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June 13th, 2019

Adulting renters insurance update

If you've ever read about insurance companies, you'll know that the way they're structured, they tend to punish loyalty: companies will start to raise rates over time. So whenever looking into insurance options, it's generally a good idea to do a little bit of shopping around to assess more than one option, and it's also a good idea to revisit the decision periodically and just plan on switching.

Super annoying, yes, but that's the world we live in, for those of us who are privileged enough to own things and do things worth insuring.

Anyway! Based on your suggestions and experience I just looked at Nationwide and Progressive (aka American Strategic Insurance). As of today, Progressive offered a slightly better deal for my personal circumstances (more coverage, lower price, equivalent deductibles).

So, done. Thank you to everyone who chimed in with perspectives and experiences.

This entry was originally posted at https://rebeccmeister.dreamwidth.org/1300363.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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A Seamy Post [rain jackets]

The post about stuff and housing that I mentioned yesterday is actually a follow-up post to an earlier one called "Kondo and the Bibliophibians, which I also found to be highly worthwhile reading because it did such a good job of articulating why Marie Kondo's blithe remarks about how many books a person should own came off sounding utterly tone-deaf to a significant (if not substantial) portion of the U.S. population. Anyway - the reason I'm mentioning the original blog post here is it's a generally insightful examination of the ways that Americans relate to stuff.

And here is something that I value tremendously about my relationship with [personal profile] scrottie: he almost constantly encourages me to be more careful in scrutinizing how I deal with my stuff, simply by virtue of having a different relationship with his stuff compared to my relationship with my stuff.

I'll give you an example via one current dilemma: the purse that I've been using for well over a decade is starting to fail again at a certain key structural point. So, what to do. The American Way would be to throw it "away" and get a new one; S thinks I should try and convince the tailor around the corner to engineer me a replacement (or at least replace the piece of fabric that's failing. I...I'm still not quite sure about what I want to do about the whole situation. So I'm still running around with an old, ugly purse with a hole in it. The construction is slightly too complex for me to deal with on my own right now, but maybe one of these days I'll work up the courage. We shall see.

Anyway, all this brings me to the topic of rainjackets. While I was living in California, I determined that I would really like to get a Showers Pass jacket for bicycling around on rainy days. Magically, I eventually encountered one that was for sale, used, that was the correct size. I've basically been wearing it nonstop ever since, and here I must first confess that I'm terrible at following maintenance and washing instructions.

So I'll never know whether more regular maintenance would have slowed down the failure of the seam seals. What I DO know is that once the neck seam completely failed, the jacket was well on its way to becoming unuseable, because with this jacket, there's no stitching at some of the seams, only seam tape holding fabric pieces together. So, what next. Is the jacket doomed to the landfill, or are there other options?

Given how pricey the Showers Pass jackets are ($280 new!), it seemed worthwhile to try out the experiment of seam repair, a service that Showers Pass itself does not offer (probably not cost-effective). So I ordered some seam tape from Seattle Fabrics, watched a couple internet videos about seam tape application, got out an adjustable-temperature woodburning/soldering iron tool, and set to work.

I think the net result will be workable, at least for a while. There's definitely a learning curve to working with seam tape, and I'm not sure I quite know where I am on that curve by now. Here's an area where my tool temperature got too high (sorry for the terrible, blurry smart-o-phone photos):

Seams in raincoats

And you can also see a spot where I failed to get stuff to bond across all of the fabric layers.

On the other hand, my efforts at my second seam went much more smoothly, along the front zipper. And I should note that I put the jacket through the wash after I finished the neck seam, so it wasn't a complete failure. For the front zipper, I did an initial pass with an iron set to a low temperature, and then followed up along the edges with the soldering iron tool:

Seams in raincoats

Tool used:
Seams in raincoats

I'm more optimistic about the front zipper seam than about the neck seam.

To give you a sense of what is underneath the fresh seam tape, here's another region where the old seam tape is failing:

Seams in raincoats

So overall, there's some promise of an extended lifespan via seam tape repair.

---

Okay, now I want to take a second and contrast this Showers Pass jacket seam experience with another jacket I own. The second jacket here is a rowing jacket from Boathouse, purchased about 20 years ago, back in college:

Seams in raincoats

The Showers Pass and Boathouse jackets each have their benefits and drawbacks. The Showers Pass jacket has a slim cut, which is really fantastic for both bicycling and sculling, and it also has pit zips, so it is great in terms of ventilation versatility.

On the other hand, the Boathouse jacket is constructed with two fabric layers instead of just one. The inner layer is Gore-tex:

Seams in raincoats

AND, what that means is I was actually able to send my jacket back to Boathouse once, to have the Gore-tex lining replaced and get a couple other items refurbished (velcro updates).

This hasn't made the Boathouse jacket immune to the seam tape problems:

Seams in raincoats

But on the other hand, even with failing seam tape the Boathouse jacket is at least retaining its overall structural integrity. All told, it's in great shape for a 20-year-old jacket. And it's faring a million times better than my third (ancient) raincoat, which has recently decided to start completely disintegrating and leaving small, white, flaky bits everywhere. I believe Jacket #3 is a The North Face item, also dating back to my college days. Jacket #3 is destined for a landfill soon.

--

All told, I will probably continue to use the Showers Pass jacket the most heavily, for as long as it lasts, which I suspect will be up until I start wearing holes through the actual fabric. At that point, I don't think it can handle patches, so I'll be on to the next thing. But of course only after a period of ragtag indecision, as with the purse.

This entry was originally posted at https://rebeccmeister.dreamwidth.org/1300609.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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