A taste of Italy: Part 3

eemusings called me out for not having more pasta in my last posts, and she was right, I just forgot where I’d stashed the pasta pictures!


Am I the only one who is always disappointed when ordering ravioli? Not because it’s not tasty as all get out but because everyone thinks that six-seven ravioli is a meal!  Don’t look surprised when I then consume 3 loaves of bread to fill up because six ravioli, no matter the size, is hardly a snack. Seriously, what adult is satiated with 6 bites of delectable filled pasta?

Spaghetti with fresh seafood


Italia: The less frugal adventure
Food and fun in Italy: Part 2

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Estate Planning (ICE): Life insurance

It used to be that life insurance was a standard part of any benefits package from my employer. I took that a little bit for granted once I stopped working retail. Now I have to scout out my own because I haven’t had a policy in force in ages. With Little Bean in the picture, that has to change pronto!

Life would be tough enough for PiC not having me around to take care of the stuff I manage (and I’m sure he’d miss me). Having to do without my income for a period of time with a kid, a dog, mortgages and all would be the pits, to say the least.

We have the bulk of our insurance with State Farm these days. Previously my car insurance for myself and Dad were with GEICO but the claim process was too bare bones. I don’t think it was worth the minimal savings anymore. We’re at that point where we really have to pay a little bit more for decent service rather than wasting massive gobs of time getting assessments, chasing down guilty parties, etc.


I used to have Mercury Insurance which was another cheapish outfit, about ten years or so ago, but they weren’t so chintzy that they didn’t follow up on accident claims themselves. Some reckless jerk rammed my car on the freeway because he was in too much of a hurry to change four lanes one at a time and had to cut across all four in one go.
Mercury wanted to take the easy way out and have me split responsibility for the accident. A 50-50 split would cost half my $1000 deductible and I’d take 50% responsibility on my record without being assessed points, the rep explained.
My answer was a polite HELL. NO. The only fault I bore in that accident was existing on the same roads as the goon who failed the looking out his windshield exam so I held my ground and insisted that they pursue a no fault to me resolution.
Three months later that guy and his insurance caved and admitted that it was entirely his fault.
I refuse to eat the cost of other people’s poor judgment but I now don’t have time to personally pursue it when stuff happens.

I requested quotes from State Farm and Allstate for 30 year term policies ranging from 200-400k.

State Farm noodled around for weeks refusing to email quotes but also failing to get them in the mail for six weeks. After a few followups they sent me a stack of quotes along with some other poor sod’s paperwork but the quotes were useless. The policies were for both me and PiC when I’d requested policies just for me (in writing, by email so there was a record of the request), and listed me as a 30 year old male. The agent’s response when I pointed out the basic errors? “I forgot what you wanted.”

Oh, you forgot I was female and that you have my birthday on file? That’s cute. Nope, wait, that’s not competent.  So that’s three strikes for State Farm: inconvenient, AND failed customer service twice.

Allstate actually approached me at the time I was doing price/plan comps so I gave them a shot. Unlike State Farm, Allstate provided quotes for ME within a day. Apart from the super cheesy “it pays to be young and healthy!” rah rah comment from the agent, that quote process was painless.

I used a Bankrate calculator to figure out how much insurance I’d need considering factors like:
My age;
The ages of spouse and child(ren);
My income;
My mortgage and other debts (none);
College expenses for child(ren) and/or spouse;
My funeral expenses.

Bankrate seems to think I need a policy for 1.7M. That’s a hell of a lot more than I was expecting and seems wildly out of proportion to my previous expectations. Maybe I need to play with the variables a bit more and do more research into how each one affects the recommendation. I doubt I’ll go for anything over $1M at this point, though.

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Mouse + cookie syndrome

Unlike the slippery slope argument, which is generally fallacious, my problem here is utterly logical.

After not buying clothes for almost a year, focusing solely on feeding the family and paying actually necessary bills, I got an itch to pick up one nice thing. We have a few events coming up and some of them are formal enough that my mom-capris and loose shirts wouldn’t pass muster.

(mom-capris: the same capris I had since before getting pregnant but only buttoning one of the buttons. Doubles as buffet capris.)

Despite my ban on buying any new dresses because how many dresses does a single human need, one dress that actually fits me wouldn’t be a bad idea since it is basically an all in one outfit. If I played my cards right, I could maybe find a dress that will fit me now AND work later if my size changes again. (Side grump: this is not a thing men have to worry about when they talk about growing the family.)

Naturally I still don’t want to actually GO shopping. You know, in a shop. This makes it difficult to figure out what size I am though. Instead I hit the internet and ordered multiple things in different sizes. My home is the most comfortable dressing room.

Having clicked order (twice), you’d think that was the end of Step One. It is, I suppose, as Step Two is trying everything on but there’s a nasty side effect of clicking Order: I got a thing. A thing? Yes, says my brain, a thing! What about these Other Things You Like? Turns into a staring contest.

A nicer lightweight bag.
A hair clip.
Some shirts.
A stand mixer.
A house.
…… No no and no!

Mind, this isn’t just an exercise in self deprivation. Not entirely. Some of these things may yet come home with me. Or that house may probably happen because terrible neighbors are terrible and Seamus would love a yard (think I can teach him to do yardwork?).

But the other stuff? I just know that over the years, I’ve bought my fair share of things that became clutter much more quickly that I anticipated which would then have to be purged and be a net loss. In fairness, I was younger, stupider, and even less stylish. Regardless, I’d rather not do that again and again and again. I’d also rather keep my money and use it on investments to grow our future free from regular jobs future. That is not the same as not wanting anything nice, though, and therein lies the problem. It’s all fine and dandy when I’m not buying anything at all. But once I do, the brain keeps on rolling: why not this? And also… this?

Then I have to burn some willpower telling it to SHUSH and NOPE.

This isn’t just me, right?

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Takata airbag recall: What you should do

This isn’t good.

As many as 1 in 7 cars on the road in the US are estimated to have a Takata air bag with a defect.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is updating a list of all vehicles affected by VIN but it’ll take some time so check that list in the next few weeks to see if you should take your car to a dealer.

Please do take a minute to check.  The airbag defect involves shrapnel and can cause serious injury!

Update: I checked all our cars and so far they’re showing up with 0 active recalls. I’ll check back again in a few weeks just in case.

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