life Reading

5 on a Friday: Currently Edition

January 13, 2023

1- Currently noting that we have a 2 hour meeting at work this afternoon (all providers + practice manager). I am reading Come Up for Air (pre-release copy) and it’s really making me question the length of meetings. Does it need to be 2 hours? And might we benefit from an agenda sent in advice, with the opportunity to add items? I really love many things about my workplace but I sometimes wonder . . . why are modern business tactics so slow to move to the medical world?

2- Currently pondering: Whether or not to buy (aftermarket) Taylor Swift tickets. Seriously struggling with this. On the one hand, when else will my kids *want* to go to a concert with me and know all of the words to so many songs by an artist that I love? It feels like a potentially rare opportunity. I listened to this podcast ep (recommended by Coco) and was like YES YES MUST SPEND OUT ON THESE MEMORIES! On the other, the WORST seats for the Saturday night Tampa show (closest to us, and other nights won’t work due to school/work) are $700+/each. $700 x 5 = OMG SERIOUSLY for one night (plus hotel)!? I’m all about spending out for experiences but I’m just having trouble with this one. I also have tiny bit of anxiety that the crowds will be too intense to enjoy the experience, especially with the kids.

3- Currently reading:

I’m on books 3-4 of 2023 – need to get my books page up!

4- Currently hoping that we are not all about to get sick. A’s class apparently had 10 kids out yesterday (!). Not sure which virus (flu vs COVID vs RSV vs mix of everything omg). And my nose has been running, ugh. I cannot complain – we’ve been relatively unscathed this fall and winter while so many have been sick. And it seems like a miracle that none of us got sick on our vacation! The last time I was truly down for the count was July 2022 so I feel like personally I’m probably due. As long as it doesn’t mess up a) my trip to see M + my sister or b) my half marathon in Feb, then I can accept it. (As if my body or the viral particles care what I accept . . .)

5- Currently thinking about the long weekend up ahead. Josh is on call and we’ve got some soccer, a play date, and more. I actually moved my clinic day from Monday to Tuesday for next week thinking I might take a kid to NC during the long weekend BUT that changed and now I regret my choice. Hopefully we will find some fun things to do during this (impressive for FL) cold snap! (I’m very excited to run in those temps!). 38F? SERIOUSLY!?


  • Reply Lori C January 13, 2023 at 6:27 am

    Agendas absolutely should be sent at least 24 hours in advance. I am a stickler for this and a day ir two ahead of time, if I haven’t gotten one, I will send a note to the host and ask if they can share a quick agenda for the meeting. Even a loose outline is better than nothing! I also feel notes should be sent after, and will send mine if the host doesn’t. Total pet peeve of mine to have a meeting with no agenda and no notes, an objective and outcome are essential!

  • Reply Kamala January 13, 2023 at 6:57 am

    I am very frugal person but one thing I do not regret is the money I spent on a A.R.Rahman live concert. Totally worth it and more. It’s a lifetime experience that I cherish to this day.

  • Reply Gwinne January 13, 2023 at 7:24 am

    You should have an agenda, even if wiggly.

    That is A LOT of money for a concert but also if you have it to spend and want to….?

    Also How it occurs to me that we probably have different attitudes toward Routine kid illnesses? Maybe because mine are older and maybe because masking still we just haven’t had exposures much at all since March 2020. LG had Covid once.And all three of us had some kind of cold virus also summer 2020 but otherwise nothing else. The result of that is I’m not thinking of routine illnesses as routine anymore and really don’t want to get them.! The years when I had little ones who were sick all the time were really stressful! I’m not saying of course that you want to get them but Seem more resigned to the fact that you inevitably will

    • Reply Lydia January 13, 2023 at 8:08 am

      Checking in with a 1, 2.5, and 5 year old (the only one who attends school, class size is only 12) and not only did we never get a break from routine illnesses even in the deepest depths of lockdown and precautions (back when we only had one kid) but we have been sick pretty much constantly with a rotating parade of minor illnesses since July 2023, when we finally got COVID for the first time on a much-anticipated trip to finally see family. I know it is just a difference in circumstances but the “let’s never go back to in-person, we can eliminate the common cold!” crowd just…. Has a very different lived experience than I do, haha.

      • Reply Lydia January 13, 2023 at 8:09 am

        *July 2022

      • Reply KGC January 13, 2023 at 10:19 am

        @Lydia cannot agree more. Have 6.5 and 3.5 and starting in August, we had: Covid (causing us to miss a family reunion, hand foot mouth (that all 4 of us got), a random fever, another round of hand foot mouth (limited to 1 child this time), RSV-turned-ear infections for both kids (with an antibiotic shortage! yay! and one kid had to switch antibiotics because he wasn’t responding to the first one! double yay!), non-specific GI complaints for a week, strep throat, and some other random URI. One kid in school and one kid at an in-home daycare. My husband and I are losing our minds! SHU: solidarity. Hope A feels better soon.

        (sorry for the complaining…but the germs feel never-ending! I hope karma comes around and we have good middle and high school years with infrequent illnesses!)

      • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns January 13, 2023 at 10:42 am

        Chiming in to say our experience has been the same, Lydia. Mine are 2 and almost 5. We did have a break in some illnesses during the early part of the pandemic, like fall 2020. But once vaccines were available and people were out and about more, we were sick so much. I had the stomach flu 3 TIMES in 2021! Then everyone but my husband got covid in May 2022. This last fall was horrible as the toddler got RSV and then I presume that is what I got as I was horribly sick. We finally got a break in December and, knock on wood, we have been healthy recently. I do notice that the almost-5yo is not getting sick as much so I can see it does get better but if you have kids in a congregate care setting (which is the right choice for our family), there hasn’t been much of a break in illnesses…

      • Reply gwinne January 13, 2023 at 11:17 am

        I’m not suggesting that 🙂

        Just after the experience for many years of having kids pick up colds that are mildly annoying that for me become sinus infections and/or bronchitis…. mask-life is going pretty well! My kid has missed A TON of school this year for abdominal pain (this is the first week he’s gone a full week since October ?!) but wears a high quality mask reliably (by choice!) and has not yet had COVID, cold, RSV, flu, etc this year. My big kid works in the ER and has also managed to stay healthy. For that I’m really grateful. Preschool and early elementary school years were really challenging, much like you’re talking about. I hope it gets better!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 13, 2023 at 8:58 am

      I think 2 viral illnesses per year is pretty good actually! Update: Annabel woke up with 102 fever. Covid neg. I did not send her to school obviously but the other two are going (neither have any symptoms at the moment and I checked their temps).

      We don’t mask generally other than for me and Josh at work (hospital and clinic policy which I am fine following). We don’t limit activities. 100% get that this is a privileged position to be in health wise (no significant underlying conditions). I guess yes for the most part I am back to not having a lot of extra worry about sickness. I did test Annabel this morning for Covid bc I think our nanny would have wanted to avoid her if she were positive.

  • Reply Robyn Hernandez January 13, 2023 at 7:36 am

    Education is slow to adopt current effective business practices as well. I am doing Laura’s time tracking challenge, and noticing how much of my time is spent in (often pointless and repetitive) meetings has me thinking about how to change this.
    Hope you all stay well!

  • Reply Katherine January 13, 2023 at 8:17 am

    I think I have commented before about the amount of money we spent in 2012 on tickets for various events at the London Olympics when our two were 12 and 8. This felt like a similar once in a lifetime, or at least once in a lifetime while we have kids who want to go with us and we aren’t too old/boring to want to go, experience! For example both are talking about going to 2024 Paris Olympic events, but not with us, and not sure we want the hassle! We are very glad indeed that we did this and older daughter definitely really remembers it, but younger has really vague memories of most of it, and some of those are fairly random, or maybe based on photos rather than actual memories. But we had an amazing time at the time and no regrets about doing it, though it was very tiring as well as expensive. Would I have done it with a five year old? No way!!!

  • Reply Erin January 13, 2023 at 8:35 am

    I did get Taylor tickets through the regular presale, and I am a huge fan and my own personal limit for MYSELF was $500 for a stadium show (I would have paid at least double that if she ever went to a smaller/better venue). I also chose to not take my kids, because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the concert as much if I had to monitor them too and a huge stadium concert is already kind of stressful to me even just as an adult. But that is me! I know a lot of people who are taking their kids, and I will be looking at stubhub last minute to see if I could take my daughter (who will be 13) to the other show in Minneapolis. I’d DEFINITELY wait, I think prices may go down as people have to actually get rid of tickets for normal reasons in the few weeks before the show.

    I think she puts on a good show (I haven’t been to one yet but I HAVE watched the Reputation tour on Netflix a few times, and talked to others), but a stadium concert is always fairly meh so take that into consideration too!

  • Reply Elizabeth January 13, 2023 at 9:08 am

    With regards to the concert question—I personally think, if I were you, the way to frame it is: is there any other family activity that we would enjoy more for $3500? For me, it would be a definite no to the concert. It will be late (cranky kids), crowded, you’ll be so far from the stage, and it’s over so fast. If anyone is sick then it doesn’t even happen. There are many other memory-making events/trips I’d rather do with my family. Try to frame it in that sense (where else could these dollars go toward?) and see if you still think this is the best use for them.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 13, 2023 at 9:58 am

      All good points!

    • Reply Ashley January 13, 2023 at 10:28 am

      I agree with this. No matter how much I love the artist, I can think of MANY other family fun activities I’d rather do for the same amount of money. That is a very expensive night out.

    • Reply Alyce January 13, 2023 at 11:08 am

      Such a good way of evaluating the cost! I will also say that Taylor Swift will tour again, so it won’t be your only chance.

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 13, 2023 at 11:12 am

        True 🙂 but if I wait too long I might not have kids excited to go with a parent. But I guess that’s not a given!

        • Reply Beth January 13, 2023 at 1:03 pm

          My soon-to-be seventeen-year-old daughter and I are going to see Taylor Swift together this spring. She specifically wanted me to go with her! Regardless of your decision on the TS tickets, I suspect you have many more years of possible shared concerts with your three!

        • Reply Megan January 13, 2023 at 1:44 pm

          I am also struggling on whether to spend the money for T Swift tickets but just for me and my 11 yo daughter. Have you gone through to actually click and see the fees associated at the different sites? Make sure you check bc some of the sites I was looking at had $400 fees/ticket which made a huge impact!!

  • Reply Bridget January 13, 2023 at 9:09 am

    In our house we say no agenda no attend-ah!

    • Reply Melissa January 13, 2023 at 6:20 pm

      I love this!

  • Reply Jessica January 13, 2023 at 10:30 am

    I have always lived by the “you regret things you don’t do” mentality, but honestly, it feels a bit too much sometimes. In all likelihood, if you don’t go to the concert your life will probably be the same.

    I did spend that much to take my two older kids (age 8 and 6 at the time) to the World Series for their favorite team. I don’t regret it, but I also don’t think I would regret not going. I don’t know that the younger one really remembers and the older one was a little overwhelmed by how loud it was and that is what he mostly remembers.

    I also think it depends on how much spending the money will stress you out. I have sometimes not done things because I know that if my kids whined, I would get too mad that we spent all that money for them to be unhappy. So I only spend the money if I can handle whining in the normal manner.

    • Reply Megan January 13, 2023 at 1:46 pm

      Great point about how you will feel about spending the money and the expectations it creates. It’s why we haven’t gone to Disney yet bc I know myself to know that when kids inevitably start whining I’ll be enraged and the parent saying “do you know how much money we spent!!!” which isn’t fair to them – thus we are waiting.

  • Reply Grateful Kae January 13, 2023 at 10:45 am

    My work has adopted this standard “50 minute” meeting rule, although there are some exceptions/ longer meetings. It is nice though that they have considered building in that buffer- otherwise the meetings never start on time anyway, and no one has a chance to run to the bathroom or anything between meetings!! Meetings in general are so draining and disruptive to actually getting work done, IMO…. but I guess they are a necessary evil.

    About the concert, there is no way I would spend over $4,000 to go to a concert, especially if one of the attendees were 5 years old. 🙂 I could see MAYBE taking say, my daughter, if I had one, for like a one on one special sweet 16 birthday thing, or something like that, but that is just an insane amount of money to me. Maybe it’s the difference between MD and RN paygrade though? 🤣😄 Like others said, knowing what else I could do with that much money would be the real deal breaker for me. I know for a fact that my husband and I could go to Europe for an entire WEEK for less money than that, so I would have a very, very hard time paying that much for one night. That being said, I will admit I am not a T Swift fan (I don’t actively dislike her, I just don’t ever listen to her music, I really don’t know any of her songs, I could care less about her concert!! lol). So, this may be something that you do find worth it- and if so, then, go and enjoy!

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns January 13, 2023 at 10:47 am

    So for me, the tickets are a hard pass. I wanted to go – without my kids – and didn’t consider buying them after market. But I know that TS is likely going to be touring for many years and I think/hope that the next round of concert tickets isn’t such a sh*t show since there won’t be like 4 years of pent up demand. But I’m definitely on the frugal side. I value experiences but there is a limit to what I will pay for those experiences…

    Regarding the meeting, we have this same issue in the business world, too. Or at least at my firm. A 2 hour meeting is pretty uncommon but we often have hour meetings with no agenda that are a total waste of my time but it is not acceptable for me to not go… So I just multi-task during the meeting. I’m not in a position to challenge the need for the meeting (in terms of hierarchy in my firm), so I just put up with them. And fortunately, I do not have many meetings that aren’t client meetings. I worked at a company (a very large retailer based in Minneapolis – you can probably guess the firm) and I seriously had 30 hours of meetings every week! There were so many “check in” meetings, like a weekly check in with my boss, my internal partners, etc etc. It was HORRIBLE and one of the reasons I left that role after 6 months! Because I still have 40 hours of work on top of those 30 hours of meeting. Le sigh. So meetings are a problem a lot of places, although allegedly things have improved at that company since I left.

  • Reply Marina January 13, 2023 at 11:24 am

    I love T. Swift’s latest album but I wouldn’t pay that much to see her, even without the kids. I like framing it as what other family activity could you do with the money, but also, could you compromise and just bring the older two? And promise G something fun just the two of you in the future? I just don’t see my 6 year old enjoying a concert like this, and for sure not my 4 year old. The older two are probably better ages and easier to manage just the two.

  • Reply Erica Batema January 13, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    This is abou the concert only. I took my 10 year old Annabel and her friend to see Zac Brown at Fenway Park last year. It was so much fun. My daughter has sensory issues and the smell of all the pot bothered her and we left early, but I don’t regret at all. She was so excited to back to school and talk about her first concert and she even chose to talk about Zac Brown in public speaking.
    If you can easily swing the concert and value the excitement leading up to it and the excitement after and accept that the actual experience with three kids might be messy, go for it. It will the be a really great memory for all of you no matter what the concert is like.

  • Reply Megan January 13, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    Would you consider just taking Annabel? Cuts down on the expense significantly but, probably more importantly, it seems like it increases the likelihood that it will be really fun and memorable for you both. Just a thought!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger January 13, 2023 at 2:47 pm

      It would be super fun for me, BUT I would have two VERY jealous children who also know all the words to multiple songs on my hands if I did that. I think it’s all or nothing!

  • Reply omdg January 13, 2023 at 4:50 pm

    I would never spend that $ on a concert, but I would totally spend $300 on a pair of pants, so no judgement! If you think it would be life changing-ly fun, even if just for you, and you can afford it, why not?

  • Reply Cate January 13, 2023 at 6:35 pm

    My kiddos are older than yours and I shelled out $$$ for the fearless and speak now tours and I have no regrets for all the reasons you list.

  • Reply K January 13, 2023 at 11:19 pm

    I’m going to Taylor Swift with my 18 year old daughter, her best friend and her mom! It will be our third Taylor Swift Concert — no regrets saw her in Seattle when my daughter was 10 and 13 as well! Amazing memories. 100 percent worth it!

  • Reply coco January 14, 2023 at 1:54 am

    Consider this, which is not in the podcast but in the book. If you are unsure about the experience given its cost, think would you rather have it now one time or have two times in 10 years? Which is the compound interest you’d earn for saving the money. When thinking this way, it’s no brainer what to do. I just booked 3 more trips until April including the long debated club med trip with the girls. I’ll do a summary of key takeaways of the book. Life changing!!!

  • Reply Meredith January 15, 2023 at 6:45 am

    My basic rule with work meetings: the more senior the attendees, the more rigorous I expect the agenda to be. Otherwise, these two hour meetings can cost upwards of $10k for no value or outcome (if, for example, I have several senior contractors at $3k per day plus their juniors attending). Not many projects want to absorb that kind of waste once it’s pointed out them!

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