Living in America 2013

(382 Posts)
smartieknickers Wed 30-Jan-13 22:31:40

Howdy y'all! I was a long time lurker on the Living in America 2012 thread and in the spirit of my new year's resolution to 'get involved in more stuff' I thought I'd start a new thread, what with it being a month into 2013 and all that... So who's with me? grin

Link to previous thread

Brief introduction: I initially moved from Scotland to Houston, TX with my DH and DS (now 2) in 2011, but we moved to Dallas in September last year. We never really felt quite at home in Houston but for some reason we really like life in Dallas, even though it's pretty similar in a lot of ways. We have just today finally dispatched with the last of our Christmas visitors (we've had parents and in-laws here back-to-back for 5 solid weeks!!) so I'm feeling like I deserve a large wine and a medal

Want2bSupermum Tue 17-Sep-13 04:44:42

For formula, we found similiac sensitive worked really well for DD. DS throws everything up so we save our money and give him costco own. It is half the price. We tried the other stuff but it's all the same.

Diapers - BJ's has pampers. Costco has the best wipes and their own brand diapers are huggies.

Want2bSupermum Tue 17-Sep-13 04:48:07

Rooty Instead of sudocream you use triple paste here. The stuff is like a miracle! For everyday I used aquaphor. It is much better than A&D or vaseline. You can get it at a good price at Target.

For all that type of stuff wait for it to go offer at a drugstore but don't but check online to see what the price is. I got 4 tubs of aquaphor online when walgreens was having their buy 1 get 1 half off. The price in the store was $16 a tub while online it was $13.99.

rootypig Wed 18-Sep-13 03:56:38

Thanks want2b! That's all really helpful. I smuggled in 6 weeks' worth of Hipp so I don't have to get in a mad panic getting hold of anything. We have to get a car.... Setting up in LA is a bit more difficult than London, where everything is so easy to get to. [homesick]

markymark Wed 18-Sep-13 04:06:25

I'm homesick too! 6 weeks in to life in the Bay Area - it's beautiful but I just want to walk somewhere. Everyone is being really friendly but sometimes it's the little things isn't it? The day I found Heinz baked beans in the supermarket I could have cried :-)

rootypig Wed 18-Sep-13 06:50:14

I walked across LA today. Miiiiiiiistake.

Sigh.

Want2bSupermum Wed 18-Sep-13 13:55:44

rooty You need a car. Even if you do a 2 year lease on a cheap thing get one. Your life will be transformed.

rootypig Wed 18-Sep-13 14:12:31

Yup tis on the list, to buy one. DH needs to get paid first confused

And I need to get my driver's license! blush

rootypig Wed 18-Sep-13 14:17:00

Has anyone got their California driving license without a social security number?

Want2bSupermum Wed 18-Sep-13 18:14:42

You need a social security card:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm#international

It does say on here that you can drive on your British license until you are resident in the US - then you have 10 days to get your CA one. If you don't have a social security card then I don't see how you are a resident.

If you do not have your social security card I would first call them (expect nothing!) and then visit them as if your visa has been processed your social security number should have been assigned.

PeppermintBark Thu 19-Sep-13 01:42:51

The first time we moved over, the state we were in at the time refused to issue a social security number to me because of my personal visa status. In order to get my license, I had to provide the DMV with a 'letter of denial' of SSN issued by the social security dept., in lieu of the SSN.

rootypig Thu 19-Sep-13 06:45:12

Thanks Peppermint, it's really helpful to know what it's called. The difficulty with US bureaucracy is it's so opaque! there are so few explanations of all of these things available. I have emailed the social security office.

Want2b sadly visa not processed, am here on a temporary one. thanks for nothing DH

wentshopping Fri 20-Sep-13 03:31:36

I know I am in a different state, but I had to go to the social security office and get a tax id instead of an SSN, when I was initially here, and on a visa. The DMV took the tax id instead of the SSN.
Forgot to tell DMV when I subsequently got SSN, which led to a snotty letter about not being able to identify me when I tried to change my address...

Want2bSupermum Fri 20-Sep-13 20:00:55

Since you are on a temp visa I would think you can def drive on your British one. Your DH should be able to get a CA DL with his SSC and buy a car for you.

BTW - I would be livid if my DH expected me to move to another country and all I had was a temporary visa. I take it you are going to be a non-working spouse? I would chase the immigration people and find out when your visa will be issued. You need a proper visa within a reasonable timeframe (I would say a month at most). If it is the government taking their sweet time get hold of your senator and ask for their assistance.

Our senator was great when I contacted them for DH. He couldn't drive for 6 months as his status was in limbo due to his data being lost after huricane katrina. A week after I got hold of the senator to ask for his help DH had his visa renewal processed.

NatashaBee Fri 20-Sep-13 20:20:40

What visa are you on rootypig? If you can't get an SSN, can you get a TIN (tax ID card?).

rootypig Fri 20-Sep-13 21:30:17

I don't have a British driving license blush. Am 30 and have moved round the world a lot, but always lived in big cities, so having a car never really came up.

And yes, I am livid. We did consular filing in London (for green card, DH is American) but stupid fucking DH didn't do it when he said he would / should have done, so we had to leave before I could get through all the steps. But, we were far enough through both time and cost wise to make starting again here with adjustment of status a bit silly. we basically would have paid for the damn visa twice. So I'm flying back in November, partly for family stuff, and hoping to complete the process then well dodgy. Ostensibly the two months DD and I are here are to visit, so establishing California residency for the DMV really really dodgy bit dicey. So really not US fault at all.

I am just desp to drive, and want to have this sorted so I can look for jobs as soon as I get back here. Plus it's something useful I can do instead of just sitting at home going out of my mind. I didn't anticipate this bloody SSN business.

I am going to go to the SS office and explain, will get letter of denial I think. Fingers crossed. Thanks want2b and Natasha for your help.

rootypig Fri 20-Sep-13 21:30:50

Hope US immigration not reading this grin

Want2bSupermum Tue 24-Sep-13 18:10:02

rooty Does your DH have a car to get himself around? If so, I would drive him to and from work and use the car during the day at least twice a week. If he doens't have a car I would rent one for at least one day a week.

rootypig Tue 24-Sep-13 18:51:44

want2b DH is getting around by bike. I couldn't drive a car, even if we had one. I need to get down to the social security office and sort out my letter of denial, then get on with getting my license. Bloody difficult in the thousand degree heat with a screaming baby in tow though sad

NatashaBee Tue 24-Sep-13 19:48:36

If it's any help, rooty, the driving tests here are far easier than the UK. I made a few mistakes in mine which would have been considered a major fault in the UK and I would have failed for them (exceeding speed limit, screwed up my manouvers), all I got was a couple of minor marks. So once you get your SSN/ ID sorted it should be fairly easy to get on the road. You can always start studying for the written test in the meantime, if CA has one.

rootypig Tue 24-Sep-13 21:05:27

Yay the is encouraging Natasha, thanks. My goal is to have it sorted before I fly home in early November.

Want2bSupermum Wed 25-Sep-13 15:16:18

Yes I would def be taking lessons. The kids can go in the back seat. Mine normally sleep after 5 mins of driving.

Californialiving Wed 25-Sep-13 23:06:03

Markymark where in the bay area are you?

rootypig Thu 26-Sep-13 02:07:56

I have my letter of denial! I have my appointment to get my permit! (next Thursday). I am studying for the written test! all is encouraging. I WILL have a CA licence by November, I will!

Want2bSupermum Thu 26-Sep-13 20:49:30

That is great news rooty. I would def take lessons though. The roads here are not easy to navigate. The test isn't hard but driving around here at least can be nasty.

rootypig Thu 26-Sep-13 22:22:27

I know, I was pushing DD along the road the other day, 8 lanes of snarling traffic, and couldn't imagine being in it. Lessons are a good idea. I did drive for a year or two when I was seventeen, and intermittently until three years ago when my provisional licence expired! failed a UK test at 18 and then went on my gap yah, never prioritised retaking it - mistake! but at least am not utter novice. Am also going to ride my bike as much as I can, sounds daft but does get you used to being on the right, instead of the left.

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