A great new service to the rescue! Introducing ClubLocal to the Bay Area crowd.

standard June 10, 2013 Leave a response

Before I met my friend Beth I never knew who to call when I needed a plumber, a handyman, or anyone for that matter. Now, when my roof springs a leak, when my garbage disposal backs-up, when I realize that something needs to be fixed on the rather urgent side, I grab my phone and text her.

It’s wonderful having a Beth in your life.

Sadly, not everyone can have a Beth in their back pocket. (Hands off! She’s mine! Unless you’re moving to the Bay Area or already live here, want to move, and need a great realtor. Then I’ll lend her to you for a bit.) Lucky for you (if you live in the Bay Area or in Dallas), a new service, ClubLocal.com, has just launched. I’m pretty sure that you’ll come to love almost as much as I love my Beth.

Let me walk you through it.

The awesome people at ClubLocal have sat down and carefully vetted a large number of service providers. They’ve checked their background, their licences, even their insurance status. Then they set them up to be ClubLocal vendors.

Here’s where you come in.

You realize that you have something around the house that needs doing. A car that needs detailing. Some plumbing that needs tending to. A faulty switch that needs fixing. You hop onto the ClubLocal website, or the iPhone app, and type in your zip code.

And there you have it. In four easy steps (three if you’ve already done it once) you have booked your service.

ClubLocal booking page

Instead of spending precious time looking up vendors, checking with friends to see if they’re any good, and then calling around to set up appointments, ClubLocal does it all for you.

You pick the type of vendor you need and the date and time you want to see them, ClubLocal sends you the most highly rated service provider available at that time.

It really is that easy. I tried it.

I wanted someone to come convert some external lights into motion sensored lights. I hoped on to the ClubLocal website and asked for a handyman to come the next day at noon. (I could have had someone come the same day, but I wasn’t going to be home.)

Within minutes someone from ClubLocal called me to tell me that what I really needed to do the job I had described was an electrician so they’d gone ahead and cancelled the handyman and booked an electrician for the same time slot.

The next day, just before twelve I got an email letting me know that Ramon, my electrician, was on his way. The email included a picture of him, so I’d know that the right guy was at the door. At twelve on the dot, he showed up, sporting a clean uniform and a ClubLocal lanyard and ID card slung around his neck.

Within moments we had come to an agreement about what needed to be done and how much it was going to cost and he was off to collect supplies.

My service window was 12-2pm. Just before 2pm Ramon was done with my lights, had swiped my credit card payment, and was off with a cheery wave and the injuction to call if the lights weren’t working properly.

Done. Diddley. Done.

I always worry that any service provider is going to notice that I’m a mom, home with the kids, and is going to try to fleece me. What do I know about the cost of a basic electrical job?

To set minds at ease, ClubLocal negotiated with all their service providers and got them to agree to fixed prices for every service they provide. So, even before you book a job you can look on the website to see how much it’s going to cost.

Between work, the kids, the house, the cat, the husband, and all the time I seem to spend at the kids’ school I neither have the time nor the desire to hunt down the perfect guy. Even with Beth’s recommendations in hand I still have to sit down and call to make appointments. ClubLocal makes it ridiculously easy to schedule everything.

Which is a good thing because my husband hates the new lights and wants to switch back to the old ones. You just can’t win them all.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or in Dallas, check out ClubLocal. Just for signing up you’ll get a great credit towards your first service.

Please note: I have been working with ClubLocal to help promote their new Bay Area service and I am being compensated for this post. My experience and opinions about the company and the service and mine and mine alone.

Everything I Know I Learned from My Cat

standard March 6, 2012 1 response

A long time ago, probably as a gag Christmas or birthday gift, my older sister got me a little book titled All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat. It was a tongue in cheek reference to my slight obsession with my cat, but frankly, it rang true.

Cats are pretty wise really.

They know that happiness lies in doing what you want, not what you think others want you to be doing.

They know that you should only eat the stuff you really want to eat.

They know when to nap.

They know when to seek human contact, and when to be alone.

They know how to be cautious.

They’re unwaveringly optimistic.

They know when they’re needed.

And they have a wicked sense of humor which manifests itself the instant someone allergic walks into the house.

During this move the cat is proving once again that he’s the wisest of us all. He stayed out of the way of the moving boxes. He hid during the actual move. And once we’d transported him to the new house he spent a full two days hiding under the covers at the foot of our bed, pretending nothing had changed, coming out only to cuddle close to us as we slept.

A week later and he’s slowly widening his safety zone, venturing further and further into the house, checking out cabinets and closets, sleeping with the kids, joining us for meals. As I type he’s lounging on the couch with one lazy eye open, watching the activity in the yard.

Because the yard is the one place he hasn’t really ventured yet. Him, the mostly outdoor cat who only came in to eat at the last house, has barely been outside yet, and has only gone while the kids were nearby.

I’ve been watching him all week and I’m taking notes. The temptation to rush into new situations is strong, but sometimes it’s best to take change slowly, to let yourself adapt bit by bit, until you feel at home and comfortable again. Once your home base is solid, then, and only then, does it makes sense to venture out with all the confidence in the world.

Today Axl is sleeping on the couch, close to me, safely inside. I’m sure that by next week he’ll be outside hunting the squirrels and birds who taunt him through the windows. And he won’t be looking back that the house every two seconds to make sure that it’s still where he left it, to make sure we haven’t shifted his world once again.

The View from Inside

standard February 27, 2012 11 responses

Moving is the most ridiculously futile thing ever. Not the actual moving, moving part; that’s not futile, but the box part.

You spend three weeks putting all your belongings into boxes. You take a matter of hours to move said boxes. And then you have to unpack all the boxes.

So silly.

And then you unpack stuff and you wonder what possessed you to think you might ever need that item again and why you even bothered to move it in the first place.

All kidding aside, the move went well. The boxes and furniture all arrived intact. And thanks to a lot of help from friends and family we’re in pretty good shape.

I even cooked yesterday. TWICE. 

I’d show you the photos of the inside of the house, but the chaos is still overwhelming. Instead I shall share with you the view from where I’m sitting (the dining room table because the office desk is hiding under a mountain of book boxes.)

Just think… if you came to help me unpack you could see this view too!

Embarrassed

standard January 27, 2012 11 responses

I live in an amazing area. It’s gorgeous here. Gorgeous as in sometimes I want to stop on the side of the road just so I can gawk at the scenery. The weather is amazing — never too hot or too cold. There are no bugs. (No, really, no bugs.) And even better, the people here are awesome.

This place, that I never expected to live in, is amazing in every way possible… except one.

The housing prices here are astounding. And not in a good way.

This past month, as we’ve visited countless homes in the hopes of moving to a town that would allow us to reduce the amount of time we spend commuting and that would bring us closer to our community, C has lamented the unfairness of the high price of homes.

“But we need homes. Why can’t they all cost the same?”

So, after patting ourselves on the back for raising a bleeding heart liberal like her parents, we’ve explained to her again and again that sure, there are affordable homes, but if you want to live somewhere as special as we do, you have to be willing to pay the price.

This week we found the house of our dreams and one dizzying few days later, we’re finding ourselves the new owners of this house.

And I am SO excited.

Seriously, it’ll be like living in one of those spots I want to pull over and gawk at.

I keep wanting to pinch myself about what just happened.

And yet, I can’t seem to allow myself to scream it on the rooftops.

Fact is, I think I’m embarrassed about what we’re paying for this house.

For this area? It’s a deal. Ok, fine, at least it’s quite reasonable. And a great investment. And we can afford it. Which is astounding in and of itself.

But I have friends whose husbands have lost jobs this year. I have friends facing foreclosure. I have friends who live pay check to pay check. Sharing the listing with them to show off our new gem feels so… unfeeling.

Tonight as I was driving I thought back to the year we’ve just lived through. Everyone has their own burdens. Ours are health related, not financial (knock wood). As much as C wishes it were possible, we can’t all live in the same homes, in the same towns. We’ve chosen this place because of family and roots. It is our home. I can’t keep being embarrassed about the choice we’ve made in living here.

I’m excited about this new chapter in our lives. Yes, it will mean some sacrifices. Yes, it might be a little insane when you think about the actual numbers involved in the game. But when I wake up in the morning and I drink my tea in front of a view that makes my soul whole, I’ll know there was a reason we found this place just when we needed it.

I’m making peace with my embarrassment. I’m embracing our choice.