Housekeeper to Lafayette

by altbaum,
My parents were incredibly financially poor during my teen years. From ages 12 - 22 I cleaned houses, almost every day after school, to help buy household necessities and eventually put myself through Cal Poly. Often, I could only afford to buy bags of russet potatoes (seeing those brown translucent plastic potato bags today gives me anxiety). I graduated and worked in the Silicon Valley, but quickly understood that I wasn't going to be able to afford a home in the Bay Area, so I moved to Seattle, WA. I worked 12 hours a day in an industry that I was anything but passionate about (group insurance sales) simply because it paid well and I was determined to buy a home and start building equity by age 27. My husband and I bought the ugliest house in a decent neighborhood that we could find. We spent two full weekends a month, for the next 4 years, renovating it by ourselves with only the help of countless do-it-yourself books checked out from our local library. We rarely (almost never) took vacations or went out to eat. Three of four bedrooms and our living room/dining room stayed unfurnished for the entire 4 years we owned that first house. We brought our equity back to CA and bought a home in Lafayette outside the Lafayette school district (cheaper). We got to know our neighbors and started becoming curious about how the seemingly confusing and illogical school district lines were drawn. I went to the Contra Costa Office of Education and spent hours looking up the district line history on microfiche. I discovered that our cul-de-sac was incorrectly placed in the Mt. Diablo School District. Believe it or not, this was due to a highlighter pen error on a map that didn't match the correct written description of boundaries! I hired Allan Moore to represent our neighborhood and rectify that mistake. He represented us pro bono. We won, and I've continued to advocate for my neighborhood with respect to sidewalks and traffic relief, as well as volunteer and raise money for the schools and Lafayette community.
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