Frizz defying

I switched my shampoo and conditioner to humidity protection, frizz-defy. It doesn’t really matter though because within five minutes of being outside I am literally a hot mess. I don’t know how anyone lives in this hot, humid sticky weather.  It is 95 degrees by 10 am.  No one bikes in Durham because it is too hot.  Even traveling a short distance, my arms get hot from the sun and I need to take a break in the shade before peddaling along.

My move to North Carolina was less than smooth. All my Amtrak boxes arrived except one, and they did not all arrive at the same time. The majority of them arrived on Thursday morning, one week after I delivered them to the Emeryville station in California. They traveled by train to Chicago, them switched trains in Washington D.C. then to Durham, North Carolina. One separate box arrived alone the next day via a different train.

The lost box is my kitchen things. I am grateful the lost box was not my gear or winter clothes. It could have been a lot worse. My takeaway from the experience, is move by Amtrak if cost is your priority and you do not care if something is lost. It was $400 for a pallet of 500 lbs.  The lost box will not be reimbursed until Amtrak corporate has done an extensive search for 90 days.  The boxes are now in a storage unit until my lease begins.  

My bicycle shipped separately via UPS or Fed Ex, I don’t remember which, it was damaged in transit and required special parts replaced.  The bike shop in Durham will order them and replace those parts.

Finding housing was also tedious. I thought I had everything settled before I arrived, placing a deposit on a property. However, upon arrival, the house next door to this property is undergoing a major renovation and I did not want to live next door to a construction zone. The ceilings were also very low and the house much smaller than I had viewed on Face Time.  I received my deposit back, but lost $45 on the application fee.  Then over the next few days I looked at ten+ properties and different neighborhoods.  I hope to live in the Old West Durham neighborhood as it is closest to West campus and shops.

I stayed my first two nights with a recent nursing school graduate, then the next four nights at an Airbnb (two nights were over the weekend). At the Airbnb, the host put my housing request on the neighborhood list serve and someone replied with a house that works perfectly for me. It is a 1B/1B, completing my only requirements of a indoor area for my bicycle and a washer/dryer in unit. It is a 10-15 minute walk to the 9th street shopping/market area or a 5 minute bike ride. I completed a rental application for this house and hope to report back positive news soon by signing a lease. I am in NYC now and return August 15 to Durham, and stay until December.

Buying a mattress online

Thanks everyone who gave me suggestions about their personal online mattress experiences.  Here is my review of my experience thus far.

Mattresses live about 8 years says most websites.  After that point it may be time to consider a new one if you are having pain or the mattress is worn or sinking in spots.  My mattress was bought around $1,000 in 2009 and used until 2017, however it was in storage for about 1.5 years.  I sold it for $100.  It was time for a new mattress and it was not going to make the move back across the country.

First stop was Macy’s, the department store.  I went to Macy’s because they have a dedicated showroom and dedicated staff on commission to show me their full line of products – hybrid mattresses, foam mattresses and traditional coil mattresses.  I sampled at least ten beds with the help of a very knowledge sales person.  I determined I do not like plush or pillow tops – they provide too much cushion for me.  I prefer firm with support.  Best practice: You should flip/rotate your bed every 6 months for even use.  The salesperson said his personal practice is to flip/rotate every 2 months.  All beds sold at Macy’s have a ten year warranty.  They must sink something like 2″-3″ to be considered defective. I found the more expensive the mattress = higher quality materials, support and comfort.  Most of the mattresses I tested, I said “it’s ok.”  But the salesperson said, when I tested, the “aireloom hybrid”, I had more of a “wow” response.  I’m not sure I would say wow, but I did like the hybrid the most – which is a combo of memory foam/latex on top with the traditional coil system.  This mattress was out of my price range and I wasn’t sold on the price.

I went to the online website: sleepopolis and they suggested a luxury mattress topper to create that hybrid effective and make a firm mattress less firm while adding to the memory foam feel.  There was a discount code for 20% too, so I bought their recommended topper for $60 and will try it out for a few weeks on my traditional firm mattress in Brooklyn to see if I like the hybrid feel.

Next, I went to the showroom for Tufts and Needle.  It is a foam bed, ships in a box.  I tested the bed and instantly felt it was too firm both on my back and side.  The salesperson suggested I go to Emeryville at West Elm to test their competitor, Casper.  Casper has 4 levels of foam and she said I might like it more.

I’m staying at my friend’s house next week and will try out her Casper bed for two nights.

Leesa – is the mattress, I am probably leading with – but their showroom is in New York, so I’ll have to wait a few weeks to go test it out.  Leesa – donates one mattress for every 10 sold and plants a tree for every mattress sold.  And, using the discount code from sleepopolis – you get a $100 coupon.  Most of the materials for the mattress are made in the U.S.  I’m inclined to lead with this mattress, because it is affordable, under $900 (Queen).  They also have a ridiculous not useful spokesperson, Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps, on their website who is quoted as saying “awesome.”

Leesa, like Casper and Tufts+Needle, are all online foam mattress, which will ship to you in a box.  They all have more or less the same return policies for your money but if you do return it, it’s a lot of environmental waste.  They try to donate it locally – (I personally do not know of a single place you can donate a mattress to) but if they cannot donate, they will recycle it.  I recommend visiting the showroom before making your purchase – T+N is on King Street in San Francisco.  Casper in West Elm at Emeryville and Leesa in Soho, New York.


No on Navy

I was misinformed.  If you were an incoming student for a doctor, a dentist or some other health profession program, you would receive benefits of full tuition.  However, the nurse program is a sign up bonus of $10,000 and $1,000 monthly stipend for 24 months with a commitment of 5 years active duty.  The recruiter also did not like it when I said the incentive was not what I was told.  He said if you were signing for the money, it would be the wrong reason to join.  Which may be true, but there are other loan forgiveness programs that are more with less time commitment, so no Navy for me.  Thank you all for your thoughtful comments.  

US Navy Nurse

What are your thoughts about joining the US Navy?  Today, I received an email inviting me to learn more about the US Navy Nurse Candidate Program.  They would pay all my tuition in exchange for 3 years active duty after graduation.  And, it looks like I would either be stationed in San Diego or Maryland.  I would get much needed experience at a much faster track.

Please weigh in on this – application is due July 1.  I’d like to hear your comments.

Real Estate

I sold my bed.  If I was in denial about moving, it became real.  Not having a place to sleep sets everything in motion.  I have slept on my couch for a few days, but it has sold as well.  I sold everything that could be sold, mostly breaking even, selling the item for the amount I paid for it, more or less.  My belongings have been reduced to thirty boxes.  Thirty is more than I expected and I could have reduced my items even further if I had been more critical.  I wasn’t sure if I needed to pack “starter” items, so I packed them anyway – some plates, silverware, pots.  I have no knives and no linens.  Although one box of pillows and two sleeping bags.

I have not signed the lease yet, but I think I found a house that is good enough.  It does not meet all my requirements but I’m tired of searching for a new home and I can make do with it.  For a one bedroom duplex, 500 square feet home, in Durham, North Carolina, I will be paying less than my current situation, sharing a home with 3 other people in San Francisco.

Finding a new home

They have Badminton, Equestrian, and Figure Skating among the sport club teams – but no archery! What am I going to do? Should I take up Equestrian so I can ride horses then maybe one day shoot bows and arrows while riding horses?

They are Division I – so they have the most amazing pool, an indoor track, and a climbing wall. The main gym is on the West campus, which is where all the graduate programs are located. East campus is for undergraduates. The main library, the chapel and the Botanical Gardens are also on West. Supermarkets are closer to West campus. I was considering a variety of different neighborhoods for housing based on recommendations but now that I’ve found out the gym and the supermarkets are on the same side of town,

I’m looking primarily at Old West Durham, then (Walltown, Trinity Heights, Trinity Park). The Nursing School also has their own tech support and librarian – just for the Nursing school! I love the resources and I might be one of the few people really excited about the gym.

Presidio Goldsworthy sculpture 

Someone from Craigslist stopped by the house to check out my TV for sale. He said he was using it as a monitor for his 3D work. I’ve never heard of someone using a 50″ LCD monitor before but he tested it out and said it had lag time which didn’t work for him. He was on his way out and I asked him if he needed anything else. I asked, how about these boxes, they hold file folders but they are very sturdy and you can use them for a wide variety of things. He said, he didn’t have cash. I said, you have a phone, do you have a paypal or venmo account? He said yes, I said how about $10? I recieved those two storage boxes from the Container Store for free and they retail new at $19 each. I happen to have used them as bedside shelves. If nursing school doesn’t work out, I can find my way back to sales.

This weekend, my friend Kris came to visit from Ohio. It was a lovely weekend of food, friendship and exploration. Photos: we visited 4 outdoor sculptures by Goldsworthy at the Presidio. The 4th piece was housed at the Presidio officer’s club which also hosted an exhibit on the Japanese internment. It was a very powerful gallery. I recommend visiting it and taking a look at the 120,000 names of those interned, etched in glass.