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Crazy busy weekend

April 14th, 2013 at 01:45 pm

I left my part-time job early on Friday as I had a longstanding eye doc appointment for 1 pm. I squeezed in some extra time at the office on Wednesday and Thursday, so I only lost 1.25 hours worth of work. There was something going on along my driving route, though, with fire trucks all over and really backed up traffic so I had to do a big detour but I managed to get there only a few minutes late.

My eyes are fine; have to return in 6 months. (This is all becus my higher than normal eye pressure is indicative of glaucoma, although some people apparently just have high eye pressure.) Glaucoma can be controlled with eye drops, but the important thing is to catch it early. I have not been diagnosed with glaucoma but he wants to keep an eye on it. (No pun intended.)

Anyway, after that I hit the grocery store to use up $10.84 left on a pre-loaded Visa card I got as part of a rebate for buying Norton Anti-Virus software. The card won’t work if the charge exceeds the balance left on the card. I grabbed a gallon of bleach and a jar of marinated artichokes. I knew there’d be tax on the bleach, a non-food item, and CT sales tax increased to something like 6.35%, but I didn’t have a calculator with me. Do you know the charge came to EXACTLY $10.84? That was pretty cool.

After that I stopped at the auto parts place for a pair of front brake pads which cost me just $50. On Saturday I went over to the home of the woman who shares my proofreading job; her husband is a mechanic and works from home. Both the dealer and my mother’s mechanic had already told me that next time I came in I’d need to replace the 2 front brake pads, so I knew I needed them. From my files, I saw that front brake pad replacement cost me $170 at the dealer in 2002; my friend said she thought he’d charge me $50, cus that’s what he charges per hour and she didn’t think it would take him more than hour.

So I was hoping for “a deal.” The two of us chit-chatted over tea in her very Victorian house and later went for lunch at Panera’s while he worked on the car. When he started to take apart one of the brakes, the caliper broke in his hand. It and the other caliper were totally rusted and needed to be replaced, he said, but he wasn’t sure he could get the additional parts on a Saturday. Oh great. I had plans to leave later that afternoon around 4 pm for a dinner get-together in Nyack, an hour’s drive away, to meet family to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday. And it would be the first time I’d be seeing my 2 year old niece.

He did get the car fixed, but instead of a total outlay of $100 (the parts I’d purchased and his labor), I wound up spending $275 becus he also had to replace those calipers. She told me it’d cost me $600 at the dealer. I know the dealer charges about $100 for labor, but I checked the price of the front calipers at autozone.com and for the two it was just $87. I don’t know exactly how much time he spent on it, but I’m not seeing the “huge” cost savings. So it cost $87 for the calipers, $50 for the pads I bought = $137, so looks like he charged me $88 for labor. He probably was cheaper than the dealer (remember, the dealer charged me $170 just for brake pad replacement 10 years ago), although I don’t think their charges would approach $600. Unless they really, really mark up parts far in excess of 100%.

When I drove over my friend’s to pay for the work, she invited me to Sunday dinner but I had to decline as I still had work to do at that point. I’m sure I’ll see her soon as they’re adopting a new puppy this week and she’s invited me over to see it.

We've also decided that the 2 of us will approach the HR person at our p/t job to push for health insurance coverage for the 6 month period between June 30 and Dec. 30, for me because my COBRA runs out June 30 and Obamacare health insurance coops don't begin til 1/1/14, and for my friend's husband as well, who lacks any coverage whatsoever. They're happy with our work, we're making close to minimum wage and from our standpoint putting us on the company plan would cost them little or nothing, altho a friend of mine disagrees. I figure we have nothing left to lose although I kind of doubt we'll have success.

I learned later from my office friend that one of her husband’s buddies wanted to meet me, based on no more than seeing my car in the driveway and finding out that it belonged to a friend of his friend’s wife who happens to be single, is around his age and lives in town.

Our family dinner was nice, but once again, the choice of venue was not great…inside a very noisy restaurant inside a very noisy and crowded mall. The parking was difficult. Everyone in our group of 7 had to shout to be heard. The place had like 20 TV screens going, adding to the noise. I wasn’t terribly impressed with my parmesan-crusted chicken or the cold garlic mashed potatoes. When I tried to hand over $50 to my brother, who sat on the other side of my father, my dad returned the $$ to me and said don’t worry about it, so I knew then that even though my bro was putting the tab on his charge card that my dad was going to reimburse him…for his own birthday dinner!

In between all this fun stuff is the reason for my post heading. Friday afternoon (doesn’t it always happen on a Friday?) I got a call from my chief freelance client about a huge job they wanted me to do, but it all had to be done my Monday (tomorrow). They had negotiated the price with a local daily newspaper to take up most of the advertising space in an annual real estate pull-out section. I needed to write 4 half page articles on various new condo or single family home projects as well as update 4 that had been used last year.

This involved calling 8 different realtors to interview them about the chief selling points of each complex, and doing that on a weekend in such a short timeframe would normally be a challenge, but fortunately my contact had prepped each realtor in advance of my call, so all but one “cooperated.” (One hasn’t returned my call so I wrote what I could based on the dedicated website for that particular community.)

Anyway, I’m glad as always for the work. I’ll earn $600 for I’m guessing maybe 10 or 12 hours of work, plus I have 2 other writing assignments unrelated to this that I haven’t even started. Will save that for tomorrow. Sure wish this happened more regularly!
I also got a call Friday from a place where I applied for a junior level editorial job last December. The guy said he had saved my resume and now there was another opening or a writer/editor which I’d be better qualified for, but could I look over some of their websites and give him my ideas for improving them. Once again, hard to ignore a request like that if I seriously want a crack at the job, but it is annoying to feel like they’re picking my brain for a free consult. They have 5 mags/trade websites in the field of alternative energy.

So somehow I need to refresh my brain and spend a few hours doing that in time for his call…tomorrow, you guessed it.

5 Responses to “Crazy busy weekend”

  1. rob62521 Says:

    Glad your eye pressure was fine. I have the same issue. Hope the job works out. Sorry about the car repair bill.

  2. M E 2 Says:



    Just a small fyi in regards to the Visa card. You could still use it IF/WHEN you are over the balance on the card. All you have to do is pay the overage part first. So if your total had been $12.14, you would have paid the $1.30 out of your own "pocket" and then used the visa card for the balance of $10.84.

  3. PNW Mom Says:

    How awesome that your purchase ended up being exactly what was left on your card! Glad your wrist is better and your eyes too! Fingers crossed the potential job works out.

  4. snafu Says:

    Terrific news from your glaucoma tests. I hope you've noted the symptoms and will see your ophthalmologist as soon as possible should you discover any change.

    Dealerships and most mechanics add significant mark-up for parts and use a book of 'suggested charges' for each procedure. Our dealership charges $ 600. for a 'brake job' which also includes rotors and fluids. What frost me is that teens [part of a high school program] do the actual work, under 'supervision' of a certified mechanic. I prefer our home based mechanic to do the work although I've had some oil changes done by students at the high school. I see the licensed mechanic/teacher actually supervising his students there.

    How wonderful that DB organized the DD's 80th birthday dinner and DD apparently expected to foot the bill. Would it not have been in your interest to send the dinner back to the kitchen if food was cold?

    Good luck on all these short deadline jobs. Wow that's a lot to do in a weekend.

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    IT never hurts to ask - for sure. But be aware that there are a lot of legal limitations on what benefits employers can offer. Insurers may have rules that only full-time employees are covered (I've seen this first hand when it comes to very small employers - the employers will fudge and say their employees are full-time to get coverage in a small office that otherwise did not have enough people for group benefits). Likewise, legally they can't offer you these benefits without offering to everyone. So there might not be much they can do even if they wanted to.

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