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October and November Wrap-Up

December 1, 2021

Money

Net Worth: Down a bit with the recent market swings, but all in all, healthy and unbelievable. T just got a raise, and I’m due one very soon (see Work below), so we will be progressing closer and closer to FI in an extremely expensive area. This is fantastic, and really helps keep my anxiety levels down. At least, anxiety about money….

Donations: Still giving to BLM and NAACP LDF monthly. I also donated to A Gai Shan Life’s Lakota giving fundraiser, and direct aid situation, and some local Thanksgiving meal fundraisers. The food bank is high on my list for the upcoming month.

Spending: I bought some new leather ankle boots, jeans, and sweater. Most of it was needed to get my work wardrobe back up to par, and I did not take time for bargain hunting. I also bought some Christmas decorations for outside (wreath, some lighted things) to slowly build up a few holiday decorations. At the same time, I’m trying to spend money where it legitimately improves our quality of life. It is very easy to misfire on this and to overestimate the happiness we will get out of this or that latest new thing. We’ve been considering a cleaning service for ages, but 1) I really just don’t need things THAT clean and find the $ hard to justify 2) the initial set up of it is a barrier to entry, and I worry having cleaners in our home will actually cause more stress. Donations are one place that I do feel improves my life, but mostly in that I feel better about helping others. I see the problems in the world, and know that my money can’t fix them – but I can at least make small differences. Food, and making daily food prep easier, is one place I’m definitely allowing spending on. I do enjoy cooking, but not really every single day.

Money moves: I’m still accelerating the megabackdoor Roth at an unsustainable pace, but will ramp back down if tax law is not changed for 2022. I don’t have access to a Roth 401k/403b, so this is my only chance to get some post-tax money into my retirement accounts. I’m taking it. Everything else is basically on track. I haven’t really heard where things stand with the Build Back Better act in general, but I’m loosely following the key parts that might impact me.

Life

In October, the atmospheric river + bomb cyclone (? are they making this stuff up) came and accelerated the end to fire season. Our home did fine, largely due to the drainage work we did when moved in, as well as over time. Mostly that credit goes to T for all that really nice work! We put on raincoats and pants and took a neighborhood walk during the storm, then settled in for some hot cocoa. We went to a pumpkin patch, and a beach, and a flu shot clinic, a few farmer’s markets, and trick or treating on our own street. So, a lot of outdoor fun, and a bit more venturing into public spaces to do that.

In November, the highlight was seeing my family! My parents, two sisters, BIL, and two niblings (13 and 15) flew in for several days, and we all stayed together at a local-ish AirBNB for Thanksgiving. (My house is too small to host that many people comfortably, and we didn’t want to do hotels.) The house was awesome, had a great outdoor deck, and a hot tub. We did some sightseeing in the city, some redwoods, and the tourists did Alcatraz. Everyone (except my LO) was vaccinated with several of us boosted, we rapid tested on arrival, and we crossed our fingers. No one got sick, although we later learned that Omicron was lurking in the SF bay area already. I’m not particularly worried about Omicron – meaning that there is no action I can take differently, so I’ll wait and see what scientists learn in the coming weeks. This was our first family gathering since pre-COVID, and it was FANTASTIC to have everyone together, even just for a short time. I’m also super grateful they all were willing to fly to me. The last time they all came here was for my wedding over ten years ago, although my parents have been many many times sense.

Kid

She is so amazing! She had a minor cold for a few days, so we did the whole “daycare during a pandemic” protocol: Kept her home, got an insurance-covered rapid PCR (found a place with < 12 hour turnaround!), waited for symptoms to improve, then got a doctors note certifying she did not have COVID and was cleared to return. I find the testing to be great, but not quite sure the value of the doctors note. While she was home sick, T let her watch Frozen, and she’s been obsessed ever since. Disney is powerful stuff! We pivoted to a Frozen-themed short movie, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, which is about 25 minutes and a little less scary for her age. (She wasn’t scared, I just wonder if Frozen is a bit much.) Her favorite character is Kristoff, and she is also now request the Frozen soundtrack frequently. For Halloween, she dressed up as Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street. Just last week she asked us to get her some wings from the store so she could fly.

Work

Work has been good, although I do feel behind all of the time. I’m happy with where my project is, and my role on it.

I’ve been really frustrated about my pay/promotion this year. A tipping point in my frustration was getting an updated list of everyone’s titles and salaries as part of setting up a budget for a new project, and realizing I had fallen behind certain peers. I admit that I had stopped advocating for myself, and no one was pushing on my behalf. Some of this was timing of my maternity leave, followed up by the whirlwind of COVID. Could I really have pushed for a promotion last cycle, immediately after months of closed child care had severely impacted my ability to do my job? Could I have asked for a promotion months after returning from leave? When I was about to go out on leave? The fact that I spent most of the past years working on a project with stakeholders who were mostly external also hurt me quite a bit. I suppose I could have asked at some of those points – but I didn’t. Now that I’m finally trying to remedy it (as of ~April or so), it is going SO SLOWLY. Latest update is that it should be done by the end of the year, but I’m not holding my breath.

I took all of Thanksgiving week off, and it was really nice to unplug. I’m looking for more time off over Christmas, and hope to really unplug for two full weeks. I’ve done so little of that. Prior to having LO, I was saving every day of vacation to use towards maternity leave, and I’ve been working on building it up ever since. COVID made that much easier to do since we did almost no traveling, and I couldn’t keep up at work anyway. But I finally feel free enough to just close the laptop, skip the meetings, and trust that things will be OK.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 7, 2021 4:34 pm

    Great to hear from you!

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