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Archive for November, 2007

$0.01 gift for Nanny!

November 30th, 2007 at 08:18 am

Yep, I always give her a basket with food for Xmas and, this year, one of the supermarkets where we buy toys is having a special promotion...for purchases of $150, for $0.01 you get a basket with food-with about the same products I generally include!!! - our toy purchase will be ~$400, so we more than qualify!...
oh, of course, I WILL have to add the price of a chicken...(I always include a chicken for her Xmas dinner)...but, still, it's a GREAT deal!

niece quit....now has a new job!

November 29th, 2007 at 06:33 pm

well, they wanted to send her to the warehouse (which is downtown) and she called the ad agency that hired her and they said no-way...so, she didn't actually quit, but was pulled off the job! (she's supposed to be paid for looking pretty and charming people into buying stuff, not being holed up stocking shelves...)....so, she didn't go to work today...which was good, as she had a call from CyZone- she's among the 10 finalists for the CyZone Girl contest and had to go to a photo shoot today!...she starts tomorrow at a shopping center in the other side of town...but, they'll provide transport from the agency to there, so it's ok...she'll work less hours, and will get paid more than at the other place!...sweet!

Niece has a job!

November 26th, 2007 at 02:09 pm

it's only for 3 weeks, but, it's a start!...she had 3 offers and took this one, which seemed to be the "path of least effort"... (less time, less hours, more or less the same pay)...except, one of the other ones was a "sit down" job, and this one means she has to be on her feet most of the day!...Now, Niece owns more shoes than Imelda Marcos, but, wouldn't you know it? none of them are comfortable shoes! (except for her sneakers and crocks, which are unacceptable, since she's supposed to wear "dressy" clothes!)...so, on Saturday, which was her first day of work, she came home with blisters on her feet!...her best friend, who had also signed up, quit after the first day!...Niece is holding on (we're very proud of her, btw!)...in many ways, this is her first real brush with "The Real World"...we'll see how it ends!

Ale's Christmas list

November 26th, 2007 at 10:25 am

is totally crazy!...she found a "special toy catalogue" insert in the newspaper and copied about 1/2 of the toys advertised!...averaging $20/toy!...er, um....NO...she's already getting too much stuff as it is!...she's getting a BIKE, and that should be enough!...she's getting a Jr Scrabble (which I bought before I knew I was going to be able to afford the bike), 2 books in English and 1 in Spanish, a plush Piglet (also bought before the bike became a reality)...my cousin is giving her 1 present, and she'll get 1 from my sis + family...oh, and she's finally getting the remote control car she's been asking for the past 3 Christmases (we have a left over sample that no customer has ordered!)...
AND, I wanted to give her a 64-piece box of crayons, and asked a friend to send it (they are not available locally!) ....she sent a 120 piece box, and a 24 piece of twistable crayons, and some glitter glue AND some drawing paper...
ok, now I feel guilty!

NEW $0.10 tax on gasoline

November 25th, 2007 at 08:08 am

well, since the bus owners threatened to go on strike if the goverment didn´t give them a subsidy on diesel, now the Legislative Assembly has voted to have a new tax on gasoline: $0.10 per gallon....This will serve to give the bus owners $400/month per each bus...never mind that some of those buses are JUNK, over 25 years old and poorly (if ever!) maintained!....the only reason those buses are still on the road is that some assembly members ARE bus owners (talk about conflict of interests!...those people should be excluded from voting on those matters, imo)...so, the bus owners get their subsidy supposedly so as to favor the poorer segments of the population, who have to travel by bus....hmmmm...what is the Legislative Assembly going to do to protect them from rising prices due to this new increase in gasoline prices...because I doubt the guy driving his truck to haul fruits and vegetables is going to "eat" that...he`ll transfer it to the next person in the supply chaing, who´ll transfer it to the next one and so on, until it ends up GUESS WHERE??? ...that´s it, not only with ME, but also with the pooor segments of the population who cannot afford a car and have to travel by bus!

$105 for car repairs!

November 23rd, 2007 at 12:29 pm

well, they will ch ange the oil, change the thermostat and the radiator cap, clean and adjust the brakes (they said that's all that's needed)...and they will charge me $105...

of course, they came up with a list of other gazillion things to fix, for a total of $532....I asked them if any of it was really URGENT and they said no, so I'll take the car out today and set aside ~$430 to fix the rest later...even if it means reducing the amount going towards debt!...

car trouble!

November 22nd, 2007 at 03:57 pm

I was on my way to pick up Ale when the car started overheating...took it to the nearest gas station...the radiator was dry!...I just checked it about a week ago (when filling the tank)...they filled the radiator with water and I drove it all the way back to our neighborhood (there´s a good workshop one block from my house) Needless to say, the car has to stay overnight (it was already 4 pm when I finally got here!) ....I told them the car had overheated and, they´ll check it...they´ll also do the oil change and I asked them to check the brakes (I check them every 6 months) while they´re at it....

((sigh)) they´ll call me tomorrow to tell me what it is, how much it´s going to cost and how long it´s going to take!...wish me luck!

my work for today....

November 22nd, 2007 at 07:45 am

since I'm off due Thanksgiving, my work today consists on packing the invitations/food tickets for a customer's children's party!...the tickets are already cut and stapled together in sets, so all I need to do is:
1. look at the list
2. cut out the employee's name
3. paste it on the envelope
4. count the number of people on his/her family group
5. count ticket sets according to # of family members
6. stuff tickets in the proper envelop
7. add one invitation card
8. seal the envelope with tape
9.Once I have all envelops for a particular division/unit- place them in a manila envelope
10.label the manila envelope with the division/unit name
11. seal the manila envelop with tape

other than that, I need to work on my niece's bag, I made a date with a friend for lunch at my house (I'm supposed to pick her up. Nanny made a chicken yesterday that was very good and I asked her to make some rice- which smells wonderful) and a date with another friend to go watch Hairspray again!

No, no turkey here today....but, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to those of you who DO celebrate it today! (whether with or without turkey!)

"What are WE going to do for the poor this Christmas?"

November 21st, 2007 at 09:50 am

the question came at breakfast yesterday...along with: "do you think Santa brings poor children toys, too?"...

My former colleagues are going to an orphanage the first weekend of December to have a piniata with the kids...they've asked me if Ale and I want to go...I'll definetily try to make it!...if not, we can always donate something to the many Toys for Tots boxes around the Embassy...but, it's not the same...I like Ale to SEE the impact of her actions...the "Power of One" as the ad says...I want her to appreciate what she has, and to know that it doesn't take a lot to make a big difference!

Freight going up by 30%

November 20th, 2007 at 08:26 am

the freighters guild announced a 30% increase in their rates...guess what THAT'll do to food prices! (not that I can blame them, though, with gas at $3.68/gallon!....ok, most use diesel, which is cheaper, but, still, it HAS gone up in price!)

total damage for the weekend!

November 19th, 2007 at 07:25 am

well, groceries were $48....fruit and veggies at the market $18...bought some cloth to make some bedding for Ale $19.75 (still need to get the batting, but that's not expensive and, she'll have 2 new bedcovers/4 new looks for her bed!)....seafood $23...invited the whole family for lunch at our favorite restaurant: $55 (had thought it would be $50... still, not too expensive for 4 people!...and, sis had beer and niece and I had one glass of wine each!)

2 translations...$42 and $74.48...and a third one which I still haven't done, so I don't know how much I will get for it!

seafood on sale!!!

November 16th, 2007 at 02:19 pm

a well-known seafood store just opened a new branch in a new neighborhood near my area...to encourage people to go to their new location, they're having a 2X1 on ALL their products!!...
I was thinking about buying 1 lb of shrimp this weekend anyway (Ale DOES love them, and we so seldom have them...maybe 2 times this whole year?...)...so, this is great! ...I may even buy some fish (which was NOT on the list, but, would be worth it!)

I'll let you know how it goes! Smile

Easy money!

November 14th, 2007 at 03:21 pm

well, I just got sent a file...it does not need to be translated, but it is a Powerpoint doc that got turned into a PDF and now they want to use some slides, so they asked me to re-create them...text slides, mostly....I don't think it'll take more than 1/2 hour...
I'm going home now (it's 5:15pm!) and I'll work on it after Ale goes to sleep... $$$$$ I'm SO glad:
1. that my former boss asked the managers to let me "help" with their presentations (hinder, mostly, would be the right word...at least at the beginning! I swear it took them twice as long to explain to me what they wanted than what it would have taken them to actually DO the slides themselves!)
2. that the managers had the patience to actually teach/correct me
3.that I was actually paying attention
4. That I got to re-type the manual/make the slides/screenshots for the new version (lots of practice!)

Yeah, Dad was right: anything you can learn can be useful some day, even if at the time you cannot imagine that it will!...and, even if you CAN imagine, sometimes things are useful in a DIFFERENT way than you imagined! (never saw this as a "side business" skill!)

New iron!

November 14th, 2007 at 10:41 am

well, Nanny asked me yesterday if it was ok for her to use the iron, as the cable had started smoking while she was ironing in the morning!...er, NO!...I will probably take the old iron to have it fixed and use it as a "spare" for emergencies...I bought a new iron yesterday (luckily, they were on sale!..it cost me $29)...a steam iron, HEAVY, teflon coated... (don't ask ME, I don't know how to iron, but Dad had learned while in the military and always said a heavy iron works best...of course, he was in the army around WWII, so....the new technologies might make that unnecessary!)...

a bolero for niece?

November 13th, 2007 at 02:42 pm

she's been begging for me to knit her something...I found this nice pattern on the web today...looks great, and the instructions are fairly easy....I think I might give this a try! (I can knit it in my lunch time here at work - if there are no translations! LOL!- and she'll never know about it!)

I was actually looking for instructions to knit one for Ale, as she has said she wants one and, we saw one at the store the other day....$20....NO WAY!.... the pattern I found also gives instructions on how to adapt it!...hmmmm, might even do a third one for is...wouldn't THAT be neat??....I could probably do all 3 for $20 (or less!)...it's an idea...

$171 more!

November 12th, 2007 at 08:29 pm

just finished another translation!....hopefully, this will cover the $$ I spent on Ale's medicines (MY share of it, after I get my reimbursement!) and the new battery for the car! Smile

Expenses for today

November 12th, 2007 at 09:54 am

took Fiona to the vet for her anti-parasyte shot and a bath (I don't usually spend money on baths for her, but prefer to bathe her myself, but, thought we could "spoil" her as an advanced Xmas gift...and the bath includes nail clipping, which she needed anyway!...they put neon green bows in her ears...she looks sooooo cute!...)....anyway, I thought I was going to spend about $30 ($29 to be exact, as I had called ahead to know what each service cost)....the Dr. didn't charge for the visit, only for the shot and, since the nail clipping was included with the bath, I ended up spending only $12...yipee!

Left Fi at the vet's and went to a place that sells baker's supplies to get two bottles of vanilla for a friend who lives in the US (we agreed to "trade" the vanilla for crayons for Ale!)...I bought some cookie cutters and found some swirly candles, too (sis' birthday is Dec 15)...spent a total of $8...originally, I thought each vanilla bottle was $3, but it turns out they are actually $1....no savings here, though, because I spent the $$$ on the cutters and the candles....I saw sooooo many things that would be so nice to have....but, that's it: "nice to have"...plus, I SHOULD have a lot of that stuff someplace (but sis boxed up everything that was in my parents' house when they died, so I don't know where she put it!)...and I refuse to buy it if I KNOW I have it...

I then went to a clothing store to buy some clothes for Ale for Xmas...a pair of pants and 2 shirts...$21 ...OUCH!...I did find that expensive... but I'm now "done" with her Xmas presents!!...

Now I need to find a present for sis, one for niece, and one for cousin....I'm sorry, it really is "not in me" to give either of my nephews presents this year!...a present for my best friend's son (we agreed two Xmases ago that we would give the children presents and a hug would be enough present for us!)

...I also have to start thinking about Nanny's Xmas basket...and her Xmas bonus...

the Disney fund!

November 11th, 2007 at 03:08 pm

Remember I said that there was one translation job that I was separating to put towards the Disney fund? Well, I got paid yesterday!!...so, I updated my ticker....

I'm still waiting on $1,000 from one translation job, and about $300 more for other, smaller ones...I'm also pending the proceeds from the toy sales....this will all be put towards debt.

books for Xmas!

November 10th, 2007 at 06:03 pm

I already bought my gift: the Lord of the Rings books!! Smile
I also bought 2 begginer's books (in English) for Ale: Charlotte's Web and a story about Igor (Dr. Frankenstein's assistant) wanting a new brain!
And one additional book in Spanish for her...

the bookstore was having a special sale and the books were 20% off! Smile

cold IS relative!

November 8th, 2007 at 03:06 pm

...I am most definetily a "tropical flower"...our temperatures are 28/17 right now and, I'm freezing!...well, not really, but, I'm very VERY cold, and I want my sweater!!! (forgot it at home!)...I have also noticed that I get very lethargic when it's cold...if I lived in a place where temperatures are REALLY cold, I guess I'd hybernate! LOL!...or, I'd have to have a screen, like the rose in the Little Prince!

$16.84 more!

November 8th, 2007 at 02:33 pm

another short translation arrived just before lunch! woo-hoo!...$15.16 after tax!...slow but steady!!!

Milk on sale!

November 8th, 2007 at 08:20 am

...powdered milk has gotten so expensive (we are now paying $2.98 for a 400g bag!)...and, today I found an ad offering it at $2.16!...I'm stocking up!

someone cloned cousin's debit card!

November 7th, 2007 at 12:30 pm

there was a discrepancy between HER numbers and the balance at the bank (she discovered this when a toy wholesaler tried to reserve a cheque she had given and got rejected for insufficient funds)...well, someone has spent $685 from her account!...living the good life at expensive restaurants and bars in the two most expensive malls here in ES (coincidentally near the place where we live!)....I would have blamed it on her son (who, at least apparently, continues to behave and will start to work next month!- or so he says)...well, I would have blamed him if it weren't for 2 things: 1. he was with her at the times when the transactions took place and 2. there's a $150 purchase at a store called Ilusion. Cousin didn't know what it was, but I do...it's a very expensive home-decor store (definetily not your average teenage-hangout!)...nothing but crystal, silver,pewter and the likes there...definetely not a place where a teenage boy would spend $$$$....she is disputing the charges (obviously) and has closed her account with the bank...

On the day her cheque was rejected, she tried to go to an ATM to get a balance and found out her card was blocked. When contacting the bank she was told the card had been reported as stolen, so they issued her a NEW card...and not she's lost ANOTHER $535 ....fishy, very fishy...

anyway, the bank is investigating, and she got whathever money she had out of there...

She's been told it generally takes 45 days to have something like this resolved...we'll see...wish us luck! (the $$$ in the account was the toy money!!!...obviously she thought it would be a lot wiser to keep it in the bank, where it would be "safe" rather than keep it home....after last year's "incident" with her son!)...I'm just glad I didn't give her MY share of the $$$, but chose to keep it myself, as we need to buy some toys TODAY to be able to benefit from a special sale price- which will allow us a $10 PROFIT/toy, instead of the $5 foreseen!! Smile

~$20 more!!

November 7th, 2007 at 09:39 am

have a new translation, which I'll work on during my lunch hour...I estimate about $20 from it...pre-tax...hey, it helps!! Smile

I'm learning about energy generation now! LOL!...

...could you believe my "average" additional income for this year (from translations only) is $500?...what's amazing to me is that the first semester is about $600...the rest is all August-Nov...but, I'm willing to go with the $500 average...if I can keep it up, I could even be debt-free by next December!!...("happy numbers")...that would be soooooo sweet!

Ale's dream store

November 6th, 2007 at 08:16 pm

Ale and her best friend want to open a store to sell "stuff"...they actually want to call it "Ale and Danny's stuff"...Ale says that Danny will be in charge of allocating the money, but that she (Ale) gets to be the boss and she gets a bigger share of the profit (her expression, not mine!) because it was HER idea...Ale will be in charge of ordering the stuff to sell, but, she says, she will have to order other stuff, too, as it would be nice to have restrooms in the store...she also thinks it would be nice to have a cafeteria, so people can eat there and save on food and gas...the food in the cafeteria would be free for customers, so if someone coming in for the first time notices the cafeteria, she'd tell them: oh, it's free for our customers...

AND, she says she would be very good at selling, because she's already been to the flea market on Sundays, and has also experience buying stuff from coming with cousin and me on our weekend expeditions downtown...

She knows she has to pay for the stuff she buys, plus the people that work at the store, and that from they cannot take all the profit because they need to replenish the store.... (I wish I had known all that when I was 7!! LOL!)

$37 more!

November 6th, 2007 at 08:01 pm

well, $33 once you take out the taxes!!...woo-hoo! this was a ppt presentation....these are becoming my "specialty"! Smile

....I got 26 pages of transltion from the office...they scared me, because originally the guy that sent them said it was about 100 pages...I guess he was kidding, but, I HAVE seen translations that big, so I thought he was serious!...he really scared me!...as it is, since my boss said I COULD do it IF I had the time and IF I felt like it (because he said it is this guy's responsibility to have the doc translated if he needs it in English, not ours), I have been doing it in my "dead" time at the office and, have already sent along 15 pages....I expect to be finished by Thursday, at the latest... 1. it helps me get more acquainted with what we are doing and 2. it will help my reputation around the office! :P

Expenses for today...

November 4th, 2007 at 01:57 pm

Well, it WAS the battery!...the car started today with no problems...took it to the shop and the guy tested the battery, asked me to start the car: no problem....told me to turn it off and turn on the lights, radio and a/c- without starting the engine- and, sure enough, after that, it was dead again!!!...it's ok, when I bought the car (used) I knew the guy that sold it to me had had to buy a battery for it, as the one it had died on him 3 days before he delivered the car...I KNOW he didn't buy a NEW one...so, it lasted 18 months...now I have a brand new battery, which has a 2-year warranty...it was on sale, too, at $60....I'm glad for several reasons:
1. it happened NOW, when I had the $$$ to buy it without incurring new debt
2. it happened TO ME, on a WEEKEND, at my cousin's, at around 7:00pm....and not to my niece at the university on a weeknight- she finishes classes at 9pm!...

Thank God for small mercies!
...I'm happy!

another expense for today were Ale's medicines (needed to complete her treatment): $38...this is after the 20% discount!!!- they did some research and found that Salvadorans pay the most for medicines in Central AMerica....up to 500% of the "real" price...whatever that means!...oh, well, at least part of the medical expenses is reimbursable (we'll see how much!, it's my first time using THIS policy!)

Expected expenses for tomorrow: plumber!...there are leaks in 2 of our bathrooms that are above my level of expertise! (I'm afraid I'd end up like the people in the comic strips, flooding the house and having to pay extra while trying to save some $$$)...minor repairs, I do myself, but at least one of these means replacing parts that I have no idea how to put in!- I can't even explain it in English!...I expect it to cost anywhere between $30-$60...I'll call the plumber tomorrow morning, as they charge extra to come on the weekends!

How I...save on children's b-day gifts

November 4th, 2007 at 01:45 pm

There are 20 kids in Ale's class...that means I KNOW I will have AT LEAST 10 birthday parties per school year...since she goes to a co-ed school, I know I will have to buy presents for both boys and girls (although there are more girls than boys in her class!)...I buy these gifts in bulk. Wholesale stores will give me the "by the dozen" price as long as I buy at least 3 of one item. I pick 3 items, generally 1 for girls (pretty purses, dolls, wands, plush toys), 1 for boys (cars, helicopters) and 1 "unisex" (puzzles, building blocks, doctor's kits, plastic farm animals, coloring books/crayons) and buy 3 of each. That gives me 9 items (enough to "survive" a school year). Because they are bought in bulk, I spend a lot less than what I would if I waited for each birthday party invitation to go to the store and buy each present! ...I also save on gas to go to the store and, even if Ale forgets to give me the invitations on time, I can always pick something from the closet at the last minute! (oh, and I always keep "recycled" wrapping paper on hand, too!)


November 3rd, 2007 at 06:39 pm

One of the larger jobs was not paid yet. I spent: $1.30 for traditional candy at the mall (Ale begged and, since she can't eat the colored ones at the moment, I gave in!), I also went to the toy store and, I found a bike that was a bit more expensive, but had 18 rim tires, so it's bigger than the ones I had seen before and, will last her longer. She tried it and she can use it - it does have training wheels!...we can pay it with 25% downpayment and 3 installments without paying interest, so I paid ~$25 also bought the protective gear...I separated $6 for our vegetables tomorrow (change) and, put the remaining $$$ in a safe place, so I don't have it with me today and tomorrow (so I cannot spend it!)...on MOnday I'll deposit it and start working on the payments!...oh, and it seems my car may need a new battery (it refused to start after I dropped cousin off!...luckily her neighbor is a mechanic and he was just arriving at the same time, so he looked at it and, used the jump cables to start my car!)...that could cost me about $60-$75....I have to look on the bright side: while that means less money towards debt, at least I HAVE IT!...if this had happened last year, for example, I would have been in BIG trouble (and would have had to incurr new debt to get it!)...If this had happened before we went to the toy store, I might have backed down on the bike!, but, I'm already committed now (else I lose part of my $$$)...I also have to buy some more medicines for Ale, to finish her treatment...part of that is reimbursable, though, so...no big loss there...
Oh! and the guys from the translation agency warned me that there's "a TON of work coming really soon" and to check whether any of my friends were willing to do translations, as they might have more work than their current pool of translators can handle!..that is sweet news, indeed!!
it was a good day!!!
minor detail I was forgetting! I owe $322 to my friend who helped me with one of the large translations! duh!...I'll go take that out of my stash RIGHT NOW!

BIG $$$$

November 3rd, 2007 at 12:38 pm

I'm getting paid for A LOT of translations today!...woo-hoo!!!...about $2K!!!- that means I have to deposit this on Monday morning and review my payment plan, to see who gets what!! That ticker to the left is going to JUMP forward!!! muaaaaahhhhhaaaaahhhaaaahahahaha!