Monday, December 06, 2004

I want you to work this many

From Reid:

Mom is telling me that she's about to go away. I don't like it when she leaves, so I tell her I don't want her to go. She says that I'll be with Daddy. I like Daddy, but I really don't want Mommy to leave.

She says she'll only be gone for this many hours (holds up 4 fingers). That's probably a long time. Then she says that Daddy is gone every day for this many hours (holds up 10 fingers). That's really a lot!

I tell Daddy that I wish he only worked this many (I hold up 4 fingers).

He says he could do that (but I know he's saying he can't). He then says we'd have to get rid of some of our stuff and change how we live. He asks me to choose some toys to give to other children. Together we look at each of my toys, and all of them look fun. I want him to play with me.

Later we play with books on the bookshelf. He looks through them & hands me some to put in a box. He also gives me some old phone books to put in the recycling, but I want to stand on them and slide around the room. It's fun!

I'm glad I got to have a fun evening with my Daddy. But I missed Mommy, too.


This weekend I sat down with Reid & sorted through books on the shelves in the living room. We don't use the living room for much, but it does have some really nice bookshelves. I pulled out all the books I thought I could get rid of.

Inspired, my wife pulled some more books. We also went through old software that we didn't need. Why do I have 5 copies of Half-Life and some unopened Everquest packages?

2 full moving boxes were carted to Half-Price Books and sold for a whopping $41.

One step at a time.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Giving where it matters

I'd rather not give stuff at all. In my life, I think that having less stuff will make me more happy. Why must I curse the folks I live with more junk?

For several years, we've been making donations to charity on behalf of family members.

- Assume that our average gift is $30.
- Since we know the gift really helps someone out, we'll give a bit more.
- Since the gift is tax deductable, we'll give a bit more.
- My employer matches charitable donations 1:1
- Since my donation is doubled, the dontaion is highly leveraged, so we'll give a bit more.

If we give $50 per person, and give to 12 people, and my employer matches, the charity gets a $1200 gift. That kind of gift can make a huge difference for a small charity.

Giving less

In my family, we found a way to give less at Christmas. We each put our names in a hat, and then draw one each. Instead of giving a gift to each person, you only give to the name you drew.

You keep the name secret, so you never know who you're getting a gift from.

We agree to limit the gifts to $20, which means that most gifts are $30.

This is only for the adults; children are still flooded with junk. One step at a time.

The spirit of Christmas

The ancient Egyptian pharos forced the common people to pull huge stones in to place, to build fantastic pyramids. The pyramids are the symbol of the glory of the pharo.

I go to work each day to help my employer build his pyramid. In exchange he gives me a little money (little compared to what he gets).

I take that money and give it to another corporation to help them build their pyramid. In exchange they make someone in Asia toil in a sweatshop to make some object out of non-renewable resources.

I give that object to you to show you how much I love you. (Huh?)

That item adds to the clutter of your life. You feel similarly obligated to do the same to me.

One day you throw it away, and it makes landfills a bit bigger.

Does this make any sense?

Friday, December 03, 2004

Lies, damn lies, and beach attire

Just saw this quote on a mailing list:

"Statistics are like bikinis - what they reveal is interesting but what they hide is critical."
I like it because it mentions bikinis.
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