Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Intergenerational height comparisons of Shirey men

Today is Reed's 10th birthday, and we started off with a little treasure hunt for him to find his gifts. Here, he discovers the clue on Felicia, the flamingo in our flower garden:

As often as we remember and feel like it, we measure our boys' height on a 4x1 board – the very same board, in fact, that my parents used to track our growth over an 11-year period. So we took measurements, and I decided to track how the boys are doing compared with me and my brothers. I took two photos of the board and did a quick edit in Paint.NET to put the front and back next to each other. Jake wanted to pose in there as well:

Not the birthday boy, but just as awesome.

In the photo, you'll see five superimposed colored lines marking the heights for each of five Shireys at approximately ten years old (some measurements when we grew up weren't on the birthdays). The vertical tranches are, from left to right: Nate, me, Matt, Jake, and Reed. Three points to make:
  1. Jake and Reed are, controlled for time, pretty darn close to each other in height. (Not sure about weight, as we haven't compared.)
  2. Both of them are a good inch taller than Nate was.
  3. I'm the shortest of the whole lot at this age.
I'm suddenly very interested in seeing these data in a single graph to see when each of us really hit our strides. I'm just about the same height now as Nate (maybe just a bit shorter?), so I apparently hit my growth spurt later.

Anyway, Reed's come a long way. Not just in height, though that's a nice, observable metric, isn't it?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ramping up travel

Every few months, I go through our finances with a magnifying glass. Every transaction posted to our checking account and to our credit card gets categorized. There's some squishiness to the classification -- should the transaction at Target be Groceries or Household? But it gets us pretty reasonable insights into what we're doing.

A few years ago, I discovered that we had been paying $11/month to Amazon for Kindle Unlimited - a service we had never used. Armed with the data, I was able to get them to refund me 12 months of the service; so let it never be said that my penchant for data analysis is for naught.

This most recent trek through our data, Andrea asked me how much money we're putting into travel. Because our money is grouped by month, we can look at this either on the whole or as time series. As expected, our percentage of all expenditures tracked dedicated to travel has risen sharply in the last few years:


 NB, one of the intentional approaches we're taking here with how we're categorizing things is that basically everything we spend our money on when we're traveling (at least abroad) is considered Travel. The meals out aren't Meals Out; gifts, groceries, gas, and everything else is done wholly in service to traveling and as such falls into that category.