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Blog - Part 2

Is There TTM (Too Much Technology) In Your House?

We all know that our work and business lives are technology dependent but I recently started paying actual attention to the roles that technology and video games are playing in our home.  We definitely have TTM. Here are some of the warning signs that you, too, may have TTM in your home:

1. Instead of asking for a snack, your kid tells you he needs a “power up”.

2. You start to base your children’s career path on whether they are more adept at the fluid dynamics of  “Where’s My Water?” or the architectural design of “Minecraft.”

3. You have actually found yourself responding to questions of religion and heaven using the concepts of Mario Brothers star coins and numbers of lives; the worst part is that the kids understand what you saying when you finally go this route.

4. There is at least one “device” per family member, including all of your pets.

5. You have enough power cords in your home to wrap around the earth several times.

6. You are willing to spend $4.99 to download PACMAN for old time’s sake.

7. You can follow the storyline of “Wreck It Ralph” the first time you see it.

8. Your 6 year old seems embarrassed if you are the only adult without an iphone and/or tells you that you need to upgrade because Droids are lame.

9. Your house is suddenly goes quiet; you start to enjoy the silence and then realize that it is because everyone is on a screen.

10. Your kid gets upset if he can’t go on-line to take care of a virtual monster or plant for fear that it will die, but has never once considered filling the cat’s crunchie bowl.

11. Your find your daughter self-diagnosing a fall on the playground on Web MD.

12. When you suggest family bowling as an activity, the kids turn on the wii.

13. You get the kids off-line by promising more on-line time tomorrow.

For those of you on April vacation next week with wee ones, enjoy the time.
Turn off the screens and send them outside, the old fashion way!


Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

A Quick But Necessary Primer To Be Sure You Have the Right Coverage

Most people know that they have to purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, but don’t really know how it works.  Here’s a quick and easy primer of what you need to know to be sure that you and your peeps are protected: (Try not to let your eyes glaze over, because it is important to understand this to be sure that you are comfortable with the coverage you have).

  1. It is estimated that the number of uninsured drivers buzzing around is about 14% nationwide and 12% in Connecticut.  (That’s about 300,000 people here in CT.)
  2. Connecticut requires minimum liability coverage of $20,000/$40,000 and also requires minimum uninsured/underinsured coverage of $20,000/$40,000. That means 20K per person and 40K per accident. (Property damage minimum is 10K).
  3. If you are injured in an accident, the at-fault driver’s liability policy is what covers you, or what you would go after, for your personal/bodily injuries.  Property damage is a separate thing, and we aren’t talking about that here.  Think of the two (property and bodily injury) separately because for the most part, they are.
  4. If you are hit by a driver who is uninsured or by a hit and run driver, your uninsured coverage limit will apply.
  5. If you are hit by a driver who has less coverage than the total amount of your  bodily injuries and damages, you can only access the underinsured benefits on your own policy if your coverage for underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage is HIGHER than liability limit of the driver at fault.
  6. You being at fault is a story for a different day, but make sure you have enough coverage to avoid losing any personal assets that you may have if you cause any real damage.

Example: If your liability policy and UIM policy limits are both 100K, and the at-fault driver’s policy is the same, the most you could access is the driver’s liability policy of 100K.  Your UIM policy will not apply because it is not more than the driver’s coverage.  If your limits are 200K and the driver’s are 100K, then you would be able to access your 200k of coverage, but only upon exhausting the driver’s 100K first.

Translation: You have to obtain his 100K before you could go after your own insurance.  You would also receive a set-off for that 100K as far as your damages are concerned.  And your overall damages on your UIM policy are reduced by the 100K you received. (If you buy something called “UIM coverage conversion”, this offset will not apply).

Also, and this is no surprise, just because your benefits will apply and even though you pay for those benefits by paying premiums, it does not mean that your insurance company forks over money and sends you a fruit basket.  You need a lawyer as to both the at-fault driver and your own carrier.  (It’s a shameless plug but (1) a girl’s gotta make a living and (2) it’s true.)

Whether or not you are covered appropriately depends on a lot of things, including whether or you want or care to protect uninsured/underinsured drivers and whether or not it is worth it to you to increase your limits, and therefore premiums.  No one wants higher premiums. The unfortunate thing is that when people are seriously injured and coverage limits are too low to compensate the person adequately, we tend to think we have an “extra benefit” by having UIM coverage.  If you limits are too low, these benefits may not available and the injured person has little recourse.  Sure, you can sue the person who was at-fault and get a judgment against them, but if they have nothing, you’ll get nothing.  If you have no assets yourself and covering only yourself, maybe increasing your limits isn’t for you.  But if you a have family and assets to protect, review your limits with your agent, and make sure you are comfortable with what you have. Once there is an accident, it’s too late.

I hope you don’t have to see me for an accident, but if you do, I want you to know you have the right coverage and have asked all the right questions of your agent.

Stay Safe! Christine


A Christmas Wish

My Christmas card this year is a picture of my kids, taken while we were on vacation this summer, and it reads “I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom for me and you, and I think to myself, ‘what a wonderful world.’”  The cards have been sitting on my counter and although stamped and addressed, I haven’t been able to bring myself to send them out; it just doesn’t feel like a “wonderful world” anymore and it’s hard to keep Christmas as we normally would.

I cried when I made the cards because the Louie Armstrong quote that I chose fit my feelings so perfectly.  I am often overwhelmed by the soulful beauty of my children.  This is because I know that my children do not belong to me.  They aren’t “mine” at all, but a gift from God that he has trusted me to care for during their time on this earth. At the time of His choosing, my children will return to Him.  My time with them is a gift; it is not to be expected.

This is why I cry at Sophia’s soccer games, her plays, her school programs, and at the many of the wonderful things she does and sometimes, even at the very ordinary.  She recently gave a speech to raise money for her camp, and it was emotional for me to see the lady she is becoming- poised, confident, kind. I just have to look at Savas’s face to know that this child was a gift; an unexpected surprise for me at age forty but born healthy and perfect and with an infectious smile and laugh.  It’s easy for people who know us to think my emotion comes from being so grateful that my daughter survived a terminal illness and that is certainly true. But that’s only half the story.  Much of my emotion often comes from the fact that I am so grateful that I am able to be truly present with my children in every moment that I’m with them, and that I take nothing from granted.

The parents and families of Newtown have not only had their children taken from them, they have also been denied the opportunity to comfort and be with them in the face of their fear and suffering. So much has been taken from them. We cry for these parents, imagine their pain, and in remembrance, hug our kids tighter and longer.  Today I read a post on facebook where a friend, talking about his love for his children, wrote “I hope I don’t forget how I feel today”.  Much like the aftermath of events of 9/11, at some point, we have to trust our schools, our law enforcement, and the world and public around us and allow life resume its normal course.  Once that happens, it’s easy to let how we feel today take a place further back in our minds, and let the rhythm of our day take the forefront.  Today’s feelings can evaporate over time and leave behind a thin veil that we only think of from time to time.  My wish is that we keep these feelings alive in our hearts.

So, upon reflection, my Christmas card will get sent out tomorrow and it will mean something that I didn’t anticipate when I made it.  It’s no longer about my personal little wonderful world with my own two children, it’s about ALL of our children- yours and mine.  We are lucky to be able to walk among them, and be their parents, their friends, their aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, coaches, and neighbors. They are our wonderful world.   We have a responsiblity to love them completely. The twenty new angels in heaven have given us a “chance and hope” to keep our feelings of today alive; in their honor and for their sacrifice, I pray that as we go forward, we don’t have a day where we forget.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”

-Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol.”


Is The Heart of New London Dying?

When we first moved back to New London from the tony town of Glastonbury, I wasn’t sure it was a great move.  I didn’t like the lack of privacy, of seeing people I knew everywhere I went, and of small yards and the sounds of sirens again.  That changed when our daughter became sick with cancer and our community supported us.  We never had to ask. Our lawn was mowed and our house was cleaned and friends I hadn’t seen since grade school left notes of encouragement in my mailbox.  Neighbors that I didn’t really know showed up with food and prayers.  I then remembered the value of the community of New London.  And there was no place like home.

There has always been an underlying camaraderie among New Londoners.  We are a bit scrappy and rough around the edges.  Hearts of gold are under many of us.  We fight with each other but mostly for one another.  Most of us are from humble homes and backgrounds.  Most of us know what it means to work hard, and we understand that it is a privilege to attend higher education.  I honestly can’t name one person I knew growing up that ever had an attitude of entitlement and didn’t have to work for what they have.  No one, no matter where they lived, thought that they were any better than anyone else. And if they did, we pretty much beat it out of them one way or the other.

To be a true New Londoner, you don’t have to be a native. Some of the truest in spirit have come from all sorts of places but love and embrace the community that makes this city.  All of us New Londoner’s, natives and newcomers alike, have kept the spirit of the city alive in the wake of our consistently crazy headline news over the years.  Even in the face of eminent domain, many were unbroken and unyielding.  It seemed we could persevere through anything, even our own stupidity. We didn’t have much, but at least we had heart.

Sadly, I’m sorry to say, I’m starting to wonder if the heart of New London is slowly dying (and I’m feeling some chest pains myself).  For the first time ever, I’ve heard language designed to divide the city.  People are talking in terms of “this” and “that” end of town.  I’ve heard the words “class warfare” and I’ve heard a lot of assumptions about what I must think given where I live and what I do for a living.

We are being divided by politics and economics. At a time when we most need to be brought together, our politicians are leading the divisive cries with their own rhetoric which seems intended to divide for political gain.  Self interest is the driving force, not common good. We are too small of a city to withstand the force of division, economic or otherwise.  Divided, New London will fall. This isn’t the New London I know and I can’t help but be sadden by it, particularly when I came back to contribute to my community by buying a home, owning a business, and raising a family right here in town. My contribution is neither wanted nor appreciated.  I am just a tax dollar. I can be replaced.

As the mayor has said, to paraphrase, “anyone who doesn’t like it is free to go”. He is certainly correct and I may just do that, though my heart strings still pull me to stay.  But whether I go or my neighbor does, every time a true New Londoner leaves, part of the heart ofNew London goes with them.  There is no place like home, but I may just have to take it with me.



John - August 17, 2012 - 2:40 pm

Unfortunately, a lot of out ‘leaders’ throw out that ‘if you don’t like it, leave’ line. Oddly enough, most of them say it to people who are established in our community, whereas they are – or at least are perceived as – simply using New London as a stepping stone to something bigger and better.

This attitude is the lowest – and least effective – maxim of leadership. And people are leaving. Many of them are the best of the teachers, business owners, home owners, and community leaders. I too am thinking about leaving – not because I don’t like New London…I love this city.

I hate what some people are trying to do to us.

Harley - August 18, 2012 - 3:06 am

My heart hurts. I love New London!! I hate what what some people
are trying to do to us as well. What a crazy year this has been.

“So What’s in a Website?”

(Read As In, “So What’s In a Name?”)

I can’t count how many times Gordon and I would say to each other, “we’ve got to do a website”. “Yeah”, (insert name) would respond, “we need to do that”.  Yet nothing ever seemed to happen. We don’t get our clients from marketing and we’ve never really advertised, so it didn’t seem to matter all that much.  It became much like kicking around the idea of buying a boat -great idea, but who’s got time for that and how many times will you use it? Besides, I don’t know how to sail/write code, and chances are I’m not going to learn now.  But times being what they are… it had to get done.

This was months in the making. There was writing and re-writing, and photos taken but then scrapped and themes that wowed me for a bit but then faded.  “Don’t people just throw some stock photos into plug-in’s and hit go?”  “Just get something up there”, Gordon would say.  But I couldn’t do that.  My obsessive compulsive disorder, even on de-café, wouldn’t allow it.

As it typical of us, this isn’t a typical law firm website.  You don’t see us posed behind some old books or in a big conference room.  No trite landmarks or catchy slogans; nope, not us. For me, this site is an organic work of art.  Much like when I do a painting or even when I write a brief, it has to feel “right” to me, or it won’t work. For the viewer, I hope it is a view into a lifetime of experiences that speaks to who we are, why we do what we do, and why we do it the way that we do it.

Gordon and I often joke that we don’t like lawyers.  The fact is, many of our friends are lawyers and since each of us married a lawyer, that can’t possibly be true.  But what we don’t care for is people who take themselves too seriously, who haven’t learned to be people instead of suits.  So it’s not so much that we don’t like lawyers, it’s more that we actually like people and we like to like our clients.  That seems unusual in our profession but for us, it’s what makes our work enjoyable and rewarding and part of what makes life exciting. It is my hope that this shows through in our site. I welcome your comments and feedback.  Please stay tuned; at Synodi & Videll, there is always more to come.


Monia - January 23, 2013 - 8:30 pm