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So Carlota, the vanguard of our particular army (two women, two cats) has headed off to California to secure lodging. It looks like this is really gonna happen. Employment is guaranteed for six months, with possible extensions after. After that...well, we'll see what calls me. I have an offer to stay with my Dad in Phoenix for a bit, or possibly Carlota will wind up someplace that interests me.

Ben, his head wedged against my pencil box, is watching me, vaguely reproachfully, out of one eye. (I am not petting him at this precise moment. The horror.) He'll like having another cat to pester, and a little more space to run around in, I suspect.

I'm contemplating leaving my rather hefty TV here and picking up a wee flat-screen number out in California, since the cost of shipping the TV back and forth is likely to exceed the cost of a new one.

I think portability is becoming my new religion. Pity I can't do art on a laptop worth a damn.

Trying to figure out health insurance. I can get health insurance via AAA for a decent price, but only if I'm a resident of North Carolina. It's tempting to go with that, since I know I have to come back to get my stuff, after all, and my jaunt in CA is only temporary, but I realize I'm not really sure what's involved in maintaining a residency in a state. A mailing address? Keeping my driver's license here? Voting absentee in NC elections? Can I get a PO box here and call it good, or do I have to jump through some kind of hoops?

Confusing stuff...

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Yeah, leave the TV behind. Even if you don't get another one for a while, you will start being shocked at how little you miss it.

It should just be a taxes thing. I was in Hawai'i for a year but kept my Texas residency--and all that meant was that I paid taxes as a Texas resident, with a "permanent" Texas address. Which worked out well for me since there's no state income tax here.

Call AAA and ask them how they define a resident from North Carolina. The franchise tax board, the DMV and local universities all define "resident" a different way, so it's probably best to hear it from them.

You will probably not be able to keep your North Carolina driver's license. If you intend to reside (and drive, obviously) in California, you have ten days to update your driver's license, and you need to get your car registered in California right away.

If you end up not being able to get the AAA health insurance, look into Kaiser Permanente. It's cheap, with everything that implies, but it's not difficult to find good doctors if you're willing to shop around.

ten days? Like people who've just moved don't have anything else to do with their time than deal with California DMV? Jesus, I was staying in CA on vacation for longer than that.

That's the rule in Florida too. It's probably standard. Then again, if I go to my DMV office when the first open, I can get through the whole ordeal in ten minutes.

I moved three times the year a friend gave me a laptop. If I'd had a PC, I would have chucked it. My life weighed less than 100 lbs and fit into three suitcases (plus a handdrum).

I hope California goes well. The details will mostly come together and the crazy ones will make for great stories.

For insurance, you may want to look into NASE. As an artist you most likely qualify as self employed and they actually have really good prices.

as far as keeping your drivers license I'm not sure about cali but it seams like, if they don't catcha your fine, but you can get royally screwed if they catch you and it's been a while. I had to get a new license when I moved because in some states getting a full time job counts as becoming a resident.

also, be careful of the health insurance. make very sure you can get coverage in your new area. I had a lot of trouble with my last insurance because even though I was technically covered there were no approved doctors (with in like 100 miles). So I could go to the ER, but not just Dr. visits. It was also a pain to get prescriptions filled.

I would recommend checking California and North Carolina residency laws, which you can typically find online.

From the California Tax Service Center website.

Definition of a California Resident:

A California resident is an individual who is in California for other than temporary reasons. A resident is an individual who is working, living, retiring or staying in California for a long period. If you stay in California for more than nine months, FTB will presume that you are a resident.

A resident is also an individual whose permanent home is in California but who is outside of California for a temporary purpose. For example, an individual goes on vacation in another state or works there temporarily. The individual still maintains residency in California and intends to return.

A temporary stay means that the individual is just visiting California. He or she may be here for a vacation, or completing a business transaction. But there is no intention to stay.

Which is nice and vague... Anyway, don't forget that you also have to register your vehicle within 20 days if you're becoming a resident.

I've heard that California's doing some interesting things with health insurance for the uninsured masses. So you might want to look into that as well. I know what they're doing in Massachusetts is really great (it certainly saved me), so if the CA plan is anything like that one at all, California may have better and cheaper health insurance options for you.

If AAA doesn't work out, try Kaiser Permanente, they have some pretty affordable plans.

Actually, if you get the right sort of flat-screen, it'll accept computer input -- and then you can have just one screen instead of two.

Just a thought.

i was gonna suggest just that. Colors always seem just a bit off on a laptop screen, so just make sure you can output it to a decent monitor, and still have a port left for your tablet, and see how that goes. Heck, you could bring your laptop/tablet to the store, and try it out, probably.

art laptop thoughts

What about the mac powerbook? I know a wacom severely destroys the minimal space of laptopness, but macs are known for color accuracy of their displays. The specs on the powerbook look pretty impressive to me (though I am a scribbler, not a tech geek) and it could at least mimimize needed space and fuss.

You could always get a TV tuner for your computer.

I don't think it matters where you live for the national policy, just for the BC/BS NC healthcare policy. It only matters for me because I'm pretty sure I want to end up back in NC.

Why can't you do art on a laptop?

Color quality on the LCDs makes me loony.

Ah HAH! Makes sense, then. :) Though you could always get a laptop and an external high quality screen if you really don't want to lug the tower around. ^_^

Augh, yes. I had to stea-er, borrow a CRT monitor from an empty cubicle at work so I could have a decent view of what I was doing. The laptop they issued just doesn't cut it.

They vary tremendously from state to state! Full-time RV'ers deal with them all the time. I tried a quick search, and this site may give you some ideas what questions to ask, at least.

Also, there is a book about things to consider when choosing a state to be your offical residence - 2007 Selecting An RV Home Base

I checked an old copy out of the library and found it quite useful. There are so many things that states just don't tell you all in one place!

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