We have now been in California for four weeks! Can you believe it? I can’t! We’ve been settling in and adjusting to our new life here, and I think we’re figuring most things out. Here are a few things that we have had to do or get used to since moving to California:
- Getting registered - After two visits to the DMV our cars are officially registered in the state of California and I am a licensed California driver! While it was sad to let go of our Colorado plates and licenses at least we look like we fit in here now… sort of. Please ignore the terrible driver’s license picture.
- Four stops for groceries - Apparently I was spoiled in Colorado by choosing to go to two stores to get my groceries; Walmart and King Soopers (Kroger). Those two stores were reasonably priced and had everything I would ever need for my weekly meals. Now I go to four stores every week to get groceries. I guess I have a choice, but if I chose to go to only one store that has most everything, I would be paying bouku bucks for groceries. Here’s my new route.
- Stop 1: Walmart. Walmart has pretty low prices on everything, but the nearest Supercenter is 40 miles away so I am stuck with what the regular stores carry for groceries. If I can’t get what I need at Walmart (like meat, dairy, produce and certain variety or brand names of products) then I go to…
- Stop 2: Trader Joe’s. I love Trader Joe’s but if you are looking for name brand items you won’t find them here. Their prices are great, their produce is wonderful, I love their milk, they have fantastic snack foods, and if you are looking for anything natural or organic this is your store. But the meat department in limited and so are the personal care items so anything on my list that I still can’t find I look for at…
- Stop 3: Lucky’s. I have never heard of this grocery chain before and I know nothing about it but they have a lot of what I need, at a slightly higher price than I am used to paying. I am not used to paying $6 or more for a pound of sort of lean ground beef. Still, they have a small frozen section, a lot of their own brand name items that I am not familiar with, and no freshly baked french bread - which is so yummy. For anything left on my list that I don’t have by now I end up going to…
- Stop 4: Safeway. This is by far the most expensive store. For example, ice cream = $6. Velveeta = $8.50. Salad in a bag = $4. It is my last resort for getting what I need and even then I still haven’t found a few things that I’m used to finding like Mexican Velveeta and frozen Pillsbury biscuits.
I still haven’t been into stores like CVS or Nob Hill foods. I’d hate to have to add other stops to my list ;-)
- Three bins - I’m used to the idea that you throw trash away and recycling or composting was a lifestyle choice. Here it is not really a choice. When we moved in I found three trash cans on the side of the house labeled Recyclables, Organics, and Garbage. Two were huge and one was small. Can you guess which one was the small one? After some Internet research I figured out what exactly goes in each can and that the size of your garbage can affects the price you pay for trash service; the bigger the garbage can the higher the cost. Guess we’ll be recycling and using the organics bin more!
- The kitchen pail - In an effort for the trash company to make using the organics bin a little easier to use, they have provided us with a small kitchen pail in which to place our food scraps and food soiled paper. It lives under the sink and you are to empty it into the organics bin when it gets full. I found some compostable garbage bags which I use in the pail to keep the smell down. That helps… a little. This is taking some getting used to.
- CRV - From Wikipedia: “California Refund Value is a fee paid on purchases of certain recyclable beverage containers in California. The consumer pays CRV on the purchase of beverages with aluminum, plastic, glass, and bimetal containers and can be reimbursed if the containers are brought to a recycling center.” So, if you buy a 12-pack of soda you will pay an extra $0.05 per can to take it out of the store. To get your money back, you have to take the empty cans (or bottles or whatever) to a recycling center where they will weigh the items and give you some money back. If you just recycle the items in your big recycling garbage bin that it picked up at your curb, you won’t get any money back. So I have to pay an extra $0.05 per recyclable item that I won’t get back unless I take the extra effort to sort and physically take the items to a recycling center. Lame.
- Hands free - In California you can’t talk on your cell phone in the car (while driving) without a hands free device. I am not used to this at all so I went out and bought a Bluetooth headset and I am trying to use it all of the time so I get used to the idea of having it in the car. And since I spend a lot of time driving around to grocery stores, it is quite useful. Ha!
- Nighttime visitors - The other night we were eating dinner and Dave said he thought he heard something outside. We looked outside and saw two raccoons on top of our fence in the backyard! Eek! The flashlight light seemed to scare them away and we haven’t seen them since. Facebook comments told me that raccoons are a bit aggressive and may attack Gromit so from now on we go outside with him at night to go potty before bed. I hope the raccoons don’t come back!
Well, that’s just about all that is going on here. Looks like we’re on our way to being real Californians! I hope you all had a wonderful week.