April 17, 2017

Swagbucks: Egg-cellent Team Challenge

It’s time for the Swagbucks Easter Team Challenge!

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. You can pre-register starting now. If you haven’t joined Swagbucks yet, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting April 17th at 8am PDT, you’ll contribute points to your team’s total as you complete activities.

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card.

If you earn 300 SB before April 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus if you joined the team using my link.

The 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be available on Friday, April 21st and will expire on Sunday, May 7th 11:59pm PT.

April 13, 2017

Just a little (link) love: I love you, robot edition



Awesome question with a great start at the answers: Who is the Serena Williams of Tech?

I’m not this organized at onboarding at my new company since we rarely hire but I aim to be a little before I need to hire again: Patreon’s onboarding deck.

I’m pretty good at avoiding most food waste, though I have my slip-ups, but new food date labeling would be awesome. The author touches on an important point – if you don’t have enough experience with food to know, you rely on labels most to tell you if food is still ok to eat: “That we put so much stock in these dates illustrates a profound lack of kitchen confidence and knowledge. We don’t know how long food should or will last.


What traces are you leaving?

The only version of the Wall that makes me smile

I’ve always loved Anne Hathaway and I appreciate that her view of strongly believing in things doesn’t need to be full of rage or passion to be authentic, it’s more important for it to be lifelong: “I can’t let it be rage or anger or even passion to be what it is that drives me. It has to be a belief in equality. It has to be a belief in love. When I speak about being overt, or in that quote, overt feminism, I think it’s off-putting because, like I said, that muscle can become exhausted. I’d like to find something that is a renewable energy source.”


Now we know: “Octopus arms remain deadly for a while after they’ve been detached from the head.

I was just wondering how much waste is generated by meals served on planes and lo, comes The Guardian to answer at least part of my question: “Airline passengers generated 5.2m tonnes of waste in 2016, most of which went to landfill or incineration, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates. That’s the weight of about 2.6m cars. And it’s a figure set to double over the next 15 years.

Good grief, United.

Hi robot

April 12, 2017

LASIK: our unplanned expense

PiC’s eyes have been getting a little bit worse with every year.

It wasn’t that scary until we added up exactly how much vision he’s lost over the years. Then the thing that became apparent to us in all our emergency planning is that his eyeballs are a huge liability. Without his contacts, he’s effectively blind. He can make out the blob that is me, the blob that is Seamus, the streak that is JuggerBaby coming for his legs, if we’re within 2 feet of him, but he can’t do a darn thing about it.

Worse, a panicked or attempting-to-escape JuggerBaby flails wildly, dangerously. We know this because ze has already knocked his contacts out several times, leaving him half-blind.

On a less fraught daily basis, his day is much more frustrating when he has to stop and put in his contacts before he can do anything.

After getting some background info from Crystal, whose husband had it done, about the pricing and a few other friends who have had it done recently, we decided he should have a consultation with the recommended eye docs in our area to see if he’s a candidate. I wasn’t sure if he could do the classic procedure, or if he had to go with PRK, but I hoped he was a candidate for the standard procedure that’s been done many thousands of times.

The consultation was good. They were confident that they could improve his eyesight substantially and the results had a good prognosis for stability because of his age and gender. The one time being older pays off!

Now, to be clear, this is just about the worst timing possible for this on a financial basis considering the house thing. But we had committed to it before the house thing happened and JuggerBaby isn’t getting more coordinated. You’d think ze would be but ze is my kid so that’s not happening. He’s taken several more hits to the eyes since starting this post! It’s dangerous being a parent.

The quote for the LASIK procedure was $9250.

An additional benefit through his employer, the Vision Service Plan, netted us a 20% discount, taking that down to $7560. The referral from his regular eye doctor took another $300 off the bill, bringing that down to $7100.

They required a $1000 deposit before they’d book another appointment, so I jumped on the case.  I called them for a cash discount – boom, $300 off, bringing it to $6800.

And because I don’t stop until we run out of options, I asked if we could leave the $1000 on our credit card and pay off the balance in cash, which gets us a tiny 1% cash back ($10.00). They normally make you bring in the full cash amount and refund your card, but heck, why not ask?

That, my friends, totaled up our discounts to 27% off the huge original cost.

The timing is / was terrible of course.  We had some flexibility with our FSA but really, this wasn’t the right time to be paying so much more for essentially an elective procedure.

In many ways, this decision was more emotional than logical: for the first time, PiC felt vulnerable in a way he’d not felt before. As the consummate worrier and planner, I worried about an earthquake or fire or other emergency happening at night where you only have seconds to vacate, and certainly not enough time to stop to put in contacts! It was less worrisome when it was just the two of us plus dog. Seamus has pretty great vision.

On the logical side of the decision, we were looking at spending hundreds of dollars to replace his contacts thanks to the aforementioned knocking out incident and his glasses were woefully out of date as well. They both needed updating at the same time which usually costs near a thousand dollars when appointments and orders are said and done. I’ve never liked him being dependent on only one set of vision aid because it’s so easy to find yourself up Can’t See Creek and that’s not the place you want to get stuck.

We committed and I have never been more of a wreck worrying – what if something goes wrong? what if he sneezes? what if an earthquake hits during the procedure? This is San Francisco, it could happen.

Thankfully, the procedure seems to have gone well. The afternoon after the procedure was a bit fraught – it’s really hard to put in eye drops when post-surgical drops glued your eyelashes together! He hasn’t had any side effects like excessive itching or worse.

The clinic does day-after, 1 week after, 1 month after and 6 months after check-ups, and so far so good. We’ve had some close calls with JuggerBaby smacking him in his “special eyes” after the surgery which was horrifying but so far, he’s come through it ok. I’ll breathe easier when his last check-ups are done and he has a totally clean bill of eye health.

As for the bill, we’ll have them help us take it out of our FSA over the next few years so that particular pain is spread out.

:: Do you wear eyeglasses or contacts? How do you take care of your vision?

Swagbucks: Spring sale cash back

Swagbucks is ringing in Spring with big promotional cash back rates through their Shop store.

Quick details

When: Deal good until April 16th
What: Better cash back rates for shopping you might be intending to do already

We may be looking down the barrel of extensive remodeling and renovations so these increased rates would come in right handy.

Home Depot = 3% Cash Back
Target = 4% Cash Back
Lowe’s = 3% Cash Back

Also, if you signed up through my links at some point this month (or sign up now), you’ll get a $2 (200 SB) bonus added to your account when you get your shopping SB.

Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join Swagbucks and earn. I track my earnings here.

Swagbucks: Spring Discover

To celebrate Spring springing, Swagbucks is offering increased SB on Discover offers. They’ve got over 100 Deals, good through April 16th.

We already did the Puzzle Buzz offer: Get 2 Free highlights Activity & Coloring Books + Stickers and earn 750 SB

The puzzles are a little above JB’s ability right now, but the stickers aren’t! Ze has been loving them.

Take a look, they may have a great deal on something you were already planning to buy.

As a special bonus, if you sign up through my links this month and earn 300 SB before May 1st, you’ll get a bonus $3 (300 SB) added to your account at the beginning of next month.

Here’s a handy tutorial if you’d like to join Swagbucks and earn. I track my earnings here.

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