Got the contract at Microsoft and it's due to start next week. Since I brought it to Volt, all packaged up, the recruiter who handled it for me sent me a thank you gift. She sent two 5-packs of infant bodysuits, a 4-pack of bibs, a little infant bathrobe, a rattle, and a doll. Apparently the scheduled date for the birth of my son is also the recruiter's birthday, so she went a little overboard.
The manager on the position was cool with me taking some time off around when the baby is born, so we're going to be all set. Now all I have to do is get the baby's room ready this weekend (move back in all the furniture I moved out when painting, plus assemble the crib) and we'll be 98% ready for the baby to come home.
I've been trying to teach our three-year-old to do more for himself. Last night, at bath time, he washed his hair mostly by himself for the first time. The arrival of the new baby is going to require him to become a bit more self-sufficient in terms of bath time, handling buttons/buttonholes on his clothes, getting settled into his car seat, etc. Badsically places/times where we're not going to have as many free hands as we used to, he's going to have to step up. And he's excited about it because it's all part of being a big brother.
And now that I'm going to be employed, I can finally trade in my Hyundai hatchback and get my "family car". Right now I'm trying to decide between a Mazda5 mini-mini-van and a Honda CR-V crossover SUV.
Moneywise, the Mazda would cost about $3,000 less, but would only cost about $7.28 less a month for gas since the Mazda only gets about 1 MPG more. If you want to compare the monthly gas costs for two cars, check out the calculator below from my article at Rough Equivalents, "Do Hybrids Equal Savings". You can set the mileage of two cars, a per-gallon gas price, and the amount you drive every year. Every figure is controlled with sliders, so you can see how two cars compare at various gas prices and annual driving levels.
If I figure 70% highway driving and 30% city driving, the Honda gets 24.2 MPG combined and the Mazda gets 25.2 MPG combined. At $3.55 a gallon and 15,000 miles a year (1250 miles a month), the Honda costs $7.28 more a month.
The other advantages to the Mazda are about 9 more cubic feet in the back (about the size of a large cooler), sliding doors (WAY easier to get the kids in and out, especially in tight parking lots or the garage), captains chairs in the 2nd row, 3rd row seats (although they're a little cramped), and really car-like handling with a turning circle only 5 inches wider than that of a 2008 Porsche Boxter convertible (the CR-V's turning circle is 17 inches wider than the Boxter while a Dodge Caravan would be 36 inches wider).
The advantages to the Honda CR-V are that it's got stability control and all wheel drive, so it's going to be a bit more surefooted in slippery conditions and emergency swerves (thought the Mazda might be more nimble in less slippery conditions), plus it has a slightly better resale value. And, of course, it's a Honda, so you have one of the world's best reputations for reliability.
Basically, if you take the money out of the consideration, the advantage to the Mazda is sliding doors, easier-to-access rear seats, and the carlike handling. The advantage to the Honda is better traction and a smidge less worry that it'll break down at an inconvenient time. But I'll get better traction in the Mazda than my Hyundai, just due to sheer weight and anti-lock brakes, and I haven't had any traction-related accidents in the Hyundai in 7 years. So the Mazda is currently leading.
I'm going to go drive both next week while I have those first couple of days of the week off, but I'll probably go buy the winning car in November unless one of them runs a huge cashback promo this month.