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Archive for May, 2020

Anyone else feeling a bit guilty about doing well right now?

May 30th, 2020 at 03:25 pm

I suppose it's sort of like survivor's guilt. So many people are suffering with so much right now - disease, unemployment, having to home school their kids, having summer camp cancelled, struggling to keep their businesses afloat, and more.

Meanwhile, here we are with me still fully employed earning my normal income. My wife is very happily quarantined and almost couldn't care if things open up again or not. Our daughter is unemployed but fortunately not suffering financially as a result (though it has been hard mentally - she can't wait to get back to work). We do have a couple of friends who have been quite sick from COVID but thankfully haven't lost anyone close to us.

As I've shared before, our spending is actually down by about $1,000/month largely due to COVID. There's nowhere to go and nothing to do that involves spending money. So ultimately, we're going to come out of this whole mess better than when it started. So many millions of people can't say the same.

Not to say, of course, that it hasn't been a challenge. For weeks, the stress level at my job was sky high, the worst I've ever experienced in my 30 years as a doctor. Things were changing daily and we just didn't know what was going to happen, what we were supposed to be doing, how best to protect ourselves. Patient volume plummeted making us all concerned if we would maintain our jobs, especially as we heard more and more stories of healthcare layoffs.

Fortunately, we seem to be past the worst of it now and things have settled down. Work isn't so stressful anymore and we've adjusted to the new procedures. Volume is starting to pick back up also so I think our jobs are safe at this point. Now we're just dreading the fall when we have seasonal flu AND COVID to deal with. That certainly won't be fun.

Anyway, it's just been a little awkward or uncomfortable when we're talking with friends who have it way worse than we do. We're very thankful not to be financially impacted, not to have little kids to deal with, not to have had COVID strike too close to home.

What local non-profit places do you support like theaters and museums?

May 25th, 2020 at 01:53 pm

I was listening to a podcast on my run this morning and they were talking about visiting and supporting your local science museum.

It got me thinking that currently, we really aren't supporting any local non-profit cultural, entertainment, or educational ventures. Over the years, we have had memberships at various places like a botanical garden, a community theater, an art museum, etc. I think once the whole COVID thing settles down, we need to get back to doing that.

I'm going to speak to DW about this. I'd like us to subscribe to the community theater again. We both love theater and enjoyed when we were kind of "forced" to go see the shows there because we had already paid for them.

I don't know that we want to do the botanical garden again but maybe one of the many museums in Philly. DW has gone to one particular museum a few times with a friend who has a membership. Maybe we can join one of the others and take her along in return.

I know it's not the most altruistic sort of charity since we get something out of it ourselves, but it's a way to help a good cause and provide some activity and entertainment for us at the same time.

Spending update, COVID savings

May 25th, 2020 at 12:13 am

I posted last month that our spending was down significantly year to date at least in part due to the COVID shutdown and not being able to go anywhere or do anything.

As May is nearly over, I took another look and the savings continue to grow.

I compared our total credit card charges from January through May 2019 to the same period for 2020.

2019: $20,931.71
2020: $15,460.73

So YTD we've spent $5,470.98 less than last year.

Not all of that is COVID-related because our January and February spending was also lower this year, and that was before the shutdown, so we have just been spending less in general, but still we've spent an average of almost $1,100/month less than in 2019. I'll take it.

Another COVID cancellation

May 22nd, 2020 at 03:19 pm

I was planning to attend a medical conference in St. Louis in early July. I booked the hotel months ago. I realized that I haven't heard anything about the status of the convention itself so I went to their website last night and sure enough it has been cancelled.

I checked my saved email and it turns out that while I had made the hotel reservation, I had never actually registered for the convention which is why I didn't get a cancellation notice. Makes sense.

I went on and cancelled the hotel stay this morning. Fortunately, I had the good sense to not book airfare in advance so I don't have the hassle of having to cancel that.

Looks like I'll have a little staycation in July. No reason to cancel my PTO. I have more PTO than I will likely use this year anyway. I might as well use it. Hopefully by July we'll at least be able to do something fun with some of that time, even just a day trip or two. Who knows at this point?

Booking a trip for October 2021

May 21st, 2020 at 06:50 pm

We love to travel but we are not major planners. We rarely plan our Disney World trips more than 3 months in advance and rarely plan other trips any farther out than that. We might know when and where we want to go but don't usually make all of the plans far in advance.

The only exception is when we're attending a specific event like a convention or something like that.

Disney World's 50th anniversary is October 1, 2021. Disney opens room-only bookings 499 days in advance, which was just a couple of days ago. I hadn't made note of the booking date but fortunately a friend posted on Facebook this morning that he made his reservation. I immediately e-mailed our travel agent to book us a room. I'm waiting to hear back. It will be stupidly expensive but we've said for years that we want to be there for the anniversary and stay at the Contemporary hotel so that we can walk in to the park and not have to deal with any transportation. Hopefully it hasn't already sold out.

New garbage disposal

May 8th, 2020 at 05:41 pm

Our garbage disposal died a few weeks ago, sometime soon after quarantine began. I tried fixing it myself to no avail. I wasn't up to replacing it myself so we contacted our handyman. He installed the current one. Of course, due to COVID, he wasn't able to come out, nor did we want him to, but we wanted to get on his list for when things started loosening up.

So for however many weeks now, we just haven't had a working disposal, which honestly wasn't a huge deal. He reached out a few days ago and asked if he could come today and we said yes. He came this morning and installed it so we're up and running again. We made sure to wipe everything down before he arrived, wore masks while he was here, and wiped everything down again after he left.

Disposal itself was about $150 from Home Depot plus $65 for him to install it so $215 total.