margoeve: (Honor)
In the past month, via my friends list, I've heard of two people losing everything to fires. EVERYTHING. Both are in California so I wonder if there is a arson epidemic going after cool people, but there is a lesson here and I hope all of you are listening.
Please take these few steps to protect yourself.

1. Get a safe.
If you have important paperwork (car title, house deed, lease agreement, Insurance proof of coverage, passport, birth certificate, etc), disks, jewelry, original artwork and pictures that can't be replaced, please have a place for them that fire can't get to. Please invest in a fireproof safe. You can get one from a wholesale club for under $100. (Obviously, artwork may need a larger investment).

2. Get Insurance.
If you are renting, please call Allstate, USAA, Statefarm, or any other insurance provider and get renters insurance. Depending on where you live and how much you have, coverage is usually less than a monthly payment for car insurance. (Plus, if your car is broken into, the stuff inside is covered - except for the radio and music stuff. But clothes, stuff you just went shopping for are all covered.) They can break down payments so it's easier to pay, or you can just lump sum it on a credit card.

Most importantly, the stuff you lose gets reimbursed at the price you would need to pay to get it new at the retail, not sale price, if you don't have receipts for it. So, for example lets say you bought a paperback book for $5 in 1999 and a reprint is now $8 - you'd get the $8.

Again, this isn't helpful for those irreplaceable things, but it helps when getting back on your feet. Things of significant value should be insured individually and can be added to your overall policy.

You may think it's not worth the extra-expense for something you may never need. But I know that factoid about stuff being stolen from a car from an experience a few years ago. Since then, I'd never go without such insurance. And frankly, I'd rather donate to friends' insurance premiums so they don't have to rely on the kindness of strangers should anything (gods forbid) happen.

Note - Be sure you check "flood coverage." Often it's extra. If you live in an apartment building, in a city where pipes often burst, or below sea level, get it. Be sure to read the fine print.

3. Get a X-drive (or similar) account.
http://www.xdrive.com is a online hard drive storage system. You can get about 5 gigs for free. If you have an AIM name, you already have an account, you just need to activate it. If you have paid AOL account you get 50gigs as part of your membership fee.

I say this, not just because your computer may be destroyed, but because crashes happen and people lose jumpdrives. Many of my self-employed friends depend on their computers and files for their bread and butter. Make sure you back it up, not just in hard copy to put in your new safe (see #1), but in an off site location like X-drive.

I hope you never EVER go through the devastation of a house fire or any other kind of disaster. That being said, if this helps ONE person have it a little easier if they do go through it, then I'm glad I posted it.

Feel free to link to this if you feel the need.
margoeve: (Fuck It)
When they say don't take when you have consumed alcohol, they really mean it.

Ambien users found "sleep driving" on the rise.

Not all of it is misuse and disregard of labels either.

This is the primary reason I tell Elkor of anything I may have taken before going to bed and ask that he do the same. I don't care if its as simple as NyQuil or as complex as Sonata. Anything that could affect one's mental capacity.

People don't realize how even a little alcohol can really screw with the normal dosage of these medications. Heck, I've seen someone have a complete blackout of memory from drinking wine while on a weight loss medication. It was a sample trial size and there were no obvious warnings about alcohol.

So if you take these medications, please be aware, not all the risks are obvious. If you live with someone (SO or just a roommate) be sure to make who you live with aware of what your taking when you are taking it so maybe they can intervene if you suddenly get an urge to go for a cruise around the block after taking a sleeping pill. It may sound silly, but really it's worth it to not end up like some of the people in that article.

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