Category Archives: I own a Home

Insurance Policies

It’s that time again, where Mercury decides to hike rates when policies come up for renewal.  So, here I am shopping again.  I did this three years ago and was dismally disappointed to stay with Mercury because, even though they’d gone higher, everyone else was higher still.

Last week I started shopping for insurance. I had predetermined that if AAA could beat Mercury’s price that I would go with them, so I submitted a quote request on their website.  I would have thought that would kind of make me a “dream lead.”

Within 2 minutes, I had a call from an agent out of an office 25 minutes north of me. I called him back a couple hours later, provided him with the coverages that I had with Mercury and asked him for an apples-to-apples quote as a starting point, and told him that after I had that, I wanted to go through my limits and tweak things.

He did not give me an apples-to-apples quote, he gave me what he thought I should have as coverage, or maybe what he thought would make the most of an impact. So, when he called me back, I again told him what I wanted and made him play with the amounts until I had something close. But he STILL didn’t give me an apples-to-apples comparison.

So I emailed him the Excel spreadsheet I was using to break things down for myself. He expressed shock that I had created such a monster, but I hoped that he would see that I was serious when I told him what I wanted.

Then after going back and forth a few more times, this week he called me and I still had questions that weren’t being set to rest, and he started in on me with a close. I busted him on it. I said, “Look at you, trying to close me!” He said, “No, no, I’m not trying to close you, we’re not commission, I have no reason to close you. But, come on, either you’re going to do this or not” Surprised, because I’d already told him what I wanted, I said, “Here’s the deal, I’ve already decided I’m going with AAA, but I still have unresolved questions on the quotes you’re giving me.” He said, “How about I send you over the contract and you give me your credit card and I’ll collect payment.”

He emailed me the contract and, somehow, the cost of the home premium didn’t match up with any of the quotes he had given me. Also, he had William’s name wrong on it, he had both of the adults listed as “homemakers” and a couple other minor details were wrong. Nothing that would impact the numbers, but insurance policies aren’t “just” about numbers.  So, I called him and told him to revise it and requested he explain the discrepancy in the amount. He said,”Oh, those details don’t matter… and, remember? We changed the content overage amount, that’s why the premium is different.” I did not remember that, because I had told him to take the contents coverage down, so how on earth could the premium go up?

So, today I took my binder with all my research, my Mercury policies, the 5 different quotes that the agent had sent me (because apparently my request for apples-to-apples was too complicated for him), and walked into the AAA office that’s 1.5 miles away from my office and sat down with a broker there. We went through it all, line by line. He resolved my questions, found why the premium was higher on the home policy vs. the quotes (the other agent had erroneously increased a percentage in a drill down screen to 25%, when it should have been 10%), as Detailed Agent was going through it all, he corrected William’s name, and then nonchalantly changed it to all capital letters to match the other lettering… and, that right there? I slammed my fist down on his desk and said, “SOLD!”  Because that kind of attention to detail is the kind of guy I want handling my business.  He laughed at me and told me it would have bugged him if he hadn’t.  And when he said that, I figured that maybe we could even be friends!! ha

Even though I initially was there to only get clarification, after Detailed Agent found the discrepancy, he told me, “We’re commission based, so I can’t take this over, you would need to go back to Top Agent guy.” I said, “Well, now that you’ve found that discrepancy, plus all the other things, I want to switch to you.” I guess this isn’t normally something that happens, because Detailed Agent had to get clearance from his supervisor to proceed with it, and he could only proceed because I hadn’t actually signed anything.

Morals of the story:
Pay attention to details — this is important for both parties.
If you can’t close a deal, figure out what’s unresolved and address it.
Don’t be lazy when completing paperwork. Take the time to do it right. The boxes may not matter in the whole scheme of things, but it matters to me when reviewing it.
If someone asks for something specific, either deliver it or explain why you can’t — and don’t theorize or make something up.
In no case is it OK to presume that you know what’s better for me.

As a client, I’m looking at the details. If I find something wrong, I’m going to wonder what else might be wrong that I can’t see.  And I will investigate it until I find it.  Something tells me that Top Agent Guy is going to be pissed about this.

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Filed under I ♥ My Miata, I feel Irritated, I own a Home

Be my neighbor?

In our community, parking is an issue. There are never enough parking spots to accommodate everyone. Everyone is supposed to park at least one car in their garage, but not all do, which results in an even greater shortage of parking spots. It has become such a problem that the Board is proposing a paid parking solution — 1st permit would be $30, 2nd one $150, and a 3rd would be $300. We have one neighbor who has 3 cars and not a one of them gets parked in his garage, so needless to say, most everyone feels he’s not very neighborly.

So last night, I got William in bed for the night, it’s been hot here, so I left his window open. Lately he’s had trouble transitioning from the first light sleep cycle into the next deeper sleep cycle, so he wakes 40 minutes after he goes to sleep, crying his head off. Tony will go in and pat his butt and rub his back, and William will go back to sleep. It takes about 10 minutes, but Tony likes to wait longer to make sure he’s really out.

And THEN last night… dun dun dunnnn… I heard a super loud car stereo. It was so loud I figured it must be in the cul-de-sac behind our townhome, because I was at my desk at the rear of our home and I could hear it clear as day with the windows shut. I think nothing more of it until I go upstairs to tell Tony that William is asleep, which I could see on the video monitor better than he could in a darkened bedroom.

I looked out the front window and saw that one of That Neighbor’s cars was parked RIGHT UNDER William’s window, in the red zone, with its door open, radio going full blast. I was stunned to realize that the stereo I heard wasn’t in the rear of house at all, it was in the front! Instead of driving two houses down to his own place, he parked illegally in front of ours! Idiot. He was out of his car digging in the trunk of one of his other cars, which was (of course) parked in guest parking in front of our home.

I went from calm to white hot livid, and I marched out there, in my pajamas and told him to move his car RIGHT NOW, that my baby is asleep in the room right above his car. He said he would, but then kept digging in his trunk. I stood there and glared at him, hands on hips, determined that I wasn’t going to move until he moved his car. His loud, radio blaring, obnoxious car.

He got the point and quit diddling around, went and turned his radio off and moved his car down to the next neighbor’s garage, still parked in the red zone, but at least not under William’s room.

Sometimes it would be easier, I think, to live in the country and just park on the lawn.

Fortunately, William didn’t wake up again, but, man! Weirdly, Tony said he couldn’t hear the stereo (not even the bass that sounded like an earthquake) over all the white noise in William’s room, which is just weird to me. But, whatever. I made my point. In my jammies.

Harumph.

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Filed under Entertainment can be Cheap, I own a Home, Our Kid is Cute

Slept In.

What with traffic and appointments before work every day since last Sunday, yesterday for the first time in a week, I slept in past 5:30 am. I felt decadent when my alarm clock went off at 7:05 am, I yawned and stretched and just enjoyed the perfection of the moment. And then the brain engaged. Dratted brain.

When I checked my e-mail, there was one from Tony wishing me a good morning, a routine I love and appreciate from him. Except he also mentioned that the sprinklers between our house and our neighbor’s house had been on all night and was flooding the area between our homes, running off to the main street. Just a minor emergency of which I notified our homeowner’s association, since they have the key to the sprinkler box — and, you know, I tried to be non-threatening about the whole thing. ha. Non-threatening. ha.

Thank you for your prayers yesterday. The procedure went well, but there’s a second part that will occur and I am still requesting your prayers for success.

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Filed under Best Husband, I own a Home

Love & Loathe – Week of 02/20

Loathe:

* Taxes. I’m bemoaning and missing the “once upon a time” when our taxes were so easy that I could do them myself in an afternoon and get a hefty refund for the effort. Hopefully, likely not next year, but the year after, our taxes will be that way again. Accountants are wonderful, and well worth it when taxes are complicated, but the pocketbook and my attitude pay the price.

* When a 4 month old waterproof watch decides it’s not going to be waterproof anymore. I was lap swimming the other night (what else is new), checked my watch to see when I could change to a different stroke and saw a bubble of water inside the plastic. Water in electronic devices=never good.

Love:

* Popcorn and milk. A friend of mine says she likes popcorn and a can of soda, has to be soda for her. I get that, but for me that’s just OK. Or popcorn and hot cocoa… that’s OK, too. But when it gets right down to it, and I’m serious about it, it’s popcorn and a glass of really cold milk that does it for me.

* Having a cat on my lap. Or two. The more the merrier!

* Only two weeks until I get to see my mom. Hooray for mom visits!

* My bosses are back in the office tomorrow (for a day or two). Yay! I’ll be super busy, but so happy to see them.

* My SportCount. As a result of my waterproof watch dying, I recalled that I had one of these SportCount things. I had one of the original models back in 2007, but after a couple months it developed a defective button. Their customer service guy mailed me a new model, but the new model didn’t have a “pause” button on it. At that time, I wasn’t able to lap swim without stopping to catch my breath. Now, I can swim nonstop for hours on end (seriously), and so the new model is perfect for me. So happy!

* Competent vendors. We have our new back yard fence installed now and I just think it’s the most wonderful thing. Also, these vendors actually did the work without damaging anything back there or, you know, injuring themselves. Remarkable.

One Last Thing:

My mom likes to tell stories about when I was a little girl, one of the foremost traits I exhibited was an uncanny knack for planning ahead. I would make my own lunches the night before. I would pick my clothes out for the next day the night before. I still do those things, in case you were wondering, I’m just that kind of person, I guess.

But the specific story my mom likes to tell as an example of this, is how one night, mid-winter in Oklahoma, I wanted a piece of toast, so I went and opened the door and headed to get the bread. “Why’d you open the door? It’s cold out there.” She said to me. I, in my 5 year old wisdom replied, “I’m going to make some toast.” As it happened, our toaster would always burn the toast, no matter what setting you put it on, it burned the bread. Of course, after the toast was burnt, the door to the trailer would get opened to air the place out. She then realized I had linked the two, and by opening the door ahead of time, I was planning ahead for the inevitable.

Lately it seems that I’m going through a phase where, no matter what I’m doing or how careful I am, I always manage to slice my finger. In fact, one day last week, I cut myself one night and then the next day, I “paper cut” the same place with a file folder. As I wrapped a tissue around it, I thought, you know something? When I go to cut things, I should just put the band-aid on before I do it. Maybe spare myself a cut?

So tell me, how do these people do this without ending up with a bunch of cuts on their hands?

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Filed under I own a Home, Love/Loathe, Money Hump Building

Love & Loathe – Week of 02/13

Loathe:

* Several things, but nothing I’m at liberty to share. Look at me, being all vague and ambiguous.

* Creating picture heavy blog posts. They’re a lot of work! *mops brow* (I came back to the top of this post to add this point, by the way.)

Love:

*Jack jammies. Tony bought me these crazy jammies for Valentine’s Day, and I just love them. Plus, i got a huge laugh yesterday morning when our little bird saw them for the first time. She totally freaked out and flew across the room. This morning she did better, but was still giving them the long neck with feathers down, and keeping a wary eye on them.
So excited to get them, I tried them on for the first time under my work dress!

Yoda giving them the long neck, wary eye treatment this morning. Hilarious!

* Homemade chocolate chocolate chip cookies, with dried cherries in them. Quite delicious, if I say so myself. I’d made the chocolate chocolate chip recipe before, and knew it was a good one. The dried cherries were an inspirational addition. These cookies are so good, I could easily eat about 10 of them and not feel ashamed at all. If you gave me a weird look, I’d hand you one and go, “You try just eating one…” I suppose the addition of cherries allows me to call them “Black Forest Cookies,” doesn’t it?

* Yawning pictures of cats… and seeing my boys back together again. I can’t believe it took a month before Tug accepted Snug back as his buddy. Next time, buddy, you’re going to the vet, too, even if it means I have to pay a day’s boarding fee.

* Facing a three day weekend. I plan on doing absolutely nothing for at least one of those days. Like, maybe even not taking a shower! Gosh, that sounds appealing to me.

* Going to IgLots! We didn’t find any Igloos, in case you were wondering.

* Everyone in our community is getting a new vinyl fence in their back yard, courtesy of the HOA. This is something we have desperately needed (due to termite damage) for the entire 5 1/2 years I’ve lived here. While it’s a big deal, because I had to move all my plants (again) and my back yard is in total disarray and chaos (again), I’m so grateful for this. So grateful, in fact, that I’m giving the fence vendors some of those delicious cookies I baked.
The old fence. Notice how it zig zags?

* I solved the 360° Rubik’s puzzle. Have you seen these? It’s a bit of a double entendre trying to describe how it’s solved. I’m brave. I’ll forge ahead with it and tell you that it involves many balls, sliding parts that go in circles to line up the holes to get the balls in their holder, and then to keep them there you have to slide another part to lock them in. Also, it involves much patience.

One Last Thing:

I wheeled into the parking lot at work last week and saw two ladies who work on the 1st floor of our building wielding saran wrap like a weapon in the parking lot. They were giggling and jabbering at each other like a pair of teenagers at a sleepover.

I smiled at them as I walked past, hoping they wouldn’t touch my car with that stuff, and hurried up to my home on the 2nd floor of the building. I settled in and a bit later went and peered out the window and gasped in surprise at what I saw.

Whoa.

My co-worker and I went outside a bit later and took some pictures. Several of the people from the 1st floor company were outside, too, and we were told that “a practical joke had been played on a practical joker.”

Later, the saran wrap was in a big wad in front of the car, and by the end of the day it was overflowing the trash can. Gotta say, that was quite the practical joke!

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Filed under I own a Home, Love/Loathe

Love & Loathe – 01/06/11 (Late)

Loathe:

* I’m at an age now where I feel as if conversations with my elders should start with, “Now they’re still alive, right?” For example, I sent a Christmas card to former neighbors of mine, of whom I am quite fond. They’re getting on in years, I know, but the letter I received in response from Mr. K sharing that his wife had passed on mid-2010 just made me so very sad. Something tells me this age thing isn’t going to get any better.

* Got a letter in the mail today from a real, live attorney who represents my HOA. Apparently, they felt the conversation I had with their painting vendor last month, wherein I expressed how upset I was about them screwing up my plants and stomping our Christmas decorations, was threatening. They want money to pay for a different vendor to paint our house. There’s so much that’s wrong with this, I don’t even know where to start, except it wasn’t a good ending to my Saturday.

* Knee high nylons that fall down. While I dislike getting to work and tugging my knee highs up, it does make me think of my Grandmas and I love thinking about my Grandmas, but I’m not sure I’m ready to follow in their footsteps quite this early in my life.

Love:

* My latest snack of banana chips and vanilla yogurt. The banana chips add an interesting crunch to the yogurt. There’s a way to make yogurt out of raw milk and I’m thinking that I may need to investigate doing so given the “distress” I’ve been having as a result of my foray in the pasteurized dairy products.

* Cuties. Whoever came up with the marketing ploy of fun, cute little stickers on the outside of Clementine oranges? Genius. Pure genius. Everyone wants a sticker for positive reinforcement, right? Well, I do.

* Our vet who saved Slasher. I took my two boys (Tug and Snug) in last night and she was soooooo good with them. Even though Tug was yowling and hissing and wiggling all around. I’m not thrilled that I need to spend extra $$ on Snug, who has inflamed gums and a bit of infection. So, he gets a dental cleaning under anesthesia. Ugh. All in all, though, it might be a good thing, because everyone knows dental problems are the gateway to a lot of other health problems. Since bacteria on the teeth, among other things, compromises the immune system, it also increases vulnerability to catching upper respiratory infections. Let’s hope it helps him.

* Four day work weeks, just finished the third 4-day work week in a row.

One Last Thing:

Sometimes it seems as if we’re all carrying such heavy loads every day. I know for me, it has certainly felt that way. I go a couple of days feeling as if I’ve just gotten a handle on it, and then something else happens and I’m left with a tottering load. I’m looking up at this big pile of concerns teeter-tottering over my head and, above it all, I’m not seeing the One who can truly help me carry it.

I know a lot of people are struggling with their relationship with God these days. I confess: I am, too. I also confess that even when I’m not struggling with my relationship with God, it’s difficult for me to give my concerns to God because I want to be in control.

It’s so hard for me to accept, that more often than not, there’s not one single thing I can do to change the outcome of situations. So I do all this work and research, trying to figure out a way to change things, and time goes by and absolutely nothing changes, except that I wasted a bunch of time researching and thinking about stuff. I wonder why I bother, why I even try at all. Which then, why don’t I give it to God in the first place? Is He really my last resort?

Lately, I find myself wondering why I even bother praying. It seems as if His answer to my prayers these days is always a big, fat “NO.” Which makes me ask myself how it is that all I’m praying for, the desires of my heart, are so misaligned with His will for me and my life.

I find myself searching for hope and joy, thankful for the love that’s in my life, but overall feeling confused, conflicted, overwhelmed and just tired of it all lately… and I’ll probably regret hitting the “publish” button right now. But here I go, being brave and baring my heart.

Please be gentle.

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Filed under I own a Home, Life Encompasses Me, Love/Loathe, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me, We're all searching for something

Weekend Worry Warts.

I resolved my question about extended EDD benefits with a quick phone call to their 800 number today. I was greeted with a recording which informed me that they were receiving higher call volume than normal and that if my regular benefits are running out, they will automatically include an extension form request with my last check.

Yay! That was the easiest piece of work I had to do all week!

Next on my List of Worries is my mortgage. In July it converts to an ARM, which I was planning to refinance before then. But to refinance, you kind of need to have a job… and a house that is valued about the same as it was when you bought it. Strike one and strike two. Too bad my mortgage isn’t with Chase, because if it were, I would have had ample opportunity to discuss it with them in February when they were calling me 6 times a day hoping that the Trudeau’s would magically answer my phone. All that phone calling has tapered off, by the way. Thank goodness.

We won’t even talk about filing TAXES or the next property TAX assessment, both of which are rapidly coming due next month.

Instead, I’ll tell you I had my nose buried for a few hours yesterday in a book written by Kimberley Woodhouse, entitled Woodhouse Family Welcome Home! It was a much needed reminder to me that no matter what challenges, obstacles or fears I’m facing, to keep searching for my joy in the midst of it. That He has bigger shoulders than I’ll ever have, and that’s where my worries and fears (and praise and worship) really belong.

I reminded myself of that while I battled with my Sunday Night Insomnia last night.

If you’ve never heard about the Woodhouse Family, I encourage you to read their story. The book was an easy and quick read, and I really enjoyed it. If you want my book, I’m happy to pass it along. I won it in an online comment contest, so I’d be glad to continue its journey. We can do a drawing or something if more than one of you wants it.

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Filed under I own a Home, Money Hump Building, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me, Spirituality