February 22, 2018

Just a little (link) love: yellow submarine edition

My Trans Kid’s Grandma Is Transphobic: “You are the parent. It is your job to protect your kids.”

How would you score your satisfaction with work?

On baby books: “At their worst, the Baby Trainers seemed to suggest that my son was best thought of as an unusually impressive dog, who could be trained, using behavioural tricks, to do what we wanted: if we stopped responding to his night-time cries, he’d learn that he could return to sleep without our assistance and would, as a consequence, stop crying.

I laugh because much of raising JB has been like training a slightly clever dog. A much more clever dog, Seamus, assists (judges & corrects) us in the training process when he thinks we’re wrong.

Parents: Are you enabling your kids to become functional adults?

Maybe this is what I’m trying to do in therapy – work on the process of moving on and forgiveness. Saying forgiveness is hard for me because I don’t think I’ll ever truly forgive Dad in the sense that I let him off the hook for what he’s done to me and my family, but rather I need to find a way to let go of the hurt and the resentment that’s lurking. Perhaps the conflict there, the inability to accept forgiveness as defined, is what’s preventing me from embracing it.

This analysis of the recent layoffs at B&N makes me sad. Barnes & Noble and Borders crushed most independent bookstores, so they’re no saints, but it makes me sad that B&N is now laying off employees in the way that does look a whole lot like the executives are trying to milk the cash cow for as long as possible until it dies. It also makes me sad that we’ll eventually lose another cool place we liked to meet friends for kids’ activities.

It’s true. When you screw up, even if you didn’t know you were doing it at the time, step up and admit it. Do better.

Yellow Submarine

Would you believe I’ve never listened to the Beatles, before? This is my first, courtesy of JB coming home from daycare singing it.

February 21, 2018

2018 Money Moves: Correcting the CD ladder and updating the emergency fund

Photo by Mark Eder on Unsplash

I found the flaw in my previous attempt at the CD ladder.

In hindsight, it’s incredibly obvious: The ladder should have started with 6, 9, and 12-month CDs, not 5-year terms. Duh!

My five year CDs were held in my Cash category but they’re so long term that, if I hold them to term, then they don’t actually make sense as my liquid reserves! I don’t know why I didn’t math out the whole plan before… oh, wait yes I do. I was impatient. Antsy, even, after a year of massive spending. That was foolish.

What I did earlier only makes sense if it was part of a 5 year bundle of cash and cash alternatives, though we’d then have to talk about the wisdom of having that much cash when we’re still far away from retirement!

Reclassifying those CDs makes our Investments category a little bit stronger at the expense of the Cash category but we truly needed the balance anyway. Across all our investments, our portfolio is incredibly heavy on stocks, I hold only one bond fund. That’s less than 1% of our portfolio and that’s way too aggressive.


February 19, 2018

Happy Lunar New Year!

Photo by Anastasiia Tarasova on Unsplash

Welcome to the year of the dog!

This is my year!

(Literally. I’m a lunar calendar dog. I was born in the right year for my personality.)

The actual first day was Friday but I’ve never paid attention to that because we observed it in my family loosely – anytime in the two weekends immediately after counted as the New Year holiday period. That makes it a lot easier to manage all the expected family visits.

During my childhood, we were obligated to make the rounds of nearby family, and there was a rote formula to it all. Kids and unmarried adults were entitled to receive a red envelope from married (or widowed) adults in exchange for an acceptable new year greeting. It was usually something along the lines of (loosely translated): Happy New Year, I wish you a prosperous year with good health and happiness.

At some point I should have realized that you could memorize two lines and repeat them ad infinitum but stage fright always took over and I’d go into a bit of a fugue state. No clue what I actually said.

In hindsight, aside from the money part which I loved, obviously, it was one of the less endearing parts of my culture – the forcing of each child to perform in front of a crowd whether or not they were confident in doing so. It was never mean-spirited but to someone who was virulently antisocial, shy, and introverted, it felt horrible. I made myself do it because not doing it wasn’t a choice but at least there was a monetary payoff at the end. Totally into the spirit of things, that was me. (more…)

February 15, 2018

Just a little (link) love: baby shark edition

Maggie is SO close to paying off their mortgage.

Harry Potter + The Addams Family would be perfect.

We tried tax loss harvesting in 2017 and I’m pretty sure I did it wrong in retrospect. I’m not sure if we’ll be trying tax gain harvesting any time soon but just in case you want to know, J Savvy talks about how he did it.

Holy crap, artichoke pizza needs to happen in my life.

Kara’s Ten Financial Commandments to live by

This was a hard read for a lot of reasons: When I Was Married, I Was Rich. Then I Got Divorced

The real supervillain (SMBC)

A dramatic story of dodging the FUBAR bullet (Part 1 and Part 2)

There’s a lingering thought that one of these days, I’m going to do something worth selling so I keep reading these articles on selling and pitches to tuck the knowledge away. I’m mulling over what kind of parenting article might be worth pitching to a magazine but nothing has bubbled to the surface yet.

I mentally categorize our money like Jim’s Time Capsules. It helps me decide each priority and what to do with them.

The staggering cost of training a figure skater. I thought daycare and private school were exhorbitant. And the physical toll … I can’t imagine welcoming that into my kid’s life.


I haven’t shared this daycare gem, yet?!

February 14, 2018

My kid and notes from Year 2.11

My kid in year 2.11

Things I shouldn’t have to say

  • Don’t use my finger to pick your nose.
  • Don’t pick Seamus’s nose.
  • Take your foot off my head.
  • Don’t sleep on top of my head.
  • No, I can’t trade socks with you.
  • The climbing wall is for climbing. DO NOT LICK IT.
  • Don’t lick the dog food!
  • No, you can’t eat food off the ground. Seamus can have the apple you dropped on the ground because he’s a dog. You’re not a dog.
  • Don’t eat boogers, that’s gross. No, it’s not funny.  GROSS.


Things that JB keeps trying to steal from me:

  • purple socks, adult sized
  • fuzzy boots, 5 sizes too big
  • fuzzy blanket, one size fits all
  • childhood teddy bear unearthed from old home
  • favorite sweater
  • Rogue Squadron books


February 12, 2018

Blogging v therapy: an early cost benefit analysis

A little cost benefit analysis between blogging or therapyRecently, I pondered whether this blog serves a real purpose outside of being a personal money venue and a bit of therapy when my family is being my family. It definitely serves a personal need, but I also spend precious hours on blogging every week and I regularly assess if how I spend my time and money is appropriately aligned to my priorities.

A friend offhandedly joked that of all people, I should be best placed to analyze the cost-benefit of blogging in comparison to formal therapy. As it happens, as a good human who doesn’t want her boundless depths of rage with her estranged family to spill onto her beloved family, formal therapy seemed called for. I scheduled a few sessions with a therapist to help me work through the issues raised by the Dad issues.

Our first appointment was an intake session. This appointment was to go over the background of my issues, share what services she could provide, figure out what I was looking for (I don’t know … stop being so angry?), and assess whether I was in crisis.

Neither of us thought I was in crisis but there’s also a better than even chance I was doing therapy wrong because the therapist thinks I’m dealing really well with a “shitty situation” (her words) and that this much rage is normal. She pointed out that the definition of dealing well included: not self sabotaging, taking logical steps to protect myself and my family, facing the truth now that I’ve heard it and acting appropriately to enforce boundaries.


February 8, 2018

Just a little (link) love: Boo Delta airline edition

Please vote for my post (Father) on Rockstar Rumble, live today and tomorrow (Friday). The link still works, I don’t know why the blog likes to strike through links occasionally!

I loved Solitary Diner’s thoughts on being rich.

Kathleen’s moving to Arizona and says some quite true things about kids. We’ve gotten past some of those hurdles by having family visit and adjusting our expectations, and PiC works out of the home so we don’t feel trapped. But it’s true that without a supporting cast, it’s hard having kids.

PIGS, man.

Fighting with a sibling – did you ever get past this bad habit with your sibling(s), if you had it in the first place? You know I never did.

Silicon Valley is so gross.

I am always thinking about ways to teach JB good money habits and self control. We might give this one a try when ze is older.

Keep Thrifty’s Chris didn’t replace their pizza cutter. We work on not having specialized tools in the kitchen too but we recently added a food processor and it was sheer heaven when preparing a veggie heavy meatloaf and my Hainan chicken recipe. So much time and energy saved! Two thumbs up on that.

I still like Cloud’s post on worries about assimilation.


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