Working from home

I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to work from home.

That said, working from home makes for an interesting working environment. For example, I can hear every quarrel between my kids since my office (bedroom) is adjacent to the living room where my kids spend the entire day.

100 years from now, sociologists will look back through the internet archives to understand what working at home during the quarantine was like. This blog post will help the sociologist from the year 2120 reconstruct what life was like.

An hour or two ago, FC 5 (my youngest), slips what looks like a ransom note under my locked bedroom door which I have marked with a giant “do not disturb” sign.

Dad, I want Pez refills. I want Pez refills because I can buy <them with> my own money <and because> they are so yummy. Heart – FC5.

How can I argue with that impeccable logic? Pez are indeed so yummy and he indeed has the money. The ransom note led to the following analysis which concluded that 2 lbs at Amazon was the best deal.

I’ve taken a lot of heat from my kids in the past for not allowing them to buy candy (or other junk) with their own money. In 2020, one of my goals is to let them blow their own money as they see fit. However, I remain unsure what the limits to this are. Collectively, my kids have a few thousand dollars in savings. That’s a lot of Pez refills (20,000 by my estimation) and a recipe for juvenile diabetes!

I had a work call with a colleague this morning in which he acknowledged that he is just as happy in this new reality in which he spends 80% less than he did before the quarantine (no restaurants, no travel, no commuting, no excess). In fact, he found himself to be happier in this new existence. I hope there are many of us who paradoxically find ourselves happier while spending less money yet spending more time with family.

I’m hoping that much of this family-focused materialism-eschewing existence carries forward to the post-apocalyptic world some day.

If you’re interested in a good read, check out this blog post by John Cochrane, famous Chicago economist: He makes the (pretty obvious) case that this virus is going to be with us for a very long time and permanently shift how we interact and do business with each other. I tend to agree.

Hope everyone’s staying safe and keeping their sanity!!!!

10 thoughts on “Working from home”

  1. I had previously thought we’d be saving money during the closures. However, with certain things being closed (libraries), I’ve found myself doing more online shopping (books). We also ventured out for takeout dinner and a park picnic this week for a semblance of normalcy, it was glorious!

    I can picture the big box sporting goods stores not surviving this. Spring and summer sports have been cancelled, and it could make sense to switch to a solely catalog model where each team orders gear at the beginning of the season instead of parents driving to a store to buy hockey sticks.

    • Like you, my expenses haven’t decreased too much during the quarantine. We were already pretty bare bones to begin with. Luckily our library has remained open for pickups only which is pretty cool. They’re even asking us to not return the items for the foreseeable future.

      Glad you were able to have a fun takeout experience. We did free Taco Bell earlier this week and it made me happy.

      The future of specialized retail is indeed bleak. Consolidation is the only logical move (Amazon, Costco, Walmart, Target). What few specialty B&M retailers in operation today will almost certainly die.

      • Our library closed but frankly I’ve been getting most of my audio and digital books from my library’s online system through overdrive. If you live in an area with a decent public library, just do a Google search for the public library’s name with “overdrive” and see what you find.

  2. In regards to allowing your children to spend their own money on whatever junk they like…we are trying out a compromise. Our kid is not allowed to let his savings account go below $1000 and whatever he does buy from the above $1000 mark is not allowed to be more than 50% of what he has in there. He currently has ~$1200 so that means he could go buy $100 worth of pez, but then the next purchase he makes could only be $50 worth of pez, then $25, and so on. While he could get close to $200 worth of pez, I’m fairly certain he will find other things he wants more as time goes on. My fingers are crossed…

    • I like your compromise. That’s pretty clever, particularly the decreasing purchase size mechanism!

      I’d like to adopt it with a modification that they can freely spend anything in excess of $1M!

  3. Pez is probably the most uniquely flavored candy out there. What is your favorite color? I like the red (pink) and purple next. Thankfully, it will be looked down upon if we share them during the pandemic so we get to keep them all to ourselves.

    I was a candy fiend when I was young and it went in this order: Pez (rare), Spree (hard, none of this chewy stuff), Nerds, and finally Sweet-tarts,

    I used to have a Garfield Pez that I thought would make me rich someday. I think I lost it, so I am not rich.


    • Welcome Pez connoisseur!

      To be honest, I haven’t eaten enough Pez to determine my favorite color yet. As a kid, I’d occasionally get them for special events (like holidays) and I remember it being a fun treat, although I remember frustration at getting the dispenser loaded properly. It was always a pain when it ended up spilling. I don’t recall which specific Pez dispensers I owned. It’s awesome that you still remember your favorites!!

      As a kid I was a sucker for orange flavored tic tacks.

  4. well, our expenses are up as 2 of our 3 children are home from college, so our grocery bill is waaaaaaaaay up! Otherwise, not much changed, other than my gas budget, since we do not go out to eat all that often. With virtual happy hours, and one pair of good neighbors we have weathered the bars being closed. I work from home a few days a week, yes, the noise level is up, and it disrupts my normal schedule and solitude but overall I am digging it!

    • Glad to hear that life is treating you well.

      I dread the day my 5 children eat me out of house and home. So far, they don’t eat too much. But that is shortly coming to an end….


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