Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Insurance Magic

I wanted to get a whole bunch of quotes for homeowners insurance so that I knew I was getting a good price. But, it turns out, that within the first two quotes I received, I got both the highest and lowest quote humanly possible. One, All State quoted me at $930 a year. This floored me because my mortgage people were estimating something around $600 for all the estimates they gave me. Then I talked to a guy at MetLife, who told me it would only be $415 a year.

This intrigued me. So, I kept getting quotes. And kept getting quotes... and kept getting quotes. Then, I got quotes from different agents within the same company. Insurance is an insanely crazy thing, let me tell you. I've gotten four different quotes from All State: $930, $706.25, $614.03, and $489.44.

Crazy. Look at all those different numbers!

You know what else is crazy? I can't stop myself. I've gotten 16 quotes. I need to go to Insurance Quote Addiction Anonymous or something. I just can't believe how different they are. And did you know that Farmers gives you a discount for being a scientist? Now I just sit here and ask what kinds of crazy discounts I can get. I have a new roof, can you discount that? I even got a discount because I'm a GW Alumnus. Seriously, this insurance thing... it's magic.

I think you should become super good friends with your insurance agent, because the more they know about you, the more discounts they can find. I'm gonna go back to that MetLife guy. He was one of the first people I talked to, so I didn't know of the magic that is random insurance discounts.

And this is all without the 10-20% discounts you get when you insure your auto with the same company as your home.

So, learn your lesson well - shop around for insurance to find the best rates. The sad thing is, I'm comparing apples to apples on these because I make sure they're all quoting me the same replacement value numbers and personal liability and whatnot... and they're STILL so different.

Insurance world is a mystery.

End Blog.

Belly Rubs!

So, I got paranoid that Remy had fleas and they got in my bed (because I spoil her and let her sleep there), and that's how I got these bug bites along my right side which are currently driving me crazy. I checked her out and she was all… “What!? What are you looking for? I’m a clean dog! Wait... give me belly rubs. No, belly rubs. This isn’t a belly rub. You are completely useless! I want belly rubs. RUB MY BELLY!” Anyway, I didn’t see any fleas. Therefore, I think it was a rogue October mosquito.

I am itchy.

End Blog.

But, it's Almost October

I woke up this morning with nine mosquito bites down my right side from my armpit to my waist. I cannot even tell you how annoying and itchy they are. Not a cool way to start the morning.


End Blog.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chain, Screw, Belt

Should the deal go through with the house, and I actually think this one will, I need to buy a garage door opener. I assume that a friend of mine will help with (or mostly complete) the installation process. But, I've come to realize - as with most things house related - that I have NO IDEA exactly what I should be looking for in a garage door opener. They have screws or belts or chain drives... and well, I know nothing about them.

Suggestions? Is one better than the others? Is one easier to install?

Also, I foresee needing to buy a ladder for this project. Or to grow a whole lot.

Not enough people read this blog. And I imagine those that do also know nothing about garage door openers.

End Blog.

An Idea is a Greater Monument than a Cathedral

I just watched Inherit the Wind last night. You know the movie - the one based on the Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. A battle royale between the modernists and traditionalists - or intellectuals and religion, so it seemed.

I'm sure everyone knows which side of this debate I fall on. I can't imagine why there would even be a law banning any sort of education. I already feel that the world is undereducated, so to take away anything that would provoke a thought of our own or challenge traditional beliefs is ridiculous... but to have a law banning it is downright unconstitutional. Especially with the whole idea of separation of church and state. Don't argue that America was founded by Christians - it was founded by those seeking religious freedom - and I think that should still be the case. I won't get started on what our government has turned into in the past few years.

It baffles me that 82 years later we're still having this debate on what to teach in schools. Evolution? Creationism? Intelligent design? All three? None of the above? I was never taught evolution. My AP biology teacher, Mr. Eckert, told me to read a few chapters in the book on my own because there would be questions on the AP test about it... but he couldn't teach them to me in class. At the time I was under the impression that "couldn't" meant that we didn't have enough time to cover it in the curriculum, not that he was actually not allowed to. You'd think I was growing up in Kansas, not Pennsylvania.

I can't understand it. Why do our social values and intellect conflict so much? People are fanatical about religion and what they consider moral. And apparently using your mind and the ability to reason, the very thing that sets us apart from all the other animals - and arguably the thing that God himself bestowed upon us - that's what gets all the fundamentalist folks all riled up.

FACT: The sun revolves around the Earth. We didn't descend from slimy sludge. The world is not millions of years old. Not believing in God makes you an amoral heathen. Marriage is between one man and one woman. Man and woman were placed on the Earth by God during creation.

Listen. Thought doesn't undermine values. The thinking men and women still know right from wrong, but they can also see all the shades of grey surrounding the issue. They can see other possibilities. They have found things that don't fit into neat boxes and have striven to make sense of the world. Evolution has gaps. So does genetics. Scientists recently discovered that what they thought they knew about transcription of DNA and what they termed "junk DNA" might be completely wrong. Life is still a mystery... But they know there is not only one solution to a problem, and they will keep working at that problem. Not only that, there will be others working at the problem from a different angle, forming their own opinions on the matter. But they will not be standing still, insisting that they have found all the answers, and they are right... all you have to do is have faith and believe!

Scholars are our future, they are progress.

The thing that killed me about this movie was the song that the mob kept singing. "Gimme that old time religion, it's good enough for me." Since when has anything been "good enough" for us? We like progress. We are fans of enlightenment and intelligence. We are innovators. At least, that's what I always thought. Maybe that's why I like the theory of evolution so much. I want to keep moving forward, not living by the rules of the past. Not believing in the old stuffy religions that leave no room for change, no route for progress. And without those paths open to us, we will be left behind by others who are more open minded.

If you haven't ever seen this movie, or if it's been years since you watched it, I think it deserves another viewing. This movie makes you think. And even though it was made over 40 years ago, it applies to so many things today. Truly a thinking man's movie - and not only that, it was very true to the real life events that occurred in 1925.

Two great, big, opposable thumbs up.

End Blog.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Well, it took a whole week, but I finally have a signed contract on the house I made an offer on last Thursday. It's a good thing, too, because I have the inspection scheduled for the house tomorrow at 1:30pm.

Hooray. Only an inspection, an appraisal, a closing, and a moving day to go. Hopefully soon I shall be leaving this place, and its footprints of doom.

It will be nice to take Remy to her back yard after work every day. And it'll all be worth it, I'm sure.

End Blog.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I Watch This On Loop

I can't even describe how much I love this commercial from Emmy winner Tina Fey.

It's fabulous. I want Octopus Time.

I can't wait for 30 Rock to come back. I am one of its dozens and dozens of viewers - and you should be, too. I hope it sticks around for the next 6 years, too.

End Blog.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I'm not sure why I continue to try to be a homeowner. I've been looking at houses since early summer, and yet, I still do not own one. My lease will be up at the end of November and I have sworn to be moved out by then. I even have "get out of jail free" paperwork that releases me from my lease with no penalties as long as I give them 30 days notice. And all I had to do was file two police reports to get it!

I currently have broken wood around my back storm door and a missing window screen because the CSIs took it as evidence eons ago. I'm wondering if these things will come out of my security deposit. It's not like that money provided me with any security, whatsoever.

Although, it's really funny that I'm even worrying about it... because I have come to realize that I am NEVER going to own a house. Granted, the first house I made an offer on was a little impulsive, but it was a nice house with a great location, although the neighborhood probably could have been nicer. But, in my opinion, they wanted too much money for the house. When they finally did sell it, it sold for $3,000 over my final offer, so I guess they made out okay.

The second house I put an offer on was in a slightly less desirable location - and by this, I mean that it makes my commute longer. But it had a finished basement that was pretty darn sweet. And as an added bonus, he was leaving his refrigerator behind, so I wasn't going to have to purchase one of those. I tried to work the washer and dryer into the deal. No go. Even though I gave him a full priced offer for his house and only asked him to pay $2,000 in closing costs, he decided that the deal was not favorable enough for him. Even dropping the washer and dryer from the deal, he was not happy.

Three days later he's asking my realtor why I didn't take his "counter offer" of no closing costs while I pay full price for his home. It's a super deal! FOR HIM. Needless to say, he's not getting a Christmas card from me this year.

It reminds me of the Calvin and Hobbes comic (I tried to find it but was unable to) where Calvin's Dad says, "The world isn't fair, Calvin," to which he replies, "I know Dad, but why isn't it ever unfair in my favor?"

Which brings me to house number three. Third time's a charm? Well... maybe. If you jump through these hoops first.

House three completely changes my commute, which I was not thrilled about until I drove home from work to house number three. It took me 24 minutes, which is quite comparable to the time it currently takes me. I will have to learn the area a little better, but it's the nicest neighborhood I've looked in, and has the best school district of all of them as well. (Not that I plan on sending kiddies off to school, ever, but it's good for resale value.) Of course, that also means this house has the highest taxes as well. Long story short, I made the third offer.

Today, I heard nothing all day. No counters, no refusals, nothing. One hour before the offer was to expire, I get this story from my agent:

The seller's agent is in California. His office emailed my faxed offer to the wrong email address and he spent the day not knowing that an offer existed. After my agent got into contact with him in California, we found all of this out. So, another email was sent to the correct email address. But he needs to look the offer over before he shows it to his sellers and gee-golly-whiz, couldn't we extend the offer until tomorrow? Okay, sure. I'd still like for them to counter offer me (who am I kidding, I want them to flat out just freaking accept the thing already).

So, I sit and wait another day before I figure out what is going on with house number three. It'd be super nice if they felt guilty about making me wait over 24 hours with this whole thing and just signed off on it, but this is me here... that's not going to happen.

I have so little faith in this whole house buying process. I'm not sure why I'm still looking, other than the fact that I don't want to have to struggle to find a parking space outside of my apartment, I don't want my apartment broken into, I'd really like a house with a yard for my dog to play, and a place to stick my car so that I have a winter free of scraping ice from the windshield. Oh, and the number one reason: I don't throw money away on rent every month and actually own something 30 years from now.

So I wait.

Needless to say, should I get this house, I will be spending a ton of money. I'll need a refrigerator, a washer, and a dryer... and some lamps for the living room because there are no overhead lights. And eventually some area rugs, smoke detectors, cable installation (who are we kidding, I'd get this put in when I closed on the house!), window coverings, a garage door opener, and a small portion of fence to completely enclose the back yard. And with all those things, I still want a house.

I am sick of living in an apartment when I could be in a real house for an additional $200 a month. Totally worth it.

Dear people who probably still don't know I made an offer on your house...
Please let me buy it.
Thank you.

End Blog.

Without ME It's Just AWESO

This is now on the outside of my cubicle wall at work right next to my name plate.

I think that I might be playing too much Guitar Hero. Have I mentioned on here yet that I bought a PS2 just so I could play these games? No? Well, I did. And they rock.

Anyway... I can't get enough of Han Solo jumping while playing guitar in what has to be the most awesome band, ever. Glorious. I will never be as awesome as this picture.

End Blog.