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Archive for April, 2008

My pay raise!

April 30th, 2008 at 01:43 pm

I had thought I'd be getting about $20 more per pay period...but the payroll stubs came today and I will be getting $43 more per pay period!...I will splurge this pay period (Friday) and buy a ticket to go see a Mi guel B ose in concert ("general" locations are $20)...and I will make arrangements to have $40 withheld towards my savings account with the co-op starting the next pay period (May 16th)

Smile

I hadn't realized...

April 30th, 2008 at 08:00 am

I was lathering some of the (prescribed) hand lotion today, and, I suddenly realized.... the Dr's fee ($20) and the creams (~$20)were an unexpected expense...paid for in cash....without me having to be late on payments for anything to be able to use those ~$40!... I didn't even have to touch my meager savings or put in on a cc (putting it on a cc didn't even cross my mind!)...True, I had to wait 2 paid periods, but since this Dr's visit was just so I could get my passport, it was not an emergency and could wait...

This is real progress! I was reading my Jan 2005 entries and I was complaining about not being able to get $33 to bring my cc up to current status!!

I feel accomplished!!

I hadn't realized...

April 30th, 2008 at 08:00 am

I was lathering some of the (prescribed) hand lotion today, and, I suddenly realized.... the Dr's fee ($20) and the creams (~$20)were an unexpected expense...paid for in cash....without me having to be late on payments for anything to be able to use those ~$40!... I didn't even have to touch my meager savings or put in on a cc (putting it on a cc didn't even cross my mind!)...True, I had to wait 2 paid periods, but since this Dr's visit was just so I could get my passport, it was not an emergency and could wait...

This is real progress! I was reading my Jan 2005 entries and I was complaining about not being able to get $33 to bring my cc up to current status!!

I feel accomplished!!

Things I wish I had known before my parents died

April 29th, 2008 at 11:16 am

1. I wish I had known they were NOT inmortal!- it may sound silly, but, part of me still believed they'd be around forever!
2. I wish someone had told me that, no matter how prepared you think you are (long lives, long illness, etc), you are never fully prepared (emotionally) for your parent's to die!
3. I should have thought of making "keepsake" boxes for Ale- she was so young when they died, some days she is anguished because she cannot fully remember them!
4. I wish I had written down some of Mom's recipes! - some are gone forever!

There are probably more things, but these are the ones that jump at me right now!

potential new customer

April 29th, 2008 at 10:44 am

got a referral from my sis...the brother of a friend of hers needs translations.
I just wrote to the guy and sent him my contact numbers (the brother had sent me his e-mail, only)

This is good...another "direct" customer!! (potential, anyway!)

Mother's day gift

April 28th, 2008 at 04:02 pm

Ale recently wondered how children who don't have a father living in the house can get a present for Mom without asking her for the $$$ (as that would be both tacky and unfair!).... I told her they don't necessarily have to BUY a present...her eyes lit up!

So, today I have to provide her with: wrapping paper, glue, markers and some yarn from our homework box.... I'm not allowed to know what it is for...other than it is for my Mother's day present! (I'm also supposed to be confined to my room while she works!)

Isn't that sweet?

eggplant weekend

April 28th, 2008 at 01:19 pm

I made eggplant lasagna (again!) - because Ale didn't get to eat from the last one...and made a chick-pea/eggplant soup from a recipe I found on the internet...
both were huge hits (except, Ale liked the chickpeas, but not the soup)...that's ok, I can make the soup for everyone else and serve her something different... at least, we got out of the routine, ate something delicious/nutritious and cheap!

I must be sicker than I thought!

April 25th, 2008 at 09:54 am

I totally confused the payperiods!!!...I got paid LAST week...which means there's still a full 8 days until the next payday!!

How could that be? How could I get confused like that? Either the mucus or the medicines are destroying my brain!

payday tomorrow- I still have $11.51

April 24th, 2008 at 09:36 am

I'm getting better! LOL!
I was reviewing my entries and I've gone from $0.48 to $11.51 in my account before payday....Yay!

$13,415.50

April 24th, 2008 at 07:49 am

that's the balance in my pension fund (got my account statement today!)

And if this sounds low, consider this:
under the old pension fund regime, some people retired with 10K COLONES, at a rate of exchange of 8.71 Colones per 1 USD!

working from home this afternoon

April 22nd, 2008 at 03:51 pm

Nanny had a problem and couldn't come to work....I left my office at 3:00pm and am now making phone calls to try to arrange some appointments for a visitor that is leaving on Thursday!...I made a list of #s and brought it home with me so I could do that; not really required, but, since I already took half a day off yesterday to get my passport, I'd feel guilty if I didn't do it!

I thought since I am here, I'd make a lasagna...only to discover that the horrible little pasta bugs attacked again...my beatiful lasagna pasta is infected! -

I did find 3 potatoes (haven't been able to go to the market for the produce yet), so I'm thinking meatballs and mashed potatoes instead (good thing I still hadn't prepared the meat sauce!)

Gasping for air!

April 20th, 2008 at 04:59 pm

I don't know what it is, but there's a very bad virus going around....Ale got it last week, and, wouldn't you know it? It hit me on Thursday. I did go to the office on Friday because there were several things outstanding that could only be taken care of on Fridays (don't you just love bureaucracy?), but got sent home at 4pm, on account of "looking terrible"...I spent yesterday coughing and sleeping, and today coughing, sleeping and sneezing...not a nice combo, let me tell you!...I think I may be feeling better, though, the coughing is less frequent/ painful and I actually want to have a shower!
Sis had to leave for San Miguel (2.5 hour drive) to drop off my nephew at the rehab, and niece left to have lunch with friends...as I was really in no condiiton to cook, and there was nothing that could be heated in the microwave, I bought a pizza for Ale and myself. Spent $6.50.
ouch! the coughing has returned!

The Disney Trip - update

April 18th, 2008 at 08:57 am

ex-hubby came to dinner yesterday (I served him my now-famous eggplant lasagna and garlic bread, with a nice Concha y Toro white wine) This was his birthday dinner, which I promised to make because I couldn't attend the birthday party he hosted in January!

He brought by the standby airline tickets (called "passes") AND, get this: he wants to pay for Ale's park entrances! this is to be her b-day present!

(what can I say, there IS a reason I fell in love with this guy! -- you have to remember: he's not Ale's dad! and, in a culture where men divorce the children when they divorce the wife, it really is a large gesture to give such an expensive gift for another man's child!)

He told me to go ahead and purchase the tickets, and then mail to him the amount I paid so he can reimburse me!

You should have seen the look in Ale's face when I told her!

Joan: ref, Translations

April 17th, 2008 at 11:23 am

First, let me say that translating is a lot like teaching, in that just because you are proficient in a language (or more) that doesn’t necessarily mean you can teach others how to do it / translate to or from it. Teaching requires an additional set of skills, as does translating, it requires an understanding of the language (you may be fluent in a language and know when you have to use “I, me, my or mine”, but you may not be able to tell WHY – in the case of teaching. Or, you may not really know when to use a certain word instead of another – in the case of translation, otherwise, you’ll end up with the type of translation you get from those translation softwares….with things like: "The ghost is willing, but the meat is weak!")

ES is a very small country and, traditionally, not many people speak a second language- this is reserved mostly to the elite; the few fortunate ones to either have attended a bilingual school (misleading name, since there are a couple ones that are actually tri-lingual!) or that have lived in foreign-language speaking countries and have learned abroad.

If you take those 2 things into consideration, you’ll have: 1) a group of people who don’t speak a second language and 2) a smaller group of people that do speak a second language fluently but that don’t feel proficient enough to translate to/from it.

"Standard operational procedure" if you belong to groups 1 or 2 is: call someone who is considered to be fluent and ask if they are willing to do it. Since I know many people who are fluent, I just let them know that I DO translate, give them my fees ($0.05/word) and my phone number….so, if anybody asks, they refer them to me!

ES is a very small country, so Word of mouth goes a long way!

Another option is to sign up with one of the (very few) translation agencies in the country. They generally have a pool of translators that they use when the owners can’t do the job themselves (due time constrains or just because the topic of the document is not their area of expertise).

A few freelance translators publish small ads in the classifieds, but people generally prefer to go to someone they know or that is referred by someone they know (they figure it’ll be cheaper and, since they are being referred, they feel they have assurance of the quality of the work – as a friend wouldn’t recommend someone whose work they don’t know!)

I am starting to get a reputation now; a very good one. Generally, the saying is: fast, accurate, cheap: pick any 2!....My prices are market prices (average is $0.05/word or $10-$15/page…), I’m GOOD (I take pride in that and, I double and triple-check unfamiliar words/expressions to make sure they are what’s used by the specific industry or area related to the document) and, I’m fast! (I translate at night, after Ale has gone to bed, and, generally average 5-7 pages per night….and I’ve been known to translate up to 80 pages in just one weekend!-again, with good quality!)

I have done consecutive interpretation (“oral” translation is called interpretation), in which the speaker will make a pause so I can interpret what s/he said in the target language….I have never done simultaneous interpretation, though (where you interpret right as the person is speaking- I’m not sure I could do that, though I’m told is just a matter of training and, giving that I CAN type a letter while listening to a conversation without having one intrude into the other one, it’s fair to presume that I could do learn it quickly)….Interpretation is the BIG money maker, since you can make anywhere from $200- $300/day

Some day, I hope, I’ll be able to do this full time (after I pay off all my debt, and have a small fund set aside, since, as you can see, payments can be a little unreliable) I’m not going to lie to you, it IS a scary thought! – but it is also exciting!

Next stop: $9.5K!

April 17th, 2008 at 07:45 am

my current debt total is $9,828.46
My next goal is to bring it to $9.5! I hope to do this before the end of May!
(wish me luck!)

If things go well, I could be debt free by the end of 2009...we'll see, since the translation business seems to have slowed down a bit! Frown

Hopefully, it'll recover in the next couple of months!

Funny or scary??- Evil Card

April 15th, 2008 at 10:15 am

well, I generally check all my accounts on line, but I forgot my password and blocked my "Evil Card" access (real name of the company is A V A L Card, so I call it Evil Card....

anyway...I had to look up their phone # to check my current balance....

the phone number for Evil Card is:
2280- 3666

I got my money!!!!

April 14th, 2008 at 06:48 pm

I got paid today!...$675 after taxes!...I already allocated it and tomorrow I will deposit it into the proper accounts!

Now I'm only pending collecting from customer #1, who is still not due and who always pays on time!! Smile

misleading advertising!!

April 13th, 2008 at 01:15 pm

I HAD to go to the drugstore today to buy a bag of "Putman's little horse" dye...
Since Nanny seemed to have a special fondness for clorhine, we stopped buying it (too many stained clothes!)...and we bought "Vanish" instead...
The ad even has a lady in pink teaching another lady how to use it and, at one point the lady in pink pours some of the stuff directly from the bottle onto the clothes (which is what our Nanny did to one of Ale's uniform skirts!)...well, in the ad, the lady in pink says: Don't worry, it won't stain, trust the Pink stuff!....yeah, well, The Pink Stuff de-colored our skirt!...a skirt that I had purposefully bought 1 size too big so it would last 2 school years...Not only that, but, Nanny had to go through God-knows-how-many hours of agony before I got home to tell me she had ruined Ale's skirt...(No, I'm never mean about stuff she ruins/breaks... it could happen to anybody and, hardly ever has anything been ruined/broken out of carelessness on her part...)
So, since Ale only has 2 uniform skirts, I had to go to the drugstore and buy the dye (luckily, it only costs $0.75!)...I then had to boil the whole thing and, now I have the skirt on the line, drying, and hoping that the material WILL take (otherwise I'll have to buy another skirt!)...
I think I'll write the manufacturer to let them know their ads are misleading...either fix the product or pull the ad off the air!

woo-hoo!!! Money, money, money!!

April 11th, 2008 at 03:06 pm

I finally managed to contact the other customer's partner (the one that owes me ~$800). She says she'll drop the $$$ off at my house on Monday afternoon!!

My rent was just raised!

April 11th, 2008 at 09:35 am

ugh!...
Looking at it on the bright side:
- it wasn't by too much (from $315 to $350)
- I only pay half of it
- We've had the same rent for over 5 years now
- it's still way below the average for the area (~$450)
- The increase will start on the May rent, I should receive my payraise by then!

I already told sis...
Back to re-work the numbers in the budget!

I got my $53.15!!!

April 11th, 2008 at 08:57 am

Finally! The customer came by in the afternoon and dropped it off at my house!
Yay!

"Mom, I 'need' Book 3 of the Rainbow Fairies"

April 10th, 2008 at 02:47 pm

Ale called me today to let me know she only has 2 more pages to go on Book 2, and asked if we could get Book 3 anytime soon.
So, now we have scheduled a trip to the land of temptation, a.k.a. bookstore, to get that book.
I have to start preparing myself psychologically to NOT buy anything else! (I was going to buy myself The Book Thief for Mother's Day, but a friend of sis just bought it and will lend it to us- so I can save that $$$ instead!)

Breathe in- breathe out....

April 10th, 2008 at 07:42 am

I almost had a panick attack yesterday...
I sent an email to a customer that owes me ~$800 on Monday...no answer....
so, I dialed her cellphone...weird tone, as if disconnected...

I sent another email yesterday....and got an answer today. Customer is in the US (and is not using the roaming on her cell- I wouldn't, either!)...she told me to call her partner, as they were supposed to be getting this money this week...Unfortunately, she did not include the partners phone # (I had it, but cannot find it- I KNOW! BAD, BAD MI!)

But, at least I know she's not trying to get out of paying me!

Sis vs Cousin

April 9th, 2008 at 04:01 pm

Sis resigned herself that the only way out of being co-signor on Cousin's debt right now was to pay the debt...$1,700!...already at the legal collections area of the bank, and ready to go to the point where Sis' salary would have been docked... Frown

Sis took out an "extra financing" with a cc company to pay those $1,700...even with that, her credit will still remain at "E" level for 6 months.... (with A++ being the best rating....guess what E means!)

She dragged cousin to the bank and now has all the documentation that says the debt is paid and sis is free...

Now that that is taken care of, she finally allowed herself to tell Cousin how she REALLY feels about all this...

She says Cousin told her she's "aware of how this is affecting" sis, and has promised to repay her (yeah, I've heard THAT one before!- specifically in Dec 2005, when she promised to repay me for the phone calls her son had made!)...I told sis to insist on $20/week, otherwise she'll never see the money again...I also told her NOT to settle for having the $1,700 repaid, because SIS won't be paying $1,700...she'll be paying that PLUS INTEREST!....

Sis says Cousin will most likely call me to whine...I don't think she'll do that, as she knows how I feel about that...

Our Clan (family) just got smaller, I guess!

The Disney Trip- update

April 9th, 2008 at 10:38 am

Well, the trip is "postponed" (originally wanted to do it from the 25 april-2nd/May...but I stil don't have my passport!...or the $$$ for the trip (just for the tickets!)

So, the trip is officially postponed until the lat week of May...

Ex-hubby called and told me the employee ticket stock (paper) is low, so he will buy the tickets next Tuesday ...I asked him to (finally) give me a set amount, and he said: $435 for both tickets! Yoo-hooo! We had estimated ~$700, so I had $700 set aside! ...that leaves me $265 for the other trip expenses!!!

Now, all I have to do is COLLECT the money owed!

(the great news is these tickets are fully refundable if I don't use them!)

Deadbeat customer - part III

April 8th, 2008 at 09:51 am

Finally got her to take my call (after calling every day and sending the docs by fax 3 times!)...She gave me this Spiel about having problems with communications at the office - apparently, they could RECEIVE only (only in-coming calls/emails went through, but not outgoing ones...same with her cellphone!)

She told me the check has been cut and she will bring it by my house tomorrow....If she doesn't, I'll start my 3-calls-per day routine again!
((sigh)


Going to the Ministry of Treasury

April 6th, 2008 at 08:27 pm

I have to go file my taxes tomorrow. Actually, I'm just taking my paperwork and letting them calculate it for me (yes, you can do that! it's a free service they have...one year, a "customer service" person told me I could NOT use that service because it is set up only for people who cannot pay to have someone do their taxes for them...NO!...it's set up for people who cannot do their taxes themselves...I cannot do my taxes...I USED to be able to, but now with different streams of income, it gets more complicated...Also, this year, I have to report income from 5 entities, but there's only space for 4 on the form...how do I handle THAT??...the instructive they hand out does not have a provision for this...so, I need expert guidance!)...I'm at the verge of a heart attack: the translations actually brought me up higher in the tax bracket, so I may not have to pay ~$1,600 total as I had originally estimated, but ~$1,600 ADDITIONAL to what was already withheld!
((sigh))
I'll keep you posted!

Raiding the (school supply) closet!

April 4th, 2008 at 08:42 am

Went to cousin's house last weekend and we raided the school supply closet for my "homework box".
We found art brushes in 3 different sizes, poster paints, finger paints, cover paper, glossy colored paper, pencils, 1/4 gallon of white glue, some glitter glue (silver, copper, gold and yellow), glitter (green, red, purple and green), stickers...

Never overlook the obvious!

April 3rd, 2008 at 03:48 pm

I have been going crazy trying to find information on El Salvador's productive activities...not that there is lack of information, there's A TON...but nothing my DD could grasp (she's 7!)...yesterday night, I decided to look in her book-case (yes, she has her own book-case!) and found an Atlas with a special section on ES (international editorial that customizes for each country in which they have operations) and a collection called Active Pre-school, whose last book is entitled: Let's get to know ES. Great! Info is short, but complete and definetely at 1st-grade comprehension level!...the Atlas even has a map with little pictures!...
so, today I downloaded a simple map of ES, and a few icons to replicate the map in the Atlas (to make it more kid friendly, and also to make HER copy the location of the crops/industries/etc on the map)

This is due next Wednesday, so we will probably work on it during the weekend (no, I'm not a torturer, I try to make homework as much 'a la Art Attack' as possible, she actually enjoys it!)

And, I don't even have to buy any special materials! Smile

1st official translation for May!

April 3rd, 2008 at 01:45 pm

well, I just got another translation job...considering the 30-day credit rule, I should get paid for this one on May 5 or thereabouts...it will be about $100!
Now, if I could just collect on the other customers....


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