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Archive for December, 2006

I blinked and my salary was gone!

December 28th, 2006 at 10:29 pm

things I paid:
1 month's rent (I was still behind, now I'm 100% up to date!)
I'm left with $30 to "survive" until Jan 15th!
****
still pending

from the toy sale:
cc
Ale's bed
personal loan


From the translation:
infamous phone bill ($145.80)
technical dictionaries + internet bill(investment in business as per allocation - $145.80)
savings $36.45
donation $36.50


From the school supply sale:
cc
Ale's school
car maintenance (tires,brakes and shockabsorbers)

Payment due from cousin (!)
infamous phone bill!-- the last of it!
cc
additional bedding set for Ale's bed

Re-worked the previous numbers a bit! ((sigh))

061228 - 2006 goals update

December 28th, 2006 at 04:02 pm

1. keep better track of my spending- managed to stay within budget this month (barely!)...we still have to buy the stuff for New Year's Eve, but, I still have $79 "left over" for that...


4. continue to lower my overall debt - I started Jan 05 with ~$17K (out of which ~$4K were for a loan and the rest -~$13K!-pure cc debt) and, am starting Jan 06 with $~11K (with ~$8K for a loan and ~$3K in cc debt)... expect to be able to end Dec '06 with ~$7K, which I expect to be purely for the loan... to come partly from the English classes/$20 challenge. ...current situation is: $12.9K total: ~$7.9K (refinanced) loan, ~$2.6K car loan, ~$609 personal loan, $1.3K other personal loan… Phone bill is $200...$600 on a cc for toy/school supply sale expenses (pending full payment in Jan)…

Money

December 27th, 2006 at 06:01 pm

we are tracking all expenses/payments with cousin on the school supply sale....I was commenting this with sis the other day and she said she doesn't understand why I do business with cousin if it seems that I never make any money...I agree, profits are not as good as they could be (about $700 for the whole toy venture this year....and an estimaded $500 for the school supply venture in early January)...that's a lot of effort for that money and, on top of that, I never get to "see" the money ...meaning I don't really get to do anything "visible" with it...I don't buy stuff...I just put it towards debt...

I agree with sis that there are other things I could do and, that going into business with cousin has proven NOT to be the cleverest decision (after all, that is how I got suckered into putting a phone line to my name in her house!)....but, another reason is precisely to check what she owes me and, to at least be able to recover SOME of it when we are dividing the profits...

((sigh)) Believe me, G_d willing, I won't have to do the toy gig in 2007 (most likely, I will have to do the school supply thing, as we estimate that there will still be items left over due the changes in the lists!)....it takes up too much of my time and energy and, leaves Ale needy for my attention and very resentful of the little time we spend together....(a happy kid is A LOT more valuable in my book...right now, I really cannot afford NOT to do the toy thing, otherwise too many debts will go unpaid... Frown ...Ale really deserves better!)

The E-Spiral is alive!!!

December 22nd, 2006 at 04:24 pm


I'm still speechless...anyone that knows me "in the flesh" will tell you that my being speechless is not only highly improbable, but also impossible...but, I am...sort of...
This morning, my boss (VP) called me to his office and, there were a couple other people there looking like the cat that swallowed the canary...they left and my boss asked me to sit down and then said: "you may have noticed I haven't given you a Xmas present..."...I said: yes -- very matter of factly, honestly I just thought he had given them out while at the Xmas party that I didn't attend and figured he probably had forgotten it at home and I would get it next year...no biggie...he said: well, I hadn't because I was trying to find the best way to go around it and do the best possible while keeping it affordable...by this time my mind was thinking: cool! he got me a raise!...and then he said: ...I have heard from other people in the unit that you are interested in pursuing a business on the side...yes (it's no secret, really!) and then he said: and I also heard that one of the things holding you back from that was a computer...(I swear my jaw scraped the floor!)...and he continued...so, I bought one of our old laptops from the company, it's not new, but I had it cleaned and refurbished and loaded with all the software you might need....I believe I might have said something like: Ak-ak-adack before saying THANKS!...
I mean, physically it's just a computer, but, in reality, it is so much more!!!...I really can't find the words! (which is why I am here at my desk crying as I type!)...but, this one is just too big to keep to myself!
..I know I also have to give G-d a HUGE Thank You for putting people like this in my life!

does that have to be done TODAY??

December 21st, 2006 at 10:41 pm

...((sigh)) YES!...
they want all expenses for 2006 to be tallied in 2006 (obvious!)...so, one of our PM's sent a message to the whole unit regarding this, so now I'm SWAMPED with things that need processing for payment before tomorrow (when our PM leaves!) ...it's 4:40 and, I don't think I can finish before tomorrow noon! ...

H
: E
:: L
::: P!

More toys!

December 20th, 2006 at 03:43 pm

well, we thought we were done with the toy sale...but, we've had 3 new orders placed ....they all want them for tomorrow or Friday, of course!...They're small orders, thankfully, but, still, it'll be some extra cash!...

Did I already complain about December being a tough month?

$30!

December 19th, 2006 at 07:47 pm

...I am the "administrator" for our expat houses...that means I deal with landlords/landladies and process all payments...homeowners are supposed to bring me their receipts/invoices for processing...there's this one house that has the landlady from hell...she's very disorganized, doesn't want to pay for repairs, is late in paying security fees (eventhough we pay it every month as part of the rent!)...it is just easier for me to type/print her invoices and just ask her to come and sign them every 3 or 4 months than it is to explain to her every month that her payment hasn't been processed because she hasn't brought the invoices!...well, today she came to sign the first invoices for 2007...she gave a Xmas gift: a cheque for $30!...I didn't even look at the cheque, she said it was: "a little something", so I just thanked her and pocketed it...I certainly didn't expect ANYthing...much less $30!...I'm off to the bank to cash it...then off to yet ANOTHER bank (across the street) to put it towards a cc!...this one definetely goes towards the $20 challenge, because it was so unexpected!

***************
DONE! Smile

Wow! Nephew paid me $10!!

December 18th, 2006 at 10:27 pm

so, on judge's orders, nephew D is working...he got his paycheck last Friday and, paid cousin some $$ (part for the money he stole from her, part for those clothes she bought him...)...anyway, he paid me $10 towards his phone bill (so "only" $993 to go!...but, hey, I'm willing to give the guy some credit for at least (and at last!) trying!--no, I will not go soft and pardon the debt, either!

Should I be paying debt with that money??

December 18th, 2006 at 09:59 pm

I'm looking at what Xmas will cost...about $200-$250 ....that pays for my half of dinner and also for presents (sis, niece, Ale, cousin, friends, teachers, nanny, etc)...not really too much all things considered...still, $200-$250??...part of me says I should be paying off debt with that money, while another says if I don't spend some money doing stuff that is fun, I'll go crazy and burn out...I don't know which side to believe!...The money is already spent anyway, so, short of returning the gifts that have been bought but not given out yet (which is impossible for the most part, having been bought from informal businesses downtown!)...well, there's little I can do about it anyway...

Yet another part of me wants to go out and spend, spend, spend...but, I KNOW I need to shut HER up and throw her out the window if needed, so I'm not worried...plus, it's not like I have the money to indulge her, even if I tried!

Another job application to the US Embassy

December 18th, 2006 at 08:19 pm

I've sent so many the past three years, I'm starting to worry that they'll think I'm a terrorist just trying to get in! LOL!...I also got my docs ready to apply to an admin assist position at an International Organization...

wouldn't it be nice to start the year off with a new job??

Our sauce is ready!

December 18th, 2006 at 02:45 pm

...almost, at least!...we went to the market yesterday and bought tomatoes, onions, cilantro, green peppers, some carrots and the special blend of spices for the turkey sauce (annato, sesame seeds, a special dried pepper- chile guaque, thyme, oregano, bay leaves,garlic) ...we went home and roasted the spices and chopped all the veggies...then back to the market to have it all processed at the mill (Ale had never been there, and thought we were going to see a WIND mill! LOL!)...then back home to cook it and add the salt and pepper...I kept trying to figure out what was "missing" and, then, it hit me: TURKEY!! ...the sauce won't take it's full flavor until the turkey has been cooked in it!...I let it cool and am freezing it today!...This means I'm already ahead with my Xmas cooking! --total cost for ingredients and processing: $5.90

Going into "school supply season" mode

December 15th, 2006 at 07:01 pm

already typed the lists in Excel to see how many of "Y" we need to make 20 packages for Pre-K, 20 for K and so on...

Cousin went downtown today to buy some stuff that we ran out of last year....tomorrow we will go through our current supply and see what we have/what we need...our total investment this year shouldn't be more than $200, as we still have so much left from last year...

On Sunday we will start getting the packages ready....That gives us 2 1/2 weeks to get all packages ready....sale starts on Jan 3rd and ends Jan 10th...

this will be the first "additional income" for 2007....of course, as with the toy sale, it will not be included in my $20 challenge, as this is something that we already did anyway...

December is a tough month!

bought Ale's bed last night!

December 15th, 2006 at 02:50 pm

regular price $145, sale price $116, and they gave me a set of sheets (which costs $15 at the store, and which I could have gotten for $5 downtown...)...oh, and they also gave me a bottle of wine (for any purchase over $60 on your store card)...
no, don't worry about the store card charge...I did that just for the reward points...I'll pay in full and I'll pay 0% interest on it!

Xmas bonus came and went!

December 14th, 2006 at 06:36 pm

things I paid:
1 month's rent (I was behind with my payments)
personal loan
cc
nanny's Xmas bonus! (well, I haven't paid THAT yet, but I will tonight!)

We still haven't collected all the toy money, from that I will pay:

cc
Ale's bed
Xmas dinner

From the translation:
new tires for the car
infamous phone bill ($150)

From the toy supply sale:
cc
Ale's school
car maintenance (brakes and shockabsorbers)

Payment due from cousin (!)
infamous phone bill
cc
Ale's school
additional bedding set for Ale's bed

Hopefully, everything will go according to plan!

Miss Popularity I am not!

December 14th, 2006 at 02:53 pm

...at least, not at the moment...
I reminded cousin of my $$$$ yesterday....I also told her she needs to take a good look at her priorities next year, because she's been putting her wants before her needs, and her (financial) obligations are a very distant third...so, the way she allocates her money usually is:
- pay cable and internet (internet is "for business" and cable is "the only entertainment" she has)
- pay house (which she had already paid off and re-mortaged--with a money lender, not a bank, technically, she sold him her house and is buying it back, she cannot default on this or else she loses the house!!-- allegedly to have money for her business, but, half of that went into buying STUFF)
-food (and, because "there's only two people" at her house--her and her son--well, "it doesn't really make a difference if we buy the fancy stuff once in a while")
-gas (for business, ok)
-school (back when her darling was attending!)
-utilities
-money to reinvest in the business
-car (she's refinanced her car about 3 times already....she should have finished paying for it 2 years ago!...the reason she doesn't? As long as she's still paying, the bank pays for the insurance!!!-- smart, huh??--oh, and my sister co-signed for it...she's been getting calls threatening to dock her payment for a year and a half!...if it ever goes to that, it'll affect sis' credit record!)
-medicinces and follow up treatment for her diabetes
-other debt (like, owing me $900 -- which is already affecting MY credit record! having a $360 on a cc that she claims she already paid, but, if she did, she should have cleared it by now, don't you think?)

Now, tell me this isn't screwed up!

So, I told her she needs to switch things around. Right now, medicine and health should be #1, followed by food, but NOT GOODIES!, school (if that bum ever returns, although, if you ask me, she'll just be wasting her money if she starts paying for a school again!--public school is NOT an option, Precious Prince might have a heart attack if he has to be with "low class people"!)....
-house
-utilities (if you default 2x in a row they cut your service and then you have to pay reconnection fees, which are expensive!)
-car (only $300 to go!)
- money to reinvest in the business
- gas (technically, this one and the previous one are the same)
-other debt (yes, even $20 a month would help!)
-cable and internet (actually, I believe these should go)

I also told her she needs to start fixing her own credit, because at this point she's already running out of people willing to cosign for her or lend her money! ....AND I went as far as to remind her that she cannot count on her son helping her if he continues down the path he's following...

She's probably hating me by now, but, you know, right now, I don't care!

I feel like quitting!!

December 13th, 2006 at 06:58 pm

...I'm having several different problems at the same time (work-related, but having to do with $$$)...one is a guy that left the company over a year ago crying for his expenses (which he SENT to me AFTER he had left!) and about his medical insurance (they sent him a reimbursement for expenses that were over a year old when he presented-- which is against policy, but, somehow the lady in insurance management got them to pay) and, because the cheque wasn't cashed on time, now he wants the insurance company to reissue the cheque...we already told him, he has to mail the old cheque...he doesn't want to do that, he thinks it's too much of a hassle and wants us to say that the cheque got lost and the company should reissue a new one...he also sent some plane tickets to be reimbursed...all this after he had already left the company (the tickets were issued for him BEFORE he left and were covered under his contact)...then I have 6 interns who are supposed to be getting reimbursed in CASH every week for their living expenses (they are from other countries)....but now audit has cancelled all cash reimbursement and they have to wait for cheques to be cut...noone told me about this and, we just found out today when they tried to cash their payment requests...this is a hassle for me because obviously they NEED their money and, I'm the "contact person"....Then I have two of the (expat) houses without internet service "for non-payment"...WHAT??...and because we DON'T cut cheques for THAT, now I have to go to accounting and beg them to let me look at the petty cash files for the last 3 weeks to get a copy of the paid out invoice....
AND the maid in one of the (expat) houses is leaving at the end of the month, so I have to find them another one...AND they are also vacating the house and looking for a new one!-- luckily they rent furnished houses, but, still!...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGHHHH!!!... I want to go home!!! NOW!

Free Xmas gifts!

December 12th, 2006 at 10:46 pm

...because of the amount of toys that we bought, one of the stores gave us 3 Barbie shirts (size s and m, they will fit Ale perfectly!) and also some Max Steel dolls, er, action figures.... I'm keeping one of them to give to my best friend's son (who is 9 and VERY into Max Steel!)... that means I only have to get Ale some pants or a skirt...which I can get for about $2-$3 each!

I wonder what other freebies I could find...

Blessings!

December 12th, 2006 at 06:59 pm

Father Vito once said, if you work to help the (abandoned disabled) children, you will be much blessed....

well, the guy from whom we bought the hot dogs surely was!...as is customary, I deducted 10% for income tax from his pay (actually, what we generally do is "add" the rent, so that these people making marginal profits or less-than-minimum wage can have a break! and then give them their $$ in full and then the next year they get their income tax return as a "bonus")...guess what? the lady at accounting said the receipt was wrong...that even if he had brought people to serve the hot dogs, that actually was a purchase of goods, not services, so I shouldn't have "deducted" the income tax...so, she had me redo the receipt and gave me $17.85 to give "back" to him!....(even with this, and with me having given him $10 "fuel surcharge" -- because the Home IS a far drive from the city), the hot dogs were still about $1.20 each! (we had budgeted $1.25)...so, this nice man gets $17.85 that he wasn't expecting!...he was soo grateful!...evnthough I really had nothing to do with it, it makes me feel good!...times are tough and it is good to see someone getting some unexpected "help"!

collected $300 from cousin

December 12th, 2006 at 04:13 am

still not from what she owes me, but from the toys that have already been paid (all others should be paid by the end of the week!)...I told her I want MY money before it disappears! (be it because it gets stolen by her son or because she spends it!)

Emotional shopping

December 11th, 2006 at 11:32 pm

...today cousin was telling me about what she bought her darling son: a new pair of jeans, a new shirt and a new sweater...total cost of $160!!!!....(remember she still owes me $1000!!!)...I felt so enraged!...I asked why she had bought that and she said: It's his Xmas present...WHAT??...I have a fixed income, am semi-current on all my debts and I'm trying to buy all Ale's presents for less than $30!!!... for a while, I FELT like just going and buying everything I WANT for Ale...and I thought: why does she, who doesn't have a fixed income and doesn't pay her debts, get to buy anything she wants??...then the voice in my head said loud and clear: BECAUSE YOU'RE TRYING TO BE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE, AND SHE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW THAT THE TERM EXISTS!!!....so, I didn't go out and buy anything!...and, guess what...It FEELS GOOD!

Toy season is (almost?) over...

December 10th, 2006 at 04:37 pm

we had what was supposed to be the last party on Saturday....but, there´s one company that says they´re interested that won´t have it´s children´s party until next weekend, so we still may do that one...

if not, then we´ll just start working on the school supplies...

Friday was truly crazy, my cousin -who´s diabetic and DOESN´T take care of herself!- fainted and had a seizure...noone at home but my niece (sis´daughter, who´s 17) and that good-for-nothing son of hers...they had to take her to the hospital, and in the end it turned out it was a stress-induced sugar imbalance...

well, her darling son was home because he¨"had a stomach ache" and couldn´t go to work...on Thursday it was a sore throat!...so, what does her darling son do, after she´s released from the hospital??...takes her car (he is 16, doesn´t have a license AND is on curfew by the judge!) and leaves her alone in the house, and comes back at 4am....Cousin found out because a girlfriend of his (who didn´t know anything about cousin´s episode) called to warn her that he had been to her house and was driving the car (the girl KNOWS he had stolen it!)...

Needless to say on Saturday he took advantage of his boss having said that "he neededn't come to work if he had to take care of his mom"...

I'm really starting to hate this kid!

"...so, who pays taxes in this country?"

December 8th, 2006 at 04:45 pm

The question was asked by one of our PM's upon learning that our maintenance facilities are at a "Free Zone" (meaning tax free) at one meeting and then hearing that taxes are "territorial" in ES during another - related to planes...it's hard for me to explain all that in English (I barely understood it in Spanish!)...

Our answer? ...a handful of raised hands (all the locals, and a few expats - not all of them...depending on their resident status! LOL!)...

another $100 for December

December 8th, 2006 at 02:19 pm

managed to collect $100 more! woo-hoo!

$100 for December's $20 challenge

December 7th, 2006 at 04:57 pm

just typing it so I don't forget to add it! $100 for admin services from JULY!!!...

Tough week!

December 7th, 2006 at 03:33 pm

....we have to deliver 4 orders by this weekend, as all 4 companies are having their Xmas parties on Saturday....

so is my company...at a water park 45 minutes away from the city!!!...from 7 to 12...which means I'm sending Ale with my friend B, the Other Admin....

Saturday is also Ale's church pageant...at 4:30pm...so she's going with my sis...

because cousin and I have to go host a customer's children's party! ...starting at 2:30....

AND, our unit at work is going to the Padre Vito Guarato Home (yes, I wanted them to go, but, did they have to pick THIS Saturday to do it??)

Besides the physical exhaustion, the stress is killing me! ((think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts))

I totally forgot!

December 6th, 2006 at 08:08 pm

there was a special sale on crafts and I bought Ale 2 kits for her b-day....I totally forgot then and, it just hit me right now, that those toys are (or were!) hidden in nanny's "bedroom" (or what would be her bedroom if she were a live-in maid, but we just use it as a laundry room!)....I just called nanny and asked her to check! (this was the room my nephew used when he lived with us, so if he found the stuff, he might have sold it!)...cross your fingers that they're still there, these would be absolutely perfect for Xmas!

Discontent

December 6th, 2006 at 05:25 pm

it's THAT time of the year again...when everybody else in our unit - except the other admin and myself- get a raise!...I guess they (VP and Director) once again couldn't come up with an idea to justify it to HR and accounting! (the "scheme" to give the others raises is that every year they get a "promotion"....they created 4 steps for each position, so they get "promoted" to the next step....same responsibilities, different salary/benefits! ....The ironic thing is that their starting salaries are double what we make!...so, with the promotions, some of them are now making 3x what we make!...and most are unmarried still, which, in ES means living with their parents and not contributing to the house even!... I know life's not fair, and noone ever said it would or should be, but...still...I'm seriously considering NOT going to the Xmas party....last year the VP even got to say he's got the best directors, the most talented PM's, the greatest analysts: together they are the greatest team in the world....(and the little elves that do the administrative work while the other admin and I do our nails I suppose, as we two were never mentioned!)...as vitriolic as this post is, imagine if I "sound" like this when I'm sober, what will happen after the official toast?...I should stick to soda, definetely...IF I go, I'd probably just stay for the "private" part of the evening (and leave once there are enough guests arriving for any one to notice me slipping out)...I generally don't let this things get me down (too much), but, at times it's difficult....

Quoting computers! (step 2?)

December 5th, 2006 at 10:12 pm

Well, to start the business "formally", I decided to quote computers and see if I can get one from the translation that I'm working on now (that would be sooo great!...since I didn't have that budgeted for anything, it would be so great to use it to start the business!)...I called our IT guy (the one that we bother, er, call whenever we need things done ASAP!)...he told me to send an email to another of our IT guys --also well known in our dept!-- and let him know what I wanted, and that he could get one for me "really cheap"...so, I already wrote to him...I also have other quotes and several newspaper ads...while all of this seems a bit unreal, it feels good to actually research and "get serious" about the business...

I told Ale yesterday that we are going into our own business, she and I and God...she was very excited, and asked: "what's my job?"...I told her I didn't know yet, but that I was sure we would find something she can do that will contribute...(might give her the "accounts payable" job...now that she can read, I could post a calendar with dates/amounts/bills to be paid so she can remind me....how does that sound?)

Goals for 2007

December 5th, 2006 at 04:45 pm



1. Control expenses and make sure total is at or below budgeted amounts for category/month, any “leftovers” in categories will go towards debt!


2. Continue to lower my overall debt - I started Jan 05 with ~$17K and Jan 06 with $~11K (with ~$8K for a loan and ~$3K in cc debt)... finished Dec 06 with …. Expect to pay about $5K this year- not counting interest!

3. Start my own business– formally*: E-Spiral is the name, translation is our business (G-d and Ale are my partners!)… and contact at least 4 new potential customers per month, so as to find 50 pages of translations per month in 1 Q07, getting to 150 in 4Q07…. From Jan – July: 40% of each job will go towards debt, 40% back into the business, 10% into savings (to fund my Freedom Fund!) and 10% to the Padre Vito Guarato Home. From Aug-Dec 07 percentages to be 30,40,20,10 ….hopefully, I’ll be able to quit my current job by mid 2008!! …(did I just type that??)

4. Help Ale earn/save $25 for her savings account by 071231!

*Wow…putting that in writing was scary!...I guess this is that famous first step in the journey of 1,000 miles!


Ale's super-mega mobile box house!

December 4th, 2006 at 04:22 pm

LOL!...yesterday we were wrapping toys and, at one point, Ale almost fell inside one of the boxes, so we put the box on its side to make it easier for her to pass the toys to us for wrapping...at the end, she just stayed in the box and declared it her box house (casa caja)...we asked her to move it because it was in the middle of the room and, thus it became her mobile box house...she took a permanent marker and painted shingles on the "roof", then attached a small twig she found, as her "tv antenna"...she then declared all it needed was windows...which she painted on...she then asked to borrow the exacto knife to cut them out...I said no to the exacto knife, but I cut out the windows for her...she loves it!...I don't think she'd be happier if I had bought her one of those fancy plastic houses (which sell here for anything from $450-$1,500!!)...my niece didn't quite like the idea of having an "ugly worn box" in the house around Xmas time, because she wants to invite some friends over, but, she's agreed to let Ale have it at least until the weekend ....

we'll find other boxes to make Mega Super Mobile Box HOuses after Xmas!


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