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Archive for May, 2020

new normal and WFH

May 27th, 2020 at 06:24 am

So DH has been given the opportunity to WFH permanently and through the end of the year. What that means for us and what we are doing about it?

First off our house is not exactly suitable for all four of us living in it all the time. It doesn't really work with both of us working, him full time and me intermittently part-time from home. We have a nice home. It's 3bd/3ba with a large playroom/bonus room. But there isn't a fourth bedroom or dedicated office. We have about 2100 sq ft. I love our house and yard.

So here's the deal. We are considering putting in a shed with electric so that we can have a private office. But the trade offs? No guest bedroom. We can't see the kids while we work if one of us is not home. It'll cost between $10-25k.

Or we could move. That is something we're considering. But the next question is if we move, do we move away completely?

Do we move away from our neighborhood? Do we move somewhere cheaper and DH WFH permenantly? His salary would be "Adjusted" down if it were a cheaper cost of living. But does it really matter if he's still earning a good salary?

I mean where we live homes run about $1.5M. So moving even if they adjust his salary we'd probably come out ahead. But the real question is if he ever lost his job would we be forced to move back to an expensive area? Of course we would relocate with him being the primary breadwinner we would follow his job.

So do we stay in a place that is easy and we never have to move for a job until he retires? Or do we take a chance and move somewhere that if he were to lose his job I bet it cold be difficult to find another?

That's the real underlying question to moving anywhere and having a WFH job. What is the possibility of you finding another job like that one? Is it a common WFH job that you could? Or is it a specialized one that may require relcocating?

The answer we're pretty sure is it's specialized for DH. He makes a lot of money. So a job loss would make it definitely worth moving.

We've been talking a lot and looking into our options. I think we're going to build a shed. We are going to watch the local market to move into a bigger home. But we aren't leaving the area because DH wants to work until 2034 when DK2 finishes college and he'd rather stay where he has networking connections and he feels secure about finding a job easily if he had to.

So right now we are in a holding pattern.

Weekend away - it was surreal

May 25th, 2020 at 09:21 pm

We went away Friday to Sunday. Not far, just the coast about 3 hours from us. What a difference it makes. No one there was wearing a mask. People were going into stores without masks. They were not social distancing. They were going to eat in restaurants at 50% capacity.

We stayed in an empty cottage that hadn't been used since March 23rd. I'm not sure when we are going away again since we now prefer to not stay at a hotel. But then I'm not sure we are comfortable with VRBO or Airbnb when you can't be sure how much time between clients or if they really clean it. I mean that's a plus for a hotel is that you are more likely to have rules for cleaning.

We cooked and ate in the cottage but we had a fabulous time. We went and spent all day saturday and Friday afternoon and sunday morning at the beach. We flew kites, ate snacks, social distanced from all the rest of the people and the kids got super dirty and we played in the sand. We just relaxed. Everything I wanted for my birthday. I told DH I wanted a mental break. No homework, just fun playtime for all of us. He didn't bring work, I didn't bring work, kid's didn't do homework.

We just did nothing but fun all weekend. We slept in, and just played at the beach. Sounds crazy but I love the sand and the beach. In my heart it makes me mentally happy and I love seeing the water. Me and the kids run looking at horseshell crab shells. We just walked and let the dog play fetch. It's totally something we do in hawaii. Sit all day and play and get dirty then at 4 pm go home shower, eat dinner, watch tv, play games.

I guess this is why I miss hawaii. I miss these sort of days. My kids are very much beach/sand kids. No matter where we've lived in the summers we always go to the lake or beach and spend all day playing in the sand. I shake them off since the time they were 6 months old, with my pop up tent and we even snooze in the shade of my umbrella or tent. My DH isn't super thrilled and he doesn't quite find the same pleasure but to me I am happiest just sitting and reading or relaxing. Mental unwinding. My kids like to just dig and find tons of ways to expend energy and when it's hot they snooze as well.

Next up...thinking about our life... I'll post about it later.

the financial considerations of private school

May 18th, 2020 at 09:41 pm

Okay so I'm really considering private school. I'm torn because as I said before my DH is anti-religion so parochial schools he's been a hard no. He wouldn't even consider it. Now. Maybe.

But even then I'm not sure. Our kiddos are 2nd and 4th grade. What would the costs be? The closest secular traditional private school is $37,900 not including extra fees. So let's say $40,000/year per kid $80,000 for 2. Parochial school will cost us $28,430 for 2 kids.

I believe we might be too late for the fall unfortunately. So assuming we apply in the fall for Fall 2021 is what will be most likely.

First off if we save that money $80,000/year for the 7 years and $40k/year for 2 more years is $640,000. I'm not sure that's feasible. Maybe if we moved into a cheaper neighborhood. Honestly I'm struggling over the price.

Second the parochial school will cost us $227, 400 until my DK2 graduates from high school. That too is a lot of money.

I don't know. I mean I think for $14,000 a year I can pay a tutor 52 weeks $26/hr for 10 hours a week. Is it more worth it than paying for private school? Or should we look at paying at least parochial school tuition?

Right now we hired a tutor to help and it appears to be working. I sit and watch the tutor and help the kids. I also help with all the math. Interestingly my older one is motivated to do work faster but lazy. She'll get anywhere from 40%-80% right because she does it all in her head and then just put down an answer. Today I am making her sit down and repeat every single question she got wrong. By the 3rd one she admitted that if she had bothered to get a pencil and paper she could have done it. aahhhh.

love diet day 5

May 18th, 2020 at 06:23 pm

Okay it's definitely getting harder to do this meat and berries crap. It's boring. It's way easier because I'm at home doing nothing. Literally nothing. But harder because it's boring. Will the whole 30 be better? I don't know. But I know it will be easier. Obviously not going out, not seeing people, not going to people's houses means really controlling what I eat. I acknowledge this in someways is not real life. That we will eventually go back out to eat. We will eventually go to people's homes. So I know that I have to learn how to navigate the world fully of tempting food and temptations.

But I'm hoping that the whole 30 teaches me to make better choices. That it's an easier way of eating and cooking without buying shakes or going crazy on diets or protein shakes or needing to go to the gym for 2 hours a day. I want to exercise but I'm hoping to do changes that stick.

I don't mind walking and walking the dog. I don't mind working out a couple times a week and probably need to get into a body weight program. Anyway onward it is.

I will say that eating now after 4 days without added sugar I can taste food. The blueberries I ate yesterday were crazy sweet.

the love diet day 2

May 15th, 2020 at 10:43 pm

So yesterday I started the love diet with my neighbors. It's a detox diet of meat and berries for a week. Then you start adding things back in. It's based on the 20/20 lifestyle. Apparently a couple of neighbors love to do this reset and whole 30. I'm reading the whole 30 book so we'll see how it goes.

So the detox phase is 4 oz of protein and 1 cup berries for breakfast/lunch, 2 oz of protein and 1 cup berries for snack, and 6 oz protein and berries for dinner. I am doing tilapia because I'm lazy and I bought package from costco. I usually love fish but it's super boring with nothing on it. I am also doing egg whites liquid and couple of hard boiled eggs a day. I'm thinking instead of 1 week, two weeks until May 27th then I'm debating continuing on the love diet and adding back veggies or moving onto whole 30.

Whole 30 is an elimination diet to see what your body might be allergic to or a sensitivity too. It's a more natural way of eating. You spend 30 days eating nothing but unprocessed foods and avoiding some groups of foods like beans as well. It's not a weight loss diet because you aren't supposed to weigh yourself during this time. You are supposed to be looking at other changes and you measuring other things like blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.

I have no idea. But I guess it's worth trying. I'll tell you all how it goes.

trying to sell before the market drops

May 15th, 2020 at 09:21 pm

So DH's stock vested today and annoyingly enough it didn't hit his account to sell. I'm dying. Literally dying. I need him to sell it because the market is so crazy right now that I can't take the uncertainty.

For us the stock is part of his compensation and we do not hold onto for "gain". We cash out and stick it before in taxable account for investments. We always save it. As I explain to friends, clients, anyone who asks, you don't hold stock for the same company you work for. Think enron? Or the big car companies.

To hold all that stock and they go bust. I don't think DH's company will go bust. But I don't want to risk anything happening. We already have enough inherent risk by working there. To tie up our net worth into one company is risky.

So we sell and we don't make the profit probably others do. But maybe they have a second full time working spouse, but even then I think we'd sell. Or maybe they are single and without kids. I might hang on then. But otherwise it's a big chunk of DH's compensation? How large? As of right now he has made salary 45%, stock 35% and 20% bonus. So risking a 1/3 of DH's salary.

If anyone else does this I commend you for being super risky. It's more risk than being 100% in stocks or mutual funds. But for me? I find myself deleveraging ourselves and trying to minimize risk by selling stock and looking at the cash and going that's the salary.

lowering expecations

May 12th, 2020 at 09:56 pm

Great ideas and thank you for the comments last post. I want to say ML is a good guy. He's very easy going and a lot of stuff I do because I want to do it. He never tells me what to cook, clean, or anything. He doesn't care. He says I don't care and you do it. Which is how I end up doing it. To him we can live in a mess, dirty, etc. He said don't stress out it's fine. Even the kids are fine. He literally was on a call during lunch came upstairs with phone and headphones and then ate the leftover noodles and curry and rice all thrown together and went back to work. Same with last night I had a mishmash of other leftovers he just ate kissed my cheek and said thank you for lunch.

The kiddos I don't know it's mostly my 2nd grader who has a lot of problems focusing and so if I don't sit with her she tends to not do any work. And we take a lot of breaks usually not more than a 45 minute "work" then break. My older one is fine but we've had a lot of IT issues with not having any touchscreens to work with. So everyday I was trying different computers, different browsers, etc. Then 4 weeks ago? DH just bought her a surface pro for $1200 and said here forget the daily complaining I was doing. I also got a computer because I was also have IT issues. And this week with the lost work we are now 4 weeks behind on the Dk1 writing narrative and the deletion of pages happened this morning. I was on hold with IT for the school district another hour.

I probably should lower my expectations. DH told me today get the cleaner (who is now able to come in) in weekly. Order out more and deliver groceries. He said "i told you to stop. Let it all go. I don't want to do it. I don't expect you to do it. Just let it all go."

He's the fun guy. Last weekend while I worked he cleaned with the kids. His cleaning for all day? They sorted legos and reorganized the bins, set up the sets they built, and made a list of pieces missing that I had to order. The kids just make a mess and then he and they don't bother cleaning because whose going to see it? No one. No one has seen our house since march 8th.

That's the problem. The house is as clean as one partner cares. DH doesn't care if the toilets, shower, sheets aren't done. He never tells me anything. He never complains and says you should do anything. As long as the kids are happy and do something, we have food (including takeout) he's happy. He just doesn't see any messes or problems. The kids help me unload the dishwasher and put away their own laundry but their rooms are messy.

So I did tell DH and kids to do more. But I got ideas for how to not do more but do less. Don't room parent, don't lead girl scout troop, etc. DH was like you do too many things and expect everything perfect. It's fine. We can eat out, deliver groceries, and get help. He said he's enjoying watching tv and playing video games (he created a roblox and minecraft world and server for our kids and all their friends) with kids 6-9 pm and usually works most nights 9-12 pm after they get ready for bed.

So yes I do feel guilty. I feel like I need to work harder at cleaning and doing everything because DH will sit and work more. He loves his job. He does work weekends. He will pull out his phone and constantly answer messages and emails because of it. I've driven on vacation and DH has worked in the passenger seat while I've driven to where we were going. He's worked in our airport lounges while we are waiting. So i feel this pressure to do everything else. How can I watch him work and sit there doing nothing?

But I'm thinking I'm going to forgive myself and stop worrying my kids are going to be way behind everyone else. That they may need to repeat 2 and 4th grades because by september they'll have forgotten everything.

childcare and second income/no income question?

May 11th, 2020 at 10:55 pm

So I'm going to tell you what it's like being a parent trying to work even part-time and have kids at home who aren't able to self-sufficiently do work on their own. My kids are in 2nd and 4th grade. I have to sit with them and do their work. I have to troubleshoot any problems. I have to help my 2nd grader with a pretty in depth schedule because she has a lot of anxiety.

My 4th grader is independent learner but this week has started off poorly and we had a problem with OneNote. She lost all her previous work and everything she was building for her writing narrative for the past month. I spent about 4 hours this morning trying to figure it out until Lunch. I then called the tech support and they started a ticket. This is after another hour sitting together looking through everywhere we thought it could be, going through help, etc. So now we have to start again.

Then I made lunch. Then I helped her record her band video for upload to flipgrid. In between I snuck in reading a couple of pages of SA and now this blog at 3:30 before they have class at 4-6 pm. During that time I need to get dinner ready and then tonight after dinner at around 7 pm I might be able to finally squeeze in work. I might do it now and feed everyone something lazy like leftovers.

I also spent time this morning walking/feeding dog, organizing and scanning in kid and our docs, and pulling my docs and reading my work email. I also made a couple of calls to pay some bills while I washed dishes, folded some laundry, and cleaned up after the weekend (i took a break sunday.....well it was mother's day...).

But seriously that's how it is, whether you work full or part-time. The person with the crappier pay/job pulls more weight at home. They do the cleaning, cooking, kid stuff, grocery shopping, etc. I've felt it more during this pandemic than ever. My DH has commented that I do a lot more than him and he says "I don't feel like I"m being productive enough at work. I need to work at night. Lunch and dinner and breakfast he eats and runs to work downstairs and says sorry can't clean." Unless I'm desperately needing him to really be with kids, which usually I try to shop before 9 am, he is busy. I get it.

Yes working at home there is no commute. But it's harder to focus. Harder to be efficient. There is more pressure to produce because you want to stand out and not be called out that you are "child rearing" intsead of producing.

But then what? It leaves the second parent in a difficult place. I speak from experience. My job is important for my mental health. I like it. I like stimulation. But at the same time it doesn't pay the bills, have health care, etc. So I am the one doing grunt work more. Maybe my DH should pull his weight at home more.

I mean I do everything. I don't mean like those stay at home mom's whose husbands pay bills and manage finances. I do all that. I do the insurance, will, investments, talking to banks, trip planning, etc. My DH doesn't care nor does he really mind. He signs on the line and I even order and pick up food and even if he has to pick up food "on the way home from work...I'd have better paid and order it for him so he stops and does nothing else."

Us at SA whether you are male or female we need to be the OCD alphas when it comes to finances. So it's something that just happens.

But I wonder do others with kids and lower second incomes or no income feel the same? Do you feel like you do more than your half the work? Has it gotten worse during the pandemic? Do you do more work because the primary "breadwinner" feels pressured to work more? Are they pressured to work more?

I think it would great if we were both home without our kids. But this insanity of trying to homeschool but to the school's specifications is horrific. Maybe if I had my own curriculum then it would be less stressful and I could relax. Or if the kids were fully self sufficient. Or if the kids were super small and not needing any schooling that would work. Then it would be physically exhausting.

What do you think?

Happy Mother's Day...i did nothing!!! Read below!!!

May 11th, 2020 at 09:44 pm

Happy mother's day a day late because I was enjoying not being online for a day! Whew. I read a bit on my tablet but overall I refused to do everything I do.

DH was so tired from doing everything (on a weekend) that I normally do he went to bed very early and took a NAP during the day.

He got up at 7 am with the kids, made me pancake breakfast. He then had to clean and walk the dog. I gave him a break and he went out and got takeout lunch because he could barely keep up with doing the dishes (loading dishwasher) and wiping table. Then we bought sushi for dinner and again he was "exhausted" by his day of just cleaning and i made him walk the dog again.

Yep. I did a load of laundry but I refused to wash a dish, pick up a dish, everything. I normally walk the dog 2-3x/day, I cook, I clean tables (kids bring their plates to sink) and they fold their laundry. But DH tends to not pick up or clean anything. He eats and leaves. And yes I do the dog and dinner and I even LAUGHED and said when we get takeout I always order, pick up and do everything.

So it was a GLORIOUS mother's day and hope every other mother had a glorious day as well. I just for once in 2 months felt like I didn't do ANYTHING! And I didn't!

Going back to the way it was?

May 5th, 2020 at 06:01 pm

Okay so here's the question are you going out again one the bans lift where you are? Will you go back to eating out, shopping, living the way you lived? Are you still going to live austerely? Will you travel?

Right now all I want to do is get on a plane and see my family in hawaii. But that is on the backburner and i have no idea when that will happen.

But otherwise? I don't see us changing much from now. I asked my DH we don't see ourselves going traveling. We don't see ourselves eating out. So we are going to sit at home and not spend more money than we do. I mean we spend quite a bit, but on other stuff no. It's just not going to happen. How can it?

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we go back to the way things were. But even then I know we'll likely buffer ourselves with airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc. Even eating out I don't know. How to go away for the weekend and not eat out? Or only camping?

Do you see yourself doing the normal life? Will you change at all or same as before?