Friday, September 23, 2016

short commutes

I've held short commute times in high priority for most of my professional life. When I joined the military in my mid-20s, my first duty station was in Germany. Being single and among the lower-enlisted ranks, I was assigned to the barracks which at that particular station was a three minute walk from the office. You could say I was spoiled by this experience as I ever after had a very strong aversion to long commutes.

I later moved to Texas for my second duty assignment, where I got married and was able to move off post. A much longer commute by comparison, but while many of my peers paid twice as much for a gated community 40 minutes from work in a supposedly better neighborhood (and some of the officers would commute from much farther), DH and I chose an inexpensive apartment 15 minutes from the work. The complex was not gated, and while the entire area has never had a shining reputation (gated community neighborhoods included) and we had some typical headaches with apartment management, we never had any first-hand problems with crime, even strolling the neighborhood after dark several times with no issues.

Deployment to Iraq was similar to my life in Germany in terms of commuting, as it was a short walk to work and back from your assigned room which also contributed to my spoiled rotten-ness on commuting.

After I got out of the military and landed a nice new job with a nice new salary, I foolishly decided to buy a house (albeit a small townhouse). Happily this little townhouse turned out to be just 2.5 miles from the parking deck at the office (where we both now carpool to work). Yes I could bike there and choose not to. But even after six years of several impressive pay jumps to the household income, we both at least maintain no interest in moving farther out into the more distant suburbs, choosing not to sacrifice large chunks of sanity to spend extra hours dodging thousands of other stressed and angry drivers for the sake of a 5k-sq-ft single-family McMansion in a supposedly better neighborhood an extra 20-60 miles from work.

Call me a commute-snob, but that's yet another source of typical modern life stress that I don't have to devote depressing amounts of time, energy, money, health, and sanity toward dealing with. Leaving me more precious time and energy for lazy-tastic Rest & Relaxation pursuits.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Over the years I've grown very bah-humbug about many traditional American festivities. Thanksgiving has hovered the top of that list for some time now. To me it's all started to feel like a whole lot of fuss that every year feels less and less worth the cost, effort, and stress.

Christmas has joined that list, too. We had thought about unloading our Christmas deco but decided against it since kiddo is enchanted by things Christmas like decorated trees in the house (and presents, of course). DH and I have no interest in pushing the idea of Santa, however due to peers he may end up remaining part of the season magic, but preferably with no theatrics on our part to sell it.

Halloween costumes have also been on that list for several years, now. Since kiddo is one of those odd fish with no interest whatsoever in candy, this year we plan to take the additional steps of skipping candy purchases for the neighborhood kids and leaving the house to do something entirely un-Halloween-y (and likely much more frugal) together.

Parties in general have joined the list, too. I can probably blame parenthood for that, with a steep drop in alcohol tolerance and energy levels (which were already well below average in the pre-kid days), has prompted me to more boldly indulge my introverted-ness. Rock concerts, which can be fun excitement depending on the musician performing, have likewise started to feel less and less worth the time, money, and effort required to execute plans for attending them.

Overall I'd say this is largely from laziness, lower energy levels, and shifting tastes due to aging and parenthood. But perhaps the silver lining of parenthood is that it's taught me to prioritize activities better for my spare time.  For example I find travel for the three of us, getting out of the house, out of town, and visiting new attractions together, to still be worth the time, effort, and money involved in planning and executing.