My first quarterly newsletter, 6 months in the making, was sent out around noon central time yesterday. If you didn’t see it, check your spam. I apparently don’t understand Mailchimp, and sent it with the title “Test” — I then resent it and I think it still had the word “test” in the title. Ugh. If you deleted it, that was the real thing.
Also, tomorrow you will be able to hear me on a podcast! Dave Denniston, who creates the “Freedom Formula for Physicians Podcast,” interviewed me in June. I no longer remember what we talked about, but I recall having an entertaining conversation. He’s promised me that he has substituted out voice for that of James Earl Jones. Update — podcast is out! Go here to listen to it.
If you want to receive the newsletter, send me an email and I’ll add you to the subscriber list and resend it to you. The newsletter contains some blog statistics, links to articles from The InterWebs that are worth reading, and a link to the promised YouTube video in making the best paper airplane. It’s my first ever YouTube video (as far as I know), so pardon the low production quality. I should have made the content exclusive to the newsletter, but I can’t deprive the world of this airplane.
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I used the introduction of the newsletter to discuss a little about the blog evolving and it prompted me to look back at some of my first posts. Going back and reading some of previous posts prompted me to consider other things I recently wrote, and ask myself the question, “Am I a hypocrite?”
Like many people, I do not particularly enjoy watching myself on video or hearing my voice on audio. Even so, I thought reading blog posts from 6 months ago would be fine. Reading it now was a bit painful. The writing seems to lack polish, though some of it isn’t awful. A benefit of the blog is my thoughts are out there to see and it’s easy to go back and look at them. When I want to see if my thinking continues to evolve, or if I am practicing what I am preaching, having my thoughts online makes it easier to evaluate.
So am I a hypocrite?
In my first ever blog post, Country Road, I discussed how discovering I enjoyed country music was leading me to be more aware of some of my biases.
A few weeks ago, I wrote another post, discussing the recent kneeling controversy in the NFL (italics added in reprint here).
“People have a right to be offended by anything they want (I think — that’s in the Constitution somewhere, right?). If so, then I have the right to not take them seriously when they are offended, if their offense doesn’t seem justified.”
I wasn’t upset by the kneeling. However I spent more time thinking about it as I re-read some old writing. I still am not offended by it. Others still have a right to their opinion. While I know some veterans are upset, many others are not, so I do not think I have to vigorously defend my position.
As I look back at that italicized line, it comes across a little glib. A lot of people are offended by the anthem protests. While I think the arguments fall short, the dialogue needs to take place. Not just the racial tension dialogue, but the “why are you offended dialogue?” Ignoring people’s anger, even when it seems misplaced, is exactly how we ended up in our current political climate. I do not think someone will change my mind on the position, but if someone wants to try again, I’ll listen.
I’ll give myself 2.5/5 stars (1 being a certain orange politician, 5 being Mother Theresa, who I presume was not a hypocrite).
What about the money?
One of my most read posts was about love and marriage and money. I discussed how we don’t have a fixed budget, but rather focus on saving first and minimizing fixed and variable costs. However my wife and I don’t always agree on what costs have room to be decreased, so while we had a system in place, it still caused tension.
The system “works,” but as opposed to a negotiated treaty with clear terms, it sometimes feels more like the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea: try to ignore it, occasionally rattle some sabers, every so often you fire a shot just to make sure they are paying attention, then sometimes you blow up a nuclear bomb and threaten to erect missile defense systems.
I think this continue to trend the right way, still using this system, but achieving détente. While we’ve always discussed finances, savings, goals, big/little purchases, we never did so systematically. Now we have scheduled monthly financial check ins (officially on the shared calendar), and are using Personal Capital,to make it fairly easy.
While our overall spending may not be substantially different (we have high fixed costs from daycare and our mortgage), our discretionary spending is more often from a shared perspective.
I’ll give myself 3.5/5 stars.
What about the kids?
This post was written during summer break — Rogue One is now in third grade (Rogue Two is now 4 years old, and Rogue Three can walk!).
Rogue One seems to be doing well — we just received his first report card and he’s “on track” — on track for what is not clear. We’re trying to let him balance between class, extracurriculars, and normal kid goof off stuff.
Some days have been too intense — arriving at school at 745 for a before-school activity and then having a couple after school activities that means he arrives home at 730pm. That’s too much for many adults, let alone an 8 year old. Thankfully, he has almost no home work, is still asleep at 8:30, and those long days are uncommon.
We are trying to back off, because life isn’t supposed to be all extra-curriculars. He is going to have a 2-3 month period without an organized sport. Unless you consider chess a sport, because he is in a chess club before school and may be joining an advanced chess club after school. He still has Cub Scouts (going camping this weekend!). He still has plenty to do, but we’re actively managing things to ensure he is not always busy.
One thing we are not going crazy about is grades. His grades on a “1-4” scale, which is probably designed to keep parents from freaking out, because receiving a “1” doesn’t seem as bad as receiving a “D,” (an example only — our children are receiving nothing but 17’s). Our main point of emphasis has been and will be effort related — I care more about the work ethic than the grade (whether letters or numbers). With proper effort, the grades will be what they should/can be. That doesn’t stop him from goofing off, but so far his overall work ethic and intensity at school seems improved over prior years, where he has mostly been a social butterfly. He’s probably just maturing and working harder, but I’ll give us a little bit of credit.
I’ll call it 4/5 stars.
Consider using Personal Capital as a free and easy an easy way to monitor your spending and investments. It’s what we use for our monthly financial check-ins.
I think this periodic check-in, reading old posts and grading myself, is a good thing. I’ll try to keep doing it as long as the blog keeps going.
For those that received my newsletter, you know that I plan to add a new post/feature soon. If you didn’t receive my newsletter, it isn’t too late, just email me at RogueDadMD @ gmail.com and I’ll send it to you.