Car Park Robbery

A new restaurant opened up in front of our apartment block a few months ago. We have been watching them renovate the place since we moved in, over a year ago. The day after they opened a team of ten or so people turned up to rip up the car park and resurface it. The work started at 7 am…7 am I sat bolt up right from my beautiful slumber to the sound of metal being scraped along tarmac. Think nails on the blackboard times a million. This lasted the whole day, the next day large lorries turn up with tarmac and large roller machines (much to the excitement of the kids). And bosh, job done! 26 car lot complete in two days. Super quick huh?!

The evening after, opening hours and a valet service turns up to take cars from customers and park them so they don’t have to. Now, here is my issue. It’s a 26 car lot. People are paying $5-$6 to let a man park their car between one or 20 meters from the entrance of the lot. They are also then waiting in line to have this unnecessary paid luxury forced upon them. Every time a car comes into the lot I have to use every bone in my body to restrain myself from screaming “free street parking, FREE STREET PAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRKIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGG”

Have they gone mad? It seems like a big scam to me. Not even a clever one. Just one that everyone here has accepted, it’s car park robbery, or parking lot robbery. Does everyone one here need to feel special and valet parking is one of the ways to meet these self inflicted standards.

Being true to my Scottish self. I won’t pay for parking. I’ll park ten blocks away and walk for 20 minutes to avoid this unnecessary evil. I sometimes even use PUBLIC TRANSPORT…really naughty words to typical Los Angelenos.

A while ago I suggest to someone that we take the bus along the road (a 10 minutes journey) to avoid paying a $20 parking charge that the establishment we were going to charges…the bus costs $1.75 so for the two of us that is a $16.50 saving. That’s a few drinks, a family outing to Menchies, a burger for one. So many possibilities with that $16.50. The person in question looked at me as though I had actually gone mad and said “well I’ve never been on the bus so, let’s just drive”

Why do people fear the public transport system here? The buses are fine, the trains are super quick. Let’s ride public Folks!

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Medical Mayhem

It’s nearly three weeks into the ten week summer holiday and I’m sitting on my balcony, listening to the sound of kids across the street playing on their skateboards. Their trucks grinding along the side of the curb. The sun is beaming down on them. Honk of car horns from Ventura Boulevard. It all seems so very California. My lot are happily at zoo with Jacob. All except Summer. She has an ear infection which means spending the day with me in the house watching endless episodes of Jessie – that’s the reason I’m on the balcony!

I have a hundred and one things to do. Well a hundred and two if you include this blog (which I have been neglecting) I should really be making this time minus two children about getting ready for our shipment coming. Yip, our bloody stuff is in port. It is in the USA and within the next couple of weeks will be delivered to our home. By delivered I mean brought to the apartment block and if we live higher than the ground floor (which we do) we will be charged extra for it to be brought inside. I have decided that I would rather bribe all of our new, friendly, noisy, happy neighbours with beer than pay anymore to a company that has taken six months to get our stuff to us. So I will be knocking on their doors and asking for help.

Let me move on to Summer’s ear infection. Bear in mind that a couple of months ago I too had an ear infection. I was prescribed antibiotics, A 10 day treatment to the cost of $9. Now for the same antibiotics but in liquid form for Summer cost $40, down from $75 with some pharmacy discount. She also has a slightly red eye. Not like crazy pink eye or anything but the doc said she needed eye drops which would cost a whopping $300. I have opted out of this over prescribed expensive nonsense. I got all NHS on them and said “let’s just watch it for a couple of days and see what happens”. Sure enough within one day the eye had healed itself. Damn money making corporate doctors.

However, the doc did do a full medical on her, not just looking in her ear like they would in the UK. He also found that she has a little heart murmur. Which is pretty normal in growing children but also something that can be checked and monitored if it continues. This has never and would never be picked up on in England. Given that a our old GP in London would speak to us for a matter of seconds, then send us packing.

From doctors to dentists. My filling popped out, and I had to go get it fixed. I was recommended a place nearby, by a great neighbour.

I walk in to the surgery and fill out a mountain of paperwork. I am then taken to a room where I am given about 20 x-rays by a nurse. So that the actual dentist can just walk in and see everything. Personally, I think this is a bit over the top but given that everyone here has amazing pearly whites then I’m willing to go with it. I then wait for the dentist to comes in and she recommends a treatment plan. My new treatment plan looks like this –

Get crown fitted

Two wisdom teeth extractions.

An implant.

Braces

I explain that I just want a filling but they insist a crown is necessary and they can do it at a discounted cash price of $950…Eh, Bargain, right, emm!!!

I never thought that my teeth were that bad. Yeah, a little squint at the bottom and yes an implant would be great for the missing one at the back – I had a bad dentist when I was 18. He thought it is easier to take the offending tooth out that I broke while munching on a pork chop. Rather than actually repairing it. Total NHS asshole!

So, what do I do? I’ve have thought about getting all the procedures that she recommended. But I also believe that they were not really necessary. They are just aesthetics after all!

I seem to have mentioned the NHS a few times now. I guess there are pro’s and con’s to both systems. In the US, medical treatment is overpriced and the medicine has a higher markup percentage than a cup of tea in the UK. But they seem to go the extra mile here. I guess they have to, to be able to charge such bank busting prices. The jury is still out on which system I think is better. Maybe neither. Maybe a combination of both. Maybe nurses, doctors, dentists, (the list could go on) in the UK should be paid more – then they might give more of a shit. Maybe people’s taxes here in the US should go towards the American people and offer them free or affordable health care.

We can dream!!!