178 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. The other day Milo made a very surprising and fascinating argument that, in retirement, you can have this:

    https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/14500-Lieto-Ln_Bonita-Springs_FL_34135_M68535-95054

    or you can have this for 111 days a year:

    All for the same price.

    It got me thinking – are there any other unorthodox retirement ideas that are totally possible but just aren’t generally done? Would you consider something like this? Do you have ideas like this?

  2. Rhett, it’s not new by any means, but something rarely discussed here is the retirement RV. I wonder if those will pick up as a way to avoid planes and hotels even once the virus wanes.

  3. I am thinking about renting an apartment in a variety of major cities for a month each during retirement. So far, I have NYC, Chicago, London, and Seattle on the list.

  4. Rhett – I remember you suggested becoming Eloise in a hotel suite during retirement and I thought that was CRAZY, but people do it all the time!

  5. Houston, for how long will you keep it up? Do you expect to do them all in a row? I think Fred is planning something similar. Given the cities on your list so far, I think you’d like Berlin.

  6. I have no desire to spend extended periods of time in an RV or a boat – no matter how nice they are. But I see how it would be a fun option for some.

    My aunt & uncle spent a few years as FT RV’ers in early retirement, and they loved it. They used it to explore different areas for snowbirding – spent months each year in FLA, Texas, California, AZ, etc. A couple years ago, they decided that they love Arizona & they bought a place there just for the winter, but they continue to live FT in their RV in the summer. They are truly middle class too – it was a nice RV, but they aren’t wealthy people or wealthy people masquerading as middle class. They sold their northern house to buy the RV, and their place in AZ is modest. No $800K Bonita condo.

  7. People also retire onto cruise ships, if an article posted on here a few years ago is to be believed.

  8. If we were to do the snowbird thing of spending ~Dec 1 to Mar 31 someplace warm the 111 day cruise might be fun one year, or once every 4 years. Otherwise renting a different place for those 4 months every year seems like the right thing for us, whether US or internationally. Seems like a good way to see/experience other places like they really are, not just as we’d see them on a week’s vacation.

    My ILs have a place in AZ that was supposed to be their snowbird location, but it’s never quite worked out that way. MIL really has never wanted to be away from home (NJ) for that long, never wanted to spend Christmas away from family. And now that she’s almost 83 and FIL (84) needs a walker to get around so she ends up doing almost everything, she really prefers being in NJ where there’s a daughter/SIL + 4 grandkids nearby to help out. They actually did leave AZ ~April 1 but because of Covid are not going back there any time soon. So the house sits. They have someone who comes by every couple of weeks to check on stuff, flush the toilets, etc., but it’s not like someone living there or a real property manager. Turns out there are several minor things that need attention so my BIL is out there now attending to them (he was laid off in April and has been running his own painting business since then, so plenty of work/income + flexibility). DW & I know they need to hire a real property mgmt co to look out for stuff, but MIL is resistant because she “doesn’t want strangers in the house.” One solution would be to sell the place but I hope they don’t because I like the house & area and we’ll definitely take advantage using it in retirement.

  9. Houston, I would like to do something similar, but we really want to spend 3 months or so in various parts of England. I could also see doing NYC, Boston, or Chicago.

    I have no desire to own a second property. We are in the middle of moving out of our house for our remodeling project and will stay at my dad’s townhome while he is in Florida. Right now it is complete chaos. I’m looking forward to being done with all the packing and moving. I’m responsible for a lot of the home maintenance / upkeep items, and I feel having two places would take up a lot of extra mental space in my head.

  10. DH is such a homebody that I don’t see us moving around much to airbnbs, etc. in retirement. I could see us getting a second place in Vermont. Maybe if we have tons of $$, a place in Boston or NYC. No Florida!

  11. I remember you suggested becoming Eloise in a hotel suite during retirement and I thought that was CRAZY, but people do it all the time!

    Exactly! I think for some it’s just something they haven’t thought of. For example if you’re a totebagger who got a decent start maxing out your 401k you could easily retire with let’s say $6 million. With SS that’s almost 400k in income. Keeping in mind you’re no longer saving for college or retirement, etc.

    You could probably get this for $6600/month in Paris.

    Or for the same price a VRBO:

    https://www.vrbo.com/423038?adultsCount=2&arrival=2021-02-01&departure=2021-02-28&unitId=1006088

    Keep in mind you’d be getting a free breakfast at the hotel and your room would be cleaned every day when you got back from your adventure. There is a bar in the building where everyone would soon know your name, etc.

    I think part of the issue is pricing. When Lauren would stay at a 5 star hotel the online price might be say $650/night but her bank might only be paying $225. If you call the sales team at the hotel and tell them you want to stay for 3 months – $225 may very well be a number they can work with.

  12. “I wonder if those will pick up as a way to avoid planes and hotels”

    Well underway:

    https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/rv-sales-record-best-july-data-in-40-years-outlook-looks-rosy-2020-08-26

    “even once the virus wanes.”

    Eh, people have very short memories. I think, beginning this fall, there will be a wonderful opportunity for RV enthusiasts to pick up gently used 2020 model RVs for the next couple of years.

    My biggest aversion to RVs is that most campgrounds aren’t that exciting. There are some good ones that are beautiful and scenic, but they’re pretty remote, by design. And the mediocre ones look like a trailer park. As a platform from which to explore the national parks, for example, I think they’re wonderful. As something in which you’re going to spend a couple years ‘seeing America,’ that’s suddenly less appealing. You’re hauling your big bus around so that every morning you wake up here:

    Or wait a few months and replace the grass with sand, and the oaks with saguaro. But you get the idea.

    Extended cruising on a boat might deserve the same criticism, but I’m happier when I wake up and look out to this:

  13. Extended cruising on a boat might deserve the same criticism, but I’m happier when I wake up and look out to this:

    From what I can gather the boater and the RVers are very different. The boat group being, in most cases, far more affluent. If one is into avoiding the riff raff and such.

  14. I haven’t had a chance to comment much on posts the last few weeks due to being on stay-cation and year-end work items. I enjoyed reading about everyone’s resolutions/goals. I always half-heartedly create resolutions and then never accomplish them. Thanks to covid, I managed to accomplish a lot in 2020 – save money, lose weight, stop eating out, drink less alcohol. I realized I was successful due to the fact that covid blew up all of my habits and making it easier to start better habits. It was pretty easy to give up going to restaurants when I was worried I’d die! I’m trying to leverage moving out of my house for a remodel to reset habits when setting 2021 goals. My primary resolution is to not drink alcohol until moving back into my house at the end of June.

    One year ago today I recorded my highest weight ever in MyFitnessPal (MFP). I’m 40 pounds lighter today! I took December off from trying to lose weight and basically gained/lost 5 pounds over and over. I think when I was at my highest weight, I mentally thought I weighed/looked like what I weigh now, so now that I’m actually 40 pounds lighter, I don’t really feel that I look much different. But I tried on all of my clothes when packing up and donated a ton of clothes that are now too big. I was surprised that some of my smaller clothes now fit, and I’m trying to get my mind around the change. It is easy to keep wearing the same clothes every day since I’m at home all the time.

    I need to lose another 30-40 pounds and would like to accomplish it by September. I realized in December that I can’t drink alcohol and lose weight as I don’t have 200+ calories a day to give to something that doesn’t fill me up. I track what I eat in MFP and know that I need to stay around 1,600 calories/day and to get a walk in. I need to eat two 800 calorie meals in order to feel satiated.

    My other health goal is to get 10,000/steps a day but to not feel like a failure and give up if I miss one day. I am going to try to incorporate Fred’s daily average to allow for days when I can’t move as much. I only had 9,000 steps on Monday, and I’m glad that happened so that I don’t worry about being perfect on hitting 10,000 steps a day.

    I saw some people posting that I’m inspiring them and that has motivated me to keep on keeping on. Thanks!

  15. “If you call the sales team at the hotel and tell them you want to stay for 3 months – $225 may very well be a number they can work with.”

    I think one issue with pricing might be how the taxes are treated between the hotel and a VRBO.

  16. I think one issue with pricing might be how the taxes are treated between the hotel and a VRBO.

    At least in the US if you stay longer than 30 days you get your taxes refunded and no further taxes are paid. After 30 days the gov’t treats it like an apartment rather than a hotel.

  17. Rhett – exactly (re the potential rate flexibility for long-term stays) given breakfast would be included and I could have a small fridge in the room, too (for beverages, snacks, “american” lunch stuff.) I really wouldn’t want to eat lunch and dinner at a restaurant every day, even take-away. But I could probably get used to eating in the hotel restaurant 5 nights/week with the other two being other places. Especially if I could work out some type of in the budget prix fixe all-in arrangement for a 3-month stay that included breakfast every day, in-room or dining room at my choice, plus 4 lunches and 4 dinners in the hotel restaurant each week. I’d probably want to do it just for a month initially to see how it goes.

  18. “The boat group being, in most cases, far more affluent.”

    Probably true, on average. And I remember reading about some RV resorts that simply prohibit any RV models more than a few years old, and “no canvas” whatsoever (no pop-ups, no hybrids). These are more the extended stay type places.

    But yeah, there’s a Venn diagram, and RVers are on one side and boat people the other.

    On the left side, you’ll be bunking next to this:

    And on the right side you’ll be tied up next to and maybe having a drink with the owners of this:

    But there’s a LOT of overlap, and a lot of the same people, who are cruising and doing the Loop in this:

    and then selling it and “trying the land yacht” in this:

  19. Milo,

    Off topic one of the bloggers I follow meets regularly with German auto executives. A few years ago he’d ask about Tesla and they would say they aren’t worried. Then they were a little worried. Then a lot worried. And the latest is uncontrolled panic.

    With that Mercedes has released the first images of it’s Hyperscreen for the new EQS.

    “Yeh Musk. You’ve got a 17″ screen? 56″ bitch. It’s all screen!” Mercedes CEO Ola Källenius was not heard to say.

  20. SM: I don’t plan to do all the trips at once, but maybe one a quarter.

    TCM: I, too, have no desire to own a second home.

  21. One of DHs sisters and her husband had an RV for a while after they first retired. They also had a second home up in VT, which they had long before retirement. They eventually sold both the second home and the RV. I don’t think they do much of anything now, even though their health is good.

  22. Especially if I could work out some type of in the budget prix fixe all-in arrangement for a 3-month stay that included breakfast every day, in-room or dining room at my choice, plus 4 lunches and 4 dinners in the hotel restaurant each week.

    It’s certainly possible. Half board and full board are still very much a thing in Europe. I figure it’s due to people having 6 weeks of vacation that you have to take. Affluent Europeans might spend 2-3 weeks at a hotel. Americans might do a week at most.

  23. I would go beserk on a cruise ship. I need to get out almost every day, even when travelling, and go run or bike and cover ground. I know they cart you around to tourist destinations, but I would spend the whole time in the destination worrying about getting back to the ship on time. It doesn’t sound relaxing.

  24. Rhett – I have a comment with four pictures that’s probably caught in the filter just saying that while the boat crowd will be more affluent on average, there’s some definite overlap among the younger retirees.

  25. I chose to have 3 indoor cats. They don’t travel. And my grandchildren are up here for the prime Nana years, so that knocks out a winter season residence. But I did get in a lot of travel in in the prior ten years.

    On Twitch today my 4 person bridge team (weaker on paper) beat the Holzhauer team soundly. My partner and I got the most significant decisions correct. (Points only, no money on the line). Fun all around. I suppose I will watch The Chase (his TV show) on TV tonight just for the fun of it.

  26. I need to get out almost every day, even when travelling, and go run or bike and cover ground.

    As you’ve mentioned with your CSF leak and your dad’s back those things may very well not be possible when you’re 75.

  27. Another savings in the hotels long-term is the utility bills. Otoh, I doubt a hotel would have laundry facilities in the room—you’d probably have to pay for each load somehow. There are executive apartments at all price levels that would include kitchen and laundry. Some might have breakfast available as well. I’ve got enough dietary issues going on that I’d have to be really careful before signing up for someone else to make my meals for weeks at a time. That might be a thing for others to think about of they’re really considering something like this as they age. A final food consideration is for people who enjoy cooking. If you want to take advantage of markets and try your hand with different local cuisine, you’re going to want a decent kitchen. Even if you do cooking classes, you might want to come “home” to your rental and try doing it on your own, before you forget all the little tricks.

  28. I think I would like the 111 day cruise. When I was in college I wanted to do Semester At Sea. This would be more luxurious! The pics of the cruises the other day made me miss how relaxing vacations can be.

    My MIL has a pretty nice deal…she rents the same place in FL from January – May. The owner lives overseas and uses the house for the summer. The rest of the time it sits empty (aside from regular maintenance checks). MIL is able to keep all her stuff at the house including nice knives, the same set of dishes she has at her house, her good blender, as well as family pictures, beach chairs, etc. Last year she got tired of the rug and emailed the owner a picture of one she found and asked if he would be okay with her paying for it as a replacement. We figure that what she pays for 5 months more than covers the mortgage, insurance, association dues, utilities for the year, otherwise he’d be like the owners in the neighborhood who are always looking for summer and fall renters who drop their monthly rental requirements.

  29. Happily, I don’t take after my father in terms of back issues (he was already having real trouble in his 30’s), heart problems (also started to appear in his 30’s), general body type, and attitude. His approach to any kind of illness or injury was to take to bed for as long as possible, an approach which was considered to be mainstream back when he was first having problems. Over time he just got so deconditioned, which made everything worse. I try very hard to learn from that,

  30. Mooshi – I only went on cruises because the limited physical activity was ideal for DH. I made do with outside excursions, not all from the cruise company, some quite physically taxing, and never missed the ship. It isn’t hard to do. But DH and I also liked the entertainment and the steam room.

    The point of a trip for me, at this age, is to get away from all domestic responsibilities, see nature or perhaps historic sites, somebody else does all the driving, trains a plus. Since he can’t do it anymore, one or two days on my own are fine, but I like company, too, so a child or grandchild as companion or a congenial group work for me. I pay the single supplement, so a private room, of course, and as much as Road Scholar trips are good value and decent people, the large group meals are not to my liking. I found a company I like, so I just go with that. But it isn’t clear that I can leave him for more than a long week, even with DD dropping in on him at least once every day. Next fall will be a test. I can get back from eastern Canada pretty quickly if necessary, and no travel day on either end.

  31. you’d probably have to pay for each load somehow.

    Somehow? I guess you’ve never wondered what that bag in the closet with the check off sheet attached is for.

    Although now that you mention it one of the best parts of being in London was taking a double decker bus to do my laundry at a laundry mat. A double decker bus! To do my laundry! In London! Oh and it was in Shoreditch which is apparently the global HQ of hipsterdom.

    And every city now has a laundry app so you can just use that as well.

  32. Congrats on your bridge result, Meme!

    Milo — I’m just curious: If you do the long boat trips that you’re contemplating, would you bring your dog with you? I recall that you mentioned the other day that it was a little frustrating being at your in-laws’ place where there wasn’t a big area where your dog could run around.

  33. Rhett, yes, somehow! If you use that wonderful little tag in the closet, your laundry bill will be as high as your bar tab (yours, not mine). Even a double-decker bus gets to be routine. Ask my kid, who took one up & down Ku’damm regularly for a while. In that case you’re paying for laundry with your time. Depending on what else you’re planning to do, it might be better to just have the machines right where you need them.

  34. S&M,

    If you have the machines right where you need them you’re not going to come back to a perfectly clean apartment every day. It’s all a tradeoff.

    I think the easiest option these days is to just use the local app. You just leave the bag with the front desk.

    https://www.jonnyfresh.com/

  35. NoB – Plenty of people do, and it’s possible. Depending on when, and the dog, the dog might be too old.

    I’ve told the kids that one of them will have to take our dog while we travel. They have agreed to this, and I will hold them to it. :) If they’re working long hours, I can reimburse them for the pet sitter to come mid-day.

  36. I would like to do a combination of Meme type trips and beach vacations. I don’t want to have to do all the planning and scheduling for long trips. And I don’t mind group travel.
    The beach vacation would be pure relaxation. It doesn’t have to be an exotic beach or a resort every time. We have many good beaches in driving distance with comfortable accommodation, any of those beaches will do.

  37. What’s a good boat dog name?

    Skipper, Captain, Gilligan, Nelson, Drake…? Vasco maybe? There is always Magellan?

  38. For lots of reasons, many listed above, I’ll probably never pull the trigger on a vacation house. But for now I like to dream of a Florida gulf-front condo. It makes much more sense to find one to rent for snowbird season, and it would be great to find one on a repeat basis. I have a work friend who bought in Marco Island about 5 years before he retired, and they did rent to the same couple for every snowbird season in that timeframe. They didn’t rent it out other than that, and visited probably 3x a year while he was working. Now they winter there, and go a couple of other times a year, and he goes for one week sans wife. She however, developed Parkinson’s in the midst of his final working years. I think that was honestly the nudge to retire at 60. Otherwise I think he was the type to keep working longer than he thought he would/needed to.

  39. “But for now I like to dream of a Florida gulf-front condo.”

    Me too. And I go back to the fact that I want my own stuff. Stuff that I picked out for myself that is comfortable. Rental furniture, IME, is universally awful. Same thing with kitchens. Is that worth the extra cost? IDK – we’ll decide in the future.

  40. And I go back to the fact that I want my own stuff. Stuff that I picked out for myself that is comfortable.

    Then just keep your stuff in a storage locker for $150/month. Then hire movers to move the owners stuff to your locker and the your locker stuff to the house. Depending on the size that could be another $2000/year.

    Just thinking outside the box.

  41. LT (and Rhett) – this comment’s got me perplexed:

    “We figure that what she pays for 5 months more than covers the mortgage, insurance, association dues, utilities for the year,”

    If her rent is covering all that, why doesn’t she just buy a place? Or are you saying there’s been huge appreciation, or he had a big down payment or something?

  42. The kitchen we have now is the worst I’ve ever had, but we pay extra because it’s supposedly fancy. Cerranfield stove won’t start if anything is sitting on it anywhere, looks the same no matter what temp it’s set to, sometimes beeps for the hell of it, or because you set the milk carton on part of it. I’d rather light a gas burner with a match. Opening the dishwasher blocks the sink. The appliances garage sits sideways, opening so that anything it pulled out falls straight into the sink. There’s not room to put a table by the window. There is a deep drawer for heavy stuff with a more shallow cupboard/pantry on top of it, so the space isn’t available for a chair (forcing the table to go elsewhere) but not giving much extra storage space.

    I realize I’m entirely off topic. Ivy’s mention of rental kitchens set me off.

    I’m really intrigued by the description SoFla gave of her stove once. If anybody has info on it, please lmk, or if you’re in touch with her, pls ask her to contact me.

  43. suppose I will watch The Chase (his TV show) on TV tonight just for the fun of it.

    Oh! We watch that show, all the time. It is always on whenever I am in the “tea room” at work.

  44. Milo, she’s looked at buying, but for a number of reasons still rents. One reason is that she doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of upkeep. The cost isn’t a problem, but the idea of maintaining (or just having to hear about someone else maintaining it for her) is more than what she wants to deal with. Also, she only wants to be in one particular golf community, so there aren’t many options. She also likes the finer things in life, and has indicated that if she bought she’d end up spending more than what financial makes sense to have everything be perfect. As a rental, she mentally checks out on the stuff that is less than perfect, and instead focuses on her permanent home.

    She just got down to Florida, and with a smaller amount of gatherings (many in her community or stuck in Canada), she may become bored. I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets the itch to look around, buy a place and spend her free time decorating it.

  45. Missing a cruise ship is a $1000 problem. Maybe in extreme circumstances it’s a $5000 problem. But it’s not a $10k problem, or an open-heart surgery problem.

    I took a very low budget cruise in my late-20s. It went to weird places and missing the boat might have been a pretty big disaster. $1000 would have been difficult to blow on getting to the next port without effecting the budget for the rest of the trip. Now though? Miss the departure in Hong Kong? I bet there are about 10 ways to get to Shanghai and none of them would interfere with my ability to have a nice dinner out on Saturday.

    We are getting ready to depart on a two week road trip. I have been reserving Airbnbs and hotels (about 6 different ones). We are probably staying around the 25%ile – I’m not choosing the cheapest place, but definitely below average. (Weirdly, NZ does not appear to have chain hotels, except the luxurious ones in the cities – no Hampton Inn in the mid-sized towns). We will spend around $3000 for hotels, $1000 for gas, $2000 for food (even if cooking a few meals in hotels). I’m not eager to go back to cruising, but Ii makes the $10k we spend on a two week cruise start to seem like a frugal alternative – all the food, drink, entertainment and service compared to “Mom’s Magical Station Wagon Car Trip”

  46. Rhett – that’s the worst name yet.

    LT – that makes sense.

    “The cost isn’t a problem, but the idea of maintaining (or just having to hear about someone else maintaining it for her) is more than what she wants to deal with.”

    You hear the same thing when people talk about leasing cars. I get it, even if I don’t agree. But it’s funny… if someone touts the benefits of leasing a car, they appear spendy; if they make the same argument for real estate, the reaction is maybe the opposite.

  47. “We figure that what she pays for 5 months more than covers the mortgage, insurance, association dues, utilities for the year,”

    If that’s the case buying a home there and renting it out is the financial bonanza of the century. It makes me think you’re missing something*. If you’re not you should buy the place she’s renting.

    * for example a 5 month rental is rare and one would typically expect 1-2 weeks a month at best.

  48. “Otoh, I doubt a hotel would have laundry facilities in the room—you’d probably have to pay for each load somehow. There are executive apartments at all price levels that would include kitchen and laundry. Some might have breakfast available as well.”

    When I was in NoB territory for a business trip a year and half ago, I stayed in a Residence Inn for a week. If they offer the sort of extended stay deal Rhett is talking about, I could see staying several weeks somewhere like that. The room included a kitchenette, inducing a full size fridge, their was a laundry facility on premises, and hot breakfast every day in the lobby.

    That particular location also was right next to a full service restaurant and a Costco, which sold a really good Italian sausage sandwich.

  49. Rhett, ours started at around 90. Once your stuff’s in there & you’re far away, what are you going to do if they Jack up the rate? If you have a better answer than “pay up or get your stuff”, please lmk

  50. If you have a better answer than “pay up or get your stuff”, please lmk

    Stop paying and let them auction it off. When in doubt throw it out.

  51. Finn, for a business trip, that makes sense. But for retirement? It’s safe and all, but nothing fancy and none of the personalized service that’s supposedly so helpful to retirees. I think I recently mentioned my plan if we ever get down to Rome—a few nights in a convent or monastery, then one in the Rome Astoria-Waldorf. I’m not retired age, but it will be quite a while before such a super-safe option at average price is more appealing to me than splitting my time between the extremes.

  52. Rhett, if I could find someone reliable to go through it all with me on the phone, there is a good portion for which that would be acceptable. Having my BiL and sister stop there was a disaster and wound up costing me $$$$. It’s an ugly, stupid story I don’t want to tell here.

  53. ” It’s an ugly, stupid story I don’t want to tell here.”

    I’ll just come out and admit that there’s a part of me that’s really curious now. Because it’s a task that seems so mundane, otherwise.

  54. Rhett, you are always so Rhett.

    I’m sure it’s full of the Rembrandts and Rothko’s she doesn’t have room to hang on the wall.

    My guess, based on S&M being a good and thoughtful gift giver, is that she has an emotional attachment to many of these items that is out of proportion to their actual monetary or practical value.

    If she asked me, here is how it would go. I’d put my phone on a mount and facetime. I’d then hold up each item. If she doesn’t respond in 0.5 seconds with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Into the dumpster it goes.

    “Holds up box of jr.s baby clothes.” Um.. “Too late! Dumpster.”

    “Holds up carved wood box she got in Zanzibar.” Yes! “In the saved pile it goes.”

  55. Rhett, I’m dying. You know me far too well! But the bit of sandalwood I got in Zanzibar somehow made the trip here with us the first time. I *thought* what you described is what they would do. It is not what happened.

  56. Most horrifying to you, Rhett, I’m sure, is that it contains a couple bins of CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

  57. “for a business trip, that makes sense. But for retirement?”

    For extended stays, e.g., 1 to 2 months, in the early part of retirement, I think something like that would work well for me if there the sort of heavily discounted rates for extended stay that Rhett is talking about.

  58. Finn, and then you’d be really busy in town all day, basically just use the hotel to sleep & have breakfast? What I meant was that I can’t see that being a place you’d choose to spend time, even if it was in a new-to-you city.

  59. I had good/great walks/gym workouts Dec 31 – Jan 5 (Thurs-Tues). I took yesterday off…watched/listened to the goings on in DC and the CNN talking heads instead. Yeah, I coulda just walked slowly on the basement treadmill for an hour after dinner, but I didn’t. I gave myself a day off after 6 in a row. OK. Probably recommended by all the exercise regimens anyway.

    But today I’m not really feeling it. Maybe I’m just feeling my age. It’s supposed to be a gym day and I guess I can go later this evening. But probably not.

    Unhelpful in kick-starting the 2lbs/mo I really want to track to.

  60. What’s wrong with the Residence Inn? I lived in one for close to 4 months when we moved back, and it was perfectly fine — would have been better without a tantruming 3-yr-old, of course, but the setup is pretty ideal for long-term-but-not-permanent living. No, it’s not fancy, nor does it have character. But they have breakfast and happy hour every day, so you can eat or not. Small kitchens where you can cook yourself, laundry down the hall, and a gym (and often a pool). We had 2 Br, each with private baths, and a reasonable-sized living room in between, so there was private space, too.

    Now, admittedly, I’d be more inclined to stay somewhere right downtown and preferably with character, particularly if we’re abroad for months at a time. I mean, if I’m spending a month in Bologna, I want to feel like I’m in Bologna. So I’m going to choose cute over practical. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing practical, either. Especially for Finn. ;-)

  61. Laura, it sounds like you had plenty to do, with a toddler trying to figure out what was going on and either a new office or a job search. That’s what I think the Residence Inn is perfect for. But if I’m understanding Finn correctly, he’s thinking of something more like your Bologna trip, going to a city for the sake of being there, without a schedule or family responsibilities.

  62. What’s wrong with the Residence Inn?

    It’s a Marriott.

    You’d be much better off at a Hyatt House*. This one is in beautiful Naples.

    * Hyatt’s brand rival to Marriott’s Residence Inn.

  63. There is something to be said for having practical and known expectations when traveling. Granted, I’m not looking for a place next to a Costco like Finn, but do I like knowing that every Hampton Inn I go to for business trips will be the same. Last week DH and I were watching a bunch of HHI. They were in England and Ireland and I commented that if we were moving there for a few years stay I’d be all about the ultra modern home, with sleek designs. The reason being that I’ve stayed in “traditional” Irish homes, and I don’t like the character of a sink with a hot faucet on one side and a cold faucet on the other. I don’t like the weird small fireplace inserts, and a kitchen with “character”. I’m already immersing myself in other aspects of that country, let my room&board be as easy and clean as possible.

  64. So where does Hampton Inn fit in?

    They are no longer called Hampton Inn. It’s now Hampton by Hilton. In any case, they are not intended for an extended stay. Hilton’s extended stay brand in Homewood Suites.

  65. I’m afraid I need a chart for all these different hamptons and Hyatt’s and houses and such. Maybe even showing Marriott parallels, if you’re bored enough

  66. My only problem with these places is that I like free breakfast, but it’s terrible for my health and BMI. I don’t want to pay for it, and I don’t want it to be available. It’s tolerable for a short vacation, but not anything longer.

  67. DS is moving ahead with his major change. His plan is to get a minor in environmental science because that includes the classes he’s interested in. We’ll see how it all works out. As long as he keeps moving forward toward a useful degree.

  68. Milo, you should travel now. The free breakfast is now in a bag and quite unappealing.

  69. Perfect. Although on our way back from FL, dw was looking for a place in Savannah to stay overnight. Everything advertised free breakfast, but the place we stayed didn’t have anything. I’m sure they weren’t the only ones, or maybe the others had bags. Either way, none of them had any interest in updating their websites.

    We went to the fancy biscuit place downtown, and the biscuits really were phenomenal. Charleston has the same thing.

  70. Milo,

    That’s something to keep in mind of the 111 day cruise. You’d either have to skip breakfast or lunch or maybe have room service bring you a coffee and bowl of fruit or something. You certainly can’t be at the breakfast buffet thinking, “Well I paid for it. Might as well get my money’s worth.”

    To me makes it even more inviting that you’d have to get so used to the routine of a round the world cruise.

  71. I have stayed at both Residence Inns and Hyatt House. They both have their merits but in general I prefer Residence Inn. They are more likely to have rooms for larger families and they feel comfier in general. Hyatt House has this hipster vibe, but the ones I have stayed in tend to have more cramped rooms and the hipster decor looks kind of cheap.
    It really depends a lot, though, on the specific property.

  72. Rhett, I have status at Marriott, and I’ve mentioned before how they’ve let me check in early multiple times after redeye flights and how well that worked.

    They’ve earned my loyalty.

  73. Rhett – I know. The temptation for gluttony is my biggest concern. (On that note, I probably would NOT want to pay for the unlimited alcohol package.)

    And I’ve tried many different iterations of “oh, just have something light for breakfast.” It never works, it just makes me hungry, whereas if I eat nothing, I’m perfectly content until noon.

    Ada says many brilliant things, but I always remember her dismissing the nonsense idea that those trying to lose weight should eat many small meals throughout the day. She asked rhetorically whether those who need to gain weight should limit themselves to one enormous meal.

  74. “My only problem with these places is that I like free breakfast, but it’s terrible for my health and BMI.”

    When we stay at places that include breakfast, we usually spend less time and money on our other meals, especially lunch.

    A lot of the guys from my office stay at places that provide free breakfast when they travel for business, and eat fairly heavy breakfasts, but for dinner will often skip or just eat a bit at happy hour. Or just eat an Italian sausage sandwich from Costco.

  75. “but for dinner will often skip or just eat a bit at happy hour.”

    What? Who does this on business travel? Even in Fargo I can find a nice restaurant and sit at the bar to enjoy a good meal and a beverage. Or room service while I binge on Netflix. I’m definitely not spurlging on a free breakfast and skimping on dinner.

  76. “ When we stay at places that include breakfast, we usually spend less time and money on our other meals, especially lunch.“

    Yeah, see my other problem is that when I eat a big breakfast, I’m even more hungry at lunch. These things don’t always make sense.

  77. “then you’d be really busy in town all day, basically just use the hotel to sleep & have breakfast?”

    That’s how we typically travel now, but once DW and I are retired, I see us slowing down and making extended visits, as we’ve been discussing here.

    But I can easily see staying in evenings at the Residence Inns at which I’ve stayed. They usually have a pool and fitness room, and a roomy living area with a couch and decent sized TV. We can take a FireStick or Roku to ensure we have a good choice of viewing options. Since the stays are extended, we might also do laundry on some of those evenings.

    Of if the extended stays are somewhere like NYC, we might be out late in the evenings, then sleep in.

  78. Finn,

    Do you think anything you said is problematic in light of what one could deduce from your ROTH IRA comment?

  79. “Who does this on business travel?”

    Guys from my office.

    I totally understand why. After a big breakfast, then lunch with coworkers from the local office, by dinnertime I’m often just not hungry, especially if I’ve had dinner the previous night of two. If I go to dinner anyway, then the next day I feel weird and overstuffed. Skipping dinner, or maybe just having a small plate of carrot and celery sticks and a wing or two, resets my body and the next day I’m hungry for breakfast again.

    The guys who do this don’t typically skip dinner every night. Most of the ones I’ve noticed do this are frequent travelers, and I think they’ve figured that skipping some dinners is a way to reset.

    The fact that my current employer gives us a per diem also provides an incentive to not spend on dinner.

  80. How do you pronounce niche? I learned to pronounce it to rhyme with itch, but I was talking with an East Coast colleague who pronounced it to rhyme with sheesh.

    I’m wondering if the variation is regional. Google considers both correct.

  81. When we travel we usually stay at Marriott and most often the hotel will have free breakfast. It’s the best thing for our family as there is something for everyone and it’s standard so everyone can see and knows what they are getting. This is so important for the in laws. It’s also the reason our one inclusive vacation was a success. My weakness is the make your own waffle. Like half a cookie, I make half a waffle. We tend to have a very light lunch and then have dinner. We don’t cook on vacations. That’s our break from cooking.

  82. This is so important for the in laws.

    Do you ever get a break? It’s too bad your not Buddhist. You’re so calm and mellow. I figure you’re one “oh sure we’d love to have you join us on our 25th anniversary trip.” Away from nirvana.

  83. “ Or just eat an Italian sausage sandwich from Costco.”

    The “just” is not warranted here. Unless you’re only thinking of price.

  84. I’ve never stayed in a Residence Inn type place for more than a week or so. IME, they are a great alternative to standard hotel rooms but not nearly as “homey” as an actual apartment or small house.
    But we have stayed in so many of those suite type rooms that a standard hotel room seems awfully small and cramped. Even just getting a couch and a few extra flat surfaces for Stuff makes a real difference.

  85. @LT – I’m with you. Lunches on business travel are often bad sandwich platters in a conference room or a sad desk salad. For breakfast, more often than not – I get Starbucks – both a food and drink item. Dinner with a glass or two of wine on the company is my reward for sitting in a conference room all day.

  86. Do you guys know about the zillowgonewild instagram account? I just discovered it and it is making me very happy.

  87. Hmm, I seem to have a rare bout of insomnia.

    I thought this last widow thing happened about 15 years ago. Well, it did, in fact, except we didn’t know about this one.

    So the last one was a similar story. Teenage soldier becomes a an old guy during the Great Depression whose modest pension was attractive to a dirt poor young girl. But in the last case, it was Alabama. And she had two kids from a prior relationship, and it was a bit more of a marriage than this one, although I don’t guess Viagra was around, so who knows what that means exactly. But it was not kept secret. They were married.

    The boys remembered their stepfather as a mean old SOB. Some heritage groups made him into a hero who fought gallantly with Lee at Richmond and wept at Appomattox. but further investigation was a lot sketchier. He saw a tiny bit of action, maybe, got sick, spent a couple months in the hospital, then likely went AWOL. It was decades before he ever asked Alabama for his pension, and they were apparently pretty skeptical, but he got some others to vouch for him so they relented. And the rest is history.

    Like this woman, hers was not a happy life. I don’t think she ever remarried.

    LT – it sounds entertaining, but I’ve never done Instagram.

  88. It was probably pretty common for women to marry much older men to marry men who could provide for them. My great grandmother was widowed in the early 1920’s. A neighbor hired her as his housekeeper and eventually married her. My mother speaks well of him, as he was very kind to my great grandmother and her son (his stepson, my grandfather) and that wasn’t always the case.

  89. Here’s a good one for you guys, and it’s about an interesting “retirement” act and he probably aced Calculus.

    Off the top of your head, when did the last WWII veteran retire from active duty?

  90. Milo, my guess was Admiral Grace Hopper, who retired in 1986, but I was wrong by over a decade.

  91. Scarlett, one way to get that extra couch and surfaces to set things in is to book a king room. The room size is the same as a room with two queens, so they have to fill it up somehow. Instead of an armchair in the corner, they often set up a little area with love seat, coffee table, an end table or two. Or at least they did, back when my son was going to conferences with me. The king-sized bed was plenty big for the two of us to sleep in, and the play space around the couch/coffee table was a lifesaver.
    Finn, don’t most places let you check in early if they have availability? My experience is always as a mom traveling solo with kid, so maybe I get a different response than you, but usual procedure to me is that they look at their system and the , if they don’t see anything free, they call housekeeping to ask what’s ready or to have one made up for you ASAP. We usually took early morning flights so I could carry my sleeping child to the taxi to the airport (no chance for him to get into anything ;) ) so we often arrived before check-in time.

    Milo, people are different. I have no energy all day and am likely to get a headache if I don’t eat breakfast. Likewise if I forget about lunch. But by supper time, I can be happy with a bowl of popcorn or a yogurt. I think there was a conversation on here a few years ago where several women said the same thing. Until then, I had thought the popcorn thing was really strange. But about that biscuit—when people say biscuits are really good, are they talking about the bread part or whatever’s on it? I like good biscuits, but there is a limit as to just how great a biscuit can be. Cheese grits, otoh, have a much wider range of goodness possibility.

  92. The WaPo didn’t bother saying whether that Civil War widow ever collected her husband’s pension once she revealed her secret.

  93. Noting Meme’s comment at 11:11 on the recipes day, I’ve suggested a bunch of topics. None of them are of burning importance to me; please reply any way you wish. Also, one of them is photo-heavy. If someone would remind me of the TB website, that would save Meme the effort of adding pix to that post, please and thank you.

  94. I had a thought this morning. How about enlisting Chick Fil A to advise on vaccine drive thru ? I feel like the departments of health are reinventing the wheel.

  95. “ I had a thought this morning. How about enlisting Chick Fil A to advise on vaccine drive thru ?”

    That was a Facebook meme earlier in the pandemic, but regarding testing.

  96. “but there is a limit as to just how great a biscuit can be.”

    This is actually something I say regularly about foods in general. But somehow these are a step above. Not sure how to describe it. Maybe a texture optimization blending the crispy with the fluffy. It’s probably in the precision of the chemistry.

    https://risebiscuitschicken.com/locations/savannah-downtown/

    As for the chicken, I didn’t have it, but one of my kids did and I tasted. Nothing to write home about there. They need to poach someone from Chick-fil-A. (The basics of their secret are brining, light breading, and pressure frying.)

  97. “ as her father, Mose Triplett, deserted the Confederates just before Gettysburg and later joined the Union army”

    He had remarkable foresight and switched at just the right time. He could have been an investment banker.

  98. FYI, zillowgonewild is also on Twitter. Strangely, it popped into my feed this week, and I decided to follow it because it looks entertaining.

    Midwesterner here, so I also say niche, as in itch.

  99. We have good drive thru testing around here. It is actually run by the county and there are a couple of very organized places. My parents have also used a drive through in their county that sits in the parking lot of one of the city colleges. Also, super organized for a testing site. The county and state run locations use an appointment system so the drive thru doesn’t involve the lines that I see in other states. I did use the drive thru testing from one of the private urgent cares that has multiple locations around here and that continues to be a disaster. It was a mess in August and it was still a mess last week.

  100. I use nitch and niche as two different words. I think the difference is that the first is a physical space, but will have to think about it to be sure.

  101. Our testing sites here are amazing. So efficient, easy to get in and out of, never a line. Now, vaccinations…I’d love CFA to get involved. I was on a zoom happy hour and a few physicians and nurses were on the call. Some work at the VA and said the process is run with military precision and has been smooth sailing getting not only the employees vaccinated, but also the patients. Basically, multiple drill sergeants are moving people along as quickly as possible.

  102. My oldest was going to do the county drive thru for his back to school COVID test, but our town had a walk-in test day on Wednesday so he did that instead. He arrived at 8:55am, expecting a line. At 9:06am, he texted me that he was done and about to walk back home. Very efficient.

    DS2 has to get back to school testing too, but their requirements are harder to meet. It has to be done no more than 3 days before returning to the dorm, and the result has to be available for the return date. That means we need a place with 2 day turnaround for the results, and last I checked, the county drive-thru could only guarantee 5 days. CUNY actually contracts with some of the NYC hospital testing sites, so CUNY students get their own line with shorter waits and results in 48 hours. So we may just drive into Manhattan 3 days beforehand, and have him use the hospital site he was using in December for the weekly testing.

  103. The two largest hospitals in our area, Montefiore and Westchester Medical Center, had used only 30% of their allocation of COVID vaccine as of earlier this week. Terrible. They are among the worst in NY for vaccine distribution

  104. Mooshi, my son has been reading recently about NY not using their vaccine, and potentially levying fines for both not using it up and for not following the established priorities. What do you think is causing this to go so slowly? People don’t want it, don’t know it’s their “turn” or something else?

  105. Btw, the vaccine squabbles over here are about how much Germany got, and the CDU saying other parties are criticizing them for political purposes.

  106. DW said our governor is getting criticism for the same thing.

    “ People don’t want it, don’t know it’s their “turn” or something else?”

    Big bureaucracies are just slow and inefficient. Everyone was on holiday break, the person who wanted to give it out hadn’t heard back from the supervisor who could authorize it because she was using her carried forward floating holidays before they expired… and it may not have mattered because the board hadn’t met to review and approve the final changes of the distributions instructions.

  107. Funny, I also use nitch and neeche as two separate words, but in the opposite way: nitch is the more amorphous (“I’ve found my niche”), and neeche is the physical space (“what a lovely niche for my vase”).

    Technically it’s neeche, of course, since it’s French. But that sounds somewhat pretentious — I always have a mental vision of the stereotypical NYC interior designer waxing rhapsodically about the lovely neeche. ;-)

  108. My state is doing overlap. Healthcare workers and now 75+ just opened up. The aim is not have vaccine sitting on the shelf if one group is going slow. Here, the 75+ group is very enthusiastic about the vaccine.

  109. Laura, how funny—we use them in opposite ways, but it sounds like we both have the same vision of the snooty possibilities of neeech. Whether it’s niche marketing or a literary scholar trying to sound sophisticated, I hear neeesh.

  110. We’ve rented places from AirBnB before, but this is the first time that the owners left lots of their personal stuff in closets and drawers. Including a laptop in the den, food items in the refrigerator, and a fully stocked unlocked liquor cabinet. And a new wine refrigerator filled with wine bottles.
    Not sure whether we are supposed to help ourselves, but DH brought a case of wine so we will leave theirs untouched.
    It’s just weird. Like we are actually staying at a friends place instead of a rental.

  111. From what I have heard from “insiders”, many hospitals don’t have good protocols in place to get departments through the process. I don’t have specifics, just that they haven’t been able to communicate to employees what day and time there appointment is. I think some of it has to do with shifts, and you can’t just tell a floor nurse to leave her patients, run down 5 floors, walk to Building XYZ, and go up 2 floors. But the alternative of having the vaccination show up at unit 5B at 10am, misses the two other shifts that day, not to mention nurses don’t all work M-F, but may have, MTTH, etc. Hospitals with effective management down to the floor manager is probably better at figuring it out.

    I’ve also heard that the government favors agencies that move through the vaccine quickly. So if Hospital A is getting them and quickly going through them, they get faster and bigger shipments. Hospital B is slowly going through their first shipment…the next shipment will contain less vaccine. And then there is Florida, and it is controlled by each county and their distributions seem to be random.

  112. Montefiore is not a hospital with effective management, trust me. I did a lot of software work for them back in the day. The place was a mess, far more interested in expanding their empire of suburban doctor practices than managing the hospital well.

  113. The first place we stayed for 2 mos. when we got here had waaaay to much stuff in it, afaic. The kitchen was fine— very little food, room for ours, and of course dishes, pots & pans were needed. The clothing had been removed from closet and dresser, but all the other drawers and cabinets were completely stuffed, mostly with Italien books. Otoh, the place where we stayed for a month had clearly been set up for rental, with plenty of place for our things, but the owner lived in the building, seemed to think he had to play host. It was sweet that he came with his grandkids to give me flowers when I had a cold, but seriously dude, unless you have a job lead for me, I just want to get my kid off to school and live my life!

  114. Milo, thinking about the training topic we talked about the other day, I think a simulator would have to be like the Mars ones where people are locked inside for extended period of time. How much of the difficulty of the job is what we usually think of as job skills and how much is just coping with conditions?

  115. @Fred – Did you make it to the gym yesterday?

    I say neeche. I don’t know why as I am a Certified Midwesterner. That’s how I’ve always heard it, and I’ve never thought of it as snobby, but it’s also not a word that I say much out loud. (I would not use the word to describe a spot to put a vase, for example.) Funny enough, DH & I were out for our morning walk today, and he said “n-itch” in the context of talking about DS’s HS search/applications. I was a little stunned that it was so topical – I don’t think I’ve ever even noticed that he says that before, and maybe it’s the first time I’ve ever heard him say the word out loud.

    I am now following zillowgonewild – good tip!

    From what I have heard from my medical friends here & in MSP – the vaccine roll out is going pretty smoothly once it is in the hands of the hospital/med group. One of my friends in MSP who is in direct patient contact, but not in a hospital setting, got a call from her medical system asking if she could be at X location in 15 minutes to take a dose that was left after all the scheduled doses were given. Yes! Absolutely! And so she got moved up the list a week or so. My friend the dentist (suburbs) was able to get the whole office their first doses this week through his county. That also sounded pretty smooth. I know our governor is demanding faster arrival of supply (which is apparently behind the promised schedule), but I have not heard of wasted/spoiled doses around here. How it will work when they go to the next tier – which includes teachers/other specific essential employees and anyone 65+ is probably a bigger question. That is expected to happen in the next two weeks. I am ecstatic that they are including teachers in the next tier.

    The free testing we have done here is all drive-thru and administered by the city in partnership with a non profit. That is available to all without a nurse/doc referral. The only time the line has been bad was right before Thanksgiving. There are plenty of other testing facilities either run by medical groups or for-fee. I haven’t heard of anyone having trouble getting a test – except right around Thanksgiving.

  116. you can’t just tell a floor nurse to leave her patients, run down 5 floors, walk to Building XYZ, and go up 2 floors.

    DD can chime in but as part of her job a nurse would do that for many things. If a doctor ordered a unit of blood the nurse might run down to the blood bank to pick it up. Same for a specially prepared IV bag from the pharmacy. I assume they just cover for each other like for lunch or breaks.

  117. Rhett, not a nurse either, but my guess is that there are some kinds of nurses who run errands as you describe and others who can’t leave the floor. Also, scheduled vaccine times would conflict with people being able to go when there is enough slack for them to do so.

  118. Rhett, stuff like that gets sent up to the floor. But yes, nurses sometimes do have to leave the floor during their shift. One of my friends worked at a hospital where they required nurses to accompany patients for transport (to x-ray and such). There was one episode of a patient coding in an elevator while being transported, and even though the transport techs are certified in CPR, the administration decided it would be safer to have a nurse go on every transport run. (rolleyes)

  119. At least at MSKCC, they had people who did that kind of errand running. I can’t think of what they were called now. They were always running around with carts. They also had those pneumatic tube delivery systems, and so did Montefiore. I also recall reading that a growing trend in large hospitals is to have a lot of the typical meds stockpiled on each floor.

  120. my guess is that there are some kinds of nurses who run errands as you describe and others who can’t leave the floor.

    I very well could be hospital specific. But in terms of blood bank units they are big into chain of custody. The nurse who will administer the unit will come down to a window in the blood bank and they will both confirm name, MRN, DOB, sex, blood type etc. Then the nurse will go back to the floor and match the patient’s wristband to the unit and the order and then transfuse the unit. My guess is the more handoffs the more chance of a mistake.

  121. DS2 has to get back to school testing too, but their requirements are harder to meet. It has to be done no more than 3 days before returning to the dorm, and the result has to be available for the return date. That means we need a place with 2 day turnaround for the results, and last I checked, the county drive-thru could only guarantee 5 days.

    Mooshi, is there any place around like an urgent care that will do the rapid tests?

    Arizona is requiring students to get tested on campus before they can move back in. He called to see if he could test here before he leaves (I have a box of rapid tests) but they are making it very difficult to get approval for off-campus tests. So he is going to have to schelp his stuff around for an hour or two when he gets back until his result comes.

    But the alternative of having the vaccination show up at unit 5B at 10am, misses the two other shifts that day, not to mention nurses don’t all work M-F, but may have, MTTH, etc. Hospitals with effective management down to the floor manager is probably better at figuring it out.

    This isn’t that difficult. I’m getting my vaccine on Wednesday at one of my ALs. CVS is coming from 11 to 5, which covers day and evening shifts, and anyone not working that day or works night shift has to come in to get it.

  122. I forgot to mention the calculus impact of DS’ major change. Instead of taking the regular calc class, he has to take business calc instead. It’s a prereq for a bunch of the classes and they won’t accept the regular calc class.

  123. Denver, what happens if he tests positive? Isolation dorm?
    My niece had her car all packed up and was about to pull out, then decided to check the messages that had been coming in to her phone. Turns out a roommate tested positive, so everyone from the house (at school) has to test again and wait a week until they come back.
    It’s starting to sound like testing is much more common there than here. The only people I know who have gotten tested either had symptoms or contact.

  124. Denver, what happens if he tests positive? Isolation dorm?

    Yup. They were testing all dorm residents weekly last semester. They are working on a plan for daily testing and sending a bar code when you test negative that will allow you to get into classrooms, rec centers, basketball games, etc.

  125. DD, thanks for the update on DS — nice that he’s so sure about the change. Interesting about “business calculus” — I always thought the snootiness ran the other way around, and the math/science people didn’t think “business” calc was stringent enough. ;-)

  126. The rapid test is still crap. DD’s pediatric practice said it is still wrong 50% of the time.

    Also, it is different in hospitals since Covid. You an’t just go between floors, wings and departments even if you are an employee. One of my friends is in Sloan now with a kid. She has been there for three weeks. Visitors don’t just come and go. Even her husband can’t visit since he has to return home to his other kids. The staff has to go through a strict protocols to get in each day, and then they stay on certain floors – even to eat. The same is true for my friend that is a doctor at a major medical center in NJ. She got her vaccine earlier this week. She is allowed to go to her office suite and they can eat in their office suite. If they have procedures in the OR, only the necessary staff can go to the OR or recovery.

    Hospitals have big staff shortages due to retirements and illness. This is not just a holiday thing. Look at the numbers of staff – nurses, doctors and other staff that took retirement after June 30. The numbers in NY metro were high.

    Montifieore was always disorganized so it isn’t surprising that “extra staff” are not available to just distribute the vaccine 24 hours a day, but hopefully things will move faster. The 1B group that includes the 75+ crowd is eligible to start receiving the vaccine next week. Many seniors want the vaccine, but it isn’t clear yet where to get the vaccine unless you work for a major hospital or live in an elder care facility. The government needs to do a better job of communicating where and how seniors can get the vaccine in NY state.

  127. LfB, I was surprised about the business calc comment too. That is the reason that I had to take calculus 3 (!!) times. I had to take the “real” calculus class in the college to receive credit for calc. It was considered a pre requisite and business calc was not considered adequate.

  128. Also, it is different in hospitals since Covid. You an’t just go between floors, wings and departments even if you are an employee.

    That totally depends on the hospital. When DW had her surgery last summer, I was able to leave her room and go down to the cafeteria and such. I could have roamed all over if I wanted to once I passed the initial screening.

  129. We used the rapid tests during the holiday season. These were precautionary tests, not that any of us had symptoms or were in contact with people who tested positive. DD was considered exposed at school. It had already been some days by the time she was notified to be quarantined and tested. We did the rapid test.

  130. I also know people who have been in MSKCC peds (inpatient and outpatient) recently plus I keep up with one of the nurses. Yes, they are that strict. But they are stricter than most hospitals even in normal times. They have a lot of severely immunocompromised patients, especially in peds where a lot of the kids have ANCs hovering around 0. So there is good reason why they are so strict.

  131. ANC=absolute neutrophil count. A key term for a lot of the inpatient kids at MSKCC. You can’t get released to go home after a round of high dose chemo until your ANC goes up over a certain threshold.

  132. “Technically it’s neeche, of course, since it’s French.”

    A lot of non-English words get their pronunciations changed in the US. WRT to proper pronunciation, the question becomes, is it a French word, or is in an American English word with French origin? That question appears to have multiple answers.

    In the Bay Area, many of the on-air news media are bilingual in Spanish and English, and switch to Spanish for Spanish names and words. I learned from them that the pronunciations I’d learned for many Spanish names were incorrect, or at least weren’t correct Spanish pronunciations.

  133. I usually say nish. Never nitch. So I guess I Split the difference. As for the depression in a wall, I say nook if it is big enough for at least one human to be comfortably seated out of the hallway, niche if it smaller or clearly designed to hold only a suit of armor or piece of sculpture. I would use an exaggerated long e Neesh in the non physical sense if I were feeling especially arch.

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