Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Brain Dump

I have about a dozen things I want to write about, but my evenings are busy with catching up on Game of Thrones so bullet points it is!

  • Major LOLs for suggesting my MIL assist with settling into routines. She is the anti-thesis of routines. Doesn't believe in: bed-time, limits on sugar and screen-time, any forms of discipline for the kids. Its been OK so far, while she doesn't help promote the routine she has gotten much better at  not subverting our efforts. 
  • I ran the 10 miler this Sunday. Last time I did it (2 years ago) it was an awesome, exhilarating experience. This time it sucked. I got a headache 3 miles in that turned into a major migraine and basically I lost the whole day afterwards. My time was abysmal. I did, however, finish. I went for a 3-mile run Tuesday and it was glorious. I hope to continue running this spring before it gets too hot. I noticed that (aside from Sunday's migraine experience), the long runs I've been doing most weekends were really really amazing for stress-relief and moderating my mood/temper all weekend. It only worked if I ran more than an hour, though. 
  • The kids are driving us all bananas with their constant physical violence against each other. Its easier to keep them completely separated at all times, but then how will they ever learn to play together nicely? They just have to go out of their way to constantly hit/push-over/bite/step-on each other until someone (almost always L) ends up in tears. This begins with our morning stop in the bathroom and continues through bedtime stories. 
  • I've realized something about myself---I've become pretty lazy. I really just want to chill out. Maybe its spring fever? I have no desire to do anything, including my paid work. Obviously I do what I need to do, but its like pulling teeth every day.
  • There is a huge backlog of things I really really want to get through, particularly as we have some extra child-care help this month:
    • organize and purge my clothes, return on-line purchases that didn't work out, get a sense of what I need for the summer
    • go to garden center for seeds & plants and set up window-boxes and container garden
    • plan out summer travel, price & buy tickets
    • financial overhaul
      • find and set up meeting with financial planner (yes, yes, I know this isn't necessary & may be a waste of $$, but since neither of us have a head for this kind of thing, it may be helpful for our peace of mind to make sure we aren't making any major mistakes. and if we are, fixing them asap). 
      • Set up schedule to review credit card bills, bank statements, etc... 
      • Look into loose "fun money" budget for each of us and for kids' stuff. I just don't feel like I have a handle on where our money is going. 
      • Taxes went up like 400% this year (major tax overhaul by city...its actually more fair this way, but...yikes) and we need to make sure we can make the new mortgage/escrow payments.
    • deal with pile on desk---some of this (i.e. license renewal for license expiring in 2 weeks) is important stuff
Happy May to everyone!


  1. Make sure it's a fee-only financial planner-- otherwise they may give you bad advice that transfers money from your accounts to their pockets. But a fee-only planner is always a good idea (definitely NOT Edward Jones). (Also if you want to ever submit anonymously to ask the grumpies, we can tell you want we think we should do!)

    I'm totally like your MIL. Routine? What's that? And we've given up on limiting our kids from sugar or screen-time. Though there's not much sugar in the house (because I'm not supposed to eat it and I have no willpower) and only one i-pad so there's some enforced limits anyway. When we're at my in-laws they go crazy, because both my mother and my MIL informed me before DC1 was born that the grandparent's job is to spoil the grandkids and they would brook no interference from me. (MIL actually threatened with toys that make noise. My mom just left the threat open.)

    Today I'm done with grading so I'm spending all day doing errands. :)

    1. We already made that mistake (told you we were stupid about this!) We are looking for a fee-only planner now.
      I think spoiling by grandparents is fine if you are on a short visit. For 4 weeks, it can be bad for their health. One time my 2 year old son was constipated and throwing up because of the carb-only/no fruit-veggie diet my MIL was allowing him to have during the day. another time he started falling asleep before dinner because she didn't "have the heart" to "make him" nap. When we visited her over christmas they literally watched movies/tv ALL DAY every day and were getting really weird (no activity)

    2. It's not like Edward Jones isn't getting rich from making it super easy to access them. I had no idea just how bad they were until my FIL, who is an ACCOUNTANT for goodness sake, started asking us which of their high-load individual stocks they were recommending that he should be buying. We're like, do you know HOW MUCH above market you'd have to make on those stocks for it to be worth it?

      Our kids tend to fall asleep when they're tired (DC1 just drops, DC2 waits until the excitement is over and then drops off). It seems to run in the family-- they showed a ton of pictures at his wedding of my BIL falling asleep face down in birthday cakes and the like. DC1 is generally a bit of a pill during and directly after a doting relative visit (during which he is the constant center of attention), but he gets over it. Now that DC2 is more interesting, that may start to wane as she takes some of the attention.

    3. We didn't do Edward Jones (never heard of them), but used a commission-based financial advisor for purchasing disability and life insurance. We are thinking we got suckered in, and want some outside advice before we've sunk more costs into these things. The fee-based planners I've looked into are quite pricey (though fees are based on income), but I would do as a one-time thing.
      I also have a lot of money just sitting in a "high interest" (i.e. more than 0.001%) savings account, that I'm pretty sure should be invested somehow.
      On the plus side, we've got the college funds set up! My parents have contributed 100% of what's in there so far...

  2. You got into the 10-miler?? I applied for the lottery and didn't get in. My husband ran it. Sorry about the migraine - but congrats on finishing!

    1. yeah, I was lucky and got in both the times I've wanted to run it! I'm not planning to do it again---unless 10 years from now my kid wants to do it, too.

  3. We need to talk to a financial planner too. I'm glad I read the comments so now I know to seek out fee-only. Ugh. Money sucks. I'm so worried I'm going to wake up in ten years and be totally cursing my current self for not making better decisions. That is exactly what I'm doing to my ten-year-ago self right now and it's not pretty.

    Oh in-laws... why is it always so complicated. And why do they want to spoil them so rotten?! My inlaws take Osita on Friday afternoons after school. They always offer her a spend the night but usually she comes home. Except she stalls and stalls and they don't get her here until 9:30! It's like, COME ON! She's not even four! Get her out the door.

    Of course it's amazing that they take her every Friday afternoon so I'd NEVER complain, but it's still mystifying. I mean, they had kids too once, don't they remember what it's like? Clearly not.

    Well done on the 10 miles. I could NOT run 10 miles right now--I need to get back in shape.

    1. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a non-profit (or even a gov't planner) that will help you for a sliding-scale. I'm not sure where I'd start looking/calling around for that though... it varies a lot by township/state. (And, of course, you can always email us at grumpyrumblings at gmail with deets and we can do a Friday Ask the grumpies post on your situation, anonymously.)

    2. p.s. This is my favorite 31 days to fix your finances on the internet: Though my first recommendation is always to call around all your monthly bills (credit card, cell phone, insurance etc.) and ask for a discount (or lower interest rate if CC debt). We've found that often we get one just by asking! And it's a good way to cut a regular expense.

    3. 9:30???! I'd freak out, I guess i'm still pretty rigid about bedtimes. I'd make a rule---if you aren't home by x (usual bedtime) you have to stay the night. I would NOT want to deal with putting an over-tired 4 year old to bed at 10pm! I do not get the grandparent spoiling obsession at all. I get wanting to spend time with the kids, and show them new experiences, but why does that have to involve unhealthy habits? I wish my MIL would take advantage of the spring weather to take them to the park, long walks, etc… but she just wants to buy them treats and let them watch shows all day.

  4. We're probably lucky that our daughter turns into a total cranky pants crying monster if she doesn't nap or get to bed on time. Punishment (to us) for blowing her bedtime is swift and sure! The in-laws can't figure out how to make Netflix work, so there is little threat of too much screen time. Yay for having a MIL who speaks no English!

    I have to say, I've found N&M's financial advice really empowering. Previously, we'd been too scared of losing money to do ANYTHING with it. I feel much more confident in putting my money in 529s, mutual/index funds, the house, etc. than I had before. It probably also helps that the market is doing well these days. :-P

    Glad you brought up the issue of disability insurance. Residency provides something like 60% of salary. I know when I'm an attending I'll need something better. How does this work? As a resident, can I buy something that will provide better coverage? For life insurance, my husband gets his through work. I bought a term policy through the same company that we do car/umbrella/house through. We like them. The rates were pretty competitive, and it was minimally annoying to get it.

    1. With disability insurance, usually the best option is via your employer. If your employer doesn't offer it, the kinds you can get outside are not as good and you'll have to do your own cost-benefit analysis. (This is because of a problem with adverse selection on the non-employer market, just like with health insurance.) In the private market you are unlikely to find anything that gives 100% of your income from when you weren't disabled, even for a year or two, because there's a huge moral hazard problem-- if you hate your job it might be worth getting disabled if you get paid enough.

      The market isn't as broken with life insurance because it's easy to prove death and most people don't want to die. So there's only a little bit of moral hazard with suicide and murder (the former of which invalidates the contract if discovered and the latter of which is illegal). And, of course, with life insurance, you always want term, never full. We also have ours through our car/umbrella/house insurance for the same reasons. (Though we only got umbrella insurance after we had assets to insure!)

    2. Oh ours can't figure out Netflix either, but has been using the laptop to find Sesame Street & such. Its not the worst thing in the world, but I think it just irks me because its "not how we do things in our house" and my kids start being, as N&M put it "real pills" when they have to back to our house rules (no screen time during weekdays, 1 movie on weekend if no terrible behavior).

    3. @Ana -- You have my sympathies. I dread the day when my daughter realizes I am lying to her when I tell her that the tv is broken. I fear that day is in my not too distant future.

  5. I told my mom once, "you can be the kind of grandma who spoils her grandkids, or you can be the kind who sees them all the time. you don't get to do both." This is not to say we still have no problems, but I think it did help. I rarely saw my grandparents growing up (3-4x/year), and my kids see theirs more like 2-3x/week, so I think she realized she had the better option.

    You don't sound lazy at all to me! You've just got a lot on your plate.