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S John

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  • 2012: Ottergeddon
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  1. I always imagine that I’m going to have 2-3 offers all come in at the same time and I will get to sit down and mull over the pros and cons of each, but it has literally never happened like that. It always has that disorienting feeling for me as well. Good luck on the interview! My advice is to prep if you can. I used to think that I was just naturally good at interviewing but, as it turns out, I’m not. I had just not been applying to jobs with supervisory responsibilities over people and / or programs and had a string of early career softball interviews. I blew a couple interviews before I recalibrated. Last time I googled the kind of questions the employer typically asked and had at least something mentally prepared for the questions I found. It didn’t go exactly as scripted, but there were similarities and I found that I could apply much of the prep work I did to the questions that they did ask.
  2. Outside my 401k, which I don’t really think about, I have a personal investment account. I also mostly invest in index funds. Probably 75% of it is split between a US index and an international index, with slightly more in the US index. I buy whichever is lagging when it’s time to contribute. The other 25% is essentially gambling money. I have no illusions that I’ll significantly outperform an index with that part of my portfolio and realize that underperforming is a distinct possibility but I’ve found that it keeps me engaged.
  3. Good luck, hope she feels better. my son goes to daycare during the day and they have an app where they post pictures and update whatever he is doing so we know how much food he’s had and if he’s going to the bathroom and whatnot. A little banner comes up on my phone and will say something like ‘new nap has been added’. Well, yesterday when I was commuting home the banner came up and it said something like ‘new health incident has been added’ and my gut reaction was WTF is that! Is he ok, did he hit his head or something? Is he breathing!? Then I go into the app and the health incident was that he spit up his lunch. He is 7 months old he spits up all the time. I think they really need to adjust that one. A health incident oughtta be - he’s got a fever, he passed out, he needed some kind of medical attention. Not ‘he barfed’. Gave me a very brief panic attack.
  4. I don’t worry about him too much day to day, probably because he can’t go anywhere on his own yet. But earlier this week I did an infant CPR class and I had to resolutely refuse to pretend that the doll was anything other than just a doll. Contextualizing it as an actual infant, specifically my son, was too hard to think about. It’s still hard to imagine ever having to apply what I learned, unthinkable. Hopefully it will forever remain unneeded knowledge.
  5. Yea I really need to start cleaning it up before my son understands me. As it is I have not changed my behavior in this regard at all and, in fact, I am childishly amused by things like asking him if he’s shit his pants in the voice you use to talk to babies.
  6. My son has just recently gotten out of the ‘just keep him alive!’ phase. Well, we do still have to keep him alive, but that finally isn’t the only thing I can do with him. Now he smiles, laughs, grabs things (like mom’s hair and dad’s beard), usually seems to be paying attention when we read to him, and is able to carry on a completely nonsensical conversation - if he feels like it. I can’t really offer advice for people with kids older then mine so I’ll keep an eye out and picking up some useful bits. I know every baby is different so we have been fortunate that he’s a pretty happy go lucky baby. If he’s upset I can usually figure out why and address it and he’s not a bad sleeper either. Which are the two things I was most concerned about before he was born.
  7. You can definitely do them in 7. I’m in 7 and the city is actively trying to make tulips a thing akin to the cherry blossoms in DC (which we also have in abundance!) and encourages everyone to grow them in their yards. They are everywhere right now. That said, we have not tried them yet and I cannot provide helpful information on whether or not extra work is required in this zone. My guess is probably not, because I don’t think they’d be getting the level of participation that they are in project tulip if it was particularly difficult. But that is just a guess based on my perception of human laziness.
  8. Yes mint goes crazy. My grandmother kept a huge garden when she was younger and more spry. She has an acre or two, about half of which is cleared and her garden was maybe 1/4 of the cleared area. At some point she discarded some mint plants at the edge of the woods and when we would visit my grandmothers house as kids one of the favorite things to do was visit (and chew the leaves of) the GIGANTIC mint bushes that had sprung up at the edge of the trees. They were bigger than we were, though that probably wasn’t that hard when you’re 8. I’m supposed to visit this summer I’m gonna try to remember to go down and see if they are still there.
  9. Ok garden people. While I probably won’t have time to get a garden going this year with all my other projects and a baby I do have one problem I’d like to address this year. I live in town and therefore have a sidewalk in front of my house. In the little grassy strip between the sidewalk and the street there is a mature redbud tree. For some reason the previous owner put landscaping paper down and then put gravel all around it and then a ring of approximately grapefruit sized rocks forming a border around the gravel. I have hated this feature since day one. Not the tree, the rocks. First of all, while I can park around back I usually park in the street in front of the house and I have stumbled over those damn rocks before. Secondly, they look like shit. I want to get rid of them completely but I’ll be left with a brown muddy streak instead. Any ideas how I can make the base of the tree look nice, even if only temporarily? funny side note - the person who owned my house before me moved into the house next door. Any time I rip something out I’m always kind of looking over my shoulder hoping I don’t ever have to explain myself.
  10. And who doesn’t love a monstrous peony?
  11. Not super concerned about the cost because it’ll be a DIY system. The soil moisture sensors themselves aren’t very expensive. The bigger challenge will be deciding how to get power to them, how to house what will probably come as exposed electronic components against the elements, and how to put it it all together into a working system. I’ll have to figure out a threshold for dryness and then figure out how to get the message from the sensors to a pump attached to the rain barrel. Probably I’ll worry about the automated part later and just have the sensors alert me when I need to go out and turn the pump on for a bit. But it would be cool if it could do it on its own if we are out of town or something.
  12. Is Lyme Disease a problem there also? When I was reading about ticks last year I remember some expert talking about how Lyme in the US is a major public health failure, that it could be better controlled / mitigated, etc. Yea I probably will. We want to do our own compost as well and have been contemplating backyard chickens. While we do have room for the latter I’ll have to check if any point in our yard is actually far enough away from neighboring houses. We just bought our house in December and there are a number of things to do so I’m not yet completely sure that I will get to all of that this year, or even if I’ll be able to establish a garden. I might end up just kinda putting in the ground work for next year. I do, however, have grandiose plans! I’m thinking I might create a small irrigation system using rain barrels. And that got me thinking about if I could use Arduino sensors to monitor soil moisture and use the house WiFi to automatically turn on a pump to water the garden if the dryness hits a certain threshold. This to go along with my back yard weather monitoring station, of course! Probably total overkill for what I think will be an approximately 150sqft strip of a garden but I think it will be a fun project.
  13. Ok, I will have more pertinent thoughts about gardening to share in this thread later - but FUCK TICKS. I recently moved back east from Texas and while the mosquitos there were pretty bad we never had an issue with ticks and I kind of forgot about them existing. Then, last spring, back on East Coast.... holy shit. With Covid all we could really do was hike and my poor wife would find a tick nearly every time we went into any forested area. I got pretty good at identifying them. There’s a university, Rhode Island I’m pretty sure, where you can submit tick photos and they will identify them for you so you can figure out what diseases you might need to be worried about and I believe they use the data you submit to track activity and whatnot. You can mail them the actual tick too, but I haven’t done that ... yet. All of the ones we found were the Lone Star tick. Apparently they are highly aggressive little fuckers, especially in the earlier stages of their lives which coincide with late Spring. Ironically we never got a single tick in the Lone Star State - never even saw one - yet probably removed 6 or 7 Lone Star ticks acquired from Eastern forests over the course of May/June of last year. They are very small and look a lot like a deer tick. If I hadn’t started submitting photos to the tick scientists I would have been 100% convinced they were Deer ticks. The differences are subtle but after enough submissions to URI I could start to parse them out myself. Lone Stars don’t carry Lyme, thankfully, but they can carry a few other diseases, including the bizarre one that makes you allergic to red meat. I think the dog was the main carrier because he would go off in tall grass and stuff and then, I assume, they would jump from him to my wife. Mysteriously I never got a single one. That prompted me to do a little internet research on whether or not ticks might be more drawn to certain people over others. Hormones? Blood type? Don’t think it’s coincidence that she got a bunch of them and I got none but I didn’t find much on the topic. Anyway, I need to consider my options for spraying my yard and weighing that against how harmful the chemicals might be to the fam. vs getting something like Lyme. Spraying for mosquitos might not be a bad idea either since I’m contemplating a rain barrel and I’m sure that will draw them in if I don’t take every precaution. What did y’all spray? Did you hire someone? We live in town so I’m not sure it’s totally necessary but my wife seems to be a magnet for them and has a penicillin allergy that would make Lyme trickier to treat. And I don’t want to deal w/ the baby getting them either. ETA - oh yea one more critter anecdote that I find kind of interesting. When in Texas I did a lot of field work in remote parts of Texas - all over the state but mostly central/ west. I was often wandering around in scrubland, out on the llano estacado of the panhandle, up on top of mesas measuring well water depth, kicking over rocks in the Chihuahuan desert, pretty much multiple times a year for 6 years. Never saw one snake. Not one. This summer in Virginia, we must have seen one about every other time we went out into the woods. I nearly stepped on a couple! I guess the environment is less harsh, there’s more shade, more water, more reason for them to not be hiding during the day? But you think Texas, you think rattlesnakes - and they are definitely 100% out there but the only rattler I’ve ever seen in the wild was a Timber rattler in the VA / WV border area. You just don’t seem to casually see them like one might imagine.
  14. American. Born in West Virginia, entire family is from there, but only lived there for about 11 years total in two different stints. Actually have spent more of my life in Virginia than anywhere else, 13 years total. But have also lived in Arkansas for 3 years, DC for 2, Scotland for 1, and Texas for the last 5.
  15. Haha yes, Tears. It amuses me because I can see the little list of people who fell for it. :)

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