Monday, April 30, 2007

Happy last day of work, Dad! You're done with this (1980; he's the one with the beard)

and on to more of this!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Someone from Portugal visited our blog last week via a google search for "cornucopias tattoo."

This article, while it seems to be attempting to make the argument that maxing out retirement plans is better than paying off mortgages early, only serves to solidify my decision to focus on the mortgage. First, it hypes that "40% of homeowners would be better off!"- meaning, of course, that 60% would not. Second, it assumes that the homeowner has a mortgage large enough to make deducting interest worthwhile. For the second year now, our potential itemized deductions- including insanely high property taxes- have been less than the standard deduction. Third, our mortgage interest rate is relatively high and not reasonably refinanceable.

Finally, the outcome of the investment scenario the author presents (which is much more optimistic than ours would be) is a whopping extra $400 per year. Now, while I'm not one to pooh-pooh that amount of cash, I'm not all that impressed, either. Especially given that the typical readers of this article likely spend that at restaurants each month.

So we plan to use our tax refund to continue paying down the house, while we maintain our savings account with 6+ months worth of living expenses, and expect to worry about retirement when the kids make working for pay less difficult.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

I couldn't run until almost-dark on Thursday. I frightened more than a dozen deer, saw three bats, and heard a deafening chorus of peepers and toads. Maybe spring is finally coming?

The neverending rain early in the week flooded our basement; we still haven't quite finished drying it out yet. (In fact, there still seems to be some water coming in.) But we're almost there. More worrisome is the newly-formed pond in our back yard, which does not seem to be receding. We actually had mosquitoes arrive uninvited to our potluck last night- less than a week after we had snow!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

facts of life

A: When I was a little baby I grew inside your sweater.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Boston and Snow and Back

We just returned from a weekend trip to visit our friends Heather and Josh in Norwood, near Boston. It had been about 3 years or more since we've seen each other, we realized, as they'd never met A! Both kids enjoyed aunt Heather and uncle Josh's company a lot; as they're good sports about playing chess with C (though Josh was able to beat C; a good thing for the happiness of the entire household this weekend according to Heather, as he doesn't take losing well :), reading and playing games with A, etc. Their new, energetic puppy Indy (short for Indiana--she has a shared stray/rescued Hoosier background with Paco; though Sarah and I are tempted to call her "Docta Jones!") and cat Dakota provided additional entertainment.

We spent part of the visit outside at a park and playground, took a hike around a large pond on Saturday morning, then spent the afternoon at the Boston Children's Museum which has been expanded and improved upon since we last visited, when C was A's age. Both kids found plenty to do despite the busy crowds...their favorites were probably "raceways" (a variety of tracks, ramps, rollercoasters, etc. designed for golf bolls to roll down), the "boats afloat" waterplay area, and the various things to climb on and through. The most intriguing engineering feat in my opinion, and C's supreme favorite, was the 3+ story "new balance climb" new climbable sculpture in the large atrium that was recently added to the museum's entrance area. There were no signs prohibiting adults, so I played on it as well. Like the inflatable maze/slide combinations as fairs and festivals, the only problem here was too many kids trying to go up (or back down) at once... Check it out here.

Our friends treated us to dinner at one of their favorite local restaurants that night, a Lebanese place with excellent falafel (even C liked it). Too bad we had to get the kids home before 8, the time on Sat. nights when the restuarant's weekly belly dancing show begins (seriously).

Josh has been homebrewing and winemaking in earnest the last couple years, and his "prohibition brewery" and "pleasant rock winery" have me impressed and inspired to do more homebrewing, and try my hand at real winemaking as well. I guess he originally got the idea that one could make good tasting, inexpensive beer on your own by sampling (along with Sarah's uncle Gene) a good portion of my homebrew at our housewarming party in 2001, so it's nice to see how far he's now come in this area...and he quite generously sent us home with wine and a good amount of homebrew to "get over the hump" until my next batches are ready to consume.

Now our school and work vacation week is officially over, and it's back to Monday again. It would help if the forces of Spring finally won out those of Winter...

happy Sprinter...or is it Wing at this point?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The job interview went well- I wasn't brilliant, but I wasn't completely idiotic either, and I suspect they'll offer me something within the next month. (How strange it will be to be working again....)

I was wholly unimpressed with the sleet and snow today. And didn't run.

Off towards Boston for the weekend- let's see how A manages THIS car trip!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sick for a week, which derailed my running progress- I finally went out again today, seven days after my last run, and started again at square one. Demoralizing.

Potential job sort-of interview, sort-of not coming up on Thursday. If it goes well, maybe we should call Blossoms to try to get A a spot for the fall after all....

Monday, April 02, 2007

Just in time for Easter!

Chocolate deities.

C rode his bike without training wheels today! He's still not confident making turns, or starting by himself, but I'm betting that will all come within a week if we have time to get out and try it every day.

I had no idea that this year would hold so many changes for him- his face and body are looking decidedly more kid-like than toddler-like; his reading ability is exploding (he's reading Magic Treehouse level books by himself now, though they are slightly above his level); he's gaining the physical confidence to do many more things (bike riding, tree climbing, general risk-taking); and of course the arrival of his permanent teeth....