Insurance!

Listening to: Alesso – Tear The Roof Up (I’m not sure why but despite knowing the title, I continued to believe the lyrics were “I’m going to tear the booth up”)

It’s time for a blog post! I’m sitting at home alone, eating some FREE food I got from the chinese supermarket right by my house. I get points to spend at the market deli based on how much I spend on groceries, but the points expire every half month. Which is the most ridiculous deadline I’ve ever heard of! But basically I put an event on my calendar “EAT DELI FOOD DEADLINE” to ensure I didn’t lose out on $12 of free deli food.

Anyway, life is good. Somewhat financially stressful. But I would like to think a few more salary increases from now, I’ll look back on this time and think “how silly! I have PLENTYYY of money now!”

The latest course in my adult life is something I think maybe people deal with but I can’t be too sure: INSURANCE. Here are my thoughts on it if you want the perspective of some young idiot too blessed with parents who paid most of her bills to realize how good she had it.

INSURANCE. THE LOWDOWN:

I won’t get into health insurance here, as I have yet to really deal with it and my general knowledge is that there’s a bunch of different plans that are just unnecessarily confusing and basically you can opt to pay your choice of a cheapish, more expensive, or super expensive amount each month in exchange for more or less security that you won’t be paying an ungodly amount should you come down with some horrible illness or get struck by a car or basically anything that doesn’t kill you outright.

What I’ve had to deal with recently was getting condo insurance, once I got my home. Around the same time, my mom decided she’d like to kick me off her auto insurance policy, so then I had to search around for that.

Getting home insurance is a fun little activity you have to get while you close on a home. No one really tells you about it beforehand, maybe because no one really thought you would ever be able to get a home. But yes, very shortly after you get an accepted offer, likely your mortgage person will be hitting you with a to do list, which includes finding home insurance.

If you’re like me, your reaction will be “WTF I ONLY HAVE A WEEK-ISH TO FIND AN INSURER?!?! HOW WILL I FIND OUT WHO IS THE BEST?! I NEED TO RESEARCH!!!!!!”

Calm down. You may not know what you are doing at all, but within two hours, you should have a pretty good idea. What you really need to plan for is at least four hours of your life dedicated to calling various insurers and answering a bunch of questions about yourself/your home.

Four hours sounds crazy but I think I averaged one hour per insurance provider per initial call. It’s good to know this in case you think it’ll be a quick ten minute call and then thirty minutes in, you’re fuming at the person on the phone for asking annoying questions like “how far is the closest fire hydrant? do you own a wood stove?” The best thing to do is to get a quote and then have the person on the phone go through it line by line with you. Here I found that admitting my complete lack of knowledge was beneficial.

For home insurance, here’s what you need to consider beforehand so that when the person asks you, you aren’t left going “ummmmmmmm…………………. *dead silence*” the way I might have on a few calls.
– how much is your personal property worth (ex. furniture, clothing, appliances, everything not connected to a house)
– how much is your building worth (this I admit I still have no clue so I just went with whatever my mortgage lender required as a minimum)
– how much are you going to want your deductible to be (ie. at what point are you really going to call your insurance provider and tell them to pony up for whatever has been destroyed/taken? Low amounts mean higher premiums (maybe they expect you to be a nag) and higher amounts mean lower premiums (I call it a reward for being laidback))
– general house knowledge. I won’t reveal these questions as I found them to be a fun little pop quiz “How Well Do You Know The Thing You Just Spent Hundreds of Thousands On!”

I have no idea why but I basically just called State Farm, AAA, and Costco. I’d say for a condo my size/nature it was ~$350 annual premium. If you have a single family house, it will be more expensive, since with condos, the HOA insures the exterior walls/roofs.

For auto insurance, I honestly did not ever realize how insanely expensive it was. To which I give a profound thanks to my mom for shielding me from the truth. Anyway, my mom wanted to boot me off because every time she had to renew her auto insurance, they’d pester her with questions because her two children were no longer living under her house. I guess you’re technically not allowed to insure people not actually living with you / kids past 23 years old. Somehow she’s wrangled her way past this technicality but NO LONGER she says.

So I gave some calls. Good things to have handy before you call: driver’s license number, your car’s VIN number and an estimate of your annual mileage. If you have gotten tickets or gotten into accidents, know whether it’s passed the period when it wipes off your record. I think it’s 3 years but I’m actually not sure. On the phone, the people would ask me “have you ever gotten into an accident or gotten a ticket in the past ten years” to which I had to say with some lackluster confidence “well yes BUT I KNOW it no longer counts because it’s been … like … three years! And it shouldn’t count any more!” Also, don’t lie about it. I’m pretty certain that the second your phone number pops up on their caller ID, they’re able to track down all your personal information and pull up your driving record. For all you know they’re putting into their notes “LIAR. MARK UP PREMIUM.”

When you get your quote you will find out that a relatively large part of your premium is to protect against people without insurance coverage. To which I say WHO ARE YOU FUCKERS WITHOUT INSURANCE!!!

Then they ask how much do you want your coverage to be? $100K, 250K, 500K? And not just for all encompassing things, but they consider it by person, and then by accident, and then again for motorists vs. drivers vs. nature and then again for uninsured vs. insured and sometimes vs. underinsured. Basically they have found a large number of permutations in which you will have to pay premiums for.

Once again you’ll have to think about your deductible amount – how much will it take before you decide to complain to your insurance company and try to get them to pay? Based on my mom’s old policy, I did $500, though at heart I really am a $1,000 deductible kind of person. I’m pretty much like, take whatever money you want from me, as long as it’s not $1,000″

Weirdly sometimes the companies quote semiannually and others may do annually. Make sure to clarify so you can give the quote the proper WTF THIS MUCH!?!??! reaction. Also, one thing that’s easier said than done is to get quotes for all the same coverages so you can actually compare apples to apples. I found that this was near impossible for me to do without making a second or third follow-up call/e-mail. Each company you talk to might have a different minimum and each person you talk to will probably have a different emphasis on whatever coverage. So every time I talked to someone I’d walk away thinking “YEAH! THIS is the right amount of coverage!”

Next is what I call, insurance for the fabulous. Extra Credit Insurance. Umbrella policies! Basically this is the “what if someone sues your ass” policy. Umbrella must stand for “when the shit storm comes for you.” Basically in the event someone tries to sue you and it goes beyond whatever personal liability was on your auto/house, this gives you at a minimum, $1M coverage. I found that it’s typically ~$180ish if you get it with your same auto insurance carrier, $350 if you try to do it separate.

And that’s all there is to it! Actually there’s probably much more but I need to clean my house now. This is my life now.

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I am a homeowner!

I think this blog is on its dying breath. I’m not motivated to blog very often and I’m even less inclined to read any of my old posts. The only time I ever look back at my posts is for the travel related ones, so I can remember what I did. I’m sure there is some value in throwing out all my thoughts and never looking back, but I think that is probably better served in a private medium than a public blog.

Whether or not I look at this post again years from now, I figured the last entry shouldn’t be one about almost becoming a homeowner. Because a little over a month ago, I became a first time homeowner!

I love my home. I love that I can do exactly as I please in my own home (I’ve never lived alone before so it is a completely novel experience). I love that my purchases seem much more permanent, I have to admit that I am proud that I was able to buy a home IN THE BAY AREA at my age, and I’m excited that I’ve started cooking more often. Maybe this will wear out one day, but I really enjoy cleaning my house, because I know that the mess is only caused by me. I live in a condo, and my building is structured as a cluster of four residences. I’ve met my neighbors and they all seem really great. I live near the water and on some days, it’s so reminiscent of Green Lake that I can’t believe my luck.

The negatives of being a homeowner? I never know how much a home repair is going to cost me. My new, never ending hobby seems to be cleaning. And I’ve become much more paranoid about a lot more things (ex. integrity of servicepeople I use, whether my online payments are scheduled properly, etc). Oh and the big one – that I’m too poor to travel!

Well other than that life is grand. Not sure what the next step in life is, but now I just daydream about retiring.

About to be a homeowner…

Listening to: Jus Jack – Stars

Well since the last time that I posted, quite a bit has happened so that should probably prove the speed at which the housing market can move. I think the very day after my second offer was rejected, my agent sent me listings and I kind of halfheartedly looked at them and didn’t respond for a while. They felt almost like rebound houses – like I wasn’t in the mood to be looking at anything new and investing myself again in the process of bidding for one. But then I felt guilty not responding to my agent without a good reason why, so I looked through the listings a little more carefully. There was only one I was interested in, but I wasn’t in the mood to schedule a viewing time so I delayed e-mailing her back again.

Finally after most of the workday had passed, I looked at the listings again and responded that I’d be interested in seeing it on Friday. She responded with “how about tomorrow at lunch?” and I went “ok.” Luckily Robyn had planned on staying in the South Bay on Tuesday so I told her I could pick her up and we’d set off to see the house really quickly during my lunch hour.

I ended up really liking the house and putting down an offer. I waited what felt like a long time before I submitted the offer – I think like a week and a half – on the last day you could submit one. I was really unsure about the offer price to make, because I really liked the place but it was in San Mateo and for some reason I felt weird bidding more on a house in San Mateo than one in Mountain View. I sent my agent an e-mail asking if $x sounded ok, and she pretty much sent me a very kindly worded e-mail that I interpreted as “this will be your third offer now, will you please open your goddamn eyes and make a higher offer. This house has everything you want and you only have one shot.”

So all the craziness of bidding ensued as I mentioned in the last post: not knowing how much to offer, putting down an offer and checking off on all the clauses in a contract and just hoping for the best, not knowing for what seems like an excruciating long period whether the seller will take it or not, and then hearing back.

The day after I put in my bid, I got a counter offer. That was another weird moment where my agent told me I’d be receiving a counter offer, but the listing agent hadn’t finalized the paper work yet so we didn’t know the terms. I basically sat and stared at my Estimated Costs spreadsheet I had created and kept telling myself “I can’t afford anymore than I offered. I really can’t. I’m just going to say no I can’t raise my offer.” And then the counter came back and I think both my agent and myself were all very surprised to find out that they were ok with my dollar amount! I signed off or renegotiated my counters and sent it back – then ensues another period of uncertainty because at this point the sellers could still drop my offer if they wanted.

A few hours later my agent called and goes “how does the sound of ‘Melissa, homeowner’ sound?” I responded with “oh god.” I immediately called my mom and her first question was “are you happy?” which I thought was a pretty perfect question. I said I was bugt in a robotic way. She sort of balked when I told her what I had offered, but this is a woman who has kept insisting that I should have offered a few thousand less than listing price, despite my many, many demonstrations of how everything I like goes for tens of thousands over listing.

At this point everything from two weeks ago is a massive blur or is probably uninteresting to other people. If I wrote this last Monday it would have been along the lines of “OH MYYYYY FUCKKKIINNNGGG GOOODDDDDDDD” But even by last Wednesday, everything has calmed down. Seriously this has been the craziest emotional roller coaster I’ve experienced. It is a lot of “MUST DO THIS NOW” and “MUST MAKE DECISIONS NOW” and then “omg do I regret this?!?!” and occasionally excitement. My coworker, probably noting how frenzied I looked one day, commented that it was probably harder to go through this process alone, whereas with a spouse they could bear some of the weight. Maybe, but part of me thinks I’m a control freak and would have wanted to handle everything and not have to consult on someone else’s opinion.

I think the best sign is that upon hearing I got the house, I felt really good about it. My agent warned me that after getting an accepted offer, it’s just a rollercoaster of major ups and downs. There were definitely moments of massive uncertainty, but thankfully, as time went on and processes got checked off, now I just feel better and better about it, which is a good position to be in.

The morning after I got my accepted offer, I woke up at 6am and just laid in bed in a panic. Like, a paralyzing panic where I just kept envisioning moving into the house, somehow losing my job, being unable to pay off my mortgage, and then ending up homeless. Half an hour later I finally brought myself to call my mom and asked if it was normal to panic and she was very comforting in giving me an “OF COURSE” answer. I’d say it took another three mornings before I stopped waking up and immediately panic upon waking.

While my escrow hasn’t closed yet, my loan is pretty much finalized and property inspections came out ok, so it is basically supposed to be smooth sailing from here. I feel lucky about it. If there were any major regrets I had in this process, I think it’d be signing off on the “as is” condition, which means you are offering to buy the property in the state that it is in when you made the offer. So you can’t go back to the seller to say “hey can you pay a portion of the repair costs.” When I made my offer, I just wanted it to be a super clean offer – but once I got the offer I realized how much exposure I had given myself to having to take on a  ton of repair costs. Very, very luckily, the inspectors I talked to basically gave the house a good sign-off, so it turned out well for me but I could easily see how it could have gone south. It’s crazy because I bet every buyer enters, thinking they want to have a contract that will best protect their interests. Every home buyer’s book is probably like “THIS IS IMPORTANT” and “make sure you sign this clause!” But in reality, at least in the Bay Area, after you bid on a few houses, you are just so desperate to get a house that you love that you pretty much sign away all your buyer’s rights.

But the thing is, until it closes and if the listing agent tells us why they chose my offer out of the rest, I really won’t know if going “as is” was a major determining factor in my winning the bid or not. It’s very Sliding Doors – WHAT IF I hadn’t done it? Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten it!

The reason my process went so smoothly was definitely very dependent on my agent and my lender. Interestingly, these were both two people who I had only met once before deciding to stick with them. I shopped around with lenders: BOA, Chase, and a local lender in the Bay Area recommended by my agent. I ended up going with BOA – I really don’t know why, other than that maybe it was the first lender I had met with, all my funds are held at BOA, and my agent would tell me that she really liked the BOA person. Chase probably would have been a cheaper interest rate but their process seemed much slower than even BOA so I didn’t trust them to give me a fast close. The local firm had a higher interest rate, with the trade off that they’d give you a faster close. But the stingy side of me just couldn’t commit to taking on a loan with a higher interest rate that I knew I could have gotten cheaper elsewhere. I’m glad I stuck to this, because there is definitely pressure to just cave in and go with a faster close and get it done. But I knew if I did that, every month I’d pay off my P&I and regret the extra money I was paying in interest.

In the end, my BOA lender worked so insanely hard (I am not joking – I am talking phone calls with me till 1am and e-mails being sent to me at like 4am, 5am, midnight, all hours of the day) that she closed it in six days, technically four since I don’t think she did anything on the weekend. Which is kind of insane, especially for such a huge financial institution like BOA.

SO MY TIPS HERE ARE:
1) Keep your options open for lenders (ie. go out and get pre-approvals with a variety and just keep the connection alive and send updated docs as needed despite how annoying it feels). But in the end, really figure out who you want to go with because when it’s time to make an offer, you have to choose pretty much then and there

2) No matter how many documents you gave your lender pre-offer, they will be asking for SO MUCH MORE. I started to get really frustrated, because I HATE getting calls when I’m at work and for a few days I couldn’t work an hour straight without having to do something. I complained to my mom that this should have all been done beforehand, but she pointed out that everyone talks to a number of lenders but will only end up going with one. So it’s just not efficient to finalize everyone’s file before they even commit to using the lender. Which I agree with and I guess you can’t fault someone for looking out for you and trying to help you get a loan.

3) The little surprise decision I had to make and did not know about beforehand was HOME INSURANCE. It felt very much like I just wanted all the decisions to be over, and out of the blue the underwriter was like “your file is almost complete! But you will have to choose home insurance before we finalize it!” To me, someone who has never paid for insurance, this felt like a very daunting task. I called five different companies for quotes, and then called most of them multiple times to adjust the quotes for different coverages. Then you have to figure out what type of coverage you want and the amounts. It’s definitely a process and I think everyone tries to say “don’t worry you can change it afterwards” but I would say that it’ll be a lot less stressful if you start looking into quotes or companies beforehand. HINT: I think Costco is the best.

4) If you are lucky enough to be getting gift funds from someone, move it over sooner rather than later. My mom gifted me a part of my downpayment, but neither of us really wanted to move it over to my account, plus there was no house in sight so it didn’t seem imperative. BUT the thing is, by the time you find a house, it’s too late to start moving funds. The lender won’t want you to move it just yet, but instead you have to do a TON more documentation proving that both parties have stable balances and all this other stuff. It created all this extra communication and interaction between more and more parties that could have been avoided if you just GIFT. EARLY.

5) For me, it is a REALLY weird feeling to hand over your 3% deposit check. Typically you put down 3% until close of escrow when you put down the rest of your downpayment. Now I don’t know about everyone else, but I do not often write checks to people over my rent amount. So handing over a check (on a spongebob squarepants stock paper) for thousands of dollars was a VERY weird feeling. I like what the lady at the title company said when I commented on how odd it felt: “just wait until you write the next one.”

Since my offer was accepted late Wednesday, my contingencies started Thursday. Thursday and Friday were the absolute most stressful two days of my life. Coordinating inspections, listening to inspectors feedback, deciding exactly what inspections you wanted to do, reacting to the findings in each report… IT. IS. STRESSFUL. There are a lot of what ifs in every decision – but by Friday end of day (two days after accepted offer), I felt like I was comfortable with what I had heard and what I had done, and it ended up being a great thing that I already had a Sonoma weekend trip planned, because it kept my mind off the house. Since then, slowly things just sort of fell into place.

It’s now this weird period where I day dream about how to furnish the house but I can’t buy anything yet. I don’t even have to pack yet because I really don’t have that much stuff that would require packing so early. It’s just … a weird waiting period where I can’t do anything but I know a big change is about to come.

House hunting in the bay

Initially I didn’t want to write about this until I actually accomplished my goal, but at this point I think anyone who would potentially read my blog probably already knows, so it’s not like I’m trying to keep a secret. I. AM. HOUSE HUNTING.

House hunting, which I’ve been doing since December, is a lot more difficult than people make it out to be. I think job searching and dating gets all the hype but comparatively, house hunting is a much more emotional process for me. Maybe I just lucked out in my own job searching and dating experience though – or maybe because I’ve always dreamed of owning my own home, it is of bigger consequence to me than the others. But what I think all three have in common is that throughout the process, you’re constantly asking yourself what you really want, what you think you’re worth, and you have to put your fate in other people’s hands.

From my perspective, bidding on a house is more difficult to gloss over – if you don’t get the job, you can tell yourself you maybe flubbed on some part of the interview, they weren’t looking for exactly your skill set, whatever. If a romantic interest doesn’t work out, you can chalk it up to timing, difference in interests, so many things. With houses though, it’s straight forwardly how much money do you have? Not enough? Then no but thanks.

At this point, just three months in, I’ve made two offers – one I just got rejected tonight and the other I had received a counter offer but I walked away. I don’t regret walking away and I don’t regret the offer price I put out that was rejected. So I have no regrets but also no house.

Here’s how I’ve felt throughout the process – maybe one day you’ll know what I’m talking about or maybe you’ve already been through this before. Hopefully this is an entry I’ll look back on and reread and think HA so glad that part of my life is over now! Hopefully that day will be soon.

There are a ton of real estate search websites and apps nowadays, but basically I just go to look at whatever my real estate agent sends me. We used to go out together on the weekends but now that we both have a narrowed idea of what I want, I just go out and look at one or two open houses on the weekend on my own. I found my agent very randomly with no recommendations but I think we’ve matched up really well. She’s someone I can comfortably sit in a car with for hours (critical when touring together), she’s not too pushy but is very motivational and great with follow-up. Having a real estate agent keeps me from just calling it quits and keeps me going.

The weirdest moment for me thus far was after I rejected a counter offer – for a few weeks afterwards I didn’t see any properties I liked and kept wondering if I had just thrown away something good. Now that I’ve made my second offer, I realize that I really wasn’t IN LOVE with the first place, so it’s a good thing I didn’t go after it. Sometimes though, I’ll wonder to myself why I have to be IN LOVE with a house. Some people go with jobs they’re ok with. Some people date people they aren’t wildly passionate about. Why can’t I buy a house that I just moderately like?!?! Well everyone keeps telling me to hold out … so maybe they’ve got a point.

If anyone ever tells you they are looking for a house, go ahead and assume they’re working at about 50% productivity. The days when I have to make an offer are insane. As someone who is pretty indecisive, having to commit a bunch of decisions to a contract within a short period of time is just too much to handle. I think because my agent deals with these contracts every day, she’s used to each clause and they’re mundane to her, but for me I’m like “OMG how many days SHOULD this contingency be for?!?! OMG SHOULD I pay for this fee or should the seller?!?! OMG SHOULD I do this? DO I care about lead paint?!?!” Every little check box seems like such a huge and crucial decision.

So filling out a contract is insanely stressful. After signing it, I feel a little relief and a small sense of “hey! I think I’m an adult!” but then after a few hours my brain just starts racing around thinking of all these hypothetical situations where I’ll have to pay much more in closing costs than I anticipated, I’ll have no money left for furniture, maybe I’ll lose my job and be stuck with a mortgage – basically I feel like I currently have this wonderful pot of backup money and I’m very unwilling to let it all be used in a downpayment and actually have to live paycheck to paycheck. When I start seriously contemplating making an offer, that’s when a part of my brain kicks in with “BUT YOU ARE TOO POOR FOR THIS!!!” Why is it that my parents and my lender and my agent think that I have enough money to buy a home but I don’t?

The wait to hear back from an offer is crazy stressful too. This is when I keep waffling between “I really want this but don’t want to admit it to myself” and “omg please don’t let me get this property I JUST WANT TO NOT BE POOR” and “I just want this all to be over please let me get the house whether I really want it or not.” Th wait to hear back on an offer is the part that is probably the shortest but it feels the most drawn out of all.

My agent just keeps reminding me that I’m looking in a particular difficult market. I imagine it’s the same as in Arcadia, so I’m not fooled into thinking the Bay Area is the only magical place with a crazy market. But it’s just frustrating for me to think that if I could feasibly commute from the East Bay, I’d probably be sitting in my own single family home right now and would have probably paid $150K less than what I will one day end up having to pay just to live near my workplace aka Palo Alto. It’s frustrating that my mom is still stuck in a time when she thinks I should underbid the list price or maybe just tack on $1K or $2K and I have to keep telling her that even if I add $60K to the list price, I probably still won’t get the winning bid. Some of the places I was interested in (but had the common sense to know I couldn’t afford it) ended up going for well over $150K over the list price. At this point, the best I can hope for is another economic bubble burst and hopefully I can get a house before the bay area market rebounds.

I would venture that in the Bay Area, it’s probably easier to go out and find someone to marry to have a double-income to buy a house, than it would be to try to buy a nice house on a single income.

Well at least I have my hobby for 2014. House hunting.

Well this is worrisome

Listening to: Kanye West ft. Bon Iver – Lost in the World (Tiesto remix) (HA I loved Bon Iver’s original Woods especially after the perfect use of it on Skins. I hated Kanye West’s bastardization of the song. But now I LOVEEEE the Tiesto remix of the Kanye/Bon Iver collaboration. Music is weird.)

I haven’t really tracked my expenses for almost a year now and before I didn’t think it would make much of a difference because generally when I go out, I just spend and don’t think about it because my assumption is that I could not spend more than I have in the bank unless I make some sort of drunken decision to buy a small sized vehicle. I stopped tracking my expenses after my trip to Peru because suddenly there was this big nebulous I’m not sure how much I spent these days and that uncertainty was somehow enough to derail my tracking for an entire year.

But about two weeks or so ago I looked at my bank account and realized that I haven’t gone on any international trips this year but for whatever reason, my bank account has NOT moved for THREE MONTHS. Which, I guess in writing, doesn’t seem that terrible but when I scroll through all my bank account transactions, it’s very worrisome to me that I’ve somehow spent about the same as I’ve earned, which means excluding rent and my monthly gym membership I’m spending OVER $75 A DAY OMFG I JUST calculated that and cannot believe it. Holy fucking shit what the fuck did I spend money on?!

I showed this to Amy and she goes “hm …. what happened around April 1st to cause the flatlining?”

WHO. KNOWS.

I appreciate the friends I have who appropriately respond with shock and concern and go “OMG what are you doing?!” to keep me from thinking this is normal spending behavior. Amy goes “HAHA at this rate, when are you going to buy your house?” and I was like “NEVER. Or tomorrow, if I want to buy a $40K house in Florida I guess.”

I had all these other random thoughts floating in my head but they’re all gone now and all I can think of is how I have no financial responsibility and instead of saving I am SPENDING money, GETTING FAT, and NOT EXERCISING.

My first paycheck

Listening to: Aqua – Back to the 80s (yes, Aqua DID make more than Barbie Girl)

I’ve actually had many “first paychecks” but I suppose this is the first salaried one. Some people like to fantasize about what they would do with their first real paycheck. For me, I always received a paycheck before I really had time to think about a proper wishlist, and once I had it in my hand, I just deposited it because I didn’t know what else to do with it.

I thought maybe by the time I got my paycheck for this job, I would have decided what to buy. It would have to be something luxurious but not so extravagant it made up an obscene percentage of the entire paycheck. Something meaningful and long lasting so I could look at it and tell people “that’s what I bought with my first paycheck!”

In actuality, as all other paychecks before it, the payroll clerk handed me my paycheck without my expecting it, and now it’s just sitting in my work bag and I haven’t decided what to buy. In fact, it’s a disappointingly low amount since it only applies to a single week. Minus the taxes, minus the rent, minus the monthly gas, I don’t even have enough to cover the amount I’ve spent so far on food. It’s a good thing I have a second paycheck coming my way at the end of the month.

So it would appear that “the thing I bought myself with my first paycheck” is going to be my Lauren Conrad Style book. Not quite what I was thinking, but it’ll do.

Her perfectly retouched face judges me all the time

Laura’s mom is in Taiwan so for the entire week, I have been going over to Laura’s house after work. As I told Laura’s sister yesterday “I get off of work and go home and wait for Laura to call me and then I go over … I guess like a booty call. I didn’t realize that until I just said it.” But yup! It kept me from crying out of loneliness which was really nice. I now know how to drive from Laura’s house to work and my office to my house without the GPS. And surprisingly, from my house to Berkeley. But I have no idea how to drive from my house to work, because I have never done it, even after a week. Next week I’ll be driving to my client. Then I’ll be in Chicago. And finally on October 29th, I will be driving to the office.

I have not yet joined a gym which disturbs me. Today I had to carry a box full of supplies to my car AND a Q1 binder and halfway to the parking lot I realized I really do have to go to the gym. It’s just so annoying because I want to join the rock climbing gym, but driving there is 15 minutes and even when I get out of work at 5, I already have no incentive to spend 30 minutes roundtrip on a freeway, just to exercise. I can’t imagine I will be any more inclined to go when I leave work at 9-10pm.

For those (= all friends – 4 people) who have not yet seen my place, the place that Laura says is “so large I’m a little scared of it,” here are some pictures

My fugly mismatched room

It’s larger than my camera can capture. Note the business clothes strewn on my bed. The glare-y book on the bed is Lauren Conrad’s Style. My window looks out onto a residential street which is nice. I just lay down on that open space  on the ground whenever I’m at home. And note the watermelon on the ground. 25 cents per lb!!!

The spacious living room

My room is at the end of the hall. I’m standing at the space in front of the front door. That’s my fridge taking up space in their otherwise cozy living room. There’s a huge dining room whose main purpose seems to be bike storage. There’s a giant turtle on the shelf next to my room, which is nice because I like having its heat lamp light my path to my room

This dog is so cute

A dog! Apparently the first thing she does every morning is run to my room, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never been here. She’s a Japanese Shiba, and her name is Aiko. She barks at certain people, and I must say I felt relieved that I passed her test and was not barked at. I like to pat her on the head when I come home from work and she’ll put up with it but doesn’t give any indication that she enjoys it. And that’s basically our only interaction with one another.

me: I can’t imagine what it would be like to get yelled at. When was the last time you got yelled at?
laura: you mean like today?
me: oh.
*later that night*
me: you have a gold’s gym membership?!?! do you go to the gym more or get yelled at more?
*laura laughs then a sad knowing smile replaces the laugh*