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February Wrap-Up

March 15, 2021

Money & Net Worth

Nothing exciting to report here, as usual. No news is generally good news.

I am realizing that it is March 15th and I’ve yet to make any moves on tax preparation. I’m 70% determined to not pay TurboTax (or similar), assuming I can find several hours to work through this again. I have a reasonable spreadsheet based estimate of taxes, and expect a modest refund.

I did just hear that there were some changes in the latest stimulus that will give us a little boost. We don’t qualify for the stimulus or expanded child tax credits, but the limit for the Dependent Care FSA were expanded to $10,500 (from $5,000). There were also increases to the Dependent Care Tax Credit, causing me to redo my calculations to ensure the FSA was still the best strategy for us. It is, but the math may have changed significantly for those with AGI under $150k so.

Spending

I’ve yet to tabulate any 2021 spending data, but may try to get that in place for March. I’m interested, but just haven’t had the down time to do it.

COVID

I’m writing this mid-March, almost a year to the date when the Bay Area shut down for the first time. Case rates continue to drop locally, although the more contagious variant is purportedly on the rise under the data. 

We kept LO home from daycare on a Monday due to some very mild congestion appearing on a Sunday. We took her for a COVID test Monday morning, and received results back by 9 am Tuesday. She was completely better, so she was able to return to daycare that day with a negative COVID test and doctor’s note in hand. The sick protocols for daycare pretty strict. I’m generally thankful for that, especially when COVID tests can be returned within a day. The last time we kept her home it took 4 days for the results to come back. T and I both later caught whatever LO had, but worse. This was the first real cold in our family since the pandemic started!

More and more people are getting vaccinated. Both of my parents have had two shots now. My younger sister was eligible based on the “additional risk factor” category. Lots of coworkers have received shots. It is great to see the big FEMA sites vaccinating thousands each day. Hooray for the scientists who developed this vaccine so quickly, and for the government for working to increase vaccination rates. The distribution has been very imperfect and inequitable, but it is still a massive undertaking and progress is being made.

It is unclear how much longer before LO could be vaccinated. I’m hopeful that community spread rate will remain low and get even lower, making this much less of an issue. We’ll continue to watch CDC guidance as we make decisions, and do our best to keep her safe.

Work

February was one of the most exciting and rewarding months of work in my entire career. When I quit my business consulting job in 2014, it was with the ultimate goal of achieving exactly what we achieved this past month. My part in this program did not turn out at all as I had expected. I wanted to quit a few separate times, for good reasons. But, I’m so glad I stuck with it. The fact that it worked out so well, really that it worked out at all, is because of my lead on the project. Well, also because of ME of course. There are a lot of great people I’ve worked with, but we worked very well together, and he was willing to let me do cool stuff while staying in California and being an outsider.

I have a couple more months of seeing this through, before a nice hand-off to other team members. I’m really ready for it, despite how much I like the project and the people. It has been an amazing experience.

My other projects have been mostly sitting on the back burner, but are ready to ramp up as soon as I am ready to support that. I’m trying to take on more there, without setting myself up for failure due to getting overwhelmed. I’m hearing of more and more people at my work getting vaccinated, and I’m hopeful that people will begin returning to a slightly more normal work environment several months from now. We’ll see, though.

Family & Life

LO is almost 2.5! Naps at home are no longer happening, but daycare still achieves them. We had a month or two of nice and easy bed time routines, but now are back to some rough bedtimes. We are begrudgingly thinking about potty training. The potty has been introduced, she’s used it few times, but we have not really pushed it yet. LO’s vocabulary is exploding and it is fun to hear all of the things she says.

With my parents being vaccinated, and the expectation that we’ll both be vaccinated relatively soon, we’ve started talking about them visiting us. I’m really excited about this. I haven’t seen anyone in my family in over a year and have not seen my mom in nearly 1.5 years. We’ve drastically increased the frequency of our FaceTime conversations, but this is the longest I’ve gone without seeing family in my life. I’ve usually seen my parents them 2-3 time each year, even after moving to California, and everyone else 1-2 times a year.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 22, 2021 3:40 pm

    Hi there! Toddler AF is also 2.5 and we’re dealing with some of the same challenges (sleep, somewhat successful use of the potty) and successes (so much language development, and the cute voice doesn’t hurt, either.)

    Best of luck with the work projects and finding a good balance.

    And yeah, I gave in and paid TaxAct (it was like $140 this year!) but maybe next year I’ll find a way to do it all for free.

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