Monday, May 16, 2011

Playing catch-up

Time to catch up on a few things that have been bumping around in my head recently.

1.  Did I mention that I'm using all edible plants to landscape my front yard this year?  You can see details of what I've got over on the Sustainable Summer blog (here).  I'll probably be posting most of the garden pictures there this year, at least from the veggie and herbs up front.  Might sneak a few pictures from my back yard in over here, but if you're looking for garden porn, Sustainable Summer is the place to go.

2.  You know how you always hear people talk about people who live on the edge of poverty, and how one or two small problems can put them over the edge into bankruptcy or foreclosure or homelessness?  And since most of us are relatively comfortable in the savings department, you sort of shrug it off because really, who has luck that bad?  We live quite comfortably and within our means, with a nice cushion of savings "just in case."  But so far this year we've had a plumbing project that was supposed to cost like $300 turn into a multi-thousand-dollar one, replaced a sump pump and installed a new backup system (which was optional, but necessary eventually), had medical tests done that will be several thousand dollars after insurance pays its part, had to take both cars to get repaired when one of them backed into the other in our driveway (which would have been $2400 if we hadn't had insurance), and had to replace a tire on my car when someone hit a curb with it wrong.  It's not like we're going to go bankrupt or end up homeless, but now that we've had a couple of months of hemorrhaging money it's much easier to understand now how things can go south really fast for other people, especially in families without medical or car insurance.  Note to self: show more compassion when it comes to poverty.

3.  Notice how I'm not assigning blame for the car incidents?  This is very magnanimous of me.  Just sayin'.

4.  Progressive auto insurance totally rocks!  They're headquartered near Cleveland, so maybe we get the best service and everyone else gets the dregs, but the whole "concierge" idea is awesome.  Basically, you set up an appointment to take your car to the concierge center, where their appraisers figure out what the repair to your car should cost.  You can either take a check for that amount and get it fixed elsewhere, or leave the car with them and they will have one of their local affiliate shops fix it while giving you a (free) rental car from the Enterprise dealer right on the site.  They practically fall all over themselves trying to make you comfortable and get the appraisal finished quickly and painlessly.  When the accident happened we were in the process of looking into other insurance companies that might have lower rates, but after the service we received for our claim, we're not looking anymore.  The extra $100 or whatever it is isn't worth the hassle you get from most companies.

5.  After a five-month hiatus, the American Girl doll has come back into play.

First, Liza made her a nice, balanced meal:
Then she read her a story:
And then we had to take her with us in the car when we went to the school spring concert, and pretend to share some of Liza's dinner with her later in the evening, and tuck her into her own bed that night.  Buying birthday presents would have been much easier if she'd decided to do this a couple weeks ago.

1 comment:

frippery2 said...

Agreed on the poverty thing.

Don't forget to add the stress of poverty on top of the straight finances. Stress compounds the misery and interferes with abstract thinking and memory.