Five Things Friday Vol. 13

Five Things Friday: just five things I’m thinking about or things that made my week, or things that I otherwise feel like sharing.

five things

Let me lead with the highlight of my week: the spin bike that I ordered a couple of weeks ago arrived today – hooray! Yes, you guessed it, I also jumped on the bandwagon and bought a spin bike during the pandemic. No, unfortunately, it’s not a Peloton, but I think I’ll be very happy with the one I ordered nonetheless.

If you recall, I had started regular spin classes at my gym in the spring of 2019 and really, really loved it. When the pandemic hit in March and the gyms were closed down, access to that class disappeared. I got through the summer by running outdoors and doing home workouts, but now that we’re moving into fall and winter and the days are getting longer, a spin bike for home use seemed like the perfect solution for my early morning workouts. And the best part: Jon is excited to use it, too! 

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I’m happy to report that the air quality here in the Central Valley has significantly improved over the last few days. The fires are still burning, but the biggest fire close to us, the LNU Lightning Complex is 87% contained at this point. Yesterday morning was the first day since the fires started that we had a good air quality index reading. It’s been a relief!

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I am currently reading Mary Trump’s book. I am not sure if it’s a waste of my precious time or a must-read (I guess, I’ll determine it after I finish), but I definitely was intrigued to hear her perspective on her uncle. Have you read or are you planning to read the book?

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Speaking of Trump, have you heard of the ‘deferred payroll tax‘ nonsense?  He signed an executive order in August that allows employers to delay the collection of the 6.2% Social Security tax from employees who earn less than $104k annually. Isn’t that the perfect executive order by a president shortly before the election to “boost” his standings with unsuspecting supporters? Some extra money in your pocket sounds great, right? 

Well no, not if it means that your employer will start withholding the deferred amount from your paycheck again early next year. It means you’ll get a slight pay bump in pay this fall, but a significant decrease in pay for the first few months of 2021, because you still owe this money on tax day. So, this whole thing MAKES NO SENSE. People who still have a job don’t need this money right now, I’d argue, and if they do, they’ll for sure not be able to repay it in a few short months. What are we supposed to do? Hold the money in a savings account (that doesn’t even pay interest, ha!) until it’s being recollected again? Not to mention the bureaucratic lift for payroll offices to implement this temporary change in withholdings! 

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I’ve been tending to my garden for the last few weeks/months, but nothing is growing. I am not sure why. I think I did see some bees around, but I am not sure if the plants just weren’t pollinated sufficiently? The cucumber plant has a ton of blossoms, but many have shriveled up without producing fruit. The zucchini plants have blossomed, but I also don’t see any beginnings of a zucchini fruit yet. My tomato plant might have given up altogether. It’s a bit of a mystery. Any gardeners with advice? 

TGIF, friends! Enjoy the long weekend!

  1. Oh man don’t get me started on the payroll tax credit…I work in payroll and I literally spent the entire week telling our employees that this one is not ready for prime time. The employer is on the hook if you leave your job when it’s time to repay so very few companies are going to offer the deferral to start with.

    Enjoy your bike!

  2. Ooh, congrats on getting a spin bike! I’d love to have one in my apartment but I’m not sure I’ll have room, even in my new place, so wah. What spin bike did you get?

    I will be interested in reading your thoughts on Mary Trump’s book! I don’t really have an interest in reading it, but perhaps I’ll put it on my list if you think it’s worth a read!

  3. Ugh, the payroll tax thing is just ridiculous. I can’t even. I haven’t read any ‘tell all’ books about Trump because I feel like they will just fuel my intense anger towards him! My hatred is so strong as is… But I will be curious to hear what you think!

    Bummer about your garden! I have never had that happen so I don’t have any advice! It’s odd that things are blossoming but then no fruit is being produced! I hope you start to see some fruit as it’s a bummer to see them grow so much and then not get to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

  4. I kept wanting to take a beginner’s spin class, but then COVID. Sigh. That’s great you bought one for your home though! That will definitely be handy when the weather gets cold.

    I’m glad the air quality around you is getting better! It’s so crazy!

    The tax thing is just…it’s so dumb. It just makes people think he’s doing something really good for them, when in fact, it’s a headache in the long run.


  5. I have a rant in my draft post for Thursday about the tax deferral as I saw it in my paycheck Friday. Which leads me to ask, and based on some of the lingo you used in your work from home post (telework) are you a fellow federal employee?

    I am putting the money I should be paying in a savings account so I have it when they take out double in 2021.

    1. Ha, don’t tell me we have more things in common. (Yes, fellow fed here. :))

  6. I can not give any tips on the gardening front but I would be interested to learn. My two tomato plans started showing blossom by mid September. Of course no bees around by that time and I will definitely not be harvesting. One thing I learnt is that it probably makes sense to get started early. I remember my grandma always having samplings on her windowsill so she could set them in the garden as soon frost were done.

    1. Yes, starting early (like April) is usually a good idea. Since we have a pretty long growing season (due to the warm weather), I was told I’d get away with planting later, but I think the very hot temps and the fires/smoke have done their part for my poor success this year.

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