but, I'll get paid at the beginning of March...
now that I am already doing "March" translations, my average dropped to $913...still, I think my goal of $1K/month average is doable...after all, February hasn't even started yet!
Archive for January, 2008
but, I'll get paid at the beginning of March...
no, not me (I wish!)...this is the latest scandal in Salvadoran politics: the Legislative Assembly members just gave themselves a 44% pay increase (last year they approved a raise of minimum salary...7%!)...so, the lowest-paid Legislative Assembly member will get a RAISE of $1,800/month!!
Crooks, all of them!...the "funniest" thing about it is that, now that the press has given it coverage, all of them are going: "what? pay increase? where? how? NO, I'm sure I didn't vote for it...never really heard about it until now..." (70/84 voted for it, so....best possible scenario they are all idi0ts and just vote without actually knowing what they're voting on...hmmmm, but, the opposition ALWAYS votes against whatever is put in front of them, so...hmmmm...Oh, and, even the member that signed the cheques said she didn't know about it!!!)...grrrrrrrrrrrr...this has everyone's blood boiling!!...people are asking that they revoke the measure (yeah, right!)...we'll see what happens, but, I just needed to vent!...$1,800!!!! (and minimum salary is $180!!!)...and, guess HOW they'll pay for it...or, rather, guess WHO'll pay for it...yep, "Juan Pueblo" ...
one of them actually said they NEEDED that raise because their current salaries are not enough....really, these people know no shame!
I know I've been "gone" for almost 2 weeks...there's lots to write about, but my energy seems to be very low lately (emotional stress - we had VIP visitors at the office!)...I'll post a "real" entry once I feel rested!
if all of a sudden you see just one letter being repeatedly typed here, I'm asleep on the keyboard!...
the customer with the blurry translation sent a new document...legible this time, Thank God!...which included the 6 original pages and 9 more!... medical and chemical terms...o joy!...I ended it at 10:30pm and went downstairs to connect to the internet to "clean" the translation (that is, to check MY translations against Google to see whether the terms actually exist or whether I made them up! ;P ) ...well, at around 11:10 (when I had 3 pages to go!!!!) the internet went down!!!!...aaaaaaaaaargh!...and I HAD to send it in yesterday (they needed it for today, end of day, but, we have visitors from out of town at the office, which means we will all go out to lunch, which means I don't get to work in my lunch hour!)...by the time the internet decided to work again, and by the time I finished reviewing the document, it was already 12:50!!! I finished at about 1:05 am, and went to bed at 1:11...I woke up feeling refreshed, but I look terrible (red eyes, yellowish skin)...I need at least 2 hours nap time...not going to happen! ....I've been keeping awake through coffee and candy...bad, bad MI...
(at least dinner last night was broccoli cream, so it KIND OF compensates!)
oh, and the $80 translation turned into $200!
Thankfully, they opened (someone else's) car and stole everyone's handbags while they were attending a wedding, so she wasn't harmed...the thieves DID smash the car window, though, and now niece has to replace all her id's (national id, drivers' license, tax id....)...((sigh)) since I had the day off today, I took her to get her national id (step #1 and the cheapest id!- $10.31)...we left the house at 7:30am, dropped Ale off at school, went to the police station to file a report (you need a copy of the report to be able to replace the drivers license) and then to the place where they issue the national id's...we came back at 2:00pm, had lunch and then I went to pick up Ale.. (the other offices close at 4pm, so there wasn't much chance of us making it before closing time...plus, the license costs $52...and we don't have that at the moment! --yeah, we DO need an emergency fund!)...((sigh))
4 files...lists of chemicals and medicines...ugh!...and the files were scanned....and they looked awful (like photocopies of photocopies of a fax!)...but, managed to read it! -- with a little help from a magnifying glass that a friend gave Ale recently as part as an "insect-catching" kit!
join the party!!
I was looking at my very first entry and, I was just supposed to jot down the expenses ....
I was looking at other entries for January 2005 and how bleak my financial situation looked back then...
I'm happy to be where I'm at (although, at times I feel I'm not doing enough!)...and I'm very, very grateful for this site, the wonderful advice and the even more wonderful support I get here!
I need to find some dancing music to celebrate!
there was a full-page, full-color ad for SONY Vaios today in the newspaper...
Ale, it seems, wants her own laptop...
after looking at the prices (the cheapest one was $1,099- don't ask me about specifications, I'm technologically challenged)she said to me:
"that's a lot of money...but maybe I could save for it...right now I only want it for games, but if I take good care of it,it'll last until I'm a teenager and then I'll use it for school stuff...and you know, even if I got a laptop that didn't come in colors, I could always use stickers to make it look nicer"
I just had to share that one!
Another translation arrived yesterday night...$35 worth! (which is good because work is crazy, so I'm beat at the end of the day and 4 pages is as much as I could handle anyway!)
well, those new vitamins the Doctor gave her sure are working!...pants that fit her at the beginning of December (before Dr's visit) are now tight...too tight to be comfy...some look like she's wearing capris!...
She has 2 pairs that were way too big (hand-me downs) and one of those fits... the other one is still a bit too loose...
So, on my "to buy" list now are 1 pair of jeans and 1 pair pink pants for Ale! - don't worry, I'll either get them downtown or at a thrift store...the way she's growing, it's no use buying her stuff to last "forever" anyway!
so, we started preparing the school packages....we figured out what we needed to buy but, because of prices, we bought "closed dozens" of everything (meaning if we needed 140 units of something, we got a better price by buying 12 dozens= 144)...because we were using up our stock first, there were leftovers from nearly all items!Also, we still had some items from previous years that we had been unable to sell....this allowed us to make 6 complete school packages (because public school doesn't ask for as many things as private ones), which will go to: Nanny, 1 for her daughter and 1 for her grand-daughter; the gardener -Don Felipe works both with cousin and with me- for his 2 sons; and 1 full package each for the 2 guards at the parking lot downtown where we park! - one of them has 2 children, the other has 5. AND, there were 3 each of colored pencils, scissors, lead pencils and sheets of bond paper to give to the guy that looks after my car at Church (I always park in "his" area, and he always saves me a spot!)...what's even better is that we even had some left over backpacks (we've had them for 2 years now, so they are not "in" anymore, we really wouldn't be able to sell them anyway) and, with those and 3 that we "purchased" through a promotion at the supermarket (you get a backpack for $0.99 for every purchase over $25!), we were able to get collect 9 backpacks, too!...so, essentially, for $2.97 we helped 5 families!...I feel so blessed!
I got 2 phone calls yesterday offering me pre-approved financing...one is from Evil CArd...no way, never again!... back in my stupid(er) desperate days I took one of those with them...which I then tried to pay off early....turns out, even if you did pay off early, you were required to pay the full interest as contracted ....so, yeah, thanks but, no thanks!....
the other one was more interesting, as it is a re-fi of my personal loan...I could move some of the higher interest debt into that...we'll see...the only problem might be that I don't know if the Embassy accepts "discount orders" (meaning whether they accept the trouble of discounting the money from your paycheck before giving it to you and paying it directly to the bank)...if they don't, I can't even contemplate it...
but, you know what? even if I don't get it, I don't really need it!...
140 packages....our profit will be $560/2 = $280 for each one of us!!!...
of course, it means working like crazy during the weekend, but....
I include this in the Teaching Ale about $$ category because, as usual, if she helps out, she'll get paid!
so...one of the companies we sold toys to wants 140 school supply packages...these are much simpler packages (read: less effort) than the ones we used to make for the school, plus, they are "a sure thing" (meaning once they've sent us the purchase order, if it says 140, that means they will buy 140...at the school we prepared packages and hoped that they would all sell!)...and, while profit on each individual packages will be lower than on the other ones....well, there's 140 of them! so, we end up making about the same amount of money!! -- woo-hoo!
same bag that cost me $3.09 on Saturday!
...and they tell me Premium gas has reached $4/gallon!!!
Desperate times call for desperate measures, I'm calling a "clan meeting" at my house tomorrow!!
as with everything, you take it for granted when you've had it all your life...I first became aware of this back in '92, while working for the UN Observer Mission in ES...one of the guys from the Spanish delegation came in one day with an armload of fruits, stood in the doorway (I was the receptionist/telephone operator) and said to another guy (a newcomer): "You won't believe this, but, I've been here for nine months already and, EVERY month I've tried a different fruit...there's always new ones, and there's always plenty, and they are tasty AND cheap! It's amazing!"....my colleauge at the reception (there were 2 receptionists/telephone operators on duty during business hours and only 1 the rest of the time, the Mission was available 24/7)said to me: "Oh, the things that amaze them...and this is in the Information Age...no wonder they thought they'd found paradise when they first arrived 500 years ago!"...we laughed, but it DID get me thinking...I also remember the guys from Chile at the Mission, who ate a pineapple every week...they mentioned that pineapples weren't as sweet in Chile, and that they were very expensive!...and I was thinking about it yesterday, while preparing our lunchboxes: chicken and spinach lasagna, with chopped tomatoes, and mellon for dessert. I also made our dinner, which was a broccoli cream - all from fresh veggies/fruit...no cans, no bags, no powders, no preserves...and the mellon was delicious, too, sweet and golden...fruit doesn't taste the same when it is picked before it's ripe (I guess it's the same for vegetables)...and, if I stick to what's "in season", it really is not expensive!....and, because our weather is mostly "even" all year round, produce tends to be "in season" most of the time!
I'm definetely nesting! (what for, I don't know!)...I bought the veggie thingy that I had mentioned to put Ale's stuff in order (in place of the $50 bookcases)...it cost me $7.95 (I thought they were ~$11 originally!)...it looks really cool! (let's see how long it lasts looking clean and tidy, though!)...we went by the "FAbric Zone" and I saw some fabric I have been eyeing for about a year now, as an "end of roll savings"!!!...Needless to say, I jumped at it! (normal price was $6.95/yard...end of roll is $1.95/yard!)...there wasn't enough stuff to make a curtain to fit my window, though, so I bought 2 colors in the same pattern (a burnt orange and a chocolate brown!)...I also fell in love with 2 other matching pieces - blue and yellow...so, I bought them all and now have enough for 2 curtains and some matching pillows (how many depends on the size)....total cost? $10.95...and since I don't like ruffled curtains, a friend will saw the hems for me!...(I have been using an old sheet of my nieces...purple in color, which doesn't do "anything" for the room!...my walls are a very pale blue)...I'm happy!
...went to the grocery store today...bought almost the same things I always do (did not get meats, but had to buy food for both Tonio AND Fiona, as they were both running out)...the total is generally ~$70...today it was $85!!!
...and the MInistry of Economy says cummulative inflation as of November was 5.5%!!!
I'll have to adjust my monthly budgets to reflect these new prices!!!...and I'm guessing the difference will have to come out of the money allocated towards paying debt....grrrrr!
an insert in the paper had an ad for bookcases on sale...I immediately thought: THAT's what I NEED!...they even had the measurements, so I went home and measured...2 of those would be perfect to fit the small space where Ale has her books and movies in my room...together, both bookcases would have cost me $50... they are not exactly the kind of furniture I like, but they would be convenient...HOWEVER...I could achieve basically the same result (a more organized area) just by switching the current stuff (a TV table that my sister bought and then discarded and one of those tiered thingies for veggies) and buying ANOTHER veggie thingy - they're stackable- which, last I checked, could be gotten for about $11....so, nope, I'm not going to buy MORE furniture to fit the space of a house that isn't even mine! (oh, yes, I have dreams of a house of my own again someday...I don't care if it's smaller than the one we have!, and, the less "stuff" I have specifically bought to fit THIS house, the easier it will be to find stuff to fit THAT house specifically...not to mention once I own a house I'd want REAL wood bookcases!)
I finished the translation yesterday night and sent it...it turned out shorter than I thought, and it will be $144 (tax included)...I'm pretty good at guessing how many words a translation will have when translating from Spanish to English...but, I was off by about 600 words on the English to Spanish....hmmmm, must start paying more attention, so I'll get a "feel" for the right ratio....
woo-hoo! just got sent my first official translation of the year!!...the original is in English... 3,164 words...considering that Spanish tends to use more words, I guess it will be about 3,800 words when done - or $152, whichever you prefer!...let's consider it ~$150!!!
I am re-using some info and all the formulas, but have to work on the conditional formatting to reflect the new amounts budgeted...it's proving to be a lot more work than I thought it would be...the good thing is, even if I don't fix that right away, it shouldn't impact the quality of the actual data!
had to pay for the security co. at our neighborhood ($15) and for gas for my car today ($36.31)....gas was expensive today, but, it should last a bit longer since Ale doesn't go back to school until next Monday (so, 4 trips less) and church group is out until next weekend (1 trip less)...Niece is also on vacation, and is not working at the moment, so....
ugh! One of my goals was to pay off $5K in debt (not counting interest)...I ALMOST made it! ....$4.7K!...
oh, well, it wasn't that bad...and I'm still pending some payments...but those are already Jan 08!...
I've been checking my old January entries and, this is what I was doing back then....
Getting calls from creditors.
Selling tamales to pay for Ale’s psychologist sessions
School supply sale
Second job teaching English
Canceled 1 cc!
School supply sales
Resting (we will do a scale-down version of the school supply, so we are not putting as much effort/money into it...don't have any translations, although I hope they pick up the second week of January!)
Life is good!
Cousin brought her tenant (she rents him a room in her house) to our New Year's celebration (that's NOT the surreal part, and, we don't mind that she did and he's actually quite social....more so than her son, who came in to say hello, left, came back for dinner, left, and came back before 12!)....anyway... the guy was amazed at the amount of food (plenty of snacks-chips and dips, mostly), ham in pineapple sauce, the giant bowl of mashed potatos and peas...so, cousin started reminiscing about the FEASTS Mom used to host...she once brought her best friend and HE still remembers...that was over 15 years ago...when my parents were still spending like crazy...consomme for starters...there was ham, turkey and pork...rice and mashed potatoes...three kinds of salad...2 types of dessert...that was the way it was with Mom...frankly, I don't think I (we) would do something as elaborate as that, even if we DID have the money (although, we DID have two kinds of dessert last night! ... my friend who visited on Xmas had brought choocolate sherbet and, we bought a can of peaches... LOL!...Mom would faint that we had "only" THAT- no home-made ones!)...we also mentioned Mom's eating disorders, because, she would psychologically pressure you into having AT LEAST 2 servings of each thing- she got hurt and stated you probably hadn't liked her food in such a way that it made you feel you were breaking her heart by not eating!!
But, yeah, thinking about all that excess is surreal! (and the parents didn't have cc's!... but, they used the crop loans to afford this sort of thing!...it makes me dizzy to even think about it!)
my goals for this year:
1. Track spending (I know, I generally am very good at this for the first few months, then drop it, but, this year I got a small pocket calendar!!)
2. Make at least $1,000 per month average from translations. Save at least 10% of that! (still working on the best configuration, given my amount of debt...since I am still owed from the toy sales, I will not know 100% where I stand until I make those payments)
3. Take better care of myself...(financial, because I've been neglecting things like dentist check ups due $$$)...started "last year" by ordering my new glasses...with the new prescription....and bought contact lenses also with the new prescription - I guess this could also be seen as an investment in the business! (can't translate very well if your vision is blurry!)
Ok, that's it for now...I'm off to watch the Rose Parade to see if I can spot "our guys"!!