Reasons I do not Want Kids

I am currently 30 and in a very happy place with my husband of 3 years (whom I dated for 3 years before that). At this point in my life, I am 100% sure that I do not want kids now or in the future. Should this ever change, as everyone keeps telling me that it will, I shall be sure to write a blog about what changed my mind. Read on, bearing in mind that these are my personal reasons and women in general have a broad spectrum of reasons for not wanting kids.

  1. I will not give up my sleep schedule: Unless I am visiting a new country or a place, there is nothing that would make me give up my 8hr\day uninterrupted sleep schedule. (The only exception to this rule is my Better Half. Ain’t nothing in this world that I won’t give up for him.)
  1. I cannot be bothered about Healthy Lifestyle choices for another human being: I am not a person prone to making healthy lifestyle choices and being responsible for another human being is not something that I wish to take upon myself.
  1. I am a very impulsive person. I have no business having a kid if I cannot stay back after work to hang out with friends without having to worry about a sitter. I also don’t feel like saying my goodbyes to the overnight NYC trips hanging out in Time Square till 5am. (I always make sure that I get my 8Hr\day sleep the next day)
  1. I love my relationship currently and my ‘Me-Time’. I do not wish to add another unknown variable to a balanced equation. I have been told, that having a kid makes it healthier for the relationship. But that is not a gamble I wish to take, seeing as there is no coming back from that. Also, I am not sure how a needy human being would be good for my relationship with my husband. I also enjoy a lot of me-time and am not ready to give it up.
  1. I love travelling: Anyone who has flown with kids will know what I mean. I have seen even the nicest of kids turn evil when it comes to travel. I don’t need any such disruptions in my otherwise peaceful life. I still have a lot of travelling to do (my bucket list is almost 75% places to visit rather than things-to-do).
  1. I would rather be an amazing aunt than a strict mom. I love kids when they are happy and playful. I wish to be the fun aunt who buys them candies and stuff that their parents won’t let them. (I do have a couple of lovely nieces who can vouch for me being a good aunt). I would rather not be involved in the emotional aspects of a child’s upbringing.
  1. I have always known that I don’t want kids. The above reasons are me trying to rationalize why I do not want kids. Maybe it was growing up with too many hours on Discovery Channel \ Nat Geo Channel. Maybe it’s the population explosion that is threatening our species. Maybe it’s the number of starving kids out there. Maybe it’s the orphanages that I visited. I do not know what the reason is. But I do know that I would be very selfish for wanting a baby of my own when there are so many kids out there who could gladly use a hand.

I respect the women who make a decision to have kids and their lifestyle choices. I have a lot of friends who have not had a vacation in many years, who have zero free time, who haven’t had a good night’s sleep in over 3 years, who think that an uneventful trip to the local Harris Teeter is celebration worthy. But they truly believe that it is all worth it and I respect their decision and their happiness. But just as they will not change their mind about having kids, I am sure I will not change my mind about not having kids.

Hungry for Etiquette

This past Friday, a friend and I volunteered\participated in a Shuttle Badminton Tournament. We expected the event to go on until around 5-6 pm in the evening. However due to many participants, it ended much later in the evening than we expected. We had our lunch at around 12:30 pm in the afternoon and we got busy with the volunteering activity and our matched post that. Food wasn’t really a priority.

After the event ended at 10:30 pm, we stayed back to help with cleaning the place. At 11 pm, while driving home, exhaustion hit us bad and we decided to stop for food. We stopped at Eddie’s Place Restaurant. I ordered a bowl of lobster Soup and my friend asked for a plate of pot stickers and Wings.

My food was served with a Soup spoon, 2 pieces of bread and 2 packets of butter. I used the spoon to smear the butter on the bread and dunked it into the soup bowl and relished the amazing food. After my first piece of bread had disappeared along with half a bowl of my soup, sensibility started to set in and that is when I realized that the silverware and napkins had been lying next to my plate the entire time. Laughing it off, I picked up the silverware and continued with my dinner.

A couple minutes later, I heard an expletive from my partner. I looked up shocked and asked ‘What happened?’. He held up his hands with which he had just finished eating half a plate of wings and said ‘I just realized that I did not wash my hands and the last thing we did was pick up trash’

Manchester United vs West Ham United (Nov27,2016) – Two Cents

<A united fan writing from a United POV, so feel free to call it biased.>

Talking points from my POV.

  • The Mou effect: This is one ‘Mou effect’ that every United fan would have preferred to skip. Some of the refereeing decisions over the past few weeks against United have been appalling !
  • Randolf seemed to have pulled out the rabbit out of the hat with a string of out-of-the-world saves. The visiting GK’s efforts at OT this season reminded me of what DDG had been doing for us over the past few years.
  • United is definitely moving in the right direction in terms of the quality of football. The number of chances created and quality of possession have improved a lot and yet United continue to be vulnerable on the break.
  • Pogba has slowly but steady upped his game for United. He is worth somewhere in the region of 40 mil right now 😉
  • The United boy Fletcher had a decent outing and had almost fulfilled the stuff of his dreams by scoring in front of the OT crowd. Could he be another ‘Pogback’ in the making ?
  • These are the sort of matches we should win. All the possession, quality, gameplay, all lead to nothing if we cannot score when it matters !

~jai

Manchester United vs Arsenal (Nov19,2016) – Two Cents

A united fan writing from a United POV, so feel free to call it biased. The talking points for me were:

  • United played as if the international break was never ever there in the first place, however the same cannot be said about Arsenal. They had 11 bodies on the field and yet it seemed like some of them were not yet present there.
  • The bromance between Mata and Herrera off the field has blossomed into a near telepathic connection on the field. The yin of the rugged, workhorse of a player that Herrera is, is perfectly complemented by the silky yang of Mata.
  • The first half shout for a penalty should have been given. Valencia could have put in a bit more effort to stay on his feet however Monreal was outrun and he was in air, with arms across Valencia when he brought him down!
  • This pragmatic approach of somehow churning out a result from an otherwise poor outing could bode well for Arsenal in the long run. This used to one of United’s trademarks !
  • United, should be winning these matches. If we cannot win it when we play well, we are in deeper trouble than what the points table suggests !

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them : Review

I should start by saying that this was probably one of the most awaited movies of the year for me. So pardon me if i had set too high an expectation.  What awaited me was an entertainer with quite a few amazing moments, plugged into a magical journey.

Five Reasons to watch :

  •  A glimpse into the Magical World of Harry Potter. The fans love this world unconditionally and those who aren’t fans are ever so curious about whats around the corner. This movie has subtle hints to Harry Potter if you are looking for it – an occasional mention of Hogwarts and Dumbledore, a Gryffindor scarf etc bring the familiar world back to us.This movie is guaranteed to bring a smile on your face.
  • The animation and the colors makes the movie surreal. The vibrant blues and golds bring the imaginary creatures to life and there are moments one wishes they were real.The graphics around the Obscurus was unnerving and was Scary without being gross, I would say they nailed a difficult scene perfectly. I can list the creatures and their beauty all day and I am sure they are going to live in my mind for a long time to come
  •  Mr.Farrell’s acting has me convinced that he is a wizard. Such is the flair with which he has performed this role. Miller on the other hand had a difficult role to play and has done justice to the short role. Dan Fogler brings a breathe of fresh air into an otherwise grim movie. Eddie Redmayne had a hesitant\curious\shy character and I am not entirely sure why. Much as I loved seeing him, his character could have had better dimension.
  •  A glimpse of New York from the past.This has been done in multiple movies before but not with the imagination of JK Rowling. The life of NoMajs(Muggles) has an old world charm and appeal. The bakery scene almost made me want to jump out of the seat and get into the screen just to smell the freshness of a newly baked bread that they were picturing.
  •  Meet the Pre-Voldemort Baddie. Fables come to life as we have a glimpse of a not-so-mad and ever-so-sensible Grindlewald.

Where it could have scored better:

  • Newt Scamander deserves a book, before the movie. JK Rowling should have explained to us why he is the way he is.
  • I have often been at a loss of words on why people think that every single thing needs to be ‘Americanized’. The heavy British accent that shouted out ‘Hogwarts!!’ was missing from the word go as FB (Fantastic Beasts) is based out of New York.
  • Unlike their present day counterparts, New York City is painted out to be a dull, boring, slightly OCD’d world from both the No-Maj (Yeah, Americans like to rename everything, even if we Muggles do not mind being called muggles) and wizarding world point of view. 
  • There were so many situations that warranted a better explanation, unless you are absolutely thorough on your knowledge of the Harry Potter World.
  • ‘The Flash’, was a pretty odd choice for an odd character.

 

A movie that could have been a lot better had there been a proper JK Rowling book that preceded it and yet, something the HP fan in me would never have missed for anything !!

Philly Septa Strike: Commuter Nightmares!!

Do not manage something that is working fine” These are indeed words of wisdom and I was taught these by the Septa Strike that started in Philadelphia, PA on 03-November-2016.

Septa Regional Rail was functional. First day saw Septa workers try to manage the Crowds by having a queue system where they let only 150 people on the train at each station. Now this does seem fair if the train had a capacity of 450 – 500. And if there were 2 busier stops after ours.

My Train Line = Media Elwyn.
This train makes pickups at 4 important stops: Jefferson Station, Suburban Station, 30th Street Station and University City. We have 5 trains between 4:30pm and 5:30pm. And the trains are fairly uncrowded save an odd day or two.
I usually board this train at Suburban Station.

Day 1: I got on the tracks at 4:30pm and had to wait in a humungous line that moved ever so slowly. I finally boarded a train at 5:45pm. Now, this would have been acceptable had the train been full. It was not. Surprisingly the train was relatively empty (not relatively full) throughout the ride and I know for a fact that there were at least 500 additional folks waiting in a line in Suburban Station.

Day 2: This day I got wiser and decided to take a few photos if the above situation repeated itself. I stood in the line at 4:45pm. I was lucky enough to board by 5:30pm. (30 minutes saved compared to prior day). I spoke to an attendant who said they were doing things differently. Below are the images of how differently the train ride was.

Snapshot 01: After the train left Suburban Station
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Snapshot 02: After the train left 30th Street Station
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Snapshot 03: After the train left University City
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Due to some confusion passengers were told this is a local train and it turned out to be an express. As a result, folks had to get out at subsequent stops to ensure that they are on right train.

The trains are running empty. Does Septa not know this ?? How, there are folks checking tickets on the train. They would surely have noticed that half the train is empty. Why then are we made to wait an hour at Suburban Station ?Guess things are different after all !!

I have never tried counting capacity of a Septa Car. This particular one seems capable of seating over 100 people easily. The train had around 7 cars. So why would Septa let only 150 people board at every station ??

Universal Orlando in a Day: Part I

PARKING:

We reached at 8:30am. We asked for Regular Parking (20$) but the lady at the counter suggested that we go for preferred parking (25$) as it means less to walk. We paid for preferred parking, it was near the entrance and saved us a lot of time both in the morning and in the evening while leaving the park.

THE PARKS:

The park is located in the form of a circle. When you walk in from the parking, you have an option of going Left to Island of Adventures or going left towards Universal Studios. The day we visited, Universal Studios was set to close at 7:00pm and Island of Adventures at 8:00pm. We started with Universal Studios.

There is a Train – Hogwarts Express to go between the parks.

TICKETS:

I was visiting Tampa for a weekend and I wished to visit Harry Potter World at Universal. After a lot of online research and landing up on fake sites, I decided to chuck it and got my tickets from the official universal site.

  • $147 for One Day Park to Park Ticket
  • $70 for One Day park to Park Express Pass
  • $14 Taxes
  • $14 for FedEx Delivery

*(I spent 465$ for tickets for 2 people).Use the Print at Home option and save 14$ for yourself.

The Express Pass can be bought in the Park at one of several kiosks. There was absolutely no rush on the day we went. But I would still suggest getting it beforehand to save you some time.

Once you have the tickets, walk straight to the entrance turnstiles. If you used print at home option, you would need an id card as well. Get an ID-Tag holder with you. You need to present this ticket\print out at every ride and pulling it out of the pockets can get pretty irritating.

Express Pass: We saved 10minutes at couple of rides and more at couple more. While this is a Nice to Have, I don’t think it is a must have. However, if I had to go again, I would buy an express pass.

LOCKERS:

Not All Rides need Lockers. Most of them allow you to take things along and you can place the bags near your foot. The lockers are very easy to operate.

  • Walk to any of the locker screens and touch the screen. Click on “I wish to rent a locker”. It would be free for first 1 one hour of the ride. The machine asks for your fingerprint and after recording it, a locker would open and the number would flash on the screen.
  • Remember the locker number. Stuff all your loose items inside, close the door tight and press the small green button next to it to lock the door.
  • When you want to get your stuff back, head to the same monitor in locker room, click on ‘I wish to reopen a locker’. It would ask for locker number and your finger print for authentication. The locker would have to be emptied when you reopen it.
  • If you have forgotten to add something to your locker, rent a new locker instead of trying to reopen an existing locker.

FOOD and REFRESHMENTS

Based on prior blogs, I expected the food to be wildly expensive. But I was pleasantly surprised.

  • We had Lunch at 11:00am at ‘Louie’s Italian Restaurant’ at Universal Studios. I had Chicken Parmesan Sandwich with salad. My Husband had a Chicken Alfredo Pasta with salad and my friend had a Slice of Pizza. Since we are not Soda people, we asked for a cup of water each. The cost came up to 30$ for all of us.
  • (*The chicken Parmesan was the best one I ever had in my life)
  • The butterbeer beckoned to us at the Diagon Alley section for Harry Potter. We had a butterbeer ice cream and butterbeer slushie for 10$. We also had a box of Cotton Candy from one of the shops for 6$.
  • For Dinner, we had Chicken Fry\Gyro\Chicken Stinger and a Hot Chocolate from Fire Eaters Grill. The Bill came to around 30$ again. The food was decent though not extraordinary. (We walked past Mythos after eating here, else we would have given it a shot)

*All Information is as of 14 November 2015.

*For More Details on the Rides, Read the Part II

 

What’s in a Name ?

As a rule, a bunch of colleagues head out for lunch on every Friday. We try out different restaurants in the area. There is this one restaurant that most of us love and pretty much have our ‘Usual’ defined. Today, we had been to this restaurant.

I asked for my favorite – Cashew Nut Rice. Stir fried veggies in a special gravy, rice on the side and golden brown roasted cashew nuts on top. When we were served, the cashews were no where in sight. I called the waitress and asked her about this. She dismissed me and said they are below the veggies. Surprised that they had changed the way they serve their food, I took my fork and shifted the veggies around searching for my much loved cashew nuts. But Nope, no cashews were to be found in my plate. I called out to the waitress again and pointed out that there were no cashew-nuts anywhere around my plate. She looked at me, with no expression and said ‘ I shall get you cashews’ and much to my surprise, she was back in a minute with a small bowl of non fried cashews. She set it on the table and walked away without another word.

I guess this restaurant wont be on my to-go list of restaurants  for anytime in near future.

 

English We-nglish

Before coming to the USA, I had always been prepared to face difficulties related to accents. As difficult as it is for me as an Asian-Indian, to understand other foreign accents, it is equally difficult for the others to understand the distinct Indian Accent. But more than the accents, I faced difficulties in the way words are used and so did many others with whom I had a chance to discover my adventures. Here are a few of my experiences:

1. This was at a local Store near my place and was within the first week of me landing in the US. I wanted a couple of postage Stamps as I had to mail something to another part of the USA. I walked to the counter and asked for couple of stamps and when I asked how much it was, the man at the counter said ‘Dollar Ten’. When I looked up at him blankly, he repeated ‘Dollar Ten’.  I was still getting used to the Dollar to INR Conversion rates and thought that the stamps were outrageously expensive. I reached into my wallet and gave him a 20$ note. He gave me a 10$, a 5$ and bunch of coins. That is when I realized that ‘Dollar Ten’ means 1 Dollar and 10 Cents. I walked out of the shop with a smile on my face.

2. I was at Chipotle having dinner with a few friends when there was a need for an additional Bowl. I walked up to the counter and this is the dialogue.
Me: Can I please have an extra Bowl?
Lady at the Counter: A What?
Me: An additional BOW-LL
Lady: Excuse me, a what?
Me: A B-OWL?
Lady: (Calls another person and they are now trying to decipher what I am saying)
Me: Bowl, BOW-L, B-OWL?
Lady: Oh, You mean a “BOHL”, of course you can. Here you go.

3. This one was at a Costco . My weighty issues were getting out of hand and I wanted to buy a weighing machine. I went to my nearest Costco and when I could not find it after a couple of aisles, I went to a Costco Associate
Me: Excuse Me, Where can I find the Weighing Machine?
Him: Hmm, Let me see. What is it for?
Me: For measuring my weight…
Him: (With a Smile on his face) Oh, You mean Scales? We have them right here.

The Full Circle

For the uninitiated, the Hierarchy at the IT Office where I work is as follows:
Software Developer Reports to the Business Analyst who reports to the Project Manager who takes inputs from the Data Architect, who in turn, may at times consult the Solution Architect.

Software Developer to Business Analyst: For the files I have been asked to build, is there any specific order to be followed or can I start with the easiest one first.
Business Analyst: Let me check with the Project Manager.

Business Analyst to Project Manager: The files do not seem to be interconnected. Can I ask the developer to build the files according to the level of ease?
Project Manager: Let me check with the Data Architect.

Project Manager to Data Architect: I have been asked if there is an explicit sequence in which the files should be built?
Data Architect: Let me check with the Solution Architect.

Data Architect to Solution Architect: Would you be able to shed some light on whether there exists a predefined framework to arrive at the precise arrangement for the files to be built?
Solution Architect: I shall find out and get back to you on this in sometime.

Solution Architect to Software Developer: Do you have any idea if there is a specific order in which the files should be built or do you think you should start with the easiest one first ?
Software Developer: I don’t think there is any specific order and I can build taking into consideration time to build.
Solution Architect: Great !

 

This is a slightly exaggerated version of what happened to me sometime back !