Saturday, December 27, 2014

I need to leave these selling platforms.

I have been selling online for a number of years and the one thing I am positive of is the face that people shop blindly.

You know you've done it.  Whenever I think of something I need to purchase I immediately think of checking Amazon and eBay first.  Those are the only two websites that I would consider first.  I do have this fear of purchasing from someones personal website because of fraud and theft. Id consider a 'brand', like a well know store.  Everywhere tells you it probably is fine but you know your gut tells you otherwise.  Are you with me?

The problem is when you purchase an item on either one of these platforms you never think of the person you actually purchase from.  Imagine it, you are walking around with your new (insert new item here) and someone says, "Hey where did you get that from?" and your response is? 'Amazon' or 'eBay' - you will never say I got it from 'So and So' in the Amazon Marketplace or 'This and That' store on eBay.  NEVER!

So how do you, as a seller, develop a brand?  Leave a mark on the 'inter web' and get customers to remember your name?

Ive been wondering for a very long time.  As I sit here writing this I want to leave the Amazon and eBay selling platforms. I am tired of the fees, and fighting for the buy box and Amazon selling the same products, photo requirements,  being nervous because someone will leave that negative feedback or file, or lie and claim, the worst is waiting and waiting for a sale!  I had the buy box just once in my selling life. I got over 25 orders within an hour, it was a good day.  But thats all it was, a single day for a few hours.

Again buyers purchase blindly on Amazon. They find the item they are wanting and jut purchase it from the person at the top.  Doesn't matter where they are located, if they have a good rating or if they are Amazon itself.  This is what they do. So unless your in the top box, chances are its going to take a long time to get a sale.

I have been researching for weeks and still can't figure out what to do. I found a 'free' listing website thru square marketplace and while it was easy to use, it's very limited. I really don't want to pay a monthly fee while I build my site. I know its not something that will be built in a matter of hours like they state, its going to take a few days, maybe even weeks.  I have a lot of stuff.

So I am back to square one.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Getting back to selling online.

I couldn't stay away for long, it was just a matter of time before I started to sell again online.

I logged back into eBay and Amazon and I listed one or two things.  The only way I was able to do it without a risk was to use the auction feature on eBay, there is no fee for this, but you have to sit back and wait for bids.  Ive listed the same item over and over during the past month without a bite.  It kinda sucks but I am not so sure I would have sold them if I had an eBay store anyway.  What really sucks is when you get just a single bid and sell an item that retails for $100 for a mere $10!  Ugh so frustrating!  I am not sure if the fees are any different if you have a store, but between eBay and PayPal I can pay up to 15% in fees alone. It just does not seem to make sense but something is better than nothing right?

With Amazon it was easy to, the listings already existed within my account but without a store I now have to pay 99 cents per item plus the fees they already charge when the item sells.  It only makes sense to purchase a store account when you sell more them 40 items within a month, otherwise why waste the money?  Because of the fee it makes no sense to sell anything less than $2 because then you are really not making any money since it all goes to fees.  Furthermore you dealing with other sellers that are offering FBA and have rank higher than you.  Its a struggle, I think I have sold one item a week lol.  I think the worst part is when Amazon locks you out of a category because you didn't fit the requirements.  Ugh, one year I had met all but one of the requirements and it totally killed my business. I had two cancelled orders and I shot down my sales numbers, TWO!  It was so wrong to just stop allowing me to sell in any category.  The orders were cancelled because they were personalized items and well I can't ship out an order without the personalization and well the buyer never told me what they wanted, after 25 days I cancelled the orders.  Selling personalized items on Amazon is not a good idea.

Ive thought of starting all over and just go ahead open a fresh new website, have my own brand.  Thats even more scary.  Why?  Why would you shop with an unknown seller? How much would have to spend to get you to my site, Marketing?  The monthly fee you have to consider, the credit card processing you have to apply for, maintaining inventory, it just another nightmare and well it feels way to hard to even consider.

But... I found a site that says I can list a store for FREE!  Yea I am skeptical too but I think I am going to give it a whirl and see what happens.

Wish me luck.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I am jealous.

Yes I am admitting it. To myself and to all the readers.  Of what?

Well you would need to go back and read my posts about my 'friends',  the ones that I taught everything I knew about selling online, the ones that came back into my life after leaving for two years and I showed them once again how to sell on another platform.

You see it was our idea to go into business together,  sell things and build an empire.  And we were kinda of on our way, I did all the online stuff and my friends did the buying.  We didn't agree in everything that she was picking to sell so I started getting my own things and selling them in my online store. When all that craziness went down between us I was by myself in the endeavor.  I didn't have my own funding so I relied on credit cards and well I wasn't that good at planning and budgeting. Hence my demise.

My friends left on their own and managed to build a business all on their own, with what I taught them, and surpass me in every way you can imagine.  When they came back into my life I taught her more stuff and once again they surpassed me.

I kept thinking what the hell did I do wrong?  How are they doing so much better than I?  Well its all irrelevant now since I closed but I still find myself looking at their online stores and I imagine how great they are doing, how they are working daily and processing orders.  Its not even about the money, its just the accomplishments I see with them and everything I taught. I see how I disappointed everyone with my failed attempts at operating a business, how I couldn't give up and pulled everyone down with me. Now I have nothing at all.  I want to start over but I just don't know how and I believe fear is taking over.

So I admit I am jealous of their success in their endeavor.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A you a picky eater?

I wanted to talk about something thats been on my mind lately.  Ive had a love/hate relationship with food.  You know you love certain foods hate others... well I have always been told I am picky and I never thought I was until recently.

There was a time I wouldn't eat anything NEW because I just knew I wouldn't like it.  Yea it was all in my head but it kept me from trying new things. Then someone showed me a video about how animals are treated and well that totally killed my ability to eat anything. I went semi vegetarian, it was the start of the end. I occasionally ate chicken but it was not often. The rest of my family hated it with a passion.  All I cooked was pasta, pasta and more pasta.  Id toss in veggies and call it a meal. I loved it, I was doing right by the environment and to my health right?  Ill cover that in another post.

Lets take fish - if I see its eyes no way I am touching it.  Ive never eaten fish, sushi is out of the question!  Everyone tells me I am depriving my self.  I won't cook fish since I can't bare to look at it let alone smell it.  On occasion I will eat shrimp but if it smells like fish I won't touch it.  If I have to peel or de-vain a shrimp, no way am I eating it, forget cooking it! I tried cooked salmon just a few days ago and I just didn't like it, doubtful I would give it another try.

Raw veggies? I can't eat raw onions or peppers, they must be cooked. Love grilled onions and peppers. I hate cutting garlic and onions cause the smell gets on your fingers.  Raw cauliflower and broccoli is OK if I have a dip lol.  Love to cook the heck out of my veggies cooked. I hate when you go somewhere and they offer you sautéed or grilled  veggies and you get them half cooked!  We used to belong to this CSA program which I loved but once they started handing me items I had never thought of eating I was giving away way more than I was keeping.

Fruit? Thought this is an easy one, lol.. I never touched grapes that weren't green! Wouldn't touch an apple that wasn't macintosh.  Watermelon with seeds? Nope. Bananas have to be the right color of yellow and not too soft.  Hated pineapple for a very long time. Avocado is my favorite fruit, I can eat it all day everyday.  But when they are brown or black inside I freak out but my husband has been sneaking it in my dishes.

Meat? I hate touching raw meat, any meat.  When I have to cook it, I open the package with a knife and use tongs or a fork so I don't have to use my hands to handle it.  I can't cook steak that well so I don't even bother.  I often wish I had a pair of gloves

Eggs?  Ugh I can't stand to look at sunny side up eggs lol, never ate them before, doubtful that I will.   When I try to make scramble they have to be beaten so all the white is gone.  I hate when I see the white in scrambled eggs.  But I like hard boiled eggs lol.

Since I am changing my diet because of other issues I am opening up to other things.  Its a work in progress but I am definitely a picky eater.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Driving down I5

Driving during the holidays is always gonna be crazy but this past Thanksgiving weekend was just horrible.

We drove from the Sacramento area down to the San Diego area. We left the Saturday before and it was smooth sailing almost all the way down. There are two major areas that you can stop in for food and fuel. There are of course gas stations along the way but pricier and food is very limited at other exits.

We passed thru the 'Grapevyne' without a problem. Whats the Grapevyne? Well on the way down I5 between Bakersfield and Los Angeles is this beautiful mountain range you have to drive thru.  Your ears will pop!  As you drive you climb and climb and on the other side you fly down the road!  Have good breaks! lol....  I think the locals call it that because on the base there is an exit called Grapevyne.  Once on the other side you hit the LA area and thats when the traffic started.  Whats worse was the rain that came and went throughout the day!
The Mountains

The clouds over the moutains.

According to the GPS our total trip was 517 miles and it should have taken just 7 hours. I used a regular GPS because last time we took the trip our phones lost signal during most of it. Our total trip took us 9 hours door to door because of Los Angeles traffic.  Its strange traffic, it wasn't like there was an accident or active construction or detours... it was just stop go traffic that didn't make sense.

So we spent Thanksgiving week in San Diego and decided to return on the Sunday after the holiday.  What a mistake that was!  We figured if we left before noon we will get home at a decent time, wrong!  LA was so horrible it took almost 5 hours to go barely 150 miles! Once we hit the Grapevyne traffic was moving again and we were excited, but delayed.  Until we get to the other side and once again there was traffic, stop and go and stop and go... the volume was ridiculous!

Traffic didn't start flowing smoothly until we were almost in the Merced area, by then it was so late we were dying... a total of 13 hours driving to get back home. We finally arrived home at midnight.  Next time I don't think we will leave so late next time wait until Monday lol.

Friday, November 28, 2014

San Diego

Visiting San Diego for the week reminds me of living in NYC as a kid. It is more city like compared to where we live in Northern California. 

The apartment my brother has is very nice and large. He has two balconies, two bed and two bath and nice living room and kitchen area.  He tells me he pays over 2K a month in just rent. Parking is just underneath the building and its gated, they have events daily, a nice large pool, gym and game room.  The location is ideal, there are two malls within walking distance of the complex. He could also take a trolly to the mall, which is a great idea to avoid driving and trying to find parking.  One mall is what my bother calls 'regular' and the other its 'high end' lol.  I guess its based on the types of stores located within the mall.  Both malls are 'outdoors' and nice.   He is in a perfect location for a bachelor.  There is also a strip mall across the street.

When I say its like being in the city its because there are tons of cars.  So either your dealing with people on bikes, walking or the sheer volume of cars.  While trying to sleep we kept the door opened up a crack, to keep the room cool.  All hours of the night all you heard were cars, trucks and motorcycles loud enough to wake a 3 mile radius!  Its very loud when you open the windows.

It is a very convenient location.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

What are you thankful for?

I sit here and think about this on Thanksgiving Day as everyone does but I realized that I am thankful every day.

Thankful for waking up every morning.
Thankful for having food in my house, clothes on my back and a place to sleep
Thankful for health
Thankful for my loved ones

This morning I was thankful for my DND feature on my phone lol.  When I looked at my phone this morning it said I had a text message arrive at 430AM! It was from family living on the East Coast so you do the math, they sent me a text at 730AM their time!  Who does that?  Yea may family still doesnt get the time difference.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Traveling to San Diego

While living in Northern California it feels that any 'popular place' in California is super close.  We are just outside of San Fransisco so there are quite a few places near by,  LA is just about 6 hours south from our location and San Diego is a bit south from there.  Most popular places in California is a short drive away.  Add in traffic time and the travel time is still not to shabby.

The drive down I5 is long and boring, to top it of phone signal is sketchy in many locations.  There are some beautiful landscapes along the way but the cow farm is not one of them. The stench lasts for miles!  And thats in both directions.  Once you get to the mountain, AKA THE GRAPEVINE the drive gets tricky as you are driving up hill for a bit, then just over the crest, and downhill.  If you driving a car that cant handle inclines try another lol.  Watch out for speeding on the downhill as I am sure cops are waiting for you to pick up speed and get caught at the bottom. 

On the other side of the mountain you eventually reach LA and the traffic starts.  Getting thru this city is always hectic and if it happens to be the 'witching hour' you in for some hell.  Once past Disneyland traffic seams to open up and moving again.

From start to end it took a total of 9 hours door to door.

Disclaimer: All my post are about my experience and is not advice in any situation.

Item not described follow up

I recently wrote about an issue I had with an item that was purchased.  It was returned and received by the buyer this past Saturday.  USPS showed it was delivered very early Saturday morning one it was marked 'delivered' we got an email indicating that is received from the buyer and we should get a refund from the seller within 6 days. 

Since the Thanksgiving holiday was this same week I wasn't sure we would get a refund quickly.  Monday after noon we got notification that a refund was processed.  We had used PayPal to pay but the refund actually hit my personal account since it was partial paid from there.  The credit was refunded exactly in the same manor as it was paid. We did get a FULL REFUND, we also did not pay for the return shipping costs.

I haven't left Feedback for the seller yet as the seller was rude, but the return process went OK.

Friday, November 21, 2014

What do you do when you get an 'item not as described' on eBay

This was my first time. As a seller I know it can happen, I send the wrong item to the wrong person and well when it was brought to my attention I would fix it. No big deal right?

Well the spouse found these golf clubs on eBay thought they were a fantastic deal, tells me the ID number and I purchased them.  Sent the money quickly and it was a done deal.  He did a search by the UPC code of the item, which is how he found it.  Since he searched by the UPC the description and title was based on that particular UPC code.  How could it be wrong?  Guess the price was too good to be true.

Well the item finally arrived and he was excited like anyone would be when they get an item.  Within seconds of opening the box he tells me the item listed is not what he got.  Of course I was upset and shocked. So here it goes: This listing says they are TaylorMade Golf Clubs RocketBladez set of 8 clubs - What he got were TaylorMade Golf Clubs RocketBallz set of 8 clubs. Did you read that right?  They are in fact two very different items.  Yes they are both clubs and they are both from the same manufacture but what the listing says is not what was received.  This killed any faith he had in eBay.

So I first contacted the seller mentioning this little issue. I believe they were a fairly new seller with a feedback score under 50.  I thought about it not being a big issue but it was advertised as a particular item, its like getting a blue one when you wanted black. They are close but its not what you wanted. The price was decent for either item but this buyer was a jerk from the start.

First he accused me of making this deal with them before purchase, then he tells me to get off my high horse and tries to blame eBay for modifying the listing after the fact! OK sellers, if you list an item as black and sell it as black and send the buyer a blue one, you will get in trouble!  I don't want to think you should just open a case when things happen, sometimes its just an honest mistake.  



I emailed the seller twice, the first time letting know about the error and the second time was to let him know he's got me confused with someone else. He agreed he made an error but still blames eBay. I don't know what I was expecting but had it been me as a seller I would have offered a discount if they wanted to keep them or provide a return label.  Well this guy offered nothing, I had to put in a request thru eBay to authorize a return. I printed the label yesterday, expecting to have to pay return shipping but I didn't have to. Guess when an item is 'not as described' the seller is responsible for return shipping.  This is the package was shipped to me as 'parcel post' and the return label was 'Priority Mail' thru the USPS.  Im positive the return rate is double the parcel rate since this was an 'odd' sized package.   

EBay emailed me with tracking info, letting me know where the package is and according to their emails I should get a refund in 6 days! Thats pretty quick. This was a very high dollar item so I am hoping this goes thru without a hitch and Ill get a full refund. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Week

We plan to visit my brother in San Diego for Thanksgiving week.  Its a few hour drive and  its a beautiful area.

Ive been there once before, ok maybe twice but the second time was just for two days so I can't really count those. The first time was about a week, we flew thanksgiving day, stayed until the following week and flew back.  We also got to visit Disneyland, doubtful we will be going there this time around.

If we did head to the LA area I would love to visit Universal Studios backlot.

I can't wait to get away and spend the holiday with my brother.  Its going to be fun.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kinda quit my online business

I had to shut down my online businesses.

I was upset of course but in doing it there were things that made sense.  Honestly I was not making enough online, not that I was making enough in the physical store I had in NY. It was poor planning on my part that got me into trouble. Basically I was barely making enough to pay my bills off each month, which meant no profit.  Yea they say the first few years the owner hardly makes a profit but this was a bit extreme.

What had happened took a few years to develop.  When I started out I had used personal credit cards to purchase things, unfortunately companies will only work with credit cards so what choice did I have. What I should have had was starting capital. Start with a few hundred to purchase things and with the sales from that then you buy more. I used credit,  I started out with one card, Id make a purchase and then pay off the credit card bill over a few months. Of course the time it took to pay these items off depended on sales.  Sales in the beginning were dismal.  Then I got my hands on another credit card.

More and more purchases were being made, not the best decisions.  I had too many items that just did not sell and I took a huge hit in selling them.  While I had an eBay store I had to pay for each listing each month so it costs money just sitting there for months with no sale in sight.  Don't forget monthly store fees.  When I started selling on Amazon they had more tricky requirements, I really couldn't sell the same type of things so here came the third credit card to purchase yet MORE products. Now Amazon feels more cut throat, if you don't have the buy box chances are you didn't have a sale.  Unless you created your own listings with no one else selling that particular item, again low chance of having a sale.  Amazon is huge but when you have multiple people in the same listing selling the same thing, chances of the buyer selecting you are quite slim.  When I did have the buy box my item would always sell out, it was amazing.

It took some time but finally I had consistent sales! Yay!  But I also had a ton of bills to pay. So there went my profit.  Eventually I got an 'office space' so now I also had rent, internet and phone bills to pay.  Thinking about it now I should have waited before moving out of my house, made sure my sales was enough to sustain an office. No,  I was too impatient.

Eventually I moved twice more into larger and larger spaces to accommodate my growing inventory. By the time I got to the last place my rent and expenses were well over a thousand bucks a month.  I was able to get a loan and paid off my credit cards, but now I had a loan payment to contend with.  I had a moment of breathing room, or so I thought.  I got into a pinch, I had NO sales in my new store front.  So I went back and concentrated on my online sales.  Online sales were amazing but once again I started using the credit cards to buy stuff!  What was wrong with me?  There was only ONE month in the year and a half I was there that was close to 1K in sales.  Yea imagine that, I couldn't pay rent for how many months? I had to wait for Amazon deposits and eBay sales to clear to make payments. It was a nightmare.  I should have closed up shop and returned home.

I used one of the places that give you an advance based on sales! Oh what a mistake that was.  I was able to borrow at lot cause my sales were amazing but remember I had tons of bills to pay.  It was a disaster, they would continue to take money out of my paypal account and eventually started taking money directly out of my checking account.  It was killing me! But my stubbornness kept me going, I kept a brave face and never told anyone about my issues. Not even my husband, big mistake!

It all caught up with me. Over the past few years I continued to borrow money for credit cards, loans and even one of those places that advance you money based on sales.  I was in debt up to my eye balls with no end in sight.  When we moved across the country I lost half my inventory and just didn't have the sales to keep up payments. I tried my best to be strong and pull thru it but eventually I had to face the music.  It was eating me up inside and well it was a problem I had to take care of.  My husband noticed I had to keep buying things to make sales, it didn't make any sense.  We had that heart to heart we should have a while ago.

I shut down, everything... never renewed my permits, licensees or online stores.  I took a hit on my store, eBay charged me an early closure fee about $50. On Amazon I was just able to close it. Ive tried to sell off my inventory with no luck.  My business debt was somewhere close to 70K.  It was stupid and crazy.  Im slowing selling online again but its harder, unless I open a 'store' on eBay I can only do free auctions or pay a fee for the other type of sale. Ive got sales on Amazon again but the fees are extreme, I have to pay 99 cents per item sold.  Unless it becomes worth it to open a 'store' again I have to pay that fee per item.  Its expensive to have online stores. I thought about selling on my own website, I mean I used to pay over $700 in fees alone between Amazon, eBay and Paypal, why not?  It just doesn't seem worth it to try. I think Id rather try and sell at a flea market.

I haven't purchased any new products in over six months, all the items I have still are 'old' and well Id be lucky if I get cost out of it. Im stuck with it.  I am an entrepreneur at heart and one day Ill open a store again but one thing for sure I would never use credit again.

Now I gotta get a real job.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

School out here in Vacaville California

Its been a year since my child started attending school in California. Rules seem to be a bit different than back in New York.  Last year when we were finding out information we were informed that we had to register our child at the local school on August 1st.  The school we were zoned for depended on our address.  When we finally got an address we called the district again, confirmed which school we were zoned for, and what we needed for registration.  

August 1st came and I was still living in New York with my child, so my husband had to go to the school and do all the registering.  They said he was lucky to get it, many people don't get to attend their zoned school when it fills up. And this particular school happens to be one of those.  This school apparently has one of the highest ratings in the district and they allow kids zoned for other schools to attend, so it fills up fast. I don't know the exact in and outs on how it works but apparently you can register your child for any school in any county. How crazy is that?

Well since she was registered for August 1st, she was expected to attend school beginning the first day of school.  The first day of school was Wednesday, August 14th, and well we were still living in New York.  Since we were driving from NY to CA we knew we wouldn't arrive in CA until at least the following Thursday, August 22nd.  We thought nothing of it, I mean the first week or so is basically review right?

Wrong!  We took our journey across the country and did arrive in California on that Thursday, so I figured we should have her attend school that Friday to feel it out and get into the swing on Monday. School started over two weeks sooner than in New York, that alone is something to adjust too.   It was a short time after that we started getting letters from the school and the police about truancy. No joke here, at first I was tossing them in the trash cause I thought it was a mistake. Turns our my child was labeled a truant because she missed 7 days of school, which was too many days in a short time. I had to speak with the school cause it was a crazy idea.

The people on the office were really nice to me about it. I find out that this is Standard Operating Procedure for absences and I couldn't do anything about it. I explained that we were living in NY at the time and she couldn't attend school, and mind you it was also told to them upon registration. The process is based on the number of days of school that have passed and the number of absences and some kind of calculation that figured the percentage was too high. It was going to be 'months' before she fell off the list of truancy.  They were able to indicate the absences were 'excused' the only thing it stopped was the letters from the police department.  I mean those letters were general, they weren't addressed to me personally, just another form letter that was mailed out. It may not have even been from the police, it could have been the district sending them out. 

She did end up missing another few days of school last year but we were able to 'excuse' them in advance cause we knew about them. No issues with those and the 'percentage' wasn't high enough to get those letters again.  

The school it self is decent.  My child is a straight A student and a peer tutor. Not that Im bragging! 

We did have a small attendance incident this year. One day I had gotten a call and an email telling me my child was not in school today. I freaked out!  I mean I know we dropped her off why would they tell me she was not in class. So on I go marched into the office the very next morning to complain and was even able to see the teacher that morning.  Everyone was apologizing to me for the error.   Its all computerized and with the click of the button you can easily marked the wrong child absent.  I was ready to throw down! Like she ate lunch how is that possible if she wasn't there! She did her homework that was graded by the teacher, again how can that be if she was absent!  It was an easy fix, easier than I thought it would be. 

My brother had told me that the schools in California are not that great but my child seems to be doing well. He's lived in Southern  California for a number of years.   So either its too easy or maybe he was wrong. 

The one thing that bothers me is that there are no school buses in this area. I mean I have seen them around but I believe its for special education students only.  Budget cuts are probably the reason for it. The school zones are pretty large, we reside just over a mile away from the school. I would not allow my child to walk that distance alone as some of the streets are very wide and well the crossing guards are only on the street where the school is or immediately across from it.  If we had school buses I could put her on it and not have to drive over there.  There are SO many cars on the front and back side of the school entrances, people that live in that neighborhood complain almost on a daily basis due to the traffic and congestion all these cars bring.  We've seen the principal directing traffic as well as the police.

Disclaimer: Do you own research, all my writing is just my experience and is not to replace any professional advice.   

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cant Sleep

So there I was the other night, exited that was a blogging again and of course I couldn't sleep.  Cant imaging why.... 

My mind was racing with all the stuff Im going to write about!  I jumped from thought to thought like running thru the rain.  Landing in different places and more thoughts pouring out of my head! 

It was a little crazy and as Im writing this now I should have gotten a note book and written some of them down.  For the life of me I can not remember them all. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

When your act of kindness fails

Yea this is a crazy post, Ive been a little shaken up over it.

At the market today there was a gentleman in one of those scooters behind us in line.  I turned around as asked if he needed any assistance.  And he replies:  "I have both my arms, its my leg I am missing!"  Shocked as I was I just laughed, it was an uncomfortable laugh but I did said 'OK'  and turned back around.

Why are people so rude? I didn't mean anything 'bad' by it, I was just trying to help.  Bad enough I have been walking with a cane for the past few months. Turns out I tore a ligament in my foot so I haven't walked straight in a while.

I never felt so bad before trying to assist anyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My irritation from this weekend

This past Sunday I went to the market, no big deal everyone does this. Parked, went in and  shopped, checked out and walked up to MY car and for a bit I thought it wasn't MY car.  It was the same make, the same model, the same color.. but something was wrong.  I noticed these silver frames around the license place and I knew it wasn't MY car. I don't have that on my car, never had anything around my license plates before.  So whats going on?

Looked at the plate again and well, no I do not know my plate number by heart, yet.  I walk to the door and it opens, so it is my car.  But wait, walk back to the rear and again see these ugly silver license place covers on my car. Where did they come from?

It rattled in my mind all Sunday until my husband woke up, he works nights so he sleeps during the day, he laughed when I told him what happened.  We guessed that when he took my car in for an oil change the Friday before the dealer must have put them on the car. I haven't driven since then so hadn't noticed.

I was irritated! Like why would they do that? Who gave them permission to do that?  Its like defacing my car? I never purchased the car there, I only took it there for an oil change.  We go to the dealer cause we have this prepaid oil change package at Toyota so we go to a dealer for service. Any dealer that takes the plan, I didn't call the dealer about what had happened cause whats the point, I just won't return there anymore.

Monday morning I walked to my car, screwdriver in hand and removed them from my car.  Into the trash they go!  It was victorious for me.  I told my husband when he woke up and he asked why, saying they looked good.  So there I was irritated again....  these people did not sell me the car, they have no right to advertise on MY car, I don't go around wearing a "----------" (INSERT STORE NAME HERE) T-shirt because I purchased something from there.  I don't like purchasing those kind of shirts, tons of stores do that. You buy those shirts for $5 and advertise for them. You think 'hey I got a deal a shirt for a low price' but in the end you become A walking billboard for that company.  They don't pay you to do that.  You can say we have shopping bags indicating we shopped there but that bag is there for a matter of minutes from the time you go to the cash register, to your car and then to your house. How long does anyone really sees those bags? A license plate cover is on your car everywhere you go!  Maybe you want to show everyone where you purchased your car and thats your prerogative, but I refuse.

Having a retail business I know how expensive it can get to advertise but was I slapping stickers on people cars? Or leaving flyers on windshields? No,  I sold custom invitations and never placed advertising on the back of the cards, its just tacky!  

Besides with them being silver and reflective, worry wart that I am imagined someone behind me getting hit with the sun flashing in the frame and crashing into me or someone else driving.  Not only that, if the frames cover the sticker on your plate you could potentially get a ticket, now who wants that?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The hiatus is over!

Its been over 6 months and I haven't blogged anything. I got into this funk that people are not reading what I write, why would they care and why do I care enough to write anything.

Well I realized that this is sort of a form of therapy for me. If I was writing about my life or my business it kept me occupied, and at least I was writing something.  There were nights I would stay awake for hours with things on my mind, I would tell stories in my head and I was so scatter brained the story I ended with would be a totally different story than the one I started with! 

My husband started calling me bipolar, I am not a therapist and have no desire to see one nor can I diagnose anyone, I like to call myself an emotional wreckage.  I saw Frozen in the theater last year and I cried hysterically.  We just saw Big Hero 6 and once again I cried hysterically, I was extremely irritated yesterday morning and yet wonderful at days end,  I am a nervous wreck when no ones home and elated when everyone is home. Some days I can't sleep and others I can't get up!  My husband notices that my moods change so frequently and says its eerie and I got issues.  But whatever, it is what it is....

Im going to keep writing to keep my sanity and maybe I won't have these crazy ideas and thoughts keeping me up at night.  For once Id like to fall asleep as quickly as he does and stay asleep all night, get up refreshed. 

I have tons to share and talk about, having lived in California for a year now I have got the lay of the land!  So much I want to say, like do I miss New York?  Na! The only thing I miss is the ability to drive an hour and visit my family.  Yea sounds like a huge thing but I wouldn't go back there to live. Im going to be a tourist when I visit New York. Go see the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, the new World Trade Centers and the monument.  You know living there for 'ever' I have never visited these places. Its pretty sad to say. Besides I hear its really cold out there these days, I am happy here in the 70's during the day and 50's at night. It may get colder in the upcoming months but one things I am sure of is that there won't be any snow! 

Get out from behind the camera

A few weeks ago I was looking for a picture and I couldn't find it. I was totally devastated and it took a few days for me to realize that all my computers for the past few years were backed up on to my back up hard drive.

Ive never accessed the drive before and well for my first time I managed to located ALL my pictures since 2003. We weren't really digital until then.  I was able to get the computer to access the images to my current computer.  What I actually ended up doing was downloading them and now have over 30K image on my computer.

I did find that one image but only today did I scroll thru them, slowly. Unfortunately many are duplicated and there is some facial recognition thing there were the original images are kinda split up between faces, thing is some of these faces were in the background,  strange I tell ya! Then there are pictures of the videos, just the start of the video - it became an image.

I re-experienced, my wedding, the birth of my youngest child, the graduations of the older kids, all our vacations: numerous trips to Disney, Hawaii, Vegas...

Our first videos had no sound recorded, trying to imagine what was being said by the action in the video lol.  Oh and the number of videos I have when we did finally get a camera that recorded sound!  I don't remember all these events, maybe cause I was always the one behind the camera.

I can't believe how many places we have gone over the years! I have been lucky I have to say, many people haven't been to half the places I have.  There were so many trips my hubby and I were upset with each other but still managed to let the kids have a good time. Cant tell if they noticed but I remember.

If you've never been to a place before then yea it mades sense that you'd want to take a ton of pictures.  Personally I have noticed that Ive started to take less and less pictures. It used to be about a hundred pics per event, these days maybe I take a dozen.

Remember to enjoy the moment with your family and get out from behind that camera.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Shopping in California

Its taken us a while to locate a supermarket we like to shop at.  We have shopped them all, the expensive ones, the 'cheap' ones, the dirty ones and the one that we like. While Im not going to mention the store names cause they aint paying me, Im just going to talk about things Ive noticed.

Being out here 6 months and shopping all over the place I figured Id mention this:

Stores: There are a TON of stores to choose from and depending on your style of shopping it will tell you which store may work better for you.  You got the national chain shopping stores, the local to the area stores, and the west coast chain store.

Brands:  Many brand names you are familiar with on the east coast dont exist here on the west coast and vice versa.

Same logo different name:  I thought this was funny, I recognize the logo but the name is different.  These brands actually have a little sentence on their product saying something like 'known as *** east of the rockies' so you know its the same product just different name. I dont get why but many companies do this.

Found items:  Items I was searching for 'FOREVER' in New York exist out here in California!  I had been searching for this cereal which happen to be sold out here in California, again I dont get it.

CRV: No not the car, CRV stands for California Redemption Value. Beverages you purchase they will charge you a CRV - its similar to bottle deposit in NY - it varies based on the ounces of the continuers either 5 or 10 cents per bottle. So your beverage cans, bottles and plastic drinks will be charged an additional 5 or 10 cents upon purchase.  You then have to locate a recycling center to return them to get your money back. Thing is your refunded by weight, do you get your money back? Dunno exactly a glass may be heavier then a plastic container but if you paid 5 cents for each you may get 10 cents back, you may get more or less. Its hard to calculate.

Recycling: Not sure if some places require it but where we live they dont but we opt to do it. Thing is it involved taking everything to the center, what a pain in the butt!  No you dont get paid for the 'other' items you recycle.

Prices:  Well this is a tough one as I do not remember prices of things in NY, we are not spending any more then we were while living in NY so I guess they are pretty much the same as they were in NY.

Disclaimer: My messages are not meant to replace any professional advice its just my experience with various events. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Driving in Northern California

Well Ive been here for about 6 months now and Im going to talk about drivers out here.

While living in New York every time we encountered a horrible driver we would say 'They must be from Jersey' lol - No offense but thats just what everyone would say.  Like  when we were bowling if you hit the pins on the opposite side we would call it 'Jersey'. Any who, I learned how to drive at a driving school some 20 years ago in New York City, or the Chelsea area of Manhattan. If you have ever driven in NYC you know what I have been through learning how to drive around taxi cabs and all.  Im starting to wonder if drivers here are from Jersey.

Driving around here in Northern California Ive seen so many things that would warrant a HUGE ticket if they did that in NYC. Maybe they are just not getting caught but I cant believe the rules are any different - aren't those things universal?

1. No one signals! You know that little clicky think on the left side of the steering wheel you push up or down to let others know what your doing!  No one uses it around here and it makes me nuts! OK I know if can happen in NY too but its outrageous here.  And sitting in the turning lane doesn't exempt one from using one.  Use the freaking signal!

2. Wrong Lane! People turn into the wrong lane! What do I mean?  Your sitting in the right lane waiting to make, well a right turn, what lane do you go into when you actually complete the turn?  The right lane right?  No, people out here will make a turn into any lane they want and thats dangerous.  Especially since right turns are allowed on red lights, with so many turning lanes and the ability to make U-turns at many intersections it leaves to many chances of causing an accident.  Ever been at an intersection with two turning lanes?  Yes many drivers will cross over into the other lanes while traffic is moving during the turn! Talk about scary and dangerous, stay in your lane people! It makes me bonkers, they must hate me when I make the turn into the correct lane and then switch into the other lane like your supposed to. Thing is if I dont move fast enough other drivers will go into the lane to be sure to pass me by!  The DH just had this happen today!  Two lanes making a left and the person along side him decides to merge into his lane!

3. Tailgating! OMG its all over the place I swear they are in my trunk when I look in the mirror.  Someone is bound to rear end another!

4. People with trucks (F150, Tundra, etc.) are very aggressive, especially towards Prius drivers!  If you haven't figured it out I drive a Prius and every time there is a truck near by they rev the engine and do what they can to get in front of me.  Im not a slow driver but I follow the rules and obey speed limit laws.

5. Yellow is basically the signal to speed up and get thru the intersection as fast as possible.

6. Red lights! OMG - I have never in my life seen so many people going thru red lights! There are postings at various intersections that say minimum red light ticket is $400! I wouldn't even chance it as many locations take pictures of violators.

7. Speed Demons - Get on the highway and there speed demons everywhere! Just a few days ago I was driving on I80 heading to San Francisco. This Corvette flew by me like I was standing still. Of course I said 'jerk, I hope you get pulled over.' About 7 minutes later I saw that same car pulled over by 2 CHP! Justice finally....

I recently took a job which involved driving and so I had to take a driving class and go thru driving training, most of these things I have spoken of are against the law.  If I didn't drive that vehicle correctly I wouldn't get the job. The one thing they actually told me was if they light turned yellow just go thru it as everyone in California does it and it wouldn't count against me. Furthermore you don't want someone to rear end you.

Living in a new place can cause you to change your ways and pick up bad habits, keep yourself sane and safe by not doing that.

Drive Safe people.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Finding a place to live in California

Since we dont know anyone we had no idea where to start with anything. We knew what general area we were going to live in but without any knowledge we had to guess. We were sure we didnt want to buy a house, we were going to rent to start off and figure out what area we really want to live in.

The area we are in is called Northern California and I have also heard the East Bay area. We are between Sacramento, Napa and San Francisco. There are tons of towns in the area.  We knew where the job was going to be so it was a matter of finding a place not to far away. Friends from work gave suggestions of course but we ended up staying in the Vacaville area. It reminds me of a mixture of 'city' and 'rural' area.  Sort of in between the two.

Now in New York we grew up in the city so there were dozens of buildings were hundreds of people lived, corner bodegas, pizzerias, chinese places galore. Public transportation was a skip away! Many places were open 24 hours, you know NYC.  Well most recently we lived about an hour and a half north west of the city.  A tiny town called Florida, New York.  What I mean by tiny was that there are two traffic lights and side walks were only found just a bit past the traffic lights.  We lived just outside the village and there were no sidewalks, no public transportation, no corner bodegas and everything basically closed by 9pm, even the gas station was closed by 10pm.  We had to drive 7 miles to the nearest supermarket, or well over 12 miles to get to major stores.

When I came out to visit we drove around to the little towns around and we liked Vacaville the best.  There are sidewalks, there is public transportation, and a ton of shops.  Walking around was a plus.

We weighed in on renting a house or renting in an apartment complex. Here is my list of pros and cons for both:

Renting a house meant:  You get a house to live in, no one living under you or above you, majority of the houses out here have fenced in yards, somewhat private, rural, maybe safer. However dealing with a home owner may not be the best, many of them list with a real estate company which mean additional fees, they require a deposit equal to the rent, they ask for an additional deposit if you have pets, some of them want two months deposit, the houses are what we like to call on top of each other, there is very little property between the homes, renting a house means the renter is responsible for mowing the lawn, watering the lawn, basically maintaining the home your renting.  Homeowner can sell the house at anytime leaving you potentially homeless.

Renting an apartment:  Your in a community, almost all the complexes we viewed had a pool, gym, play area, community room, none of the complexes are higher then 3 stories, then again none of them had elevators either, many are more centralized and therefore closer to shops and more, the deposits are a lot less, they do ask for an additional deposit for pets. The issues: You have people either on top of you, beneath you or both, if your on the first floor you will have more people 'looking in' so a lot less privacy - some people put up these bamboo looking fence, if your building allows smoking and your neighbor under you choose to smoke especially on the balcony the smoke will travel up, if you have pets they all have some type of pet restrictions - on weight, the quantity, the breed, and more. They also all ask for PET RENT! This is extra money you have to pay a month in addition to your rent! Some of them charge it per pet!  If you want a designated parking spot you have to pay more for a carport spot or garage space. The lease was close to 40 pages long, READ IT! They have rules on satellite TV and some ask for an additional deposit for that. The 'rules' are just crazy - the lease says you cant use those sticky hook things that dont make holes on the walls, they have a specific way you are allowed to hang something in the walls and more. We have nothing on the walls they are bare but we have passed others with things in their walls, guess they dont care lol.  This complex had individual water meters per apartment, many of them are grouped by building and then averaged out. So if your in a building with people that dont care about water you could end of paying a lot more then your actually using which I thought sucked.

When we finally found a place that we thought was a good fit we applied. Now we had to pay $40 per person apply, if our kids were over 18 we would have to pay for them too!  We then went out to the movies while our papers were being processed. Imagine our horror when we got a call telling us we were denied. Shocked we had to investigate and since it was the weekend we couldnt do anything about it till Monday. We were so pissed. This company called On-site does the processing, apparently its popular on the west coast to use this company. We finally found out why we were denied. They informed us that this company that did a check on us says we have a judgement for non payment of rent in 2006. Actually I had it under my name!  We said its impossible since we have owned a home since 2002 and recently had our credit reports printed because of some other things we knew there was nothing there.  I finally was able to get the actual report and it showed two peoples name that was not mine nor my husbands name. The strange thing was one of the persons names for the judgement had my middle name as a first name and my maiden name as a last name. So again even more pissed I finally called the company Monday morning to complain, the person I spoke too actually laughed and said yes I can see this person is not you and was going to delete it and resubmit it.  We were waiting again another day before they gave us to go ahead.

Applying to another place would have given us the same issue as they ALL use the same company.  We would have lost another $80 applying again.  The other thing we didnt like was how the other complexes were operating.

When we asked about the rent we were told they run on supply and demand.  Confused we asked what they were talking about. Turns out during the summer is peak mainly because of school zones (people moving to get their kids into a certain school - being zoned is better apparently - more on school later) , they have a lot of demand and low supply which meant the prices of the rent will rise. From the first day the DH looked at the apartment and a few days later when we went together about renting the price went up by almost $100.  This is apparently normal.  If its winter there may be more apartments and not enough demand so rent will be lower. It just didnt make sense to me and I thought that was horrible. The apartment complex we ended up with had a flat rate for the apartments and that was it, I liked that!

We've lived in this place for about 6 months and we like it so far. The office is great with collecting packages if your not home, the maintenance guys arrive pretty quickly, its fairly quiet, we can walk to restaurants, shops and more, theres a pool and BBQ area! What I dont like is people do not pick up after their pets and we have stepped in poop a few times, when it rains the dirt smells! Now it only rained once but it was horrible smelling.  There are stray cats everywhere! People seem to move in and out A LOT. Now there are military families in the area so that could be the reason. No one seems to chat with anyone else, it is kind of discouraging.

Since moving out here we have found out so many things I have decided that Im going to blog about it.  It sucks to have to find things out when its too late or because you had no idea!