As promised, here are some progress photos of the remodeling:
I’m using TL Premier Construction in San Diego to do the work. Those guys are super efficient. Most of the major demo occurred in the first day with remediation work done the following day followed by electrical rough-in, framing, flooring work and plumbing rough-in. My house was built in 1952 so it’s over 60 years old. It has remarkably held up very well over the decades but there are some things that needed repair work. That’s the toughest part of remodeling an older home. Construction standards were way different back then. Materials were different too. In some cases they were better but the majority is better today. Material science have gone a long ways since the 1950′s! Still, a lot of the work is repairing before the renovation.
I’m hanging in tight though as the project is moving quickly. I’ll add pictures at some point here so you all can see what I’m talking about.
Luckily, if you need help to complete your immigration petition/application or other forms from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and either don’t have the time or are too intimidated by the process to do it yourself, there’s help! Trusted Immigration Services in an affordable service to help you sponsor your foreign/alien fiance to the U.S. or to sponsor a foreign/alien relative like parents, siblings, etc.
Trusted Immigration Services provides affordable help to get your application/petition completed. All for a fixed price of $300 with no hidden fees or strings attached. The truth is that most immigration cases are pretty simple and do not require the help of an attorney. Attorneys won’t tell you that though. They’ll try to scare you and get you to pay thousands of dollars for essentially clerical work. There are definitely some cases where you need legal help. But if yours is a simple one, don’t let the attorneys scare you into using them and wasting your hard earn money. Do your due diligence and check out Trusted Immigration Services and see if they can help you. Who knows? You might end up saving a lot of money!
So what’s bad about it? Plenty. It doesn’t support multiple Gmail accounts like the native app and forget about email accounts from any other service. The built-in attachment viewer, while nice, has bugs. If you leave your device when viewing attachments and the device goes to sleep or you manually put it to sleep by locking it, coming back will result in a blank white screen with no way to get back to where you were before. Only kill the app by double-tapping the home button and then holding down your finger on the Gmail app and selecting the minus sign that comes up will kill it and let you go back in.
Is it a total loss? No… there are a few things Google can do to improve it. One is to fix that attachment viewer bug. Two is to support multiple Gmail accounts at the very least. And lastly, if there was a way to save attachments directly to your Google Drive (this isn’t even available on the desktop!) it would make it very nice indeed.
How does it look at this point? I’d give it a 2.5 star out of 5. So for now I’m sticking with the native client.
The skin is soft, as is the hair. You can peel it with your fingers very easily. Inside is the flesh of the fruit itself, which is a translucent white. It looks very much like a large longan. In fact, there is a variety of ramubtans in Vietnam called “chom chom nhan” which literally translates as longan rambutans. Here’s what it looks like inside:
The fruit itself is sweet but not overly juicy. There’s a big single seed inside, the out layer of which will oftentimes stick to the flesh of the fruit as you’re eating it. If you’ve never had rambutans before, I suggest heading down to your local Asian supermarket and see if they have any fresh ones available. Some of them in the bigger Asian communities do. The canned variety in light sugary syrup does not do the fruit justice.
Over the next few weeks I’ll post more of my thoughts on Vietnam but for now enjoy the photos!
Overall I’m pretty happy with it and it should serve me well for years. I plan to drive this car as long as possible. I’ll keep reporting periodically on the driving experience and what it’s like to own a hybrid, cost wise. I was a bit worried that perhaps I made my decision too hasty to go with a hybrid compared to say a diesel, like the Volkswagen Passat diesel that gets almost 40 MPG in real life. But what swayed me ultimately was Toyota’s reliability, slightly cheaper gas prices compared to diesel and that in the real world the hybrid Camry gets more miles per gallon than a comparable diesel sedan.
1. The cardinal rule: Be firm. Always. An example: When you visit a dealer to look at a car, sit in it, test the headroom, test drive, etc. and then leave, they’re going to pressure you to make an offer then and there. Don’t. This is but one example but there are many along the process and if you’re not firm, you’ll waste your time.
2. Get the name of 4-5 dealers within a 50 mile radius from you.
3. Decide what car you are going to buy, down to the trim level & options as much as you can. Only you know what you can live with or without. Do as much research as you can from the car review sites. Test drive at any dealer you choose but leave as soon as you’re done. Thank them and tell them you’ll email them with your offer when you’re ready. BE FIRM!
4. Decide on a few acceptable colors. There’s more than a good chance that the dealer willing to give you the best price might not have the exact color you want. Again, decide on how important this is to you and work accordingly.
5. Go to http://amexnetwork.zag.com and enter your car model & zip code on the left side for new car. Select your options and price it out. Click on the bell curve looking graph that’s labeled “See what others really paid.” You’ll get a pop that looks like the picture below. This part only works on Flash enabled devices so sorry, no iPhones/iPads. I’ve found this is the BEST site for new car values. I’ve compared these prices to Edmunds’ True Market Value, CarDirect, ec. and they’re all significantly higher. You do not need to be an American Express member to use this site.
6. Average the Factory Invoice price and the Dealer Cost price. This will be the price you will offer and pay for the car. No more, no less. Your only adjustments will be to move up or down accordingly if certain options are not specifically available on the car a dealer might have on their lot.
7. Go to your bank or credit union and arrange your own financing and get pre-approved based on the value you get in step #6 (add to that tax & licensing fees). DO NOT GO THROUGH THE DEALER FOR FINANCING UNLESS THEY HAVE A RIDICULOUS OFFER (like 0% for 60 months or something). I got 1.79% on a 60 month term through my credit union. If your credit is only so so, you should still go this route. The bank/credit union you have an existing relationship with will almost always give you better rates than the dealer. If you’re paying cash, even better.
8. Wait until the last day of the month. Better yet, last day of the quarter. Email the dealers in your area with vehicles that closely match your criteria. Make them an offer on the price you got in Step #6 + tax/license. Tell them you have your own financing (or cash) and can close the deal quickly. Make sure you say in your email that you are emailing several dealers with the same offer. Tell them that you’ve done your research and know what the true cost to them are and that your offer is lower than the so called “factory invoice” but that’s your price. Tell them all you require is a “YES” or “NO” that they can do a deal at your price and that you will not accept any counteroffers from the dealer and that there’s no working with you on the price. Don’t be afraid to talk to them but repeat the mantra. You only need a Yes or No and you’ll move on. You won’t work with them, you won’t take counteroffers, you don’t care that it’s below the “factory invoice”… it’s simply can they sell the car to you at that price or not. That’s it.
9. When the responses come in, you can decide what your favorite colors are from the YES and go from there. Say no to GAP, extended maintenance, dealer security system, LoJack, under body coating and all that crap. Tell them you have very little time to do the paperwork and watch how fast they can go… it does not need to be a half day ordeal.