Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

We have an open thread today, with a side conversation about tracking apps.

What do you all think of tracking apps?  I’ve seen kids and parents go to both extremes.  Some kids are nonchalant about the use of this technology, finding nothing offensive about having parents know every move they make.  Others are fiercely resistant about their privacy and want none of it.

TRACKING APPS: HOW TO GET BUY-IN FROM YOUR TEEN

One mother I know wanted to use a tracking app for the times when her 19-year old daughter was taking public transportation late at night after work. Her daughter was against it, and they compromised with agreeing to regular texting from the daughter.   On the other hand, another mother and her twenty-something daughter seem to know each other’s every move by using Find My Friends.  Young people I know use that app to keep track of each other.

Do you or will you use a tracking app with your high school or college kids? What about with younger kids?  Do you think it’s helicoptering, or just a common sense safety measure?

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161 thoughts on “Open thread

  1. I think it is very odd to use tracking apps for adult children. I am unsure about MS/HS kids, but I feel that is different as they are still under your care and parents are still held legally responsible for them and in some cases, their actions. I guess we will see how I feel about that when I get there. I certainly see why teenagers would resist!

    DH & I use Find my iPhone sometimes to track each other in certain circumstances – like to see if we are still at the office or on our way home. If we are stuck in traffic, etc.

  2. I do not use tracking apps for my two high schoolers. It would have been helpful for my mother when she couldn’t hear her phone that I could have at least figured out where she was!

    Today is PSAT testing. My DD has been hot/cold on preparation, but knows that her last official score was not far below the NMS cutoff for our state.

  3. DH put a location app on our phones – I mostly turn off location services if I know where I’m going, bc otherwise it drains the battery like CRAZY.

  4. I agree that using a tracking app for adult children is odd. At what point do you cut them loose? However, this technology did not exist when our kids were younger. Maybe I would think differently if it had been, or if we had girls. College DS is on tour this week and has not checked in once. I’m taking that as a good sign.

  5. Heck no. I will ask DS to text me when he reaches his destination, but this is only when he travels to visit people/places in other cities (i.e summer camp, visits to grandparents).

  6. I have Find my iPhone on everyone’s phones. Partly because no one in my family can reliably find THEIR iPhone, partly because the sending a tone will actually get someone’s attention if they are in a location where the service is weak enough that the phone won’t ring, or there is a software glitch that prevents the phone from ringing (this generally happens with my phone and my daughter is using finding my iphone to get my attention), and partly because it makes life a whole lot easier when I need to pick up someone one returning from a contest or school trip, if I know an approximate time they will be back at the school.

    The last option is particularly useful for my middle child who often has no idea where she is. It has been a regular occurrence to have a text conversation that goes along like this:
    Me: Where are you
    DD: in X town
    Me: You were supposed to be in Y town, and X town is 50 miles in the other direction.
    DD: maybe in town that starts with the same letter as X
    Me: That town is 45 minutes in another direction
    DD: So and so says that we are in Z
    ME: OK,

    Meanwhile, I”m thinking a) clearly failed the knowing where you are part of parenting, and b) why didn’t I just use Find my iPhone?

  7. For some reason, when I try to post with my name filled in, my posts disappear. So I will just sign my name. I want to be clear I’m not the regular anonymous poster folks bristle at – whenever I post anonymously, I do indicate I am a usual poster.

    Here’s my open thread: if you had to evacuate, what would you take with you? We evacuated 48 hours before the storm hit, and that that point it was projected to be a Category 4 for our island. Thus, at the time we left the house, we were anticipating near total destruction. So, we brought with us…nearly nothing.

    We packed:
    1 – clothes and necessities for 5 days, including ipads, chargers, etc.
    2 – my good jewelry and a lot of cash
    3 – passports, original marriage license, birth certificates, and insurance policies, car titles
    4 – the dogs
    5 – my work computer & some work documents

    That was it. The things I was just sick to my stomach to leave were:
    1 – artwork. We have 5 paintings that are both semi-valuable and high sentimental value
    2 – my rugs. I have inherited over the years some beautiful antique one of a kind Persian rugs (from when Iran was Persia). Several of these were in my home growing up, and the ones that weren’t were in another treasured relative’s home when I was growing up. I cried over these. Who knew?!? But it would have been impossible to bring them, and impractical to even move them.
    3 – my silver. Again, the old family stuff was what I hated to leave.

    Nothing else bothered me. DH was not thrilled to leave his car behind, but I was insistent we all be together in one car. We could have had his car packed with the silver and artwork, but I was really trying to keep things simple and keep us all together. In retrospect he should have taken it to a high garage and parked it there, but we didn’t think about that.

    What do you think you would take? What would you leave behind but be so sad about?

  8. “I think it is very odd to use tracking apps for adult children.”

    The mother/daughter i know who use them are very close, and they seem to use Find My Friends with other friends/family. It seems to be a routine thing for them.

    “DH & I use Find my iPhone sometimes to track each other in certain circumstances”

    So if you know the other person’s password you basically have the option to track them, if I understand how this works?

  9. I expect we’ll use tracking apps, assuming the battery drain issue is gone, when the kids are old enough for cell phones. My colleague recently looked to see if his wife was still at the grocery store and Mr WCE would get fewer “If you’re still at work, please pick up a gallon of milk on your way home” texts if we already had one. Especially if the boys are sharing a vehicle for high school/community college, it will make it easier for them to find one another.

    And no, my children get no privacy until they pay their cell phone bills. I’m willing to be tracked by them, which should make tracking “normative” for our family. Phones don’t work everywhere here, so I won’t be surprised or assume they are doing something nefarious if they are untrackable.

  10. You must be young /organized enough that all of your family photos are in a cloud. Ours are literally all over the place so that is a project for the winter.

  11. DS sometimes uses “send my location” when he’s on the way home from school and I want to know if he can pick x up or if I can pick him up. I don’t think he turns on the thing to let me follow him. I never check back to see if it’s changed, so I’m not sure. I have agreed in principle to let him ride in cars driven by kids who seem responsible, but it hasn’t happened yet. A tracker might be a good idea in that case. I hadn’t considered it. We have an agreement for no questions asked pickups. Depending on the situation, he might need to send me his location then.

    I don’t like iCloud, because it disappeared my pictures once. If there were a different way to do it, I would turn on some kind of location tracker when I go for a walk/run after dark, for the same reason that I might ask him to use one as a passenger in a young person’s car–something unexpected and beyond our control could happen.

    I wish I had a tracker for my parents. I’m joking, but I do wish my mother was more courteous about canceling tentative plans.

  12. Did you lose the rugs and artwork?

    I would take the items you listed, but would also try to take photographs. It would be hard to gather the photos because they’re not well organized.

    I recently had my house upended for other reasons, and I’m more determined than ever to organize photos and other precious memorabilia, but also to get rid of so much other stuff. My new aesthetic is a pared down style of life.

  13. We are unlikely to have to evacuate with short notice. We don’t live in a hurricane area, the house is high enough up that if it were flooded, there would be no place to go. We are not in danger of a wildfire, and if there was a house fire, there wouldn’t be time to get anything other than family members, and I don’t want anyone to risk themselves for stuff.. Of course that reminds me,I should probably go over with them what the plan is in case of a house fire.

    Still, I would be sad to lose the mementos of our trips. I would not want DH to lose the reminders he has of his Dad, other than that, I don’t know.

    Some years ago, during a wildfire season, many of my high school classmates were in danger of losing their homes. One my classmates who was in danger posted something to the effect, that he had already lost everything in a wildfire before, it was only stuff anyway, but that he had written a handbook about how to rebuild, practical advice about insurance, and builders, and whatnot, and would provide that to anyone who wanted it. He was basically, been there, done that, have the t-shirt, and provide the roadmap for anyone else.

  14. No on tracking apps.

    On the open thread bit – remember that specialty clinic I made an appt for, and got a date for mid March? A friend in town advised I call the clinic daily to see about cancellations, rather than waiting for them to call me (I put my name on a cancellation list). I’ve been doing that — calling not every day, but many. And I got in for tomorrow!

    Mooshi – maybe that will work for your son’s specialist?

  15. “College DS is on tour this week and has not checked in once. I’m taking that as a good sign.”

    I know other parents who would be devastated. I’m only half kidding because I see other parents who check in with their kids frequently, certainly at least daily.

  16. Cordelia, that cracked me up. Thanks.

    Austin, DS is taking it today too, but for the first time ever, not for keeps. I didn’t say much leading up to it, even last week when he was sick and missed some school, but this morning I managed to make him nervous. Good luck to your daughter!

  17. Lark, was that you?

    If we had to evacuate: Rx pills, phones, computers, chargers. Kids’ loveys for bedtime (right now it is stuffed moose, elephant, tiger, and turtle, plus a blankie). Clothes and PJs. Cash stash that I assume DH has somewhere. The vital records folder (if I remembered it). All of our passports have expired, so it is just the birth and marriage certificates and SS cards that are in there now. We don’t have any good jewelry or good art. DH would be sad to leave his tools, and I would be sad to leave my clothes, mostly the work ones which are more expensive to replace, but we don’t really have any tangible stuff that is irreplaceable. The photos are all on dropbox.

  18. My immediate family can see each other on our iPhones using iMessage. I have no idea if this is something I set up or if it’s some sort of default because we share an Apple ID. I use it primarily if I’m going to text one of the kids and I want to make sure they’re not driving before I text them. I also use it if I decided someone in the family should pick up dinner because I’m not cooking – I may look to see where someone is and if there’s a restaurant I like nearby. I don’t use it to stalk them, and if one of the kids is someplace I did not expect them to be, I never mention it or ask about it because I don’t want them to think I am stalking them and turn it off.

    My family of origin uses find my friends from a time when we were all vacationing at the same place. We just never turned it off. A few months ago my brother texted me to say “why are mom and dad at the hospital? “So I had never anticipated that as being a use, but my dad has been having some significant heart issues in the last couple of months and so when they are not where we expect them to be in their very predictable schedule, it does let us reassure ourselves that it’s not an emergency.

  19. DH is more concerned about the kids, so the tracking app will appeal to him. The kids, I think will be fine just to avoid forgetting to text.
    They know their parents well enough to humor them.

    On what to take – we keep most of our documents in a bank safety deposit box.
    We also have a small safe at home so any small items we couldn’t take could go there. Other than photos, there is nothing valuable or antique that we own.

  20. What does “on tour” mean? Is he a musician?

    Savannah, there was a brief convo on here after you first posted the suggestion for that topic. From it, I realized that I really don’t care. I’d take items 1, 3, & 5 from your list of things you took, plus the two tubs of memorabilia that I’m supposed to filter into scrapbooks. DS and I spoke about it last night, and he agrees. He keeps all his stuff in the cloud, so wouldn’t care if his computer got wiped out.

  21. “I would be sad to leave my clothes”

    I have to admit I would be sad also. And shoes. I find it hard to find clothes I like and I hate shopping. It’s very hard to find shoes that are comfortable. Maybe I should make a list of essential clothes!

  22. Whoops, I forgot to sign my name. Yes, that was me (Lark).

    We were very early adopters of digital photography, and all our pictures have been stored at Shutterfly for 15+ years. So, although I do make physical photo albums annually, those would be replaceable.

    @ CofC – no, we didn’t lose anything other than a bunch of trees. When we were hit Matthew was down to a Category 1 and storm surge did not reach us. We were so lucky.

  23. On tracking: one of our kids has free range on his bike in the neighborhood, and we did not put a tracking app on his phone. I actually never thought about it.

    Lark

  24. If my parents ever find out that they can track me, they’ll do it. Despite the fact that I am almost 40. I don’t think I will track my kids. I over-parent on safety issues, but knowing where they are isn’t the issue. It is what they are doing while they are there.

    I don’t think I have anything worth much money that I would take. Pictures that pre-date cloud stuff. I have some kitchen/serving stuff from my grandmothers that I would want. The box of stuff I collected from my son’s hospital stay. But most of our stuff is replaceable and insured.

    My kids would be trying to cram all sorts of nonsense in the car. They are strangely attached to things like price tags from clothing and the crayons that restaurants give out. Pack rats. All of them.

  25. We have Find my iPhone. DS has been at college over 8 weeks, and so far I have resisted the temptation to look at to see what he’s doing.
    He calls once a week, and we probably get one or two texts a week as well for stuff that cant wait. (i.e., yesterday he texted saying he was headed to student health services and which meningitis B vaccine was he supposed to get). I have friends who text/talk to their college kids 5-6 times a day. I admit to being a little jealous.

  26. Youngest DS uses find my iphone to track our middle kid if the latter is traveling and youngest wants to know where he is. I suppose he does the same to my phone.

    If we had to evacuate, I’d take all that which we store in our “hidden” wall safe. This generally includes #3 from Lark’s 1044 list plus typically unused credit cards and appraisals for a couple of pieces of jewelry. And also #1 & #2. (No pets, and no work computers)

    If possible, I would take 2 cars. 25yrs ago we had a terrible ice storm and were without power for 4+ days (some were without for 10-14 days). Except for the power (and therefore heat) things were generally back to normal within 2 days, so I was expected to be at work. But DW worked out of our house, so she was SOL. Lucky it was only 4 days for us but we should have had her go to her parents’ place as soon as it was safe to travel. I’d take two cars in case the situation repeated itself and I’d come back first.

  27. We have evacuated before. Other than pictures, computers, cash, and passports, we’ve only taken clothes.

  28. I track my 8 year old. I think he is old enough to walk to and from school on his own, but wanted piece of mind for me. I got Trax product which has an iphone app so I can check anytime where he is. My son is too young for a smart phone so Trax made sense.

  29. Kate, you must be my sister from the same mother! In the last few years, we middle generation have started doing the same to our parents, who are around 80, when they drive across the country or travel to Europe. Kind of silly of us, because when they had to spend the night in an airport last year, there was nothing we could do about it (other than googling info on the airport to tell them where to eat)

    Benefits, my kid is only in HS, but he texts me a lot on bad days. When it’s completely quiet, I know things are ok. I hope yours is the same.

    It’s just occurred to me that with all the emphasis on only offering a few tests a year, at specific times, the college board (or whatever it’s called) is way behind technical capabilities. My kid is out from his test. It’s too late for Austin’s kiddo, but someone in our time zone could easily have gotten something from Europe, or send something to Finn’s kids.

  30. S&M – Thanks! Her school has freshman and sophomores take it, so it isn’t really NEW and I don’t think she is nervous, but I only saw her flash by the kitchen and out the door this morning. She seems more concerned about getting her SAT scores from the Oct.1 testing date, which will not be released until next week.

    Tornados hit here more than anything else and with little to no warning, so I haven’t really thought about what I’d take or if its accessible. Right now we are still inundated with things we took from my parents…hit burn out and haven’t really gone back through things…so part of me wouldn’t mind a fresh start. However, a few things of sentimental value and pictures would be the biggest loss.

  31. Axs54, my kid heard the garbage truck way before I did, and slipped out to go watch it a couple times when he was around 2. I got him a tracker bracelet, but it slipped right off his hand. By the time it fit him, we didn’t live there anymore and the tech had become obsolete.

  32. I’m not sure about the tracking app but I’d probably use it in certain situations. Growing up we always had to tell our mom where we were going and call when we got there so this is probably the modern day equivalent. My DD wants to walk to school by herself next year and I’m ok with it if she walks with a friend so the Trax product sounds interesting.

    If I had to evacuate we’d take the little safe with passports/birth certificates, etc., clothes, phones/laptop/kindles/chargers, cash, wedding photos and clothes. All of our pictures are now either on discs or on Amazon photo storage. If I had nice art work or rugs I was worried about I would probably try to relocate them to the attic before I went.

  33. No trackers for me. I desperately wanted one when DD was toddling — she was the fast/slippery kid who was gone when you blinked, so of course I was freaked about kidnapping and joked about implanting a tracker in her arm — but now that they are older it feels like more of an intrusion into their privacy and burgeoning independence.

    If we had to evacuate and had sufficient notice to plan, well, first we’d take two cars, both because hello, I love my Mustang, but also because then there’s more room for more stuff (4 kids + Buick is decent but limited). So to start with: the cats and their food/litterbox/etc; cash; electronic devices/chargers; computer/laptop and cheat sheet of passwords; contants of “important documents” file; passports; a few gallons of water, granola bars, first aid kid, TP, and emergency blankets. Clothes to wear (that’s not something I’d prioritize saving). My jewelry box. Wedding album and a few other photo albums. Then probably a suitcase with our fetishes and the kids’ rock collections. Other individual mementos — I’d take some books, for ex., like my first-edition Love and Freindship. I imagine DH and each of the kids would have a few specific things like that, too.

    The hard things would be (1) the art and (2) the wine. In the “art” category, we don’t have much that is valuable, but there are things I love, like the fused-glass platter that DH got me for our 5th anniversary, or the behemoth stone/wood/enamel “painting” that DH schlepped all through Greece on our honeymoon and that has held pride of place in every home we lived in (I just call her “the lady”). I would see which we could fit in the car (and which are more likely to survive the journey) and then maybe try to find a place to put the rest that seems less likely to get damaged if the worst happens (e.g., internal closet or bathroom). The wine, man, I’d just cry. If it’s 100% certain we’re going to get wiped out, I’d crate up a couple of boxs of the stuff we have no chance of finding again, but otherwise it’s more likely we’d damage it by traveling back and forth with it than just leaving it in place and crossing our fingers. Maybe pick a bottle or two to drown our sorrows in on the road. :-)

    And then the stuff that would kill me is the stuff we couldn’t take without a U-haul: the furniture that DH has made. The Morris chair, yeah, I would cry (a lot — my granny made those cushions for me), but he could make another. But the rocking horse he carved for DD is not replaceable, nor is the aircraft-carrier-of-a desk he built for DS, with all of the cubbies and secret hiding places.

  34. My initial reaction was that other than some clothes and cash, there is not a lot I’d worry about taking. But someone’s comment on treasured family things reminded we got my husband’s father’s military things from WWII and a Japanese flag from whatever Pacific island he was stationed at, which would be nice to hang on to. I have some things from when my grandparents/great grandparents first came to the US that I’d like to save, if only to marvel over the penmanship

  35. I forgot about the wine – that would be a tough call.

    We have a friend who found a bottle of Chateau Lafite at a restaurant for less than it was going for retail so he bought it at the restaurant, turned the a/c down as low as it would go in his hotel room and then drove home for 6 hours with the a/c on 55. I can see DH taking some of his valuable bottles and making us do this.

  36. My youngest son had us install a tracker app so that he could tell how close we were when he needed to be picked up from places. Soon, my other kids had it too. No one has uninstalled it. I don’t stalk my kids but I find it reassuring to know where they are, especially if they’re far away from home or they’re traveling alone. It was reassuring (and kind of cool) to check on DD when she was in Europe last semester. And I check it frequently if DS is taking public transportation to visit a friend, or if one of the older kids is going on a long car ride alone.

  37. My husband is weird about wine, too. I do not get it. No way am I wasting valuable car space on a beverage. Grapes will grow again.

  38. Laura,

    m.wine-searcher.com/m/2015/04/shipwrecked-champagne-reveals-sweet-secret

    “Even after nearly two centuries, the Champagne did not go bad.”

    But those things your husband made would hurt to lose!
    If I could take one “big” thing, it’d be the Aueen Ann’s chair that was my grandma’s

  39. We use find my iPhone. I really need it in my house. We use it sometimes to determine when DD might be home from a party or class if she’s in a carpool.

    We don’t use the other tracking apps, but I’m thinking about it because I saw Screenagers last night. It was a reminder about how many things we should probably change as DD moves from tween to teen.

    Lark, I’m really glad that everything seems to be ok in your home.

  40. I agree with LfB on the trackers. Unless the kids give us a reason not to trust them, I won’t do it. Of course I’m also considered weird by many parents because when the kids went on their school trip to DC last year, I specifically told them I didn’t want to hear from them.

    Maybe I would think differently if it had been, or if we had girls.

    Double standard much?

  41. I feel justified in maintaining a double standard regarding the risks my DD vs my DS assume being out alone late at night.

  42. I have Find My Droid on my phone, but it never occurred to me to use a tracker app to track family members. I didn’t really know there were apps used for that. I do text back and forth with my older son, and to a lesser extent with my daughter or younger son, and sometimes that’s when they’re en route somewhere.

    My older two are taking the PSAT today also.

  43. I just paid for a crown for a molar. $2075. Midtown Manhattan, but still seems very high.

    I’m just curious about what others are paying.

  44. @Lauren — I just had one that was $1300-1400?? Suburban Baltimore, generic small strip mall location.

  45. dh had to have a crown (or maybe two of them) last year and I remember a $500 co-pay but can’t remember what the total was before insurance.

  46. I have a crown scheduled. It’s going to be $900-ish, but that is possibly after my $500 max coverage.

  47. I know a bit about dental insurance. A $2000 molar in Manhattan is what 9 out of 10 dentist in that area charge.

  48. “My kid is out from his test. It’s too late for Austin’s kiddo, but someone in our time zone could easily have gotten something from Europe, or send something to Finn’s kids.”

    Thanks for thinking of my kids.

    However, the kids at their school took the PSAT this past Saturday.

    But the sort of thing you describe is, from what I’ve read, very widespread in Asia.

  49. Lauren, you might’ve saved some money by flying out here to have my dentist do it. You would’ve had to stay a few days while his supplier made the crown.

  50. One thing I notice nobody seems to consider taking when evacuating is food. That’d be up near the top of my list. The news reports, whenever the shelters here open, all emphasize that the shelters do not provide food. Of course, along with bringing food comes the need to bring a can opener, some dishes and utensils, dishwashing liquid, and a rice cooker.

    Survival requirements come first for me, so food, water, medications, clothing, bedding, and cash are at the top of my list.

    We keep a lot of our important documents in a small safe that is fire and water resistant, so even if we have to leave that at home, I’d be hopeful that those would still be there and undamaged when we return.

  51. One thing I notice nobody seems to consider taking when evacuating is food.

    If we needed to evacuate, a full tank of gas and a credit card would get us to someplace with power, shelter and food.* Even when the Loma Prieta earthquake occurred (27 years ago this week), within 50 miles, there were unaffected areas.

    *Unless the zombie apocalypse occurs, in which case, I’m not sure where we’d go.

  52. “If we needed to evacuate, a full tank of gas and a credit card would get us to someplace with power, shelter and food.”

    I guess things are different for us.

  53. ” Even when the Loma Prieta earthquake occurred (27 years ago this week)”

    Game 3 of the World Series. This year the WS won’t have even started.

    BTW, do you remember that day being unseasonably warm?

  54. I guess things are different for us.

    Apparently there are some things better about living on the mainland:)

  55. BTW, do you remember that day being unseasonably warm?

    I do. And I remember people talking about earthquake weather.

  56. I think food, cash and medicine are important. I am going to be forced to finally organize the pictures for the montage, but I have almost everything since 2003 in Shutterfly.

    Two weeks is the perfect amount of time for a trip to Hawaii for a crown. First impression on the first day, and the permanent crown at the end of the trip.

    I am really bummed about the price, but I’ve been going to this dentist for 20 years. She won’t negotiate, so I just have to decide if I’m ready to move to the slightly cheaper dentist in the burbs.

  57. “Wedding album”

    We have 3 wedding albums. We had albums made for our parents, which we subsequently inherited.

    But those would be low on our list. Unless our photographer gets wiped out by the same event that necessitates our evacuation, we can go back to him and order a new album.

    But now that I think of it, that’s not unlikely, but I’d hope that since all his negatives are his cash cow (or perhaps golden goose?), he’d have taken steps to back them up.

    Actually, I guess they’re not his golden goose; they might be his goose that lays golden eggs.

  58. Finn – October 17th was very warm! I remember walking to the Aquatic Park and onto that long pier to try to get a breeze the night before, and how hot it was that night.

  59. “I remember people talking about earthquake weather.”

    AHA! So it wasn’t (as DW might say) just me.

    It seems like most (if not all) of the significant quakes I experienced in CA happened during unseasonable or unusual weather. I’ve long wondered whether atmospheric abnormalities (e.g., unusually low or high pressure) might be the triggers for faults already stressed.

  60. I’ve read that dentistry is a fairly lucrative profession without a lot of the issues MDs have, as well as being one that is not limited geographically. E.g., my DDS shares an office with another, mine uses it TThSat, and the other dentist uses it MWF, and they’re both apparently able to make enough in 3 days/week.

    And these days, dentists don’t seem to frequently contract contagious diseases (e.g., TB) and die young, as apparently was the case several generations ago.

    I’ve mentioned that to DS multiple times, but he has no interest.

  61. I should’ve asked this in all the catalogue talk the other day: has anyone seen a good perpetual calendar recently? I had the feeling I was seeing quite a few, so I decided to get one for an upcoming birthday, and now I can’t find a good one.

  62. My son’s PSAT report is in (via text): “Woo I didn’t fuck up as much as I thought I would”

    Clearly a future NMSF.

  63. We would take medication, valuable or sentimental jewelry and watches, cash, the documents in the firebox, portable computers and tablets with confidential stuff on them, and if there were time some treasured photos. Plus a few days clothes and toiletries. We would be unlikely to be doing a distant evacuation by automobile, but if so we could add a couple of pieces of art and music. Evacuation would mostly because of extended power outage and no fresh water in cold weather, so spoilage, pipes freezing and theft would be our main worries.

  64. I am not a Totebagger. Instead of taking the PSAT, DD2 flew out this morning to attend the national conference of her high school orientation. DD2 is a junior. She is going to spend the next five days networking, meeting up with kids she met last summer in D.C. and getting more excited about moving up in the organization. She is a sectional officer in the organization with ambitions for regional or state office.

    I am fairly confident that i have organized a way for her to take the PSAT on November 2, but if I had not, she would still have gone to the conference. I do not have high hopes of NMSF for her, and that will be fine.

    She went to a program last summer in DC for the same organization. She was one of very few kids from our state when she went. She threw herself into meeting people and now has contacts in 20+ states, which she has kept up with through various social media. While she is easily as smart as the other kids, her people skills are spectacular, she has no fear of rejection and is able to bring different groups in her high school together to do her bidding.

  65. Cordelia, if she is NMSF, the superintendent, principal and teachers will all dance on your grave.

  66. We have find my Iphone. It was fun to see where he was on the Washington DC trip, so we could think about what he was doing. He is usually in his room and not hard to track.

  67. In Walmart news, I used their shopping app to have someone get groceries for me and take them out to the car. It was awesome and free.

  68. WCE, they would conspire to but me in there so they could dance.

    LOL !!!! Love it. Cordelia, they will be overjoyed when all your kids graduate.

  69. Louise — junior year is when it counts toward national merit qualification. Taken sophomore year or earlier, it’s just for practice. And even for the juniors, for kids who aren’t anticipating a score near the NM cut-off, i.e. most of the kids taking it, it’s just practice for the SAT.

  70. My iPhone (6?) will no longer charge. It’s not a battery issue, the phone will not make a connection with the power cord. It had been getting more iffy on this for the past couple months. I don’t think I want to spend so much on the iPhone 7. Should I just buy a refurbished 6s on swappa?

  71. Have you priced getting the power port changed out by one of those iPhone fixit places?

  72. Check the power cord too. Our Apple and certified Apple cords always seem to stop working after 9 to 12 months.

  73. I have three cords, and it’s been the same with each.

    Rocky’s a genius, there’s a place near me that will fix it.

  74. You can pull up a YouTube video or other online guidance on how to replace it yourself, but cell phone repair can be a bit fiddly. I’d suggest you just search for iphone repair in your area on Yelp.

  75. Milo, I’ve had a couple of times when my iPhone wouldn’t charge. Both times I did a hard reset (full power down) and I was able to charge it again. Not sure if that’s the same problem you’ve been having, but in my case I’m pretty sure it was not a battery problem.

    Lauren, I’ve had no problems with my cheap iPhone cables bought at ~$1 shops.

  76. Finn, for a couple months, I had to push the cord in hard and it would work, so I think it’s mechanical.

  77. Milo, if you’re going to replace your phone, are you locked in to Apple?

    I’ve recently had to carry a Galaxy S6 for work (the phone rotates as we take turns being on call after hours), and have been impressed with it. Relative to my iPhone 5s, it’s got a better display and especially, a much better keypad, which is one of the things I really don’t like about the iPhone.

  78. I have a repair appointment Friday morning.

    And I have the 5s, not the 6. I certainly didn’t mean to be putting on airs.

  79. “My son’s PSAT report is in (via text): ‘Woo I didn’t fuck up as much as I thought I would'”

    Yeah, my report was “it didn’t suck as much as I thought it would.” I call that a win.

    @Milo: second the notion of Gadget Guru or the equivalent – the local shop has fixed DD’s phone twice. But if they can’t, yeah, I’d get a refurbished model if you’re not feeling the upgrade.

  80. While she is easily as smart as the other kids, her people skills are spectacular, she has no fear of rejection and is able to bring different groups in her high school together to do her bidding.

    That is truly awesome. She is going to go very far in whatever she decides to do.

  81. I’ve read that dentistry is a fairly lucrative profession without a lot of the issues MDs have, as well as being one that is not limited geographically.

    A funny dental story. A friend of my BIL’s graduated dental school about 10 years ago and was offered a great job in New Mexico. The salary was significantly higher than anything he was offered around here so he took it. It turned out the practice was so profitable because they were engaging in serious Medicaid fraud.

  82. Yesterday, I saw a monstrosity of a house. A Tudor style new construction with lots of pale and dark brown on the outside and chimneys sticking out. They are a couple of huge houses crammed in a small lot so the whole look is terrible. Other small lots have French chateau type big houses in white but those look decent compared to the Tudor style.
    I hope like all new developments, a wall is put in and trees are planted, so in time the view from the road is blocked.

  83. People in the Washington, DC area, on average, say that it requires $3M in assets to be wealthy, and $720k in assets to be comfortable. The same respondents believe that, elsewhere in the country, it takes only $1.8M and $620,000, respectively.

    http://dcist.com/2016/06/post_84.php

  84. My kid did the college night at his HS on Monday. I tagged along but let him do the talking. I did point out the schools where I know the CS is strong. He spoke with people from SUNY Buffalo, and Albany, as well as Pace, UConn, Monmouth U, CUNY (one rep for the entire system who was clueless about CS and engineering), UMassLowell, Hofstra, and maybe a couple of others, The selection of universities was odd – UMichigan was there, UVA was there, Buffalo was there, but not Stony Brook. There were lots of third tier privates – lots of Saint-Noone-I-Ever-Heard of. But also Holy Cross, Hamilton, and Colgate. Noticeably lacking were ANY technical schools – no MIT, no CMU, not even RPI or RIT or NJIT.
    The rep spiel at each booth was prety much the same – yes our campus is nice, yes we are really into undergraduate research, yes we have lots of clubs, yes our lab facilities are topnotch. I am not really sure what the point of these things is – my kid has already been inundated by mailings from these schools. He now automatically sends the emails to his trash folder.
    One thing that perked up my kid – UConn is building a whole new school of engineering, and has a specialize STEM dorm with hacker spaces and lots of fun equipment. I think UConn may now be on his radar. So I guess their rep went over and above the usual.

  85. Mooshi – do you think the well known tech schools get so many applicants that they don’t think it is worth their while to go to college fairs ?

  86. Following up, personally, I think $2.7M isn’t exactly “wealthy” in DC, unless you have your house paid off and are already collecting full SS/have a pension. My version of “wealthy” = “sufficient investments to maintain my quality of life.” Assuming the full $2.7M is investable assets and doesn’t include home equity, your income off of that (4%) = $108K ($9K/mo. gross). I don’t even know how to calculate taxes on that — I assume some will be capital gains and some will be withdrawals from pretax accounts, which would be at regular income tax rates, so assume maybe 15% average for federal/state/local(?) leaves you about $7600/mo net. Generally speaking, more than adequate for a good quality of life in the abstract.

    OTOH, Zillow says median home price in Bethesda is $816K — so say a house like this, cute but not exactly huge: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/6210-Redwing-Rd_Bethesda_MD_20817_M54018-62418 — assuming 20% down, PI alone is around $3K/mo. Montgomery County says property taxes are $9K, so that’s another $750/month, so throw in insurance and it’s what, $4K all told? And now you’re down to $3600/mo for everything else. Not exactly poverty level, but also not exactly rolling in the dough.

    So of course the logical response is, dude, so don’t live in Bethesda. Granted. But #1, I would not consider myself “wealthy” if the only way I could live on my savings would be to sell my house and move to a different area. And #2, you’d have to go a long way out — Rockville median house price is still $500K, so say this — http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/15830-Anamosa-Dr_Rockville_MD_20855_M55751-57274 — which again is nice but not exactly a mansion. Repeating the math above suggests monthly mortgage around $2K; property taxes are closer to $6K, so now you’re at maybe $2600-2700/mo all in on the house, leaving you $5K/mo. for everything else. Personally, I think this puts you a lot closer to “wealthy,” because you basically have more than the median national household income at your post-tax and post-mortgage disposal. But, again, look at the size of the house you can afford and how far away from the city you need to be to afford it. And what if you still have kids to get through college?

    OTOH, if you add your $9K monthly gross to a full SS (around $3500/mo) and/or pension, and your kids are all launched, then it’s a different situation. So basically $2.7MM is a lot “wealthier” at 70 than at 50, and in the farther-out ‘burbs than in DC proper or nearby.

  87. Louise, they are all at the county engineering fair held in the spring. Maybe they figure that is good enough.

  88. But it is also well known that our HS does not send a lot of kids to tech schools, so maybe they haven’t built up the relationships

  89. My own school was not there, which I complained about to Admissions (I even sent them the event notice with the list of participants). I think that is a mistake because my town has a demographic that my university draws from quite a bit – middle class, strongly Catholic, not aiming at elite schools. Lots of NYPD and NYFD live here, as well as owners of various construction companies. Our comptetitors were at the college fair. I think our Admissions office focuses too much on Long Island and Catholic schools, and does not understand Westchester very well – they think Westchester is all snotty rich people sending their kids to Ivies. But in fact, third tier privates, especially Catholic ones, are very popular in our town

  90. @ MM – “Lots of NYPD and NYFD live here”

    NYC doesn’t require municipal employees to live within city limits?

  91. Mooshi – from what I can see, the tech schools come to/hold events around town. The information on these visits are posted on the school web site. So, though they may not come to my kids’ school that year, the locations are close enough where we can go and check them out.

  92. oh no, not at all. And we have a lot of coop buildings at the right pricepoint, so we are very popular with that crowd. Lots live in Yonkers too.

  93. Louise, they go to that engineering fair, so my kid just talks to their reps there. I was more suprised because our superintendent has said he wants to see more of our grads going to that type of school. So I would think they should be trying to get them

  94. MM, in a digital age, there is very little information about a school that college reps provide that isn’t available online, so I don’t see the point of those fairs either, at least for totebag families. Visits to high schools can be helpful for the admissions staff, which is a revolving door at many schools, to stay connected to the guidance counselors. But admissions people don’t usually have a STEM background (which is one reason they are working in admissions) and aren’t going to be able to answer granular questions that kids or parents have about specific programs or faculty or which AP courses best prepare you for higher-level science tracks. They are good for swag but not sure what else.

  95. Aaah Mooshi – STEM always *sounds* good….but actually taking and graduating is a different story.

  96. @Milo — no fair, you weren’t supposed to agree with me — I’ve finally come up for air after a pretty stressful couple of weeks, and I was looking forward to a good argument about a completely meaningless issue, supported by unreliable statistics gleaned from random internet sources.

  97. Then here’s my counterpoint:

    I don’t imagine most survey respondents are thinking in terms of sustainable withdrawal or return rates in perpetuity. Rather, they’re thinking “If I suddenly had $2.7M, I would be able to pay off my mortgage, get rid of all my credit card debt and student loans, pay off my parents’ mortgage, renovate the kitchen, buy a very nice, brand new car in cash, take a really nice vacation, save a big chunk toward retirement and the kids’ college, [and then still have my current household income from work or pension/SS only with far less in automatic monthly drains].”

  98. Sigh. I have to agree with you again, though. Although I think it is even more “gut” and less reasoned than that — I think it is “X more than what I have/what I owe.”

    E.g., my vision of “wealthy” in Bethesda would be something more like this — http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/6404-Highland-Dr_Chevy-Chase_MD_20815_M59246-77697#photo0, vs. the prior $800K house. But somehow I doubt that the folks answering the poll are thinking, “well, hmm, I want a nicer house, and I know from all my online research that the kind of house I want is $2.5-$3MM, so I need $10-15K/month to cover the house . . . .” It’s just “I want something nicer than I have now, so let’s tack on some generically higher amount of money.”

    I suspect this also explains the hedonic treadmill — you think, gee, if I just got that raise/bonus, I could *finally* pay X bill/move into a better neighborhood/replace the hoopty/etc. But even if you actually get a big raise/bonus, it’s always surprising how little of that extra stuff you can actually now do.

  99. They surveyed the HHI and net worth demographics of the respondents. What I’d like to see is the degree of correlation between what they earn and have now, and what they think is wealthy. I’d guess that you could plot the lines, and most people will say that wealthy is roughly two to three times what they have now (or if they don’t have significant assets, then wealthy is an amount that roughly translates into an amount that could provide about two to three times their current earnings).

  100. If we’ve achieved any sort of financial comfort at this point, it was confirmed to me the other day when, while eating lunch at my favorite BBQ place, I was watching The Price is Right for the first time in many, many years. I realized that vicariously experiencing the potential of winning a shiny, brand new Toyota Corolla LE — with features like California emissions, floor mats, and front-wheel drive — just doesn’t carry the same excitement for me that it once did. I remember watching that show on lazy summer vacation days and thinking how life-changing such a prize would be.

  101. I just found out that many of our neighbors who live in similar priced homes are working as bar keeps/cashier/receptionists etc. I think I will stop worrying about what will happen to us if we both loose jobs etc. We will be fine.

  102. Dell – My neighbor down the cul de sac who bought the 8,000 sf house that was in foreclosure is apparently driving for Uber on the weekends because money is tight. I think he has a Mercedes now, too, but I haven’t been out at the bus stop lately to confirm. I know they’re leasing a Yukon/Suburban — one of a trim level that must value it over $60k.

    My neighbor across the street, who works out of his basement and keeps up on all this stuff, was telling me how this couple has been complaining about money a lot.

  103. Milo – for us, if we don’t have job losses in the next ten years, by which time the kids will be off to college, we will be in quite a comfortable position.
    I joke with DS that I will buy my fancy car at that point.

  104. A couple thoughts:

    He’s in sales, and I think people in sales are more inclined to spend money to display their success, whereas engineers dream of getting 300,000 miles out of an old CR-V (hypothetically speaking, of course ;) ).

    I get the impression that there’s more dysfunction in their extended families than DW and I, and the vast majority of people on this board, have ever faced. THEY are the ultra-successful ones to their relatives, and it’s doubtful that they have any Millionaire Next Door family members to emulate.

    Also, his wife just seems to be someone who always has something dramatic going on. Health issues, car accidents, water leaks in the house, kids getting in trouble for something or other. There are certain people whom Drama just seems to favor.

  105. “I remember watching that show on lazy summer vacation days and thinking how life-changing such a prize would be.”

    Ditto. I find it way too easy to focus on how much is still in front of me before I get where I want to be and forget how far I’ve already come. I mean, DH has a whole spreadsheet of our desired retirement spending, and that spreadsheet tells us that we have another @10 years to go, so of course I fret about all the things that can go wrong between now and then. But I forget that lots of stuff in that spreadsheet is stuff I literally never even conceived of as possible 30 years ago (travel, 2nd home, play car — the only person I knew as a kid who did that kind of thing was Richie Rich). I have found myself recently spending a lot of time lurking on the MMM boards, largely because it reminds me that all that stuff is a highly-optional extra.

  106. Milo – we have friends like that. Sales guy and SAHM, close to 50, no retirement despite $700K/year, fancy car, fancy house, and now they are getting divorced. One would think they would be able to stop spending at some point, but no dice so far.

  107. “There are certain people whom Drama just seems to favor.”

    There are certain people who just seem to favor Drama. — FTFY

  108. LfB – Do you really think that you will reach a point where you stop all the spreadsheets and planning and consideration doomsday scenarios? You like a frenetic lifestyle – I know many people who prefer it and thrive in it, despite kvetching daily about it – and you like your work. So early retirement or something like Milo’s Great Loop would not suit you. Your Mom according to your reports has never relaxed, likes to work at 70ish, still pinches pennies today (she comes by that honestly) without true need and denies herself. At least you enjoy the second home and the vacations now in real time. But I would lay money that in ten years you will come up with more scenarios to add to the spreadsheets involving multiple grad school programs and home purchases for your kids, or a perceived need to fund grandkids’ college and grad school, or about 20 years of nursing home costs each. It is not the desire for more stuff that keeps you on the merry go round , it is more and more fanciful hypotheticals.

    Money is good only inasmuch as it gives your freedom – not necessarily full freedom of choice, but some freedom of choice and definitely freedom from worry.

  109. Mémé’s comment reminded me of the Rockwell paintings on the 4 freedomshttp://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2009/01/01/art-entertainment/norman-rockwell-art-entertainment/rockwells-four-freedoms.html

  110. I’m trying to go anon for this. We’ll see if it works. I’m very much a regular.

    I have a friend I talk to regularly. He’s in his late 30s, married, has two kids, and is coming out as gay. He’s very religious so it’s a big deal. He has a ton of student debt (like, over $100K, I think) and a divinity degree that will never result in making more than about $50K. He makes less than that now. His wife just finished a nursing degree. On the one hand he talks about staying married, but he also seems to have one foot (or more) out the door.

    I’m trying to be sympathetic, I really am. Everyone makes mistakes and bad decisions. I certainly have. But somehow the combination of not identifying your sexual orientation before you married a woman and had kids, and spending a fortune on a degree that will never pay off, and now wanting a job that pays well, has lots of flexibility and very little paperwork…is kind of irritating me. Like, I want to say, “Yeah, well, I want a pony.”

    Anyway I’m venting here because I’m trying to retain my patience when talking to him.

  111. Anon Regular, I can totally understand why you’d be feeling frustrated with him, especially given that he has a wife and children being harmed by his choices here. From your synopsis, though, he sounds like someone who has tried very hard for years to convince himself that these weird feelings he gets will go away if he just does the right thing — gets the divinity degree because it’ll help solidify his faith, gets married because probably having that physical relationship will set him straight, has kids because the responsibility will settle him down. And now here he is pushing middle age, and still those feelings are there, and meanwhile he’s built up a life full of responsibilities incompatible with those feelings.

  112. @ Anon Regular – when I find myself in position where someone I care about is dealing with a huge but partially avoidable problem, or just rehashing some private problem for the umpteenth time, I set some boundaries. One, I don’t always pick up the phone or respond to a text. I pace myself. Two, at some point a version of the following will probably have to come out of your mouth. “You know I am your friend and support you. But this situation means that in addition to your struggle, people to whom you made commitments are going to struggle financially and emotionally. Times will be tough for all. I am here to listen and have already offered my meager array of practical suggestions. However, I have reached my limit for a while on listening to (insert specific recurring theme here). Let’s talk about something else.”

  113. Anon Regular, the situation that started me thinking about sexuality and gender orientation was working closely with an agricultural engineering PhD ~24 years ago who decided to divorce his wife and become a woman when his three kids were in high school. It was very tough on his kids, and (s)he ended up paying college tuition for kids who largely pretended (s)he didn’t exist.

    I’ve often thought about the stability of sexual orientation over time, which applies to people with either opposite sex or same sex attraction, as a puzzle. Because sexual orientation has been public for a relatively short time, we don’t know how stable it is across the population (many people are clearly oriented one way or the other; we don’t know how many are not) and how it varies by age and sex.

    Like no-fault divorce after adultery, it will take time to observe the repercussions of the social change that people can freely pursue same sex partners at any time in their lives.

  114. WCE – Given my general belief that sexual orientation is not binary, but falls somewhere along a spectrum — a theory to which you seem to be open, based on your comment — it occurred to me that “realizing” one’s gay after being married for a few years and having a couple of kids could simply be a modern, somewhat more acceptable version of the seven-year itch.

  115. “It is not the desire for more stuff that keeps you on the merry go round , it is more and more fanciful hypotheticals.”

    @Meme — that is, as usual, very insightful. Thank you. Perhaps the ultimate conclusion is that I should get me some good SSRIs. :-)

    But on a more serious note, you are probably largely right. Right now things are overwhelming on a pretty frequent basis, because my work has picked up significantly (300+ more billable hours this year), as have kid obligations (DD surgery, braces, etc.). So I cling to that early retirement dream as The Time At Which It Can All Stop. But the reality is that when I get there, I may not need or want the complete break.

    Strangely enough, I was just talking with my mom about this. Within the past few months, I have had a business trip to New Orleans, and DH has had a business trip to Austria. And I was PO’d for both: in New Orleans, I wanted to stay and play, but had to come home because kids; for DH’s trip, I really really wanted to go, but again, someone had to stay home, because kids. So I think to myself, dammit, I can’t wait until I am retired, and I can go to New Orleans or Austria and spend all the time I want. But the reality is that in 8 years, I *can* go those places and spend all the time I want, even if I’m still working, because the kids will be out of the house.

    I do want to cut back at some point — not now, but I can feel it coming in a few years (the stress of the marketing and bullshit part of the job is wearing). But I could easily see myself working in some sort of part-time role for many more years because I’m afraid of the nothingness that might follow if someone isn’t structuring my days for me.

    Plus, to be completely honest, I like having a very large delta between my current income and my expenses, because it means I don’t have to think about budgeting. I am slightly dreading the day I have to go back to the constrained feeling of grocery shopping with a finite pool of resources and a budget that I actually have to stick to (even if it is a generous one).

  116. Honolulu, you’re right. Partly I’m irritated because he’s kind of trying to pin part of the leaving on his wife, but the complaints against her are so run-of-the-mill. Everyone’s spouse does irritating stuff sometimes. I want to say (and may yet say), “It’s really not DW’s fault. The fact that she yelled at you for not picking up the kids was actually totally legitimate. Just admit that you want to be out of that situation. Own it.”

    Mémé, indeed, boundaries may have to be invoked. This is kind of a long week.

    WCE, yes, it’s an interesting question about sexual fluidity. My own feeling is that when a guy is 20, he’ll do anything with a pulse, so getting married to a woman isn’t going to start to be a problem until middle age, when preferences start to play a bigger role.

  117. Milo, I see no evidence that sexual orientation is a binary, rather than analog, variable. And I think the “typical” reasons for sexual orientation differ for men and women. The lesbian women I know often were sexually abused by heterosexual men. My gay high school acquaintances (half-a-dozen of the top male students in my high school group turned out to be gay) have not suggested they were abused, though they might be less willing to share.

    Questions of human sexuality are so subject to religious and political norms that they are almost impossible to answer.

  118. Laura, I could have written part of your post. When DH finally starts dialing back at work I’m going to be biting my nails about every crummy little expense, even though our financial planner says we’re being idiots (DH shares my fears).

  119. “even though our financial planner says we’re being idiots”

    You are. I know how much you have.

  120. LfB – That is what I mean by fanciful worry. When you are buying for only DH and yourself at senior citizen age you in your financial position will not need a grocery budget. Your small batch teas will still be affordable and if you move to someplace without a tea shop there is always mail order. If you have a wine collecting habit, similar to my watch habit, maybe you will have to consider scaling back the yearly acquisitions (more hobby expense than groceries) and gradually decreasing the size of the cellar via use when there is no more wage income coming in.

  121. RMS, I read your post while eating baked steel cut oatmeal with apples from our trees. If your grocery budget gets tight, I can send you the recipe.

  122. WCE, it has to be low-carb for DH and his diabetes.

    But I cook a lot. It’s one of my little contributions to the household. Though if we lived within easy walking distance of a decent cheap restaurant…

  123. And I have to tell you, baked oatmeal with apples is a big Mennonite favorite.

  124. Anon,

    One thing I learned in similar circumstances is that you can’t fix these kinds of problems for your friends. I liked Meme’s script, which I have used with one friend repeatedly. Many times these difficult situations require professional mental health treatment, and your role is limited to providing support without enabling. In my friend’s case, the issue was an inappropriate relationship with another person that ended badly. Serving as the voice of reason simply didn’t work and I had to resort to Meme’s script. It is very hard to maintain a friendship with someone who is so pathologically needy so I would caution you not to get sucked into the role of a pseudo-therapist. Sorry it sounds like a mess all around.

  125. “If you have a wine collecting habit, similar to my watch habit, maybe you will have to consider scaling back the yearly acquisitions (more hobby expense than groceries) and gradually decreasing the size of the cellar via use when there is no more wage income coming in.”

    Yes, we currently justify our wine-buying as “stocking up for retirement” (I am up to about 3 years’ worth at a reasonable consumption rate). It is similar to how I view paying down the Taos mortgage as “pre-paying my future housing expenses while I have extra disposable income to do so.”

    I do like “fanciful worry.” It is such an excellent term.

    (And I was only half-joking on the SSRIs. It always comes as a shock to realize that most people *don’t* worry about stuff like this all the time.)

  126. I don’t worry about stuff like that, because I’m suffering from Mennonite Housewife Syndrome. I have a great apple crop and nothing great to do with that many apples. (I don’t want to do the work to can applesauce when my kids love storebought.)

    In addition to suffering from Mennonite Housewife Syndrome, I had to take DS1 to Walmart so he could get craft supplies to make a plastic bottle look like John Paul Jones for his book report, and last night was the only night Mr WCE was available to watch the other kids.

    Y’all just worry about the wrong things.

  127. I don’t buy that sexual orientation is binsry or on spectrum theory! From all the articles I have read, people have known at pretty young age that they are attracted to their own gender. So I get really pissed off at people like anons friend.

    Another thing I don’t understand is questioning your gender! How can a 6 year old question their gender? It’s mind boggling.

  128. I’ve been haunting some boating discussion boards lately, heavily populated by the early- or semi-retired, and I’ve picked up two nearly universal pieces of advice. The first, specifically about the boats, is to buy not the biggest you can comfortably afford, but the smallest you can tolerate. The second, which is more of a common meme, (rather than waiting for the perfect time and saving for the perfect boat) is “go small and go now.”

    So while I recognize the possibility of a major stock market crash and extended slump, I weigh that against the possibility of what happened to my grandfather, who received a cancer diagnosis almost immediately after his retirement at around 68. Less dramatically, there’s FIL’s friend who’s now trying to sell his boat because his wife’s limited mobility during a long recover from a surgery precludes them from regularly enjoying it.

    But I’m apparently the only one in my family who thinks like this.

  129. ” make a plastic bottle look like John Paul Jones for his book report, ”

    I have been mourning the reality that my youngest is a teenager and my oldest is in college. Thank you for reminding me that there is something about not having younger kids anymore to be grateful for.

  130. Having known some six year olds that do question their gender, I wonder why it boggles the mind? Cross-culturally, kids identify as a single gender, think it is very important to identify the gender of others, classify some objects as being the purview of a singly gender. It is considered a normal developmental milestone (again, across many cultures) that kids go through a phase of only wanting to have playmates of a single gender.

    If we want to accept that gender is rooted in some biologic element (and I’m not sure I do), wouldn’t it make sense that gender might not line up with genitals occasionally? And that would become apparent at a very young age?

  131. “I don’t buy that sexual orientation is binary or on spectrum theory! From all the articles I have read, people have known at pretty young age that they are attracted to their own gender.”

    The people in such cases are probably farther along on the spectrum. There’s a lot of “situational homosexuality”; prison comes to mind. There are other situations where borderline homoeroticism is not uncommon, often under the guise of initiation, hazing, or general fun and recklessness. Think of college fraternities, team locker rooms, military barracks, etc. And the age here lines up well with what anon said (20).

  132. “I have a great apple crop and nothing great to do with that many apples. ”

    The last couple years in our house with apple trees, we had more apples than we could eat. I would regularly take a bag of apples to work and leave it at the coffee station, and the apples always disappeared. I also got a number of compliments on the taste of the apples.

    If you really have a lot, perhaps a note saying something like, “take some home to your family” might help them disappear more quickly.

  133. If someone is bisexual and decides to leave his wife because of it, he has commitment issues or a bad marriage, not LGBT issues. If someone is truly gay (on the far end of the homosexual end of the spectrum if you like), then that is another thing entirely, and yes – I believe that he would have known that for a very, very long time.

    Anyway – I agree with Meme. And I appreciate the script. I need a modified version for a certain relative who has endless problems of her own making.

    “go small and go now”

    I love it. I really love it.

  134. Anon, so he thing that bugs you is this person trying to get you to agree with them about the “wrongs” that their spouse does? How about answering “sounds like you’ve already decided this is over, if you’re going to let that bother you” But I would be surprised if they want practical, pragmatic advice on how to live their life. Maybe they want “permission” to do this, or empathy with being in a mess (sounds like you agree, as long as the nature & source of the mess are not specified), or maybe to just hear that they’re still an ok person. Is there anything else they’re asking for, like help coming up with the $200k?

    LfB, so set your retirement grocery budget according to your spending now. As long as you don’t shift your eating preferences in anmajor way, it will feel as light as it does now. And I absolutely agree with you on it being time for the fledging to fly! At least, until I look ok at how well mine would do.

    Cordelia, that is very cool! I wish there were some way to teach those traits and get kids to practice them, the way we do with math My son doesn’t get it much better than I did at his age (or through my 20s), as I mentioned in that conversation about networking.

  135. On people knowing at a very early age that they are attracted to their own gender, it is entirely possible that a person grew up regarding this as similar to a desire to steal. Things are changing now, but look at the 80s, when this person was a child, AIDS was considered a gay man’s disease and a death sentence. There is chilling footage of a press conference in which the topic of funding research into treatments came up, and was laughed off. Who would want to step into that? It makes sense to me that this person would try the “good woman cure” and want to pray the gay away. It must be such a relief to finally be coming out with it and not face all the condemnation that past generations dealt with. I think it must be easier for a gay or lesbian person to act straight than vice-versa, simply because there are so many images of male-female sexuality everywhere. I cannot imagine being with a woman, no matter how much I try. Part of that is lack of desire, but I think part of it is a paucity of models.

  136. “go small and go now” — yes. This is exactly why this is a constant flip-flop. I spent 45+ years believing that the only “right”/”safe” way through life is to earn and save and delay gratification and be that diligent little ant. And then my MIL was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and a month later my stepdad keeled over before even receiving his first SS check. So I just don’t know what is right any more – I want to carpe me some damn diem, but that scares the hell out of me because it goes against everything I was trained to believe my whole entire life. Ergo, the mental whipsaw. Paging Dr. Zanax, I guess.

  137. LfB, I can empathize. I think we’ve also both had experiences that tended to reinforce the delayed gratification behavior; in my case it was when I was reorg’ed out of a job, and all the prior gratification paid off in making that a much less stressful experience for me than I imagine it was for many others in that boat.

    This group has helped me get over that, and to loosen the purse strings and enjoy life a bit more. OTOH, I also appreciate that my parents’ delaying their own gratification was a large factor in me having the life I have now.

  138. “Go small and go now” are words to live by. We just came back from my first trip to the Grand Canyon, and I’m kicking myself for not going before now. As an incentive to schedule more of these trips, we sprung for the $80 annual pass and I’m now looking back at an earlier thread with national park suggestions. We did two day hikes below the rim, and observing the many older visitors who clearly didn’t have the physical ability to enjoy those trails convinced me that you can’t wait until retirement for all of the fun active stuff. Hang the cost.

  139. “Hang the cost”?
    I would think the “go small” part of that motto could translate to smaller cost, as in day hikes rather than a week-long camping experience where guides show and tell you all sorts of things about the area, transport your gear, set up camp, and cook gourmet meals for you. Or instead of staying in utmost luxury in a far-off locale, decide if what appeals to you most is the location or the fancy hotel, and then book either flights and plebeian accommodations or a short trip and an outrageous address for the weekend, according to your answer. Either way, the costs would be under (some) control

  140. @Finn — thanks, yes, you are exactly right, both with respect to the personal experience and with respect to the assistance from this group in breaking away from that to some degree.

  141. LFB- appreciate hearing your reflections on this. I struggle with this too (probably we all do?) – emphasized by the front row seat I have on unexpected tragedy.

    After my child survived a critically illness, where it was not clear she would survive, or survive outside of perpetual daily medical care, we had a whirlwind year of bucket list activities. I had spent some nights of self-pity saying, “We’ll never go abroad…” and “We’ll never do x…” When she was suddenly, rudely healthy, we did a lot of those things (probably more than necessary). It’s hard to find a balance.

  142. @Ada — sometimes I think “balance” means “bouncing back and forth between two extremes so that the average is somewhere in the middle.” In some ways life was easier immediately post-crisis — after DH lost his job, we hunkered down and went where the jobs were and were *so* thankful we had saved and kept our fixed expenses low; after my stepdad died, I totally lost interest in anything beyond being with my family and carpe diem and was *so* thankful I had sprung for two blow-out vacations with him. It’s like massive confirmation bias, where a major crisis gives perfect clarity that insert-behavior-here was the “right” thing (and, thus, that those other concerns are “wrong”). But eventually, the immediacy and urgency that says “this side is the only side that counts” fades, and other interests pop back in — I could have walked away from my job at any point for probably two full years after my stepdad died, but now I am back to caring about my clients and my career — and then you’re back to trying to figuring out the right balance.

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