Open thread

Today the blog is open for discussion on any topic.

Here’s a question.  What time do you get to work?

This graph shows that most Americans actually get to work pretty early


173 thoughts on “Open thread

  1. I used to get to work between 7 and 7:30 because my product trades early, and I had to deal with people in Europe/UK. It is also SO much easier to commute before 7:30 because the trains and subways get packed if you go later. My DH goes in very early because he likes to be at his desk by 7. I don’t like his commute because there are a few months where he commutes in the dark in the mornings and evenings.

    On the days that I have a meeting in the city, I still go early because everything just seems to go wrong if I take the later trains.

  2. Mr WCE and I switch off right now so I’m either early (in at 7, with the chance to talk to night shift if I go in a few minutes early) or late (rolling in for a 10 AM meeting, after bus, morning cuddle with Baby WCE and childcare dropoff) Before kids, I adjusted myself to my colleagues, who varied from ~7:30 to 8:30 or 9 depending on the company and state.

  3. It’s a good time of year for this topic. Sunrise is getting earlier, so fewer people commute in the dark. In a couple weeks that’ll all be over & we’ll get up in the dark just like in December. Ugh. If they’d just set it & forget it, then schedules could gradually change to fit.

  4. 7:30…am? Was this data gathered by looking at when folks logged into the network or did they just ask people?

    Oh…According to this graph by Overflow Data, based on a recent American Community Survey, cough…bullshit…cough…cough.

  5. All they had to do was look at traffic reports and/or data from major transit systems to know that most people are NOT getting to their desks early in the morning.

  6. People tend to work earlier schedules outside of the east coast. Here, starting work at 7-7:30 is extremely common. At my last office job (a bank) the official company hours were 7:30-4:15. There was flex time, and at least as many people flexed earlier (6:30-7 arrival) as later. When I lived in Chicago, it wasn’t quite as early, but a lot of people arrived between 7:30 and 8.

    The northeast, especially NY, is heavily skewed to a later schedule of 9 to 6 or whatever. Very few people out here work later shifts like that, if they have a choice.

    Now, I get to my first facility of the day around 745 because I need drop the kids off at school first. If I don’t have to do drop offs, I’ll start a bit earlier, but I can’t start too early because I need patients to be awake :) DW usually gets to the office around 6:30 and leaves around 2:15-2:30.

  7. “All they had to do was look at traffic reports and/or data from major transit systems to know that most people are NOT getting to their desks early in the morning.”

    I was going to say the same thing. I usually come in around 8:30 due to school drop-off time and commute length, and I am one of the first people here. If I need to run an errand or something, I’ll come in a little later, and I am still on the early side. The elevator banks are packed between 9 & 9:30, and there is often a wait for elevators.

    The first post-college job I had, which was in a big global manufacturing company, the culture was much earlier. People were at their desks working by 8am, and my first role there was delivering the overnight reports to the CEO for him to read when he arrived at 8. That was a rough transition because I was a real night owl in college. Nowhere else has been anywhere near that early. I’m sure that report delivery job has been automated by now.

  8. I get in at 6:45-7:00 and leave at 3. Usually, our IT folks are in at 7:00 too. Everyone else trickles in between 8 and 10. My GC comes in closer to 9:30 and stays later. Our different schedules means one of us is always available for the overseas folks who might need urgent legal help during their work day (I check email around 5, and sometimes take calls while I’m driving in). He lets me do the odd schedule as a personal favor, but I know he appreciates that it comes with this benefit to the legal department and to the company.

    The early start/early finish is ideal for me, because I start the day at the peak of energy and slide downward from there. I’m also a fan of commuting during zero traffic, and being home when the kids get home from school.

  9. Funny enough – the “early” job I had was on the East Coast (Hartford area). But I think the industry (old-school, industrial product manufacturing) had more to do with it.

  10. I get to my desk to do substantive work around 10am. But I start monitoring e-mail (though rarely respond, just watching) around 6:30am.

  11. When I worked in the midwest we would often have 7 am meetings and it wasn’t odd. Farming people. Out East 9 am.

  12. I think that some work schedules in financial firms are driven by the east coast time zone. It’s not always fair, but some finance types still think the world revolves around their 7 or 8 am call. People that work for financial firms on the west coast are often at their desks by 5 or 6 am. The reason for some of those 7 or 8 am meetings in Chicago is the east coast center of the universe mentality.

  13. I have to leave the house by 7 to beat traffic buildup on the parkway. I usuallly make it to campus by 7:35, am at my desk by 7:45. I do leave around 3pm if there is no meeting, so I can beat traffic heading home, and be around when the kids are home so they don’t burn the house down or something. I usually work from home until 7 or 8. DH makes it to work by 8 to 8:15 and leaves around 6:30. He often has work related things to do when he gets home.

    Judging by the way traffic rapidly builds up after 7am, I think there are a lot of people on the road here between 7 and 8.

  14. Anybody giving up anything for Lent? I have a friend who is giving up screen time. He just waved good-bye on Facebook and said he’d be back after Easter. Giving up Internet and TV would probably be beyond me at this point. If “screens” includes Kindles then that’s just out of the question. So bizarre, because growing up I only had TV for a “screen”, and my TV time was limited.

    If I were to give up screens I’d have to take up permanent residence in the public library and keep an MP3 player with me at all times.

  15. Academic types tend to arrive late and leave late, which leads to lots of meetings being scheduled in the very later afternoon. This has actually been noted as one of the problems facing parents on the tenure track, and some universities now have policies discouraging 5 or 6pm meetings. But it remains a problem.My chair never arrives before noon and usually is on campus until 10pm or so, so we never can have morning meetings.

    On the other hand, because we are severely space crunched, we start running classes at 7:30am (poor students!) and don’t end until 10:30 or 11pm. I have had to do both, as have all of us.

  16. If my job had allowed a 6:30-2:30 type of schedule I would probably not have quit to stay home with the kids. As it was, I was out of the house 6 to 6 on average, partly because of my long commute. And even though it was not peak time, the trains at 6:am were pretty full.

  17. There have been a couple of postings on Facebook about giving up screen time for Lent. Both my kids’ schools use facebook to communicate, as do most of the organizations they are involved in. FB is a admittedly a huge time sink, often filled with rumors, but….during the recent emergencies, if was also the only way information was communicated. I’m planning on staying connected.

    How vital is FB/social media in your lives?

  18. A few years ago I had a friend VERY active on FB give it up for Lent. That’s admirable. Back in the day when I was a practicing Catholic we used to change it up weekly so that made it easier — chocolate one week, TV the next, etc.

  19. RMS, I am giving up complaining/venting for Lent, and I am writing down something I am thankful for each day. One DS is giving up criticizing his brother, and the other DS is giving up seconds at dinner. DH is Presbyterian and finds the whole exercise ridiculous. I am a lapsed Episcopalian, and have done nothing to give my children a religious upbringing (regret), but certain habits and traditions die hard.

  20. “Anybody giving up anything for Lent? I have a friend who is giving up screen time.”

    I’m sorry this cracks me up. Giving up screen time for Lent because that approximates the suffering of Christ AND provides you with the handy realization that you do or do not need cat videos to live a full life.

  21. the handy realization that you do or do not need cat videos to live a full life.

    Bite your tongue!

  22. Rocky – good question. I need, really need, to do something about caloric intake, so maybe that although kind of a standard thing.

  23. I have a couple of relatives who only communicate via FB, so yeah, I have to keep it.

    And cat videos are essential to my well being.

  24. If I take the 7 am train, I get to work at 8:30.
    If I go in early and leave at 6, I get to work at 7:15 and work from the coffee shop until 8 when the building is open.
    If I go in after getting the kids to school, I get in at 10 or 10:30.
    If I go in with DH, I get in around noon.

    Mostly I use the last 2 options now unless I have a 10 am meeting (in that case I take the 8:30 train). I work from home beforehand in the mornings. I have also been going in 1x or 2x/week instead of 3x/week (which was my MO before we moved), and for shorter days each time. I walk around the halls more while I am there, though, to make it seem like I am there for longer. ;)

    Back in the day when I had to work a lot, I got to work between 6 and 6:30 and left at 5 or 5:30. I was by far the first one to get there and the first to leave, but my practice group wasn’t as late as corporate so (luckily) I almost never had to stay late.

  25. I see my kids off to school and then get into work by around 8 am. Each person flexes their schedule according to business needs and what works for them.

  26. Most people here prefer to come in early. If meetings are held late they will either work from home or leave and take calls from home. Our commutes are shorter than compared to larger cities

  27. Speaking of hijacks and the Oscars – has anyone seen Fences? If so what did you think?

  28. Since DS has to get up for school, I get up then too and we have breakfast together almost every day. It’s really our quality time. We can talk sports, I try to parent when I think it’s needed, I can tell him to drive carefully when he leaves at 720-725. I usually leave 10-15 mins later after skimming the paper. That gets me to my parking lot about 8 and into my office by about 810. With my relatively new, much cooler, boss I’m outta here no later than 545 most days.

    On work days when he does not have school, I slip things back about 15mins.

  29. I have not seen Fences, but I want to try to see it this weekend. I don’t think my DH is interested in Moonlight, so it will probably be Fences. We have a lot of free weekend evenings lately since DD is busy with her own stuff.

    We watched the first two episodes of Big Little Lies on HBO. Not sure yet if I like this series. We are really enjoying Billions this season, and Homeland is finally getting interesting now that there is some activity.

    Just a few more days until the Americans.

  30. OK, here is my college hijack. Oldest kid. 11th grade, took his SATs in January and recently got his scores back. His verbal (or whatever they call it these days) and math scores are good to go – I really don’t think he needs to or should retake the SAT, and neither does his guidance counselor. His essay score, though, is not as good. It is a 6, and to be quite honest, I don’t even know if that is OK, mediocre, or really bad. Now, I know not all schools require that essay test. But a lot of schools list it as optional or recommended. In fact, SUNY Stony Brook, a top choice, lists it as recommended. What does that mean? It isn’t the same as “required” but it also isn’t “optional”. Ugh. I would hate for him to have to go through another SAT iteration, possibly risking downsizing his scores, just to try to get that essay score up. I should also note that he is not in AP English this year because he didn’t qualify (got a horrific grade one quarter because he didn’t submit a major assignment correctly and teacher counted it as a 0 even though she knew he had done it). Not sure if he will be able to qualify for AP English next year. Would not being in AP English make it more important to have a good essay score for a school that lists the essay as “Recommended”?

    Guidance counselor said not to retake unless two or more schools wanted the essay, but she didn’t clarify the difference betwee “required” and “recommended”

  31. Trip Report – Death Valley and Las Vegas area

    Back from 10 days in the desert. We started off north of Tucson visiting our snowbird friends. We drove from PHX down Route 79 in our rented car. 70 mph effective speed limit on a two lane road – the so called fastest road in the USA. They like living there, but it is a 30-40 min drive to anything but a golf course or a gas station. Visited the Biosphere, which is now a very interesting large scale climate research center.

    We took a Road Scholar bus tour out of Las Vegas. It was run by Dixie State College out of St. George, Utah. All geology, all the time, plus the Bellagio buffet the first evening. There are a few birds, fewer animals, and still fewer plants in this landscape. First day we went to Valley of Fire State Park. If you are doing a Nevada/Utah National Parks trip, I would stop there just for the amazing rock formations. Second day was a Black Canyon float trip down the Colorado, plus a short stop at Hoover Dam. We have toured the Dam previously, so we didn’t miss out, but would have preferred a longer visit.

    Then we went to Death Valley. It was actually a little cool in the evenings, but the season is very short for comfortable visiting. The park is over 3 million acres of land with little commercial explotation potential. The geological history is fascinating. You could read about it. The mountains that ring the park are go up to 11,000 feet. The actual bedrock valley floor (result of fault activity) is about 9500 feet below sea level, but it filled in with alluvial deposits to a low point of 282 feet below sea level. The hottest, driest and lowest altitude point in Western Hemisphere (I think that is correct – Finn will let us know if I am not.)

    Death Valley was discovered because a couple of headstrong young men and their families tried a short cut during the Forty niner gold rush. The only viable commercial activity in Death Valley was Borax mining, and it quickly failed after Borax was discovered at Boron, CA, much closer to the railroad. Most Totebaggers are too young to remember Death Valley Days and 20 mule team Borax as a product. The 20 mule teams existed briefly (18 mules and two draft horses, actually), but the branding was the brainchild of a late 19th century New York newspaper man who also worked for the Pacific Coast Borax Company. The Wild West was fading as a reality, but popular as entertainment. The teams traveled as a marketing tool, went to St Louis World’s Fair and other expositions. When radio came in, Death Valley Days was the company’s sponsored show, and it was on TV from 1952 to the mid 60s. Ronald Reagan was host for a while.

  32. Having a shorter commute has really made a difference over the years. My group may be moving to a new location. This will add about ten minutes to my commute. However it will totally throw some people’s commute out of whack. They may end up working more days from home.

  33. “My FB feed is 80% worthless, 10% enjoyable, and 10% important information.”

    Mine is this way these days. Some of it is the political environment. But I think that they changed the algorithm too because I seem to see the same things over & over, bumped up to the top of my news feed just because someone new commented on it. There also seem to be way more ads lately, and more news/buzzfeed/memes that someone I am friends with “liked”.

    Instagram for me is still more like 75% enjoyable, 25% worthless. But 0% important information.

    Twitter. I don’t even know. 50/50 maybe.

  34. Trip report part II

    I would definitely suggest the Las Vegas/Death Valley trip as a Feb/March vacation week trip with middle school kids who like hiking and and might enjoy the Old West. There are a couple of resorts in the park. Furnace Creek is an ample warm spring in the middle of the park. Furnace Creek Inn was a fancy Union Pacific Railway hotel and is priced accordingly. Furnace Creek Ranch, where we stayed, is a middle class complex that has cabins and large motel buildings and caters to families and bus tours. Golf course, 80 degree natural warm pool, no chlorine because it is spring fed. There are some other smaller seasonal accommodations as well. Consider bringing in groceries for breakfast at least and getting a cabin but the rooms all have fridge and tables and there are picnic areas. There are general stores for milk and such. Tons of drinking water, hats and sunscreen a must.

    The group was fine, intelligent and pleasant- a little large for my taste – full 42 people on the bus. The food was only fair, with exception of two dinners. The coffee was weak and breakfast buffets were bad.

    A caveat for those few of you who say you want to work forever. Don’t. A comfortable nest egg “number” is much lower than you think, and active retirees are busy all day. There can be a lot of great years between retirement and barcalounger – TV phase. The physical difference between 65 and 75 is marked, and you could really tell the 78 year olds. People who have been active all their life usually still have stamina at 75, maybe not as much as earlier, but often have replaced joints and balance issues. Carpe diem.

  35. I use Twittter to keep track of weather and some professional announcements. For example, I follow the NSF twitter feed.

    I have tried to use Instagram but I just don’t get it. Same for Pinterest.

  36. @Lauren – I am very excited about The Americans, but I can barely remember what happened at the end of last season. I am unexcited about Big Little Lies after the premiere episode, but I will probably keep watching.

  37. His verbal (or whatever they call it these days) and math scores are good to go

    I assume that’s a totebag “good to go” not a normal person “good to go?” With SUNY Stony Brook’s 40% acceptance rate I can’t imagine he’s squeaking in by any means.

  38. Rhett, his SATs are well above the average SAT for Stony Brook. But his grades are not. That has to be kept in mind. And he wants the engineering school, which is a separate admit.

  39. Rhett – out of the nominated movies I have only seen “Arrival”. We usually don’t see many on the Oscars list – I think last year was an exception. :)

  40. MM – if his other scores are good then I probably would not worry about retaking the SAT for the essay portion. Better at this point is to continue to do well in all of his classes and to take a strong schedule next year and do well in them.

    But probably most important is to be sure to apply early action to every school he can. (Early decision if he has a number 1 above all the others and he’d go there if he gets in there no matter what). My research has shown the acceptance rates for early action applicants are generally significantly higher than ‘regular pool’ applicants. Cause and effect, I don’t know that, but I do know what the numbers say.

    Other tactics include being sure to have as many “touches” as possible with schools he’s interested in, the official (admissions office tour) visit being #1, college fairs in your area, visits to his HS guidance office, especially for any private schools in consideration. Perhaps not so important for publics.

  41. Federal office hours here (including the military, which is a substantial presence) begin at 6:30 am, and industrial / trades start around the same time. State and county office hours begin at 7:45. Banks open in the 7:30 to 8:30 range, and law firms / professions have similar opening times. Like the west coast, people need to be available for meetings scheduled for people several time zones to the east. Of course we also have people needing to be available for Japan and other points west, especially in the private sector, but that’s more reflected in individuals or practice groups who just keep much later hours than the office as a whole.

    I arrive in the 8 am block when school is in session, and in the 7:30 or 7:45 block when it isn’t.

  42. active retirees are busy all day

    I have no reason to believe I’d be an active retiree.

  43. Commutes – we are tied to the kids’ school schedule, 8:20 am start. If I walk them there, after I stop by Starbucks for a coffee to go, I can get to the office by 9:30 am. I often have early morning calls for work, 7 am – 9 am ish, and on those days show up to work around 10 am. If I’m not dealing with the kids or early calls, I get to work by 9:15 am.

    In law firms (in NY and London) a lot of associates show up around 10 am because they (rightly) figure they’ll be there really late no matter what. Earlier starts were for specific reasons only.

    Oscars – I have not seen any of the nominated movies, not even Moana. =(

    Screentime: “Giving up screen time for Lent because that approximates the suffering of Christ AND provides you with the handy realization that you do or do not need cat videos to live a full life.”

    Ha! love this.

  44. change of topic:

    So for my trip to Dallas I was planning on bringing my son. I’ve now learned my company’s travel plan requires that my manager sign-off on booking the second ticket and she won’t. She doesn’t want to have to answer questions about the second ticket with her manager, who can be prickly. Stupid politics. I must book my ticket through the firm’s travel company. The suggestion is that I book the second ticket separately, try to get seats next to each other and try to have the airline link the two bookings.

    This is really irritating me. I wanted to have one booking because my son is 9 and I wanted to make sure we were on the same flight and seated together.

    I’m thinking this is just too much of a PITA and I’ll just plan something else with my son.

    Am I overreacting?

  45. I can’t believe I forgot to mention the total high point of the trip. The STARS!!!!

    This video of the summer sky says it all. Death Valley is the last (level 1) bit. The winter sky of course has Orion and very little milky way.

  46. Kerri – maybe book his ticket first and then tell your travel dept you need this itinerary (assuming it’s only 2 flights total NYC-DFW-NYC)? Also it might help if you book DS’ ticket in not the absolute cheapest class so you don’t get dinged with multiple change of seat fees. Probably you can manage his seat(s) online anyway, especially if you pick a relatively empty flight.

    Worst case (or maybe best case in his mind) is you guys are not right next to each other. But you’ll know where each other is and you’re on the same plane.

  47. “What is a good score on the SAT essay?”

    That is an excellent question. Does anyone know?

  48. Am I overreacting?

    Yes. What are you imagining is going to happen if you’re not on the same reservation?

  49. Kerri – we’ve booked tickets separately to go along with work trips a number of times, so DH or I can tag along with the other, or have a kid tag along. Shouldn’t be an issue at all. Get your trip info, call the airline and book DS’s seat so it’s beside yours. Hope you two have a great time in the Big D!

  50. MM – SUNY Stony Brook like many other universities will “superscore” test results, “which means they consider your highest section scores across multiple test dates”. So he cannot downsize his scores since his highest scores are locked in for purposes of applying. From everything I’ve seen, “recommended” means it’s better if you do it. Unless it will cause excessive anxiety or for another reason, I would have him sit for a second test if he wants to try to improve his essay score. OTOH, maybe inquiring of the engineering department about how they handle admissions would help make that decision.

  51. Rhett,

    That is a helpful graphic, but it is for the 2006 graduating class. Do you know if there is more recent data for the 2018 graduating class?

  52. Do you know if there is more recent data for the 2018 graduating class?

    No. The post is from 2015 with the caveat While the chart below is for students graduating high school in 2006, the average essay score hasn’t changed all that much since then (7.2/12 then vs. 7/12), so I think this graph is still useful to look at.

  53. Kerri; that’s aggravating! But I don’t think it’s worth changing plans. Get him on the same flight if you can. If you can’t get seats next to each other, get to the gate early and ask the agent. If that doesn’t work, ask flight attendants. If you can’t get him on the same flights, check the records to see how many available seats & no-shows flights on that route usually have, then get to the airport for the first plane out and ask to be put on it standby. It’s unnerving, but it’ll work out.

  54. “A caveat for those few of you who say you want to work forever. Don’t.”

    I think about this and I understand your message. I know there are some prime retirement years, and I would like to take the opportunity to enjoy them. I still need to be convinced that “a comfortable nest egg “number” is much lower than you think”, but I’m confident I can be active and enjoy leisurely retirement life. Some others, however, would be bored if they did not work. I’ve seen both types.

  55. This more I google about the essay scores, the more confused I am. My daughter got three scores on the essay. Does she add them together? Take an average. I so wish we had a competent counselor.

  56. Most colleges that DS applied to cared about the SAT essay score. They focused on math and verbal.

  57. Meme’s post has me thinking of the adage “60 is the old age of youth and the youth of old age”. Also reminds me of the very good walking tour of the original springs we had in Vegas. If you’re in town for work and can’t go on one of the longer trips that start from Vegas, the springs are worth a couple hours.

  58. MM —
    Scroll down to “How Important Is Your SAT Essay Score?” It sounds like it’s more an additional way to check that an applicant will be capable of college-level work and actually does write in a manner consistent with the application essay, not something where they’re really going to be worried about looking for perfect scores.

    It also sounds like there’s a score give out of 8 on 3 different areas, for a total possible of 24 . . . your son had 6/8, not 6/24, I’m assuming? (My kids haven’t yet taken the new SAT with essay, though my son is due to do so sometime soon.)

  59. The problem is that this is the first year with the “new” SAT, so if you compare his scores to even two years ago – it isn’t apples to apples. Also, many of the SUNY schools have straight cut offs for the SAT or ACT because it is a SUNY vs. TT private. It is my understanding from my friends with kids that applied to the engineering program at Stonybrook that the math score is very important. Unlike a private school that might emphasize every score, I think that school at Stonybrook is looking for above average standardized math scores, and lots of science/STEM classes (extracurriculars) in HS. I haven’t looked at their web site, but several of my friends have kids that are stronger in math/science vs. ELA and they were accepted to the engineering school at Stonybrook.

    Most of the top private schools will expect a kid from MM district/family background to have higher SAT or ACT scores. When I do the recruiting for my alma mater, they are very transparent about the expectation that if you’re from a MM type of public school, your score should be at least 200 points higher than the students in the district next door. The reason is that they think that students from a family like MM ( parents with multiple higher ed degrees, higher than national average income for the zip code) will have an advantage over students that do not come from a district/family like MM.

  60. Kerri – and if you can’t get the seat next to yours, just ask someone to switch once you’re on the plane. People do this all the time.

    Which reminds me of this great tale about good karma: I tagged along w/ DH to LA once. He was upgraded at the gate, as he pretty much always is, but sat in the seat beside me in coach instead. (I always tell him he need not do this; he always does it anyway). We were in pretty decent seats near the front. The guy who actually had the seat beside me arrived and DH said, “Would you mind trading with me, so I can sit w/ my wife?” The guy immediately said yes, without asking if DH’s seat was further back and in a crummy spot. It was a big plane and there were plenty of rows behind us, and he could’ve gotten stuck in a really bad row, but agreed anyway, b/c he was clearly a nice man.

    So DH hands his ticket–seat 3A or whatever–and you should’ve seen the other guy’s face light up. He was mid60s, I’d guess, and he said, “I’ve never been in first class before! Are you sure you want to trade?” DH said yes, and the guy was shaking his head in wonder the entire time he was walking up to business class. Talk about a guy who deserved to be upgraded!

  61. Sorry Saac, I meant “didn’t care”. When they asked for a super score, it was for math and verbal only.

  62. you are right about that! The score is 6/6/5. I had fixated on the number 6

  63. “Academic types tend to arrive late and leave late, which leads to lots of meetings being scheduled in the very later afternoon.”

    Maybe that is a function of being in an urban location? DH has lots of 8 am meetings and rarely anything without a drinks/dinner component after about 5:30 or 6. There are lots of parents in his relatively young department, and they all seem to be sensitive to the need to get home. However, much of their work does not require meetings, especially for untenured faculty who are exempt from many tedious committee duties, so it is possible for those people to set their own schedules to a great extent.

  64. Scarlett, no it is pretty typical at many schools. In fact, one of the schools that put out a memo discouraging late afternoon meetings was a large public R1 in the midwest – forget which one now.

    My grad school was in a rural location, but lots of things were scheduled for 5pm to 6pm, including the weekly research seminar which all TTers and Phd students were expected to attend.

  65. Ivy,

    I just re-watched the last episode of last season’s Americans, and that was enough to refresh the memory. They really packed a lot into that episode — William, Oleg, Pastor Tim’s baby, Gabriel’s counsel to Philip and Elizabeth — but if you have time to watch it, you’ll be up to speed.
    Or just read a recap….
    I’m hoping that this season of The Americans will be better than Homeland’s new season has been so far, but I’m behind on that one so perhaps it is improving from the first few peculiar episodes.

  66. MM,

    Are there no fathers with employed wives at your school? Most of DH’s younger male colleagues have child-care responsibilities right along with the females.

  67. Kerri – and if you can’t get the seat next to yours, just ask someone to switch once you’re on the plane. People do this all the time.

    Just don’t be a jerk about it. When we were going to Iceland, we had three seats on one side and I was on the aisle seat across. It ended up that the two seats next to me and the one directly behind me were a group of three women together. They asked me if I could switch, and I explained that I was with my family right there, and politely declined. After we took off, the woman behind me spent the next 10 minutes hanging over me talking to the two next to me. So I finally agreed to switch because I wasn’t going to be able to handle that for another 7 hours.

    Anyway, I’m with the others that you are totally overthinking it. Book him on a separate reservation and it will be fine.

  68. “What are you imagining is going to happen if you’re not on the same reservation?”

    We’d be on separate flights or we’re not sitting together. I know, unlikely scenarios.

    Part of it is my boss who says she’s super flexible, supportive, etc. but really is a PITA over little stuff.

    I like the idea of booking his ticket first and then getting the travel company to match it.

  69. Incidentally, his order of cooking (steam first, then add oil to fry) is exactly the opposite of the way I’m familiar with for potstickers (fry bottoms first, then add water and cover to steam. I’ll have to try it his way sometime.

  70. Scarlett, I don’t love this season of Homeland, but it gets a little better because there is finally some action.

    We bought season 4 of The Americans because we didn’t want to wait for Prime, but I think it is finally free now on Prime. We have never watched an episode on F/X with ads, so we decided that we are going to DVR the first episode so we can watch it without the ads.

  71. We’d be on separate flights or we’re not sitting together.

    There is no way you’d be on separate flights. Worst case the flight would be canceled and the system would auto-rebook each reservation onto a separate flight. Just call them and tell them and they’d be happy to move you to the same flight.

    As for sitting together if he’s really uncomfortable about that then I understand the concern. If he’s fine with his iPad in 32F for two hours then that’s also fine. You can wait in the jet bridge for him to get off so there is no chance you’d miss each other.

  72. Kerri – and if you can’t get the seat next to yours, just ask someone to switch once you’re on the plane. People do this all the time.

    Please take no for an answer, though. One time I had upgraded to First and the parent in First wanted me to trade with the child who was in Economy. I said no. Parent was quite put out, but come on! I paid extra for my seat.

  73. Mooshi – in regards to a comment yesterday, has your DS considered architectural engineering? Not as common as other engineering degrees but may be worth investigating.

  74. I have vaguely heard of that field, but know little about it. What distiguishes it from civil engineering?

  75. RMS – how could the parent expect you to trade down ? Trade up, yes but not down. And increasingly people pay extra for certain aisle seats so those would be a “no” too.

    Mooshi – I would expect engineering departments to welcome your DS with open arms. He can do Math.
    In the home country, the colleges looked more at subject scores for suitability for different majors.

  76. RMS, why on earth didn’t the parent in First trade down for the seat next to his kid in Economy? What a jerk.

  77. Lauren,
    IMO the ads on F/X are particularly bad, so I always DVR the show. And spring travel usually requires stockpiling, which is actually better for binge watching.
    However, even college DS finds it difficult to skip past the ads on the DVR and land exactly on the show. Maybe we need a new device.

  78. RMS/DD – I can’t even imagine asking someone to switch seats who (1) has a better seat or (2) is obviously sitting with someone. There are plenty of singles, business travelers, etc with the same/similar seats but in different rows who could easily switch with little inconvenience.

  79. Mooshi, does the SUNY application ask for all the extra-curricular stuff that your DS1 has been doing? Does it also ask for an essay? I think that his good scores on the traditional parts of the exam combined with an explanation and/or essay about his projects really ought to be sufficient. Oh — and will he take any humanities-oriented AP exam? If he takes English Lit or one of the history exams (or whatever else they offer now), and gets a 4 or 5 on it, then that might go some distance towards counterbalancing a middle-of-the-road essay score.

  80. I’ve been asked to switch from an aisle to a window or middle seat. No way unless it was something serious. The last time this happened it was the flight attendant who asked me, and when I tried to explain why I declined she basically hushed me, but in a nice way.

  81. I bought the dreaded center aisle seats for myself and the kids for an overseas flights. I wanted to sit all together. I am hoping the fourth seat is unoccupied so we can stretch out or there is some space around us, if one of the kids wants to move around.

  82. Airline notes from our trip. I paid a little bit extra to fly in the front of the plane (non refundable advance purchase business class) from BOS to PHX on American (former USAir route). That was highly recommended on SeatGuru, and on a long flight it is nice to have easy toilet access. When you buy tickets on airline sites nowadays, they often offer an instant upgrade for a small premium. On Southwest I just paid the extra 10 dollars for early access on our flight back, and got A22 place in line for both legs. SW seats are fairly roomy, and since it is a one class plane there are toilets front and back.

  83. Thanks for that link HM. I have a couple girlfriends coming in town this spring and I am going to stay in a hotel with them. It appears that the agenda will center around eating good food and having drinks. Since I’m local I’m expected to find the places so I’m putting this on my list.

  84. I feel a little guilty when we travel with DH for a vacation because we get a lot of perks, but it is because he does so much of the crazy 1 or 2 day trips to Asia. We try to fly Delta as much as possible since that is the airline where he has the most status. I think DD has the wrong impression about travel because she is always with him in an airport.

    I’m definitely going to DVR the Americans because I just assume that there will be a lot of ads. We use a DVR from our cable company and it’s not great about stop/start. This is when I miss TiVo. It is so much better than the cable company DVR.

  85. Honolulu: What’s the name of the place? I could not access the article without an account. We love gyoza, but feel the quality has been declining over the past 10 years for the frozen stuff from the Chinese grocery store. Fresh gyoza will be a treat.

  86. “In fact, SUNY Stony Brook, a top choice, lists it as recommended. What does that mean?”

    I’ve heard that what it really means, at least at some colleges, is that it’s not required for URM or other strongly hooked candidates, but is pretty much required for others.

    The prepscholar link HM posted had a section that was consistent with this.

    BTW, I’ve heard this same thing applied to SAT subject tests as well.

  87. Any feedback on Hilton Head? DH wants to go at the end of the summer for our beach vacation instead of going to the Cape or Maine. I’ve been to the outer banks, but I’ve never been to any of the beaches in South Carolina.

  88. Sorry Houston, I didn’t realize that was a subscriber-only one. Here’s what looks like a Houston article: . It lacks the gyoza recipe from the original link, but you probably weren’t planning to make your own gyoza anyway. (If you want the recipe let me know, though, and I’ll copy-paste it in.)

    The name of the place is Agu Ramen Bistro. They have a map of Houston locations (existing and opening soon) on their webpage, I see:

    Mind you, I haven’t even eaten there myself. We have a fair supply of ramen options in this town. But the local yelp reviews do look pretty favorable.

  89. We had Tivo in one room, but we can use the DVR in any room with a cable box. Also, we kept running out of space on the Tivo, and it was a much better price to go with our cable company. Our cable company (Optimum) isn’t great, but they do have a very good app/program that makes the management and scheduling of the DVR very easy if you are away from home.

  90. We usually just asked people to switch with us if the gate agent couldn’t get us seats together. There has only been one time that it was an issue, and it turned out well in the end.

    On one flight when we lived in Texas, I was in the exit row and DS was right in front of or behind me in a non-exit town seat. Next to him was a guy–the absolute stereotype of a Texan, big, tall, wearing boots and a hat–who had long legs. I asked if he’d switch–a 5 year old can’t sit in an exit row. He answered in a big, booming, unnecessarily loud voice, something like “No, I will not switch. This is my seat and I’m going to sit in it because it is the seat I chose”. Wordy, referenced himself several times, and loud. The whole plane stopped what they were doing. People stared and a couple people actually hissed at him, which just pissed him off more. Very quickly, two people came up and said they would give us their seats together just a couple rows back. The shift in mood on the plane was very noticeable.

    So yeah, asking may or may not work, but it’ll all come out ok in the end.

    I think sitting alone qualifies as “unaccompanied” and that it’s not legal until they’re 10 or 12. You might want to look into that, if it’s make you feel better

  91. DH wants to go at the end of the summer for our beach vacation instead of going to the Cape or Maine.

    I’ve been thinking of FL or Bahamas/Caribbean as the prices are half what they are on the Cape. Even with airfare it’s still significantly cheaper. Not to mention that leaving for the Cape on a Friday it might take longer to get to Harwich than it would take to get to FL.

  92. Yeah, Rocky, how ’bout that market. Amazing what one little on-script hour will do!

  93. I generally leave the house @7-7:05, 7:10 on a disorganized day. Usually in the parking lot by 7:15-7:25, logging in before 7:30. When I have kid duty, that is a 7:15 departure for HS drop-off, then daycare, meaning I leave closer to 7:35 and get in shortly after 8 [in a much worse mood, because by now my exit is backed up] On a normal day try to be out by 4, but no later than 5, as I have PM daycare duty, and rush hour turns 16 minutes into 45+, and I don’t like the stress of worrying about beating the 6 PM closing deadline.

    Which just made me realize that next year will be the first year in the last 15 with no daycare! Wow! Now there’s a milestone.

    “One time I had upgraded to First and the parent in First wanted me to trade with the child who was in Economy. I said no. Parent was quite put out.”

    I call bullshit guilt-mongering. If Parent actually cared, Parent would have been talking to the person sitting next to child, not you.

    [This is when you want the ability to whip out that Miss Manners super-sweet voice and say, “Well of *course* you want to sit next to Child! [looks around] You know, the person who is sitting next to Child now looks very nice — I’m sure s/he would be willing to trade so you can do that. Have you asked?”]

  94. @ Lauren – Hilton Head is very nice if you like golf and not much else. It may possibly be the most boring but unoffensive place on earth. I’d do Amelia Island before Hilton Head.

  95. What is a good SAT score? Well, if you look at the kid’s score online and go into the detail you will see Nationally Representative Sample Percentile (The average score for the nationally representative group is 1020) and Your SAT User Percentile – National (The average score for the College Board SAT typical group is 1083). It shows you your percentile for each. The higher the percentile the better! This info is from my DD’s report for test take Oct 2016.

    Of course, the real answer is – At or above the average for the school you are applying to. There are score converters online that you can put your “new” score in and get what your “old” score would have been.

    If you click on the score details for the essay, it will tell you what needs to be improved. How much you can improved depends on what it identifies as needing work.

  96. I know his SAT math and verbal scores are good. It is the essay that I don’t have a feel for. Schools post their average/high/low math and verbals but I don’t see them for the essay section so much

  97. On a related college note, I am off to collect DD and go to an event at her school. They are having various admissions counselors critique applications (not our kids) and go over the process. Will report back.

  98. MM – I understand about the verbal. I would call and ask the admissions counselor at the school. We have been to a couple of presentations and I was surprised about how candid they were. Or, you can ask at a school visit.

  99. “But probably most important is to be sure to apply early action to every school he can.”

    I agree in general. DS got his first acceptance in December, which really reduced our stress levels for this process, and limited the number of applications he made.

    More generally, I’d recommend planning applications to get some early acceptances. Not all schools offer EA or ED, and some that offer EA are REA/SCEA (Restricted EA/Single Choice EA). Some schools have rolling admissions, deciding on applications as they receive them.

    I would take a bit of an issue with “every school he can.” There are hundreds of schools to which someone can apply EA, and I don’t suggest that many applications. I suggest first coming up with a list of top choices, then applying early to all of them that have EA or rolling admission. I also suggest applying as early as possible to all other schools on the list as well; many schools start accepting applications on Oct. 1. Also note that many schools have early deadlines for financial aid, or if the application will include a supplement.

    Over in CC, a lot of people started applying in early October, as soon as colleges started accepting applications. Many of them had acceptances in hand before T-day, which can really take a lot of the stress out of the college selection process. It can also obviate the need to apply to safeties.

    For NMSF kids, UA (RT) was very popular for a number of reasons, and one of them is early decisions (as in acting on applications early, not as in binding ED) on applications.

    “Other tactics include being sure to have as many “touches” as possible with schools he’s interested in, the official (admissions office tour) visit being #1, college fairs in your area, visits to his HS guidance office, especially for any private schools in consideration. Perhaps not so important for publics.”

    The commonly used term is, “demonstrated interest.”

  100. Before kids I worked 9-6. After kids we would flex…one would go in early and the other one would take the kids and then the one who went in early would pick up the kids. He prefers the kids in the morning, and has a hard time with super early mornings, so I would start work at 7 or 7:30. If I knew I had a number of late nights, we’d swap home shifts.

    A lot of start times have to do with kids drop off/pick up schedule. Many day cares here are 6:30 to 6:30. Elementary generally starts at 7:45 (kids in seats) on the early end and high school at 9 on the late end. Many people don’t want to pay for before school care, so they start as soon after drop off as they can routinely get there.

  101. Lauren – agree w/Lark, I’ve only been to HH a few times but thought it was just okay. We go to Amelia every year and love it there. Also have friends who love Kiawah.

  102. Someone here mentioned prepscholar. How reliable is their little admissions calculator. Based on it, my kid’s chances of admission to Stony Brook is only 45%. It is his grades that kill him – increasing the SAT to the max only gets him to 50%

  103. We have never watched an episode on F/X with ads, so we decided that we are going to DVR the first episode so we can watch it without the ads.

    People still actually watch shows live? If we’re actually going to watch something in its regular time slot, we start about 15-20 minutes into it so we can skip the commercials.

  104. Mooshi, have you read your DS’ essay? That might be a good starting point in deciding how to proceed.

    This is a good reminder to me that I need to get familiar with the new essay. We’d been so caught up in DS’ college selection process, I haven’t paid much attention to the new SAT because he got his out of the way before the new one was rolled out. But DD is already a freshman and needs to prep this summer.

    One thing we learned from DS’ experience that we need to apply for DD is that the essay scoring was not transparent. The College Board did not, to my knowledge, publish the rubrics their scorers used. Their sample tests gave examples of essays for different scores, but didn’t say why, so we were a bit blindsided with the scores DS got the first time. We got a copy of his essay, and he asked his English teacher about it. Fortunately, she was fresh out of college and she’d done a lot of SAT prep, and she was able to help him with that, and we did some online research as well to better prepare him for his second try.

    In short, his essay was too short; it turns out length was a key rubric, albeit opaque.

    I haven’t checked on the rubrics for the new essay, which I need to do, but because it’s still pretty new, I’m guessing that there isn’t a lot of info online yet about the real rubrics.

  105. MM – someone may have already said this, but the new SAT is scored out of 8, the old one was scored out of 12 – so the 2006 graph is out of date. Your son scored 6 out of 8, which is good. COC can correct me. I would not have him re-take the exam just to try to move from 6 to 7. (I’m pretty sure you aren’t the kind of parent who aspires to a perfect 8).The engineering school will be looking more at his math score, IME.

  106. “Mooshi, have you read your DS’ essay? That might be a good starting point in deciding how to proceed.”

    Essay?? Surely you jest. What is this essay of which you speak?

    I figure he will scrawl his essay the night before the application is due, so figure it will show up next fall.

  107. “prepscholar”

    I don’t know how good their calculator is, but overall, Prepscholar is one of my favorite sites for college selection. Their articles are well written and make sense; overall, they seem to do a better job than any other site of distilling a lot of the information available.

    I think they’re credible enough that you might want to share it with your DS, in hopes that it will motivate him to increase his GPA this semester. My guess is he’s much less likely, as a white kid from your location, to get the benefit of the doubt (diamond in the rought) as a URM from a poor school district.

  108. Oh, you mean the SAT essay. I was afraid you were talking about his applicaton essay!

  109. Yes, I meant his SAT essay. Wasn’t that the root of this entire SAT discussion?

    BTW, another point to consider: If his PSAT score is near or above the historical NMSF cutoff for your state, you should make sure his SAT is high enough to move him to NMF.

    Improving his GPA would also help get him to NMF.

  110. My last post reminds me– SM, you mentioned your DS was going to take the SAT and ACT cold, and decide which one to take based on those results.

    If he does well on the PSAT, he will need to take the SAT to move from NMSF to NMF and become eligible for a lot of very generous aid packages.

    My suggestion is that you plan for him to take the SAT, and prep for it. If he does well, he won’t need to bother with the ACT.

  111. His PSAT is above last years NMSF cutoff, but who knows for the coming year. I could be wrong but I think his math/verbal SAT scores will be high enough for NMF. Do they look at the essay? And his grades could be a problem, though they weren’t for me. But things may well have changed.

  112. Different strokes for different folks, but I strongly prefer HH to Amelia Island (and I don’t golf). I like the bike paths, the restaurants, the new club and the beaches much better. Plus the shops. I hate the Outer Banks.

  113. I will be shocked if he is Stonybrook’s first engineering admit with stellar SAT scores and poor grades. That’s almost a joke around here, it’s such a stereotype of a particular sort of engineering personality.

    Given the job market in architecture, I would probably pay for 5 years of college (if I could, to get the architecture/architectural engineering degree in my child’s area of interest) but require a second degree in civil engineering to get college funding from parents. Mr WCE’s Dad regretted his physics/nuclear engineering combination and encouraged Mr WCE to choose a broad engineering degree (mechanical, electrical, chemical or civil) as his undergrad, with the option to specialize during grad school.

  114. “Schools post their average/high/low math and verbals but I don’t see them for the essay section so much”
    I think Austin’s right that calling the admissions office is the best way to know, but if that aren’t even posting anything about essay scores, that has to give a hint at how (un)important they are.

    Finn, you’re very high-powered about the testing. My son really does better following his interests than when I push from behind.

    My sister and her family spent a week at the Disney resort on Hilton Head when the girls were little (around 3 & 6). They said they really enjoyed it, but I notice that they haven’t returned (her ILs are members, so they could easily go back). My parents have friends who’ve retired there–it may have transitioned to more of a retirement area.

  115. Mooshi, hasn’t your oldest done a STEM fair project or something with a math prof at Stoneybrook? That would have to increase his likelihood of being admitted there.

  116. You should have his login for Naviance unless your school gave you a family ID. This will let you see the average scores from your HS for each college. I know the profile for Engineering at Stonybrook will be slightly different than the the average profile for the entire university, but it still will show you the scores and averages for kids from you HS that are getting admitted to certain schools. Since the SUNYs are more likely to look at test scores and school grades vs. legacy or other hooks – you should be able to get a good sense of the recent admits from your town.

  117. WCE said it right. We were in a conference with DS’s fourth grade teacher. At the time, he was having a very hard time with English. She showed DH some examples of his work including a very short essay. DS would count the lines and would not write one more line than specified by the rubric. DH was nodding in agreement with DS’s essay. He told the teacher that, it was exactly how he would approach it, succinct and to the point, just like his presentations at work. Arrrrgh !

  118. MM Go to the ColllegeBoard site and plug in your son’s stats under the Applying section. I think it may confirm the other site’s prediction of his chances if he is a high test score and low gpa student. State schools tend to go by the numbers, but I suspect your son’s GPA is not that low, and some discretion goes into admissions decisions. (I’m not sure how engineering dept. decisions are made.)

  119. Another hijack….does anyone know how to get the skunk smell off a dog?

    I’ve always heard tomato juice.

  120. Tomato juice. We keep a supply on hand and have used it more than once.

  121. A popular myth is that bathing an animal in tomato juice will eliminate or neutralize skunk odor – it does not. Tomato juice appears to work thanks to a phenomenon called olfactory fatigue. When exposed for a period of time to any odor, the nose will become insensitive to that odor and you will no longer be able to smell that odor. In the case of skunk spray, when this happens, the smell of tomato juice is easily detected and it appears that the skunk odor is gone. While bathing an animal with tomato juice might wash off some of the chemical components causing the odor, it does nothing to chemically alter or neutralize the odor.

  122. Hmm, I’ve done the tomato juice thing and I swear it works. But who am I to question the interwebs.

  123. SM, I haven’t had to push DS at all WRT testing. I’ve been providing him with guidance and suggestions, but he’s been the one to take the lead in most cases. E.g., he did the test prep mostly on his own (my contribution was mostly buying a couple of test prep books).

    But in the bigger picture, what we’ve tried to do was put him in a setting and peer group that aspired to excel in school and in testing, and at this point it looks like we’ve been successful.

    Does Saac aspire to attend a HSS? From all you’ve told us about him here, my impression is that he is a kid who could really thrive in a HSS where he’d be able to find a much better matched peer group than he’s been able to find thus far. E.g., your mention of how much he enjoyed hanging out with MM’s kids suggested this.

    I guess the dots that he somehow needs to connect is between excelling in the PSAT/SAT/ACT and the doors that will open for him. To my way of thinking, helping him connect those dots is one of your roles. If/when those dots are connected, you can settle into a role more like what I’ve had with DS wrt testing and test prep.

    BTW, at this point it does not seem like we’ve been as successful with DD as we were with DS in putting her in peer groups that aspire to the same level as DS’ peers. We need to work on that more, and I’m receptive to any suggestions on how to do that.

  124. Hydrogen peroxide is the best solution, but if don’t have any at home, tomato products do actually work.

  125. I have found that a mixture of liquid dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and water works best, but even then the smell will return everytime the dog gets wet. Takes about two weeks for smell to completely dissppear.

  126. even then the smell will return everytime the dog gets wet

    If the skunk smell makes the normal wet dog smell seem desirable by contrast, it must really be bad.

  127. “DS would count the lines and would not write one more line than specified by the rubric”

    This is my 3rd grader. It has been a whole lot of fun editing/proofreading his essays this year as he’s gotten deeper into English. I give him what I think is helpful advice & he argues that it is not called out that way in the rubric. He does not believe the rubric to be a guide but a blueprint with no flexibility or unwritten rules/hints. It’s maddening for both of us. This is where I know that homeschool would be an disaster and that if he ever needs real help, we will hire a tutor.

    Kerri – DS would not be comfortable sitting alone on a plane, and he’s about the same
    age as your boys. That said I would and have trusted the gate agent/flight attendant to get us together, knowing that means I might have to sit way in the back to make it happen.

    Meme – love the trip report. I showed that light pollution video to DS & he is desperate to go to Utah. We should really plan a trip out west sometime soon.

  128. My kid got his Naviance login in 8th grade, never bothered to try it, and has long since lost it. I have been reminding him all week to get it from the counselor but it hasn’t happened yet.

    Yes, he is working with a prof at URI. He is actually presenting preliminary results this weekend at a science fair. The project goes through next year.

  129. Febreze on the dog? I’ve been using copious quantities in my office, which is where she hangs out, but it hasn’t helped much. So far I’ve used dog shampoo and livestock shampoo, which work a little.

    The local store didn’t have skunk be gone, but they may have hydrogen peroxide. I’ll try that.

  130. “DS would count the lines and would not write one more line than specified by the rubric”

    That’s one of the problems with the SAT essay. They don’t tell you how the number of lines factor into the scoring, or even if that is a factor.

    When I was in college, there was a lab class that had developed a reputation as a killer, and had become known for 50+ page long writeups. When I took it, I could not see how or why it would take that long to write up the experiments, and my writeups were more like 20 pages long, including graphs and diagrams, and I got an A in that class. Later, the lab TA told me he really liked my lab reports because I was able to get make the salient points in much easier to read and grade packages than everybody else.

    The old SAT essay apparently punished that sort of excellence.

  131. Ivy – DS has improved but is no Shakespeare. It’s been a journey.
    DD, OTOH can churn out pieces of writing, opinion writing, short descriptive essays etc. etc. like she was writing for the NYTimes (no wedding announcements though ;-).

  132. “The local store didn’t have skunk be gone, but they may have hydrogen peroxide.”

    I don’t know if it’s the same type of hydrogen peroxide, but it’s really cheap at places like WalMart and Target (IIRC, we paid something like 49 cents for a bottle).

    You do want to be careful WRT the concentration of H2O2.

    From a totally ignorant perspective, I’m wondering if it might not help to cut off some of the dog’s hair, especially if you can identify where it was sprayed, or if you can localize the source of the smell.

  133. cut off some of the dog’s hair

    With a funky haircut to go with the funky smell.

  134. The poor dog is not getting a haircut. She is already slick coated. She also gets sprayed by a skunk on a regular basis, so I imagine there are several spots. I think I’ll pass on the hydrogen peroxide and go get the skunk be gone.

    Related to the topic today…I went to work late because a skunky dog spent the night in my office.

  135. The skunk concoction that I use is 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of dish soap.

    It is tough because they often get sprayed in the face, you have to try to get around their eyes (without getting the stuff in their eyes) and mouth. This has worked pretty well for my dog, but there are parts that I never seem to quite get to, so she doesn’t smell skunk free until she goes in for her regular bath with the groomer.

    My house was totally infected with skunk as my dog was running around frantically. I found a tip on the internet – put bowls of white vinegar around the smelly rooms. That worked really well!

  136. I never personally treat* our dogs when they’ve been skunked. But usually our entire house reeks if this occurs so it’s good to know about the white vinegar bowls. From time to time, like about a week ago, a skunk randomly spraying in our yard stinks up the whole house even if the dogs are not involved. Are skunks good for anything?

    * Since I am not a dog lover like everyone else in the family our agreement is that I don’t have dog responsibilities except in emergencies. Once when I was home alone I saved the life of one of our dogs by rushing him to the vet so I have that karma going for me.

  137. Historically many colleges have either ignored or downplayed essay scores since the grading is considered questionable or quirky, especially in the early years after introduction. I suspect many colleges are doing the same with this newest version.

    I’ve personally known two professional writers who produced mediocre scores on the old SAT essay. As was mentioned, it’s formulaic and unless you adhere to that formula it’s hard to get a high score.

    Regarding “succinct” writing styles among young students, I know of one kid who always wrote the bare minimum on school assignments who is now a successful journalist. It’s hard to predict how things will turn out.

  138. I think it is harder to do succinct well than to be longwinded, so a student who is sucessfully succinct may well end up as a professional writer

  139. Finn – I thought about your question. No two kids are alike even though parental inputs like choice of schools, enrolling them in the same activities, same peer groups may be as similar as possible. Each child chooses their own path to success. For some the path may check all the boxes in the early stages, while others don’t. Some kids are motivated early on, while some are late bloomers. I think as parents the job is to put forth their various choices, tell them what it takes to get there and help them where possible.
    I think back to Amy Chua’s daughters. The second one wanted to take violin, that’s what she did. Both kids started off with piano but paths diverged.

  140. This open thread was so interesting – Meme trip report, skunky smelling dogs and of course the old college discussion….

  141. Hey Finn – now your literal-ness is getting to even me. When I said MM’s kid should “apply EA to every school he can” the rest of the (unwritten) thought was “that are among those he is seriously considering”. However good a fit Caltech or Harvey Mudd might be for him, I believe neither is among the schools he is serious about.

  142. “Ivy, your DS sounds like he may have a bright future in engineering.”

    He says he wants to be a baseball statistician, so you may not be far off. He’s not much of a tinkerer, which I always think of as a trait of natural-born engineers. Not tons of interest in snap circuits and all that. He is a serious math-lover and rule follower, so I picture him as an actuary or an accountant. (He really is a delightful boy, I swear – haha!)

  143. Ivy – FWIW both my kids don’t actually read every rubric but pay careful attention to the teacher when things like that are covered in class. Well, if the teacher says something, they recall it and it is hard to get whatever she/he has said unstuck from their heads.

  144. “Well, if the teacher says something, they recall it and it is hard to get whatever she/he has said unstuck from their heads.”

    Louise – same here. I have heard, but “Ms. X said” SO many times when it comes to these writing assignments. Usually, what he is repeating makes sense, but he is not really executing it correctly or maybe misinterpreting a bit. I try to explain how I interpret what the teacher supposedly said, and then that leads to the inevitable “you weren’t there, you don’t understand” often followed by frustration and tears (from both of us at least figuratively). And this is 3rd grade, so he is not exactly writing in-depth reports here. The last assignment was to write about Jackie Robinson for Black History Month.

    Scarlett- I think I need to look up an Americans recap on Entertainment Weekly because I am half-remembering some of the things that you mentioned. I cannot for the life of me remember what happened to Oleg! They’ll probably replay the season finale sometime this weekend too I would guess.

  145. My building has a large government agency office and majority of them work a 6:30am-2:30pm shift. Parking garage full up to the 5th floor by 7:30am. I had to be at my last job no later than 8:30am but “management” (or those aspiring to be) were there by 7:30am after the 5am crossfit class. None of them had to do anything to care for children in the mornings. Current place I can get in anytime between 9am and 10am and leave around 6pm as long as I am getting my stuff done. I usually am here by 8:30am after I drop off kids.

  146. “My suggestion is that you plan for him to take the SAT, and prep for it. If he does well, he won’t need to bother with the ACT.”

    Not to quibble with this as things may have changed but some of my scholarships were based on the higher score from the ACT and were weird ones that were Florida- or county-based and related to also being a NMSF. I would still take the ACT if I were S&M’s child since she is in Florida and both tests are used interchangeably and I think he may score well on the ACT given some of the interests S&M has described for her child. Maybe some of these scholarships have gone away but maybe not.

  147. Ivy – he should also add operations research or industrial engineering to his list of possible career paths. Both of those areas were fun and interesting (I was an applied mathematics major). I did not like accounting at all – for some reason I just didn’t get the hang of it, but my sister the future lawyer loved it!

  148. “I cannot for the life of me remember what happened to Oleg!”

    The WSJ review of this season’s opening episode mentioned Oleg, and because I couldn’t remember what happend to him either I ended up watching the last episode of the previous season.
    I also usually have to read a recap after each episode I watch, because some of the plotlines are too complicated for me to follow, especially if they involve minor characters from previous episodes or even seasons. Same with Homeland. It helps a lot, and when I find a good recap site I like to compare my reaction to theirs. Next best thing to watching with a group of fans.

  149. Ivy, by all means, cultivate his interest in statistics now. Knowledge of and ability to apply statistics is a very valuable, marketable skill across the board.

    A math major friend has made a career out of doing statistical analyses and design of clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies.

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