skills and I was a bad fit to the specific group culture. But I had an employment contract that could be terminated with 2 mos notice either way, nothing bad needed to be said. Otherwise I would have deserved to be fired for less than full effort/production. And I took early retirement with a generous takeover package rather than a short term one way relo when my employer was swallowed up by a larger multinational. All other jobs were left voluntarily.

  27. Hijack, off-topic comment since it’s 4:30. DW has mentioned an interest in Arches NP for several years now. I was looking at vacation time this morning and I’m going to carry forward a lot of time into next year. If we’re going to go out West, it would be no problem to take two weeks in the summer (just plan well in advance at work).

    Now, realize that I really like driving, and prefer it to flying, so what I’m about to say is colored by that bias. On Priceline, it looks like it’s over $1,000 to rent a minivan or large SUV for two weeks. That’s on top of $2k-$3k, roughly, for round trip airfare for five. Sooo, I kind of want to drive. It’s about 25 hours to CO Springs, where BIL and SIL live, and they’ve expressed an interest in doing some more traveling with us.

    I’m thinking we could leave after work on a Thursday and drive for five hours. The second day we could easily make it to Kansas City, where I have some family, and visit them for a night. We could make it to CO Springs for dinner on Saturday, and stay with BIL and SIL. Then we’d all leave for Moab on Sunday morning, which is five hours away.

    Crazy, or not? And I figure there’s no need to spend two weeks in Moab, so where do we go from there? And do we follow this plan of zooming across the country to make best time, or should we be stopping and sightseeing along the way?

    Doing this in a motorhome would be fun, but putting that many miles on it is costly. There’s also the option of zooming out there in our van, than picking up a motorhome, but that’s for novelty, not saving money.

    Thoughts? The kids are really good car travelers. They read a ton of books and watch a lot of movies.

  28. Crazy, or not? Probably at least somewhat. YMMV. I think you’ll want to take more time getting to Moab, so the beginning of the vacation stays fun. So plan some other stops along the way.

    And I figure there’s no need to spend two weeks in Moab, so where do we go from there? Nearby are a couple of places I really like: Mesa Verde, which is at least kinda sorta on the way from Co Springs to Moab, and although it’s not a National Park/Monument at all, really a bit of a tourist rip-off, since you’re in the area you should go to the 4 Corners Monument, run by the Native Americans since it’s the only place in the USA one can be in 4 states at once. Canyonlands NP is very near Moab/Arches, but we all liked Arches much better. Our kids were 2, 5, 7 when we went and they all loved it. Even the 2yo did a lot of the hiking himself, so your kids will do fine.

    And do we follow this plan of zooming across the country to make best time, or should we be stopping and sightseeing along the way? See above. I recommend saving the zooming for the trip back if you must do it.

    Thoughts? The kids are really good car travelers. Yeah, but too much of anything gets old, right?

    I still remember fondly the 3 week car trip our little family of 4 took when I was 5 and my sister was 3. From the Bay Area, to among the places I remember, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Milwaukee (relatives), Muscatine IA (more relatives), St. Louis, Muskogee OK (still more relatives), Dallas (the last of the relatives), Carlsbad Caverns, ~Phoenix where all the car’s windows were wrecked in an overnight sandstorm, Disneyland and then home.

    It will be a memory for your kids…so I strongly recommend it.

  29. I can’t really comment about whether you should do the drive across country. If you are going to Arches, I might try to combine with Mesa Verde. I thought it was a beautiful park, and it is so interesting to see what was built there many generations ago. We stopped in 4 corners too. touristy, but fun.

  30. Doing this in a motorhome would be fun, but putting that many miles on it is costly.

    Looking online it seems they charge $0.375/mile which is about the same as the per mile deprecation on the Odyssey. I’m not sure you included that in your calculation.

  31. it adds 4 hours of driving to include Mesa Verde and 4 Corners (vs driving direct from CO Springs). Depending on how you look at it, that’s either an additional 4 on top of 30 (DC to Arches), or an additional 4 on top of 5 (CO Springs to Arches).

  32. Milo, we just came home from vacation early because the kids got so ornery it wasn’t worth staying (turned out one had an eye infection and another was coming down with a stomach bug).

    Your kids are older than mine, though, and it sounds like your vacations are more “great family memory” than “outpost of h3ll” :)

  33. Also, per what Fred said, if you’re driving almost all the way across the county why not go all the way to Yosemite and Redwood National Park. Arches to Yosemite is only 686 miles and Redwood is only ~400 more. .

  34. On the way back from Arches you can go to Rocky Mtn NP and also stop in Denver to see Rocky and DD.

    And vs Rhett’s suggestion to extend, if you were going to do something like that, I’d recommend/ suggest Grand Teton (6 hours) and Yellowstone (1 more hour) which are only north of Arches.

    But realistically, adding those would be biting off too much for one trip.

  35. Rhett – your depreciation estimate implies that the Odyssey dies at 200,000 miles and cost $75,000 new. Or, if it lasts to 250,000 miles, it would have needed to cost $93,000 new.

    Mesa Verde, huh? I’ll need to look into this. I’m getting intrigued by the motorhome traveling idea. Maybe it would make sense to zoom across to Kansas City for example, and pick up and return the motorhome in Kansas City. That eliminates 2000 round-trip miles from going on the motorhome.

  36. On the way back from Arches you can go to Rocky Mtn NP and also stop in Denver to see Rocky and DD.

    Exactly!

  37. To me it sounds crazy, but then again we’re used to the idea that we have to fly whenever we travel.

    If you do fly, Salt Lake City is the place to fly into to rent a minivan or full-sized SUV. (Also, if you do, take the kids to the Leonardo museum.) Arches is hella hot in the summer and you’re definitely not going to want to spend 2 months in the red rock zone, especially with younger kids. But if you’re interested in doing a big circle, you could easily sweep up through CO and WY (Grand Teton, Yellowstone), or go south and pick up Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon, and more of the rock parks. You’d love Cody. I can just imagine the Milo family going to the evening show at the buffet restaurant near the night rodeo and then sending the kids out when the 12-and-unders get to compete in the calf ribbon pull. Anyway, if you end up doing this trip, feel free to either ask here or e-mail me for what I picked up in planning our 2015 trip.

  38. I hate car travel and Mr WCE likes it. We drove ~17 hours one-way to Yellowstone when the twins were 3, over 1.5 days, and everyone survived so it’s doable. Both last year and this year, we’ve traveled twice to Iowa for family reasons, so we’re kind of used to shelling out for plane tickets and that stinks less than 3 days in the car each way. Are you considering foregone income for your DW or does she also have adequate vacation? Our combined foregone income is usually my ace for plane tickets.

    Look at the weather when you want to go- Utah can be crazy hot. Also consider Bryce and Zion National Parks, in addition to the suggestions above.

    This is the type of trip where I would consider renting a minivan with unlimited miles instead of driving my own. One of my uncles routinely rents a vehicle for short trips from Florida to Pennsylvania and back.

  39. Rhett – your depreciation estimate implies that the Odyssey dies at 200,000 miles and cost $75,000 new.

    Everything I’ve read says the IRS $0.54/miles is pretty accurate as it includes tires, brakes, timing belt, brake fluid flush, repairs, time value of money, etc.

  40. Milo, I love the Griswold-style road trips, so I like your plan, especially since you’ve had a chance for somewhat of a dry run, towing your camper. Getting to visit family and see how out of place you feel in other parts of the country would be worth the extra time, and having the trailer along opens up all sorts of options.

    I suggest you consider a loop, hitting places like Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Painted Desert, Grand Canyon (North rim might be a better fit), Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands in addition to Arches.

    As I recall from a similar trip from small kid time, there were a lot of camping options in that area.

  41. To clarify: I meant doing it as a round trip from DC-area sounds crazy, and I meant 2 weeks, not 2 months. Although if you spend it all in 100+ degree weather looking at interesting rocks with preschoolers it may feel like 2 months.

  42. Arches was, per HM, “hella hot” when we were there, but manage your time to do the hiking in the morning, drink & lug lots of water, get back to wherever the pool is for the afternoon. It works.

  43. HM, your comment reminds me of my favorite terminal cancer joke.
    Physician: “I’m sorry, Mr. Smith, the tumor is very advanced. The best I can recommend is to move to Cleveland and marry my ex-wife.”
    Mr. Smith: “How will moving to Cleveland and marrying your ex-wife help me?”
    Physician: “It won’t make you live longer, but it will make 6 months feel like forever.”

  44. Milo, any thought to taking a different route home? I assume you’re planning to take 70 west; how about 40 or 80 on the return, to see different parts of the country?

    If you could take more than 2 weeks, you could have a really awesome trip.

  45. BTW, this road trip talk brings to mind an out-of-place experience from my small kid road trip.

    We stopped in a motel, I think it was in near Fresno, but somewhere in the CA Central Valley in the summer, when it’s really hot there. There was something on the wall with numbers and a dial that we couldn’t figure out. My sister thought it might be a radio and played with the dial, but we didn’t hear anything. But a short time later, that room started getting unbearably hot.

    Turns out it was the thermostat for the heater, which was a totally foreign concept to us. If the weather got cold at home, we’d close the windows and wear long pants.

  46. Milo – I love the idea, either taking your own van the whole way or grabbing an RV in KC as you suggest. I agree w/ Fred re: leaving the zooming for the trip home vs the trip there. I think it will be a ton more fun and memorable than flying to the west, and it sounds like you have the time to do it. Not crazy at all, imho.

    In addition to the books and Totebaggy car games, I’d suggest grabbing a TV series the kids can get hooked on–Brady Bunch is one idea–and save it for the trip. That show was fun for me and DH to listen to from the front seats, so on long road trips, we could “watch” with the kids and chat w/ them about the episode if we felt like it, or tune it out and let them watch while we had some adult chat if we needed a bit of a break. Our kids were great on road trips too, but that series was a sanity saver a few times, and I remember thinking how great it was that it was something DH and I could stand hearing for hours on end. I would think Little House on the Prairie would be similar — some of these family values shows that would appeal to both genders, a range of ages and parents as well as kids.

  47. Milo – I recently read a blog where the husband drove to CO and the wife and kid flew. Husband then picked them up at the airport. So potentially another option where some drive / some fly and you don’t need to rent a vehicle.

    We were out in Colorado with our family a few weeks ago. There’s quite a bit you can do from CO Springs. Would definitely recommend Rocky Mtn National Park. Drive up to the Alpine visitors center on the gravel road and take the paved road back. There are lots of small “hikes” you can do with the kids in the park.

    We went up Pikes Peak on the train which was fun. And went to a rodeo which our kids really enjoyed. Seems like there was more in the SW part of the state that would be cool. My grandma’s favorited national park was Zion. I haven’t been yet and am not sure how far it would be for you, but maybe an option.

    Sounds like a fun trip!

  48. The loop I described also lets you hit 70 after Arches so you can visit DD and RMS.

    Perhaps from Denver you can then head north to Rocky Mountain NP, then on to Devils Tower, then east to Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Badlands NP.

  49. Ah, Milo, yes, I would totally do that. In Co Spgs go to Garden of the Gods. Go up Pike’s Peak. Then drive W and S through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison; south in Montrose to Telluride and Ouray (worth renting a jeep for a day for offroading — one of the most spectacular places I’ve been offroad, plus Ouray has hot springs if you’d like), then down to Durango (another nice town, less chichi than Telluride), then another turn to Mesa Verde — not to be missed, just because it’s so completely different than anything you will see out here. That is absolutely one of my favorite drives ever — just gorgeous and completely different than the East Coast.

    (OTOH, don’t bother with Cripple Creek, despite the song — a lot of the old mining towns up there are really depressed and now rely on generic depressing casinos to get by).

    Me, though, I’d fly into Denver and rent (which we may be doing next summer, except through to Portland via the northern Yellowstone loop — although this post is making me think maybe we need a loop back on the S side). But it’s not a bad drive if you like driving long distances — I kind of like it myself, except I’d do just about anything to skip Kansas and E. Colo. (so your plan to fly into Kansas City wouldn’t exactly be for me) :-) Are you taking the camper? If you could bring the pop-up for the trip, that would probably save enough money to make it worthwhile to drive. The weather will be gorgeous for it up in the Rockies in the summer. And then you can save the hotel rooms for Utah when it’s 100 degrees.

  50. Milo, having spent lots of time as a kid in Colorado, I concur with LfB’s recommendation to add some Colorado stuff instead of looking at more Rock National Parks. The drive up Pike’s Peak and the experience of being at that altitude WITHOUT HAVING TO CLIMB THERE is interesting. Is there a “tree line” where you live? I remember a long hike in Rocky Mountain National Park where we climbed up through the tree line and we watched the trees get sparser and sparser until there were no trees.

  51. The drive up Pike’s Peak and the experience of being at that altitude WITHOUT HAVING TO CLIMB THERE is interesting. Is there a “tree line” where you live?

    Just driving through RMNP will get them above the tree line, at least if they’re heading toward the Alpine Visitor Center.

  52. “And then you can save the hotel rooms for Utah when it’s 100 degrees.”

    Don’t forget, Milo’s camper has AC.

  53. “Go up Pike’s Peak.”

    I remember a stop at North Pole, CO, near Pike’s Peak, when I was a kid. Looking back, it might’ve been really cheesy, but as a small kid I enjoyed it.

    Not to mention, there’s nothing inherently wrong with cheesy fun.

  54. If you get the RV (or the Odyssey) you could bring along a home made altimeter for the drive up Pikes Peak:

    Certainly a totebag approved science project.

  55. Milo–to second someone upstream, you really don’t want to drive from KC across Kansas and eastern Colorado. The definition of deadly dull.

  56. I haven’t had a chance to recount our vacation. We did a sort of car trip which involved a lot of bicycling. We drove first to the Champlain Islands in Vermont. We camped at a state park there, very nice views, lots of space, quiet campground. We rode the Burlington bike path which connects the island of South Hero to the mainland via a narrow causeway. You get to ride on a little bicycle ferry, and the trail ends up in Burlington VT, where we had lunch and sipped local IPAs
    http://www.localmotion.org/island_line_bike_ferry

    Then we drove up to Labelle, QC, where we camped on the Riviere Rouge. The main attraction there is mountains, river, and the P’tit Train du Nord, a 200km bike trail along an old train line. We rode the northern part of it. It was very hot out – 95 degrees – and we went about 35 miles total. It was very beautiful, cutting first through small farms and then into forest and mountain river. We had sandwiches for dinner including excellent cheese and pate – Quebec people love pate and even tiny rural supermarkets like the one in Labelle have a big selection. The next day, we spent the morning on the river while the kids splashed around and then headed to Mont Tremblant

    Mont Tremblant is a ski resort done up in pseudo Quebec village style, with a lift to the top of the mountain, a luge, and lots of other family attractions. It is also on the P’tit Train, so we rode about 30 miles plus some more on paths heading down from Mont Tremblant. This was again a ride through total forest except for our lunch stop where there were some cafes. We had crepes in one of the cafes and marvelled at the bike tool stand on the path – a red kiosk with a pump and all sorts of useful tools chained to it. One great thing about Canadian bike paths – amenities! Unfortunately it rained heading back so the kids were all whining. But then the rain let up and we let them ride the luge.

    The next day we went to the National Park and hiked. It was a nature hike with a little guide that told you all the geologic formations and tree factoids. When we finished with that, we went back to the ski resort and the kids rode off the rest of their luge tickets while DH and I enjoyed beer at a cafe and watched all the people in saris and hijab struggling to get their luge helmets on. We took the cablcar to the top of the mountains, where it was freezing cold and started to rain.

    The last few days were spent in Ottawa which I think may be the best city in North America for bicycling. Certainly, if you are a tourist, the fastest and easiest way to get to the attractions is by bike, because they have dedicated bike paths going to all of them. They have bike lanes, and bike roads along the canal and the river that go for miles. We saw tons of people riding bikes there, and even our hotel had dedicated bike storage. Besides bicycling, we went to the museums. Unfortunately large portions of both the Canadian National Gallery and the Canadian Museum of HIstory were closed for renovation. We did get to visit the new and very excellent Canadian War Museum, as well as the Canadian Museum of Agriculture (a total hoot) and we saw fireworks and a patriotic light show on Parliament Hill. I walked away, as “O Canada” played and images of maple leaves floated down the Parliament Building, saying “Oh YEAH, I am SO going to become a Canadian”. But then I remembered the snow, and how cold Ottawa was in February when I visited last, and I realized I couldn’t last there.

  57. I just posted a lengthy trip summary but it never appeared. Did it get flagged for some reason?

  58. Driving home, we did something momentuous – we purposefully routed through a college town to do a quick drive through of the campus. It was SUNY Binghamton. The kids were not impressed. The campus itself is nice enough – standard public university architecture on a lovely hillside. But the one strip below the campus was bleak. A couple of chain restaurants, the worst Chinese takeout every (we ate from there, so we know), exactly one pizza place, a Target. And one sad looking bar. To me, this is a huge red flag. One bar and one pizza place for such a large school tells me that everyone drives out to socialize, and that means drinking and driving. And given that Binghamton itself was not that exciting looking, I bet kids are driving to Ithaca to party. I went to a very similar kind of school for grad school, so I know what happens at big isolated campuses. Lots of drinking and lots of driving.

    When I asked the kids what they thought, my DS2 said, “no way no how”. Of course, this was after he had choked down the worst Chinese takeout ever.

    So this officially begins the college visit season.

  59. Speaking of national parks, I just got back from Crater Lake NP. My DH and I flew into PDX and drove down to Bend. From Bend it was another 1.5 hours to Crater Lake, so an easy day trip. Unfortunately a fire was very close to the West Rim, so that part of the loop was closed. We had intended to do a few hikes on the west side, but were able to enjoy some impromptu hikes on the eastern and southern sides. Because of the fire the sky was hazy, and the whole park smelled like campfire, but the water was very blue. A park ranger told us that on clear days it is spectacular, but I was still impressed with what I saw. One of our hikes/climbs we could see the hot shots helicopters fly out to a lake outside the park, scoop up water in their buckets, and fly back to the fire and drop.

    We also hit hikes in Newberry National Volcanic Memorial, around Mt. Bachelor, and at Smith Rock State Park. We did this trip without our kids, so we could really push through on hot treeless climbs. Our kids would have loved Crater Lake, but hot dry volcanic hikes would have bored them within five minutes.

    Our VRBO in Bend was in a perfect location, a less than two minute walk to several craft breweries. Definitely a trip I would do again, and highly recommend.

  60. There are pictures of me at the North Pole (amusement park) when I was 2. For a long time, I thought I had indeed visited the North Pole.

  61. “One bar and one pizza place for such a large school tells me that everyone drives out to socialize, and that means drinking and driving. ”

    Is it a college town?

    When I was an undergrad, there was just one pizza place adjacent to campus, and I don’t remember many bars. However, for those who lived on campus, much of the partying went on in the dorms themselves, where during weekends there were always multiple parties, where one could get blasted then walk back to one’s dorm to sleep it off.

    Many of the students were also commuters.

    But I think campus visits can be most useful for eliminating schools from lists, and the reasons often have to do with the surrounding communities more than the schools themselves.

  62. Binghamton looks more like a dying industrial town than a college town. And the university is sort of out of the main town.

    It is harder to party in dorms these days, I believe, because the colleges are trying to crack down. However, I read that SUNY Binghamton has a thriving Greek scene.

  63. MM – there is little near Binghamton U (as they want to be known). There is a lot more stuff to the west of campus a mile or so (toward Vestal)…all the chain stuff you’re expecting. And also a couple of miles north of campus just before I-86/NY-17. If you visited SUNY Geneseo, there’s a little downtown in walking distance of campus, but I’m pretty sure your kids would be unimpressed. There is a ton of stuff right near both Cornell and Syracuse.

    Binghamton, like Syracuse, Schenectady, Utica, Rome, Auburn, Owego, Cortland etc are all dying industrial towns in Upstate & Western NY. They are all the same to me. There are lots of colleges that were built when the towns/cities were in their heyday and they survive. Buffalo seems to be coming back. Rochester the city has glimmer from time to time but the surrounding area much more so.

  64. Milo – I would fly 1000 times before driving that far, but I don’t like road trips in general. I would also rent a camper – that seems like the best option if you really want to drive.

  65. I, too, prefer flying to driving. We drove to Colorado this summer–2 solid days of driving each way. It was do-able, and saved us a lot of money on airfare, but still tiring.

  66. I love road trips, so that sounds really fun to me. I love the feeling of driving away from responsibility. Although I will say I love them at the start. At the end of two weeks, I would just want to go home.

  67. Milo’s trip sounds like the 4th circle of hell for me, but car rides are definitely not our jam. I would probably do worse than the kids but none of us would weather that confinement well.

  68. We did, out of necessity, a fair amount of riding in Alaska. Big state, as it turns out. I definitely had to balance travel days and active days or I got far too restless.

  69. On topic, I was fired from my first nursing job a few years ago. It was in a nursing home that was really a craphole. Basically I made a dumb mistake when the state surveyors were there, they got dinged for it, so they fired me. They fired a lot of people for reasons like that.

    But what goes around comes around. I got hired at a much better nursing home a month later. Go forward about 2 years, and I’m waiting for the evening nurse to give report at the end of my shift. It turns out to be the a-hole who fired me. He doesn’t say a word to me other than what’s needed to get report. I can only assume he was fired from the previous place, because he wasn’t the type who had any interest in going from management back to the floor. He was a really crappy nurse and they fired him a couple of months later.

    On Milo’s sidetrack, I would try to break up the drive a bit more and loop around so you can see different things on the way out and back. And if you do come through Denver, I’d love to meet you (and Rocky). I find it fascinating meeting people in real life after getting to know them online first.

    Total aside: about 35 years ago, my dad took my brother and me on a big western road trip. We flew into Denver, went up to Yellowstone, down through Utah to the Grand Canyon, then back up through Colorado to Denver. We stopped in Colorado Springs near the end of the trip, and my dad wanted to go up Pike’s Peak, but for some reason he gave us a choice of that or seeing the Estes model rocket factory. And for some reason, we picked the Estes factory. My dad is still annoyed about it. One of these times when he visits I need to take him up to Pike’s Peak.

  70. Cornell’s town (Ithaca) is in a totally different league than Syracuse or Binghamton. Ithaca is a hotspot for cool music, for art, for restaurants. Back in the days when I used to go to oldtime festivals, the Ithaca bands would arrive in a huge old bus, and host parties all night. I am not a fan of Ithaca in some ways – it is a generic college town that is kind of interchangeable with Boulder, Burlington, and Northhampton – but it is way more active than the other towns you mention.

  71. I, too, prefer flying to driving. We drove to Colorado this summer–2 solid days of driving each way. It was do-able, and saved us a lot of money on airfare, but still tiring.

    Same here. The longest we’ve done with the kids is 8 hours to Lincoln last fall to go to a Nebraska game. I’d rather spend $2,500 on airfare and a rental car than four days of driving. We did a lot of driving in Iceland, but aside from a couple of 2-3 hour stretches, we were making a lot of stops so it was broken up pretty well.

  72. Mooshi, the same thing happened with my trip report. I think the really long posts get hung up in moderation until CoC frees them.

  73. MM – Oh yeah, I still love the Peoples’ Republic. Purity Ice Cream, The Nines (for both pizza and music). We get there at least once a year. Right now it looks like I’ll be there college visiting with DS3 in November. Its principal industry/employers are thriving, both Cornell and IC.

  74. I think the decision whether or not to take such a long drive depends in part on individual family dynamics, as well as interest in the area through which you’re driving. Having good electronic entertainment probably matters as well.

    A buddy and I once drove from the SF Bay Area to CO Springs in about two days. We get along very well and have a lot of interests in common, including some musical tastes, so we easily passed the time talking about all kinds of stuff and listening to music we both liked.

    I also found the leg through southern WY fascinating because I’d read a lot about the plains Indians when I was in MS, and actually seeing that area and many of the landmarks I’d read about was interesting.

    The latter suggests that one way to make the trip more interesting is to prep the family so they’ll have some familiarity beforehand. This is not unlike watching a bunch of Disney movies before going to Disneyland or WDW, so many of the characters and attractions will be more relevant, or watching North by Northwest before going to Mt. Rushmore.

  75. “Mooshi, the same thing happened with my trip report. I think the really long posts get hung up in moderation until CoC frees them.”

    Yeah, it was kind of odd how I thought I’d read all the posts up to the last post I’d made, then suddenly this long post DD had written shows up above it, like there had been some sort of disturbance in the time-space continuum, or a wrinkle in time.

  76. Actually, let me clarify: I love long drives when it’s just me in the car — I drove to and from college/law school, and around the country one summer break. Night driving is the best, with the top down or the sunroof open; I’ve gone all night from TX to CA. Zen.

    I tolerate long drives with DH. He is a worse passenger than I am, so I sit and stare out the window a lot.

    I cannot abide long drives with my children in the car.

    Though I’d reconsider the last two in one of the big campers where we can lie in bed or watch TV and go to the bathroom and get snacks and just move around and all that stuff.

  77. “aside from a couple of 2-3 hour stretches, we were making a lot of stops so it was broken up pretty well.”

    That’s what my parents did for the one long, Griswold-style trip we took. I don’t think we drove more than 5 or 6 hours in a day on that trip, and we did something physical every day. There were a lot of nature walks and hikes in the NPs, and on the days that were just driving, we nearly always stopped and checked into our lodging early enough each afternoon so we could spend some time in the pool.

    OTOH, if you only have 2 weeks, that may not be an option, but modern electronics probably make longer drives more tolerable.

  78. “I’d reconsider the last two in one of the big campers where we can lie in bed or watch TV and go to the bathroom and get snacks and just move around and all that stuff.”

    I’d wonder whether that’s legal in these days of seat belt laws, not to mention be concerned about safety.

    But with 5 Milos in a minivan that seats 7 or 8, and a lot of their gear stowed in the trailer, I think there’d be a lot more room to stretch out and get comfortable than in coach class of a plane. And individual entertainment devices are pretty cheap, e.g., we paid $35 for the Kindle Fire we bought for DD, and she loves downloading and watching dramas on it.

  79. Finn, I think the newer highways in Kansas and eastern Colorado incorporate unnecessary turns every few miles as safety features. Your biggest risk is falling asleep at the wheel.

  80. We were supposed to have lau laus and poi and rice for dinner.

    Me [rattling around in fridge]: That’s funny, I can’t find the poi anywhere!

    Daughter: The poi? Oh, youngest ate half of it, so I thought it was ok, and I ate the rest.

    I guess we’re having lau laus and rice. Oh well, poi is pretty healthful as afterschool snacks go.

  81. We have done long car trips – our drive to Virginia Beach was 7 hours and drive to Florida was 12 hours. Kids and adults are good travelers. We have also done the flying into a destination, parking ourselves in a hotel, visiting the sites within a 2-3 hour drive, staying a couple of days and then moving to another hotel and doing the same thing. What we haven’t done is a big camping trip. DH is definitely interested in flying in, renting an RV and doing a camping vacation.

    About Upstate NY – Ithaca definitely is a college town but some places felt so remote. I was used to a big city and attending college in a place without many stores, restaurants or entertainment around would feel so isolating to me. Of course, I thought Boston was the perfect place to go to college ;-).

  82. “But with 5 Milos in a minivan that seats 7 or 8, and a lot of their gear stowed in the trailer, I think there’d be a lot more room to stretch out and get comfortable than in coach class of a plane.”

    Yes, but the flight is over in 2-3 hrs and has a bathroom onboard. The minivan drives on and on through hell, usually requiring a bathroom immediately after the “last facilities for 83 miles” sign has disappeared through the back window.

    I worry about seat belt laws, too. But I figure the likelihood of being busted during the 2 mins someone gets up to pee is pretty low.

  83. Whoa, thanks for all the responses. There’s a ton of great info. to go through. I think I need to print out a big U.S. map and pin the parks and start to prioritize and narrow down an itinerary. It could be a good late Fall weekend activity.

    “we just came home from vacation early because the kids got so ornery it wasn’t worth staying”

    Oh, that stinks, Sky. Hope they’re better soon.

    “Arches is hella hot in the summer and you’re definitely not going to want to spend 2 months in the red rock zone, especially with younger kids.”

    Another option is to go during Spring Break, somewhat abbreviated, but maybe take them out of school for two or three days prior. In that case, we would fly out.

    “Anyway, if you end up doing this trip, feel free to either ask here or e-mail me for what I picked up in planning our 2015 trip.”

    Thanks, I will.

    “Are you considering foregone income for your DW or does she also have adequate vacation?”

    She’s salaried now, and their PTO is not really tracked. She and her boss (the owner) make up numbers in order to comply with 401(k) profit sharing rules. She is supposed to work X hours per month, and typically works about 1.3X-1.5X.

    “This is the type of trip where I would consider renting a minivan with unlimited miles instead of driving my own. One of my uncles routinely rents a vehicle for short trips from Florida to Pennsylvania and back.”

    That works well if you’re doing all the driving in a couple of days, but paying by the day for over two weeks gets expensive.

    “Everything I’ve read says the IRS $0.54/miles is pretty accurate as it includes tires, brakes, timing belt, brake fluid flush, repairs, time value of money, etc.”

    I’d be broke if that were true for us. Figure we drive 25k miles annually. That means $1125 per month by IRS definition. Let’s say, conservatively, that you have a car payment for half the time that you own the car, so to make it an annual equivalent, that’s $250 per month for acquisition cost. At US fleet average of 25 mpg, that’s $166 per month in fuel. Let’s even say another $150 per month in insurance. That still leaves $559 from your estimate. No way am I spending $559 monthly to maintain a car over its entire life. (and for the purposes of this topic, insurance is fixed, and fuel is independent of rental or owned vehicle.)

    “Are you taking the camper?”

    I don’t think so. Unlike WCE’s camper that sits in the bed of the pickup and remains ready for occupancy as soon as you park the truck, mine requires setup and takedown every single time. And you have to unhitch before you can even begin to set up. And because of the way it folds up so compact, you’re remaking the beds every time, re-stowing whatever gear there is…

    ““And then you can save the hotel rooms for Utah when it’s 100 degrees.”

    Don’t forget, Milo’s camper has AC.”

    Yeah…about that. Remember that it’s air conditioning a tent with no insulation. So in the VA/TN mountains after sunset, when it’s 82 degrees and sticky humid, the AC works great. But I’m thinking in the 100 degree desert with the sun beating down, not so much.

    “Is there a “tree line” where you live?”

    No. Except when you go high enough in the Appalachian Mountains, the trees become mostly coniferous. A Christmas tree guy once told me that Frasier Firs are more expensive because they only grow above a certain altitude, let’s say 3500 feet or so. On private land (where we go biking in SW Va.), there are a lot of Xmas tree farms.

    Got to go. I’ll respond to the rest a bit later.

  84. Mooshi’s trip report is up at 6:52 pm.

    Sounds like a great time. When you say “luge,” is that like an “alpine coaster” (rolling cart on a track) or a water slide?

    Anon in KC – re; driving through KS and eastern CO “the definition of deadly dull” :) can it be any worse than sailing from Newport to Bermuda?

    Both are probably really dull, BUT…, and this may be an overly Totebaggy perspective, it’s the only way to gain an appreciation of the vastness. It’s quite an experience to sail for days and days in the same direction and see nothing but ocean that’s no different than the ocean you saw five days ago.

  85. Milo,

    If you’re driving 25k a year your car hits 200k in 8 years. As such the payments would be $749.87 for four years or $374.68 spread over 8 years not $250,

  86. “Ithaca shockingly named Most Hippie Town in New York”

    ‘In a written statement, Mayor Svante Myrick said he questions the validity of the ranking, because it does not do Ithaca justice.

    “This is an outrage,” he wrote. “I intend to challenge this. The facts are wrong and misleading. Ithaca is not the hippiest town in New York. Ithaca is the hippiest town in America.”‘

  87. OK, I see my trip report. You have to scroll back to 6:46. If anyone is interested in Canadian car n’ bike trips, you can take a look!

  88. You can spread it over 10 years / 250k miles.

    When I was telling my DD about the different options last night, she really wanted to drive, which kind of surprised me. (When I pointed out the disadvantages, she accused me of trying to talk her out of driving.) And this is a kid who just finished a long road trip. They really want the motor home experience, but understand that an economical compromise might involve picking one up out there somewhere. But in their words, “we’ve already rented houses and cabins.”

    So the MH might make sense from an experience point of view, even if it doesn’t by direct cost comparison. At their ages, and at $2/gal fuel, it might be the ideal time.

  89. Milo, a luge is a track that goes down the mountain, and you ride little go karts down, picking up a good amount of speed.

    I have driven through Kansas and eastern CO more times than you can imagine. Awful. I would sit in the car, just praying to see a tree, and finally being content to see a billboard with a little shade, and cows clustered underneath. Seeing the mountains appear off in the distance was such a relief

  90. “It’s quite an experience to sail for days and days in the same direction and see nothing but ocean that’s no different than the ocean you saw five days ago.”

    At least in the ocean, if you doze off in the face of all of that vastness, you are less likely to go off the road and flip the boat. :-)

  91. You can spread it over 10 years / 250k miles.

    I think you tend to overestimate the service life of vehicles, even Hondas.

  92. “It is harder to party in dorms these days, I believe, because the colleges are trying to crack down.”

    Our university puts on a good show of cracking down, but the truth is that most of the students manage to party in the dorms. If you are smart about it, you won’t get in trouble. Even if you are pretty stupid about it, you won’t get in serious trouble unless someone gets hurt or there is some major damage.

    Which makes me think of Ryan Lochte and company. Those two younger guys look JUST like oldest DS and some of his teammates, and I felt sorry for them being hounded at the airport and police station. But, seriously, why is it that the female athletes have their acts together at the same age and in the same sport? Maya Dirado, Dana Vollmer, Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel — can you even imagine them in that situation?

  93. Driving through the Great Plains when my kids were about 3 and 7, one of them got the idea they wanted to see mountains. So they started chanting Mount-Ains! Mount-Ains! for a ridiculously long period of time. Logic and facts had no impact, so we just let them wear themselves out. It is so ridiculously flat it was comical.

    Milo, if you do drive, there are some fun Old West type things to do. I remember going to Dodge City and where Wyatt Earp or some gunslinger was buried, and walking around reading the tombstones. They were hilarious to me at about 10. I also bought a book on gunslingers at one of our stops, which included tales of people being skinned alive. May have been a bit too graphic for a 10 yr old girl.

  94. “I think you tend to overestimate the service life of vehicles, even Hondas.”

    No way. I’ve got too many data points from family members recently who have all taken them, or Toyotas Camry/Highlander, easily past that. My parents’ cars are both there right now.

    You might be curious to hear that my brother just bought the new Prius. It’s the midsized one, not the compact C or wagon V, and whatever trim level it is, it has leather seats. He said out the door was only $23k with taxes and registration, and that with low fuel prices, they’ve gotten cheaper.

    Just think, for $23k, and 58 mpg, you can really push down that cost per mile.

  95. Milo,

    Selection bias – you’ve discounted the data you don’t agree with. Would be my guess.

  96. MBT – When I was 9, I got to fly by myself to my grandmother’s in Scottsdale. I remember a daytrip we took to Tombstone, and watching a gunfight. A couple years ago, I read about an accident where one of the actors (there, or in a similar town) forgot to replace the live rounds in his revolver with blanks before the show, and he shot the other actor. Only wounded him, luckily.

    Mooshi – In your retirement, you and DH need a small boat in which you can travel all the Canadian waterways and canals, use it as a mobile base carrying your bikes, and explore all the areas on bikes for a day or so at a time.

  97. “Selection bias – you’ve discounted the data you don’t agree with. Would be my guess.”

    That’s true for the ’96 Probe GT I ditched in ’03 with only 83k miles for $3k. It was a nightmare for someone with only one car who had to pay an age penalty to rent a car to get to work. That’s why I have such brand loyalty now.

    Otherwise, smooth sailing. And some of those anecdotes are 300k miles.

  98. Milo–Lfb got it right. Don’t know if your DW would feel comfortable driving whatever you rent, because you pretty much have to switch drivers to avoid falling asleep.
    If the idea is to do a long car trip to show the kids the countryside, pick a different trip. You’ll wind up with everyone staring at screens all across Kansas.

  99. Apples and oranges, Rhett. Harding carefully planned her crime. It wasn’t drunken and careless.

  100. Agree with Rhett on selection bias. You happen to know a lot of people that have Hondas and Toyotas. I happen to know a lot of people that own GM and Chrysler. Our current Chevy is going on 12 years with 140k miles, and never had any issues. The Chevy we had before that lasted 11 years with no issues, and the only reason we got rid of it was because I needed a minivan. I have a cousin driving a minivan with over 200k miles on it, and a brother who swears his loyalty to Jeep. I could come to the same conclusion as you, but with a different brand.

  101. KC – Flying probably makes the most sense, esp. if we’re going to go the motorhome rental route. There’s enough driving to do once we get there.

    I still pine for the cross-country drive, though.

  102. Lemon – I don’t disagree with that at all. Rhett’s point on selection bias wasn’t necessarily brand-specific, just that there are going to be some cars that die prematurely, and that’s true.

  103. Milo – round trip fare DCA/BWI to DEN on Southwest (2 bags per person fly free) purchased well in advance is 300-325 per person. That is 1500-1600 total. I think if you run the numbers for the additional week of motorhome rental, plus the wear and tear on the “vacationing” parents of the cross country drive, it is a no brainer. If you just want to take a two week trip from home with a hook such as touring major league ballparks or wooden roller coasters, with lots of spur of the moment side trips, then the journey itself the vacation.

    Mooshi – sounds like it was a great vacation for your family. I think that two pitch-in parents and children of the right age and disposition are key to making labor intensive vacations work. The reason a lot of people like to have a vacation home or a regular yearly rental is familiarity for all and ease for the primary domestic parent, especially if the main breadwinner’s work requires him/her to “fail” full family participation during that week or two.

  104. MM – your trip sounded great. In Vermont did you bike one way up to Burlington and catch a ride back to your campsite, or did you bike roundtrip? Also, do your kids have gears on their bikes? i’m just thinking of my own kid (age 7) who can do about 3 miles before whining about being tired, and can plug away for another few miles because she knows a pie shop is at the end.

  105. Meme – That could work.

    In April, during Spring Break, the base price of the RV for eight nights from Salt Lake City is $640 vs. $1432 for eight nights in July.

    You still pay for mileage and fuel, of course, but at less than $100 per night, that’s less than the difference that a campground charges between a campsite and a cabin.

  106. We rode the northern part of it. It was very hot out – 95 degrees – and we went about 35 miles total. We had sandwiches for dinner.

    And you camped too? Sign me up! :-P

  107. Milo – We have one of those for the 4 year old. My 7 year old loved it when she was younger, but now considers it only for little kids. But that is okay, we do small jaunts for now. She enjoys being outside, exploring, hiking, and biking, and getting pie. She’ll eventually get up to longer rides. To give you some perspective, she is 7, but wears size 4 pants. She has short legs that have to work extra hard.

  108. Hi, all three kids now have gear bikes, although DD was kind of learning to use them on this trip! I am not sure how critical it was, given the extreme flatness of all our routes. When we biked in the Netherlands, we used bikes from our cottage parks (throwing in the bikes seems to be part of the package at these places), so the kids did not have gears and the parents only had 3. It was never a problem.

  109. Rhett, those pate sandwiches, on nice baguette and good mustard, eaten with the river flowing right below us, were totally wonderful. Much better than the ski resort restaurant offerings (overpriced and meh). And the tent and screenhouse were put up by our teen boys while we relaxed. But the camping would have been improved if only DH had remembered the sleeping pads or air mattress :-(

  110. We learned in the Netherlands that getting small kids to bike long distances requires both encouragement, frequent stops for ice cream or slushies, and promises of things like candy or luge tickets or visits to the swimming pool, whichever is handy

  111. I refuse to camp on our timber property until DH buys a proper tent and mattress pads and sleeping bags. The only tents he has now are tiny and cost $8 on Ebay.

  112. Meme, one of DH’s relatives had a vacation house in VT. He and his wife had it for about 10 years – but they sold it last year because they said it was way too much work and hassle. Guess what they do now? They camp!!!

  113. “getting small kids to bike long distances requires both encouragement, frequent stops for ice cream or slushies, and promises of things like candy or luge tickets or visits to the swimming pool,”

    Also what is required to get certain larger adults to bike long distances. Plus beer.

  114. “it was way too much work and hassle. Guess what they do now? They camp!!!”

    The people in the site next to us had a trailer like the one I posted for L. In the five days that we were there, I never saw them leave their campsite once. On our last night, I was still tubing with the kids and DW wanted to get a fire going to cook what we had left, and he came over to help her. They’re super nice people with working-middle class jobs and grown kids. He said that they go to the exact same spot for two weeks every year, and normally they do a little bit of biking (surprising, given their sizes) and fishing, but this year they’re just so wiped from work they’ve done absolutely nothing and have loved it. They really had just sat by their fire the entire day, sometimes reading, sometimes watching TV, and often times he was busy splitting already-split pieces of packaged firewood into smaller pieces.

  115. https://www.buzzfeed.com/azeenghorayshi/james-harwood-investigation?utm_term=.alx6GAa0vQ#.klKkQZa2Pr

    In February, two months after being charged with sexual assault and harassment against two students in his department, James Harwood resigned from his position as an associate professor of entomology without stated cause.

    But Harwood’s subsequent agreement with the university allowed him to resign instead of going through the lengthy process of a disciplinary hearing. This also means that the investigation won’t be disclosed if he applies to new jobs.

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