Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Catch-Up Post: the Big Move

I haven't written here in over a year and thought I should drop a line or two to catch people up.  I've been busy particularly busy working and coordinating the lives of two increasingly social children (and one husband and dog), which has gotten in the way of free moments to blog about it.  Facebook status updates seem to have filled that need to share my goings-on with friends and family .  But there is one big announcement I have not yet made on Facebook---we are MOVING out of Los Angeles.

Ryan got a new job in Sacramento, so we will be moving to Davis, CA.  I don't have a job there yet.  I'm still down here working at the current job through August while he has moved up there.  The kids are down here with me but they start school there in a few weeks.  We are selling our house.   I am moving up there in the near future.  There is a ton to write about.   There is a ton to pack.  Packing wins out for now.  But meanwhile a few thoughts:

I feel really nervous and upset all the time.  I can't fully relax because this move is not something I wanted to do, and I'm unsure about what I'm getting into.  I was quite happy, especially at work, and in where we live.  I love our neighborhood and it's gotten even better since the Expo construction is done and the stop opened up the block from us.  I feel the way I felt when we had to put our dog to sleep and had a few days with him before he died.  Knowledge that our time here is about to come to an end tinges the last good days with sadness.  I have been crying a lot.  I have been throwing out a lot of things that I wouldn't want to get rid of but I don't want to move either.

We have been fixing up lots of small things we should have done a long time ago but hadn't gotten to.  We've been spending a ton of money on things like new living room furniture so the place will look nice when we sell it.  Touch-up paint all around, new blinds, new carpets, new lights in the kitchen, new fixtures, etc.  There has been lots of drama with little projects and delays with tradespeople and orders coming in late. I have been at Lowe's so many times the past few weeks that they know me and ask where I've been.

Since the house is so "freshened, painted and cleaned, it looks great but it's hard to relax there because we can't, say, set down a coffee mug without worrying we might stain the grout or spill on the new carpet.  Being so "tidy" and anal about keeping it clean is so not me!  For the kids, most of their toys and books have been packed so they've been getting a lot of screen time and it's giving them that zombie-face and they give me attitude when it's time to unplug and go to bed.  They have been going to camp during the day, which keeps them busy while I'm at work.  But it's expensive, and so is eating out almost every meal because we aren't supposed to cook in the newly painted and cleaned kitchen.

I've been applying to a few jobs up there but only one phone interview so far, and they let me know up front that they took a look at my salary history and can't match it.    So I'm waiting to hear back from a job I maybe don't even want if it means doing harder work (difficult because I don't know much about the new organization) for less pay.

I know exactly one person in the whole 100 mile radius of Sacramento, so while I may have free time at first with no job, I won't know anyone to have adventures with.  We are renting a house for a year so at least I can give my Lowe's trips a rest for awhile.  (I'm sure there will be reasons to update things even as renters but not on the scale of our recent activity!)

The upside is that we needed a bigger place anyway as the kids get older and take up more space and want their own rooms.  So we're getting more room, and hopefully the real estate market will go down AFTER we sell, BEFORE we buy anything else.  I'm trying to look at it as a one-year sabbatical.  If we don't love it there this year, we'll move back to LA. Or try a new city.  But it's not a lifelong commitment if we don't want it to be.

So, follow along on my adventure in the next few weeks as we say farewell to beloved Los Angeles, my home for the past 17 years, and in the coming year as we say hello to a whole new world in Northern California.  After all of the unpacking, I'll finally have time to write about it!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Big news- new "baby"!

Our big news is that our family has gotten a little bigger.  Announcing the adoption of Trixie the Dog!  She is a Karma Rescue mutt of unverified lineage.  Speculation is corgi/shepherd/pit bull mix.  One of her ancestors gave her a long, low body with short little legs like a corgi or a basset hound.  She has a wrinkly face like a sharpei and she is mouthy like a Labrador.  Here are some photos.  What do you think?

Sunday, August 03, 2014

What I Know About Car Seats After a Car Accident in California

A few times lately I have had this conversation with friends who got into a car accident and I thought I would type it out here.  *Note: I am only up on CA law here, I'm not informed about other states* Did you know that if you get into a car accident and there are car seats in the car, the insurance company will likely pay to replace them?  


. (a) As used in this section, "child passenger restraint system" means a system as described in Section 27360 of the Vehicle Code
(b) Every policy of automobile liability insurance, as described in Section 16054 of the Vehicle Code, shall provide liability coverage for replacement of a child passenger restraint system that was in use by a child during an accident for which liability coverage under the policy is applicable due to the liability of an insured.
(c) Every policy of automobile liability insurance that provides uninsured motorist property damage coverage,as described in paragraph (2) ofsubdivision (a) of Section 11580.26, shall provide coverage for replacement ofa child passenger restraint system that was in use by a child during an accident for which uninsured motorist property damage coverage under the policy is applicable due to the liability of an uninsured motorist.
(d) Every policy that provides automobile collision coverage or automobile physical damage coverage, as described in Section 660, shall include a child passenger restraint system within the definition of covered property, if the child passenger restraint system was in use by a child during an accident. 
(e) Upon the filing of a claim pursuant to a policy described in subdivision (b), (c), or (d), unless otherwise determined, an insurer shall have an obligation to ask whether
a child passenger restrain t system was in use by a child during an accident that is covered by the policy, and an obligation to replace the child passenger restraint system in accordance with this section if it was in use by a child during the accident or reimburse the claimant for the cost of purchasing a new child passenger restraint system.
(f) An insured, upon acquiring a replacement child passenger restraint system, may surrender the child passenger restraint system that was replaced to the nearest office of the Department of the California Highway Patrol

A tip I got from a car seat safety bulletin board is that if, let's say the car seat was unoccupied, but you feel there was damage anyway, and the claims adjuster does not want to pay for a new seat, say the following: "I request that XX Insurance Company write me a letter declaring financial responsibility should this car seat fail to perform in future."  According to the post, insurance companies will generally replace the seat rather than write the letter.

They for sure will replace if the car seats are occupied when the accident happens.  This is true even if you think the accident was minor.  And if they were empty yet the accident has obviously damaged them (i.e. the car was totalled, or you can see damage) then they will.  If not, if it was a minor accident and they were not occupied, then it falls into a gray area but you can still fight to have them pay. A car seat can appear to be fine but suffer structural damages that are unseen, and why would you want to put your child at risk?

If arguing with insurance, you can quote this fairly new CA state law (2010) that makes it against the law to resell a car seat that has been in an accident: 

 27362.1. (a) No individual may sell or offer for sale a child passenger restraint system that was in use by a child during an accident involving a motor vehicle. (b) A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100).

Therefore, your collision, however minor it was, has taken away any resale value the seats may have had.  Check Craig's List.  For example, your 2011 Frontier might have fetched you $125.  But now you can't sell it when you're done.

If you have a Britax car seat, then Britax states that it is okay to continue using it if the accident is minor.  This is from their website:

Q. Can I continue to use my child seat after it has been involved in a crash?

A. BRITAX recommends that the use of a child seat be discontinued if it has been in a moderate to severe crash. We further advise of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) position that it is not necessary to replace a child seat after a minor crash.

A minor crash is one that meets ALL of following criteria:

  1. The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site; AND
  2. The vehicle door nearest the child restraint was undamaged; AND
  3. There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants; AND
  4. The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
  5. There is no visible damage to the child seat.
  So you could be in a situation where you convince the insurance to reimburse you for a new one, but the old one is still fine.  Don't feel bad about it, remember that it is illegal for you to resell the old one. So you can keep using it but now you have a spare seat!
  So what to do with the old seat once the insurance company has paid for a new one?  The claims adjuster may ask you to turn it in to them, or to cut the straps and take a photo of it.  Or, they might ask you to turn it in to your CA Highway Patrol office, where the CHP will give you a later stating that you have surrendered it.  They want you to cut the straps so that no one will come across it in the trash and use it or sell it.  But if you get a chance, take off the cover and keep that.  Then if you buy the same kind of seat, you'll have an extra cover.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hunkering down and staying in

Hi to my loyal readers!  Sorry I have not posted in awhile (besides the coconut water post I just did which I wrote over the summer and saved to draft) but a lot has been going on.  The biggest changes are that I am working in the office more (interesting projects, too!), William is in nursery school now 4 mornings a week plus one full day, and Lauren has switched schools to the one around the corner.  This is narrowing our world so that we can walk her to and from school, I can bike William to school and I could (in theory) take the bus to work.  What I actually end up doing most days is driving William and driving myself to work and paying to park, but I have *intentions* to do more eco-friendly (and cheaper!) commuting.

The elementary school change has been the biggest thing.  It's been nice to have playdates where the kids can walk over after school and it's so much less stressful being close by (rather than the 11.5 mile each way commute we had before.  Past lovely ocean views which swelled with traffic when surf was up, creating an hour long trip each way on some days!) We had a nice experience at the old school once we were there, but getting too and fro was stressful for school itself, plus parties and playdates.  It felt like so much work and the new school is so effortless in comparison.  Lauren forgot her lunch one day and I just ran it back to her in 5 minutes, no sweat.

We've also slowed our weekend trips away.  They're fun once we're at our destination (usually my parents' house in San Diego) but getting there, the hours on the road, the time spent packing and unpacking plus the regret of local events we miss at home...We went down last weekend for my mother's birthday but will probably not be back again until October or November.

Since I'm spending so much more time in my own neighborhood, I'm getting more involved in local politics (mostly as an observer at this point) and am going with my neighbor to a Neighborhood Council meeting tonight.  We have a particular opposition to something the Planning Committee is supporting so I'm on a tear to get the views of the people on our street heard, and doing some legal research on zoning laws.  

In other news, William is becoming potty trained and wears underwear part of the day now.  He is much better about going when he's at school than at home.  There are some funny stories associated with this process but I'm not going to blog about them.

Lauren is reading more and her bookshelves were overflowing with once-read chapter books that she likely won't re-read, so she is having a book sale so that other children can enjoy them.  She is relishing her role as salesperson and likes giving reading recommendations to younger children.  She's only made $8 in sales so far, but is aiming for $40 to get a new camera.  The Bank of Daddy will provide 100% matching funds.

So that's what's new over here!  I will try to blog more often.  "Perfection is the enemy of progress" and all of that. I don't have the time to devote to proofing and prettying up posts so it's all a first draft.  Thanks for reading my drivel anyway!  xxooxxx

Caffeine jitters? Try coconut water!

This morning I was veeeeeery tired and accidentally had two cups of coffee.  I was so tired I forgot I'd had one so I poured myself a second.  I'm such a caffeine lightweight that it made my heart pound like it was coming out of my chest and made me feel nervous and jittery.  I would have preferred being half asleep!

After I dropped William off at school, I went to Trader Joe's and got groceries and then as an afterthought, popped in to CVS to check my blood pressure to see exactly how fast my heart was pounding.  I truly expected to be some astronomical number, like they would say "300?!  I didn't know someone could still be alive with it that high!" but it was "only" 128 over 80.  I still felt like I was on speed (*note, I am joking, I have never actually done speed!) so asked the pharmacist if there was anything I could do to counterattack the caffeine and he suggested drinking a ton of water and eating lots of bananas for their potassium.

That got me thinking of coconut water which is naturally high in potassium.  I asked him about that and he said "yes, that would be great to drink!" .  Wow, it really was.  I downed one in the parking lot and IMMEDIATELY felt more calm.  It was the same effect as if, say, I had been really nail-bitingly nervous about a kid on the edge of a cliff, and then they got rescued and I could instantly relax.  Whew!

So, I felt the need to share with you all in case you find yourself in the same situation, learn from me.  And while you're learning from me and my stupid mistakes, here's what to do if:
-you accidentally steal a car
-your kid needs poison control
-you need your appendix out
-your kid cuts himself and needs stitches

Happy sipping!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sprouts Westwood Finally Opens!

Note, my card reader is broken so all of the beautiful photos I took of the place will have to wait, will edit and add later, but for now I wanted you to know in time to get there for the party... SPROUTS IS FINALLY OPENING IN WESTWOOD!  YAY!!!

Not all of my readers are local so bear with me while I explain how fabulous this place is!

First the Grand Opening info:

Wednesday May 1, 2013
Sprouts Farmers Market
1751 Westwood Blvd (near the intersection of Westwood Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd) in the old Ross building.

7:00 a.m. the festivities start, with drawings and giveaways and one-day deals like $1 bags of organic romaine, $1 bags of vanilla wafers, $1 for a dozen eggs, $1 big artichokes, etc.


-Big, spacious aisles with fresh clean produce and current products (I have never seen expired food on the shelves, they are great about checking that!  One of my pet peeves at a certain competitor store!)
-Really unbeatable prices, especially on produce (a few weeks ago they had navel oranges for 28 cents a pound!  organic apples for 50 cents a pound...I could go on and on...)
-Double sale Wednesdays (every Wednesday!) when twice as many things are on sale because the current and previous week's sales overlap
-Bulk spices, perfect for when I just need a bit of something or want to try something new.  I once spent 22 cents there on a small quantity of a spice.  It was great not to waste  a whole jar for one recipe.
-Bulk candy (and flour, nuts, beans and other less tempting fare) because sometimes if we were to buy the big bag, we'd *eat* the whole big bag!  William gets his cashews & yogurt covered pretzels every week from the bulk bins.
-Friendly, helpful, *empowered* employees!  I once mentioned at checkout that I had accidentally been overcharged by a few dollars for organic apples the last time.  The cashier apologized and deducted $4 from my bill.
-They have a $3 and under cheese section with smaller quantities of cheeses so you can try something new.  Lauren loves to pick out a cheese she has never heard of before when we're at Sprouts.
- They have free sample cups of coffee.  Mmmmm!
-They give you 5 cents per bag if you bring your own bags.  This last one is something little but since I do bring my own bags, it's nice to get a quarter back every time I shop.

Disclaimer: William and I shop at "Frouts" in Culver City every Wednesday (and the ones in San Diego in my college years when they were named Boney's and Henry's) and we've spent thousands of dollars there over the years.  But my disclaimer is that I was also invited to (okay, more like I begged them to come and they said yes!) their blogger event today where I got a tour of the store and received a bag of treats: coconut water, vitamin water, tortilla chips, salsa, vanilla wafers, BBQ chips, and dried apricots.  Yum!  But to be honest, even if all they had given me was the time of day, I would have still written glowingly and excitedly about their store opening.  So excited that I'm going back tomorrow with my friend who has never shopped there!!