Open thread

by July

Open thread today all day.  To start off, here’s a question for you.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for love?

That question comes from this Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal.

The Q&A a Day Journal shows you what was going through your head each day—for five years of your life. Simply turn to today’s date, answer the question at the top of the page, and when you finish the journal, start over. As you return to the daily questions again over the years, you’ll notice how your answers change, or don’t!

So, what’t the craziest thing you’ve done for love?  Did it work out well?

What do you think of this journal or other ones that allow the writer to jot down short entries?  Do you keep a journal or sometimes wish you did?


122 thoughts on “Open thread

  1. Do you keep a journal or sometimes wish you did?

    I’m not sure. The older I get the more the past seems to just drift away. Then again while I may not remember some of the good times it’s nice that the bad times also drift off into the distance.

    I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now. – Edna Mode.

  2. Rhett — That’s probably a healthy attitude. I experience frustration when I can’t remember details of the past, both good and bad. Journals help me remember.

  3. My kids like to hear about our past, both before and after they were born. Journals help with that.

  4. I did keep a baby journal when my first kid was born. I recorded a family tree and filled maybe a quarter of the pages. Then it dwindled to nothing. I made an effort for the second kid as well. But it wasn’t as detailed as Kid #1 entries.
    After just a few pages, I stopped.
    Kid # 1 had a family tree project at school
    I helped with that because the format was very good, I kept that. Kid # 2 had a change in family tree format, not as good as Kid # 1.

    The journal July posted will make a great birthday present for Kid # 2, who loves stuff like that and will actually make entries in it.

  5. I don’t keep any kind of journal, but I do take tons of pictures and actually print them & put them in photo albums. I find that really helps us to remember even the mundane stuff. (I need a new Do It Now challenge – I’m about 9 months behind!)

  6. I have to say I do like the Facebook flashbacks.

    They can be awful, though; a friend of mine lost her husband and Facebook kept showing her pictures of him and she would be plunged into grief again. And you can’t turn that stuff off entirely, despite Facebook settings that say you can.

  7. I really wish I’d started my genealogy research before Dad died and Mom got dementia. But I didn’t need to do it then, because they were alive and sane and could answer my questions. Sigh. Plus I forget how much Mom hated her family and would probably just have gotten upset about my questions.

  8. Open Thread – Sigh of relief from my HS junior now that AP test scores have been released. She passed all 7, and overall is satisfied with her scores. She didn’t get exactly what she expected on each one, but is content. Now, if I can just get her focused on the rest of the process!

  9. Wow, 7 APs! I only got to take 3 and those were all senior year.

    I don’t journal now, but for a while when I was exercising a ton (2004-2007?) I had a daily journal online – sadly those websites are now defunct so I can’t get them any more.

    My baby books for #1 and #2 were both pretty good, but #3’s is sadly lacking – I think I must have been overwhelmed at that point to write much. ;)

  10. DH has been writing a family journal daily since 2004. The journal has space for about 3-5 sentences. I wish he would have started back in 2001 when we got married. He has every day recorded except for 5 weeks when he was out of the country. I was supposed to keep up with it and failed after about 4 days. Writing in the journal is one of DH’s “chores”. Sometimes I get annoyed that he doesn’t do more cleaning, but I know that the journal will matter more long-term. I have these grand plans to match up photos with the journal entries, but that probably will never happen.

    I’ve gone back from time to time to look at what we were doing in 2004 when my mom was dying or when the kids were little. I have forgotten so much, and the journals bring back a lot of memories.

  11. “My baby books for #1 and #2 were both pretty good, but #3’s is sadly lacking”

    This is my family. I am child #3. I think I shared with you all before that my mom started a memento book for each of her kids. Kid #1 -tons of stuff. Kid #2 – half as much. Kid #3 – barely anything. She dropped the project.

    I kept a log when the kids were babies mostly to keep DH, me and the nanny up on who ate what when and so we could each talk with the pediatrician and cardiologist as questions came up. Tedious, tedious, tedious.

    I try to take lots of pictures, of even regular mundane days. Someday I’ll organize them. Really.

  12. Rhett – thank you, thank you, I am fully aware. ;) I wanted to take 4 (all that were offered except chem) and my guidance counselor didn’t want me to be over-pressured. LOL.

  13. I have done baby books and photo books for each kid. They love looking at them. The best thing I have done so far is write down all of the funny and cute things that they say.

  14. Rhett – you are on a tear! very funny.

    (L – I only got to take 3 AP classes as well. It was all that was offered.)

  15. Open thread?

    Speaking of Blenheim Palace, for those of you who’ve been to the UK, what did you end up seeing, what was worthwhile, what wasn’t?

  16. My proud parent moment from yesterday. DD has been emailing the HS softball coach for a couple of months, and he even came out to see her play a couple of times. He invited her to play on their summer team a few times, and the timing finally worked out so she could play yesterday (their last two games). She had a big panic attack a half hour before we needed to leave, but worked through it. We got to the field and the coach had a uniform waiting for her, she changed, and went on the field for warmups. She got into the first game for an inning in the field. She got to bat once and hit the ball hard, and scored a run. She didn’t play in the second game.

    It was really awesome to see her work through her fear and get out on the field. Getting a hit was the icing. They start official practice in about a month, and I know that as much as she has been saying she wants to play for the team, she was worried about it. So this got the initial fear out of the way and she knows what to expect and what the coach is like, has met a bunch of the players, etc. And it should help with the initial HS fears since she’ll be involved with the team before school starts and she’ll know some more people, since none of her friends are going to the same school.

  17. a friend of mine lost her husband and Facebook kept showing her pictures of him

    This feature seems to be bringing a lot of comfort to my friend who recently lost her daughter. Almost daily she posts flashback pictures of things her daughter had posted to Facebook in prior years. Friends share little remembrances. It’s only been about six weeks, but it seems to help keep the memories fresh.

  18. On taking the SAT – colleague mentioned that his DD entering her senior year had not yet taken the SAT. I had the Finn timeline in my head and I’m thinking – she must take the SAT, ASAP. I don’t know whether, not taking the SAT in time will dull her future.

  19. Instead of baby books, I do those Shutterfly photo books. The 8×8 hardcover ones. Usually I get a code for a free or severely discounted one. I’ve done three – our trip to IL, our trip to ID/Yellowstone/Grand Tetons, and our trip to Maine.

    I’m TERRIBLE about filling out those damn baby books. I even have two. DS1’s is barely filled out.

    This also reminds me to organize some photos and send them to my MIL. She’s upset that I haven’t given her brag photos for DS2 yet… DH informed her that I just got all of his photos off the camera, 5 months after he was born… And I’m just in time for DS1’s 1/2 birthday photo and DS2’s 6 month photos.

    Kerri – I have a draw full of those from my pregnancies. I’d love to figure out something to do with them. Comparatively, DS2 has a pittance of sonograms compared to DS1. But iPhone photos they seem to be neck and neck.

  20. OMG how is DD going to manage college moment….

    DD finally got her AP scores in Monday. She did well on two out of three. The third AP test no one from her school passed, which was not a surprise given the teacher. Why did she have to wait until Monday to learn her score? She wrote her name down wrong. She wrote her own name wrong. Instead of firstname lastname, as the instructions said, she wrote lastname firstname.


  21. Pseudo: In the misery loves company category, DS forgot to sign up for housing for his freshman year of college…

  22. I showed my kids their sonograms recently, and they were both sort of freaked out by them. They wouldn’t care at all if I threw the images away. They love looking at pictures of themselves from after they were born, though. Like Lark, I still print photos and put them into albums, and the kids look through the albums regularly.

    Rhett — I’ll report back on our UK experiences when we return! Blenheim is on our list (part of a day trip to Oxford).

  23. July : LOL ! That is the exact reaction I had !

    On the other side, there is another rising HS senior touring colleges galore and potentially applying by August.

  24. Louise – Your main problem will be if DD doesn’t do well on the first try AND is trying for early acceptance/decision where her scores aren’t available before the deadline.

    We took SAT/ACT in fall of Junior year. DD did well and did not take either a second time. But, if she needed to take them a second time, she didn’t want it running into AP testing season.

    My small private school didn’t offer AP classes BITD. At that time about 5,000 schools nationwide offered AP classes compared to 18,000 schoools today.

  25. Kate, the ink on paper sonogram pictures for most prints in the past decade does not hold up well over time. I would scan the pictures you care about.

    I threw away my numerous healthy ventricle pictures. I don’t want to relive the memories of those scans.

  26. Lol. I was raised in a backwater town and had zero AP classes to choose from. Somehow I survived!!

    Of course, I also “only” went to a state flagship so it didn’t really matter. As a side note and parent brag, my 21 yo DS recently graduated from a (different state’s) flagship and is now gainfully employed. Yay!!

  27. @DD: Awesome!! Very happy for your DD. It’s the self-imposed limits we worry about most, isn’t it?

    I was going to write that I didn’t do journals, but in fact when my kids were born, I kept notebooks that were sort of part-journal, part-feelings/what I wanted/hoped for them, with the idea that I would give them to them at some point when they would be old enough to care/appreciate/keep. Assuming they want it. I do think/process in words, and the thoughts were so big that the only way to preserve them seemed to be to write them down.

    My dad and stepmom do these awesome photo books of all of their trips. And since their trips are usually things like a safari in Kenya or hiking in the Dolomites, they have some pretty awesome pics. It’s like DIY coffee-table books. I’m thinking I should start doing something like that, at least for major trips — we’ve periodically done calendars from vacation photos involving the family members we are giving the calendars to, and we did a book for DD’s bat mitzvah, so I don’t know why I haven’t thought of that before — they make it so easy and reasonably affordable now.

    And I only took *one* AP. Amazing I don’t live in a hovel.

  28. WCE- that was me re: sonogram pics. Yes, I should scan them, thanks for that. I have embryo pics as well. I think they’re day 4 pics. Really fascinating. I remember being really bummed when they got too big to take the sonogram pics any more. I found the heart ultrasound results reassuring and looked forward to them. Yet DS still ended up having a hole in his heart.

  29. Sunshine, congrats to your DS!

    Laura, I totally agree about those photo books. We love doing them for trips and such.

  30. Kerri and WCE – I have a number of those 3D ultrasound pics. Some of them are super cool and others look like scrambled eggs. And the only way I can tell my boys apart is by looking at the date on the image.

  31. LfB – do them. Look for shutterfly’s promo codes. That’s how I do a bunch per year. DS1 brought one in for his show and tell day (I think it was the ID/Yellowstone one…). I find him taking them off the shelves and looking through them.

    Since we don’t plan on going anywhere this summer, I think I may try to do one for 2017 as a “year in review”.

  32. Pseudonym – re the scores, we had a similar situation last year and had to wait something like a month to get the scores.

    Houston that is funny. It’s my understanding that somewhere around 1/3 of freshman live off campus? Was he looking forward to the dorm experience, or is he good with the apt? My DS had no desire to live in a dorm, but my DD did. Although – it was her stories that made him think he did not want to live there.

  33. On taking the SAT – colleague mentioned that his DD entering her senior year had not yet taken the SAT. I had the Finn timeline in my head and I’m thinking – she must take the SAT, ASAP. I don’t know whether, not taking the SAT in time will dull her future.

    Well, she’ll need to take in by April 1 to apply to University of Utah, which is a fully adequate school for almost everyone. So, she has about 9 more months. Though their website says for an extra $30, they will accept applications after the deadline on a space available basis. Perhaps there are not other state flagships that are so lax, but I but Texas Directional will be okay with your Feb 2018 scores….

    (written with affection and not sneering)

  34. Rhett,

    Re the KGB mastermind — thanks for posting that article. Maybe next season we will see his fictional counterpart on the Americans? So far, we haven’t seen anyone from The Center, have we, other than Gabriel and the older woman whose name escapes me but who is totally perfect for her job because instantly forgettable.

  35. Scarlett,

    My dream ending for the show is them watching on TV as the Soviet flag is lowered over the Kremlin for the last time on 12/25/91. That’s only a few years after the current date of the show.

  36. Rhett – DH and I rented a car and spent a week in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. It was one of the best trips we ever did. There is no way I could have done the driving, but DH got acclimated after the first day. The first day though we almost got divorced trying to drive out of London.

    We did a lot of tours of the large houses, which we love to do. Blenheim wasn’t my favorite but if I recall it was crowded and I was hungry. I enjoyed the gardens at Sudeley Castle and the tour of the house was fascinating because you go through their rooms that they are still living in. Having a car to drive places made it a lot more enjoyable.

    We toured the house at West Wycombe, which I enjoyed because the art was so funny. The owner had paintings of him dressed up as the pope and of his friend’s wife topless in the dining room. Near the house are caves for his Hellfire Club, which supposedly Benjamin Franklin was involved in. The house is managed by the historic trust. We asked the guides at the house if they had ever visited the caves, and they very snottily said no. The caves were pretty funny too.

    I wasn’t expecting to be as fascinated by the Roman ruins. We spent a great day in St. Alban’s. We expected to spend the morning there, but we ended up staying the whole day. The ruins and museums were fascinating. That was a highlight of the trip.

  37. Congratulations to Denver Dad and Sunshine on their parent brag stories! Somehow our kids (at least most!) do inch their way to adulting! (I know. I hate that word, too.)

    May not be your cup of tea, but some of my favorites in London were a day trip to Battle of Hastings site, tour of Parliament, and walking along in the changing of the guards parade. I’m curious what Houston’s family liked.

  38. But will they be watching from “Falls Church” or Moscow?

    Totally Falls Church. The actual illegals were only deported in a prisoner swap in 2010.

  39. Ten of the agents were flown on July 9, 2010, to Vienna soon after pleading guilty to charges of failing to register as representatives of a foreign government. The same day, the agents were exchanged for four Russian nationals, three of whom were convicted and imprisoned by Russia on espionage (high treason) charges.

    And then Nina comes home to marry Agent Beeman!

  40. Speaking of the Cotswolds, I’d like to hike at least part of this trail.

    Cotswold Way
    The Cotswold Way offers just over 100 miles of magical walking, with long distance views from the Cotswold escarpment, and journeys through picturesque villages and past famous ancient sites.

  41. Well Rhett you have the perfect cover and you like to travel ! Maybe a career change is warranted ;-).

  42. Lauren,

    Have you seen that Bridge of Spies movie? I think that I picked up the Kindle book when it was on a cheap deal.

  43. For London, we liked our day trip to Bath and Stonehenge. It was chilly and windy, but we had a great time. DS2 really liked Bath–we could have spent a whole day there.

    The changing of the guard was good, too. We booked a tour for this from Fat Tire Tour Co. and felt that it was worthwhile. They went into to the history of the changing of the guard, etc.

    We tried a few pubs which were meh. I would recommend skipping the pubs. Warm beer… *shudder*. The Churchill War Rooms was also meh. The first 20 minutes were fine, and then quickly became too much WW2 overload for us.

    The British Museum was wonderful, but very overwhelming. So much great stuff. You really need a week for that one museum.

    We skipped the London Eye, but nobody regrets it. The Tower of London was ok. I’m glad we went , but it was nothing to comment upon.

    Lots of great, cheap ethnic restaurants. Lots of great food. Just none of it British. ; ) I think London is much more international than NYC.

  44. “colleague mentioned that his DD entering her senior year had not yet taken the SAT.”

    There is an August test date this year. It is still possible for her to have test results in time for EA/ED application(s), although not enough time to get scores and retake before EA/ED deadlines. It does give enough time to retake before most schools’ RD deadline.

    Some other possiblilities:
    -DD has already taken ACT and is satisfied with her score.
    -DD is planning to apply to school(s) with high admission rates and/or late application deadlines.
    -DD is planning to apply to school(s) that do not require tests (e.g., JuCO, CC).
    -DD is not planning to attend college.
    -DD is planning to take a gap year.

  45. Sunshine, congrats on your DS’ success!

    Any tips to pass on to someone whose DS is about to leave for school?

  46. Charges just posted to DS’ college account yesterday. Just under $69k for the year, which I’m assuming (not itemized) to include tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees. I was not expecting it to be that high.

    I’m assuming it does not include transportation, books, health insurance (I think we can get a waiver since he’s still covered by DW’s plan), and living expenses.

  47. Just under $69k for the year, which I’m assuming (not itemized) to include tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees. I was not expecting it to be that high.

    That is a little daunting.

  48. Bridge of Spies is a great movie. I think you would enjoy it even if you read the book. The actors do a great job.

    We miss The Americans because it was our go to show in summer 2016. We watched four seasons before DD got home from camp. We’re trying to get back into Sneaky Pete. I disliked Orange is New Black so I stopped watching this new season.

    I was very happy to hear that Curb Your Enthusiasm is coming back in October.

  49. That number seems to be close to the price that I’m hearing from most of my friends that have a student attending a highly selective private school in 2017-18. $68-70k seems to be the right number. I’m surprised that you’re surprised because most of the schools that he applied to attend are in the same price range.

  50. Finn, we got the fall semester bill for DS this week. $25K tuition, $7500 r&b, plus some $300 in misc fees for technology and the health center. Are you not getting an itemized bill? That seems odd.

  51. Finn — Be sure to waive the health insurance by the deadline if you qualify. We were caught one year paying needlessly, an extra $2000 or so iirc, for insurance because that’s the default if the student doesn’t respond to an email about this. You may have seen a CC thread about similar experiences from other families.

  52. Finn,

    It’s too bad you can’t pay with a credit card anymore. In four years you’d have enough points for two round trip biz class tickets ($15k worth) to almost anywhere.

  53. 3600 in 1968 for tuition room and board Inflation is 7 fold. So in today’s dollars 25200. I know they pay the profs better and there is a much better physical plant, but cmon, man

  54. Lauren, I thought it would be a little closer to Scarlett’s cost, maybe splitting the difference, enough perhaps to cover DS’ plane tickets.

    Rhett, yeah, DW was thinking we could use a credit card. Her brother pays his DS’ tuition and fees with his credit card.

  55. Finn: Don’t they charge a processing fee of a few % to use your credit card to pay?

  56. Finn,
    Is your bill for a full year and Scarlett’s for one semester?

    My advice:
    – my most oft repeated phrase over the 4 years, “I made my choices, this is your (his) life”. Sometimes I said it to DS, sometimes to DH, sometimes to myself. Through gritted teeth.
    – they are more ready then you know, and they grow up more than you can imagine that first year.
    – encourage them to find something to get involved in. The greek system is it for many at flagship schools, but that wasn’t his thing nor had it been mine.
    – not sure how this works with the magnitude of your tuition, but we ran a tuition reimbursement plan. My DS has strong ability, but didn’t always apply himself in high school. We thought he needed skin in the game to be successful in college. We reimbursed for As and Bs, and to be honest a couple of Cs. But not for the class that had to be dropped because he slept through a midterm exam. Life lesson and an expensive one.
    – agree upfront that he will answer texts. With nothing more than “I’m alive” if he doesn’t feel like a conversation. I was probably the opposite of a helicopter mom. But even I occasionally needed reassurance. We started this with high school trips, but I still found it helpful in college.

  57. 3600 in 1968 for tuition room and board Inflation is 7 fold. So in today’s dollars 25200.

    How much would the daughter of a federal court reporter have to pay now? Top 10% average 90k a year which would…Families with incomes between $65,000 and $150,000 will contribute from 0-10% of their income. Worst case $9k probably more like $5k.

  58. Finn full year.
    Rhett my mother had the full four years worth saved up. If the 90 K per year two person family has 250K in the 529 plan and not tied up in home equity I don’t think the 10 percent applies. We were renters.

  59. Finn, you should check to make sure that the health insurance is not included in the invoice because that is $3130 for 2017-18. The total bill would be similar to the amount that Scarlett shared if you were billed for health insurance. The number that I shared was one that most of my friends shared as close to the total cost for a year. The $69- $70K includes books, transportation and some spending money.

  60. ” If the 90 K per year two person family has 250K in the 529 plan and not tied up in home equity I don’t think the 10 percent applies.”

    Yes. The numbers for EFC based on income assume a certain corresponding level of assets. Having more assets than that, e.g., having all four grandparents pass away before kids reach college age, will greatly reduce the amount of aid provided.

  61. Lauren, thanks, good point about the health insurance. The dollar amount you cite is in the ballpark of how much more the bill was than I was expecting. We’d been expecting that the full nut would’ve been about $70k.

    I tasked DS with determining whether he qualifies for the waiver. It’s been a good introduction for him into the morass of health insurance and care management, along with having him take care of getting his immunization records submitted to the school and scheduling his own meningitis vaccination.

  62. “With 250k in cash and a 90k income (they don’t count retirement and home equity) your mom would pay $10,700.”

    It matters a lot how that $250 is held. I’m not sure how a 529 would be treated, but generally, assets in the name of the student to go entirely toward EFC, unless the assets exceed four full years of expenses. IIRC, 5.x% of parents’ assets go to EFC, and many schools do not include home equity among the assets counted for EFC calculation.

  63. In any case, need scholarships back in the day were not for people who had enough money in the bank to pay the bill. I did get a bit of outside merit aid. I worked for all my spending money.

    The point was that the list price was 3600, and there had been a big uproar about the unheard of increase that fall from 2000 to 2400 for the year’s tuition. That was the very beginning of the habit of yearly significant tuition increases.

  64. The point was that the list price was 3600

    But you don’t really have a problem with the price discrimination, do you? Those who can easily afford it have to pay and those of more modest means pay little or nothing. Even at the Totebag median of $270k your getting $10k off the list price.

  65. Hello Totebag; I have wifi again.

    (My older two have been referencing that meme nonstop this whole trip. So hello, you stinky Totebag. Go eat a dessert tomato, ugly.)

    July – I’ll get back on the stick and send some topics soon, I swear!

  66. July, I like those rules! DS and I have a few made up words in our vocabulary. When I need to know he’s ok, one of those words is sufficient.

  67. Thanks, HM! I know we can count on you!

    “Her brother pays his DS’ tuition and fees with his credit card.”

    I’m surprised any college allows this without commensurate service fees that wipe out any rewards benefits.

    In other news, one of my elementary school BFFs is running a pawn shop as her retirement career. Before she retired she was a high school counselor. What a country.

  68. “Those who can easily afford it have to pay and those of more modest means pay little or nothing.”

    Yes, this. BITD, I was admitted to a HSS with all-in costs of about $6000*. I got no significant financial aid, even though we were very middle middle class with a family income of about $40K with four kids. So it may as well have been $70K, because it was equally out of reach for us. In addition, it was very unusual for kids like me — from a huge public school sending only half its graduates to ANY college — even to apply to a HSS, let alone to attend one.

    IMO, education at a HSS is much more accessible to current kids like me. (My old high school, which is now half the size because of declining rust belt populations, now sends more than 80% of its graduates to college.) Selective schools are doing a much better job reaching into the first-generation/middle income potential applicant pool. A young family member who just graduated from my old high school, with an academic record like mine and a family income comparable to my dad’s BITD, is going to Villanova basically for free.

    * The state flagship was $2500, which was conveniently also the maximum federal student loan at the time. That’s where I went.

  69. IMO, education at a HSS is much more accessible to current kids like me.

    You know, you’re right. My family would have gotten need-based aid, probably. When my dad retired in 1987, I think he was making $68K (of course the state bennies were amazing back then, but lifetime health insurance for free and so on didn’t get counted, nor did the generous pension plan). So in 1978, lets say he was making $55K. According to the inflation calculator, that would be $205,581.34. Ah. So, maybe not. Wait really? That seems way too high. Maybe he was only making $30K back then. That would be $112K. Stanford was $5K a year. Okay, I give up.

  70. I am somewhat surprised that on a $270k a year income you’re still getting 10k off the list price.

  71. The college process seems very daunting. But then if I have already put myself and family through the various visas and the citizenship process it can’t be much more painful than that or is it ?

  72. Louise, I know your kids won’t want to go to University of California, but BITD, the “A through F requirements” (now the “A through G requirements”) were considered a good guideline for admission to Cal and to private selective schools as well. If you take a look at them, it might help you figure out how to steer your kids’ class choices.

  73. RMS – thanks, about the University of Cal – one kid has asked about Berkeley !

  74. Yeah, I checked out the UNC-CH page, and it is a bunch of B.S. about how they’re holistic and they look for special snowflakes and they don’t have one particular type of kid they’re looking for and blah blah blah. At least the UC requirements are spelled out clearly.

    And really, Louise, other than class choice, grades, SAT and AP exams, and extra-curriculars, that’s all there is.

  75. RMS – I am pretty sure regardless of what UNC-CH says, it is still grades, SAT and AP. I don’t think the students who I know had any phenomenal extra curriculars. They were bright, hardworking students.
    In addition the college knows the schools here in NC, so they have a good idea of the caliber of the students.

  76. @SM – Thanks for all your discussion on the other thread about the Tauck model. I owe you a travel agent commission. I could never figure out why their tours were a) so expensive and b) seemed to be not what I wanted despite the great itineraries and selection of attractions. Now I know that they are unsuited to us as a couple.

  77. Finn & anyone else (re advice on kid leaving for college):
    +1 to all Sunshine said, most especially the “get involved”. My DS is planning to play club hockey, and he’s gotten a couple of emails re the workouts he should be doing to be in shape when practice starts, and work at the student radio station.

    On the “earn your tuition” I’m all in favor of this. Since he knows keeping his scholarship requires a 3.0 that’s the line we’ve drawn. We’ll pay the remainder. He’s on the hook for funding the scholarship amount.

    Communication: In addition to responding to texts fairly promptly (i.e. if I text you during classtime because I didn’t check the schedule you gave me, I will not get all over you if it takes a while). Plus, I still think the weekly call home is a good idea during freshman year. DW is much more helicopter-y than I am, but so much stuff goes on that it’s good to keep in fairly close touch until the time / class / study management thing has taken hold.

    My one big add is: sleep and exercise. Get enough of both. Whether at the gym or, in my kid’s case on the ice, or just jogging on campus it’s important to get ~4-5 hrs/week of good cardio. It’ll help with sleep and staving off the freshman 15 given absolute freedom to eat whatever s/he wants.

    Having your kid do things for him/herself like the health insurance waiver is good. Mine did it the week before we went on vacation. And ordering transcript(s) from any colleges they have earned credit.

  78. Finn and others with college freshman

    +1 to all Sunshine said, most especially the “get involved”.

    DD’s year got MUCH better when she started playing her club sport. If you kid knows what they need to be functional, e.g. exercise, walks in nature, sleep….encourage them to do that.

    Remember that freshman year is HARD. Tell them that. Also, tell them that you love them, are proud of them, and believe they can be successful.

    My DD really enjoyed care packages…it didn’t need to be much, maybe some tea from Amazon or cupcakes at finals, but it actually mattered to her.

  79. RMS, actually after reading your numbers, I think that my dad’s salary was closer to $25K. It’s hard to remember how low salaries used to be.

  80. RMS, actually after reading your numbers, I think that my dad’s salary was closer to $25K. It’s hard to remember how low salaries used to be.

    But remember how much cheaper everything else used to be. My parents sold a 4/2 house in the Silicon Valley for 28K in the early 1970s.

  81. Related to college: DH and DD and DS will be spending a weekend in Raleigh area for a family event and will probably have time to walk the campus of one college. Duke came up, as did UNC. Any suggestions for others? Being a Louisville basketball fan, I’m not too enamored of those choices. :-) But I would also prefer something smaller for her.

    FWIW, she is looking for an engineering program with good other sciences (she is currently thinking mechanical engineering with a lot of bio, so she could go to med school or into biomed stuff like prosthetics — but I just want a good program overall in case she changes her mind); something like a maker lab, engineering competitions, or other sorts of hands-on programs would suit her well. But she also wants to do a semester abroad (which will be difficult with the engineering major, so she would need a school that would actually help/support her in making that work). She is a good but not great student in Totebag-land — e.g., As and 2 Bs in the highest-level classes this year, will probably end up top 15% of her class, but likely lower SATs than you’d expect from those two things (she has never done bubble tests well, just doesn’t get the strategy bit). So I’m looking for a fit, someplace she would succeed, vs. “what’s the best school she can possibly get into.”

  82. LfB – since they’ll be in Raleigh how about NC State? It’s right there and I’m pretty confident it’ll tick all the boxes you mention (although not possessing the same totebag cred as UNC or Duke).

  83. LfB,

    How hard would she have to work to make it happen? Is she capable of that working that hard unsupervised and with unlimited freedom? Does she want to work that hard vs. majoring in marketing or business? Is the juice worth the squeeze?

  84. Your DD from anecdotal profiles of students applying there would fit.

    I really don’t have any sense of the work involved. At one end we have WCE’s husband who can crack the differential equations book the night before the test and get an A. At the other end there are kids who study for hours every day and are barely making it. Where would someone like LfB’s DD fit?

  85. Rhett/LfB – I know NC State grads who attended the “business” portion of the school, graduating with Statistics. They make a very decent living. I know a marketing major as well.
    So, if not engineering or premed there are other options at the school which would work out.

  86. I think Rhett asks some good questions, but she can always change majors somewhere along the line. That’s certainly not uncommon among students starting out in the harder STEM majors.

  87. LfB, according to Lauren, Elon College is hot now. And of course Davidson! Those are both smaller schools.

  88. Thanks, guys — for some reason hadn’t thought of NC State, but duh. Rocky, Elon/Davidson are good ideas too.

    Rhett: I honestly don’t know. But what we are seeing now is I’d say 95% self-driven. Her grades are what she is managing on her own — we did no supervision last year except when help was requested (I’m sure she could be straight-As now if we were hovering more, but the whole point is to enable her to succeed when she is on her own, so us putting in a lot of effort to make her “look” like she is worthy of MIT if she is not would be counterproductive). Her class choices next year are her own (except I suggested AP Physics instead of honors physics since she wants a STEM college/career) — she’s the one who insisted on two engineering courses and all of the other APs. Her desired major and future career ideas are her own; I’m the one pushing for an off-ramp short of med school/Ph.D if she decides she’s sick of school after a few years, and for a school with decent options other than engineering if that courseload is too much.

    Is that going to continue in college? No clue. Even though we are not nagging/pushing/hovering, it is absolutely true that her whole environment and friend circle is all achievement-oriented, and that she has DH and me to provide suggestions and additional instruction and hugs when she is stumped and overwhelmed. Once she is on her own and faced with having to go to the tutoring center if she is struggling, and at the same time seeing many people following other options that don’t demand that level of work, it could all change. But again, that’s why I am focused on finding a college where she is a fit academically, and where she has other options available.

  89. Her desired major and future career ideas are her own

    Does she know what a job in the marketing department of Underarmour in Baltimore would entail vs. being a biomedical engineer at Senseonics?

  90. LfB – thinking about this, what sort of campus does your DD want ? Davidson is in a small suburban town. Pretty campus but without a car I would feel stuck. I guess my bias is towards being part of a more urban setting or a bigger college campus.

  91. Lfb,
    Your description of your daughter brings to mind my most successful highschool classmates. They were all STEM of some kind who took the hard classes and got good but not perfect grades. They all graduated college as engineers then taught themselves coding/IT who computers became prevalent. I could see your daughter following a parallel path. It was really the curiosity/drive that took them places not necessarily the college material.

  92. @Rhett: Nope. But she just likes making stuff — her engineering classes are literally the only classes she has never complained about. So since that’s where her current interest seems to be, and it is an interest that seems likely to lead to future employment that will allow her to afford to MOVE OUT OF MY HOUSE, I’m happy to let her go with it.

    @Louise: Don’t know — that’s part of the idea of making this quick stop, to let her get a feel for at least one environment so she can start narrowing down some of those preferences. She already knows she isn’t too hot on small town/rural/isolation (although she still thinks she wants to go to my alma mater, she has rejected my stepdad’s for that very reason).

    @A parent: Thanks. You have no idea how good that makes me feel. :-)

  93. But she just likes making stuff — her engineering classes are literally the only classes she has never complained about.

    That’s like becoming a chef because you like to cook. Making dinner for your family and running a restaurant kitchen are two different things. “Making things” and being an engineer toiling in the bowels of Medtronic are two entirely different things.

  94. I used to work with a guy whose wife would not left him have lunch with a woman, even in a group. So when the guys went to lunch, and they were all guys, I did not get invited. They explained why, like it was completely reasonable, and invited me on the days he wasn’t going. They invited me to socialize outside of work, I started a company with a couple of them, etc, so I know it wasn’t just that they didn’t like me. Even the guy would come by my desk and chat – he knew my brother and we had friends in common. But apparently one of us was so weak that we would be unable to control ourselves at a group lunch at a restaurant. None of them ever got why I found that so insulting. On the other hand, I traveled all the time with one of my most conservative religious friends/colleagues, and we would run together after work, have all meals together and never felt uncomfortable. His wife would call me if she couldn’t reach him. So it’s not all conservative religious men that adhere to this. On the flip side, two people I know ended up divorced because the man began having an affair with a female colleague he traveled with for years. I think that’s more a function of issues within the marriage than having meals with another woman, but who knows.

  95. Just remembered a funny story on this topic. My DH has always had female work friends and it’s never been an issue. At one Christmas party he wanted to introduce me to a woman he was friends with who worked in his area. As he’s telling me he wanted me to meet her, he described her as “this is who I’d probably be dating if I wasn’t married to you.” I kept laughing the whole time I was chatting with her.

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