• Bad drivers and the cost of meds

    It’s been a bit of a scary morning on the roads. First a little toddler ran out across the carpark towards our car at full tilt – the stuff of nightmares, seriously. Luckily we weren’t going very fast (how fast CAN you ever go in any kind of busy carpark?) And then on the motorway back west, just after getting off the Harbour Bridge, some¬† f#*%ing white Mitsubishi Legnum cut into our lane with an inch to spare ahead of us, then slammed on the brakes all of a sudden. Result: smoke, smelly clutch, and probably a layer of brand new tyre tread left behind on the road in black scuff marks.

    As if that stretch of road wasn’t already lethal enough. The signage is horrible and unclear; nobody ever knows exactly which lane to get in for which exit.

    On the plus side, I managed to get my latest prescription (a bunch of eczema meds) for free, thanks to a mystery shop. It was all the way up over the North Shore, but I accepted it after a call from the company offering $25 extra for mileage. Woohoo! I really resent paying for stuff like this – after all, it’s not like I ASKED to have a skin condition – so I wasn’t going to say no. But I’m pretty lucky in that my medicines are heavily subsidised – I have a community services card as a student.¬† And on a related note, Krystal recently blogged about the cost of birth control. I go to Family Planning and as I’m under 22, get six months worth of the basic brand of pill for $3. I’m not sure how much it’ll be once I turn 22 …but I guess I’ll find out next year.

  • Observations from a morning at AA

    Spending over three hours at the AA the other week was quite an eye opener.

    We saw more than one learner turn up without L plates, a Telecom van reverse into a car (which had just come back from a test) and SO many cars randomly have front or back lights go out. One light gone, and you can’t sit your test. And you know Murphy’s Law means your light will stop working just on that day, or just in the time between you getting there and you going back out to the car with the instructor. It wasn’t just clunkers having this problem. A family wagon, a flash new Holden….no car is invincible.

    Maybe the AA should provide test cars, or at least have backup cars. It’s a waste of instructors’ time, and it’s a waste of both time and money for those taking the test. You don’t get your money back! You lose about $45, I think, on a restricted and about $80 on a full. Rebooking isn’t just a matter of getting a time later that day either, usually. It’s more like days or weeks. In fact, maybe the AA should open more branches, but then that wouldn’t be very profitable would it?

    My friend M pointed out that day that most people LIKE their own cars. They’re used to the controls, they’re comfortable in them. But a lot of people don’t have cars and don’t have much access to cars they can use for things like sitting their test. Just learning to drive is a mission to organise (I should know!) And they need their licences for work, uni, or whatever. I don’t think it would be such a bad idea for there to be a few dedicated AA test cars for the most dire circumstances, both manual and auto.

  • Bad drivers

    This is going to be a long, rambly one.

    Right now I’d be happy to never leave the house again.

    It seems every time we do, we encounter some terrible, terrible drivers on the roads. And bad driving doesn’t just affect the bad driver. It affects EVERYONE else out on the roads.

    I’m sick of people racing through tiny gaps in traffic, changing lanes abruptly without indicating, going 20k for no reason or practically stopping while negotiating corners.

    I’m sick of people who don’t look when they reverse out of carparks, and don’t indicate, and pull random manouevres without checking for cars around them.

    It’s dangerous and it’s scary.

    I’m just tired of being constantly stressed (and this is just me in the front passenger seat, not even driving). Anytime someone nearly swipes us, or we end up braking suddenly, I get super tense for the rest of the ride and I freak out over the smallest things. It’s like every possible hazard magnifies 10x for me, and it’s happening more and more. I think the last time we drove anywhere without some heinous driver pulling at least one dumb stunt along our way was over a week ago. Honestly, it just ruins going anywhere for me.

    I know I’m letting it get to me but I am terrified of being in an accident. BF can’t afford to have any more accidents. In terms of being able to afford the excess, repairs for himself, and not to mention that insurance would probably not renew his policy.

    I do not like his car. I think it was a bad buy, but we’re stuck with it and are waiting to get it paid off.

    He doesn’t like it anymore either, but really that’s partly his fault (the worst damage was from an accident when someone hit him, but the rest did occur when he was at-fault). Now he doesn’t care what happens to it and every so often (like today) gets fed up and says things like, “I don’t care if someone hits me. It’s their fault. They’re not driving properly and if they write me off it’s not my problem.”

    I try time and time again to explain that he DOES NOT have full insurance. Full insurance for a year would cost as much as the car is worth! Full coverage is for pricey, pricey cars, owned by people who can actually afford to drive and look after them. Not for small rustbuckets.

    And inevitably he bitches and moans about why have insurance at all? One of his friends doesn’t. And that friend is an excellent driver who’s never had a crash, owns his car free and clear and has a more reliable car with less ks on the clock. Of course, he should still have insurance. But BF is never driving uninsured again as long as I have anything to do with it. 03-driving-us-course_l2_w728_h340

    Insurance is there to cover his ass if he hits someone so he doesn’t spend the next 50 years paying it off. If someone hits him, then yes they should pay out, but I wouldn’t count on that. Good luck trying ot get money out of their company by yourself. He only has third party and fire, so his insurance isn’t going to fight to recover any money from another company. We don’t pay them for that. We would have to do it ourselves…good luck for that, given how we tried that last time with the woman who hit him! It’s just not going to happen.

    Just drive safely! As frustrating as that is with the shitty drivers on our roads, who are just getting worse and worse, that’s all you can do. It’s boring, and painful, but it’s got to be done. BF has learned his lesson and drives much more carefully, but trying to get him to continue in that vein when nobody else is doing so, is really hard.

    Here’s hoping and praying the car lasts until it’s at least paid for.

    If he ends up going back to study, he won’t have much income for three years. Will the car last that long? How much is it gonna cost in repairs over that time? I don’t even wanna go there…

  • What a day….

    what a day it’s been.

    FINALLY, got my restricted licence…passed the test with a lovely instructor, who DIDN’T make me do a three point turn, but did make me reverse round a curve (which I totally flunked) and parallel park at the end.


    Far cry from the douche I had the first time, who belittled me, patronised me, and said my nervousness was NOT his problem and he couldn’t do anything about it. Fair enough, but he was the one who mentioned being nervous FIRST, why bring it up to make snide, pointless comments? He also (after telling me I wasn’t allowed to wear sunglasses) rudely asked if I minded him wearing his…refused to call out my name in the waiting room, like all the other instructors – obviously didn’t even want to attempt to pronounce a ‘foreign’ sounding name, and told me “you’re trying…you’re trying hard, and you’ve got some points, but we’ll see if you can keep them, if that’s enough to get through”.



    Anywho, after that brilliant start to the morning, popped into Work and Income with the bf. Turns out, seeing as I’ll be receiving student allowance (a whopping $183) and making maybe $150ish from work a week, Bf is INELIGIBLE for any assistance. No unemployment. Doesn’t matter, he could have nothing saved, be starving on the street, nope – my $330ish will just have to sustain us! Doesn’t matter that rent alone is $205, and the rest will just cover food – no transport, bills, clothing, emergencies, savings, debt repayments. Doesn’t matter we’ve been paying taxes. Even if I quit my measly job (which I wouldn’t, it’s an amazing foot in the door) he STILL wouldn’t be able to get unemployment. I’m sensing some disparity with their definition of unemployed here…

    What fucks me off most is that Studylink DO NOT recognise us as partners. It’s only a ‘relationship’ if you’re 24 or over (or 25?). Not so for WINZ. But wtf – they are both govt departments, why the different rules? Why such discrepancies? Get your shit together and get it straight, you can’t have it both ways. You need to align your policies. Obviously if he is to squeeze a cent out of them we’d have to break up or one of us move out and live separately. How fucked up is that?

    How am I supposed to support us on student allowance and my paltry earnings? I pointed this out, politely, to the receptionist. She shrugged. Repeated that she couldn’t help. Stopping work would not help. Jesus fecking Christ. BF’s brother and sister get money every week for their children. And they won’t give him a bleeding dollar; nevermind that he has been out there WORKING, contributing to our economy, and has now been made redundant.

    I read the other day that less that 800 people nationwide were receiving assistance under the ReStart package. I thought that was shockingly low. Not so, anymore. Not after this afternoon. And according to fellow Kiwis in strife on the TradeMe message boards, the unemployment figures are far higher than what’s been released.

    I plan to be writing to Minister of Social Development, Paula Bennett. This ‘policy’ is ridiculous.

  • Driving lessons

    Driving is going okay. I have just over a month till uni starts and I need to pass my test by then, so there’s a little time pressure. I drive really differently with friends, when I’m alone I’m super hyper alert, like seriously buzzing, and fanatically checking my mirrors and steering like a total granny. But having friends teaching me means we talk a lot and I don’t pay quite as much attention to what’s around me (which isn’t good….)

    Being on the roads is okay (although changing lanes makes me twitchy). It’s parking that gets me and I’m really nervous, cause I’m sure I’ll get a mean old guy who’ll decide to make my asian ass parallel park. Seeing as normal parking is a struggle, and reverse parking of any sort eludes me…yeah.

    Also still working on the whole reversing around a corner thing. That is the single most ludicrous move, imo. It’s downright bloody dangerous. Why would you EVER reverse around a corner? It goes against all common sense. You should not be driving backwards around a corner, it’s unnatural and kinda unsafe if you can’t really see around, and why would you need to? Plus it’s almost impossible to do it gracefully and maintaining the same distance from the kerb.