Sunday, January 31, 2010

Laundromats: Class Status Symbol

Those of you reading this post from somewhere that is not Orange County might not immediately agree with the following observation, but I assure you that it's accurate. At least in my limited experience, it's definitely accurate.

I remember going to the laundromat as a kid when we had less money than we do now. I very clearly remember not having a dryer until I was about 14 years old, which means planning out which jeans you wanted to wear many days in advance to be sure they had time to dry during the winter months when outdoor line drying was out of the question. Obviously it takes more money to afford the luxury of a washer and dryer in your home. This can mean more than just the cost of the appliances. For instance, we had to update the electrical in our house before we could install the dryer. But laundromats have taken on a new meaning for me as a renter in Orange County.

I think it's common not to have laundry facilities in apartment buildings in larger metropolitan areas, especially if the buildings are "vintage," read old. However, from my experience as a renter in Orange County almost all apartment buildings have on-site laundry. My last complex ripped us off, but it was sure convenient. Now I have to schlepp my clothes to the laundromat where something inevitably goes wrong. Bleach marks out of nowhere, my white tank always coming out with dirt streaks on it that weren't there before (note to self: hand wash that from now on), odd smells coming from the machine that is supposed to CLEAN your clothes not make them funky, etc.

At first I was excited because it was so much cheaper than the apartment complex laundry rooms, but after experiencing bugs falling on my head from the ceiling or drying my clothes for over an hour only to be surrounded by them as I write this because they still aren't dry, the thrill is gone. Those of us without access or without funds to acquire washers and dryers are forced to endure the injustice of laundromat funkiness. It's a compelling social problem, I think. Well, it's at least indicative of a compelling social problem. Us laundromat goers represent the people living in the least accommodating of apartments, the rented homes with hook-ups but tenants who can't afford the appliances, or the home owners in similar situations to my family in the early years. Then there's the big elephant in the room known as race. You can't help but notice the lack of white people, although that might be more of a reflection of my neighborhood than laundromats specifically.

I hope people don't think I am really THAT concerned with laundromats. I don't really mind it, even though it's inconvenient. When I move, I would move to a complex without laundry if I liked it otherwise. I just find it interesting that in Orange County pretty much the only people using laundromats are those lacking resources, except for maybe in the Newport Beach area. I went to a laundromat there once with a friend and there were a lot of college kids. If/when I move to Long Beach I expect the laundromat crowd will be a lot more eclectic.

I've gone on too long. Just another observation that reflects the sharp class and race divisions in Orange County nobody wants to talk about.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Steals and Deals

I know it's bad form to talk about the amount of money you spent on something, but when a very good deal is involved I believe that rule no longer applies. Finding a deal or steal is like a gift, and I like to give by passing those gifts on to others.

I am a member of many discount members-only websites, and I hardly ever buy anything. When I say hardly, I mean I have only bought from one site two times during the holidays. However, after taking inventory of my closet I realize I only have enough business wear to last me about a week. I only have one blazer. I only have one cardigan. I have two button downs, only one with long enough sleeves. I am reluctant to go shopping because I haven't started yet and haven't earned a paycheck yet! SOLUTION! My discount websites and Christmas giftcards!

Here's what I got so far:
Banana Republic Wide Croc-Embossed Belt
List Price $69.50 My Price $9.50
(no longer in stock online, check stores)

Banana Republic Silk Crinkled-Neckline Shell
List Price $70.00 My price $17.00

Banana Republic Classic Pencil Skirt
List Price $59.50 My price $7.00

Gap Hip-Slung Yarn Dyed Flare Pants
List Price $59.50 My Price $20.00
Everything is listed for a much higher price online than what I paid in the stores. The sale prices were lower and Banana Republic took an additional 40% off the sale price. Plus, the skirt had a broken zipper so it was 80% off. I have no problem getting a broken zipper fixed.

Atelier Snap Jacket
List Price $220.00 (WHAT??) My Price $49.99

Atelier Pencil Skirt - Charcoal
List Price $98.00 My Price $29.00

Thank you,! If you want to check out ideeli and become a member, use the invitation link below. (copy and paste may be necessary)

Whether you need new clothes for an existing job, a new job, or for interviews to try to get a job, there are deals out there! Stores need to move their merchandise and with this economy most people hesitate to pay full price now more than ever. I'll keep you posted with any more deals I find!

(images courtesy of,, and

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blog Mini Makeover

I really have no idea what I am doing on this blogger business, but I'm slowly figuring it out. I made a few changes to spruce up my page, including adding some of my favorite blogs and websites for people to check out if they are so inclined. They all have to do with my recent obsession, design and home furnishings.

My next goal is to learn how to make my own templates and such. In the meantime, check out those blogs if you are into that sort of thing because they are wonderful! There are many, many more but those are a great start.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Still in the woods

My new job doesn't start until February 1st, and to be honest, I don't feel I can fully celebrate until I receive total confirmation. Right now I am still filling out forms and finalizing agreements etc.

Nevertheless, since it's pretty much a go I had to let my part time nanny job family know I would be moving on. I was nervous, feeling a little guilty, and wishing I could give them more notice. Alas, I could not and had no choice but to break the news. I gave about two weeks notice, depending on if you count from my last day or the first day they'll need a new person. She wasn't pleased but was polite and wished me well.

Today she left me a voicemail saying one of their former nannies could return, and she can start next week! Her husband is taking the rest of the week off while she travels and so they don't need me this week! Wait...that means you won't need me at all before my new job starts? Yep, that's exactly what that means. She had called to say she thought it would be best for them to just "end it now". I'll never work for them again. I'll see the kids on Sunday for a goodbye lunch.

I won't go into the details of all the reasons I disagree with this decision. That would require an entirely different blog devoted to my opinions on appropriate child care. I bring it up here because it creates a financial hardship for me. Sure, I'm about to start a new job and will be making enough money to support myself without struggling. However, it could be 1 to 1 1/2 months from now before I receive my first paycheck. I have rent to pay in two weeks. I am trying to relocate and will have to pay a security deposit. Life and bills go on even while you wait to start your new job!

As a mother, her job is to look out for her family and do what she thinks is best for them. Even though I disagree, I am going along with it for that reason. I just have to realllllllly budget these next few weeks. Puts a little damper on my new job happiness, that's for sure.

Til next time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Where did I go??

To my couch. The whole point of my blog was to keep me from getting lost on my island known as the couch, but after some discouraging and CONFUSING developments, I lost my motivation. I lost my motivation and got lost on my island after all. I write this blog from my couch, so I really could have reconciled the whole situation but alas, I did not.

So, let me catch up my loyal following of two or three readers. Right after my last post I applied to a job in LA and interviewed for it twice. I also received a phone interview and invitation to interview in person for a job selling educational travel programs. I don't know what I was thinking. I am not a saleswoman. I didn't blog about any of this because it all made me feel very conflicted. The LA job was temporary and only went through February. The sales job was a sales job. Here I was being offered opportunities and a large part of me didn't want to take them. I also felt frustrated because I felt trapped by unemployment. I couldn't even be myself and professionally decline the face to face interview because I was worried somehow unemployment would find out and I'd lose my benefit. So, I just never called them back. Uncool, I know.

Time passed and I didn't hear from the LA job. I thought it was for the best and moved on. I found another nanny job in the morning so I felt more secure. I was also still hoping the paid internship program I applied to would come through in the spring. Then, as Christmas was approaching the LA job called. I believe the voicemail said, "Hi, Kelly it's so and so from the LA blankety blank and we're calling about the organizer position and would like to know when you can start" ??? So, they're offering me the job! I feel so caught off guard! I have an 11 day trip planned to Oregon!! What do I do? Why are they so presumptuous? Hmm. I emailed back, but then heard nothing. Oh well, on to the next.

Or so I thought. They contacted me again a couple weeks ago VIA TEXT (weird!) with the same message essentially. When can I start? I did a lot of soul searching and decided even though it's temporary it's worth the risk. I can't be scared of losing unemployment forever or I'll never get out of this trap! Or off my couch Friday through Monday. I call back to say yes, I'll do it. I'll risk ruining my only good nanny reference heaven forbid I should have to nanny again. I'll risk not having anything lined up once the job is over. I'll do it!! "Okay, well we actually just have to run this by our Exec Director. He's in Mexico." Once again, ?????? I guess that wasn't a real job offer after all. Some calls and texting later, NO RESPONSE! Oh boy.

Enter the spring paid internship. By this time, it seemed completely unlikely I would get an offer. The internship was set to start on Jan 14th and I'd heard nothing at all from them. Until January 8th. I got an email saying I was being considered. Two hours later a phone call to see if I could interview on the following Monday. I drove back to LA to the same building the other LA job was in, ironic, and had a great interview with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Only a few hours later the first LA job comes back on the scene with an actual job offer VIA TEXT! Ridiculous. I put them off since I wanted to hear about the internship first, plus I was highly questioning their professionalism by this time. I emailed various people about the internship and by the next day I had A JOB OFFER!!

Nothing is finalized yet and there is paperwork to be submitted, but if everything goes smoothly I will start my new full time paid internship in LA on February 1st. I may have to change the name of my blog. However, I still have a lot of people in my life including family who continue to struggle with this so it remains important to me even if my employment situation has changed.

The next obstacle is the commute. Since I am not a homeowner nor living with my beloved, it really does not make sense to drive from Orange County to LA everyday. I don't even like it here that much. Moving is a little scary since I have become accustomed to OC, but I am looking at Long Beach since I'm more familiar with it and like it. I could take the blue line to work and save a lot of gas and sanity. Unless he wants to lock it down with cohabitation, I think I'll be moving. Another apartment to decorate!

Til next time!
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