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Archive for July, 2008

I could slap myself!

August 1st, 2008 at 04:36 am

I'm so mad!...I forgot my USB at the office...the USB where I had the ONLY copy of the file I was translating...well, the only UPDATED copy...I found a copy I sent myself yesterday morning (translated up to page 8/29!!!...yesterday night I translated up to 23/29!!!)...((sigh))...so, I watched the video and input the time codes, and translated the pages I KNEW I was missing...I could be done already, do you realize? Instead, I have to piece the puzzle together tomorrow (time codes and new translation into the old file...)... it may not sound like much, but, trust me, it's more complicated than it sounds (If I mess up the time codes/dialogue correlation, I mess everyone else's preparation! aaargh!!) All I had to to was remember to put it into my bag...you'd think I could handle THAT, wouldn't you??

Oh, well, what's done is done!...I'm off to bed now...I already sent myself the file, so that I can have a back up and not just the one in the computer...what makes me madder is I'm usually very good at doing that...emailing myself files so I have updated copies available no matter what....

Si se puede! Si se puede!

July 30th, 2008 at 04:36 pm

(it CAN be done, it CAN be done!)
I've only got 1 more translation to go...after that, I'll be FREE to enjoy my nights (8pm -11pm)...I will be able to catch up on my knitting (I'm -or was!- knitting a blanket for Ale, for Xmas... and now I'm way behind!)....or read....or watch TV (although, I DO have it on and watch a bit while I translate...don't ask me why, I work faster that way!...yeah, I know how that sounds!)...or, do NOTHING...

The only problem is...I'm having a "laziness attack"...I really don't want to work on it...and, I COULD delay it for the weekend, but....we have the national holidays (in honor of the Patron Saint) coming up next Mon-Wed...and, wouldn't it be great to be FREE before Friday, so that I could REALLY enjoy the holidays...no work at the office, no work at home??

((sigh)) SI se puede, SI se puede!

Car expenses- yikes!

July 29th, 2008 at 09:26 pm

Well, I just paid $390 for preventive maintenance in my car...well, no, not entirely, I could SMELL something...there was some sort of oil leak, it turns out...caught right on time, too, before it could do any real damage...
I had them change all the belts, too...
Oh, and they had to work on the brakes, too..
and did a couple other things, which I don't know how to say in English. LOL!...

I showed niece the bill. She almost fell off her chair...I told her: See why I'm constantly telling you there's more to having a car and driving your friends around than gas money?? (I have a list of friends of hers that I have asked her NOT to give rides back home, unless extremely necessary, because they live too far away!...mean, I know!...and, I'm sure she's done it anyway, but I figure at least she's not doing it on a daily basis!)....

At least, now I know they (niece and Ale, and yes, even all the others) are safer when driving/riding THAT car!

Almost ready for school again!

July 25th, 2008 at 04:12 pm

Remember I was buying notebooks and school supplies waaaay in advance? ...I'm now almost finished with all the purchases (need 6 pencils and 1 English-English Dictionary....Ale's "got lost from her back pack"...)...I also finished labeling most of her stuff (need to label 24 pencils- yuech!) and I bound all her notebooks in plastic cover last night (now I "only" need to bind the books, which we have not received yet...Oh, and she needs a couple new containers for her lunch box...

so, my shopping list is>

6 pencils
1 English/ English dictionary
2 small food containers

YAY!...I still haven't added the last things I bought, so I still don't know how much I really spent...

Oooops, forgot the uniforms!...some pieces are in bad shape, and others have been outgrown...but, I'll get these during the first week of school!

Ale melts my heart...

July 23rd, 2008 at 04:34 pm

really,that kid does.

Yesterday, we were lying in bed (it was cold, we were watching TV) and she said: You know what would be REALLY nice?...if we could get BIG a house, so all 5 of us could live together (she means the 2 of us + sis, niece and nephew)...I said: such a big house would be expensive..we'd have to save a lot to be able to do that...and she replied: could I help with the money I'm making from the business, even if it's just $1? It would help, wouldn't it?

Way to go, Ale!

July 20th, 2008 at 03:25 am

As of yesterday night, she had $9.20 cash, 6 frozen bananas and 4 popsicles...she had already re-invested $1 to buy 20 bananas....

Today, I took her to buy the doll stroller she wanted...first they showed her one for $3.50 (as opposed to the $6 she had budgeted)...then the saleslady told her: "We have one with the Disney Princesses on it..."...they showed her that one, and it was smaller than the original one...I asked how much it cost, and the lady said $8...Ale's eyes went big and she shook her head "no"...she told the lady: No, I want the other one...then the lady set another "trap", she asked Ale if she wanted to pay right away or wait until she had finished looking around...(hey, I was just the chauffer today!)...Ale said she wanted to look around first....so, we went through the store and at one point we were standing in the aisle where they have the cookware, and Ale said: Mom, look, popsicle molds!...she chose a set that is the exact same size as the one we had...except this one holds 8 popsicles instead of 6...so now she has 2 molds!...one for chocolate and one for strawberry milk popsicles!!...It cost her $1.75...she paid for it all herself!...I then took her to the supermarket (1 block away) and she bought the strawberry flavor (Nesquick), 1 bag of powdered milk, 1 bag of chocolate coverage...that came out to $3.24....so, now we are back home, and we already have the strawberry milk popsicles in the freezer...so, now she has $0.71 left on hand, plus 6 frozen bananas ($3), 4 chocolate milk popsicles ($1.20) and 8 strawberry popsicles ($2.40)...

While at the store, she also eyed some other stuff she liked...I just told her: You could make enogh to buy that, too, if you really want it!

Ale is up to $6.20!!!

July 18th, 2008 at 04:42 pm

$7.20, actually, as she used $1 to buy a new batch of bananas...

She needs to buy more chocolate, too, and wants to buy flavoring to make strawberry milk popsicles...(in case her friends get tired of chocolate!)

...so, yesterday she was confronted with a tough decision: the doll stroller she wants (what started this whole thing) costs about $6....but, if she buys it NOW, that will be the end of the business, as she wonŽt have enough $$ to restock supplies....I reminded her she still has to pay me back the $5 I loaned her...but told her she can pay in installemnts (even if she quits once she's in school and doesn't finish paying me back, I want her to KNOW that this is DEBT and all debt should be repaid!!!)....

IŽll let you know what she decides!

In the meantime, she has 12 chocobananos and 6 new popsicles in the freezer!...and asked me if she could take some of our Nesquick to make strawberry milk popsicles...

Bye-bye Evil Card!!!

July 17th, 2008 at 09:17 pm

yoo-hoo! I got a loan from the bank that handles our payroll at the office...10.5% annual interest (special rate, the average rate "in the market" is 11-13%)...I consolidated a loan I had at 11.5% and the Evil Card cc (which charges 28.99% annual interest!!)...
It's still NOT official, because I have the cheques with me and need to go make the payments (tomorrow noon, since I used my lunch hour today to go sign paperwork/get the cheques!)...and then I have to wait 3 working days before the cheques clear...so, I gues on Wednesday next week, I'll be officially cc debt free!!

The ticker won't move,though, because I still owe the same amount (that amount doesn't take interest into account!)...

Oh, and I still intend to pay it off before my 40th birthday!

Ale sold $4.40!!

July 16th, 2008 at 07:14 pm

now I have to make sure she understands she didn't MAKE $4.40...that she has to deduct her costs from that (we calculated them together) and that she can't just SPEND the $4.40 or the business is over!- wish me luck!

Things that helped me improve my English

July 15th, 2008 at 06:35 pm

Not in order of importance, just as they come to mind!

Mind you, I guess I should list them as ways to improve your mastery of a Second of Foreign language, LOL!

1. cable TV! - don't laugh! back when we first got cable here in ES, there was ONE cable company, and they had SEVEN channels only...all in English and no subtitles!...Grandma had it installed in our house...if we wanted to watch the "cool" programs, we had to make an effort to understand them!...it certainly helps train your ear!

2. books - At school they gave us summarized versions of books geared towards ESL (English as a Second Language) or EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students...but I also had my father's book case replete with "real" books...and he let me choose whichever I wanted!

3. Magazines- if you finished your work fast, our teacher would give you either a National Geographic or Time Magazine to read quietly while the rest of the people finished theirs.

4. Friends/family - when you have friends/ family members that don't speak your mother tounge, you tend to learn pretty quickly!

5. Getting rid of the shame- NO ONE speaks perfectly...I consider myself well educated and, still, will sometimes say things like "imprimido" (instead of "impreso") or "morido" instead of "muerto) ...I generally recognize the horror the minute those words leave my mouth, turn beet red and correct myself, but, the point is I DON'T speak perfect Spanish (not to mention there are probably 100,000 mistakes I make that I don't catch!)...so, if I'm not perfect in my own language...how can I be expected to be in another one? We all make mistakes...live with it!(plus, as a foreigner, one should get some credit just for TRYING!)

6. Etymology and phonetics classes- which I took at the university...knowing where a word came from really helps!
those funny little markings next to the dictionary made sense after that!...

9. Composition lessons- one writes as one thinks, if you're thinking is disorganized, like mine, you really need this!

8. Practice, practice, practice! - I've been blessed that I've had the opportunity to practice my English on a daily basis for the past 20 years!! ...unfortunately, my German is almost "lost", since I HAVEN'T had this opportunity!

It doesn't fit anywhere on the list, but one of the things I find fascinating about learning/ practicing a foreign language is that it gives you wonderful insight into other cultures!

Ale goes into business

July 10th, 2008 at 09:33 pm

...or, she will, once we work the numbers...

I made her some iced popsicles yesterday...it seems Nanny had attempted this some times before, without success...

The popsicles came out perfect this time!
Ale wants to sell them to the neighborhood children for $1/each (I told her she really can't do that, since the store in our neighborhood has cheaper ones, but promise her we'll work on pricing and then she can start...I also told her she can make "chocobananos" - frozen chocolate-covered bananas)...This conversation took place at lunchtime...

At 3pm, she calls me to work, and wants to know who gets the money...meaning who gets to keep the profits....
she also wants to know where the "original" money will come from ...meaning the money to buy the supplies for the first batch....

I told her I'll loan her the seed money, and she gets to keep the profits, but she can't spend it, because she has to re-invest it...she got a little confused with the concept of profit, so I promised I'll explain to her when I get home...

Even if she doesn't make much, it'll be a good experience!

"I 'm the only one that doesn't have cable"

July 7th, 2008 at 09:27 pm

That's what Ale told me a couple of days ago. she then proceeded to tell me she hopes to get some new kids in her class next year that don't have cable, as well...I told her: Baby, the way things are going, some of your OLD class mates might become cable-less as well! (A lot of the parents complained at the Parent's assembly last year because the school was increasing tuition. While I didn't feel thrilled at the idea, I understand that teachers and staff face cost-of-living increases, too...plus, it's a PRIVATE school....that means it is OWNED by someone - the school principal- who actually sees it as a money-making venture...) I think at least 1 other student has had the cable disconnected, already!

I understand the need to "compete", believe me, I do...I went to a partially -subsidized private school and, while half the class was taking trips to the US and Europe every year, some of us couldn't even afford to go to the beach on Sundays!...I wore clothes bought from a door-to-door vendor, they wore designer clothes...you know what? I turned out just fine, and I don't see why Ale shouldn't!...and I keep telling her, if she had cable she probably wouldn't be out playing with her friends outside all afternoon!....
And I know cable is just 1 battlefront!...soon I'll get to fight other ones,like: cellphones and clothes! ugh! Wish me luck!

went to the neurologist today

July 5th, 2008 at 02:48 am

he said there's no indication of anything neurological wrong with me (yay!)...but, he said my blood pressure is high...he prescribed some blood tests to check for the usual (cholesterol, tryglicerids, etc)...gave me some gynko biloba (sp?) and some b-6 vitamins and told me to come see him again in 1 month...
he said I could be suffering from chronic fatigue...Yep, I'd say that's a possibility! LOL!..

I had a migraine again today, and slept most of the afternoon...

I'm going to try to have a more regular sleep schedule!

Steps to freedom- visual!

July 4th, 2008 at 08:15 pm

As I was saying, seeing all those numbers made my head swim, and it was actually kind of scary... so I went into Excel and tried to "map" it...here's what I came up with:

YEAR 1

This helped me realize, for example, that I cannot stop saving for taxes after the 2008 taxes are covered...because it's not like I won't have to pay taxes in the followin years! (if anything, I'd have to pay MORE!)

YEAR 2


YEAR 3


YEAR 4

Goals = Steps to Freedom

July 3rd, 2008 at 05:16 pm

Thanks for all that responded to my last post...it really was illuminating!

As a result of your answers, I sat down and thought about what I NEED/WANT to do, financially, to really be able to leave this job and start my own translation business; here's the list of what comes to mind, complete with the time frame I've allocated to achieve the goals: (I still need to work on them to see whether they are feasible, though!I also need to figure out the most logical way to set them up - which one to do first, etc., so the exercise is not really over yet!)

Step 1. be debt free! - I have about $8.5K in debt...about $6k is for a personal loan, and the rest is cc debt...Step 1 is to pay that off, so that I have the tremendous amount of money I'm currently using to pay off debt available to build up my financial situation...

timeframe: I want to be debt free before my 40th birthday (next year)...that gives me 12 months! ...I'd need about $800/ month to be able to do this...hmmmm..

what I'm doing about it: my debt level is finally low enough that I can get a loan through the bank that does our payroll without needing a co-debtor...I submitted the paperwork yesterday...I just hope my sketchy financial history in the past 5 years doesn't affect me...

Why did I do this?....well, the new loan would be at 10% annual interest; the current one is 11.5% and the cc is 28.99%! (YES, that's not a typo!)...this would significantly reduce the amount of interest I'd be paying, and would make it easier to actually pay off in 1 year...

Step 2- Taxes! ...more income will mean more taxes...based on estimations, I'd need about $5,000 to pay my taxes next year.

Timeframe, again, would be 1 year (a bit less, actually, since taxes are due April 30!)...I'd need about $555/month to achieve this...

How I'm going to do this: I've already spoken to the bank exec and I'm setting up a savings account next payperiod (July 11) so that I can start saving 1. part of my salary and 2. the corresponding amount whenever I get paid for translations

Step 3- Emergency Fund I currently have about $150 in my EF (that's almost nothing, I know!)...I need to have $5,000...but, for that, I'm giving myself 2 years (24 months)...that would take about $210/mont...

Are you still with me? If I add all this up, I'd need $1,565 AFTER TAX to fund all this...doable? difficult, yes, but not impossible...especially if I put money aggressively into debt repayment, then work on the tax thing and then "catch up" on the EF thing...

Step 4- "tie over" fund ($2,000)...this is not really urgent and could be left for my "last year" here...this would be my "revolving credit" with myself to cover normal expenses in case translation payments are late.

Step 5- house fund - I need at least $10K in here... that should be enough for a downpayment on a small house in a good (read: safe) neighborhood; a 3-bedroom would be nice, so I could leave 1 bedroom as a study...but, really, a 2 bedroom would be more than enough! (I can always set up in my room, in the dinining room or living room!)...this one, as you can see, is already started...it has $30 in it, and $30 will be automatically added on the 28th of each month...I don't plan to make any additional contributions to it until the debt is paid off/money for taxes is complete....If it turns out that not all $5K are needed for taxes, I'll transfer the remaining amount to this account. Once the debt is gone, I'll use part of that money to start increasing contributions to this fund...and once the EF is full, I'd add part of that, too (snowballing, in a way!)

Step 6- Ale's college fund- I still have 9 years, so I'm also counting this as "not urgent" (although, I know those years will pass quickly and I NEED to have at least some money in it...I will start the college fund in August of next year!- after I'm debt free!)

Step 7- health and life insurance- I already have a (very modest) personal life insurance policy, apart from the one given to me by my employer...if I go out on my own, I'll need to increase the amount and I'll need to add disability insurance...Medical insurance: I already know the one I want! It's like a pre-paid plan with one of the best hospitals in the country...If you are hospitalized for an emergency, for whatever reason, insurance covers 100% of it...if you go to emergency care, but are not admitted, you have to pay $11.45...for non-emergency care, insurance pays 80%, as long as you go to their doctors and providers...no problem with that!...they give you a thorough check up at the beginning to determine eligibility, so if they accept you, there are no "pre-existing" conditions!...I would also sign up as an "independent worker" with the social security institute (medical care)...I know I will need $$$ for this, but, again, it's not urgent and I'll look into it about 2 years before my "estimated date of departure - EDD"

Step 8- retirement Currently discounted from my salary are about $400/month...and the employer -by law- pays as much into the fund, too...so I need to think about putting at least $800/month after I leave...

...I've estimated what level of income I need to have to make all this possible...
I'd need to make $13K the first year (July 08 to July 09) to be used exclusively for The Plan...this is definetely feasible!(I know it doesn't add up, that $1,650 X12 i $18,780, not $13,000!...what I mean is $13,000 would come from the translation business)...then I'd need to increase that amount by about $2K every year for the next 3 years...the other advantage of waiting until Dec 2012 is that, if my position is terminated, I'm entitled to full severance payment: 1 monthly salary per year worked! (under Salvadoran law, if I leave, I don't have a right to severance payment...I believe the Embassy does give you something according to your bosses' request...up to 50%, I think- need to look for the latest update to the policy!)

I also need to keep really good track of what I'm doing and where the money is going...and make sure I keep focused on what I really want!

"Why are you still here?"

July 2nd, 2008 at 03:47 pm

I was commenting on my $1,000 weekend translation, and a friend from work asked me that question...she then answered herself: "oh, because that's not every month!"...
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of leaving my "job" and become an entrepreneur and do the translation thing full time...I mean, I could drop Ale off at school and go back home and work until lunch time, then work for another hour or two then go pick her up...I could take her to dance lessons, stay there and work while she has her class (I have a laptop and a spare battery...and I generally connect to the internet when I finish the translation, just to "clean" it- a.k.a look for words or expressions I don't know/I'm uncertain of or unhappy with, and then to send it after I clean it...)
....the problem, as my friend pointed out, is that I don't get $1,000 translations EVERY month...then again, if I were doing this full time, I'd have more time to promote myself/make more contacts to make sure I DO get $1,000 worth of translations every month...
HOWEVER...at the moment, I NEED about $1,500/month....(to cover living and other expenses PLUS debt repayment plan PLUS savings- however little- PLUS taxes, etc)...once my debt is gone, this would go down significantly (as, currently, about 43% of my income goes towards debt...still an improvement over the 47% that I was allocating last year!)...
My job here is "secure" for 4 more years (the life of the program!)...notice the quotation marks, because, really, NO ONE's job is ever secure, is it?...
anyway...my goal is to be debt free, and then save for the dowpayment for a house (notice how my ticker is now showing the amazing amount of $30? It's a start!...once I finish with the debt, I'll be beefing that up!)...I then want to get my own house (easier to do if you are "employed"...but now banks are starting to also grant loans for "independent" people - to use their own words!)...SO, I guess my strategy would be to get the loan with the bank while I'm still employed here (before sept 2012), THEN make the jump!...does that sound like a plan??

I finished the translation!

July 1st, 2008 at 02:40 pm

98 pages and about 28,000 words...all I remember is that I'll get $1,014 (or was it $1,016?) after taxes...this money will come in in August, so I already updated my excel spreadsheet...my current monthly average is $956...not bad....but my target is $1,000....still, it's the 1st of the month, so I can still "catch up"! Smile