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Go away, Murphy!

December 12th, 2007 at 06:48 am

....we already have our hands full as it is, and, yesterday, one of our suppliers told us that the 30% off promotion had expired...we actually had a large order on toys from them...so, cousin ran downtown to find another supplier (she found one, yay, cousin!), but, it took her all morning...AND, the office get-together was yesterday night...(no way I could get out of going...we are only 9 people!-counting the spouses and 2 consultants!)...and, today, one of the people coming to help pack presents is sick!... AND, I still haven't finished my translation!!! (the good thing is, I was given an extension, because the end customer is NOT going to arbitration just yet-they might not go at all, but they want to have the documents just in case anyway!)

::breath in, breath out::

panick mode!

December 7th, 2007 at 09:28 am

I'm overcommitted for this weekend!...
these are the events:
1. Ale's church meeting (yes)
2. Embassy's Xmas festival for children (don't think we'll be able to make it!)
3. gift-wrapping/order preparation fest with cousin (definitely YES!)
4. Xmas get-together with translation agency folks (VERY difficult)
5. 20-year anniversary class reunion (also VERY difficult)
6. 35 pages of translation....

HELP!!!....oh, and here I am, instead of trying to reduce those 35 pages..I'm blogging!

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!

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!)

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!)...

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


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!

Tough translation

October 28th, 2007 at 09:26 pm

this one was for the office...I definetely need to read up on:

productive development
dairy production
fruit growing
rural electrification
water and sanitation

ack!... it has been very difficult to translate all this...I hate it, as it makes me feel stupid...(on the other hand, one of the reasons I LIKE translating is that it gives me the opportunity to learn about a lot of new topics!...so I guess I should be grateful!-once I have acquired the vocabulary, it will be much easier!)

Makes me wonder, though, why I always end up with translations when our counterpart has a full-time translator...oh, well...it's in MY job description!

When good companies go ugly!

October 26th, 2007 at 07:52 am

not just bad...ugly!...
sis works for a multinational which offers very good working conditions in North America and Europe...so-so conditions in South America and has a total leadership vacuum in Central America...

The latest? Due to the performance of sales in the area, they decided to cancel incentives (a.k.a. commissions) for this quarter...so, the policy that stated that salesreps get sales commissions would be eliminated (the original policy was drawn up in such a way that no-one, at any one time, could get a commission higher than 7% of their monthly salary, and that provided that the whole region achieved the sales goals, which in reality meant that the commissions were closer to 5%).

Now, you'd think this is the type of change in policy that would be communicated to the employees, wouldn't you?....welll, NO. They didn't tell them beforehand. They just added a two-line note about it in this payperiod's deposit notification. ....not only that, but the regional manager actually dodged sis and co-worker's calls all day yesterday...THAT is lack of leadership!...

Now, I'm not saying they don't have a right to say: "sorry, folks, we are not making enough money so we cannot give you your comissions"...but, they should have said it back when they realized this was even a possibility!...

Oh, as an interesting piece of info: ES is the only country in the region that CONSISTENTLY achieves/surpasses the sales goals!-- so sis and co-workers feel insulted and aggravated, because it's not THEIR results that are affecting the overall sales in the region!

In any case, sis was counting on that money to go to the eye doctor and have a new CAT scan, as she's having strange migraines lately...now she doesn't have the $$$ (and, no, they don't provide medical insurance!)

oh, yeah....taxes!

October 19th, 2007 at 12:01 pm

ok, the next two translation jobs will go into my tax fund...I got taxes withheld from my previous workplace and, the translation office withholds them from every payment, but, my "main" office doesn't (is not allowed to, by law!-- being an embassy), but, we (local employees) ARE, of course, required to pay taxes on our salaries....I've skipped putting money aside these past 6 months because, honestly, I needed it for debt!...but, I had already decided that, come November, I would start to put aside a bit for the taxes (although, the way things are going, if I manage to pay off all my cc debt this year, I could easily put together what I need just by taking the $$ that would have gone to the cc's next year!-- filing must be done before April 30th!)
so, yeah, I just made my calculation based on the withholding tables/payment tables...it's fairly easy here in ES, as there isn't much you CAN deduct (as a salaried employee, I can discount a maximum of $571 for medical expenses and a maximum of $571 for school tuition....it doesn't matter whether I have 1 child or 12, $571 is the maximum!--it's ridiculous!)...and that's it....for the translations...not much, really...I'd have to look at the definitions, but, it's VERY limited...


October 10th, 2007 at 01:19 pm

After another one of his "here today, gone tomorrow" stints, my nephew came home last night. Says he wants to go to rehab (again!...he just left the last one 2 weeks ago!-in the middle of the treatment, I may add!) and wanted sis to give him shelter for the night...sis, of course, said No. She already told him 3 rehabs ago...he cannot enter the house if he's not IN a program...he left and said he'd be back later...he didn't come back last night...or today...sis is on the emotional rollercoaster again (aren't we all?)...

Sis told him we cannot afford to help him right now...not just financially, but emotionally...unless he REALLY gets his act together, we cannot help...

and I had the nightmare again, the one where he sneaks into the house, into my bedroom and takes my things (my laptop this time!)...I woke up screaming...in my dream, I was trying to wake sis up so she could come and stop him...

it was all just a dream...the most awful part, of course, is to have these feelings about a child that you love! Frown

Groceries are even more expensive now!

October 8th, 2007 at 09:22 am

Wow!...I didn't even buy meat yesterday (only chicken) and, our "non regular" purchases were 1 comb, 1 brush, 1 toothbrush and 1 hair pin...my total was $62.50!!!!...


October 5th, 2007 at 09:14 am

and I already took out half my salary out of the account...but, that paid for rent and for my car loan with the coop at the previous work place....
I also have to do the grocery shopping, pay for Nanny's salary of the next 2 weeks, fill the tank of my car, pay the electricity bill and pay for Ale's school...Ah! and make a cc payment...((hysterical laughter))


October 4th, 2007 at 08:47 am

yesterday I called my sister and asked her to remember to bring the money for the house expenses (Nanny's money and also her share of utilities and rent)...I swear she said: "I already have half of it, but couldn't get the rest because the OTHER credit card company was already closed"....does that mean she's making cash withdrawals from the cc's to pay for the household expenses?...I know she gets paid once a month, on the 25th, and I thought this is where the money came from...so, she's using ALL her cash to pay debt and then taking on MORE debt to pay for the household expenses??...Scary....VERY scary...
I really need to talk to her and sort this out...if necessary, we need to sit down with Niece and bring her out of Princess-land and face the fact that she HAS to work! (she says she really wants to, but, she arranged her university schedule in such a way that ANY form of employment is really impossible!...unless it's the occasional model jobs she likes so much -loves to see herself in print!- but that don't really pay much....and which she spends 100% on clothes, makeup and shoes she never wears!)

wish me luck! (because THIS could make me THE most unpopular person in the world to both of them, but,hey, we are all living together!)

sent my niece to make a payment...

October 3rd, 2007 at 09:47 am

and, could you believe it? they didn't accept the payment because she didn't have her id card with her...this has never happened before...she will go again today...and bring her id with her, but, I already told her, next time she should ask to speak to a supervisor (because, she's made payments there before, both for me and sis, and they never required an id, plus, she says the cashier was rather pedantic)

You know you're in financial trouble...

September 26th, 2007 at 09:37 am

(or, at least, you SHOULD know) if, when speaking about replacing a phone burnt by a power surge, you say: I know I could get a cheap phone, but, I NEED one with caller ID because of my creditors...

We were having this conversation about a terrible thunderstorm we had a few days ago and,cousin mentions she needs a new phone because hers got "fried" during the storm... sis and I said we NEED a wireless phone (in addition to our "normal" phone downstairs) so that we do not have to rush downstairs whenever there's a call (one of this days, someone's going to fall down the stairs trying to get to the phone!...that'd definetely be more costly than the $20-$22 wireless phone!)...still, we have that as "a plan" at the moment....

then cousin says: Oh, I know I could buy a regular phone for $5-$7, but, I NEED one with caller ID, so I know not to pick up when it's creditors calling...

sis and I just looked at each other...

spendy weekend! - and paella!

September 22nd, 2007 at 09:22 pm

I spent $37 stocking up on spices, toilet paper, powdered milk, detergent and other things...it's ok, I won't have to spend as much the next 2 or 3 months!...

Funny thing: they had saffron, at $0.25 for a package that normally costs about $2.50...so, I decided to make a paella...

I bought some shrimp, some clams and some Spanish chorizo....it all cost me about $5, and I'll add some leftover chicken....guess WHAT I forgot??...THE RICE!!!...how do you make paella without rice? ...well, you really can't!...the good thing is I still had 1lb in my cupboard...the bad thing is I don't think that'll be enough!... Frown I'll see if the little corner store is open tomorrow morning....I really don't want to go all the way back to the grocery store for a bag of rice!...

Salvadoran passports to be changed

September 1st, 2007 at 05:52 pm

apparently the new ones have more security features...ours (Ale's and mine) are about to expire anyway (Dec 2007)....the part that I DON´T like?

The director of immigration saying:
"we still don´t know if the new ones will be more expensive, we haven´t decided, but, take into account, at $9.14, we currently have one of the cheapest passport issuance fee IN THE WORLD!"...

anyone smell a BIG increase coming for passport issuance??

I do hope I´m mistaken!!...in the meantime, they are not renewing or issuing any new passports....unless you can prove that you NEED to travel NOW (as in, you have a medical condition which requires treatment abroad...that sort of thing!)...

Oh, well, I´ll keep my eyes open!!

call from the bank!

August 29th, 2007 at 07:24 pm

ugh! have to blog about this one! I get a message from the bank in my machine...they want to "speak about the delinquent payments on the personal loan AND credit card...it's about the designation of a lawyer, better call us and avoid and embargo!"...WHA???...

1. my cc is NOT delinquent. I'm up to date and, my next payment isn't due until the 15th/sept!!!

2. I KNOW I'm behind on 2 payments...last time I checked, 60 days weren't enough to send your case to a lawyer, much less to execute an embargo on your assets...Plus, check the payment history, lady, my last payment was less than 10 days ago, and the ones before that were about 8 days apart from each other...so, it's not like I'm being dodgy!!....

3. she was RUDE! --I already filed a complaint, but I also called her back and told her that the fact that I'm not current on my accounts does not give her (nor anybody else) the right to be disrespectful to me!

AAARRRGHH!...she wants to embargo me over $181, delinquent for 60 days???...
I'm paying them $60 tomorrow and, God willing, getting up to date before the 9th (when my next payment is due)--and none of this is because of her stupid phone call, I had agreed to this to the very nice person who called me on the 21st of August...why do they keep assigning me new collectors every week?? It's annoying, as I have to explain everything all over each time!

I know we are close to month's end and she probably wants to fill her collection quota, but, GET REAL!!

Oh! so THAT's what happened! LOL!

August 28th, 2007 at 01:35 pm

I withdrew $40 from my account today and, nearly had a heart attack when I saw the balance: $91...I thought I was supposed to have ~$130 (DUH-H! yep, I HAD $131...minus the $40 withdrawal!!!) the thing is, in reality I still have $121...but, sis isn't giving me her share of the household expenses until the 30th (when she gets paid) and, rather than wait for that, I'm giving nanny her $40 for the week, so when sis gives me the money, I get my $40 back!
I feel so dumb!

If you're lazy or petty...

August 27th, 2007 at 11:09 am

you'll have to walk twice, my grandmother used to say (El haragan y el mezquino andan dos veces el camino)...well, I keep walking! LOL!...I was about 2/3 done with the first sleeve on Ale's sweater, and she wanted to see if it was long enough and...uh-oh, turned out it was too narrow!...since I had determined that knitting the size 10 instructions for the body would be enough to make a size 8 sweater (due to the yarn being thinner), I used that same logic for the sleeves...well, not really! when I saw that her hand would have trouble going through, I measured the sleeve (which I should have done as soon as I had knitted 2-4 rows, but was too lazy to do!) and saw that I needed 10 more stitches! ouch! I had to undo everything...I'm 1/2 way through again...to think I could have been working on the 2nd sleeve already!!! ((bumps head against the wall!))

spendy weekend!

August 26th, 2007 at 06:57 pm

Well, my eye looked like a cherry tomato on Thursday, so this Saturday I did go to (another) eye-doctor...he said I DO have a very nasty infection...total for saving my eye came up to $38 (I thought it was going to be $30, but, hey, my eye is DEFINETELY worth it!!)...so, to make $$ impact less serious, I took my $5 out of the allocated $20 for the book fair (left Ale her $15!)...
BUT, there was a 2X1 shoe sale and, I talked to cousin (I know she's been looking to buy shoes lately, and that she had a $20 max for it...we bought some really nice Hush Puppies at $35...so only $17.50 each!...Ale also wanted shoes, and, reviewing what she has...I gave in and bought her a pair of dressy sandals + Hush Puppies sandals for $10...so, this weekend cost about $80!!! --let's say $43, I will NOT count my eye appointment and medicine as a weekend expense!! ...oh, and the Doctor said it's time to change my prescription!...I think I WILL put this one on the dept store card, just so I can get the new glasses NOW, but make a point to pay it off in 2 payments...(t's either that or guide-dog lessons for Fiona, and, somehow, I don't think THAT would work!)

calling to collect!

August 15th, 2007 at 08:58 am

well, I am still owed about $320 for translations...since the people I did the work for were supposed to get paid last Friday, I'm calling today to see if my payment has already been processed...

Call #1:The person in charge wasn't there...will try to call in the afternoon!

Call #2: The payment should be ready this Friday (17/Aug)...we'll see...

Call #3: The end customer still hasn't paid!

OK, I'll give them 'till the end of next week, then

August 14th, 2007 at 08:44 am

I just logged onto the Ministry of Education's website, and it says the school principals will be getting a detail of the evaluations starting August 20th....that effectively means the school doesn't have it yet and, of course, cannot communicate about something they ignore!

Oh! thought it would be interesting to post the numbers:

119 schools ranked A
245 ranked B
572 ranked C
64 ranked D

This (obviously) has been in all newspapers lately...There are different opinions about it...some think it's ok to give D and C schools some time to improve, while other analysts consider these school should have been closed...

School census in ES

August 13th, 2007 at 11:15 am

The Ministry of Education of ES conducted a school census to verify the quality of private schools...there are ~1400 private schools.... ~400 are going to be closed down...students can finish the current school year and that's it....
The remaining schools have been divided into categories: A, B, C and D...
A's get 10 year permits with yearly follow-up visits
B's get 5 year permits with yearly follow-up visits
C's get 28 months to improve or else they will be closed down
D's get 16 months to improve or else they will be closed down

the criteria included such things as infrastructure, teacher certification, student-teacher ratios, full-time vs part-time teacher ratio, among others...the list was released yesterday...

Ale's school has been classified as a C school, which wouldn't be too surprising, given that their facilities are two converted houses...but, other schools with similar infrastructure made the B list (some of the other schools I visited but couldn't afford).

Now, I like the school and, I'm hoping that the deficiencies found can be easy to address and that the school will do something about it (I also hope this doesn't include charging more or asking for additional $$, because I REALLY cannot afford that)....Today is the first day and, I expect to have a memo from the school before the end of the week (customary). I hope that the principal will include this important issue in the memo, but, if she doesn't, I think I'll write to her next week to try to find out: 1. what were the areas that received the lowest ranking, 2. what is their action plan and 3. as a parent, what can I do to help?...depending on her answers, I'll have to devise my own action plan (but, just in case, I need to start putting money aside for those pesky one-time enrollemnt fees at other schools, which can be anywhere from $1,500- $10,000 depending on the school!)


August 10th, 2007 at 11:48 am

I'm stressed out and, for once, additionally to eating like crazy, I've gotten the de-cluttering bug!...

trying to look on the bright side, at least I'll have a nice orderly room (who knows, maybe even a nice orderly house!) once I find a way to cope with the current family crisis!...

The holiday that wasn't!!

August 7th, 2007 at 08:06 am

our holiday started out great!...we went to the children's museum and, because of the holiday, they were open from 10am through 6pm! (they normally close for 1 hour lunch break!)...we played in all the exhibits and bought tickets to the renovated planetarium (which was great! much more children-friendly that their last arrangement!...you get to lie on your back on the floor on a really cushy carpet and look up at the "sky"...before you sat in rows of cinema-like chairs)...when we came out Ale complained about a headache, and I thought it was because we had been walking in the park next to the Museum and she might be a bit dehydrated because it was very very hot...I had planned on buying the fish on our way home, but, since Ale wasn't feeling well, I decided to do it some other time! (am I glad! the fish money ended up being used for medicine!)... she started having fever and, I started her on acetaminofen, but, when I asked she said nothing hurt (not her stomach, not her throat) and she hadn't been sneezing or coughing, either!...she was hungry but, somehow I decided to put her on a bland diet (call it mother's instinct!) and made her a vegetable soup and some toast for dinner...sis said it might be dengue, because the fevers were so high, but, Ale has had dengue before, so I know what it looks like, and I knew that wan't it! ...her fever kept increasing and I was starting to really worry, but it turned out to be a stomach flu! (high fevers are "normal" )...at one point I was just so exhausted that I failed to give her the acetaminofen on time and, her temp reached 39.5 and she started throwing up (this is "normal" in her, if her temp gets to high, she starts vomiting...our pediatrician says it's good, because some kids will seize if their temps are too high - I used to, I was admitted to the hospital twice because of that!...not that I can remember, but it made mom really paranoid about checking my temp when I was sick!)...so, to be able to actually give her the meds, I had to bring down the temp first....the old fashion way!: wrapping her in cold towels....it was so awful, because she was nearly in tears and begging me to stop!... but I didn't!...finally I dried her off, dressed her in clean pajamas and, gave her the meds...she's doing much better now (no fever, and her stomach is doing much better!...) she has asked when she will be able to have some pizza (I don't think so!)....so she must be feeling better!

new online payment service

August 2nd, 2007 at 09:16 am

my bank FINALLY has an agreement with the issuers of my cc1 to take online payments...yipee!! right?.....not so yipee! after all...it takes 5 working days for the transfer to be complete so that it is reflected in cc1....I learned this the hard way! (made a payment on Friday and called on Monday to find out why it hadn't appeared yet...should have asked BEFORE I used the service!!)...but, at least now I know that if I am to use this method, payment has to be made at least 7 working days before the due date--just in case)...it's good to know!

I never can say Good-bye!

July 23rd, 2007 at 04:22 pm

Ok, I admit it, I'm a hopeless sentimental and good-byes are really (REALLY) hard for me...this past weekend I went to my former boss' farewell party (VP)...needless to say, my eyes started watering the moment I said Hello and, once they showed a video the guys from the office made for him, there was no stopping me from crying....it was like Niagara falls!...awful, awful...to the point where people were asking if I was ok...and this was BEFORE I had to officially say good-bye to him!...and, on top of that, my other former boss (the director)is also relocating in about a week, so I had to say good-bye to him and his wife (the ones that have helped me with Ale's school)...so, I've been in "cry mode" the whole weekend...literally, you can make me cry just by looking at me right now...
(I KNEW there was a reason I NEVER went to ANY of the other farewell parties!!)...but, after all he did for me, how could I NOT go to this one??...there I go, crying again!!!...ok, I'll log off and go home now! ugh!

Domino effect!

July 10th, 2007 at 02:54 pm

soooo....since the price of corn has almost doubled, prices at the marketplace are already rising:

onions used to be $0.15 each, now= $0.25
lb of beans was $0.56, now= $0.64
platains were 6 X $1.00, now you get 5
tomatos remain at $0.25 by some miracle...

and, potatoes have gone down...they were 5lbs/1$ and this weekend they were 7lb/$1...

It's my turn to do grocery shopping this weekend...we'll see how far I can stretch my $$$

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