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January Wrap-up

February 10, 2022

Money & Net worth

Like many who are invested in the market, our net worth took a big hit this month. But, we are only pushed back to about October 2021 net worth, so we didn’t lose all that much progress.

I completed most of my taxes (TurboTax), but I don’t have the forms I need for my megabackdoor Roth IRA yet. (It has no tax impact, but has to be entered.) We owe money this year, which I had predicted. I did NOT predict that we’d pay so “little” in mortgage interest after our refinance that we’d be taking the standard deduction this year. (This could have been predicted – I just missed updating this cell in my spreadsheet.) This means I need to think more about how I’m handling charitable deductions, looking into Donor Advised Funds and “bunching” donations. This is especially true if the CARES act above-the-line $600 is not continued. (My small hope that Congress will look at the SALT deduction remains very small.)

COVID-19

We made it through the rise of the Omicron wave unscathed, aside from a bunch of anxiety. The timing of when it hit was fortunate for our family, as we were on holiday break from daycare while it was ramping up and we did not have holiday travel/gathering plans. It was (and still is, really) high when we daycare returned, but they were more prepared for it and many who were socializing widely had already caught and recovered. Our daycare closed for 3 days early in the month for logistics reasons (new staff testing / booster requirements were poorly communicated to staff over the holiday break), but then made it through the next few weeks without exposures/cases. We had a “potential exposure”, where a staff member who was in the class on a Thursday got a positive surveillance test result from a Saturday test. The exposure window goes back 2 days (from tests for asymptomatic), so it counted. Contact tracing was extremely behind, and they didn’t figure out we were impacted until the next Friday around noon. The kids were sent home with a free rapid test on Friday, and could return Monday. None of the kids were positive. They are now sending home COVID tests every Friday, and requesting kids test on Sunday night or Monday mornings. All in all, we’ve been extremely lucky in having stable child care throughout the pandemic, and limited COVID exposure in general. Can we make it to the <5’s vaccines without being infected? I’m really not sure, but I am feeling a bit more hopeful that we can.

Case numbers are now swiftly dropping here, although they are still high. T is back to teaching in person, though recording lectures in a class where he otherwise might not. I’ve been working from home, mostly because I was convinced I was going to catch COVID from daycare and didn’t want to spread it to work. I’m anxiously waiting to hear what is said about the vaccines for under 5s. Based on the information out there so far, I’m not convinced they will be ready to approve yet. But, I’m glad that they are at least having a public conversation on this, and I am holding out hope that there is something in the data that shows sufficient efficacy (even though we know the immunobridging results for ages 2-4 did not meet the bar).

I’m really frustrated with the politics around covid mitigations right now. There is a pretty clear propaganda effort to use peoples tiredness of COVID to erode political support for democrats as broadly as possible, and that makes me very concerned. The topics of what should be mandated COVID mitigations versus CDC recommendations is a bit more nuanced, and above my pay grade, and I do think reasonable and caring people could disagree. That isn’t what is happening, though…

Work

Not a lot to say here. January was pretty rough, mostly due to mental health pressure from Omicron, but February is off to a good start and it should be an exciting year on my projects. Many people went mostly remote during the Omicron wave again, and in person meetings fell back to virtual. This is turning back around, and meetings are hybrid again (high quality masks are mandated for employees at the moment). There is a “hybrid” meeting tomorrow, and I’m probably going to attend in person, unless things start to look too sketchy (mask non-compliance or eating together inside). By the way, we got these “Owl” teleconference systems at work, and it is a huge improvement to hybrid meetings! If your workplace is looking for something, you should have your IT people look into these!

I’m really thankful for my job and how compassionate they have been during the pandemic. We’re still getting stuff done, but I’ve been able to take (paid) leave when I needed it, and there is a general understanding that we are all doing our best.

Family

LO has been pretty fantastic lately, so much fun. She is also in a pretty sensitive phase, getting upset over some random things, and also getting a bit scared at things that she didn’t mind in the past. Daycare has stopped complaining to me that they can’t get her to nap, but it also does not seem like she is napping at school. She’s always had a really hard time winding down for naps, and we stopped doing them at home ages ago.

  • Watching olympic skating: “I would like to do that! But… I would need daddy’s help doing those,” referring to the jumps and the twirls.
  • Watching ski jumping: “I don’t want to ski… I couldn’t do that.”
  • She demanded something from T, and he requested that she ask nicely. Very sincerely, she responded “Daddy, can you be nice to me please?”
  • On MLK junior: “He had a dream that we’d all be together and have peace.” She also said he had a birthday coming up, asked if we could celebrate it, and seemed to think he might come over to our house for cake if we did.
  • “I want to clean your house for you! I want to take the sandpaper and rub it on the wall!” They did a building unit in preschool, and she was sent home with a small square of sandpaper that she had colored on as some sort of activity. She was not allowed to rub it on the wall, though.

My parents are retired and are taking a big RV trip! Hooray for them! My dad has been semi-retired since COVID hit (due to COVID hitting and literally shutting down the job he was working on). He probably will work a few months at some point this year (electrician). They started somewhere warmer and will eventually come out this way. They deferred in order to let the Omicron wave pass by (since we are continuing to use childcare, grandparents visiting us during a spike wasn’t a great plan).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2022 11:03 pm

    Well that’s kind of a happy surprise with the mortgage interest!

    I understand why your thinking has changed around precautions. I wish ours could but I just can’t. I don’t know how Smol’s immune system is, we hope it’s as robust as JB’s but they haven’t had much chance to test it against the normal things. We’ll see eventually. Just this winter I had a harsh reminder that if I get sick with even a normal cold I’m out for weeks and it’s barely survivable chaos here. I hate that so much and I hate feeling like the weakest link. But it’s been the case for a while so we just keep on doing our best.

    I also hate that it feels like there’s still so much muddled information on what’s right or safe or cautious enough and that, like you said, it’s giving people ammunition to generally fight against Democrats and undermine what (sometimes feels like very little) progress we’ve made.

    LO and JB should get together for MLK’s birthday celebration, they both think the same thing. JB was planning to make him cupcakes 😄

    • February 23, 2022 10:53 am

      My own precautions haven’t changed significantly, except going into the office again (everyone is still wearing N95s). But, the fall in cases from the extreme Omicron peak has reduced the level of anxiety and panic I feel around the big choice we made a long time ago (i.e. using childcare), so that is nice. Cases are still too high that the only thing we really have resumed is going to the farmers market (outdoor, masked). I am starting to think about resuming something more, though. It is definitely a different scenario in our home versus yours, with a younger kid and your own health to watch out for.

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