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Archive for June, 2008

Translations!!!

June 27th, 2008 at 07:08 pm

Well, July will be a 'dry' month...I got paid for all my translations last week (and the $$$ is all gone already!- some spent, some paid)...and the next payments aren't due until AUGUST! ....((GASP!))...AND, I have to renew my drivers license and the car registration...so in July I won't be able to make payments above the minimum payments...I hate it!...((sigh))...at least, I have the $$ for both the minimum payments and the license and registration!...PATIENCE!!!...
oh, but August will be a great month!...I already have $300 worth of translations that are due in August...and I just got a new 96-page job!...of course, that means I should be translating, not blogging!!!...oops! gotta go!

Tires cost me $68!!

June 26th, 2008 at 02:25 pm

Found a great deal on tires! woo-hoo!

salary adjustment

June 25th, 2008 at 01:31 pm

we just received an announcement that we will get a 2.5% salary adjustment starting next payperiod (o, due on 7/11) yay!

In my case, it's about $27/month...hey, that's $27/month I don't have, currently...I'll probably use the first $27 to open a savings account to start putting money away to pay my taxes next year (as I estimate I'll have to pay about $4,500!)

New tires

June 25th, 2008 at 09:55 am

I noticed yesterday that we will soon need new tires for the car...and today there was an ad stating that tire prices will go up starting July 1st...I guess I HAVE to go tire shopping this weekend! (or, rather, that I need to have niece sit down with the yellow pages this week so that I can go buy tires on the weekend!)...you know what is great?
1) I DO have available credit, so I COULD put it on my cc...
You know what is greater?
2) I DO have enough cash available that I won't need to do that!!!
Such an amazing feeling! (of course, there are things I was planning to buy with that money, but they are not urgent, so they'll just have to wait!)

Parts of my country that I don't know!

June 24th, 2008 at 07:59 am

The guys have been going out to the field a lot lately...I don't get to go. I stay and "hold the fort", LOL!...
but, since we bought a camera last year, I make them take it and, aside from the pictures of the events that they are attending, they occasionally take pictures of the scenery...

Here are a couple of places I've never been to (and not likely to visit anytime soon, as it is difficult getting there even with a 4X4!!- in fact, there are places where they had to leave the cars behind and walk for about 1 or 2 hours to get to the communities!)





As you can see, transportation IS an issue (and this was during dry season!!)



lunch at the beach yesterday

June 23rd, 2008 at 10:03 pm

The day was soooo beautiful, we decided to go to the beach, to a nice little surf lodge someone had recommended to us...
We spent $50 for 3 people...not bad, considering sis had an entree and lunch (Ale just lunch)...and sis had a couple of beers...
As for those things that money can't buy...

This was the view from our table:



And this is us, enjoying the afternoon!

So, when does YOUR vacation start?

June 19th, 2008 at 01:41 pm

Ale thought I had 7 days vacation from work, just as she will have 7 days vacation from school.... Frown I wish!
...I explained work vacations aren't the same as school vacations...she was disappointed, but, I promised her I would try to take the day off on the 26th (her b-day)...
I already asked and my boss said I can take it....

The sandwiches

June 18th, 2008 at 10:07 am

Well, the chicken pate probably cost about $3.15 to make...but I didn't even use up half of it!...so, let's say $1.50 ...and $1.35 for the bread...the 12 sandwiches cost us $1.85...or about $0.15 each!...
When we made them for sale, they were even cheaper, because I would buy the bread at the factory on sale for $0.60...yesterday I opted for buying it in the little corner store (which is always more expensive than supermarkets, even! that same bread would have cost me $1.25 at the supermarket) ...but I saved the cost of gas- going to the factory or even to the supermarket for 1 loaf of bread would have been crazy!

Ale was so very happy!...even happier because there was leftover chicken pate...which means we get to have sandwiches for dinner! ...since this is the pate Mom would make for our "pinata" sandwiches, they are extra special for us!

"they won't cost much, we'll make them at home"

June 17th, 2008 at 01:55 pm

this is what my daughter told the teacher after she (my daughter) offered to be in charge of bringing 12 chicken sandwiches to their "last day of school" party...
the teacher had originally asked her to bring in paper plates and chips...and when Ale offered to bring the sandwiches as well, the teacher worried it would be too much of an expense...
oh, well, they WILL be home-made, so obviously not as expensive as buying chicken sandwiches...or even buying the chicken pate to make sandwiches, since we cook from scratch!...(Ale has a good idea how much they cost, because she knows we used to sell them at 3 for $1...and this left us a profit, so...)

NOW I may think about changing cell phone companies!

June 17th, 2008 at 09:38 am

shhhh....don't tell anybody just yet... niece was in an ad for Cellphone company #1, which has MUCH better signal coverage than any of the other ones...the reason I stay with my current cell phone company is that their prepaid card balance doesn't expire ....with other companies, you buy a $2 card, once you load it to your cell phone, you have 5 days to use it, or it expire...$5 cards last 7 days; $10 last 12; $20 last 15 days and the $50 card lasts a month...
with my company, I can use a $2 and, as long as I receive at least 1 incoming call in a 60- day period, it NEVER expires...since I've been trying to CUT on cellphone use (I'm currently spending $2- $5 per month!) this makes a lot more sense than switching to company #1...
HOWEVER...the ad niece made is to announce that company#1 is going to go to "non-expiring" cards, too! woo-hoo!
I get the convenience of a pre-paid cell phone (contracts here are for a fixed amount, starting at $15, you get a "free" phone, but the contract is for 18 months...if the phone is damaged within those 18 months, you have to either buy a new one, or sign an extension of the contract (for ANOTHER 18 months!)...and, since I really don't care about having the "latest and greatest" cell phone, I can buy one of the cheap $10- $15 phones and get both the convenience of the no-expiration card AND the best signal coverage!!! It'll even help me LOWER my cellphone budget, because sis and niece (the people I call the most) AND the people at my office are already on THAT network, so calls will be cheaper thatn they are now, with me calling from company #2 to a company #1 line!
woo-hoo!
(I'll just have to wait until they announce it officially!- oh, and I'll have to carry 2 phones while I make sure everyone on my address book has the new number!)

the concept of "dress code"

June 16th, 2008 at 01:54 pm

I had to explain to Ale this morning that the fact that the school is allowing them NOT to wear their uniforms the last 3 days of school does NOT mean students can wear whatever they want... she wasn't too happy about it, but, I know she now probably thanks me (as it seems some of her schoolmates had to be told this AT SCHOOL, BY THE TEACHERS!!)

What bothered me about Ale's clothes this morning:

1. mini-skirt: she was wearing what used to be a mini skirt 2 years ago...it barely covered her while sitting down, even with shorts underneath it!
2. shoes: black ballerina flats that were pretty when bought, but after almost 1 year of abuse look like she rescued them from the city dump...it's a miracle they don't have holes in them, but look very worn and ratty...AND, they make her feet smell if worn without socks!!!
3. shoes: she changed into crocks...definetely not a choice of footwear my grandmother would have thought appropriate for school! - it's as if she had worn sandals: too casual!

So I sent her to change again and she found a skirt that was about 3 inches above her knees and she decided to wear her Hush-puppy sandals...

She gave me an evil look...and I explained to her...I asked her if she had noticed that I never wore my work-clothes on the weekends, or viceversa...

I told her that is because eventhough I don't wear a uniform, there are certain rules we are required to follow when at certain places (no bare shoulders at church, no jeans at certain offices, etc)...

She seemed to have accepted it by the time we left for school and, coming back from lunch I got a message in my voicemail that said: "Mom, we can wear our normal clothes to school today, but we cannot wear 'ycras'...do you know what 'lycras' are?" (they mean short biking pants)...I'm guessing there's a long list of other stuff as well!

sis got the loan!!!

June 13th, 2008 at 10:24 pm

They called her to tell her they will give her the $23K she needs to consolidate her debts...of course, she's complaining: Oh, I needed 23K three months ago, now it won't cover 100% ...
I know, I know, she's a brat!

Anyway, she is supposed to sign next week and, she has asked me to help her in drafting a plan to get rid of the remaining debt (VERY high interest incurred in these 3 months...probably about $1K in total) and how to try to 1) pay off the new loan as soon as possible and 2) maybe even try to save a bit!

woo-hoo! this is so exciting!

Nice gift!

June 13th, 2008 at 04:06 pm

A while back,boss#1 got a copy of then-unreleased (?) book, called The Lempa River, Flow of Life... I admired the book, but said nothing.
Today, the book was officially released and, boss#2 got a copy...which he just gave to me! YAY!

It has pictures and information about the Lempa River, which is our most important river in ES! - In turn, I'm giving it to Ale (but, I'll be the guardian for now!)

Adjusting my debt-repayment dreams

June 13th, 2008 at 02:35 pm

Well, I had secretly hoped to be able to pay off ALL my debt by 12/31/08...and starting Jan 09 debtfree...but, with the tax calculations I made a few days ago, I know I need to "save" about $300/month to pay for that...that means I can NOT pay all proceeds from the translations toward debt...that means I have to delay my plans by 4-6 months...
my NEW dream will be to be debt free before my b-day next year (that means 7/15/09, as my b-day is 7/16)

Ack! Taxes

June 10th, 2008 at 08:34 pm

..not wanting to be caught off guard next year, I modified the excel sheet my co-worker gave me to calculate my taxes for next year...I've input the salary info (old salary for the first 9 pay periods, new salary going forward) and linked it to my translation business sheet for translation income/ taxes...
Just with that info, I've already jumped into a higher tax bracket...and my estimated taxes for next year are at $4,000....If I reach my goal of $1,000/ month average, I'd have to pay $5,000...
this year I had to pay about $2,600...

OUCH! ...I guess I need to start a fund for that, too!

Thing is, the Embassy - by law- cannot withhold income tax from our salaries (although we do have to pay income tax) ...AND, for services, the translation companies withhold 10% of my income as income tax (which they have to deliver to the Ministry of Treasury)...BUT, given the (estimated) level of income, I'd have to pay 30% income tax ...
and, given that I don't need a car to do my job, and that the laptop was a gift...well, I don't have business-related deductions...

healthy craving!

June 10th, 2008 at 06:57 pm

I had to go to the supermarket today...didn't intend to, but none of the corner stores had powdered milk, and we ran out...I went there on an empty stomach- bad, I know!...but, the one thing I craved was a salad with yogurt dressing...so I bought a lettuce and some tomatoes (no salmonella here!- or maybe we are just inmume already! LOL!), a cup of plain yogurt and a bottle of nutmeg (not used in this recipe, just one of those "basic" spices that we didn't have at home!...)

The dressing: yogurt, mustard, ground pepper, salt, vinegar (tiny amount) and basil leaves...simply divine!

yum!...and Nanny had cooked some chicken with a red sauce that was delicious, and some rice w/veggies...so I had a VERY nice dinner!

oh, wow, MORE translations!

June 10th, 2008 at 10:48 am

I got a 3-part document yesterday...managed to finish it and send it in (now that I know the piece I'm working on is due on the 12th)...that should be about $65...my monthly average is slowly climbing again towards the $1,000 mark- currently at $950....and I still have 2 weeks in June that would go towards the July total...Great!

woo-hoo! my award is $500!

June 9th, 2008 at 01:56 pm

remember I said I didn't know how much my cash award was?...well, it was $500!!! (approved for $500, my bosses had asked for $1K!)...
This will go towards debt! -woo-hoo!
It should be included with my next payment, on June 13th, so I know that there will be deductions, but, still...
AND, you should see the note they wrote to justify it! WOW!

$134 this weekend!

June 8th, 2008 at 10:02 pm

Thatīs the total for translation for this weekend. And I still have 3 pieces more, due on the 12th, 16th and 18th...they should be about $100 each! yay! - this helps make up both for the "lost" week and for the $$$ that was overbudget from the trip! yipee-yay!

:: happy dance::

New ticker!

June 6th, 2008 at 06:22 pm

I want $10,000 for downpayment on a house...someday...
I opened a new "future account" when I closed the Disney one...they will be taking $30 out of my salary each month...but I can add as much as I want to/can after that...the will take it directly out of my account (where my payment is deposited) starting next Friday... I'm hoping to see THIS ticker go down as I watch the other one (debt) go DOWN...
wish me luck!

payments today!

June 6th, 2008 at 04:07 pm

I went to pay Ale's school tuition for June ($137, due June 10th) and also a cc so I can FINALLY close it! ($10...but i have to wait until tomorrow to close it)..then went to get my balance in the cc I used to pay for the car - just to cross check...then I went and printed our photos...we already put Ale's autograph/photo book together...it looks awesome!...I also had to buy some juice boxes and milk boxes for Ale's snacks and lunch at school...it has been a "spendy" day of sorts...but I'm hoping to have a NSD tomorrow!...

oh, and i also had to pay Nanny, because although it was sis' turn to pay her (we alternate every 2 weeks), but she didn't, and Nanny asked me if she could borrow $20 from me...I opted for giving her her full $83, as I know sis will give it to me later...I just don't like the thought of Nanny, who has to get by on so little, being paid late!)

I am still translating...these ones will bring about $100 each, so about $400...that will be enough to cover the additional money we spent and to pay $100 more towards debt ...

I also learned that I "lost" a translation job because they tried to drop it off on Wednesday, but they needed it for Thursday night, and, needless to say, with me ARRIVING Thursday night, they opted to take it to someone else!...oh, well, I really needed my rest yesterday!

We're back from DisneyWorld!

June 5th, 2008 at 09:11 pm

long story, but our Miami to Orlando flight got cancelled (and that was THE flight for us...the only one that had space! add to that 100+ revenue passengers from that flight added to the other ones = RENTAL CAR!)...I ended up having to rent the car in Miami and driving to Orlando!!!...and they DIDN't have compacts, or economy, or mid-sized cars...I had to take a full-sized one!!! ...add to that the fact that dropping the car at a different location is more expensive, plus the gas to drive that monster from Miami to Orlando...well, between the car rental and the extra purchases, we spent ~$200 more than we had budgeted (fortunately, I did have a little extra I could use for just such a thing!...after all, don't they say when you travel you should pack your bags and take your money, then take out half of what you packed and add 30% more $$$??)
I got lost, too! (have I ever told you I have a "broken" compass?? I get disoriented VERY easily!...here, it's a joke...but, believe me, it was NOT funny!!!)...it took me 2 additional hours to find our hotel!!! ...
well, that was day 1.
But on day 2....we went to Animal Kingdom and loved it!!! - we didn't do many rides, but we DID see a lot of animals ...AND...as part of the Year of a Million Dreams, we got chosen to be on the Mickey Mouse float in the parade!!!!
We had to buy some clothes because our bag DID travel to Orlando without us, and Miami said our bag was in Orlando, but Orlando hadn't acknowledged receipt of the bag...and, NO, when you travel stand by you don't have the right to be reimbursed for purchase of clothes or toiletries if your flight gets cancelled (you do have a right to compensation if the airline loses your bag, though!)
On day 3 we went to Epcot and they gave us free "ears"! (I had already bought Ale's, but she kept insisting that I buy myself ones, so we could both have ears...and I kept saying "No").
We also went to get our bag from the airport...and I got lost again! both on the way TO the airport and back!
Day 4 we went to Magic Kingdom. Left early (10pm) because Ale didn't want to stay for the fireworks (the noise scared her!)...
Day 5...got up at 4am to go to the airport and drop off the car/get on the 6:15 flight! Got to Miami, checked in and went to the Miami SEaquarium and to the beach (but did not stay because Ale stepped on a rock at the beach and freaked out! - she didn't want to go near the water again and I didn't want to fry in the sun!)...went back to the hotel for some pool time and to change. Went out to hunt for a Barbie Girls MP3 player she wanted (with her own money)...had to go to 3 different places, to finally find 1 left at Toys R Us!...

Every day, when we came back to the hotel, we added up what we had spent to make sure we were more or less on track...
And every day Ale got to write down what SHE had spent out of her $75...so it was a good exercise for both of us!

Came back home to find 4 pieces of translation waiting for me...all due next Monday, so I gotta get to work early tomorrow.

Gotta go! that's my report for today!!!