Cars That Go Boom

oldtimer-510061_640We got into a car accident on Sunday. As bad of an Asian driver that I am, I was not the one who caused it. A Subaru Forester slammed into a brand new Prius which then hit our Nissan Pathfinder. A 3-car crash. Highway patrol was immediately on the scene, followed by a police officer five minutes later.

The woman who caused the accident looked to be in her 60s and must have had slow reflexes in responding to the traffic. The driver of the Prius was pretty shaken up. Her car had the most damage. Luckily no injuries. Our car had the least amount of damage. We’ll probably need to have our bumper replaced, but that’s it.

Poor baby Franco screamed after we were hit so after the police officer took our statement, we brought Franco to the pediatric ER where they took his vitals and examined him. All clear.

I’ve been making phone calls to insurance, giving recorded statements, searching for a new car seat to buy, and scheduling an appointment to have our car checked out. It’s been a pain.

During this process, I’ve come to the conclusion that All State insurance is one of the best. I don’t have them; I’ve got Geico. Within 24 hours All State (which insured the Prius) had contacted and gotten statements from everyone involved. If I have any questions about anything, I’ll be calling All State and not my own insurance. All State rocks! They are totally on top of things. I might have to make the switch.

Also I’m now a believer in buying a big ass car if you have kids. Before the baby, we used to drive a tiny Honda Civic. That piece of tin foil disguised as a car would not have survived this accident.

Have any of you been in a car accident that caused you to change your insurance provider or car?

Death with Dignity

I have been so moved by 29-year-old newlywed Brittany Maynard’s bravery as she approaches the end of her life from brain cancer. She has moved with her husband from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon, one of five states that allows people to end their life with medication prescribed by a doctor for terminally ill patients. In her shortened time with us, she is advocating for everyone to have this option available to them.

Please watch this video, then scroll down for a link to sign Brittany’s card.

 

I just learned today that this courageous woman is my friend’s sister-in-law. My heart goes out to Brittany, her friends and family, and the Diaz family. Please sign this card to show your support.

How to Overcome an Addiction

I did it! I’m no longer a sugar-holic! After a lifetime of consuming cookies, ice-cream, cake, chocolate croissants, cupcakes, hot chocolate, candy, cheesecake, you name it…on a daily basis, I’m totally over it!

drink

After a 21 day detox, I no longer crave sugar. It’s incredible. As someone who got her “fix on” every single day, this is, obviously, life-changing for me. No more Starbucks runs. No more standing in line for frozen yogurt. No more trips to the vending machine for a Twix bar.

After the detox was over, I thought maybe I’ll do another 21 days. But I figured that was a bit draconian. So here’s my guideline: I’ll only eat processed sugar if it’s offered to me. Donuts at the office? Bring it. Cupcakes at a baby shower? Gladly. But I will not spend a dime to buy myself a sugary treat.

There’s one scenario that’s really hard for me. On the weekends, I love strolling Franco around in our neighborhood and sitting down at our local bakery and having a hot chocolate. Not being able to do that is really tough. I guess I can always get tea, but for now, I know I need to avoid the aroma of baked goods. I can see myself caving in with a hot chocolate and one of their pear tarts.

I will say that when you give up an addiction, you’re really just transferring one addiction for another. In my case, I now eat more salty snacks and drink more alcohol.

But otherwise, I feel great! No more sugar rushes. No more ups and downs.

Now if I can just get my baby to sleep through the night!

Do You Have Enough to Retire?

ID-100267709I had an ex-boyfriend who was a computer science major and I remember asking him if he could build me a computer. When he said he wasn’t able to do that, I gave him a lot of flak. “How is it that a computer science major can’t build a computer from scratch? That’s like me being an English major and saying I can’t write a book.”

Oh the irony. Even though I have an MBA, I don’t know googly squat about managing money. Sure I’ve socked a lot away, but that isn’t a retirement strategy. Do I have enough? Hell if I know. When can I retire? Your guess is as good as mine.

Now that I have a baby, I’ve suddenly become hyper-responsible. I’ve retained a lawyer to create a trust for our family. I scheduled an appointment with a financial advisor I found highly-recommended through San Francisco’s Golden Gate Mothers Group. She gathered all my financial data and recently walked me through my plan. It was really informative and she advised the following:

1) Continue to max out our 401ks (no brainer).

2) Keep an emergency fund of 6 months living expenses in cash (already done).

3) Save at least $12k/year (duh).

4) Save an additional $12k/year to be able to pay private school tuition for Franco from K-12 (not a problem).

5) Rebalance my stock portfolio because having half my investments in Berkshire Hathaway isn’t smart (must rebalance ASAP, bad Catherine).

6) Supplement with life insurance for me and Dean.

All really great points that I will be acting on, especially life insurance. If you are young and healthy, life insurance is a no brainer. I should have gotten life insurance years ago! For a nominal monthly fee, I can ensure that all our debts (i.e., mortgage) are paid off and my family is provided for in case I get killed by a wayward Amazon Prime drone. Now if you’re old (i.e., in your 40s) then you’re screwed because life insurance premiums are exorbitant.

Now here’s the part that was really empowering. After decades of scrimping, eating Cup O’Noodle and maxing out my 401k from the time I was 22 when I absolutely hated my first full-time job after college, I am on track to retire when I’m 57 years old, which is when Franco turns 18. Happy dance! At that point, I can withdraw $10k/month until I die at 92 years old. How insane is that? First of all, I don’t even need half that amount to live comfortably every month. Secondly, there is no way with my genetics that I am living to 92 years old. No one in my family has lived that long.

Put this on your to-do list: schedule an appointment with a financial advisor. All of the above was free advice!

Thumbnail image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Very Stressful Catherine: Inching My Way to Less Stress

the-very-hungry-caterpillarIn talking to a wellness coach recently, she asked my stress level on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest. My response was an 11 because I have never been more stressed out in my life.

Here’s the thing. I thrive on stress. I like being busy, overworked, and admittedly, I actually enjoy being a bit on the overly-stressed side. I’m also the type of person who doesn’t need much sleep. 6 hours is the perfect amount for me. But these days, I feel like I have no reprieve.

Pre-child, I could always get into the office earlier or stay later if I was busy with work. I could go for a hike or a run. But all the things I could count on previously to de-stress no longer apply.

The nanny picks up Franco at 7:30am. Soon after, I am practically running to catch the train. Luckily my commute is 25 minutes from the time I leave home to the moment I’m logging into my computer. I’m the last person on my team in the office (when I used to be one of the first) and now I’m also one of the first to leave because I try to be home in time for Franco’s drop-off at 5:30pm. We barely get any time with him before he starts fussing and needs to go to bed.

Further, I pump at least twice at work which means booking a reservation to the company mother’s room, getting there, partially getting undressed, pumping, collecting, labeling, washing and cleaning the pump supplies, then getting dressed again.

I dream of the day when I can go to a spa or gym and sit in the steam room for 10 minutes. Imagine!

I have no time, I told the wellness coach. Taking this into consideration, she gave me one action item to implement and pointed me to an excellent resource. Three times a day at 9am, noon, and 3pm, I put into my calendar a recurring appointment to breathe and stretch. I roll my head around, stretch my arms and legs, and breathe deeply. I also dab lavender oil on my nose. It’s such a lovely relaxing scent.

I read a few articles on stress here and they were really helpful. Some tips included:

Look at a favorite picture or memento.

Listen to uplifting music.

Spritz on your favorite perfume or cologne.

Stretch or roll your head in circles.

When have you been super stressed out?

What do you do to alleviate stress?

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