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Archive for May, 2006

New debit card!

May 22nd, 2006 at 04:05 pm

I went and requested a debit card from my bank yesterday...I don't know if I blogged about this or not, but, back when I was so loaded with problems, I decided to go without one because I LOST 5 in a period of 6 WEEKS!!...and, the last one I lost the same day I got it!!!...Now that the situation has changed so much, I decided it was time to give the debit card another try!, I requested a new one on Saturday...and already used it at the supermarket on Sunday...I'm happy to report that #1. I still have it! and, #2, I spent $66, which is "on budget" - my budget USED to be $40/week, but, things are so expensive, now it varies between $60-$70....depending on whether I have to buy things like shampoo or deodorant or hair color...this time I had to buy a shampoo for Ale and a flea collar for that was $5.53...I also gave in and bought Ale 2 yogurts at $0.49 each, so that's $6.51 total "above" what I would have normally paid...

I'll keep you updated on my progress ref use of the debit card!

The car and I are getting along better!

May 22nd, 2006 at 03:45 pm

Now that we know each other a bit more, we are getting along better!...I can now park it without problem in our garage (even when our neighbor across the street parks his monsters in our -very narrow- street!)...the strong smell of solvents (used to take off about 1,000,000 stickers on the dashboard) is starting to go away...and, thanks to a more "normal" driving week (no trips outside the city!) we only spent about half a tank of gas (less than half, actually! yay!)...I still have to make a real attempt at parallel parking in it, though...I did park it at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the other day, but, the space was so large, it was embarassing to think about the effort it took for me to get that car in!...
There's a couple of things I need to check...the left front light is sometimes on, sometimes off...a lock needs to be lubricated.....couple things like that...I'm taking some time off this Thursday to take it for a check up...

Another CC is gone!!

May 18th, 2006 at 09:51 pm

Woo-hoo! I had forgotten to blog about this!...I put it in automatic pay for the 14/may/06 and, I called today and, my new balance on the Master Card Webcard is $0.00!!!

back to travel expenses! - ugh!

May 18th, 2006 at 03:19 pm

Now that I'm done with the data entry and presentation, I'm back to normal work, and, the 1st thing in my "abandoned in favor of training-related work" list is "travel Expenses"...back to seeing who got paid what on which date, and making sure that if any payment has not been made yet, it gets pushed for the next pay period or, if something has not been approved yet(either by my boss or by Travel Control), to make sure that it gets approved before Monday, so that the payment is made next Friday...then I get to file the corresponding paperwork...oh,joy! ((sigh))...

I also have some translations pending, but, as you can imagine, the Project Managers and Directors get a little edgy when they don't get their money back on time!

Just call me Miracle-maker!!

May 18th, 2006 at 02:08 am

I managed to finsih the presentation on the feedback forms today! of 10am, I was still missing 7(out of 36) forms, but, I managed to get them!...I also made the paperwork for 6 payments, made 1 flight reservation, paid the telephone (for one of the expat houses) during my lunch hour, typed up a letter and faxed it...scanned 3 documents...made a deposit in the bank...helped one of the analysts with info he needed to request internet access (very few people organizationwide have access)...updated a file ref status of requisition for laptops from our unit (total of 3 requisitions, for 1, 2 and 7 laptops = 10 total)...realized last requisition (submitted by the other admin) overlapped with the second one (submitted by me...we need to work on our communication!)...went around the dept to see if there was something that might make it OK...and found it! (2 analysts have REALLY old laptops that should have been replaced at least 6 months ago!)...resent info to my boss so he can complain about 1. requisition #1 being submitted in FEb, with laptop in customs for over a month now!!! ...#2 being late already...#3 -they haven't even issued the purchase order, eventhough he authorized the laptops on 21/april!!...
Did some other vague stuff that I don't believe provided much value...

See? I'm getting better at recognizing my own contributions!

Car related expenses -060517

May 18th, 2006 at 02:00 am

gas - $30 (8.474 gallons)- paid in cash

Bad week for gas!!

May 17th, 2006 at 08:16 pm

...the tank in my car is almost empty!! took me a little over a week to use up 10.27 gallons...or $35!!!...but, we DID go out of San Salvador (went to Suchitoto, which is about 1 hour from here, on Sunday, and then yesterday used my car to go pick up my sis at the airport - approx 45, I had to pick up my niece, too, so I didn't go straight from work!)...oh,'s not like I plan to use the car like this EVERY week!

$10.58 towards debt

May 17th, 2006 at 08:14 pm

Since this is the amount in interest that the cc company refunded me (over the payment that I disputed, which had been missapplied), I figured I'd add that to my $20 challenge...and, just think, it has already been applied towards the CC!

ANOTHER reason not to use your credit card!

May 17th, 2006 at 03:36 am

last Sunday, as I wanted to use my car and didn't have cash, instead of waiting until Monday (I don't use debit cards) I whipped out the credit card and put the $35.87 on it...when they brought me the voucher, I noticed they were giving me a credit card and ID that was not mine (I didn't really look at the voucher), so I refused it and sent it back...they then brought my cc, voucher (which I read before signing) and ID...turns out now there are TWO charges on my cc for that gas station on that for $35.87 and one for $30.07!....needless to say, I'm already disputing the charge!....

On the bright side, they did reimburse me for interest on that payment I disputed! ($10.58)

I'm even more efficient than I thought!

May 15th, 2006 at 05:39 pm

LOL! I was in a panick today, thinking that it's already the 15th and I hadn't processed the payments for the domestic employees at the (expat) houses...and hurrying to get them ready for signature/submittance today, so that at least they'd be paid on Friday, when I noticed...the forms I was updating said from May 1st through I was like: hmmmmm....I called accounting and they told me the cheques are ready!! (which means I submitted them either last Monday or the one before last, in preparation to the crazy week of training logistics, and I didn't even remember!!)...I amaze myself sometimes!!

Of course, the fact that I didn't remember gives you a clue as to how "spaced out" and disorganized I can be, too!

still at the office!

May 13th, 2006 at 12:49 am

they had the wonderful idea of bringing the training groups here for their final presentation, and throwing a cocktail for them (here at the office, too!)...guess who's in charge of logistics for THAT??, I'm still at the office, waiting for the thing to at least the meantime, I also have about 600 fresh feedback forms to process....and 35 final feedback this year they've added a "peer feedback form", so that is 210 more feedback the VP's feedback on the presentations...
guess who's in charge of THAT!! ((sigh)) ...and they claim slavery no longer exist!

My first car "emergency"!

May 12th, 2006 at 03:01 pm

..I installed the windshield wipers...obviously, I'm not as good at it as I of them flipped over and I had to stop them or I was going to scratch the windshield!...luckily, it was just drizzling at the time and we were near my boss' house, and were able to get there before the storm started!...we stayed there for about 1 hour and, then the rain was gentle enough for us (ALe and I) to get home...I re-installed them this morning...hope I did a better job this time!

mother's day gift

May 11th, 2006 at 10:58 pm

Ale made me a big flowr pot for mother's I have to find a plant for it...Ale wants flowers...I is a very nice pot, they painted it white and then painted butterflies all around...complete with glitter wings!

my license plates are ready!!!

May 11th, 2006 at 08:56 pm

I checked Sertracen's website (about 1,000 times) today...finally:

Su trámite ha finalizado, Puede retirar la tarjeta o la documentación que ha solicitado. No olvide traer su tarjeta anterior si no fuese matrícula.

woo-hoo! I can go get them tomorrow (it's 3pm, and they close at 4pm!)

tracking expenses -060511

May 11th, 2006 at 08:37 pm

To be honest, I feel I haven't done this because then I will discover that A LOT of my $$$ is going down the drain for stupid things..
Soooo....yesterday I created another excel file...has several worksheets: car, school, supermarket, others...
for every worksheet, I have these colums:
date, concept,type (initial, annual, recurrent, unbudgeted, etc) amount, cash, other form of payment (ideally should only be gift certificates!!)....the first thing on my "others" today??...lunch, $2.50 (didn't pack!) Frown

car related expenses - 050510

May 10th, 2006 at 08:26 pm

On Monday, while filling the tank, the guy at the gas station cleaned my windshield and, one of the wipers nearly fell off!!....soooo, today I went to Siman (local dept store) to check how many "diamonds" (= reward points) I had and, I had 750 (500=$5 gift certificate), so I took the $5 and bought the wipers ($2.75) and an air freshener ($2.00)...the lady at the register mentioned that I would be "wasting" $0.25 and asked if I wanted to add something else (believe me, there is NOTHING at that store that is $0.25!!) and I said NO, thank you!, I "wasted" $0.25, but I didn't spend $0.01 out of my pocket!! ..I'll "install" the air freshener this afternoon when I leave work and, the new wipers tonight! (rainy season is starting, I cannot afford to delay this!)

Sis is out of the Doctor's office now!

May 10th, 2006 at 05:59 pm

...the doctor says the probability of the swelling being a tumor, based on the MRI's, is of about 1%...he has sent my sis to have some blood tests and schedule another MRI for end of July/start of August...says the only medicine he'd prescribe right now would be a couple of beers to help her calm down after that big scare!

Sis is at the Doctors's

May 10th, 2006 at 05:33 pm

My cousin went with her and, she just called....right now the Doctor is checking my sister, but, my cousin was present at the pre-check interview they had and, he said the swelling might be caused by live cysticercos...he also mentioned that the Doc my sis saw yesterday is famous for scaring his patients....He did mention the possibility of a spinal tap, but will wait until he has checked my sis/the MRI's before making a decision on whether to order one or not...
Turns out THIS Doctor is the father of a boy that used to be one of my nephew's best friends (before nephew started doing drugs)...believe me, in a small country like this one, IT DOES MATTER!...

Will update as soon as they get out of the Dr's office!

car related expenses - 050509

May 10th, 2006 at 04:29 pm

cut a copy of the key: $3


May 10th, 2006 at 03:12 pm

sis went to the neurologist today, for what we thought would be her last visit with the neurologist for the neurocysticercosis...the one that she usually goes to is out of the country for a month, so they referred her to another one...he said there seems to be swelling on her brain, and he thinks it might be a tumor...he also said he doesn't think she had cysticercosis ...he wants to do a spinal tap...and give her some medicine and, depending on the progress, he said he might have to do a biopsy! This is her BRAIN we're talking about!!...

I made an appointment for her to see a private neurologist today...I mean, she HAS been in control with the other one (who, incidentally, is the chief neurologist at the SSI), and he never said anything even remotely similar...

Plus, sis says this one only looked at the first and last MRI's....he didn't look at the other ones...

Her appointment is at is 9:05 right now, so we have to wait to see what THIS doctor will say... Frown

...but, whatever treatment she needs, we really cannot afford to do privately, it has to be done at the SSI...and that IS a scary thought (their doctors have a tendency to go on strike every 6 months...there are the horror stories on the newspaper about the guy that had the wrong kidney removed because they put the Xray wrong on the viewer, so they thought they had to take out the left one, when it was the right one that was sick!... or the woman who had to have a hysterectomy because she delivered her baby by c-section and they left a sponge in, which caused a major infection...)

((sigh)) Please send prayers, healing vibes and positive energy our way! has been a long year....(they discovered the neurocysticercosis last May!)

Car related expenses 050508

May 9th, 2006 at 08:34 pm

Filled the tank: $35.80

School-related expenses - Projection 050509

May 9th, 2006 at 08:26 pm

Again, since I have to be more careful, I want to know what I'm REALLY spending on Ale's school (notice how I am staying away from the grocery bill, where I might have REAL opportunity for cost cutting??...don't worry, I've noticed, too!)

2006-2007 school period

enrollment fee: $330
(paid $100 on21/apr/06)
books: $160
(based on last year's brochure, not listed for this year)
uniforms: $??
monthly tuition: $137 ($1,507/year)

total, without uniforms, SHOULD be $1,997.00

2 for 1

May 9th, 2006 at 03:48 pm

in an effort to make people go to the supermarket everyday, a local chain is having 2X1 days...yesterday was shampoo and conditioner (I had just bought a bottle of shampoo on sale last week, and I have a HUGE bottle of conditioner that I bought at a flea market, so I didn't need any) it's insecticides (sp?), so I bought "plaquitas" (plug ins to keep mosquitos away) and some roach/mosquito spray...(rainy season is here....there WILL be plenty of mosquitos and, Ale has already had dengue...we cannot afford for her to get bitten again!)... I'm proud of myself, I ONLY bought the insecticides and nothing more!! and, yesterday, I went with my cousin, but I didn't buy anything!

The car wouldn't start!!

May 9th, 2006 at 04:11 am

I got Ale into the car for our first official ride as owners of the Trollmobile and, it didn't start!!...You can't imagine the was soooo awful!...What am I, jinxed??, I called the guy that sold it to me, but got his voicemail..and then, wrrrrooooommmm, it started, so we went to the gas station to fill the tank ($35)...
My sister's friend called me back about 10 minutes ago, and asked what happened...2 minutes later her husband called and asked me all about it...and then he says: Did you remember to press the clutch? ..huh?? ...turns out, you're supposed to press the clutch while turning the key in the ignition or the car won't start! (my old car didn't work like that, neither does any of the other cars I generally drive!!!...I swear he didn't tell me!!)...and, then, the guy says: You scared me, I almost had a heart attack!...and I said: I scared you??...we had to laugh!, everything is OK now...I'm driving to work tomorrow!! woo-hoo!!!

I can drive the car (legally) now!!

May 8th, 2006 at 09:25 pm

Woo-hoo! I called the police this morning and they said the reports for 28/april had been sent in late on, I went during my lunch hour (took 34 minutes!) to submit the documents...I have my invoice proving that I have paid for my license plates and registration, now I can drive and, in 3 days, I can check on line to see if the license plates are ready!

Car-related expense - $9/taxies

License plates and registration card: $99.44 (although, technically, this is part of the price of the car,and was already budgeted as such, so I will not count it as "additional")

This would be me, except: the car is NOT a convertible, it's green, not red and, I'm not a blonde! ha,ha,ha,ha!

So, my first drive will be to the gast station ((gasp)) to fill up the tank ((faint)), so that I can start seeing how much I really will be spending!

Now I'm free of the inconvenience of rides (and back into the inconveniences of having a car, like: finding a parking space- eek! this car is way more difficult to handle then my old one...I have to get used to the new size!)

Income tax return: FINALLY!!

May 8th, 2006 at 05:11 pm

Just checked the status on line:

El estado de su declaración número 111020358644 presentada el 08/03/2006 es:

ABONO ENVIADO : La devolucion ha sido enviada al banco para que sea depositada a la cuenta solicitada en la declaracion, el banco esta pendiente de confirmarnos si se efectuo el deposito, puede pasar a verificar su deposito

I then checked my bank account, but the money hasn't "landed" yet...but, it should be deposited today!!! wooo-hoo! ...this goes to my $20 challenge! ($282.55)

Edited to add: the money is already showing in my bank account!! woo-hoo!!

Mother's day present for my sis!

May 8th, 2006 at 03:06 pm

I found some chinese spring rolls that are almost like the ones my mom used to make (my sis' favorite dish!) I bought them for her as a Mother's day present...they were $4.50, but she loved them, so it was worth it!

Car related expenses-050507

May 7th, 2006 at 06:55 pm

As I mentioned the other day, I'm going to have to be more careful with money from now, I thought I's list down any car-related expenses, so I can keep track...

My first entry is going to be: $12 for transfering the car to my name...

Tomorrow, I need to have copies of the keys cut, too...don't know how much that is going to cost (I think it's $5, but not 100% sure)

This will also help me keep track of preventive maintenance needs...

WAAAAAHHHH!!! we couldn't get the license plates today!

May 6th, 2006 at 04:56 pm

We transferred the car to my name and everything, and, it should have been a matter of 10 minutes, just to deliver the documents to SERTRACEN (company that handles vehicle registrations for the Vice-Ministry of Transportation)...the guy went over the documentation and forms and declared them OK, but, when he went to input the number for the "experticia" (check by the police to establish that the car isn't stolen), it turned out the police haven't submitted their report yet! (this is done electronically)...the guy at SERTRACEN mentioned that there has been a delay with all experticias performed just before the long weekend (May 1st), and gave me the telephone number of the Police so that I can start calling them to see when the experticia will be sent...So, I have to add that to my To Do list for the week: call 3x a day until they feel that they'd rather send the report than have to listen to me! Frown

In the meantime, I cannot drive the car! (well, I CAN, but it wouldn't be legal to do so, so I won't...), I guess my fate is to be carless for 3 whole months(6/feb-6/may)... I hope to be able to submit the documents no later than Wednesday, and then get my new license plates on Saturday next week (once the documents are submited, you get a temporary permit to use the car!)

I feel very disappointed!...I thought I was going to be able to go to the supermarket on my own tomorrow! Frown

upcoming expenses -revisited 060506

May 6th, 2006 at 02:25 pm

1. New bed for Ale... Pending, not urgent yet

2. New bike for Ale...Has dropped even lower in priority

3. new(er) car strike off the list!

4. Ale's birthday party!! - She wants to have it at the Children's Museum...Events are suspended indefinetely at the Museum, as they are still trying to decide how they are going to revamp info on prices or anything, so I have no way to make a comparison...

5. Renewal of my car registration card....Included with expenses for "new" car

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