Tuesday open thread

We have an open thread all day.

How’s the weather around you?

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182 thoughts on “Tuesday open thread

  1. I’m sorry to say that I have no idea why people keep getting logged out when commenting. I have not changed any settings.

  2. @July: Comment just got eaten (was identifying myself as author of first post), tried to re-post and it said duplicate comment. What the heck is up with WordPress???

  3. Schools are closed as a light snow is falling and icy conditions are forecast for later. But forecast tomorrow is for a 42 high.

  4. @July: my comments keep getting eaten (including my comment to you telling you it was getting eaten) LfB here — it let me post the first comment but logged me out again, then when I tried to log in, it ate my comments.

  5. No snow here yet, but I am rooting for it to come soon this afternoon so I can sit the kids in front of the TV and not have to take them to their math and dance classes. ;) Right now it is about 20 here and cloudy.

  6. It has been below freezing at night for the last few days. Almond blossom should start in about a week, when that happens we really need temps above 55 degrees in the daytime or the bees won’t fly and pollinate the almonds. It has been cold enough that the trees aren’t even starting to bloom, so maybe we get a late bloom this year.

  7. I was so glad our schools closed, not because of snow fears, but because both kids were utterly, utterly bogged down with homework and wuold have been up until midnight otherwise. Now, they can get it done today in a more sane fashion

  8. Seattle has received 14+ inches of snow over the last 9 days. So far in February, DS has had 2 full days of school; 2 partial days; and 4 snow days. And next week is mid-winter break so no school. February – the month of no school. I’m so grateful DS is old enough to be left home alone. Things are now starting to turn to rain and slush and we are all hoping temperatures remain above freezing.

  9. Please hang in there with the commenting problem as I haven’t found any solution yet. This would be the time to make a copy your comment before submitting it in case it gets eaten.

  10. We’re back from our final ski trip, so I’m officially done with winter and wondering why it can’t warm up sooner for over-the-water skiing.

    My middle child can confidently ski any slope in the resort. The oldest could also with more confidence, but is more cautious and prefers blues. The youngest still relies too heavily on a hybrid system of snowplow and turning for speed control, but has made great progress this year.

    We were there with two other families (separate rental units) and the dynamic worked out well. Our surgeon friends are the only people I’ve ever, as an adult, felt the slightest twinge of…I don’t know…like we are out of our league materially (clothes, cars, house, etc.). (DW has reported the same feeling.) So it was interesting, after the other couple left, the four of us were having drinks and they were talking about the absent couple (always dangerous) and they became critical of the other couple’s profligate spending habits, attributing it to their troubled upbringings and a suspected need to compensate by always having the “best car,” etc. DW and I said nothing about money and just nodded along, but I thought “at least I don’t have to worry about THAT particular line of judgment.”

  11. We’re going to get ~6″ of snow from 7am till early-to-mid afternoon, then it’s supposed to be sleet/freezing rain till 6pm or so, then rain for a couple of hours. Coming in was no prob; going hom I’ll have to see how I want to play it…either stay here till 6 or so then just go home or leave at 530 and try to get to the gym (3 miles) to work out for an hour while the traffic clears.

  12. “Seattle has received 14+ inches of snow over the last 9 days.”

    My buddy the Seattle cop, lives in the city, said in a text “I shoveled a little. Drove just fine. They say bitter cold. It’s like 30. Serious. It’s so odd. And a new narrative. We have like 300k new population in the past 5 years. Mostly from elsewhere. It’s nuts.”

  13. We have gotten so much snow and it has been so cold that we are contemplating another ski trip when DD1 comes back for spring break. She has her father’s athletic genes and they can play on any slope. He can still ski backwards and do jumps, although he has toned it down because if he gets hurt, we are all in trouble. DD2 can get down any slope, but doesn’t enjoy it as much as the rest. DS gets better every time he hits the slopes. And me, well, they are all kind enough to each ski with me a part of the day before they go off to ski at their level.

  14. We are getting pounded by snow and I love it. After a lack of snow, we were due for some good stuff. Plus, it has been above 10 degrees, which means that salt works and it is easy to clear the roads (we have huge plows here). Local skiing has been great too.

    We leave soon for skiing out west. We rented a house with another family so we’ll see how it goes. I’m looking forward to it, but we’ve never shared living space with another family (DH and the other H have been friends since childhood).

  15. We have the wintry mix – again. Very little snow this winter, but the ice or sleet is hitting our windows now. I understand why schools have to close in this type of weather because it is dangerous for driving since the surfaces tend to be so icy. I posted a few weeks ago about how much I hate our new superintendent, and this guy screwed up again with this storm. Almost all of the districts closed last night, but he sent out a note around 11 to say that we would probably close, but he wouldn’t call it until 5 AM. The community thinks this guy is an idiot, and this isn’t even the main part of his job responsibilities. He just doesn’t realize (even though many parents have told him) that this is the most visible part of the job, and now he got it wrong for the third time. I know the Board of Ed doesn’t want to toss him out for weather screw ups, but he has lost the confidence of most of the community over something that 90% of the other superintendents got right int he county.

  16. attributing it to their troubled upbringings and a suspected need to compensate by always having the “best car,”

    Maybe this is true. But maybe they just make a lot of money and enjoy having a nicer car?

  17. Lark – We don’t know them as well, so for all I knew, that could be right. I actually had no idea what kind of cars they had, and I’m past the point in my life where I would care.

    But the ones that know them better, who were telling us all this, seem to know that they tend to have a lot of drama about money and bills and such. So they probably are correct that they’re way overspending.

    DW and I generally don’t talk about money at all with friends, so I have no clue what they think of our decisions.

  18. ‘but I thought “at least I don’t have to worry about THAT particular line of judgment.”’

    But it would make me wonder what they ARE judging me about. Do you think your friends are trying to compensate? Or just like nice stuff and don’t mind showing it off? Or something else?

  19. We had some wintry mix over the weekend, but at almost noon today it is 58 and sunny.

    The building I work in, when I go into the office, had an early closure (10 am) for a rodent issue. It has been a problem on and off for a while, but apparently these extra tenants are getting bolder about when and where they are seen.

    DD#1, now in college, was at first a bit miffed in high school because they had at least 1 day of holiday each month. After her freshman year, she was happy to have that extra day for getting caught up or a bit a head on school work.

  20. “Damp and 58 degrees.”

    That’s pretty close to how it was here yesterday. It’s been really cold here recently.

  21. Having same experience as LfB.

    Question – Those of you with college freshmen or sophomores, are they generally reporting college is more, the same or less work than high school?

    DD#1 is reporting it is roughly the same amount of work, but the difference is high school had more assignments that individually took less time while college has fewer assignments that take more time.

  22. DS1 has about the same amount of work, but so much more control over his time (sophomore in college).

  23. I’m looking forward to some snow! We’ve hardly had any this year. I’m sort of a freak in that I actually like winter.

    No downhill skiers in our family — DH grew up in the mountains, but gave up downhill skiing after seeing a few too many of his friends and acquaintances blow out their knees while skiing. He is an avid cross-country skier, though, and we’re heading up to Vermont for a couple of days next week so that he can get his fix.

  24. The good thing about Denver Public Schools teachers’ strike is that some of the kids decided to pick up an extra lifeguarding shift, so we had plenty of staff. Might as well make a little scratch if the schools are pointless. The bad thing is that every bored teenager who doesn’t work here is currently wedged into the pool.

  25. I wish we had snow. My favorite thing about MN was the bright blue skies, crystal-clear air, and fluffy white coating. Last few years here we have been right on that snow/sleet/rain line, so we’ve had lots of grey days, unpredictably slippery roads and such, and no fun snow to play in. I’d much rather have a nice 2′ dump of snow!

  26. RMS. are we going to hear about the differences you see in lifeguarding between now and the past? I’d love to hear if your take on it mirrored/was opposite my kids’ experiences.

  27. We let the kids stay home today because of the strike. DW heard from a friend that there are hardly any kids there today. We are making the kids go to the Y to get some exercise and do an hour of SAT prep so it’s not a total wasted day. Hopefully they settle this thing soon.

  28. Last week it was very warm, this week back to cold and rainy. Both kids schools are infected with flu like symptoms and kids were slightly sick but some of their friends were out for several days. Looking forward to sunny weather rather than cloudy and gray.

  29. July – which friends? the kinda judgey ones that we know better, or the ones who weren’t there at this point and we were hearing this about?

    as for the ones we were having some drinks with, the surgeon and his wife, I don’t quite know their motivations. they grew up very middle class — him especially — and now they tend to like nice things. I don’t think them of them as show-offs, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that they’re really down to earth types, either. I don’t feel as comfortable around them as I do with most other people. Their baseline price points for everything are simply higher. They came to our Christmas dinner party and brought a $60 bottle of wine as a standard gift for hosting. That kind of thing.

    I do like them both, however. And it’s not like we have a ton of options to choose from in the friends department; we have to take what we can get. And two of my kids are very close to their two kids, perfect overlap with ages and grades. Plus, everyone’s a little bit crazy or has some sort of issue.

  30. Just saw your post, Fred. Good to hear!

    My mom slipped and fell on black ice and broker her humerus in her shoulder. Going to help out.

  31. Lark – (carrying over from yesterday’s thread since this is open today)
    is it for warranty work that you want to be near the dealer? Every specific vehicle is different, but we’ve had I think 3 warranty-related items on the Q7 in 3.5 yrs of driving. 1 I definitely would have wanted to fix (weather stripping around the front doors), the other 2 I got fixed because the dealer is on my way to work, they gave me a loaner, i.e. made it easy for me. But otherwise I probably would have just let them go/done myself they were so minor.

  32. My freshman DS reports about the same amount of work, but more difficult in some cases (physics had a lot of calculus in it, and third semester calc is pretty intense). He is also in more advanced CS courses now, where the professor expects they will pick up new programming languages and OSs without any help. If I asked my students to do that, they would all run screaming to the dean!
    My DS thinks it is a lot easier to track assignments in college because everything is listed and submitted online. In HS, very few teachers listed assignments or accepted them online.

  33. LfB again: and to carryover from yesterday’s tech thread, now we have a line down to the house from all the ice — I think it is the landline, because everything else is working. So the joy of Verizon: I click the “call me” button, it says I have to log in first. It’s under DH’s name and I don’t want to look up the info, so I click the “live chat” feature. I type in that we have a line down and need a repair. It’s a bot. It says great! let me connect you to the right person. What do you need? And the three options are basically billing, upgrade account, or website help. Zero options for repairs. And no matter what I type in, it just restates the same irrelevant bot-crap. So then I get DH’s login info and click the “call me when a rep is available” button. They call me immediately, send me through a giant phone tree to figure out my problem — THEN put me on hold for the next available agent. The agent was actually helpful — took half the time talking to her as it did to get to her in the first place — but of course now they can’t get anyone out until Thursday. Hard to complain, because it’s not life-threatening and I’m sure they have a ton of calls. But it’s still right across my driveway, so I’m still stuck in the house for two more days, because I am NOT touching that thing until someone tells me it’s safe to do so!*

    *I am assuming it is the phone line, because the power comes into the other side of the house, but I don’t like to take anything like that for granted.

  34. Kerri – I’m sorry to hear that. The (black) ice was pretty bad here last week a couple of days. Even walking across mulched parts of my year in snow mocs I could feel the slight slip of my feet. I didn’t even try my driveway those days.

  35. Yeah, she fell getting her mail. Darn black ice! She was able to get back into her house and call my aunt to help her.

    She doesn’t think I need to come but my siblings are both like “when are you arriving?”

  36. Kerri, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom.

    Cassandra:

    The biggest difference between being a lifeguard at a municipal pool in 1976 and 2019 is the demographics. Now, some of that is Denver v. Palo Alto. In 1976, the teenagers in Palo Alto were white and of Northern European descent. Okay, there were a few Asians. But we were Totebag kids, mostly. All the high school students were going to go to college eventually. And we had Stanford students working as guards and swim instructors! Can you imagine? I’m pretty sure that all Stanford students today, even the theater and comp lit majors, are required to have super-well-paid internships at Cloudera or Palantir or whatever, with Ubers picking them up from their company-sponsored bar hopping every evening. And I also can’t really imagine today’s Paly High or Gunn High students working as lifeguards and swim instructors. They’re all doing Important Volunteer Work Overseas, or making a ton of money at tech companies (if they have the skillz and the connections) or going to Math Camp or Robotics Camp or some other high-powered camp that will enhance their chances of getting into Stanford. Or else teaching at those camps.

    Now the kids are predominantly working class. The majority are black or Latinx. Many are high school students. Some are students at either one of the local community colleges or Metro State or CU Denver. They have struggles with transportation. The pool manager tears her hair out trying to manage them, because when they get together (mostly in the afternoon shifts) they sleep or party or just generally act like bored teenagers. Nothing really terrible. Well, two of them got in a fist fight, resulting in one being fired. The other guy had quite a shiner, and he smells like booze when he shows up at 9:00am. I think he has a difficult home life. For the most part, each of the kids is perfectly fine when dealt with individually, but they are a pain when they all get together. InMyDay everyone showed up on time, took their rotations on time, read novels during breaks (well, we didn’t have phones. We would have read our phones if we’d had them).

    My two main coworkers for the early morning shift are both older than average. K is in her 20s, putting herself through Metro State, getting a Therapeutic Recreation degree. She’s had “real” jobs in the past, including as a pool and program manager for one of the high schools, but that program lost its funding. She does her homework on her breaks. The other one is a young man in his mid-30s, who has no apparent ambition. He’s been a lifeguard for years and years. He’s super reliable. He’s there every day at 5am, he does the chem checks and the cleanup and goes out for his rotations exactly on time. But he’s never even taken the Water Safety Instructor training, which would allow him to teach classes and make more money. He comes in, he does his job, he watches videos on his phone, and he goes home. Well, he’s not my son. None of my beeswax. It’s a perfectly fine way to live if that’s what suits you.

  37. @ Fred – yes, for warranty work esp. with something like a Tesla that requires such specificity. But also for routine maintenance that’s included when you buy the car. DH and I both got 3 years of included oil changes, tire rotations, etc. with the last cars we bought, and I assume many dealers still do this. We haven’t actually gone to drive anything yet. I get test-drive fatigue quickly, so we’re making a list first and then will take our time driving.

  38. Oh — I forgot the biggest surprise. The kids all hate swimming! InMyDay we were all swim team kids, or at least enthusiastic swimmers. A lot of these kids can barely swim the required 300 yards. 300 yards is nothing! It’s 12 lengths, or 6 laps. Even the ones doing the WSI course hate swimming and are bad at it. I think it’s really weird.

  39. So it was interesting, after the other couple left, the four of us were having drinks and they were talking about the absent couple (always dangerous) and they became critical of the other couple’s profligate spending habits, attributing it to their troubled upbringings and a suspected need to compensate by always having the “best car,” etc.

    Damned if you do damned if you don’t. When you’re not around they probably say, “There goes Milo crying poor mouth again.”

  40. Lol!!!

    But we don’t do that, either. We really don’t say anything about money, especially with them.

    I will sometimes joke around with my anesthesiologist friend, because we’re just more open with that kind of stuff. At one point a couple years ago, he brought up mortgage rates and refinancing, and I was listening and commenting intelligently on the math. And he asked if I’d refinanced. So at that point, I said no because we didn’t have a mortgage any more. So when he was at our place recently and commented on something or other DW had put on the mantle (actually it was Christmas stockings) and he asked “are those from Pottery Barn?” I said “God no! I think they’re from Kohl’s. We can’t afford anything from Pottery Barn.”

  41. RMS – here its a mix of kids. There are many pool settings here from municipal pools to country club. The Y’s have big facilities need a lot of staffing especially in the summer with camps. The Y, is the middle of road. The life guards seem to be quite responsible, they watch the pool like hawks and are strict about horseplay, running around the edge of the pool and making sure kids are swim tested. DS is going to be a CIT, this summer. He is making the transition from a camper to trainee. Here, mundane or old fashioned extra curriculars don’t mean you are not good enough for well known colleges.

  42. RMS — I have a swim-instructor question for you. My DD, age 11, has been taking swimming lessons every summer at the Y since she was 2, and she still can’t swim beyond a dog paddle. She loves being in the water, and any time she goes to a kid’s birthday party where there’s a pool involved, she’s the first kid in the pool, and the last kid out. But even with her love of the water, and all those lessons (with a variety of instructors), she can’t do a basic crawl stroke at all. Any tips on getting her to be able to swim half-decently? (She’s perfectly well coordinated in other activities, so it’s not a general lack-of-physical-aptitude thing.)

  43. Thanks for all the well wishes!

    Houston – at least my siblings are now speaking to each other, at least about our mom! Yes, I’m expecting it to be a trying few days. I’m also on another Whole30 diet, so no booze. I may need to re-think that.

    I was not able to make it home very often when my dad was ill (and no one realized that his illness would be his last), so want to make sure I get some qualify time with my mom. Not to be too dire, but she is 78 and does not deal well with these types of situations. Goodness, at least she broke her arm and not her hip.

  44. Kerri, hope everything goes well, and if your siblings drive you crazy, I have one word: ERRANDS. Gets you out of the house and if you “just can’t find” what you were looking for at the first store you can go to more for longer. ;)

  45. Kerri — best wishes to your mom and good luck on your trip. Haha I like L’s advice about errands. I just did my balance exercises with extra special care. I hate ice, but I think I’ll be walking down to Taco Tuesday in a little while. Only one margarita for me!

  46. Lark,

    Keep in mind with Tesla they pick up your car for service and leave a loaner so it’s not lien you have to bring it to a dealership.

  47. to be critical, the interior looks very 1980s’ish. It looks like Steve Sanders’ house on 90210.

  48. NoB,

    I see where you’re going with the house. But the minimalism is disrupted by all the lighting and HVAC openings. I think to do that right you need it all hidden. If it has to be that disrupted then better go with a scheme that hides all the mechanical work.

  49. NoB – the hospital style stairs on that house really bug me. It’s cool otherwise! (I feel like that about all those metal roundy banisters etc, just like a hospital stairwell!) (I would also put in COLOR with art and furniture, don’t tell Rhett)

  50. NoB, has she had private lessons? Those can be more effective than group lessons. The only other thing I would suggest is to have the instructor move her arms for her. It can be hard for kids to really understand how their arms are supposed to move. They don’t get the whole “reach back towards your hip, now lift your elbow first out of the water and drag your fingertips across the surface of the water til your arm is mostly extended. Then cup your hand and pull under your body.” See? It’s hard to explain. You have to stand behind the kid and move their arms. You can also balance them on a kickboard or noodle so they’re horizontal, then move their arms for them.

  51. Rhett — Yeah, I did notice all the holes in the ceiling where they have placed lights.

    L – What bugs me about the house is that its interior looks a lot like the interior of the Suffolk Probate and Family Court. Which is a very nice court house, but still, I don’t want my house to feel like a court house!

  52. I have those Yak Trax. I used them when I had to walk the dog in the dark. I also have some galoshes with sparkly grit on the bottom. In both cases, you MUST take them off before walking on your hardwood.

  53. RMS – She took some private lessons when she was very small, but then we moved her to the group lessons. Maybe I’ll think about offering her private lessons again, especially since at this point, all the kids in group lessons would all be a lot longer than her.

    Milo — She actually loves going under water. Whenever I take her to the pool, she wants me to throw in a bunch of pool toys (in the shallow end) so she can swim under water to get them. But once she swims down and back up with a toy, she needs to take a break by standing up on the bottom of the pool, or dog-paddling over to the side – she can’t just keep swimming. As for exhaling, I think she does OK with that.

  54. RMS makes a good point about private lessons. One of my children is not a good swimmer. I take that back…she is a fine swimmer, but she does not look like it. In fact, last summer a life guard kindly asked her to stop swimming like she was because it is hard to tell if she is in danger. She can swim multiple lengths of the pool, she can swim in jump off the high dive and make it quickly to the edge of the pool, but her form is horrible and splashy. For years we had her in small group lessons, never private. Now for skiing we noticed immediately that in small group lessons she wasn’t catching on. So we moved her to private lessons and it made a huge difference. Why? Because she needed someone to watch only her, point out every flaw in her form, and physically move her body to correct it. My other child does great in group lessons for all sports.

  55. So I agree, of course, with the private lessons suggestions. It sounds like she’s not efficient at treading water, either. And if she’s happy to go under water, then it’s not a fear issue.

  56. NoB, how does she get to the bottom of the pool? In my observation, most people use breast stroke, or something similar, for that sort of swimming. Perhaps rather than crawl, you might want her to develop a good breast stroke first.

    My crawl stroke is horrible; I’m slow, and it makes me tired really fast. But I can (or at least could) literally go for miles with a breast stroke or side stroke. A couple other things I’ve learned that are very useful are to tread water efficiently, and drown proofing. Getting her comfortable floating on her back would help too (I’m a sinker so that doesn’t work for me).

  57. “We are making the kids go to the Y to get some exercise and do an hour of SAT prep so it’s not a total wasted day.”

    SAT prep? You have just surrendered any claim to not being totebaggy.

    What are the issues that led to the strike?

  58. “DS1 has about the same amount of work, but so much more control over his time (sophomore in college).”

    Same for DS. The flip side to more control over his time is more responsibility for his time.

    Living on campus also frees up more time. When he first started, he had so much time he was looking around for things to do, much of which he attributed to not spending any time commuting. He’s increased his course load, picked up jobs, and has friends to hang out with, so that’s not an issue any more.

  59. RMS…..I was not a fan of Gavin Newsom. I am still way too cynical to support him yet; he is picking low hanging fruit to fix. He is also going after the DMV. STILL he is fixing the low hanging fruit, which no one else has bothered with.

    I am sure this is for his presidential run in 2024 (Nancy Pelosi is either aunt or godmother, I forget which), but still, he has made some moves to make life better and is apparently trying to engage and pay attention to the interior.

    And yes, stopping the train to nowhere is a good idea.

  60. “last summer a life guard kindly asked her to stop swimming like she was because it is hard to tell if she is in danger”

    I am laughing so, so hard at this. Does that make me a horrible person? (LfB here)

  61. Car update– DW test drove the Tesla Model 3 and really liked it. It checks a lot of boxes, but it’s more than we initially planned to spend, and the tax credits for it have gone down. Perhaps that has something to do with their availability.

    But for a pure electric car, there’s not a lot of other options. I think we’ll check out the Chevy Bolt again.

    The Nissan Leaf seemed pretty decent. I liked the amount of cargo area (although the Model 3 was much better for that), and in addition to a $7500 tax credit, the local utility is offering a $3500 rebate, we can buy it through Costco, and we don’t have to get to top trim to get what we want, so the pricing is quite attractive. But we’re concerned about the crash test results not being very good.

    Kia and Hyundai have announced electric cars, and we’ve read good reviews of them, but they’re not yet available here, and the local dealers don’t know when that’ll happen.

  62. Milo, I enjoyed your “(always dangerous)” comment. Yes, yes it is. But some of those conversations tell you far more than the spoken words themselves. Money is an area where judgment is nearly universal. I made a similar comment once at book club, and another member has brought up more than once, “Swim, your comment has stuck with me, we DO all judge how other people spend their money but I never though of it that way until you said it out loud.”

    I think the danger is in letting that judgment come out of our mouths rather than staying in our heads. On a run recently, a friend she discussed how she was taking personal loans via her Discover card (not sure how that works exactly) for child 1 who is getting a music degree at a private college. Personal loans? It was hard to breathe, and not because of our pace obviously.

    Kerri – ditto on the errands recommendation. Grocery store trips for the one ingredient you forgot are especially useful. Wishing her a very speedy recovery. You are probably in the midst of it, but looking closely at her living space and how she goes about her day are good things to know now so that you can anticipate adjustments. Re: clothing – does she have enough warm weather tops that zip or button rather than pull over? Pants with elastic waist that can be easily put on with one arm?

  63. LfB – I was actually happy that she didn’t blow her whistle and jump in, and instead talked to her first. And now when she goes swimming I use it as a reminder to be aware of how your swimming looks to others “remember the life guards may think you are drowning, so think about your stroke”. She is really good at the breast stroke…it is the free and treading water that is insane.

    I will say that the life guards at our pool are on it. The girls are super cute and wear teeny life guard suits, but when they are in their chairs or standing by the pool these kids are constantly scanning the water, and when they rotate and replace another guard they aren’t joking or flirting, it is all business. Even the guy that circles the pools every 5 minutes or so has the “don’t mess me, don’t talk to me” look as he is looking at the bottom of the pool.

  64. I kind of enjoy all the anon comments. It’s scary how easily I can identify the writer from the first couple of sentences, long before the clarifying follow-up post.

  65. We have a few friends we can talk about money with, but not many. Isn’t it funny that it more than probably any other area of life it’s such a judgment zone.

  66. Those YakTrax are kidn of lightweight crampons. They are like the ones we used when we hiked up Emeishan in winter. There were tons of vendors renting them out.

  67. Anybody an obsessive fan of the history of baseball? This book is by an acquaintance of mine. He’s dedicated years and years to getting all the trivia and facts straight.

  68. ” Isn’t it funny that it more than probably any other area of life it’s such a judgment zone.”

    Just thinking as I’m writing, but perhaps it’s partly because, unlike so many other potentially controversial issues, it doesn’t lend itself to binary simplification. At least in today’s times, it seems like you either embrace political or religious differences or not, and if you do, then you can decide whether it’s a topic for friendly discussion, or one to be avoided, but at least the terms are clear.

    With money, there are so many more complicating issues, and judgment can come from all angles. You can be seen as spending too much, or not spending enough. Or not making enough, or giving your kids too much. Add in the element of intergenerational support, which can be life-altering, and it becomes obvious that it’s never a level playing field.

  69. Kerri good luck with your visit to your mom and good thoughts for quick healing. Agree with brilliant suggestions re: errand running. But don’t fall on the ice yourself!

  70. One of my friends is driving a Tesla. She really likes the car, but someone hit her last week and she was told that it will be at least 3 months until they can fix her car. There is a long wait for the parts that they need to fix the car. She said that she is getting the run around from Tesla and one person even told her that a 3 month wait is “not that bad” for an accident repair.

    Speaking of accidents, I hope that DH doesn’t have any issues now because he just left to pick up DD from a friend’s house. There is little to no snow, but it the ice rain has been coming down all day and he has to navigate a very big hill to get to DD.

  71. I was procrastinating today and made a spreadsheet of new cars I am considering for the next kid car (ours is in the shop right now). The 3 things I care about are legroom in the 3rd row, cargo space behind the 3rd row, and turning radius, and the new version of the MDX comes out not great on the legroom. So now I’ll have to go test drive the other ones (pilot, expedition, suburban, etc).

  72. I regret to report I have also made a spreadsheet of cars, but the factors I’ve put in the cells are things like “IIHS top safety pick?” “collision avoidance/mitigation” “NHTSA rating” and “lane departure warning.” 8 cars have made the cut.

  73. “Lark seeks to mitigate her anxiety with spreadsheets”

    I do, too! But I’ve gotten better and only spreadsheet bigger purchases.

    I forgot that I own Yaktrax and I’ll try them on the hilly street later. I’m told there’s a snow cover that is not horrible to walk on.

  74. Spreadsheet? Bah humbug! Just get a late model used Honda or Toyota and call it a day. (Says the woman with the kids who still can’t/won’t drive)

  75. Lark, is “blind spot monitor” on your list?

    That’s something DW really wants.

    But this morning, as I was driving my car, I observed that I don’t really need it because I put some small stick-on convex mirrors on my other mirrors, and put wide-angle convex mirror over my interior rear-view mirror. The combination of those pretty much eliminates my blind spots.

    The stick-on spot mirrors also make backing into parking spaces a lot easier. I can readily see the lines with them.

  76. “I kind of enjoy all the anon comments. It’s scary how easily I can identify the writer from the first couple of sentences, long before the clarifying follow-up post.”

    ITA.

    This sort of reminds me of the great name change.

  77. 4:12 was me.

    Anon 3:40, I’m not sure who you are (Lauren?), but thanks for the tip about getting a Tesla repaired. I’ll ask DD’s BFF’s dad about that. He has a Tesla X, and it got hit by a baseball.

    But more generally, one issue with cars loaded with many of the safety features is that all those cameras and sensors make repairs very expensive.

  78. Yak Trax are great. They can be very difficult to get on and off the shoes or boots (impossible for someone with only one functional arm) so my suggestion is to have a dedicated “YT” shoe and just leave them on until spring.

    Totally agree with the private swim lesson suggestions — in fact, I make that suggestion to any Totebaggy friend who asks about kids and swimming. We only did it with one of our kids, who stubbornly refused to put his head under water until he was 5, but it was quite amazing how quickly he progressed with individual attention.

  79. Just thinking as I’m writing, but perhaps it’s partly because, unlike so many other potentially controversial issues, it doesn’t lend itself to binary simplification.

    I think it’s also that people lie both on the up side and the down side. I know people who are embarrassed they don’t make more. I know others who are equally embarrassed about making too much. Unless you have hard data you just never know. I’ve mentioned before the friend who got a house as a wedding present. How do you ever bring that up in casual conversation?

  80. SAT prep? You have just surrendered any claim to not being totebaggy.

    There is nothing else for them to do academically. All of their classes are on hold.

    What are the issues that led to the strike?

    Pay, of course. The current system is heavily bonused rather than having raises, so it’s unpredictable from year to year. Plus the salaries are low to begin with. They started negotiating over a year ago so it’s not like they haven’t had time to work it out.

  81. Yes, that comment about the Tesla was from me.

    DH was able to get back home with DD and now I have to figure out dinner. I always feel like I gain 5 pounds on a snow day even though I did try to stay out of the kitchen today except for lunch.

  82. Kerri, good luck to you and your mom!

    One of my friends is driving a Tesla. She really likes the car, but someone hit her last week and she was told that it will be at least 3 months until they can fix her car. There is a long wait for the parts that they need to fix the car. She said that she is getting the run around from Tesla and one person even told her that a 3 month wait is “not that bad” for an accident repair.

    Not that I’m in the market, but this is why I would never buy a Tesla right now. I’ve heard a lot of stories like this.

    (Says the woman with the kids who still can’t/won’t drive)

    DD would go down this road if we let her. She gets so nervous when she goes out of the neighborhood onto busier roads. She’s got until August to get her license, so I figure we can at least get her to where she can pass the test (which is absurdly easy from what DS said) and have her be comfortable driving to/from school and activities. Then we can work on the harder stuff later. I was talking to someone about this the other day and she said her daughter just wasn’t ready until she was 18.

  83. There is nothing else for them to do academically. All of their classes are on hold.

    Oh my. Home school police checking in. There’s always more to do academically! Let’s not confine learning to the classroom.

    With reference to the idea put forth by ?Rhett a while ago – if you love computer science (or anything else) so much you want to study it in college, shouldn’t you be doing it in your spare time? I’m happy to customize a reading list, blogroll or series of art prompts for all your snow-bound children.

  84. There used to be a simple way to check whether friends and neighbors earned over a certain amount if they owned a residential property in NY. Legislators in NY created the NY State Real Property Tax Law – aka STAR. It is a school tax rebate program offered in New York State aimed at reducing school district property taxes on the primary residences of New York residents.

    Like any tax law, it has morphed and changed into many different things over the years. Years ago, it was possible to determine if your neighbors earned above a certain amount because they wouldn’t qualify for the STAR rebate. The individual Towns and Villages publish property tax info for each property so it was possible to determine if someone earned over X and therefore didn’t qualify at all for STAR.

    It isn’t as useful now because the state made it more difficult to qualify for STAR and there are a lot of loopholes for veterans etc.

  85. “I was talking to someone about this the other day and she said her daughter just wasn’t ready until she was 18.”

    Our kids just weren’t interested in learning to drive either. But IMO it’s an adult life skill and parents care more than any driving instructor, so it makes sense to force them to learn while they are still living at home and you have the opportunity to help them become experienced drivers.

  86. My current gripes:

    1. I called last week to schedule a doctor appt and scheduled it for this afternoon. I got there and went to check in, and the woman can’t find my appt. She finally found that it was for March 12. I know 100% that it was their mistake, because I called last week and the scheduled talked about available appointments for “this week” and “next week.” They were able to get me in tomorrow, but it’s still really annoying.

    2. We’re starting to get the bills form DW’s most recent hospital stay. In Dec. when she was in, she was seen by an out of network provider. When she went in last month, someone from registration called me to discuss payment (DW told her to call me), and I asked how to ensure she isn’t seen by any OON providers. She said “all of the rounding providers have to be in-network for the same plans that we are in”. I told her that wasn’t the case in Dec, and she gave me some story about how it must have been because they had fill-ins around the holidays. We got a second bill from the OON provider from December yesterday. I had appealed it with UHC and they approved covering it as in-network. DW called the billing dept to make sure that they got that message, and they said they did, but they are still processing the latest bills. So it sounds like they saw her again. We’ll see if/when we get a bill. The good news is we blew through our out of pocket max so we have free health care the rest of year.

    3. Several times recently, we’ve gotten our neighbors’ mail by mistake. It makes me wonder if any of them have gotten our mail, and if so, if they’ve returned it. I haven’t noticed anything missing yet but you never know.

    4. I’m finishing up the reservations for our trip this summer and I realized I screwed up the timing of the AKL-SYD flight. It’s at 1 p.m., so there isn’t really time to do anything in the morning, and then there isn’t time to do anything after we get to Sydney. So I’m trying to change it, and I can live with paying the change fees, but the fare difference is pretty big right now so it would cost more to change the flight than the cost of the original tickets.

  87. “There’s always more to do academically! Let’s not confine learning to the classroom.”

    Last night I had to re-learn the definitions in algebra about whether something is a “function.” I had completely dropped that topic because I don’t think it ever really came up in subsequent math courses or applications.

    Of course, my kid has no textbook (I’m still blown away by that) and just a worksheet, but I was able to find some great videos and explanations online very easily.

    It didn’t occur to me, for example, that the equation that produces a circle is not a function. (Hint: if, when you graph it, you can draw a vertical line through more than one point, it’s not a function. Where any of this matters down the road, I’m not sure.)

  88. Hint: if, when you graph it, you can draw a vertical line through more than one point, it’s not a function. Where any of this matters down the road, I’m not sure.)

    It matters for forecasting. There needs to be a one to one correspondence between the dependent variable and the independent variable. If the independent variable can result in more than one value for the dependent variable, then you don’t have a function, and the equation can’t be used for prediction.

    So, if you can determine whether you have a function, you know whether you can use your equation for prediction. Actually, you just know that a necessary, but not sufficient condition has been met. Your forecast might still be garbage, but not because you can get more than one result from a single value of the independent variable.

  89. DD/RMS, are the local libraries very crowded now?

    Dunno, I wasn’t in there today.

  90. But IMO it’s an adult life skill and parents care more than any driving instructor, so it makes sense to force them to learn while they are still living at home and you have the opportunity to help them become experienced drivers.

    I agree 100%.

    DD/RMS, are the local libraries very crowded now?

    I have no idea, I’ve been working during the day, not going to the library :)

    Oh my. Home school police checking in. There’s always more to do academically! Let’s not confine learning to the classroom.

    I’m not seeing the harm in letting them have some time off for a few days.

    if you love computer science (or anything else) so much you want to study it in college, shouldn’t you be doing it in your spare time?

    Not necessarily. You can pick a major for all kinds of reasons besides “I love it.” Plus if you’re in school all day and have homework and such, you might want to do some non-academic activities in your spare time.

  91. “But IMO it’s an adult life skill and parents care more than any driving instructor, so it makes sense to force them to learn while they are still living at home and you have the opportunity to help them become experienced drivers.”

    I didn’t learn until I was 24. I was taught, not by my parents, but by the man who eventually became my husband. I think I knew he was the one after he suffered through close calls and bad starts (I learned on a manual transmission) without blinking an eye.
    In my case, I wasn’t old enough for a permit until my senior year of HS, my father couldn’t have taught a gnat to drive, school driver’s ed (which I took) had 3 cars for 90 students, and then I went to a college that forbade student owned cars on campus. It didn’t hurt me – I learned to drive.

  92. “if you love computer science (or anything else) so much you want to study it in college, shouldn’t you be doing it in your spare time?”

    I hate to say this, but I kind of agree. Not that a CS major needs to be programming ALL THE TIME, but it is a really hard, time consuming major, and I see so many kids with no real interest or passion who struggle with it. I often think they would have an easier time if they also were playing around a little with computers at home.

  93. Ditto on the private swim lessons, or at least lessons at a private fitness club type of place.

  94. Umm, sorry, I was reading and hadn’t refreshed from much earlier. The convo had moved on and my comment doesn’t make much sense.

  95. Umm sorry, I was reading and hadn’t refreshed from much earlier. The convo had moved on and my comment doesn’t make much sense.

  96. “You can pick a major for all kinds of reasons besides “I love it.” ”

    I chose mine because it was the one in the catalog that had the fewest requirements and it sounded interesting. (If that search had turned up studio art or dance something else in the fine arts I probably would have chosen something different.)

  97. I agree on private swim lessons. My kids progressed much faster with them.
    DH will handle buying a car for DS. They will go back and forth and settle on a car DS likes that DH can pay for.
    L – I know people don’t like minivans but it really solves the backseat and the trunk space issue. They are also super comfortable.

  98. My kids have to learn how to drive at 16. Nothing is walkable since we live on an island – and no public transportation where we are. The best I can do for my own sanity is carpool, and that goes away once kids start turning 16. It’s not a choice for them the way it is for city kids.

  99. I love being right.
    Here’s this article (it’s short): https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/taxes/smaller-tax-refunds-could-ding-economic-growth/ar-BBTvBU2?ocid=spartanntp

    saying what I was saying a couple of days ago (I forget which thread), and that I’ve been saying to people for about a year when I looked at our withholding, saw we’d be under withheld, and fixed it. Immediately I figured millions of people would feel they got screwed by the TCJA when their precious refunds got reduced in spring 2019.

    I’m wondering why, honestly, there were not stories about this everywhere A YEAR AGO blaring the probable impact. Sure there were some mentions of ‘check your withholding’ but nothing provocative that would actually make regular Joes and Janes think something actually needed to be done.

  100. “‘Just thinking as I’m writing, but perhaps it’s partly because, unlike so many other potentially controversial issues, it doesn’t lend itself to binary simplification.’

    I think it’s also that people lie both on the up side and the down side.”

    I think it’s all that plus the invisibility of it all. I mean, the only people whose money values we really see are our own family’s; it wasn’t until I had been married to DH for a couple of years that I finally figured out how fundamentally different our views of money were. You just don’t get that kind of insight into/understanding of more than a couple of people, because like Milo and Rhett said, people don’t really talk about it, and when they do, half of them are probably lying (and you usually don’t know which half).

    So limited perspective + lack of honest give-and-take to challenge that limited perspective = it is very, very easy to become fixed in your own bubble about how money “should” be managed. And of course because you assume you’re the normal one and on the side of right and good, then you also assume that your friends (a/k/a other People Like You) are also right-thinking and thus will agree with your assessments and commentary. Ergo, you feel more free both to judge and to voice those judgments out loud.

  101. “‘SAT prep? You have just surrendered any claim to not being totebaggy.’

    There is nothing else for them to do academically. All of their classes are on hold.”

    I think you just proved Finn’s point. ;-) Our schools have been out this week as well, and my DS watched Naruto, got bagels, and played on the PS4; DD gallivanted with her friends and made cookies.

    (Also, interesting to note that I am now on my laptop, and suddenly the site is remembering me and letting me post).

  102. UGH — you’re kidding me — LfB here — my first post from the laptop, the site remembered me, and then 2 minutes later it all disappeared again.

  103. DD, who is not a fan of school (unlike her brother) even said yesterday “I hope the strike doesn’t go too long because being ar home is boring.” So I don’t think having them do something worthwhile for an hour is overly totebaggy. Just a little totebaggy.

    Mooshi, I think CS might be somewhat unique in that regard. I don’t think you’d expect an accounting major to have a passion for balance the books, or a nursing major to spend their free time taking vitals, or a geography major to spend their free time studying maps and analyzing demographics, etc.

  104. DD, I would think your kids might want to hang out with their friends during the strike. I know my kids would want to do that if they were in a similar situation.

    They’d also sleep a lot.

  105. I would expect someone who was interested in geography or political science to be reading books about those topics in their spare time, a photographer to be taking photographs (or going to art museums), a math major to be doing sudoku (okay, maybe not the last one). I went to a college with zero professional programs – everybody was in a major about ideas. While we certainly created some accountants, teachers and nurses, nobody majored in those topics.

    My kids have spent a tremendous amount of time playing on the computer the last few days (games that have no educational redeeming qualities at all). However, I hope they are developing interests and ideas that they will pursue those in their spare time (just minutes per day, in between Rinsta and snapchat and whatever else they do).

  106. “Who was the anon at 12:03?”

    Got me stumped but I’m going to guess L.

    I’m happy to report that last night my YackTrax worked to help keep me from slipping down the icy hill that is my street. It should get up to over 40 today so I hope most of this ice will melt.

  107. Finn, my kids don’t hang out with their friends much at all, so that’s not going to change during the strike.

  108. Anon 12:03, I think your college attracted a self-selected group who were academically or intellectually focused. A lot of people find their “passion” to be something that they know they can’t make a decent living doing, so they major in something that will allow them to get into a career that will support them.

    I really disagree with Ada’s assertion that everyone is deeply interested in their major to the point that they want to spend most of their free time studying it. My experience has been very different. Most of the people I knew in college just saw the major/degree as a means to an end and had plenty of other things the preferred to do in their free time.

  109. My own experience and my kids experience is that they spend their free time on things that build skills but not necessarily in ways that directly serve a major or career interest. My DS tinkers with his computer and plays games, my DD has her trash into treasure projects and draws/paints when she feels like. Both watch “how to” videos (some silly) on topics that interest them. DH watches sports and music – this serves him well as he can talk to people regarding these in a social setting.

  110. Got me stumped but I’m going to guess L

    I was going to guess LfB. I thought Harvard had a few professional-ish programs, though not nursing or education, certainly. But I guess I don’t actually know.

  111. I wish some drivers would clear the snow and ICE from your car roof if you want to own a truck or SUV. There’s ice flying every where and it’s so dangerous. I wish the police would issue tickets for this because it’s a law N.Y. state. Wake up five minutes earlier to clean the car! Vent for the day.

  112. Re: professional programs, in ye olden days at Berkeley you could major in “wood science”. I thought that was the weirdest thing ever, but I met a wood science major and she said they were all desperately aiming for jobs as rangers in national parks and state parks. (Well, they probably weren’t all aiming towards that, but she and her friends were.) She was really agitated about how hard it was to get a job at the national parks and was worried all the time about her future.

  113. For those of you who remember that conversation we had about parenting, me time, and taking time off? I’m on day 2 of my 3 day mid week break. Yesterday no one had school, so that wasn’t a break. Today everyone is back at school and I’m meeting DH for lunch. Tomorrow? New furniture. Currently, I’m laying on our old couch’s cushions on the floor enjoying the peace. The city took the couch away this morning.

  114. “how money “should” be managed”

    DW rags on me for being cheap. Mostly it’s in jest, but sometimes not. I prefer “I don’t choose to spend my money that way.”

  115. “They can be very difficult to get on and off the shoes or boots (impossible for someone with only one functional arm) so my suggestion is to have a dedicated “YT” shoe and just leave them on until spring. ”

    Thanks for that tip Scarlett.

  116. I was thinking the same thing as Louise. IME it’s easy to see looking backwards how the childhood/teenage interests/abilities led to a particular career path, but the things we did were more generally-applicable skills that could have taken us in a number of directions.

    Seems to me that kids doing CS stuff is sort of the modern version of tinkering, just in a more amorphous way — basically, tinkering by making apps and games and making robots run and all of that, as compared to our generation of tinkering with the computer hardware itself, as compared to our parents’ generation of tinkering in the woodshop/garage. The difference, of course, being access/familiarity — when I was growing up, anyone could work on a car with basic tools, or put together shelves, or whatever. And people did that kind of stuff all the time, so it was part of your everyday life. Whereas if your family doesn’t have a computer and/or doesn’t live lives that are largely computer driven, you’re not really going to have the access or familiarity — and even many of those that do don’t necessarily have the interest or ability to sort of dive in behind the scenes and figure out the coding that makes everything run. That’s all invisible — and it’s also not something that you need to learn, like you might have needed to change the oil in your car or get shelves on your wall (or, in DS’ era, put together your own computer to play the games and such if your folks wouldn’t buy it for you). My kid can just sit down and play on the PS4 — he doesn’t have to build it first or create the games, and he doesn’t have to maintain or fix any of the coding.

    So I suspect that there are a lot of kids who don’t even think about the CS side of things until they start thinking about possible jobs, maybe in HS or early college, and then they think “computer” stuff sounds cool. But they don’t necessarily have any experience, or even an understanding of what that is, because that was all invisible up until that point. Whereas UMC kids who went to wealthier schools had access to things like coding camps and robotics clubs and Arduino and all of that, and so they come in with that familiarity.

    Long way of saying that MM is probably right when it comes to our demographic; a kid who grows up with all these opportunities to code but doesn’t get grabbed by the idea of making something do something probably doesn’t have the interest/aptitude to succeed. But I also think we are a pretty small demographic nationwide, and that there are probably a lot of kids out there in other parts of the country and socioeconomic classes who do have the interest/aptitude but didn’t have the same exposure or opportunities to develop that interest/ability.

  117. (LfB here)

    @Rocky — no, not me. Insufficient use of dashes and emojis. ;-) I was thinking Scarlett until I caught the reference to kids in the house.

    And the last one was me (as if anyone was in doubt)

  118. Most people I knew who majored in things like geography or international relations with the intent of actually making a career in those fields did have a lot of interest, and did things outside of class. Geez, the IR majors at my school had their own dorm and clubs and went on conference trips! And the engineers all tended to be people who tinkered on stuff outside of class, or played math games, or other weird engineeringish hobbies. The art and music majors were completely consumed by their majors.
    My kid reports that at his school, no one ever sees the architecture majors because they are always off doing architecture things.

  119. I would say at my kids school the Speech & Debate team serves as a future lawyers club (they just don’t state that ;-))

  120. The discussion about whether your major interests you reminds me of an awkward moment in college. After a modern music concert, I met a guy who was working on signal transmission for electric guitars and peppered him with questions to the point that he wasn’t sure if I was hitting on him. As the questions got more involved, we realized that we were both engineers with interests in music and I think he realized I was just interested in his work, not hitting on him. He ended up doing significant work on media-accelerated global information carrier (MAGIC) for acoustic transmission. I usually didn’t find chemical engineering that interesting.

  121. Rhode, enjoy your break!

    My kid reports that at his school, no one ever sees the architecture majors because they are always off doing architecture things.

    It was the same thing when I was in school but they were working on class projects, not doing it for fun in their spare time.

    To cite one example of someone who was really into his major but didn’t do anything with it in his spare time: I had a roommate who was an education major and wanted to become an English teacher (and he has did become one), and I never ever saw him reading anything for pleasure. And that was how most of my friends were we’re their various majors.

  122. I apologize if this posts twice, the first one seems to have gotten eaten.

    Rhode, enjoy your break!

    My kid reports that at his school, no one ever sees the architecture majors because they are always off doing architecture things.

    It was the same thing when I was in school but they were working on class projects, not doing it for fun in their spare time.

    To cite one example of someone who was really into his major but didn’t do anything with it in his spare time: I had a roommate who was an education major and wanted to become an English teacher (and he has did become one), and I never ever saw him reading anything for pleasure. And that was how most of my friends were we’re their various majors.

  123. Spent an hour this morning getting my minivan unstuck from the snow. I don’t have a garage so park on city streets and my tires had no traction. My neighbor helped me for 30 minutes. I want to get him a thank you gift. Any ideas?

  124. GC is great. I’d be thrilled with a plate of cookies or brownies.

    You could always do small bottle of bourbon if you know that he’s OK with that.

  125. tcm — I think it’s a little complicated, but maybe it’s just me. That was a wonderful gesture, but it’s “what neighbors do”. Next week you may do something similar for him or another neighbor. I think a gift certificate might be too much, but homemade/bakery goodies or liquor would be more appropriate.

    BTW, since I’ve been walking more on my treadmill I’ve been watching Judge Judy. She’s very entertaining. The neighbor feuds on that show remind me how PRECIOUS good neighbors are.

  126. No school in Seattle. Again. Argh.

    Finn – I saw your comment yesterday about your friend that lives in Seattle who had no problem getting around. I think the issue with Seattle is that conditions vary dramatically from one neighborhood to the next. I live 2 blocks from an arterial with a major bus line that is a priority for plowing – so I usually have bus service to downtown.

    However, I have friends in other neighborhoods that are very hilly. NE Seattle, Queen Anne and West Seattle in particular have a lot of hills that just don’t get plowed. None of the residential streets anywhere get plowed. But in these neighborhoods, the hills are too steep on the arterials – so there’s no bus service. One colleague can walk 30 minutes to take light rail. But another colleague is on crutches and there’s no way he can walk 30 minutes up and down hills through the snow to get to light rail. And his bus isn’t running. So he’s stuck at home.

  127. July, have you seen the “Best of Next Door” twitter feed? I think RMS mentioned it a while back. It’s hilarious in a Judge Judy sort of way.

  128. Ditto on baked goods. July for the win

    School was not cancelled here, but maybe should have been. One of the roads to town was closed and I drove through fairly deep water on the alternative route. The buses should not do what I did, but I have an SUV and only my own child in the car. Right now, I’m watching the water rise and hoping. I’ve already unclogged a drain and checked on a pump to see that it is working.

    DH reads geography stuff and studies maps for fun. DS goes through physics websites to understand how planes and rockets work. I have always wondered how supply chains worked, from the time I was a kid and tried to understand how food got to the grocery store. I haven’t got the willpower to major in/work in a field that I don’t have some interest in.

  129. I was an economics major. Today, I enjoy listening to podcasts like Planet Money or reading books like Freakonomics – but it’s not something I ever looked into as a kid. I don’t know that you have to have an innate interest in something as a kid to pursue it as a career.

    I am in a job where I’m frequently have to respond to last minute or late breaking requests which means working quickly to pull things together under pressure. It has occurred to me that my habit of procrastination as a teen helped develop an ability to work well under pressure. There are some people, who as a student always had papers done well in advance of deadline, who don’t like working in this office and having to respond to last minute issues quickly.

  130. I’m not recommending procrastination. But it’s something that was always viewed very negatively (and it caused me some problems as a teen – I ended up having to read Moby Dick in about 36 hours and then writing a paper on it – not very fun) – and it’s only recently that I’ve realized there was a small silver lining.

  131. TCM,I agree with baked goods.

    I haven’t got the willpower to major in/work in a field that I don’t have some interest in.

    I agree that people should generally have some interest in the field they are working in. But that’s much different than “if you love computer science (or anything else) so much you want to study it in college, shouldn’t you be doing it in your spare time?”

  132. Ada was the 12:03a comment, also a victim of the logging out disaster of February 2019.

    I would be very sad if my kids had an English teacher who did not read for pleasure. Or a PE teacher who did not exercise for pleasure. I really was just trying to counter the narrative (that has flooded my facebook feed as well) “The teachers haven’t given my kids work, therefore they are unable to learn anything.” It implies that there is an arbitrary and unpredictable set of knowledge that kids need to master (granted may be true for school success). However, there is a limitless universe of knowledge to be acquired which can lead to life success/enjoyment. Also, teachers should not be the final word on the work that should be done.

  133. Baked goods are great gifts for men.
    Our county provides “free” leaf removal service, with several passes in each neighborhood, but this past fall they got behind and then an early deep snowfall further delayed their progress. I thought we would be stuck with the giant frozen pile at the end of our cul de sac until April, but in December a truck appeared with a bunch of young guys who literally had to hack the leaves apart with some kind of axes before the vacuum could get them. I went out with a bin of homemade Christmas cookies for them and you would think they had died and gone to heaven. “These are ALL for US?’ one of them asked. I am so used to women of a certain age turning down all baked goods, so it was fun for me too, and I was thrilled that they were actually removing those leaves.

  134. On another front, Chuck Yeager is 96 today.
    He is that “I thought he was dead” celebrity category for me, but seriously he is a guy (like Churchill) who statistically should have died as a young man. Amazing.

  135. Thanks for the suggestions! Alas, I do not bake :) but we have a world class bakery 2 blocks from our house, so maybe I’ll get a gift card from there. It would be much better than me baking.

  136. tcmama: Pillsbury slice and bake cookies. Everyone loves them. Just don’t tell.

  137. @tcmama: or just bring him a box of stuff from that bakery — feels more like “thank you” and less “formal”/”present”-ey than a gift card.

  138. @DD – I completely agree with you. I know almost no one who does something similar to their job/field of study “in their spare time”. I certainly don’t think it’s a requirement for success. I actually think people who have wide interests are better employees because they have lots of different knowledge & experience to draw from.

    God knows I spent most of my college spare time napping, gossiping, drinking, flirting, watching TV, and playing cards.

  139. “I had a roommate who was an education major and wanted to become an English teacher (and he has did become one), and I never ever saw him reading anything for pleasure.”
    This is the teacher you hope your kid doesn’t get. Kinda like the math teachers who hate math.

  140. Huh, I was a history major and I didn’t do anything outside the work for my major other than critiquing the costumes in period dramas for being inaccurate (my thesis was on women’s fashion in the Victorian age). ;)

  141. L, did you continue to work in the field of history? What I saw was that people who intended to actually work in a given field tended to be more interested in it outside of class. I would imagine that a history major who was planning a career in business might not have the same level of interest.

  142. This is the teacher you hope your kid doesn’t get. Kinda like the math teachers who hate math.

    Wow, way to be judgemental. The obvious explanation is that he had enough reading to do for his classes so he preferred to do other things with his free time. I don’t know his actual teaching skills are, but I do know he is very dedicated to his job and his students.

  143. “The teachers haven’t given my kids work, therefore they are unable to learn anything.”

    Of course not. They are more than capable of finding things to do own their own, but I’m not going to come up with assignments for them because I don’t know where they are in their classes. I’m not going to give them random busy work, so doing some SAT prep seems like a reasonable thing to do.

    DS is actually very concerned because his AP environmental teacher said with the strike that they might not be able to cover everything for the test. So DS, completely of his own free will without any promoting from anyone, ordered a study book for the exam. If you knew him, you’d understand how amazing it is that he’s become really interested in an academic subject.

  144. “The obvious explanation is that he had enough reading to do for his classes so he preferred to do other things with his free time.”

    Yes. Exactly!!!! This is why people like doing other, completely unrelated things in their spare time. (I was the one who agreed earlier as well)

    And likewise. I enjoy learning about history. I read non fiction, watch documentaries, enjoy going to historic sites and engaging with the experts. But I never ever ever want to do deep research on any one subject in that area or God forbid, have a job where I had to teach it/explain it to the general public.

  145. “And the engineers all tended to be people who tinkered on stuff outside of class, or played math games, or other weird engineeringish hobbies.”

    Well, I’ve mentioned here many times that many of the female engineers I know, and at least one of the males, went into engineering because they were pushed/nudged/encouraged by counselors because they excelled in math and science. Many of them are not tinkerers by nature.

    Most of the other engineers I know, especially the males, fall into the first category. In my current work group, for example, all the engineers, including both females, will gladly go out into the field to do hands-on work. I can’t think of any that fall into the second or third categories.

  146. “This is the teacher you hope your kid doesn’t get. Kinda like the math teachers who hate math.”

    Not sure which is worse, the math teacher who hates math, the math teacher who doesn’t understand math, or the math teacher who’s not capable of explaining math concepts. I’m thinking a math teacher who hates math, but understands it well enough to be able to explain the relevant concepts, is preferable to the other two.

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