Tuesday open thread

We have an open thread all day today.

Upcoming topics:

Wednesday  —  Cell phones and kids  (Louise)
Thursday  —  A ‘cash-free future’?  (Flyover)
Friday  —  Weird News: Shark theft  (Rhode)
Sunday —  Politics open thread


169 thoughts on “Tuesday open thread

  1. I’m having fun with booking flights. I’ve been working on the Syndey-Auckland flights, and I found a weird quirk with Virgin Australia. For a round trip, it sends you to their Australian site, and the prices were a little higher than I wanted to pay. I decided to look at one way flights on Kayak to see what they had, and it showed an AKL-SYD flight on Virgin that was quite a bit less than that leg on the round trip price. So I followed that and it took me to Virgin’s New Zealand site, and I was able to book AKL-SYD for about 30% less than it was as part of the round trip fare on their Australian site. I wanted to see what the price was for SYD-AKL on the New Zealand site but it automatically redirects you to the Australian site because that’s where the departure is from.

    I’m still looking for a SYD-AKL flight, but I found you can fly United with a stopover at LAX for $4,000. You can probably take a rowboat in less time.

  2. This ties into a conversation I had with Cassandra about the homeless problem. It also reminds me of a comment Finn made about some of the homeless choosing to be homeless. I’m not sure about that one. I’ve seen a number of incidents of adults who seem to loose the ability to function and would be homeless is there wasn’t a family member to take them in.

    Text of article to follow.

  3. DD, Australia is one of my favorite places and I have been fortunate enough to travel there several times. Your posts are bittersweet because I am excited for you, but I wish I had time to get back there in 2019! It is not happening for us, but I can’t wait to hear about your plans.

    So, I think I have the worst luck with home renovation and projects. I think I was destined to just be a renter. We never bought in the city and we should have bought after 9/11. Big mistake (financial). It was the right thing to move to the burbs, but we haven’t made much money on our place because we bought during the frenzy of the mid 2000s. Things have recovered, but we haven’t really made money. I can’t even imagine how much more we would have if we had bought something in the city. Anyway, that ship has sailed and we made a decision that we want to be happy in this home. So, we finally did those bathrooms in 2015. It took me this long to really recover (mentally) and tackle some of the larger projects. We needed new windows, and we decided to paint and get new carpet in our master. The carpet in our bedroom is original. Sounds gross, but there was only one owner before us and he was a single guy so the carpet actually looks decent due to cleaning etc. Our windows in this bedroom “failed” so that was a no brainer, and the room is already much warmer. The reason that I think I have really bad luck is that we splurged and went with a contractor that we knew and trusted. He charged more, but we wanted quality for these four windows. Anyway, he measured, placed the oder etc etc. We had to wait almost 2 months for the windows because there is a delay due to all of the hurricane rebuilding in the south. Our windows came last week, and they installed the windows. AT the end of the day, the contractor broke the bad news that one piece didn’t come with the order. He blamed the window store (whatever), but now they couldn’t finish the installation.

    90% is done, and the room is painted, but I can’t stand having people in my house. Even the nicest guys seem to get plaster and paint dust into every corner of my house. I just like when it is over, and now it isn’t over until Jan. The other downside is that the window is open so the lights comes through int he morning. The window treatment can’t be hung until the piece is installed.

    I finally ordered that dining room light fixture after procrastinating for five years. We will have light, but I will have to paint that main floor in early 2019. It really needs it, but I am already dreading it. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and have everything purchased, installed, and cleaned.

  4. Lauren, I hate, hate, hate home renovation projects! We were so burned out after the big renovation back in 2006. This year we had to replace our fence, and the year before it was the deck, and I have this awful feeling that the roof will be coming up next.
    I have to admit I never think of the house in financial terms. We rented for ages and when we bought, it was mainly because we were so sick of dealing with landlords. We bought right before the feeding frenzy of the 00’s, but having moved down from MA, it still seemed really expensive.

  5. Lauren – what brand of windows did you go with? We need to replace all of our sashes (18 of ’em) and some of our casement windows. A few years ago I got a quote and it worked out to about $1,000/window on average. I think we’re more ready to pull the trigger on that work now/in 2019.

  6. I didn’t mind the renovation so much (moving out was key), but I hate the whole process of the construction loan, appraisal, and closing. It is beyond stressful. Long story short we ended up having two appraisals done and there was a 25% difference between the two. Doesn’t help that interest rates went up significantly from the time we started construction to when we closed. Our new interest rate is the highest we’ve ever had.

    In our experience good windows are about $1000/piece. About 8 years ago we replaced all our windows. We ended up going with a local “cheaper” version because that was what we could afford at the time. They were better than what they replaced. When we remodeled the builder wouldn’t reuse the windows. They couldn’t guarantee reinstall, and wouldn’t even save them for the reuse center in town. We ended up getting 7 new windows this time – Marvin Integrity.

  7. Lauren, where in Australia did you go? We’re going to do a few days in Sydney and a few days somewhere nearby, maybe Canberra.

    Rhett I’ve heard some horror stories with people being able to be appointed guardians and then taking advantage of the person. John Oliver did a real nice segment on it – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG2pEffLEJo

  8. Rhett I’ve heard some horror stories with people being able to be appointed guardians and then taking advantage of the person.

    Being able to bill them seems like a huge conflict of interest. The person paying the bills is also the person being paid. It’s like being able to sign your own timecard/approving your own expense reports.

    Also, one commenter wrote:

    As a child who recently obtained guardianship of both parents, I can say from hard experience that even though Ms. Funke can talk intelligently and come up with plausible explanations for her way of living, that is not proof that she has the capacity to pay your bills, find, prepare, and clean up food, perceive unsafe or unhygienic conditions in her home, keep track of her assets, or do any of a thousand other tasks required for modern life.
    I can’t count how many other people have told me how smart my retired-professor father is — even while he was doing his own “repairs” on his home which resulted in having no running water, no heat, no stove, no shower, no laundry, and no working toilet. He refused to move out when the town condemned the house as unlivable. Does he sound reasonable when he talks? Yes. Can he care for himself? Not at all. That’s why I showed the lawyers pictures of the house, and that’s why he has a guardian.

    That’s a thing that I don’t often hear talked about. People who appear lucid and reasonable but have lost the ability to function. Is there a name for it I just haven’t heard of?

  9. A friend in California was a beneficiary of a small estate (under $500K). The lawyer and accountant who were in charge were, in my opinion, grossly negligent or possibly outright criminal. They WOULD NOT release an accounting of the estate or initiate probate or anything. This went on for two years despite my friend’s polite prodding (and my less-polite prodding of my friend). Finally I found out that UC Santa Cruz was also a beneficiary of the estate so I called them and sicced their attorney on the situation. That got things moving. I really hope my stepson and DIL will keep an eye on me and my money. If anyone is going to steal it, it should be they.

  10. I also find it hard to deal with home project headaches, from unexpected hiccups/delays to making decisions to dealing with difficult contractors to having strangers traipsing inside your home. I had previously mentioned our home projects list and it looks as if it will be delayed until after the first of the year because of holiday activities. I still have not selected a contractor, but I have at least one good prospect. The person who recommended this guy made it clear he requires the homeowner to purchase the materials, although I’m not sure what that means. I don’t mind buying light fixtures and even paint, but do I need to buy spackle and wallboard? I’ll have to find out.

  11. Lauren – only look at the RE market when you’re buying or selling. Everything else is irrelevant. That advice gave me some piece of mind when we bought in 2007 (money down then) and moved in in early 2009. DH was laid off in 2009 and the RE market kept dropping. I was really freaking out. (Paid too much, 1 year old twins, nanny, DH laid off and me not loving my newish job/boss.)

  12. “ If anyone is going to steal it, it should be [my husband and stepson”.
    Good attitude!

    Denver, we did the LAX layover on our way back from Australia. Had 11 hrs, so I took a taxi to the beach. We swam a little, played in the sand a little, then stretched out on the sheet I had in our carryon and took a long nap. Nice little dinner in a cafe that was right there, a can back to the airport, and we were ready for our redeye to Ohio.

  13. Lauren, you mention “splurging” on the windows. Won’t the electric company or your insurance pay for (at least part of) them?

    Mooshi, I hear you on that reason to buy!

  14. Open thread, so another item. For the Totebaggers who are sports fans, I recently purchased a subscription to The Athletic an online sports commentary and news site. It appears to cover a wide range of sports, so international soccer and tennis fans could visit it and see whether it is as good fir their interests as for the major US sports. The contributors include almost every reporter, writer or TV commentator that I ever felt it was worth reading when they were at ESPN, SI, or daily print but are now put out to pasture. ESPN in general, in particular the premium insider online content, is a ghost of its former self. This is top drawer.

  15. That’s a thing that I don’t often hear talked about. People who appear lucid and reasonable but have lost the ability to function. Is there a name for it I just haven’t heard of?

    It’s just dementia.

    Denver, we did the LAX layover on our way back from Australia.

    SM, you missed the point – the flights are Syndey-LAX-Auckland. That’s 30 hours of flight time for a 3 hour direct flight.

  16. They are pouring my patio, finally, in 30 degree weather. They did the demo 4 weeks ago. All outdoor and paid fir by the condo assoc. needed a few days without rain. I need carpet and windows. Waiting for DD to get her own place.

  17. Meme – thanks for mentioning. I have been looking for something like that. I get SI (“free” with airline miles) and though not like it was in yesteryear, it’s still enjoyable to me.

  18. Meme, DS subscribed to it. I’ve read a few things through his account. There is some good stuff.

  19. Even without active malfeasance, a trust big enough to be worth having some bank administer it but not so big as to represent an important client is likely to get pushed off on the junior person to practice on, while still billing at full-service rates.

  20. I want a new house. I think in the end, given the desirability of our current neighborhood, it would make sense for us to move out and contruct a new house on our existing lot. Our house is old and would be a tear down for this area. This is in the future though after the kids are in college.
    It’s difficult to get renovations done with all the people living in our house and the disruption of construction.

  21. HW,

    Presumably banks have better internal controls and if that fails they have deep pockets. The folks in the article seem shadier and more judgement proof.

  22. Since it’s an open thread – What’s the deal with College Board releasing PSAT scores over three days on a rolling basis by region? Is this a new thing?

  23. Rhett, that’s the theory, although if they waste your trust fund through bank fees while you’re dotty does it matter that it’s all up front and legal?

  24. DD – I was looking at United FF flights to Auckland yesterday. They had an amazing deal on AKL-LAX-EWR-SEA. There was the bonus of a 18 hour layover in New Jersey.

  25. I ended up booking direct on Air NZ, nonstop flights out of Vancouver. I am only taking 2/3 of the snowflakes, and the airline offered “child fares” – 75% of the adult fare. It came out quite reasonable.

    Annoyed that on the way home there were no seats for selection without a premium. $50/seat for “premium” with slightly better seat pitch and priority boarding. Since the majority of my party has legs that don’t touch the ground (hell, mine hardly do) and I prefer to get on just before the plane leaves, this is not a special treat for us. Our alternative was to wait until check in to be assigned seats, pay $50pp or go to SKYCOUCH for $200. I am happy to share that we will be skycouching all the way home. It’s like the WalMart version of lay flat seats. I can’t wait to report back.

  26. Denver, yep, I missed that entirely. Sailed way over my head.

    Meme, I wouldn’t have thought concrete could set below freezing. Are you getting ready for DD to move out?

    While we’re doing random topics day, I need a loaf pan. I have the little glass one my grandma was given at her wedding. It has sweet little flowers etched on the side (proto Comingware) and makes a nice little hand-sized loaf. But sometimes I want the banana bread to last for more than an afternoon. I used to have a standard sized metal loaf pan that had probably also been here. It was cheap metal and rusted in spots. I got rid of it and need to replace it. Le Crueset makes one, but that seems like overkill. Any suggestions?

  27. Today it is confirmed that I will begin teaching tai chi in January. I am excited and nervous all at the same time!

  28. if they waste your trust fund through bank fees while you’re dotty does it matter that it’s all up front and legal?

    That seems somewhat less likely than pure theft. From what I’ve read, you have to think of the money as if it were in a pile in your sock drawer. If someone had unmonitored access to that money, what are the changes they would steal at least some of it? Very high. That’s why you need controls – two signatures, an accounting, etc.

  29. Rhett – what you are describing is fairly typical, in my experience, in high-functioning adults with dementia. They are able to appear quite on top of things, while giving away cash, making repairs, investing in crazy shit.

  30. My Australia trip was now 20 years ago. We flew from Houston to LAX to Sydney. Then, after a few hour layover departed for Melbourne – Adelaide – Alice Springs/Ayers Rock (climbed it) – Coober Pedy (they mine opal & Mad Max filmed there – hotel was an old opal mine) – Brisbane – Lady Elliott Island – Sydney. We were there a month. It was loads of fun and I have always wanted to go back. Not sure exactly when it will get worked in, but would like to go with both DDs.

  31. NZ offered us sky couch for our party of three. Surprising that none of the pictures shows how that looks in real life. (I’m pretty sure it involves me hanging out by the bathrooms with the free booze while the kids stretch out.)

  32. Rhett – what you are describing is fairly typical, in my experience, in high-functioning adults with dementia.

    Is there a thing where that happens at a younger age and it’s not dementia?

  33. PSAT – It seems like it has been rolled out over several days for a few years. I am not sure what the benefit is other than spreading out the demand on their website. IIRC, it follows the same flow as the tests – East Coast first. Thanks for reminding me to prod DD#2 to look at her PSAT and her most recent SAT scores.

  34. S&M, I bake full size banana breads (and other breads) in the 1.5 qt Pyrex loaf dishes sold at Target, Walmart and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Unfortunately, I have to handwash them at least partially because they usually don’t come clean in the dishwasher.

    If I were buying a new loaf pan, I would try the Trudeau structured silicone loaf pan from Target. My Trudeau structured silicone muffin pan comes clean in the dishwasher and the ability to pop out the muffins means that sticking is reduced.

  35. Rhett, did you read that article you posted all the way through? That woman is a nightmare. Some combination of dementia and personality disorder. (My mother used to say, “Isn’t ‘personality disorder’ just a polite way of saying someone is very disagreeable?”)

  36. Some combination of dementia and personality disorder.

    Exactly! But how much control does she have over her dementia and personality disorder? I assume part of the issue is that her dementia (or is it within the bounds of normal aging?) has severely undermined her ability to keep her crazy on the inside.

  37. They had an amazing deal on AKL-LAX-EWR-SEA. There was the bonus of a 18 hour layover in New Jersey.

    That’s awesome!

  38. That woman will burn through her money pretty quickly if she continues to stay in her apartment and pays fees for all the help under guardianship. One of the issues, I see is the low rent. An assisted living facility is expensive but the apartment management probably wants her apartment and sees a way to get her to move out.

  39. I really wonder about the thought process of the people who developed the flight algorithms.

  40. Ada, I found it really interesting that Air New Zealand has so many extra charges for everything. It’s as bad as the discount airlines.

    Rhett, if it happens at a younger age it’s early-onset dementia. :)

  41. Rhett, I haven’t read your article, but what you said sounds like my dad. There are more times recently that “outsiders” catch on, but he still can put up a good appearance most of the time. Then I talked to him last week, asked if he’d play tennis one more time before they headed North. He said “of course. I play three times a week and we just got here”. They arrived in Florida in late October, and were flying out three days after that phone call. It’s probably been almost 2 years since my mother discovered completely by chance that instead of walking the check for several thousand dollars, in a sealed, stamped, addressed envelope, out to the mailbox, he’d put it in a rarely-used trash can. I wouldn’t call him batshit, but he clearly can’t be relied on. I think our Mom spends a lot of time steering him.
    Rocky, personality disorder, or just part of the dementia?

  42. Concrete can be poured in all kinds of temps. The builders in my neighborhood are pouring it 12 months a year.

    S&M – insurers don’t give any sort of rebate for windows, and the electric company (at least by me) doesn’t either. There was an energy rebate about 8 years ago, but it is so small that it didn’t make a dent. Kind of like how the electric company would give me $40 for my used fridge, but I just spent $2000 on new fridge. It wasn’t like I was waiting for the rebate to make a purchase decision.

  43. Rocky,

    And now that you mention it, she would have ended up homeless if she didn’t have her parents and their estate taking care of her. The article mentioned that she’d never earned more than $6k/year even with her Ivy League education.

  44. Rhett. My DH has zero dementia and still plays bridge at a high level but cannot live unsupported. At a minimum 3 day a week housekeeper plus once a week visting medical aide to do meds and check he is taking them, do blood tests, wellness check, make sure he takes a shower. He cant cook, deal with electronic devices, turn off a smoke alarm, do laundry, order stuff online, keep his phone charged, care properly for the pets. His three years in his divorced man apt 20 years ago are best forgotten. If he were left to his own devices his medication failures, cascading depression and increasing squalor and bad nutrition would turn him into a guardianship case within a couple of months. But unless he started to stink publicly or his failures impacted condo neighbors, it might be a year before it came to light.

  45. Louise, presumably, if you move out for a rehab or rebuild, your temp quarters would be just big enough for your immediate family, no matter how much you wished your in laws could visit ;)

  46. Smaller families also mean fewer potential relatives to take care of or monitor the care of those who need on-going support. We are members of an organization with a family who has one, now adult, child with Downs Syndrome. The elderly parents, who were both only children and the youngest in their respective families, need support themselves. They are now a family of 3, where all of them need some level of care. I am not sure how large their financial resources are, but a friend is trying to help them get everything “in order” before their mental and/or physical conditions deteriorate any further.

  47. Meme,

    Does that sort of thing have a name? It might get diagnosed as “depression” but there seems to be more to it than that.

  48. Lark (re Paris) – I imagine these protests will be done long before your spring trip. (But, being French, they will probably have a new set of things about which to protest).

  49. Thanks to the alerts from that site I have disappointed my kids on more than one occasion –
    Me: Wow, they’re calling a national strike of all high school faculty for Tuesday
    Kids: Really?! Woohoo!
    Me: Oh, sorry, I mean in France.

  50. Lark – you can sign up to get alerts from http://www.cestlagreve.fr/ , a site that tracks strikes.

    Even better than the strikes

    Photographs showed one ashen-faced director being led through a baying crowd, his clothes torn to shreds. In another picture, the deputy head of human resources, Xavier Broseta, left bare-chested after workers ripped off his shirt and jacket, is photographed being pushed to safety over a fence.


    And there is the always popular bossnapping.

    French bosses were given a fresh reminder of the dangers facing them during the economic downturn yesterday as angry factory workers in Grenoble barricaded their offices and took four managers hostage.

    Protesting against job losses and meagre redundancy payouts, local employees of the US firm Caterpillar decided to take matters into their own hands and locked their superiors inside the plant’s management headquarters.

    The incident, the latest in a surge of “bossnappings” across the country, was aimed at bringing a more satisfactory conclusion to the recently announced round of bloodletting in which more than 700 workers are to be laid off.


  51. That Basketweaving Studies degree is looking better all the time.

    ‘Dropout’ rate for academic scientists has risen sharply in past 50 years, IU study finds

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Half of the people pursuing careers as scientists at higher education institutions will drop out of the field after five years, according to a new analysis from researchers at Indiana University Bloomington.


  52. I dunno Rhett. But he went to a bridge tournament solo 2 years ago and had to fly home after 5 days instead of the 10 for which he was scheduled. He decided to do the same thing last summer and I magically found some partners and time and said, I think Ill come down and join you for five days at the end. It is just a fact of life for us. As I told DD, Im not doing you a favor to let you live here. It is better for me.

  53. Which reminds me of one of my favorite lines from Downton Abbey, “One whiff or reform and she hears the rattle of the guillotine.”

  54. We went with Andersen, but the only reason I chose Andersen vs Marvin was the color. I needed a certain color outside to match my other windows. The prices were similar and the warranty/quality was also similar. That is the only time that I ever had windows replaced that were paid for by the insurance company. We have to buy our windows and Con Ed never offers a rebate. The splurge was the contractor for the installation. I didn’t want to just use some random installer from the window store. I selected my own contractor and then I went to the window store.

    DD, I’ve been to Sydney (every trip), Melbourne, Cairns, port Douglas, a couple of islands on the reef including Hayman, Ayers Rock, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and a couple of wine regions. I went with work, friends, and honeymoon. I also visited friends that were living in Sydney and Gold Coast so I’ve spent much more time in those areas. I never made it to the west coast, Tasmania or Philip Island. I stopped in Auckland and toured the north island on one of my trips. I’ve never been to the southern part of NZ and that’s supposed to be beautiful.

    There is so much to see so you will have to make some choices. It’s like visiting the US and trying to see everything. I can talk to you off line and I think Scarlett recently tracked there.

  55. Oops. I meant to say that the only time that I ever had windows paid for by insurance was after a tree hit some windows during Sandy.

  56. I was just watching a news feature about how unfair it is that most airlines charge $50-100 extra to allow parents to sit next to their young children. That’s the extra charge that allows passengers to pick their seats when they fly basic economy. It doesn’t strike me as “unfair”, just an extra cost that parents must pay when flying with young children. Of course, I don’t have young children so this doesn’t affect me. I know this extra charge has been mentioned here before.

  57. My youngest is almost 7. On our next flight I did not feel like paying an additional $300 for us to sit together. She is fine on flights, and I’m looking forward to perhaps having a relaxing flight. The extra charge did get my goat several years back, mainly because when they started adding this charge I didn’t notice the cheaper fare actually be any cheaper than what I paid for in the past with reserved seats.

  58. They made the point that parents felt that in a flight emergency they needed to be near their children so they had no choice but to pay extra.

  59. “What’s the deal with College Board releasing PSAT scores over three days on a rolling basis by region? Is this a new thing?”

    It’s at least a few years old. I believe it’s to keep their website from crashing.

    I believe HS counselors get the scores earlier. DD mentioned last week that her class’ scores were on Naviance for about 10 minutes.

    DD just texted me her scores. She’s just over the projected cutoff, so she’s nervous.

  60. If parents think that paying $100+ for adjacent seats is a statistically sensible investment in safety, they have more money than sense.

    I never paid extra for seats and we always sat together, although I was perfectly happy to let random strangers sit by my 3 year old twins instead of me if adjacent seats were unavailable. The airlines never took me up on my offer. They leave the back row (or two rows) of the plane free to seat families together. Now if you prefer not to sit together at the back of the plane, all bets are off…

  61. I took my first airplane ride when I was 7. We went to Florida and my parents were no where near me on the plane. I sat next to a lady that worked at NASA and it was shortly after the Challenger. I remember being fascinated by her. I probably drove her nuts with all my questions about working there.

  62. Finn said “DD just texted me her scores. She’s just over the projected cutoff, so she’s nervous.”\

    It sounds like your kids have the same test taking superpowers as mine. Bubble filling magic :-)
    Good luck with those cutoffs!

  63. The last two times I have travelled to Italy for conferences, I have ended up having to contend with major train strikes the day I needed to take the train to the airport in order to go home. Both times, I ended up leaving the conference a day early and spending the night at that really bizarre hotel at the Milan airport.

  64. is there a site where I can ask e.g. ‘where can I fly for $200 roundtrip from [airport]?’ and it’ll give me possible locations for my next vacation?

  65. How near LAX? Not much nearby except fast- or quasi-fact food unless you go into one of the nicer restaurants in a hotel on Century Blvd.

  66. I was just watching a news feature about how unfair it is that most airlines charge $50-100 extra to allow parents to sit next to their young children.

    Congress recently banned that practice.

    Perhaps the most troubling item for airlines, in terms of new regulation, is a rule that directs the transportation secretary to establish a policy to allow children under age 13 “to be seated in a seat adjacent to the seat of an accompanying family member over the age of 13” at no additional cost.

    #biggovernment #burdensomeregulation #socialism #venezuela

  67. is there a site where I can ask e.g. ‘where can I fly for $200 roundtrip from [airport]?’ and it’ll give me possible locations for my next vacation?

    Google flights. Go to explore maps, put in specific dates or pick a month and a duration. Then you can move around the map and see prices to various places.

    Lauren, our plan is to do three nights someplace within a few hours of Sydney, and then four nights in Sydney. I’ve been reading a lot on TripAdvisor and Canberra is a likely place, or if not there someplace on the coast. I’m still trying to get a feel for if it’s worth staying on the coast in winter.

    For NZ, we are looking for two places on the north island to stay for 3 or 4 days each to base out of and then a day or so in Auckland at the end. I tend to be pretty aggressive with our travel itineraries, and DW and the kids want to do a more relaxed pace this trip. I will reach out to you offline about Sydney.

  68. Doesn’t need to be really close to LAX. We’ll be staying in Pasadena, so somewhere along the way would be fine.

    Our main concern is just finding somewhere open.

    From what I’ve heard, if we were still in NYC that night, the Chinese restaurants would be crowded with Jewish people. Is that the case in other parts of the country?

  69. This was the news report I saw.

    Congress didn’t think that was right, so in 2016, it passed the “Families Flying Together Act”, directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to come up with regulations to ensure children under 13 are seated with their parents.

    But the DOT never did. Part of the problem is that the bill was vaguely written, merely asking the agency to establish a policy “if appropriate.” An agency spokesperson tells News 12 that “based on the low number of family seating complaints received, issuing a policy was not appropriate at this time.”

    Based on comments here, it’s not a big problem. And if parents want guaranteed adjacent seats, they just pay extra.

    #biggovernment #burdensomeregulation #socialism #venezuela#capitalismworks

  70. July, it is a big problem if the kid is small and money is tight. Think back to flying with a one year old in a carseat, for example. It is quite a bit different than being separated from your 11 year old. It is also just nasty price gouging, When mine were really small, airlines weren’t doing that as much. I would have been really PO’ed.

  71. Fred & Denver Dad, Google Flights also has a slider where you can limit the price options as well.

  72. Have any of your kids’ schools been affected by violence? When and how?

    One night when my son was 6, a friend called me and said immediately “don’t worry—I’ve got hm here”. I hadn’t even realized my son had gotten dressed after his shower and slipped outside to walk half a mile to the hospital where his friend was. He read to her. He defended her at school against the same bullies who would otherwise be roughing him up. They were so sweet together. She lives on the outskirts of Paris now. Today, trash cans at her school were set on fire and police in riot gear responded. They sprayed tear gas indiscriminately, and she got a pretty full face of it. Tomorrow there is more predicted for their school, which apparently can’t do anything to protect the kids or tell them to go home. Her mom says she’s staying home tomorrow.

    Last week, my son’s high school in Tampa cancelled a pep rally and had extra “security” because of threats against the school. Numerous people kept their kids home that day as well. (In the end it was a kid “playing” who made the threats).

    Clear backpacks, bulletproof book bags, active shooter drills and lessons in tying tourniquets. That’s apparently the new normal. What have your kids experienced of it?

  73. Sitting next to your kid isn’t a new rule. It was required when mine was little. We relied on it to get seats together if there weren’t decent free seats adjacent to each other online. Flight attendants knew they were not permitted to let him travel alone. They sometimes asked me to ask others to switch, and if I couldn’t find someone, they would. Usually though, the gate agent gave us new boarding passes without being asked, or flight attendants found us seats beside each other right away.

  74. SM – in my area very recently one kid had brought a gun to school and got into an altercation with another kid about something that happened over the weekend (basically who won a fight) and shot him dead in the hallway early just after school started.
    Since then all schools in our area are conscious of security and have practiced lock down drills. My DD was in a situation where her school thought there was an attacker based on an alert (false alarm) but they went into lockdown for real and there were terrified kids.
    It’s unfortunately the new normal. There has been tons of education on various issues that my older kid has had but does that really have an effect on everyone ?

  75. @HM, thanks. Yes, I would be surprised if this latest issue in Paris isn’t resolved by the time we go. On the other hand, I’ve been surprised by a lot these days. I really would like a vacation, not a hassle!

  76. They finished the patio, laid some sort of rigid plastic cover on top of the wooden form, and covered that with hay for a few days. There was a lot of grading and gravel to level it out the orep wirk was held up by two weeks of bad weather

  77. “A few years ago I got a quote and it worked out to about $1,000/window on average.”

    Does that include installation?

    If the windows are Energy Star rated, you might qualify for tax credits.

  78. I’m with WCE here. I don’t usually pay for seats together (my mother worries a lot about this and I have done it to appease her). I have called a few times after booking online and said, “Gosh, I couldn’t find seats together for my 1,3,5 year old and myself. I am not paying for premium boarding. Gosh, what should we do?” and they have fixed it. You know that no one is sitting next to my three year old other than me. They don’t really want a crisis during boarding. They don’t want a 3 year old peeing themselves because no one tells them it is okay to go to the bathroom.

    I do think a husband and wife sitting together is a convenience that people can spend extra on. However, moving toddlers-8 year olds away from parents is just ridiculous. I think my 9 year old would be delighted with sitting away from the rest of us – pity the poor traveler who has to join her.

    We just got back from a trip to The Great Mouse and dear mother wanted us to buy early boarding on southwest. At a cost of $300 each way, I figured we could just make it work. And we did, albeit in the far back of the plane.

  79. The seat price that blew me away is on our Australia flights. For $150-165 depending on the seat, you can sit in the front of the cabin and get 6 inches more legroom. I know the extra room would be very nice on a 15 hour flight, but I’m not about to pay over $600 each way for it.

    We had a new driveway put in a few years ago in March, and they had us put covers over it every night for the first week.

  80. SM-I tend to agree with the article you linked to above. I know a child who recently came out as trans. I’ve asked my child and the parents of some of the other kids I know if there has been any discussion about it or if the child is being mistreated/bullied. Basically, it was a non-event for everyone but the child who came out.

  81. Ada – LOL!

    On our recent London trip we got to the gate and all the kids were being extremely loud and running in circles around where we were sitting. I could see all the other passengers eyeing us with dread – you know none of them wanted to sit next to any of the kids! (And I don’t think of our kids as small any more) I was pleased that the BA policy is to allow customers “with children” (not just small ones) to board early, so we all got to watch an extra 30 minutes of a show before we took off (and claim a big chunk of the overhead bins!).

  82. (and claim a big chunk of the overhead bins!)


    I have a small backpack that fits under the seat in front of me. It’s gotten so I take a larger carry-on and just gate-check it. I swear fighting for the overhead bin space (and being pissed off at all the “pre-boarding” people who hog all the space) is the worst part of flying.

  83. RMS – I hear you. Most of what was in the carry-ons was the kids’ loveys, pillows, etc., that I didn’t want to risk losing! (Also medication, computers, etc.)

  84. I think airlines should be charging for carry-ons, not checked bags.

    S&M, I have not seen that site, I will check it out. Thanks for the tip!

  85. DD said “I think airlines should be charging for carry-ons, not checked bags.”

    That would dramatically increase the number of checked bags, leading to total collapse of the baggage handling systems in airports like JFK, which is already so bad that the last couple of times I have had to pick up a checked bag there, I waited over an hour for my bag.

  86. We’ve gate-checked a few times. It’s been a while since keeping DS off the luggage belt was a thing, but I didn’t realize how awesome he’d think it was not to have to schlepp your bag.

    Nap, very cool.

  87. Gate checking doesn’t work well any more because a lot of airlines just make you pick it up at baggage claim like everyone else.

  88. “I swear fighting for the overhead bin space (and being pissed off at all the “pre-boarding” people who hog all the space) is the worst part of flying.”

    That’s my biggest flying stressor. And I agree with DD that they should charge for carry-ons, not checked bags.

  89. I think airlines should go back to including baggage in the ticket price and let you do with it what you want. Or charge for everything by weight.

  90. Mooshi, yes, that part sounds a pain, but gate-checking is free & doesn’t require you to get to the airport earlier.

  91. I realize that for family groups the upcharges really amount to a lot, enough to make or break the decision to fly/travel at all. However, for couples in all but the early economizing years the coach plus or whatever upcharge is worth it for the preboarding, overheard space, extra leg room. Flying is so darn cheap nowadays. My first flight was at 2 weeks old so I have been flying since the 50s, aware of costs since the mid 60s. I’ll take cattle class on a plane over Greyhound any time.

  92. I am short so overhead bins are terrible for me to deal with. After British Airways flight attendants refused to help me push my bag in, I check my bags and I have good luck.

  93. Meme – I convinced my parents to fly international in business class with lie flat seats. They were so refreshed after being able to sleep. It was worth the cost.

  94. Louise, the last time we traveled, I faltered for a moment lifting my bag up to the overhead bin. Two men sprang from opposite directions to help me. DS thought it was the funniest thing ever, did t see how much I hate the idea of not being able to lift my own bag—whether it’s because it’s too much stuff or me not being strong enough. Yuck!

  95. Mooshi, baggage claim is a lot easier with a big kid. Someone has to sit back and make sure no one takes the bags we have so far. Might as well be me, lol

  96. I was considering sending in that “new normal” question I asked as a topic. It clearly would’ve been a dud. I’m surprised to see how few people’s kids have been somehow affected.

  97. Funny story – my DD has a Math assignment that involves planning a whole trip in a given buget. They have to account for airline tickets, hotel, transportation, food and attraction tickets.
    They thought that they had quite enough but then their teacher assigned them jobs and a specific budget. Their team had Nanny for a job. From the Ritz Carlton in Boston they had to choose a no name hotel in Charlestown. They were fuming that some kids got Pro Athlete.

  98. I can also travel for a week with a backpack. I learned how on my adventure travel.

    I can, but I don’t want to. I went to Tucson a few weeks ago for the weekend and then Mankato, MN last weekend. I wedged everything into my tiny, under seat carry-on, and then pouted every morning because I didn’t have any choices about what to wear. I want choices! I want to go back to the days of traveling with several suitcases and a trunk! But instead of oppressing black men by forcing them to be porters, I want Tesla to make flying suitcases. Or something. Technology can solve this problem, I’m sure of it. They just have to get on the stick.

  99. Meme, I agree about how cheap flying is these days. I really would prefer if they just raised the fares and got rid of the extra fees. The problem is that it’s so easy to search by price that the airlines need to have the lowest base prices they can.

    My issue with charging for checked bags is that it encourages more carry-ons, which results in more fights for the overheads, and boarding and de-planing take longer. And most airlines don’t enforce the carry-on size limits so people are bringing on bags that are too big. Charge for the carry-ons and let people check bags for free (at least one per passenger), and the boarding process will be so much smoother.

  100. And Meme, I agree that most of the up charges aren’t bad when it’s only one or two people flying. But when you get to four or five, they become pretty pricey.

  101. I’m surprised to hear that people fly in separate seats than their kid(s). Granted I’ve only flown once with DD and that was on Southwest. I spent the extra $15 for each of us so I could ensure we sit together. I have another family flight booked on Delta next spring (me, DH, DD). I’ve reserved our seats already, but I don’t recall there being a charge for it.

    I like to sit next to DD because she is small and doesn’t take up a lot of room. If we put her between me and DH we might actually have a comfy flight. It’s a fairly long direct flight and I’d prefer to be able to talk to DH and DD while flying. Now I’m worried we will be split up!

  102. *Note- I understand why people *don’t* pay for the extra fees to sit together. I’m just curious why it exists. Can’t seats be reserved ahead of time?

    I also haven’t flown that much either lol.

  103. We have a Southwest flight coming up and I refused to pay the Early Bird fee for everyone. I have status that will get me on the plane earlier, so I will try to save a seat for my youngest, but we’ve had the discussion that everyone might be sitting alone. I’m hoping I can get at least two seats together. I’ll give those to the kids and DH and I can sit wherever.

  104. The other day there was a side conversation about dementia. My friend the geriatric-care manager just sent around another informational piece that I thought was interesting. It is about getting admitted to a nursing home. Apparently, it can be tough — it seems that just as there are HSS’s, there are HSNH’s (highly selective nursing homes). So if you’re looking for a placement for a loved one, make sure you have “safety” nursing homes on your list in case your relatives doesn’t make the cut for the “best” ones.

    For anyone who might be interested, here’s the text of my friend’s message:

    “The world of nursing home admissions

    A new client who is 92 years old came to us last week. She had been in the hospital for a medical issue when she developed delirium which is defined as an acute confusional state that is an organically caused decline from a previously baseline level of mental function. Basically, she didn’t know where she was or even who her children were for a time, and she was agitated, demanding to leave.

    The hospital staff felt that if they discharged her home, her confusion would clear. When the family asked if a short-term rehabilitation stay might be beneficial, they were told that their mother was “not rehab-able” by the attending physician. The family did as they were instructed and arranged for her to have 24-7 care from a private duty agency that was recommended to them by the hospital social worker. They did this because they didn’t feel that had any other options at that time.
    Their mother returned home. Her confusion didn’t clear to the point where she could be left alone, and she was having trouble keeping her balance, so for the first time in her life she had a walker (that she needed constant reminders to use). Mom’s assets and income could not keep up with the cost of $600 per day for much longer. They were stuck, worried, and needed guidance.
    Based on all their mother’s mobility, cognition and depleting assets, it was decided that there was no other option but to move her to a nursing home. The daughter’s had done their research, spoken to friends, and had vetted out their two choices for where they wanted their mother to go. However, it had never occurred to them that a nursing home, a place no one really wants to go, could turn their mother down, but that is exactly what happened.

    Here’s the way it went down, the two “top choice” nursing homes took a look at their mother’s clinical information. The hospital and current medical records clearly showed that their mother’s delirium required the use of haldol and subsequently their mother remained on a medication called seroquel. Both of these medications are considered ant-psychotics. These are HUGE red flags to the nursing homes. They are like a big red F on your report card when you apply to college. They both said “we don’t have a bed for her”.

    So, we continued down the list to the “second tier” options, not unlike your child not being able to get into their top choices of college. These second tier choice nursing homes, had the same concerns, but being that not as many people are “applying” to get into those particular nursing homes due to both government ratings and reputation in the community, they considered the admission a bit more closely. As a care manager who had met, gained the background and most importantly, the BIG picture of this woman, I was able to put on my advocate hat and call to give that more clear picture of her to the admissions team. This woman had been a teacher her entire life, and she was kind and easy going. The delirium was under better control with her medications, and in person, she was not the picture that was painted by her clinical records from the brief snapshot of time that was being portrayed. The nursing home accepted her after taking the more complete and accurate picture in mind.

    I share this story because I think it’s important that people understand, hopefully before anyone they love or work with ever needs nursing home care, that it is not as straightforward as you might think. While a college is a place that people actually want to go to, a nursing home can be just as strict in their vetting process when one is actually in need.
    If you know anyone in a similar situation, or have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”

  105. Cubs, there are often fees of varying amounts to reserve seats in advance, with some seats free. This threadlette began with someone’s rant that on a flight she was booking, there were no free seats.

    Rocky, when DS gets his next set of luggage (what he has now was a Christmas gift in SECOND grade, so he has to stoop to pull it), I’m thinking of one of those bags. BITD when we got luggage, the standard gift was a huge suitcase that holds as much as a footlocker, a smaller suitcase, and a “personal item” sized carryon. And we had more room in the seats too!

    Is there a standard gift set now? I’m thinking of 2 carry-ons, one overhead & one underseat, and a suitcase. One of them (probably underseat) needs a laptop pocket. Not sure if the latter should be ginormous, which would be used very rarely, but darn well appreciated when it is used, or a smaller one which he honestly probably wouldn’t use that much more. His clothes take up more room, but even if he’s traveling to a cold weather destination, he only needs daily changes of undies & T-shirt. The big warm sweatshirts and pants can be repeated.

  106. “I think airlines should be charging for carry-ons, not checked bags.”

    I agree! It is insanity. This is part of the reason that I like Southwest – people are much more sensible about what to check vs. carry on because fees aren’t involved.

    I’ve been traveling a bit more frequently for work. The trips are short enough and infrequent enough that I am in the dead zone – travel policy requires the lowest class ticket, I have zero status with anyone, lots of tiny planes – UGH. But I also refuse to spend my own money to make business travel slightly cushier, especially on a tiny plane/short flight. (REALLY – it costs $50 to upgrade to premium economy for a 40 minute flight on a regional jet between Detroit and Chicago?? GTFO!)

    For personal travel, we usually fly Southwest, and we have started recently just paying the $15 for early bird check in. When DS was younger, we’d just do family boarding regardless of the announced age limit (which varied and was sometimes ridiculously low – like 3 or 4). But now it’s just easier to figure the $90 round trip into our trip budget. When I travel alone – I only bother if it is a long flight. The <90 minute flight to Baltimore? Screw it – I take a mid-B group and sit in a strategically picked middle seat toward the front. Flying to the West Coast? I'll pay.

  107. OK- I’m totally out of the loop with airline flying! Our vacations thus far have only been to visit family or stay in a cabin that’s within driving distance. This will be our first flying vacation as a family. I’m flying coach, but the tickets were kind of expensive. Hopefully our seat reservations remain intact.

  108. “Flying is so darn cheap nowadays.”

    Seriously! I flew to Baltimore for spring break this year for less than $50 one way. That includes all fees and taxes. $50!!!! It would have cost me that much in gas alone to drive my sedan.

  109. SW’s $15 surcharge seemed reasonable to me. I paid it also because it was DD’s first ever flight and I thought she might like a window seat. Even then, we had one of the last of the A group with each leg.

  110. On dementia—nowhere near as dire as the above (thank you for the warning, NoB!)
    —I’m still stuck on my dad’s Christmas present. I got him a little trivia game that includes lots of “old” items I thought he’d remember & enjoy. Now I’m not sure he can, and besides, it was cheap. They have a big pyramid like this that was a gift, but they rarely set it up anymore, because of the hassle. Can anyone familiar with dementia please comment on its appropriateness? The upcurrent from the candles on the propellers makes it spin. I’m not sure he’ll recognize what’s happenening/be able to appreciate it. How late in the series of things they lose is this? What are some of the last things to go?


  111. “I can also travel for a week with a backpack.”
    On vacation, yes. Not when I am heading to a weeklong conference. I need both professional clothes and relaxation clothes and also need to haul a laptop and sometimes other materials.

  112. Rocky – why in world where you in Mankato? Not to mention it is just lovely this time of year. ;)

    On the topic of home improvement – I took today off. I came home from the grocery store to find a big pickup and trailer blocking my driveway. I march up to the house next door to yell at the guys demolishing that house. It isn’t their truck. Then I see I guy walking down my driveway. I go over to him and start yelling at him. Turns out he is working on my house. Repairing a floor tile that was cracked.The worst part about it was that he smelled like an ashtray. He is gone now, but the smell is lingering in my house. yuck

  113. Oops—forgot to mention that im thinking of getting him a little one, something like this. If he “gets” it, he might love it. OTOH, contrary to small children, me, and his former self, when he doesn’t understand, he isn’t interested; there is no delight in wonder & fascination.

  114. “I’ve been reading a lot on TripAdvisor and Canberra is a likely place, or if not there someplace on the coast. I’m still trying to get a feel for if it’s worth staying on the coast in winter.”

    We went to Canberra for a weekend during our month in Melbourne, but only to see a friend. There is a terrific military museum there, the Australian War Memorial, but otherwise it’s pretty bland.
    I would totally visit Melbourne before Canberra. And book a day trip to the Great Ocean Road to see what remains of the Twelve Apostles rock formations. We were there in autumn, which was very pleasant. Winter in much of Australia is not really winter.

  115. “I take a mid-B group and sit in a strategically picked middle seat toward the front.”

    Me too! DH has A-list status on Southwest, and he always goes first for the exit row (amazingly, he has snagged that seat even when his boarding number is 15), so when traveling with him, that’s where I usually end up, but when flying alone I would much rather pick my seatmates than the other way around. Just curious, Ivy, what strategies you use to pick your seat?

  116. Lemon, I’m a Betsy-Tacy fan, and the Betsy-Tacy Society was having a Victorian Christmas at the girls’ houses. My grandfather grew up in Mankato and plays a small role in the books. I decided to visit. I have a good friend in Minneapolis who came down to go with me.

    Or maybe I’m going to enroll in Mankato State! They have engineering programs!

  117. RMS, I was just about to ask if you were at the Betsy-Tacy event! I attended the Christmas party many years ago, and have been to some of their summer gatherings since. That’s about the only thing that would entice me there in December.

  118. @RMS – I love that you called it Mankato State. Officially, it is Minnesota State now, but forget that. Minnesota State is a fake school on a 90’s TV show (Coach), and it was Mankato State back when I was in the area & we were playing them in hockey.

    @Scarlett – I usually try to sit in between two average-sized middle-aged women in the first 4 rows. Then we all tend to get out our Kindles & read politely. Alternately, I will sit by a couple & then often one of them will give up the dream of having an empty seat in the row & move to the middle seat. You?

  119. I can’t stand Southwest’s boarding model so I avoid them. If I have to fly to the West Coast, I try to get JetBlue

  120. We don’t have Southwest so I’m not sure I’ve ever flown them. I’m all too happy to pay for an assigned seat.

  121. JFKs poor infrastructure is not a good reason to have airline policy that favors large “free” carryons.

    What’s interesting is that Alaska guarantees that checked luggage comes out quickly (20 or 30 min). They are able to do this at all the airports they service. Including Orlando. We recently flew SW there and had to be rerouted, no food for purchase on flights and greater than an hour to get our luggage. I regret I didn’t spring for the nonstop Alaska tickets. Our planned 9p arrival (not spppsed to be a sh!tstorm with a time change) turned into 11p, +2hrs to get out of the airport = arrival in bed at 2a. Kids were a hot mess for days.

  122. NoB — That’s great advice. Putting in the context of applying for college is helpful for me.

    When you all say you travel for a week with only a backpack I imagine it’s a larger one designed to be used as luggage. I travel light and recently traveled for two weeks with a 20″ rolling carry-on and a backpack. I did some laundry half way through the trip but that was not critical. I dislike checking luggage mainly because I’ve had some bad experiences with lost luggage but it also saves time not having to wait to claim it on arrival.

  123. Denver Dad, will you be heading to Australia in their winter? If so, I’d recommend heading north. We just visited there in June and went to Sydney, Brisbane, and the Cairns area. The Great Barrier Reef is at its best in June/Julyish. I’ve been to Melbourne in January, and it was wonderful, but it may be chilly in June, and the daylight hours for sightseeing are short.

  124. Cubs Fan, if you already have reserved seats you aren’t going to lose them. As Rhett mentioned, a lot of airlines have a charge to reserve seats, which is why the sitting next to the kids thing is an issue.

    The Southwest early boarding fee is up to $25 now on some flights. We’re flying them to NY next month and I’m still debating if it’s worth paying $200 for it.

    Scarlett, Melbourne is too far of a drive from Sydney. We’re not going to go anywhere we need to fly to.

  125. Big Passport, yes we will be there in winter. Again, we are not going to fly anywhere from Sydney, we are looking for places within a 3 hour drive or so.

  126. “I did some laundry half way through the trip but that was not critical”
    I was so irked recently at a couple of basketball commentators who blathered on about how long they’d been on the road, when they could finally get home, that they were running out of clothes. One of them said his wife usually picks out his outfits, so that was hard for him. Get some quarters, fellas! Those machines won’t bite.

    Ivy, I didn’t know that. “Mankato State” is where a lot of my mom’s relatives went to college.

    If we check our luggage, gate-check ornregular, my ideal scenario is for it to be delayed a couple of hours, just long enough to have it delivered, which is always free. Worst two late-luggage experiences—Papeete, because I was there for a conference and sending the suitcase “on the next flight” meant a 3-day wait, and a friend from the UK who stayed with us for several days at the beginning of a week or two of conferences and lectures. We went shopping for clothes a couple times, and I gave him an old duffel bag with a broken handle and one pocket unusable because of mysterious sticky gunk. His suitcase arrived at his home a few days after he did.

  127. NoB, very interesting information. I’ve always suspected that there was some of that going on in the background after hearing personal stories from friends.

    Your friend is also an excellent writer.

  128. Ivy,
    that is exactly my approach as well, though younger trim women are OK too if they are nicely dressed and seem unlikely to be pulling out a smelly messy lunch bag.
    Men of any age are a far riskier bet!
    In October, we flew from MDW to DC with 80+ 8th graders from Hillsdale on a school trip. Yikes. Though they thoughtfully herded them all in the back of the plane….

  129. Scarlett,
    I agree with you on men being a riskier bet as seatmates. Men of all sizes are likely to manspread and hog the armrests, too. Little old ladies are my preferred seat neighbors.

  130. Ooh… but little old ladies are very risk for chatty-times. Trim middle-aged business men. They’ve got no time for me.

  131. “if you already have reserved seats you aren’t going to lose them.”

    Not necessarily. We’ve had airlines change the planes they were using for our flights. In some cases they didn’t reassign seating, and in others they reassigned seating without our input.

  132. “I dislike checking luggage mainly because I’ve had some bad experiences with lost luggage but it also saves time not having to wait to claim it on arrival.”

    Yeah, I’m old enough to remember when those were the main reasons people would avoid checking luggage.

  133. “I want choices! I want to go back to the days of traveling with several suitcases and a trunk! But instead of oppressing black men by forcing them to be porters, I want Tesla to make flying suitcases. Or something. Technology can solve this problem, I’m sure of it. They just have to get on the stick.”


    In Japan, it’s pretty common for people to use freight forwarders to send luggage directly to destinations.

  134. “Or charge for everything by weight.”

    Once again reminding me of BITD when we’d get on the scale, with our luggage, when checking in.

  135. There are some things that are worth a little bit extra cost to me. In domestic economy plus, you get to board early, more leg room, near the front of the plane so you get off first, and if you prefer to check one larger carry on sized bag, as I do, it is usually free. On many international flights, premium economy is 2-4-2, more leg room, and you get meals drinks and better service (sort of like business class in the early days).
    I don’t mind checking luggage unless I have a connection, and when we went to Hawaii I packed woolite packets and enough in the mini carryons to get us through the cruise if the bags were delayed and packed a second week of stuff in the checked regular sized “carryon” rollers. I don’t fly SW routinely anymore, since if there is no way to do only a direct flight I have to have a very very good reason to make the journey. To get to Santa Cruz I fly to SFO and go by land. To get to Tucson I fly to Phoenix and do the same.

  136. NoB – we ran into that with my MIL who was in the hospital after a car crash. She had to have surgery to fuse a couple vertebrae in her neck. It turned out that the anesthesia (and possibly the medications she was on) led to temporary dementia. She had to be strapped to her bed with a waist belt because she kept thinking she was home and trying to get out of bed. She’d asked if the neighbors had checked on her dog (she hasn’t had a dog for over 30 years). She became belligerent with the nurses when her husband wasn’t there. As a result, it was difficult to find a nursing home that would accept her (her husband didn’t think he could care for her while she had the dementia as it would take 24 hour supervision – he was worried about her getting up and falling while he was sleeping). Fortunately her dementia cleared up and she was able to go home rather than to a nursing home – but it took close to a week for that to occur.

  137. NoB, that story reminds me of my uncle. He was hospitalized for back surgery, and while hospitalized became very disoriented, to the point that some people thought he’d developed dementia.

    However, after returning home, he regained his senses, and a year after the surgery was acting younger than he was just prior to surgery.

    My grandma had a similar bout when she was hospitalized after breaking her leg in a fall.

  138. Although my grandma wasn’t in better shape physically after release; she had to use a walker until she could no longer walk even with the walker.

  139. The temporary demenita is delerium.

    SSM, how long ago was that? Restraints like that aren’t allowed. Nursing homes aren’t even allowed to use bed rails because they are considered restraints.

  140. DD – it was in November and was in the hospital. It seemed like a lap belt. We were all ok with it because otherwise someone would have had to constantly sit next to her 24 hours a day to make sure she didn’t try to get out of bed (which would then have likely resulted in her falling which then would have led to more complications).

  141. I have found men to be bigger bets on being chatty on airplanes. All ages. You gotta look for moms with books/kindles. They just want peace & quiet dammit!

  142. I was returning from a conference and I was in the mid B’s boarding Southwest. I was destined for a middle seat, and chose one between 2 women. As I stood by the row the woman in the middle seat, brusquely suggested that I try for an empty row in the back of the plane. I responded that there weren’t any, and so I sat in the middle seat. It turned out that she had just attended the same conference, and had been a guest speaker on a panel that someone in my organization had created. We ended up having a good conversation. She was a little sheepish about her original comment.

  143. “She was a little sheepish about her original comment.”
    As she should’ve been. Jeesh!

    Meme, I spend enough time in an airplane seat during the flight. No way do I want early boarding! I do note, however, that SW lets all seniors and anyone who needs extra assistance (wheelchair, oxygen, whatever) preboard. I’m trying to get my parents to use that airline for the commute from one home to the other, because it is the only one with direct flights. They have heard so much about the boarding stampedes that they are frightened to try.

    DD, legal or not, that kind of restraint is not ok by me. What else should one look for in choosing a nursing home?

    Finn, I’ve heard of that weigh-in for flights around the Pacific. Can you imagine the uproar if carriers started doing it now, in the mainland USA? Yikes, lol.

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