Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Open thread today so discuss whatever is on your mind.  Here’s one topic to consider:

What are your family traditions, either now or when you were growing up?  For instance, have you always celebrated birthdays in a certain way, maybe with a certain type of cake?  Do you have traditional yearly trips or events?  Family game nights?  Bedtime or dinner rituals?  Holiday celebrations?  Often religion is an important part of family tradition.  So is food.  What about traditional songs or games?

How important are traditions to your family?

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139 thoughts on “Open thread

  1. Do you have traditional yearly trips or events?

    Yes, which troubles me. On the one hand, I like going back to the same places because it’s a known quantity. On the other hand, it seems a shame to go back to the same place when there is so much of the world left to see.

  2. Birthday pie! I was just thinking of this, because it is my birthday month, and my mom asked me what type of pie I wanted. :-) I always had an angel pie, because I hate cake, but my mom can’t make pie crust, and this one is a meringue crust (make meringue with egg whites, bake, cook, make lemon curd with egg yolks, spread over meringue, top with whipped cream). This year I have asked for Old Fashioned Cream Pie — another family recipe, basically cream and eggs with a cinnamon and brown sugar (if you’ve ever been to Milk Bar in Manhattan, their Crack Pie is about the closest I’ve ever seen).

    I love traditions. Love them even more now that I’m older and paying more attention to the generations. Life is scary and way too short, and day-to-day life feels disconnected and in my own head sometimes. Doing the same thing at the same time every year brings me comfort and makes me feel connected and grounded and safe. I mean, I love the fact that I am 50 years old and my mommy still wants to bake me a pie for my birthday. The warmest of the warm fuzzies.

  3. but my mom can’t make pie crust

    You can buy pre-made crusts, but I’m sure you know that :)

    I like traditions as far as holidays and stuff. I hate that the kids are growing up without any extended family traditions, though.

  4. Rhett, i would totally go different places each time. Too much to see, too little time.

    Bedsheets, -Has anyone used or using bamboo fiber sheet sets? Opinions?

  5. Carrying over from this morning on yesterday’s thread, my brother and SIL stayed on a pirate ship in London recently. I think it was AirBnB. The photos looked amazing. They were there for some fancy ball that involved old time costumes so they figured their dwelling should fit the theme.

    I’m with Rhett’s second hand on trips – too much to see so don’t want to repeat. Which isn’t to say I haven’t repeated, but only that lately I’m more determined not to do it again.

    This is the first year DH and I didn’t plan a winter trip of a week or more for ourselves and I already regret it. Won’t make that mistake again.

  6. We have so many traditions I don’t know where to start! I think family traditions are so important.

    We always get the same kind of Christmas tree(Concolor fir) everyyear and we always go to a place where you cut it down yourself. The ornaments have been collected since my mother was a girl, and many of them have long stories and meanings. We put the tree up the last Sunday before Christmas and have a little party. We always have an Advent wreath, and ours is also a family piece. Of course we have particular foods we must eat – I think that is common.

    For birthdays, we take the person out to dinner, restaurant of their choice. For years, the kids chose Korean, but now they like the all you can eat sushi place, a Greek restaurant, and a local beer n’ grub place.

    We used to always take a 3 day trip at President’s Day weekend, because it coincides with the 2 boys birthdays, but this year we are going to travel over Easter weekend, which coincides with DD’s birthday. It will be warmer too.

    We always run a big 5 mile race on Thanksgiving. All the kids now do it along with me and DH. The race is keeping a database of very longterm runners, and my DH is just 3 years, and I am 5 years, from being able to enter our data. Gotta stay healthy and keep running!

    And we like to take a longer trip to someplace fun in the summer. It often involves Canada due to proximity and interestingness, but we have gone overseas or to the West. When the boys were really small, we did Albuquerque and Santa Fe one year.

  7. The absence of continuous traditions in my life (from earliest childhood to today) is one of the great lacks in my life. My ethnicity is bound up with religion, not nationality, so the following is about religious observance, primarily. Mom (US born) left what to her was the stultifying atmosphere of her immigrant home during WWII to make a new life. She married outside the group. She was conventional enough that we had to have some sort of religious life, so chose Unitarianism and we had an Xmas tree and baked cookies and made fudge. Sort of half assed. We visited relatives for Thanksgiving and had our traditional ethnic food, but avoided all religious holidays. I made a choice to identify with my roots and married accordingly, but he rejected any attempt at observance and then converted to an austere form of Christianity and didn’t want any Xmas trees or Easter eggs. And my current husband is ethnic only not religious, and wants no observances in the house. My kids and I of course have our family jokes and a few treasured foods that I always make, and I certainly was free from clan constraints to lead my life as I wished, but as the song says, freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.

  8. I didn’t care about our upcoming trip to Florida because it has been such a mild winter, but now I am really happy that we will be on the beach later this month. Today is nasty, and there is a lot of snow.

  9. LfB, my mom always makes angel pie for Easter.

    Dell, we have bamboo sheets and like them. They are silky and durable.

  10. We are a family that thrives on routine, so we have a lot family traditions (how we celebrate holidays, birthdays, and special occasions) and rituals (more commonplace – pizza every Friday, Sunday movie nights, etc).

    As much as we love tradition and rituals on one hand, and travel on the other, those two have never overlapped much. We mostly just travel when we can, but it’s never been a consistent time or place (other than the beach).

  11. I love pie. I should have demanded birthday pie when I was a kid! This chocolate wafer zebra cake is my H’s traditional b-day cake:

  12. I can see the conflict between having that same yearly trip, whether to a lake house or beach or whatever, and using that time to visit new places. I prefer going to new places.

  13. We like to take one vacation a year to different parts of the country so that’s our tradition. It can be a feature or a bug. Its definitely not like going to the same place every year with members of the extended family joining in.
    Another aspect is my kids activities that are seasonal so they have become a sort of tradition.
    We don’t have any traditions around food. Being a multigenerational family with the grandparents sticking to their traditional food and the kids liking mainstream American it has been hard to establish favorites. I don’t think any of MILs recipes will be passed down because that sort of relationship doesn’t exist.

  14. “As much as we love tradition and rituals on one hand, and travel on the other, those two have never overlapped much.”

    Same. We travel when we can (and when we’ve bothered to plan ahead). I like having some traditions; DH not so much, so if I don’t keep them up, they don’t get done.

    I have always had cheesecake for my birthday. Always. My kids each get their own cake. Since my birthday is two days before theirs, this means we have a ridiculous amount of dessert in the house that week, but so be it. (Whole cookie!!!)

  15. We follow a favorite college basketball team during March Madness. It became our spring break tradition like others go somewhere warm. It’s not always glamorous to head to locales like Omaha, but my boys have managed to go to a few Final Fours, which I think they will remember forever.

    We typically vacation somewhere different, though I really liked one of our beach destinations a few years ago and we made a return trip. Until then, I hadn’t really been anywhere that I thought was worth forgoing ‘new and different’.

    On holidays, as my kids are just out of high school, I wonder if I was a too-good daughter and DIL. We spend major holidays getting to/hosting a dinner at each family (only one on THE day though), so I now wonder when it’s time for my kids to make their holiday plans if they feel we will have enough of our own tradition to come home for. At the same time, I have detested the holiday planning conversations with both mothers for my entire married life. I have said (who knows if I will hold to it) that when my kids are married I will head to the beach for Christmas and pay for anyone who wants to join me. If no one comes, at least I’m somewhere I enjoy. And I don’t want to be b!tchy about holiday plans.

  16. We probably have more traditions than I can think of right now:
    – 1 week in the summer at DW’s family’s beach house. Known quantity is a feature. We travel enough to different places that just being away from home but in a place that feels homey is good.
    – b’day person chooses homemade dessert and dinner, whether home cooked or restaurant.
    – we’ve gone to Niagara Falls the past few summers as a day trip. Whoever is home and wants to go. We park on the Canadian side (Ris), pay the exhorbitant parking fee, have so-so a lunch outside someplace, people watch, wander around.
    – DW & I also go to the town where we met for a daytrip or maybe an overnight once a year, sometimes twice. Just to see how it’s changed and how it’s the same after now 35 years. And have pizza at the place we still like.

  17. I grew up with a lot of family traditions with extended family (especially around Christmas) so it makes me sad that we’re not closer to participate. We always go on the same spring break and summer vacation. We find something that we like we stick with it I guess. For birthdays the kids get to pick where they’d like to go to dinner and we also have Friday night home made pizza and movie nights.

  18. Any recommendations for lodging in Key West? DW&I are thinking of going there for our anniversary in the fall.

  19. Meme – I totally get what you expressed. I couldn’t carry over the traditions from my childhood home both because of lack of extended family and change of country.

  20. “‘but my mom can’t make pie crust’

    You can buy pre-made crusts, but I’m sure you know that :)”

    But (a) crust is my favorite part, and (b) my crusts are far, far, FAR better than pre-made. :-) So it would sort of defeat the purpose.

    @Dell: Is that the “tencel”? If so, we have a set, and I Iike them a lot.

    “I can see the conflict between having that same yearly trip, whether to a lake house or beach or whatever, and using that time to visit new places.”

    We split the difference — Christmas is now Taos, and then summer is somewhere else.

  21. My family of origin had many, many traditions. Unfortunately they were all associated with my mother being crazy and abusive. As an adult my sister and I completely dropped all the traditions, because they felt suffocating and depressing. I kind of wish we had one or two. DH and I don’t have any traditions. We were supposed to swap Christmases with his ex every year, but she flat-out refused to comply with the court order, so we dropped it. Last year I once again lived through the stultifying boredom that is his family’s traditional Christmas, and I’m done now. He can divorce me if he wants, but I’m just not doing this shit anymore.

  22. I love family traditions! One of my favorites is that the person who’s birthday it is- is “King for the Day” we’ll move it to weekend day if necessary. You are not allowed to make others give you stuff or work for you, but you select all the family activities, meals and get to suspend house rules as wished. It’s really Fun! The boys kind of get 3 heaven days because they all want the same stuff.

  23. Fred – we’ve been to Key West a few times. Check back later – I’ll dig up some info. The Hyatt is nice, its a Hyatt but there are some other interesting places. I have a bunch of restaurant recommendations as well – ranging from nice to local dive with awesome Cuban food.

  24. Oh, we have gobs of traditions. Too many to list.

    Fred – we took 2 of the kids there sat year and rented a condo on Marathon via Home Away or some similarly named outfit. Lots of properties available but only if you leave lots of time. I booked last minute and was lucky to find a great place but was pushing my luck. Haven’t stayed in any of the hotels there. There are a ton of B&Bs right downtown and that’s what I’d do if it were me and DH. We flew to Miami and then to Key West and were glad to have done it that way.

  25. Rhett – DW suggested doing the MIA + causeway, but looking into it for the dates we want I can use my Delta miles to fly right into Key West thru Atlanta. I’d prefer that; no rental car hassle, more actual time in Key West, probably more relaxing overall. I’m sure from BOS you can also make the connection.

  26. I mean that we flew a second leg from Miami to Key West, if that wasn’t clear. Rented a car in KW.

  27. Beyond traditions tied to religion, we have a corny tradition of cooking certain things for birthdays for each other. Its the same thing every year that both DH and I want to eat on our birthdays.
    We also do take vacations each year, but so far they have not been tied to any schedule. that will change next year as kid enters school.

    Thank you all for feedback on bamboo sheets. They do have a lifetime warranty from manufacturer. And since we bought them at Costco, we can always return them.

  28. Oh right – it was ATL for us, not Miami.
    I think I’ll just stop posting now. I have legalese-induced brain fever.

  29. “This is the first year DH and I didn’t plan a winter trip of a week or more for ourselves and I already regret it.”

    Wow. DH and I have never been away from the kids for more than 2 days at a time, and even that only happens about once a year!!! We haven’t taken a week-long vacation by ourselves since 2006. I do wish we had more traveling traditions, but I never feel like I can take any time off and DH hates to travel. We do have a week with DH’s parents at camp (they provide cabins and all meals) in NH every year and a week with my parents on the coast after that.

    We have traditions – the Xmas traditions are basically me trying to recreate my childhood with our kids, without as much doctrine. :) Birthday person gets to choose his/her dessert and place to eat for dinner/what to make. We don’t have any weekly food traditions like pizza on Sundays, etc., but our nanny has dinner out with the kids every Weds.

  30. We don’t have any weekly food traditions like pizza on Sundays, etc., but our nanny has dinner out with the kids every Weds.

    Oof!

  31. “Oof!”

    Why “oof”? DH had a nanny when he was a kid, and he still talks to this day about the fried plantains she made them as a treat (I suspect the contrast to his mom’s inedible salmon croquettes helped make them all the more memorable). I think that’s awesome — the more people your kids have to love, the better.

  32. Restaurants in Key West:

    Blue Heaven
    Louie’s Backyard

    For coffee – Cuban Coffee Queen (either location)

    I have to bug DH for other recommendations/hotels.

  33. ITA w/ LfB re the uncalled for “Oof” comments. Dinners with the nanny = more meaningful relationship with the nanny and how can that be sad? I think it’s great.

    We are all working parents here – or 99% of us are. We are here to support work/ family balance choices, not tear them down.

  34. Oof!

    Why Oof? Wednesday is dinner out with the nanny, Thursday is dinner out with Alfred the under-butler, that’s just how it is at L’Abbey.

  35. We spend every Christmas at my sister’s house and every Thanksgiving at our house.

    We also travel for every vacation (winter, spring, and a major trip during the summer). We like traveling and DH thinks that it allows us to focus on each other instead of chores, friends, work, etc.

  36. We also rarely had couples vacations when the kids were younger. But speaking of couple time, one tradition I vividly remember from my childhood involves a close friend with seven siblings whose parents would go out for a coffee date almost every evening. I think they went to Denny’s, and my friend was often responsible for babysitting her younger siblings while her parents were out.

  37. “my friend was often responsible for babysitting her younger siblings while her parents were out.”

    Of course that would probably be considered child abuse these days. ;)

  38. My grandmother always made me a pumpkin pie for my birthday – still my favorite.

    We have special dishes for Christmas – unfortunately my children don’t agree on what dishes and I end up making a ton of sides for Christmas dinner. I get a little sad looking around my table and only seeing six of us – I am use to having 12 to 20 some people on Christmas. Too many deaths and people moving away. I love ornaments that have been with me since our marriage in 1975.

    WE always went to a beach front house for two weeks with my family (parents, siblings and their spouses and children) – it was great fun. I am trying to institute that with our children but only for a week – they don’t want to eat up too much vacation – they like to travel other places during the year.

    Change of subject: I have been suffering with sciatica since Dec.27th. They did a MRI and I have bone spurs impinging on the nerves. I have an appointment with a spine specialist at end of month. Has anyone had the same problem and is there a way to manage the pain and perhaps shorten or avoid attacks in future?

  39. Christmas traditions were a big deal even when I was growing up. We didn’t have any relatives nearby, so we didn’t have a social whirlwind, or huge dinners, or have to visit multiple people on Christmas. So we turned it into this very family-oriented day of peace. Things like the heirloom ornaments were part of that. We kids used to make the manger scene out of a cardboard box, and we had all these weird little animal figures and cartoon characters that went into it. We no longer use a cardboard box, but we still have the bizarre manger scene filled with penguins, a ceramic hippo, Asterix figures, and Lego minifigures. A new tradition is that the kids always do Lego advent calendars, so many of those pieces end up in the manger scene.

    After I left home, I would usually fly home for Christmas, but sometimes they would come up my way. We just replicated everything in my place. My mother would even bring the heirloom ormanments in her carryon!

  40. Wednesday is dinner out with the nanny, Thursday is dinner out with Alfred the under-butler, that’s just how it is at L’Abbey.

    Right, like you don’t have any household help. One more comment like that and I’m sending the Second Footman to smack you upside the head.

  41. “But speaking of couple time, one tradition I vividly remember from my childhood involves a close friend with seven siblings whose parents would go out for a coffee date almost every evening.”

    Might explain where those 7 kids came from. :-)

  42. L – that looks great! Due for annual
    NYC trek so perhaps we will plan around when we can get tix.

    Old Mom – so sorry about your sciatica and bone issues. I don’t know anything about those conditions or how to manage them. Hope you can get good answers and Rx soon.

  43. When I was growing up, the birthday kid always got to choose what we had for dinner.

    the more people your kids have to love, the better.
    I recently told my son about 2-yr-old him putting his shoes on, saying “I’m going to (babysitters)” and tromping out the patio door. Being able to see how two authority figures handle things differently is good for them.

  44. Oh, and one other cool thing about the manger scene – our basic figures (the Mary and Joseph and baby) came from some cheap set, but a few years ago, MIL gave us a set that she had painted herself from a kit. WHen my DH was growing up, it was the one they always used. OK, the figures are not spectacularly artistic, but I really love the idea of putting his family’s strange manger scene pieces into the strangeness of the tradtion from my family.

    And we do some other things from DH;s family – the Christmas Eve blowout, the meat pies -so we get a nice combination.

  45. Old Mom – my husband always gets a pumpking pie for his birthday!! He prefers pie to cake and his birthday is at the height of pumpkin season

  46. Different topic: does anyone else track their price-per-wear for clothes, or price-per-use for other things (Milo’s boat?).

    After reading about this concept, I started doing it last fall.* I am a terrible shopper (because I despise the process, not because I despise clothes), and I thought it would be a good way to help me understand what I’ll get good value out of, and what I won’t. It’s been fascinating to see what I reach for again again (hello bright orange flats) and what hasn’t been worn once (looking at you, black dress). It’s also been interesting to see how much less I have been buying, because a quick glance at the spreadsheet tells me I’ve got some underutilized items.

    Anyone else? Do you think this is a legitimate way to track value? Am I SUCH a nerd?

    *I track only ‘real’ clothes, shoes, and accessories. Not exercise shoes or clothes. Thus I am only tracking about 1/3 of my overall purchases.

  47. My parents’ nativity set is one I made when I was 12 at the hobby shop — there were molds you poured the plaster into, then fired, painted or glazed, fired again. Sadly for 12 year old me my mom insisted that I do nothing more than a simple white glaze. I guess she’d noticed the way the beer stein I made for my dad had the German hunters all looking like they’d lined their eyes with kohl. Anyway, we would liven up this simple and elegant nativity scene by sneaking in unauthorized figures, which my mom would remove when she noticed them. It was sort of a cat and mouse game. The big goal was to put Snowpig, an ornament we all claimed to have made as a young child, in the manger and have him stay there for a few days.

  48. “I recently told my son about 2-yr-old him putting his shoes on, saying “I’m going to (babysitters)” and tromping out the patio door.”

    @SM — DS used to have huge meltdowns when I’d come to take him home from daycare. Even now, on the days I get there too early, he is upset — they have snacks, they have all these toys and activities, they get to run around, all his friends are there, there’s a late-teens aide whom all the boys idolize and love to play games with — it’s basically like a circus with snacks and rules. I’ve started staying at work *longer* (and fighting the resulting traffic, dammit) just to give him more time to play with his friends. :-)

  49. FWIW, I took Rhett’s comment to be in full support of L.

    We’ve all raved about the coolness of the abbey. I think he was just carrying that on, as in, “All kinds of magnificent things go on at the abbey, so Sad shouldn’t critique any of it.”

    He can let us know otherwise though.

    How obvious is it that I’m wading through the densest agreement known to man and am taking a break every paragraph or so to keep my brain from frying?

  50. Old Mom – I got sciatica during my last pregnancy – so painful and I couldn’t take anything. Mine went away after a few weeks with nightly hot baths (maybe throw some epsom salts in) and stretching (which was extremely painful). I realize I did not have the bone spur issue but I think heat and stretching can’t hurt.

  51. LfB, that’s cute about your son. Different situation than with my kid needing a second person to stomp off to when he was angry, but also cute.

  52. Risley,

    I didn’t make the oof comment.

    And yes, I fully support adequate staffing levels as L’Abbey. You don’t want maids waiting at table like you’re at LfBs.

  53. We do the birthday-person-chooses-dinner-and-dessert thing too. Was it mandated in some form we all signed off on at the hospital when each child was born, maybe?

  54. ““my friend was often responsible for babysitting her younger siblings while her parents were out.”

    Of course that would probably be considered child abuse these days. ;)”

    As you know I’ve been watching The Americans. They are never home! The kids always look so lonely.

  55. Risley – I am working from home on a snow day and many hours later am only 1/3 of the way through an agreement I’m reviewing. Densely written and lots of distractions. Grr.

  56. Rhett – I know. I was defending your 12:35 comment in response to Oof. I think RMS might have taken your comment as critical of L and I didn’t think you meant it that way.

    Kerri – I swear my vision is starting to go because of this document!

  57. On an Excel spreadsheet. I only started in September, and I really don’t buy that much (a quick glance tells me that since September I have bought 18 items total).

    It looks like:
    Item Cost Times Worn PPW (Price per Wear)
    J. Crew orange flats $98.00 5 $19.60

  58. We now leave my kids to babysit each other while DH and I go out to movies or dinner, but they are plenty old enough. My parents started leaving me to babysit my sibs when I was 10, and that was too dang young. I never told them, but I couldn’t control my sibs and I was always petrified.

  59. It’s really not that much effort. When I sit down at my desk in the morning, if I’m wearing something that’s on the spreadsheet, I open the file and update the number of times worn. And then Excel does the math.

    I did not bother to try to go back with old clothes and guess at purchase price/times worn. Am just doing it going forward.

    But I was sort of hoping about 10 people were going to chime in that they’ve been doing this for years. Now I feel super, super geeky.

    (And along with Risley, I am also working on a very hard project necessitating lots of breaks today. And possible chocolate chip cookies, WHICH I DON’T EVEN LIKE SO WHY AM I EATING THEM.)

  60. I wear fairly classic styles and like to keep my clothes for a long time. Literally until they wear out. I’ll put them away when they are clearly out of fashion, but my pant legs are never so flared or so skinny to have ever been exactly the “in” thing. It’s an extended form of “can I get into my high school jeans/wedding dress any more?” So what I wear is often a mix of old and new. Today I’m wearing a dress I bought about 10 years ago. It’s a cotton jersey sundress by Royal Robbins.

    When I gain a lot of weight, I don’t like spending anything on new clothes–feel like that’s a way of admitting it’s a permanent change, but I have bought several new things as I’ve lost weight, often a size to small to incentivize myself.

  61. Lark – I don’t even like entering what food I am eating on my fitbit, so could be just me. One more thing to keep track of – ugh.

  62. Lark, they talk about price per wear at Corporette a lot. Maybe you’d find people over there who track it.

  63. My nanny would take me to the crowded marketplace where my Mom never set foot. My nanny would buy me treats from the shops that my Mom deemed unhygienic. I never got sick eating any of those treats so all ended well.

  64. And since this open thread, I have been on the Whole 30 diet for about 3 weeks – taking a break for the Superbowl and for 1-2 other meals. So far, I have lost 6 lbs. No change in exercise and maybe even less than normal since I was sick for a few days. Fruit definitely tastes sweeter. I am even starting to like black coffee and drink less of it than previously.

    I am not normally into diets and it does sound really strict, but I am amazed at the results. Once I got through the first week, it got easier.

  65. We do at least one weekend getaway a year without the kids. We have a friend they stay with who spoils the crap out of them so it’s a win-win for everyone.

  66. Today’s local road condition is not “wet” but “ponding”. The National Weather service warns us, “DON’T DROWN WHEN ENCOUNTERING FLOODED ROADS. FIND AN ALTERNATE ROUTE. LANDSLIDES AND DEBRIS FLOWS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE DURING THIS FLOOD EVENT.”

    Fortunately, we live on a hill, and the people subject to flooding here are used to it. I definitely am looking forward to rain/snow tires, rather than new vehicle tires, on the minivan.

  67. I don’t track cost per wear, but sometimes I use it to justify a purchase. For example, DD needs new Uggs every year and it is very difficult to find any sales in Sept. She wears them almost everyday from Oct – Apr, and during the summer in camp so it is a win on the cost per wear. We had the opposite experience earlier today when I cut the tags off new snow boots and snow pants. We’ve been fortunate to have some years with hand me down snow gear, but I had to buy everything this year. I always try to have snow pants and snow boots ready for the first snow, so the stuff was sitting in a plastic crate with some online purchases that need to be returned. I thought I might get away with returning the snow gear in a few weeks, but I had to cut the tags off everything today so she could go sledding with friends. I was annoyed about the expense, but I also realize that time is passing and there won’t be many more snow days with neighbors because she will age out of playing in the snow. The best part about this age is that I don’t have to stay outside too.

  68. I don’t do cost per wear but I would probably find it illuminating – although not in a happy way, I fear. :) I do tend to have a newness bias in what I wear. Since starting to work from home a lot more I have been getting fewer wears out of my work stuff, and I find that I am not wearing the suit with the skinny, non-stretchy pants, bc it is not comfortable to wear in the car for as long as the commute is now.

    The plow guy just came by so I think this is going to be a 2-pass storm! :)

  69. I don’t do a cost per wear analysis, but I do think a lot about how often I expect to use something when justifying if it’s worth the cost. What I’ve realized is how many things that I’ve had forever that I never thought about when I bought them. I’ve had a car bike rack for over 20 years, a cargo back we use for skiing for 20 years, etc. I’ve been looking for a new ski helmet and I keep thinking they are really expensive, but I’ve had my current one for over 15 years. So spending $150 on a good helmet that will last 15 years or more really isn’t very expensive.

  70. The plow guy

    Who lives in the carriage house BTW and takes the kids for brunch on Sundays*.

    * I’ll stop now.

  71. snow boots are insanely expensive on a cost per wear basis. My kids often wear them maybe 3 times. One year, I refused, and then of course there was the day in January when their friends were all going sledding and all miine had to wear were sneakers.

  72. I thought I might get away with returning the snow gear in a few weeks, but I had to cut the tags off everything today so she could go sledding with friends. I was annoyed about the expense, but I also realize that time is passing and there won’t be many more snow days with neighbors because she will age out of playing in the snow. The best part about this age is that I don’t have to stay outside too.

    I think I posted this before – the best thing about having kids is sledding.

  73. “sciatica”

    I had a couple years of that in college- frequent pain running from my hip to my toe.

    An uncle who was into holistic medicine taught me to crack my back and do some exercises to align and loosen my hip joints, and recommended exercises to strengthen my abs. Several months of that and the pain subsided, and it’s only occasionally flared up since then.

    My was due to stenosis, so what worked for me might not work, or work as well, for you, but I think a regimen of pilates, planks, and supermen is worth a shot (I think if I were to talk to that uncle today, he’d be recommending strengthening my entire core, not just the abs). Worst case, you might get little if any relief from the stenosis, but at least your core will be stronger.

    I also found that beer provided a small amount of very short-term relief.

  74. LOL Rhett! You must have known the prior owners – their plow guy also did all the landscaping, mowing, and pool maintenance, and he DID live in the carriage house (now DH’s office). What really gets me, though, is that they employed him through their company (not personally). Grrrr.

  75. their plow guy also did all the landscaping, mowing, and pool maintenance, and he DID live in the carriage house

    Good people. I hear LfB makes her cleaning lady snowblow the driveway.

  76. I like sledding, but not when the winds are gusting between 35 and 50 miles. It is brutal out there today because of the wind.

  77. Lark – not for clothes, but for cars.
    Columns:
    Purchase Price, Miles Driven (since purchase since some were bought used). A/B = cost/mile
    and
    Maintenance cost, miles driven, cost/mile
    Add them together, too.

    I keep a spreadsheet with all the maintenance services so I know how often I replace bigger normal items like brakes and tires.

    I don’t bother with insurance, gas, car washes, etc. even though those are real costs because, roughly right, they’re the same across all of our cars.

  78. Rhett – hilarious and I agree w/ Kerri that you should keep them coming.

    Then again, she and I have pretty much confessed we are both suffering from job-induced insanity today, so perhaps our blessings aren’t the ones you’re after.

    I have been trading ridiculous texts all afternoon with DH about the goat DD and I want to buy. Not that we have any place for a goat. And not that DH can stand to hear one more flipping request about the flipping goat.
    But still.

  79. Old mom– thinking back a bit more about the sciatica, the pain caused me to tense up, which made it worse. Cold similarly caused by to tense up, making the pain worse.

    Thus, keeping warm and drinking beer did provide some amount of relief. I would think cognac would also help.

  80. “DD needs new Uggs every year and it is very difficult to find any sales in Sept”

    If/when you get out here you might want to check out the Uggs outlet. Yes, there is one here, and for a while, some of DD’s friends were wearing Uggs, usually with shorts and tank tops.

  81. “all miine had to wear were sneakers.”

    That reminds me of a fond family tradition — as kids wearing plastic baggies inside our sneakers so we could play outside during the once every few years we would get snow. Yeah, growing upin the desert we never got snow boots as kids. lol

  82. “I wear fairly classic styles and like to keep my clothes for a long time. Literally until they wear out.”

    I’m like you, except perhaps for the classic styles part.

  83. except perhaps for the classic styles part

    You can’t tell me that rubbah slippahs ever go out of style.

  84. CoC,
    DH and his sibs grew up in a snowy climate, and they also wore plastic bread bags on their feet inside the non-insulated rubber boots many of us wore BITD. Complete with the toggle thingies to fasten them.

    It is annoying to invest in rarely-worn snow gear, but we gave some of our outgrown but like-new stuff to a parish group sponsoring a refugee family, and they were thrilled to get it. The kids had arrived with zero cold-weather attire.
    Lots of well-meaning people donate their outgrown but well-worn kids’ clothes to these clothing drives, so new and virtually new gear is particularly prized.

  85. Rhett, L, I’m starting to feel like I should train the pets to serve at table. Or maybe I should just ask tuxedo boy if he can start playing butler.

    My daughter’s going to be piiiissed if her little brother is the butler and she’s the under housemaid, though.

  86. Here’s a question. Do you have any experience or thoughts on fair ways to split the rent between a couple and a single for a two-bedroom apartment? I’m not directly involved in this situation, but I’m an interested party. And I’m probably overthinking this because I’ve never been in this situation. Plus I tend to overthink and plus I was once involved in a nasty roommate rental situation.

    Googling turns up many ideas, including the Splitwise app.
    https://blog.splitwise.com/rent-calculator-faq/

    Method
    The calculator uses a simple method used in real estate evaluation – price per square foot.

    The bedroom costs are shared by the people sleeping there
    The common areas of the apartment are shared equally per person.

    This is a pretty simple method which I think is fair and makes sense.

    Going by their guidelines and using a $2500 rent with one slightly larger bedroom, the split turns out to be roughly $1560 for the couple in the larger bedroom and $940 for the single. Does that strike you as reasonable? I *heard* one of the involved parties mention a $1500/1000 split.

  87. “I’ve been looking for a new ski helmet and I keep thinking they are really expensive, but I’ve had my current one for over 15 years. So spending $150 on a good helmet that will last 15 years or more really isn’t very expensive.”

    I’m not sure if they’re like bike helmets, but the recommendation for bike helmets is to replace them anytime they’re in a crash, or after x number of years. I’ve heard different numbers for the replacement frequency, mostly about 5 years, although I usually keep mine a little longer than that.

    The reason is that foam in the bike helmets absorb impact by deforming and compressing. A crash compromises that, as does degradation of the foam over time (so how and where you store your helmet matters; e.g., if you leave it in a parked car a lot, you should replace it more frequently).

    We bought our ski helmets a few years ago from Amazon during the summer (there aren’t a lot of places locally that sell ski helmets). I paid in the range of $15 to $20 for them. The next winter, I noticed the same model helmets selling for more like $80 or so.

    Given where you live, you might check out end of season sales or summer sales. When I skied a lot, that’s when I bought most of my gear.

  88. Pink flowers have appeared on a few trees here. It seems early to me, being only the second week in Feb. The temperatures are cold in the morning but warm up by the afternoon

  89. “You can’t tell me that rubbah slippahs ever go out of style.”

    No, but they do wear out, then I need to get another pair to compress under the heels and balls to provide arch support.

    But DW does sometimes cringe at some of the clothes I’ll pull out of the closet.

    OTOH, I recently pulled out my 2nd suit, the one I bought a while after college, when my job interview suit started getting tight. It no longer fits me, but now fits DS pretty well, and DW did not cringe at the thought of DS wearing it for his scholarship interview in a couple of weeks.

  90. “I definitely am looking forward to rain/snow tires, rather than new vehicle tires, on the minivan.”

    Have you considered just replacing the new vehicle tires with all-season tires?

    IME, the new vehicle tires, beside typically not being M+S rated, don’t last very long. Perhaps you could drive very carefully this winter, then get new tires just before next winter.

  91. “Good people. I hear LfB makes her cleaning lady snowblow the driveway.”

    Hey, we bought her an actual snowblower this year, so I don’t know what she’s complaining to you about.

  92. Finn, I’m definitely considering new tires before next winter. I’ve had several instances where the ABS has kicked on this winter, which is unusual for us. My Buick Century functions far better in snow/ice/rain and I can’t tell how much of that is tires vs. my familiarity vs. vehicle design. The minivan has trouble with the tiniest bit of ice on a hill.

  93. “My Buick Century functions far better in snow/ice/rain and I can’t tell how much of that is tires vs. my familiarity vs. vehicle design. The minivan has trouble with the tiniest bit of ice on a hill.”

    I’m guessing the Buick is no longer on new vehicle tires.

    With the first car I bought new, when I finally replaced the new vehicle tires, there was a noticeable improvement with traction in snowy/icy conditions. I could see why I wasn’t required to use chains as often.

  94. Kerri – you are in the home stretch! I did the Whole 30 last year but then I did not do the reintroduction phase properly. I think I had gluten, dairy and alcohol all in one sitting.:)

  95. “2nd suit”

    I wish I could get DH to get rid of some of his suits. He has 3 that are decent and probably 5 that are not. I did manage to get rid of the 1997 suits last year before we moved, but the 2002 suits have seen better days too!

  96. Finn, I concur on new vehicle tires. The Buick got its first set of rain tires after I drove through a particularly bad rainstorm in Cascade Locks, the place in the Columbia Gorge with the worst weather, in late 2005.

  97. “You can’t tell me that rubbah slippahs ever go out of style.”

    Very true!

    One of my “goal” pieces is a J Peterman navy blue silk skirt that comes to just above the knees & has about 6 knife pleats in the front. I bought it and several other things when they went bankrupt. It was snug even then.

  98. “I did manage to get rid of the 1997 suits last year before we moved, but the 2002 suits have seen better days too!”

    I got rid of my circa 1980s suits by giving them to DS, who is accumulating a wardrobe (2 suits, 2 tuxes, and some Brooks Brothers shirts appropriated from my closet). I guess they are pretty classic styles, as they don’t seem dated.

    Now that DS has inherited both of my suits, I have none. Given that I expect to live at least 30 more years, and over the past 30 years have had occasion to wear one at least a few times per decade, I should probably get one.

    Any suggestions? Where to buy, what style, what color?

  99. Old Mom – I had sciatica bad with my third pregnancy, and have just started to notice a bit in the same leg. I shopped around and found a heating pad that gets really warm, and that gives me relief. The pain tends so far to stay mostly in the seat and a bit in the thigh. However, if you have a bad case, severe enough for your leg to threaten to crumple out from under you (not fun with an 8 mo belly), I would probably not quibble with the doctor’s recommendation. A fall at our age can be a huge deal.

  100. Finn – for flexibility, maybe Black? Go to Mens Wearhouse (Ward Entertainment Ctr), Nordstrom Rack (Ward Village Shops) or even the regular Nordstrom at Ala Moana. If you can wait till June, Nordstrom (regular store) has its menswear sale starting on Father’s Day.

  101. Fred, aCar is a great app for tracking car expenses.

    We like traveling and DH thinks that it allows us to focus on each other instead of chores, friends, work, etc.

    ITA. Even when we go to the mountains for a long weekend, it’s a huge difference.

  102. On topic, We rent a house at a lake for a week every summer. It has been a wonderful tradition. We have card game that we play only at the house, foods we eat only at the lake. We get a house big enough that the kids can invite friends over and that DH and I can invite friends. I hope to continue doing that forever, although I know that at some point, the kids and/or their spouses will not want to burn so much vacation time that way.

    If we go on vacation in the winter, we have always gone different places, but as the kids pointed out some time ago, there are always archeological ruins to visit, a cave to explore, and some water to play in. I don’t know that we are very good at venturing outside our comfort zone.

  103. Traveling is the best for togetherness with my kid!! And you could do worse than “archeological ruins to visit, a cave to explore, and some water to play in”

  104. A few thoughts on sciatica (and of course no direct medical advice to strangers on the internet) –

    -sciatica is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve.
    -there is often inflammation and spasm that can make the compression worse – which is why anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants sometimes help.
    -early use of narcotic predicts a long and more severe course (lots of problems with this study, but limiting opioids always a good idea if possible)
    -having a strong and balanced spine may help keep things in alignment and help prevent the next bout of sciatica (hello, PT) but probably doesn’t help the current one
    -these things tend to have a waxing and waning course over time
    -sometimes people get steroid injections and there is reasonable evidence this helps
    -sometimes people get oral steroids and there is crappy evidence about this, but some people swear it helps
    -people have lots of degenerative changes in their spines as they age (especially people who have had physical jobs or hobbies). Many people have discs that have “slipped” or bone spurs – and have no pain. The correlation between radiographic findings and symptoms is much weaker than you might believe.
    -if you hammer, everything is a nail AKA if you are a neurosurgeon, a chance to cut is a chance to cure AKA if you see a chiropractor, they will want to adjust you.

  105. Thanks to all for advice on dealing with sciatica. My primary doctor wanted me to see a spine specialist but he is a surgeon. I am going to see a spine specialist but he doesn’t do surgery and I want to learn ways to deal with the pain and things to do to help prevent future flareups. I went to a couple of sessions of pt but since they didn’t have the MRI info yet, I got conflicting opinions as to what was causing my sciatica. I stopped the therapy until I see this doctor.

    I was confused when my doctor told me there was a curve in my spine. I was never told I had curvature of the spine. One pt told me I had flat feet. I never had anyone tell me that. In fact, I have been told I have a high arch.

    I tried 600 mg IBP and valium. Darn near did me in – put me in worse pain. I have been on opiods since then and take as needed. I hate how they make me feel but hate the pain worse. Also want to be able to drive.

    I also sit on a heating pad. It feels best when I walk, then lay down, then sit.

    I need to get this resolved because my husband and I like to do car trips. We gave up on going south this winter but have plans to go to Myrtle Beach week after Easter and then a large driving trip of about 4500 miles in August.

    To all you ladies who had sciatica during your pregnancy – God love you. Don’t know how you did it!

  106. Risley – do you follow Goats of Anarchy on instagram? An overload of goat cuteness! If you do get a goat you are supposed to get two, because they really need a friend. Evidently if they don’t have a pal to hang out with they get sad and bored, and they they cause trouble.

  107. they get sad and bored, and they they cause trouble

    Like goats need a reason to cause trouble.

  108. costofcollege – That sounds fair on the rent. My first thought was to take the two scenarios: bedrooms versus people, and average that.

    So, if you took them as three separate people the rent per person would be about $835 per person, and if you said there are two bedrooms the rent is $1250 per bedroom. Average that and you get about $1000, so I’d give the single person the $1000 portion of the rent.

  109. “I think I had gluten, dairy and alcohol all in one sitting.:)”

    Atlanta Mom – I am having fun trying to decide what to add back first! Milk in my coffee? Oatmeal instead of eggs (which I am oh so sick of)? Wine? Chocolate?

    I’ll probably blow it and have an enchilada, a beer and then dessert. =)

  110. Old Mom,

    Have you considered acupuncture? I just started therapy for a different ortho issue (trigger finger) after a friend suggested it. Surgery is my only other option so figured this was worth trying even though it seems out there

  111. OLD Mom – sorry if someone suggested this, but have you tried going to a person who does ART (Active Release Technique – I think). They are like a massage therapist but they concentrate on fixing things like plantar fasciitis, sciatica, etc. I’ve had a lot of success with someone when I had painful soft tissue stuff. It can be a little uncomfortable, but definitely brings relief.

    I also had a slight curvature of my spine after I had DD. I am left handed, and I carried her on the left hip, carried my purse on the left shoulder, and just in general had everything hiked up on that side. I had terrible pain underneath my should blade – it was so awful I could hardly stand it. I went to a chiropractor and he took and X-ray and I could see that my spine was curved. I changed my behaviors and did some specific exercises from him and from an orthopedic guy, and that helped. So, you could have something like that, nothing that you were born with, that had never been diagnosed.

    Finally, have you tried the tylenol/advil cocktail? This was recomended to me when I had a root canal – I know it isn’t the same thing, but I wasn’t given any prescription pain medicine after the procedure, just told to take a dose of those two medicines. I guess they target different things and together help with the pain more than either would on its own.

  112. Old Mom – seconding a bit of what’s been mentioned here. I have had two relatively severe bouts with sciatica, about 10 years apart. As my mom and sister have also suffered from it, we’ve decided it’s something in the way we’re built. I did got a steroid shot the last time, it helped a bit but pain was still pretty intense. I highly, highly recommend PT. I went 2-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks and religiously did the assigned exercises. It’s amazing how motivating intense pain can be. It was a PT group that believes in core strength – working with ‘hurt’ people like me but also ballet dancers, for example. It was some massage, some traditional PT and some Pilates. Now, if only I’d kept up the exercises to maintain that core…..

    I did PT the first time too. It was a more traditional PT approach and eventually brought relief as well.

  113. “Now, if only I’d kept up the exercises to maintain that core…..”

    Even though it’s been a while, the memory of the pain, and perhaps even more, how wearing it was, has been a strong motivator for me to maintain some level of ab exercises ever since.

    There was a short period when I stopped the regular exercise (due to an injury), and near the end of that period I felt some twinges, which was another motivator to maintain the ab work.

  114. I thought about this group last night. I was at a middle school parent meeting and half of the discussion was about the math placement (regular or accelerated). The teacher talking about it spent a good deal of time assuring parents that if your child isn’t placed in accelerated math in 6th grade, there is still a path to take calculus in high school.

  115. Old Mom — I’m sorry about your debilitating sciatica. From this discussion and from people I know it seems to be a fairly common condition that comes and goes, so I hope you get relief soon. For a while one person I know could not drive without a particular lower back support pillow because of his sciatica pain.

    Interesting about the flat feet vs. high arch thing. I always thought I had flat feet, but then I found the “high arch” orthotics provided the best relief for my foot pain. Maybe in some cases flat feet means high arches that have fallen, so to speak.

  116. Risley,
    SSK is correct; your goat will need a companion. I once had a pair of goats. They got into so much trouble-jumping on the tractor and leaving a mess, escaping the pasture, etc. DH got really frustrated with them. He finally told me that either they go or he goes. I told him that I had to sleep on it and would give him an answer in the morning.

  117. ssk – will follow that Insta-G account stat! Thanks for the tip.

    ssk/Sheep Farmer – we can’t actually get a goat. We live in the city, and we’re zoned only for chickens, alas. DD is going to try to convince the owners at her barn to buy some goats. They have a million other animals, so I think she has a good shot at it. And so many horse barns have goats.

  118. ssk – hmmm, maybe I should have cursed you, rather than thanked you, for that Instagram site tip. Afraid my morning productivity is now shot.

  119. Ris, I find the goat thing a bit odd. That said, I’m currently fostering a 3 legged puppy who just had her leg amputated. I’ve totally fallen in love with her and will be totally happy yet heart broken when she is adopted (likely this weekend).

  120. Risley – yes, I’ve been following her for a year or so.
    She started small, too, with just a pair of goats, so be careful! ;)

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