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I'm baaaaaack!

June 20th, 2007 at 10:40 am

Or, as the song says: No estaba muerta, andaba de parranda!!...lol!..not exactly...

please be patient if you see a lot of typos, the "s" on my keyboard is not working properly!...

As most of you may (or may not) know, I started a new job in April of this year...some days I have little to do....others I have a regular workload and, only occasionally do I have lots to do!...it feels SOOOO weird!...really, it IS weird...most days I'm home by 5:30pm (if you can believe that!)...the monthly pay is only slightly better, but, there's a mid-year bonus and the end-of-year bonus is almost double what I got at the other place...plus, if you take into account quality of life, then it's definetely worth it! (also, if rumors are true, then this was definetely the right decision at the right time!...apparently the other place is going to let go 500 employees before August!)

So, I'm trying to enjoy my time here and not go crazy....my file is perfectly up to date..including the docs that arrived this morning, thank you!...my Outlook Inbox is practically free already (most things have already been taken care of) and I only keep "active" things there...and never for more than a week!...my desk is clean at the end of each day...((cue music from The Twilight Zone))...

Ale is a much happier child, we have time to play and read and watch TV together before bedtime...she just finished her Preparatoria and is ready for the 1st Grade!...since I didn't want her vegetating for 6 weeks, I enrolled her in summer camp at a local club and, she's taking swimming lessons, tennis, karate, ballet and arts and crafts on a rotating schedule from Mon-Fri, 8:30-12:30....her afternoons are blissfully free, so she can rest or play or generally enjoy the art of just 'being' for a change....she's chosen to teach Nanny to write in cursive!...

We have also acquired a new pet...a cat, who now has the un-original name of KITTY...HELLO Kitty is her full name! ...she's a total sweetie....if you are wondering what Fiona (our dog) thinks about this new creature in our house....well, Fiiona thinks Kitty is her puppy...she keeps "cleaning" her (eewwwww, the poor thing ends up covered in dog drool at least 3 times a day!) and steers her out of trouble...literally, the cat cannot take a step without Fiona directing where she should (or shouldn't!) go!...I predict the time is not far when Kitty will teach Fiona the meaning of "giving someone space!!" LOL!...but at least things are peaceful in the house!...
Well, guys, I'm sort of defying all those "no expectation of privacy" warnings that keep popping up on my computer...(no internet service at home...the bills caught up with us!...when you live paycheck to paycheck -- and at minus $200/month!, missing one salary payment has a HUGE impact!...Hoping to report progress soon!)

Are you poor?

February 12th, 2007 at 01:24 pm

The question took me completely by surprise!...I was just paying Ale's school and, since it was already 3:00pm, I popped in to say "Hi!" to her...and one of her classmates just shot it: Ar you poor?...No, why?...Alejandra said you were....Oh? well, we may not have money for luxuries but we sure aren't poor...

I guess I need to have a talk with Ale about this....I mean, how did she get this distorted view? we live in a small house in the wealthiest municipality in the country (true, it's not ours, it's a rental, and we share a household, but, still!)...we have a car, we have a nanny...and, while we don't have money to splurge, Ale can't exactly complain of NOT having "stuff"...as a matter of fact, she's the one that gets the most "stuff" at home...

I don't know, maybe kids have been talking about trips and cable and ipods and Xboxes???....I know for a fact that there are 3 kids in her class that have cellphones (?!...why would one give a cell phone to a 6 year old??!!)...and I know most of them have cable...Ale has also been asking whether only parents are allowed to have TV's in their rooms or whether some children have TV's of their own...Again, even if I HAD the money, I doubt it I'd want Ale to have her own "dumb box" in her room...

Not from the piggy bank, right??

February 6th, 2007 at 01:22 pm

Ale is so funny!...she brought home the proofs for her school pictures...here's a collage I made:

She obviously wants the group picture, too--which I haven't seen...the package costs $15, and it includes 1- 8X10 individual, 1- 8X10 group, 2 wallet and 4 passport size pictures....we chose the picture we like best (we liked the same one!)...and I said to her: ok, right now I don't have the money, and I have to see where I'm going to get it from, but, don't worry, we'll find it...(meaning re-allocate it from somewhere else)...she looked at me very anxiously and said: but, not from my piggy bank, right??...LOL!...I love it!

$56 from school supplies at flea market!

February 5th, 2007 at 09:02 am

we made $56, which means we have the $$$ to buy the tubs of glue we need (we had each already contributed $20 for the paper and 12 tubs of glue), cover the entrance fee ($3) and still had enough left to buy $2 cards for our cellphones...not a bad deal!...Ale bought a plush bunny and, afterwards, when we went to the supermarket, she bought a book and a set of 24 colored pencils...

$0.02 and another financial lesson for Ale

February 3rd, 2007 at 08:19 pm

she got money from a friend of mine ($50)..she kept $10 at home ($5 for herself, $5 for charities) and we went to deposit the other $40....when we checked her bank book, we noticed her $16.40 deposited in July have since turned into $0.02...so I explained to her that this was the interest that the bank had paid her for keeping the money there...

Oh! and Raton Perez is due back for a visit tonight...she lost another tooth! (he´s leaving her $0.85)

We counted our colored pencils yesterday....

February 2nd, 2007 at 08:26 am

Ale counted her colored pencils yesterday night, to make sure she still has 12 and hasn't lost any...LOL!...she did this on her own, without my asking her to!!...

Those $0.85 really hurt!!

January 31st, 2007 at 11:41 am

soooo....since Ale couldn't find her colored pencils,the next case was to come out of her piggy bank...first she asked: can I take out just $1?....sure! we'll see which kind of colors you can buy with that...first she went straight to the nicer cases: $4... $3.60....ok, to the cheaper ones...$1.71.... $1.41.... $1.27 ....OK! a case for $0.99...How much will I have left? $0.01....hmmmm...just one cent??...can we find other ones??....ok, we found a case of 12/24 (12 pencils/24 colors) for $0.85 (on sale)...those ones, Mommy!....

and, yesterday morning she must have still been thinking about this because she asked: Mommy, who will buy the next case of colored pencils??...so I said to her: It depends. If these are all used up, then I have to buy them, because that is my responsibility as a parent, to provide you with the stuff you need to study, but, if you lose them, then YOU will be paying for them, because it's your responsibility to take care of the stuff that I give you....

so, I guess taking the $0.85 out of her piggy bank (she put back the change!) REALLY hurt!

2007 goals update 070130

January 30th, 2007 at 12:07 pm

1. Control expenses and make sure total is at or below budgeted amounts for category/month, any “leftovers” in categories will go towards debt!...well, I went overbudget in: House (1 additional rent payment to be up to date), Fun, Other, Events (due best friend's wedding!) and Debt (this is actually good, since it means I "spent" more on paying down debt than what was budgeted!)

2. Continue to lower my overall debt - I started Jan 05 with ~$17K and Jan 06 with $~11K (with ~$8K for a loan and ~$3K in cc debt)... Jan '07 started with $16.5K …. Expect to pay about $5K this year- not counting interest! balance for 31/dec was $16.5K, balance for 30/jan is $15.5K

3. Start my own business– formally: E-Spiral is the name, translation is our business (G-d and Ale are my partners!)… and contact at least 4 new potential customers per month, so as to find 50 pages of translations per month in 1Q07, getting to 150 in 4Q07…. From Jan – July: 40% of each job will go towards debt, 40% back into the business, 10% into savings (to fund my Freedom Fund!) and 10% to the Padre Vito Guarato Home. From Aug-Dec 07 percentages to be 30,40,20,10 ….hopefully, I’ll be able to quit my current job by mid 2008!! Contacted only 2 new customers, and worked on my presentation for the Min. of Tourism, which should have been delivered today, but I ran into some technical trouble with the music...

4. Help Ale earn/save $25 for her savings account by 071231!...she earned $5 for her help with the toy/school supply sale...but, took away $0.85 to replace the colored pencils she lost!

Responsibility and the colored-pencil case

January 26th, 2007 at 02:31 pm

so...Ale has managed to lose 2 cases of colored pencils since January 8th...when she lost the first one (Staed.ler ones!), I bought her the shortest, cheaper ones I could find...((you should have seen her face!)) ...I told her she couldn't have "nice ones" until she learned to take care of her things...I also warned her that these would be counted EVERY day...she just called me and said that her new pencils (bought last week!) had been "thrown into the garbage"...she said "the cleaning people at school threw them away"...she also said she spoke to the teacher about it...now, it is obvious to me that if the people from cleaning threw them away, they must have been on the floor or something...anyway, this weekend I'm making Ale take out money from HER piggy bank to buy new colored-pencils for school...she just HAS to learn to take better care of her things!

Child labor?

January 12th, 2007 at 09:54 am

unless it's exploitive (?) I am all for kids doing a little work (I used to work 2x a week at my parent's grocery shop)...helps them a lot, I think...Of course, it has to be age appropriate and should not interfere with their studies!

so, Ale helped with the school supply packages...she helped us set up things so we could make the packages (bringing stuff from the boxes to the table: 5 boxes of colored pencils, 5 boxes of jumbo crayons, 5 erasers, etc.) and she helped load/unload the cars (we carried the heavier packages and the papers, which are more delicate, but let her carry the small bags with the bottles of liquid soap and 1/8 gallons of glue, which are light enough for her to handle)...she also promoted the backpacks..which resulted in 5 additional ones being sold...so, we decided to give her some money ($5) for her work....since she was just helping because she likes it, it came as a surprise to her...I gave her 5 x $1 notes and told her I wanted her to keep at least $1 for her piggy bank...she thought about it and said: Mommy, I want to keep $3 for the piggy bank and use $2...(Yay!)...when we paid her, the first thing I told her to do was count it...right after she counted it, she separated $3 and gave them to me "for safekeeping until we put it in the piggy bank" and then took the other $2 and placed them in her wallet, as she wanted to use it at school...

I'm so proud!

bought Ale's bed last night!

December 15th, 2006 at 06:50 am

regular price $145, sale price $116, and they gave me a set of sheets (which costs $15 at the store, and which I could have gotten for $5 downtown...)...oh, and they also gave me a bottle of wine (for any purchase over $60 on your store card)...
no, don't worry about the store card charge...I did that just for the reward points...I'll pay in full and I'll pay 0% interest on it!

Quoting computers! (step 2?)

December 5th, 2006 at 02:12 pm

Well, to start the business "formally", I decided to quote computers and see if I can get one from the translation that I'm working on now (that would be sooo great!...since I didn't have that budgeted for anything, it would be so great to use it to start the business!)...I called our IT guy (the one that we bother, er, call whenever we need things done ASAP!)...he told me to send an email to another of our IT guys --also well known in our dept!-- and let him know what I wanted, and that he could get one for me "really cheap"...so, I already wrote to him...I also have other quotes and several newspaper ads...while all of this seems a bit unreal, it feels good to actually research and "get serious" about the business...

I told Ale yesterday that we are going into our own business, she and I and God...she was very excited, and asked: "what's my job?"...I told her I didn't know yet, but that I was sure we would find something she can do that will contribute...(might give her the "accounts payable" job...now that she can read, I could post a calendar with dates/amounts/bills to be paid so she can remind me....how does that sound?)

Goals for 2007

December 5th, 2006 at 08:45 am

1. Control expenses and make sure total is at or below budgeted amounts for category/month, any “leftovers” in categories will go towards debt!

2. Continue to lower my overall debt - I started Jan 05 with ~$17K and Jan 06 with $~11K (with ~$8K for a loan and ~$3K in cc debt)... finished Dec 06 with …. Expect to pay about $5K this year- not counting interest!

3. Start my own business– formally*: E-Spiral is the name, translation is our business (G-d and Ale are my partners!)… and contact at least 4 new potential customers per month, so as to find 50 pages of translations per month in 1 Q07, getting to 150 in 4Q07…. From Jan – July: 40% of each job will go towards debt, 40% back into the business, 10% into savings (to fund my Freedom Fund!) and 10% to the Padre Vito Guarato Home. From Aug-Dec 07 percentages to be 30,40,20,10 ….hopefully, I’ll be able to quit my current job by mid 2008!! …(did I just type that??)

4. Help Ale earn/save $25 for her savings account by 071231!

*Wow…putting that in writing was scary!...I guess this is that famous first step in the journey of 1,000 miles!

Ale wants art classes-- badly!

November 20th, 2006 at 10:40 am

She asked me last week if she could join the "Art club" at school...I told her to find out: 1. when they meet, 2. what time they're done and 3. how much it costs....she did!...they meet on Mondays, from 3-4pm (right after school ends) and it costs $20/month....
So...I told her if she REALLY wants to join, then we would have to give up going out to "places that cost money" on the weekends...she started crying and said: but, Mom, I want the art classes AND going out to places...so, we finally reached an agreement...we will still go out, but will minimize our spending (a specific example: if we go to the movies, we WON'T buy popcorn, soda and/or candy anymore!, and we will always go to the matinee, which is cheaper)....she also agreed to having her weekly allowance reduced from $2 to $1... This will free me $5-$7/month from the enterntainment budget, and $3-$5 from the allowance budget, so I still have to find $8-$12....

I guess she REALLY wants to join the Art Club!....I need to contact the school secretary tomorrow to verify Ale's info, though!

Mom, can I buy popcorn with my allowance?

November 7th, 2006 at 07:47 am

...we HAVE popcorn at home, much cheaper than what she can buy in the store at school!...I explained this to her...she asked if I could put popcorn in her lunchbox as a snack...done!...now, let's see how much money she can save this week! (last week was $0.10!)-- sigh--

Ale and her $2/week

September 13th, 2006 at 08:16 am

Well, last week she had the pizza lunch ($2, so no snacks all week!) and, this week, she bought a beef stew lunch (says she ate her lunch but was still hungry... ??? MY Ale, still hungry???...this is a miracle!)...

We also had a talk about healthy snacks vs what is available at school, and she promised she'll try to opt for the juices, fruits and cookies instead of cheese puffs and candy....she prefers juice to soda anyway (I must have done something right!)

But, today she complained that she hasn't put any money in her piggy bank lately....so, I told her that's because she has been spending the full $2 instead of saving!...

Ale gets to save $0.30 this week!

August 11th, 2006 at 06:59 am

LOL! she forgot her money today!...for about 2 seconds I considered loaning her the $0.30 from my money, but, then I decided that wouldn't be right. If she fortgets her money at home, she has to make do without...it won't kill her (she has a lunch box and enough food, anyway) and, next time, I bet she will remember! -- I already told her the $0.30 will go to her piggy bank this afternoon!

Ale's school

August 10th, 2006 at 07:22 am

today was Ale's first day of school...I dropped her off half an hour early (LOL!, we weren't sure how long it was going to take to get to the school at that time!)...she was nervous, but seemed positive about the whole thing...
her cousin Clau "ironed" her hair flat yesterday night (Ale's hair is curly!) and helped her choose her First Day of School Clothes (they are allowed to wear "normal" clothes today and tomorrow, they have to wear their uniforms as of Monday)...I gave her $1 (since this week only has 2 school days, it seemed logical not to give her $2)...

Oh, and, I spoke to the lady with the transport service yesterday night, she likes to receive her money between the 1st and the 3rd of the month, so, I only have to pay for 15 days on Monday and, pay for Sept at the beginning of the month...Also, she found another little girl with the same route, so instead of $40, she'll charge me $30...that's a "savings" of $10 a month!!

I'll let you know what she thought of her first day!

************ UPDATE
she enjoyed it and, I met her Spanish teacher (they have a Spanish and an English teacher, I had met the English teacher when she went for testing)...she told me Ale is extraordinarily well adjusted, has already made friends (all the while we were talking, Ale was hugging her, so I guess they like each other already!)...the kids were asked to draw a picture of their family... Ale is just as tall as the rest of us in the picture, so I imagine that means her self-esteem is good...

On more mundane issues, she spent $0.70 on a brownie and an apple juice (good choice of beverage!)...so she's got $0.30 left for tomorrow! ...I'm happy, she didn't lose the money!!

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