Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

I am sorry to start on such a sad note, but here is a letter that recently appeared in Michelle Singletary’s column, “The Color of Money”:

SAD CHRISTMAS
My husband and I both lost our jobs, have run through our savings and now face losing our home. I’m worried about celebrating Christmas on a zero budget with young children who do not understand why they will not be getting presents, and not feeling bitter because we both did everything right (our spending and saving habits would have made you proud) and now we have lost everything. It’s hard to start over at 41 and 43, and it may not even be possible.

MICHELLE SINGLETARY
I’m so sorry about your situation. And it would be easy for me to say suck it up and explain the kids how tough times are. I hope you have reached out to family, friends or any church, religious or community groups you belong to.

Now it not the time to be too prideful to ask for help in at least getting some gifts for the kids.

And as for yourself and your spouse, try to remember that even if you lose the house you still have your family.

Good food for thought. Thank you, Michelle Singletary.

In related news, MSN had an article on how more and more people are walking away from their mortgages. Their homes are underwater, and it doesn’t make sense for them to empty their savings accounts to only face foreclosure later on.  

MSN recently doled out 15 tips or “fun and inexpensive ways” for fathers to bond with their children. But I didn’t see why moms couldn’t do these activities, too.

The California chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is suing Hooters for catering to children, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

83 thoughts on “Tuesday Morning Open Thread

  1. Well that clinches it…

    My History class was a complete joke apparently…I got an A on my final essay.   Dude, if I can hand in a steaming load like that (written in a day) and get an A on it then you’ve obviously given up and didn’t really read it.    

    • Moving targets

      In my own experience, the standard does move at various points in the semester.  I had my students do a final reflection and as long as they followed directions and used whole sentences, they got full points.

      • Also

        By the last assignment, I have a pretty good idea of who knows what is going on and who is still working through it. With the students who I know have grasped all the material up until then, I admit, I skim to make sure they’re still on target. It’s pretty rare someone getting an A or B hands in an F assignment at the end.

    • my first philosophy class

      I took a philosophy class in my first semester of college that had a weekly essay assignment.  Week after week my essay was returned with a B or a B- , no matter what I did.  Finally during one very late night session near the end of the semester I looked at my typewriter and saw another B- developing, and I went a bit nuts.  I started throwing all sorts of wild and nonsensical crap in there, supporting my points only with quotes from Alice and Wonderland.  It didn’t make a lick of sense.  I got my only A, and proudly passed this around to my baffled friends.  It was my last philosophy class.    

  2. both kids have colds

    Lots of snorting and coughing today. And whining. I won’t mention any names, but HOW do you get a booger above your eyebrow??

    • Oh…

      I unfortunately know the answer to that one.  Isaac is very skilled at the “use the heal of your hand to wipe your nose and then continue the upward motion to wipe boogers off on your forehead” move…  Hope they feel better soon.  And you stay cooty-free!

      • ugh

        Boys are disgusting!

        (I sure hope DH and I can stay healthy – we are spending part of next week with my family, and I manage myself much better when I’m healthy.)

          • Uh yeah…

            the ick factor in parenting is pretty high.   Don’t become a parent unless you’re ready for years and years of being covered in ick.  

              • That would be different than now, how?

                My car is seriously a pit. So is my house. (I’m lackadaisical at best when it comes to housecleaning.)

                Yeah, I guess I know all little kids do gross stuff. And frankly, boogers gross me out less than playing with poop. (Which I know I also get to look forward to…..)

                • Ah… poop…

                  When Mira was 2-3 weeks old and I was changing her in the middle of the night, totally sleep deprived, she pooped.  Projectile pooped that liquid breast milk poop.  It hit the wall and started sliding down.  I screamed.  DH ran in and I was holding Mira on the changing table with one hand and with the other trying to catch the poop with a wipe so the poop didn’t get on the carpet.  Ah, memories :-)

                  In other poop related news, Mira told me the other day she was going to adopt because she didn’t want to push a baby out her vagina – that would hurt.  And she was going to adopt a child who was at least 4 because she didn’t want to have to wipe butts like we help Isaac with…  Can’t wait until she has kids, however she has them!

                  • That must be a girl thing

                    My daughter projectile pooped too.  None of the boys have done that although they all got me in the face with tinkle as infants.  Just mommy’s little reminder to always keep that thing covered with a cloth diaper during changes.

                    • Liza never did that

                      but she could throw up on me from 3 miles away

                      once she had the stomach flu and she was lying on me sleeping and she woke herself up by throwing up DOWN THE INSIDE OF MY OVERALLS…

                      That memory still makes me shudder

                  • Older child adoption

                    You know, every now and then I feel a little sad because I missed my kids as babies.  And then I read stories like that one and I realize that, well, I got to miss that, too.

                • You develop a sense of humor about the poop.

                  I remember gingerly picking up my fouled and besmeared baby under the armpits and holding him out at arm’s length to bring him into the bathroom to hose him down.  And then feeling my fingers go “squish” as they curled around his back.  I started laughing so hard I almost dropped him.  It’s a good thing I got my training on him, though, because his little brother was really disgusting.  

                  • Oh yes.

                    The first time I left DH alone with a baby (my nephew Sam), I came home to find  Sam lying naked on a blanket surrounded by lit Yankee candles.  He’d had massive diarrhea and my darling DH couldn’t manage the smell without retching.  It looked like he was getting ready to perform some kind of weird sacrifice.

                     

          • Nah

            Like others said, big ick factor in all parenting.  I love both my kids fiercely, but my boy is so much easier overall.  So far any messes he’s made have been machine washable.

        • Hmm…

          That’s interesting.  I’ll have to ask at our next appointment.  DH has allergies and Isaac has been a bit overly stuffy.  Thanks for the info.

          • Do they have nasal allergies?

            My older one does and he’s done this. I find myself doing some version of it sometimes with an itchy allergic nose.

            • I don’t think so

              I do think it’s a cold. But their sitter says she’s having a little allergy thing today. Hmm.

              You all have been cracking me up btw!

  3. Walking away from mortgages.

    Two neighbors have done this…one next door and another across the street.  Probably a few more in the neighborhood as a whole.

    I’m of mixed mind about this.  I fully understand doing this if one had a really crappy, predatory loan and if there was particular hardship such as job loss, illness, etc.  I also understand why it would be tempting if one bought at the height of the market at a price one knew would never be recovered.  However…my next door neighbors did it and they are very high income earners.  Had lived in the house for 15 years, and owed significantly more on the house than they paid for it.  It needed a little work as houses that are lived in do, but they walked off and left it and ended up in a house where they’re paying twice the payment.  Her parents financed the new house for them, and they coupled walking out on the other with a bankruptcy filing.  The neighbor across the street walked out of theirs supposedly because she didn’t want to bother sinking in the money to replace windows and roof.  And yes…overall, the house is in good repair, but the new energy efficient windows would be nice and in a few years, a roof will probably be needed.  So, here we are, in our house, having done nothing particularly irresponsible or wrong, and our value is tanking because of two nearly identical houses that have been vacated and are winding through bankruptcy.  Our values have been recovering overall after the initial foreclosures nearly three years ago…but these two will take our value back to the basement again.

    And, of course, I blame the whole system…why can’t we get write downs on principal?  This would benefit the damn banks as well!  They’ll end up letting these houses go for less than what would have been an acceptable amount to write the loans down to, you know?

    • there may be a chance

      Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is leading the multi-state investigation of fraudulent practices by mortgage lenders (e.g. robo-signing), and he said recently that he wants the settlement to focus on ending all “robo-signing” practices, increasing the number of loan modifications and reducing principal to help keep people in their homes.

      And when I say modification, I mean fundamentally this: some people who can’t make the full payment but could make a substantial payment and that payment that they can make is more than the investor would get if the home was foreclosed upon. So in those cases, the modification is in everybody’s best interest – the homeowner, the investor, servicer and the national economy.

      It’s such a no-brainer and should have been included in the 2009 bankruptcy bill, but Congress has been bought and sold by the big banks.

      • This would be helpful…

        but, over all, without bankruptcy we need something to deal with all of the underwater loans.  Otherwise, people will just walk off and leave the houses…their credit be damned.  

        Of course, none of this would have made any difference in my next door neighbor’s case.  They did file bankruptcy, but had been itching to move for some time.  So, they did the bankruptcy and have to pay back large monthly payments to clear their debt as well as taking on the amount of their new payment (DOUBLE that of their old) on the new house.  They’ve always been my friends, but I gotta tell you, this stunt, which probably took $20,000-$30,000 off the value of my house should I decide to want take any equity out.

  4. I lack motivation.

    This is the downside of taking the week off to prep for Christmas- there’s no time pressure.  I’ve managed to start the laundry and get the kitchen cleaned up, but I just can’t seem to make myself do the other things on my list. Maybe I’ll spend the afternoon wrapping.  That’s low-key and easy.

    Or maybe I’ll lay on the sofa and eat cookies while I watch JAG reruns…

  5. Wow

    From the Hooters article:

    What’s more, the organization said, Hooters provides child menus, high chairs and booster seats, and sells T-shirts in children’s sizes that identify the wearer as a “Future Hooters Girl.”

    Who would buy that shirt????

  6. this story

    just made me go “yuck.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/

    I completely understand that some people marry the wrong person, or for whatever reason, meet their “soulmate” when they are already married, and leave their spouse for that person — BUT, especially when there are children involved — why on earth would you have a NYTimes wedding article about your 2nd wedding and your whole “love” story?

    I mean, haven’t you caused enough pain to your former spouses and children, without having to “celebrate” your wedding in such a huge public way?

    • Oh I thought that too

      I mean, what they do with their lives is fine as long as it’s legal and they try support their kids, but it seemed an odd thing to celebrate the way they did in the NYTimes.      I felt sorry for their former spouses.

      • I was fascinated

        by that story, and would love to read an update in 10 years. My guess is they will be divorced but I would love to know what really happens.

    • I remember when Carolyn Hax did the same thing

      You know, the advice columnist? She was married to Nick Galifianakis who draws her cartoons, then the next thing anyone knows, she’s pregnant by another man and marries him. She and Nick are still best friends. But I remember her devoting a column to writing about how things happened. She didn’t have kids with Nick though.

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