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.