Caution! Roadwork Ahead

Preface- It is a BFD to get a driver's license, pay insurance, and find a used car to drive in Southern CA! Hubby and I have had many conversations over the years regarding our children and driving. Hubby is rarely home and I was the sole driver for all of the obligations, sport practices, Dr. visits, study and play dates after work. It was very intense for many years, and I pined for the moment one of them could drive in order to assist in any way. The twins turned 16, and shortly thereafter we bought a used car. The deal was that they had to get a job and pay their insurance in order to earn the privilege to drive. Computer Boy got a job his Junior year, but did not want to shell out nearly all of his cash for car insurance. He decided to bus it and I often dropped and picked him up from work.. Soccer Boy did not find a job until after graduating High School. Hubby needed his help with coaching his younger brother's soccer team and made a deal to pay for soccer boy's first year of car insurance if SB would do the coaching and volunteer to ref soccer games on the weekends. The deal was made and we finally had another driver in the house which was wonderful. The year zoomed quickly by and soon came the dreaded request for insurance payments along with the death of the used car.

SB decided he did not want to spend every cent he earned at his two jobs on a car payment and car insurance, so after the death of the car, he decided to ride his bike to his 2 local jobs. Buddha Boy ( BB ) and Princess both turned 16 and neither of them would take the initiative to go online and do their required Driver's Ed courses partly because they did not have jobs and could not afford to pay for car insurance anyway. It seemed to be a hopeless situation. At least for me. It is difficult to get a job without a car and more difficult to get a car without a job. BB recently turned 20 and his friends helped him to obtain his permit, but it will be difficult for him to work on top of ROTC and classes, so I don't know when he will drive. Princess did get a job but decided to spend her hard earned money on clothes, dinners out and a trampoline. Computer Boy will soon be 23 and he still does not have his license. He can walk to work and the store and take the train most of the places he wishes to go. Between a car payment, gas, and insurance, he is saving about $500 a month, just about enough to offset his student loan payments. He graduated, found a job, and is flying solo but we rarely get to spend time with him.

What I fail to understand is how do all of the other families afford this extra expense for their children? Perhaps because we have four, this is a bigger problem for us. According to our kids, none of their friends have had to pay their own car insurance. Mom and Dad come through with the cash and also pay for gas, clothing, and extra activities. Few of their friends worked during High School or even during college! Perhaps our children would have a different mindset if they had gone to public school with peers closer to their economic situation? I do not know.

But FG did work hard and save her money in order to come to study in the US, She has her license and understands the importance of her independence. She can pay for her insurance. She just needs wheels. Purchasing a car within her budget which was in good operating condition, could pass smog, and was within her budget became a daunting task. But the first hurdle was for her to obtain her US driving license.

Handsome Hubby ( HH ) and Soccer Boy ( SB ) were discussing how to make arrangements for French Girlfriend ( FG ) to take her driving test at the DMV as both had to work. They had an animated telephone exchange about the long process of used car shopping and then switched to texting. Both offered to share their excellently expressed viewpoints, which I thought profoundly spotlighted their different generational values, and agreed to allow me to share them for your reading pleasure. I only minimally edited for the sake of a modicum of privacy. Be sure to fasten your seatbelts :-)

HH: I will never suggest for someone to purchase any car out of convenience rather than rational decision. We are hoping a car she really likes will be fixed to pass Smog today, or at the latest tomorrow. Otherwise we try to get two others she is interested in. When you don't have CASH or enough CASH your options are limited. You never once tried to purchase a car for her or yourself as you never spent the time. I don't know where that crap you spewed at me came from but I didn't go out to a club Friday night nor did I go to the Grove and Hollywood Sunday. I instead used my time to help FG as she had no one else. Maybe reflect on that rather than lash out at me when I am at work.

SB: First of all I wasn't spewing any crap at you. I was informing you of a serious problem that I wanted help with, and then you fed me your famous response, "That's not my problem". I am very grateful that you spent the weekend searching with FG for a car... but sadly it's always the same with you... you search search search and never ever purchase. If I wasn't given a car, I would have never been driving. It is a major problem in our home that is continuing to get worse. My siblings all don't drive, and they probably won't for many more years... you act like you want to see us progress but in reality you are hindering us from doing so and creating long lasting fears within us that are preventing us from moving forward. FG does not have the luxury of time to search for a vehicle weekend after weekend. I am taking her this weekend to BUY a vehicle. No more searching... no more asking... no more testing. She NEEDS a vehicle NOW. FG told me she was about to give up hope in finding a vehicle on Sunday after your excursion. I know you don't do it on purpose but you always find something wrong with everything which prevents you from buying anything... you could drive her 10000000 miles to look at 600 vehicles and she still wouldn't have one. I gave up and chose to ride my bike, but FG doesn't have this option. We are going to the bank TODAY and taking her money out TODAY and the car is being PURCHASED this weekend end of story.

HH: When did YOU ever search for a vehicle? When did YOU and I ever go looking together for a vehicle? In fact, your problem was saving for insurance. You worked for two years and spent instead of saved. That is our difference, you want me to hand you something because your friends got handed something. You just found someone else to hand you a car rather than spend a weekend fixing the car you had. Everything is an excuse why not to spend the time to do it correctly because partying ALWAYS takes precedence. Maybe you should change that behavior, then you will see where I am at. Not once did I tell her NO on any car. I gave her information. I told her we needed $2800 if she wanted an Eclipse. I wanted her to get something else.

SB: If partying always take precedence why am I the only one driving with insurance? What's the explanation for your other children? It's a bigger issue than me here, I am doing fine... I have a job. I have a car. I just want FG's situation handled so I WILL GET IT DONE. You are right, this isn't your problem. I can't spend my time worrying and thinking about your negative perception of me any longer. It really damages my self esteem and I just can't do it.I love you and always will and I will never think any less of you regardless of your actions because you are who you are, and I can't change that.

HH: Your brother and sister until very recently have not even spent the time to take Driver's Education Courses. I gave them links, told them I would pay, but they don't because they do other things instead. Son, when I was 15 I did ALL my own testing, studying, DMV runs. I saved money for insurance and I bought a piece of junk car. I did not use excuses of my Roadblocks. I created my Avenues instead. I feel if someone wants to drive, then they need to be responsible and do it. Sure, I will help, but I refuse to hand out anything without me seeing the individual making the effort. Someday when you are a father you can make your decisions regarding your kids. Your Mom and I did it on our own because driving brought us independence, but we had to work hard and save for that privilege. We ALL make choices on the direction we want to go, can't continually blame Mommy and Daddy for those. Your brothers and sister could be driving but had other priorities and did not want to spend their money for insurance. I can't do these things for you guys. This has to be self motivated. I personally feel I did make a mistake. I have made it much too comfortable for ALL of my kids. So they do very little because they don't have to. Remember, you are almost 23 and really it's only been a few months that you have become more independent. You can't throw that off on me. I view that as a cheap excuse, you have made your choices for years now. It has been your choice to drive or not. One time of getting caught under the influence and the judge will make the choice for you. It is a privilege not a right like voting. Driving must be treated as such which is why I say if you want it then work and save for it.

SB: In Economics they call it Opportunity Cost. You can stand by this and continue to try proving a point, which in my opinion is a power struggle and a huge waste of time. Watch the other kids fall behind or YOU can change and get more involved. You don't have to do anything for me. I am not asking you for anything. I ordered the tail light today and already paid next month's insurance. I am taking my car to get its oil changed this weekend and already paid two month's car payments in advance. And I am saying this for the lat time, it is not the same era now as it was when you and mom were children, and you need to stop comparing our situation to yours... the opportunities are different- everything is different. In the legal world we call that comparing apples to oranges.

HH: I call it independence and responsibility which is what you should be doing at your age. I will not be here forever. My role now changes from nurturer to guidance when needed. It has nothing to do at all with Economics of differences of generations. You have been earning money plenty long but yet this is the real first time in your life you are doing this. Say what it is, "choices."

SB: hahahahahahah I completely agree with everything you just said. I accept that you are refusing to acknowledge the generational differences. Trust me, it has a lot to do with that. It's just not as easy to find a solid job that pays the bills anymore. It's not a matter of being privileged or a lack of ambition. It's simply that the opportunities have changed. Princess only got the job she has now because I left and recommended her. Could Buddha Boy and Princess be making more of an effort to find jobs? Certainly. I'm not fighting you there, but you have to remember it is human nature to fear the unknown. That's why we have parents to eliminate that fear- not amplify it.

HH: Agreed. You don't realize this but just about every job I have ever had including my paper route, mowing lawns, picking up golf balls, delivering kegs of beer, to my current one was not because of me being the best candidate but because of some connection. Your mom and I did not sacrifice a lot to pay for private education because of solely wanting you all to have a religious foundation in a Higher Entity. We also knew we were buying your peers and your peers' parents which we hoped would provide you all with more education and opportunities. Simply put, almost every job you get throughout your life will be based on some connection and not just qualifications. In fact I venture to say that more jobs will come your way via connection than absolute qualifications. You can give me that answer at my grave after you have worked 40 years or more as I have. Connections are everything. Princess got the job because of competence for the task and being born your sister. That is how things work. That, my son, is why parents are so concerned about the peers their children pick. You must surround yourself with the people that are going in the direction you want to go so that the connections help you to get there. No education can ever impress this fact enough. Educators will tell you it's the process of being educated that opens the doors but look how many people work in their Major for the answer on that. Connections land you employment, education just allows you to perform the task. You may learn more on the job than you ever learned prior to the job but not always.

Why would you pay someone money for a car without a contract and smog certificate? Is the car registered in your name? If not I would not do it. You have nothing to prove but an oral agreement, and it is the seller's responsibility to provide an accurate smog test in the state of California.

SB: I aint wasting anymore time. I'm on the road and that's how it's going to stay. The car drives well. The oil needs to be changed, the tail light needs to be fixed and the air conditioning needs to be serviced. I will handle the smog and registration by myself... this is the car meant for me. That's why it was given to me in the first place. I am a strong believer in fate.

HH: Then get the owner to smog it, and write a contract. It has issues but for the right price they become yours.

SB: Dad it's a far price. We already worked it out and I will smog it.

HH: Get a written contract! You are a business man!

SB: We already have one. This is the only person selling a car who is allowing me to pay it off in monthly installments.

HH: You not having the money was choices you made son. It has nothing to do with me or a seller of a vehicle.

SB: You aren't involved with me LOL. I'm good to go. This is my "choice" and I am happy with it.

Epilogue: So Saturday arrived and I was chomping at the bit to see if SB would make good on his word to save the day and get the car purchased, or if HH would be the one to get it done. SB had a soccer game and did not return home until the afternoon. HH spent the morning doing all sorts of other things, and when I asked, told me that the seller of the car did not have the paperwork in order and that the car could not be purchased. Poor FG was distraught. Now we wait another week and pray that the car will be ready. SB did not get the oil changed in his car, nor the registration handled nor a contract, but this isn't HH's problem. FG is very determined and has been spending countless hours researching the options, and I am praying that she can finally get her car next Saturday. By the way, if anyone knows of anyone selling a used car, please drop me a line :-) So hard for the tadpoles to grow their legs

Recipe:

Butternut Squash Ravioli With Veggie Cream Sauce

( I was inspired to replicate the Lean Cuisine Version and I did though my version is not as "lean" )

Ingredients:

2 packages Butternut Squash Ravioli ( I bought the ones from Trader Joe's)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1 yellow bell pepper thinly julienned

2 shallots diced

1 cup shelled frozen edamame

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 minced macadamia nuts

1/2 cup fancy shredded Parmesan curls

1/2 teaspoon truffle salt ( use regular salt if you don't have truffle )

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Directions:

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour and salt and pepper to make a roux. Add the milk and remaining ingredients and cook until the sauce thickens and the vegetables are tender.

Cook the ravioli per the directions. Toss together and enjoy.

Borrowed From The Washington Post

Why aren’t young people getting drivers’ licenses? Too much hassle!

By Brad Plumer

( Aug 2013 )

Ever since the recession hit in 2007, Americans have been driving less and less. And, as we've discussed before, a big chunk of that decline has been due to the fact that kids these days don't seem to drive as much as their parents did.

Case in point: Back in 1983, about 87 percent of 19-year-olds had drivers' licenses. But in 2010, only 69.5 percent did.

So why the decline? Well, we could always just ask the young folks. And that's exactly what Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute have done in an interesting new survey.

The researchers found that about 15.3 percent of the U.S. population aged 18 to 39 now gets by without a license, a big increase from past years. And, within that group, they asked 619 people their primary reason for not owning one. Here were the answers:

--37 percent said they were either too busy or didn't have the time to get a license.

--32 percent said that owning and maintaining a vehicle was just too expensive.

--31 percent said they could hitch a ride with someone else if needed.

--22 percent said they'd rather walk or bike.

--17 percent said they'd rather use public transportation.

--9 percent said they were worried about driving's effects on the environment.

--8 percent said they could work or communicate online.

--7 percent cited disability or medical problems as their main reason.

That jibes with other evidence. One recent survey from AAA found that just over half of teenagers get a license by the age of 18, a big drop from the past: "Some teens don’t bother because they have no access to a car; being licensed no longer holds the social status it once did for many young people; there are other ways to get where they want to go; and the cost of gas and auto insurance are too high."

Now, to be sure, this is still a distinct minority of Americans. As noted above, about 84.7 percent of young Americans aged 19 to 39 do own a drivers' license. And, what's more, about two-thirds of the non-licensed respondents told Schoettle and Sivak that they expected to get a license "within the next five years." (Probably.)

***

According to the AAA, the average person spends $9,641 per year for the privilege of driving. This is based on a study taken when gas was a mere $2.25 per gallon! Click Here for the full article.

Click Here for the full article. Here is a teaser: True Cost of Commuting
It is very typical for people to drive 20 to 40 miles on one way commutes in California. It costs money to maintain your car from fueling up, insurance, and regular maintenance (let alone the mental toll it takes on people). The IRS provides annual standard mileage rates. For 2012, the rate for each mile driven was 55.5 cents.
Keep in mind that many two income households have two commuters so the costs are multiplied twice. I went ahead and calculated these figures for various round-trip mileage scenarios:

For example, based on 2012 data, a person with a 20 mile one way commute will spend an average of $5550 on driving ( not taking into account the cost of obtaining a vehicle! ) This is for gas, insurance, maintenance etc. and this amount ONLY reflects the cost of getting to and from work 5 days a week- not for leisure, shopping and Dr.Visits etc. If you have 4 people in the house each commuting 40 miles per day, multiply this figure by 4!

***

Where Car Insurance Policies Cost Most and Least

Your address can mean the difference between $730 in annual car insurance payments and more than 5 times that amount.

Click Here for the full article

Bullhead City, Ariz., is the least expensive town in the U.S. to buy car insurance. A 40-year-old male with a clean driving record in a 2012 Honda Accord would pay $730 a year, according to a new CarInsurance.com analysis of insurance rates in every U.S. ZIP code.

The most expensive town to buy car insurance in the U.S. is Highland Park, Mich., where the Accord driver would pay an astounding $4,214 a year. That's without any accidents, DUIs, speeding tickets or bad credit. (Use CarInsurance.com's "Nosy Neighbor" tool to compare average rates anywhere in the country.)

It's all about the insurance claims
If you live in a particular ZIP code, your rate starts with that ZIP's base insurance rate -- whether your home is a mansion or a hovel.

Insurance companies group ZIP codes into different risk categories based on the number and severity of claims. "Territorial rating," as the practice is known, is used to produce a base rate that is the starting point for anyone seeking insurance coverage in most states.

A few states limit the use of territories as a primary rating factor. California, for example, requires insurance companies to calculate rates based on driving records and miles driven before considering location. But there's no getting around the impact of a high-risk address. Auto insurance rates in Los Angeles are 150% higher than those a hundred miles north in Santa Barbara.

"The differences in risk are pretty sizable," says Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the nonprofit Insurance Information Network of California. "Santa Barbara doesn't have the traffic or theft or vandalism that Los Angeles does."

Critics of territorial pricing say the poor are penalized for their addresses rather than for their driving history.

"I don't think any consumer would consider it fair that your address matters more than your driving record," says Mark Savage, a staff attorney for Consumers Union, which successfully pushed California regulators to emphasize driving experience, miles driven and driving record over ZIP code.

***

Build financial security with a truly affordable car. Click Here for the full article.

Median-income families in only one major city can afford the average price Americans are paying for new cars and trucks nowadays.

That's the sobering result of Interest.com's 2014 Car Affordability Study, which determined how much the typical household in the nation's 25 largest cities should be spending on a new vehicle.

According to Kelley Blue Book, the average price of a new car or truck sold in the United States in 2013 was $32,086.

Only in Washington, D.C., could the median income support buying a vehicle at that price.

On the lower end of the scale, median-income buyers in Tampa could only afford to spend $14,209 on a vehicle.

Big differences across major cities were due not only to median household incomes but to a wide range of tax rates and insurance costs.

The results point to one important conclusion: Most Americans are spending far more than they can truly afford on their vehicles.

"Just because you can manage the monthly payment doesn’t mean you should let a $30,000 or $40,000 ride gobble up all such a huge share of your paycheck," says Mike Sante, Interest.com managing editor.

"You can get a great car for much less and use the savings to invest in yourself. Here’s where the money for your retirement or kids’ college can come from."

***

Next Post date: September 1, 2014
www.newseum.org

check out today's front page all around the world!

Aug 4, 2014

Happy Birthday R, G & A

Jokes:

The Pope goes to New York, and gets picked up at the airport by a limousine. He looks at the beautiful car and says to the driver, "You know, I hardly ever get to drive. Would you please let me?"

The driver is understandably hesitant and says, "I'm sorry, but I don't think I'm supposed to do that."

But the Pope persists, "Please?"

The driver finally lets up, "Oh, alright, I can't really say no to the Pope."

So the Pope takes the wheel, and boy, is he a speed demon! He hits the gas and goes around 100 mph in a 45 zone. A policeman notices and pulls him over. The cop walks up and asks the Pope to wind the window down. Startled and surprised, the young officer asks the Pope to wait a minute. He goes back to his patrol car and radios the chief.

Cop: Chief, I have a problem.

Chief: What sort of problem?

Cop: Well, you see, I pulled over this guy for driving way over the speed limit, but it's someone really important.

Chief: Important like the mayor?

Cop: No, no, much more important than that.

Chief: Important like the governor?

Cop: Way more important than that.

Chief: Like the president?

Cop: Much more important.

Chief: "Who's more important than the president?"

Cop: "I don't know but he has the Pope DRIVING for him!"

***

A car was driving down the street when all of a sudden it started swerving. The car was going back and forth till someone with a cell phone called the police.

A police officer pulled the car over.

A blonde rolls down the window and says, "Officer, I'm so glad you are here. I saw a tree in the road, then I saw another. So I had to swerve to keep from hitting it!"

The officer looks at her, then says, "Ma'am, that's your air freshener."

***

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, "Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on 280 Interstate. Please be careful!"

"Hell," said Herman, "It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!"

***

A friend meets up with her friend as she is picking her car up from the mechanic.

Her friend asks, "Everything ok with your car now?"

The blonde replies, "Yes, thank goodness. I was worried that my mechanic might try to rip me off, so I was relieved when he told me all I needed was blinker fluid."

***

A lawyer opened the door of his BMW, when suddenly a car came along and hit the door, ripping it off completely.

When the police arrived at the scene, the lawyer was complaining bitterly about the damage to his precious BMW.

"Officer, look what they've done to my Beeeeemer!", he whined.

"You lawyers are so materialistic, you make me sick!", retorted the officer. "You're so worried about your stupid BMW, that you didn't even notice that your left arm was ripped off!"

"Oh no!", replied the lawyer, finally noticing the bloody left shoulder where his arm once was. "Where's my Rolex?!"

***

What do you call a dumb blonde behind a steering wheel?

An air bag.

***

Anytime you see a young man open a car door for his girlfriend, either the car is new or the girlfriend is.

***

How did the woman feel when she got run over by a car?

Tired

***

A penguin is driving along the highway when, suddenly his engine starts running rough and he sees smoke in his rear view mirror. He pulls off the highway and finds the nearest service station, and pulls up to the garage with the car shaking and sputtering. He tells the mechanic what happened, and the mechanic says "OK, give me 10 minutes to check it out."

Meanwhile, the penguin sees an ice cream shop across the street. Thinking this is a perfect time for a tasty treat, he heads over and gets himself an ice cream cone.

After he finishes, he walks back over to the garage, and asks the mechanic "So, did you find out what's wrong?"

The mechanic looks at the penguin and says "It looks like you blew a seal."

The penguin quickly wipes his face and says "Oh, no, that's just the ice cream."

***

A cop pulls a car over for speeding.

Cop: “Sir, do you know you were doing 110 mph in a 90 zone?”3

Driver: “ Yes! I’m Sorry, but that’s because I was racing another car and lost track of the speed.”

Since he did not see any car besides that, the cop asks – “Sir, have you been drinking?”

Driver: “A little bit of Whisky, but just because I needed something to take with the LSD I took at a party!”

Cop: “LSD? Sir, I need you to step out of the car! Is there anything else I need to know? Drugs, Firearms?”

Driver: “Sure! There is at least 5 pounds of cocaine in my glove department and an AK-47 under my seat! But please, don’t open the trunk, or the person I just kidnapped will scape!”

The cop, not believing in what he heard and a little afraid, called his superior!

At his arrival, the cop told the Sheriff all that. The Sheriff told he to wait by his car and goes to speak with the driver:

Sheriff: “Sir, my subordinate told me you have a kidnapped person in your trunk!”

Driver opens the trunk: “As you can see, there’s no one here, but my jack and spare tire”

Sheriff: “What about the AK under your seat?”

Driver pulling his seat forward: “There’s no such thing here, just an umbrella!!”

Sheriff: “I see! And the cocaine in your glove compartment”

Driver opens the glove compartment: “you must be kidding me! Only my registration’s there!”

Sheriff: “Have you been drinking or engaging in any kind of drugs?”

Driver: “Sir, I don’t smoke cigarettes, don’t even drink soda! I’ve been in my home all night with my mom and she's the most fervently religious woman you never know! That cop over there must be kidding you! HE told you I was drunk, took drugs, was armed and a drug dealer, and had kidnapped someone? What else? That I was speeding too?”

***

A traffic cop pulled alongside a speeding car on the motorway. Glancing into the car, he was astounded to see that the young lady, who was driving, was knitting.

Realising that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the policeman wound down his window, turned on his loudspeaker and yelled, 'PULL OVER!'

'NO, 'the young lady yelled back, 'IT's A SCARF!'

***

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