Nov 14, 2013 asteria commented on Where Should I Buy a New Mattress?.
I went to that Mattress Depot about four years ago when shopping for a new mattress - somehow the sales guy and I started talking churchy talk, and at the end he kept repeating some line about gay people not being accepted into heaven or something. I don't remember his name, but it was creepy enough that I won't go back there.

For the price range you listed, probably Costco, Ikea or Macy's would be the best bets. It's hard to try the Costco mattresses though, because most are online only. I didn't like the Sealy Posturpedic they had in the warehouse, so I kept looking.

I wound up going with Soaring Heart - I have bad dust mite allergies, and the wool and latex they use are much better for me. I replaced my mattress and pillows, and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. They used to have some more affordable (non-organic) options, but now it looks like they only sell the more expensive organic options - the latex mattress, wool topper, and cotton mattress pad I bought now cost almost $3500 for a queen size.

I would recommend getting a firm mattress and some kind of separate topper; it's much easier to flip the topper to prevent valleys and replace just the topper when it looses cushiness. I know Ikea has both pieces, because I've been thinking about replacing my topper.
Oct 3, 2013 asteria commented on A Quickie Review of
@20 - You only include household size and income as would be reported on your tax return. So if you're not in a marriage legally recognized by the federal government, only include your income.
Oct 3, 2013 asteria commented on A Quickie Review of
Regarding deductibles, I had what would be considered a Gold plan with Group Health - the deductible was $1750, but in 2014 will be $500. I never used up the deductible when going through the GHC clinics, but that and the lower copays are a definite improvement.
Oct 3, 2013 asteria commented on A Quickie Review of
One thing I am surprised is that you don't see all the available individual plan options on I was looking for something comparable to the plan I had with Group Health up until a few months ago; all I see on the WA site is HMO plans, but going directly through Group Health's site it turns out they still have POS plans for a little bit more a month. You can't get the tax credit benefit buying directly through Group Health, but it would be good to know there are other options.

If I got a similar POS plan, it looks like my annual costs for medical coverage including premium and copays would be about the same without any tax credits - about $5200. But the copays for primary care went from $30 to $10 in the 2014 plan, and $50 to $15 for specialists, which would have been more incentive for me to see my therapist more often.

The main thing I loved about Group Health was that I never got billed for lab fees or physician fees after a visit - it was so much easier to find out how much something would cost than with other insurance I've had in the past. Also I never had to deal with getting my doctor to send a letter of medical necessity to my insurance provider to get my head meds covered.

There are so many factors besides monthly costs and deductibles - tangible and intangible - that are hard to take into consideration when shopping for health insurance. I don't know if will help new health insurance buyers find the best plan for them and their needs.
Feb 1, 2013 asteria commented on Is My Landlord Being Honest Here?.
Attention Seattle renters: There is a lot of information on the DPD's website: Landlord Tenant Information. The "Info for Tenants" and "Housing and Building Maintenance Code" docs are helpful in cases like this. Also the Tenants Union has a lot of helpful information too.

This landlord is not honest, but they are smart enough to not outright violate the Just Cause Eviction & Tenant Relocation Assistance Ordinances. If they had, DPD would force them to comply.

Other actions, like allowing your power to be cut for several hours, may be violations of SMC 22.206.180 (Prohibited Acts by Owners). Landlords are allowed to cut utilities for a "reasonable time" for repairs, but it doesn't sound like your power was cut for a reasonable time or for repairs for your unit. You should call DPD about that; according to their website SPD enforces this code.

Even if DPD / SPD can't help you with the power outage, it's a failure of your landlord's duties under both state and city laws. You can always take them to court - small claims court - but you should have documentation to back you up. DPD & the Tenants Union have a lot of info on their websites.

The landlord-tenant relationship is a contract; the landlord has a duty to maintain the dwelling unit according to minimum standards. If they fail to meet these standards, but not to the level of your apartment being dangerous / uninhabitable, first notify your landlord in writing of the violations and negotiate. If you do not come to an agreement, then your recourse is to take them to court.
Feb 1, 2013 asteria commented on Local Coffee Chain Starts Charging Customers a 1.5 Percent "Sick Leave Surcharge".
@35 - Yeah, and that's only if every employee maxed out their 40 hours paid time off per year. I doubt that all 45+ will do that, although maybe they should.
Feb 1, 2013 asteria commented on Local Coffee Chain Starts Charging Customers a 1.5 Percent "Sick Leave Surcharge".
I know having to provide paid sick/safe leave is hard on small businesses that didn't have sick leave before, but he doesn't have to be such an asshole about it.

Even if one of his employees does accrue 80 hours of paid sick leave, they can't just use it to take a paid two-week vacation; if it's more than 3 consecutive days, the employer can require documentation, and they only have to pay 40 hours per calendar year. Workers don't "all of a sudden" get 80 hours paid time off.

Customers always wind up paying the expenses, otherwise the business goes under. But that sign and his statements piss me off. He has the power to create a sick leave policy that would prevent abuse of paid sick leave; he should stop whining and acting helpless and work on that.
Jun 1, 2012 asteria commented on So, Did Liquor Prices Go Up?.
@32, I live in West Seattle a couple blocks from the (formerly state-run) Premium Liquor Store, which had a (relatively) awesome selection. The new owner is keeping the name and said he's going to stock a lot of products that the grocery stores won't. Their hours are going to be more limited than the big box stores, but I'm hoping I'll still be able to find fancy whiskeys for my sweetie at reasonable prices. If they're open tomorrow, and I remember, I'll look to see if they have your Zaya.

Someone commented on the West Seattle Blog that the WS Thriftway has a decent selection of NW liquors. Plus we have Beer Junction (love) and a few wine stores. I think we've got it pretty good in the alcohol department, which will come in handy during our regular weekend-long viaduct closures.
May 17, 2012 asteria commented on The Alaskan Who Was Mauled by a Brown Bear.
@3 FYI, Anchorage is both a city and a borough (county); Eagle River is in the Municipality of Anchorage, but it's a totally separate town 10 miles northeast of the edge of the City of Anchorage. Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, some Chugach Mountain foothills, and a lot of resentment mean Eagle River will never be a neighborhood of Anchorage. Your statement would get a cold, hard stare if spoken in Eagle River.

For comparison, the Municipality of Anchorage has 1697 square miles of land, and King County has 2126 square miles of land. I would say Eagle River is pretty similar in setting to North Bend, and I think that would count as rural for a lot of people.

You are correct that bears don't give a fuck about rural/urban, and after the big snowfall this winter bears and moose are coming into populated areas more than usual looking for food. This guy scared a hungry bear and then ran - hard to fight that impulse, but never run from predators.

/(former) Alaskan who learnt some geography
May 17, 2012 asteria commented on West Seattle Blog's Tracy Record on PubliCola, Crosscut, and the Business of Blogging.
I moved to West Seattle a couple of years ago after living in various Seattle neighborhoods for 15 years, and if I had to pick only one news source it would be WSB. I don't read all the posts, and the commenters really piss me off sometimes, but it's an amazing community resource for information. Why is the traffic so bad? The viaduct is closed AGAIN? Why is that big hole still at Alaska and Fauntleroy? 99% of the time I'll find answers to my questions at WSB.

I think WSB has top-notch journalistic ethics and confidentiality policies, and I wish more news sites were as discreet as WSB about whether or not to publicize names in crime stories. I can't recall seeing any spelling or grammar errors by WSB, which is impressive in this age.

Also it's usually "Look, a seal!" Bunnies are everywhere, but I was so happy to see a seal on the beach one day. I wanted to hug that seal so bad, but Seal Sitters were there keeping watch.