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January Wrap-up

February 8, 2021

Money & Net Worth

Our net worth up with the market. I did not invest gamble in GameStop or anything exciting. Oh! Here is something a bit exciting. We’ve achieved “FI without home” status. This means that if we sold our home and used the equity to buy something outright somewhere cheaper, we could claim financial independence. In other words, if we removed the mortgage (and childcare) from our budget (but left property taxes, etc.), we have enough to cover a 4% SWR. I have LOTS of caveats about my use of flat out unrealistic assumptions, so this is just a made up milestone not reflective of reality. But it is something.

Food & Cooking & Spending

I’ve mentioned much every month that our food spending increased since last year, in large part due to switching to grocery delivery (mostly via Whole Foods, sometimes Good Eggs and Costco, no longer via instacart). This month, we did 2-3 weeks of “meal delivery box” from a local business that did food on the side pre-pandemic, but has pivoted into prepared delivery as a major source of income through the pandemic. After trying it out in December, I was sold. For $130/week, we get enough food to fill up most (not all) of the dinners, without cooking. It is hard to precisely quantify how much food it is. It isn’t organized into meals, but it seems to last us about 5-6 days, with some supplemented sides/salads. It is reasonably healthy, they have vegan/veg options, a variety of cuisines, and it takes all of the decision making and cooking off my plate. I’m pretty convinced that cooking as a service is going to surge in the next decade. This type of service has always been around, but was previously entirely unaffordable. It still isn’t cheap, but it is at a price I’m willing to pay, for now.

In comparison to our other most common takeout options, it is a little cheaper. We can get about 2 days worth of Thai food for $65 from our favorite Thai place, but it is a very specific delicious) cuisine. Pizza from our favorite place is around $35 for 4 meals, but really heavy to do regularly. Plus, those aren’t delivered – we pick up.

We’re going to continue this service heavily throughout the remainder of the pandemic, I think.


T resumed lecturing (remotely), and we had to bite the bullet and sent LO back to daycare mid-month. We couldn’t make our jobs work without child care. We still think daycare is our preferred option for her (versus nanny). Also, she has given up naps at home, further making work impossible. Cases dropped the week we sent her back, and continue to drop. They still are not low, but they are just this week have fallen below my “panic!” threshold.

I started getting weekly surveillance testing offered through my work. I’m glad testing availability has improved so much that this is possible. I’ve read that asymptomatic surveillance testing is a bit controversial, and that even though false positives are rare, it is more likely than not that an asymptomatic positive test is false. So, my plan is to not panic if I get a positive test, but take precautions. Then retest, ASAP.

Vaccination roll out is painfully slow. We don’t expect to be eligible anytime soon, but hope that LO’s teachers will be offered a vaccination very soon, and hope that they want it. I was initially very optimistic about the vaccine news. The slow speed and the variant news is tempering that, but overall, I’m still amazed we have vaccines already. My mom has received her two shots, though! Hooray nurses! My grandpa (over 85) is getting his second next week. Same for T’s grandma.


January was a mixed bag. The first half of the month was working with a toddler underfoot (T admittedly took on more of this). My phase of the project wrapped up without much trouble (no more train wrecks). I actually took a vacation day late in the month (while LO was at daycare!) and just chilled about the house.

A big milestone for my main project will happen in February, then I’m back in a leadership role for a few months before fully handing off my responsibilities to other capable team members. It has been a privilege that the company I am working with has given me such a visible and important role on the project, despite me being external and an “outsider”. I know it wouldn’t have happened without my lead/manager advocating for me over the years, and I’m grateful. It’s been super long and interesting road. I’ll be both sad and happy to complete my role on the project.

There is plenty of work at my actual workplace, so I’m not too worried about what comes next. I have a role lined up (taking on more for my second project), but there is a lot of other places where my skills could be used.

Family & Life

We’ve started talking about a (still far off, post-COVID) sabbatical for T. Previously, I’ve dismissed the idea as too detrimental/risky for my career, and T has also been content to push it off. With the culmination of my project, combined with time to have built a reputation at my job, combined with our increasingly secure financial position…. I’m willing to take the risk. Or, I will be willing very soon. It is also a mini-pathfinder to expat life, if the political situation continues to deteriorate. I don’t actually want to leave this area/country without planning to return, but in the end, I’m going to make the decision that is best for LO and best for us.

LO continues to be adorable. We’re struggling with bedtimes (what is new), but delighting in the continued improvement in language and pretend play.

When asked if she wanted to watch the Super Bowl, she ran to the table . “Yes! Bowl of soup!!!” (She loves the hot and sour soup that I’ve made a few times.) My interest the Super Bowl was only slightly higher than hers. 🙂

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2021 10:50 pm

    How did you find out about your local restaurant’s meal service pivot? I was thinking about how I’d love to do that if a reasonably healthy option around here was available. It’s also got me thinking about whether we should just get catering tray sized takeout from our favorite Mexican restaurant as an approximation of that service. We could have tacos for a week… Maybe?

    It’s interesting that everywhere is reporting slowness and messiness with the vaccine rollout but my home county (which is one of the poorer ones in the country) seems to have gotten their act together enough that quite a few of my cousins and aunts have gotten vaccinated or have appointments to do so. I really didn’t expect them to be an outlier in that direction but I’m glad they are.

    I’m glad you’re feeling like you’re more solidly established at work so you could consider a sabbatical. How long would you want it to last? We have to figure out how and when PiC can take his sabbatical, it has to be within the next 3 years, and I wish it could have been this year in addition to his parental leave but alas, we didn’t plan it that way. I also wish that when he takes it, I could also take one but I suspect that would be too difficult to swing. Ah well. We’ll figure it out.

    • February 13, 2021 1:03 pm

      I am in a couple local facebook mom/family groups and any time someone posts “what takeout / meal delivery does everyone like right now” I follow to read the responses. There are a few other local places that people have suggested that I haven’t tried because they don’t deliver or seemed more expensive… I’ll send you the info I have. i’m not optimistic it will be very helpful for your area, but something might be interesting to you.

      My willingness to do a sabbatical is more that if my job isn’t available when we get back, it would be fine. Not plan A, but fine. It would likely be just under a full year, two academic semesters and most of a summer. I kinda would rather work some, but not optimistic remote-only from a different country with dif. time zones is something I will be able to arrange. We’ll see. That is cool PiC gets a sabbatical!

  2. Penelope permalink
    February 20, 2021 1:19 pm

    When people talk about sabbaticals, it usually means that they are unhappy with their lives overall. What can you change to be happy?

    • February 20, 2021 5:34 pm

      In this case, it is just a job/career perk and pretty standard (for my spouse). One reason we put it off is because our normal life is very nice and I was wary of risking it.

      The last presidential administration has made me want to explore a year abroad, though….

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