Open thread Presidents’ Day

Are you off from work today?  Do your kids have this week off from school?  Any special plans?

What else is on your mind today?

I am still slowly going through the Washington Post Presidential podcast series.  Yesterday I listened to the Andrew Jackson episode again after reading about comparisons between him and Donald Trump.  My latest “favorite” president is James Garfield, who may have been great had his term not been tragically cut short by an assassin’s bullet (and the poor medical care he received).  Do you have a favorite president?


69 thoughts on “Open thread Presidents’ Day

  1. Kids are in school today and I am working. I don’t have a favorite president, but I admire Obama.

  2. My high schoolers are off today. My college kids have class. All four of them are working w/ DH to switch the kids from Sprint to Verizon today. Given the excitement level, you’d think we had offered to take them all on a trip around the world.

    I never go to the office on Mondays, but as I keep reminding the kids, “Yes, I am working! I work on Mondays! Just not as a lawyer.”

    Still, I’ll end up breaking my own work rules today and doing something w/ DD once she’s back from the Verizon store. We’re on a countdown to her departure for college and I am unable to forego a single second with the kid. It’s not helpful to my productivity, but it’s so worth it.

  3. COC – After listening to the podcast on Garfield, I ended up reading the book Destiny of the Republic. It was great, but a little gory in parts where they talk about his illness and the medical practices of the 1800’s!

    We are all off today, and it is a lovely day today again. Just got back from a long bike ride with the family.

    The Presidents that I most admire from my lifetime are George HW Bush and Obama.

  4. The week off from school? I thought that was just a Boston thing. My kid is home today, whoch is the tradition familiar to me.

    Why are you unimpressed with Garfield’s medical care? I thought it was state of the art for its time, with kind of an air conditioner and Bell inventing a metal detector for him. I have two relatives who died after germ theory was developed, but before antibiotics. Of course, I could be all wrong about his treatment, maybe confusing it with someone else’s.

  5. I’m working. DD’s school has today and tomorrow off, and she is on a school trip to Costa Rica so gets the whole week off. DS is off today and has school the rest of the week.

  6. Do you have a favorite president?

    George H. W. Bush. Managing the collapse of the Soviet Union without their nukes falling into the hands of terrorists. The Gulf War and being smart enough not to chase Saddam all the way to Baghdad. Agreeing to raise taxes for the good of the country despite the threat it posed to his reelection.

  7. Risley — Are you all going for the Verizon unlimited data plan?

    From some reports the procedures to guard against deadly infection during surgery and wound treatment were already in practice in England and known to US doctors, but not used in President Garfield’s treatment.

    Ivy, I’ll look that book up. I’ve put Meacham’s American Lion in my reading queue.

  8. The schools around here are all closed this week “President’s Week”. Every year. I don’t know if it’s all of Upstate, never bothered to check.

    Since taking this job ~10 years ago, I have never been able to take more than a day here or there mid-Jan to mid-May. It’s our busy season. But the rest of the year is ok for taking vacation, and it’s actually encouraged, which is different than in my long stint with a big company where everyone got plenty of vacation time in theory, but if you took it outside of the last couple of weeks of August or around Christmas/New Years (when “everyone” was gone…what fun is that?) you got the stink-eye.

    We’re open today, so I am at work. DS3 has arranged a couple of private ‘accepted student days’ at two of the three schools he’s considering, one for tomorrow and one for Wednesday, so DW & he are on the road for a few days. The schools have been very accommodating. One of itineraries is:

    9:00am – Check in with the Office of Admission, XXX Bldg.
    9:15am – Meet with Professor X, Program Director, (Program Name), (Building & Office #)
    10:00-11:30am – CLASS: with Professor X
    *Not an introductory course but will give you a good sense of the types of courses offered in the major
    11:30-12:30pm – Tour of the School of _______________ with a student mentor in your major meet in the 2nd floor lobby of the School
    12:30-1:50pm – CLASS: Introduction to ______________with Professor Y

    Both schools were quite accommodating. Hopefully this cements his choice and we’re done (best case) or at least lets him drop one off his list.

    Something for you with kids still to go thru the college admissions process to consider. All schools have accepted student days and all of his three are in April. He does not want to wait that long to make his decision and since the schools are working with him on this, it seems like a good idea.

  9. I changed us to the Verizon unlimited plan…save us (5 lines) at least $30 a month. Might be more.

  10. CofC – yes. Unlimited everything. With 4 of them on the plan, it’s just impossible to share minutes, and I sure don’t want to have to keep track of who’s used how much and who went over and what they owe.

  11. I am trying to figure out whether or not to switch. Right now, I pay for 3Gb a month, and we are often running out right at the end. There are two of us on the plan. I need to add up the costs and see how it differs. Just haven’t had time

  12. We had unlimited everything on Sprint, too, so that’s not why we switched. For us, DS’s college is in a Sprint dead zone, as is our cottage and the school DD will go to in the fall. My ex’s entire state is a Sprint dead zone too, so the kids’ phones don’t work when they’re there. Our cottage also is. Verizon seems to have a lot better coverage in the places our kids spend time.

  13. Kids are off. I had planned to work, but both of them are sitting in my office right now, doing “homework,” which seems to involve a lot of throwing paper footballs at each other. So my productivity is zilch.

    We already have Verizon, and I think I am going to switch our plan. But it would just be for two of us – me and oldest DS. Youngest doesn’t have a phone, and DH’s phone is issued through work.

  14. Apropos of absolutely nothing, does it seem like young women are wearing false eyelashes more than they used to? And if so, has there been some technological advance in false eyelashes that makes them more wearable?

  15. Thanks Fred. I have to keep in mind the college tours and these accepted student days. Some of my colleagues have kids who got called for interviews.

    Today we had dentist appointments (Ouch !). Kids are at home but I am at work. Very quiet at work today.

  16. I just looked on-line. Going to unlimited will cost me $65/more per month. That’s hard to swallow, but there are definitely benefits to unlimited data. Trying to decide if this is worth it or not. DS is very limited user of data, but I think this will change as he gets older.

    Help, Totebaggers. Do I make this change?

  17. Unless you are going to use a lot of data right now, I’d stick with your current plan. You can always switch later.

  18. Rocky — A friend of mine who owns a local salon says that lash extensions have become very popular among her clientele. As I understand it, you go to the salon, and the estheticians (spelling?) attach the fake lashes to your own existing ones. Done correctly, they can look quite natural and pretty. They stay on for a while, but eventually they fall off; she recommends that clients come in every few weeks for “touch ups.”

    Personally, I just stick to good old mascara.

  19. Oldest has winter break today and tomorrow. DH is home today and after an aborted trip to the zoo (too many people and no parking) I took the kids to the playground and DH is going to paint the new shingles on our house. I am cleaning out closets. We watched the Minimilism documentary on Netflix last night which was not great but inspired me to pare down some more.

  20. Schools are closed for the week in our area. NYC is closed for the week, but this is a change from my childhood. We used to get Lincolns Bday as a day off, and then Washingtons Bday as a second day. The week off became a thing to save energy. The idea started during some energy crisis, and when there was just a President’s Day holiday, the teacher unions continued to bake it into their contracts. A lot of the private schools around here have two weeks as a Spring Break in March, vs. the public school set up of one week in Feb, and another week whenever the Passover/Easter week happens to fall.

  21. Rhett – I totally agree with you about GHW Bush. Highly underrated President. I admire him very much.

  22. We never have off on Presidents’ Day. And are not used to winter break. So we survive.

    Today we have a toddler who didn’t nap well and a 3 week old who’s entering the distressing time of belly pains. No where near as bad as his older bro so we don’t complain.

    My nap time is over now. Sigh. Is it wrong that I can’t wait to go back to work?

  23. We are on the Verizon 12 GB plan and I looked into switching to the unlimited and it would be $30 a month more, plus we’d lose DW’s employee discount (she works for another telco that partners with Verizon) of $18 a month. We seem to use about 6 GB a month at most, so it’s not worth switching for a net cost of almost $50 a month.

  24. RMS/NoB, my sister gets that kind of lashes, goes in every few weeks. She is very blonde, probably got tired of mascara.
    Between that; waxing, mani/pedis, and dyed hair, a person could get nearly every part of her body “done” somehow. I think some get Botox on a regular schedule too. None of that appeals to me. My eyelashes aren’t noticeable unless I curl them, but I rarely do because I don’t care.

  25. “We watched the Minimilism documentary on Netflix last night which was not great but inspired me to pare down some more.”

    I follow the Minimalists on Twitter and the other day they mentioned the 20/20 rule, which I will try to adopt. Basically, if you’re keeping something “just in case” and you find you could replace it within 20 minutes and for under $20, get rid of it. So I’m looking at a Halloween box in the attic that has a bunch of drugstore costumes that I’ve been keeping just in case . . . gotta get rid of them!

    Lauren, I did not know that history of the winter break. Some of us would have just rather have had that extra vacation week in June at the end of the school year.

  26. Saac — I was at my dentist’s office the other day, and I noticed that they now have brochures at the front desk for Botox. I guess you can now schedule regular Botox treatments with the dentist just like you schedule your regular cleaning. When did dentists start offering Botox???

  27. DD, I’m in the same boat, but on the 18GB plan. We actually went over this month with one kid traveling and another who forgets to switch back to wifi when he gets home from school.

    That unlimited data price is good for 4-10 phones, so if we upgrade I’m going to offer to add my BIL and niece to my plan, as I know his money’s very tight. It would add $20 per line, but nothing for data for them.

  28. Our only experience with admitted students day is at DH’s university, but there was a lot of wasted time while we listened to speeches about what a great place this is. Nothing wrong with that of course but if your schedule does not permit attending one of these days, it’s not too hard to come to campus under the radar and meet students in the dining hall and sit in on a class.

  29. Don’t have a dentist give you Botox. The skill of the technician is the most important factor in having a good result. You want to go to someone who does Botox every day. A derm or plastic surgeon only.

  30. CoC, I don’t know what they used to do with the extra days, but it is just 2 more days since Lincoln’s bday was also a holiday. I was always stuck in school until the very end of June even when there was no winter break.

  31. I mentioned DD is in Costa Rica this week. Her teacher has been sending some pics, and today they were snorkeling. Apparently I’m out of touch because I’m amazed at how skimpy of bikinis some of these girls (13) are wearing. I also can’t believe how much makeup some of them wear on a regular basis.

  32. It’s normal for a mature chain to close older & underperforming stores. Near us, they are closing one of two stores in Evanston. It never really made sense for them to have two stores that close together anyway, but they picked up the second in an acquisition.

    Over the past 5 years, we’ve still gone from having one WF location to 3 within a few miles.

  33. Apparently I’m out of touch because I’m amazed at how skimpy of bikinis some of these girls (13) are wearing. I also can’t believe how much makeup some of them wear on a regular basis.

    “What a drag it is getting old.” — Rolling Stones

  34. Kids have off today and tomorrow. We pulled them a few days early and are enjoying Big Sky country. Unfortunately I have strep so DH took the kids kids skiing today without me. We spent a day in Yellowstone and it was awesome. No crowds, lots of wildlife. Simply breathtaking.

  35. DD – I had the same reaction as RMS. I would say my family is more conservative as far as dressing and makeup are concerned but that’s cultural.
    Most of the teens I have seen have worn bikinis that looked great on them. Same thing with makeup. Very appropriate starting gradually in middle school and more as they move towards high school. Definitely far better put together than I was at that age.

  36. Denver Dad, the suits and dresses surprise me. My parents wouldnt’ have let me out of the house in some of the stuff I see. I tell my daughter when she is 18 she can wear whatever she wants but with us there is going to be some minimal level decorum. Slow down, there is time for everything.

  37. Rocky, so you’d be running for the shelter of your mother’s little helper, eh? My kid recently commented that he was surprised that the girls he knows girls posted so many swim suit photos on Instagram–and then didn’t want to show them to me! But overall, I’m still looking forward to the day when he’s ready to gain some carnal knowledge and can destress and stop asking me these questions!

  38. Question for those of you whose teens have Instagram accounts: do you require them to keep them private? How did you explain this requirement, and how do you enforce it?

  39. Louise, I think we’ll disagree about what’s “very appropriate”. A lot of these girls wear full makeup, and even if it is “put together” well, I think is completely inappropriate for middle schoolers. And a few of these bathing suits have just a tad more coverage than string bikinis, again, totally inappropriate for this age IMO.

    Moxie, what I’ve seen girls wearing to homecoming and prom is insane – dresses that are very low cut on top and barely reach mid-thigh with ridiculously high heels they can barely walk in.

    Now get off my lawn.

  40. S&M, I enforce rules like that by them knowing I can and will look at their phones any time I want. Of course it’s really not that hard for them to keep secret accounts if they are so inclined.

  41. DD – It is kind of shocking how the MS/HS kids dress now. It’s hard to see the 6th graders at my kid’s school who are all still pretty casual and innocent and put them two years out wearing tiny clothing and tons of makeup.

    I do still see HS kids going into school in the morning in pajamas too. So I guess it depends.

  42. I see the middle school kids (7th and 8th ) grade girls dress like they are going to nightclubs when they go to these bar/bat mitzvah parties. It is completely inappropriate and I am surprised that even the most conservative girls in the grade show up in these clothes. The kids are inclusive and invite kids from all different ethnic and religious backgrounds to the parties, but most girls show up in these inappropriate dresses. They seem to rebel by the time they enter our HS because most of the girls are wearing sweats and PJs, and they don’t seem to wear much make up.

    There is definitely a “uniform” for girls at our MS. Black leggings, black down coat (many acceptable brands), chestnut ugg boots, long straight hair. I see more ripped jeans from American Eagle in the fall and Spring. I noticed that if they are not wearing Uggs, they are only wearing one of the following: Adidas superstars, Steve Maddens or Vans.

  43. Kids are off this entire week. I have never understood this ridiculous winter vacation. It makes no sense unless you ski, which we don’t. When they were younger, it was a week of desperately finding childcare, and now it is a week where the older ones madly catch up on homework, and DD rolls around the house in total boredom while the older ones pretend to babysit.

  44. At home recovering from a cold today, capping a weekend spent mostly under the weather.

    Kids had today off, and tomorrow get to sleep in a little because their first class of the day is cancelled. Good for DS, who has a scholarship application to finish off before he heads to an in-person interview for another scholarship, which is part of an admitted student event.

    I’m pretty sure that’s the only such event he’ll attend, unless the one school that he likes a lot and gives merit aid offers him a similar interview.

  45. Fred, Risley, and anybody else with current seniors, are your kids’ friends starting to commit?

    Of DS’ close friends, one recently was accepted ED2, and another committed after acceptance to his top choice. Other than that, they’re all waiting for decisions that will come next month.

    A few of his other classmates (but not really close friends) that were accepted early to their top choices have committed, but apparently a lot of other seniors are also still waiting.

  46. “George H. W. Bush. ….. Agreeing to raise taxes for the good of the country despite the threat it posed to his reelection.”

    Well, he did famously tell us, “Read my lips. Know new taxes.”

  47. Finn – yes. My DD’s friends all seemed to have a very clear frontrunner in mind, and once they got in to that one, they committed. (For many, it was the school here but quite a few chose something further afield). I think DD has only one good friend who’s waiting until May to make her decision. The same was true for DS 2 years ago.

  48. Finn – some and some. Even if, like DS, they are done except for choosing and paying the deposit they really don’t see much advantage to doing so. Some, as my middle did, will want to go to at least one accepted student day in the next couple of months to see if that one is really right for him. DW asks often enough and DS is the typical teenager so tries to evade, mostly just because, I think. One kid whose family we know pretty well will be joining his brother in the honors college at ASU.

  49. Rhett/Risley – the books were pretty entertaining.

    I am still ploughing through Outlander. Since I have reached the part with colonial North Carolina, I have to continue getting a dose of state history from historical fiction.

  50. DD, your last sentence (about fake accounts) is why I go for buy-in on these sorts of rules. Instagram in the sunshine state would drive you crazy. On a three-day weekend; where do they go? The beach! And what do they post? Swimsuit photos! Whether it’s a “hanging out with friends” or sexy pose, lots of bikini pix all year long. I really don’t understand the reply etiquette. I told my kid to say something occasionally, not to just lurk, but that seems to have been wrong. The girls reply to the swimsuit photos with what they boys are thinking “body!” “I want you” “hawt” etc. Nerdy like I was in high school, I doubt I would’ve understood then any better than I do now. But they’re healthy girls, so pix with their nephews or whatnot look sexy to me too.

  51. We are still waiting for college responses. Should know more by early March. DS got into his safety with merit aid. I love love love the school, but DS still thinks of it as his safety. Totally a mental thing, plus the fact that nobody he knows is going there.

  52. “plus the fact that nobody he knows is going there.”

    a feature per DS. definitely not a bug.

  53. As usual when the subject of bikinis comes up on this blog, I am reminded of how people at my East Coast college didn’t seem to understand the concept of a conservative bikini.
    There are bikinis that are safe for watersports — those are conservative bikinis. Anything in Athleta would qualify. There are what I think DD is talking about as slightly more coverage than a string bikini — those are normal bikinis. And then there are the Brazilian styled ones — those are what passes for skimpy.

    I got the middle one when I was 11:

    Need I even say that my dad sang “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” to me every time I wore it?

  54. My colleague told me that her brother chose to go to Ponoma because both Duke and the state flagship were overrun with his class mates.

  55. “they are done except for choosing and paying the deposit they really don’t see much advantage to doing so. ”

    For some schools, the advantage in paying the deposits early is they can then pay their housing deposits and be higher on the priority lists for choosing (or even getting) dorms.

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